As a tennis player years ago, I was quite loyal to the Prince brand. After abandoning the wood racket as a kid in the late 1970’s, I played with the oversize Prince Classic, the Prince Pro and, finally, the Prince Spectrum. I had a Prince bag that carried all my tennis rackets that I still have to this day.
It’s little wonder, then, that I wanted to demo and review one of the marquee pickleball paddles in the Prince lineup – the Prince Response Pro.
Prince – A Relative Newcomer to the Scene
While Prince has been a leader in the racquet sports industry for the better part of 50 years, Prince is a relative newcomer to the sport of pickleball. In 2018, Prince and Paddletek joined forces to launch Prince’s first generation of pickleball paddles.
Success beget Prince right out of the gate with Simone Jardim using the Prince Response Pro at the 2018 US Open to win gold in women’s singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles – a triple crown! In addition to Jardim, other current Prince-sponsored pros include Dekel Bar (Prince Quantum Pro) and Collin Johns (Prince Quantum Pro).
The Specs for the Prince Response Pro
First things first. The Prince Response Pro measure 8.25” wide and 15.75” long with a handle length of 5.5.” The paddle comes in a light-weight version (7.2 – 7.6 oz.) and a standard weight version (7.7 – 8.3 oz.). The Prince Response Pro is also available in either a 4 1/8″ or 4 3/8″ grip size. Finally, the Prince Response Pro has a polymer honeycomb core and a fiberglass face.
My Review of the Prince Response Pro
For the review, I was sent a light-weight paddle (7.3 oz.) with a standard (4 3/8”) grip size.
Immediately after taking the paddle out of the packaging, I fell in love with the grip – and how the paddle felt in my hand. With a grip circumference of 4 3/8”, it was basically the same grip size that I preferred during my collegiate tennis days. The longer handle length of 5.5” was also appealing as an ex-tennis player – providing additional room for those of you who like to blast 2-handed backhands. I hit a 1-handed backhand but still appreciated the longer handle because of my tennis background.
After hitting with the Response Pro for several minutes, it became quickly evident that the paddle has a very generous sweet spot – and with this generous sweet spot came additional control. This was particularly true for dinks, volleys and drop shots.
The lone drawback on this paddle that I was sent to review was the paddle weight. It was simply too light for my game. While the light, 7.3 oz. gave me “quick hands” during lightning-quick volley exchanges at the non-volley line, I just wasn’t able to generate enough depth, power, and penetration with my serves, returns, or drives. Balls were landing several feet short of my target and I just wasn’t getting adequate “pop” on the ball.
This is by no means a drawback attributable to the paddle, however. It’s attributable, no doubt, to the weight of the paddle. Perhaps I simply need to add a little lead tape – or better yet, get one closer to 8 oz.
All in all, the Prince Response Pro is a very nice paddle – particularly with a price point of around $125. For those of you who like lighter paddles, the light-weight version of Prince Response Pro will be great. For those who prefer paddles slightly heavier, the standard weight version of the Prince Response Pro will be your preferred choice. As long as you pick the correct weight, you can’t go wrong with the Prince Response Pro.
See you on the courts!