Head YOUTEK IG Extreme Pro 2.0 Racquet Review
- Nothing we could agree on
The new Head YOUTEK IG Extreme Pro 2.0 has quickly become a favorite of our TW playtest team. It's a slight update from the original YOUTEK IG Extreme Pro and maintains the same solid feel, access to power, spin and maneuverability that we've grown to love from the Extreme series. The new S-Tech Grommet System was the most noticeable improvement, as all our testers felt a significant boost in comfort and feel over the older model. The softer and more plush-feeling grommets counteracted the firm feel of the polyester strings we used and made the racquet very poly-friendly. From all over the court, this racquet impressed us with its solid feel, pop, stability, maneuverability, and added comfort. We were able to generate massive spin and heaviness on our groundstrokes. This racquet was mobile enough to never get caught out of position on volleys, and almost always felt solid and precise. Serves were jumping off the racquet, and serve returns were explosive with depth and spin. All in all, if you're a fan of the stiffer, more-forgiving player's style racquets, this is a must try. We are confident you'll like it as much as we did.
Groundstrokes - Score: 87
All of our playtesters loved the new Extreme Pro 2.0 off the ground. Chris really liked the maneuverability, along with the power and spin, saying, "I have always been a fan of Head's Extreme Pros, and from the first hit this one lived up to my expectations. I loved the access to power and spin on every shot. I found the racquet to offer decent plow through for its weight. The open string pattern and maneuverable feel made it easy to get a lot of spin from this racquet. I was taking a good cut at both topspin and slice groundstrokes and finding all the spin I needed to hit with control, even when adding lots of pace. I strung this racquet with a variety of co-poly strings, enjoying Polyfibre TCS and Gosen Sidewinder the most because they upped the spin potential. I also liked the new grommet system; it seemed to offer increased comfort, which made the racquet very poly-friendly."
Andy was crazy about this racquet on his groundstrokes. He said, "What a great feeling racquet from the baseline! I got explosive power and pop off the stringbed, and it's so maneuverable through the air. It's lightweight enough to whip through the hitting zone but also stable enough for anything hit off-center. The large 100 square inch head size made it extremely forgiving, and I felt like I could fire at will and always get solid contact. What impressed me the most about this racquet was that even with the exceptional pop (like the Pure Drive), it still offered excellent feel and response off the stringbed. The open 16x19 string pattern also gave me excellent access to spin (topspin and slice). I couldn't find anything negative to say about this racquet on my groundstrokes. It felt awesome!"
Carol also really enjoyed how well the racquet performed from the baseline. She said, "I loved the feel of my groundstrokes with this racquet. It was a very comfortable racquet that provided power, control and finesse. I commanded the ball very well with this racquet, and the ball penetrated the court with such ease that I found myself being very aggressive. The racquet is easy on the arm with very little vibration off the stringbed. I was able to execute my aggressive baseline style of play and felt very comfortable adding other aspects with this racquet, such as topspin and a slice backhand. I felt that this racquet completely complemented my groundstrokes."
The access to power and spin was also evident to Troy, who said, "Right away I was noticing how easy it was to get depth and spin on my groundstrokes. I could get easy power from the baseline, and the mass makes for a solid feel. This racquet definitely enhances my ability to hit heavy looping topspin shots with good depth. The downside that I find with powerful midplus racquets, such as this one, is that they lack control and feel when going for shots near the lines or hitting a drop shot. I felt that during baseline rallies I would have to adapt my strokes, adding more topspin to keep the ball from sailing long. My slice backhand came easy due to the plow through this racquet provided, but it wasn't penetrating through the court like it typically does with an 18x20 string pattern racquet."
Volleys - Score: 85
Once again, the new Extreme impressed our team with great control and maneuverability at net. Andy was enjoying the all-around performance on his volleys. He said, "My volleys felt rock solid, which actually surprised me coming from this type of racquet. Typically, racquets that are this stiff and offer this much power don't have much feel around the net, however, with the Extreme Pro 2.0, I had incredible touch, feel and control over my volleys. The head remained stable at contact, even if it was off-center, and it felt extremely (no pun intended) maneuverable. This racquet impressed me once again around the net. It was very comfortable!"
Carol also enjoyed all aspects of this racquet around the net. She said, "Like on groundstrokes, this was a very comfortable racquet with ample feel at the net. It had great control and power. I was really going after my volleys and felt very confident that the racquet would support me on any shot."
The racquet's mobility and stability kept Chris from ever feeling out of position at net. He said, "This racquet felt fast at net, and I never had issues getting it into position, even when rushed. The balance felt good, and there was still enough mass behind the ball to punch volleys away. The response felt crisp and precise, yet the stringbed felt softer than expected even with a stiff poly-based string -- I'm assuming the enlarged grommets influenced that feel. Again, I was getting lots of grab on the ball, and I was very pleased with the control and feel on angles and drop volleys."
Troy liked the mass but wanted a little more feel. He said, "The mass of this racquet and its power level made it easy for me to get good punch on my volleys. I enjoyed the put-away power while playing doubles, and how easy it was to hit volleys with good depth. The mass of this racquet helped provide good stability against the heaviest of shots hit at me. The only downside I found was the lack of feel when trying to hit a drop volley or going for a short angle near the lines. The overall stiffness of this racquet made me feel a bit more disconnected from my volleys compared with the thinner beamed player frames that I'm accustomed to."
Serves - Score: 84
The tremendous access to power and spin was once again evident on the serve. Troy was slicing and dicing his way to easy service games with the Extreme Pro 2.0. He said, " I was enjoying the amount of spin and power I was getting while serving with this stick. Spin serves, such as my slice and kick, were enhanced by this racquet. I felt like I was getting some added pop on my flatter serves down the middle. I didn't get as much control as I would have preferred, but my consistency wasn't affected by this due to the fact that my spin serves were working so well."
It was a match made in heaven between Chris' serve and this racquet. He offered, "The power and spin I found from other areas of the court was there on serves, too. I was enjoying some added pace on both first and second serves. This racquet reminded me of a slightly faster version of a Pure Drive Roddick, as I was getting similar pace and spin with perhaps just a little less weight on my shots. I was able to hit all of my targets with this racquet, which enabled me to serve with lots of variety. All in all, this racquet was a really good fit for me on serve."
Getting aggressive with her serve was Carol, who said, "I hit this shot with power and control. I really enjoyed the head light feature and felt I was able to maximize speed through my swing. I found myself in a more aggressive position further into the court after my serve."
Andy loved the access to spin and pop but wanted a little more weight on his serve. He said, "This is the one area I would have liked a little more heft in the racquet. It was very fast -- almost too fast -- through the air.... It had excellent pop and power, just like on my other strokes, but it was a little difficult to flatten out the serve. I felt more comfortable going for a hard slice or a big kick (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), where I once again had great access to spin. It was a little hard to control at first, but once I adjusted it was fine."
Serve Returns - Score: 89
This updated Extreme Pro was very impressive on the return of serve as well. Andy felt like he was wielding a deadly weapon with the Pro in his hand. He said, "I felt like an assassin when returning serve with the Extreme Pro 2.0. It was light and maneuverable enough to whip around my body, extremely forgiving with the large head size, and so solid and crisp feeling! If I got a decent look at a serve I felt like I could crush it with pinpoint accuracy. When I was stretched the stability and control came into play, as I felt I could control the ball and place it back deep in the court. The serve return was just another area where this racquet impressed me."
"This was another area where the racquet impressed me," said Chris. "The fast feel enabled me to take huge rips at returns. I was getting a lot of pace and/or spin and felt I could mix in both at will. When a very fast or tough to reach serve came in I was able to get the racquet into position quickly and snap it through contact. On my backhand side I was mixing up my slice returns. I was able to knife a hard slice, drop a short and low slice return or float my slice deep. With such easy access to variety and so much power on tap I felt like I was returning very well and really pressuring the service games of my opponents."
Maintaining her aggressive play on returns was Carol, who said, "I was very aggressive with this shot and was really going after the ball. Like on groundstrokes, the S-Tech Grommets really reduced the vibration and allowed it to be very comfortable and controlled on the return."
Troy liked the stability on his returns but wanted a little more control. He said, "The stability that this racquet provided on returns was much appreciated. I was able to get deep, penetrating returns with this racquet. This was beneficial because I typically take a short backswing, and I like it when the racquet can carry the ball deep into my opponent's court. I had just enough maneuverability to get serves back that had me stretched out and off balance. I wasn't finding as much precision as I would have liked when returning in doubles play, and sometimes my returns were slightly off target, allowing the opposing net man to jump on them and win the point. I liked this racquet on returns, but it was lacking a bit of control."
Overall - Score: 88
Chris - "I liked the power, spin, control, maneuverability and level of comfort. The soft response from the stringbed made this a great option for the poly player, as it took away some of the harshness of stiff strings."
Andy - "I absolutely love this racquet. It has got great pop and power off the stringbed without sacrificing control. I had great access to spin, it's extremely maneuverable and it has surprisingly good touch and feel. It had everything I could ask for. I could go on and on..."
Carol - "This racquet performed well from all areas of the court. This is an all-court racquet that really complements an aggressive baseliner like myself. I loved how comfortable I felt IMMEDIATELY with this racquet. I don't think I even had an adjustment period. The expanded sweetspot and comfort level were big bonuses that gave confidence to my game. I loved drilling and playing points with this racquet, and I often found myself in a more aggressive position on court."
Troy - "Easy access to power and topspin. The weight provided a very stable feel. Other than the original Microgel version of this racquet, this had the most dampened feel."
Chris - "I have no dislikes for this racquet."
Andy - "Not much. The only thing I wasn't used to was the large beam width, but this could hardly be considered a dislike. It was just something that took a bit of an adjustment because I typically play with a thinner beam."
Carol - "None."
Troy - "I didn't feel comfortable attacking with my groundstroke. My shots were spraying long when I tried to put the ball away. I also didn't like the lack of feel at net."
Comparing the racquet to others they've tried, our testers said:
Chris - "This racquet felt like a faster and more comfortable Pure Drive Roddick. It doesn't offer quite the power or rock solid plow through of the Roddick, but it gets pretty close. I have hit all of the previous Extreme Pros and this is the most comfortable one yet. Best of all, it offers everything the others had but does it with a smoother response."
Andy - "This racquet felt a lot like the Babolat Pure Drive, as it's kind of a 'tweener racquet for the higher-level player. Like the Pure Drive, it's very stiff and offers a very crisp response and excellent access to spin. However, for me the comparison ends there. The Extreme Pro 2.0 has much better touch and feel than the Pure Drive, and I didn't feel like I was sacrificing any control for the added power I got from the frame. This is one of my favorite racquets, and that's coming from a guy who normally opts for a smaller, control-oriented racquet."
Carol - "This is my favorite Head racquet! This racquet is geared toward my game style and comfort zone. In the past I had a hard time adjusting to the Head racquet family and had many dislikes when it came to my game style. This racquet wasn't as foreign to me as many of the other Head racquets I have playtested. I felt very comfortable with the 11.8 oz strung weight of this racquet, which is comparable to my current racquet, the Wilson BLX Six.One 95. This racquet maneuvered through the ball almost as well as my Wilson BLX. I have always been a huge Wilson fan, but this racquet may have sold me on the Head family."
Troy - "In many aspects this racquet plays like the Babolat Pure Drive Roddick, based on its overall weight, balance, power and spin-potential. I found this version of the Extreme Pro to have better dampening than previous versions, other than the original Microgel Extreme Pro, which had the best feel upon impact with the ball."
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
Chris: 5.0 all-court player currently using the Volkl C10 Pro 2012. Chris uses a full-western forehand grip, has a fast swing style and hits a one-handed backhand.
Andy: Open level all court player with a semi-western forehand grip and a two handed backhand. Andy currently using a Yonex RDiS 100 Mid.
Carol: Open level baseliner currently using a Wilson BLX Six.One 95 (16x18). Carol is an aggressive player who uses an eastern forehand grip and a two handed backhand.
Troy: 5.0 lefty all-court player with a full Western Forehand and a two-handed backhand. Troy currently plays with a Wilson BLX Six.One 95 18x20 (2012 version).
Review date: August 2012. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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