Pro Kennex has long been adept at creating frames that blend both power and comfort. The 2019 Pro Kennex Q+ 5 is a modern playing frame with their hallmark comfort technology in a sleek new race car inspired cosmetic. The Kinetic Quadfocus system has 25% larger microbearing chambers strategically throughout the hoop for greater power generation as well as increased dampening and shock absorption. SpiralTech Carbon in the layup yields a high quality construction that has consistent rigidity and dampening. While lighter than the Q+ 5 Pro, this version outs easy power in a controlled arm friendly package. I recently hit the court with it to see if it measured up to the Pro Kennex heritage.
The 2019 Q+ 5 was impressively speedy feeling from the back of the court. At 10.8 oz strung, the frame was easy to swing from either wing. Despite its nearly even balance, I was able to whip the head through contact and generate plenty of pace from both sides. The 100 inch head had a generous sweet spot and there was impressive power at the top of the string bed where I tended to make contact. This model was significantly lighter than the Pro version of this line and at times it was noticeable in a lack of depth. My groundstrokes had plenty of pace but didn’t quite have the court penetration the weightier model produced. The 21.5 mm beam offered a nice balance between power and control. There was access to free power but it was also easy for me to reign in when needed. This made me confident in attacking the lines and aggressive targets. The frame lacked a bit of stability when defending against heavy hitters and I felt the hoop twist if I tried to take too big of a swing on heavy incoming shots. I was better off shortening up and using the pace against my. There was plenty of spin to be had on groundstrokes with the Q+ 5 as well. The 16 x 20 pattern and quick acceleration gave me plenty of margin on all my groundstrokes. I was able to add plenty of air under the ball and give opponents different looks. The reduced mass made flattening balls out a little tougher but it was easy to counter by using the spin to put the ball on the baseline or snap off sharper approach angles.
Volleys & Serves
While its specs scream baseline frame, the Q+ 5 was able to more than hold its own coming forward. The lower weight made it easy to maneuver at net. I won most reaction volley exchanges as the racquet was exceptional maneuverable and got into position quickly. The easy power made quick work of any put-away volleys I got a look at. If I took a ball too casually, the racquet did have a tendency to float the ball a bit. As long as I was attacking, I had no trouble driving the ball through the court. While not as laser guided as the Tour line, it was still easy to hit to the lines and put the ball on smaller targets. The Q+ 5 was a little firmer than other Pro Kennex series and it lacked the level of ball pocketing that would have made executing drop volleys effortless. Defense and stability were average with the racquet as the reduced weight struggled a little bit with hard hit balls. The Q+ 5 performed its best when I was aggressive and attacked every volley I could.
Serving with the Q+ 5 was a buffet of choices. The easy acceleration gave me plenty of pace on my first serve. It wasn’t as heavy a serve as with beefier frames, but there was still plenty of pace to trouble returners. The racquet’s strong accuracy let me move my serve locations all over the box. I could easily go from the wide corner of the box to painting a flat serve straight down the T. The fast feel and spin friendly pattern added solid action to my kick serve. I was able to get the ball leaping off the court and out of my opponents’ strike zones. Slice serves veered out wide and helped me open up the court for quick offense. The variety of serves this frame produced ensured that returners couldn’t find a comfortable rhythm. I was able to mix my serve up early and identify weaknesses in the return that I could then exploit throughout the match.
Similar to the rest of the Q+ lineup, the 5 had a dampened, muted feel on contact. This model was a bit stiffer than the flexy Q+ Tour series. The added firmness actually provided a better connection to the ball and I was more confident in knowing what the ball was doing off the string bed. The response off the string bed was uniform and never exhibited any hot spots or areas of increased harshness. The Kinetic Quadfocus system gave the racquet an outstanding level of comfort. This series was one of the most arm friendly baseline racquets I’ve played with recently. It was relentless about absorbing shock, even with its lower overall weight. Players who need something softer on the arm than the majority of today’s racquets should be able to play this frame with virtually any string and tension combo.
Pro Kennex is on a mission to keep players from having to choose between power and comfort. The Q+ 5 offers substantial power in a package that is quick to swing and control. The outstanding comfort and clean response make it even more desirable. While it might lack the brawn of some of the other models in the Pro Kennex lineup, the 2019 Q+ 5 boasts impressive playability, power and comfort in a setup that could be further customized to meet the needs of even the most discriminating of player.
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.