Hey, everyone. I’m in Joplin, Missouri for the $10K Futures event here this week. I’m excited to be here because I’ve been off for a couple of weeks. My tournament in Pittsburgh ended quickly, since I didn’t play the doubles and lost in the first round of the singles to Blake Strode. I got a wildcard into the main draw for singles and am playing doubles with my old teammate Todd Paul. Last year, my Wake Forest doubles partner Steve Forman and I won the doubles, so hopefully I can repeat with a new partner.
While I’m here, I thought I would talk a little bit about changing equipment. About a month before the end of my college season, my assistant coach at Wake Forest Chris Brandi convinced me that to be effective on the pro tour I would need to change rackets. Since I was 12 years old, I have used the oversize Head Radical. I can’t even remember what all models I used, but I just got the new model each time it came out — the Intelligence, the Flexpoint, and the Microgel. So I am really comfortable with that racket. With the oversize head (107 square inches) I feel like I really serve and return well. But coach thought my groundstrokes and volleys could be better with a smaller head size, especially playing against more pace and spin on tour.
So, I started trying different midplus rackets: Babolat Pure Drive, Pure Drive Roddick, AeroPro Drive, and AeroStorm, Yonex RDiS 300 and RQiS 2 Tour, and Head MicroGel Radical Pro and Microgel Extreme. All of these rackets did some things well, but none of them felt quite right across all the strokes. Then when I was home in New York for a weekend, my coach gave me demos of the new Head YouTek Radicals, the Midplus and the Pro. They were just being released during Wimbledon and I couldn’t even get one in North Carolina.
I liked the rackets because they had the same basic feel as the other Radicals I used but also allowed me to spin the ball more and absorb pace, while the oversize was kind of like a backboard and my ball would come back really flat against a heavy ball.
I had to choose between the Midplus and the Pro, though. They both did certain things well. I asked my coach in New York what he thought and he said these are the most important things: (1) serve, (2) return, and (3) groundstrokes. He told me I was never going to be John McEnroe so how the racket volleyed was less important. Looking at those three strokes, the YouTek Radical Pro turned out to be the better of the two for me. It’s about an ounce heavier than my Microgel Radical OS plus it has a more open string pattern (16×19 compared to 18×20), so it is quite a bit different from what I am used to. But I think it is alot better for the pro game.
That’s all for now.