Review: Head YouTek Extreme Pro Tennis Racket

“Tennis is 30 percent physical and 70 percent mental!” my old coach liked to bark at me, usually after I had thrown my racket over the fence in disgust. Indeed, I never quite mastered that mental part, which is probably why I quit playing competitively and took up a less demanding sport: smoking cigarettes and writing gadget reviews.

Still, regardless of skill, experience and mental soundness, the right racket can make a world of difference. For those looking Nadal-ize their game, Head’s new YouTek Extreme Pro offers a potent blend of power and control in a nearly perfect package.

Key to this racket’s allure is a frame-inlay feature called d3o, which is a specially engineered material comprised of free-flowing molecules that lock up and absorb energy on impact. It’s the same stuff used in knee pads, motorcycle gear and even iPod cases. In this case, it helps the racket adapt to your swing style and gives you better control. On high-impact shots, the material binds together, providing a big-time power boost. On lower-power shots, the material absorbs impact and gives you better touch.

Initially, this didn’t mean too much for my rusty game (it had been 3 years, give or take, since I picked up a racket). But once I got back into the swing of things, I really started to appreciate the racket’s versatility. Serving was particularly nice with the YouTek, and I was able to produce a few killer slices and ample amounts of topspin.

But it’s not just big hitters that’ll enjoy YouTek. Players with a touch game will also love the racket’s ability to add some finesse to their game as well.

Just try to control your inner McEnroe when those drop shots occasionally fall short. The Extreme is kind of expensive.

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