String Pattern: 16X18
The Prince 03 Speedport Tour is a player's racquet that not only incorporates Prince's 03 Speedport technology but also the patented new Speedport Tuning System -- STS.
SPEEDPORT TUNING SYSTEM
The Speedport Tuning System was inspired by touring pros, and is found only in the Prince 03 Speedport Tour and Prince 03 Speedport Black. STS gives you the ability to fine tune your racquet by utilizing interchangeable string inserts for the exact feel and sound you prefer.
HOW IT WORKS
Every new Prince 03 Speedport Tour will come complete with two sets of inserts to be placed at 12, 3 and 9 o' clock. These inserts will offer options for tuning a racquet to your own preferences.
String Port Inserts (pre-installed) -- The String Port inserts will provide a softer hitting feel, more string damping and a sweet spot up to 59% larger than a traditional racquet while capitalizing on a racquet that moves up to 24% faster through the air.
String Hole Inserts -- The String Hole inserts have tradional, pin-sized string holes incorporated into the Speedport Opening. These inserts provide a firmer hitting feel, more string feedback and a more traditional sweet spot while still capitalizing on the aerodynamic benefits 03 Speedport technology provides.
PRINCE 03 SPEEDPORT TOUR RACQUET REVIEW
After spending more than 50 hours testing the Prince 03 Speedport Tour, I really became familiar with the racquet‘s playing characteristics.
For the majority of the time, I tested the racquet with the Speedport Inserts (not the Grommet Inserts), so, unless otherwise stated, my review below applies to the Speedport Insert version of the racquet.
The Prince 03 Speedport Tour made a very positive impression on me from the moment I hit my first ball.
I was most interested to see how it compared to the Prince 03 Tour models. The answer -- better than favorably.
Off the ground, the Prince 03 Speedport Tour is a pleasure to play with. It has the solid heft of a true player’s racquet, while at the same time it offers a high level of comfort and provides exceptional ball feedback.
It’s versatility and its dependability are real strengths. Whether hitting topspin forehands, flat drives or slice backhands, the ball came off the strings exactly the way I expected it to. No unpleasant surprises at all.
I found with shots that require lots of racquet speed, the Prince 03 Speedport Tour is exceptional. Typical of racquets that are equipped withPrince's 03 Speedport Technology, the Prince 03 Speedport Tour is an extremely maneuverable and agile racquet.
And just like the Prince 03 Speedport Black, the accompanying sound effects of the Prince 03 Speedport Tour as it “whooshes” through the air, create the impression that the swing speed is even faster than it is.
Aerodynamics aside, the racquet has plenty more to offer. For instance, I was very impressed with the solid feel of the racquet. The racquet’s weight allows you to hit a really heavy ball from all areas of the court. Whether I was heating heavily topspun looping forehands or semi-flat drives deep into the corners, I was able to make a real impression on my opponent with the weight of my shots.
What I also liked was the response I got from the racquet when I got pulled out wide. I found the racquet to be extremely maneuverable when any improvisation was called for. But at no time did I ever have the feeling that there was even a hint of the instability that you get with many highly maneuverable racquets.
Because of the excellent racquet feedback, I was instantly impressed with how the racquet responded to shots that required finesse and touch. I’d like to note here that even though I have a personal preference for the smoother Speedport Insert option, if you’re a player who prefers the feel of grommets, the Grommet Insert option will provide even more sensitive ball feedback to you.
During the whole time I played with the racquet, the only thing that took a little getting used to was the squarish shape of the grip. Everything else felt immediately comfortable.
For volleys, the Prince 03 Speedport Tour is a no frills, no nonsense 'meat and potatoes' stick that competent volleyers will feel instantly at home with. It's solid, stable and more agile than most player's racquets. But it's definitely also a racquet that requires a certain amount of volleying competence to get the most out of it.
I was particularly impressed with how solid and stable the racquet felt when I was bombarded with groundstrokes hit with real pace. Even though the racquet has a soft “feel” to it, it’s no problem hitting crisp, penetrating volleys off pace or off no pace shots.
I was also impressed with the response I was able to get when stretched out wide. I think this is a real benefit of speedport technology as the racquet's large sweet spot is more conducive to racquet stability, the result of which is better ball control on off-center shots.
And because of the nice feel and excellent ball feedback of the Prince 03 Speedport Tour, it’s also a really decent racquet for touch and finesse around the net.
SERVING AND SMASHING
For serving and smashing, I was very comfortable with the Prince 03 Speedport Tour in my hand. As with every other stroke, the Prince 03 Speedport Tour is best suited for advanced players. It allows you to swing with maximum effort, without ever giving you the feeling that it’s going to produce unpredictable results.
The ball feedback and comfort level is tremendous, as is the racquet’s stability and maneuverability. Whether hitting flat, slice or kick serves, I felt equally confident. I got really nice “pop” when hitting with pace, and I was impressed with how spin friendly the string bed was when hitting slice or kick.
The Prince 03 Speedport Tour produces a heavy serve. I was able to generate great racquet speed, which, when combined with the just under 12oz strung weight of the racquet the result was a really heavy ball.
As for the smash, the racquet’s maneuverability and large sweet spot made smashing both easy and comfortable.
RETURN OF SERVE
For returning serves, I prefer racquets that give you the option of being super aggressive because of their ease of handling, but also allow you to block back the big ones with short, compact strokes. I also like a racquet that is maneuverable when stretched out wide, as is often the case when returning serves.
I’m pleased to say that the Prince 03 Speedport Tour was a winner in all the above categories. The racquet didn’t impose on me any limitations whatsoever. It behaved exactly how I told it to, giving me the result I expected every time the strings made contact with the ball.
The Prince 03 Speedport Tour is a pleasure to play with. I couldn’t find a single thing to cause me concern with any of my shots, but I found a whole lot to be pleased with.
For a player weighted racquet, it handles beautifully. It’s arm friendly, spin friendly, provides great feedback off the strings (and even better feed back with the grommet inserts), has a large sweet spot, while offering all the advantages of a true player’s racquet.
It's the sort of racquet that’s so pleasantly distinctive that taking it for a demo run is pretty much compulsory.
As with the Prince 03 Speedport Black the Prince 03 Speedport Tour is going to be another big winner for Prince.
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