The HEAD Extreme silo has long been the brand’s most spin-friendly performance frame. The racquets have larger SPIN grommets at the top of the head, as well as slightly wider grommets on the side, for easier access to power and spin. With the launch of new Extreme models in 2020, HEAD retires the Pro model in favor of the more user-friendly Extreme Tour. Featuring a 10.8 ounce unstrung weight, and a smaller 98-in2 head size, the Extreme Tour is designed for players who crave control but still want spin. Spiralfibers have been integrated in the lower portion of the head to improve flex and comfort. They combine with the improved stability and energy return of Graphene 360 to form Graphene 360+. I have tested all of the Graphene 360+ models to date, and was excited to test the new HEAD Extreme Tour.
How well the Extreme Tour handles groundstrokes directly translates to players loving or hating the frame. The frame is designed for aggressive baseliners who use heavy spin groundstrokes to create pressure for their opponents. Though the Tour has a medium flex of 66, the frame played with a good amount of comfort. Particularly on the forehand side, I found a comfort level with the Tour immediately. I loved the combination of a smaller head size and the larger SPIN grommets. The result is a racquet that plays bigger than it feels. Thanks to the thinner beam, the Tour is very fast feeling compared to the 2018 Pro version, and much less cumbersome. When I got a hold of a forehand in the sweetspot, the ball came off the strings heavy and powerful yet controlled. If I missed the sweetspot, my shots didn’t always hit their target, but the string bed did not feel erratic like some other frames. Though the 16 x 19 string pattern has the same number of mains and crosses as the Extreme MP, the Tour pattern is much more dense throughout the sweetspot.
Volleys & Serves
I do not know the exact science of the SPIN Grommets, but they seem to make the Extreme Tour an explosive serving racquet. On heavy kick serves, the strings at the higher end of the sweetspot felt grippy, and rewarded me with a healthy margin of error. I enjoyed hitting hard first serves with the Tour, and it cut through the air nicely with the thinner 22/23/21 mm beam. The trend of mobility continued up at the net. Volleys felt crisp and powerful, but with enough flex to provide easy comfort. The lighter swingweight (320) was impressive in close contact doubles exchanges, and never felt sluggish.
Feel & Comfort
With the previous generation, the Extreme racquets boasted improved comfort and a softer flex. The trend continues with the Graphene 360+ Extreme Tour, but the frame is not super flexible. The medium-firm flex was easy on the arm, and even with a full bed of Lynx Tour at 52 pounds I had no comfort issues during the test. The Tour has more feel than the previous MP or Pro model, in large part to the thinner beam and smaller head.
Another name for the Extreme Tour could be the “Extreme Control”. While it keeps the head shape and SPIN grommets as the other Extreme models, the smaller head creates a denser string pattern with greater precision and accuracy. Strings will last much longer in the Tour than they did in the MP, but you will still get the spin-friendly response the Extremes are known for. Some will lament the lack of a heavier 10.9 ounce Pro model in this product refresh, but the Extreme Tour offers a similar weight as the Pro, but with more speed. I expect former Extreme MP lovers will jump over to the Head Graphene 360+ Extreme Tour model.
Note: The playtest racquet was strung with Head Lynx Tour 1.25 mm at 50 lbs.
About the Reviewer: Sam Jones currently works at Tennis Express on the Content Marketing team. He previously played at Southwestern University, taught tennis for 10+ years and earned his USRSA Master Racquet Technician Certification in 2011. He is an active NTRP 5.0 League and Tournament player.