For those players that love a thin beam and a tight, control-oriented string pattern, the Prince Phantom Pro 100 (18 x 20) is an absolute treat.
We’ve loved all our playtests with the Phantom rackets, but on a personal note, the Pro 100 (18x 20) has to be my favorite. I am a big fan of the 18 x 20 string pattern, so that’s not too surprising, but still, I can tell you this is a very good racket.
On previous Phantom tests on rackets like the Prince Phantom Pro 100 (16 x 19) and Phantom Pro 100p, we’ve enjoyed the excellent comfort, feel, and easy playability of these sticks, so when you offer us all of these characteristics with some added control thrown in, we’re bound to be excited.
At 320g unstrung, this racket is an ideal weight for us at TheTennisBros.com, light enough to be maneuverable but heavy enough to turn your racket head speed into power, control, and spin. To help you get this weight moving, the Phantom Pro has a 9PTS HL balance, but it still manages a solid 326 swingweight that’s stable on contact.
I also think it’s worth saying that the Phantoms have one of the best paint jobs out there. The sleek frame with the all-black trim looks great and makes you feel like a bit of a ninja on court (at least that’s how I felt).
For this playtest we strung the Phantom Pro 100 (18 x 20) with Solinco Hyper G at 48 lbs. This setup should help keep the Phantom’s great comfort levels and accentuate the 18 x 20 string pattern’s control.
It’s always a bit of a guessing game trying to get the right string setup for each playtest, but we generally try to take into account the strengths of the racket and the qualities we seek from the racket. If you’re looking to tweak your string setup then take a look at Tom’s Tennis String Tension Guide.
Clearly, I’m a bit of a fan of this racket, but how did it do when I put it through a thorough playtest?
Groundstrokes – 8.5/10
If I had to rank my favorite characteristics from a racket they would go number one, control, number two, maneuverability, and I like to say it doesn’t matter after that. Maybe I say this a bit tongue in cheek because I also want some feel and if possible comfort and the Phantom Pro delivers pretty well on these qualities.
The Phantom Pro 100 isn’t crazily maneuverable, but on the other three points, it is extremely good. I really enjoyed the feel this racket gives you, and its uncomplicated nature. I felt like all I had to do was work on swinging through the ball aggressively and the racket gave me everything else I needed.
The backhand side was where I found I got slightly less performance form the Phantom and that’s just because I don’t get as much racket head speed. When I didn’t get things quite right I did tend to drop the ball a little bit short, but I was pleasantly surprised by the topspin I was able to generate.
On the forehand side, I found the Prince Phantom Pro 100 (18x20) to be pretty dreamy! I got everything I could have wanted from this stick, with spin, speed, power, control, and feel all coming together to create some vicious shots.
The Phantom Pro 100 (18 x 20) suits full, aggressive swings, and this is why I had so much fun with it on the forehand side. If your swings are a little bit more medium-paced then you don’t get quite as much spin and power as you do from the 100p and certainly not as much as with the 100 (16 x 19) but if you’ve got fast strokes then you don’t need those qualities so much.
This is the kind of racket that many players might say is underpowered, but for those of us who love control that’s exactly what we want. It does mean this racket would be difficult to play with for beginner and intermediate players, but for players with a lot of confidence in their strokes, it is a great option.
We loved the Prince Phantom Pro 100 (18x20)’s performance from the back of the court and gave it an 8.5 out of 10.
Volleys – 9/10
Just as we found with the 100p, the Prince Phantom Pro 100 (18x 20) was terrific at the net. The stability and feel is absolutely what you want on the volleys, and we can see this racket being a top option for players who love to attack the net.
While none of us are particularly players who spend too much time at the net in singles, we all play doubles, and we all recognized the great potential this stick offers at the net.
On contact, it is crisp, comfortable, and gives you the control to be able to put the ball back exactly where you want it. I always like to talk about drop-volleys because, well, they’re fun, and they’re even more fun when you’ve got a stick with the volleying capabilities of the Phantom Pro 100 (18 x 20).
If anything, the 100 (18x20) is an improvement on the 100p and that’s saying something. We gave it a 9 out of 10 for volleys.
Serve – 8/10
This might annoy the people looking for a comparison between the 100p and the 100 (18 x 20) because it means they’ve got exactly the same scores. Just to break the tie though, I would say this is probably the one area where I liked the 100p a little bit more.
You’ve got to work really hard to generate your power on serve with this racket and I slightly preferred the little bit more power I got from the 100p. Of course, if you hit bombs then you’re not worried about this, but it is something to bear in mind.
8 out of 10 is still a good score though, and you can’t fault this racket on control, feel and comfort. It’s a lovely racket to serve with, you’ve just got to be aware that if you struggle to hit with power the Phantom Pro isn’t going to offer you much help.
Overall – 8.5/10
I can really see this racket being used by someone who is a strong server and loves to get to the net. While this stick is good from the back of the court, it’s so good at the net that it’s a shame not to use these capabilities. Obviously, that’s quite a nostalgic thought because not many people do much serve volleying these days, but this racket makes you long for the serve volleying days.
Again, that’s not to take away from this racket’s prowess from the back of the court. I’m someone who loves to play attacking baseline tennis and I got on with the Prince Phantom Pro 100 (18 x 20) wonderfully well.
With a racket that’s control focussed and so, “under powered,” you’ve got to make sure the style of the racket suits your game. Ideally, you want accomplished, fast swings to get power and spin out of this racket, and if your searching for easy power and spin then you’re probably not going to end up liking this stick.
If you’re an accomplished player who is searching for control, feel, and comfort, then the words I would use to describe the Phantom Pro 100 (18 x 20) are high quality. Everything about this racket makes me feel like it has been well engineered and lovingly made, and I for one, enjoyed the results of Prince’s labors.
Overall, we gave the Prince Phantom Pro 100 (18x20) a very good 8.5 out of 10.
Review by: Will