Just when you thought it was safe to go out and buy a titanium tennis racquet...Wilson comes along with the Hyper Carbon 2.0 and does what all the other racquet companies are trying to do with their titanium racquets. They create a stiffer, lighter, and more powerful racquet. Their secret? Leave the titanium out and add a little Hyper Carbon instead.
Actually, giving the Hyper Carbon all the credit is doing a disservice to the designers of the Hyper Carbon 2.0. Hyper Carbon is really just a fancy name for a specific type of Ultra High Modulus Graphite (See All About Hyper Carbon for additional info). Ultra High Modulus Graphite has been around for a long time, and is used in other racquets. The real key to the playability of the Hyper Carbon 2.0 is how the Hyper Carbon is used on the racquet. Ultra High Modulus Graphite can create a number of different playing characteristics depending on where it is located on the frame, and which direction the carbon fibers run. Wilson's designers have done a great job of designing a frame that is as light as the lightest titanium racquets but maintains a much higher power level.
To fully appreciate the power of the Hyper Carbon 2.0 all you need to do is hit a few overheads. You can generate tremendous racquet head speed because it's so light, and the stiffness of the frame creates even more power. It is easily the best racquet on the market for hitting overheads. It's sooooooo easy to crush the ball with this racquet it doesn't really seem fair. If you ever wanted to get rid of your doubles partner just hit a few short lobs to someone who uses the 2.0 while your partner's at the net. Your partner will either get killed or want to kill you. Either way you'll be free to find someone new to play with.
While the 2.0 is tremendous on overheads, serves require more control and discipline since you've only got a fraction of the court to hit into. You'll get plenty of pace and spin but more advanced players may miss the accuracy of less powerful racquets. Players with slower serves should benefit a lot from the extra power the 2.0 provides. A slow, controlled swing is ideal for harnessing its power. Players who already serve hard may have trouble getting their serves in consistently (but when they do go in, they should be spectacular).
Successful groundstrokes will depend on your ability to take advantage of the maneuverability and power without losing control. If you're a player who is constantly out of position or hitting late you will love the 2.0. It's easy to make last second adjustments and to hit offensive shots from defensive positions. This racquet can definitely bail you out of some impossible situations. You can also hit your groundstrokes with tremendous power and spin when you do have time to set up.
The control problems you'll encounter with the 2.0 aren't necessarily physical. They're mental - it's very easy to overhit with this racquet. How easy? REAL EASY! How important is it to have some self-control when using it? REAL IMPORTANT! The 2.0 is so light, maneuverable and powerful that you have to remind yourself not to try to end every point with a winner. This racquet can give you crushing fire power but it's up to you to supply the control. Players with slower, controlled swings who can keep from overhitting will have the most success with the 2.0. Power players with long, hard strokes might want to stick with a smaller caliber racquet. Be realistic about your game; if you can't keep the ball in the court now, this racquet won't help. If you can keep the ball in the court but can't end points, this racquet may be the answer.
You'll find big pluses and some minuses apply to volleying with the 2.0. The racquet's great strength is the maneuverability. You'll find it easy to get the racquet to the ball, even if you get a late start, and the power makes it easy to put away high balls. The large hitting area also makes the volleys easier.
Anytime you step up to a more powerful racquet, you'll find handling low, hard hit balls can be treacherous, and the 2.0 is no exception. Any shot you hit from below the level of the net is a challenge because it's tough to get the ball over the net and back down in the court. The same power that helps on slow, high volleys is a detriment on the low and half volleys.
So far we've talked about the Hyper Carbon 2.0 as one racquet. It actually comes in two head sizes, the 115 (Oversize) and 125 (Super Oversize). While both racquets are similar there are some differences in how they play. Here's a breakdown of some of the differences:
|Power: The 115 is powerful, but the 125 is POWERFUL.|
|Control: The bigger hitting area on the 125 gives it the edge on off center hits. The lower power level of the 115 gives it the edge everywhere else. Especially on slice backhands. You can get more spin with the 125, but it's harder to keep the ball in the court.|
|Maneuverability: At 7.8 (115) and 8.3 (125) ounces (unstrung) both head sizes are exceptionally maneuverable. However, the smaller head size and lighter weight of the 115 makes it noticeably more maneuverable than the 125.|
|Stability: Both racquets are very stable and have very little to no vibration. The 125 does feel more stable, probably because of its larger head and extra weight.|
|Noise: These racquets come with a Wilson "W" dampener but for many that won't be enough. A Gamma Shock Buster or Forten Worm will help put a ding in that widebody ping.|
Here's how one of our play testers described the difference between the two head sizes: "The best analogy for distinguishing between the two racquets (head sizes) may be a big luxury car vs. a sedan. The 125 gives a luxury ride: better insulation from the road and a bit better stability and power. The 115 handles a bit better, and call it feel or call it shock, but you sense the ball a little more with it. If you've got shorter strokes and you usually have time to set up for your shots then the 125 may be ideal. If you tend to stroke the ball with spin and are playing with a harder hitting crowd that can pressure you and rush your shots then the 115 may be better suited to you."
The Hyper Sledge Hammer 2.0 Stretches aren't intended to appeal to all players. Wilson wants to show how their HyperCarbon material can add power and decrease weight in racquets and they've done just that. They have more power than most of the new titanium racquets without sacrificing maneuverability, and they are lighter and more maneuverable than the few racquets that have as much power as they do. These are two of the best ultra light weight power racquets on the market. If you can live without titanium, the 2.0 has a lot to offer.
Note: Since this original review, the Hyper Hammer 2.0 125 has been discontinued. Also, the remaining Hyper Hammer 2.0 115 is now 1 ounce heavier, weighing 9.5 ounces (strung).
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
Review date: January 1999. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
All content copyright 1999 Tennis Warehouse.