Ok, to be honest, I was really trying to find a reason to hate this rubber. Mostly because I had already decided to use the P5.
My previous setup had been the Butterfly Timo Boll ALC and Butterfly Tenergy 05 2.1mm on the forehand and 05 1.9mm on the backhand for the greater part of the last year. I’ve used many different rubbers including many versions of the Chinese provincial and national rubbers, cheap tension rubbers, and everything in between while trying to find something great after the speed glue ban in 2008. Before one tournament, I got a sheet of 05 FX 1.9mm to replace my dying backhand. I was developing a stronger backhand and I thought that the softer sponge would give more control with the attacks. However, blocking proved to be too different and it felt dead at times, so I could not get into a rhythm the whole tournament and lost at the finals. Once the P5 came in, I settled with the P5 2.1mm on forehand and my old Tenergy 05 2.1mm on the backhand.
The day the P3‘s came in, I really didn’t want to change my setup, as I felt I finally found a good combination. The P5 was similar to the T05 except that it was lighter and spinnier. Some testers found that it didn’t have the same dense spring feeling because it was not as heavy, but the speed was the same.
I replaced the T05 with the P3 and knew that I could not use Tenergy 64 at all, so I wasn’t expecting much with the P3 which is Adidas’ equivalent. So I walk into a very busy club we visit weekly, and for the first time, there was an open table as soon as I walked in. A long pips backhand, fast forehand attacker – player/coach around 2200 asked me to play and we quickly took the table. I had beaten him a few times before, but he’d usually have the edge on me whenever we played. He used his inverted side to warm up with me on forehand and backhand.
On the forehand side, I noticed the P3 gripped the ball just as well as the P5 for normal rallies and the loops would be low and shoot very forward. I could see why many other reviewers had said it had a lower arc and more speed. While just feeling the rubber and sponge with the finger, it feels softer than the P5 or T05, but the feeling while hitting is a harder feel. A few other players who are used to Tenergy 64 much preferred the P3 and called it superior compared to the P5. Some of those testers were hitters, and some were very spinny loopers that felt P5 and T05 just was too high for them.
To my backhand, the normal rallies felt very similar to the T05 1.9 FX with the lower throw, but the blocking felt much more controllable, and you wouldn’t have to put as much energy in compared to the FX, 64 or other low throw backhand rubbers. I was still not used to this kind of rubber, and did not expect much when beginning the game. Actually, while missing a few in warm up, I was expecting to lose.
However, right off the bat, I found myself up 2-0. My backhand loops were killing him. The grip on the P3 is much more than the T64, but the balls would stay on the table. I could hit, loop, chop, lob, pretty much any shot came with great control. Gave him some higher balls to his backhand, so he could step around and attack, and the blocks just shot back past him. It was 3-0 before I knew it, and he called “Again!”.
So I really wanted to test the rubber, and the next game I pushed it a bit more. Turns out, this rubber is made for speed! When adding more of my own power, the ball would really shoot out and dive right into the table at almost the last moment. So, I tried it on my forehand again. I’d have to lift the balls a little more for the same loops, but on hit/loops the ball went amazingly fast. Another quick 3-0. I had never had such an easy time against this friend. He went to change his paddle to another long pips blade with more reversal and control. He got a game this time, but I still was quite relaxed and not feeling much pressure beating him 3-1. We played a little more with similar results, until he got tired and had another challenger come up.
He also used T64 with some really crazy spin on his serves. Heavy, heavy underspin that looked like topspin, and a heavy topspin that looked like topspin. I’d have pretty tough matches because of his serve, but that day, the rubber seemed to do all the work. I couldn’t recognize the spin every time, but I looped it, and the grip would pull the underspin serves over. Against the topspins, I had nearly the same stroke, and the low trajectory would still keep the ball on the table. Pushing the serves still worked, though the amount of spin was very hard to keep short, and since looping was still working, I stuck to that. Maybe he was having an off day, but I added another relaxed win to my night against a player who is normally pretty tough.
As with the P5 to the Tenergy 05, the P3 has a little more grip and is lighter than the T64.
In conclusion, the Adidas Performance P3 is now my weapon of choice against pips players. I’ve put on my old Tenergy 05 again for the backhand, and it doesn’t quite feel as great as before after trying the new P3, so now I’m on the fence.
When the new Tenzone rubbers arrive, I may have more tough life decisions to make.
The MTAG Team