Playtesters you hit with:
Troy Lara, Spencer, Sean Hemmer, Mike Marquez
Type of Playtesting (singles, doubles, drills):
sets of doubles, singles cross court patterns, singles 11-point service games, singles 10-point tie breakers
TW indoor, SLO high outdoor courts
What racquets are you playtesting?
Wlson BLX Steam 99S, upcoming Dunlop racquet
I am working with the new Wilson BLX Steam 99S, and playing quite a bit with an upcoming Dunlop racquet. The Steam 99S is a top notch frame with a very open string pattern. The example we have been swinging has the Luxilon 4G poly in the low 50 pound range of tension. As is; I love it for the most part. I am perhaps a more accomplished table tennis player than tennis player, and this racquet lets me play a more ping pong style. The ball comes off the strings differently than all of my other frames, which tend to be heavier, and with dense patterns. Forget what I have to say about it, the reality came in the form of comments from other players who I often hit with. They all agreed that my ground strokes were more effective; with crazy angled, spin shots/ very ping pong like. The only knock I can give this frame is a subjective one; it was a bit too light on serve, being in the low 11 ounce range. I was effective on the ground/ volley attack, but my serve was attackable.
The upcoming Dunlop racquet has the specifications that are right in my range. It was paired with an yet to be released poly from ISOSPEED called Black Fire, which was in the low 50 pound range of tension as well. I thought it felt like RPM Blast, but smoother around the edges. I use the Head Prestige MP for the most part, and this frame is a seamless transition for me. No frame makes my second serve any better, but this one does complement my entire game.
Editor’s note: Mark just gave you another sneak peek of the new Steams that will pre-sale January 1, 2013. In addition, find out more information on the upcoming Dunlop racquet in the next month.
What shoes are you playtesting?
adidas adizero CC Feather II
Traditionally, me and light shoes are not too compatible. I wear though shoes pretty quickly, so I stick to the sole warranty variety. I consider a shoe that is under 15 ounces to be light, so I believed that I would go through these like a hot knife through butter. Not the case; the new adidas adizero CC Feather II’s are lighter than 15 ounces, and adidas has walked the fine line between the shoe’s upper being too stiff, or flimsy. It has become my favorite light weight tennis shoe, as it delivers the stability that the heavier shoes provide, better than average durability, and top notch comfort, which I thought to be previously impossible to combine.
Editor’s note: The adidas adizero CC Feather II will be available for pre-sale on Dec. 14, 2012.
What strings are you playtesting/hitting with?
ISOSPEED Black Fire 16
Currently, I am not testing any strings, but since the ISOSPEED Black Fire is not yet available, and I played with it for several sessions, I can give somewhat of a review on it. As I mentioned above; the Black Fire in the upcoming Dunlop racquet played great. The Black Fire felt great for several hours of play, easily grabbed a hold of the ball, and maintained its tension, so I definitely will add this string to my list of favorite’s.
Editor’s Note: The ISOSPEED Black Fire 16 will be available on December 21, 2012.
Thanks for reading this week’s installment. Check back next week where I interview Tiffani and she will give you some sneak peaks on more upcoming racquets.