I have a feeling as long as Novak Djokovic keeps cranking out grand slams, HEAD will continue to produce Speed tennis racquets. The latest iteration continues the Graphene 360+ trend which carries over from the Gravity and Prestige frames. This technology uses Spiralfibers in the lower portion of the racquet head that untwist and stretch at contact with the ball.
The previous Graphene 360 Speed Pro provided a huge redesign in the overall playability and feel of the racquet. The beam thickened to 23 millimeters, and the racquet played more dampened and powerful than it had in years. While not as big of an overhaul, HEAD added Spiralfibers (mentioned above) in an effort to maintain comfort, but attain better feel for the ball. The technical specs remain mostly unchanged from 2018, with a few slight tweaks. I immensely enjoyed the new tech in the Prestige and Gravity families, and I was pumped to get the new Speed Pro out on the courts.
I was dialed in from the back of the court immediately with the new Speed Pro. Remember the first USB devices that offered “Plug-N-Play”? Well this applies to the Speed Pro. The dense string pattern dropped my net clearance a little bit, though it is still ridiculously spin friendly for an 18 x 20 string pattern. The slightly heavier swing weight played more stable, and maybe just a touch slower than the last gen. This helped because the racquet seemed to stay in the hitting zone a touch longer, and it kept me from over-swinging. I think the Speed Pro handled itself pretty well in heavy topspin rallies, and it was equipped to knock down short balls with ease. The Speed Pro held up impressively well when returning hard first serves. When trying to stay in the rallies, I had a great feel for my slice backhand and was able to hit a low, deep shot to get myself back into position.
With the slightly higher swing weight, I was a little concerned about quick exchanges at the net. While not lightning quick, it was still easy enough to handle a couple of volleys in quick succession. Truth be told, when playing singles, if you are hitting more than 2 volleys in a point you are probably in some trouble, no matter what racquet you are using. The improved stability was a big help on half volleys, as well as in-between shots, and the racquet plowed through the ball with a short backswing keeping my shots deep in the court.
The improved feel for the ball on the Speed Pro makes it a precise tool for serving. Flat serves come off the racquet face very quickly, in spite of the 18 x 20 string pattern. On kick serves I noticed much more comfort in the higher portion of the head than the 2018 version. The infusion of Graphene 360+ seemed to inject a more powerful response than the previous generation.
With the new Speed Pro, HEAD has created a more powerful and stable racquet with a slightly heavier swing weight. The racquet is more powerful than the Gravity Pro, and it improves in comfort thanks to the Spiralfiber technology. If the 2018 version felt a little too muted, then the finely tuned Graphene 360+ Speed Pro will provide the perfect balance of ball feel and comfort.
Note: Playtest racquet was strung with a HEAD Lynx Tour string 17G @ 48 pounds.
About the Author/Playtester Sam Jones:
Sam currently works at Tennis Express on the Content Marketing team. He previously played at Southwestern University, taught tennis for 10+ years and earned his Master Racquet Technician Certification in 2011. He is an active USTA League and Tournament player at the 5.0+ level. He secretly wants Djokovic to become the GOAT in tennis.