Frames for Fall
Line extensions and new technologies lead the way for recreational players.
This year Prince launched its O3 line, which includes the O3 Red, Silver, Blue, and Tour. The frames have large, grommet-less string holes, called O Ports, that allow the strings greater freedom of movement on impact. This, in turn, gives the stringbed a more forgiving, damp feel and a bigger sweetspot.
One success story of the O3 line that’s probably gone unnoticed by most fans happened on the pro tour this spring. In the heart of the clay-court season, Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko was in a bit of a slump and decided a change was in order. He ditched his old racquet for the O3 Tour, and then went on a tear, winning St. Poelten and reaching the semifinals of Roland Garros. As of August, Davydenko was No. 6 in the world, and he credits a big part of his success to his new stick.
“It has been and it is a real great experience working with Nikolay and noticing the huge improvement of his game with the new racquet,” says Prince’s tour manager, Fabrizio Caldarone.
Building on its own success, Prince has introduced three O3 racquet bags (one that holds six, one that holds three, and a backpack). And it gives a subtle nod to the O3 line with the Quiktrac GT shoe, where the mesh vents are made to resemble the oval O Ports and the upper color-coordinates with the frames.
Fischer has the most interesting new technology this fall — the Magnetic Speed racquets. They use the repelling power of equally aligned magnets in the head to help return the frame (which deforms on impact) to its original position quicker. This, in turn, transfers more power into your shot, says the company. Fischer will offer the M Pro No. One 98 and a more user-friendly version, the M Pro No. One 105, which has a bigger head, though both tip the scales at over 11 ounces.
Fischer Tennis USA
Head will continue to promote its new Flexpoint racquets. New to the family: the Flexpoint 4, which is a ‘tweener frame that should have mass appeal for players rated NTRP 3.0 to 4.5, and the Flexpoint Instinct, an advanced player’s frame that offers excellent stability on off-center hits.
Völkl says it’s new technology, DNX, is about a “fourth dimension of carbon” and “high-strength micro-tube construction,” but what’s it really mean? It’s quite simple, really. The new Völkl DNX V1 features ultra-stiff carbon nanotubes in the head, at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions for stability on off-center hits, and in the throat to keep the frame from bending backward and therefore transfer more energy into the ball. The DNX V1 comes in 102- and 110-sq.-in. models, with a weight of 10.5 ounces strung.