HEAD’s new Speed Line is sure to give you surprises. This new line includes the Pro, MP, MP Lite, S, and Lite models. They have updated their Graphene Touch technology from the previous generation which is dubbed Graphene 360. Instead of the focus on a polarized weight distribution (weight in the grip and tip) Graphene 360 is located in shaft and throughout the hoop to improve stability and increase energy return. The new Speed Pro has a slightly thicker beam at 23mm, a minimalistic asymmetrical design and a more open 18×20 string pattern than previous versions. I have been a frequent Head Speed user in the past and I was very excited to try this new line out.
Don’t let the increase in beam width fool you, the Speed Pro is not what you would call a powerful racquet. The focus remains on control, though from the back of the court the launch angle is higher than the Graphene Touch model. Spin is slightly easier to produce, but it still takes full swings and racquet head speed to accomplish the task. When pulled out of position or on the run, the Graphene 360 iteration feels more stable and slightly more powerful which helps turn defense to quick strike offense with a couple of swings.
Responsive feel and stability are the staples of a great volleying racquet, and the Speed Pro doesn’t disappoint. The 100 square inch head size feels forgiving yet loaded with control when redirecting baseline blasts or carving drop volleys. Though the Pro is the heaviest model in the Speed line, it offers good-to-great mobility and will not get pushed around in close contact situations. The Graphene 360 makes the Pro more comfortable up at net when compared to its predecessor.
Serves & Overheads
The Speed Pro offers consistent accuracy on both first and second deliveries. Flat serves felt crisp, and the ball seemed to jump of the strings when you really going after it. There is more access to spin for slice and kick serves, and the directional control is outstanding. If you like a more connected to the ball feel, I recommend stringing with a polyester/multi-filament hybrid.
The Graphene 360 Speed Pro is the easiest most forgiving Speed Pro to date. Graphene 360 adds a subtle upgrade in power, and vast improvement in terms of stability, comfort, and feel. It is nice to see HEAD make a call back to more comfortable softer flex frames from the past. In an era of super-stiff controlled player frames, it’s nice to see a control racquet for big hitters that is kind to the elbow joints.
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.