Tennis Racquet Review: Wilson Blade 98 (18 x 20)

February 11th, 2013 by Mark Pinckney

filed in Tennis Product Reviews, Tennis Racquet Reviews

Wilson Tennis Racquets

After hitting with the new Wilson Blade 93 tennis racquet I was understandably excited to hit with some of the other new frames in the Wilson line. I was thinking that the Blade 98 would be a nice frame for less experienced players. I cannot even begin to state how misplaced that youthful optimism was.

I didn’t like the Blade 98 at all. And I have to say that my dislike is based on cause. The racquet looks at first glance as it may have some possibilities. It has a nice black paint job and looks very much like a tool that one might be able to do some damage with. The frame is 27 inches long, with a 98 square inch head and weighs 11.4 ounces strung. The demo that I hit with had the 18 x 20 open string pattern.

As soon as I hit a few balls I realized that any resemblance to the Blade 93 was purely coincidental. This racquet is thicker than the Blade 93 model and exhibits none of the excellent playing characteristics of that model. This racquet feels kind of hollow when you hit the ball and it is has a very dead feeling.

I felt hitting ground strokes as if the ball was tumbling coming off the strings, not spinning as one would hope for and much prefer. The sweet spot seemed to shift in size as I hit, and there was the specter of the occasional forehand just sailing into the back fence or the next court. Truth be told I never developed any kind of consistent feel hitting with this racquet.

Serves and volleys were no better. I could bang the serve a little, but accuracy was a discussion taking place somewhere else. And adding a lot of topspin to serves made the ball rocket into the net. I have to say that I could not volley at all with this racquet either. No depth or spin or pace or control or deception. I just couldn’t get the ball to move or slide or stop with this racquet.

None of the above notes are as disturbing as the fact that my arm started to hurt after I hit with this racquet for 15 minutes. Usually I teach a lesson or two with a demo racquet and then practice with it for an hour or so before I really try to think about what is what. I simply could not hit with this racquet for more than 20 minutes or so. As I write this my upper forearm is sore and a little inflamed from the little time that I used this racquet yesterday.

Wilson says that this racquet is designed for 4.0 players that are looking for an all court frame, and that may well be true. But I have a hard time seeing any of that after my experience hitting with this frame.

Check out this video review of the Wilson Blade 98 (18x20) from Do It Tennis’ own Malek.