Head Graphene 360 Speed Pro Specs
Head Size: 100 sq. in. / 645 sq. cm.
Length: 27in / 68.5cm
Strung Weight: 326g / 11.5oz
Unstrung Weight: 310g / 10.9oz
Balance: 32.49cm / 6 pts HL
String Pattern: 18 Mains / 20 Crosses
The Head Speed range of rackets is easily one of my favorites on the market. I used these rackets for the best part of 8 years and I just can’t fault them. With the last Graphene update, Head changed the weight of this racket quite a bit, bringing it down from around 332g to 310g in this Head Graphene 360 Speed Pro version.
This change in weight really put me off at first. I was one of those people who was wedded to the idea of a heavy racket, but time has shown me that a racket doesn’t have to be super heavy to get you excellent results. I enjoyed how the last version of this stick played, and in the end, it came down to a tossup between that and the Pure Strike 18 x 20 that I eventually went for.
The Speed Pro, as its name suggests, has always offered players excellent manoeuvrability, but the truly outstanding characteristics of these rackets are the control and feel. Everything came together to perfection on my forehand side when I used to play with this racket, and it combined power, control, and spin to devastating effect.
There have been plenty of updates in the Speed Pro since I used to use them, but the latest one is Graphene 360, which reinforces the shaft of the racket and the head in strategic positions to add a little bit more pop to your game. Head also claims that the latest update should make the frame a little bit more responsive for those players who like a more involved feel.
As someone who likes to string their racket up quite tight and enjoys a more deadened feel from a racket, this change worries me a little bit. I always thought the feel of the previous rackets was absolutely spot on, so I was hoping that there wouldn’t be too much change in this area.
The 360 also sees a little change up to the spacing between the strings. It remains an 18 x 20 string pattern, but the change in spacing should mean it combines some of the aspects of a more open pattern and the closed 18 x 20 pattern. All of this should mean an extra little bit of pop than we’ve seen with its predecessors, and perhaps make it a little bit easier to play with on defense.
Another thing that slightly worries me about the latest update is its reduction in swingweight from 322 in the Head Graphene Touch Speed Pro to 318 in the 360 Speed Pro. I loved how much stability the old Speed Pros had on contact, so I’m wondering if the constant reduction in weight and swingweight might have a negative impact on the performance.
As you can tell, I’m a pretty big fan of these rackets, so the Head Graphene 360 Speed Pro has some pretty big boots to fill. The reduction in swingweight and talk of a more responsive string bed had me a little bit worried. Nevertheless, I took the 360 Speed Pro out with an open mind and put it through its paces.
Groundstrokes – 8.5/10
Groundstrokes have always been the bread and butter for the Speed Pro rackets. They are perfect for the aggressive baseliner who likes to go after his shots with spin and control. While the 360 Speed Pro is a little more powerful than its predecessors, it certainly bears many of the same qualities.
One thing is for certain. The 360 Speed Pro is a little bit easier to use than previous versions of this racket. The changes to the swingweight mean that you don’t have to put 100% into every shot in quite the same way. The extra pop and slightly easier access to spin made me feel like I could sit back a little bit and wait for the right time to really attack the point.
That’s not really my game though, and I did miss the feel of the old rackets. The levels of control with the 360 Speed Pro were good, but the more responsive feel just didn’t quite do it for me. I love that deadened feel you get from a racket, which to me, just gives you a little bit more control. Perhaps these changes might have made the 360 Speed Pro more accessible to the masses, but I don’t think they will be that popular with Speed Pro enthusiasts.
I can’t say the Graphene 360 upgrade is a bad one, it just changes the balance of the racket. It has moved more towards easy power and spin and away from its classic control. This will suit many people who want a racket that is still slightly control oriented but also gives you a good amount of spin and power.
I certainly played pretty well with this stick. After all, it’s not too dissimilar to my Pure Strike, so there wasn’t much of an adjustment period. The one area where I found I much prefer my Pure Strike is the feel. The Pure Strike has a much more dampened feel and there’s a little less string movement on the shot. This makes it a little bit easier to flatten the ball out when I step into the court, and I feel this gives me a big advantage.
I think there will be many people who have tried the Speed Pro racket in the past and not found them to their liking, but with the updated 360 Speed Pro they should certainly take another look at it. In the past, this racket has been very control oriented, but now it will appeal to a very wide audience.
The Head Graphene 360 Speed Pro is a great example of a modern racket. It is speedy and does everything very well without having any standout strength. You get good, power, spin, and control all from a racket that is easy to play with.
The changes didn’t necessarily suit me, but the updated Graphene 360 Speed Pro will certainly suit a lot of people. It gives you everything you need for modern tennis and I gave it an 8.5 out of 10 for groundstrokes.
Volleys – 7.5/10
The extra weight in the old Speed Pro rackets made them wonderful for volleying with. The stability, control, and feel they had made an ideal mix for placing volleys exactly where you wanted them.
The reduction of weight in the 360 Speed Pro might have made it a little bit easier to play with from the back of the court, but it has made it less effective at the net. It doesn’t absorb power in the same way as the old rackets, and this means you don’t have the same levels of control.
There were a few times during this playtest where I felt balls were flying over the baseline when I’d connected nicely with the shot and I think this is just a “(racket) weight thing”. I sometimes get the same feeling with my Pure Strike and it wasn’t something that happened with my old Speed Pros.
The 360 Speed Pro is quite punchy at the net, which is useful when you’re trying to put the ball away. In some respects, it doesn’t feel like an 18 x 20 string pattern racket, because you get quite a bit of power and spin from the strings. I found this quite useful when I had an easy volley to put away, but it does mean you have to tame the power on the more difficult volleys.
At the end of the day, I’m comparing this racket to one that was exceptionally good at the net. The changes that have been made to the 360 Speed Pro were never going to help it at the net, but in the end, it does a very reasonable job.
It’s not quite the allrounder’s racket that previous versions of this stick were, but it is certainly not weak at the net. I gave the Head Graphene 360 Speed Pro a 7.5 out of 10 at the net.
Serve – 8/10
I always felt with the old Speed Pros that if there was one area that was slightly weaker than the others then it was the serve. The weight of the old rackets made it slightly difficult to keep up the racket head speed, and I found that sometimes lead to me not hitting through the ball.
Those problems have been made better by the reduction in weight, and the Speed Pro really lives up to its name when it comes to the serve. This meant I was able to get good spin and control on my second serve, which made a big difference during points.
I was able to get a little bit more power from the strings as well, but I found that my slice serve was a little bit loose. I tend to get a lot of slice on the ball, so I normally go for a very tight string bed to keep it from spinning out of control. With the 360 Speed Pro, I was struggling a little bit to keep a hold of it though.
As with the rest of the playtest, the 360 Speed Pro gives you everything you could want from a modern racket though. You get manoeuvrability, power, control, and spin in equal measures. It reminds me slightly of the Wilson Ultra Tour, in that it does everything well, but without being spectacular in any area.
The serve was the one area where I felt like the changes to the 360 Speed Pro suited me and I did enjoy this part of the playtest. I gave the Head Graphene 360 Speed Pro an 8 out of 10 on the serve.
Overall – 8.5/10
Overall, this is a very good racket. It has broad appeal and does everything it needs to very well. I do think, gradually, Head is changing the essence of the Speed Pro away from its classic characteristics, but it makes sense. This racket is repped by their most recognizable player, Novak Djokovic, so they want it to appeal to a wide range of players. They don’t want everyone demoing the Speed Pro because they’ve seen Djokovic use it, only to find out its quite a specialist racket that doesn’t suit them.
So, it is inevitable that the Head 360 Speed Pro has moved to more of a middle ground. For Speed Pro enthusiasts, that might not be a good thing, but for the average player, it’s probably good news. The changes to 360 Speed Pro mean this racket still has an emphasis on control, but, the power and spin potential have been increased.
The Speed Pro has certainly got easier to play with thanks to the changes with increased manoeuvrability and easier access to spin and power. In the past, you were forced to hit through the ball with super-fast strokes and this encouraged a more attacking game. With the 360 Speed Pro, it is much easier to hang back and play on the counter attack though, once again, opening this racket up to a wider selection of players.
As a racket that anyone can play good tennis with, I think the Head Graphene 360 Speed Pro is ideal. On a personal note, I loved the old Speed Pros, but who cares about me? If you enjoy a modern racket that gives you plenty of speed, control, power, and spin, which of course, everyone does, then this is a must try stick!
I gave the Head Graphene 360 Speed Pro a solid 8.5 out of 10. A great racket that will serve you well in all situations.
Review by: Will