My new HEAD
Graphene XT Speed MP A
by Rich Neher
For the last 10 years I was pretty much
a dedicated Völkl fan. You know, like a Hippie driving a
Volkswagen Bus or a Beetle. The Austrian product was as close
as I could get to a European racquet and - it saved my arm. Plagued
with tennis elbow more than a decade ago I used to blame the
racquet and first the Quantum 10 and later the Organix 10 took
care of that problem.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine, who
happens to be the local Rep for HEAD Penn, encouraged me to try
a new HEAD racquet. I did and ended up with the new HEAD Graphene
Speed MPA, with the (also new) Gravity strings. And boy, was
I in for a surprise. This racquet exceeded my expectations and
improved my game just where I needed it.
Technology 30 - 20 - 10
HEAD describes Graphene as the strongest yet lightest racquet
frame material in the world. They also say that the updated technology
Graphene XT now features a 30% stronger material structure, is
20% lighter than regular Graphene and features a 10% better energy
transfer for a higher ball speed and faster game.
ASP - Adaptive
String Pattern Technology
The HEAD Graphene Speed line of racquets comes in 4 models: Pro,
MP A, S and REV Pro. The REV and MP A models feature the innovative
Adaptive String Pattern (ASP) technology, which allows the player
to exchange the grommet strips and choose between a 16/16 pattern
for more spin or the 16/19 pattern for more control. HEAD gives
the reason for this new feature as: ...so players can change
their game any time.
XT SPEED MP A
This is the lighter tour version of the Speed Pro, optimized
for more versatility and power with APS, 100 square inch head
size, 10.6 oz weight, a constant beam of 22 mm, 27 inches long,
HEAD describes this string as "A new concept designed to
maximize the spin potential of this Co-Polyester string and to
control the trajectory of every shot in a perfect way."
The main strings are triangular shaped. Effect: increases the
friction between the ball and the string bed maximizing the ball
bite effect. The cross strings are round and thin. Effect: allows
a faster snap back that accelerates the rotation of the ball.
The Hybrid combination of triangular and round strings are designed
to add "...unique touch and perfect control."
Most of the new HEAD Graphene XT Speed and Instinct racquets
are Sony compatible. By attaching the Smart
Tennis Sensor to your racket butt, all your shot data is
recorded and can be displayed in real-time on your smartphone
via Bluetooth. Through the app screen, you can check the swing
(shot) type, ball speed, swing speed, ball spin, ball impact
spot and other data for every shot. There is also supposed to
be a feature where you can sync the data with video. The Sony
Smart Tennis Sensor should be available in the USA mid-2015.
When I first used my new MP A with Hawk string I noticed how
good this racquet felt and how much power the strings create.
The big sweet spot and the 16x16 string pattern probably added
to that power. However, my game is not so much power and more
control, so I decided to have it restrung with the Gravity Hybrid
string, which made all the difference for me. You can truly feel
how the string is biting into the ball and how much spin it creates.
My volleys are so much more effective now. Increased touch and
control is exactly what I wanted.