Prince Official - Racquets

gazz1

Semi-Pro
I have been thinking of a few suggestions that may (or may not) help:

I think a bit more consistency to stated specs in the manufacturing process would be well received.
I bought my 2 Prince TT100 (310) a couple of months apart and there was a noticeable variance in swing weight.
Don't get me wrong...it was nothing on the variances of some of the Babolat and Wilson frames that I have bought, but I think that Yonex has done a good job with consistency and that, as a customer, this translates to a perception of better quality manufacturing. I appreciate that there are probably cost implications, but if the difference in cost was minimal then I believe that it would help to strengthen the Prince brand.

As others here have mentioned, I would probably prefer a less rounded grip. I’m not sure if this is turning customers away from Prince or not? I guess that this is something that your marketing team is best placed to figure out.

A final suggestion would be to send your strung rackets out with quality strings (if you don't already). I know that the majority of players here either buy them unstrung or cut them out, but that's not where I'm going with this.
Most stores, in my experience, just send their demos out with factory strings. I recently trialed 5 rackets from Yonex, Wilson and Head. I'm sure that my perception of each racket was heavily influenced by the factory strings used on each racket.
I think there is an opportunity to create a positive first impression by having a top quality string in place and I doubt there would be much of a cost impact to Prince.
 
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lucieisland

Semi-Pro
this is great news.
but maybe arriving a little late.

once, prince was my first real rackets. after going to improbable rackets between the rossignol F 200 carbon and the different exotic frames my first real frames were prince graphite pro 90. following a tournament at the age of 13 years I won in the ladies séries , and had a huge voucher, my choice was prince graphite pro 90, too beautiful, satin black. sumptuous. I had up to 4 at the same time. strung with prince tournament 1.20mm which broken quickly. but control and power. real pleasure.

then I went through head, too much control and not powerful enough for my age, I came back to prince, choosing the prince spectrum 90. then passed to CTS, with lightning 110 (an order error), then prince cts approach 90 , and I had to stop tennis a few years ago, when I returned, I tried a few prince frames, but the 14 main format had disappeared, the rackets were no longer as flexible and comfortable as before, and I am still nostalgic. my dream? a graphite prince pro 100, RA less than 50, a plan 16 * 19 or 16 * 20, 285 to 295g, customizable ... a simple, classic, and classy PJ.
 

tata

Hall of Fame
It almost seems a lot of us are either asking for a reissue of a tried and true frame from the past or using a tried and true frame from the past as a platform and make small changes for our game in this day and age. Some of us don't mind a blast from the past with modernised updates while some of us want an easier to use/lighter version of a classic frame (I'm in this boat).
 
I love where Prince has been going with their Phantom line, especially with the thin-beam, minimalist, no-nonsense aesthetic of the frames. Y'all probably won't answer this question, but I'll give it a stab anyway. In the newest iteration of the Phantom racquets, does the application of the Textreme with Twaron consist of just the top, visible layer of the layup or is there more than one layer of Textreme? Thanks!
Tim here. Firstly I’m glad you like the Phantom line, we really tried to make something that had the heritage of the Prince player frames but in an updated way (for reasons I’m sure I’ll get to when going through some of these other comments).

With regard to the TeXtreme material, as Tyler stated it certainly isn’t just for cosmetic purposes. The TeXtreme accounts for between 5 and 10% of the total fiber makeup of the frame, depending on which model it is.
 
Hi and welcome to the board

Ever since I started playing more seriously I have used Prince racquets. I had a Prince Response 97 which was awesome til I left it on a train in the UK by accident..... Hope someone got some good use of it.

Then I bought my favourite... Prince Turbo Shark LB. I still have them in the cupboard and they still play nicely. I replaced them with the Warrior Pro 100 and while it was similar it did not have the same feel to me. Something was lacking that the extra 0.5 in provided. I specifically noticed it on my two handed backhand and serves. Maybe just the little bit extra leverage. I also have the Tour100 ESP but this is more for fun. But what a comfortable frame to play with. Like butter.

Been looking at the Beast 98 as my next choice but unfortunately I am unable to find a shop that stocks Prince racquets in South Africa anymore.
 

ne1410is

New User
I used to play with the Michael Chang Graphite longbody (without the titanium). It really helped my game in high school, in particular my serve. I remember trying out the triple threat graphite and felt it was very interesting. Easy to crush the ball comfortably. It also is the first racquet i recall with varying head sizes (m-mp-os) and lengths (I think it was 27, 27.25, 27.5?) across a single model. In the 90s I felt like racket companies had very few (like two or three) models and only two head sizes to choose from. I think the prince triple threat was ahead of its time, portending a future where a model might have multiple different configurations, albeit more so in head size and string pattern than length. Even when I play with a friends old ceramic prince, there’s this instant familiarity with how it grips the ball, having played many of my formative years with prince. So I’m happy to see prince still alive. One of these days I’m gonna test the 93p, as I’m sure I’ll love it, but will have to figure out 14/18 or 18/20.
 

lucieisland

Semi-Pro
in fact, I find it increasingly difficult to understand the strategy (s) of racket manufacturers.

several things are recognized these days.
the first is that practically all professional ATP and WTA players play with makeup frames (maybe not at prince, I don't know enough) but at wilson, head, babolat, to name a few, but I think it must be (or should) be the same problem with Prince, we are always looking for "old" executives. everyone is talking about pro stock, at head, the PT57, the old flexible graphite frames .. released so many years ago, and still used .. at wilson, we find the same thing, with the H19 and H22. everyone will know where these frames come from.

today we cannot deny eternally the fact that so many players seek to play with these old frames who used to (and it looks like, seeing that so many pro players, or even amateurs) play and manage to play with these frames, that's a real expectation on the part of players, buyers, amateurs.

However, we are systematically taken out of novelties, new technologies, perhaps to justify the ever higher price of racquet? but ultimately, does this really represent progress? For my part, I have never played so well since I abandoned the new frames for old ones (from the years 95-96) ...for head lite tour 660 and 690..

the second is the market for old frames has never been higher. a moose POG, a PT630, a PT57 are often negotiated as expensive, often even more expensive than new frames released this year.many pt630 are sold over 250$..

do manufacturers remain blind to so much evidence?

what are we asking for? simple things, simple frames. we are now aware that it is capable of producing light frames (less than 320g), flexible (ra less than 52-54), in graphite .. the rebel 95 was very close. but I have the impression that we are stubbornly releasing new technologies (which, it seems to me that nobody is asking for), just to justify research and development, to be able to charge ever more expensive for a racquet.

when will be released a classic frame, playable, affordable, made just of graphite, weighing just 300g, without frills.? that is playable ..

someone said above that before there were only two references of the same racket, yes, with prince, we had the 90 and the 110. today we multiply the weights, the stringing plans, and each time it is an additional reference, an increasingly higher price.

when we could just have a simple model, which we could customize at will (that's already what we do by adding lead here, and there, to change the balance, the weight) ... I think , I suppose? that a flexible frame of 250g without bumper, without grip, is achievable right? (I have already seen pro stock weighing 245-260g completely naked!) .. so, if an ATP player frame can be produced, it is possible.

if the current frames were as good, all the pro would play without hesitation with no? Nevertheless, it is not the case.
 
Last weekend I traded away 18 Prince rackets, leaving me now with 30 something Princes on the wall. I had 30+ Prince 90's from the 80's, now only about 10 of those remain. I've only played one Phantom, the 100P, and traded that one for a pair of Prince Classic Graphite 100LBs. I still have 7 POG 90s and 5 or so POG OS.

The Prince rackets that stand out for me are the Graphite Pro 90 and Michael Chang Ti 95 LB. These rackets are quite different but both play well for me. My Prince fet... er fanboy status is on hold right now principally due to an infatuation with the Babolat Pure Storm 95 LTD+ GT which is a relatively low RA racket, 27.5", 19mm straight beam, 95" racket head, 18x20 at around 11.6oz.

I've cut down at least 18 Prince Long Bodies from 28" to various lengths, but something about this particular Babolat works better for me than any Prince Longbody I have cut down. Not much market for 95" - 93" so I have been stocking up on various brands/models: Babolat Pure Control 95+, Volkl Tour 10 Mids, Wilson ROK 93s, Dunlop 200 MaxG latest model in 95", Dunlop 2hundred, Spalding ATP Pro Line 230 XL, etc.
I think as folks closer to us gradually “age out” of tennis the companies are making fewer and fewer frames suitable for the old school stroke and style of play. The more modern offerings are primarily about racquet head speed and consequently power and spin. The offerings of the 80’sand 90’s emphasized instead feel and control. Watch low the game was played then vs. now (at the pro level) and it all makes sense. [emoji2]


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Hello, welcome to the forums. I'd be curious to know what is your relationship with Prince Japan. They seem to act as a somewhat related but fairly independent company; could you care to tell?
Since the restructure of the brand in 2013 many of the regions took on licensees which are all responsible for their own sales and distribution in that territory. The Japan team are a licensee in this way and we have a very close relationship with them.

All of the product development still comes through our team but of course the Japanese market has different requirements due to a different tennis playing demographic and market trends. We work closely with the team in Japan to tailor the product specifically to their needs, some of which are variations on the global product, some are updated products that have been successful in the Japan market but not in global markets and some that are unique to the market.

It’s also worth noting that the Japanese product cycle is different and introduction times are out of synch with most global markets.
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
Since the restructure of the brand in 2013 many of the regions took on licensees which are all responsible for their own sales and distribution in that territory. The Japan team are a licensee in this way and we have a very close relationship with them.

All of the product development still comes through our team but of course the Japanese market has different requirements due to a different tennis playing demographic and market trends. We work closely with the team in Japan to tailor the product specifically to their needs, some of which are variations on the global product, some are updated products that have been successful in the Japan market but not in global markets and some that are unique to the market.

It’s also worth noting that the Japanese product cycle is different and introduction times are out of synch with most global markets.
Do you make their (Prince Japan) racquets for them or are they manufactured in a different facility (potentially different QC)? I guess I'm asking if the Japanese Prince frames are different other than name and basic design themes?
Thanks
 
It almost seems a lot of us are either asking for a reissue of a tried and true frame from the past or using a tried and true frame from the past as a platform and make small changes for our game in this day and age. Some of us don't mind a blast from the past with modernised updates while some of us want an easier to use/lighter version of a classic frame (I'm in this boat).
We all have our favorite racquets from the past that have great memories for each of us. We have a pretty decent sized collection of all the prince historical frames as well as a lot of old competitive models. It’s fair to say that there will always be a demand for those older frames but it is actually quite a challenge to replicate many of those models from the past for various reasons:

1. Even if we still have available molds that are in good enough condition it is very difficult to use exactly the same materials or conditions as the as used in the past
a. either chemicals are no longer available for use at factories in resin compounds,
b. high modulus fiber pricing has risen to a point where it isn’t feasible to use as it was then
c. Fibers used in certain models are no longer practical for use in today’s quantities (boron, ceramics)
d. Production facilities are no longer the same
e. Composite pre-preg production has changed dramatically (much more controlled today which means that we have far more uniform fiber. This is a good thing for stiffness but also the lack of uniformity will certainly produce a “softer and more muted” frame

In addition to this trying to find a “base sample” to replicate is also quite hard. The production tolerances from the older produced frames were pretty big. We pulled out 6 original 1 stripe graphite’s and the range of specs on them was huge, let alone the playability.

We can certainly try to get as close as we possibly can as we have a lot of data on the old models but even matching the specs in as many of our tests as we can (beyond just the standard specs) there are still going to be some differences from our base and certainly it’s unlikely to exactly replicate the individual model each of you had.

What I can say is that we do recognize the importance of our heritage models and we do consider these a huge part of the dna of Prince. We want to really try to put that heritage dna into our new models, combine it with modern materials and processes and then try to still innovate (which of course was what Prince was doing back when those classics became classics).

Hopefully we can produce frames that someone else in 20 years will be asking why we can’t still make.

Tim
 
Do you make their (Prince Japan) racquets for them or are they manufactured in a different facility (potentially different QC)? I guess I'm asking if the Japanese Prince frames are different other than name and basic design themes?
Thanks
They are produced in the same facility. Of course there are some quite significant differences in the racquets beyond just name and cosmetic. There are racquets in Japan that are developed to suit the trends of the Japanese market and the target user, including versions of global models that differ from those you can get here.
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
They are produced in the same facility. Of course there are some quite significant differences in the racquets beyond just name and cosmetic. There are racquets in Japan that are developed to suit the trends of the Japanese market and the target user, including versions of global models that differ from those you can get here.
Thanks for the response.
 

tata

Hall of Fame
We all have our favorite racquets from the past that have great memories for each of us. We have a pretty decent sized collection of all the prince historical frames as well as a lot of old competitive models. It’s fair to say that there will always be a demand for those older frames but it is actually quite a challenge to replicate many of those models from the past for various reasons:

1. Even if we still have available molds that are in good enough condition it is very difficult to use exactly the same materials or conditions as the as used in the past
a. either chemicals are no longer available for use at factories in resin compounds,
b. high modulus fiber pricing has risen to a point where it isn’t feasible to use as it was then
c. Fibers used in certain models are no longer practical for use in today’s quantities (boron, ceramics)
d. Production facilities are no longer the same
e. Composite pre-preg production has changed dramatically (much more controlled today which means that we have far more uniform fiber. This is a good thing for stiffness but also the lack of uniformity will certainly produce a “softer and more muted” frame

In addition to this trying to find a “base sample” to replicate is also quite hard. The production tolerances from the older produced frames were pretty big. We pulled out 6 original 1 stripe graphite’s and the range of specs on them was huge, let alone the playability.

We can certainly try to get as close as we possibly can as we have a lot of data on the old models but even matching the specs in as many of our tests as we can (beyond just the standard specs) there are still going to be some differences from our base and certainly it’s unlikely to exactly replicate the individual model each of you had.

What I can say is that we do recognize the importance of our heritage models and we do consider these a huge part of the dna of Prince. We want to really try to put that heritage dna into our new models, combine it with modern materials and processes and then try to still innovate (which of course was what Prince was doing back when those classics became classics).

Hopefully we can produce frames that someone else in 20 years will be asking why we can’t still make.

Tim
Thank you for your comprehensive response. It is often hard for us to understand why certain things can't be done, even when they appear so simple. That response made a lot of sense from a business and feasibility perspective. Indeed times have changed and the conditions now are different to what they were back then.
 

es-335

New User
I've used the POG OS for almost 30 years, and I've come to the realization that I don't generate racquet head speed like I used to and I'm finally looking to make a change. I wish Prince prioritized making OS racquets for advanced level players like they did at the beginning. I'd love to see 107 versions of the Phantom and Tour that's weighted similar to the smaller head models, and not 9 oz OS racquets like everybody is making.
 
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We all have our favorite racquets from the past that have great memories for each of us. We have a pretty decent sized collection of all the prince historical frames as well as a lot of old competitive models. It’s fair to say that there will always be a demand for those older frames but it is actually quite a challenge to replicate many of those models from the past for various reasons:

1. Even if we still have available molds that are in good enough condition it is very difficult to use exactly the same materials or conditions as the as used in the past
a. either chemicals are no longer available for use at factories in resin compounds,
b. high modulus fiber pricing has risen to a point where it isn’t feasible to use as it was then
c. Fibers used in certain models are no longer practical for use in today’s quantities (boron, ceramics)
d. Production facilities are no longer the same
e. Composite pre-preg production has changed dramatically (much more controlled today which means that we have far more uniform fiber. This is a good thing for stiffness but also the lack of uniformity will certainly produce a “softer and more muted” frame

In addition to this trying to find a “base sample” to replicate is also quite hard. The production tolerances from the older produced frames were pretty big. We pulled out 6 original 1 stripe graphite’s and the range of specs on them was huge, let alone the playability.

We can certainly try to get as close as we possibly can as we have a lot of data on the old models but even matching the specs in as many of our tests as we can (beyond just the standard specs) there are still going to be some differences from our base and certainly it’s unlikely to exactly replicate the individual model each of you had.

What I can say is that we do recognize the importance of our heritage models and we do consider these a huge part of the dna of Prince. We want to really try to put that heritage dna into our new models, combine it with modern materials and processes and then try to still innovate (which of course was what Prince was doing back when those classics became classics).

Hopefully we can produce frames that someone else in 20 years will be asking why we can’t still make.

Tim
That’s an incredibly thoughtful and helpful answer. Thank you. If you keep this up I may just have to switch to Prince! [emoji41]


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n8dawg6

Legend
I've used the POG OS for almost 30 years, and I've come to the realization that I don't generate racquet head speed like I used to and I'm finally looking to make a change. I wish Prince prioritized making OS racquets for advanced level players like they did at the beginning. I'd love to see 107 versions of the Phantom and Tour that's weighted similar to the smaller head models, and not 9 oz OS racquets like everybody is making.
this interests me too ...
 
I appreciate @Prince Tennis Official time and effort in the responses as well. Some of the other reps have offered great help but there is something extra here. Don’t get worn out by the trolls of “fedal” members here.
Amen! These answers offer a completely different level of thoughtfulness and therefore credibility [emoji2]


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ne1410is

New User
We all have our favorite racquets from the past that have great memories for each of us. We have a pretty decent sized collection of all the prince historical frames as well as a lot of old competitive models. It’s fair to say that there will always be a demand for those older frames but it is actually quite a challenge to replicate many of those models from the past for various reasons:

1. Even if we still have available molds that are in good enough condition it is very difficult to use exactly the same materials or conditions as the as used in the past
a. either chemicals are no longer available for use at factories in resin compounds,
b. high modulus fiber pricing has risen to a point where it isn’t feasible to use as it was then
c. Fibers used in certain models are no longer practical for use in today’s quantities (boron, ceramics)
d. Production facilities are no longer the same
e. Composite pre-preg production has changed dramatically (much more controlled today which means that we have far more uniform fiber. This is a good thing for stiffness but also the lack of uniformity will certainly produce a “softer and more muted” frame

In addition to this trying to find a “base sample” to replicate is also quite hard. The production tolerances from the older produced frames were pretty big. We pulled out 6 original 1 stripe graphite’s and the range of specs on them was huge, let alone the playability.

We can certainly try to get as close as we possibly can as we have a lot of data on the old models but even matching the specs in as many of our tests as we can (beyond just the standard specs) there are still going to be some differences from our base and certainly it’s unlikely to exactly replicate the individual model each of you had.

What I can say is that we do recognize the importance of our heritage models and we do consider these a huge part of the dna of Prince. We want to really try to put that heritage dna into our new models, combine it with modern materials and processes and then try to still innovate (which of course was what Prince was doing back when those classics became classics).

Hopefully we can produce frames that someone else in 20 years will be asking why we can’t still make.

Tim
Thanks for taking the time to explain.
Your statement made me remember how I loved the Prince DNA helix string. Lightning feels somewhat close. But yes looking forward to interesting iterations of your frames now and into the future. Preferably with low RA ;)
 

Cobaine

Semi-Pro
We all have our favorite racquets from the past that have great memories for each of us. We have a pretty decent sized collection of all the prince historical frames as well as a lot of old competitive models. It’s fair to say that there will always be a demand for those older frames but it is actually quite a challenge to replicate many of those models from the past for various reasons:

1. Even if we still have available molds that are in good enough condition it is very difficult to use exactly the same materials or conditions as the as used in the past
a. either chemicals are no longer available for use at factories in resin compounds,
b. high modulus fiber pricing has risen to a point where it isn’t feasible to use as it was then
c. Fibers used in certain models are no longer practical for use in today’s quantities (boron, ceramics)
d. Production facilities are no longer the same
e. Composite pre-preg production has changed dramatically (much more controlled today which means that we have far more uniform fiber. This is a good thing for stiffness but also the lack of uniformity will certainly produce a “softer and more muted” frame

In addition to this trying to find a “base sample” to replicate is also quite hard. The production tolerances from the older produced frames were pretty big. We pulled out 6 original 1 stripe graphite’s and the range of specs on them was huge, let alone the playability.

We can certainly try to get as close as we possibly can as we have a lot of data on the old models but even matching the specs in as many of our tests as we can (beyond just the standard specs) there are still going to be some differences from our base and certainly it’s unlikely to exactly replicate the individual model each of you had.

What I can say is that we do recognize the importance of our heritage models and we do consider these a huge part of the dna of Prince. We want to really try to put that heritage dna into our new models, combine it with modern materials and processes and then try to still innovate (which of course was what Prince was doing back when those classics became classics).

Hopefully we can produce frames that someone else in 20 years will be asking why we can’t still make.

Tim
Fascinating post! Thanks for the thorough response.
 

scotus

G.O.A.T.
It's fantastic to see Prince presence on the boards, especially when you did such a great job with your recent offerings.
Your attention will be very much appreciated and although you won't be able to answer some questions and release offerings which will fit needs of every person posting here I'm sure people will still appreciate the time you spend with us.

PhD engineer - currently senior R&D specialist (totally different field than yours though).

I'll allow myself to reference some issues brought up and my 2 cents...
1. Longbody offerings
- there's a certain craft in developing a stable yet maneuverable lb frame. I think there's a market for 27.25 and 27.5 inch frames, 28 inch ones are very niche and the lacks in maneuverability really affect sales of longbody frames. A customer picks up these, has troubles with timing, shanks more, feels the frame is heavy and ends up simply putting them down. Since none of us wants Prince to go bankrupt again IMHO limited model 27.5 offerings should find buyers - it's a difference big enough to be worth the shelf space and small enough to nail that stability/maneuverability performance.
2. Handle shape - while it's Prince heritage I think Prince would benefit if the handle was less round - I think a Wilson or Yonex handle shape would really increase potential sales. If I got a cent every time someone complained about the roundness of the Prince handle I'd be a rich man.
3. Paintjob robustness - sadly this has been an issue for many. It would be great if a sturdier clear coat was applied.
4. 16x20 pattern - I wholeheartedly agree with what was written by you, the pattern is important but depending on the head shape and string spacing it can work. Still if I could choose I'd take a 16x20 over 16x18 on the Phantoms, 97 as well as 100.
5. Tieoff grommet design - I think all manufacturers could learn a thing or two from Tecnifibre. I think this design should be an industry standard. This really works great and increases the lifespan of grommets.

Wish list?
All of the above and the possibility to purchase grommets for older frames - some kind of 3D printing service? Minimum order of 10 sets? 20? Premium price for the hassle? Don't really know but this is an issue with all manufacturers.
Probably not doable and it may hurt business since someone can just buy grommets instead of new frames but on the other hand the fact that one won't have to worry about getting grommets might attract additional customers, though not many...

My experience with Prince frames back in the day- keep in mind that my memory is not what it used to be so some errors might occur...
Diablo Mid - great mid at the time, while Wilson and Head models were reigning supreme this was a sleeper which IMHO stood its own when compared to the mid offerings of the aforementioned. My only gripes were it was slightly shorter than the competition, slightly stiffish feeling and the mains were too widely spread in the middle - I would have preferred an 8 main throat piece grommet. But overall like it a lot but it was too much of a racquet for me.
Prince Graphite Longbody - great 28-incher. Main gripe? The stringpattern was too open for my taste - tight 16x20 or 16x19 would be much better.
Prince TT Warrior MP - fun and almost perfect frame for me at the time. Would prefer it slightly more maneuverable and slightly extended (27.25 or 27.5). Only gripe was that the paintjob turned yellow, IIRC, and I'd prefer a full bumper guard - the perforations didn't really help with protecting the frame on claycourts.
Prince Shark MP - one of the best tweener frames I've played. Not for my game but like it so much more than the Pure Drive iteration offered at the time.
Tour NXG Graphite MP - hated it. Don't know what it was but it felt terrible to me...

O3 or ported frames in general - I have to say I'm not a particular fan of the ports. I've owned a couple of ported retails and some ported prostocks and the response was too muted. It was the ports which made Prince less interesting to me but never missed an opportunity to give such frames another try. I think the addition of grommet inserts and not going with ports all over the frame really improved the performance and feedback. O3 Hybrid Tour was the right direction in my view, but the specs and string pattern made it tough to control - I'm actually waiting for a prostock version of it but with an 18x20 pattern (supposedly Querrey used that one). Should be an interesting hit if I ever get around to it.

That's about it...
Hopefully you can make Prince great again!
Great point on the need for more tie-off holes and a better design for them. I wish all racquets had 2 tie-off holes on each quadrant of the racquet face. Would make hybrid stringing and other creative stringing so much easier!
 

gazz1

Semi-Pro
Great point on the need for more tie-off holes and a better design for them. I wish all racquets had 2 tie-off holes on each quadrant of the racquet face. Would make hybrid stringing and other creative stringing so much easier!
Such a simple thing to implement that shows a focus on what customers want.
 

flanker2000fr

Hall of Fame
Great to see Prince on this Board, taking the time to respond to their customers.

I am a big fan of the brand since the 80's, when the Original Graphite (hello Gabriela, Andre and Michael) and the Boron (hello Kent Karlsson) were considered the Rolls Royce of tennis racquets. I didn't have the money for these models as a teenager back then, but played quite a bit with the Graphite Pro 90, which I really enjoyed (despite breaking a ton of strings in this frame).

After a very long hiatus, I got seriously back into tennis in 2016 and tried a number of frames from different makes. I have a classic "old school" game as it was taught in the 70's, with an Eastern forehand and use slice on 80% of my backhands, will come to the net when I can to close a point, and a serious amount of kick on my serve (think of a poor man's Edberg kick serve).

I settled with the Phantom line of racquets, which I really like and have played extensively over the past two years. I have so far purchased:

- three Phantom 93P 18x20, which I found addictive for control and precision. A great attacking frame. Alas, at almost 50, I need something more forgiving when my footwork isn't on
- so I got two Phantom Pro 100P, which were obviously easier to play than the 93P 18x20 (power on ground strokes, spin), but which I found unstable outside the sweet spot and quite under powered on serve (the latter being a real issue)
- finally I migrated to a couple of Phantom 93P 14x18, which I found to be a good compromise for my game (great spin, more forgiving than the 93P 18x20, good power on serve)

The only knocks I have on the 93P 14x28 are:
- a bit unpredictable at time due to the high launch angle, especially outside the sweet spot
- it's still a 93 sq. in. racquet, and while more forgiving / easier to play than the 18x20 version, it can still be challenging at times for an ageing player (even if I keep in decent physical shape)

So I've been considering (again) a larger frame, and saw with interest that the 97P was coming out. It appears, though, that the TW testers have very similar comments to the ones made on the first 100P, so I will wait for more feedback before making the jump.

But really, what I have been strongly considering is getting my hands on a Prince Classic Graphite 100. I have a few questions and remarks on this particular model:

1) Why isn't it distributed by Tennis Warehouse anymore, and generally difficult to find? I understand it might not have been a hit 5-6 years ago with the craze for stiff / light frames, but as the market is turning to flexier frames (Head Gravity, Wilson Clash, Yonex Vcore Pro 97HD), it might be the right time to revive it

2) I understand that the Phantom's are close in characteristics, but there are a number of us who just love the stabilizer bar and finish of the POG / Classic Graphite. It's really a signature look, that sets it apart from all the other brands, and Prince should really tap into its distinctive features. And create a lineage with models of the past, much like Wilson have successfully done with the Pro Staff.

3) If ever the brand was going this way and revive the Original Graphite / Classic Graphite, it would be great to see both a 95 sq. in. and a 100 sq. in. version, around 315 - 320g unstrung / 10 or 12 point headlight, with a RA in the low 60's, 16x18 or 16x20 string pattern. Perhaps make the 100 sq.in. a bit lighter at 310-315g and the 95 sq.in. a bit heavier at 320-325g, to accommodate different styles / fitness levels, but retain the traditional touch and feel on both.

Thanks for taking the time to read me, and respond if you can.
 
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Lukhas

Legend
Since the restructure of the brand in 2013 many of the regions took on licensees which are all responsible for their own sales and distribution in that territory. The Japan team are a licensee in this way and we have a very close relationship with them.

All of the product development still comes through our team but of course the Japanese market has different requirements due to a different tennis playing demographic and market trends. We work closely with the team in Japan to tailor the product specifically to their needs, some of which are variations on the global product, some are updated products that have been successful in the Japan market but not in global markets and some that are unique to the market.

It’s also worth noting that the Japanese product cycle is different and introduction times are out of synch with most global markets.
Thank you so much for your answer.
 
I’m a lifelong Prince fan! I’m glad the brand is making a comeback.

Is there a reason Prince no longer incorporates the built-in dampener technology like that in the CTS Lightning and CTS Response?
Hey Cobaine,

We stopped for really one main reason....it's easier to add more dampening to a racquet and it's impossible to take it out once is built into the frame itself. While the Double Bridge tech is one of the few technologies that manages BOTH string vibration and racquet shock, the consequence is that sometimes it can make the frame a little too muted for some people.

That was actually one of the driving forces for us to look into adding Twaron to the Textreme line up as it has very good vibration dampening properties. This reduces shock while still allowing players to dial in the amount of string feedback that they want to have when playing.

Tyler
 
Welcome to Tennis Talk. Love what Prince has been doing lately. I also happen to have a Prince 6000 stringer.

Anyway, I currently use the Tour 100 18/20 Port (the one from several years ago).

Two quick questions: do you have port racket with similar specs in the pipeline (especially one with a dense string pattern)? And how might you compare my old Tour 18/20 to the new O3?
Hey Green Clay,

Unfortunately we don't have any 18x20 frames with O3 tech in the pipeline at the moment. We found when talking with customers that an overwhelming amount of players who were using the O3 Tour line of racquets (any generation) tended to put spin and a plush feel at the top of their priority list. So, when we looked at the line-up (which is already pretty large) we just didn't think that it made sense to add something like this to the line-up.

What I can recommend is the new Phantom 100X 18x20 which is a really nice frame and might give you the feel that your looking for. I know it doesn't have O3, but the way it's designed it might surprise you how plush and forgiving it is.

In terms of comparing your racquet to the new Phantom line up, it's pretty simple.....

When we launched the 1st generation Phantom line the O3 Phantom 100 was intended to replace what was the old EXO3 Tour 100. However, while some people were able to make a seamless transition there were quite a few people who felt that their EXO3 Tour gave them more power and ultimately couldn't make the switch. So, when we were looking at updating the line up we decided to increase the cross section height of the new Phantom 100X to give it a bit more punch while still maintaining that buttery Phantom feel. Again, I know it's not an O3 model...but it was designed with players like you in mind.

Tyler
 
@Prince Tennis Official there is only one problem with prince racquets! Your grip shape is horrible and too round. Please offer a pallet system with a wilson-shaped grip option...... or even change your graphite hairpin to the same dimensions as a Head racquet so they will take Head pallets comfortably after removing the molded foam handle.

Your current racquets are great, perhaps the best out there with Wilson atm! But your grip shape is a real problem for long time Head and Wilson players like me.
Hey Zoolander,

Thanks for the input. We've had the same grip shape for as long as I can remember and I bet there are a lot of Prince loyalists on here that would be pretty upset if we changed it up at this point.

Not sure about making a switch in our hairpin design, but that would certainly be an easier option than changing the final shape as a whole. No promises, but I'll talk to Tim about it and see what he says.

Tyler
 
Hello, welcome to the forums. I'd be curious to know what is your relationship with Prince Japan. They seem to act as a somewhat related but fairly independent company; could you care to tell us more?


I have a Classic Response reissue. The frame honestly played better without the dampener and didn't feel much different in terms of feedback. It saved seven or so grams straight on the balance point that you could redistribute elsewhere on the racquet.
Hey Lukhas,

I've been working with the team from Japan for the past 10 years. They are our master licensee for the Japan market and we work closely with them on all of their product development. They do have a full team of great in house developers as well and collaborate in a variety of different ways from designs to engineering.

This has led to some market specific products and cosmetics over the years (which I know people have commented on over the years) that never make their way to other international markets.

Tyler
 

jbdbackfan

Semi-Pro
Hey there Talk Tennis fans!


It's been quite a while since Prince has been present here on the message boards and we're excited to finally be back. Now we know there's probably going to be a lot of questions about the brand....and rightfully so....it's been a bit of a rollercoaster the past few years to say the least. But what I can say here today with absolute certainty is that we are still here, we are still in love with this game, and we are certainly still obsessed with making the best tennis products that we possibly can. And that's where everyone here is hopefully going to help play a part.

We're probably not going to be able to answer all of the questions that come our way, but I promise that we will do our level best and we will commit to being as transparent as possible. We're here for the good, the bad and the ugly...as long as we keep things civil :)

Before we jump into this adventure, let us take a few moments to share some background on the two of us who are going to be managing this conversation over the coming weeks and months.


Tyler:

My journey with Prince began in 2005 right after I graduated college (University of Illinois), so next year will mark 15 years for me with the brand. I can say that I've done just about every different kind of job over my many years, but my absolute passion is for products development. I started as a tech rep, traveling the world putting on clinics from California to Dubai. Shortly thereafter I took over the US Junior program where I managed over 250 junior players from all over the country. After that I was given my first opportunity to work in product development where I helped to launch my very first product the Prince 5000 stringing machine. From there I moved on to manage the string and accessories business where I helped launch one of my favorite products of all time...Prince Recoil strings. From there I moved into the racquet business and eventually worked my way up to becoming the global director of product development and R&D for the brand. Now, in my latest role with the brand I'm overseeing all aspects of our global business and working with over 40 different partners around the world to try and bring new and exciting Prince products back to the market.

As a product developer I'm a bit of an equipment chameleon as I rarely play the same racquet 2 times in a row, but if I was pressed to pick my current favorite set it would be the Beast 98 with Prince Vortex 16 @ 48lbs.


Tim:

Like Tyler, I have been with the Prince brand through the ups and downs over the last few years. I started with Prince in 2006 working out of the R&D center in Italy as a Junior Engineer at an exciting time following the introduction of the O3 range. The first racquet that I was involved in developing was the Speed Port Black. After spending 4 years with the team in Italy, I made my way to China to work directly with the production teams to refine all of the production processes in an effort to improve the efficiency and quality of the complex processes at a time of economic challenges. Following the restructuring of the Prince business in 2011, I spent a brief period as the Product manager for Asia before starting my current role as Director of R&D. The first task in this new role was to develop a new line and technology which resulted in the introduction of the first generation of TeXtreme racquets in 2014. In this role I am responsible for the line development of all hard goods products, 3D CAD, layup development and product performance and quality. My favorite project I’ve worked on over recent years is the development of the Phantom line, which challenged us to develop a modern version of a thin beam players racquet. It’s something which Prince had been well known for and something that is unique in the current landscape of the tennis racquet market.
While we are a small team, we are passionate about developing the best product we can that has a real reason for being to help players enjoy the game of tennis more. I’m excited about the projects that we are currently working on and hope that you’ll enjoy trying them as much as I’ve enjoyed developing them.


Looking forward to the discussion everyone! Happy New Year!

The Prince Team
Thanks for joining the board. I have been playing with the Classic Graphite 100s for 5 years, and recently switched to the Phantom Pro 100 (Original not updated). Finding the feel of the Phantom Pro 100 to be good, I even added some weight at 10 and 2 to help with stability, but still not finding it as stable as I'd like. May try out the new Phantom 100X 305 as that seems to be a step in fixing stability with thicker beam.

Hoping/wishing you guys would make the Multi string Premier Control back in 15 gauge for those of us with the 16x18 patterns who use a shaped poly as a cross or main in a hybrid.

Do you guys have plans to sell clothing/accessories (hats, etc) that aren't from one of these outside clothing designers, but rather just labeled as "Prince" again?

Also, you guys should look to update your website. The info is really outdated (showing the tour racquets from 4 years ago now) and really could be a turnoff for people looking at brand for first time and not seeing any of your new offerings.
 

es-335

New User
Hey Cobaine,

We stopped for really one main reason....it's easier to add more dampening to a racquet and it's impossible to take it out once is built into the frame itself. While the Double Bridge tech is one of the few technologies that manages BOTH string vibration and racquet shock, the consequence is that sometimes it can make the frame a little too muted for some people.

That was actually one of the driving forces for us to look into adding Twaron to the Textreme line up as it has very good vibration dampening properties. This reduces shock while still allowing players to dial in the amount of string feedback that they want to have when playing.

Tyler
I would not be opposed if you put out a racquet with all the dampening technologies you have - Double Bridge, Twaron, the kitchen sink, geared specifically for us who have a history of elbow issues. I enjoy playing with modern, stiff racquets with the easy power I get, but I can't do so for an extended period of time, even with a multifilament. A racquet line designed for maximum possible comfort maybe has a place. It may be too muted for most people, but it'd really help some of us with elbow issues. Especially if it would allow us to use poly strings - which I feel like I play better with, but it's too hard on my elbow even when stung as a hybrid.
 
I would not be opposed if you put out a racquet with all the dampening technologies you have - Double Bridge, Twaron, the kitchen sink, geared specifically for us who have a history of elbow issues. I enjoy playing with modern, stiff racquets with the easy power I get, but I can't do so for an extended period of time, even with a multifilament. A racquet line designed for maximum possible comfort maybe has a place. It may be too muted for most people, but it'd really help some of us with elbow issues. Especially if it would allow us to use poly strings - which I feel like I play better with, but it's too hard on my elbow even when stung as a hybrid.
I think that you are making a lot of valid points here and I think that there's merit to designing racquets that have a very specific purpose to them. It seems that when you look at the general landscape of racquets these days there's a lot of "sameness". That's not necessarily bad, just similar. You could argue that it's really hard to buy a "bad" frame today. Sure there are racquets that I like more than others, but to say that they are bad is probably not accurate. It's more that 90% of all racquets fall into a relatively small range of specs compared to racquets of old, which reading through this thread makes me think hard about why everyone longs for older "heritage" frames.

Thanks for the comment....the wheels are turning over here :)
 
Will prince ever make a thick (or tapered) beamed, stiff, low swingweight frame with 18 mains? Not a lot on the market for those combo of specs

Also... those japanese prince racquets... so wild and different.
Those spec requests are pretty contradictory, or at a minimum one preference would counter act the other.

Thick cross section = stiff = power
Low swingweight = less stability = less power
18 mains = less power

So, I've got my eyes wide open here....are you looking for a player oriented frame with more power? Or are you looking for a powerful frame that has more control? Essentially you seem to be looking for technical specs that don't exist today...but that might be because technology allows us to solve that equation without using these same variables.

Let's see if we can crack this code....
 
As I mentioned earlier, I used the CTS Blast in college, which if I remember correctly, was the predecessor to the Synergy 26 (although the DB version has a built in dampener, correct?).

Kevlar mains, gut crosses, strung in the upper 60s. Good times, good times...
You are correct! It did have the Double Bridge (built in dampener)...and the crazy thing was...it actually begged to be strung with good ole' Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex. I though I would like it with poly, and just didn't like it at all. Then I thought to myself "hey poly wasn't around back then, let's try to string it with what was popular when it was introduced"....night and day difference. Racquet suddenly came to life in a way that i completely didn't expect. Makes you realize how important string technology has been to the way racquets are being designed today.....
 
Just a big thank you for producing the Phantom line. So nice to see a company thinking in this direction and putting out a quality product. Please keep doing what you're doing with this - thin beam, soft, classic type frames. There aren't many out there any more.

I'm going to miss the green/black colourway from the last series though!
Appreciate the kind words...I wish you knew how much comments like that really mean to us. It's fun to develop racquets that we love personally, but the goal is to make racquets that other people like too and it's always nice to hear that we hit the mark. :)
 
Are you going to maintain Beast 98 in Beast line when it is updated? I have found some Beast 100s with pure red painting on a Japanese website, and there is no info of 98 on that page
The Japanese team never really got on board with the Beast 98 as their primary customer for the Beast line in Japan is geared more towards the recreational player. So the 98" model didn't make as much sense for them.

From a global point of view we love the Beast 98 and think that there might be an update or two that we can make to give it some new life in its next iteration. Can't confirm or deny any specifics yet, but I wouldn't worry about a frame like this going away any time soon.
 
Are there plans to update or keep the Beast Pro 100LB? My wife and I love that racket!

27.5" is just about perfect. It feels like maneuverability goes way down at 28".
Right now there's no plans to discontinue this model for 2020, so for now you're in the clear. I'm so glad that you like it! It's definitely not a racquet for everyone with the swingweight on that thing, but if you can get it around there's not a more stable and powerful tweener on the market!
 
The Japanese team never really got on board with the Beast 98 as their primary customer for the Beast line in Japan is geared more towards the recreational player. So the 98" model didn't make as much sense for them.

From a global point of view we love the Beast 98 and think that there might be an update or two that we can make to give it some new life in its next iteration. Can't confirm or deny any specifics yet, but I wouldn't worry about a frame like this going away any time soon.

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Right now there's no plans to discontinue this model for 2020, so for now you're in the clear. I'm so glad that you like it! It's definitely not a racquet for everyone with the swingweight on that thing, but if you can get it around there's not a more stable and powerful tweener on the market!
Completely agree! I will have to stock up on the update.
 
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