From the moment I picked up the frame, the racquet felt good. I like
a racquet that's head light. Accordingly, with a balance point of 11.8in (14 pts head light), the racquet felt great in
my hand, lighter than its 12.1oz strung weight. Not knowing what to expect, my reaction to hitting the first ball was
that it is a far more comfortable, forgiving racquet than I expected. The two racquets I was using as my frames of reference
were the Prince O3 Speedport Black
and the Prince O3 Speedport Tour. Compared
to these two racquets, I found it to be distinctly different. For a start, it isn't nearly as powerful as either racquet.
My immediate thought was that Prince has managed to successfully incorporate modern, innovative technology
into a frame that's going to appeal to players who like a more traditional response from a "player's" racquet.
Having said that, I found the Prince EXO3 Rebel 95 to have a very distinctive feel to it. While it retains
one of the recent hallmarks of Prince technology -- a pleasantly large sweetspot -- combined with a racquet composition that offers
great comfort and arm feedback, Prince can now lay claim to having a truly control oriented player's racquet.
Having recently played most of my tennis with the Speedport Black and the Speedport Tour, my
biggest adjustment was having to use more swing speed to produce the result I was used to. However, once I got
a feel for the racquet, which took very little time, I couldn't fault it. Stability, comfort, control, terrific swing speed
and a large sweetspot, the Prince EXO3 Rebel 95 has got it all..
Hitting forehands and backhands, I felt in complete control. The 12.1oz racquet produced a heavy ball, with the
forgiving frame creating the sensation of "holding" the ball on the strings for what feels like forever. This factor alone
will really appeal if you're an advanced player requiring a racquet with real "feel".
Having an all court game that utilizes both topspin and slice, I like versatility in a racquet; one
that allows me to hit heavy topspin and penetrating slice. In both areas, the racquet's a winner. The light head and excellent
racquet stability, as well as Prince's new spin producing Energy Channel technology, makes it easy to
produce as much topspin as you want. It's equally effective when it comes to slice. The racquet's 12.1oz weight, together with
impressive stability, makes it easy to hit consistent and accurate slices into the corners.
From the back of the court, it didn't matter what came at me or what shot I tried, I couldn't find fault
with anything about this racquet.
Because of the forgiving and comfortable feel of the racquet, I found myself being
tempted to play with more touch and finesse than with other frames. The racquet's high degree of comfort, together with such a large
sweetspot for the 95 sq" racquet head size doesn't fit the usual mold of racquets in the "Player" category. In this regard, I've got
to hand it to Prince for coming up with something that, once again, is not only innovative and different, it works. If you're a
player who is used to a stiffer, less forgiving frame, the Prince EXO3 Rebel 95 is going to really test your preparedness to consider
something radically different. My view is that, although this racquet's characteristics are different from those that you'd
normally find in the hands of net players (not that there's many around these days), this racquet's just as good for volleys as
it is for groundstrokes.
SERVING AND SMASHING
Everything I've said above applies equally to serving and smashing. It's a maneuverable, spin-friendly, stable 12.1oz racquet with a fast swing speed that lets you do whatever you want. If you're trying to get accuracy and spin
but can't, chances are it's not the racquet's fault. You'll find more powerful racquets out there, but you'll be hard
pressed to find anything that gives you more accuracy and control.
RETURN OF SERVE
For returning, I love a racquet that's maneuverable, but heavy and stable enough to deal with
either those cannonball 1st serves that don't give you time for anything other than an attempt to block the ball back or, alternatively, a racquet that you feel confident enough with to go for outright winners on weaker serves. For either shot, a block or a full-blooded drive, the Prince EXO3 Rebel 95 is equally suitable.
The Prince EXO3 Rebel 95 is a racquet that's going to test the sensibilities of the traditionalists and
conformists in the "Player's Racquets" category. It's hard to dismiss a racquet that offers such great control, while at the same time offering a huge sweetspot, great maneuverability and supreme comfort.
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