Head introduces a unique option with the Graphene XT Speed Rev Pro. A new grommet system, appropriately named Adaptive String Pattern, features interchangeable 16x19 and 16x16 grommet systems that allow players to pick their string pattern when they restring the racket. Weighing in at just 10 ounces strung, this racket maintains a stable and quick response with its extended length. With the addition of an even stronger and lighter version of Graphene, this racket plays light and fast. Noting the easy manoeuvrability and just a slight loss in stability, we found this racket could hang with the best of them from most areas of the court. While not everyone on our team found it to be a perfect match, each was happily surprised with the levels of power and control. All in all, we think this racket is a great starting point for players looking for a customization platform or players looking to transition into -- or out of -- a player's frame.
|Head Graphene XT Speed Rev Pro Scores|
When grabbing the Graphene XT Speed Rev Pro for the first time, our playtesters were slightly wary of what they were going to get from a racket weighing in at just 283g strung. However, this racket proved to be powerful and lively thanks to the addition of Graphene XT in the shaft. Andy's thoughts were reflective of the team's experiences. He said, "I found it forgiving, easy to swing and it had control all while having plenty of access to power and spin. I was shocked that even with its low weight, it plowed through the ball relatively well and stayed pretty stable through the hitting zone." With two string patterns to choose from, our team also found they could pick spin or control depending on if they chose the 16x16 grommet or 16x19 grommet. Andy explained the difference between the string patterns, saying, "The 16x16 pattern really had some serious spin potential, but I had trouble controlling it on my flatter backhand side. While I enjoyed running around hitting topspin forehands with the more open pattern, I have to say I preferred the 16x19 for better control."
Manoeuvrability was the attribute that our team could agree on when taking the Graphene XT Speed Rev Pro to the net. Despite the racket's lower weight, our team found decent levels of stability, but there were times the lack of weight was noticeable. Michelle explained, "I thought I would have severe stability issues because of the lower weight, but that wasn't really the case. It was super simple to volley with, and it did what it needed to do up at the net. Although there wasn't the most touch or feel, it was manoeuvrable and blocked balls back fairly well. I noticed a slight loss in stability here and there depending on who I was hitting with or what was being hit at me, but it was not as bad as most rackets that weigh in at 10 ounces."
Up until this point, our playtesters’ expectations were exceeded with the Graphene XT Speed Rev Pro, but when it came to serving with this racket, our team began to experience some bigger issues. Two suffered from consistency problems, but spin was easy to come by, as Troy explained. "The lightweight feel of this racket made it easy on my shoulder when hitting a lot of serves," said Troy. "I felt that this racket lacked a bit of power on flat first serves. Because this racket feels light, I was craving some added plow through on first serves. Because this racket was so fast, I really liked hitting kick serves. Topspin and kick serves were getting a lot of action on them, especially with the 16x16 string pattern."
Returning serves with the Graphene XT Speed Rev Pro was a similar story to groundstrokes for our playtesters. The low weight meant it was easy to swing the racket fast, but it also meant that there was not enough weight behind the players' shots to hurt their opponents and not enough stability to chip or block returns. Mark found the key to successful returns by keeping his shots low over the net. "With most wide-open string patterned frames, I have a hard time keeping it low on the return, but not so with this Speed Rev Pro," said Mark. "Controlling the depth and height made my return more effective than usual."
Andy – "Surprisingly solid feeling for as light as it was. Easy to maneuver, nice spin potential and good control."
Troy – "Very manoeuvrable and pretty good control with the 16x19 string pattern."
Michelle – "Considering its weight, I thought this racket did a decent job. I think this is a great platform racket that would be fun to weight up, especially with the added length."
Mark – "I like this racket! It makes me completely rethink what my best specs are for a tennis racket. I have never been able to play well with the 27.5 inch setup, but most of those are heavier than 340 grams. The fact that this is longer than standard length seems to complement the fact that the strung weight is close to 10 ounces. The close to even balance keeps the swing weight respectably high (just under 320), which along with either string pattern is now somehow magical for me. The option of the string pattern swap is well executed by Head -- easy for anyone to swap them out, whereas some grommets are a challenge for even the experts to apply."
Andy – "Had trouble with control on serve and stability issues at net. A little more weight would help absorb unwanted shock, too."
Troy – "The lack of stability against big hitters, especially on volleys. I would have preferred some added mass to help with put-away shots. The lack of control with the open 16x16 string pattern."
Michelle – "I didn't love this racket at all when serving – things just never gelled in that area of my game."
Mark – "I would have to play with this racket a bit more configured with different strings at different tensions to be sure, but I thought the racket produced somewhat of a unique sound/feel off the stringbed. My guess is that it is due to the holes in the grommet, which were plugged with no string running through them. The sound and feel was not unfavorable, but a bit different than other rackets I have played with. That is as close to a dislike that I can muster."
Andy – "The comfortably crisp and solid feel reminded me of the previous Graphene Speed Pro, but obviously this one was much lighter, easier to swing, and not as solid or stable. In terms of weight and balance it reminded me of the Tecnifibre TFight 315 Ltd. -- a very light racket (compared to what I'm used to) that I found myself surprisingly well connected to."
Troy – "I found a similarity with this racket and the Graphene Speed Pro and Graphene Radical Pro because they all possess a unique firm/crisp feel. Although these rackets have a firm and crisp feel in common, that is about where the comparisons stop. The Graphene Speed Pro and Radical Pro have much better stability and plow through. Some other rackets that are comparable: Dunlop Biomimetic S3.0 Lite, Tecnifibre TFight 255 and Volkl Super G 6."
Michelle – "Not sure if there is anything I can compare this one to from my experience. I don't usually hit with rackets under 10 ounces, but the extended length and higher swingweight helped this one perform OK. I haven't hit with it a ton, but spec wise, this one looks pretty similar to the Juice 100UL."
Mark – "There is not exactly a bevy of choices for longer length frames that are paired with 98 square inch hoop sizes and under 11-ounce static weights. That said, you have to include the Yonex VCORE Xi Team Plus and the ProKennex Q15 (has a 105 head size), and that is about it. This may change soon, depending on how well received this frame is for players in general."
Andy: Open level all court player with a semi-western forehand grip and a two handed backhand. Andy currently using a Wilson Blade 98 18x20.
Mark: 5.0 lefty all-court player with a one-handed backhand. He currently plays with the Wilson Steam 99S.
Michelle: Open level baseline player with a semi-western forehand and a two handed backhand. She currently plays with the Babolat Pure Drive Roddick.
Troy: 5.0 lefty all-court player with a full Western Forehand and a two-handed backhand. Troy currently plays with a Wilson BLX Six.One 95.
Review date: November 2014. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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