The iconic Head Prestige has had a dramatic weight reduction in its latest incarnation as the Head Graphene Touch Prestige Pro, but it still maintains many of the qualities that make it such a popular racket. Head have moved all their rackets to a slightly lighter model in recent years, and the Prestige is no different. Older rackets have weighed well into the 330g, but this one weighs in at just 315g unstrung.
The one defining characteristic that the new Head Graphene Touch Prestige Pro maintains is its small head size, a mere 93sq inch – something that is been loved throughout the years by Prestige enthusiasts. As ever, the Prestige showcases wonderful feel and maneuverability, but it’s a racket that will delight some players, yet be very difficult to play with for many.
The three of us took the Head Graphene Touch Prestige Pro out for a spin along with the Wilson Ultra, and the Yonex Vcore 100, and some of us found the Prestige much more challenging to play with than the others. As a former member of ‘the Prestige team’, I (Will) knew what to expect from this latest version of the Prestige and didn’t have too many problems. But for those who are used to a very different style of racket, it can take a lot of getting used to.
The first thing you notice with the Head Graphene Touch Prestige Pro is that nothing comes easy. It’s not a powerful racket, and it’s not going to give you easy spin. It leaves everything up to you, and that is part of this racket’s cult appeal. Instead, what this racket gives you is complete control and feel. In order to benefit from the Graphene Touch Prestige Pro though, you have to have a lot of confidence in your strokes and the ability to hit through every ball fully. This means the Head Graphene Touch Prestige Pro will appeal to the more advanced player; one who’s technique is well developed and has confidence in their ability to generate power and spin.
As we’ve mentioned, the Head Prestige line has a bit of a cult reputation as a racket for the ‘pure’ player, and the exquisite paint jobs the Prestige has had throughout the years have contributed to that. Even when a tennis player will go on about pure tennis, it turns out they like looking good too! The Head Graphene Touch Prestige Pro certainly doesn’t let the team down in this sense as it looks stunning in its black paint job, and it’s a stick that is bound to make you look like a boss when you pull it out your bag.
I took over with the Prestige after playing with the Yonex Vcore 100, so two rackets at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Having shanked virtually every ball with the Yonex, I immediately felt much more comfortable with the Head Graphene Touch Prestige Pro and relaxed into my tennis a little bit more.
It was clear that the level of feel and maneuverability is still there with this newest Prestige, and shots such as my slice backhand felt wonderful. But if anything, the new lighter weight Prestige felt like it at lost a little bit of power. For me, this was a little bit worrying as it was already a racket that was not renowned for power.
This turned out to be my biggest problem with the Head Graphene Touch Prestige Pro. I just didn’t have quite enough on my ball, and shots that would normally be winners were being scrambled back by my opponents.
I would love to play with the Prestige as my racket of choice. I love the feel, the maneuverability, and after I got my hands on it, I didn’t want to give it back. But to get the most from the Prestige you need a bigger game than the one I possess (think of the pros who have endorsed the Prestige – Marat Safin and Marin Cilic). If you play like Safin, then, first of all, write to us, because I want to come and watch, but second of all, buy this racket today.
Groundstrokes – 8.5/10
If you’re playing with this baby then there’s one thing that’s non-negotiable – your timing is going to have to be spot on. The small head size means that when you hit the sweet spot your shot is going to feel brilliant, but if you’re ever so slightly off then you’re in trouble.
The Head Graphene Touch Prestige Pro feels nicely balanced in your hands and it’s very headlight at 7 points HL, which leads to great maneuverability and fast swings. This is very necessary given the lack of power the Prestige possesses, but it means you can get the full force of your strokes right through the ball.
When I have played with the Prestige in the past, I found that it suited my backhand, as I was able to generate great racket head speed and plow the racket right through the ball. Perhaps it’s because I have got used to a slightly different style of racket in recent times, but things didn’t work perfectly on my backhand with the new model Head Graphene Touch Prestige Pro.
It just seemed to lack a little power, even compared to old Prestige rackets, and I was dropping the ball short at regular intervals. If you’re going to use this Prestige you will need to be very confident on your weaker side that you can generate the power that means you’re not going to get dominated. You could also customize it with a small amount of lead tape to increase the plow through effect.
If you’ve seen any of my footage before, it’s obvious that the quality of my backhand is a long way down on my forehand. My forehand is heavy and pushes my opponent back, but my backhand just doesn’t do that. The problem with the Prestige was that it was even more of a problem with this racket.
The classic Tennis Bros question is, “do you look for a racket that improves your strengths or negates your weaknesses?” The Prestige brings this question starkly into focus. The racket felt absolutely beautiful on my forehand. You have to hit through the ball to achieve results, but boy does it reward you.
The Head Graphene Touch Prestige Pro would suit someone who has little preference between their forehand and backhand. If you’re an advanced player who loves a racket with control and feel then this is a brilliant racket, and we gave it an 8.5 out of 10 for groundstrokes.
Volleys – 9/10
The Head Graphene Touch Prestige Pro is set up perfectly for how I like to volley. It’s very maneuverable but strong and stable on impact, and if you hit the sweet spot it offers you perfect control. Of course, hitting the sweet spot is not always easy with this racket, so you’ve really got to be switched on at the net and get your contact point out in front.
When everything clicks with this racket at the net though, you sure know about it. You’ll find you have the ball on a string, and difficult pickups become that bit easier! Again, the Graphene Touch Prestige Pro showed itself to be a racket for a very accomplished player.
If you’re not 100% confident in your strokes, then it is going to show with the Head Graphene Touch Prestige Pro. Anything you slightly mistime or hit just off centre will really show, and a slightly mistimed shot turns into a nightmare.
This is simply what you must expect from a Prestige. It is a racket that is designed to appeal to a very pure player – the small head means perfect timing is a must, and the average player probably won’t get along with it.
I loved the feel of the Prestige on the volleys. When you get it right it rewards you whole-heartedly with an unbelievable precise shot. For this, I gave it a 9 out of 10. Sure, there are a lot of people that will completely disagree with this, but this racket is probably not designed for them.
Serve – 7/10
Serving with the Head Graphene Touch Prestige Pro was possibly the biggest let down. I enjoyed the head-light balance which allowed me to swing through the ball really fast, but other than that the racket didn’t help me out too much.
As you would expect, the Prestige does give you good control over the serve, but so do rackets like the Wilson Blade 98, and they still give you plenty of power.
Perhaps this was just my problem, and not the Prestige’s, but even accounting for it being a control racket, I had hoped for a little bit more. This lack of power clearly doesn’t hold back the top players though, as Marin Cilic certainly gets the ball moving off his serve.
If you’ve got a big, booming serve then you might well like this racket. If you can generate a ton of power, then the Prestige will give you the control to put the ball where you like. As many a top player has shown in the past, it’s not about how hard you hit it, but how well you can place it.
All in all, I decided to give the Head Graphene Prestige Pro a 7 out of 10 on the serve. It didn’t suit my serve, but that’s not to say that it wouldn’t work very well for someone who generates a little bit more power than me.
Conclusion – 8.5/10
The Prestige series have always been a unique and enjoyable line of rackets, and the Head Graphene Touch Prestige is no different. Head have significantly reduced the weight of these rackets over recent years, and the result is a racket that is a little easier on the joints.
The Head Graphene Touch Prestige Pro maintains its reputation as one of the most control-orientated rackets on the market, but I did feel it has lost a little something with its reduction in weight. Nevertheless, the newest Prestige continues to provide high-level players with a wonderful connection to the ball and a feel that you rarely find in other rackets.
On your best shots, the Prestige is likely to accentuate the weapon you already have, adding feel and control, but its lack of power may well add to your problems on your weaker shots.
This racket suits someone who has an all-round game, with no real weaknesses and is a very clean timer of the ball. The small racket head means that your timing has to be impeccable, and thus it is more likely to suit an advanced player than someone who is just starting out.
I’ve always enjoyed playing with the Head Prestige line, and this racket was no different. The feeling throughout the swing and on contact is exactly what I look for in a racket, and when you’ve got everything working well it’s going to produce good results. If, however, you’re off form, or just not fully confident in your stokes this racket can eat you alive and really have a negative impact on your game.
I found that my forehand felt perfect with this racket, but unfortunately it didn’t help with my backhand and serve. I’ve given this racket an overall 8.5 out of 10 because it is a brilliant racket for the right person. You’ve just got to make sure that person is you before you buy it!
Review by: Will