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Prince EXO3 Tour 100 Tennis Racquet Review

May 13th, 2011

filed in Tennis Product Reviews, Tennis Racquet Reviews

Prince EXO3 Tour 100

In law school professors often rebut and deflect particularly vague or off track comments by students, with the comment “that is a distinction without a difference”. When I first hit with this frame that was an initial thought, especially since I had recently hit with and reviewed the same racquet model in the 18 main\20 crosses configuration. But as I played with this racquet for a longer period of time, and listened to the comments of my students and other people who hit with it, I realized that the 16 main\18 cross configuration was really a huge difference in this instance.

This model is very close in appearance to the 18m\20c version. We are really talking about a sister ship scenario here, Titanic and Britannia. The frame is standard length with a 100 square inch head. It weighs 10.9 ounces unstrung (in the who could possibly care department) , and 11.75 ounces strung (by my measure).

I noticed that in the review for the 18m\20c string pattern frame I referred to the “big open string pattern”. I misspoke. This frame has a much more open string pattern, and it is far easier to power and spin with this frame, despite the relatively low power rating assigned to it by Prince. I liked this frame a lot. It was very easy to hit big looping topspin ground strokes with it and yet when you want to, you can just flatten the swing plane out a little bit and bang the ball. The racquet is very responsive and it was comfortable to hit varying kinds of shots with from the baseline. Prince has always had longer racquet handles because of them serving the two handed backhand market, but this frame has much squarer panels than Prince racquet frames have had in the past. I think this is one reason it is easier to hit a couple of ground strokes, than a pass, than a lob in sequence with this racquet. It is just easier to find your grips (I like the Resi-Pro grips that come standard on this series of racquets, tacky but not clingy).

I didn’t like this racquet as much with regard to the serve (or in the case of my game the serve and volley). The openness of the string bed made it difficult to control my serve. I had a hard time finding my angles for the slice and the kick serves. And while there was additional power, it was hard to manage it. And frankly the ball just sailed on my volleys. A lot of added power, but it was work to get under spin on the volleys and\or to consistently hit short angles with any level of precision and confidence.

The racquet companies like to engage in this fantasy that all racquets can serve all players, largely in my view because they understand that many club players buy racquets, based on what is used by their favorite pro tour players, or in many cases by a tour player they have at least heard of. This frame is clearly useful for the 3.5 -4.5 NTRP player. At the lower end of that range this racquet would be a must demo choice, because of the added power on the serve. Also players that are not as comfortable at the net would benefit from the added punch on the volley. 4.5 players that are baseliners or counter punchers would like the action on this frame from the back of the court. All court players should play with a demo a number of times, and consider seriously if what their game needs is more power. Most of the adult players I coach need more help with location and direction and spin and deception than raw power. This frame might be an interesting look at demo for junior players transitioning to adult frames.