Head Ti S2 Racquet Review
I can still remember when I saw my first skort. I was sitting on a friend's couch when I noticed she was wearing what I thought was a skirt. However, I had noticed earlier that she was wearing shorts and the skirt she had on now looked the same as the shorts she had on earlier. I asked her what was up and she laughed and said it was a skort. "What in the name of all that is holy is a skort", I asked. She laughed again and said it was half skirt and half shorts. I shook my head and started to ask why anyone in their right mind would wear such a contraption but I decided that since she had one on she might not appreciate my question so I let the subject drop and went back to the Sumo wrestling on ESPN.
For those of you who don't know, a skort is an article of clothing, worn predominately by women, that is indeed half skirt and half shorts. Women wear them because when you wear a skort you get the benefits of both a skirt and a pair of shorts. The skort is dressier than a pair of shorts, and you don't have to worry about it flying up on a windy day. It gives you the best of both worlds.
This may sound a little strange, and I'm sure Head won't be using it in any of their ads, but the Head Ti.S2 is the tennis racquet equivalent of the skort. It has the playing characteristics of both a power racquet and a control racquet, yet it doesn't completely fit into either category. When you go to a store to buy a skort do you look in the shorts department or the skirt department? This is the dilemma you'll face when shopping for the Ti.S2. Do you look in the power racquet section or the control racquet section of your favorite tennis web page?
The best description our play testers had for the Ti.S2 was the term "Aggressive Player's Racquet". Since the terms "player's racquet" and "control racquet" are synonymous you can say the Ti.S2 is a control racquet designed for aggressive players. Of course, you can also say it's a power racquet for players who want less power.
Most of the design characteristics of the Ti.S2 are the same as those found in power racquets. It has titanium in the shaft, which is a feature found in a lot of power racquets (Ti.S5, S6 and S7, Prince ThunderStrike, Wilson Hammer 3.2, etc.) and is just starting to turn up in control racquets (Prince Michael Chang Titanium). It's head heavy like the Wilson Hammer and Sledgehammer racquets, and it's very light (Head Ti.S5, S6, S7, Prince ThunderStorm and ThunderStrike, all Wilson Hammers and SledgeHammers). All of these features are usually found in a power racquet.
The most prominent feature that keeps the Ti.S2 from being a pure power racquet is that it doesn't have enough power to qualify. Although it has more power than most control racquets it's a pansy compared to a power racquet like the Prince ThunderStrike Longbody or the Wilson 3.4 Limits. Someone who plays with a control racquet will probably consider the Ti.S2 a power racquet, but if you use a power racquet you're going to find less power and more control with the Ti.S2.
Another feature that the Ti.S2 has that's more common in a control racquet is its even and predictable sweet spot. Many power racquets have a wide variance in power depending on which part of the string bed the ball hits. Control racquets (at least the good ones) usually have a more consistent string bed. The Ti.S2 has a very generous and consistent sweet spot despite its power racquet design.
On the courts our play testers were most impressed with the Ti.S2 on volleys, serves, and overheads. The excellent maneuverability of the Ti.S2 is an obvious asset at the net. When you add the solid feel, large sweetspot, and moderate power level you end up with a racquet that has enough control to handle low, hard volleys, and enough stability and power to put away the high, soft ones. It's safe to say there are very few racquets around that are better suited for volleying than this one.
The head heavy balance really helps the Ti.S2 on serves. The racquet is light enough that the extra weight in the head doesn't turn it into a club. Instead, it generates great power on flat serves and tremendous spin on kick serves. Patty Schnyder, who has one of the best kick serves on the WTA Tour, used the Ti.S2 in her victory over Steffi Graf at the 1998 US Open.
If any of you are old enough to have hit overheads with the old aluminum Head Pro tennis racquet (the Red Head) back in the late 70s and early eighties then you know what overheads feel like with the Ti.S2. They're a blast, both figuratively and literally. The power, stability, and maneuverability of the Ti.S2 make it ideal for hitting overheads. If you're used to a heavier racquet it may take you a few shots to get your timing down, but once you do you're going to love the power and feel of this racquet .
The Ti.S2 was slightly less popular on groundstrokes, but only slightly. Some of the play testers who use more powerful racquets thought it was "a little mushy" from the baseline. Others liked the lower power level. One play tester described it as "the first titanium frame that you can really swing out with". That sentiment was echoed by other play testers who liked the fact that there was enough control to take a full swing and enough power to hit winners.
While, like the skort, it is difficult to classify the Ti.S2, it's not difficult to figure out why it plays so well. Head has combined many of the best qualities from power racquets and control racquets to create the Ti.S2. The weight, balance, stiffness, head size, etc. all combine to create a player's racquet in a light, titanium body. The Ti.S2 is a bridge between power racquets and control racquets. If you prefer a pure power racquet, or a pure control racquet, this probably isn't the racquet for you. But if you're somewhere in between you should definitely give this racquet a try.