The Pitch: Asics, a brand synonymous with high-performance running and tennis shoes, has added to their product line a set of innovative game-improvement racquets for senior players. The Asics 109 (shown at right) and 116 (shown at top), while respectively no wider than conventional 100 and 105 square-inch frames, feature atypically long main strings—elongated by more than an inch—which Asics claims expands the sweetspot for more forgiveness and power.
How It Tested: Playtesters were more than impressed with the security the Asics’ snowshoe-shaped design provided them on-court. One 4.0 tester claimed the Asics 109 offered a surprising mobile feel and “bulldozer power, though not uncontrollable power” plowing through volleys and groundstrokes. Other playtesters who were at first skeptical of the 109’s look fell in love with it after experiencing how easy the longer strings made putting balls back deep when jammed or out of position; the 116’s extra six square inches of head size, playtesters reported, made keeping the ball out of the net that much easier. Clearly, the Asics 109 and 116 not for players with western grips who hit with lots of pop and topspin. But they should feel great in the hands of players with traditional, flat strokes and slice backhands.
Bottom Line: A very powerful and forgiving stick for early adopters and players who lack mobility on the court.