Several weeks ago we were proudly adding great-playing racquets that were arm-friendly to our inventory. We did extensive playtesting and brought in a large selection of Donnay frames and a few from Pacific. We were ecstatic (and still are!) about these terrific additions to offer our customers. As we were finalizing our plans to carry these two lines exclusively and build our tennis racquet business around them, a trusted colleague was raving about Mantis frames. Mantis frames….what’s that?? We had heard of the brand through their strings, but had no idea they produced tennis racquets. We looked at the specs and our first reaction was “Okay, so they are selling great in Greece, but we are not interested.” Still our colleague persisted so we agreed to try them. Reluctantly and with next to zero expectations we purchased four demos, one of each model that Mantis has available in the USA, and took them to the courts.
The response we heard back from our trusted playtesters was completely unanticipated and quite frankly stunning. We were so completely overwhelmed by the positive rave reviews that we immediately made the decision to bring the racquets in and carry three lines of racquet frames…Donnay, Pacific and MANTIS.
Two of our 3 playtesters, (who vary in skill level from 3.5 – 5.0), are known to have sensitive arms/elbows. Each reported much greater comfort than they anticipated based on the specifications of the frames. While we are stopping short of claiming them to be as gentle on the arm/elbow as our Donnay’s and Pacific’s we are completely confident that there is enough comfort and dampening that these racquets should not be problematic for the vast majority of tennis players.
All of our test frames were powered by L-TEC Premium strings. Each was strung with L-TEC Premium 3S mains and L-TEC Premium 4S crosses. The tensions ranged from the upper 30’s to low 40’s.
The first thing we noted was the fit and finish of the frames. Cosmetically the Mantis frames are strikingly handsome. They all use a theme and variation of 3 colors; black, red and white. These are good looking frames with strong colors that can be used and appreciated by men and women alike.
However, cosmetics aside, it is the performance that is far and away the most impressive aspect of the MANTIS line of frames. We are still trying to gather details on the makeup/construction and technology behind these frames, but whatever it is…this much we know…it works!
The MANTIS 300 is perhaps the most interesting of the lot from a mass marketing perspective. It is a 100 sqi tweener that offers easy access to power with an added bonus of tremendous control. It compares favorably to other frames in this popular genre but the added comfort and control distinguishes it from the crowd. Add to that a price tag of $50 less than similar competitors and it is easy to see why there are tremors reportedly coming from the offices of the double line people in France. With the outstanding blend of power and control from all areas of the court this racquet will appeal to huge range of playing styles and levels.
The MANTIS 285 is similar in scope to the 300, but it is lighter version. Hovering around 11oz and having a low swingweight makes it appealing to players who prefer lighter weight frames. The power level is predictably lower than its heavier sibling, but it is still very respectable in this area from the baseline, net and on serve. For the player looking for maneuverability, this stick has it in spades. Also a nice platform for the player who wants to tweak through customization (although it offers mighty fine play in stock form).
The Mantis 305 introduces the 95 sqi head into the lineup. Definitely control oriented, this stick offers good power to go along with the control elements. The 305 was described by multiple testers as a frame that ” feels like a natural extension of the arm.” Advanced intermediate players as well players who prefer the precision of a smaller head size will be impressed with the performance of this stick.
The Mantis 315 is the same base as the 305 but incorporates some additional weight and a denser string pattern. This is the frame that “wowed” our more advanced playtesters. They found it to be rock solid and extremely maneuverable. Most commented on the pinpoint control. Words we kept hearing over and over in describing this racquet were “precision, control, & targeting.”
If you remain skeptical of what is currently a lesser known/newer brand, we most certainly do not blame you. We were in the very same camp until we personally experienced the frames for ourselves and through some of our trusted playtesters. We are impressed by the performance of the full range of MANTIS frames and are absolutely convinced our customers are going to go gaga over them. While MANTIS may not be a household brand today, it is a brand that intelligent players will discover and use to their fullest advantage. The performance is every bit as good if not better than the name brands and in most cases they are available at a lower cost. It’s really hard not to like them…we tried…we failed. MANTIS frames are the real deal. “We’re Playing MANTIS…So Should You!”
Guts and Glory Tennis does have demos of each of these racquets in stock for our local customers to playtest. Our playtest program allows customers to check a single racquet out for 3 days at a cost of $5.00 or they can demo unlimited frames during a 30 day period for $25.00. All demo fees collected can be applied to the purchase of a new racquet through us. Unfortunately we do not currently offer a demo program for internet customers. All MANTIS racquets are eligible for free stringing with any string from our L-TEC, WeissCANNON or MSV line of offerings.