While it may not be the most visible racquet brand in the world, Pro Kennex has quietly been producing high quality frames that fill the niche for arm friendly racquets for years. Their latest update continues that tradition and introduces the new Pro Kennex Q+ Tour. The focal point of the frame is still Kinetic Quadfocus technology, with microbearing filled kinetic energy chambers in the hoop. These chambers are 25% larger than before, resulting in even greater impact and shock protection. The positioning at the four “corners” of the hoop also produces a wider sweet spot. The Q+ Tour combines flexible construction, headlight balance and a thin 19.5mm beam to produce a classic player frame feel. With its overall specs right up my alley, I was excited to hit the court with this latest update from Pro Kennex.
The Q+ Tour felt absolutely laser guided off the ground. The thinner beam offered me plenty of control off both wings. I enjoyed the headlight balance as it really allowed me to accelerate through my strokes and produce some extra pace. It had an impressive sweet spot for a 98inch head size and the power level felt fairly uniform across the string bed. At 11.1oz strung, I felt it lacked a bit of mass. Pro Kennex had moved more mass into the head for this update and it was capable of producing a solid ball thanks to a fairly healthy swingweight. I still would have liked an increased overall weight for hitting a heavier ball that troubled my opponents more. The positive of such a controlled frame was that I could swing aggressively with little fear of hitting long. The 16x19 string pattern had healthy levels of spin and I never had any issues moving between high margin shots and flattening out short balls to finish points. While there was a bit of instability absorbing pace off the ground from big hitters, overall it was one of the more stable 11.1oz racquets I’ve tested recently. The Kinetic chambers positioned in the “corners” of the hoop seemed to help lend some torsional stability to the hoop on contact. Rather than beating opponents with outright pace from the baseline, I was able to use the exceptional control of the Q+ Tour to pick aggressive targets and set myself up to follow in and attack the next ball.
Volleys & Serves
The classic nature of the Q+ Tour shined again when I transitioned to the net. The headlight balance allowed me to easily position the racquet throughout exchanges at the net. I found the low power level of the frame to reward aggression at the net and I had plenty of success driving volleys through the court. The flexible feel and nimble response also gave me an array of angles and touch volleys. I felt I could do anything with the ball, from volleying it deep into a corner to dropping it on a dime just over the net. The racquet could have used a bit more overall mass to fend of big shots at net but overall I again came away impressed with its stability and capabilities at the front of the court.
Serving with the Q+ Tour was akin to starting the point with a surgical strike. While the thin beam didn’t produce a lot of easy power to work with, I was able to use the lower weight and headlight nature to accelerate through the top and amp up the pace on my first serve. The racquet felt incredibly easy to control and I had no trouble targeting any spot in the box I wanted to serve to. I had a blast playing a super aggressive style on serve, picking tough spots and then following my serve in to knock of a quick volley. There was enough access to spin for me to get solid movement on my kick serve although I wouldn’t class it as a strong suit of my time with the frame. I tended to lean more on my slice serve, especially in the ad court, as there was plenty of control for me to serve way out wide and open up the court.
Anybody yearning for the days of classic, flexible feeling frames should enjoy the Q+ Tour. Its low RA and thin beam produced excellent feel and ball pocketing. I felt I could hold the ball on the string bed just long enough to get opponents to commit and then send the ball the other way. The Kinetic Quadfocus produced a dampened feel without losing connection to the ball on impact. I always felt I knew what the ball was doing when it exited the string bed. Players in need of an arm friendly frame will have plenty to like with this one. The Kinetic chambers in the hoop truly did an admirable job absorbing shock and minimizing the impact on my arm. This system combined with the flexible layup made it one of the most comfortable player spec frames I’ve hit with recently.
Pro Kennex does some very specific things with its frames but it does those things exceptionally well. The Q+ Tour is an outstanding option for players who want maximum control and feel in an arm friendly package. Its ability to be razor sharp everywhere on court and have just enough mass to hang with big hitters makes it an intriguing option for aggressive singles players and doubles specialists alike. Add in the bonus of its proven arm friendly technology and the Pro Kennex Q+ tour is worthy of being in any serious players bag come match time.
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.