Marcos Baghdatis, who uses the Fischer M Pro Number One 98 racquet, is very meticulous about the performance and playability of his racquets. In order to get the consistency he wants and needs from racquet to racquet, he makes sure all of the racquets he carries are identical in all specifications. By carrying matched racquets, Baghdatis eliminates any inconsistencies when changing from one racquet to another.
In keeping with Baghdatis' attention to detail, Fischer now produces a handful of racquet models (including the racquet choice of Marcos Baghdatis, the M Pro Number One 98) with a No Tolerance Guarantee.
Available in both an SL (Super Light) and a UL (Ultra Light) spec., every racquet is guaranteed to weigh its stated weight. For the player, that means no inconsistencies in static weight when switching racquets. Every SL racquet coming off the production floor weighs in at 320 grams (unstrung), with every UL model weighing in at 295 grams (unstrung), guaranteed.
Many tennis players have, or would like to have, a backup racquet in case something happens to the one they're using. Many players have backup racquets that may look identical to their "number 1" racquet. However, two same model racquets may differ in static weight, making it tough to switch between racquets during a competitive match. Having your back-up racquet feel different than your go-to stick may not only affect your play physically, but it can also take you out of the match mentally.
This is where Fischer's No Tolerance Guarantee makes sense. It provides consistency from racquet to racquet. The result is no surprises, and very minimal adjustment to play, if any.
That being said, the No Tolerance Guarantee only makes sense if the racquet's playability is appealing enough to make you want more than one of them. The M Pro Number One 98 appeals to Marcos Baghdatis and Anna Chakvedtze, but will our playtest team be as impressed?
We took both versions of the M Pro Number One 98 out for a three-week test run to see how they play. Here's what our team discovered:
Finding the specs of the M Pro Number One 98 to fit his game was Chris. "My favorite out of the two weights, this version offered all the comfort, feel and control of the M Pro Number One 98 Light in a spec better suited to my game. I liked the added stability the extra weight provided and found more depth on my shots as a result. I was finding plenty of spin on my shots and was moving the ball around the court with good variety. I didn't find the easy access to power I get with my regular stick, but there was still enough there for me to hit through an opponent when I had time to set up." Granville liked the precise response of the racquet. "Nice soft response that maintained stability through the stroke, contact and follow-through. The weight and balance hit my personal sweetspot, allowing me to drive the ball deep into the corners, while giving me the option to feather an approach shot or drop shot as situations developed on the court. As with many of Fischer's top sticks - it has the 'scalpel' feel of precision."
Getting exceptional spin on the slice backhand was Ryan S. "From the baseline, the M Pro Number One 98 was very stable and had a great, comfortable feel. Contact was very solid, with good depth and pace on the ball. Heavy spin balls were relatively easy to control and I was still able to drive through the shot. Access to spin was also good with slice backhands being exceptional for me. I was really able to drive through the ball and keep the ball low, with little or no 'floating' action. All in all, I really liked this racquet from the baseline." Ryan K was also impressed with the spin friendliness of the racquet. "The open string pattern offered a nice amount topspin on my shots. I was able to find the sweetspot very easily and had great comfort when ripping a hard shot down the baseline."
Delighted with the feel from the baseline was Spencer. "A nicely weighted racquet for me at 11.8 ounces. Strokes from the baseline felt smooth from both sides. Control was solid and depth was consistent. Though this was more of a control oriented racquet, it still had enough power on reserve when needed." Jason enjoyed the added pace he was finding hitting groundies with the racquet. "There really wasn't much difference between the lighter version and this heavier racquet for me. But the few subtle differences were noticeable. I could hit balls with more pace, but if my timing was off my shots were landing long. I couldn't hit the same sharp angled, cross-court shots I hit with the UL version. Spin was still great. I got quite a few shots that seemed to be going long to drop into the court."
At net, we found the weight of the M Pro Number One 98 provided stability on volleys, while the maneuverability was manageable thanks to a headlight balance and mid-range swingweight. The weight and balance were ideal for Ryan K at net. "The weight and balance of this racquet were good for volleys. I found the maneuverability to be excellent and was able to hit crisp shots coming in to the net." Chris was comfortable hitting various types of volleys. "I really enjoyed volleying with this racquet. I found lots of control and feel, both when punching the ball deep and when hitting a short angle volley. The feel of flexibility and softness reminded me of one of my previous sticks, the Yonex RDX 500 Mid. This racquet also reminded me of the previous M Speed Pro No.1 98, and I'd have no difficulty switching between the two."
Feeling he could substitute the M Pro Number One 98 for his own racquet and not miss a beat was Granville. "Bada-bing! This is the real deal. Solid and stable, with a punch. I very much enjoyed playing with this racquet and feel I could make the switch to it with ease." Ryan S was thrilled with the comfort and depth of his volleys. "This racquet was very solid and stable from the net. I really liked the depth and comfort that I got from the racquet. Punching my volleys felt really good. Maneuverability was not really an issue at all."
Liking the combination of characteristics at net was Spencer. "This racquet is friendly at the net. It was able to handle hard-hit shots, while maneuverability was better than average. There was a nice combination of pop and placement when volleying." Jason felt the weight both helped and hurt his volleys. "The extra weight of this racquet was really a double edged sword. On one hand, it was nice having the weight help absorb and handle the hard shots, but on the other hand, the extra weight made it harder to maneuver, especially on shots into the body."
Chris liked the pace and penetration. "I was finding a little extra pop with this one over the Light model. The added weight seemed to give my serves some added court penetration. Overall, the feel was a little meatier, with no sacrifice in control or spin. Definitely my pick of the two for serving." Finding confidence when serving was Ryan K. "There was a very nice comfort level on the serves. I was able to quickly adjust my serve when hitting with this racquet, and I started to place my spin serves and hard first serves down the middle."
Digging the controlled spin was Ryan S. "Serves were pretty sharp with this racquet. The spin generated with this racquet was really good. However, the nicest aspect of it was that the spin was controlled. So often it is a tradeoff with control and spin, yet I felt that with this racquet control was easy to come by along with the spin. Flat serves were also plenty heavy and had a lot of punch to them. I liked it a lot." Jason also enjoyed the spin but had a difficult time with consistency. "Even though I could get more pace on my serves, they were more erratic. My timing was thrown off a bit and it took me a while to dial in my serves. What I did like about this racquet was the amount of head speed I was able to generate. My second serves produced tons of spin and my kick serves actually had some kick to them."
Due to impressive stability at contact, our team was successful finding good depth and directional control when returning serve. The heft of the racquet was beneficial to Jason's returns. "I felt this heavier SL model had the upper hand when hitting service returns. I had a litle more time than when I was at the net, so maneuverability was a lesser issue. Blocking and slicing shots back was great, they landed deep in the court. I even had some success trying to hit winners off of first serves because the racquet could handle the extra pace." Spencer liked how the racquet handled off-center hits when returning. "I liked the feel of this racquet when returning. As with volleying, it had a good balance of attributes. It's heavy enough to remain stable on off-center shots while maneuverable enough to get the stringbed on a lot of balls."
Granville liked the stability from the mass of the racquet. "This is where the "rule of mass" kicks in - play with the heaviest racquet you are comfortable with (over the course of a match). More mass means more stability, ESPECIALLY on the serve return. At 11.8 ounces strung, this is just heavy enough to make the performance player happy, and just light enough to make this a good "breakthrough" racquet for those 4.0 players looking to elevate their game." Ryan S agreed. "I preferred this version when returning serves. This is mostly due to the stability of the racquet through the contact point making heavy serves easier to handle. Depth was good and the pace on the returns also turned out to be good. Spin was also easy to generate. Just a very good racquet to return serves with."
The control on returns was appreciated by Chris. "The M Pro Number One 98 continued to be my favorite of the two when returning. I was finding the depth on blocked returns that was missing when I was hitting with the Light version. I liked the level of control from this racquet, but would have liked more power when going big." Ryan K was hoping for a bit more power when returning. "Serve returns felt average for me. I was able to time my returns, but didn't feel like I was getting as much pop as I was hoping for."
The M Pro Number One 98 was a good fit for the playing levels of our playtesters (4.0 to 5.5). We found a high level of comfort due to a nice blend of specs, and excellent control from all areas of the court. This stick offers enough mass for the stronger, more seasoned player, and is maneuverable enough, with plenty of stability, to appeal to an intermediate player looking to advance to the next level. With its broad appeal, players from the 4.0-5.5+ level should find this racquet to be a very enjoyable hit.
|Last Shots from our playtesters|
Chris "I liked this racquet a lot. It was very comfortable from all court positions and offered a lot of control. The low-ish power level had me sticking to multifilament string and straying away from my usual co-poly set-up."
Granville "Nothing NOT to like here - another performance stick to raise your game. Fischer has done a great job of balancing this racquet - at 7 pts. head light it offers a nice blend of maneuverable balance and power."
Jason "A great feeling racquet with a lot of feedback. I think it is better suited for 4.5+ rated players, but a strong 4.0 would enjoy the heft and control as well."
Ryan S "I preferred this version of the racquet because of the comfort and stability of the racquet."
Spencer "This racquet has a nice balance of attributes making it well rounded and versatile for several styles of play."
Ryan K "I could stay at the net and have fun with this racquet all day. If you like the Magnetic Tour, you are going to like this update to the Pro series."
|Fischer M Pro Number One 98 (SL)|
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
From the baseline, our playtest team agreed that the M Pro Number One 98 Light produced plenty of spin and control. Finding good control and maneuverability from the baseline was Chris. "The M Pro Number One 98 Light version of this racquet felt very maneuverable from the baseline. Like the heavier SL version, This racquet felt very soft and flexible at contact - a major contrast to my Babolat Pure Drive Roddick. I liked the level of control I was finding with this one. Even when playing against harder hitting players, the racquet felt surprisingly solid and I was very impressed with the level of comfort at impact. In fact, the faster the pace of play, the more I liked this racquet. I didn't find a ton of power, so I preferred it when playing against a player who was supplying plenty of pace. I was able to steer the ball to the corners with depth and control when the rallies had pace. On occasions when I had to supply the pace and power, I had to work a little harder than I'm used to. Access to spin came easily and I was able to hit all my shots. I've been working on perfecting my drop-shots lately and I liked the level of feel and control I found from this racquet when looking to caress the ball."
Granville felt the M Pro Number One 98 Light offered good power for a lighter weight racquet. "This version definitely is quicker through the air, and despite its lower mass, still provided good punch on the groundies. Yes, the ball may fall a little shorter in court, an easy adjustment to make for a very comfortable stick that provides such a strong punch. I felt I could do a little more with this racquet on the groundies than the heavier version."
Jason liked the spin production he was finding on his shots with the racquet. "Hitting with this racquet, with its fairly open string pattern, I generated a tremendous amount of spin off the ground. I found that the maneuverability of the racquet really allowed me to create some great angles. I didn't think that the control would be as good as it was, because of the open stringbed, but I was pleasantly surprised. Even though I could generate a lot of my own pace, the racquet seemed to help put a little extra heat on the ball." The M Pro Number One 98 Light was easy to swing for Ryan K. "Not nearly as much pop as the heavier model, but I did find it was easier to swing. I could see this racquet being good for a junior player looking to transition to a heavier player's racquet."
Ryan S felt this racquet could use more power. "Groundies with the M Pro Number One 98 Light were inconsistent for me. I would hit a great shot, then I would hit a terrible shot. I also felt it was a little underpowered. It had good maneuverability that made it better for an up and coming player, yet it didn't really have enough pop for me. This racquet just didn't feel that good from the baseline. Spin was still really good, but depth was sacrificed and the feel was a little too crisp." A lack of stability was a concern for Spencer with the M Pro Number One 98 Light. "This stick felt good in my hand, and offered plenty of access to spin. However, I found it difficult to dial in consistency as the weight caused me to have issues with timing. The lighter weight also gave more of a hollow feel at impact. The lack of stability was certainly noticeable when the ball was struck outside of the sweetspot, and I expected more power than what was produced."
Liking the mobility but looking for more punch was Granville. "Needless to say, this is more maneuverable - but I did notice the loss of 'punch', or power, on my volleys - an unavoidable consequence of less mass, compared to the SL. A little well placed lead could help here." Chris was impressed with this stick when coming to net. "Again, the level of mobility continued to be very impressive when I pushed forward to attack the net. I felt just a tad more crispness in the response of the UL, compared to the SL version. I think the sensation of crispness came from the lighter weight. I've found adding weight provides a more dampened feel when customizing my own sticks, and I assume that the weight difference was also the cause of the different feel between the two 98s. Regardless, I was finding my targets well with this stick and thought it was very impressive at net."
Seeking more depth on his volleys was Ryan S. "From a maneuverability standpoint, this racquet was great. However, I didn't get good depth on the ball. The contact felt good and it was comfortable, but the results didn't equate to what I thought I had hit." Ryan K was hoping for a more pop from the response. "Again, as with groundstrokes, I found that it lacked some pop. The feel was also not as solid as with the heavier version."
Granville was surprised with the power he found with this stick. "When serving with the M Pro Number One 98 Light, I again noticed how quickly I could get this racquet moving through the air. To my surprise, I was still getting adequate power with no loss of control." Pleased with the amount of control he produced with this racquet was Chris. "I was able to generate lots of racquet head speed serving with this stick. The result was lots of spin and decent pace. However, the best attributes I found serving with it were consistency and targeting. I felt like I had excellent control and went for the corners with confidence."
Also finding confidence with his serves was Jason. "I felt that the M Pro Number One 98 Light was much easier to serve with than the heavier SL version. There was a noticeable decrease in power, but the placement and control made up for the difference. I also found that the spin was substantial on slice and kick serves." Ryan S was happy with the amount of spin he was finding. "I was kind of all over the place with this version of the racquet while serving. There wasn't enough pace on my serves. My flat serves didn't have the heaviness that makes them more difficult to return. One thing I did like was the amount of spin that I was able to generate."
Impressed with the level of comfort was Chris. "I was amazed at the comfort of this racquet, considering its weight. The lightweight and flexible feel resulted in lots of control, but not a lot power. I would have liked a little more pop on my blocked returns, but for the most part I was able to utilize the speed of the serve and direct the ball with good control." Spencer had some adjustment and stability issues. "My timing, as well as the lack of heft, were issues when returning. I found I was way ahead on a lot of balls and it took awhile for me to adjust. Getting the racquet on serves was not a problem, but stability and power lacked." Having similar sentiments was Ryan S. "I had trouble being smooth through contact with this racquet on returns. I felt this version lacked some stability. Depth was greatly sacrificed with this one. I found myself returning with a slice backhand instead of topspin because I felt I could at least try to keep the ball low on the return. I also found myself over-swinging to try and compensate for the low power."
|Last Shots from our playtesters|
Chris "I thought this was a very easy to use, comfortable and control-oriented stick. Looking at the specs, I would have never guessed this racquet was so good. It just goes to show, the proof is in the hitting."
Granville "Fischer has balanced this lighter version so well I could easily make the switch. To be honest, I'm not sure which one I prefer. Two great sticks tailored for two individual players on top of their game."
Jason "This racquet really impressed me. It's definitely one of the top 5 racquets I've tried this year. Of all the qualities, my favorite aspect is the feel. The feedback from hitting the ball was superb. This racquet has a lot to offer for an advanced player still tweaking his/her game. It's not as heavy as most player's racquets so lead tape can be used to customize the racquet to specific needs."
Ryan S "Just not the consistent performer I would've liked. I had trouble with stability, finding consistent depth on the ball, and an inconsistent response returning heavy serves. I preferred the heavier version of this racquet."
Spencer "For a lighter weight racquet, I expected a bit more power than what was produced. A nice feeling racquet and easy to swing, but it lacks substance and stability. Though I could serve consistently with the M Pro Number One 98 Light, I overwhelmingly prefer the heavier version."
Ryan K "This racquet was just not for me. I loved the heavier version, but the light just didn't fit my game type."
|Fischer M Pro 98 Light (UL)|
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
|Chris||5.0 baseline player currently using the Babolat Pure Drive Roddick. Chris uses a full-western forehand grip, has a fast swing style and hits a two-handed and a one-handed backhand.|
|Granville||5.5 all-court player currently using a Wilson K Factor Six-One Tour 95. Granville is an aggressive player who uses an eastern forehand grip and goes continental on everything else, hits with a flat swing and a one-handed backhand.|
|Jason||4.0 baseliner currently using a Head Flexpoint Radical Midplus. Jason has a fairly aggressive semi-western topspin forehand and hits a one-handed backhand.|
|Ryan S.||4.5 all court player currently using a Slazenger Pro Braided Henman racquet. Ryan uses a semi-western forehand grip, a one-handed backhand and has a long swing style.|
|Spencer||4.5 Baseline player currently using a Tecnifibre TFlash 310. Spencer uses a full-western forehand grip, and hits with a one-handed backhand.|
|Ryan K.||4.0 all court player currently using a Wilson ProStaff 6.0 Classic. Ryan uses a full-western forehand grip and a two-handed backhand|
Review date: Sept 2007. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
All content copyright 2007 Tennis Warehouse.