Decline of Prince?


It was actually when they switched the production of their t22s, prince rackets might not have been huge, but the t22 was the best selling tennis shoe for many years and the sizing issues really soured people from them. Those shoes were a ton of their revenue and now you barely see anyone wearing them.
Count me there. I loved my blue T22 Lite. I bought a second pair, red. Was way too big (same listed size). Now I don't wear T22s.

PT280 Fan

Lots of reasons for prince decline.

1. Price synthetic gut used to be the best string out there outside of gut. All the pros/juniors used it and then poly came along. Synthetic gut became a <shrug> whats that...
2. Prince left all the pro shops out to dry and didnt pay them when Prince restructured. Now no pro shop will touch it b/c they all remember. Prince's main (and only?) sales are online. Hard to make that work....
3. Pro endorsements are weak. Noone can relate to Isner unless you are 6"10... Fed/Joker/Nadal/Theim yes. Isner no...
4. Prince went to weird/wacko ideas, racquets Mono, slottted designs, etc...
You make some interesting points but I feel like Prince is on the rebound and not in decline. No question that Prince has made a few mistakes along the way, particularly in the shoe department and I hear they went through a bit of a shoddy QC period for a few years as well. Just look at how many Prince threads there are on the front page though indicating they still have a pretty loyal following. I admit that I'm a Johnny come lately having just recently purchased a couple of clearance Textreme Beast 98s, but the price points (original retail), cosmetics, technology, attention to detail all seem to be right on point. Coming from the PT280, I'll admit they're not the softest frames I've ever hit, but performance wise they've been outstanding.

The thing people seem to be forgetting is that it's a brave new world out there. Relevant brick and mortar shops for tennis have become an anomaly. Online shopping cuts the overhead, increases the selection and paired with demo programs, makes racket buying a snap. I mean look at Angell and what a name they've made for themselves without any kind of retail distributors. Donnay, Xenecore is another web-based niche company that continues to carve out a living on reputation and word of mouth - though probably not to the extent that Angell has.

When I read these horror stories about Industry leaders like Babolat, Wilson and Yonex and cracked frames in the first year or total arm-busters, I'm more inclined to give the competition a go. I recently acquired a pair of Prince Beast 98s and then a pair of Donnay Pro One GTs (in a trade) and though they are completely different animals on many levels, they are both quality performance frames in my book. They both perform exceptionally well on court and seem to emphasize quality over everything else. The Donnays lack a bit in the cosmetics category and seem to chip paint a little too easy, but as far as comfort with performance they are unsurpassed and the Prince sticks look and play like a million bucks even if they are not quite as forgiving as the Donnays (hard act to follow with the foam filled). Considering the competition, I'd rather stick with quality sticks that I've personally vetted than have to live vicariously through tennis professionals that are paid to play a particular frame.