HEAD Speed Pro Legend

by Jonas Eriksson

It’s never too late to get your own signature racquet. It took 24 Grand Slam titles to get the HEAD Speed Pro Legend.

I was initially excited when I heard Novak Djokovic was getting a signature racquet model. The Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph sold excellently and is a great racquet in the right hands. I love the guts of Babolat to release the Babolat Pure Aero Rafa Origin, with its majestic 370-strung swing weight. These racquets are not for the faint of heart, but I am happy they are available to the average consumers and tennis nerds.

So here comes HEAD, the racquet with the arguably most complicated inventory of pro stock racquets. As you might already know, Novak Djokovic is playing with something completely different (read about Djokovic’s racquet) than the HEAD Speed Pro (link to our review) he endorses. I thought this was HEAD’s chance to release his actual specs and let the players who want to try them go for it, even though they are very demanding and not ideal for the average club player. Neither is the RF97 Autograph and the Babolat Pure Aero Rafa, though.

But no, HEAD decides to double down. Instead, we get a blacked-out cosmetic update with the same specifications as what is already available. The reasoning possibly being that club players won’t be able to play well with a Novak Autograph racquet. Or, the worry that if they release a 95 sq inch racquet now, after Novak endorsing the Speed Pro all these years, they will look stupid. Tennis nerds know that Nadal was using his trusted Aero Pro Drive Original (read more about Nadal’s racquet) all these years and although quite different in specs, the general identity, head size and beam profile of the frame is the same or at least very similar.

Novak Djokovic Legend racquet

Does it make sense from HEAD not to release Novak’s actual racquet specs to consumers? Yes, in some ways, but I felt like they could have made an Autograph version resembling what he uses (98 sq inch Speed Pro with 18/19 pattern and 22 mm beam could have been a compromise) and then made lighter, easier to use versions with the same cosmetic.

The approach to just update the cosmetic and call it the HEAD Speed Pro Legend (you can check it out from Tennis Warehouse Europe get 10% off using the code TNERD10, Tennis Warehouse or Tennis Only) was both boring and disappointing to me. There was an opportunity to right some common racquet manufacturer deception here, but they opted not to.

You don’t need to release exactly the same specs as a top pro uses to the racquet-buying audience. We cannot really expect that to happen. But we can expect the retail racquet to be relatively close in identity and feel to what said pro is using. In this case, I just feel the Speed Pro is too far off Novak’s actual racquet. And as you might know, I own both Novak’s personal frame and the HEAD Speed Pro.

Anyway, if you are still keen on a HEAD Speed Pro or HEAD Speed MP in a blacked-out “Legend” cosmetic, go ahead. I had hoped for something more. Let me know what you think of HEAD’s decision in the comments below.

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