A year after the launch of the Pro Staff Tour 90, Wilson introduces its second Tour racquet, the Pro Staff Tour 95. Whereas the Tour 90 came with a demanding 90 sq. inch midsize head and hefty feel from its 12.7 ounce weight, the Tour 95 features a 95 sq. inch Midplus head size and weighs in at a much trimmer 11.5 ounces. In keeping with the Pro Staff heritage, the Tour 95 is head light and features the familiar PWS (Perimeter Weighting System) frame bumps at 3 and 9 o'clock inside the racquet head. Carried over from the Tour 90 to the Tour 95 is the leather grip and the same black, yellow and red paint scheme. Like the Tour 90, the Tour 95 features textured paint around the upper hoop - apparently, a Pete Sampras inspired touch that was introduced during the development of the Tour 90. Unlike the Tour 90, which features a flat beam design similar to the Pro Staff Original, the Tour 95 features a rounded beam design - similar to the Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 and the Pro Staff ROK.
We hit the courts for a 3-week playtest with two Pro Staff Tour 95s strung with Wilson NXT 17 gauge string. We strung one at 54lbs and the other at 59lbs to get a feel for how the racquet performed at different tensions. Here's what we found.
It was evident to our team from the very first swing that the Pro Staff Tour 95 was a very maneuverable addition to the Tour family. Don found an especially light feel to the Pro Staff Tour 95. "I found the Tour 95 very easy to swing from the baseline; almost too easy. I prefer racquets in the 11.5 ounce/325 swingweight range, but this racquet seemed to swing even lighter; kind of a welter weight of a player's racquets. This was both a positive and a negative for me. On the plus side, I could take a full swing without feeling like I was swinging through water, as with some heavier racquets. I had very little problem with control and the open string pattern allowed me to generate good topspin and slice. On the downside, the Pro Staff Tour 95 just seemed lighter than these specs, which required that I take a full swing. Otherwise, my shots would land short or be sitters for my opponent, or both. There just wasn't quite enough pop for me. I believe a little added weight (10 grams) at 3 & 9 o'clock would go a long way to enhance power and stability, without sacrificing control. As is, I preferred the more loosely strung playtest racquet for its livelier stringbed." Chris was in agreement, saying, "the Pro Staff Tour 95 is very maneuverable from the baseline and I felt like I could really whip the racquet head through the ball. With all the racquet head speed I was generating, spin came pretty easily. I was able to hit some really nice topspin off both sides with this racquet, but I wasn't able to get much weight behind my shots. My topspin groundstrokes seemed to sit up a little, and just didn't have their usual bite. I was also missing some weight on my slice backhand. When stretched wide or rushed, I found my slice backhands would land short. I can usually keep the ball fairly deep in this situation, but really struggled with the Pro Staff Tour 95. As I was struggling a little with depth, I moved in from my usual comfort zone behind the baseline, and started to take the ball earlier. Taking the ball on the rise with the Pro Staff Tour 95 produced much better results. I was able to find a bit of the pace and depth I had been missing, while still having enough time to react to the ball due to the racquet's maneuverability."
Wendi struggled to consistently find the sweetspot with the Pro Staff Tour 95, but liked the feel from the racquet when she did. "At the baseline the Pro Staff Tour 95 gave me mixed results. I either felt it performed beautifully or very inconsistent. The power level was also a problem, there just wasn't much behind it. I think my game requires a bit more punch than this racquet can give. I seemed to hit well on the run returning wide balls, but I had some trouble when my opponent hit deep. I didn't like the feel and performance I found with the Pro Staff Tour 95 on off-center hits." Josh also had mixed results with the Pro Staff Tour 95, saying, "the Pro Staff Tour 95 was easy to hit groundstrokes with. The light weight and fast swing speed I was generating allowed me to stay on top of the baseline. Usually I can be found six inches to a foot behind the baseline because of my long, loopy stroke. Unfortunately, my backhand suffered a bit. I hit a bunch of backhands too early and was constantly adjusting to find a rhythm. I don't think I hit many clean backhands with this racquet."
Probably finding the best fit for his game with the Pro Staff Tour 95 was Granville. "The Pro Staff Tour 95 has the same great feel of the Hyper Pro Staff 6.1, with some slight variation," said Granville. "The slightly lighter overall weight of the Pro Staff Tour 95 - compared to the Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 - is offset by the slight increase in balance toward the head (10 points head light for the Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 compared to 7 points head light for the Pro Staff Tour 95). The two essentially cancel each other out. In other words, the Pro Staff Tour 95 felt good, and no adjustment from my usual Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 was needed beyond a warm-up. This came as somewhat of a surprise, as I have always preferred VERY head light racquets - 12 to 14 points. One benefit is a bit more pop on groundies (as well as other strokes). The Pro Staff Tour 95 is a bit stiffer, translating into a crisper feel. If my fundamentals were sound (racquet out front on returns, early backswing, weight moving forward, etc., etc.) then this racquet gave me the tools to maximize my capabilities. This racquet, and a few others, sit squarely on top of the hill of great playing classic frames." combined score 74
The Pro Staff Tour 95 turned in a very solid performance at net in the hands of our playtesters, with everyone finding good results. Josh said, "I was able to hit precise volleys with this racquet, but I had to punch through the ball more than usual to keep it out of reach of my opponent. However, the Pro Staff Tour 95 is very maneuverable and I was confident approaching the net in various situations." Don found the maneuverability of the Pro Staff Tour 95 to be a real plus at net. "Whereas the Pro Staff Tour 95's lighter weight and headlight balance had both positives and negatives from the baseline, it was almost all positive at net," said Don. "This racquet is very nimble on volleys, and I got to just about every shot during fast-paced exchanges. Here again, I liked the more loosely strung racquet which allowed me to hit drive volleys deep and pull off the angled drop volleys." Wendi also enjoyed volleying with the Pro Staff Tour 95, finding some improved shot making. "The Pro Staff Tour 95 was very solid at the net and had nice control. My volleys were dictating and effective. I really enjoyed the stability and maneuverability of this racquet."
Granville continued to improve on the form he found at the baseline when moving forward to volley with the Pro Staff Tour 95. "Perhaps the biggest surprise was the noticeable enhancement in stability on volleys afforded by the Pro Staff Tour 95. I attribute this to the extra weight in the head as compared to the Hyper Pro Staff 6.1. Another big plus was the touch - wow! My drop volleys were on, and I found a lot of depth to the feel from this racquet. I really felt in the zone with this racquet at net." Chris offered, "I made some spectacular reaction volleys during doubles play with this racquet. I was amazed on several occasions that not only did I manage to get my racquet on the ball, but I also managed to hit a solid volley in the process. I had to be careful not to swing too much since it's so easy to get this racquet around the ball. The trade-off for all the maneuverability was some instability returning heavier shots. If an opponent hit a heavy return low to my feet the racquet felt a little overpowered by the ball. If I caught the ball slightly off-center in this situation I could feel the racquet twist. When in a better volleying situation I found lots of feel on touch shots. I was very happy with the accuracy I was finding on angles, lob volleys, and drop volleys during doubles play. Volleys deep to the baseline corners or to the open court also found their target, and I enjoyed the controlled feel from the stringbed." combined score 81
Serves and Overheads
The biggest advantage to serving with the Pro Staff Tour 95 seemed to be consistency. Our entire team made note of the placement and accuracy they were finding with this racquet. Finding good accuracy with his serves was Josh. "I found a great deal of success placing serves in any location I went after. Putting enough pace on the ball was a bit tougher. If I didn't place a first serve deep in a corner my opponents had no trouble with their returns. The same held true with my second serve. I could generate a decent amount of spin, but I couldn't get enough kick or weight behind the serve. I was usually on the defensive after hitting a second serve. The one exception was the slice serve hit wide to the Deuce court. Definitely a shot worth adding to your game if you use this racquet! Overheads were easy to hit. I got the best response from the racquet on backhand overheads. I didn't necessarily put them away for winners, but I stayed in more points than usual."
Wendi found plenty of control, but little power when serving with the Pro Staff Tour 95. "My serve benefits from some extra power, and I couldn't make this racquet work for me. My serves were consistently in, but there was nothing behind them. I did have nice control, placing the ball where I wanted to." Like Wendi, Chris felt his serve was lacking power with the Pro Staff Tour 95. He said, "like a pitcher of Bud Light at a frat party, my serves took a pounding with the Pro Staff Tour 95. While I was finding great placement and spin, most of my first and second serves stood up and begged to be hit. No matter how I swung, I just couldn't capture the pace and weight of my usual serve. The control I was finding was exceptional, and I found some great slice angles out wide to the deuce court. However, such was the lack of pace that all but the most acute of angles came back. This produced a frustrating situation in doubles, as I would find great placement only to be faced with a challenging first volley due to the ease with which my opponents were returning. Switching to my regular racquet immediately produced better results and easier holds of serve. I seemed to find the same lack of power when hitting overheads with the Pro Staff Tour 95, having to hit two or three to finish a point, rather than being able to blast the first one away."
Having more success on the serve were Granville and Don. Granville said, "the Pro Staff Tour 95 feels good in my hand. When serving it feels very familiar. I found my flat first serve heaters were hitting their mark. I did not see any added power behind the serve, though. One thing I noticed with the slightly less head light balance was that kickers wide were landing a bit shorter in the service box, making them more difficult to return - more aces too. I attributed this to the wrist snap at the top of the stroke being a bit more effective." Don quickly found the groove with the Pro Staff Tour 95, saying, "I really enjoyed serving with this racquet, and served well most of the time. My first outing was a serving dream; everything worked. The racquet's headlight balance made it easier to swing fast. I was hitting solid, first serves up the middle or slices out wide, while my second serves had good pace and spin. I don't think I double-faulted once. I felt really confident going after my second serves because of the spin I could impart. If there was any negative, it was that the racquet seemed a little whippy. I feel an added 10 grams of weight would also be a benefit on serves." combined score 71
Returns of Serve
As with other shots, our team found a lot of control and maneuverability returning with the Pro Staff Tour 95. Having particular success was Josh, "I really enjoyed returning serve with the Pro Staff Tour 95. The faster swing speed I was generating allowed me to return serves that I normally put in the net. I was hitting cross-court forehand returns at sharper angles and I was able to generate a fair amount of topspin. I was also able to attack serves hit to my backhand, which was a nice change of pace. Usually I am forced to slice my backhand returns, but with the Pro Staff Tour 95 I was on the offensive more often." Don, on the other hand, was of two minds when it came to returning. "It was love/hate when returning serve with the Pro Staff Tour 95. I loved it when I had a little time to take a swing and hit through the ball. I could be aggressive and not worry about hitting long. The ability to add slice or topspin provided even more options when hitting aggressive returns. However, I felt like I was floundering when forced to hit a block return. There simply wasn't enough bounce off the racquet to get the ball back over the net with any pace. The loose strings helped some, but added weight would be the solution for hitting more effective block or chip returns." Wendi would have liked a little more power from the Pro Staff Tour 95 for her return game. "My serve returns didn't surprise my opponent, that's for sure," said Wendi. "I returned decently, but not the aggressive returns I like so much. I was working way too hard to get the ball into the back of the court."
Granville continued to find what he was looking for from the Pro Staff Tour 95 when returning, saying, "what a treat! Same great stability and feel. I was hitting offensive return winners and really feeling the contact with the ball. No guesswork on the feel here - solid and predictable. Another big plus was taking the pace off the ball on the return, dropping the return for a short angle or at the feet of my opponent. On occasion the deceptive drop shot return was a winner." Chris also found the groove when returning. He said, "the return of serve was my favorite shot with the Pro Staff Tour 95. The racquet is so maneuverable I felt I could get my racquet on almost anything the server threw at me. The control I was finding in other areas of the court really paid off on the return. I could take a good cut at anything out to either wing and be confident my return would find its target. I was also able to use the server's pace well and found the Pro Staff Tour 95 a great racquet for counter-punching. combined score 78
The Pro Staff Tour 95 offers a lot of control from all areas of the court, which resulted in some good consistent hitting from our team. Control came from two key areas, good feel on touch and placement shots, and plenty of spin on groundstrokes and serves. For a little extra pop we recommend stringing the Pro Staff Tour 95 towards the lower end of the tension range. Stronger players may also consider adding a little extra weight for a beefier feel. As is, the Pro Staff Tour 95 will appeal to those looking for a traditional feeling player's racquet in a light and manageable package. combined score 74
Wilson Tour 95
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
Review date: Feb. 2004. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.