Almost a year ago Prince released a new racket called the Prince Phantom 100. This is a somewhat revolutionary racket in the marketplace for a few key reasons:
- It has a very thin beam. We’re talking 16 mm at the throat and tapering up to a (still very thin) 20 mm in the hoop.
- It has an extremely low stiffness rating, just 56 RA. To put that in perspective most modern rackets are tending to be between 65 RA through 72 RA.
The combination of that very thin beam and low stiffness translate into about the most arm friendly racket you’re going to come across. To make the comfort even better the Phantom 100 features Prince’s O-port technology. These ports make the string bed feel even softer, due to the surprising amount of string movement it allows.
I’ve been playing a lot with the Phantom 100 on and off since June and there is a lot to like. To capture the highlights:
- The feel and connection to the ball is unrivalled. I’m fortunate enough to have a few Head Pro Stock rackets (special rackets that are made for ATP / WTA professionals) and I feel more connected to the ball with the Phantom 100 than with even these rackets. This translates to a very precise feel around the net, especially executing delicate drop shots.
- Even with the spec I modified the racket to it is incredibly manoeuvrable. This is most noticable for me on backhand returns of serve.
- Spin is incredible. Because the O-port technology allows for so much string movement the amount of string movement (when using a poly) adds a significant amount of additional RPMs to the ball.
You might reasonably ask why am I not playing with this racket then? There are two things that have kept me from adopting this stick:
- It is considerably lower powered that some other rackets. I dropped my tension from 55 lb to 48 lb and still the pace on groundstrokes and serves is well down compared to something like a Babolat Pure Aero.
- Because of the O-ports the grommets are short. This leave the frame exposed and the frame therefore has a tendency to look beaten up quite easily (digging out low balls on a hard court for instance).
Phantom 100’s Siblings
In the last month Prince has released two new Phantom models, the Phantom Pro 100 and Phantom Pro 100P. Both share very thin tapered beam technology. The Phantom Pro 100 shares the same beam construction as the original Phantom 100. The difference is that the Phantom Pro 100 loses the O-ports in favour of standard grommets. The Phantom Pro 100P is a more classic style frame, consisting of a more traditional box-beam construction.
I play tested both of these new rackets, and the short version is that the Phantom Pro 100P is not for me. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great racket, and if you went straight from a Babolat Pure Aero I am sure you would be wow’d by the comfort. I, however, have experienced the Phantom 100, and compared to that it (amazingly) felt a bit stiff for me, despite it being only 59 RA.
Focus on the Phantom Pro 100
As mentioned earlier, the Phantom Pro 100 shares the same frame design as the Phantom 100 which I loved. Having regular grommets achieves a few key objectives for me personally:
- It’s easier to string. Not a big deal being a professional stringer, but worth listing non the less.
- The full grommets protect more of the racket so it is less likely to be damaged through play.
- The real surprise; it’s considerably more powerful than the Phantom 100. And that is despite the Prince power rating being 750 for the Phantom Pro 100 and 775 for the Phantom 100. But that extra power is a big deal on serve especially. Given the frames similarity I can only conclude that the extra power must come from the strings not having the same range of movement as they do on the Phantom 100.
With the similarity to the Phantom 100, and the additional benefits it brings, I am planning to make the Phantom Pro 100 my new racket of choice.
I’ve gotten two Phantom Pro 100 rackets t this stage. To get it into my playing spec they need to be matched and customised.
Specific Customisations Applied
One of our core competencies is the Racket Customisation service. Below are the specific customisations applied to the Phantom Pro 100 to get it to my desired playing specification.
- Lead under the grommets to increase the swing weight. During the testing phase the lead tape was applied on the inside of the hoop, at the 12 o’clock position. Now that I’ve arrived at the desired spec the lead can be placed underneath the grommets. This restores the factory appearance of the frame, stealth.
- To achieve the desired strung balance some material has been added inside the handle.
- The first racket was strung with a very thin Volkl Cyclone 18L string (using a Sergetti Tension Sheet) at 48 pounds. The second (also Sergetti strung) was done with Babolat VS Touch 16 natural Gut mains and Luxilon ALP Power 16L crosses at 52 pounds.
The final spec comes in at 331 grams static weight, a balance of 320 mm (7HL) and a swing weight of 331 for the first racket, and 330 grams, 319 mm balance and 330 swing weight. You’re not going to get a better match than that!