View Full Version : ROK by Wilson....a mini review by Benjamin

03-21-2004, 06:31 AM
I had a chance to warm up and play three sets yesterday with the Wilson ROK. Below you will find my impressions of playing with this racquet.

Serves: Although this racquet received a 77 on serves/overheads from TW, I wasn’t expecting much from it because they gave it a 52 as far as power is concerned. I’ve never had a big serve so I was expecting VERY little pace from it. It is not a racquet that will give you a booming serve but I served extremely well with it. Compared to my POG mid, the power was less but the control more than made up for the decrease in power. I had several service winners as well as 3 aces (2 out wide and one down the middle) because of the decent power and amazing control (I typically average about 3 aces per year). It almost felt like I could think exactly where I wanted the ball to go and it automatically went there. Kick serves didn’t have the kick that I normally get with my POG mid but they had more than I would have thought with such a small head and dense string pattern. As far as compared with the POG mid I would say they are about equal. If I could get my first serve in as consistently as I did yesterday with the ROK, I would say I serve better with the ROK….but if my first serve wasn’t going in (as is typical with my serve) then I would have to give the edge to the POG mid because of the extra kick I get on second serves.

Groundstrokes: Topspin is very hard to apply. I had to make a quick decision as to whether I was going to use slice or topspin so that if I was going to use top I had to tell myself to swing huge with extreme topspin. Topspin is the area that might give me a problem playing with this racquet day after day. My game relies pretty heavily on topspin so I would have to adjust my game to hit more flat balls, unless stringing it with Luxilon BBALU Power 16L would add quite a bit more spin that the Wilson Synthetic Gut 16g strings did that were in the demo. As far as slice goes, I would give a big edge to the ROK. Almost every slice I hit stayed very low on the fly (clearing the net by a couple inches) and after it hit the court it stayed even lower than what I get from my POG. I switched back to my POG for comparison and I usually hit the tape or hit it out when going for the same shot that was skimming the tape and landing within 2 feet of the baseline with the ROK. There is a noticeable drop off in power when going from the POG mid to the ROK. I was still able to hit just as many winners with the ROK because of the amazing control but they weren’t because I just ripped the cover off the ball. At times I had problems with hitting the ball in the net off backhand returns because I would go for the same net clearance as I do for my POG mid and the ball would just land shorter. I had to make sure I adjusted and tried to clear the net by a little extra height. I loved the way I could “hold” a shot for just an extra second before I went crosscourt or down the line. It seemed like I had my opponent wrong footed more yesterday than any other day in recent memory. I would give a very slight edge in ground strokes to the POG…..but if dropping the tension a pound or two and going to the Luxilon string would add more topspin, then I would say that they are pretty equal.

Volleys: This racquet could change me from someone who only comes to net to shake hands to a chip and charge specialist….it IS that good at net. I’ve been getting some advice from guys over in the “Tips” section of this board about how to incorporate a volleying part to my game. I tried their tips yesterday with the ROK and I was amazed. I cannot wait to get out on the court again and start chipping and charging some more. On every second service return and every short ball I would slice the ball down the line and come in. With this racquet in my hands, I actually felt like I belonged there. I could volley with decent pace and depth, put an overhead away easily, or take the pace off and just drop the ball over the net with some of the most amazing angles I’ve ever hit. It’s just a fabulous racquet for chip and charging: that slice staying so low gives your opponent troubles and then the maneuverability and touch of this racquet makes putting the ball away a breeze (even for someone like me who has netaphobia). The ROK has such a solid feel, great maneuverability, superb flex, put away power, and amazing touch at net. As for comparison, I switched back to my POG for a couple games….it’s maneuverability at net is even worse than I thought (when comparing it to the ROK), sweetspot felt smaller, and just didn’t have the right flex or power level to drop the ball just barely on the other side of the net. HUGE edge to the ROK at the net!!! This aspect of the ROK alone could almost make me try it on a more permanent basis. I’ve always wanted to add a volleying aspect to my game but could never find a racquet that made me feel like I belonged up there…until now.

Well, that’s about it. In conclusion I’d say that if I could find a way to add a little more topspin to this racquet I would probably be VERY tempted to purchase one of these. The reasons would be because {compared to my POG mid} it gives better control on serves and groundstrokes (yes, it is hard for me to believe too}, makes it easier to “whip” on the run forehands crosscourt, and the main reason would be because it could actually make me into a true “all court” player….allowing me to add another dimension to my game by actually giving me huge confidence coming to the net.


Brent Pederson
03-21-2004, 07:07 AM
Fasten your seat belts folks, it's going to be a bumpy ride...

I give it a week, then back to you-know-what.

03-21-2004, 07:27 AM

What are you talking about...."give it a week?" I never said I AM switching to this racquet. I just said, "if I could find a way to add a little more topspin to this racquet I would probably be VERY tempted to purchase one of these."

I don't think that's such a stupid thing (possibly switching to a racquet that will add another deminsion to my game) in which you need to throw in your 2 bit comments too. The whole point of me trying racquets is to find one I feel as comfortable with at the net as I do on the baseline...making me a true all court player instead of one that just rallies and hits the ball hard until you make a mistake.

What are you talking about...."a bumpy ride?" I've got the demo so obviously I don't have to ask any questions about whether I should demo it or not or how it compares to other racquets.

I put this post up so that if there are others out there looking at this racquet, they will have someones opinions to read and some idea of how it compares to the POG mid.

I think they call it, "Trying to give back to the game." I think by giving various opinions on different racquets, it will help others determine whether this might be a racquet they're interested in.


03-21-2004, 08:32 AM
I found alot of the same things about the ROK during my demo. In fact, one of the reasons I ultimately ended up using Tour 10 MP's for a while was because I felt that they proved to be a slightly more powerful, open-patterned version of the ROK. The feel was very similar, and the at-net response very similar (in my hands, anyway).

I ultimately went away from it because I reverted back to more of a baseliner's approach, but I was for the most part very happy with the T10 MP while I was doing the all-court thing, except that I occasionally longed for a little more control -- at which times I started thinking longingly about the ROK again.

Anyway, thanks for the writeup. When all is said and done, I'm not competent enough a net-merchant to vouch for the ROK as a pure S&V stick, but I think it would do brilliantly in the hands of a baseline driver (think Lendl), even if it's not perfect for the looper.

03-21-2004, 09:25 AM

Thanks for the comparison between the ROK and the Tour 10 MP. I was going to put up a post asking for a comparsion of those two exact racquets but was afraid of what "others" might say about my post.

I'm thinking about ordering a Tour 10 MP and a ROK demo (as well as the two Diablos) in a 4 1/2" grip (the current ROK demo, from a local store, is a 4 3/8" grip, too small for my 4 3/4" hands) so I can compare them side by side.

I notice that TW gave the ROK a 77 on Serves and the Tour 10MP a 69 (or so) on Serves. Did you find that big of difference between the two on serves?

Thanks again for the comparison of the two.


03-21-2004, 09:57 AM

I notice that TW gave the ROK a 77 on Serves and the Tour 10MP a 69 (or so) on Serves. Did you find that big of difference between the two on serves?

Well, I didn't find much difference in the production on slice and topspin serves. Perhaps the only notable difference being the 1 kick serve out of 20 that I hit just *perfectly* had a teeny bit more leap with the T10MP.

In all fairness, I can't compare their raw serving power very well, as I was nursing a little biceps tendonitis at the time, and the pronation on flat serves really aggravated it -- so I avoided them. ;)

FWIW, I find the oblong grip shape peculiar to Volkls and Heads lends itself very well to both the serve and the net game, as a continental grip seems to cozy into the hand just right as a result of that shape. The downside is that for my hand shape/size, my extreme SW forehand doesn't fit nearly so snugly, and I get nasty blisters from it, unless I alter the grip shape significantly. It's quite a conundrum. :evil:

03-21-2004, 10:08 AM
if you were truly afraid of what "others" would say, you should just completely stop posting. we're all pretty much gonna say something from now on because of your name.

03-21-2004, 10:39 AM
if you were truly afraid of what "others" would say, you should just completely stop posting. we're all pretty much gonna say something from now on because of your name.

What's the big deal? So the guy likes to demo. If this is his worst habit, he's a far better person than I am.

Besides, it's a racquet forum. An endless string of demos may not be best solution for everybody, but at the end of the day, every post BB makes is still just another post about racquets, which is what every post in this forum is supposed to be about, anyway.

He probably does deserve a little good-natured ribbing, if only for being so wishy-washy. But the open hostility from some corners seems kind of excessive, IMO.

You want some people who are in need of open hostility? Head over to the Pro Discussion forum.

03-21-2004, 10:43 AM
i didnt mean my comments in a negative aspect. i was simply pointing out that his name has a reputation that is bound to give him negative comments.

03-21-2004, 11:00 AM
Well, cut him some slack anyway. Poor guy's having a tough enough go of it just trying to find a racquet, without getting antagonized along the way. ;)

03-21-2004, 11:17 AM
benjamin the racquet aint gonna make you an all courter vs a baseliner. it;s the player not the racquet. if you wish to have a more well rounded game, best to work on your game and take some lessons from a good pro. you are certainly entitled to post here as you wish....people will decide whether to respond or not. frankly i am surprised you get as many responders as you do because you have pretty much asked for opinions on every possible permutation of racquet and strings known to mankind :) I dont know if you are posting here because you are truly looking for new equipment or you are just posting to bust everyone;s stones. Diff equipment plays differently in different peoples' hands and some of the posters are 3.0er's and lower and some are 5.0ers and up....it;s all really subjective. Ed

03-21-2004, 11:59 AM
BB is alright. I too have given him a few jabs below the belt. But he's a good sport. He's like Timex!!!

Demo on my brother!!!

03-21-2004, 05:04 PM
in regard to adding topspin to a ROK, was the one you hit with strung with 18 gauge string? if not......do that, the thinner the string you put in that thing, the sweeter it plays. I would also consider demoing the new NXG mid, i recently switched to that from my ROK and have found it to be more spin friendly

03-21-2004, 06:26 PM
benjamin is one of the main reasons i go on this forum, he always has good info on all kinds of racquets, and i for one am glad he demos a bunch, so don't stop!

Brent Pederson
03-21-2004, 08:18 PM
Sorry, Benjamin, it was all meant in good fun.

Like you and many others here, I've sort of been on the endless demo parade as well, just been less vocal on these boards about it.

I hereby stand duly corrected. From now on, I'll just hit the mute button before I'm tempted to give you any grief.

Of course, I don't think you're going to find anything better than the pog. It's just one heck of a stick...

By the way, my four-year-old's name is Benjamin. One heck of a good name...

03-21-2004, 09:29 PM
i think anyone that reams benjamin for demoing a ton of racquets is an absolute hipocrite as so many of you on here revel in the reviews TW conducts when their PROs demo a rediculous # of racquets, and if you have looked through the reviews, and have changed racquets numerous times throughout.
the difference that i see though...is benjamin does happen to believe that a racquet will change his game, or at least the posts appear that way.
the fact of the matter is ANY racquet can be played with ANY style of play. the feel of racquets are purely subjective to what each player wants out of a frame. i know people that swear by head heavy racquets for serve and volley, yet i could never think of using one of those frames.
there are certain aspects that make them more appealing to certain styles of play overall, this is very true. it just so happens that in the end it really doesnt matter though.

03-21-2004, 10:12 PM
BB, I like the ROK and have one that I hit with now and then. It is great on volleys, one of the best. The biggest deficiency is power, and next to that, topspin. Mine is currently strung with NXT Tour 18g at 52 lbs, and when I restring it, I may try Bow 18g gut at 50-52 lbs. I also have some BB Ace 18g, but I've never used it and I'm not sure if it would be powerful enough.


03-21-2004, 10:24 PM
Ben: three things. 18g is a must in the ROK and it will be as durable as 16g is in most racquets, due to the dense pattern, small head and flex. I recommend Bow 18g/Gosen 18g at 53, but all Bow would likely be sweet.

I have about 3-4g of lead at 10 and at 2. This really adds to volleys and serves, without hurting groundies at all. The hit on maneuverability is small and worth the price to me.

MOST IMPORTANT THING: it takes time to find the stroke that generates spin with the ROK, but it will come. You will not likely find it during a demo, but will have to commit to the racquet because all the things it does so well outweigh the thing you wish it did better. Once you get that stroke, you have a magic stick.

I have BB Ace in one racquet at 50# and it has noticeably more power than my gut/synth combo. I did not like the loss of feel and control, however. NXT 18g was also OK at 55, but I don't know how durable it was, because I only played it in a demo for 3 days.

03-22-2004, 03:59 AM
Thanks for all the advice (and ribbings) gentlemen.

I'm probably going to demo (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? ME DEMO? :wink: ) four more racquets as soon as my leg heels (it's either shin splints or a stress fracture...I find out which this afternoon).

Probably going to demo four of the following: Prince Diablo, Prince Diablo MP, Estusa Power Beam Braided, Volkl Tour 10 Midplus, Wilson Pro Staff Tour 95, or Wilson ROK (I have this demo in 4 3/8" but would like to feel the 4 1/2" w/overgrip).

Thanks again for all your help.


Radical Shot
03-22-2004, 03:27 PM
Go Benjamin....more power to you! Keep posting the results of your racquet journey and may your quest never end.... :-)
ford sidevalve engine history (http://www.ford-wiki.com/wiki/Ford_Sidevalve_engine)

03-22-2004, 04:19 PM
good luck getting the demos....ive been on the damn "waiting list" for a week now for racuets that were supposedly in stock. :roll:

folks, do us all a favor.....


03-22-2004, 04:28 PM
benjamino has all the demos out right now ;) ......deal w. him and maybe he will ship them directly to you...Ed

03-22-2004, 05:16 PM

ya know, i didnt even think of that....

hey ben.....how bout it buddy? send em back so i could give one or two a whirl? :D

03-22-2004, 07:18 PM
kinsella -- what do think of of hybriding the ROK with Bow gut 18g in the mains and BB Ace 18g in the crosses, say at 52 lbs?

03-22-2004, 07:50 PM
These are the two racquets that I play with. I'm an all-court 4.5 player and will play with one racquet and then, for whatever reason -- be it frustration with some aspect of my game, or the need to string a frame -- I will switch from one to the other. It's hard to pinpoint the difference between the two; my ROK is customized with lead tape at 3 and 9 so it's a bit a heavier and more demanding but also has a bit more weight and drive behind the ball. The Volkl is thus more maneuverable and oddly, in my game, forces me to slow down and settle in to earn points more patiently rather than trying to pin my opponent down off my return of serve with the extra heaviness I'm getting from the ROK. I hear the topspin issues mentioned on the boards and frankly I don't get it -- first of all, I've never had a problem with that vis a vis the ROK and second of all, what is it that you (Benjamin) and others are missing that "topspin" will cure? The main problem with most players, and the reason most points end, is unforced errors. The second reason tends to be poorly placed shots that allow your opponent to take advantage and hit to open court. Rare is the player whose game is in shape except for the lack of topspin. "Oh, if only I played with more topspin! Then I would win!" I simply don't get it. Please elucidate.

Plainly, these are both old school player's racquets and the differences are negligible. I found the Dunlop 200G very similar and almost equally attractive. I can;t really say why I didn't buy it. If I had, I'm sure I would love it, too. I recently bought a new Tour 10MP because -- according to my tennis shop -- they are indeed discountinuing it and as such it was only $99.

I love the ROK and the Tour 10MP. They're both great player's racquets with tremendous feel and precision; they're plenty easy to generate power with if your strokes are based on solid fundamentals and one's game can't help but improve using sticks that encourage you to be a smarter, more patient and more fundamental player.

03-22-2004, 08:20 PM
To clarify: the Volkl is a Tour 10-Mid and thhe ROK is the MidPlus; both racquets are 93 sq. in.