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By Matt Steverson
A Long Time Ago…: Head has been making Prestige frames since 1987, and they have been a favorite of advanced players ever since. High weights, small head sizes and dense string patterns made for stability and control, and the player provided his or her own power. This design had made Head Prestige racquets one of the most popular on tour for decades.
Playing styles have changed, however, and even tour players are looking for lighter frames with more open string patterns for easier topspin play. Head has seen the changes and expanded the Prestige line to serve the needs of players of all levels, with one very big addition: Graphene.
The Big (Tech) Deal: Graphene is the lightest, strongest material in the world, and Head had used it in a very innovative manner in its racquets. In the past, racquet manufacturers have used lightweight materials to reduce overall racquet weight significantly, and have had to dramatically increase head weighting to maintain a stable hitting platform. This use of technology has increased swingweight and power, but has reduced other areas of racquet performance where weight is a bonus, like recoilweight (resistance to “kicking back” in the hand at net) and twistweight (resistance to twisting on off-center hits). Head has chosen a new, and novel, approach with Graphene technology.
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. So, 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.
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 recoiling, or kicking back, in your hand at net, allowing better control and less stress on the arm. That’s all well and good, but Head has done some interesting updates of the Prestige line for 2014, including one that will surprise even the most ardent Prestige lover.
The Graphene Prestige REV Pro takes some of the features of 2 Prestige frames – the Mid and Pro – and combines them to make an interesting, and easily customizable, frame for advanced players. The Prestige REV Pro sports a low 10.6 oz. (300 gram) weight, and an 8-point head light balance for maneuverability and racquet speed, and the graphene technology places more mass where it counts – in the hoop – for power and stability. Head’s Dynamic 16x19 string pattern provides excellent spin potential and combines with a classic midsize 93 square inch head and narrow 20mm constant beam design to make the Prestige REV Pro an ideal weapon for strong junior players moving up the ranks. As they do, and their swings become bigger, it’ll be a simple matter to add weight, making the frame better suited to their style.
The Graphene Prestige S opens up Prestige feel and control to players looking for a touch more oomph. By widening the beam just a little bit to 22mm, power and stability are increased, but not so much that control is overly compromised. The low (for this class) 10.8 oz. unstrung weight allows for easy, fast swings and massive spin potential with Head’s Dynamic 16x19 string pattern. A really snazzy red CAP grommet system tells your opponent that this is no ordinary Prestige.
Head stays the course with a very popular player’s model: the Graphene Prestige Pro (right). Weight is increased over the Prestige S to 11.1 ounces, making the Pro a better choice for more advanced, bigger-swinging players. Other features, though – 98 square inch head size, 22mm beams, Graphene technology and a leather grip – are the same, making the Graphene Prestige Pro a controllable and forgiving frame for high-level play.
|Original Prestige fans need not worry, as your favorite has not gone away. The Head Graphene Prestige MP puts new tech advantages on a classic control frame. All of the things that have made the Prestige MP a player’s favorite for over 25 years – strong 11.3 oz. (320g) weight, 10-point head light balance, 98 sq. in. midplus head, 21mm control beam width and control-oriented 18x20 string pattern – have remained, along with the added benefit of graphene technology for added power. If you’re looking for a new Prestige, feel confident in the new Graphene Prestige MP. Yonex Ezone AI Lite|
|With the Graphene PWR Prestige, Head brings Prestige feel and control to a game-improvement frame for the first time. Not only is the PWR Prestige the first widebody Prestige frame, it’s also the first one under 10 ounces in weight, and the first oversize (107 square inch head) Prestige racquet Head has ever made. An extra 1/3” of length improves power, spin and reach, for the last little bit of help you could want. And, by using Inner and Outer QuadFace technology, Head has lengthened the strings inside and outside the racquet head for an even larger “effective” head size, and even higher levels of power and comfort. Beginning and intermediate level players now have the chance to see what they’ve been missing in control and feel with the Graphene PWR Prestige.|
It’s usually suicidal to try and be “everything to everyone”, but Head has made a great shot at it with the new Graphene Prestige line for 2014. Game-improvement Graphene technology is packaged in a nice variety of frame weights and sizes, giving players of all levels the chance to see what Prestige feel and control are like. Speak or chat with our TE racquet experts, or jump right into our demo program, to see which Prestige will best fit your game. It’s possible now.
Racquets are available for presale today. Frames will ship on January 13th.
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