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Tuesday, July 02, 2013 Racquet Review of the Week - HEAD Youtek Graphene Speed Pro

head youtek graphene speed pro

For 2013, Head has made some changes to world number one Novak Djokovic’s Speed Pro frame that should increase power and maneuverability. It’s a risk to change a popular model, but Head’s new Graphene technology promises to make it worthwhile. 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. By leaving weight in the racquet, Head has increased power, but maintained, and even increased, other performance characteristics, offering players a more powerful and efficient racquet with greater stability. Extra weighting in the handle helps keep the racquet from recoiling, or kicking back, in your hand at net, allowing better control and less stress on the arm. Its 100 square inch head looks larger than it is, and should inspire confidence from the back court.

Net Play & Serving

The head weighting of the Speed Pro should have slowed it down on serves, but the opposite was true: once the racquet started its path up to the ball, it came alive. The racquet almost released itself into the ball, and propelled it off with excellent speed. The string bed is less dense at the top than in the center, so spin serves worked quite well. Overheads, while not as easy to execute as serves, still came off with excellent power and placement. At net, the Speed Pro’s weighting worked against it a little bit, as it was not the fastest to get into position during quick volley exchanges but, when you have time, it will provide excellent control and feel. Swinging volleys are a thing to behold, with excellent power and placement.

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Novak Djokovic Head graphene speed pro

From the Baseline

“Solid” is the best word to describe the Graphene Speed Pro’s baseline play. It swings easily, and the head weight plows right through the ball off both sides. Since the string bed is dense, there’s not as much spin, but it grabs the ball well enough if you swing with some speed. The flex imparts a controlled feel to every shot, but particularly the harder-hit ones, and you should see very few “flyaway” shots with this racquet. The extra width at the top helped keep the Speed Pro from flopping around on mishits high on the face, and will allow pretty good control on shots where the player is extended.

Conclusion

The Head Graphene Speed Pro may have been designed for Novak Djokovic, but a lot of strong baseline and all-court players can use it well. A solid but forgiving flex combines with excellent weighting and an optimal head size to allow for strong play from the baseline, and also provides surprising flexibility on serves and surprisingly good net play. The Graphene Speed Pro is a noticeable improvement over its predecessor, and deserves the attention of any advanced player.

About the Reviewer: Matt Steverson has been playing tennis since 1973. He is a former college player and currently plays and lives in Orlando, FL, as a tennis professional.

head graphene speed pro


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