Isospeed Energetic 17 String Review

isoen17-1

In the mood for something a little different than I would normally play with, I tried a set of the Isospeed Energetic 17 gauge string.  Word has spread that Isospeed makes a great-playing string, and the Energetic did not disappoint.  With similar appearance to an aramid string, the Energetic differs by offering a very comfortable and soft feel with great durability for a multifilament.

Stringing the Energetic was a little unique to other strings.  I strung it at 56 lbs in my Prince TT Warrior MP.  It was pretty stiff and did not stretch much (due to the pre-stretched filaments), but was also fairly soft and easy on the fingers.  In addition, there was a little texture on the outside of the string, which made it a little more difficult to string than other strings with the same softness.  Overall however, it was a relatively easy stringing experience.

When I first hit the Energetic, I instantly noticed the grab it had on the ball and the enhanced ball pocketing.  The ball really sunk into the string bed on contact, and thus the strings were responsive and I was able to have great feel on all my shots.  The string was very soft and also provided a good amount of “pop” to the ball, making it pretty arm-friendly.  With the great ball pocketing, I was also able to generate ample amounts of spin on all my shots.  In addition to the nice playability, the strings lasted me a good 3-4 days in durability, which is much more than I would normally get out of a multifilament string, and right about on par with an average polyester string.

Overall, playing with the Isospeed Energetic 17 was a very nice experience.  It was a great well-rounded string, provided nice power, spin, and feel, while also maintaining tension, providing good durability, and being arm-friendly.  At $8.99 a set, the Energetic is definitely worth a try for anyone looking for an affordable, yet very playable all-around string with nice durability.

-Andy

Dressed to impress at Wimbledon

When it comes to Wimbledon, there’s always a sure bet: The apparel will be predominantly white. Though some may argue that mostly white apparel is boring, I enjoy the tradition of tennis so it’s refreshing to see. I also like to see how tennis apparel designers step up to the plate.

In the other Slams, designers can rely on color to make a big splash. For example, the so called “Darth Fed” look of US Opens past where he wore an all black ensemble for his night matches. Or take a look at any of Rafa’s outfits from the recent past. They look great but are awash in color. A no-no on the Wimbledon grass. Instead designers need to focus on the details, whether it be fit, fabric or strategic, restrained use of color.

There are some definite successes on the grass this year. Let’s take a look at a few dresses because Wimbledon is all about tradition, after all, and what’s more traditional than a tennis dress?

adidas Fall adilibria Dress

adidas Fall adilibria Dress

adidas Fall adilibria Dress
This was what we saw Ana Ivanovic wear on court, sadly for one match only. This dress has a few things going for it. The pop of color under the bustline offers a slimming effect, which is always a welcome design feature. The mesh isn’t just mesh either. The geometric designs etched into the mesh give it an edge as well. Want to see this dress on a person, watch Women’s Vlog #126.

Nike Control Lawn Dress

Nike Control Lawn Dress

Nike Fall Control Lawn Dress
The dress has a great fit, and it never hurts to have a solid foundation like that. One thing to mention for Nike’s tennis apparel in general is the quality of bra that is used. This year, the internal bras have been improved and offer better support than ever. But back to the dress. This ensemble worn by Serena Williams also has flashes of pink for the accent color, but what makes this one stand out for me are the pintuck details on the back — very flattering — and the lightweight material used for the skirt. Check out our women’s Vlog #127 to see how it looks on.

Nike Maria Sharapova Lawn Dress

Nike Maria Sharapova Lawn Dress

Nike Maria Sharapova Lawn Dress
Unlike the previous two mentions, except for the modest Swoosh on the chest, this dress doesn’t use color. And it doesn’t need it. This has all the drama that we’ve come to expect from Maria. This dress impresses with its playful use of textures. The mix of knit jersey and mesh layers somehow manages to remain lightweight and offers the dimension a solid white dress needs to look great in person — and on TV.

These are just a few of the Wimbledon pieces. I certainly have some other favorites. Share some with me. In the meantime, I’ll be on the lookout for my favorite apparel for the US Open, which, as always, promises to make a design splash in an entirely different way.

Happy Hitting!
Tiffani, TW

On the road to Roseburg…

photoJune 25, 2010

Call me strange, but I often enjoy long drives by myself, getting lost in some good tunes and my own thoughts. Yesterday I made my way from Chico, California to Roseburg, Oregon in a little over five hours. The sights and sounds of the drive become a big part of your life on the road as you spend countless hours traveling from city to city, for tournament after tournament.

I set out heading north from Chico on Highway 99, a two-lane highway that passes through sprawling farm country, dominated by the rice and almond fields that make up a large part of this farming community. The 99 weaves its way through the farmlands, periodically running through tiny towns which couldn’t contain more than a couple thousand people each, consisting of a general store, a couple gas stations, your locally-owned roadside diners, and maybe a fast food drive-thru or two. The pace in these towns seem to follow the speed limits that govern it, slow and listless as you slow to a crawl, getting a better look as you traverse through these neglected road-side whistle-stops.

After what seems like a travel through time backwards 30 years, the 99 leads you to Interstate-5, the largest highway in the west that can take you all the way along the coast from Mexico to Canada. After a little more farm country, Mt. Shasta suddenly looms in front of you, and the grassy plains beside the road turn into lush, majestic forest with countless towering fir and pine trees. The road turns into a winding highway as it carves through the forest, always in the shadow of the snow-covered Mt. Shasta peak to your right. I thought a picture stop was necessary as I crossed the bridge of the incredible picturesque Shasta Lake.

More beautiful views of Mt. Shasta await as the road winds through the Siskiyou National Forest, and you cross the Oregon-California border. Beautiful rolling hills extend as far as the eye can see in every direction, absolutely covered in these enormous trees. You can feel the shift from the California desert to the more mountainous terrain of the Pacific Northwest. The air becomes cooler and fresher, the clear blue sky is now changing into a mix of white and grey clouds. The flat highway of California in the middle of the flat, grassy plains shifts to a winding mountain road that carves its way through the forest, gaining and losing elevation with every twist and turn. The colors that dominate the world around you change from a pale yellow and brown of the dying summer grass to a rich forest green, met by a deep blue cloud-lined sky. It’s about 8:00 in the evening as I reach Oregon, and it becomes a race against the setting sun to my left as I continue heading north.

A couple things dominated my thoughts along this five-hour drive, and since I had no one to share them with on the road I figured I could share them with you now. A big part of becoming a successful tennis player is goal setting. Your outcome goals (rankings, match and tournament results) provide a destination, and your performance goals (take strides in different parts of your game) become the road map on how to get there. As I set out on this journey of becoming a professional tennis player, my ultimate outcome goal was to be the first Cal Poly tennis player of the modern era to participate in a Grand Slam. My coach and I set up a number of performance goals for the summer months in order to take my game to the next level, and kind of left the outcome goals open to see what things I might begin to desire as I set out on the road. After participating this past week in the Chico Futures, I realized the outcome goal I wanted. I want to work my butt off, and in a year come back and win the tournament that first got me started on this journey. It’s a clear vision, and one I hope to use to guide my training and travels in the coming months. After seeing the level of play and the level of commitment required for this accomplishment, I think this goal is difficult but attainable.

Roseburg is a small roadside town right in the heart of the Umpqua Valley, with a little over 20,000 residents. A lot of motels for weary road travelers making their way up the 5 line the side of the freeway, along with some fast-food and standard American chain restaurants. I sit now in my room at the Howard Johnson in town, waiting for my 4:00 first round singles match. My doubles partner (who I am sharing a room with) and I will head out for a light hit later this morning, and perhaps get a glance at our afternoon opponents. Life is slow here in Roseburg, and even slower for two tennis players in town for a tournament, with nothing to do but prepare for the matches ahead. Stay tuned for updates from the Umpqua Valley Open.

-AG