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Racquet Service


 Once you buy a racquet and have it strung, you’re not finished. It may need to be customized to best fit your style of play or to deal with your likes and dislikes or to handle any injuries you may have. This could be as simple as changing the grip to as complex as changing the handle shape of your racquet or changing the weighting to match your other racquets.


 

Grips


 

 Not all grips are created equal.  There are different textures and thicknesses of grips, and these serve to affect the way your racquet feels in your hand. The grip is the main line of communication you have with the racquet, and it needs to be right for you.

 Racquet companies don’t have different grips on their frames for the heck of it; they have them to serve certain purposes: player’s frames generally have thinner, stiffer grips to enhance feel, while game improvement frames have thicker, softer grips to aid in shock absorption. There are, however, things you can do to make your racquet feel more to your hand’s liking.

 The chart below shows the “build-up effect” of many replacement grips. As you can see, they are far from identical.

 

Brand

Model

Build-up Effect

Babolat

Air Touch

1/2"


Perfcushion

3/8"


Syntec

3/8"

Gamma

Hi-Tech

5/16"


Hi-Tech Gel

3/8"


Pro Lite

5/16"

Gosen

MG-20

3/16"

Head

Hydrosorb

3/8"

Prince

Air Cushion Fit

7/16"


DuraPerf Contour

3/8"


DuraPro+

3/8"


DuraSoft +

1/2"


Duratac

5/16"

Wilson

[K]Grip

3/8"


[K]ontrol

1/4"


Micro Dry Comfort

7/16"


Micro Dry Feel

3/8"


Micro Dry Max

5/16"


Micro Dry Touch

3/8"


Sponge

5/16"


 

At the extreme, your frame’s final handle size could be changed by as much as 2 ½ sizes (5/16”) simply by changing grips (replacing a Wilson MicroDry Max with a Wilson MicroDry Comfort or vice versa, for example). This could also greatly change how soft the handle feels, but may be an easy way to change your grip size without resorting to a more drastic build-up job. Remember that this build-up, unlike a build-up sleeve, will diminish over time as the grip’s padding compresses. Replace your grip often!

 The next chart shows the bare handle size of many popular frames. As you can see, handle sizes vary, not only among different brands, but among different models of the same brand. The remaining size is taken up by the grip.

 

Brand

Model

Grip Size

Bare Handle Size

Babolat

Pure Drive MP

4 1/2

4 1/4

Dunlop

Revelation Tour MP

4 1/2

4 1/4

Head

Flexpoint 4

4 3/8

4


FXP Radical Team

4 3/8

4 1/16


FlexPoint Radical Tour MP

4 1/2

4 1/4


i.X6 OS

4 3/8

4 1/16


MicroGEL Extreme

4 3/8

4 1/16


Ti.Laser

4 1/4

4


Ti.S5

4 1/2

4 3/16


Ti.S6

4 3/8

4 1/8

Prince

More Control DB 800

4 3/8

4


O3 Hybrid Hornet

4 3/8

4 1/16


O3 Hybrid Shark MP

4 3/8

4


Shark DB OS

4 3/8

4 1/16


Tour Diablo XP

4 5/8

4 5/16


Tour NXGraphite MP

4 1/2

4 5/16


TT Scream OS

4 1/4

3 15/16

Pro-Kennex

Ionic Ki-15

4 5/8

4 5/16


Ionic Ki-30 OS

4 1/2

4 1/4


Kinetic Pro 5g

4 5/8

4 5/16


Laver Heritage Type S

4 1/2

4 1/8

Volkl

C9 Pro

4 3/8

4 1/8

Wilson

Hyper Hammer 6.3 MP

4 5/8

4 3/8


Hyper ProStaff 6.1 MP

4 5/8

4 5/16


Hyper ProStaff 6.5 110

4 5/8

4 3/8


[K]Four 105

4 1/2

4 3/16


[K]Five 108

4 1/2

4 1/4


n1

4 1/4

3 15/16



4 3/8

4


nsixone 95 16x18

4 1/4

4



4 3/8

4 1/16


nTour 95

4 1/4

4



4 1/2

4 1/4

Yonex

SRQ600 Ti Long

4 3/8

4 1/8


Ultimum RQTi250M

4 3/8

4 1/8


 

 As you can see, handle sizing varies all over the place. This is why it may be difficult to change racquet brands: a Prince 4 3/8 will probably feel different than a Wilson 4 3/8, for example, in size and shape.


 

Replacement Grips (all prices include installation)


 

Babolat

 Syntec $12 

 The Syntec is Babolat’s standard grip, coming on many of its frames, including the Pure Drive and Aero Pro Drive series. Average build-up effect and superior cushioning make it one of the best all-round grips. Black only.

 

 Air Sphere $14 


The Air Sphere’s design allows air bubbles to collect underneath, providing extra cushion and shock absorption. Medium tack allows for easy grip changes, and the build-up effect is about average. Black only.


 Skin Feel  $14

 Skin Feel will reduce your handle size so you can apply a thick overgrip and not have it feel too bulky. A great idea for all you TournaGrip users. Black only.

 

 Smart Kit $20

 Babolat’s Smart Kit will take a traditional handle and transform it into Babolat’s innovative Smart Grip ergonomic handle. Putting less stress on your fingers and hand(s), it will enhance power, feel and control. Black or white available.

 

Dunlop

 Gecko-Tac $12

 Gecko-Tac is the OEM grip for Dunlop’s new Biomimetic series frames, and uses a polyurethane skin with a polyurethane foam center and a microfibre base to provide great tackiness with superior moisture absorption. Black only.

 

 Hydramax Cushion  $12

 Hydramax Cushion is Dunlop’s long-time replacement grip, and offers fine cushioning along with the Hydramax absorption layer.  Black only.


 

Gamma

 Hi-Tech $12

 Gamma’s Hi-Tech grip originated the trend to non-leather performance replacement grips. Solid feel and a smooth, ultra-tacky surface, along with what I think is the perfect “build-up effect” (5/16”) make it a prime choice for advanced players. White only.


 Pro Lite $12

 Gamma’s Pro Lite replacement grip is perfect for all those ultra-lightweight frames out there.  Lighter than standard grips, it lets you keep the head-heavy feel and power of your racquet. Black or white available.

 

 Hi-Tech Gel $12

 The Hi-Tech Gel uses Gamma’s firm surfacing with added Zorbicon gel for impact shock isolation. A nice-feeling grip to the hand with forgiveness for the arm.  Black only.

 

Head

 Hydrosorb $12

 Head’s Hydrosorb grip is also a good choice for player’s frames, as it offers a firm surface and doesn’t “plump up” the handle as some cushioned grips can. White or black.

 

 Multizone $20

 Don’t let the picture of Andre and Steffi fool you: they don’t use this grip, as far as I know.  However, it has some real benefits for recreational players. Different “zones” of materials and textures offer you extra traction where you need it most, and more comfort where you don’t.  It’s more expensive than standard grips due to the extra work needed to install it.  It’s sold by grip sizes, so make sure you know yours when ordering. Black only at this time.

 

 

 

 

Prince

 ResiPro $12

 Prince has done a fine job with the Resi series grips, giving them great traction without being overly sticky. Translation: your hand will stay in place without feeling like it’s stuck on flypaper. Average build-up effect; black only.


 

 ResiSoft $12

 The ResiSoft grip is a thicker version of the ResiPro, offering a little more comfort at the expense of a slightly larger handle. +1/8” build-up; black only.

 


Private Label Grips

 Generic Performance Leather Grips $18

 I offer two thicknesses of leather replacement grips – 1.3 and 1.5mm – depending on your needs (the thinner will allow use of an overgrip without increasing handle size) Brown only.


 


 

Volkl

 DNX Grip $12

 Volkl’s DNX grip provides fine cushioning with average handle build-up. The slight octagonal surface tread makes for a very comfortable feel. Black only.


 

Wilson

 CushionAire Contour $12

 One of the original CushionAire grips from the 90’s, the Contour has a nice foam ridge allowing for better grip control and finger placement. Average build-up effect; black only.


 

 CushionAire Sponge $12

 Wilson’s Sponge grip has larger-than-normal perforations to improve the absorption of moisture by the foam layer below. -1/16” build-up effect; black only.


 

 [K[Grip $12

 The OEM grip for Wilson’s [K]Factor series frames, this grip offers an interesting tread pattern with average build-up effect, good cushioning and tack. Black only.


 

 [K]ontrol Grip $12

 Wilson has done a great service here with the [K]ontrol grip: a -1/8” build-up effect lets you keep your grip size constant if you use an overgrip, and they’ve managed to do it with a minimal sacrifice of cushioning. Black only.


 

 Comfort Hybrid $12

 The Comfort Hybrid grip uses an air foam inner layer and a soft polyurethane outer one for maximum shock absorption and comfort. +1/8” buildup effect; white only.


 

 Micro Dry Comfort $12

 A popular holdover from the ncode series frames, the Micro Dry Comfort provides excellent absorption of both shock and moisture along with very high tack. +1/8” buildup effect; black only.


 

 Micro Dry Touch $12

 The Micro Dry Touch grip is a little thinner than the Comfort, providing more feel for handle edges and improved hand placement. Standard buildup effect; black only.


 

 Performance Hybrid $12

 Wilson has developed a nifty range of replacement grips for their BLX series frames, and the Performance Hybrid is the “general issue” model. Combining a tacky polyurethane outer layer with a moisture-absorbing cotton interior, this grip offers a real benefit for sweaty hands. Average build-up effect; black only.


 Pro Hybrid  $14

 The Pro Hybrid is the OEM grip for Wilson’s six.one series, and combines polyurethane with leather to offer a solid grip surface with great feel, but with more comfort than straight leather.  Black only.

 

 Shock Shield Hybrid $14

 Shock Shield uses two of the most forgiving grip materials – polyurethane and gel – to reduce shock and vibration. It’s a great choice for stiff frames or those with arm injuries. White only.

 Premium Leather $20

 The original equipment grip on Roger Federer’s Tour series frames, Wilson’s Premium Leather grip offers an extra firm feel for edge definition, although it is best used with an overgrip. Tan only. 

 

 

Yonex

 Super Grap Overgrip $6

 The Super Grap is the best overgrip I’ve come across, offering good tack and shock absorption along with minimal handle size change. 3 grips per pack in white, black, red, yellow, light blue and light pink.

 Wave Grap  $6

 Now, this is cool:  an overgrip with a foam rib underneath for excellent finger placement.  Get your fingers set on here, and you may never let go.  Black only.

 


 

Increasing Handle Size $12 per sleeve 


 

Heat shrink sleeves let you control the amount of size increase and maintain handle shape, and they tend to resist compression very well, meaning your handle size will stay the same for a long period of time. Most sleeves add one full size; some only ½ size. Their complete adherence to the handle maintains the bevels for sure grip changes although they, like thick overgips, can add up to ½ oz. to overall racquet weight. Some customization may be necessary to compensate for this.


 

Changing Handle Shape (by Estimate Only)


 

 There are some things you can do to change the shape of your racquet’s handle, depending on its construction. Polyurethane foam handles can be sanded down to make them smaller, or have their edges smoothed to make for a more rounded handle shape. It may be possible to reshape sections of a foam handle to make a “slot” for a finger or knuckle, as long as you hold the racquet in the same position all the time. Modern graphite handles cannot be sanded down.

 Changing the shape of a handle can be done quite easily in some cases by simply building up or sanding down specific bevels. Or, heat-shrink sleeves can be “segmented” to build up only certain bevels. This could make a Wilson handle feel more like a Prince one, for example. You could even form a “hand hold” if you like to hold the racquet in a certain way, or as a brace for two-handed shots.


 

Frame Customization/Matching (by Estimate Only)


 

 Many players have multiple racquets, but always seem to have a “favorite” one. It may be possible to match them to each other so you can use them all equally with no fear of a different feel throwing your game off.

 Every racquet is produced within tolerances; some brands are quite tight, while others are not. If the frame you like is the heavier one of the group, it should be possible to match the lighter ones to it using the Babolat RDC machine and some lead tape. The first thing you need to match is swingweight (how heavy the racquet feels while being swung). Total weight and balance point may or may not match exactly. Once this is done, you should be able to rotate frames without a problem. Prices for this service vary; contact me for information.

 Customizing a frame is a little different. Here, you’re trying to get a certain characteristic changed, be it weight, balance, torsional stability, etc. This is a little more complicated than simple racquet matching in most cases, and will require more time and expense. Once again, e-mail me for details.


 

 

Grommet Strip Installation: Price Varies


 

 Almost every frame made over the last 25 years or so has come with an integral grommet strip/bumper guard to protect the head of the frame and the string holes. Some are better at this than others, but they are there nonetheless and will require periodic replacement as they wear. Grommets can split from cold weather or mishit shots. The bumper will wear down from repeated dragging on the court or from chunks flying off from mishits or banging the court in cold weather. Any of these can result in frame damage and premature breakage.

 Many players never pay attention to the bumper guard: lots of times, it’s the same color as the frame and it can be hard to tell where one leaves off and the other begins. Have your racquet technician examine the bumper and grommets before each stringing and replace them as needed. It’s a small expense to ensure a long life for your frame.

 I carry grommet/bumper sets for many popular frames, and some older models; most others are available with a few days order time. Contact me to make sure I have yours.


    

Matt's Tennis, LLC   510 Douglas Ave, Suite 1013    Altamonte Springs, FL 32714                                        407.701.9351         info@mattstennis.com

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