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Racquet Specs

  • Head Size: 100 sq. in.
  • Length: 27 inches
  • Weight: Strung — 9.8 oz Unstrung — 9.2 oz
  • Tension: 48-57 Pounds
  • Balance: 3 Pts Head Heavy
  • Beam Width: 22mm
  • Composition: Graphite/Graphene
  • Flex: 62
  • Grips Type: Hydrosorb Pro
  • Power Level: Moderate
  • String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
    Shared Holes: 7T, 8T, 7H, 8H, No Skip on Mains
    Two Piece
  • Swing Speed: Medium
  • Swing Weight: 304

HEAD YouTek Graphene Speed Rev Tennis Racquet Review


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Head has come up with an innovative method in their 2013 racquet line. Each of three series (Prestige, Speed and Instinct) has a player’s frame, a game improvement model, and 2 tweener racquets of differing weights. Today, we examine one of the tweener frames in the Speed Series: the Graphene Speed REV.

Wilson Envy 100 Tennis Racquet

Graphene Explained
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.

Another interesting twist to Head’s Graphene series is the drilling of the string holes. At the top, all of the “main” main strings (the first 6) are drilled at an angle coming straight down the head, instead of at an angle, reminiscent of Babolat’s Woofer system (where they differ from the Woofer design is that the center mains at the throat are not drilled this way). The more direct alignment of the center main strings should make for less friction from string movement and more direct power transference on all shots.

Specifications
The Speed REV is by far the lightest of the narrow-beamed Speed frames for 2013, weighing in at a svelte 9.2 oz. (261g) unstrung. That low weight is countered with a 3 point head heavy balance for stability and power from the baseline, and a solid swingweight of 304 further stabilizes the light frame from the backcourt. Beams are a Speed-standard 22mm, and the flex is a moderate 62. An open 16x19 string pattern should aid in both power and spin production.

From the Baseline
The low mass of the Speed REV is evident from the first stroke, as it’s really easy to swing quickly. In fact, it’s quite easy to “wrist” the ball around, using just a flick of the hand to send the ball back across the net. While this type of swing with a light racquet won’t produce a lot of speed, it does make it possible to add a lot of spin to the shot, and the ability to hit the ball higher helps with getting the depth off the ground that the low mass won’t help provide. In fact, if you have a weak shot – say, that topspin down-the-line backhand – the light weight of the Speed REV can help you get the racquet in better position.

At Net and Serving
The Speed REV is surprisingly good on serves, its light weight enabling you to swing it quickly overhead and generate a lot of spin on slice and kick deliveries. For a narrow-beamed frame, it’s quite solid on balls hit high on the face, providing unexpected power and control, along with a firm feel. Feel free to go back for lobs, as well, as the Speed REV is great at snapping off overheads thanks to its high level of maneuverability.

Volleying is a nice feature of the Speed REV, the light frame quickly moving into position on fast volley exchanges, and its low flex providing excellent feel. If the passing shots are particularly hard and heavy, they will “beat” the light frame and cause a loss of control, however.

Fine Points
The Graphene Speed REV uses Head’s Hydrosorb Pro grip, and it has a nice feel: not to soft, but not too firm, and edge definition on the handle is excellent, letting the hands fall naturally into whatever grip you choose. The Speed REV has Head’s normal handle design with foam pallets attached to the racquet shaft, and the soft nature of the pallets aid in shock absorption and feel (for all you “Headophiles" out there, the handle code is TK82).

The bumper guard is solid and has a nice depth to the string groove, which should provide good string protection from aggressive net play. The paint job is quite “active”, using black and white primary colors blended nicely with orange trim. The butt cap is classic Head, meaning it flares out quite nicely, and the bottom of it is wide enough that you can hold it low on big serves without worry of it flying out of your hand.

The Graphene Speed REV has two more excellent features, the first being that it is available in a size “zero”, or 4-inch, grip. An ultra-small handle size fits kids very well, allowing them to get their first taste of an adult-size frame without straining their hands around an adult-sized grip. Secondly, its light weight makes it a prime candidate for customization as their games improve and they feel the need for a heavier frame (one of the best ways to add weight to a racquet and increase its grip size is to build up the handle with a heat-shrink sleeve like the Alpha RAB Tubex Grip Enlarger). So, as your developing junior improves, the Speed REV can “grow” with them in many ways.

In Conclusion
Head has come up with a great frame choice for developing juniors with the new Graphene Speed REV. Ultra-lightweight design allows younger players to learn proper stroke technique without having to “muscle” a heavy frame, while great weight distribution helps provide maximum spin potential and maneuverability at net. Surprisingly good on serves, the Speed REV should be a perfect “first step” into the world of performance racquets for any developing young player, or for a woman or smaller adult looking for increased maneuverability with control.