I’ll be honest – I know absolutely nothing about ProKennex or their rackets. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone using them and have never tried them myself. So, when I picked this stick up from the shop, I didn’t have much to go on other than the looks. My first impressions were good, the Ki Q+ looks sleek and professional, with a pretty quirky paint job.
The frame is decked out in race car colors, with a mainly black frame and yellow and white racing stripes. Throw in a number 01 badge on the side and you’ve got your very own race car tennis racket. I don’t really get the connection, but it looks quite reasonable nonetheless, and I guess it’s something to remember the racket by.
I’ve been told that ProKennex are big on comfort, with their rackets being market leaders in protecting players from the rigors of tennis. This is an issue I’m pretty big on, so I was very interested to give the Ki Q+ Tour 315 a go.
There is a ton of technology designed to absorb vibrations in this racket and I was hopeful I would see some benefit from this. Kinetic Quadfocus Technology brings a moveable mass to the head of the racket, this allows the frame to better protect against shocks and vibrations. Further protecting you from unnecessary vibrations is Comfort Cap which puts further kinetic technology in the butt of the racket and, Spiral Tech Carbon, which eliminates air pockets and impurities in the graphite, giving you extra strength and dampening.
This 2019 version of the Ki Q+ is the latest and greatest in ProKennex’s efforts to make tennis arm friendly again and you can get it in a wide variety of shapes and weights. We had the choice of them all for our first playtest and decided to go with the 315.
In the past, I would have chosen the 325 without question, but I’ve made a bit of a switch to the slightly lighter rackets and feel like they have as much to offer as the heavier ones if they’re set up right. So, we chose the 315, a perfect weight for me and found out how ProKennex’s top model compared to some of the big boys.
The specs look right up my alley, with a good 321 swingweight, a 98-inch sq. head and a 6PT HL balance. This should make for a speedy stick that’s manoeuvrable through the stroke, but solid on impact. Both things that I enjoy, but most of all, I was looking forward to experiencing the famed comfort levels of the ProKennex.
Groundstrokes – 9/10
From the moment I started warming up in the service boxes, the Ki Q+ Tour Pro felt right in my hands, it has lovely balance and swings through the air so easily. The headlight balance makes this stick super manoeuvrable, but you also get plenty of pop.
I normally play with a dense string pattern which I string up pretty tight, giving me a fairly deadened feel and lots of control. So, it did take me a bit of time to get used to the slightly more open 16 x 19 string pattern on the Ki Q+. Having said that, I found the 16 x 19 to be the perfect mix for this racket.
On the backhand side, I got plenty of pop, giving me access to a little bit more spin than I’m used to and resulting in great depth. Finding the right balance between power and control is always a balancing act. The majority of people will look for different qualities in their racket based on whether they’re hitting a forehand or backhand, so it can be quite difficult to find something that suits both sides.
Off the backhand wing, the balance of the racket really suited me, and I found I was hitting with solid depth and power. This, in general, is my weaker side, where I find it more difficult to generate spin and power, so it was certainly nice to have the Ki Q+ limit this weakness.
I often find a racket that works well for my backhand isn’t exactly what I need for my forehand. One of the reasons I play with the Pure Strike is it suits my backhand nicely, but still has the qualities I need on the forehand.
The Ki Q+ does a similar thing. It felt brilliant off the backhand side, but it certainly didn’t let me down on the forehand side. There is plenty of speed and pop with this stick, but it does give you good control to taper that pop with. This is the most important thing for me. I generate a ton of spin and power naturally, so I look for something super controlled to help with the accuracy.
The Ki Q+ ticked a lot of boxes for me and generally felt great from the back of the court. However, did the ProKennex live up to its claim of being a market leader in comfort? The short answer is yes. In my opinion, the Wilson Countervail rackets are some of the most comfortable out there at the moment, but the Ki Q+ was right up there if not a little bit ahead.
For too long, it felt like elbow and wrist pains were just accepted as part and parcel of playing tennis, but with modern technology, racket companies are finally taking this issue more seriously. ProKennex are obviously taking this issue seriously and are looking to use this technology to launch themselves into the mainstream.
I didn’t know much about ProKennex before this playtest, but I certainly do now. I had great fun with the Ki Q+ Tour Pro 315 and found it really suited my game. It’s an easy racket to play with, giving you good racket head speed, plenty of pop, and most importantly, plenty of control. I gave the Ki Q+ a 9 out of 10 from the back of the court.
Volleys – 7.5/10
The Ki Q+ Tour Pro has the kind of specs that would suggest it is well suited for life at the net. The 321 swingweight should make it nice and solid on compact and the headlight balance will make it easy to manoeuvre.
I found that it was indeed easy to manoeuvre, but perhaps lacked a little bit of stability on impact when the ball was hit really hard at me. Again, this stick felt perfectly balanced in my hand and it made getting into position a doddle. The faster the ball came back at me, the quicker the racket seemed to move, and I was never stuck trying to get into position.
I did feel however that some of the work ProKennex have put into making this racket so comfortable took away from its performance at the net. In order to absorb more vibrations, this racket is slightly less rigid than others, which can cause the ball to ping a bit when you’re volleying. I noticed this on the most difficult volleys where I was trying to hit a difficult pick up or the ball had been smashed really hard at me.
This isn’t something that makes the Ki Q+ a bad volleyer, but, it doesn’t have that rock-solid stability on difficult volleys that something like the Prestige does. If you’re a singles player who spends most of their time at the back of the court though, this isn’t a big issue. How often do you hit those kinds of difficult volleys in a match? Often you don’t hit them in an entire match and at most you might hit three.
The Ki Q+ gave a solid performance at the net. It wasn’t top of the class, but it was safely in the middle and passed all its exams pretty comfortably. If you’re a serve and volleyer this racket might not be your ideal tool, but for everyone else, it does a decent job.
I gave the Ki Q+ a 7.5 out of 10 for volleying. It lacks a little bit of stability on the most difficult volleys, but other than that, it does a good job.
Serve – 8/10
The ProKennex has just the kind of specs I enjoy on serve. It’s speedy, but has decent weight behind it, meaning plenty of racket head speed and plenty of power. This is exactly what I found with the Ki Q+. I had access to lots of spin and power and was able to put it to good use on both the first and second serves.
On the second serve, I was able to use the spin the Ki Q+ gave me to add control and accuracy, using the spin to drop the ball onto my targets. This meant I kept good consistency, but also put my opponent under pressure by mixing up the serve location (see our article on How to Breeze Through your Service Games).
It’s important that you keep your racket head speed up on the second serve with a racket like this. If you do, you are rewarded with good control, but if you don’t the result will often be a double fault.
On the first serve, I was equally impressed. I was hitting some big serves when I flattened them out, but when I wanted to change things up, I was able to get the ball moving off the court with good spin. This was beneficial on my leftie serve out wide, and I got great success from this tactic.
Another good performance from the Ki Q+. I had good access to spin and power and once again enjoyed high levels of comfort. I can often get shoulder pain on the serve, with vibrations running up through my arm, but I didn’t experience any pain when I was playing with this racket. I have given the ProKennex Ki Q+ Tour Pro 315 an 8 out of 10 on serve.
Overall – 8.5/10
Overall, this was a very enjoyable playtest. It was my first playtest with a ProKennex, and I was suitably impressed. The brand promises a lot with its arm safety technology and it did not disappoint as I found the Ki Q+ to be extremely comfortable, with good playability.
From the back of the court, the Ki Q+ really suited my game, adding a little extra pop to my backhand, whilst still offering the kind of control I look for on my forehand. The 16 x 19 string pattern is a great middle ground between an open and closed string pattern, and I think it has the potential to suit a wide variety of players.
I would class this racket as one for the aggressive baseliner, and this showed at the net, where the ProKennex had its weakest performance. It didn’t do a bad job though, and it certainly wasn’t an issue that would stop me from buying this racket.
The serve was back to the Ki Q+’s comfort zone, and once again, it offered a great deal. I was able to generate good power and spin which really helped my serving performance. I was enthused to find out that ProKennex live up to their promise of market-leading comfort and very happy with the racket’s overall performance.
Overall, I have given the ProKennex Ki Q+ Tour Pro 315 an 8.5 out of 10. A very good racket, and one that I would recommend people to demo.
Review by: Will