Serena Williams in full flight is something to behold. Her serve is one of the most dominant weapons the game will ever see. Her ground strokes, both forehand and backhand, are a devastating mix of topspin and flat drives. Let’s take a closer look at the racquet Serena goes to battle with, the Wilson Blade SW Countervail Autograph 104 racquet.
The standout feature of the SW 104 has to be the 28 inch length. Back in the mid-90s, extended length racquets were all the rage. Most of the extended racquets today max out at 27.5 inches, so the 28 inches really makes a difference. In addition to the extra inch, the SW 104 has a medium overall weight of 11.4 ounces strung, but a substantial swing weight making it one of the most stable racquets on the market. The 22 mm beam and firmer 68 flex, round out the specs of a one of kind performance tennis racquet.
After an initial adjust period, I shortened up my backswings and thoroughly enjoyed hitting flat drives with the SW 104. The frame doesn’t get pushed around and is at its best when you take the ball early. It’s not easy to generate lots of topspin with this frame, and I had to really focus on getting below the ball in order to add good spin. The strength of the SW 104 lies in the flat, hard drive. The 28 inch racquet isn’t as mobile as the Blade 98 frames, but it rewards early preparation with impressive power, stability, and control.
I felt like my serving improved from the moment I swung the SW 104. It feels different swinging a 28 inch frame, but the light overall weight and relatively thin 22 mm beam helps the racquet whip through the air. All of the angles in the service box were available to me, and even though I am only about 5’11”, I was getting a bounce off the court on flat and kick serves. Without much effort, I was getting more net clearance and thus much more confidence in my second serves.
The put away power from the SW 104 is clearly apparent at the net. The racquet is at its best when you hit a heavy approach shot and only have to hit one or two volleys. The hefty swing weight and extra length make it a little tougher to manage on reaction volleys or longer doubles points at the net. Wilson’s Power Holes technology is incorporated in the SW 104 and it provides more comfort as well as a boost in power especially on swinging volleys and overheads.
The Blade SW 104 is unlike any racquet currently on the market. The heavier swing weight and 28 inch length make the racquet incredibly powerful yet stable. If you prepare for your shots early, and enjoy punishing flat ground strokes to the corners, you have to demo the Wilson Blade SW Countervail Autograph 104. Don’t forget, this frame is a joy to serve with!
Note: Playtest racquet was strung with Luxilon Alu Power 125 on the mains @ 50 pounds and Wilson NXT 17G on the crosses @ 55 pounds.
About the Reviewer: Sam Jones currently works at Tennis Express on the Content Marketing team. He previously played at Southwestern University, taught tennis for 10+ years and earned his USRSA Master Racquet Technician Certification in 2011. He is an active NTRP 5.0 League and Tournament player.
The personal racquet for a 23x Grand Slam winner, the Blade SW 104 Autograph Countervail features a large headsize that enhances the sweetspot for pure strikes. A dense string pattern provides traditional control and durability for tennis players aspiring to play like Serena.