Continuing a successful history of making high-level yet trending frames, the Head YOUTEK Graphene Radical Midplus for 2014 is another must try for the rec to competitive player looking for some added control. Being a Babolat AeroPro Drive user myself, I’ve always found it an easy transition towards the Radical series by HEAD.
The first noticeable difference between the Head YOUTEK Graphene Radical Midplus and the previous Head YOUTEK IG Radical Midplus was the stiffness index. Increasing the stiffness of the racket from 62 to 64 in the latest model was a welcome change. I know many players out there are looking for more flexible frames to prevent arm and elbow pain, but very often that issue arises from a stiff string or stringing the racket at a high tension. The HEAD YOUTEK Graphene Radical Midplus played great when strung up at 55 LBS with HEAD Rip Control.
The feel of this frame was enhanced by the added stiffness and was subsequently felt on groundstrokes as well as volleys. Aiding to a more solid feel on topspin and flat shots, I would have liked a tad more spin on my slice backhand, but the overall “firmness” of my shots was consistent and deep. Wielding this racket at net was a fun experience due to the light nature of the this frame (10.4 oz unstrung and 11.2 oz with string). I found the sweet spot more often than not and hitting overheads was also quite easy. Return of serves have always been a welcome experience with the Radical series (one would think so with Andy Murray as its user) and I found a good margin when returning both first and second serves. I did find that returning first serves could’ve been a tad deeper.
Using angled shots as a big component in my game, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy I found the corner of the service boxes when trying to open up the court. Overall, I didn’t find too much to complain about off of my groundstrokes, but I would have liked a little more slice on my backhand (as mentioned above).
From a specs standpoint, HEAD recommends a 48-57 LBS tension for stringing and a power level of low to medium (I would go lower than than that average if you string with full poly). Coming from an Babolat AeroPro Drive, I would agree that the Head YOUTEK Graphene Radical Midplus doesn’t have crazy high power but makes up for it with precise control. The light orange with dark gray cosmetic was also a nice edition and finally the 16×19 string pattern remains the way to go if you’re looking for the best blend between power and control.
For more on the Head YOUTEK Graphene Radical Midplus, be sure to checkout the MerchantofTennis.com for demo and purchasing options. For all the latest news on this racket from HEAD and their Tour athletes, be sure to follow them @head_tennis.