Serious levels of spin are on deck any time Head updates the Extreme series of frames. The newly updated Graphene 360+ Extreme MP is no exception. The layup of this newest Extreme now takes advantage of Graphene 360+. This version of Graphene has Spiral fibers in the lower section of the hoop, giving players better feel on contact and improved flex. Head has also slightly increased the flex rating compared to the previous MP, giving the frame a little more pop and a crisp response. Head uses 360 Spin Grommets at 12 o’clock, which are more funnel shaped to improve spin production and expand the sweet spot. The racquet also uses Spin Shaft for greater stability and resistance to twisting. All of this is coated in an eye-catching new grey and yellow paint scheme. I am never opposed to adding some topspin to my game, so I was eager to hit with this new version of the Extreme MP.
On groundstrokes, the Extreme MP dialed up impressive power levels. The medium stiff 23/26/21mm beam had a strong amount off power off the ground. At 11.2oz strung and a swingweight in the 320s, I found the frame to be easy to swing and had no trouble adding racquet head speed to my groundstrokes. I was surprised to find this update to feel more controlled and better behaved than my experience with previous Extremes. I was able to harness the power level quickly and use it to hit heavy, penetrating shots. The 100in head had a very forgiving sweet spot and I felt the power level stayed consistent, even off center. This new version felt more accurate than prior Extreme MPs, and I felt confident I could hit the ball to the sidelines reliably. As expected, spin production was outstanding. My forehand had huge action and jumped off the court and my backhand had more margin and safety to it. The 16x19 pattern really provided a lot of grip on the ball without feeling like it lacked control. Stability was another strong attribute of the frame. The thicker mid-section of the hoop made it feel very solid against big shots and I found it easy to redirect balls back to opponents with interest. Despite not being as headlight as I usually like, I also found the Extreme MP to be easy to use on the run. It was quick through contact and allowed me to flick passing shots and sharply angled balls when I was stretched out. This racquet had absolutely no trouble keeping up and taking charge in any baseline rally I found myself in.
Volleys & Serves
Despite being a more baseline-oriented frame, the Extreme MP performed quite admirably up at net. The easy power of the frame dispatched anything left up for me quickly. It was easy to generate enough power to drive volleys through the court and past opponents. The racquet was also reasonably quick to maneuver and I was able to stay in front of most rapid exchanges. While it did not possess the same level of precision as something like a Prestige, I still found the racquet to have enough directional control that I could reliably stick volleys into corners or angle them toward the sidelines. Although the 360+ layup had improved the overall feel, I still felt the frame was a little too firm for executing a lot of touch and drop volleys. I wanted a bit more dwell time to really feel the ball on those shots. The impressive stability of the Extreme MP was again on display at net. Its forgiving head and solid SW allowed it to absorb big shots and fend off balls hit close to my body.
On serve, the vicious spin of the Extreme MP started really taking charge. While I found it easy to accelerate through contact and generate heat on flat serves, the kick serve was where I had the most fun. The frame created a ball that snapped off the court and got up high on returners in a hurry. While not necessarily a spot serving frame, the Extreme MP was able to target multiple areas of the box, giving me flexibility with my serving patterns. My slice serve in the ad court was also effectively low though I thought it would have been more dangerous if the frame had a bit more mass to it. The racquet had a strong mix of pace, placement and rotation that made it easy to snag a lot of free points on serve.
Feel & Comfort
As with the other Graphene 360+ line updates from Head, the new Extreme MP was a step up in feel from the prior version. Even though the RA went up slightly, I thought the response was more refined and controlled than previous generations. The Spiral fibers in the lower hoop created a clean, smooth feel on contact and had a nice blend of dampening and ball feel. I have enjoyed the level of comfort present in all of Head’s 360+ racquets so far and this one was no different. The frame absorbed plenty of vibration and gave me just enough softness, even with suing polyester strings. Players should be able to adapt a wide variety of string setups to this frame with high levels of comfort across the board.
Spin is such a major part of the game today that it is basically a given for brands to have a model line focused on it. This update from Head boasts impressive power and spin off the ground while also being refined enough to play at the net and hit more measured shots. With improved feel and plenty of comfort, the racquet offers a high dose of versatility. Players who want to load the ball with spin and pace while being able to attack in all phases of the game will find a lot to love about the new Head Graphene 360+ Extreme MP.
About the Reviewer: Matt Locke formerly served for 3 years as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho. He is a PTR certified coach and is an active USTA 4.5 League and Tournament player.