Wilson Pro Staff 95 Racquet Review
- Classic Pro Staff feel
- Some instability
- Low powered
Fans of the Pro Staff line will be pleased with this latest iteration of the Wilson Pro Staff 95. Similar to the versions that precede it, this racquet is light and fast, with incredible control and feel from all areas of the court. Our playtesters unanimously enjoyed how connected they felt to their shots, allowing them to place the ball in tight spots on the court with confidence. The light, fast feel provided exceptional maneuverability, especially at net and on returns. However, that light weight also led to a bit of instability and a lack of power. Our team thought the racquet twisted on off-center hits, especially when trying to return a big serve or deflect a hard hit groundstroke. However, this traditional-feeling racquet still continued to impress, and impress it did with all of our testers singing its praises. All in all, this is a great option for the player who enjoys a fast control-oriented racquet.
Groundstrokes - Score: 80
From the baseline, the Pro Staff 95 felt light and maneuverable to our playtesters -- and also low-powered. This allowed our team to swing big without fear of losing control of their groundstrokes. Chris appreciated the classic Pro Staff feel, but at times he wished for a little easier access to power and spin. He said, "From the first swing, it was apparent Wilson had retained the light and fast feel of the previous Pro Staff 95. This racquet came around very quickly and reminded me of the Spin version of the 95 we recently tested. However, this one has a more traditional feel, which had me feeling very connected to the ball. Touch and control were both excellent. I was finding my targets on drop shots and angles, but I have to admit, I was missing the spin I found with the Pro Staff 95S. This one felt more dialed in on flatter shots, but it lacked the crazy spin and access to pace the Spin version has. With that being said, I enjoyed hitting this stick immensely. It still offers more spin than many control racquets, and I was driving the ball with confidence. I felt like I could stay on the gas without losing any control, and that's a nice feeling to have."
Andy, who was enamored with the Pro Staff 95 from the get-go, loved the precision and feel. He said, "This really felt like an extension of my arm from the baseline. A real magic wand! Although I didn't feel like I was hitting the ball as big as I could with some other racquets, I always felt in total command of my shots. I felt like I could do anything I wanted with the ball. The low-powered response and fast feel through the air made it seem like I could swing as hard as I wanted and still stay in control of where the ball was going. It's not the most powerful or stable racquet out there, but it's very fast through the air and offers excellent control and spin. It also had an extraordinary feel that had me completely connected to each shot!"
The lighter, low-powered response allowed Sean to take huge cuts at his forehand, but he did wish for a bit more plow through and stability. He offered, "For the most part, this racquet was very impressive from the baseline. I loved the low-powered, control-oriented feel that it delivered, and I found that I could really swing out on my forehand side with confidence. This racquet also provided great spin potential on both aggressive topspin shots and slices, which I utilized often with this particular racquet. The only issue I had was with the lack of plow through, which affected my ability to redirect shots that were landing deep in the court."
It's a little lighter than what he's used to, but Troy still found surprising stability and playability from the baseline with the Pro Staff 95. He said, "There was an adjustment period when swinging this racquet from the baseline. It felt like a feather compared with its heavyweight cousin, the Six.One 95 (my current racquet). It wasn't so much the overall weight that was the problem for me, but the swingweight being more than 20 points lower than my current setup made it difficult for me to time the ball when trying to attack from the baseline. After a couple of hours of testing I started to appreciate the amount of control, spin and overall feel this racquet possesses. Due to the flexible feel and relatively low swingweight, this racquet allows for huge swings at the ball and precise control to keep the ball in the court. Even though this racquet is sub-12 ounces, I found a relatively stable feel during heavy-hitting exchanges from the baseline. I was really happy with how well I could control my slice backhand, and hit the drop shot when I found my opponent deep in the court."
Volleys - Score: 81
The extraordinary feel and precision of the Pro Staff 95 continued to impress our playtesters at net. "Simply put, this racquet is one of the best I've ever used when it came to net play," raved Sean. "With stability, forgiveness and a lightning fast feel, this racquet proved to be lethal at net. I found that I could punch my volleys deep into the court with a simple flick of the wrist. Although it was stable, this racquet was most impressive when I needed to produce short touch shots at net. The soft, forgiving feel the racquet offered was fantastic, and I felt a little like Roger Federer with the types of shots I came up with."
Troy also really enjoyed volleying with it, but he thought that with a little more heft he could produce depth more easily. He offered, "I found a lot of precision and feel when coming to the net with this racquet. I enjoyed how easy it was to put the ball near the lines. The touch this racquet possesses will be great for crafty players who can hit the drop volley consistently. The downside for me with this racquet was its lack of mass in the head. This racquet was getting pushed around more than I would have liked anytime I had a laser shot hit my way. I also found that it was harder to achieve the depth on volleys that comes easily with my Six.One 95 and the Pro Staff 90. Overall, there is a lot of feel and control when volleying with this racquet as well as a ton of maneuverability that will be greatly appreciated by doubles specialists."
Chris was also volleying with confidence and control, but thought a little more weight in the hoop would improve the racquet's stability. He said, "The plush and soft feel of this racquet at net was awesome. I was hitting touch and placement volleys well. With all the control I had, finding my targets was not an issue. My confidence was there when punching the ball deep or when cutting a sharp angle. I found myself more willing to flirt with the lines and was being very aggressive with my targeting. As much as I loved this racquet at net, I knew it had the potential to be even better with some added weight. I hit a couple of customized versions of this racquet toward the end of the test that added stability and plow through to the already impressive touch and feel."
Echoing those sentiments, Andy said, "The maneuverability, control and feel made this a really enjoyable racquet to volley with. Once again, I felt like I could manipulate the ball to do anything I wanted off the strings. The one drawback of the light weight is the lack of stability, which is more apparent at net than anywhere else. Shots hit off center would cause the racquet to flutter sometimes. However, in my opinion, the positives outweighed the negatives in this case."
Serves - Score: 79
For the most part, our playtesters enjoyed the fast and precise feel of the Pro Staff 95 while serving, too. Troy was getting great spin and locating his serves well, but he wasn't hitting his flat serves as big as he normally does due to the lower weight of the racquet. He offered, "Serving was really fun. This racquet was extremely easy to manipulate when I snapped my wrist, and my spin serves had some nasty hook and kick. I was surprised at how much more action I was getting on kick serves considering this racquet was very shoulder-friendly when having to reach behind my head. I found lots of precision when mixing up my serves. The flat serve up the T, body serves, kick serves, and the slice out-wide -- they were all in command with this racquet. The only knock I had with this stick was that my flat first serves up the T didn't quite have the sting on them that I'm used to with racquets that have more mass."
Given that he normally likes a heavier racquet, Chris was surprised how much he enjoyed serving with this lighter option. He said, "For some reason I served better than expected with this racquet. It was a little light for my preferred spec range. On paper, this racquet is not heavy enough for me to find the pace I did. However, on court I was serving very well. I was getting the ball consistently to my targets and getting it there with good pace. The level of spin I was getting was good, but nothing close to the Spin version of this racquet. However, serving was pretty solid and only got better once we had beefed it up with some lead tape."
Sean was also able to take advantage of the maneuverability and control the Pro Staff 95 offered on his serves. He said, "This racquet also performed amazingly well on serves. With such a maneuverable feel, I was able to place the ball wherever I wanted in the service box with great precision. The fast feel and access to spin also complemented my serves, and I was able to swing out to either create a big first serve or drop a second serve into a corner with accuracy. The stability was compromised slightly because of the head light balance, although the flexible and forgiving feel made up for anything hit off center."
Andy found the racquet to be very light, at times too light, on serves. He explained, "It's easy to generate racquet head speed overhead, which enabled me to get some nice power and spin on my serves. Sometimes it was so fast through the air I would lose control of the tip of the racquet, causing my serves to be a little erratic. With a little bit more mass I think I could've gotten a little more power and control, but the fast feel in this case did feel nice. This was my least favorite shot to hit with the Pro Staff 95, but it still felt good."
Serve Returns - Score: 80
The maneuverability of the Pro Staff 95 made it really easy for our playtesters to get it around their bodies on returns, though the lack of mass was also apparent and resulted in a lack of plow through and power for some of the team. Andy felt completely dialed in on his returns. He said, "The racquet continued to feel like an extension of my arm when returning, and I felt like I could do whatever I wanted off the return. I could step in, take the ball early and use my opponent's pace to return aggressively, or I could sit back and neutralize my opponent with a chip return. I was feeling completely confident. Loved it!"
Chris also returned well with the Pro Staff 95, but he wanted a bit more heft for his chip returns. He offered, "Light and fast, this was an easy racquet to whip through contact on returns. I never felt like I had to rush to get the racquet in position and I really enjoyed its head light feel. I could have done with a tad more stability at contact on block returns, but as soon as I added some racquet head speed it was a non-issue. The blend of control, power and spin was solid. I had a good sense of depth and pace as soon as the ball left the strings."
Troy also appreciated the control and fast feel on returns, but he also longed for a bit more weight in the hoop. He said, "The maneuverability of this racquet allowed me to get my racquet on a lot of serves, even those that I thought I had no chance of returning. I found plenty of control to steer returns away from the net man when playing doubles. I liked how I could knife the backhand slice return at the server's feet or draw the opponent to the net against his will. As I noticed on volleys, this racquet seemed to get pushed around anytime I had to deflect a heavy hit serve. It just did not have the plow through that I have grown accustomed to with my own racquets."
Sean also found the lack of mass most apparent when returning serve. He explained, "The lighter swingweight seemed to affect my serve returns more than my other shots. Although the racquet was incredibly maneuverable, I felt like I was being pushed around, especially when I was unable to take a full swing at the ball. In many circumstances I found that I was leaving my return shorter than intended, and I had to make a concerted effort to keep my returns deep. When I did get a good read on the serve the lower power let me take a full cut at the ball and control the point with an aggressive return."
Overall - Score: 83
Chris - "I liked the feel, control and touch. The head light balance made it a very fast racquet."
Sean - "This frame was incredibly fast and maneuverable, while still offering a great balance of power and control."
Troy - "The feel and precision definitely reminded me that the Pro Staff line of racquets are designed for purists seeking no frills from their racquet."
Andy - "Loved the maneuverability, control and feel. The balance felt dead on to me, too."
Chris - "Nothing really. I didn't find the spin of the S version and it felt better once weighted up, but it's still a great racquet."
Sean - "Just that there was a lack of stability and plow through because of the low swingweight."
Troy - "The lack of plow through compared to racquets I gravitate toward. I had to adjust to this racquet, and it never quite allowed me to feel comfortable on the attack."
Andy - "The racquet fluttered a bit at times on off-center contact, especially at the net. Other than that, and a slight loss in control on serve, there wasn't much I didn't like. I was a big fan of this racquet."
Comparing it to other racquets they've used, our testers said:
Chris - "It is very easy to compare this racquet to the Pro Staff 95S. I actually like the S version a tad more. It offers better spin and easier access to pace and depth. This one offers a more traditional feel and more control on flat shots. Other racquets that offer a fast and mobile feel with a high level of control are the Yonex VCORE Tour 97 310, Volkl Organix 10 295, Tecnifibre TFight 315 Ltd. TP ATP and the Dunlop Biomimetic M3.0."
Sean - "I was reminded immediately of the Yonex VCORE Tour 97 310g playtest I was recently on because of the fast swing speeds and whippy feel. The Volkl Organix 9 also came to mind because of its similar specifications, although neither of those frames could match the softer overall feel of the Pro Staff 95."
Troy - "There are some definite traits, like the feel, control and spin, that remind me that this Pro Staff comes from the same gene pool as the 90, although the 95 lives only in the shadows of the 90 when it comes to rock-solid plow through and stability. This racquet had similar traits to the Dunlop Biomimetic 200 Lite, although this Pro Staff 95 possesses better response and feel. I found a somewhat similar power level to the Head MicroGel Radical Midplus when comparing them in their stock-forms."
Andy - "It has a lower swingweight than what I normally play with, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The traditional feel and response were spectacular in this racquet, and the Parallel Drilling opened up the sweetspot, making it play more like a 98 square inch head than a 95. It reminded me a lot of two of my previous racquets of choice, the Head MicroGel Radical Midplus and the Yonex RDiS 100 Mid, with the Pro Staff's level of forgiveness lying somewhere in between those two. With a little bit of weight added (but without changing the balance), this could become one of my favorite racquets to hit around with."
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
Chris: 5.0 all-court player currently using the Wilson Six.One 95 S. Chris uses a semi-western forehand grip, has a fast swing style and hits a one-handed backhand.
Sean: 4.5 baseliner using the Head YOUTEK Prestige Pro. Sean has a semi-western forehand, 1 handed backhand.
Troy: 5.0 lefty all-court player with a full Western Forehand and a two-handed backhand. Troy currently plays with a Wilson BLX Six.One 95.
Andy: Open level all court player with a semi-western forehand grip and a two handed backhand. Andy currently using a Wilson Blade 98 18x20.
Review date: December 2013. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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