Of the iconic brands in tennis, Prince finds itself intertwined with one of the other big names in racquet manufacturing.
Starting as a company that made ball machines, Prince was acquired by multi-millionaire inventor Howard Head in 1976. Head had made his fortune via his revolutionary aluminium skis, sold his company to AMF, and took up tennis in his retirement. His choice of leisure activity would spur his energies toward tinkering with an oversize tennis frame made from aluminium. His acquisition of Prince Sports Manufacturing Co. would be a means to sell his new invention to the tennis playing public.
A young Pam Shriver adopted the racquet and demonstrated the viability of the new large headed frame and a change in the design of all tennis racquets was set in motion. The small 65 sq. inch wooden racquet’s days were numbered!
By the early 1980s, Prince was a major player in tennis and controlled a significant portion of the market. Their most high profile racquet of the classic 1980s graphite stable would be the Prince Original Graphite Oversize and was used by both Andre Agassi and Michael Chang. It is still being sold to enthusiasts some 40 years after first being introduced. it is a classic for good reason!
The list of pros who have at one time wielded Prince racquets is long and illustrious and includes Agassi, Chang, Maria Sharapova, doubles specialists the Bryan Brothers, Patrick Rafter, Jennifer Capriati, and Gabriela Sabatini, among others. Current notable pros include John Isner, Lucas Pouille, Jelena Jankovic, and Taylor Townsend.