Wilson Blade 98 18x20 2015 Racquet Review

“With the control it allows me to play aggressively and to provide a high level of quality consistently because of the control that’s provided by the racquet.”
– Milos Raonic 

Specifications

Head Size 98 sq in/632.26 sq cm

 
 

Weight 10.7 oz/304 g (unstrung)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Balance 12.7 in/325 mm/6 points Head Light (unstrung)

 
 

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 1.56.52 PM 64



String Pattern 18×20



Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 10.46.41 PM For high intermediate to advanced players

 

 

 



See full racquet description


Summary

PROS CONS
– greater responsiveness and a more lively feel  – lower spin potential than 16×19 string pattern version
– great control, but also easy access to power

 

The Experts’ Scores

Average score (out of 5) of Merchant of Tennis play-testers; high intermediate to advanced players

Category Score
Power 4.5
Control 4.5
Serve Improvement 4
Serve Responsive 4.25
Groundstroke Improvement 4.5
Groundstroke Response 4.5
Volley Improvement 4.25
Volley Response 4.25
Maneuverability 4.5
Sweet Spot Location 4.5
Stability 4.5
Overall Satisfaction 4.5

 


The Details

What Wilson says:

As a part of the Attacker series, this racquets has been designed for big hitters looking to control their power. The Wilson Blade 98 18×20 dense string pattern provides classic control and a traditional feel. Upgraded with Parallel Drilling and Braided Graphite + Basalt construction to provide high performance and enhanced feel to dominate the competition.

Technologies:

Braided Graphite + Basalt:
In this revolutionary new layup, Wilson braids Basalt with carbon graphite fiber throughout the entire frame. This is the first time Basalt has been braided. Since Basalt is so elastic, it allows the racquet’s hoop to flex in ways that improve feel, dwell time and control.

Parallel Drilling:
Provides a consistent, more forgiving string bed response while dramatically increasing the sweet spot.

Amplifeel:
Provides an even cleaner and enhanced feel in the racquet. Amplifeel also allows for a more customized handle system providing additional handle comfort to further support maximizing the feel in each racquet and player segment.

How does it differ from the previous model, 2014 Wilson Blade 98 18×20?

With everything else being equal, this year’s racquet offers greater responsiveness and power than before. As a result of Parallel Drilling the strings are able to move more, providing a greater trampolining effect. In turn, this provides greater power generation.

The advantage of previous models was the unequalled control. Even with the updated technologies, shot precision has not been sacrificed with the closed, control-oriented 18×20 string pattern.

Our play-testers’ opinion:

The Wilson Blade 98 18×20 was thoroughly enjoyed by our play-testers. They were overall very pleased with how lively it felt, as compared to other racquets with a 18×20 string pattern.

Pros

Especially for a dense string pattern, our play-testers were especially impressed with how it felt more closely to a traditional 16×19 racquet. As compared to other dense string patterned racquets, this racquet had a more lively string bed, producing greater “pop” and power. In addition, our play-testers found there was great control especially with big full swings. In essence this racquet offered the perfect combination of power and control.

Many also enjoyed the weight and balance. On their serves, the wrist snap accelerated and power was amplified. It was effortless to swing quickly through the ball on groundstrokes. Volleys also felt clean and solid as the racquet was easy to maneuver at the net.

Cons

Although it didn’t come as a surprise, our play-testers experienced lower spin potential, as compared to a more open pattern like in the 2015 Blade 98 16×19. However, in comparison to the previous version, 2014 Blade 98 18×20, there was higher spin potential with the greater string movement.

All of our play-testers were able to generate spin with this racquet, however, they found it easier to do so with the 2015 Wilson Blade 98 16×19.

Bottom Line:

Overall the 2015 Wilson Blade 98 18×20 is control-oriented, but still has easy access to power for those taking long, fast swings. We would suggest this racquet to a high-intermediate to advanced player.

We think this racquet is worth a demo for those that were fans of the previous version Wilson Blade 98 18×20 but are looking for slightly more pop.


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