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I am considering buying a new racket and would like to solicit the opinions of the tennisopolis members. I have used a Prince CTS Synergy 28 Oversize for ~15 years. There is nothing wrong with my current racket, it just needs new strings. I would only get a new one if I thought there would be a noticeable improvement. I saw the Prince 03 Royal at one of the sporting goods warehouse stores, and the price is pretty good. It is certainly far lighter than my CTS and has big holes for the strings rather than grommets. Other than that, it looks pretty much the same. I "bopped" it a few times on the base of my hand, but you can't take it for a test drive. This brings me to the question: are today's rackets really noticeably better than a graphite racket from the early 90's?

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Interesting question Steve! I'm not sure what model my Prince was, since I misplaced it in my latest move. But I bought a new Wilson nCode N4 and I can vouch after one hitting session that there is a very real and easily discerned improvement. I'm sure others can give a more historical perspective, but I can give you my real-world "seat of the pants" test drive results!! Check out my blog for the things I noticed. Best of luck!
I think it kind of depends on the model. I'm not really familiar with Prince racquets, so I can't comment about the Synergy and O3. But if I had to make a generalization, I think it's definitely worth looking into a new racquet if it's significantly different from your old one. Just do a comparison of the specs on Tennis wareshouse, and then demo a few, and you should be able to tell.

What might help answer your question is to tell us anything that you don't like about your racquet. Then we can suggest some newer ones for u.
Naturally, what I want in a new racket is EVERYTHING, but alas magic wands don't seem to exist. As I look at my current tennis game (NTRP 3.0) I see two major weaknesses: I am inconsistent and my shots tend to be too short, leaving my opponent at the net more than I would like. I was hoping that the new racket would have a noticably bigger sweet spot (for consistency) and hit the ball deeper without hitting it long. My original plan was to get new strings and a new grip for my CTS. But, then I noticed that I could get a new O3 Royal for just $40-$50 more. The 03 Royal is only $80 down from a mythical list price of well over $200. But, based soley on bouncing a ball on the strings it seems too light and has no "feel" compared to my ancient CTS. I am 50 years old and only 160 lbs., yet almost all new rackets seem unnecessarily light. My expectations of what a new racket can do may be unrealistic; perhaps based on the huge jump from my 1970's vintage Wilson T2000 to the Prince CTS. I begin to suspect that a private tennis lesson might be a better investment than a new racket, but am open to suggetions. By the way, what stores have rackets to demo? I was at "The Sports Authority" and didn't think to ask.
I think Sports Authority does, but it's been a long time since i've been in one. Just do a google search for tennis shops in your local area, and i'm sure you can find some places. Personally, last time I demoed racquets, I demoed through the mail-demo program at www.tenniswarehouse.com

It sounds to me as if it's definitely worth it for you to try out some of the new racquets. Again, I don't really know anything about Prince (I'm a Dunlop guy), but many of the new racquets have larger sweetspots and are more forgiving than the old models (of course, your strokes themselves are the most important; no racquet is going to fix bad technique). Also, you might want to experiment with lead tape, especially if you think the racquet is too light. Lead tape will widen the sweet spot or raise or lower it, depending on where you put it. I put some lead tape at 10 and 2 o'clock positions to raise my sweet spot. and I also like my racquet to feel a little more head heavy, especially on my serve.

And finally, there are lots of new strings out too which will give you more control without sacrificing power, allowing you to hit deeper without the ball going long. The polyester strings, although hard on your arm, are best known for that (e.g., Babolat Hurricane, Luxilon, Pro Supex, etc.)

anyway, hope this helps a little. I wish I could help you specifically with Prince, but I don't know anything about them.
Terence, thanks for your prompt feedback. I think that I will probably start with new strings and a private lesson. I starting playing in the 1970's but haven't taken a lesson since then. A good instructor would probably have a strong opinion on whether it's my swing or an inappropriate racket. - Steve
Yeah, if you set up a lesson, you'll get the benefit of that pro knowing what kind of racquet will suit your game. To answer the original question, racquets have improved. The Prince you mentioned has "o" ports which they claim adds racquet speed through the air and allows the strings to move together in harmony. Lots of pros use it, so I guess its not total hogwash.

:-)
M
wow, didn't think anyone still had racquets like mine. i am currently using a Prince CTS approach
just got them both restrung and will play with them for a few more years. i was talking with the proshop and they mentioned that there is a new prince out that has holes in it for air control. i'm curious to see how that racquet is
Hi Cliff,
Yes, I too have an old racquet. But, at least it's not a wood one. So far I have not bought a new racquet. I am a 3.0 player, and think that it is my mediocre skills and poor eye-hand coordination that are the problem, not the racquet. The new racquets are certainly lighter, and perhaps have a somewhat bigger sweet spot. But I am not yet convinced that spending money on a new one would make a noticable improvement in my game. I just keep getting the old Prince restrung. If you buy a new Prince racquet and feel that it really is a noticeable improvement please write me. For now I still think the money would be better spent on lessons.
-Steve

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