HEAD Graphene XT Speed S Tennis Racquet Review
Players who like their frames with plenty of power and a light, fast feel have a new option with the updated HEAD Graphene XT Speed S. HEAD takes advantage of a new stronger, lighter version of Graphene, allowing them to continue moving weight to the tip and tail for maximum energy transfer. At 10.7oz (strung), a 4-point head light balance, and stiffness of 64 RA, the racquet is a great choice for players seeking maximum maneuverability without sacrificing power or control.
The Graphene XT Speed S offers tremendous acceleration off the ground. Its lighter weight makes it easy to bring through the contact zone for maximum power and spin. Its 22mm beam provides a solid level of power off both wings without sacrificing control over your shots. I found the 100” head to offer a sizeable sweet spot and a consistent response even on off center contact. With a 16x19 string pattern, it was easy to crank up the spin on rally balls and flatten out transition shots when I wanted to take the offensive. This model is balanced closer to even, providing extra stability as well as additional weight behind your strokes. I did still find it to struggle a bit with stability when forced into defense against big hitters. But for players who want lightning fast acceleration for playing aggressively, the Speed S has it available on demand.
Volleys & serves
The Graphene XT Speed S performed well at the net. Its low static weight makes it easy to position for rapid fire exchanges. It also has enough mass and power to be able to finish volleys aggressively. Stability was a minor issue against hard shots at the net but the quick positioning capability of the frame tends to make up for it. The crisp feel allows for excellent access to touch and drop volleys. I was very confident in the feedback coming from the racquet whenever I wanted to execute touch and angle volleys.
Aggressive servers will find a lot to like in the Speed S. The low weight again makes it tremendously easy to accelerate through contact, making it a snap to go for powerful flat serves. The reduced mass results in a less heavy ball than the Speed MPA but there is still plenty of pace to be had. The reduction in weight as well as the 16x19 string pattern also yields solid access to spin on the serve. I found it easy to use a wide variety of kick and slice serves to effectively keep the returner off balance. The racquet also offers solid directional accuracy, allowing you to move the ball around the box with confidence.
The Speed S offers the same smooth, consistent feel as others in the updated Speed family. While still being stiff enough to provide ample power, it offers a clean feel on contact and plays softer than its rating. There is enough feedback to feel connected to the ball without an overly flexible feel. I found plenty of comfort and a low amount of vibration on contact, even with a polyester main string in the frame.
The Graphene XT Speed S is another strong option from HEAD. While it sacrifices some stability and weight of shot compared to its big brother, it offers impressive acceleration and power off the ground. It also plays with high maneuverability at the net and makes it easy to be offensive with your serve. For players who want power and control in a lighter, easier to swing configuration, this racquet is worth strong consideration.
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.