Last year, Dunlop released some gorgeous new CX racquets. They went very minimal with the color scheme and kept it simple with black and a touch of red. This year, Dunlop has updated their CV racquet line and given them a new moniker; Dunlop SX.
The SX racquet line continues in the same vein as the previous CV line, with a slightly expanded cross section of 23/26/23 mm. The purpose of the SX line is to gain greater control by generating more aggressive topspin. They utilize SPIN BOOST grommets at the top of the head, which allow the strings to move more in a specific direction to help increase ball rotation and power outside of the sweet spot. Another intriguing feature of the SX frames, is located on the shaft just below the head. There are grooves in the graphite, to maintain stability, but also offer a more aerodynamic performance. I got to play test one of the new SX racquets, the 300, for a few hours and I was pleasantly surprised.
The response from the baseline was fast, fun, and flexible. Though the 23/26/23 beam is similar to more firm flexing racquets like the Wilson Ultra 100, or Babolat Pure Aero, the 64 flex rating makes the SX 300 very comfortable. The SX 300 was very easy to swing through the air, and it still had enough mass to redirect hard shots effectively. I found a rhythm when playing from behind the baseline, but the experience was just as enjoyable when I stepped into the court. While the SX 300 can be made more stable through the application of some weighted tape, I wouldn’t add too much as it would take away from the racquets’ best attributes: spin, speed, mobility.
I expect the SX 300 to be adopted by tons of competitive doubles players. It is more than maneuverable enough when in close proximity to the net, and the flex provides plenty of comfort, which can be a rarity with thicker beamed racquets. The racquet was easy to keep out front in good volleying position, and it was light enough to reflex balls back when I had little to no time at all. It was easier than normal to generate under spin on my volleys, and it helped keep them below my opponents strike zone. The sweet spot felt higher in the hoop, which took a little adjusting to, but it actually helped me when I was stretched wide.
There was lots of power and spin to be had when serving with the SX 300. The SPIN BOOST grommets at the top of the head greatly enhanced the sweet spot in the upper portion of the racquet. This really helped the ball dig into the string bed on kick serves, and provided a solid sensation at contact. The comfortable flex of the SX 300 was a blessing on my aging shoulder, and it does an impressive job of dampening frame vibration while maintaining enough feedback for control.
Dunlop gives the “tweener” racquet category an infusion of comfort with the new SX 300. The racquet cuts through the air with ease, and delivers an impressive amount of spin from all areas of the court. It also has a more modern sweet spot located higher in the hoop, where heavy topspin players do most of their work. Though the SX 300 is a great platform for customizing, it plays more stable than the weight would have you believe, and putting too much weight might ruin the racquet’s best intentions, which are racquet head speed, mobility, and comfort.
Note: Playtest racquet was strung with a Babolat RPM Blast 18g (1.20 mm) @ 50 pounds.
About the Reviewer: Sam Jones currently works at Tennis Express on the Content Marketing team. He previously played at Southwestern University, taught tennis for 10+ years and earned his USRSA Master Racquet Technician Certification in 2011. He is an active NTRP 5.0 League and Tournament player.