The great people at HEAD Tennis were gracious enough to send us one of their newest racquets to test out. After trying to wait out this crazy weather, we finally got it out on the court to see what the Graphine XT Radical MPA was all about.
When I was about to open the box, I had no idea what the racquet would look like. These days, racquets are not only made for performance, but to also catch the eye. And when I opened that box, it certainly did. The ultra bold orange/black colorway is a great look. Coupled with the gray strings, this thing looks more like a weapon than tennis racquet.
The only racquet that I could compare this to was my 10-year-old Wilson Hammer. This is the only racquet I have ever played with. But when I got that racquet, it was considered top of the line, just like the Radical is now. It took me a while to get used to the way the ball came off the strings. It was much more crisp that the Hammer. The sound was so much better and I didn’t necessarily feel every ball vibrating up my arm when I made contact. The best way I could describe the feel of my shot is when a golfer hits the ball right in the middle of the club, there’s almost no vibration, no sound, just a soft trampoline feel of the ball leaving the clubface. The other part of the “feel” on this racquet that I wanted to let people know about was how much spin I was getting on my backhand shots. The way the strings gripped the ball was amazing. I’ve never seen a ball bounce the way it did. When chipping the ball, the ball would almost come back to me, and on the one-handed backhand, the amount of dip I would get from the topspin was fantastic.
As far as power goes, this thing was like a rocket launcher. It took me nearly a half an hour of hitting balls to be able to judge how deep my ground strokes were going to go. Being a novice player, this always seems to be my biggest problem. But as the day went on, I was able to get on top of my forehand a little more, and control the depth of my forehand. My serve was like nothing I have ever seen before. The velocity was noticeably higher and I was able to hit the second serve harder, with just as much spin.
As I stated before, I am a novice player who would never step into this price tier. But for the more experienced player, looking for a top end racquet, the $199 price point seems in line with the other high-end racquets.
Overall, this racquet was awesome. It looked good, felt good, and is priced right where it should be. Thank you very much again to the people at HEAD Tennis for providing us with one of these great pieces of equipment.