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Monday, May 06, 2013 Racquet Review of the Week - HEAD Youtek Graphene Speed MP
racquet review of the week - head youtek graphene speed mp

For 2013, Head has chosen to make some changes to their highly successful Speed MP frame that should increase power and maneuverability. It’s always a risk changing a popular model, but Head’s new Graphene technology promises to make it worthwhile.

Graphene Explained

Graphene is the lightest, strongest material in the world, and Head had used it in a very innovative manner in its racquets. The Speed MP is slotted just below Novak Djokovic's Youtek Graphene Speed Pro in Head’s Speed lineup. A lower weight of 10.6 oz. unstrung is balanced 5 points head light for increased maneuverability and a solid recoilweight. By using Graphene to make a lighter racquet shaft, Head has been able to take the leftover weight and place it in the head and handle areas of the frame. This has enabled racquet weights to stay pretty much the same, but swingweight has increased noticeably. The extra weight in the racquet head leads to increased ability of the racquet tip to accelerate and “plow through” the ball from the baseline, allowing you not only more power, but also the ability to fight off your opponent’s strongest shots. Extra weighting in the handle helps keep the racquet from kicking back in your hand at net, allowing better control and less stress on the arm.

head graphene technology

tennis baseline

From the Baseline

The Youtek Graphene Speed MP feels exactly like a narrow-beamed, moderate-flex frame should feel from the backcourt; lower power levels and excellent feedback mean that, while you have to supply much of your own pace, you know exactly how every shot came off. The flex is more pronounced on shots hit high on the face, and the open 16x19 string pattern provides good feel and spin, and the spacing between the strings is excellent (very symmetrical), for a consistent feel across the entire strung surface. The Speed MP’s low weight allows for a little more ability to “snap” the racquet up the back of the ball when hitting topspin. All in all, the Graphene Speed MP is well-suited to today’s baseline style of play if you have the necessary racquet speed.

Net Play & Serving

The Speed MP’s handle weighting not only makes it more stable at the net, it also puts the sweet spot in a position a little lower on the head. Volleys fall into a spot of great feel and control, and the lower flex works with the balance point to make touch volleys easy to execute. The head light balance of the Speed MP also makes it a fine choice for big serves and smashes, as it is very easy to swing up overhead. The narrow beams and lower flex make it a little underpowered unless you have your own racquet speed, but control of high-powered shots is excellent. Spin serves are enhanced by the open pattern, and you should be able to hit serves and overheads for hours without the frame jarring your joints. The Graphene Speed MP uses head’s Hydrosorb Pro grip, and it has a nice feel: not too soft, not too firm, and edge definition on the handle is excellent. And, the bumper guard is solid and has a nice depth to the string groove, which should provide good string protection from aggressive net play.

head youtek graphene speed mp
youtek technology and graphene construction from head

Conclusion

Head has listened to its market of “modern game” players, and created a fine frame for them in the YouTek Graphene Speed MP. Lower flex levels and narrow beams combine with an optimal head size and excellent string pattern to provide high-level feel and control for advanced baseline and all-court power players.


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