The Head Prestige is one of the most storied racquet lines in tennis history. Any update has to carefully blend the long held attributes of the lineage with modern updates that keep the frame a viable option for players. The new Graphene 360+ Prestige Pro benefits from the use of Graphene 360+. The + represents the addition of Spiralfibers at the 5 and 7 areas of the hoop, providing better feel on contact and improved flex. The Pro uses a 95 inch head size to sit in between the 93 inch Mid and now true 98 inch head of the MP. Another notable update is Head’s effort to make their handle shape more universal. The Prestige line has now adopted the handle shape first used on the Speed that has now also been added to the Radical line. I grew up on more classic, player oriented frames so I was excited to hit with the latest iteration of the Head Prestige Pro.
From the back of the court, the Prestige Pro still emphasized control over power. The 95 inch head didn’t over a massive sweet spot but it was big enough to feel I could hit it consistently. The 22 mm beam offered a bit more power compared to the thinner beam of the Mid. With an 11.8 oz strung weight and a healthy swingweight, I felt confident hitting with authority off either wing. The racquet was a little slower feeling than the last version (which was a little lighter) but I still found it easy to accelerate through contact and put pace on my shots. Precision was a highlight of groundstrokes with this frame Not only did it have easily controlled power, it had exceptional directional control. It was a breeze to pick aggressive targets during rallies and move the ball all over the court. The 16 x 19 pattern had plenty of spin, especially if I had enough speed on my swing. I was surprised at how well I could get air under my backhand and lift it over the net with margin. For a 95, I found this racquet to be one of the most spin friendly. Stability was also another strong point on the baseline. The healthy mass and swingweight worked in tandem to absorb pace and blunt big hitters advantage. The racquet wasn’t a breeze to use defensively, but it had enough speed to hit that I was able scramble and reset points fairly regularly.
Volleys & Serves
As a Prestige should be, the Prestige Pro was an outstanding performer at the net. It was very nimble and quick for me to guide into position during exchanges at the front of the court. It was a hair slower than the half CAP grommeted Mid but was still very responsive. Like any classic player frame, I had to bring a bit of my own power to finish volleys, but the big plus was that I rarely overcooked or sailed a volley with the Prestige Pro. It had outstanding control and accuracy on volleys. I could consistently pick a spot on the court and hit it with ease. With a moderate RA, the Pro had solid flex and feel. This resulted in high confidence when I attempted touch and drop volleys. Stability was again a high point of net play. The slightly thicker beam gave the Pro even more stability than I had with the Mid. It blocked defensive volleys and absorbed body blows remarkably well.
On serve, the 360+ Prestige Pro proved out the mantra, “Consistency Kills.” It wasn’t a mindless power monster like so many modern frames can be on serve. I felt the racquet gave me what I put into it on first serve and I enjoyed this true, unfiltered connection on serve. Rather than try to brute force my way into big serves, I instead relied on spot serving to control my service games. I had no trouble moving my serve to a variety of locations around the box, keeping returners guessing. While not a massive spin generator on second serve, I found ample spin with the Prestige Pro for kick and slice serves. Whether I wanted to jump the ball out of the strike zone or send a slice serve skidding out of the court, I felt confident I could execute any time I needed to.
The usage of Graphene 360+ improved the feel and response of the Prestige over the last generation. While the stiffness may have gone up a bit, I found it to have better ball connection and more consistent feedback. It was firm when it needed to be but also had flex for executing delicate shots (thanks Spiralfibers!). Response was relatively uniform although there was some power drop off in the top off the hoop. I found the racquet to feel clean on contact, with little jarring or buzz off center. Players should be able to use a wide variety of string types and tensions without worry of damaging their arms.
Head has a delicate game to play anytime they update the Prestige line. The new Pro model packs enough punch to keep pace in the modern game while also deploying its classic capabilities positively. It offers exceptional touch and accuracy while allowing access enough pace and spin to cause damage. The new Head Graphene 360+ Prestige Pro is an excellent match for aggressive minded players who want to attack with more than a one dimensional power game plan.
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.