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HEAD Youtek Extreme Pro

Video Review

Racquet Specs

  • Head Size: 100 sq. in MP
  • Length: 27 inches
  • Weight: Strung — 11.7 oz Unstrung — 11.1 oz
  • Tension: 52-62 Pounds
  • Balance: 10 Pts Head Light
  • Beam Width:24/26/23 mm
  • Composition: Teflon/D30/Aramid
  • Flex: 72
  • Grips Type: Leather Tour
  • Grips Size:
  • Power Level: Low-Medium
  • String Pattern:
  • 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
    Mains skip: 7T, 9T, 7H, 9H
    Two Piece
    No Shared Holes
  • Swing Speed: Moderate-Fast
  • Swing Weight: 332

Head YouTek Extreme Pro Racquet Review


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100 Sq Inches 16 x 19 string pattern, 11.7 ounces (strung)
 
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 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.
 
Groundstrokes

Even though it is listed as a frame for medium to long strokes, It is at its best for longer stroke patterns. It has descent pop but is not overly powerful with higher string tensions. Unlike other similar rackets this one seems to be at home hitting flat as well as spin shots. While this is a great topspin frame, it really excels at slice shots. You can hit both hard biting slice shots as well as more defensive deep slice shots. The latter is great for neutralizing a point when your opponent has you on the run. This is likely due to the way head choose to implement the string spacing on this 16x 19 pattern The main strings are fairly close together (making racket stringers grimace when lacing crosses made of stiff poly strings..). This is done to stabilize the string bed for greater accuracy on slightly off centers hits. It doesn’t have quite the spin friendliness of a Babolat Pure Drive but it is very close. Everything you give up on spin you get back (and possibly more) on feel and control.
 
Serve

For players that have great service motions this racket is a dream. The wide face and stiffness allow you to hit very heavy powerful serves. It won’t make you into Pete Sampras but if you have great technique to will be able to frustrate opponents with spin and pace. If you are a lefty, even more so. 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. I would have to give it an A+ in this area.
 
Volleys

As is frequently written, if you play doubles or find your self at the net with modern 4.5 + players, being able to control passing shots and turn them into offensive volleys usually starts with a racket that is heavy enough to take the heat. This one fits that bill perfectly. The high stiffness makes this frame very predictable at the net. It was also quite good for drop volleys and severe angle volleys. The feel at net is very slightly better than previous generations of similar frames such as the Aero Pro drive and Pure Drive. This is not to say that the frame will make you an overnight net sensation quite the opposite, to take advantage of this feel your technique needs to be good (but not perfect). As with all player frames if you have a long volley stroke you are going to be in trouble here.
 
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 rather boardy and require significant physical strength especially to hit with depth and topspin. 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 leather grip is a nice visual touch but I think that most players will have an overgrip on the frame. My guess is that along with the aesthetic appeal, they went with leather for better feel rather than ultimate damping. Most leather grips are slightly heaver that their synthetic counterparts so it also helps the frames head light balance.
 
If you are looking for similar characteristics but in a little more maneuverable frame, see the review of its sibling frame the Youtek Extreme MP


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