I never really intended to playtest the 2012 Head YouTek IG Radical Pro tennis racquet, only because I was not a big fan of the previous model from Head (the non IG model). However, I thought I would give the IG a try and hoped that reviewing the new version would change my mind.
Upon visual inspection, the Head YouTek IG Radical Pro looked alright; not too bad, but the new accents of grey and honeycomb graphics added a new element to the YouTek paint job. The Radical Pro felt pretty solid in hand, I felt a connection when holding this stick, though I was not a fan of the leather grip as it was almost too slick. The Head YouTek IG Radical Pro is listed at 3 points headlight, so the balance felt pretty even.
Head YouTek IG Radical Pro playtest
When I got to the point of hitting full court tennis, I was immediately impressed with how easy the Head YouTek IG Radical Pro was to swing. It felt very well balanced and weighted enough to not feel like I was swinging around a frying pan.
Hitting at full speed, the Head YouTek IG Radical Pro came to life! This is a very powerful tennis racquet for 2012, however; I did come across a few problems with this frame that I personally did no like (but was able to tolerate). The Head YouTek IG Radical Pro lacked one of the more important characteristics of a tennis racket, control. No matter how powerful the Head YouTek IG Radical Pro was, I still struggled when it came to control. Changing ball direction was difficult to do; when I was able to make placement shots, they were very under powered and lacked depth even when making solid contact. Even though the Head YouTek IG Radical Pro lacked control, I found the power that the frame provided outweighed the negative.
The Head YouTek IG Radical Pro comes with a 16×19 string pattern (open pattern) which helps produce spin, however; the IG Radical Pro didn’t really give me a lot of spin. I like to hit with a western grip on my forehand, which already creates plenty of spin, but I was not getting the ball to spin nearly as much – granted I was using synthetic tennis strings at a pretty high tension. Even still, the lack of spin was some what of a concern, especially when hitting angles off both wings.
Serving with this power beast was actually quite fun! Because the Head YouTek IG Radical Pro has so much power, flat serves were really easy to come by. I was able to serve some bombs on first serves! My favorite serve with this racket was the flat down the ‘T’, I could hit that spot all day long with a lot of pace. Although I was able to hit some powerful flat serves, I struggled more than normal to get any kind of kick or slice serves. My slice serves were easier to hit than a kick serve but both were hard to get a lot of action on. So, if I’m were able to have a first serve percentage of 100, then I would absolutely buy this racquet; but the reality is that I serve around 68%, inevitably I had to get a few second serves in, those were much slower as I had to slow down my service swing in order to get the ball to spin and go in. I stuck with the slick serve as it was easier to spin in the service box.
I did not spend much time testing the Head YouTek IG Radical Pro at the net, but the volleys I did get to hit were quite crisp and deep. Because the frame boasts as much power that it does, getting penetrating volleys with placement was extremely easy. From the few volleys I did hit I noticed how stable the tennis racquet was, volleying quick passing attempts was very simple as the racquet never twisted or felt loose at contact.
Head YouTek IG Radical Pro final thoughts
To sum up the Head YouTek IG Radical Pro tennis racquet, the power coupled with the stability of the frame made for a very entertaining tennis racquet to have in my bag. Even with the lack of control, I am confident that if I had time to customize the racquet (strings, weight, balance) I would very much find this at the top of my list of favorite racquets. If you are a big hitter and are looking for additional power from a tennis racquet, then you should absolutely look at this as a potential replacement of your current frame; an ideal racquet for an aggressive baseline tennis player who has skilled strokes.
2012 Head YouTek IG Radical Pro racquet specs:
Head Size: 98 sq. in. / 632.26 sq. cm.
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight: 11.4oz / 323.18g
Balance: 3 pts HL
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses