HEAD Graphene Touch Speed Pro Tennis Racquet Review
Head continues to go all in on Graphene with the introduction of their third line of Speed frame to utilize the technology. The new Graphene Touch Speed Pro uses the same tip and tail weight distribution as previous Graphene models, but this latest version includes the addition of Kraibon to the construction of the frame. This specialized material is focused on eliminating vibration and creating the smoothest feel on contact possible. The Pro version also gets some spec updates, shedding a little bit of overall weight and moving the balance point a little more towards the head. All of this innovation also comes packaged in an all business white, black and red paint job. I took the Graphene Touch Speed Pro with me on court recently and here’s a look at how it measured up.
The two immediate standouts of groundstrokes with the Touch Speed Pro were the weight of shot and the control. The 11.4oz strung weight and 22mm beam produced plenty of power to push the ball deep into the court and pin opponents back. It doesn’t generate the same amount of free power as some of the baseline oriented frames out today, but the power is accessible and I was able to produce penetrating shots off either wing. The excellent control also allowed me to generate some additional pace as I had the confidence to take bigger cuts at the ball. Where I struggled to find the range on my forehand with the Touch MP, I was able to consistently crush mid court balls off both sides with ease when using the Pro. The 18x20 pattern also produced an impressive amount of spin for how dense and control oriented it was. I was able to create margin off the ground and produce enough spin to keep myself in points when pushed to defense. I also particularly enjoyed the performance on my backhand slice. I was able to use the weight and control to knife the ball extremely low. Even though this updated version was slightly lighter than the previous version, I didn’t notice any reduction in stability. This was most likely because the balance point also shifted slightly and more weight was pushed to the head. The frame offered excellent stability against big hitters and I was frequently able to redirect pace from big hitters and move quickly back to offense. My only area of struggle was trying to execute drop shots off the ground. The racquet was muted to the point that it offered very little feedback, making it challenging to find my range on touch shots from the back of the court. This was a fairly minimal issue as I could easily just switch focus to using depth and control to dictate points.
Volleys & serves
The Touch Speed Pro excelled during play at the net. It had quick reflexes and I was consistently in winning position on rapid fire exchanges. The additional mass made quick work of any volley left up in my strike zone. The additional control of the 18x20 pattern also allowed me to pick aggressive targets and angles with my volleys and hit them consistently. The extra weight also offered improved stability for fighting off big shots compared to the MP model. I still found a bit of numbness on touch volleys but I spent so much of my time playing really aggressively at the net that I never really noticed it.
On serve the Touch Speed Pro was all about controlled aggression. At 11.4oz, I found the racquet easy to accelerate, producing ample pace on flat serves. The extra weight also gave my serve a heavier feel and it penetrated through the court more so than with lighter models. I was able to aggressively move my first serve around the box thanks to the pin point accuracy of the 18x20 string pattern. The trade off was that my kick serve did not have the same knee buckling action that it got with the more open string pattern on the MP. I still had access to a decent amount of spin; it was just more about combining it with placement in the service box. My slice serve proved to be a very effective weapon. I was able to drag opponents out wide on the ad side and open up plenty of court for me to hit the first ball to.
Graphene Touch aims to drastically improve the feel of the Speed series compared to recent versions. In this regard, it largely succeeds. This model plays more comfortably and with a more consistent feel across the string bed. The issue some players may find is that having Kraibon in the layup of the frame may almost do too good of a job eliminating vibration. The racquet is extremely muted on contact and it can be difficult to gauge your shot if you are a player who relies on feedback from the string bed. This racquet had no problem soaking up vibration and minimizing shock sent to my arm. The trade off was that I lost some of the feedback I prefer to have for confidence with my full arsenal of shots.
Intermediate and advanced players who want one of the most comfortable performance racquets on the market should have plenty to love with the new Head Graphene Touch Speed Pro. It combines easily tapped power with impressive control and stability, making it dangerous from any area of the court. The highly dampened feel absorbs shock against even the biggest hitters, providing comfort at any level of play. Overall, The Touch Speed Pro provides maneuverability and control for players to swing with confidence and is a worthy addition to any player’s bag.
About the Reviewer: Matt Locke currently serves as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho and is an active USTA League and Tournament player.