HEAD Graphene XT Radical Pro Tennis Racquet Review
Head’s Radical line has long been known for being a versatile weapon, capable of blending power, spin and control. The new version of the heaviest model, the Head Graphene XT Radical Pro, lives up to the Radical name. It utilizes a 30% stronger version of Graphene in the shaft, allowing Head to move more weight to the tip and handle for improved power and stability. The Dynamic 16x19 string pattern helps ensure players have solid control by tightening the space between the center mains. I recently took the XT Radical Pro on court and here’s what I thought.
The XT Radical Pro plays with exceptional speed off the ground. I was able to bring the 11.5oz strung weight through the hitting zone with ease, which gave me excellent pace and depth from both sides. The 20/23/21mm variable beam offered solid pop without sacrificing control over my shots. The sweet spot seemed to be a bit smaller than average and there was a noticeable drop in power toward the top of the string bed. I was consistently impressed with how quickly this frame came through contact and I had a great time taking the ball very early and attacking, especially with my cross court backhand. The 16x19 pattern had a solid amount of spin. It definitely doesn’t make the same spin as Head’s Extreme line but there is plenty available to vary your net clearance. Surprisingly, I felt the racquet struggled to create heavy shots when flattening out short balls. I also found the racquet to have less stability than I would expect of a frame at that weight, as it fluttered against big hitters. Players may want to invest in the optional CAP grommets to put a bit more mass in the head for extra stability and plow through. My slice backhand proved to be effective with this racquet as it kept the ball low and the accuracy allowed me to play the ball close to the lines.
Volleys & serves
Players who frequent the net will enjoy the XT Radical Pro. It had a nimble feel, allowing me to position it with ease during quick exchanges. The solid weight also made quick work of high volleys and finishing shots. The high degree of directional control let me create lots of angles and attack aggressive targets when at the net. I found myself wanting a bit more mass and stability when volleying defensively as the frame still fluttered against hard shots. Again, this is something CAP grommets would most likely improve. The racquet played with a good amount of flex, allowing for enough touch to execute drop and touch volleys with relative ease.
The XT Radical Pro again demonstrated its versatility when serving. The healthy swingweight and moderate beam width worked together to provide ample power for flat serves. Acceleration through the top of contact was quite fast thanks to the head light balance. I found it easy to drive the ball through the court and get a lot of weight on my first serve. While not as precise as a Prestige, there was still enough control for me to move my serve around the box and drag my opponent around. Spin generation as easy as the racquet had plenty of head speed and a fairly open string pattern. I was able to hit kick serves with plenty of action and really saw success slicing my serve out wide in the ad court.
The feel of the XT Radical Pro was a bit hard for me to figure out. It played with a solid amount of flex so there was a good amount of touch for more delicate shot making. I just found it to have a bit of a disconnected response on contact. While this never impacted the actual control that I had, I just kept wanting more connection to what the ball was doing off of the string bed. The racquet played with no comfort issues for me. It did have a little more vibration on off center shots but it never played with a harsh response. Players with sensitive arms should have no problem playing with this frame.
The Head Graphene XT Radical Pro plays with a tremendous amount of versatility. It has power off the baseline and the speed to control the net and dictate with your serve. Advanced players may want a bit more mass in the hoop and the feel can be a bit lacking at times. Overall, the racquet is an excellent option for advanced players who can win points with a wide variety of shot making.
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.