Color: Yellow and Natural
Gauge: 16G Pro Hurricane Tour 16G Xcel (1.30mm)
Test Racquet / Tension
Tecnifibre TFight 315 LTD 16M @ 56/52 lbs
Utilizing a hybrid string setup doesn’t have to empty your wallet anymore. For budget minded players, Babolat offers the Excel / Pro hurricane Tour hybrid pack. It combines the soft, powerful Excel multifilament with the controlled, firm and spin friendly polyester Pro hurricane Tour. The result is a string setup that can offer ample power, solid feel and enough spin to be dangerous. I took this budget friendly hybrid for a spin on court recently and here’s what I found.
Since I’m a rebel, I ignored the recommendation on the packaging and installed Excel in the mains and Pro Hurricane Tour in the cross strings of my racquet. From a power perspective, I found plenty on tap. The softer, more powerful nature of Excel in the mains allowed me to hit big from the baseline and really dictate play. The power was easy to tap into whether I was on offense or defense, allowing me to work my way into points until I found a ball I could pull the trigger on. Control was also above average with this setup. I have found Excel to be challenging to control in a full set in the past but having PHT in the crosses definitely toned down the power. I had success swinging aggressively without sending too many balls deep. I was also able to use the string’s directional accuracy to open up the court and create angles. The spin potential was also greatly improved over a full bed of multifilament. Pro Hurricane Tour was a pretty slippery string so it really allowed the Excel to glide over it for increased snap back. My groundstrokes had impressive levels of top spin and my kick serve jumped off the court with ease. I would have liked a bit more bite on my slice backhand but there was still enough for that shot to be relatively effective.
Feel / Comfort
This hybrid struck a nice balance between crisp response and a softer, ball pocketing feel. The Excel mains held the ball well but the polyester cross strings kept the string bed from feeling too soft or mushy. I appreciated the connected feel I got on contact without it feeling overly firm or board like, as can be the case with full polyester at times. Comfort was also another standout feature of this combo. The Excel was quite soft and more than made up for the firmer nature of the PHT. The string bed had a bit more vibration off center with the polyester in it but it was nothing that gave me any kind of arm trouble. Sensitive players could lower the tension for increased comfort but they may hit a point where the tension is too low and the Excel is too difficult to control.
Durability and playability were a bit of a mixed bag for me. While both strings were 16 gauge, I found the Excel to be less durable than the VS gut I tested in another hybrid. The Excel shredded at a much faster pace in this setup and I snapped it after just a few hours of play. The durability might improve if I reversed the hybrid but the Excel simply seemed to have a harder time withstanding the movement against the Pro hurricane Tour. Somewhat thankfully, the strings broke before the playability became a major issue. Excel lost tension at a much quicker rate than natural gut and even before it broke, I started finding it more difficult to control my shots. The mains felt a bit too springy and too many balls were going long for my taste. I could have used a higher starting tension to help slow the playability drop off but in the end, this hybrid may be better suited to players with a little slower swing speeds in order to maximize its lifespan.
Players looking for a bang for their buck hybrid have a strong contender with this setup. Excel provides ample power and a soft feel while Pro hurricane Tour lends some needed control and spin potential to the mix. Babolat’s Excel / Pro Hurricane Tour hybrid offers a wallet friendly way to mix power, spin, comfort and control into an all court friendly string setup that should please a variety of players.
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.