Question of the Day: Fear of Change
TENNIS.com gear editor Justin diFeliciantonio and his technical advisers answer your equipment questions each day. Click here to send in a question of your own.
Hey Justin, after many long fruitful years, I’ve been forced to hang up my old Head i.Prestiges and enter the market for some fresh frames. (Unfortunately, my last frame cracked, and it seems that new i.Prestiges are almost impossible to come by these days.) I’ve demoed several of the newer Prestige models—from the one manufactured with Liquidmetal to the current Innegra—but it’s been hard to find one that delivers feedback like the i.Prestige. Which of course is what I’d like to find: A racquet fresh from the factory that doesn’t feel too far off from what I’m used to. My friends think I’m being a bit fanatical, and I’m starting to question whether it’s all in my head. Am I making too much out of this? What would you recommend that I do?—Paul H.
Chances are it’s not in your head, Paul. Many players, professionals included, have trouble adjusting to new frames. (Case in point: Juan Martin del Potro, as I discovered at the U.S. Open this year, has resisted transitioning from his old Wilson KFactor frames.) Sometimes players will have specific complaints—say, the new model doesn’t sound right, or it vibrates too much upon impact. But more often than not, the problem will be rather nebulous. For whatever reasons(s)—specifications, construction, technology, grip shape, paint, etc.—that new stick just won’t “feel” right.
So what are you to do? What’s the solution? Sorry to say, but if you’re struggling to find a stick that plays like the i.Prestige, it might be time for you to adjust your own sense of feel. It’s a tough pill to swallow, I know, but these are the tennis facts of life. Select the model that most closely resembles the feel of your i.Prestige, and then start practicing with it. Keep the faith. After enough time, your new sticks should feel just as good as—and perhaps even better than—what you’ve learned to love.