When I play test any tennis racquet, I group it into one of three categories; the “I never want to see this racquet again category’, the ‘I need to play with this some more’ category and the ‘I’d definitely beat Fed with this racquet category’.
(Check out my article on what to look out for when testing a racquet)
The Head Graphene Touch Radical MP fell under the ‘I need to play with this some more category’ for me. Everything about the racquet felt good but there were aspects I couldn’t get to grips with straight away. That’s not to say with a little practice I wouldn’t be able to fine tune my game to suit the racquet, but initially I did find some pretty important aspects challenging.
Weighing in unstrung at 295 grams it’s quite a bit lighter than what I’m used to, but I liked the balance of the Head Graphene Touch Radical MP, which sits slightly headlight, allowing you to generate a lot of racquet head speed very easily.
What’s most impressive about this racquet is the swing weight of it. Although the Head Graphene Touch Radical MP itself is very light, the swing weight (323 grams) is not to be taken lightly at all!
On top of an impressive swing weight, the racquet has presence!
Head has given the Radical series a flash new makeover and I for one am a big fan. Racquet manufacturers often go for a mundane, conservative paint job and for good reason!
The reason being, when they deviate from the norm, they inevitably mess it up! However, on this occasion, Head have gone for a bold, futuristic paint job and it’s paid off as the racquet looks professional and stylish.
Having said this, I would not advise the archetypal club tennis player to use this racquet as a way of gaining some bragging rights on having the best-looking kit. The reason for this is that I believe this is a difficult racquet to play well with.
In particular, the Head Graphene Touch Radical MP racquet suits a very consistent counter puncher who plays at a medium to high level of tennis. If you’re the type of player who lives for the baseline to baseline slog, and generally ends their victories with their opponents imploding on the other side of the court, finish your reading now and go and get yourself this sweet-looking bat!
Groundstrokes – 8/10
The reason I would recommend the Head Graphene Touch Radical MP to a consistent minded, medium to high level player is because of the stability you get on the groundstrokes.
I felt as if I could play at 75% of my potential power and never miss with this racquet. The power is there if you can generate the racquet head speed, and it gives you the feeling that it doesn’t matter how much you swing, it’ll still land just inside the baseline.
If you’re looking for depth, then the Graphene Touch Radical MP is brilliant!
Where I felt it let me down was in the generation of spin and it is this factor that made me put it in the, ‘I need to play with this more’ category. I could obviously generate spin with it, and I felt that if I played with it more, I would find the best way of doing that, but it didn’t come easily to me.
The racquet lends itself to receiving power and speed from your opponent and simply redirecting that speed back across into the open court.
When you must generate the speed and spin yourself, things become a little trickier. Generating the speed is tiring as you have to create good racquet head speed each time but for a good attacking player, this can be easily done.
Over the course of three sets however, this racquet will take a toll on your energy reserves because you have to generate the power yourself. For a consistent baseliner who wins by breaking their opponents down, this works perfectly.
Spin on the Forehand
With regards to spin, I found it difficult to produce, mainly due to the lack of feedback you get off the racquet. It doesn’t give you the greatest feel of where the ball has been hit off your strings which makes adjustment slightly difficult.
I have a very conservative semi-western grip and often find it difficult to generate good spin on the forehand side. Consequently, I found my balls, although deep, lacked the spin behind them to really push my opponent off the court.
As a result, I was the underdog in the rally; I could never seem to assert my authority in the point and keep on top which is the opposite of how I normally play.
Having said that, once I changed my mentality and decided to use my opponent’s pace to direct him round the court, that’s when I really started to take control of the match.
I began to step in on my backhand, taking it on the rise and taking time away from my opponent with the confidence that I wouldn’t miss.
For this reason, I would give the Head Graphene Touch Radical MP an 8 out of 10 for groundstrokes. The generation of spin on my forehand side was difficult but I know that’s some what to do with my own ineptitude and I felt confident that given time I could have overcome it. Otherwise, the racquet on both sides was stable and provided the power, manoeuvrability and stability any good player needs on their groundstrokes.
Volleys – 7/10
Volleying with this racquet was very comfortable. Because it is so lightweight, moving the racquet quickly to receive a fast ball was no problem at all and the balance made it easy to control the head of the racquet throughout the volley.
The issue of feedback off the strings was not such a problem on the volleys, as long as you keep the racket out in front. The only contradiction to this would be on a volley of a floating ball in which you need a good amount of feel to guide it back deep and low to your opponent.
I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on this last issue. If you are looking at purchasing this racquet you are more than likely the type of player that shys away from hitting the high floating volley. As I am not a great volleyer, I would far rather hit a drive volley over this shot, so it doesn’t detract from my solid score of 7 out of 10 for volleys.
Serve – 8.5/10
I absolutely loved serving with the Head Graphene Touch Radical MP!!! For me, it was perfectly balanced to bang serves down as hard as humanly possible, which, if you’ve read any of my other posts, you’d know is pretty much the reason I play tennis!
The first serve in the video down the tee was actually my first serve of the day, which shows how easily power on the flat serve came to me with this racquet.
The slice out wide also felt comfortable with the racquet and I felt myself gaining confidence in my consistency after every serve.
The racquet only had one flaw with regards to serving and unfortunately it mirrored that of the forehand. When it came to getting topspin on my second serve, with reasonable power and good kick, I was left disappointed.
The kick second serve is an important part of my game, but I had so much fun hitting first serves that it still receives a score of 8.5/10!
The Head Graphene Touch Radical MP is a good-looking racquet; the new graphene technology has managed to perform miracles giving a very lightweight racquet a reasonably heavy swing weight.
This means you can generate good power without damaging your joints. But don’t be fooled, this isn’t a racquet I would advise for the elderly player…
It’s a difficult racquet to play with as it requires consistent, high velocity swings to generate power. Over the course of a three-set match, this is going to tire the player out and so I would strongly advise you keep up your fitness training if you’re thinking of purchasing this racquet.
The Touch Radical is ideal for receiving a lot of pace and power from your opponent and simply redirecting that power. I personally felt like the next David Ferrer when I got into a rhythm as I swung bigger and bigger without missing.
Serving first serves with the new radical was a dream but I would be worried going into a tournament hitting second serves without the kick I generate so easily with my Babolat Pure Aero Tour.
Overall, I would give this racquet an 8 out of 10. It’s most certainly a good racquet. It feels great and is perfect for a certain type of player at a certain point of their careers. If we’re going to be really specific, I would suggest a counter attacking consistent groundstroke player playing at an U14 high standard to adopt this racquet.
It’s lightweight which will be good for a growing body but as the intensity of a player’s level increases, they should look to a slightly heavier racquet to give them a little more power.
Review by: Lawrence