Racquet Review: Wilson Steam 99S, 105S

Sunday, February 24, 2013 /by
Wilson Steam 99S
Wilson Steam 99S

MSRP: $220
Head Size: 99 sq. in. (99S); 105 sq. in. (105S)
Length: 27 in. (99S); 27.5 in. (105S)
Weight: 11.3 oz. (99S); 10.8 oz. (105S)
Balance: 2 pts. HL (99S); 4 pts. HL (105S)
Beam Width: 24mm (99S); 26mm (105S)
String Pattern: 16x15
Construction: Stiff
Swingweight: 321 (99S); 320 (105S)
Ideal Swing: Medium to Long
NTRP: 4.0+ (99S); 3.5 to 4.5 (105S)

The Pitch
The Wilson Steam 99S and 105S debut Spin Effect, a 16 by 15 string pattern. Wilson says that, when strung with monofilaments, the Steams’ fewer cross strings allow the mains to displace and “snap back” farther and faster upon impact, increasing spin and ball speed. What’s more, the Steam models feature the new and improved Amplifeel 360 handle technology, which the company says provides even more power and feel.

How It Tested
The Steam 99S and 105S were the most spin-friendly racquets tested this year. Hitting with the 99S in the backcourt, accomplished baseliners with faster swings and Western-style grips were impressed with how easily they could impart topspin and backspin and height onto the ball, an advantage that many said enabled not just greater consistency on groundstrokes and serves, but more extreme angles as well. The 105S, for its part, performed similarly, albeit with more power, less control and, according to some, even more spin. (Its 16x15 string pattern is even more open.) As such, it suits itself well to intermediates in need of additional margin and forgiveness.

Bottom Line
For spin monsters, especially baseliners with quick swings and Western-oriented grips.

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