HEAD Graphene XT Prestige Rev Pro Tennis Racquet Review
The midsize frame seems to be a racquet steadily shrinking in usage, despite its fervent fan base. Players who enjoy using mids should fear not, as Head keeps the classic size frame alive with the introduction of the new Head Graphene XT Prestige Rev Pro. Sporting a more subdued black and red cosmetic, this 93 inch frame uses an updated version of Graphene in the layup to increase the strength and optimize weight distribution. With a lighter static weight and solid swing weight, this frame is designed to swing fast and offer precision targeting. I took the Rev Pro for a test drive on court recently and here is what I found.
Off the ground, the Rev Pro is fast swinging and very precise. The reduced mass and small head made it very easy for me to accelerate through contact and amp up the pace from both sides. The healthy swing weight did a good job giving me consistent court penetration and depth. Power on groundstrokes was surprisingly solid in the sweet spot but had a pretty noticeable drop off when contact was made off center. This issue was compounded at times by the racquet’s smaller overall sweet spot. The small head and thin 20mm beam provided excellent precision and I found myself attacking the lines with confidence from both sides. I also found that the maneuverability allowed me to take the ball on the rise quickly, especially when redirecting my backhand up the line. Spin production was ample given the head size, largely thanks to the more open 16x19 pattern. I had no trouble using the string pattern and easy racquet head speed to increase my topspin as needed. Despite the decent swing weight, the racquet had some stability issues. With so much of the weight in the tip and tail, I felt the hoop fluttered a bit too much when redirecting big shots and playing defense. This was an issue that could be addressed with a bit of customizing as the stock weight leaves a bit of room for modification.
Volleys & serves
At net the XT Rev Pro lived up to its midsize heritage. It played exceptionally nimble during quick exchanges and I was consistently able to snap reflex volleys for winners. The decent mass made quick work of high volleys but less aggressive volleys floated a bit too much at times. Directional accuracy on volleys was very good and I was able to create all sorts of challenging angles at net. The stability issue once again became an issue at the net. I wasn’t able to deflect hard shots effectively and the hoop had the same flutter to it as it did on groundstrokes. The racquet offered a crisp, well connected feel, allowing me to execute touch and drop volleys with little adjustment time.
My serve with the XT Rev Pro had mixed results. While it was easy to accelerate the racquet through the top of the zone, the lack of overall mass led to a lack of court penetration. My flat serve had ample pace but it just did not drive through the court enough to give opponents trouble. I was much more effective using the racquet’s inherently high precision to pick my spots. I was able to move the ball around the box and attack the corners, putting myself in position for an aggressive first ball. The spin potential on serve was another surprisingly strong point. The open pattern allowed me to create a good amount of kick on my second serve and keep it out of my opponents’ strike zone. My slice serve was a little less effective at dragging people wide. The slice serve would have improved with a bit more mass in the racquet to help keep the ball down.
For me, the XT Rev Pro was a substantial improvement in feel over the previous Graphene version. Where that one took on a more modern stiff feel, the new version brings back more of the smooth feel of the Prestiges of old. The feel on contact was crisp but very clean and the frame did a good job limiting harshness on off center contact. The racquet’s improved also led to more confidence in what the ball was doing as it exited the string bed. This allowed me to utilize a greater variety of touch shots during play. The frame played with a solid level of comfort. If you make contact on the very outer reaches of the bed, there is a bit of jarring, most likely due to the bit of instability in the hoop. Overall, the racquet managed vibration well and the open pattern helped dissipate shock a bit more.
Classic play styles and frames still have plenty of fans and the XT Rev Pro is good proof of that fact. It retains many classic qualities like precision, feel and maneuverability while blending in a modern dose of spin and swing speed. Aggressive players who want to attack and back up their accuracy with spin and speed would be well served to try out the Head Graphene XT Prestige Rev Pro.
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.