Tennis Industry magazine

 

Playtest: Prince Premier LT

By Greg Raven

Prince Premier LT is a multifilament that advances the Prince Premier line with new features. The “LT” stands for Linear Technology, a reference to the parallel alignment of the 900+ fibers in the core of Premier LT. Prince tells us that this linear alignment gives Premier LT exceptional comfort, power, and gut-like playability. Around the inner fibers is a multifilament wrap, with a special polyamide outer coating. This outer coating is a high strength, wear- and abrasion-resistant membrane comprised of thermoplastic nylon compounds, which improve performance at elevated temperatures. The smooth surface reportedly helps the strings stay straight during play, and make installation easier, as well.

Prince’s polyamide coating technology
Feature Benefit
Tensile strength improved 24% Better tension maintenance
Elasticity improved by 18% Closer feel to natural gut
Improved melting point 31% Increased durability
Smooth new friction outer coating Reduced string movement

Prince says that Premier LT is for any player looking for exceptional comfort, power, and playability.

Premier LT is available in 16 and 17 in natural only. It is priced from $16 for sets of 40 feet (reels may be available in the future). For more information or to order, contact Prince at 800-2-TENNIS, or visit princetennis.com.

Prince Premier LT

In the lab

We tested the 17-gauge Premier LT. The coil measured 40’. The diameter measured 1.26-1.28 mm prior to stringing, and 1.23-1.24 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 74 RDC units immediately after stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 × 18 pattern) on a constant-pull machine.

After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed stiffness measured 64 RDC units, representing a 14 percent tension loss. Our control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Original Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units immediately after stringing and 71 RDC units after 24 hours, representing a 9 percent tension loss. Premier LT added 15 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.

The string was tested for five weeks by 39 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.0 to 6.0. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. Average number of hours playtested was 22.5.

Out of the package, Premier LT feels soft to the touch, with low coil memory. Although the coating is mostly smooth, there still is enough texture that you can feel it pulling through grommet holes and across the mains.

No playtester broke his sample during stringing, two reported problems with coil memory, none reported problems tying knots, and none reported friction burn.

On the court

To say our playtest team loved Prince Premier LT is an understatement. Premier LT’s score in the Control category place it second of the 129 strings we have playtest for publication to date, and the same goes for the Touch/Feel category. In the Playability category, Premier LT is the third best string we have tested to date, and in the Comfort category, Premier LT is also third best. Premier LT is also the sixth-best string we have playtested in the category of Spin Potential, and it is well above average in Tension Retention. If you weren’t keeping count, that makes an astonishing six top-ten placements. These individual scores give Prince Premier LT a top-ten overall score, where it ranks as the fourth best string we’ve playtested for publication.

As if that weren’t enough, 84 percent of our playtesters gave us positive or very positive feedback about the experience of using Prince Premier LT.

Conclusion

Given that we typically test the best strings manufacturers have to offer, we have come to expect that strings submitted to the playtest program are going to excel in some way. With Premier LT, the excellence was virtually across the board. The only other string we’ve tested with similar across-the-board scores is a natural gut, which goes a long way toward putting Premier LT’s scores into perspective.

Of course, it is no trick to get super performance in a super-expensive string. While Premier LT isn’t cheap, there are more expensive strings available, and not all of them are natural gut. Thus, where there are a lot of players who would like to try natural gut but are put off by the price, your customers will not need to petition for TARP funds to try a set.

If you think that Prince Premier LT might be for you, fill out the coupon to get a free set.

Playtester comments

“Remarkable feel. Very lively. The string bed feels fresh even after several hours of play.” 5.0 male all-court player using Prince O3 Speedport Black (Hole Inserts) strung at 60 pounds CP (Gamma Professional 16)

“Outstanding! The feel, comfort, and spin are excellent. This is one of the best strings I’ve ever tried. The power is very easy to control. It is not only great for the aggressive baseliner, but touch volleys can be executed almost without effort. There seems to be a vastly expanded sweet spot, but not at the expense of control.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson KPro Open strung at 60 pounds LO (Babolat Super Fine Play 17)

“High dwell time. I can feel the ball getting sucked into the string bed and compressing. Very impressive. Great power and spin. I would definitely buy this string.” 4.0 male all-court player using Wilson Sledge Hammer 3.8 strung at 64 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire 17)

“I really like this string. It is very powerful. Drop shots, half-volleys, lobs, and touch volleys come off the strings with pinpoint accuracy. I would definitely carry this string.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince O3 Blue strung at 65 pounds LO (Gamma TNT2 17)

“Once in a while a string comes a long and you just say ‘wow.’ This is that string.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Extreme Pro strung at 58 pounds CP (Klip Legend 16)

“These strings form a deep pocket on impact. Great feel.” 6.0 male all-court player using Head Protector OS strung at 60 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 16)

“Great string. One of the best I’ve ever used. Playability, comfort, and feel are first-rate. It’s not too stiff, and it’s not too mushy. Just the right amount of pocketing.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson KSix One Tour strung at 50 pounds CP (Gosen Polylon SP/Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament 16/17)

“For such a soft and comfortable string, the control is impressive. Tension maintenance is excellent.” 5.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Babolat Aero Storm (320 grams) strung at 60 pounds LO (Luxilon Big Banger TIMO/Babolat Xcel Power50 18/17)

“This string has a crisp feel. It holds tension very well. One of the best playtest strings I’ve tried.” 5.0 male serve-and-volley player using Prince O3 Speedport Black (Hole Inserts) strung at 60 pounds CP (Prince Sweet Perfection 17)

“This string feels and plays like a good multifilament nylon. It seems to have very little tension loss. I would definitely add this to my inventory.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Monster strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“This string has the right combination of playability, power, and control. There are no glaring negatives.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“This string has the perfect mix of durability and playabiltiy. The dwell time is pronounced. I can feel the ball getting sucked into the string bed. This string performs well over an impressive range of shots.” 5.0 male serve-and-volley player using Prince O3 Speedport Pro White MP strung at 56 pounds LO (Prince Premier w/Softflex 17)

“This string has the control and movement resistance of a monofilament, while maintaining the comfort and feel of a multifilament. It offers the best of both worlds.” 4.0 male all-court player using Head Metallix 4 strung at 52 pounds CP (Gamma Zo True 17)

“This is one of the best touch strings I’ve ever tested. The bite is amazing. I can generate heavy spin on serves and approach shots. The string’s construction makes for a very crisp response, especially on volleys. The center mains begin to fray after about 15 hours. There is some mild pinging on off center hits, especially in the upper hoop. I could easily switch to this string.” 4.0 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Radical Pro MP strung at 62 pounds CP (Head Intellitour 17)

“Virtually no coil memory. Initially, this string lacks feel and power. After the first session, the feel, power, comfort, and control improve dramatically. It is one of the best overall strings I’ve tested. It would work great in a hybrid.” 3.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince Thunder Rip OS strung at 60 pounds LO (Unique Big Hitter Blue 17)

“Installation is very easy. This string has great control and power. Control diminishes slightly over time. After six hours there is some moderate fraying. There is no loss of comfort or power.” 3.0 male all-court player using Wilson nBlade strung at 52 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 17)

“Great playability and comfort. Touch shots are very easy to control. This strings makes for some heavy spin.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince Triple Threat Hornet OS strung at 62 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 16)

“Exceptional touch and decent comfort.” 4.5 male serve-and-volley player using Babolat Aeropro Drive strung at 70 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“This string has some coil memory. Knots tie easily and crosses weave quickly. It has a very predictable response and above average playability. I would carry this string.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Volkl DNX 3 strung at 60 pounds CP (Babolat VS Touch 16)

“This string plays great from the first hit. It allows you to add copious amounts of spin and power to serves. Touch and control on volleys are extraordinary. This is the perfect string for doubles. There is virtually no shock to the arm or shoulder during play. Ground strokes, although controllable, feel a tad sluggish on off center hits. The only drawback is durability. It begins notching fairly early. I don’t think this problem would occur in a dense pattern or with flatter mechanics. This string would make a great hybrid cross.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head MicroGEL Prestige MP strung at 58 pounds CP (Gosen Polylon SP 17)

“This a very arm-friendly string with great control. I would carry it as an option for my players with tendon issues.” 3.5 male all-court player using Wilson KPro Open strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 17)

“This string plays like a multifilament nylon. It has nice power, comfort, and feel. It loses tension over time and durability is on the low end. Perhaps not ideal for heavy spin hitters or string breakers. Recommended to those looking for comfort and a little extra zip.” 4.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Head MicroGEL Radical Team MP strung at 56 pounds CP (Gosen OG-Sheep Micro 16)

“Very easy to install. Low coil memory. Great spin and power. I would definitely add this to my inventory.” 4.0 male all-court player using Wilson KFour strung at 62 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 16)

“This string is a topspin machine. Every hit is enjoyable. The combination of touch, power, and control is unique. Heavy hitters will likely burn through it quickly, so they might want to hybrid it.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Liquidmetal 4 strung at 56 pounds LO (Tecnifibre NRG2 17)

“Very crisp volleys and great spin potential. Solid impact on ground strokes. There is definitely some power when needed. Great feel! Some premature wear on the outer cover.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson n5 Force strung at 62 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 16)

“This is a comfortable string with good touch. The pocketing is pronounced. This string may not have enough spin and durability for advanced heavy hitters.” 4.0 female all-court player using Head MicroGEL Extreme Team OS strung at 62 pounds CP (Head Sonic Pro 17)

“Very easy to string. Too much trampoline when hitting big baseline bombs. Great feel and very responsive at net. Perfect choice for players with sensitive tendons.” 3.5 male all-court player using Wilson n5 strung at 59 pounds CP (Gamma TNT2 17)

“This is a good overall string with remarkable shock absorbing qualities. The durability is exceptional. The resilience lasted 30 hours.” 5.5 male all-court player using Gamma T Six strung at 60 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire 17)

“This is a powerful string. Great pop on volleys, and heavy spin from the baseline. Extra spin is required on serves to keep the ball inside the box. Very powerful.” 5.5 male all-court player using Wilson KBlade strung at 58 pounds LO (Wilson NXT Tour 17)

“The crisp response is ideal for slice. Control is excellent on shots with high head speed. Not as powerful as one would expect from a soft multifilament.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head Metallix 4 strung at 60 pounds CP (Head Sonic Pro 17)

“Installation is quick and easy. This is a comfortable string. Great feel and ball response. Spin potential is slightly lacking. Perhaps a higher tension would add some more bite and control.” 4.0 male all-court player using Wilson KBlade Team strung at 60 pounds CP (Tecnifibre NRG2 17)

“This is a comfortable control string with good durability.” 3.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Volkl Catapult 10 strung at 55 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 16)

“This is not as firm as my polyester hybrid, but it plays pretty well. It does not suit my game, but I would definitely carry it for my customers who prefer arm-friendly strings.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson nBlade strung at 57 pounds CP (Polyester/Nylon Monofilament 17/16)

“The feel is a little dead. Perhaps lower tensions would liven things up. Durability is higher than expected for a multifilament nylon.” 5.0 male all-court player using Prince O3 White MP strung at 62 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 16)

“The feel is great in the beginning, but it eventually loses resilience and feels weak.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson KSix One (68 Holes) strung at 64 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 16)

“This string has tremendous feel, but durability is lacking.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson nTour strung at 58 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 16)

“The low coil memory makes installation a pleasure. There is no kinking. The smooth coating makes for very easy weaving. The string bed feels fairly stiff, especially on off center hits. Power is abundant. Over time, the string loses its resilience, increasing vibration and decreasing control.” 3.5 female all-court player using Prince Graphite Classic OS strung at 58 pounds CP (Gamma Asterisk/Gamma Live Wire 16)

“This is an average string. I do not dislike playing with it, but nothing about it really grabs my attention.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson KSix One Tour strung at 54 pounds LO (Wilson NXT/Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power Fluoro 17)

“Though the feel is less stiff than most polyesters, the feel is uncomfortable. There is a low-pitch twang at impact.” 4.0 female all-court player using Yonex RQIS 1 Tour strung at 60/58 pounds CP (Gamma Zo Power 16)

(Strings normally used by testers are indicated in parentheses.)

Playtester ratings

EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings)
Number of testers who said it was:
much easier 5
somewhat easier 16
about as easy 17
not quite as easy 1
not nearly as easy 0
OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 4
somewhat better 12
about as playable 8
not quite as playable 15
not nearly as playable 0
OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 0
somewhat better 8
about as durable 16
not quite as durable 11
not nearly as durable 4
RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability (3rd overall) 4.1
Durability 3.1
Power (8th overall) 3.7
Control (2nd overall) 4.0
Comfort (3rd overall) 4.0
Touch/Feel (2nd overall) 4.0
Spin Potential (6th overall) 3.6
Holding Tension 3.5
Resistance to Movement 3.2
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About the Author

Greg Raven  is an associate editor for RSI magazine and technical writer. He is certified as a Master Racquet Technician by the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association. He can be reached via e-mail at greg@usrsa.com, or through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. He plays tennis five days a week, and is turning into an avid cyclist.

 

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