Racket Around Gear Land
School’s out, it’s growing warmer, and it’s getting tough to score a court in the park: The days of tennis are upon us. Manufacturers, for their part, have planned a slew of new racquet releases to satiate our desires for the tennis nouveau. So what’s on the racquet docket for summer 2012?
Several sticks are hot off the presses just in time for Roland Garros. Of particular interest to the collectors and cosmetically finicky among us, Babolat has released a number of its racquets with new, terre battue-inspired colors. Orange hues have made their way onto the AeroPro Drive (MSRP: $199), weapon of choice for Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and favorite for power baseliners all over. Clay hues have also made their way onto the more maneuverable AeroPro Drive Lite (MSRP: $189) and AeroPro Drive Junior for kids (MSRP: $104).
This past week, Dunlop announced the release of the new Biomimetic Max 200G (MSRP: $210). Johnny Mac’s racquet of choice, the player’s frame has been updated with such Biomimetic technologies as Aeroskin, an aerodynamic, sharkskin-like coating, and HM6 Carbon, a high-modulus carbon fiber. According to Dunlop, these added technologies, while still retaining the 200G’s classic feel, ultimately make for a quicker-swinging and more comfortable stick—one that should pair well with with intermediate to advanced all-courters who’d like a little extra zip on the ball, but don’t want to sacrifice the feel of a player’s frame.
As summer bears down upon us mid-June, Donnay will launch oversized versions of its Formula and Pro One models. It’s the company’s first foray into the game-improvement market. And for clubs dubs players, it’s a chance to try out Donnay’s XeneCore technology, a proprietary tubing injected into their sticks to yield solid-core constructions. According to Donnay, solid-core racquets are both more powerful and more comfortable. What’s a XeneCore-injected jumbo stick play like? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Also in store for June are new releases from Volkl and Boris Becker. The super light Volkl 5, Volkl 9 (a tweener stick), and C10 Pro—one of Volkl’s most renowned player’s sticks—have all been retrofitted with Organix, high-tech material that, according to the company, offers more dampening and stability for greater comfort. Yet to come from Boris Becker is the DC NYC, a standard-length tweener.
Come mid-July, Head plans to release updates to their Extreme racquet line. The Head YouTek IG Extreme Pro, MP, and S, fitted with Innegra, will be released in a second generation.
In other news, Gamma, in August, plans to bring back the ginormous 135 sq. in. Big Bubba. And chances are that Solinco, Volkl, and Dunlop will launch new sticks around the US Open. All’s under wraps at present, but I’ll keep you posted in the coming months.
It’s clear: There’s lots of testing ahead of us at the magazine. Oh so steadily, oblong boxes are beginning to arrive at our offices; we’re jonesing for a hit around. Stay tuned for proper reviews.