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Wilson Blade 98 (18x20) Racquet Customer feedback

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Comments: I am a 17 year old 4.0 player who bought this racquet a few months ago. I can honestly say it's the best racquet I've ever used, as it's solid from all points on the court. Not only did it help me with depth and consistency but I now hit much harder than I did when I used my Babolat Pure Drive or my Wilson BLX Pro Open. And I mean a lot harder. My only initial issue with the Blade was the consistency on volleys, which I think stemmed from its smaller head size, but with enough practice I was aggressive as ever at net and am an even stronger doubles player than before. I initially put some Babolat RPM Blast on these and my arm started to hurt from tennis elbow for about a month. I then switched to some Luxilon Big Banger (Gael Monfil's string) and not only did my arm immediately feel better, but I was playing better aswell. Definitely give this racquet a spin!
From: James, 8/14

Comments: I am a 4.0 player with fast swings. The pros of this racquet for me are: precision, predictability, volleys and control. The cons: spin must be generated from swinging, not the racquet and it feels heavier than the stated weight. I love this stick, it changed my game immensely, especially at the net.
From: Aaron, 8/14

Comments: I'm a 44 year old male who only started playing 4+ months ago about 5 times a week, so I have little experience (I'd put myself at a solid 3.0). I'm offering a comment because I think my inexperience may actually be beneficial for other inexperienced players. I started playing with an older Prince 12 ounce racquet with a 105 square inch head. After a month of playing and learning a little about racquets and strings I picked up a Wilson BLX Four with NXT 16 string and noticed a big difference. At the same time I bought the BLX, I got my girlfriend a Volkl Organix 6 with V-Feel 17 String. She liked her other racquet better so I tried it out and again I noticed an improvement in my control although I was far from consistent hitting the sweet spot. After about a month and a half of more practice and research I bought this racquet and strung it with Babolat RPM Blast 16. Funny thing happened when this racquet arrived. I took it out of the box, held it in my hand and gave it a few swings. It was as if I was blind and suddenly could see. Put another way, everything that my instructor had been teaching me, for whatever reason, came through quite naturally as soon as I put my hand on this racquet. It only got better when I hit the court. I don't know if the racquet is the reason for all of this, or perhaps all of my practice just happens to be coming together at the same time I bought this stick, but so many problems I was having with my swing; follow-through, control, timing, all felt easier and more natural from the first day I began using it. I'm back here today buying another one.
From: Rich, 7/14

Comments: Very good racquet. It's a very solid feeling stick. Good plow through and control. Spin potential is average, but that's expected with an 18x20 pattern. Maneuverability is slightly lacking because of the high swingweight (330), so it's definitely not a whippy racquet. If you're looking for a whippier racquet, check out the Dunlop F3.0 Tour or one of the new Babolat Pure Strikes.
From: Anon, 5/14

Comments: This is an absolutely good racquet. I used the Babolat APD 2013 and the feel was horrible. I went to the Blade. At first I had some depth issues, but later as I got used to it I can plow through it and hit harder and the strokes went flat my lefty serve was good. The amplifeel technology made the feel awesome and I used to string my APD at 52 pounds but now I string my Blade at 58/60 lbs. The feel is the absolute best even at high tensions and any kind of cheap string (I use Genesis Black Magic and Gosen synthetic gut) feels good on this stick. Wilson is the way to go!
From: MJ, 4/14

Comments: I have been playing with Six.One Tour for two and a half years but I decided to go for a bigger head size and a lighter frame. With this Blade I maintained high level of control and stability but I gained a lot of power and maneuverability because of that I am able to be much more aggressive. I suggest low string tension. I read some complaints about bad quality control from Wilson but I must say that I never had any issues, all my sticks are +/- one gram. I am very happy that I decided to make a change because this racquet made me a better player.
From: Sanjin, 3/14

Comments: I am a 4.0/4.5 40 year old male and I really love this racquet. I am a hard hitter and have an extreme western grip on the forehand. Previously, I was using the Head Speed Pro but began having severe wrist tendon issues. After demoing other racquets, I made the switch to this and have not had any further problems. I enjoy the plow through, stability and can really place shots well. I do notice my serve has a little less bite, but otherwise everything else feels rock solid.
From: GM, 11/13

Comments: I demo'd this raquet with the Head YouTek Graphene Speed Pro (Djokovic) and the Babolat Aeropro Drive 2013 (Nadal). I am a 38 yr male playing around 4.0. My son is 13 and plays as well. We both hit hundreds of shots with each raquet from a ball machine, then rallied. The Wilson Blade 98 created more vibration on all shots and less power than both of the other racquets. I liked the Blade on volleys and during second serves, but from the baseline it just fell short. The Babolat was equally comfortable at the net and more maneuverable on the run. The Head was more powerful on groundstrokes and equally maneuverable. The Head killed the other two raquets on first serve accuracy and power. At this price point, I dont see why any player similar to me would purchase the Blade 98. My son loved this raquet. Since he swings hard but generates far less swing speed, the weight and stiffness of the Blade was nice for him and he felt more in control with it. He really like the Babolat and Head as well, but the Head felt heavy to him after a while and he was less accurate from the baseline with the Babolat.
From: Att, 11/13

Comments: I'm a D3 college player that has demoed a lot of racquets over the last few months, virtually all of the players racquets offered by Wilson, and I have to say I didn't enjoy this one. The racquet felt tinny, a bit unpredictable and seemed like a bit of a rocket launcher. The 16x19 patterned one was a bit better, but in my experience the Blade 104 has better control and feel than either of the 98s! For general information: I've played with the Six.One 95 18x20, temporarily the Juice Pro and the Pro Staff 90 before currently using a modified Blade 104.
From: Anon, 10/13

Comments: Good racquet. Solid feel, very stable, great control. The plow-through is very nice too, the only problem is that the weight is distributed almost evenly, with just a very slight head-light balance. Because of this, the racquet is less maneuverable and harder to whip than say the Aero Pro Drive or even the Blade 93. But the pros definitely outweigh this one con. I'm a 4.0 hitter with a one-handed backhand.
From: Ryan, 9/13

Comments: Nice stick, had the previous version and for no real good reason other than a few demos indoors used the Babolat APD GT for 6 months but could never really get to grips with it. Went back to the new version of the Blade recently and love it. To me, it's like a familiar friend as previous model with same balance of power and control but with added feel and perhaps not as stiff, maybe thats the amplifeel. I do feel like the 4 3/8 handle is slightly smaller than the previous model so had to use a 2nd over grip to compensate. My only negatives were that there was a weight difference between the two I purchased which is indicative of racquet quality these days, however was a simple fix with a bit of lead. I play an aggressive all court style and I find this is great for all strokes including net play. I string with a hybrid and am a 5.0 level player.
From: Ross, 8/13

Comments: I agree with all the positive comments made so far. A definite "players" racquet for the 4.0+. Great feel and power when hitting the sweet spot. A little hefty, but very well balanced and responsive. Not a racquet for the beginner, or one who doesn't generate a lot of power or is a dinker/lobber. Lots of control, power and accuracy in the hands of someone who can execute all the strokes. Serves are a strong point. I suggest stringing at a lower tension within its indicated range, with maybe a very playable string like Gamma Livewire 17 XP.
From: Bob, 8/13

Comments: I just purchased this racquet and I am in love! This racquet is the whole package! Great control, feel, power, very consistent. This racquet added more power to my serve. I will not purchase another racquet because this racquet was worth it. I have the Luxilon 4g 125 at 56 pounds and it feels great. A must get!
From: Guillermo, 7/13

Comments: Sweet stick. I heard these racquets are similar to its predecessor, so I took a leap of faith and ordered two of them. My first hour hitting with the Blade was awesome. The control and spin are still great and while it's slightly less maneuverable due to the increased weight, it has better feel and comfort. I really felt connected on all my shots. My forehand was solid, my backhand was smooth and I could slice with ease. The new Blade is just like the previous version but with added feel. Oh, and I forgot to mention the cosmetics are absolutely killer!
From: Brian, 6/13

Comments: I came from playing with a BLX Six.One 95 with a 16X18 string pattern. Tried to play with the AeroPro Drive's for a bit as I was looking for a modern player's frame and something a little more forgiving than the 95sq inch head size. I couldn't control the APD and decided to demo the Blade 98 18X20. I bought them and have been using them for 5 months now. This is a perfect match. It has great control, awesome plow through, enough power when you need it but still lets you produce a majority of your own power. The 18X20 pattern allows me to swing out without fear of losing control and can still generate some impressive spin. My only minor complaint is that the racquet can feel a little slow at net with the head heavy balance. Switched to a Babolat leather grip and it has made it feel a little more headlight and I like the feel much better. However, it is very stable at net, it can handle some heavy serves without issue, and it can withstand powerful baseline exchanges. Very solid racquet to serve with as well and I love to return with it (you can hit heavy returns or some nice chip/ slice returns against a big serve). Not as much pop on the serve as my old Six.Ones, but it can still produce a powerful serve and is more accurate and consistent. Strung with a full bed of 17ga Volkl Cyclone at 56 pounds. I'm a 4.0 player with moderate topspin strokes.
From: Charles, 5/13

Comments: Demoed this three times for a week. I did not like it. I do not swing super fast and this felt like swinging a board and it made me slower. It has a lot of pop but I was never able to find a zone where this felt good, I think a severe western grip might be served well by this stick. I couldn't keep the ball in unless I bunted the ball. And again, it was slow on volleys. I do have a preference for heavier, head lighter sticks. This feels like an old Hammer Hyper Carbon 5.3 and not in a good way. It would have looked perfect if the graphics were more muted like the black of the frame.
From: Patrick, 3/13

Comments: I never leave online reviews but felt compelled to after finding this racquet. I demo'd just about everything, typically the heavier, open pattern racquets which I loved for their plow through/stability and I thought this one felt like a toy (in a bad way) when compared to them at first. One month later, it's effortless depth, extra pop on the serve, and accuracy has raised me from a 4.5 to a 5.0. I almost feel like I'm cheating by using it, haha. I also demo'd the 93" and 16x18 98" - the 93" wasn't as spin friendly or forgiving as I need, and the 16x18 98" was too powerful and I was spraying balls constantly. I've only played with open patterned racquets until now and somehow this plays just like one. I still get plenty of spin but the biggest difference is my newfound depth and I'm consistently beating up on guys I used to have tight matches with and each of them comment on my new game. I strung it with Technifibre's Multi Feel at 62 lbs, two more than they recommend but I string them myself and probably lost a couple pounds of tension since I don't have a pro machine. I just switched to Technifibre's Red Code poly which is really arm friendly for a poly. Definitely recommend trying this stick out!
From: Buddy, 3/13

Comments: This update to the old 98 is great. I did not play with the old one but I recieved this as a gift and now own four of them. It may be cheaper to buy the older one as it could save you money, but I really enjoy the control and stability of this racquet. It is very good looking and feels awesome. I have tried had two different string jobs so far, first was LUX 4g mains at 56 lbs and Wilson NXT crosses at 54 lbs and second was a full bed of NXT tour at 55 lbs, which was way more comfortable and had more spin and control as I could swing harder.
From: Jake, 3/13

Comments: I don't know if I got a bad quality-controlled one or not, but when I played with this stick, it was way too light and whippy, which I didn't like at all. I think if you prefer lighter racquets and you have heavy topspin groundstrokes you might want to take this out for a hit.
From: Evan, 2/13

Comments: I have been using the K-Blade for a long time now and just bought this new BLX and played a few sets yesterday with it. Definitely better then the previous BLX (which I had tried but gave me terrible elbow problems). So far so good with this one. It does have a 'muted' sound and feel as some guys have mentioned. Ground strokes were great but my serve was off a bit. I am going to string it today with some Savage Black and will see if the serve improves.
From: Matthew, 2/13

Comments: There is no doubt about it. The better you get the more you search for a solid control-oriented raquet. That is where this version of BLX Blade comes. The solid feel and plowthrough with each stroke has a very rewarding feel and feedback. The 18x20 pattern helps with the stability but it helps tame the heft from the raquet with a pleasing catcher mitt like sound as a reward. It improves your serve and one handed backhand consistency if you have good technique, and volleys are effortless. I bought 3 and changed to a Wilson leather grip, and it makes it more maneuverable. Give it a try if you dare!
From: Joel, 2/13

Comments: I tried hard to like this frame, but could not. It felt flimsy to swing and so muted as to be almost completely devoid of any kind of feel when striking the ball. Inferior to the earlier K Blade 98 version, which I currently play with and will continue doing so.
From: Gabriel, 1/13

Comments: A substantial improvement from the BLX Blade. This racquet should be renamed the scalpel. It has incredible precision, as I could place the ball on a dime. However, it combined an unusually large sweetspot and power level with the control, encouraging me to be aggressive with my groundstrokes on both sides. I was playing well the first time I hit with it, but I could sense a good degree of forgiveness and power for those days when I'm slightly off. Being a lefty, the racquet worked especially well with my heavy crosscourt forehand and slice serves. Flat serves were a little tougher to dial in, but when you hit it just right it gets great with pace and placement. Kickers came off incredibly consistently. I think the Amplifeel technology is for real, as it felt significantly more solid and crisp than the Blade BLX, which I also have. I would highly recommend this racquet for anyone who wants to supplement a power game with incredible accuracy, and for lefties.
From: Brandon, 1/13
String type and tension: Luxilon Adrenaline 17g @ 55 lbs

Comments: I played with the K Blade 98 and the BLX Blade before this one. The BLX had a higher swingweight than the K Blade, but with that came a bit more stable racquet with plenty of power. This latest update feels to me to be right between the lighter feeling (k)blade and the BLX. It swings a little lighter than the BLX, but it still has the power of a Hammer style racquet. It also "feels" like it flexes more, even though the specs don't say that it does. Could be the Amplifeel? I absolutely love the feel of this new version. I had no trouble updating to playing with this new frame from the BLX. It's very responsive for an 18x20. Anyone who already plays in this line of racquets, it should be a no brainer to upgrade. I am a 4.5 all court player with moderate topspin strokes.
From: Danny, 12/12
String type and tension: Topspin Cyberflash 1.25 @ 57 lbs

Comments: My son who's a competitive junior loved this racquet right from the start. While watching his game closely for years, I noticed from him an immediate game change. He was hitting with depth and control. The racquet took spin well, his volleys had a lot more control, and slices from the baseline did exactly as he wanted. They just dropped over the net. He seemed to get balls that with his Babolat AeroPro Drive that he normally wouldn't get. This actually wasn't a racquet he wanted. He wanted the ProStaff Six.One 95 because that's what his friends seemed to be going for and he had begged me for months, but when he finally demo'ed it he played dismal with the racquet. During the demo when I asked about the PS he said "it's ok, but I don't think I like the strings. Nothing is working right." With the Blade (with the same strings) his comment was, "I really like this one!" He played a challenge match with each one. He also demo'ed the new Babolat 2013, but he put it down after 30 minutes and gravitated back to the Blade. He loved Babolat but I think he's found a new racquet.
From: Alex, 12/12

Comments: Wilson has managed to screw up the cosmetics of all their lines of racquets. Performance wise, I could not tell a significant difference to the previous model. I still prefer the Head Radical MP in this category because of the flex, feel and low power. I have been playing with the Babolat Pure Storm Ltd. for several years now, but enjoy testing different racquets.
From: Eric, 12/12
String type and tension: Luxilon ALU Power @ 52 lbs

Comments: Excellent racket. I'm a K Blade 98 user and upgrading to this was no problem! It has a slightly different feel, as it's just a touch softer, probably due to Amplifeel, but still feels solid on serves, groundstrokes and volleys. The new black/silver color scheme is pretty cool too.
From: Jones, 12/12
String type and tension: Tecnifibre NRG2 mains / Luxilon Big Banger crosses @ 56/64 lbs

Comments: Despite Wilson's claims, the specs are different from prior versions, as posted by TW. Wilson's specs on the racquet itself are unchanged since the K Factor version, which I use, but reality is different. This latest version is more head- heavy than the K Factor version, leading to a higher swingweight, and it's a bit more flexible as well. Bad quality control, Wilson! Having said all that, the stick plays nicely. It has a more muted feel (due to Amplifeel maybe?), which I like but others may not. It did not feel heavy, and I had no maneuverability issues. I will demo it again and revert with more details.
From: Gabriel, 12/12
String type and tension: Gamma TNT @ 56 lbs

Comments: Nice improvement by Wilson. Like Bryan said, it plays like the old version and has nice feel with the added AmpliFeel technology. I have the previous models and would not pay $200 for it because the old one is just the same, so save your money and purchase the Blade 98 on SALE.
From: Jacob, 12/12
String type and tension: Wilson NXT Tour mains / Luxilon M2 Pro crosses @ 58 lbs

Comments: Very nice looking racquet. It plays like the old version but a little softer on the arm. But I only played 2 sets with it. I will update later when I have a chance to play more with it.
From: Bryan, 11/12

Wilson Blade 98 (18x20) Racquet - Where to go from here
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