Meet Gurneet Singh, a prior world-ranking junior tennis player in India that served singles and doubles matches in ITF Junior Tournaments. Gurneet is presently a tennis enthusiast who still loves slamming tennis balls in his spare time. He recently got his hands on our TR990, the same racket used by Oliver Marach in his doubles win at the 2018 Australian Open. With his expertise and experience using many different types of rackets, Gurneet highlighted how this racket stands out above others.
What was your experience with the structural aspects of the racket?
Weight: My playing style involves power play, but the heavy weight of my current racket and a high string tension enables control over my game. I avoid light rackets or low string tensions to retain control and consistency. However, I was delightfully surprised with the TR990, which despite the light weight of 0.66 lbs, offered great consistency. It was encouraging that I felt in control of my game while using the default strings tension of 55 lbs, as stringing the racket with my regular tension of 60 lbs will only increase my control on my game. Thus, the TR990 provides the advantages of some heavier rackets with high string tensions like control, while providing all the benefits of many lighter rackets, such as power.
Head-size: I am used to playing with rackets that have head-sizes up to 95 square-inches. I’ve preferred a smaller head-size because it offers consistency to my game, while I can rely on my own power, and meet the ball at the sweet-spot most of the times. The TR990 however offered me a consistent game, despite the larger head-size of 99.21 square-inches. In addition, the TR990 allowed me to get my tennis “feel” within the first five minutes upon playing after over a month, as the larger head-size facilitated effortless and solid top spin and slices, while being forgiving several times due to the larger sweet-spot. The TR990 can therefore be an excellent racket for people like me who can’t play as often as they’d like to, but would like their “tennis feel” to be back within the first few minutes of commencing play after a gap or break periods.
Creative design involving strategic placement of materials: One of the reasons I prefer a racket with smaller head sizes is because such racket offers less impact to my wrist when I hit the ball, especially when I’m returning a powerful serve or a shot. This is primarily because the strings vibrate less than strings of a larger head, even when the strings are tied at the same tension. To overcome high vibrations while playing with larger heads, I often used large-head rackets with a vibration dampener, which I don’t prefer for a variety of reasons. I was astonished that even without a vibration dampener, the TR990 did not vibrate as much a racket with similar weight and head usually would. For this reason, I could play more aggressively than usual and felt more in control of my game. Upon researching, I realized that Decathlon ingeniously enabled this benefit by putting extra graphite placed at the longer sides of the oval head. This idea is brilliant because it reaps the benefits of rackets with a smaller head (consistency and low vibrations upon impact), while retaining the advantages of rackets with larger heads (power and spin).
Material innovation: As noted above, I was pleasantly astounded to feel minimal vibrations upon impact without a vibration dampener. In addition to the novel racket-head design, Decathlon innovated with the material of the racket by adding balsa wood (which is a known excellent vibration dampener) to graphite. While this makes me curious as to the process of preparing the material for the racket frame, I am very impressed with the end result.