The “S” in Dunlop’s SX line stands for spin. The frame geometry along with oblong shaped grommets give users more of an opportunity to put extra bite on the ball. It’s also designed to respond more predictably to off-center contact. In a sense, it’s a self-correcting spin technology that promotes a more consistent ball flight and fewer errors. And who doesn’t want that? However, in the case of the franchise’s 300 Tour, it might be more appropriate for the “S” to denote substance.
Nearly 12 ounces and owning a 330+ swing weight, the frame trampled through impact. The mass provided depth and velocity on ground strokes without needing to overcook technique. It could bust open a point with one ill-intentioned swing and mop up the subsequent midcourt sitter without much fuss. Whenever aggressive baseline tactics were required, the SX 300 Tour was in its element. Plus, it repelled incoming pace and stood up to heavy serves without a hint of flinching.
However, such specs can feel clubby to players accustomed to more nimble models. And although the frame hid its weight rather well, it will always be more ax than hatchet. This became most apparent when scrambling on defense and mechanics were abbreviated or compromised. It wasn’t necessarily a demerit as much as something a player would either have to accept or adjust to. If it’s ultimately deemed too cumbersome, there’s the standard SX 300, which is quicker but doesn’t have the same presence or weight of shot.
Serving illustrated this point. Initially, the weight could cause labored deliveries that didn’t tap into the power, or register enough distance control. Once the handling was dialed-in and the racquet moved smoothly through contact, all that swing weight gave the ball a real burst. It was such a guilty pleasure to go for flat bombs, that I had to remind myself that I didn’t need to overreach and simply let the racquet do the work. When that happened, the racquet again showed itself to be a great asset for first-strike, front-foot tennis.
The compressed, angular throat and spin boost grommets—even the yellow/black cosmetic—will likely draw comparisons to Babolat’s Pure Aero line. Like that frame, the SX 300 Tour is designed with heavy spin production in mind. And its 16x19 configuration was certainly capable of putting work on the ball. But it’s not whippy and Dunlop’s Power Grid, which employs a denser cross string pattern in the center of the bed, kept it from being a massive amount. Particularly when compared to a frame like the Pure Aero and its wider string spacing.
The upshot, though, was the SX 300 Tour having more reliability and control. For a frame in this category—firm, thick beam, lots of mass, serious plow—it had fairly respectable targeting. Is it a grinder’s stick? Probably not. I found it better-suited to dictate points with power and some recklessness, rather than patience and direction. But it wasn’t inept at winning rallies with consistency if that’s the preferred choice of attack.
At net, the racquet was typical of the category. It was sturdy and solid at contact with somewhat limited versatility. The frame’s brawn was a mixed-blessing: It hampered handling, but made it quite capable of putting away floaters and standing up to hot shots. In doubles, I found it particularly adept at blocking back overheads deep in the court to restart a point.
However, with its limited flex and thick beam, it simply isn’t going to be a natural for taking pace off the ball and playing with touch. When I attempted a drop volley or was forced to finesse a half-volley, results were spotty. As long as I stayed within the racquet’s purview of delivering punches, though, I enjoyed regular success.
Which more or less sums up my experience with the SX 300 Tour. It really shines when you use its mass and plow through to give the ball ride. It’s not overly subtle or provide great feel, but that’s also not its blueprint. If the “S” in your game stands for slug, then this racquet is one to try.