Product Profile: Battistone Diamond by Natural Tennis

by: Richard Pagliaro | November 08, 2012

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MSRP: $220
Release Date: May 2012
Head Size: 105 sq. in.
Length: 27.5 in.
Weight*: 10.8 oz.
Balance*: 10 pts. HL
Beam Width: 23-26-22.5 mm
String Pattern: 16 x 19

*Values represent strung frames.

Facts: The Diamond joins the Freestyle as the second member of Natural Tennis’ distinctive double-handed racquet family. Both racquets are approved by the ITF for tournament play and have been used in ATP events by the Battistone brothers.

The Diamond’s dual handles are connected at the butt cap and constructed closer together than the Freestyle’s handles, which flare out in a V-shape. Natural Tennis says the Diamond’s ergonomic handles diminish stress on both the wrists and elbow.

The 105 square-inch head offers ample string space, and the racquet’s geometric handles are designed to “shift the contact point to the side of the body, allowing for greater reach,” according to Natural Tennis. Creating leverage on both sides of the body, encouraging symmetrical play, providing stable power, and adding disguise to shots are among the Diamond’s benefits, cited by Natural Tennis.

Impressions: Playing with a double-handed racquet for the first time is a bit like learning to use a stick shift after spending a lifetime driving with an automatic transmission. You may initially find yourself thinking about every element of stroke production as you try to make clean contact. Should you be blessed with Maria Sharapova's ability to hit with your non-dominant hand, you may be pleasantly surprised by the extended reach the Diamond provides. If your hands aren’t as quick, you might find yourself handcuffed by shots hit directly at you—returning body serves and blasts into the body at net was a challenge.

Adapting to the racquet depends a bit on your stroke style, grips, and sense of adventure. It took a while to consistently hit clean shots with the Diamond, but a 3.5-rated woman player on an adjacent court picked up the racquet for the first time and was rallying within 10 minutes. One coach said the racquet is a good teaching tool in that it encourages players to fully finish their follow through.

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