warrior - One who is engaged in or experienced in battle.
I don't think anyone who has seen Patrick Rafter battling on a tennis court would deny him the title of warrior. His epic battles with some of the games top players have highlighted his career. It's only right that Prince's newest racquet, designed specifically for Rafter, be named the Warrior. It's a fitting tribute to one of the games greatest competitors.
Although Prince's Triple Threat Warrior racquets (Midplus and Oversize) haven't been battle tested the way Patrick Rafter has, their lineage does suggest they'll be worthy competitors. Like their predecessor, the Precision Response Titanium racquet, the Triple Threat Warriors are head light, 23 mm wide racquets with Prince's Double Bridge system in the throat. Unlike the Response Ti, the Warriors also have Prince's Triple Braid weighting system (with Tungsten) and weigh less than 12 ounces. Also, the Response Ti was only available in a 97 square inch head. The Warrior comes in two head sizes, 97 and 107 square inches (which is 1/2 inch longer at 27-1/2 inches). Tennis Warehouse's intrepid band of weekend warriors playtested the Triple Threat Warriors for two soggy weeks. Here are our un-weighted responses...
The TT Warrior MP is slightly lighter than its predecessor, the Response Ti, yet provides a similarly full-bodied feel from the baseline. Dan explains, "the first impression I had was the solidness of this racquet. It has classic feel and flexibility, but with above average stability during off-center shots. I also found the TT Warrior MP to be a dream for spin artists, chip & chargers and control specialists - extreme topspin and slice shots were a breeze. It's easy to see why this racquet is used by Pat Rafter." Granville adds, "from the first groundstroke, I could feel the ball sinking into the stringbed, allowing me exceptional control. At the same time, it delivered the power I was generating, not power thrust upon me by material technology. The racquet flexed where I wanted it to, from the throat and shoulders. I was able to hit out, delivering depth and not having to think about hitting too long. The string pattern was just right for developing topspin, and my topspin lob was definitely 'on'. I also loved the sound made during ball contact."
Don says, "there's plenty of heft, despite being only 11.4 ounces. I've always said I'd like to try a Response Ti that was about 1/2 ounce lighter...well, I got it in the TT Warrior MP. It provides the same dampened feel for comfort, without robbing the racquet of touch or feel. The power level might be a tad less than the Response but I was able to swing it faster, and get the racquet around on hard-hit balls from my opponent more quickly. Generating spin was easy and I hit some great slice approach shots."
The TT Warrior MP is nimble at net, yet still provides substance and stability. Granville offers, "really good stuff here. I could move the racquet around from side to side without thinking about the balance. It has a very forgiving sweetspot that delivered excellent control for me on my volleys. Even when my opponent was drilling groundstrokes at me, I was able to keep the racquet in front and return crisp volleys with depth, and, with minimal effort." Dan continues, "the TT Warrior MP is born to volley. It has the most natural feeling at net of any racquet I've used in a long time. The weight and balance seem perfectly synchronized; not too heavy to maneuver easily, yet hefty enough to feel firm and solid. The Triple Braid at 2 and 10 o'clock gives the racquet a needed 'kick' in the upper hoop for balls hit high in the stringbed."
The TT Warrior MP's combination of weight, balance and string pattern provide similar benefits to serving as it does to hitting groundstrokes. Don comments, "I was hitting my serves with authority and plenty of spin. Although I've served harder with other racquets, I liked the power level, combined with accuracy provided by this racquet. I could hit wide slices with good pace and second serves had lots of kick." Granville adds, "I was hitting spin serves wide from both sides with confidence. I could also mix it up by popping some serves wide from the ad court, earning several 'cheap' points. I'd say the racquet may be slightly underpowered, but the trade-off was added control and spin." Dan continues, "although there are racquets that hit with better authority, the combination of power and accuracy were proportionate with the Warrior MP's weight and balance. Due to the lighter weight, it is slightly less powerful than the Response Ti. However, that same feature allows for faster swing speeds over a longer period, which complimented my slice and kick serves."
The TT Warrior MP was popular with our playtesters on serve returns. Dan says, "this racquet was ideal for returning big first serves. Although it is a little lighter than other 'player' racquets, it possesses enough weight where it counts for stability. I also enjoyed chipping and charging off short or weak second serves." Granville offers, "I loved it! I was taking the ball early and ripping returns cross court or down the line at will. I was returning the pace that was being delivered on the serve with consistency. On the ad court, I was able to slice the backhand return short, cross court or block it down the line." Don continues, "maneuverability, combined with heft and stability - what could be better? There's enough weight for effective block returns, yet I was able to take a swing against many first serves. Against second serves, I utilized every available opportunity to chip and charge (think Rafter!) and enjoyed positive results."
The Triple Threat Warrior Midplus will find many fans among a fairly broad range of player levels and types. We feel it is best suited to 4.5-7.0 all-court or serve and volley players. However, the racquet is so versatile that even many baseliners will find it appealing. The TT Warrior MP is not a duplicate of the Response Ti but that wasn't the objective. It successfully achieves the goal of producing a slightly lighter and more maneuverable racquet, without sacrificing stability and comfort. For more information, contact us at 800-883-6647.
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
Although the spotlight is primarily on the TT Warrior MP, we found the Oversize held its own in almost every department, including groundstrokes. Dan says, "this oversize racquet rivals the TT Warrior MP more than any other model I can recall playtesting. It's not often I pick up an oversize racquet and feel like I'm playing with a midplus, but that was the case with the Warrior OS. Similar to the midplus, this racquet's combination of weight, balance and swingweight just 'clicked', and fit well with its length (27.5 inches) and headsize (107 square inches). Prince has really produced a winner here." John continues, "this racquet was a pleasure to hit with from the very first groundstroke. I enjoyed the fact that it was slightly lighter, yet still retained stability and provided excellent damping properties. The length and headsize are a perfect match - the racquet cuts through the air like a knife. I was able to swing out fully, generating the expected power level, without any surprises. The open string pattern provided the needed spin capabilities, allowing for effective topspin and impressive slice. If you like to slice and dice, the TT Warrior OS is a great weapon."
Granville offers, "as someone who has never preferred an oversize racquet, I'm convinced the TT Warrior OS is one of the best playing oversize racquets available in this category. I had no problems whatsoever transitioning from my ProStaff 6.1 MP or TT Warrior MP to this racquet. I found it refreshing that a midplus and oversize version of a racquet can have such distinct playing characteristics, while accenting the nuances of both headsizes. The TT Warrior OS has a specific 'performance' weight and balance that I like. I'd go so far as to say the benefits of Triple Braid weighting are exemplified in this racquet, as well as other oversize models in the Triple Threat line. The sweetspot is slightly higher in the oversize but no adjustment in my stroke was required. I also liked the open string pattern, which allowed me to hit with some amazing spin and hit a few topspin lobs that left my opponent and me shaking our heads!"
Don comments, "I was really impressed with this racquet. Like Dan, I felt like I was hitting with a midplus, while enjoying the forgiveness benefits of an oversize. There is a pleasant balance of power and control, allowing for full swings without worry of fly-away shots. The extra 1/2 inch of length is only noticeable in that the racquet feels well-proportioned. The extra length is in the head, not the handle. I was able to generate better than average topspin and could have hit slice backhands all day. I could happily play with this racquet."
The TT Warrior OS' maneuverability, combined with the stability of Triple Braid weighting AND a larger head and extra length make it a natural at net. John offers, "the TT Warrior OS is like a magic wand at the net. Aided by the head-light balance and 107 headsize, solid volleys are the order of the day. I was able to deflect volleys with ease, generating surprising power and depth. The weighting at 2 and 10 o'clock seemed to really lend stability to the frame." Granville says, "volleys have always been my bread and butter, so I'm very picky in my choice of racquets. If a racquet doesn't allow me to control the ball in all situations, I'll keep looking for a new racquet. The TT Warrior OS was right on cue. I could bleed pace off the ball for a touch, cross court winner or drop shot, or take the lead and punch away a decisive winner. I really felt like I could do just about anything with this racquet at net."
Dan comments, "although the TT Warrior OS felt a bit heftier at net than its midplus counterpart, it made up for this in spin control. I felt I could manipulate volleys in a way that's difficult to find in competing oversize models. If I were a doubles specialist, spending my days at net, or trying to get there, this racquet would definitely rank up there as a potential weapon of choice." Don adds, "I enjoyed this racquet's versatility at net - I could pick up low returns off my shoelaces or hit a high backhand volley with similar ease and effectiveness. Most oversize racquets require holding back but not the Warrior OS. I could aggressively attack half-volleys without fear of the ball sailing. The next shot, I could hit a slice, angle volley for a winner. My confidence at net was boosted with this racquet in my hand."
Although some oversize racquets are more difficult in generating racquet head speed on serves, the TT Warrior OS didn't seem sluggish to our playtesters. John comments, "I was pleasantly surprised with the power, depth and control I was able to generate on serves. With my boom-boom serving days long in the past, I enjoyed the Warrior OS' power level. Additionally, I could place the ball down the 'T' or pull my opponent wide with slice at will. A racquet that provides sufficient power, while maintaining control is a rare commodity." Don offers, "I didn't notice the typical dropoff in power found in many oversize racquets. I didn't feel relegated to hitting only slice and spin serves. I could crank first serves with decent pace down the middle or slice out wide. Serving with the TT Warrior OS is an asset, not a liability."
Dan offers, "although a few grams lighter than the midplus, the TT Warrior OS did have a slightly heavier feel on serves. The good news is that this lent a more solid feel. With 10 square inches more of head size, the 16x19 string pattern enhances slice and kick, often hard to find in other oversize models."
Once again, the TT Warrior's combination of weight and balance make it maneuverable, yet stable when returning serve. Dan says, "unlike many oversize racquets, taking full swings against first serves didn't find the back fence. When returning short or weak second serves, th racquet's propensity for slice allowed for very effective approach shots - great for aggressive net players or doubles specialists. John comments, "having already established that the TT Warrior OS is a very maneuverable stick, it is no surprise that I found the racquet very effective when returning serve. One cannot be shy though. You need to hit out and through the ball or you're apt to hit a short and/or weak return. Don offers, "I liked the benefit of maneuverability and the oversize head, combined with the stability and solid feel.. Whether blocking back booming first serves or thumping a short second serve, the TT Warrior OS didn't disappoint me. My best returns, however, were chip & charge returns against second serves."
The Triple Threat Warrior Oversize doesn't play second fiddle to its midplus brother. It provides just that much more power and reach, without sacrificing control for most players. If you've been considering a change to an oversize tweener/player racquet that delivers power, spin control and comfort, you'll want to give the Triple Threat Warrior Oversize a test drive. For more information, contact us at 800-883-6647.
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
Dan: 5.5 all-court player currently using a Prince Triple Threat Bandit MP.
Don: 4.5-5.0 all-court player currently using a Yonex Ultimum RQ TI-1700 MP.
Granville: 5.5 all-court player currently using a Wilson ProStaff 6.1 MP.
John: 4.5-5.0 all-court player currently using a Prince Triple Threat Bandit OS.
Review racquets strung with Tecnifibre NRG 17 at mid range (Midplus-58 pounds, Oversize-62 pounds).
Review date: March, 2001. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
All content copyright 2001 Tennis Warehouse.