HEAD Agassi Radical Limited Edition Racquet Review
In 1993 HEAD developed the original Radical racquet specifically for Andre Agassi. Agassi went on to win 37 of 60 titles with the Radical. Some of the most memorable Agassi victories with the HEAD Radical include his Olympic Gold Medal in Atlanta as well as seven of his eight Grand Slams. Agassi's record on court over the last 13 years has helped make the Radical one of the best-selling tennis racquets worldwide.
Here we review the Agassi Radical Limited Edition. This racquet is an exact replica of the Radical first used by Agassi in 1993. With only a limited number of racquets being produced worldwide, many may end up as collector racquets. However, we felt that to be somewhat of a shame, as we were impressed in our initial hitting sessions with the racquet. In fact, we were so impressed, we just had to let our review team loose with the Agassi Radical Limited Edition for a three-week playtest.
The solid and stable response of the 12.1 ounce Agassi Radical Limited Edition impressed our team from the baseline. We tested the racquet as shipped, complete with poly string, rubber band dampener and a blue overgrip. When the factory string began to tire, we restrung the racquet with a comparable leading polyester string that was favored by Agassi during his career.
Impressed by his consistent play with the racquet at the baseline was Spencer. "I was hitting very solid, reliable groundstrokes from both sides. This racquet made me feel very precise in striking the ball. Even off-center hits still felt very solid and stayed on track. I was very impressed with the consistency I was finding with this racquet. The weight of the racquet was noticeable after awhile, but something I'm sure I could adjust to. The power wasn't huge, but it does have enough when you need that little extra." Chris found hitting with the Agassi Radical Limited Edition to be a walk down memory lane. "Ah yes, this is the Radical I remember. Back as a college player I used the Twin Tube Radical Oversize, and this racquet definitely reminds me of that stick. It's been a long time since I've hit with a Radical that plays with such heft and stability. Definitely an old school player's racquet feel, and all the better for it. It's hard to think of another Oversize currently available that would compete with this stick from the baseline. During the test I compared it to the M Speed Pro One 105, the Gamma IPEX 7.0 Oversize and the Flexpoint Radical Oversize and none came close to the performance of this one. I found excellent stability and control on my groundstrokes. With the poly test string, the control from the stringbed was very good. I was able to take big cuts at the ball and be confident my shots would stay within the lines. The racquet felt very well suited to hitting topspin off both wings. I also found this stick to be surprisingly responsive on slice backhands. I was getting plenty of spin and bite on the ball and could either drive my slice deep or cut it for a sharp angle. However, big forehands were the order of the day. I had the most fun running around my backhand and trying to take the felt off the ball with my forehand."
Finding more pace and depth on his groundstrokes was Granville. "From the first few groundstrokes it was apparent I was getting more depth and pace with this racquet than my Wilson Hyper ProStaff 6.1! Combine that with the comfort of swinging a heavy racquet and you get a Radical unlike any in memory. I was getting over the ball with ease on the forehand and was mixing it up well by throwing in some sliders. Same applied to the backhand side. I found it particularly rewarding hitting winners with this racquet." Ryan found the racquet to play phenomenally well off the ground. "There is no doubt in my mind why Andre Agassi liked using this racquet. This racquet is phenomenal on groundies. There is a confidence with this racquet that I haven't found in many racquets. I hit exceptionally well with it. My depth was excellent and I found very good access to spin. The racquet was a bit hefty, but when I was actually swinging, it was just great. The amount of control I had was amazing. I haven't had this much control with a racquet that has decent power in a while. Usually, there is a decrease in control when the power is increased; not so with this racquet. Just sweet." Jon found he had plenty of options off both wings when hitting with the Agassi Radical Limited Edition. "The Agassi Radical Limited Edition is a solid racquet from the baseline. It has decent power, good spin potential, and great control. I had a lot of options with this racquet."
Finding good preparation to be rewarded with crushing power and spin was Jeremy. "I was very impressed with how the racquet handled at the baseline. The headsize and string pattern are perfect for my groundstrokes, whether I was hitting flat, topspin, or slice shots. With the static weight around 12 ounces, all my strokes felt very confident and comfortable. The main thing this racquet required of me was early preparation, as it does have a higher swingweight. Once I got my timing down, the Agassi Radical Limited Edition would crush through the ball, which I found to be very rewarding." Brad enjoyed a solid blend of power, control and stability when hitting with the racquet. "The Agassi Radical Limited Edition was very fun to hit with from the baseline. I found that the racquet offered a good balance of power and control. I do think that some of this was due to the premium polyester that the racquet was strung with, as it helped keep the large stringbed from being too lively. On forehands, I had good depth on all of my shots and I was able to land a lot of them just inside the baseline. It was easy to generate topspin when I wanted to, or flatten my shots when I didn't have as much time to set up for them. On backhands, I felt very comfortable swinging away at the ball. I never felt like it was going to sail on me or that I couldn't control where I wanted my backhand to go. Great control with a very solid feel."
At net, the Agassi Radical Limited Edition continued to impress with its solid and stable response - although some testers struggled with the hefty feel. Enjoying the response of the racquet at net was Chris. "Again, the racquet felt very solid and stable. It never felt pushed around by the ball and I found plenty of control on my volleys. I was able to hit some nice angle shots with this stick and felt confident when hitting with touch and placement. I used this racquet in a high level doubles match where I was the lowest ranked player on the court. With the Agassi Radical Limited Edition I was able to hold my own at net and felt every bit as confident as when I volley with my regular stick." Brad struggled with the weight of the racquet at net. "I did struggle a bit with volleys using this racquet. This is one area where I feel that higher swingweight had an effect on my timing. I just wasn't able to get the racquet where I needed it to be in time to make good contact with the ball. I found a lot of my volleys going into the net. When I did manage to get volleys back to my opponent, I had good control of the ball, but not as much power as I would have liked."
Finding the heft of the racquet to be overshadowed by the precise response he found at net was Ryan. "My volleys were the one area that gave me a little bit of trouble. The only reason being that because of it's heft and being only about 6 points head light, the racquet is not quite as maneuverable as I would like. However, when you think of the person who used this racquet, there is no surprise. It was very accurate, and when I was in time and set up, my volleys were great. The extra square inches helped a lot, and made up a lot for the slight deficiency in maneuverability." Jeremy was another player to notice the heft of the racquet when pushing forward to volley. "Volleying would probably be the only downside to this racquet for me. If I was moving into the net after an approach shot, volleying the ball away was not an issue. However, when I would get stuck at the net the weight of the racquet would come into play on quick reaction volleys. There seemed to be just a little too much weight in the head. Aside from that, I found that I was hitting well-placed volleys with good pace." Spencer enjoyed the response of the racquet, but struggled with maneuverability. "Net play was so-so, as the maneuverability of this racquet was somewhat limiting, especially with a good paced shot coming at me. However, both touch and feel were great."
Granville appreciated the heft and solid response at net. "At six points head-light, the Agassi Radical Limited Edition was plenty maneuverable at the net. I was slicing, dicing and punching with ease. It was nice to know I had a racquet massive enough to handle any ball sent in my direction, as opposed to the lighter racquets that can rebound from the ball." Jon found the racquet easy to maneuver and forgiving at net. "With a 107 square inch head, there was plenty of real estate with the racquet to help get that volley back. I was surprised at the large forgiving sweetspot and the maneuverability of the racquet. At over 12 ounces I expected the Agassi Radical Limited Edition to be hard to maneuver at the net, but that wasn't the case. It's a fun racquet for volleying."
Our team found the Agassi Radical Limited Edition to be an excellent serving tool. Finding both control and power was Brad. "I found a good balance of power and control on my serves with this racquet. I really enjoyed hitting first serves and was able to place my serves up the T or out wide at will. On second serves, I was able to get good depth and pace on my kick serves." Hitting some big serves with the Agassi Radical Limited Edition was Granville. "Here is perhaps the biggest surprise; I loved serving with this racquet. I could rip my regular heaters and place the ball with precision. Kickers were kicking and I noticed my ball climbing a bit higher against the back fence once past my opponent." Chris was also pleased with the response of the racquet on serve. "I served well with this racquet. I was able to find some impressive spin and ample pace. No matter if I was sliding the ball out wide, trying to kick it up high or going for a heater down the middle, I was pleased with the response of the racquet. I was also hitting my overheads well with the racquet. A couple of times I caught the ball a little high in the stringbed and the racquet responded very well, with decent pace and accuracy."
Stepping up to the service line with confidence when using the Agassi Radical Limited Edition was Spencer. "I found I could serve with confidence as consistency once again came into play. It offered a good combination of power and spin on serves. Being able to put good kick and placement on my second serve, I instinctively was going for a bit more on my first. Like most things in life, confidence can be an effective catalyst." Ryan enjoyed serving with this racquet. "Serving was really fun with this racquet. There is good power and the spin was excellent. My kickers were a joy. Placement was very good and control was still great. I loved serving with this racquet. Again, because of the control that this racquet has there is a confidence that I had that made me serve better. I thought the heft was the only thing that might bother me, for the same reason that any racquet over 12 ounces does. But this racquet has a good amount of power, so I didn't mind the heft."
Jon said, "I had good results serving with the Agassi Radical Limited Edition. I was able to generate a lot of spin on my kick serve and a lot of pace on my flat serve. I liked the polyester on serve, as the control was much better than expected." Finding good access to spin was Jeremy. "Another great attribute with this frame was serving. With its 12 ounce weight and oversize head, I was able to put lots of spin on my serves without sacrificing too much speed. Flat serves were still easy to hit and had great pace. Not only that, but serves felt just as comfortable as the groundstrokes."
The key word from our team when returning with the Agassi Radical Limited Edition was confidence. The solid feel, predictable response from the stringbed, controllable power level and forgiving headsize allowed for aggressive and confident returning. Stepping in and taking a rip at the ball was Ryan. "Confidence was the key. I just took huge rips at the ball and the ball would stay in. This racquet was great for returning serve. The only area that I had trouble with was with my slice return. I floated a couple, which seemed odd, as I didn't really have any problem with that in the groundstrokes. However, I was able to really go after kick serves to the backhand, even when they were high, and feel like I was still getting decent depth (no easy task with a one hander)." Spencer returned well with the racquet. "Whether I was blocking back a hard first serve, or taking a full cut on a slower serve, my results were good. All in all a very comfortable feel." Jeremy continued to play confidently with the racquet. "The Agassi Radical Limited Edition is a very confidence inspiring racquet. This is true for the return of serve as well. After just hitting groundstrokes with it, I started feeling like I could add more power to the ball without the ball going long. This worked as well on the return of serve, as I found myself taking a bigger swing than usual and coming up with better results. When I had to take a shorter backswing on a serve with more speed on it, the 107 square inch head helped add a bit more pace to the ball."
Enjoying the stable response of the racquet when returning was Chris. "I enjoyed returning with this racquet. I was able to hit aggressively while maintaining good placement. The racquet placed plenty of mass behind the ball, offering some nice plough through even on hard hit serves. The stability also worked well when I was pulled wide and had to block the ball back. I felt very confident swinging away with this one and went after returns at full throttle." Finding life to be sweet when returning with the Agassi Radical Limited Edition was Granville. "When returning with the Agassi Radical Limited Edition, with its 12 ounce plus weight, I noticed that returning felt easier. I found if I got the racquet moving it would do much of the work for me. I could reflex my backhand returns low cross court or down the line. If taking the offensive, I was able to get over the ball and add some pace to it, putting my opponent on the defensive early in the point.
Brad found the racquet to offer greater stability than he expected from an oversize. "Serve returns with this racquet were good as long as I didn't take too big of a swing. The weight of this racquet and the large sweetspot made it easy to block serves back. I didn't have any issues with twisting of the racquet on off centered returns that some would expect from an oversized head." Jon was executing returns with great accuracy with the Agassi Radical Limited Edition. "The racquet has a solid feel and good control on service returns. I enjoyed the topspin I generated with this racquet, as I felt I could place the ball anywhere in the court."
This is an impressive racquet. If you want one of these as a collectable, you've got to get one to hit with, too. Our entire team enjoyed the solid response from all areas of the court offered by this racquet. Going head to head with other current oversize offerings, the Agassi Radical Limited Edition consistently came out ahead. A high level of comfort, controllable power and good access to spin on groundstrokes and serves combined with impressive stability and a forgiving response on volleys and returns. Those accustomed to lighter racquets might find the weight to take some getting used to, but once adjusted, one finds added comfort and a solid feel that's hard to beat. We found the poly string a good fit for the racquet, with an impressive blend of power and control coming from the stringbed. Players seeking even more comfort and/or power can try juicing things up with a multifilament string or natural gut. As for us, we like it just the way Agassi likes it, complete with poly string, a blue overgrip and a rubber band dampener.
Review date: November, 2006. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.