Dunlop Revolution NT Tour 97 18 x 20 Specs
Head Size: 97 sq. in. / 625 sq. cm.
Length: 27in / 68.5cm
Strung Weight: 329g / 11.6oz
Unstrung Weight: 314g / 11 oz
Balance: 32.64cm / 5 pts HL
String Pattern: 18 Mains / 20 Crosses
I’ve been very impressed with the recent playtests I’ve done with Dunlop rackets, so I took the Dunlop Revolution NT Tour 97 18 x 20 out to see if the good performances would continue. This stick looks like it’s perfectly set up for me, so I was pretty excited to get out there with its sleek looking black and neon yellow paint job.
On initial inspection of the NT Tour, I really like what I see. The 314g weight is a good compromise between maneuverability and stability and everything about this racket points to some serious levels of control.
The NT Tour 97 features the 18 x 20 string pattern that I use in my Babolat Pure Strike and I must say I’m a big fan of this setup. The 18 x 20 pattern is much denser than a 16 x 19 pattern, which means you get less movement from the strings, resulting in a very different feel. These rackets tend to favor control over power and spin, so it’s worth remembering when you’re looking at this racket.
The Dunlop Revolution NT Tour 97 18 x 20’s dense string pattern combined with it’s small, 97 sq inch frame means this racket is best suited to slightly more advanced players who generate a lot of racket head speed. If you’re someone who loves to put everything you’ve got into your shots then you will surely like this one.
To aid you in getting that all-important racket head speed, the NT Tour 97 has a 5PT headlight balance which really gets the racket moving quickly. One thing you don’t want to be doing with this stick is taking long slow swings, so it’s important that you get some good maneuverability.
As I mentioned, I’ve been very impressed with some of the Dunlop rackets I’ve been using recently, and it seemed like this Revolution NT Tour 97 was tailored to suit my game. The Srixon Revo CX Tour 200 was another racket that I got on well with, but on paper, I slightly prefer the Revolution.
Of course, you can sometimes look at the specs of a racket and think one thing and when you get it on court you find something completely different. I was hoping this wouldn’t be the case with the NT Tour 97 though, as I’m quite a fan of the black and neon yellow color scheme.
For this playtest I thought I would mix things up a little bit and move away from my normal Babolat RPM Blast strings, instead choosing something a little bit more power oriented. This led me to opt for some Head Velocity MLT at 52lbs. This setup should help get a little bit more feel and power out of the NT Tour’s 18 x 20 string pattern and have this racket working perfectly.
So, everything was set up nicely for me with the Dunlop Revolution NT Tour 97 18 x 20, but would this stick live up to my lofty expectations?
Groundstrokes – 7.5/10
Trying to articulate what it is that you enjoy about a racket is not that easy. For me, I think it’s something in the feel. It needs to be solid, with just a little bit of give, and I really don’t want to feel the strings moving too much on the ball. That’s why I gravitate towards the 18 x 20 string pattern, and I must say the NT Tour really ticked this box.
I don’t normally mention this in my reviews, because it’s a shot I don’t hit very often, but I loved hitting slice backhands with this racket. In fact, I enjoyed playing with the NT Tour 97 off the backhand side whatever shot I was hitting. The balance of the racket allowed me to get my wrists through the ball nicely, resulting in excellent power and depth.
Sometimes I have a tendency to drop the ball a little bit short off the backhand side, which allows my opponents to put me under a lot of pressure, but that wasn’t the case with the Dunlop Revolution NT Tour 97. You don’t get huge spin potential with this racket, but you are able to drive through the ball and hit with great accuracy.
The tricky thing with rackets is you can find that they suit you perfectly on one shot, but things just don’t click on another. This is how my playtest with the Dunlop Revolution NT Tour 97 went. I loved hitting backhands with this racket, but, on the forehand, things didn’t quite work out.
I think it was the fact that I found this stick to be a bit too whippy for its weight when it came to the forehand. My forehand is a really fast, whippy shot anyway, and I did find the 5PTS headlight balance was a bit of an overkill. I found I was hitting a lot of errors off the forehand side, and I felt that a bit more of an even balance might have helped me out here.
As I always say, choosing the ideal tennis racket is no easy thing, there are so many boxes that a racket has to tick that there are very few that are going to be a perfect match. The Revolution NT Tour 97 18 x 20 just proves this.
There are plenty of players out there who will enjoy this racket though. It’s got lovely feel, and does encourage you to swing through and attack the ball. When you’re looking to hit difficult targets you know you’ve got the control to do that, making it an attractive option for anyone who is looking to inject a bit of control into their game.
Great performance off the backhand side, not quite the right fit for me on the forehand side. I gave the Dunlop Revolution NT Tour 97 18 x 20 a 7.5 out of 10 for the groundstrokes.
Volleys – 8/10
Nothing to complain about here! The NT Tour is easy to get into position but most importantly, it’s nice and solid on contact.
I struggled a little bit with the balance of this stick from the back of the court, but I didn’t have such problems when I was at the net. Whether my opponent was hitting bombs at me and I had to react quickly, or the ball was floated to me with no pace on it I found I got very good results.
I was able to play a couple of sets of doubles with the Revolution NT Tour 97, which allows you to see the racket from a slightly different perspective. I felt completely comfortable playing with it and played some great volleys. The one area where I did struggle with this racket in doubles was on the return, particularly the forehand, but volleys wise, I really couldn’t find much fault with this stick.
Good at the net whether you’re playing singles or doubles, the Dunlop Revolution NT Tour 97 18 x 20 earned an 8 out of 10 from me on volleys. It’s very easy to get into position and has the stability to be able to handle a heavy ball.
Serve – 8/10
For me, the serve is all about a blend of maneuverability and stability. If your racket allows you to generate lots of racket head speed, whilst also giving you the stability to control the ball then you’re going to hit good serves. Racket head speed on serve is one area where I need to make improvements, so it was nice to have the help of the Revolution NT Tour 97 to get things moving a bit.
The balance of this racket encourages you to get plenty of racket head speed without having to put too much effort in and that puts you in a good position when you come to contact point. While I may have liked a tiny bit more stability, the 314g weight gives you enough mass to drive through the ball at contact point and generate some solid power.
True to the control-oriented nature of this racket, the NT Tour gives you enough control to decide exactly what you want to do with your racket head speed. If you want to hit the big, booming flat serve you have that option, but equally, if you want to hit a dainty slice or topspin serve, you have the ability to do that.
I often find that variety in your serve is a much-underused weapon when it comes to serving. As I mentioned in my article, How To Breeze Through Your Service Games, returning against a server who can mix up their serve is a nightmare for returners. When you’re serving with a racket like the NT Tour then you’ve got the perfect weapon to be able to add that variety to your game.
The Dunlop Revolution NT Tour 97 18 x 20 suited me nicely on the serve and I had a lot of success in this area when I played points. I gave it an 8 out of 10.
Overall – 7.5/10
Overall, the Dunlop Revolution NT Tour 97 18 x 20 was one of those rackets where I clicked with it on all but one shot – the forehand. This is something I find with quite a few rackets so I haven’t let that affect my score for this racket too much.
I do think this is an excellent option for players looking for a racket around 315g who seek maneuverability and control from their stick. From the back of the court, my one complaint was that I would have preferred a little more stability in place of some of the maneuverability. The thing was, this mix actually worked out pretty well for my backhand, it was just my forehand where things didn’t work perfectly. Unfortunately though, my forehand is my most important stroke, so I need something that gels with me on this side.
At the net, the NT Tour feels great and I was able to play some really good doubles with it. It’s so easy to move into position that it makes difficult shots much easier just because you’ve got some extra time. It’s also stable enough to absorb powerful shots and allow you to drop the ball back exactly where you want it.
The NT Tour continued its good performance on the serve, another aspect that greatly helped my doubles game. Again, its speed through the stroke was its most impressive characteristic, a feature that helped me keep good racket head speed throughout. It was pretty close, but I would say the serve was just about my favorite part of the playtest.
All in all, this was another solid performance from a Dunlop racket. The Dunlop Revolution NT Tour 97 18 x 20 was excellent at the net and on serve, with it just losing the odd point from the back of the court because of the balance. I tallied these scores up to give the NT Tour 97 a very respectable 7.5 out of 10.
Review by: Will