Like measuring your middle-aged game against your younger self, hitting with a Prestige can invite comparisons—unfair as they may be—to prior models. But just as you can’t relive your past, so has the Prestige continued to move forward. Its fundamental nature is still apparent: lots of control, dependability and feel for demanding players. However, the franchise has evolved over the past several generations to keep up with the pace of the modern game. The new Graphene 360+ Prestige Pro is one of its finest examples.
The technology of the moment for Head racquets, Graphene 360+ places Graphene at strategic positions around the frame to provide added power and stability, with Spiralfibers inserted in the lower hoop for enhanced flex and improved comfort at impact. In the Prestige Pro, it delivers impressive pop for a 95 square-inch frame and a pleasing, connected feel in the sweet spot.
In the past, I have generally compared the Pro with the Midplus; they were the same head size with comparable weight, flex and balance. The Pro had the more open string pattern and marginally thicker beam which tipped the power and spin scales more in its favor, the Midplus getting the slight nod for better control.
But this newest incarnation creates much starker distinctions. The Midplus mold has been expanded to be a legitimate 98 square-inch head, the beam has been thinned even further and the flex has been decreased. It has a lower-powered, plusher response that arguably feels superior to the Pro at contact. However, the Pro is perhaps a little quicker and produces a naturally heavier and more powerful ball. If the two were brothers, the Midplus would be the cerebral one and the Pro the jock.
Playing style and needs will probably determine which model suits an individual’s game. Even though it didn’t feel quite as inviting, I happened jibe better with the Pro. I found it better for achieving repeatable depth and more adept at dictating points. It’s still a Prestige and still required a fast, mechanically sound swing to penetrate the court. But when everything aligned it could still be a bully. Yet there was enough access to spin and overall playability to employ a variety of tactics.
What particularly drew my attention was how well it handled incoming pace, combining top-notch stability with good command. It’s firmer than its predecessor which bolsters the spine for dependable changes of direction. Off-center contact could feel a little brittle, especially with a full bed of polyester, but the upshot was missing the sweet spot wasn’t punished so severely that shots were dying by the service line. I could trade confidently from the baseline without fear that if I didn’t pure the ball I’d be at the mercy of my opponent. And when the opportunity presented itself, I could apply pressure with plenty of margin for error.
Serving with the Pro was also a highlight. The frame has substantial mass and swingweight, but being a 95 accelerated through contact more effectively than some lighter frames with larger heads. And when it did with some giddy-up, the serve got on the returner in a hurry. Spin generation and ball placement were also assets. Again, it won’t do as much work for you as other racquets. But players with fast, fluid deliveries will have no trouble inflicting damage.
At net, the smooth handling and sturdiness added up to frequent success. I put away sitters with authority and defended against hot shots with virtually no wobble. A knock for me, though, was the response not being as cottony as I would like. Or, what I’d expect from a Prestige. There was just enough flex to play with touch, but I struggled a bit to consistently take pace off the ball. Some of that could have been string choice—I tested it with Hawk Touch—and a softer setup might have allowed the racquet to be more playful.
Overall, the new Prestige Pro is a solid player’s frame. It brings many of the heritage features the line is known for—predictable response, shot command, versatility—and packs them into a 95 square-inch with the pop and forgiveness of a larger racquet. Head has changed the distinctive square-shaped grip of the Prestige to a more rounded grip found on their other frames. The feeling is fans of the racquet will make the adjustment and the more universal grip will be an enticement to other players trying out a Prestige. The Pro would be a good place to start.