Tennis Warehouse


Prince Tour 100T ESP Racquet Review

name/PT100T

Video Review

Price:

$169.00

Prince Tour 100T ESP Scores
Power 85
Comfort 83
Touch/Feel 77
Serves 77
Groundstrokes 78
Returns 77
Slice 78
Topspin 87
Volleys 78
Overall 74

Upsides

  • Very fast
  • Spin machine
  • Comfortable

Downsides

  • Not for flat hitters
  • Big hitters will need to customize

Summary

The Prince Tour 100 line has become known for its plush, yet solid, feel, and has been made famous by the likes of David Ferrer and Daniela Hantuchova. Now, a revolutionary 16x16 Extreme String Pattern has been introduced in the Tour 100T ESP to unlock even more spin potential. The Tour 100T ESP is also lighter and faster through the air, making it easy to generate tons of racquet head speed and maximize all that spin. These changes were certainly felt and appreciated by our playtest team, and everyone was finding it extremely easy to produce big, heavy shots from all over the court. From penetrating groundstrokes to effective serves, this racquet really enabled us to be aggressive. There was a lack of control at times, especially when we tried to go for some flatter shots, and this prevented us from feeling totally confident in our strokes. Moreover, while the light weight allowed us to swing fast, the racquet did get pushed around when our playtesters took on big hitting opponents. All in all, this is an excellent choice for the intermediate player looking for a soft, control-oriented and spin-friendly racquet, but it may not possess enough control and heft for more advanced players.

Groundstrokes - Score: 78

All of our playtesters found the Tour 100T ESP to be extremely maneuverable and spin-friendly from the baseline, but we struggled at times with control. Chris explained the pros and cons of combining a light static weight and an open string pattern, saying, "The fast and easy to swing feel paired nicely with the ESP string pattern of this racquet. I was able to generate lots of racquet head speed with little effort, and that helped me hit with lots of spin. As with other Prince ESP racquets I've hit, the stringbed on this one grabbed the ball very well and offered a ton of spin. I could hit aggressive topspin forehands with ease, and I enjoyed the extra clearance I could give the ball while still getting it to drop inside the baseline. On my backhand, I had better results hitting slice. I was able to get lots of spin on the ball and found I could go cross court, down the line or hit a short angle with ease. On drive backhands I tended to overhit too easily. I hit much flatter off my backhand wing and that made it harder to control depth with this racquet. I couldn't get a good feel for depth on a flat swing and would miss long too much."

Andy also had trouble adjusting to the ball's trajectory on his groundstrokes, and he never got completely dialed in. He said, "The first thing I noticed from the baseline was the extremely lively feel. The ball jumps off the stringbed, and with some racquet head acceleration you can generate some serious topspin. However, there is an obvious difference in the ball trajectory when it leaves the strings compared to other racquets. The ball leaves the racquet at a much higher angle than usual, so I had to change my stroke. I had to be sure the racquet face was closed on every topspin shot, or I was going to do some damage to the back fence."

Karly appreciated how easy the racquet was to swing, but she also felt it could have benefited from more weight to help her shots move through the court more. She said, "I had no problems whatsoever swinging the 100T ESP, that's for sure! The racquet felt so light and fast that I didn't waste much energy swinging it. I loved how easy it was to speed up my stroke with very little effort. In addition to that great maneuverability, the exaggerated string pattern made this one spin-friendly frame. It didn't matter what type of shot I was going for, I could easily add spin to the ball, and a whole lot of it. I did have a bit of an adjustment period when first hitting with the 100T ESP just because it generated so much power, but once I started adding more spin to the ball it was easier to control my shots, and I wasn't overhitting as much. The biggest problem for me was the lightweight feel. The racquet lacked plow through and I couldn't drive through the ball steadily, especially when I was playing against harder hitters. The ball felt like it was sitting on the stringbed too long, and I was trying to push through my stroke. I would've liked more mass on the racquet so I could swing through the ball faster."

After a bit of an adjustment period Mark was able to find a nice rhythm from the baseline. He offered, "From my first warm-up shot I felt like the new Tour 100 ESP was very maneuverable, and from first contact of the ball I noticed that hitting with spin was pretty easy with this racquet. I found my comfort zone after the first hour with the Tour 100T ESP. At 11 ounces strung, I did get some decent plow through against bigger hitters, but with the under 310 swingweight, I did occasionally get a slightly unstable response. Directional control is great with this racquet, and with the wide-open string pattern I was able to 'grip and rip' from anywhere in the court."

Prince Tour 100T ESP Racquets

Volleys - Score: 78

The Tour 100T ESP worked out a little better for our playtesters around the net, with the maneuverability being the most heralded characteristic. Karly was finding some success with its easy maneuverability and soft, plush feel. She said, "I liked the racquet more at net because I didn't feel as pushed around as I did at the baseline. The plow through wasn't as much of a problem because the ball didn't sit on the stringbed as long. Contact felt crisper, and the lightweight feel wasn't as much of an issue as it was on groundstrokes. The response was better, and the great maneuverability and larger headsize made it extremely easy to volley. I just had to make sure to hit the sweetspot, because this lightweight racquet was unforgiving outside of it and really unstable in my grip. Luckily, this didn't happen too often because of the wide open string pattern."

Mark praised the lightweight feel but wished for a little more stability against big hitters. He offered, "Maneuverability-wise, the Prince Tour 100T ESP is top notch, and all but the hardest passing shots were dealt with confidently. It did flutter a bit against a well hit ball that was contacted away from the body."

Chris liked the soft, plush feel once he adjusted to it, but he would've appreciated a bit more weight and stability. He said, "Lively and comfortable, this racquet made it easy to punch volleys deep with little effort and little shock. Even with a stiff poly, the stringbed on this racquet felt very soft and lively. The very open string pattern combined with the large EXO3 ports to offer a very soft and plush feel. Finding some touch from the ultra soft response took a slight adjustment, but after that I was dialed in. Neither Tour 100T is stable outside of the sweetspot against a heavily hit passing attempt, but this one is definitely the more forgiving of the two."

Andy had a similar opinion, saying, "This racquet felt maneuverable and comfortable at the net. It's easy to get into position on quick exchanges, and a ball hit in the sweetspot feels smooth as butter. However, I did find the racquet fluttering a bit when contact was off center, and with all the dampening technology (Double Bridge, port grommets) it leaves you feeling a bit disconnected from the ball. At times, I had trouble being totally precise with my finesse volleys."

Serves - Score: 77

Our playtest team found the easy access to power and spin with the Tour 100T ESP allowed them to hit a variety of serves effectively. Chris enjoyed exploring the different ways he could hurt his opponent with his serve. He explained, "I liked serving with this racquet. I was getting good pace and spin. I hit both slice and topspin serves very well, and I was adding spin to pretty much every serve I hit. This racquet doesn't have the weight to hit through an opponent, but I could hit with enough spin to get the ball away from the returner and/or get it out of his/her strike zone."

Though she found a slight lack of control at times, Karly was having fun using different speeds and spins on her serves. She said, "If I wanted to go for a big serve, speeding up my service motion was no problem with this racquet. It's very maneuverability, and it hardly took any effort at all to hit powerful serves. I just had to be careful to control my serves because it was easy to overhit. Fortunately, the racquet was a spin monster, so I could use the spin to my advantage and get the ball diving in to the service box. That also meant I could add a lot of variety to my serves. Whether I wanted to slice the ball wide or hit a high kick serve, this racquet made it easy. The only trouble I had with my serve was the control, but boy, it a lot of fun to hit powerful serves with a ton of spin."

Andy found he could serve big with this racquet, but he lacked consistent control. He offered, "Easy racquet head speed makes it a breeze to generate pace on flat serves and tons of spin on your slice and kick serves. I was able to get my spin serves moving quite a bit. However, most of the time I didn't feel like I could put them where I wanted in the box, so my consistency went down."

Echoing his sentiments was Mark, who said, "I loved the Tour 100T ESP for the ease of acceleration and access to spin on serve, but I felt like it required more effort to produce an effective serve. I had more success with the heavier Tour 100 Pro."

Prince Tour 100T ESP Racquets

Serve Returns - Score: 77

The fast feel and lively response of the Tour 100T ESP allowed our playtesters to return aggressively. Mark found success, especially with his signature chip returns. He said, "My return of serve was great, so long as the incoming shot was not too heavy. I usually prefer the dense patterned setups on slice returns, but I did very slice well with this racquet."

Chris channeled his inner Stefan Edberg on the return, saying, "I felt confident taking a good crack at most returns with this racquet. I was able to keep my contact out in front thanks to the fast feel. Power was easy to generate, and I could hit aggressive, deep returns or blast an angle. It was also very easy to take the ball early since the racquet is so maneuverable. Add that fast feel to all the slice I could get and you have a great racquet for some chip 'n charge returning!"

Karly continued to enjoy the light, fast feel, but once again she struggled with her placement. She said, "I probably sound like a broken record, but I can't reiterate enough how exceptional the maneuverability was with this racquet! The racquet made it easy to setup for a shot quickly, and with its good power I could fire an aggressive shot back. It also made it easy to take the return early and go after a short angle. I was never afraid that I wouldn't be able to get a ball back when returning against fast serves, but at times I worried about the control and lack of plow through. This racquet was too light and felt pushed back when making contact. It definitely could've used more weight to improve the control and drive through the ball better."

Andy never got his returns working well with this racquet, attributing it to a lack of control. He explained, "Maneuverability, check! Control and stability, not so much. The racquet felt good right up until I made contact. Then it was a guessing game as to where my return was going, unless I was being extra careful on where I was aiming. This racquet, unfortunately, just didn't have the precision I needed to be aggressive with my return."

Overall - Score: 74

Likes

Chris - "I liked the spin I was getting on serve and forehand. The maneuverable feel and great spin also made it a fun racquet to return with. The response felt so soft and plush that even stiff poly strings felt surprisingly forgiving."

Mark - "I loved this Tour 100T ESP for its ease of swing, its comfort with any sort of string/tension and its access to spin. I feel that this frame is great for the player who wants a softer feeling player's frame."

Karly - "Exceptional maneuverability plus tremendous spin, now that's a simple equation for a fun racquet to play with!"

Andy - "Comfortable feel, tons of spin potential and easy to produce pace."

Dislikes

Chris - "I struggled with depth control on drive backhands and any other flat shot I hit. Due to those control issues I had to modify my game slightly."

Mark - "I just wanted a bit more weight in the hoop and a bit more toward the grip end of the racquet."

Karly - "This lightweight racquet needed more weight added to it. It lacked plow through, and most of the time I felt like I was being pushed around when making contact with the ball."

Andy - "Not enough control or stability to give me the confidence to take it up against big hitters. I also felt a bit disconnected from the ball at times."

Comparing it to other racquets they've used, our testers said:

Chris - "I'd put the Tour 100T ESP in the mix with the other lighter Prince ESP racquets, as well as the Wilson Pro Staff 100LS. Like the Pro Staff 100LS, this racquet is very fast and easy to swing while being extremely spin-friendly. However, this one offers a very soft and forgiving feel thanks to its EXO3 ports."

Mark - "The Head Graphene Speed MP, Yonex Ai 100, Gamma RZR 98 and Wilson Pro Staff 100L or 100LS. They are all very comparable frames with the Tour 100T ESP."

Karly - "The Tour 100T ESP reminded me of the Babolat Pure Strike 100 racquet. Both have very similar specs that made them feel and play similarly, but the open string pattern of the Prince Tour 100T ESP helped make it a little more spin-friendly and forgiving than the Strike 100."

Andy - "This racquet has the same soft, comfortable feel as the other Prince Tour 100 racquets. The ESP technology gives it a much livelier, spin-friendly feel, but nowhere near the same level of control. The Tour 100T ESP is lighter and more maneuverable than the Wilson Steam 99S (another spin-oriented racquet), but lower-powered and not as solid-feeling."

Technical Specifications

Length27 inches69 centimeters
Head Size100 square inches645 square centimeters
Weight11.1 ounces315 grams
Balance Point12.79 inches
32 centimeters
6 pts Head Light
Construction20mm / 22mm / 20mm
CompositionGraphite
String Pattern16 mains / 16 crosses

Babolat RDC Ratings

Score
Grade
Flex Rating61Range: 0-100
Swing Weight306Range: 200-400

Scores

(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)


Chris' Scores
Power 8.2 Serves 8
Control 7.7 Groundstrokes 8
Maneuverability 9 Returns 8.2
Stability 7.8 Slice 8.8
Comfort 9 Topspin 9
Touch/Feel 7.7 Volleys 8
Overall 8
Mark's Scores
Power 8.5 Serves 8
Control 8.5 Groundstrokes 8
Maneuverability 9 Returns 7.5
Stability 7.5 Slice 7.5
Comfort 8.5 Topspin 8
Touch/Feel 8.5 Volleys 7.5
Overall 8
Karly's Scores
Power 8.3 Serves 8.1
Control 7.9 Groundstrokes 7.8
Maneuverability 8.7 Returns 8.1
Stability 7.4 Slice 8.2
Comfort 7.6 Topspin 8.5
Touch/Feel 7.9 Volleys 8.3
Overall 7.9
Andy's Scores
Power 8.8 Serves 6.5
Control 4 Groundstrokes 7.3
Maneuverability 7.8 Returns 7
Stability 6 Slice 6.5
Comfort 8 Topspin 9.3
Touch/Feel 6.5 Volleys 7.5
Overall 5.8
 

Playtester Profiles

Chris: 5.0 all-court player currently using the Wilson Six.One 95S. Chris uses a full-western forehand grip, has a fast swing style and hits a one-handed backhand.

Mark: 5.0 lefty all-court player with a one-handed backhand. He currently plays with the Wilson Steam 99S.

Karly: 4.0 baseline player currently playing with the Volkl Organix 10 Mid. She hits with a semi-western forehand grip and uses a two handed backhand.

Andy: Open level all court player with a semi-western forehand grip and a two handed backhand. Andy currently using a Wilson Blade 98 18x20.

Review date: April 2014. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.

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