For the updated version of their extremely popular Blade 98 18x20, Wilson has kept the key specification the same (head size, weight balance and string pattern), but have given it a cosmetic update as well as introducing a new material into the frame's makeup.
Similar to the new Pro Staff racquets, the new Blade racquets have a classy minimalist design that boasts a uniquely textured matte black paint accented nicely with pops of glossy lime green.
Even more exciting than the new cosmetic design is the addition of Countervail to the blend of Basalt and Graphite. Originally designed for the aerospace industry, Countervail is a revolutionary shock dampening material that is currently being used in everything from high performance bikes to surfboards. While it is amazing at dampening shock and in turn at protecting the body from the rigors of training and competition, the best thing about Countervail, is that it does not change the feel of the racquet. This was something that was extremely important to ATP world number 5 player Milos Raonic who has been using the technology in his racquets since the beginning of the 2016 season. “I made the switch just three days before the Australian Open, which was a risk, but it has paid off. I’ve had the best season of my career, and as I train, practice and play nearly every day, I’ve found that my energy, shot placement and late match power have gotten much better. The best part though, is that my Blade feels the same in my hands. I honestly can’t tell Countervail is in there, but I can feel it working.”
The Blade 98 18x20 Countervail should continue to be a very popular choice with players looking for a racquet that has plenty of control and feel as well as some nice access to power with a full, fast swing. The addition of Countervail should only add to the legacy of the Blade family of racquets.
- Head Size: 98 sq. inches / 630 sq. cm
- Length: 27 inches / 68.58 cm
- Weight: 10.7 oz / 304 g unstrung
- Balance: 6 pts head light / 325 mm unstrung
- Swing Weight: 327 strung
- Beam width: 20.6mm / 20.6mm / 20.6mm
- Flex: 67 RA
- Tension Range: 50-60 lbs / 23-27 kg
- String Pattern: 18/20
Countervail is a patented, one-of-a-kind, layered carbon fiber, originally designed for the aerospace industry to dissipate vibrational energy in airplanes and space vehicles. Wilson LABS, the innovation hub at Wilson, has strategically placed precise amounts of the technology into specific areas of each Blade racket frame to give tennis players meaningful and cumulative physiological benefits over time, including maximum energy, particularly in late sets or long matches, and less fatigue. As a result, athletes will have more control over his/her shots and recover from training and matches faster.
Braided Graphite + Basalt:
In this revolutionary new layout, Wilson braids Basalt with carbon graphite fiber throghout 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.
Amplifeel handle technology 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.
Provides a consistent, more forgiving stringbed response while dramatically increasing the sweet spot.