After all these years of the old “RQ” it is time for a new look!
Please ket us know if you like the new look!
Head has introduced their new Speed Series, and it is here, yes, I men here, with some significant changes!
The most obvious and dramatic is the move toward a minimalist “look.” The graphics consist of black and white! Gone are the days of multi-colored Speed racquets.
As with many Head racquets, the graphics mimic the “SkiTip” angle as seen with the logo and white paint headed in the same angle.
Less obvious but no less important is the “360” designation that has replaced the “Touch” designation that was on the last series.
Players of the Speed series don’t want muted, as suggested by “Touch” they want feedback!
And, “360” suggests the use of Graphene in more areas of the racquet.
This image is the Graphene 360 Speed Pro, a highly maneuverable, flexible, (57RDC) racquet with an 18×20 string pattern. This may be the ticket for juniors that can’t handle a heavier, stiffer racquet but need the dense string pattern to mitigate string breakage. I would not recommend any stiff string in this racquet, however.
I am a little surprised by the low swing weight (306kg/cm2) but this can be increased as necessary.
|Racquet Model||Graphene 360 Speed Pro|
|String||Head Velocity MLT 16|
|Machine Used||True Tension Professional|
|Racquet Flex, RDC||57|
|Racquet Flex, FlexFour||46|
|Head Area, cm2||648.4|
|Head Area, Sq. Inch||100.5|
|Number of Main Strings||18|
|Number of Cross Strings||20|
|Main String Grid||7.70|
|Cross String Grid||10.25|
|Density (% of head filled with string)||.784|
|Average Cross String Space||.525|
|Average Main String Space||.417|
|Dynamic Tension, Kp, ERT||37|
|Dynamic Tension, Lbs/in||206.94|
|First Moment, Nm||.802|
|Swing Weight, Kg/cm2||306|
|Swing Weight, Ounces||10.79|
|Swing Weight Calculated||337|
|Head Weight, %||47.2|
|Center of Percussion||20.7|
|Dwell Time, ms||8.50|
Congratulations to Jack for his Finalist finish in the Junkanoo Bowl in Nassau!
Jack has been playing ITF events and was a qualifier for this tournament. Not only did he qualify, Jack went on the finals where he put in a great three (3) set effort against Harrison Gold, 6-7,6-2,5-7!
Well done, Jack! Congratulations
Jennifer walked into the World Headquarters of Racquet Quest the other day and asked to have her racquets strung. Nothing unusual about that, of course.
I looked a the racquets in her hand and thought to myself…” Well, where are they?”
In her hands were two (2) Head You Tek IG Prestige Mid racquets! If you don’t remember these, they are the pinnacle of the Head Performace series racquets. The head size is 93 square inches; the weight is 350 grams (12.35 ounces), with a swing weight of 309 kg/cm2 (10.9 ounces), and a racquet flex of 64 RDC units.
This is a great racquet for sure, but I don’t see many anymore in the good condition as these are. One needed a grommet set, but that was all.
The reason I mention this is to reassure tennis players that they are capable of using racquets they normally scoff at including a comment “I am not good enough to use that!” A lot depends on what you want to do with the racquet. In Jennifer’s case, she wants to get to the net as quickly as possible, and the nice recoil weight of 146.1 makes this a good racquet at the net! The low swing weight enhances the “mobility” of the racquet which also means this is not a particularly “powerful” racquet.
The new Head Graphene Touch Prestige Mid is still 93 square inches but now has a 16×19 string pattern.
If you are interested in hitting with a Head Graphene Touch Prestige Mid, our demo is strung with Babolat VS Touch natural gut which represents the purest combination I can think of!
Thank you, Jennifer, for giving me an example of what tennis players are capable of!
This seems to be a semi-annual event but that’s OK!
This event is a little different though!
Every bag regardless of size is only $60.00! This is extraordinary but I need the room.
Most bags are Head or Wilson, some are 6 racquet bags some are 12 racquet bags. It makes no difference!
Walk in with three (3) 20’s and walk out with a bag worth twice that much!
Hurry because this event is for in-stock bags only and the supply while taking up a lot of room, is limited!
This picture is not representative of all the bags. Call for a quick update on available bags!
In our “Recommended Stringing Frequency” calculator we state that this frequency is to get the best possible performance from your racquet. But, what exactly is “best performance”?
To establish this we need to take you, the player, out of the picture for a moment and concentrate on the racquet and string setup. the reason is simple: no two players strike the ball the same way.
We start with “Swing Weight” which is the most important dynamic property of a racquet. So a higher swing weight will contribute to power and stability, thus performance.
Overall weight is important because you need to be able to get the racquet to the court and out of your bag! Heavier racquets contribute to energy, stability, and comfort.
Effective Stiffness is important because it represents the stiffness of the string bed (SBS) and the racquet stiffness (xxRA, or something like that). This number represents the impact each time you strike the ball. The higher the number, the stiffer, of course.
Of the four (4) things mentioned above we can control the string bed stiffness with ease. One of the easiest methods is to string your racquet regularly to maintain the effectiveness of the elongation of the string being used. Elongation relates to energy return in a string and while strings will stay resilient for a long time a well-worn string takes a while to return energy to the ball.
You, the player, of course, determine performance so when using the SFR you can enter a high UTR or Style rating or a low UTR or style rating if maximum performance is not required.
Head is introducing two (2) new racquets to the MXG Series, and this is an excellent thing in my opinion! It is not that we need a bunch of new racquets, but this signals a commitment to the MXG concept.
In case you don’t know, the MXG Series racquets incorporate a “string suspension system” (my words) into the throat of the racquet. The most notable of this system is the bright silver paint. However, the most important function(s) is the increase in main string length across the entire throat area and torsional stiffness for control. We now have ten (10) main strings that are the same length in the throat, and this does contribute to “power.”
The Head MXG 1 is a 98 square inch head with a thin beam (22mm) that puts it in the “player” category, but it may need additional weight for big hitters. You will see all the specifications below. If you are a player and have shied away from the MXG for head size reasons, this is for you!
The MXG 1 demo is available now. Call to reserve it!
The new MXG 1 is available for pre-order and will available May 11, 2018.
|Racquet Model||Head MXG 1|
|String||Head Velocity MLT 17|
|Machine Used||True Tension Pro|
|Racquet Flex, RDC||65|
|Racquet Flex, FlexFour||48|
|Head Area, cm2||649.9|
|Head Area, Sq. Inch||100.7|
|Number of Main Strings||16|
|Number of Cross Strings||19|
|Main String Grid||7.20|
|Cross String Grid||9.37|
|Density (% of head filled with string)||.658|
|Average Cross String Space||.490|
|Average Main String Space||.445|
|Dynamic Tension, Kp, ERT||34|
|Dynamic Tension, Lbs/in||190.16|
|First Moment, Nm||.762|
|Torsional Stability||15 (the difference between polar moment and swing weight. Higher is better)|
|Swing Weight, Kg/cm2||305|
|Swing Weight, Ounces||10.76|
|Swing Weight Calculated||317.5|
|Head Weight, %||46.6%|
|Center of Percussion||21.5|
|Dwell Time, ms||9.00|
I have often wondered what players know about the “stringing” process and in particular what goes on after the “string is strung”. So, while Madelyn was here she decided to video me doing what we do after each racquet is strung and just coming off the machine.
Had I known we were going to do this I might have dressed up a little, emptied the trash and fixed the crack in the wall behind the RDC! But I didn’t.
This video is offered as a “real-time” view of what we do with every racquet and is intended for information and fun only. If you have any questions please let us know…now enjoy the movie!
A huge congratulations go out to Sophie Williams for her terrific run at the recent Easter Bowl in Indian Wells, Ca.!
Sophie played the finals against the number 3 seed Elena Yu…
Having the experience of making the Girls’ 12s final last year, Eleana Yu of Mason, Ohio, said she only had to fight a moderate case of nerves as the No. 3 seed won the Girls’ 14s USTA gold ball and her first Adidas Easter Bowl national title with a 6-1, 6-0 win over No. 7-seeded Sophia Williams of Charleston, S.C.
“Having been in the final before really did help,” said the 13-year-old Yu. “I did feel a little nervous at the start, but once I found my rhythm it was fine and I just felt really confident. I think my opponent was more nervous, but the match was definitely closer than the score indicated.”
Sophie’s great result at the Easter Bowl continues her recent extraordinary results at tournaments around the country. Below is Sophie holding the first place trophy of a previous tournament.
If you have been to Racquet Quest in the past several years, you have probably seen some of Sophie’s forty-five (45) racquets either in “process” or being prepared to ship to her. Sophie is left-handed, so all the leather grips and overgrip is wrapped left-handed, and each racquet is “sequenced”. All of the racquets are “matched.” so the only thing that is different is the string bed stiffness (SBS).
Even racquets that are done on the same day may have slightly different string bed stiffness numbers due to the time between racquet number one and racquet number eight. Sequencing indicates in what order the racquets can be used.
That may seem like a lot of racquets, but if you play as many tournaments as Sophie you need a few!
When Sophie is in town, she is either at the USTA Center or training with Robert Kendrick at the Winter Park Racquet Club.
The Racquet Quest World Headquarters had the pleasure of having Curt Dailey, CEO of LaserFibre Strings, visit today!
Racquet Quest, LLC will be doing a little evaluation work on LaserFibre string made in the United States! LaserFibre is the only string supplier committed to making all of their string products in the United States. Right now this is not the case, but they are headed in that direction.
Curt has been in the tennis business for many years and is trying hard to bring updated string products to the market.
Welcome to Racquet Quest, Curt!
Have you ever wondered what keeps the Racquet Quest World Headquarters going? I can’t imagine why you would, but here it is anyway!
These are made in France, of course, so they are good for you, and after work, they pair up nicely with a good Bordeaux!
In the words of Lord Kelvin (May 1883) “When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science.”
That is why every racquet we do has over fifty (50) numbers attached to the finished data. Most of these numbers will remain unknown to the client, but for us, it is imperative that we know them.
Which leads me, again, to this very important discussion.
Every day we see a statement from tennis string manufactures claiming, or suggesting, their string is the “softest ever tested” and other claims. What the heck is “soft” anyway? There is a lot more to it than meets the eye so we have done significant analysis on bunches of string and can now quantify “soft” as it relates to tennis string.
What is “soft”?
In 1994 I did a presentation for the USRSA in Atlanta. What was the topic?
It is now 2016, and we are still trying to understand string! Especially “soft” polyester based string.
In 1994 PolyStar was the only polyester based string I was familiar with. Since then there are dozens of offerings from anyone that can afford to purchase from manufacturers and market the string. If you have a desire to do it, I applaud you!
In 1989 I started testing string and calculating “power potential.” Why “power potential”? Because “modulus,” “elongation” and “elasticity” didn’t get to the bottom line of string performance quickly enough! The steps to arrive at power potential are many.
For the testing, several calculations take place including “stretching” the string as in a ball impact. The difference between the first calculation and the “stretched” calculation is the power potential!
I have calculated hundreds of power potentials but have not until now quantified “soft.”
I think now is the time!
Under the direction of Dr. Rich Zarda, we have done a tremendous amount of work on this issue so we can now distill this work into the following explanation.
So, what is a “soft” tennis string?
Strings in a tennis racquet carry the ball impact load in two ways:
1) Via the pre-load string tension placed in the strings caused by a stringing machine (and the racquet frame “holding” those tensions in place) and
2) Via additional tensions that develop in the same string caused by the elongation of the strings as they deflect with ball impact.
Both of these conditions occur simultaneously and contribute to the string bed stiffness (SBS, units of lbs./in). Racquet technicians measure SBS by applying a load to the center of a supported string bed and measuring the resulting deflection. Dividing the load by the deflection provides the SBS (lbs./in). The lower the SBS, the more power you have (power here is the ability of the ball to easily rebound from the string bed), but the less control (presumably); the higher the SBS, the less power you have but, the more control you have (presumably).
One more point about SBS: the lower the SBS, the less the load your body will feel for a given swing. But for an SBS too low (less than 50-80 lbs./in), balls will be flying off your racquet going over the fence; and for an SBS too high (greater than 200-240 lbs./in), the racquet will hit like a board with significantly less ball rebound. So the most common SBSs are between 100-200 lbs./in: a balance between control and power.
As already expressed, SBS is a function of the pulled string tension and the string elongation. Here is what is interesting: For large string elongations (for example, greater than 15%) and reasonably pulled string tensions (greater than 30-40 lbs.), SBS only depends on the pulled string tension, and it does not depend on string elongation. Additionally, for this condition, SBS, for these high elongation strings, does not change as a ball is hit with more impact.
But for a string bed with low elongation strings (less than 5%) under low pulled tensions (less than 20 lbs., or tensions that have been reduced due to racquet deformation and/or string tension relaxing with time), the SBS additionally depends on the string elongation and will significantly increase, in a nonlinear ever-increasing way, for harder ball impacts.
In order to achieve a repetitive feel for a player when hitting with a racquet, it is best to have an SBS that is independent of an increasing ball impact force. This will lead to a more consistent playability of the racquet, which includes a more repetitive feel. This desired “feel” implies using high elongation strings (greater than 10%). If low elongation strings are used (less than 4%), the SBS will significantly increase as the ball impact force increases, resulting in a racquet feeling “boardy” for higher impact loads. And low elongation strings will cause un-proportionally increasing load into the body.
As you can see by the graph, elongation contributes to SBS in a big way. The red line indicates a stiff string, about 4%, and the blue line indicates a “soft” string, about 15% elongation. You can see the loads increase dramatically as the impact increases. So the harder the hit the higher the loads on the body.
So to the question asked at the start “What is a soft tennis string?” In the context of the SBS discussed above, I would suggest that a soft tennis string is one whose elongation is 10-15%, and a stiff tennis string is 4-6%. And any string under 4% should be categorized as ultra-stiff.
String elongation (soft, stiff, ultra-stiff), stringing machine strung tension, and string pattern(s) all contribute to SBS and SBS is an important measure of how a racquet plays and should be adjusted for an individual player, stiff and ultra-stiff strings can lead to less-repeatable racquet performance and player injury.
Soft = 10 -15% Elongation Power Potential Range = 10.0 – 16.0
Stiff = 4 – 6% Elongation Power Potential Range = 4.0 – 7.0
Ultra Stiff = Less than 4% Power Potential Range = .65 – 3.96
My answer is simple! To give you the very best performance you can get from your racquet dollar!
You are probably thinking “aren’t I getting that now from my online purchase?”
Probably not! I see a lot of racquets from online sources and what I see convinced me that you need to have another option! The issues I see are typically poor string selection and really poor string installation. String and stringing are very important, and you deserve better! We offer racquets, in a limited sort of way, so you are getting what you expect!
How do I select what brands I will offer? Well, I review almost every racquet made either before or right after they are introduced and this review yields a great deal of information that is not normally known to the online consumer.
That is why you will see Head and Wilson racquets when you visit the World Headquarters of Racquet Quest. This selection does not mean other brands are not worthy of your consideration, and we are pleased to discuss all brands and offer them when appropriate.
Our racquet prices are attractive and the special service we offer adds to the value of your purchase.
Even if you just have a racquet question, we will be very pleased to help!
Ashaway MonoGut ZX Family
Ashaway, RI – “While it is certainly premature to proclaim the demise of polyester and co-polyester monofilament strings,” said Ashaway Vice President Steve Crandall in a newly published column, “I think it is certainly fair to say that the tide is against them, and that a counter trend towards “Zero Poly” monofilament strings is gaining momentum among tournament and other high-end players.”
In addition to growing complaints of arm pain and wrist pain and even injury, Crandall claims players are simply not reaping the benefits touted by the makers of these ultra-stiff high tech strings. “More and more high-end players are coming to realize they can get equal, if not better performance from newer zero poly monofilament alternatives, along with better feel, better playability, and reduced risk of injury,” he said.
In terms of spin generation, polyester’s main claim to fame, Crandall cited technical reports by Australian physicist Rod Cross and Tennis Warehouse University’s Lindsay Crawford, which demonstrate that topspin is generated not by the stiffness of a string material, but its ability to move laterally and snap back when striking the ball, characteristics shared by non-poly alternatives.
This is the case with Ashaway’s own MonoGut® ZX strings, Crandall claimed. “Here is a material that, 1) is nearly as slippery as polyester, and 2) has much better dynamic stiffness,” he said. “This means it can generate almost as much spin as poly, but with more power. Not to mention that it plays softer and offers much better feel. This is a combination people are beginning to notice.”
Crandall also cited comments by leading stringer John Gugel, who he quotes as saying, “To get the benefit of poly you have to hit the ball really hard. That’s when the string bed becomes non-linear and much stiffer. You can see it with professional players. They hit the ball just about as hard as they can every single time. And there are unintended consequences to that.”
Gugel said he, too, finds that players are increasingly looking for alternatives, and that they are very pleased with the performance of MonoGut ZX. “Most of the players that I introduce MZX to are a little bit skeptical of what it can do. However, after hitting with it, it is the consistency of string bed stiffness that they like. They find the spin as good as polyester and some find it better.”
Gugel said he actively discourages junior players from using polyester and that he has “a lot of juniors using 100% MZX and playing at a very high level.” Hybrid stringing is also a popular alternative, he added, with one of the best combinations being natural gut in the mains and MZX Pro in the cross strings.
Ashaway Racket Strings are made by Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co., the only U.S. manufacturer of string for squash, tennis, racquetball, and badminton. Operated by the Crandall family since 1824, Ashaway has been making racquet strings since 1949, and is responsible for several important technical innovations. Ashaway has been the Official String of USA Racquetball for more than ten years, and is also the Official String of Professional Tennis Registry. Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co. also makes braided products for medical and industrial applications. For more information visit www.ashawayusa.com. Zyex is a registered trademark of Zyex Ltd.
For additional product information, contact:
Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co.
PO Box 549
Ashaway, RI 02804 USA
Tel: (800) 556-7260 (U.S. only) or +1 (401) 377-2221
Fax: +1 (401) 377-9091
Racquet Preparation Specialists as close as 407.491.4755 or 407.494.4702!
Appointments are accepted and encouraged.
We are glad you are visiting our site. We encourage you to ask any tennis, racquet, and string questions, post ideas, share tennis and racquet related stories with other tennis and racquet enthusiasts.
While visiting our website check the periodic specials page where our racquet analysis and stringing services specials are posted.
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There must be hundreds of web sites and forums that discuss tennis and tennis racquets specifically.
Racquet Quest is different…
I have spent over forty (40) years working with racquets; from designing to manufacturing to stringing to customization, plus retail and anything in between! I know that each racquet and player combination is unique. So, the racquet specifications must be exclusive to the player.
Even if you go no further into this site I want you to know that you, the player, is what this is all about. Some fun, some ideas, some questions, some suggestions, and most importantly, your involvement.
I hope you will enjoy your visit!
My good friends Tim Strawn and Grant Morgan are going to be at the Wilson stringing “stage” during the US Open! Tim and Grant will be answering questions about what “really” goes on in the stringing room at a major event. Ron Rocchi, of Wilson, is the Director of Stringing and Team Leader of this event. Ron is normally too busy to answer questions but Tim and Grant are there for you.
I believe this is the first time spectators will be able to ask questions in this kind of setting. So, if you are at the US Open this year be sure to find these guys. I am sure their times will be posted somewhere. Take advantage of this opportunity.
Ask Grant about the time he… huh, well, maybe not!
I am talking about our String Frequency Calculator tool. As of right now, as far as I know, WordPress does not support “interactive” spreadsheets, so our calculator is far, far, away running on One Drive!
Each time you enter user information it goes to the “cloud” and the calculation is made, then returned to racqeutquest.com, and you. It seems like a long way around but for now, that is what we have.
Here is how you can help. One Drive puts the application to “sleep” if the spreadsheet is not “active” for a short period. Then it has to be “jump started” which causes the blank display you may see. The fix is to keep it active! So every five (5) minutes or so do a calculation!
We think the information is fun and meaningful so please continue to use the Stringing Frequency Calculator!
I am very happy to see players of every age returning to, or buying for the first time, racquets that have some weight! Weight is your friend! Any racquet can be “customized” to suit the needs of the player, of course.
But what do you do if you already own a Head Radical Pro? You simply add the Head Players Cap System to your current Radical Pro. This can be done the next time the racquet needs stringing and can be removed at the next stringing if wanted.
This is a “side by side” look at the Cap System Radical and the standard Radical. You will need to like the color “orange”.
The Cap System can be added to many past Radical Pro racquets. The Cap System does not fit the Radical MP, unfortunately.
The image below shows the racquets and the specifications of each one. You can see the difference between the two. It is obvious that the major difference will be weight and swing weight. The numbers between the two racquets are the data for the Radical Pro with the Cap System.
“Hey, John. Two of the racquets at XXXXXX for you to restring. Let’s eliminate polyester for a little while and give my elbow a rest.”
This request is becoming much more frequent but what makes this one a little unusual is that it is already a hybrid format! A nice multifilament in the main strings and polyester in the cross strings. However, the player says he “needs to give it a rest”!
You know by now Racquet Quest does not promote polyester based string for most players. We believe, however, there are only bad applications, not necessarily bad strings, and will suggest the string we agree is a good application! If this includes polyester, we will go with it!
The statement above is typical of many players that simply need a rest from polyester and may never go back. Never going back is difficult for some players because they simply like the massive strokes required to play the ball deep!
Whatever you do make sure the string suits the application! That includes the player, the racquet, and injury prevention.
While I was writing this, a client came in, and we were discussing the constant push by coaches to switch players to polyester, probably what they are using! Coaches, please, some parents do not want their players using polyester! Fortunately, my clients, typically, do not change based on what a coach may say but others may not be so lucky.
Our good friend Brittany Tagliareni went to Washington recently and proceeded to win the Championship! Brittany travels to play tennis and has worked her way to one of the top players in the world and has represented the USA at some events.