Club night (29) with the O3 Tour
I spent Sunday club night playing mixed doubles and a singles with the Prince O3 Tour as I mentioned in my last blog. The weather was quite cold and also very damp making it quite treacherous underfoot and in the evening floodlights. Even so I worked hard and certainly worked up a sweat in both the doubles and singles. Maybe it was the racket but I won two sets at doubles and one set singles and lost none.
My initial concerns about the weight of the racket, compared to my current racket, were soon put to one side as the O3 Tour is a very comfortable racket to play with. It's very easy on the arm, my long term golfers elbow was not affected at all, and that was after two hours solid play. The extra head light characteristic makes it a joy to move around for volleys in doubles, and I was soon playing groundstrokes and volleys with confidence. The one difficulty I continued to struggle with was my serve. Some of my first serves, flat and hard were fine, my second serve slice soon came around too, but I did not master the second serve topspin kicker which was strange as the racket is excellent for spin on groundstrokes. Usually I was serving the kicker long and I hope this is something I can improve on as I get used to the racket.
Playing singles against a 'retriever' who slices a lot on both wings and provides no pace was a bit more of a problem. Normally I tackle these players at their on game (since that used to be game!), with lots of slice, spin, dropshots, angles, etc, but since the racket was so new to me I wasn't confident enough in its handling to do this consistently. This led to some contradictions when occasionally I would find the racket had too much power if I tried to drive past my opponent, yet sometimes it was quite dead and I could not generate power off his no pace floaters. This was completely different to the doubles I played earlier when the racket handled with ease normal or fast paced groundstrokes and also volleys in rapid fire doubles exchanges. Even so I was able to win the singles set quite comfortably and I think it's just a question of getting used to the different feel of the racket.
I am surprised it's classed as a Tour racket since it is quite light by pro standards, and despite the low Prince power rating 800, which is lower than my current racket rated at 850, I found it to provide more power than my current racket. I'm not sure why, either the extra weight or the (factory) strings and tension.
I think I'm sold on it. I will play with it one more time at the next club mix-in, but my mind is pretty much made up. The racket is good, for me. Of course YMMV.