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Posts Tagged ‘Head’

PostHeaderIcon Racquet Review: Two Frustrating Days with the HEAD Graphene Speed Rev


Recently, I had a chance to hit with some of my co-workers. Since I hadn’t packed a racquet for the trip, I had to borrow one. That racquet was his spare HEAD Speed Rev.

Though I went into the hit knowing fully that this racquet was lighter and stiffer than my current Speed MP 315, with an open string pattern, I figured that it probably wouldn’t be too dissimilar from my own for a decent hit. I was wrong.

To be fair, this was a shotgun wedding of sorts. I needed a racquet, and this was the only one available, open string pattern and all. (Note: open string patterns and I don’t get along.) Still, it was a frustrating two days of tennis, with singles on the first day and doubles on the second.

Read why in my thoughts on the HEAD Graphene Speed Rev.


This racquet is light and stiff. When you combine those attributes with an open string pattern (16 x 19), you get a solid choice for a player with a slow to medium swing, and one that allows for someone with a flatter stroke production to create more spin.

I am NOT that player. The Rev’s light weight made it feel like a toy in my hands. Slowing my swing with such a light stick was nearly impossible. Additionally, the stiffness of the frame never allowed the ball to stay on the strings long enough for good ball control. And as I’ve mentioned in previous reviews of “open string pattern” racquets, I struggled to find any semblance of control with my normal topspin-heavy stroke production.

After an hour of (singles) hitting, I managed a trace amount of control, but no more. That went away, however, when I played doubles and swung as I typically would during competitive play. It’s no exaggeration to say that I never knew if my shots would land in, or hit the back fence. Even when shots did stay in, they had no depth as they landed near the service line.


Volleys were “hit or miss”… mostly “miss”. Without sufficient punch volleys died into the net. Even with decent volley technique, I struggled for placement and deliberate depth of shot.


My serve is probably the strongest part of my game. With that knowledge, I will admit that I double-faulted (long) whole games away in doubles. There were occasional aces and mishits that landed in. But for the most part, it was simply embarrassing to witness such basic lack of control from my best weapon.

Overall Impressions
The fellow official I borrowed this racquet from is a teaching pro who hits a ton of balls every day over several hours. By his own admission, this racquet makes it easier for him because of its’ light weight. And because it’s made his job easier, he’s readily adapted his game to the racquet’s capabilities.

I’m not quite that adaptable. But even if I were, this racquet wouldn’t make my game better. In fact, it might make it a whole heckuva lot worse! The loss of serve, shot depth, and general lack of ball control would remove this racquet from any serious consideration for purchase.

So there you have it. My friend the teaching pro likes it very much, but I would never consider it for my game, or recommend it to anyone who craves better ball control. So what’s my advice on this frame? If you’re looking for a light racquet to give you easy pop, spin, and maneuverability, give it a shot. It’s a solid racquet from a solid company. For all others, I’d suggest looking at the Speed Pro or MP.

HEAD Graphene Speed Rev Specs

Head Size: 100 sq. in. / 645.16 sq. cm.
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight: 9.2oz / 260.82g
Swingweight: 300
Stiffness: 63
Power Level: Medium
Stroke Style: Medium
Swing Speed: Medium
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
String Tension: 48-57 pounds

PostHeaderIcon Racquet Review: A Disappointing Hands-On with the HEAD Graphene Radical Pro

The HEAD Graphene Radical Pro

The HEAD Graphene Radical Pro

As a happy HEAD racquet owner, I tend to be a fan of their racquets. But as I’ve also stated before in previous HEAD racquet reviews (ahem, Graphene Instinct), not all HEAD racquets are created equal! Such is the case with the Graphene Radical Pro.

To be fair, it wasn’t my intention to do a formal review of the Radical Pro. I simply went for a hit with a friend who’d received his new sticks. After some racquet chitchat, one thing led to another and I soon had one in my hot little hands for a quick comparison with my own Speed MP 315.

After hearing a lot of good things about the Radical Pro, I was expecting a positive hitting experience. To the contrary, it failed to live up to the hype. I’d expected better feel/control on my shots. Instead, I was completely unable to keep the ball on the court without significant changes to my stroke pattern.


HEAD Graphene Radical Pro and Speed MP 315

Ground Strokes

My forehand suffered the most with the Radical Pro. Shots that usually land deep in the corners with my Speed MP were literally hitting the back fence. And any attempts to slow my stroke in order to keep the ball in play sent shots into the net. Accuracy went “out the window” as well. My favorite shot, the “inside-out” forehand, sprayed uncontrollably wide. And my cross court forehand was hit-or-miss at best.

Backhands weren’t disastrous, but were certainly nothing special. While I managed to keep most of them from hitting the back fence, I struggled with accuracy as I did with my forehand.


The one part of my game that didn’t suffer with the Radical Pro was the serve. I had decent control over serve placement, and was also able to slice it out wide with ease. The downside was a tremendous loss of power. As a player who relies on my strong serve as the foundation for the rest of my game, this would be unacceptable in any demo’ed racquet.

I switched between the Radical Pro and my Speed MP 315 every so often for real-time shot comparisons, and found that my Speed MP consistently gave me control that was sorely missing from the Radical Pro.


All in all, the Radical Pro was a bust for me. But since it wasn’t a racquet I intended to buy, that didn’t matter. The important thing was that it suited my friend’s game; and it did that very well. It gave him more depth and spin on his shots than he could normally generate on his own. (For comparison purposes, he hit with my racquet and struggled to achieve the same depth on his strokes, and could barely muster any spin.)

So if you need more pop and added spin on your shots, this is a good racquet to try because of the slightly lighter weight/stiffer frame, and 16×19 string pattern. If you already generate your own pace and spin, this racquet won’t help either, and will probably result in a loss of control. In short, I’d look elsewhere for a racquet upgrade.

HEAD Graphene Radical Pro Specs
Head Size: 98 sq. in
Length: 27in
Strung Weight: 11.5oz
Balance: 6 pts Head Light
Swing Weight: 326
Stiffness: 68
Power Level: Low
Swing Speed: Fast
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
String Tension: 48-57 pounds

HEAD YouTek Speed MP 315 Specs
Head Size: 100 sq. in MP
Length: 27 inches
Strung Weight: 11.7
Balance:  6 pts Head Light
Swing Weight: 315
Flex: 65
Power Level: Low
Swing Speed: Fast
String Pattern: 18 Mains / 20 Crosses
Tension: 52-62 Pounds

PostHeaderIcon Racquet Review Monday with the HEAD Extreme Pro and Instinct Mid Plus


Since the purchase of my HEAD Speed MP 315 (18×20) racquet a few years back, I’m an avowed HEAD fan. However, after recent hits with some other sticks in the HEAD family, my fan-dom has become a bit more qualified.

Don’t get me wrong. I love what the extremely versatile Speed line has done for my game. But that doesn’t necessarily translate to equally positive experiences with the Extreme, Instinct, Prestige, or Radical lines.

Two cases in point are my experiences with the two racquets in this review: the Extreme Pro 2.0 and the Instinct Mid Plus. They’re both solid racquets, and are currently being used by some very good players on the WTA/ATP pro tours. Does this translate to a successful racquet of choice for the average club player? My answer is a qualified “Maybe”.

Check out my thoughts on each and see if either might be the right racquet for your game.

Racquet Review: The Extreme Pro 2.0

Racquet Review: The Instinct Mid Plus

(As with most of my equipment testing, demo racquet was graciously provided by City Racquet Shop. Please check them out if you’re in the San Francisco Bay area.)

(Per usual, here are the caveats on my racquet reviews. I’m a 4.0 player with a fast swing that generates more than enough power and topspin from my western grip. I hit a slice backhand for tactical purposes, but generally use a two-handed drive. Please view this racquet review accordingly.)

PostHeaderIcon Racquet Review: The Head Extreme Pro 2.0 Is Too Much Stick!

Head Extreme Pro 2.0

16 x 19 string pattern, 11.1 unstrung – 11.8 strung (55 lb. Stamina 16g), 100 in.2


The Basics: Power, power, and more power! That sums up my hitting session with the HEAD Extreme Pro 2.0. Used by Richard Gasquet and Mikhail Youzhny, this racquet is one of the most powerful racquets I’ve hit with in a long time. Since I don’t necessarily need more power in my game, this was a tricky racquet to demo.

Fortunately, the Extreme Pro comes with a dose of control to help mitigate its’ excessive power. Without that control, recommending this racquet to anyone who already has decent power in their strokes would have been a non-starter.

Forehand: The best way to hit an effective forehand with this racquet was to pretend as though I was hardly trying. And as most players know, that’s hardly a realistic strategy when you’re in a pressure-filled match. Whenever I found myself “trying” to put some extra pop on the ball, it would fly uncontrollably.

Backhand: Because my backhand is a little more temperamental than my forehand, controlling my two-handed backhand shots was even trickier. it was hard to find my comfort zone.

Serve: The racquet was surprisingly comfortable for my serve given its’ power. IT was still challenging to find the comfort zone where I could attempt to put some pop on my serve AND also keep it from hitting the back fence.

Volleys: Volleys were okay. Good volley technique is especially helpful with this stick.

Overall: The HEAD Extreme Pro 2.0 is too much stick for my tastes. I can see it being a beneficial for someone who needs more power in their game.  For those who already have a decent power game (but not the greatest technique), you’ll spend most of your time trying to keep from hitting the back fence. Use at your own risk.

(As with most of my equipment testing, demo racquet was graciously provided by City Racquet Shop. Please check them out if you’re in the San Francisco Bay area.)

(Per usual, here are the caveats on my racquet reviews. I’m a 4.0 player with a fast swing that generates more than enough power and topspin from my western grip. I hit a slice backhand for tactical purposes, but generally use a two-handed drive. Please view this racquet review accordingly.)

PostHeaderIcon Mini Racquet Review – The Head Youtek Graphene Speed MP (VIDEO)

HEAD Graphene Speed MP

This video is an accompaniment to the racquet review video I shot that featured the new HEAD Graphene Speed Pro.

HEAD Graphene Speed MP Mini Racquet Review

After a hit at the Buena Vista Park tennis courts in San Francisco, I asked my buddy/hitting partner if I could make a video with him answering some questions about his new racquet: the Head Youtek Graphene Speed MP. This was his first hit with his new sticks, so his impressions of the racquet (as compared to his old Volkl’s) was very fresh. I hope you find our racquet Q & A helpful.

(Video was shot on-the-fly using my Asus TF300. My apologies for the low volume level of his audio.)

SF Tennis Freak Note: I’ve tried hitting with the Speed MP and, Graphene or no Graphene, this new version didn’t work well with my game. It’s not very forgiving, but if you hit the ball well (and cleanly), it comes off great! And that’s why it didn’t work well with my game. 🙂


Balance: 3 Points Head Light
Beam Width: 22.5 millimeters – 22.5 millimeters – 21.5 millimeters
Grip Type: Hydrosorb Pro
Head Size: 100 Square Inches (645.16 Square Centimeters)
Length: 27 inches (68.58 Centimeters)
Power Level: Low
Colors: White/ Black
Stiffness: 66
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
String Tension: 50-60 pounds
Stroke Style: Full
Swing Weight: 320
Swing Speed: Fast
Weight (Strung): 11 Ounces (311.84 Grams)

PostHeaderIcon Racquet Review: The HEAD YouTek Graphene Speed Pro, Part 2 – Specs


The video in Part 1 covered my immediate impressions after hitting with the Speed Pro. Part 2 will cover a quick discussion of the racquet specs, and how that might have impacted my reactions to hitting with this racquet instead of my Speed MP 315.

head graphene pro

My on-court impressions of the Speed Pro don’t quite match up with the specs in comparison to the MP 315. The Pro is .1 oz heavier (strung), but feels lighter in the hand when playing. It cuts through the air easier, and delivers more zip on the shot even though the power level is rated as low. This was true on both my forehand and my backhand. The MP 315 is a great racquet for control, but the Pro gives you control and pop.

I’ll end with one caveat that might account for some of the differences I felt between the two racquets. The demo I used was strung at 55 with Livewire. My Speed MP 315 is strung with a hybrid of NXT 16 in the crosses, and Stamina 17 in the mains at 52. My good friend Marla (from City Racquet Shop) suggested that I put Livewire into my current racquet the next time it’s strung before coming to a conclusion on the Speed Pro after my demo.

(My apologies for inconsistencies with the spec format. It’s tough to find consistent specs on the various sites.)

HEAD YouTek Graphene Speed Pro
Head Size : 100 in.2
Length : 27 Inches
Weight : 11.2 Ounces (unstrung) / 11.7 Ounces (strung)
Balance: Head Light
Balance Point: 33.0cm. / 13in.
Power Level: Low
Swing Type: Fast & Long
Tension: 48-57 lbs.
String Pattern: 18M x 20C
Flex (RDC): 66
Swing Weight: 338

HEAD YouTek Speed MP 315 18×20
Head Size : 100 sq. in.
Length : 27 Inches
Weight : 11.1 Ounces (unstrung) / 11.6 Ounces (strung)
Balance: Head Light
Balance Point: 31cm. / 12.2in.
Power Level: Low
Swing Type: Fast & Long
Tension: 52-62 Lbs.
String Pattern: 18M x 20C
Beam Width: 20mm
Flex: 65

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