Often times it’s human nature to dismiss something, based on the initial experience. First impressions come to mind, with the saying you never get a second chance at a first impression. However, when it comes to the Prince EXO3 Tour 100, it’s the second impression that did just that. Impressed.
Rewind to my first hit with the EXO3 Tour 100.
If I had only one hitting session with this racquet, I most likely would have set down the racquet with no intention of picking it up again. Why? I didn’t like the feel. The stringbed felt too expansive and soft. I didn’t get the feedback I was accustomed to and felt the ball was getting lost in the stringbed. Though I liked the spec range, I wouldn’t get over what I first thought was a lack of feel. So I thought.
Since this was a playtest, I’d have to make the best of it. Doing a month-long test, there are going to be good days and not so good days. As the playtest continued, I did notice that I was playing consistently better. The good days were really good, and the bad days weren’t so bad. On top of that, I was getting used to the unique feel; to the point that I didn’t even think about it. When the playtest concluded, I couldn’t deny the fact that I played better with this stick. More specifically, I played better with the 16/18 string pattern. I liked the 18/20, but felt the 16/18 offered a little more liveliness and spin that helped better benefit my game and style overall.
Groundstrokes were solid with excellent directional control. The combination of being able to flatten out shots for winners yet enough touch to place the more delicate shots was very good. I felt comfortable hitting all shots from the baseline whether it was an angled forehand, coming over the top of the backhand or slicing one down the line. Suffice it to say, I felt confident with precision from the baseline. At net, the EXO3 Tour 100 spec’d out well for me. It had a nice head light balance, a large sweetspot, and a soft flex and feel. It provided opportunities to vary shots because of its versatility. I felt the same concerning serve returns. The stability of the frame made chipping and blocking back serves rather easy, while still maneuverable enough to come through the ball with good swing speed when looking to be aggressive. If there was one thing I thought it lacked, was power on serve. To be fair, it’s not underpowered in this regard, but I was hoping the open string pattern of the 16/18 would offer some added zip.
When it’s all said and done, the Prince EXO3 Tour 100 is a racquet that I would have to consider using as my main stick of choice, because I can’t deny the results. Anyone else that has had the initial “don’t like the feel” feeling with this racquet, I recommend you have some patience, as you might just be wooed with that second impression.
*The string I preferred during this test was the Prince Hybrid Power EXP. Putting Prince Poly EXP in the mains, with Prince Premier LT in the crosses was a nice compliment to the overall performance of the racquet.