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Comparison between Head Gravity MP Auxetic, Head Radical MP Auxetic and Wilson Shift 99

In this article, I compare 3 relatively similar tennis racquets that I had the opportunity to test at the same time ; the Head Gravity MP 2023 Auxetic, the Head Radical MP 2023 Auxetic and the Wilson Shift 99,300g.

These racquets have relatively similar technical characteristics and power levels, it could be a bit hard to differentiate them but I played a lot with these racquets and I could feel some differences in terms of sensations.

I think it will be interesting to see these differences in sensations in detail.

Let's compare these 3 racquets in video

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Overview of the Head Gravity MP 2023, Head Radical MP 2023 and Wilson Shift 99 racquets

The Head Gravity MP 2023 Auxetic and the Head Radical MP 2023 Auxetic are 2 racquets for which the essential improvement concerns the addition of the Auxetic technology, which aims to improve the sensations, in particular by giving nice sensations even if we off-center the ball.

The sensations are close to those given by the previous versions, with a slight gain in comfort.

These are 2 control-oriented tennis racquets, with reduced power, which also are not among the most demanding racquets.

The Wilson Shift 99 300g is new to Wilson racquet for 2023.

This is a versatile racquet, with a fairly rare head size of 99 in² / 639 cm², medium power, good topspin access and good comfort.

An interesting racquet because with its intermediate power, it comes between the Wilson Pro Staff and Blade which have reduced power, and the Clash, Ultra and Burn which are more powerful.

Power

In terms of power, the racquets aren't extremely different, but I'd rank them like this, starting with the most powerful:

  • Wilson Shift 99 300g
  • Head Gravity MP Auxetic
  • Head Radical MP Auxetic

The Shift is in my opinion the most powerful, the most versatile, with an intermediate power, thanks to:

  • its medium/slightly thick profile of 23.5 mm,
  • its medium/slightly high stiffness of 68 Ra.

The Shift has an intermediate power because:

  • the somewhat tight 16x20 string pattern, which remains versatile,
  • the 99 in² / 639 cm² intermediate head size which gives a good compromise between the 98 in² head size that are generally more control oriented and the 100 in² head size, that are generally more power oriented.

For my personal feelings, with the Shift:

  • I had the right power on the forehand and on the serve,
  • a good level of power on the backhand but I would need a little more control on a really powerful shots with little topspin.

We really feel the control side of the Gravity MP thanks to:

  • the very low stiffness: 59 Ra (62 for the previous model),
  • the thin profile of 22 mm,
  • the slightly tight 16x20 string pattern.

This control side is reduced by the versatile 100 in² / 645 cm² head, slightly rounded at the head of the racquet, that brings some power.

I even think that powerful players who don't use much topspin could lack control with this racquet.

With the Gravity MP, I had the right power/control mix on all my shots, it was perfect, I really enjoyed playing with this racquet that really fits me well.

The Head Radical MP has a reduced power, for me it's the least powerful, at the same time it's not the least powerful tennis racquet, it remains accessible to many players but be careful to that control side.

Power is reduced due to:

  • the average profile of 20mm / 23mm / 21mm,
  • the average stiffness of 65 Ra,
  • the head size of 98 in² / 632 cm²,
  • the 16x19 string pattern slightly tightened in the center of the stringbed.

With the Radical MP:

  • I slightly lacked weight in the ball and power on my forehand,
  • it was just correct on serve,
  • I had the perfect level of power for my backhand.

Spins

Slice backhand :

  • I had excellent feelings with the Gravity MP and the Radical MP, very good control,
  • It was fine with the Shift but I had a little less control sometimes.

Topspin:

  • I had the best access to topspin with the Gravity MP, the slightly rounded 100 in² / 645cm² headsize facilitates this and the 16x20 string pattern didn't bother me,
  • I also had good access to topspin with the Wilson Shift, the strings move quite easily despite the 16x20 string but the headsize is a little smaller and less rounded than the Gravity MP,
  • I had correct/average access to topspin with the Radical MP, it is the one that facilitates the least the access to topspin,
  • I had excellent sensations on my backhand with the Radical, where I don't use much topspin but I would have needed a little easier access on my forehand where I use it more.

Manoeuverability

For the maneuverability, I found the 3 racquets excellent, despite their different points of balance, they have a similar swingweight, around 320.

Head Radical MP

The Radical MP has a neutral balance at 32cm but the racquet felt very light in the head, it was the one with which I had the best maneuverability, I almost wished I had a little more weight in the head to put more weight in the ball.

This can be customized by adding lead tape.

This may be the one that will be best for those who want maximum maneuverability in one-handed backhand.

Wilson Shift

The Shift is the one that is the most head light, with balance point at 31.5 cm, the maneuverability  is also excellent, the profile is a little thicker than the Radical and the head a little larger, which can reduce very slightly the maneuverability compared to the Radical MP.

The Shift is very maneuverable and at the same time I didn't feel any lack of head weight because I had enough power and stability.

Head Gravity MP

We feel that the Head Gravity MP has more weight in the head but given the rather average weight of the racquet of 295g and the average swingweight, it remains very maneuverable.

I generally don't like head heavy racquets and I had very good feelings with this racquet.

I wasn't bothered by the balance or the size and shape of the racquet for my one-handed topspin backhand, the thin 22mm profile helps with maneuverability, but those who don't like at all having a feel of weight in the head may be more comfortable for maneuverability with the other 2 racquets.

Comfort / sensations

Wilson Shift

In terms of comfort, I found the Wilson Shift particularly comfortable, with very present vibration damping, which may be an issue for some players who may feel a little disconnected from the ball.

It was not the case for me, I liked playing with this racquet that has a lot of softness and a feeling of comfort is very present.

Head Radical MP

I had a very good sound with the Radical MP Auxetic, that I found a little more comfortable than the previous version, although the sensations are very close.

I found the Radical MP to be very comfortable, with very little vibration.

The tolerance is correct but lower than the other 2 racquets due to the 98 in² / 632 cm² head size.

Head Gravity MP

I found the Gravity MP Auxetic more comfortable than the previous version, still with a bit of string vibration, you might want to use a string dampener.

The slightly rounded 100 in² / 645 cm² head size gives very good tolerance for off center shots.

The flexibility of the racquet means that on powerful shots hit at the top of the frame, you can slightly feel the frame deform, which is not the case with the other 2 racquets.

The comfort is therefore correct and I really loved playing with this racquet, I had excellent sensations overall, an excellent sound on impact, a nice "PAN" each time I centered the ball well! Really great feelings for me!

I liked / I least liked

Here is a small summary of my personal sensations, to be taken with caution because the sensations often depend on each player.

Wilson Shift 99 300g

I loved :

  • comfort,
  • forehand power,
  • access to the lift,
  • maneuverability.

I least liked :

  • the difficulty of finding the compromise between the control I need on the backhand and the power I need on the forehand and on serve,
  • the slight plush feel on impact.

Head Gravity MP Auxetic

I loved :

  • the power/control compromise for all shots,
  • the nice access to topspin associated with a good control,
  • the sound on impact,
  • the very good maneuverability despite the balance a little in the head,
  • the tolerance,
  • the slight gain in comfort compared to the previous version.

I least liked the maneuverability of the racquet which was nice but which at the same time does not force me to be precise technically, particularly for the amplitude of my swings, their simplicity and the quality of my centering of the ball.

This racquet was a favorite, somewhat tempered when I played again with the Wilson Pro Staff X, a racquet that I did not include in this test because I classify it in another weight category with its 315 g unstrung.

The weight of the Pro Staff X:

  • allowed me to put more weight on the ball with less swing speed,
  • forced me to have larger swings and a better quality of ball centering.

Head Radical MP Auxetic

I loved :

  • control over my powerful backhand shots,
  • maneuverability,
  • sound on impact.

I least liked :

  • access to topspin a bit difficult on my forehand,
  • the slight lack of weight in the ball on my forehand.

Summary

Wilson Shift 99 300g

  • the most powerful of the three but there is a little control side that is present,
  • for intermediate/advanced players,
  • who are looking for an intermediate level of power,
  • who want a Wilson racquet with intermediate power, between the Pro Staff/Blade, control oriented and Clash/Ultra/Burn, more power oriented,
  • with a versatile game style, aggressive with power and topspin,
  • or flat game style that is not too powerful and slice,
  • who are looking for good access to topspin,
  • good manoeuverability,
  • a very good level of comfort, low vibration and slightly softened feelings when hitting the ball.

Head Gravity MP

  • for intermediate/advanced players with a relatively powerful game,
  • who are looking for a good level of control with at the same time good access to topspin, which is a bit hard to find,
  • with a powerful and topspin game, powerful players who don't use much topspin could lack control,
  • who want a maneuverable racquet with a slight feeling of weight in the head,
  • who want a good level of tolerance and a correct level of comfort.

Head Radical MP

  • in my opinion, the least powerful of the 3,
  • for intermediate/advanced players with a relatively powerful game,
  • who are looking for a feeling of control that is present, without wanting a racquet that is the most demanding,
  • who want an average access to topspin or who play flat/with slice,
  • who are looking for good manoeuverability and good comfort.