Stiff but arm-friendly racquet mid size?

Xfimpg

Professional
Hi
I would appreciate any feedback from the community on this one.

Me: A 5.0 level player, heavy topspin with one-handed backhand, I generate my own power. I've tried the 98s and 100 and can't play with them, so I'm trying to stick to 95 or less. Back in the day I used Wilson Ultra, Prince Ceramic Comp, Head Graphite Pro. Great racquets but no longer in production.

I'm coming back from a 15-year layoff and so far I've been through the following racquets and all have given me tennis elbow issues:

- Wilson Blx Tour 90
- Prince Original Graphite 93
- ADD: Wilson Pro Staff 85 re-issue (no elbow issues but too flexy)

I'm assuming that both of these using outdated technologies? I was wondering if the Wilson Blx 95 that Dimitrov is using would be arm-friendly?

Any suggestions for a stiff but arm-friendly racquet for a back-court 1hbh banger?
 
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Xfimpg

Professional
What are your strings and tension? Do you realize that stiff is contrary to arm friendly?

You're 100% correct. Unfortunately I just cannot play with a flexible racquet. I purchased a PS85 re-issue at 62 stiffness and it was too flexible when I cranked it up.

I'm using PSGD at 63 lbs in my POG. Strings last 4-6 hours.

I should also add that I've been interpreting racquets specs of stiffness, SW, SW, flex, etc, but I really would like to hear from personal experience.
 

RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
I wouldn't say the racquets you mentioned are using outdated technology. They are at the extreme end of traditional player's frames.

I think the frame stiffness issue gets over emphasized here. In my experience, string type and tension and string pattern have more to do with causing discomfort. Obviously weight is also a factor. Too much or to little can lead to problems.

I know you said you are or were a 5.0, but TE and one hand backhand usually is a red flag for technique issues. Is it possible that your form has slipped a bit or maybe you're just overdoing?
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Can it be mental?
Haas plays with a 60 stiffness racket.
Ferrer plays with softer.
Fed maybe with a 64 stiffness racket.
Dj with a mid 60's stiffness racket.
Nadal maybe 70 stiffness racket.
Why do you need stiffer? Do you hit harder than them?
Isner plays with a low 60's stiffness racket, do you serve harder than him?
 

Xfimpg

Professional
I wouldn't say the racquets you mentioned are using outdated technology. They are at the extreme end of traditional player's frames.

I think the frame stiffness issue gets over emphasized here. In my experience, string type and tension and string pattern have more to do with causing discomfort. Obviously weight is also a factor. Too much or to little can lead to problems.

I know you said you are or were a 5.0, but TE and one hand backhand usually is a red flag for technique issues. Is it possible that your form has slipped a bit or maybe you're just overdoing?

I remember getting tennis elbow a lot as a college player but i always thought it was because my grip was too big (5 1/8 back then); today its at 4 5/8 but i actually measure out to a 5.

Great question... i played two hours on saturday, tennis elbow at the end of the day. Sunday i was off, elbow ok. Monday played one hour and had TE at the end of the practice.
 

Xfimpg

Professional
Can it be mental?
Haas plays with a 60 stiffness racket.
Ferrer plays with softer.
Fed maybe with a 64 stiffness racket.
Dj with a mid 60's stiffness racket.
Nadal maybe 70 stiffness racket.
Why do you need stiffer? Do you hit harder than them?
Isner plays with a low 60's stiffness racket, do you serve harder than him?

I can't say i hit harder, no i really dont think so, but very close. I remember in college 15 yrs ago a friend of mine was a ball-boy at the Montreal Players and he said i hit my first serve harder than 75% of the pros. Of course today it aint that! lol but it gives an idea.

I agree 100% with your stats above, which is why i cant wrap my head around why the POG is giving me TE. 63lbs with syn gut isnt like poly.
 

Xfimpg

Professional
Try the Wilson PS 95 w 18x20 pattern?

Hmmm, interesting. I forgot to mention that I purchased a Head IG-Y MP 18x20 and I found it far from spin-friendly. Did not play long enough with it though.

Maybe the Wilson PS 95 in a 16x19?
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Hmmm, interesting. I forgot to mention that I purchased a Head IG-Y MP 18x20 and I found it far from spin-friendly. Did not play long enough with it though.

Maybe the Wilson PS 95 in a 16x19?

Both if you can demo. Blade Tour/93 too
 

martini1

Hall of Fame
Sorry, but the Wilson tour 90 and tennis elbow in the same sentence?

On top of that, I think it is quite contradictory for the makers to do a super stiff mid racket (in which feel and touch is more important).
 

kingcheetah

Hall of Fame
Hi
I would appreciate any feedback from the community on this one.

Me: A 5.0 level player, heavy topspin with one-handed backhand, I generate my own power. I've tried the 98s and 100 and can't play with them, so I'm trying to stick to 95 or less. Back in the day I used Wilson Ultra, Prince Ceramic Comp, Head Graphite Pro. Great racquets but no longer in production.

I'm coming back from a 15-year layoff and so far I've been through the following racquets and all have given me tennis elbow issues:

- Wilson Blx Tour 90
- Prince Original Graphite 93
- ADD: Wilson Pro Staff 85 re-issue (no elbow issues but too flexy)

I'm assuming that both of these using outdated technologies? I was wondering if the Wilson Blx 95 that Dimitrov is using would be arm-friendly?

Any suggestions for a stiff but arm-friendly racquet for a back-court 1hbh banger?


the 90 is on the flexier side, so if it gave you arm problems that's not a good sign. That eliminates pretty much all of the Babolat offerings. The Pro Staff 95 may be a good racquet for you, and I would say a blade could be good too but they're also very stiff... and don't have much feel IMO, the exception being the Blade 104 but that's a fairly flexible racquet-- if you were willing to give that one a chance you may like it.
 

Xfimpg

Professional
the 90 is on the flexier side, so if it gave you arm problems that's not a good sign. That eliminates pretty much all of the Babolat offerings. The Pro Staff 95 may be a good racquet for you, and I would say a blade could be good too but they're also very stiff... and don't have much feel IMO, the exception being the Blade 104 but that's a fairly flexible racquet-- if you were willing to give that one a chance you may like it.

Yeah, the Blx Tour 90 gave me TE and hand pain. Actually, my entire forearm was hurting. Still don't know if it was b/c of the full bed of Alu in there.
 

Disgruntled Worker

Professional
When I think stiff midsizes, the Prince Diablo Tour comes to mind. I hated the feel, but you might like it. Donnay Platinum 94 is pretty good too!
 
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I have the Head i.Extreme 102sq. that I keep as a doubles racquet but hitting a 1hbh is like pushing a basket hoop.

Is that the only frame over 95" that you've tried?
You should try out a few larger headsize frames from the Dunlop Biomimetic lineup.
TW are blowing them out the door to make way for the new Dunlop lineup.
They ride the line between classic and modern feeling... it's the best of both worlds.
I've tried the 300 Tour and the 500 Tour and made the switch to the 500 Tour.
I have a one-hand backhand and actually preferred the 100" 500 Tour to the 97" 300 Tour.

I think the 300 Tour might suit your preferences as it's 97" and is geared more towards the classic end of the spectrum.
Strung with Volkl Cyclone 18 @ 60lb/57lb I found it stiff but comfortable.
Reminded me of my Wilson BLX90's, but more whippy and with less plow-thru.
But don't discard the 500 Tour. It's a weapon of a frame.
More modern feeling than the 300 Tour, but still plenty comfortable.
Also, the 200 Plus 100" might be up your alley as well.
It has a thin beam and 18x20 string pattern.
Geared more towards control with a more classic feel than the 500 Tour.
I was keen to try the 200 Plus but couldn't find any for the right price.

Also, the new Volkl line may interest you.
The Volkls I tried were some of the most comfortable, arm-friendly racquets I've hit with. But they were very flexy.
However Volkl's new line are reportedly stiffer in feel but still comfortable.
Haven't tried them myself, and won't need to now that I've found my frame in the Dunlop 500 Tour. But before settling on the Dunlop, I was interested in giving them a spin.

If the 102" Head is the only larger HS frame you've tried, then you might be pleasantly surprised if you give some others a chance.
You should arrange a playtest.
 

Xfimpg

Professional
Is that the only frame over 95" that you've tried?
You should try out a few larger headsize frames from the Dunlop Biomimetic lineup.
TW are blowing them out the door to make way for the new Dunlop lineup.
They ride the line between classic and modern feeling... it's the best of both worlds.
I've tried the 300 Tour and the 500 Tour and made the switch to the 500 Tour.
I have a one-hand backhand and actually preferred the 100" 500 Tour to the 97" 300 Tour.

I think the 300 Tour might suit your preferences as it's 97" and is geared more towards the classic end of the spectrum.
Strung with Volkl Cyclone 18 @ 60lb/57lb I found it stiff but comfortable.
Reminded me of my Wilson BLX90's, but more whippy and with less plow-thru.
But don't discard the 500 Tour. It's a weapon of a frame.
More modern feeling than the 300 Tour, but still plenty comfortable.
Also, the 200 Plus 100" might be up your alley as well.
It has a thin beam and 18x20 string pattern.
Geared more towards control with a more classic feel than the 500 Tour.
I was keen to try the 200 Plus but couldn't find any for the right price.

Also, the new Volkl line may interest you.
The Volkls I tried were some of the most comfortable, arm-friendly racquets I've hit with. But they were very flexy.
However Volkl's new line are reportedly stiffer in feel but still comfortable.
Haven't tried them myself, and won't need to now that I've found my frame in the Dunlop 500 Tour. But before settling on the Dunlop, I was interested in giving them a spin.

If the 102" Head is the only larger HS frame you've tried, then you might be pleasantly surprised if you give some others a chance.
You should arrange a playtest.

Hey VG - You're made some excellent points and I appreciate the feedback.
I'll try to find some demos on the DUnlops in my areas. Thanks for the heads up on the Volkls.
Funny cause last week I had the Dunlop Biomimetic 500 in my hand, i looked at the 100sq head, and I said to myself "That is big!". lol
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Possibly your string tension is WAAAAAY too high.
My Dunlop500's, weighted to 11 oz and SW of 320, are strung with LuxBB 16 at 52 lbs., a little stiff.
My Dunlop300's at that weight and SW are strung with SolincoTourBite at 47, a little stiff.
I hit hard, I serve hard (harder than anyone at the courts I go to, including over 50 players and a couple of Open level guys).
But I'm fragile, at a skinny 5'11" and 150 lbs., and 64 years old.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
I know you said you are or were a 5.0, but TE and one hand backhand usually is a red flag for technique issues. Is it possible that your form has slipped a bit or maybe you're just overdoing?
Not always true. You can have perfect technique but still get TE from hitting tons of 1HBH's, especially with a light and/or stiff and/or extended racquet and/or with stiff strings. TE is a repetitive use injury, so the more 1HBH's you hit, the more likely you'll develop TE, especially as you get older.
 

Xfimpg

Professional
Not always true. You can have perfect technique but still get TE from hitting tons of 1HBH's, especially with a light and/or stiff and/or extended racquet and/or with stiff strings. TE is a repetitive use injury, so the more 1HBH's you hit, the more likely you'll develop TE, especially as you get older.

I can't comment on BP's, I just want to add that I hit about 5 bh slices for every 1 topspin.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
I agree 100% with your stats above, which is why i cant wrap my head around why the POG is giving me TE. 63lbs with syn gut isnt like poly.
The POG Mid is fairly stiff with a stiffness rating of 66.

BTW, have you tried the Dunlop Biomimetic 100? It's 90 sq. in. but may not be stiff enough for you and you'll probably have to add weight to it.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
I can't comment on BP's, I just want to add that I hit about 5 bh slices for every 1 topspin.
That's should lessen the stress on your elbow as flat and topspin one-handed backhands put more stress on your elbow than slices do.
 

Xfimpg

Professional
The POG Mid is fairly stiff with a stiffness rating of 66.

BTW, have you tried the Dunlop Biomimetic 100? It's 90 sq. in. but may not be stiff enough for you and you'll probably have to add weight to it.

Hey BP, no I haven't tried the 100 b/c its 90 and i'm set the limit to 95.

Btw, I just compared bouncing a ball with freshly strung raquets; POG 93 vs Head i.Extreme 102. The sweetspot size difference is huge, i mean really noticeable. With the POG, I can feel the strong vibrations when i'm off the SW, whereas the Head 102 it's much more muted.
Oh boy, and I just purchased 3 more of these POGs. :mad:
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
Hey BP, no I haven't tried the 100 b/c its 90 and i'm set the limit to 95.

Btw, I just compared bouncing a ball with freshly strung raquets; POG 93 vs Head i.Extreme 102. The sweetspot size difference is huge, i mean really noticeable. With the POG, I can feel the strong vibrations when i'm off the SW, whereas the Head 102 it's much more muted.
Oh boy, and I just purchased 3 more of these POGs. :mad:
Oh, OK. Your thread title says "mid size" and I don't consider a 95 to be "mid size" but a mid-plus", and your OP mentioned "95 or less".

How about the Wilson Blade 93? It's definitely on the stiffer side so don't know how arm friendly it is.

http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Wilson_Blade_93/descpageRCWILSON-BLD93.html#spec
 

Xfimpg

Professional
Yes good catch! I meant the PS95 in a 16x19. I've had the BLX Six.One 95 in my hand and I didn't click with it. Of course i didnt demo it, but none were available.

Actually, if this is a sweetspot issue as SexPistol mentionned, then the 95s should be out and I should move to 98.
 

Xfimpg

Professional

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
Not sure, it could also have been the combination with Alu Power Rough at 58lbs.

Yeah, the Blx Tour 90 gave me TE and hand pain. Actually, my entire forearm was hurting. Still don't know if it was b/c of the full bed of Alu in there.
I'd say that's your culprit right there. Full bed of poly at 58 lbs. in a small head can definitely cause arm problems. Maybe try using a soft multi to alleviate your arm pain?
 

Xfimpg

Professional
Oh, OK. Your thread title says "mid size" and I don't consider a 95 to be "mid size" but a mid-plus", and your OP mentioned "95 or less".

How about the Wilson Blade 93? It's definitely on the stiffer side so don't know how arm friendly it is.

http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Wilson_Blade_93/descpageRCWILSON-BLD93.html#spec

A friend of mine has the Blade 93 tour and I have to say it feels like a club.:shock:

I think the conundrum I'm facing is that I need a racquet that I can whip around, allows me to generate my own power, still has enough plow (can't forget the plow), but no bigger than 98. Oh and no pastel-off-the-chart colours for me.
 

Xfimpg

Professional
I'd say that's your culprit right there. Full bed of poly at 58 lbs. in a small head can definitely cause arm problems. Maybe try using a soft multi to alleviate your arm pain?

I remember installing Babolat Xcel 16 in the Tour 90 and the lack of crispness and pop turned me off. I played with PSGO for many years and then PSGD and it's tough not having that feeling.
I also tried Wilson Sensation. I mean both strings are soft, I just didn't enjoy playing them.
And believe me when i say i'm not trying to be difficult, just trying to nail it down.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
I remember installing Babolat Xcel 16 in the Tour 90 and the lack of crispness and pop turned me off. I played with PSGO for many years and then PSGD and it's tough not having that feeling.
I also tried Wilson Sensation. I mean both strings are soft, I just didn't enjoy playing them.
And believe me when i say i'm not trying to be difficult, just trying to nail it down.
Well, then I'd suggest going back to PSGO or PSGD and stay away from poly for a while as the poly is definitely not doing your elbow any favors.
 

PaulC

Professional
As a fellow former college-level player, a mid/POG user, 1HBH player and one-time full-bed poly wannabe, (although I never made the regular team and I didn't stop playing for so long like you did, nor do I have any TE problem)...

My thoughts / Recommended Options:

For 93s
======

1. Keep the POG -- (honestly, there aren't many powerful/stiff mid-size with open string pattern and flat-beam) -- BUT switch to hybriding the cross with Prince original synthetic which you used for a long time AND lower your tension to 50-52 lbs.

(or even try 40s if it's not too trampoline-ish for you, given some ATP tour pros are even using 30lbs poly nowadays)

2. Try Prince Diablo Tour Mid 93 (still available at TW), and use the above string combo at 44-45 lbs, since the 16X20 pattern will stiff up the string bed a bit, or simply full-bed Prince Original Syn at 52-54 lbs (this may work even better for you)

3. Try Donnay X-Dual Core Gold 94 (it's really a 93.5 or so) -- if flat-beam is not a MUST for you.


For 95+s
======

1. Try a Head Prestige Pro (Youtek or IG), Ram (aka Rampras) switched from a Wilson Tour 90 to it without too much problem. Similar stiffness, open string pattern to POG but not too big or too thick by a 95 standard.

I myself play doubles with it every now and then, but have problems with flat 1st serves in singles, compared with the mids, but that could be just me.


2. Try a Babolat Pure Storm Tour GT, many former POG mid user switched to it without too much problem either.

For both of above, try my recommended hybrid combo above at 48-50lbs. (Nadal use this range at one point)

3. Forget 98-100+s, you gonna hit the back-board a LOT unless you're a topspinner :)


~2 cents and good luck with your search
 
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Xfimpg

Professional
As a fellow former college-level player, a mid/POG user, 1HBH player and one-time full-bed poly wannabe, (although I never made the regular team and I didn't stop playing for so long like you did, nor do I have any TE problem)...

Hey Paul - thanks for the long write-up... always great to come across long-distance relatives. :)

The issue I have with mid to lower tensions is the ball flies on me. If I string the POG at 63, everthing stays in and very controllable at the baseline. Lower than 63 and the balls trampolines out of my racquet and I lose control of the ball.
I've strung one of my POGs at 58/56 - down from 63/63 - and will try it out again tomorrow.

Yes I've seen the Diablo mid but my word that thing is a heavy beast. lol

I do have the Donnay Gold Core 94 on my list, if I don't resolve the POG issue, well... $

I have a Prestige S at home, purchased it before I went to the POG as a keeper, so I'll take it out again and see if I can customized it similar to the POG. The Prestige S is really a 95 so I'm curious to see the sweetspot difference as I've never compared them.
 

PaulC

Professional
The issue I have with mid to lower tensions is the ball flies on me. If I string the POG at 63, everthing stays in and very controllable at the baseline. Lower than 63 and the balls trampolines out of my racquet and I lose control of the ball.

I've strung one of my POGs at 58/56 - down from 63/63 - and will try it out again tomorrow.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if you strung full-bed syn guts like PSGD or PSGO at 60-63lbs.

My stringing recommendations though, was assuming you played with full-bed BB ALU at 63lbs, and so I suggested hyriding BB ALU or other poly main with PSGO cross at low-mid 50lbs.

(As most polys are supposed to be strung 10-15% lower than your normal tension anyway, TEs of course even lower.

If you did strung ALU at 63lbs, in the spirit of the TV station intern who messed with the S.F. 787 jet crash report -- pilots Wei Tu Hai, Sum Ting Wong, Bang Ding Aw!! )


Yes I've seen the Diablo mid but my word that thing is a heavy beast. lol.

It's really not that heavy at all, worth a demo for you, but with softer strings and lower tension though. I switch between POG and Diablo equally myself.

I have a Prestige S at home, purchased it before I went to the POG as a keeper, so I'll take it out again and see if I can customized it similar to the POG. The Prestige S is really a 95 so I'm curious to see the sweetspot difference as I've never compared them.

If the 22mm beam width is not an issue for you, then it should be a good one for you to try out.
 

RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
>>2. Try a Babolat Pure Storm Tour GT, many former POG mid user switched to it without too much problem either.

For both of above, try my recommended hybrid combo above at 48-50lbs. (Nadal use this range at one point)<<

Totally agree. On the surface it is nothing like a POG, but seems to play like one. You can use fullbed poly at very low tension and have sublime control yet it will play soft.

Of course, a PDR is even better.
 

Xfimpg

Professional
It's really not that heavy at all, worth a demo for you, but with softer strings and lower tension though. I switch between POG and Diablo equally myself.

Well this is interesting! I'd seen the Diable mid before, but the weight threw me off. And for some reason not having the throat connector on the Diablo, unlike the POG, yet they have the same shape, well that threw me off as well. I'll definitely look into it.
 
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