We tend to think that if you want top levels of control then you should look at a poly string, but there are multifilament strings out there offering great control, and Head RIP Control is one of them.

Although the Head RIP Control doesn’t offer quite the control of a Babolat RPM Blast or a Pacific Poly Power Pro, it does offer a good all-round setup with an emphasis on control.

The thing with the poly strings is that they are so good when it comes to control, spin, and durability, but they are often severely lacking in other areas. With a multifilament like the Head RIP Control, you get a much more balanced package and still get to have good levels of control.

This makes the RIP Control an attractive option for players who are looking to add control to their game whilst maintaining slightly higher levels of comfort and feel. For many players moving from a powerful multifilament to a control-oriented poly is a massive change, so the Head RIP Control provides a nice middle ground.

Having said that, there’s always a tradeoff when it comes to strings and with the Head RIP Control you do get the feeling that it’s OK at everything without excelling in anything. Some people are going to love this, but there are a lot of players who have strong preferences for certain characteristics.

For the died-in-the-wool poly users this would probably count the RIP Control out, but for poly users who want to keep some of the control qualities of a poly whilst picking up a little bit more comfort, this string could be an option.

For this playtest, we took a couple of Babolat Pure Aero Tours out with a full bed of the Head RIP Control. As always, we strung the two rackets up with slightly different tensions just to get a feel for how the string plays at different weights. We opted for 46lbs in one racket and 56lbs in the second racket.

I always like the idea of switching to a more comfortable, multifilament string, but I love the upsides of the poly strings too much to change. Would the Head RIP Control be able to change my mind though?

 

Power – 7.5/10

 

For someone who is used to a very low powered string, I found the Head RIP Control had plenty of pop. The racket we strung at 46lbs felt especially lively to me, and I didn’t enjoy it too much. I had much more success with the racket strung at 56lbs and started to settle into my tennis a bit.

The thing is, for someone coming the other way, from a more powerful multifilament to this string, they would probably find the exact opposite. For a multifilament string, the Head RIP Control feels particularly muted and doesn’t offer a great deal in power.

This is where I think the RIP Control shows itself as a good stepping stone string. Rather than going straight from a powerful multifilament to a super control-oriented poly string, the RIP Control offers a good middle ground. You’ve still got enough power, but it introduces you to that more muted feel that is common with polys.

If your main concern is power, then the Head RIP Control isn’t going to cut it for you, but if you want a middle ground then it’s worth looking at. We gave this string a 7.5 out of 10 for power.

 

Control – 7.5/10

 

The question once again here is what kind of string you are used to. If you’re coming from a relatively powerful multifilament string then you’re probably going to find the RIP Control has huge amounts of control. If you’re coming from a stiff poly though, you might find this string is severely lacking in control.

On a personal level, there’s a big difference between the Babolat RPM Blast that I use and the Head RIP Control. The control levels of the Blast are huge in comparison to the RIP Control and you can’t fail to notice it when you start out. After some time playing with the RIP Control I did settle down a little bit, but I still didn’t feel confident when I went for my big shots.

For a multifilament, you can’t complain about the levels of control the Head RIP Control gives you though, and it will represent a big step up in this area for a lot of multifilament players. You’ll find that with the extra level of control you do get a much more muted feel, but it’s something you will get used to with time.

If you’re changing from a powerful multifilament string, then you will find the Head RIP Control gives you the ability to swing a little bigger and go for your shots. The RIP Control gets a 7.5 out of 10 for control, a good score for a multifilament.

 

Touch – 6/10

 

This was the area where I felt you really had to compromise with the Head RIP Control. Traditionally, the multifilaments offer quite good touch, but the RIP Control has sacrificed this to achieve the extra control.

I would say that some of the more touch-friendly polys like Kirschbaum Pro Line Evolution offer more touch than this string, whilst also performing better in the control category. Ideally, I would have liked a little bit more from the RIP Control in this area, but I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker.

Coming from playing with a stiff poly, the muted feel is something I’m used to and it didn’t really make a difference to me. However, if you’re coming from a multifilament string that has good touch then this might be the hardest thing to get used to.

The Head RIP Control could have done a little bit better in this area, and we gave it a 6 out of 10 for touch.

Spin – 6.5/10

 

If the touch was an area that regular multifilament players would find difficult to get used to with the RIP Control then spin is the area where poly players will find the RIP Control lacking.

The RIP Control offered nowhere near the spin that the leading polys do and for me, this was difficult to get used to. I love to hit with a ton of spin off the forehand side, but I need a string that’s going to allow me to do that. The Head RIP Control just didn’t grip and rip the ball to the extent that I needed it to and ultimately, this was what ruled this string out for me.

If spin isn’t a huge concern for you then you won’t have any problems with this string though. Like I say, it does offer a good middle ground between the traditional multifilaments and the polys, and if you’re looking to change to a poly but aren’t 100% sure about it then I would recommend trying the Head RIP Control.

Spin certainly wasn’t the Head RIP Control’s forte and we gave it a 6.5 out of 10.

 

Durability – 7/10

 

The Head RIP Control has pretty good durability for a multifilament and kept its tension well throughout our playtest. While it doesn’t last as long as many of the poly strings, you won’t have to be constantly restringing your racket with this string.

Certainly, for players that play with medium speed swings and generate average amounts of spin, the Head RIP Control will last a long time. If you’re hitting with really fast swings and a lot of spin then it won’t last as long.

The Head RIP Control wasn’t top of the tree when it comes to durability, but once again, it will not let you down. It gets a 7 out of 10 for durability.

 

Comfort – 7.5/10

 

Given the level of control you get with RPM Control, it is a pretty comfortable string. There are definitely more comfortable strings out there, but compared to most of the poly strings, it’s certainly a step up. This means that you get a good level of comfort given the control levels of this string, a balance that is often hard to find.

Many of us are willing to sacrifice comfort to attain the utmost control, but if you’re someone who doesn’t want to make that sacrifice then I would say Head RIP Control is a good string for you. For me personally, I enjoyed the extra comfort that this string gave me, but I would still choose the performance of my Babolat RPM Blast over the comfort of the RIP Control.

It’s always a difficult balancing act trying to find the perfect string, and although this one didn’t quite work out for me, I’m sure there are a lot of people that would be well suited to the Head RIP Control.

You don’t find this kind of blend of comfort and control too often, and the Head RIP Control gets a very good score of 7.5 out of 10 on comfort.

 

Overall – 7.5/10

 

The Head RIP Control did well in almost every category, with spin being the only area where I felt it was a bit weak. This is great for people who want an all-round string, and certainly, I think there are a lot of people that would benefit from using RIP Control.

Those that would probably benefit from this string are players who want to change from a more powerful multifilament to a more control-oriented string. The Head RIP Control would allow these players the extra control to swing through their strokes more aggressively, without taking away too much power and feel like a poly string might.

RIP Control also has potential for players who use a stiff poly but want to switch to something a little bit more comfortable. You still get good levels of control, but certainly, this string is a bit more arm friendly than the polys.

Overall though, I don’t think this string quite matches the performance of some of the top poly strings out there. If you’re taking big, fast cuts at the ball then you want something with even more control than the Head RIP Control, and something with a bit more spin potential.

That’s why we’ve gone for an overall score of 7.5 out of 10 for the Head RIP Control. It’s a good string, and I’m sure there’s a big market for it, but performance-wise I felt it just lacked that little bit extra.

 

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Review by: Will