Librarian With A Love For The Game
by Jon Giullian
Prince Magnesium Pro Series 90, hands down. Soft and headlight, the Mag Pro feels like a piece of magic in your hand. The soft magnesium seems to absorb the shock of impact of the ball, providing exceptional topspin control from the baseline; yet it's stiff enough for crisp volleys and smashes. Compared to the soft touch of the Mag Pro, graphite racquets feel like a piece of steel. Even with a complete crack in the frame at the top of the neck (after 20 years of use), the Mag Pro still feels as smooth as a knife slicing soft butter. Too bad Prince stopped making them.
Since I recently cracked the Mag Pro on a hard forehand, I have demo-ed several Prince 03 racquets and several Wilson K-series. I like both the Wilson K-Surge and the Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet, but they just don't have the same soft feel, even in the sweet spot. And when hitting off-center, the Mag Pro is ever so forgiving, whereas with graphite, shots have a tendency to sail. As a junior, I used to play with the 1st generation Prince Graphite (the old dark green racquets). When I cracked two of them in the same year, I wanted a more durable material, and the Mag Pro had just come out (1986); it seemed to be made just for me. The Mag Pro lasted 20 years, and even with a crack clean through (in a slight v-shape, so the the tension of the strings keep it wedged together), it still feels solid, with no vibration.
I am searching for a new racquet because when the strings break, it's good-bye to my trusty old friend. But I'll keep her till the grave, for sentimental value. I've been trying to find one for sale, but no luck yet. If anyone can help me find one, I would appreciate it.
I grew up watching Borg beat McEnroe at Wimbledon, Jimmy Connors pumping his arm, Edberg's gliding serve and volley, Vitas Gerulaitis' hair bouncing all around, Ilie Nastase cursing at the umpire, and Arthur Ashe, who provided a welcome dash of color ins a sea of white.