Racquet demo: Yonex RDiS 300

The Yonex RDS 003

The Yonex RDS 003

It’s time to check the mile marker on my tennis racquet journey. When I last paused to ponder, I was considering a switch from my Yonex RDS 003 to either the Dunlop Aerogel 4D 300 Tour or the ProKennex Black Ace 98. I’ve since put down the Black Ace. I still love it for baseline games, but for match play, it’s a bit much for me to wield for two or three sets.

The Dunlop Aerogel 4D 300 Tour is still getting a lot of play, though. I haven’t officially made a switch, but I love it and have been hitting with it most days. As a request from Talk Tennis, I took the Yonex RDiS 300 out for a spin. It’s remarkably similar to the RDS 003 in specs with the most noticeable change being length. The RDiS 300 is a standard length racquet, and the RDS 003 is 27.25 inches long.

I have to admit even though the racquets spec out so similarly, it took me a while to dial in the RDiS 300, and it didn’t have to do with the change in length. For me, the adjustment came down to feel. Otherwise, the characteristics were the same. I got great pop, outstanding maneuverability, and easy access to spin, etc., but when it came to feel, I was bewildered. Strung at two pounds above mid with a synthetic gut, the RDiS 300 felt much crisper than my RDS 003, which I string at 60 pounds for softer co-polys and 64 for multis or synthetic guts. I know the higher tension I use on the RDS 003 and the stiffness rating comparison tell another story (62 RA for the RDiS 300 vs 65 RA), but I enjoyed what I sensed as the slightly plusher feel of the RDS 003.

I decided to cut out the strings in the RDiS 300. This time I strung the synthetic gut at one pound below mid, which I felt was a total departure for me. I was stringing my RDS 003s at 64 pounds for some added control. With this new string setup, I enjoyed the feel of the RDiS 300 much more. There were some issues with control as expected, and I couldn’t just swing away with abandon. (What, am I expected to think on the court? Just kidding.) After finding the feel I was looking for, though, I was comfortable and the RDiS 300 felt like an old friend on the court. I don’t think I’ll be making the switch because I’m still very comfortable with the RDS 003, and, to be vain, I just like the cosmetic of the RDS 003 better. Perhaps when the 003s are out of stock, I’ll give the RDiS 300 another look. Until then, it’s still the RDS 003.

Happy Hitting!

Rack-et-ing the brain

I’ve hit a road block on this tennis journey of mine. (If you missed the first leg of my “journey,” check it out here.) I am being Ms. Indecisive. I’ve rekindled my fling with the Dunlop Aerogel 4D 300 Tour, and I’m still flirting with the ProKennex Black Ace 98. Every time the playtesters head out for the courts I look for these two racquets. Because we’re currently testing the Black Ace, I don’t always get my hands on this one. I have been leaning toward the Dunlop this past week, but perhaps that’s because I’ve been too slow to get to the ProKennex first! I really would like to hit them side by side, though.

The Dunlop offers me great control, but I like the added power I think I’m getting from the Black Ace. My shots just have more weight to them. On the other hand, I’m getting better topspin with the Dunlop; I suspect it’s because I can swing it so much faster. Then again, man, I love to hit slice with the Black Ace. However, the Dunlop is also much easier for me to use on quick pickups on those really deep baseline shots. Ack! See what I mean, Ms. Indecisive.

I’m going to settle this soon. I have to or I just might drive myself nuts. If it’s just a flirtation with these racquets, the honeymoon phase has to be over soon. Right?

Until next time, Happy Hitting (with any racquet)!

Master of my racquet universe

In the TW playtesting office, we often find racquets we like. Sometimes we switch. Sometimes we have what I’ll call an affair, which means we play with that stick for a few months then return to our original “racquet of choice,” and recently one of the playtesters found his Holy Grail, that coveted match made in heaven.

For me, tennis has been a journey. I’m still learning my way, and that is not likely to change. There are many aspects to this journey, from equipment to tournaments and everything in between. Today, let’s talk racquets.

My tennis journey began at age 15, shortly after quitting life as a competitive gymnast. My younger brother was a competitive tennis player so it was easy for me to head out to the courts as well. I not only picked up my brother’s sport, but also his racquet: the Prince CTS Lightning 110. This started a pattern. I played with what I was given. I had no reason for liking this one or disliking that one. Next up in my racquet history: Prince CTS Synergy 28. This was one of those “affairs” I described earlier. I liked the Synergy because Jennifer Capriati played with one of them (the Synergy DB 26, if I recall correctly), and I wanted to pound balls off the baseline just like her. It was, however, painfully obvious to my dad that I wasn’t Capriati-like, so he sent me back to the Lightning.

As my game developed, I was allowed to move on to the ProKennex Silver Ace, again my brother’s racquet. I stuck with it through high school and into college, when I regrettably hung up my sticks and didn’t play for a few years. Post college, I wanted back into the game. I thought I shouldn’t play with the Silver Ace any more; I felt I needed more oomph as I was starting over. This time around, I couldn’t use my brother’s racquet, the Prestige Classic 600. Can we say too demanding? He recommended the Babolat Pure Drive. I went with the Plus length, again on his recommendation. I liked the racquet because it gave me the extra juice I needed. After a while, I complained I was hitting my forehand late. He told me to get the standard Pure Drive, and I did. I liked this, too, but now I can’t help wondering if I had tried several racquets on my own if I would have gone in a different direction.

Fast forward. Job change lands me at Tennis Warehouse. Yes! As part of the playtest team, I began to hit different racquets. A lot of them. I developed a sense of what I truly liked in a racquet. I do like extended length racquets, but the swingweight needs to be manageable so I can whip through when I get caught. Headlight balance is preferred. My sweetspot for weight is 11 to 11.5 ounces, and I like racquets that have some flex, not too stiff. Now I’m the master of what I get to play with, and I certainly am lucky to have plenty of options every day. My current racquet of choice is the Yonex RDS 003, but it’s been discontinued. Lately I’ve been flirting a lot with the ProKennex Black Ace 98 and earlier had an affair with the Dunlop Aerogel 4D 300 Tour. What I’ve learned is that I must demo racquets, as many as I can. This is truly the only way to find my way to racquet heaven. Like I said, this journey isn’t over, and I’m sure there will many more stops along the way.

I’ll check back in with you and reflect now and then on my tennis journey. Please feel free to share your tennis travel stories with me, too!

Until next time, Happy Hitting!