New entries from some top racquet manufacturers are hoping to weigh in big with consumers.
By James Martin
As we enter the heart of the outdoor season, many racquet manufacturers are introducing new frames — hoping, of course, to catch consumers in the grips of “swing fever.”
Take Yonex. The company had been silent for the first part of the year — it did not, for example, submit any racquets to TENNIS magazine for evaluation — but now it has three new sticks.
First up is the Yonex RDX 500 for advanced players. In fact, the racquet comes in three models. Endorsed by Lleyton Hewitt, the RDX 500 is the most demanding of the lot, with a small, 90-square-inch head and weighing 11.8 ounces. The RDX 500 HD, which is being used by Jelena Dokic, weighs the same but has the benefit of a slightly bigger head (98 square inches), while the RDX 500 Mid-plus, also 98 square inches, is a tad lighter (11.5 ounces). Suffice to say, players below NTRP 4.0 should look elsewhere.
Yonex also serves up a racquet for strong intermediates to low-level advanced players with the Yonex RDX 300 Mid-plus and Yonex RDX 300 Super Mid-plus. The 300 is 10.9 ounces, has a 98-square-inch head and is 27.25 inches long, while the Super Mid-plus has a 103-square-inch head, weighs 10.4 ounces, and is 27.5 inches long (for even more leverage and power).
Yonex also has released the V-Con 30+. Using an elastic material in the throat to reduce shock, the V-Con 30+ is designed for players who want a racquet that’s easy on the arm. By the looks of the specifications, it’s also pretty easy to use, as it’s available in two fairly big head sizes (107 and 117 square inches) that weigh a little more than 9 ounces.
The NCT (Nano Carbon Technology) line just got bigger, with the new VS NCT Power and VS NCT Tour. Babolat says that its NCT racquets integrate state-of-the-art materials (carbon nanotubes) with a special beam design for power, control and comfort. The racquets use nanotechnology (manipulating materials on the scale of the atom) to provide strength and lightness, according to the company. Indeed, these two frames are light, coming in at 10.1 ounces for the 100-square-inch VS NCT Tour and 8.6 ounces for the 118-square-inch NCT Power. The racquets are designed for short-swing players.
What’s going on at Dunlop? I.C.E., or Internally Cooled Engineering. With the company’s new 800G and 600G, Dunlop is no longer cooling racquets at room temperature, but blowing cool air through the hoop to cool the racquet 25 percent faster. The benefit: Dunlop says it improves the frame’s stiffness and strength, while at the same time allows for better touch and feel by the player. The 800G is designed for 2.0 to 4.0 players, and the 600G is more appropriate for 3.0 to 4.5.
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