Like many other players, for a time I was a Head Prestige Mid man. I just loved the solid feel and dependable response. It wasn’t an overly powerful stick, but when the ball was hit as it should be, the mass of the frame made it seem like you were colliding with air. The ball buried on the string bed and shot off with great pace and purpose. You could thump serves, rip ground strokes, block returns, drive or drop volleys—it was indeed a complete, all-court player’s frame.
It's been several years since I've played with the Prestige Mid, but only because I’m fickle and want to experiment with different brands and models. However, I’ve remained a fan and was disappointed that Head did not include the Mid in its Graphene lineup. Instead, the Rev Pro now substitutes in to carry the 93 square-inch mantle. I won’t use the word replace, because the two frames are really not much alike, and I hold out hope that the more classic Mid will eventually return.
This is not to say that the Rev Pro is without merit. It’s lighter, plays firmer, and is probably more spin-friendly than what players have come to expect from a Prestige Mid. In other words, it’s designed to attract the modern baseline player. The addition of Graphene takes weight out of the throat to lighten the load and makes the frame more maneuverable. This adds up to faster swings and the potential for added pop on serves and ground strokes.
However, the combination of lighter weight and smaller head size does seem to come at a price. The frame doesn’t possess a huge sweetspot to begin with, and the lack of mass makes it more difficult to generate heavy shots with great plow through. It certainly can be done, but I sometimes found myself trying to muscle ball in order to achieve deep, penetrating shots because I couldn’t trust my regular stroke to deliver the necessary power. I didn’t mind it so much on my serve, but it was more noticeable on my groundies.
The other drawback was stability. There was a slightly tinny, or hollow feel that I would not normally associate with a Prestige. It wasn’t so apparent when shots were pure, but anything off-center and the feedback was evident, as was the power outage. So when I stuck a volley, the results were great, but if I hit something less than perfect, or needed some finesse, I struggled with the feel.
The weight and balance do make the Rev Pro an interesting candidate for customization. I’ve read where players have had good success adding up to an ounce of weight to the frame to make it more stable and to hit a beefier shot. That may be more work than some are willing to do, as they’d sooner start out with a racquet that weighs closer to 12 oz. And at that point the frame is starting to look a lot more like a classic Prestige Mid, which is not what the Rev Pro is trying to be.
That’s why the frame probably could have benefited from a name change. It’s just going to be difficult for savvy racquet consumers to look at a 93 sq. in. Prestige and not equate it with the classic Mid. Those that can, as racquet tester Kin Roseborough did, may find some real positives in the frame. Here’s his more favorable take on the Prestige Rev Pro:
Kin Roseborough: Is it possible to make a classic mid-sized frame that works in today's game? My personal preference is for 95 sq. in., heavy, thin-beamed frames on my backhand, while my forehand is more potent with a larger head and slightly lighter racquet. The Graphene Prestige Rev Pro proved to be the perfect combo.
I could hit effective topspin or slice off the backhand with great directional control. With my forehand I found I could flatten out my stroke and get some nice power and depth. The excellent maneuverability gave me confidence to go for—and often hit—some tight targets. The sweet spot felt larger than that of a 93 sq. in head, which, combined with the flexible feel, made for a very comfortable hit. There was plenty of topspin for someone with my eastern grips, but more modern players with semi-western or western styles and used to stiffer 100 sq. in. frames might find their shots lacking a few R.PMs and MPHs.
On my serve, I had a little more pop than usual, mostly from the low swingweight allowing me to accelerate the racquet head through contact a little quicker. Even so, my fastball doesn't break 100 anymore, so power serving isn't part of my game. Relying on placement, I was definitely more consistent than usual, at one point making 18 out of 19 first serves to close out the first set of a singles match.
The return was one of my favorite shots with the Prestige Rev Pro. While I often resort to chipping or blocking balls back against big first serves, I felt confident coming over the ball or driving hard slices with this frame. And I felt like I was 20 years younger on second serves, aggressively attacking the ball.
My volleys were solid, with the maneuverability of the Prestige Rev Pro standing out once again. I had good touch and feel, and decent power. The sweet spot, however, seemed a little smaller at the net and when I couldn't find it, the racquet felt much less stable. The Rev Pro also got pushed around a bit by hard passing shots.
All in all, though, a thoroughly modern mid. While Prestige Mid purists will probably howl, the Rev Pro definitely fits a niche.
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