As the Head Prestige line gets the Graphene 360+ treatment from Head, the Tour version introduced in recent years is not going to be left behind. The new version of Graphene has Spiralfibers at the 5 and 7 locations of the hoop, resulting in improved flex and better overall feel on contact. As noted in other reviews, all Prestiges now share the same handle shape as the Speed and Radical, providing a more universal option for players who might be new to the Prestige line. Outside of these changes, the Tour model retains the same specs as the outgoing Touch version: 99 inch head size, 18 x 19 pattern and an 11.5 oz strung weight. Having hit with all the other new Prestiges, it was only fitting that I complete the family tour and take the Graphene 360+ Prestige Tour for a spin.
On groundstrokes the Prestige Tour offered a blend of power and control like the rest of the family. The 99 inch head had a good size sweet spot and good forgiveness outside the sweet spot. The 21.5 mm beam was thin and the frame came in at 11.5 oz strung. At times, this led to the Tour feeling a bit under powered. It felt like it just needed a bit more mass in order to overcome the reduced weight and thinner beam. The Tour had a manageable swingweight, so I was able to generate some pace just by being able to really accelerate through contact. The frame likely could have benefited from a more open string pattern to give it a bit more juice. Similar to the rest of the line, the Tour was very precise feeling from the baseline. It had no trouble hitting the spots I asked it to, and I was able to hit to a variety of targets around the court. The 18 x 19 string pattern felt dense and I struggled a bit with getting enough height on my shots. I was surprised because the frame felt less spin friendly than the MP, which has an 18 x 20 pattern. As I adjusted, I got better height on my shots and found enough depth and clearance to limit how much trouble I got myself into. The racquet had solid stability, but high-level players would likely want to add some weight to ensure it can withstand big hitting.
Volleys & Serves
From the net, the Prestige Tour did what a good Prestige should: volley well. It moved into position quickly and with little fuss, allowing me to gain the upper hand quickly in exchanges. It lacked the easy put away power of some of the other models in the line at net, but the upside was that I rarely overcooked a volley with the Tour. Accuracy was again a strong suit of the frame. I was able to direct volleys virtually anywhere, making it a nightmare for opponents to extend points once I came forward. The mid 60s flex gave me enough touch to execute delicate volleys though I still preferred the MP in this regard. The frame had a bit more twisting to it against bigger hitters, but overall it had enough stability to defend most shots close to the body.
When serving with the 360+ Prestige Tour, it proved to be a well-balanced package with a slight emphasis on control. I was able to ratchet up the head speed through the top of my motion and put some pace on flat serves, although additional mass would have given them more bite. Mixing serve locations was a predictable highlight on serve. I could disguise my serve and hit a variety of spots on both first and second serves. On second serves, slices became my go to choice with the Tour. The 18 x 19 pattern was not terribly conducive to big spinning kick serves. Instead, I leveraged the pattern’s grip on the ball to drive slices away from returners and give me open court space to hit to.
While the addition of Graphene 360+ made the new Tour instantly better feeling than the previous Touch version, I found it to be the least appealing of the new models. Something about the 18 x 19 pattern, low static weight and thin beam made it play firmer feeling than all the others and the top of the hoop had some harshness that was absent in the other versions. That said, it still had good ball pocketing in the center of the string bed and had better connection to the ball on contact. I was much more comfortable knowing what the ball was doing as it left my strings than with the previous iteration of the Tour. With the firmer feel and tighter pattern that could feel boardy, arm sensitive players should use softer strings and lower tensions to maximize comfort in the Prestige Tour.
The Tour is a recent addition to the Prestige family, but this latest update proves to be a balanced addition to the family. It boasts controlled power, impressive control and effortless reflexes. All of this comes together in a light, easy to swing package. The new Head Graphene 360+ Prestige Tour is an excellent option for the balanced player looking for a versatile frame that can bring feel and variety to their game.
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.