Dunlop Biofibre F3.1 Tour Tennis Racquet Review
Players seeking a blend of spin, power and control will want to pay close attention to the refreshed Dunlop Biofibre F3.1 Tour. This racquet takes advantage of recent Dunlop tech like Aeroskin CX for improved aerodynamics, MoS2 grommets for additional spin and power and Biofibre in the handle and shaft for improved vibration filtering. The result is a racquet that can transition from the modern baseline power game to more traditional all court play with ease. Here is a recap of how the racquet performed when I took it on court.
From the back of the court, the Dunlop F3.1 Tour hit with authority from either side. The 11.5oz strung weight and roughly 320 swing weight gave me excellent depth and I was able to produce a heavy ball on both wings. I really enjoyed using the weight to redirect my backhand up the line during points. The 98 inch head had a decent sweet spot but like other models, I found it to lose a bit of power outside the center of the string bed. The head light balance allowed to me take full, high speed swings but the smaller head size and 22mm beam did a good job keeping shots under control. Even with a softer, more powerful string, I was able to control the depth of both groundstrokes easily. Spin production was easy to come by and I was impressed by how much spin the 18x20 pattern was capable of generating. I hit with plenty of margin to keep myself in points and then used the control and weight of the frame to step in and flatten short balls out aggressively. The racquet had excellent versatility to dictate play with either forehands or backhands. The inherent control and extra weight also made my backhand slice a potent weapon as I was able to keep it low and carve it away from opponents. I also found excellent stability when forced into defense and I was frequently able to either block balls back or make a quick transition back to offense by snapping the frame through contact when stretched out.
Volleys & serves
The more traditional playing traits of the F3.1 Tour came through at the net. It played with a very fast feel thanks to its headlight balance. I had no trouble snapping off reaction volleys and fighting off shots to the body during exchanges. The frame’s weight made short work of high volleys and drove aggressive volleys down and through the court. The response was a bit firmer than I would prefer for executing drop and touch volleys and I tended to push those shots a bit more than I normally would.
On serve, the F3.1 Tour was a multi-faceted weapon. There was ample racquet head speed for adding pace and the additional weight made flat serves penetrate the court very well. The frame also exhibited great control and directional accuracy. I moved my flat serve around the box, taking it wide and then driving it down the T. While not as spin friendly as more open patterns, I found a solid level of spin on kick and slice serves. Accuracy also helped on spin serves as I was able to slice the ball to all areas of the box, ensuring my opponents started the point off balance.
Like the previous model, the F3.1 Tour plays with a more modern, firm feel than older Dunlop racquet lines. While the crisp response provided decent connection to the ball, I missed the more flexible feel of classic Dunlops. I had a harder time utilizing the feel on contact to execute drop and touch shots. The racquet also had a bit more unwanted feedback at the top of the hoop, which is where most players would be making contact. I never found the racquet to play uncomfortably but sensitive players may elect to use a softer string to aid the Biofibre shaft in softening the response.
All court players that want to finish points anywhere on court will find a strong ally in the Dunlop Biofibre F3.1 Tour. Its firmer construction and solid weight ensure that it has the power necessary to play from the back of the court, while its headlight balance and controlled head size ensure it can play aggressively at the net. Players of multiple styles will find that this racquet is extremely versatile and can play both offense and defense from all areas of the court.
About the Reviewer: Matt Locke currently serves as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho and is an active USTA League and Tournament player.