I’m looking to buy a new racket soon. My last racket was a Li Ning N9 II, before that I had the Li Ning N90 III and N55 II Flame. The racket I’m looking for should be slightly stiff, slightly head heavy and suited for a more aggressive playstyle. However I’m not looking for a super stiff sledgehammer either: I play both singles and doubles, and my technique is probably not good enough to handle such a racket, especially at the front court when playing doubles. So no VTZFII or Thruster Ryuga for me. I’d describe my self as an intermediate-advanced player and usually play 2 times a week + occasional regular season games/tournaments on the weekend.
Right now, I’ve narrowed my choice down to these 3 racket:
- Li Ning AxForce 90 Max Tiger: Was recommended to me in another thread here, since it probably comes closest to the N9 II (medium flex, slightly head heavy). But recently I started to question whether this is actually a good thing. My relationship with the N9 II was kind of a love/hate-relationship: I really loved the speed and maneuverability and enjoyed playing fast flat exchanges. However I often felt like I lacked some power and as if my timing was always a little bit off. I always blamed my technique (which is definitely one of the reasons and could be way better) and thought if maybe the N9 II is too stiff for me or I’m not hitting the sweet spot correctly. But then at some point I remembered that I didn’t have this feeling when playing with N90 III and N55 II, which are both considered relatively stiff. So maybe a stiffer, more solid-feeling racket might be a better option for me. Another downside: It’s not even released here in Germany, availability will probably be a problem (most shops here dont carry a lot of Li ning rackets), and from what I’ve seen so far, it will be really really expensive.
- Astrox 100ZZ/ZX: I initially thought, that this racket will be waaaaay too stiff and head heavy for me. However, I went to a store, the guy handed me the racket and dry swings felt really good. After I’ve did my research, I learned that it is not one of those sledgehammers like I always thought. A lot of people described it as an aggressive-allrounder: Stiff but not too stiff, head heavy but still fast and surprisingly easy to play with. However I’m still a bit worried, if it might be too stiff for me, given the fact, that it is rated as “extra stiff” by Yonex. Does someone know how the Astrox 100ZZ/ZX compares to Li Ning N90 III and N55 II in terms of stiffness and ease of play?
- Victor Thruster F Enhanced: From what I’ve read it kind of falls in the same category as Astrox 100ZZ/ZX: Slightly head heavy, slightly aggressive allrounder. Unfortunately shops around me do not carry it, so I don’t have the opportunity to dry swing it. How does it compare to the Astrox 100ZZ and my previous Li Nings?
Given these informations, which racket would you recommend? Does my thoughts about the N9 II, timing, lack of power and stiffness even make sense or would you still recommend me to go for a medium flex racket, like I had before? Unfortunately I do not have the opportunity to test and play the rackets before buying, so I feel like no matter how much research I do, in the end I’m still buying a pig in a poke..
I’m grateful for any kind of advice. Thanks in advance