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Racquet Review: Tecnifibre TF40 305 (16x19)
A new member of the franchise with a more spin-friendly string pattern.
Published Feb 12, 2022
Head Size: 98 sq. in.
Length: 27 in.
Weight: 11.3 oz.
Balance: 3 pts. HL
RA Rating: 64
Beam Width: 22mm
String Pattern: 16x19
A few years back, Tecnifibre released the TF40 racquet line in celebration of the company’s 40th anniversary. A small rollout of just two frames, both possessed 98 square-inch heads, thin constant beams, head-light balance and tight 18x20 string patterns. The only major difference between the two was 10 grams of weight (305g vs 315g). Tecnifibre has always prided itself on appealing to dedicated and discerning players, and these racquets boasted the specs and playability that suit advanced ball-strikes seeking a frame to express their talents.
Given their dimensions and the symbolism of their release, there seemed a possibility that the racquets were novelties. Niche frames for a niche audience. However, response to their performance was overwhelmingly positive. It became obvious there was a thirst for a racquet that brought its level of feel and precision. But there was one question players constantly had for Tecnifibre:
How about a 16x19 version?
Ask, and ye shall receive. The new TF40 305 (16x19) adds a more spin-friendly option to the lineup. It has been updated with the RS beam design that debuted in the latest T-Fight models, as well as a snazzy cosmetic. Its specs match that of the 18x20 model, only with the wider string pattern and the prospect of a livelier hitting experience.
As enthusiastic as I was to try it, my first reaction to this TF40 was somewhat lukewarm. Sure, it hit a solid, predictable ball with decent pace and good control. For the weight it packed nice plow-through, and handled smoothly. The ease of spin and launch angle were certainly higher, and arguably produced more energy than its 18x20 sibling. But nothing was head-turning. Strung up with Tecnifibre Ice Code, the playability and response even left me a little…cold (I’ll be here all week). The foam-filled core in the constant 22mm beam kept things comfortable, yet it felt more unforgiving than its medium-firm flex rating.
When I brought these misgivings up to another tester, he suggested restringing the frame with something less subdued. I opted for Tecnifibre Black Code 4S 18g at 45 lbs. and things got much more interesting. The change in strings and lower tension opened up the hitting pocket, and the response moved from pedestrian closer to plush. Power and spin also improved, as shots were bouncier and harder to handle. It took a swing with a bit of anger to make an impression—the racquet’s tendencies still lean more toward control—but it had plenty of finishing power without overswinging for a frame in this category.
Its specs match that of the 18x20 model, only with the wider string pattern and the prospect of a livelier hitting experience.
While I enjoyed the results from full, aggressive cuts, stepping off the gas was more of a mixed-bag. I appreciated the help to play defense and contest scramble points when balance and technique were sub-optimal. However, when I blocked back an ornery serve—the stability was top-notch for the weight—or chipped a slice, the resulting shots could get floaty and sail long. Or if I tried to lift a roller off a low ball, intention and outcome didn’t always jibe. Some of this could be attributed to string tension; ratcheting it up a few pounds could smooth out the edges in these situations.
Serving had some ebbs and flows as well. The racquet wasn’t a natural bomber, but there was ample pace in reserve to do damage with a fluid swing. Kick serves bounded off the court and were easy to manipulate around the box. However, consistency woes did creep in when attempting a flat heater. It wasn’t unmanageable, but I felt my customary percentage rate drop unless I tempered my swing. So I favored more spin serves and placement, which still worked effectively. And I do think with time the frame would be trusted in all areas of the serve.
Volleying with the frame was more of a sure thing. The moderate flex and proportion of weight toward the head gave the frame an attractive combination of stability and crisp feel. It had the substance to handle and redirect pace accurately, with the versatility to handle more delicate assignments. If I’m nitpicking, sucking pace off the incoming shot sometimes proved elusive; the ball seemed to want to jump off the string bed. But there was little to doubt the racquet’s all-court potential.
Overall, inserting a 305 (16x19) into the TF40 universe turned out to be a most welcome addition. The more open string pattern allows for greater spin potential and easier depth, while maintaining a respectable measure of control. It could be a frame that’s string sensitive, but once model and tension are sorted out the racquet possesses a solid, comfortable and dependable response. It does take some skill to use, but for the capable players the frame is designed for, it might be a perfect fit.
Can’t wait to see what Tecnifibre has in store for its golden anniversary.