Racquet Review: Wilson Blade 98 (16x19, 18x20), 104

Sunday, February 24, 2013 /by
Wilson Blade 104
Wilson Blade 104

MSRP: $230
Head Size: 98 sq. in. (98) ; 104 sq. in. (104)
Length: 27 in. (98) ; 27.5 in. (104)
Weight: 11.3 oz. (98); 10.8 oz. (104)
Balance: 2 pts. HL (98); 4 pts. HL (104)
Beam Width: 20.6mm (98); 22mm (104)
String Pattern: 16x19, 18x20 (98); 18x19 (104)
Construction: Stiff (98); Firm (104)
Swingweight: 326 (98); 303 (104)
Ideal Swing: Long (98); Medium to Long (104)
NTRP: 4.0+

The Pitch
The Wilson Blade 98 and 104—racquets of choice for Milos Raonic and Serena Williams, respectively—feature vibration-dampening basalt fibers in the frame and handle. Both models are also constructed with Wilson’s Double Hole grommet design, which the company says allows for more string movement and an expanded sweet spot.

How It Tested
The Blade 98 and 104 are power baseliners’ delights: They’re thin enough to allow for good maneuverability and racquet-head speed, but still have enough mass and rigidity to crush the ball off the ground. Swinging the 98, intermediate-to-advanced players explained they were able to hold their own in bruising baseline rallies by generating forceful, deep shots. Most were also comfortable putting away volleys. As for the 98’s two string patterns: Players with flatter strokes preferred the 18x20 pattern, while others with spin-oriented games—as well as big kick serves—liked the 16x19 pattern. For competent players who’d like a little more help—but who’d still like to retain the feel of a player’s stick—try the Blade 104. It’s lighter and thicker than the 98s, and so supplies a tad more oomph around the court.

Bottom Line
For seasoned power-baseliners and all-courters who rely on solid play in the backcourt.

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