What do you do when you already have one of the most popular racquets on the market today? If you’re HEAD, you add Graphene XT to your Speed line of frames. This improved, stronger version of Graphene continues to allow HEAD to make a lighter frame with a swing weight capable of hitting big by moving weight to the tip and tail. The all-new Graphene XT Speed MPA also introduces Adaptive String Pattern (ASP) technology, allowing players to go from a 16×19 pattern to a 16×16 pattern by changing out the side grommet strips. At 11.2oz (strung), an 8-point head light balance, stiffness of 64 RA and a 308 swing weight, the racquet is a great option for intermediate to advanced players seeking a fast frame with both spin and power.
The Graphene XT Speed MPA is a force to be reckoned with off the ground. Its 22mm beam offers solid power and it is extremely fast through contact. The 100” head offers a generous sweet spot and the racquet has a consistent response both inside and outside of the center of the string bed.
By moving weight to the tip, the racquet is capable of driving the ball through the court while retaining the maneuverability of a lighter frame. I found it to be capable of flattening out and finishing mid court balls with either string pattern. However, switch the 16×16 side grommets in and the spin production is ramped up dramatically. I was able to push opponents around at will and keep them pinned deep with the added spin. Even with the higher launch angle of the 16×16 pattern, I found no control issues and could manage depth with ease. The Speed MPA is a versatile blend of power control and spin from the back of the court.
Volleys & serves
Net play is a very pleasant experience with the Speed MPA. It maneuvers rapidly for quick exchanges and offers finishing power when needed. It also has a clean, consistent feel for executing touch volleys when needed. The 16×19 pattern option provides better directional precision for volleying over the more open option. The 100 square inch head size also offers extra forgiveness for stretch and defensive volleys without becoming cumbersome during extended exchanges.
The Speed MPA provides instant offensive fireworks when serving. Its excellent acceleration and power level allow for aggressive flat serving to all areas of the box. I also found it easy to access spin for heavy kick and slice serves. This is especially true when using the 16×16 pattern. It allows for high kicking serves that explode off the court and keep opponents on the defensive. Directional accuracy was very good with either string pattern. I was able to move the serve around the box and hit both corners, allowing me to go on the offensive from the first ball.
The Speed MPA offers a crisp and clean feel. While not the most flexible racquet on the market, it provides solid response and feedback without ever feeling harsh. Even on off-center contact, the racquet provides a consistent, smooth feel, allowing it to offer excellent comfort and feel. Players with sensitive arms should have no problems as even the 16×16 pattern with full polyester plays with comfort and feel.
The Graphene XT Speed MPA is an impressive update from HEAD. It offers an excellent blend of power, spin and control in a comfortable and responsive setup. The addition of ASP technology makes it even more attractive as players can now go from traditional 16×19 pattern to an open, 16×16 pattern spin machine when they want to. Intermediate and advanced players looking for a versatile, all-court weapon would do well to take the court with this excellent HEAD offering.
About the Reviewer: Matt Locke currently serves as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho and is an active USTA League and Tournament player.