First up, I was eager to test the Harrow Vapour. I have seen some top players use Harrow gear, but my impression of Harrow has always been one of mediocrity; neither particularly good nor bad. And my experience with this racquet confirmed this. It was okay, but I felt like it didn’t add anything to my game. The handle of the racquet had a nice square feeling in my hand, but other than that, I was unimpressed. I also question the durability of this racquet, since, in my experience, Harrow racquets seem to be somewhat on the fragile side. The addition of a quality Ashaway string make this racquet an alright choice for an inexperienced player purchasing their first “good” racquet, but I can’t help but think that a good Manta or Tecnifibre racquet might be a better choice for a beginner due to potential reliability issues. This racquet might be a good control subject, one to test how other racquets perform against it.The next racquet I tried was the Tecnifibre Dynergy Tour 125. I was absolutely blown away by the amount of power I could get from this racquet. I felt myself being able to slow down my swing and concentrate on the trajectory of the shot while using the incredible power of this racquet to get it there. This sharpened up my ball control a little compared to the others, but the compromise being made here is in touch. I found many drop shots finding the tin or being too high and loose. Maybe a different string type or tension would fix this, but string can only do so much to correct flaws. It’s nice and light, evenly balanced, and it even has killer tribal style graphics for an extra amount of on court swagger. I’m fairly new to the Tecnifibre product line, but the more I use them the more I am impressed.
Finally, there was the Dunlop Biomimetic Pro GT-X 140. I know Brent has recently reviewed this one, and our opinions definitely differ. This racquet is an update of the racquet that I used to play with (the Aerogel 4D Pro GT-X), and I have to say it feels like Dunlop is headed in the wrong direction on this one. I prefer a head light or balanced racquet, and this racquet was probably one of the most head heavy I’ve ever played with. It gave me a bit of the control and touch I’d expect from a racquet of this price point, but the added weight in the head made my shots feel sluggish and clunky. And a big question with Dunlop is always durability.In the past, it has frustrated me the lack of consistency in the durability of Dunlop racquets. Some have lasted months, and some have lasted only a few hours. But they are such good racquets, that I kept buying them anyways. But this racquet does seem sturdier than previous models, and evidently more material has been added in the head to increase durability. Dunlop’s are also notorious for having poor quality factory string, so be prepared to pay for a restringing right off the bat to get the full experience. Maybe with a new set of strings this racquet might come close to the performance of the others, but today I was just not feeling it.
In a racquet, I generally look for the one with the fewest compromises. Every racquet will sacrifice something for something else, weather it be power for control, weight for durability, or what have you. These compromises can be used to pad weaknesses in your game, or accentuate strengths. For a player like myself that lacks the power that my opponents often have, a racquet that can bump my power up a little is something to consider. Today, the Dynergy 125 Tour stood above the rest for me. I don’t know if it was the cool tribal graphics that made me feel extra stylish on court, but it was above all the most fun to play with. While it slightly faltered compared to the touch of the other racquets, the power I was able to get from a low swing speed boosted my control and accuracy, which are the the two most important things in my game.