In an effort to continue locating the safest and most arm friendly racquets for those suffering from tennis elbow, we have just received the Kneissl Black Star for playtesting purposes. The specs on this racquet fill a void between the lighter weight, yet head heavy PowerAngle racquets and the heavier Avery racquets.
The Kneissl Black Star racquet is unique in that it is one of few OS racquets (110 headsize) with a dense string pattern, 18 x 21. The specs are arm friendly as the flex is only 58 and it is made of a graphite/fiberglass composite. The weight is approx. 11oz and it measures 6 pts. headlight. How does it perform on court? We will be playtesting during the coming weeks and will provide an update on this blog.
We are curious about a technology that Kneissl uses in the handle. They call it INTEGRATED VIBRATION CONTROL and describe it as a “fully integrated shock absorption system completely encircling the grip, which delivers utmost control without vibrations. A combination of One Piece with the grip of fiberglass and the completely new SHOCK-ABSORBER-BANDAGE of Texalium with Titanium or Carbonite. This combination guarantees perfect vibration dampening together with the optimum of control and superb ball feeling.”
The racquet is designed and marketed by a Austrian company, but is produced in China. That said, the quality and workmanship appear to be high. The finish and paint job are among the finest I have seen, glossy and slick, though we did not test for lead content. The string channels are capped, providing a extra clean and unique look. The caps are easily removed for restringing. We will have to wait and see how many times they can pop in and out of the channels before fit issues arise. Kneissl refers to these as”aerodynamic frame spoilers” and claims they increase the aerodynamics of the frame by 30%. Who needs Speedports when these puppies look so much cooler?
This racquet incorporates a technology known as “More Area Channel”. I have seen this on a few other racquets, Dunlop comes to mind. The grommets are recessed into the frame. Functionally it is designed to increase the size of the sweetspot. I don’t know whether this is an accurate claim, but it does create a minor challenge when tying off knots during the stringing process.
Another technology that we noticed was what Kneissl calls “SQUARE STRINGING GEOMETRY.” The drill and string pattern does create even string spacing. Kneissl makes the following claims: With conventional rackets, the strings form a net of rectangles of differing sizes. That means the direction the ball takes depends on the spot of the racket it hits. It’s different with KNEISSL’S new SQUARE models. The strings are ordered in such a way that they produce perfectly equal squares over the surface of the entire racket. That makes the direction the ball takes the same as the direction of the racket swing – regardless where it hits on the racket. As soon as you play your first shots, you’ll feel it: the ball goes exactly where you want it to.”
We will take her out to the court tomorrow and she how she performs. We will test her with WeissCANNON Silverstring, MSV Focus Hex and Signum Pro Fiber High Tec EXP during the coming weeks and will report back on the performance.