Out of the packaging, the new Anti Special is noticeably different than itspredecessors, Grizzly and Gorilla. The surface has a matte slick surface.Dragging a ball over the surface gives little to no frictional resistance. Thesponge is also very different, in that it’s a light pink and will come in 1.2mm,1.5mm, and 1.8mm. It is very hard and very dead. As for this review, I amusing a 1.5mm black version. On a side note, I have found in testing thissponge on other top sheets, the spin reversal between 1.2mm and 1.5mm isalmost indistinguishable, so my thinking is if one is using a fast blade off-, Iwould recommend using the 1.5 and the 1.8 on an off to off+ blade, as thissponge will slow down any blade. For those using an all+ and less, use the1.2mm sponge. This new sponge comes with a contact sheet. I would like tomake some recommendations for adhering the rubber to your blade. I amusing a water-based voc-free glue by Spintech Aqua Bond. This stuff is great.It has no affect on the sponge or the top sheet, and it will pass the Eneiz testbox at any tournament. My suggestion is to first seal your blade, as this gluewill hold almost too well if you blade has not been sealed. To adhere yourrubber to your blade, you must first remove the protective white contact sheetprotector from the back of your sponge. Apply one coat of Aqua Bond glue toboth sponge and blade and let dry. One can use a blow dryer to speed up theprocess, then simply place your new rubber on the blade and cut to size.OK- so now for the playing characteristics of this new Anti Special fromNeubauer… WOW!! It is much slower and vastly more controlled. The topsheet seems to absorb the ball and allows one to keep almost any loop on thetable. The spin reversal is also great and deceptive. Sampson Dubina, Ohionumber one, said that he could not loop the ball two times in a row, as therewas too much spin reversal. On power loops, I could pull the bat back slightlyand absorb the energy of the loop, and still keep the ball low and on the table.Loop blocking, stayed low and short over the net with two bounces some of thetimes on my opponent’s side of the table, not allowing him to re-loop. As forhitting, I was able to attack many balls with success that stayed over the tablefrom Sampson’s push when he did not re-loop. Serve return is also mucheasier with more control. Balls stayed low and I could push them very easilyto a corner of my choosing. This new combination of top sheet and spongehas also seemed to help with return of top spin serves which always seemedto go long and high, now the ball now stays low and with strong spin-reversal.Pushing the no-spin balls is also no problem, so long as one has a soft handand keeps their racket angle set. Chopping with the new Anti Special is alsovery easy and controlled. The ball stays low and keeps a strong backspin onthe ball. Due to the deadness of how this rubber plays, one needs pushforward on chopping balls.In conclusion, I believe that this rubber is 35-40% slower than Gorilla/Grizzly,with as much if not more spin reversal. Balls are more unpredictable, and staylow, requiring your opponent to have very good footwork to get in position toreturn the next ball. Some ball will have no-spin and the next will be loaded.Attacking balls over the net are easy and fast as the sponge is hard. Loopblocks now stay on table and are loaded, requiring a push by your opponent ontheir next shot. This rubber is a must try if you are still in the wasteland ofhaving nothing to replace you frictionless Long Pips. If you are looking for agood blade for this new rubber, try the Gladiator by Neubauer, as it is controlledand enhances the spin reversal.
- David Pech, OH