About a year ago, I replied to a tweet inquiring about stiff racquets generating more power by saying, “The older I get, the more I like a flexible frame for my arm—and the more I like the performance of a stiffer one.” Fortunately, I’m not alone in this sentiment and racquet manufacturers appear to be listening. The past couple of years have seen more and more racquets released that have slightly thinner beams and either more flex or built-in dampening technology, while still keeping the power and stability of the thicker and stiffer models. The latest to come into my hands is the Dunlop Srixon Revo CV 3.0 F Tour.
While the feel was solid and crisp from the baseline, the CV 3.0 F Tour was much easier on the joints in my arm than an RA of 69 would suggest. The frame is constructed with Sonic Core Technology—urethane and silicone in the head for enhanced dwell time—and Synchro Charge—an elastic graphite in the upper hoop for improved feel on off-center hits. The response was comfortable, clean and lively, but without the loss of any feedback.
The demo I tested came in at 11.3 oz, with a balance just under 2 pts. headlight and a swingweight of 321. The nearly even balance, at that swingweight—I’m used to something closer to 8 pts. headlight—made it feel like the tip of the racquet could sometimes get out of my control. Not surprisingly, it took me a little longer than usual to get dialed in. For the first few rallies of my initial hitting session, I had a tough time taming the CV 3.0 F Tour’s power. While control is above-average for a frame in this spec range, it’s still a slugger; balls that seemed well-struck were sailing long. After a brief acclimation period, however, I was generating pace and depth with ease on my groundstrokes, and keeping balls within the lines with regularity.
Still, I wanted to see how the racquet performed with a more familiar balance. For my next outing, I replaced the stock grip with a leather one, adding 9.5 grams to the weight, which made the frame more headlight, but didn’t affect the swingweight. This made it a bit more maneuverable and my control over the tip of the frame was improved. I was able to hit out aggressively without worrying about over-hitting. My opponent commented that my topspin forehands were “jumping” more than usual, up and out of his strike zone. Slices felt great, too, with all that weight towards the tip of a 97 square-inch head.
Big serves are not my forte, but I still appreciated the extra pace I picked up with this stick when going for a flatter first ball. More important was the fact that I could move my serve around effectively, with a reasonably high level of spin. The frame was also pretty forgiving when my timing was off a little. Players looking for a boost to their serves will like what the racquet adds to their deliveries.
When the tables were turned, I was also mostly pleased with my returns with the CV 3.0 F Tour. Again, the stability was good against all but the biggest first serves and I could take a healthy cut on weaker offerings, as long as I came over the ball with plenty of topspin. Otherwise my returns were like those first groundstrokes—a little erratic. My slice return, though, was better than usual, especially for a sub-12 oz. racquet.
In stock form, I found the frame quick and mobile at the net, although I could see some players finding the balance to cause some sluggishness. It was certainly nimbler when I added weight to the handle. In either setup, I was able to hit almost any volley and felt very connected with power and placement. The stability was good off both sides and the feel plusher than I expected. For a frame with ample inherent power, it was excellent controlling low balls and pick-up half-volleys, too.
Overall, the Dunlop Srixon Revo CV 3.0 F Tour is a worthwhile compromise between the precision of true player’s frame and the audacious power of many of the modern ‘tweeners on the market. The slightly thinner beam and smaller head size give the racquet respectable control, and there’s still enough grip and rip for aggressive baseline attacks. It also has a surprisingly comfortable response for such a firm frame. If you’re in the market for a user-friendly, offensive-minded mid-plus, the CV 3.0 F Tour should be on your demo list.
Kin Roseborough is a tennis professional and racquet technician at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, SC.