Lately I’ve noticed many manufacturers are coming out with thinner replacement grips. Is this an emerging trend? I certainly hope so. Before I began testing a lot of racquets, I never knew how much I liked to feel the bevels of a racquet handle. The bevels are simply the edges that define the handle’s shape.
To further alienate me from the bevels, I’ve long been a fan of overgrips. Generally I liked the feel of them better. I often found replacement grips to get too slick during play. My go-to overgrips have been Wilson Pro Overgrip and Yonex Super Grap. I wrapped them over whatever synthetic grip happened to be on the handle. I had no idea what I was missing.
For me, the light went off when I was playtesting the Wilson KBlade Tour. This racquet comes equipped with a leather grip. Purists might rebuff me for this, but I just can’t get used to playing with a leather grip alone. The grip gets too slick, and I feel like the leather aggravates my callouses. A leather grip with an overgrip? That’s another story entirely. For me, it’s a wonderful mix of feel. I can feel the contours but get a softer, drier grip. However, I don’t always want the added weight of a leather grip.
Here’s where the new generation of synthetic replacement grips comes in handy. The Dunlop Hydramax Pro, Prince ResiPro and Babolat Skin Feel are providing me with nice bevel feel. Another added bonus for me: the grip size feels smaller. I can comfortably play with most 4 3/8 grip size racquets now, and if I choose a 4 1/4 grip, which is my preference, when I add the overgrip, it doesn’t add too much bulk or remove all bevel feel. Ah, I love it when tennis just keeps getting better.
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