For 2019, Pro Kennex is bringing the race car driver in all of us out by giving their frames a racecar inspired design motif. The 2019 Pro Kennex Q+ 5X Pro builds on the impressive Q+ 5 Pro, adding an extra half inch of length for better leverage and a noticeable boost in swingweight. Like the rest of the Pro Kennex lineup, the 25% larger Kinetic Quadfocus chambers are placed at the corners of the hoop for a wider sweet spot, more shock absorption and higher degree of energy transfer on contact. The 5X builds on the heavier weight of the Pro model with even more finishing power on tap while retaining Pro Kennex signature feel and focus on comfort. After previously hitting with the Q+ 5 Pro and getting more into extended length frames, now was the perfect time to see how the 5X Pro would compare to the rest of the lineup.
The 2019 Q+ 5X Pro showed off the same easy power on the ground that its standard length sibling had. The series had a stiffer construction than other Pro Kennex lines and the increase in power from the baseline was evident. The extra length was most appreciated on my backhand side. I was able to use it to drive through the ball and hit my backhand with much greater authority. My forehand had some control issues but I felt it was the byproduct of the lively strings, not the frame itself. The racquet produced consistent power at the top of the hoop where I tend to make contact. Pro Kennex statements about the Kinetic modules at the top of the hoop pulling the sweet spot higher seemed accurate to me. Accuracy was a major strong point of this frame. I was able to hit groundstrokes to both corners on command. This allowed me to set up patterns for opening the court and let me utilize my beefed up backhand to rip a down the line winner when it was least anticipated. The 11.4 oz strung weight produced penetrating shots that moved through the court with excellent pace. Overall stability was also solid. There was some slight wobble, similar to the regular Pro, but it was never something that put me at a disadvantage against big hitters. The extra leverage and 16 x 20 pattern produced high levels of spin on my groundstrokes. I played defensive shots with plenty of margin and could also hit high spin, high pace shots that consistently dropped on the baseline. The higher swingweight of this model had no shortage of finishing power from every court position. I was consistently able to crack winners on the run as well as make quick work of any short ball that was left for me to attack.
Volleys & Serves
Volleying with the Q+ 5X had some ups and downs. Anything my opponents left up high for me was quickly dispatched. The racquet had exceptional finishing power whenever I attacked volleys. There was a little bit more float to balls that I was too casual with. The extended length of the frame also made maneuverability a little bit tougher. Although still a headlight frame, it was a little slower to position than the regular version and it was definitely not as nimble as the Q+ Tour series. Touch and drop volleys were also a little tougher to gauge given the stiffer build of this particular racquet. The high exit speed and muted feel gave me less confidence in my touch around the net. The upside was that when I focused on just being aggressive, I was consistently able to control the net against my opponents.
The Q+ 5X took the impressively powerful serving of the 5 Pro and amped it up even more. The extra leverage at the top of my serve produced insanely easy pace on my first serve. I felt like I could reach back and drive a big flat serve through the court whenever I needed to. When I started combining the heavy pace with the outstanding accuracy the frame possessed, there was no stopping me. I could go from wide serves to serves up the T and heavy body serves anytime I wanted to. The extra length also produced more action on my kick serve. I was able to drive returners crazy with serves that jumped shoulder high in a hurry and yanked them out of position. Slice serves steered wide and stayed too low for anybody to attack. Serving with the Q+ 5X Pro was one of the most automatic serve experiences I’ve experienced with a recent frame.
Many new frames coming out have been focused on producing a more dampened feel. The Q+ 5X Pro was part of that trend for me. The Kinetic Quadfocus system had a heavily dampened feel on contact. The slightly increased frame stiffness provided a bit of extra feedback on contact, ensuring the frame didn’t play with an overly mushy, disconnected feel. What I felt was a nice balance of crisp response and plush feel. Pro Kennex has consistently produced some of the most arm friendly frames on the market and this model was no exception. The Kinetic chambers were impressive at absorbing shock and I could easily play the frame with firmer polyester string setups without creating any comfort issues. Any player looking for consistent comfort could check that box off with this racquet.
This frame takes everything the Q+ 5 Pro does well and takes it just a little bit further. It plays with an outstanding blend of power, spin and comfort from anywhere on the court. The added length provides a noticeable increase in swingweight, improving power off the ground and on serve. The extra leverage also provides additional reach and defensive capabilities. The Pro Kennex Q+ 5X Pro will fit any attacking player looking for a solidly weighted frame that can dictate play from a variety of court positions, all while providing a silky smooth and arm friendly ride.
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.