Dunlop 300G Tennis Racquet Review
Dunlop's introduction of the "new" 200G will please the player racquet purists who demand heft and control. Unfortunately, most players can't wield a racquet like the 200G and enjoy the same success as they would with a slightly lighter racquet. Enter the 300G - the 200G for the rest of us. In a way, the 300G is a replacement for the lesser known Muscle Weave 200G 100, which was discontinued. While the 300G has many elements of the Muscle Weave 200G 100 the 300G has a more open string pattern and is a 27 inch standard length racquet. The 300G falls into the growing niche of 'tweener/player" racquets. It's too light to be considered a pure player's racquet and it's not powerful enough to be a 'tweener racquet.
We playtested the 300G (simultaneously with the 200G) for 2 weeks and have these comments.
The 300G has a solid feel from the baseline despite it's sub-11 ounce weight. Granville explains, "I almost confused the 300G for the 200G on groundstrokes. The balance feels identical but the lighter weight adds to its maneuverability. As expected, stability suffers a bit with the reduced weight but proper stroke mechanics can help overcome this. Additionally, the 98 square-inch head opens up the sweetspot just a bit, helping to compensate for any reduced stability on off-center hits. It was a pleasure moving this racquet from side to side while chasing down groundies." Dan adds, "the 300G doesn't have the weight-ier feel normally associated with player's racquets, so it's more maneuverable but less stable. I found myself having to swing faster to get the same depth a lesser swing would produce with say, the 200G. However, I found a very easy to swing racquet to go with a comfortable, dampened feel. Spin control was good but not exceptional, and slice sat up if not hit with pace and good follow-through. I think the 300G would be a good choice for intermediate players looking to make a transition to a player's racquet minus the full weight." Mark says, "the 300G had a lot less power than I expected, especially on groundstrokes. I thought it was going to be another light and powerful racquet, but it turned out to be a light and not so powerful racquet. It was nice to be able to take a big swing with a light racquet and still keep the ball in the court. It was also nice not lugging a lot of extra weight around the court. I was able to hit both topspin and slice well. Being able to control the spin was important with the 300G because it requires such a fast swing to generate power. I found that control from the first time I used the racquet."
Chad comments, "the 300G played very similar to the 200G from the baseline. I felt like control and power were blended well with this racquet. I was confident hitting both offensive and defensive shots. I didn't have to work hard to achieve results similar to a heavier player's racquet. I enjoy a racquet that doesn't make you work that hard to get 'movement' on the ball and the 300G is such a racquet. The only thing I didn't care for was the racquet's stiffness, which reduced overall feel and comfort." John offers, "players who find the 200G a bit heavy and underpowered now have a viable alternative. I found the 300G to have sufficient power while providing a dampened feel. The 98 square-inch head provides an ample sweetspot and the only time I felt discomfort was on balls hit toward the top of the stringbed. I was able to generate spin from both wings while taking full strokes with this moderately weighted, thinner beam racquet. I particularly enjoyed hitting slice backhands and found the head quite stable while 'cutting' the ball." Drew continues, "I really like the 300G on groundstrokes. The power level is such that I can take a full swing and generate the pace and spin I'm looking for without worrying about over-hitting. I had good control and could hit just about any shot I wanted. The racquet's lower swingweight allows for quick adjustments . If anything, I'd worry about getting too whippy with it. All things considered, I could play with this racquet." Don offers, "the 300G was almost ideal for my groundstroke style. It could use just a little added weight at 3 and 9 o'clock, but it performed well as is. I enjoyed the maneuverability and control but could have used a little more pop. I also liked the spin control and overall comfort. My only concern was having to swing fast on almost every shot or suffer the consequences of hitting a defensive shot."
Our playtesters were almost unanimous in their praise of the 300G's attributes at net. Chad begins, "thank goodness! For awhile there I thought I had really lost my bread and butter (volleys), but the 300G stepped up and brought back the toast. My volley's felt crisp and clean, and I was able to maneuver the racquet easily to shots hit at my feet or into my body and still produce a respectable shot. This advantage was particularly useful when I would serve and volley, where many shots are picked up off my shoelaces or belly button. I could hit an effective first volley and move into position for an easy put-away on the next shot. I won a high percentage of points at the net with the 300G, something I haven't done in a long time." Dan adds, "the 300G strikes a nice balance at net, combining good mobility with a forgiving sweetspot. I had no problem reaching quickly for sharply hit offensive angles or getting the racquet in front on fast net exchanges in doubles. It had enough flex for me to be confident hitting drop volleys, but getting sufficient depth on slower balls took a little more punch than required by heavier racquets." Drew says, "I found the 300G had the right combination of weight and power for me. The racquet feels much quicker around the net than most player's racquets but I could still hold it steady for finesse shots and put away volleys with a short swing." Granville comments, "the 300G was a natural at net, thanks to its maneuverability, large sweetspot and good punch." Don offers, "I volleyed well with the 300G but my shots didn't have quite the same penetration as with heavier racquets. That's the tradeoff though. It's nothing a little lead tape wouldn't remedy. Overall, I liked the feel of this racquet at net and got out of some tight spots by virtue of its impressive mobility." Mark continues, "not surprisingly, the 300G was very maneuverable at net. In fact, I had some trouble with my timing because the racquet was so light. I would swing too fast, trying to generate power and I ended up contacting the ball on my follow-through. I really had to concentrate on not swinging at the ball." John says, "I was particularly impressed while volleying with the 300G. I found it adequately maneuverable and quite stable. The ball came off the stringbed 'hot', producing deep, penetrating volleys."
The 300G requires a fast swing to generate fast serves due to its lighter weight. Dan explains, "slice and kick serves were great but I could have used a little more weight for increased power. Fortunately, the racquet's mobility allowed me to get some major racquet head speed going. Enough flex here for great control but hitting big bombs proved more difficult. A good choice for advanced serve and volley players who need an easy swinging racquet to get to net with." Mark adds, "the 300G didn't provide much power on serves but I was able to generate my own because the racquet was so light. However, I wasn't able to hit the big bomber like I can with a more powerful racquet. I also didn't get a lot of kick on my serves, although I was able to move the ball around well and consistently hit my target." Drew says, "the 300G doesn't lend itself to flat serves but I was able to hit some good spin serves. It's easy to generate racquet head speed, which is probably why I felt better on slice and topspin serves." Don comments, "I served well with the 300G but first serves lacked some pace. I felt confident, though, whether hitting flat balls up the middle or swinging out on second serves." Granville offers, "this racquet was solid when serving. I enjoyed good pop from the 98 square-inch head and good control on slices thanks to the open string pattern. Also, I liked the standard length - kudos to Dunlop for keeping this racquet 27 inches long. I felt I had good control and that the racquet was always in the 'zone', never straying away from the familiar. It's hearty enough for good pace and light enough to get moving fast for the 'heater'." John says, "again, I was pleasantly surprised at my results when serving with the 300G. I was unusually accurate when serving, and despite the smaller head (compared to my normal oversize racquet) I was able to find enough power for keep my opponent guessing."
The 300G is a racquet that is mobile enough to take a big swing at most returns. Our playtesters found this mostly appealing. Drew offers, "like groundstrokes, I could take a relatively full swing on returns and get pace and spin. The racquet's maneuverability helped with last-second adjustments." Granville adds, "I had good confidence returning serves with this racquet. Being used to a heavier player's racquet I'm accustomed to getting the racquet prepared early. The slightest delay in preparation can cost you. The 300G's lighter weight provided me with an extra millisecond or two to make that last adjustment. When I connected on a return it was well-placed and allowed me to capitalize on offensive opportunities." Dan says, "I was able to take healthy swings and maintain excellent control on returns. Similar to groundstrokes, I found slice shots required a little extra swing to get solid depth, but overall I found a very stable, comfortable racquet when returning serves." Chad comments, "I tend to just get the return back instead of going for any sort of big shots. The 300G allowed me to return the serve with respectable pace and consistency without having to put to much effort into it. Since I rely on getting the majority of my points on my serve I really need a racquet that will enable me to be extremely consistent on returns. The 300G proved to be much more efficient for me than the 200G." Don continues, "good balance of and maneuverability and control, which is key on serve returns for me. I could be aggressive on my returns without worrying about unforced errors." John says, "wielding a bit more weight than I'm used to I found good results with my 'stab' returns. If I could get to the ball I found the 300G to be extremely effective when making a defensive return. I was able to return the ball with some pace and surprising depth. I enjoyed hitting slice returns and approach shots with this racquet, getting plenty of spin and keeping the ball low."
The 300G is a good addition to the Dunlop line. It fills an important niche for players who want the control of a player's model without the bulk. The 300G will appeal most to intermediate-advanced players who like to swing fast, place value on maneuverability, and prefer a more open string pattern for spin control.