When a frame is rolled out, there’s typically a new technology or innovation that comes with it. Some bells and whistles to potentially increase power, spin, or feel—or a combination of such attributes—to attract prospective players. The Wilson Ultra Tour makes no such claims. There’s no Countervail, Perimeter Weighting System, or any of the other enhancements that inhabit the manufacturer’s other models. And while it might appear to be no-frills, the frame’s performance is certainly not generic.
Unlike typical traditional player’s frames, the Ultra Tour is trim, weighing well below 12 ounces. Coupled with a head-light balance, and the racquet was positively feathery through the strike zone. This helped boost swing speeds to compensate for its lack of inherent power. I could do damage off the ground, but had to work a little harder to generate pace to put the ball away. Consequently, I found myself being aggressive with my shot placement more than ball speed.
Fortunately, the 18x20 string pattern affords a high degree of precision. Even when taking those big cuts, the ball obeyed and consistently stayed inside the lines. The drawback to the dense configuration was less help in the spin department. Even though I did find the frame more adept at driving the ball deep, I still generated better-than-expected topspin and slice when needed.
This carried over to serving. Instead of amplifying traits like pace and spin, the Ultra Tour reflected them. Again, it was easy to whip it through contact, which resulted in some nice pop on flat serves and spin on kickers. It was certainly accurate, and regularly found the boxes. But there wasn’t the extra mph that many competing frames can provide with less effort. I was able to hurt my opponents with serves, just not to the degree I generally do with chunkier, firmer, more powerful options.
However, the thin beam, friendly flex and tight string pattern gave the Ultra Tour a plush, comfortable, connected feel at contact that harkened back to more classic models, and was a real treat at net. The quick handling and superb touch and control made for full-service volleying. Cradle the ball, punch it deep, dig out a half-volley of the shoe tops, the racquet could do it all. All-courters, serve-and-volleyers and doubles specialists will really appreciate its net performance.
In stock form the racquet possesses adequate stability, but some players may want to add a bit of weight for increased sturdiness and power. Given the static weight and balance, it presents an ideal opportunity for scrupulous customization. I felt like it could use more backbone against incoming pace, especially at net. It would also give extra weight and penetration to shots like slice backhands. But it wouldn’t take much, and you wouldn’t want hamper the frame’s great maneuverability.
In a marketplace littered with stiff, one-dimensional options, the Ultra Tour is a refreshing, throwback frame. It has the classic feel, comfort and control-oriented performance of a traditional player’s racquet, but the quickness needed for the modern game. It’s certainly for a niche audience; players who have grown accustomed to getting some help from their racquets will probably not get enough of it—at least in stock form—from this one. But heavy-hitters who provide their own pace and are looking for a racquet that accurately keeps their big swings in the court will definitely appreciate its measured natured. As will steady players who can make effective use of its precision and versatility. Just like playing winning tennis, the Ultra Tour proves you don’t have to be flashy to be good.