Pros: Side Control, Power, Quick/balanced response, A twin for the ring.
Cons: Ideal for 2.5 to 4.5 rated players, beyond that too much power
If you've spent any time reading about Triple Threat Racquets, then you probably have heard about the discontinued Prince Triple Threat Ring.
I was never big on tennis equipment. I personally had bought a racquet about 2.5 yrs ago ( Wilson Hammer 6.2 Stretch ). I kept the stock strings and ever since I got the racquet I though my game went down hill from playing with cheap racquets. I found myself knowing for sure my racquet was in good position to make a shot and find it not going where i expected. I was reduced to dinking the ball with this racquet and thought it was just me going downhill.
Well about 3 months ago, an old friend and I started playing again. He beat up on me, and at the end of the game he asked me to try his new racquet. The Prince Triple Threat ring strung with 16 synthetic gut. So I picked up the racquet----->
BAM WOW POW: Holy crap my game went up instantly 300%, Yes it was a power racquet, but that wasn't what really helped. My simple short shots as well as harder firm shots were going in and going where i wanted them to go with the force that I wanted on them. I was totally shocked that this racquet improved my game like it did. The racquet single handledly improved my backhand by 1000% and I don't just mean power, i mean hitting nice one or two handed shots just over the net. Before this racquet I just tapped with my backhand and prayed it would go over without going out or hitting the net.
Everyone relentlessly talks about power on this racquet and yes it has allot of power, but this racquet gave me back my side shot positioning game that i lost with the hammer. I also found that the power really helped me most on quick return shots where ball was close to my body and coming at higher velocity and I didn't have time for proper positioning a return--> a little nick with the Ring the ball goes back perfectly over the net with some good velocity and helps me get out of jam, and doesn't give the opponent a wide open kill shot on my return. Also pay attention to the balance ratings on these racquets, they are very very good... When playing on the net the racquet feels like a samurai sword, you can move it faster with less effort and it still feels sweet.
My friend's jaw dropped, he couldn't believe how much better i could play with that racquet in a matter of minutes. He tried mine and almost tossed it into the trash because he couldn't do anything with my racquet either and told me it was a "Piece of Sh*". POINT LEARNED: Equipment can make a very BIG difference when your ready for it.
OK so why the Triple Threat SOVEREIGN? Well you can't find the Ring, and I wanted one exactly like it BAD. Why mess with something that feels right. Well I called Prince and they told me they don't make it and they haven't for almost 2 years, they suggested the More Power from the newest line... Well I wasn't satisfied, because by reading the specs the racquets are very different in many properties.
I traced down several internet sites that had tons of racquet studies and comparisions from weight, balance, racuet stiffness, power ratings, and tons more. What I found is the Sovereign was nearly and exact match for the Ring. Only thing i couldn't match is Ring's 125 sq inch head vs Sovereign's 115 sq inch. Anyone who's seen the unique frame of the Ring will understand where this difference is --> At the base of the racquet around the unique stringing base arch.
Well I can't fix this because this design is no more and was unique to the Ring only. I heard that they discontinued it because it was harder for stringers to string( They charged more for this racquet) and that the racquet was harder on strings overall because of this design. Also, I saw lots of articles questioning whether the ring design was legal or not. It is legal, but if you look at it you would see why it draws the questions. It looks more like a racquetball racquet than a tennis racquet.
The Sovereign power rating was exact, the Racquet stiffness was exact the weight was within a feather of being the same, both had incredible balance ratings. So after lots of research and without a stroke I mail ordered it for $90.00 or so. Keep in mind originally this was a $250 racquet. So 90 bucks for buying a year or so old technology is well worth it for me.
Keep in mind I did not want to find myself with another poor purchase like the Hammer. Don't get me wrong some people love my model hammer ( Venus Williams ), but with the smaller grip and not restringing the stock strings and no vibration control, I probably short changed that racquet to some degree, but I felt all along from day one leaving the store with the Hammer that it wasn't a good choice for me, this racquet made me feel so un-natural at playing.
Anyhow I got my new racquet(Sovereign) and went to play, well I started playing with it and I felt the racquet felt 85% exactly the same as the Ring which made me very happy. Later I added a vibration control since my friends had a vibration control, the 85% went to 90%.
I then added synthetic gut since mine came with very cheap nylon. 90% was now 97%. I love it. During this time I called Prince and talked to the same guy who recommended more power, and told him about the Sovereign, and after he looked at the stats and technical information he had, he agreed that this racquet was almost identicle to the properties of the Ring, Same exact Frame thickness, power rating, nearly identicle stationary weight and swing weight... Even my friend said it felt nearly a dead ringer for his racquet.
So after calling several tennis shops and have them tell me that everyone asks for the Ring and they don't have it and they haven't had it for a while, I decided to write a review on my saga to find a racquet that still carries the Ring flare. Keep in mind many stores tell me that the get many many calls on the Ring, and hate that they don't have it any more.
With this in mind, take a hard look at the Sovereign, it is nearly identicle to everything the Ring was/is. I think this was done on purpose by Prince to address the shortcomings of the Ring, which were all related to stringing and uniqueness, but as we all know it wasn't to address playability because the Ring is unbeleivable.
To quote another epionioner who seems to know allot about Tennis: The Ring/Sovereign will take an solid/average player to allot better than average... It will take a already slightly advanced player and push them to the next level.
Also bare in mind this is a medium-short to overally moderate stroke racquet. You shouldn't get it if your an very advanced/near professional player with a very long fast swooping swing. This racquet has to much power for that type of stroke, and you probably wouldn't need to read this review anyhow at that level.