100 Sq Inches 16 x 19 string pattern, 11.0 ounces (strung)
If you are coming here from the Youtek Extreme Pro (YXP) Page click here When I think of this racket I would have to argue with its name. Okay there are some things that are extreme about it. It has the extremely visible paint job of my best friends VW convertible. It will hit extremely biting slice backhands if you have the skill. It is extremely different than Head frames from 10 years ago. So why all the huff over the name, you say? Well it is because it is more like an evolutionary racket than extreme, even if it is extremely good.
I remember two generations back when the Microgel Extreme Pro came out. It was very different from the Head rackets that I had grown up with. In fact when I first saw it I thought, now that is a racket that Jimmy Connors would like. The wide string bed is ideal for spin generation and for a large usable sweetspot. I think Head was getting tired of a certain upstart racket manufacturer and decided to go toe to toe with them.
Phase one of that plan was grabbing Ivan Ljubicic as a team player. I thought he had lost his mind switching frames the way he was playing at the time but he did. But with Gasquet, Youzhny, Azarenka as peers, I guess maybe I am the one who’s sanity should be questioned.
So it seemed like it was time to demo this new frame, good enough for Ivan maybe good enough for me. Well, it was a good frame yes, but at the time I thought that the competitor frame was better everywhere except the net. Then the Extreme evolved and had a special teflon grommet strip added to improve string movement and to add some punch to the design. A play test of that frame led me to believe that with a highly resilient string the teflon made a small improvement to the feel and power. On stiffer Poly strings however, I really felt no difference. Now the Extreme has evolved again and has 3dO (see this article for a discussion on the technology) added. The result of this and a whole bunch of hidden changes the that engineering team at Head is smiling about are significant. The evolution is complete.
So how is this frame different from the Youtek Extreme Pro?
The slightly lower weight and the balance of this racket make it ideal for medium to long strokes, unlike the heavier YXP version. It has good pop and the added maneuverability makes it ideal for less strong players and juniors. The higher racket head speed allows easier spin generation for most players. Like the YXP this is a great topspin frame that also really excels at slice shots. It doesn’t have quite the spin friendliness of a Babolat Aero Pro Drive but it is very close. This is definitely a frame for a power baseliner to try. Rating A -
For players that have a decent service motion this racket is a very good. The wide face and stiffness allow you to hit very heavy spin serves. If you have really good technique it is an ally for flat serves as well. Like its pro cousin, this racket responds well on flat, slice, and topspin serves. It is also great for finding the angles consistently due in part to the 3dO technology. I would have to give it an A in this area.
Frequently 4.0 and below level players have difficulty with player frames in fast net exchanges. I think that the slightly lower weight of this racket versus the YXP will help most players that are below 5.0 rating. If you play people that really pound their passing shots the YXP soaks up the heat a little better but that does you no good if you are late making contact with the volley.
Due to the stiffness of the frame and the string pattern you can greatly change the playing characteristics with string selection. A low resilience poly string string @ 62 lbs is going to feel really boardy and require significant physical strength especially to hit with depth and topspin especially compared to the Extreme Pro. 54-57 lbs. with gut or a resilient string will create a combo that has good pop with a little less control and a huge sweetspot.
The Gone is the leather grip of the YEP, but for most of us that is really not such a big deal.