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Racquet Specs

  • Head Size: 100 sq. in.
  • Length: 27 inches
  • Weight: Strung — 11.3 oz Unstrung — 10.6 oz
  • Tension: 48-57 Pounds
  • Balance: 5 Pts Head Light
  • Beam Width: 22mm
  • Composition: Graphite/Graphene
  • Flex: 65
  • Grips Type: Hydrosorb Pro
  • Power Level: Low
  • String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
    Shared Holes: 7T, 8H, 7H, 8H Mains Skip: None
    Two Piece
  • Swing Speed: Fast
  • Swing Weight: 318

HEAD Graphene Speed MP Tennis Racquet Review


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For 2013, Head has chosen to make some changes to their highly successful Speed MP frame that should increase power and maneuverability. It’s always a risk changing a popular model, but Head’s new Graphene technology promises to make it worthwhile.

Head  YouTek Graphene Speed MP Tennis Racquet

Graphene Explained
Graphene is the lightest, strongest material in the world, and Head had used it in a very innovative manner in its racquets. In the past, racquet manufacturers have used lightweight materials to reduce overall racquet weight significantly, and have had to dramatically increase head weighting to maintain a stable hitting platform. This use of technology has increased swingweight and power, but has reduced other areas of racquet performance where weight is a bonus, like recoilweight (resistance to “kicking back” in the hand at net) and twistweight (resistance to twisting on off-center hits). Head has chosen a new, and novel, approach with Graphene technology.

By using Graphene to make a lighter racquet shaft, Head has been able to take the leftover weight and place it in the head and handle areas of the frame. This has enabled racquet weights to stay pretty much the same, but swingweight has increased noticeably. So, by leaving weight in the racquet, Head has increased power, but maintained, and even increased, other performance characteristics, offering players a more powerful and efficient racquet with greater stability.

The extra weight in the racquet head leads to increased ability of the racquet tip to accelerate and “plow through” the ball from the baseline, allowing you not only more power, but also the ability to fight off your opponent’s strongest shots. Extra weighting in the handle helps keep the racquet from recoiling, or kicking back, in your hand at net, allowing better control and less stress on the arm.

Another interesting twist to Head’s Graphene series is the drilling of the string holes. At the top, all of the “main” main strings (the first 6) are drilled at an angle coming straight down the head, instead of at an angle, reminiscent of Babolat’s Woofer system (where they differ from the Woofer design is that the center mains at the throat are not drilled this way). The more direct alignment of the center main strings should make for less friction from string movement and more direct power transference on all shots.

Specifications
The Speed MP is slotted just below Novak Djokovic’ Graphene Speed Pro in Head’s Speed lineup, and it is just a little “less” in every department. A lower weight of 10.6 oz. (300g) unstrung is balanced 5 points head light for increased maneuverability and a solid recoilweight. Narrow 22mm beams and a moderate flex of 65 should enhance both feel and control, and the swingweight is a very solid 318.

From the Baseline
The Graphene Speed MP feels exactly like a narrow-beamed, moderate-flex frame should feel from the backcourt; lower power levels and excellent feedback mean that, while you have to supply much of your own pace, you know exactly how every shot came off. The flex is more pronounced on shots hit high on the face (as it should be), but the Speed MP lets you know exactly where, and how, the ball came off every time. The open 16x19 string pattern provides good feel and spin, and the spacing between the strings is excellent (very symmetrical), for a consistent feel across the entire strung surface.

The Speed MP’s lower weight (vs the Pro) allows for a little more ability to “snap” the racquet up the back of the ball when hitting topspin, a feeling more like “new school” frames like the Wilson BLX Blade, and quite in line with the modern style of play.

All in all, the Graphene Speed MP is well-suited to today’s baseline style of play if you have the necessary racquet speed.

At Net and Serving
The Speed MP’s handle weighting not only makes it more stable at the net, it also puts the sweet spot in a position a little lower on the head than more head-heavy frames like the Graphene Speed S. Volleys fall into a spot of great feel and control, and the lower flex works with the balance point to make touch volleys easy to execute.

The head light balance of the Speed MP also makes it a fine choice for big serves and smashes, as it is very easy to swing up overhead. The narrow beams and lower flex make it a little underpowered unless you have your own racquet speed, but control of high-powered shots is excellent. Spin serves are enhanced by the open pattern, and you should be able to hit serves and overheads for hours without the frame jarring your joints.

Fine Points
The Graphene Speed MP uses head’s Hydrosorb Pro grip, and it has a nice feel: not too soft, not too firm, and edge definition on the handle is excellent. The Speed MP uses Head’s normal handle design with foam pallets attached to the racquet shaft, and the soft nature of the pallets aid in shock absorption and feel (for all you “Headophiles” out there, the handle code is TK82).

The bumper guard is solid and has a nice depth to the string groove, which should provide good string protection from aggressive net play. The paint job is quite “active”, using black and white primary colors blended nicely with orange trim. The butt cap is classic Head, meaning it flares out quite nicely, and the bottom of it is wide enough that you can hold it low on big serves without worry of it flying out of your hand.

In Conclusion
Head has listened to its market of “modern game” players, and created a fine frame for them in the Graphene Speed MP. Lower flex levels and narrow beams combine with an optimal head size and excellent string pattern to provide high-level feel and control for advanced baseline and all-court power players.