Decline of Prince?

T
My Triple Threat Hornet, first the red, then the Black, were my racquets from around '02 until this year. Still my best forehand and serve racquets, but the 100P is now my racquet. my OHBH slice and volleying gave me a better all around skill set.

Someday I will break out the Hornet again, but I want to really harden in the change.
The Hornet! That's the other one I forgot about.
 

BumElbow

Rookie
Prince needs to be more accessible to consumers in order to increase its market share. After waiting a couple of years for Prince to bring a suitable oversize racquet to market, I finally broke down and bought a Phantom 100 with the O-ports 3 months ago. I love its flex and comfort but I don't play very well with it. They introduced the Phantom 107G too late for me as I won't be buying a new racquet until next spring or summer at the earliest.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I have had dozens of Prince rackets, still have 20, but right now don't dangle an out of production Radical OS 18x19 in front of me.
The Prince Phantom 107G is better in many ways. More plow, more spin, more stability, easier to swing, more maneuverable, classic phantom feel at impact.
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
Did you buy the 2020 100P or the original version? Both are awesome frames but the addition of twaron on the 2020 version has improved the playability and comfort IMO.
2020 one. Looking at the specs, I couldn’t tell the difference between them. But asked Troy and he said that new one is more stable to ended up getting that. Can’t wait to take it out for a test drive. Absolute shame though we’re going into lockdown again on Thursday so I’m gonna have a very short test
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
The market for people that are better off with thin beam flexible frames is a lot larger than the market for people who are better off with thick beamed stiff rackets with poly strings.

The problem is that people don't know what's good for them. They swing a light frame in the shop and are impressed its so easy to swing. Then they go out and see the easy power on the court and are impressed. Then they see how long the poly strings last without moving or breaking and they are impressed. What they don't notice is the impacts happening over and over again that eventually damage tendons and joints.

Before poly strings pros got control with soft flexible thin beamed frames and gut strings. Rec players gravitated to those and their arms were better for it. Then poly came along, changed the equipment and rec players followed the pros down the rabbit hole even though they weren't nearly strong enough to handle the impact forces.

I had terrible TE with my Pure Drive with gut/4G. I switched to a number of frames but it was the phantoms that let me play and recover. I've been using Prince frames since then and nary a relapse of TE. I've had some other arm issues related to pinched nerve in my neck, but that lateral epicondyle is great.
Completely agreed. I’ve seen so many people, both in real life and on here, that use poly that simply have no need to be using one whatsoever. Hmmmm. What do the pros use? Poly? Okay I will too. Hmmm what breaks last? Poly? Perfect? Hmmm I’m hitting the ball long all the time and I have no control whatsoever with my shots. No it’s definitely not the fact that my strokes have no form and I lack footwork. No it’s not the fact that I hit the ball completely flat. Yea it’s completely the racquets fault. So who needs to put the work in to learn to hit a good forehand when you can just bang a full bed of poly in at 55lbs, and just let it keep the ball in for you with its extreme lack of pace with my short bunty strokes, while my elbow screams for help.
 

tata

Hall of Fame
Completely agreed. I’ve seen so many people, both in real life and on here, that use poly that simply have no need to be using one whatsoever. Hmmmm. What do the pros use? Poly? Okay I will too. Hmmm what breaks last? Poly? Perfect? Hmmm I’m hitting the ball long all the time and I have no control whatsoever with my shots. No it’s definitely not the fact that my strokes have no form and I lack footwork. No it’s not the fact that I hit the ball completely flat. Yea it’s completely the racquets fault. So who needs to put the work in to learn to hit a good forehand when you can just bang a full bed of poly in at 55lbs, and just let it keep the ball in for you with its extreme lack of pace with my short bunty strokes, while my elbow screams for help.
I only go poly as a last resort. I primarily use low powered frames that I can play in syn gut or multi but since playing the beast line I am leaning poly. The o3 beast 98 needs poly but I find in the solid beam version I can get away without it. It plays nice even in gosen og sheep micro.
 

tennis347

Professional
2020 one. Looking at the specs, I couldn’t tell the difference between them. But asked Troy and he said that new one is more stable to ended up getting that. Can’t wait to take it out for a test drive. Absolute shame though we’re going into lockdown again on Thursday so I’m gonna have a very short test
I can tell you after playing with both versions that the new version is superior due to much improved stability, a bit more pop as well as better comfort. Where are you located? Shutdown, when?
 

t_pac

Semi-Pro
I can tell you after playing with both versions that the new version is superior due to much improved stability, a bit more pop as well as better comfort. Where are you located? Shutdown, when?
England presumably.

Lock-down starting Thurs, no indoor tennis and waiting to find out if outdoors singles will be allowed.
 

esm

Hall of Fame
England presumably.

Lock-down starting Thurs, no indoor tennis and waiting to find out if outdoors singles will be allowed.
it is all rather vague atm....
i think the outdoor single should be allowed with someone from your household or only one person from a different household (but needs to double check.. lol) :unsure:
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
2020 one. Looking at the specs, I couldn’t tell the difference between them. But asked Troy and he said that new one is more stable to ended up getting that. Can’t wait to take it out for a test drive. Absolute shame though we’re going into lockdown again on Thursday so I’m gonna have a very short test
Lockdown means the nets are coming down? Hopefully the outdoor ice rinks stay open
 

ccmtennis

Rookie
I only go poly as a last resort. I primarily use low powered frames that I can play in syn gut or multi but since playing the beast line I am leaning poly. The o3 beast 98 needs poly but I find in the solid beam version I can get away without it. It plays nice even in gosen og sheep micro.
agreed completely. The 03 version is more powerful and does well with poly. The ports make it comfortable and it can be strung up in the low 50s for me. My go to strings have been volkl cyclone and recently am liking Tourna silver tour in the high 40s (this has great feel even with the ports)
 

hadoken

Semi-Pro
I was a huge fan of Prince. I played with the CTS Approach 90 from 1991 to 2008 sifting through auctions and local ads to track down old stock. I think they basically lost their brand when they went O ports. A beginner can't really tell much difference between O ports or no O ports - where it all fell apart for Prince is selling to the intermediate/advance players...the 3.5+ crowd. I just think better players *on average* dislike O ports. Too mushy and too much mass removed from the head. If you recall after the O3 tech came out, hybrid 03 came out which basically cut down the number of O ports. Babolat has made a killing with the Pure Drive because it not only can be used by new players but it plays quite well for the modern day intermediate player. Wilson and Head also offer compelling frames for that intermediate level player who don't mind spending $200+ per stick and are happy to refresh their frame every 2 years or so. Prince lost that pipeline of future sales when they bet on O ports.

For the record, I now play Yonex Ezone. I would have never picked Yonex years ago, but the Ezone really hits the nail in terms of appeal to the intermediate+ players and that's why the brand has done well recently (I think making the head more round was HUGE in marketing that line and getting people to try it).
 
I was a huge fan of Prince. I played with the CTS Approach 90 from 1991 to 2008 sifting through auctions and local ads to track down old stock. I think they basically lost their brand when they went O ports. A beginner can't really tell much difference between O ports or no O ports - where it all fell apart for Prince is selling to the intermediate/advance players...the 3.5+ crowd. I just think better players *on average* dislike O ports. Too mushy and too much mass removed from the head. If you recall after the O3 tech came out, hybrid 03 came out which basically cut down the number of O ports. Babolat has made a killing with the Pure Drive because it not only can be used by new players but it plays quite well for the modern day intermediate player. Wilson and Head also offer compelling frames for that intermediate level player who don't mind spending $200+ per stick and are happy to refresh their frame every 2 years or so. Prince lost that pipeline of future sales when they bet on O ports.

For the record, I now play Yonex Ezone. I would have never picked Yonex years ago, but the Ezone really hits the nail in terms of appeal to the intermediate+ players and that's why the brand has done well recently (I think making the head more round was HUGE in marketing that line and getting people to try it).
I understand what you are saying about o ports. But how do you explain the amount of pros who were top 20 players using them. If a pro can play with o3, I think a 3.5 can easily handle it.
 

Lorenn

Semi-Pro
I understand what you are saying about o ports. But how do you explain the amount of pros who were top 20 players using them. If a pro can play with o3, I think a 3.5 can easily handle it.
Tennis players tend to be sensitive to change. Consider O3 ports like Older Head Pallets. Players might be able to make the change, but the question is will they try or just pick up the racquet swing it twice and say no it feels wrong. O3 racquets are just different enough at swing speed, power and feel that it would throw off most who use the racquet for the first time. How long would it take a player to adapt to O3 ports? I am not against O3 ports, but why invest time and effort learning to use a O3 racquet when it kinda limits future options. Prince is trapped having to make O3 not to lose the fans, but not sure it is likely to make huge inroads with new players.
 

PT280 Fan

Semi-Pro
Tennis players tend to be sensitive to change. Consider O3 ports like Older Head Pallets. Players might be able to make the change, but the question is will they try or just pick up the racquet swing it twice and say no it feels wrong. O3 racquets are just different enough at swing speed, power and feel that it would throw off most who use the racquet for the first time. How long would it take a player to adapt to O3 ports? I am not against O3 ports, but why invest time and effort learning to use a O3 racquet when it kinda limits future options. Prince is trapped having to make O3 not to lose the fans, but not sure it is likely to make huge inroads with new players.
Yeah, maybe that will change after Iga Swiatek's success at the French Open. I have to admit that I did find it a little vexing when buying my Clearance Beasts, having to investigate the difference between the ported and non-ported versions. And I think that hadoken makes a valid point regarding the added anxiety of choosing between two versions of the same model.
 

hadoken

Semi-Pro
Tennis players tend to be sensitive to change. Consider O3 ports like Older Head Pallets. Players might be able to make the change, but the question is will they try or just pick up the racquet swing it twice and say no it feels wrong.
Exactly. Once you become an intermediate and higher player, your skills are strong enough to start differentiating what you like and don't like in a frame....and O port has a very different feel. Of course there are players (either pro or advanced) who do use O ports...but it's still a small minority relative to the non-O port world and that's not going to climb Prince out of their crumbled marketshare position.
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
Yeah, maybe that will change after Iga Swiatek's success at the French Open. I have to admit that I did find it a little vexing when buying my Clearance Beasts, having to investigate the difference between the ported and non-ported versions. And I think that hadoken makes a valid point regarding the added anxiety of choosing between two versions of the same model.
Why all the anxiety about O ports? Try it once and you’ll know if it’s for you or not and it doesn’t really matter which model. I’ve tried O ports. Not for me. Still like Princes other frames though.
 

California

Semi-Pro
I understand what you are saying about o ports. But how do you explain the amount of pros who were top 20 players using them. If a pro can play with o3, I think a 3.5 can easily handle it.
Not sure if you are aware that Prince had different grommet sets that went inside the ports that were like regular small holes. This made the racquet play in a more traditional way and I imagine some of the pros were using those grommets. If you dig around for photos I am sure you will see them.
 

Lorenn

Semi-Pro
Why all the anxiety about O ports? Try it once and you’ll know if it’s for you or not and it doesn’t really matter which model. I’ve tried O ports. Not for me. Still like Princes other frames though.
No anxiety just a discussion if they are a net positive for the company or not. The thread ... consumers discussing why they think Prince failed when they make such amazing racquets.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
No anxiety just a discussion if they are a net positive for the company or not. The thread ... consumers discussing why they think Prince failed when they make such amazing racquets.
Yeah I think Prince did misread the consumer. The O-Ports are a great idea for 90% of the tennis playing public as they add power, comfort and spin to beginner-intermediates that can use that advantage. But instead the low level consumer was more interested in following the pros and using stiff sticks to get that same power and spin and since comfort only catches up to you later, they were oblivious.

Advertising comfort and feel doesn't really get you anywhere in the rec tennis world. Everyone wants "Controlled Power" and "Explosive Spin" even if most rec players can't take advantage of those characteristics.
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
No anxiety just a discussion if they are a net positive for the company or not. The thread ... consumers discussing why they think Prince failed when they make such amazing racquets.
I think it’s a positive. The people who like it really like it and no one else makes it. Their other offerings are all really good IMO.
 

PT280 Fan

Semi-Pro
I think it’s a positive. The people who like it really like it and no one else makes it. Their other offerings are all really good IMO.
Yes but I think that they probably should limit the ported option to one or two lines just to avoid the confusion to first time buyers. That's a lot to sort out.o_O
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
Yes but I think that they probably should limit the ported option to one or two lines just to avoid the confusion to first time buyers. That's a lot to sort out.o_O
I don’t see why. The O port is their brands selling point. Babolat and Wilson and Head have Fedalovic. The smaller brands have to offer something different to survive. If I was a Prince executive I would probably be pushing the O ports and not reducing them. Because if you try it and like it they’ve got a customer for life. Like I’ve said the people who play with them love them. It’s usually guys with a history of arm trouble.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
I don’t see why. The O port is their brands selling point. Babolat and Wilson and Head have Fedalovic. The smaller brands have to offer something different to survive. If I was a Prince executive I would probably be pushing the O ports and not reducing them. Because if you try it and like it they’ve got a customer for life. Like I’ve said the people who play with them love them. It’s usually guys with a history of arm trouble.
Recall so many switched to the EXO3 Tour with a low RA. Guess the Phantoms cover that discontinued model.
 

ccmtennis

Rookie
Beast O3 100? Poly too stiff for me, full bed of velocity more my speed
03 98 , I use Volkl cyclone at 52lbs which is on the softer side but if you like the comfortable poly IMHO to try in this racket is Tourna big hitter black 7 , feels very close to low powered multi but with a ton more spin
 

loosegroove

Hall of Fame
I'm still mystified how "professional" stringers complain that much about stringing o-ports. I'd still like to take O3 Tour 100 for a spin.
 

loosegroove

Hall of Fame
My stringers never seem to complain so i'm not sure why it's a problem. But I don't string them myself.
You can't do the top half of the crosses like normal due to the ports, because the string won't space as it should. Essentially the racket will pivot on the table and the top crosses will converge as they exit the ports while being tensioned. So you have to use the brake on your machine or use a small tool like a boomerang tool for the top crosses. Or you can utilize something called the 50/50 method which just alternates the sequence by which you string the crosses.
 

Crazy Finn

Semi-Pro
You can't do the top half of the crosses like normal due to the ports, because the string won't space as it should. Essentially the racket will pivot on the table and the top crosses will converge as they exit the ports while being tensioned. So you have to use the brake on your machine or use a small tool like a boomerang tool for the top crosses. Or you can utilize something called the 50/50 method which just alternates the sequence by which you string the crosses.
Huh. I'm not exactly an experienced stringer as I've just strung my own the last 2 years. But, I strung my buddy's Prince Warrior 100L with O ports twice and never had to do anything special.
 

loosegroove

Hall of Fame
Huh. I'm not exactly an experienced stringer as I've just strung my own the last 2 years. But, I strung my buddy's Prince Warrior 100L with O ports twice and never had to do anything special.
When you pulled tension on the top half of the crosses, you didn't notice the strings converged? Here is a screenshot stolen from one of @Irvin 's videos.

 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
When you pulled tension on the top half of the crosses, you didn't notice the strings converged? Here is a screenshot stolen from one of @Irvin 's videos.
If the racket is mounted low enough, so the turntable pivot is above the highest cross coming out of an O Port, nothing special needs to be done to string it. You can string crosses top to bottom just like any other racket.

If a cross is above the turntable pivot when tensioned the string will be pulled toward the head of the racket. If the cross is below the pivot it is pulled toward the throat.
 
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Lorenn

Semi-Pro
I'm still mystified how "professional" stringers complain that much about stringing o-ports. I'd still like to take O3 Tour 100 for a spin.
My stringers never seem to complain so i'm not sure why it's a problem. But I don't string them myself.
It is not really a complex issue. The Photo above shoes it perfectly. In the end it tends to require slightly more thought and time. Depending on the hardware used there are various tricks to make it work. Imagine the first few times you have the issue. I think a certified string program by Prince would've been a good way to handle the change. There solution was to give out tools to help.

So the issue mentioned by Tennis Spin is that if the stringer doesn't like the process he might not recommend the racquet. First impressions can have odd effects.
 
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max

Legend
Textreme is great.

I'd be playing the 97 if the reviews had not said its sweetspot was small.
 

SonRK

Semi-Pro
Absolutely love Prince frames. Played with several of the O3 and non O3 frames over the years.

Was using the Beast 100 O3 and Speedport Black right before I switched to the clash. The comfort is just so great with the Clash that I can play for hours on end.

Reading this thread has me wanting to go string up one of my Princes for my next singles scrim.
 

aussie

Professional
A lot of misinformation about the difficulty of stringing O port racquets. They are not difficult, just different and it is only for about 6 crosses. I've commented on this previously and I'll say it again here, but the ports do offer the advantage of feeding the cross strings into and out of the ports. Small grommets are often difficult to feed the cross strings through and the size of the ports makes that aspect of stringing far more easy.
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
Just going to throw in here that certain recent solid beam frames are so good at linear drilling (ezones and speeds come to mind) that I have to question the future of ports.
 
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