That was the result when I took a rip at the ball with the new Dunlop FX 700. Ground strokes just exploded off the frame with easy pace and depth. The larger head, half-inch extended length and open string pattern created a ton of power, yet still maintained a respectable level of control. Spin was a snap to generate and, despite a rather stiff flex, there was a reasonable amount of feel. It’s certainly not a racquet for advanced players seeking pinpoint command, but for those who prefer a lightweight oversized frame, this one checks all the boxes.
One the biggest checks would be in the serving department. The FX 700 served like a canon, but a controllable canon at that. The added length really came in handy in this regard. When I found the timing, it gave deliveries extra oomph along with the ability to create tough angles. At just under 10 ounces strung, the frame was still quick through the air, but perhaps a little too light to hit a heavy kick serve. The spin was there, but the ball lacked jump. However, flat serves just jetted through the court.
When the tables were turned and I had to return serve, I went with a basic blocking swing. The even balance and extra length gave the frame enough backbone to stand up to most serves. When I went for a big cut the frame had a tendency to whip around way too quickly and lacked high-end stability. But I think for the intended demographic it will do just fine. The 2.5–3.5 players I let try the racquet loved it on returns. It performed well against the slower moving ball and they could swing through contact comfortably.
Moving up to net, the racquet played like a heavier frame than it actually was, and was more stable than I expected. I found the best results with just a punch on the volleys. The power level was a little high to do much more than driving the ball into the open court. With the wide sweet spot and firm, thick beam the ball just wanted to jump off the string bed.
It was much of the same with specialty shots—it just doesn’t have enough feel to consistently deliver delicate drop shots. Even when lobbing, I felt I had to “bump” the ball up and over the opponent rather than take a full stroke. Overheads, though, really pop. Even just an abbreviated swing would put the ball away with no answer.
Overall, I think the Dunlop FX 700 is a great racquet in the hands of the right player. Namely, beginners up through 3.5 players, or someone who needs the racquet to do more of the work. As a coach, I’m personally not a fan of putting juniors into oversized frames, but it could also work well as a first adult racquet for 11-to-12 year-olds who need time to develop. It’s the right balance of power and control for a novice player or someone that can’t quite generate their own power anymore. If that sounds like you, definitely check this racquet out.
Kevin Brandt is Director of Tennis at the Star Island Resort in Orlando, Fla. He is a PTR and USPTA Elite Professional and the Program Director of Wheelchair Tennis (National Rollers) at the USTA National Campus.