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Wilson Blade 98 (16x19) Racquet Customer feedback

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Comments: Felt a little flimsy until I changed to a leather grip. Very maneuverable inspite of its swing weight; a control oriented racquet that has some pop. I love the topspin the racquet generates. Currently stringing it with a full bed of multi filament. Bi phase 16g at 55 lbs. Will string it with a poly next time. Not so good for slicing but my defense is better than my previous racquet. Great racquet overall. I am almost 40, and a 5.0 player.
From: Patrick, 10/14

Comments: Attention all Pro Staff lovers. I have found the greatest racquet ever, and yes I know Federer's new racquet will be similar. If you want a PS feel, control racquet with extra power on a 98 inch head, buy this racquet, but lead weight in the handle to bring it to 12 points HL and 12.7 ounces strung, and you will never play another racquet in your life! I have it strung with Luxilon Savage at 53 pounds and I can do anything with it, power, control, forgiveness, spin, I can do anything with this set up. I'm never buying a racquet again, this one is perfect.
From: Mike, 8/14

Comments: This racquet is a ton of fun to just hit with. Every ball was going deep but I had little control with it. I found I had to change my swing to keep the ball in the court but I loved the easy power for just hitting around, but in a game not so much. The extra power helped my 2 handed backhand and it also has lots of plow through and you can solidly return big serves with little effort. The Blade's beam shape makes for crisp feeling volleys. I might have to demo the 18x20 version.
From: Steve, 8/14

Comments: Reviews are only valid if you know how Is doing the evaluation. I'm a old school (38 years old, 5.5 level) flat hitter whose all time favorite racquet is PS 90. It is the best racquet ever made for accuracy and control. Being stubborn but needing more power and forgiveness, two years ago I moved to 6.1 95, love it. Pushing the envelope, wanted something even more powerful, but most important factor is control. I've tried everything -- name it, APD, PD, found these to be baseline nuclear bomb droppers, good, but not for my game, I generate a ton of power, Head, again, just about every racquet. I had tried the old Blade and wasn't impressed. So I demoed the 93, and the 16x19 and 18x20, "16" from here on in. The 93 was great at serve, my hitting partner was blown away, I was like 95% first serves in, he couldn't handle it, but again in fast play just not forgiving enough (I suffer many injuries, hard to keep in shape), so demoed the 16 and the 18. Reading TW reviews I expected the 18 to be the one, and although terrific, it was very low powered. The 16, as others have said, has everything you can want, control, power, forgiveness, maneuverability, I kept looking for a flaw but couldn't find one. So I bought one! If you want control, and again everyone is different, but use RPM Blast or what I used, Lux Rough at 50 pounds. The dwell time is fantastic, the Rough is super accurate, so I have a large head size for forgiveness, power in the racquet, control with the strings, and just enough access to spin. I had though of weighting it in the handle to replicate the PS specs, but I'm not going to do it. Coming around say on a backhand (I use single), the PS is great and steady of course, however the Blade whips around fast, and that heavy head catches the ball, the result is a quicker and more powerful movement to the backhand with the steadiness of a PS. So yea, love the TW testers, but I think they got it wrong on this one, perhaps they used the wrong string, you definitely need a deader string in my opinion. So great racquet, don't let TW reviewers influence you, test it yourself. NOTE: If you demo from TW, it can take a couple of days before being ready to ship, so if you are in a hurry go to your pro shop. I did buy mine from TW. I really love the extra size without sacrificing control, run wide to barely get a backhand ball, just stick that racquet out there and barely catch it and it's going over, much better than having to miss because I'm using a heavy smaller head. Alright, enough from me! Also, my 13 year old son is still stuck using a 6.1 95, he's a winner in USTA, I'm going to "convert" him to the Blade, he thinks it's heresy as the PS and the equal specs of the 6.1 95 have such a venerable heritage.
From: Anon, 7/14

Comments: An amazing tennis racquet, super comfortable on the arm, easy to play with! Maneuverability was reaching optimum levels, it really is a great racquet! I've got it strung with the Wilson Sensation, and I'm finding it perfect. Though it lost tension in 8 hours. I'm thinking of switching to Luxilon Big Banger Rough.
From: Yousif, 5/14

Comments: Great racquet. Very easy to handle and hit aggressively with. More power and spin than the 18X20, but still has great feel and control. Did not enjoy this racquet for serves, but loved it on everything else
From: Mike, 5/14

Comments: I have owned the BLX Blade 93 (first), Blade 98S (second), and now this one. I have also hit several times with the 18x20 so at this point I'm familiar with the whole line. I should add that I transitioned from playing with the K Factor 6.1 Tour 90 so I was looking for something a little more playable as I approach my mid-40s. I liked the feel and control of the 93, but it was a little too much like the 6.1 (great racquet though). The 98S was way too light and loose for me. I couldn't control it. I playtested the 18x20 a bit and it was a nice transition, but I hoped that the 16x19 pattern would feel more like my 6.1 with that open string pattern and larger frame. I have strung it with Wilson's Champion's Choice at 55 lbs (gut)/52 lbs (APR) a couple times and it's a decent compromise and has some of the qualities I'm looking for, but it's still way too lively. I read another review that called it a rocket launcher and that's how I feel a bit. I'm curious about adding some weight to help with the control. I see Zaw's comments below. 1 pts HL seems so light. I'm thinking I should add something to try and recreate "PWS." Any comments would be welcomed. I do know I'm going to up the tension slightly. Maybe 58/55 lbs. I guess I'm just waiting for the new Fed racquet to hit the market. I'll follow up and let you know how it goes with the new customization on the 16x19.
From: John, 5/14

Comments: I have been playing with original Wilson Pro Staff 6.0 95" racquet for so many years and tried almost every newer Wilson Pro Staff series when they came out, because I want more power and control with newer technology. None of them came close to Original Pro Staff and I always go back to my old stick. As funny as it may sound since this is not ProStaff series, this plays quite similar to original ProStaff 6.0 with a some customization. I added 4 x 2" of 1/2" lead tape on the handle, Wilson Leather grip, and 2 x 2" of lead tape on the throat. This became my dream racquet. Lighter head with better maneuverability. Try it and let me hear what you think if you are Pro Staff fan. Use Wilson Champion Choice with Natural gut on the main 48lb, Luxilon Rough on cross 46 lb. You might have to tweek the tension based on your game. Plow though is very good. Spin is very easy with open pattern and balls are deeper, heavier due to added weight. Hope this helps.
From: Zaw, 4/14

Comments: Surprisingly good stick! I think that I've found a replacement for my Hyper ProStaff 95, that's just too heavy and small headed for me. Don't know what TW is saying, re: 16 vs 18 mains on these. If you check Federer, he's playing with 98 sq in head and 16 mains and he's doing pretty well. For me, the flex at 66 is right on and the stick feels like a lighter, more forgiving ProStaff 95. Serves are very good, as well as the forehand and backhand, both control and spin are there. I enjoy the extra spin and power from the 16 mains version. Strung mine with Spiky Shark at the lower end of the range and it works great! Probably going to get one or two more for back-ups.
From: Jim, 4/14

Comments: Players who have played with Wilson control racquets all their life will appreciate this stick . Great control but in a larger racquet (lets face it, when Federer cant play with his 90 square inches, normal players cant realistically play well in the 95 square inches against the hard hitters with loads of top spin today). Somehow, there is more control than the 100s on the market, but a lot more forgiving than the 95s.
From: Anon, 1/14

Comments: My first "players" racquet and I am loving it. The spin, the plow through and sleek cosmetics -- it's all in this 98 square inch package. I've strung mine up with Signum Pro Poly Plasma and Signum Pro Tornado at 53lbs. If you can handle the high swing weight, make sure to try it out!
From: JP, 12/13

Comments: I recently got this racquet and all I can say is wow! The racquet offered great spin and control. I'm a 4.0 player who stays at the baseline and for me this racquet is amazing. The control it gave me combined with my power generated angled flat shots that no one could return. I have no idea why TW didn't give it a better review as I feel it is better than the 18x20 and recommend it to any intermediate to advanced player. I am a 13 year old teen and about to move to 5.0 because of this racquet.
From: Sruthik, 12/13

Comments: I went from the Prince Warrior, which I played with for alittle over a year to the Blade 98. I had a little trouble at first finding the right string and tension, but I finally settled in on Wilson RipSpin 17ga strung at 53 lbs. This is a great racquet with plenty of pop and control. No matter who I have given this racquet to to try, they've loved it. I'm looking to buy a 3rd one soon.
From: Tom, 12/13

Comments: I'm going to put this very simply for you -- this is an awesome racquet. I went through a number of racquets before coming back to the Blade 98 (16x19). To me, it has everything you can possible ask for from a racquet -- control, stability, power, spin, easy on the arm, and it's well balanced. I like to string at low (52 lbs) tension and with a poly like Kirschbaum Spiky Shark, this racquet delivers, and it delivers big! Seriously, I can not recommend this racquet highly enough. Get it!
From: George, 11/13

Comments: Updating my previous comment from 7/13, where I wrote that I would like a lighter version -- this turned out not to be the case. What happened is that the racquet I received (not from TW, as I am not presently in the US) was not 304g (unstrung) as the specification but 343g (strung). Allowing 13-15g for strings, the racquet was about 330g. I contacted Wilson and the usual manufacturing tolerance is about 7g, so it was far out of spec. And if it is that far off, one can only wonder what the balance was. Now, I received a replacement, and this one is exactly the correct mass. Other than a bit of vibration it plays beautifully -- sharp and precise, but yet with good power and it is balanced nicely. I would go so far as to say that this is the best racquet (for me) that I have ever had. I looked around the web and came across other people reporting the same problem. So my advice to Wilson is -- step up quality control -- weighing the racquet after production would be the most simple and obvious check! To potential purchasers: this racquet is highly recommended, but ask the vendor to weigh it before stringing it up for you!
From: Johnson, 10/13

Comments: Demoed it today -- wow! Much better than the previous version -- very powerful (vs. my BLX 95, Technifibre Xone 17) but with good control. The power can be easily tamed by string tension adjustments. Having been a Wilson fan all my life, this retains the Wilson feel and is forgiving for me who is now a half step slower, and few pounds heavier. Exactly what I am looking for (good control with more power).
From: Mark, 9/13

Comments: I have this racquet and I absolutely love it. I suggest buying it if you need a new one, it has a great feel to it!
From: Anthony, 7/13

Comments: I demoed this racquet along with several others with similar specs and this is my favorite. I play high school tennis and play in some tournaments as well and consider myself a 4.5 level player. As soon as I hit a ball with this racquet I could tell that it was a good stick. The feel is amazing and I like how the weight is balanced. I feel very connected to all of my shots. The 16x19 pattern is perfect for my spin oriented game and for some reason I hit my backhand a lot cleaner with this racquet. I also like the racquet at net though I'd have to say this is its weakest point. My volleys don't feel quite as crisp as compared to other racquets but the blade's ability on serve makes up for it. It adds a little spin and pace to my serve and just like all the other shots it feels great to hit a serve with this racquet. Also putting balls away is a joy with this racquet. I have great control on approaches and the spin keeps the ball in. All in all, this is a great racquet for players wwho love spin and want a control oriented racquet with a little bit of bite too. I plan to buy this racquet and string it about mid tension with a low powered poly in order to enhance the control.
From: Aaron, 7/13

Comments: I first demoed this racquet and loved it. All of my strokes were greatly improved. So I decided to get the player package with three racquets. I knew that Wilson's quality control was bad, but I didn't think it was going to be this bad. Two of the racquets I received were 12.0 ounces strung. The other was 11.65 strung. Considering the specs say 11.2 strung, I am pretty disappointed. Just wish Wilson had better quality control.
From: Anon, 7/13

Comments: I know there are mixed reviews for this 16x19 version, but I must say that I am in love with it. I've been playing with all sorts of Blades and this one is the best. For those who have some issues in the first trial, I recommend tightening up the tension by 5-10 lbs than your usual setting for 18x20 pattern. Customizing it with a little lead tape may be another option but I like the way it is manufactured because it feels more maneuverable than my other blades with some lead tapes. Bottom line, it is really worth giving a second look at this one with higher tensions and you will be writing a very strong and positive review here like I am doing now!
From: Phil, 7/13

Comments: Previous Blade 98s have been too low powered, stiff and heavy for me. This one is great, precise, steady on volleys, and has more power than the 18x20 version. Still slightly too high of a swing weight for me, a bit more headlight balance or a few grams less weight would make it just right.
From: Johnson, 7/13

Comments: This racquet feels like a regular Blade racquet on steroids! The 16x19 string pattern really livens up the the Blade 98, which allows for greater power and a softer feel than the 98 18x20 and 93 versions. Groundstrokes can be hit with good depth and spin almost without effort, volleys can be placed deep with authority, and all types of serves are a breeze to hit at high speeds. The Blade 98, regardless of string pattern, is also highly maneuverable for a "player's racquet" as well as relatively stable from any area on the court, making this a perfect racquet for the competitive 3.0 and up level player. However, this racquet's power level does make it tempting to go for outright winners, reducing your accuracy and depth control sometimes. At the same time though, the more you go for your shot with this racquet, the more it rewards you. It could just be me but that was the most noticeable factor I discovered about this version of the Blade 98. Bottom line is that I bought two of these bad boys and am highly pleased with the way they play. My favorite Blade by far! I am about a 4.0 level all-court player with a one-handed backhand.
From: Shane
String type and tension: Luxilon 4g 1.25/Gosen OG Sheep Micro 16 at 52 lbs

Comments: Disappointed with this racquet. I played with the NBlade 98 and liked the KBlade as well, but this racquet feels completely different, much more flimsy for lack of a better word, very similar to the Head Radicals. Maybe the open string pattern doesn't agree with me, but I traded it in for the APD '13 and haven't looked back as the APD is a much better racquet for me!
From: John, 6/13

Comments: I found great control with this racquet. It has predictable and even power throughout the string bed. One thing is for sure, the faster your hit, the better this racquet is for you. You have to be in command of your stroke, if you do not hit the ball this racquet won't reward you. But all in all, fine frame, comfortable, lots of control and power, plenty of spin, but again, not a recreational frame. A good poly at moderate tension suits this racquet well or a nice hybrid.
From: Jim, 5/13

Comments: I really wanted to love this racquet, but I couldn't. The feel was excellent, power was good, the racquet looks awesome, and I loved how much spin I could get with it. But the thing I hated was the lack of control. When it came time to put the ball away, the ball would just trampoline off the stringbed and sail way out. It was just too frustrating, so I went with the Graphene Speed Pro instead.
From: Jonathan, 4/13

Comments: Not sure if it is the weight or balance, but I couldn't get any pace on my serves. Switched to the 18x20 and probably added 15mph.
From: Matthew, 4/13

Comments: I am probably an upper 4.5 junior player that plays a baseline game but will also serve and volley and I have a good all around game. This is without a doubt the best racquet i have ever played with good power, spin, stability, plow through and maneuverability. Contrary to TW house reviews, the racquet is also great on serves, returns and definitely volleys. Unfortunately the racquet is too stiff for me, after switching from the 62 stiffness of the Head YT IG Radical MP I got back of the shoulder and elbow problems after a few weeks of playing.
From: Lucas, 3/13

Comments: Not much I can add that's new to what others have already said. This is a well made, rock solid frame, with nice plow, that hits very big (and yet retains good control), and has a certain rich plush superb impact feel. For me, it's that slight step up away from powerful lighter raqts into the player's frame realm. Good form (as always) is required to extract the best from the 16x19 Blade, but it's easier than a lot of true player's frames. It's the type of raqt that once you set it in motion, it takes care of the ball all by itself. And on a closing note, I'll point out that IMO the cosmetics are top class and very attractive.
From: RK, 3/13

Comments: I feel that a second review is in order. After using this racket for about a fortnight now, I have to say, nothing feels as good. The steam 99 S could not compare to the control and stability of this racquet. The Six Ones don't come through the air as fast as this. I used VS 17 gut at 60 pounds and RPM 17 at 56 pounds. If you are looking for a higher end swing weight, leave it as it is. If you want more of an all round stick, buy it one size down and put a heat sleeve on. After going through over 10+ racquets and 20+ string set-ups, I think I can finally stay with this.
From: Ryan, 2/13

Comments: Everything about this racquet is great except for one major factor - stiffness. I'm a 40 year old player with arm issues and I would have bought this racquet if it were a little more flexible. I hope that Wilson will make more flexible rackets in the future.
From: Alan, 2/13

Comments:Comparing this to the new Steam 99S, it offers so much racquet head speed, stability, power, and spin! Not as much as the steam, obviously, but you get more control. Initially I wanted to buy the 3/8 version, but after feeling the swing weight, I decided to buy the 1/4 and make it bigger and more headlight by adding a heat sleeve. It really is a cut above the rest.
From: Ryan, 2/13

Comments:This racket with the 16x19 stringbed is a game changer and unlike any of the previous Blades. I think it is a game improvement AND players frame, all rolled into one. It has the classic feel and nice weight of a players frame with just the right amount of controllable free power and spin that you would expect in a lighter frame. I tried several of the heavier frames like the Pure Storm Tour/Wilson Six-one and lighter frames like the Juice 108 - this frame has the best of both worlds. It is a dream from all areas of the court, its super solid yet comfortable and I have already seen improvements in all of my strokes. With a hybrid set up it is also really easy on my arm which was a major concern for me. I think Wilson got this perfect - weight, balance, control, power - for all of us all-court players.
From: Joseph, 2/13

Comments: Really enjoying the 16x19 version. Having played with the Juice 100, and testing the new Steams, they just don't compare with feel and plowthrough of this Blade. Imagine if a strung Blade had a SW of around 317 instead of 331, and it was 4 HL instead of 1, well that's what I just ordered using the TW matching service. Not sure what my first one is exactly but the specs on my new one seem perfect. Maybe a little quicker handling? Not that handling is an issue but looking forward to the new one. Also, I did try the 18x20 version but preferred the very little extra pop of the 16x19.
From: Dan, 1/13

Comments: I don't know why so many people said this racquet is bad or said something bad about it. It's a perfectly good racquet. I used the BLX ProStaff Six.One 90 with it 8PT HL and mostly I don't like the 1 pt HL and most people don't. I'd recommend getting it a size smaller, then using a heat sleeve to build up the grip size to increase it HL Balance and then use a leather and some lead tape in the grip to make it balance better to your personal needs. I know it sounds like a lot but it's worth it. I love this racquet. 100% great racquet.
From: Anon, 1/13

Comments: This frame plays a lot like the Prestige Pro (any Youtek Version) but with more controllable power. Great feel and touch, excellent plow through, wicked slices, and as much topspin capacity as you want. The only possible negative for some might be the maneuverability, but if you are used to playing with 12-ounce frames, this won't be a problem. It plays a lot like a 12-ouncer than the low 11's that it's listed at given the mass in the head. Awesome frame overall.
From: Jaspar, 1/13
String type and tension: polyester @ 55 lbs

Comments: It's easier to create pace with new Blade model and has better feel to me than past versions. I still have to take fairly aggressive swings to rip the ball so keep that in mind, as there are lots of racquets that you don't. Great volleys and spin/pace on serves and it is a really cool cosmetic. I would seriously consider this racquet if I could hit it with my own string set- up, but I still love my Tecnifibre TFight 295 strung with Red Code at 57lbs.
From: Rizza, 1/13

Comments: I loved the old BLX Blade, but having read that Wilson were bringing out a 16x19 version and reading the TW review I've waited with great anticipation to finally get my hands on it. The Blade is renowned for its solid crisp feel with plenty of pop and plowthrough, but having tested out the new 2013 16x19 98 I can say it has none of these attributes. It feels hollow, unstable and slightly muted. In fact, although it shares the same specs as the previous model, it simply doesn't feel or play like previous Blades. I'm hugely disappointed.
From: Steve, 1/13

Comments: I purchased one of each of the new Blades (18x20, 16x19 and 93) so that I could really decide which one I like best. This is my favorite. My only gripe is that the handle is too short to be comfortable for 2 handed backhands. With such a large number of competitive juniors playing with a 2 hander I'm not sure what Wilson was thinking. I really like the way it plays and feels other than that. It's a great looking stick too and the quality seems better than the PD I switched from (Babolats seem to have a chronic issue with developing creeking handles, and the PD head guard durability is a joke). Also of note on the 16x19 Blade is that the L3 grip is shaped somewhat like a Head grip but the L2 feels closer (very symetricial) to that of a Prince racquet. Weird. I'm a 14 year old tournament player.
From: Austin, 12/12

Comments: I played with Blade 98 16x19 for the first time and for 3 hours today. I think it is a perfectly balanced racquet and expect it to be very popular among above average level club players. It's almost even balance after stringing, and the good plowthrough and lively stringbed has impressed me. My serving needed an adjustment after my Pure Drive 2012 (with a total of 2 grams of lead at 3 and 9) but was very consistent after several tries. Groundstroke drives were very impressive from both sides, achieving good depth. Volleys and overheads were also a breeze. This is a proper balanced stick with no gimmicks, and it gives you back more or at least what you put into it. I have ordered the second one and will prefer it over my slightly modified Pure Drive because of its thinner profile, enormous feedback and overall performance.
From: Teoman, 12/12
String type and tension: Babolat VS Gut mains / Luxilon ALU Rough crosses @ 57/53 lbs

Comments: It provides more spin than the 18x20 version, but it's unstable on off-center hits. It's a pretty good racquet from all areas of the court, but did I mention unstable?
From: Bryan, 11/12

Comments: I have demo'ed this racquet and it is amazing! I love the power, feel, and control I get from this stick, especially with the new Luxilon 4G string. It has such great bite and playability. The only thing I don't like is the length of the grip. It is difficult for me to hit a 2HBH without the frame hurting my left hand.
From: Anon, 11/12
String type and tension: Luxilon 4G @ 60 lbs

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