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Posted by Dexter Matilla - - 0 comments

Prior to testing the Prince O3 Speedport Tour, the only other Speedport I've used is the O3 Blue. Expecting to get basically the same response and feel, I was gravely mistaken as the O3 Speedport Tour is more comparable to my Wilson K Factor Six.One Tour than its O3 sibling. The O3 Tour's 97 sg. in. headsize should appeal to advanced players who have long swings and consistent groundstrokes but require a mid-size head.

This racket features Prince's Speedport Tuning System, a new grommet system that allows players to tune the racquet to their own preferences. The demo racket I tried came fitted with the String Port inserts, which provides a softer hitting feel and allows for a larger sweet spot and even more forgiveness on miss-hits.

During the initial hitting sessions, I had to adjust on two things: the weight and the stiffness of the racket. At 11.7 oz. strung, the Tour felt a tad heavier than the K Factor Six.One Tour. On the other hand, the stiffness I'm referring to isn't exactly a bad thing. The Tour is stiff in that it gave off a compact and stable feel whenever I hit with my forehand. I was able to hit longer shots with moderate amounts of spin.

In some ways, the Tour felt like an extension of my arm. And might I add that I absolutely love the Prince grip that came with the racket. It's a whole lot better than the original orange grip that came with my K Factor Six.One. Well, any grip is better than the orange that bleeds a lot. I remember the first couple of months using the Six.One Tour and how, even when I use an overgrip, holding on to the racket was nearly impossible. I exaggerate of course. But since getting a replacement grip, I've loved the Six.One Tour.

But back to the Prince Speedport O3 Tour. When it came to hitting backhands, the shots came off crisp and there were no problems for me changing the pace by hitting dropshots. I guess this is just one of the good points of the String Port inserts in that it made the strings feel more responsive.

I am in no way an expert at serves but I really loved doing it with this racket--even more than with the Six.One Tour. This one just made it effortless. I tried to keep count and it felt like my first serves were going in 70 percent of the time. Like I said, it felt like an extension of my arm and while I mentioned it being a fraction of an ounce heavier than my Six.One tour--yeah, in tennis, even the most minute difference in weight can make a lot of difference--bringing up the O3 Tour over my head for a serve didn't make me feel any pain.

The other grommet system that I wasn't able to try is the String Hole insert. It features a standard grommet to restrict string movement without altering the aerodynamic benefits of the large Speedports. Keep in mind, though that changing the grommet system can only be done during stringing. It's not like after every game, you can just change the system if you're not happy with the feel. Marketing-wise, I guess this was the idea behind the concept as you'd at least need to have two of the O3 Speedport Tour in case you want to have a feel of the difference between the two systems. Which isn't really wrong either since nowadays, if you're really serious with your game, you'd at least need two rackets in your bag.

Overall, the O3 Speedport Tour is highly recommendable. Beginners may find the racket heavy. Meanwhile, the Speedport Tuning system could be the solution for players who are looking to change up their game during a match for the versatility the racket offers. - Dexter R. Matilla

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