HEAD Graphene XT Radical Lite Tennis Racquet Review
Beginners and players seeking a user friendly frame will enjoy Head’s addition to the Radical family, the new Head Graphene XT Radical Lite. Graphene XT is 30% stronger than the previous material. Utilizing it in the shaft allows Head to move more weight to the head and handle, providing increased power and stability. This frame also utilizes a Dynamic String Pattern which improves control by tightening the main spacing in the center of the bed. I hit the court recently with this game improvement frame and here’s a look at how it performed.
Power on groundstrokes is easy to come by with the XT Radical Lite. Its 9.7oz strung weight allowed me to whip it through contact easily, adding a lot of racquet head speed to my shots. It definitely didn’t hit the heavy ball of other models but players with shorter strokes will find ample power for both forehands and backhands. The 102 inch head offered a generous sweet spot and I found good power, even on off center contact. The even balance helped add a bit of extra pop and it also created some extra stability against bigger hitters. It doesn’t have the weight to keep up with big hitters in extended rallies, but the target audience will find plenty of stability. The easy acceleration also allowed me to produce plenty of spin from either side. I tended to utilize spin more on my groundstrokes as the low weight made it challenging to flatten out the ball and have it penetrate through the court.
Volleys & serves
The XT Radical Lite had a lot to offer when I was in attack mode at the net. It played very fast, allowing me to get out in front of balls and keep up in quick exchanges. Aggressive swings allowed me to finish off high volleys pretty easily. The reduced weight made passive volleys a bit more difficult and the ball tended to float a bit more. I found a good amount of directional accuracy and created good angles and played closer to the lines with confidence. The larger head gave the racquet good defensive capabilities at the net and I saw good performance on stretch volleys. This model plays with more flexibility than the standard Radicals so I had a lot of confidence mixing in drop and touch volleys to keep opponents guessing.
Serving with the XT Radical Lite displayed both its strengths and its weaknesses. It is so light that it was incredibly easy to add a lot of racquet head speed. The result was good pace on flat serves but there just wasn’t enough court penetration to trouble higher level players. While not the most accurate model in the line, I was able to move my first serve around in the box reasonably well, especially when I kept my swing speed up. The high head speed and 16x19 pattern yielded solid spin for kick and slice serves. The reduced weight doesn’t produce as much kick action and slices sat up a bit more. However, developing players will find enough spin to continue seeing gains when attempting those serves.
The forgiving head size and reduced flex combined to give the XT Radical Lite a healthy amount of feel. The power level and response were consistent across the entire string bed, with no major increase in vibration outside the center. The added flexibility imparted a more connected feel than what I found with the stiffer standard models. I was able to execute touch shots with good success. I experienced no comfort issues throughout my time with the Radical Lite. Players of all levels of sensitivity should have no problem playing with this model.
The new Graphene XT Radical Lite presents a great option for players starting their tennis journey. Its free swinging nature provides easy power and spin generation without losing the control needed to develop players’ confidence. The fast maneuverability at net ensures that players will be able to transition from the back of the court and control points as they move forward. The XT Radical Lite upholds the line’s heritage as a racquet that fosters creativity and players of any level can now get that experience with this latest model.
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.