Wilson Hits Homerun with Wilson Steam 99S (mini review)

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by drakulie, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Is it the one I told you about?
     
  2. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes it is.
     
  3. kaiser

    kaiser Semi-Pro

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    Have you tried closing the racket face a little more when going from a closed to an open pattern, eg turning your grip a little more western on your FH? Worked for me when I moved from my previous HPS 6.1 18x20 to my current 4D200Ts. Allows you to swing through the ball a bit more resulting in a flatter shot while converting the higher launch angle of the open pattern into additional topspin. In other words, you get a flatter heavy ball with lots of spin. Got the idea to try this from playing around with TWUs shotmaker program...
     
  4. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yeah I naturally change between SW and western grips without thinking too much. If my shots are launching, I end up more western. I hit with a lot of spin so it seems like the Blade forces me to go a little flatter, which is nice.

    That being said, I adjust. I just prefer hitting lower trajectory lasers over looping strokes. It sounds like the 99s does both from the reviews so far. I guess I will find out soon enough.

    Hank saying that he played a different game with the 18x20 Blade compared to the steam is what got me thinking about all this.
     
  5. thecrusher956

    thecrusher956 Rookie

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    I'm worried I won't be able to hit through the ball with this 99s, I rely on big groundstrokes for my game.
     
  6. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I should have it soon and ill give a lot of details on this. I have the same thoughts, but i am open to giving it a chance.
     
  7. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I keep asking around. Can't find any in Atlanta.
     
  8. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    JackB1, I'm from Atlanta as well, but temporarily living in Illinois for work. I was home in Atlanta for Thanksgiving this past weekend and found a 99S demo at my regular shop in Midtown..along with a demo of the new Blade 16/19. Are they telling you they don't have the demos yet or that they are just out with another customer at the moment?
     
  9. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    The shop in Charlotte had the Wilson rep give them "his" versions of 99s and 105s before the official demo frames come in.....buy told me yesterday he has sold about a dozen in pre-sale at his shop already off people hitting the demo.
     
  10. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    which shop in Midtown? IPlay?
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  11. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I did not get the 99s today, but i am up next. I did get the 105s. Anyone have the specs for this thing? I know it is light (10.2), but I was looking for SW or balance so I could try and make it a little heavier.
     
  12. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    105s =

    Length 27.5"
    Unstrung weight = 10.2, so TW gives Strung weight which should be about 10.8
    Balance = 8pts HL unstrung

    I found another site that has listed strung specs as:

    10.8 and 4pts HL
     
  13. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Cool..ill just play it stock, but that is real light. any guess on swingweight?
     
  14. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    doesn't read like the 99s would suit this player's strokes. using the yy200 many balls clear the net by only a couple inches on the fh side...the antithesis of the torreball. :)
     
  15. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    Yes. IPlay. When I picked it up, Dan, the owner mentioned that I wouldn't like it because it was way too powerful. I think he meant relative to my game since he knows I'm very capable of generating my own pace. My history of racquets shows I'm more comfortable with the Prestiges and Pro Staffs of the racquet world.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  16. thecrusher956

    thecrusher956 Rookie

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    Isn't that where the spin comes in?
     
  17. 2ManyAces

    2ManyAces Rookie

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    got my 2nd pure storm today :) first time owning 2 of the same sticks, feelsgoodman!
     
  18. Federerkblade

    Federerkblade Professional

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    Check this

    http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/tech/post/_/id/3127/gear-test-wilson-steam-99s-tennis-racket

    Every tennis manufacturer out there claims to use the newest technology to give the best results.

    Thus, every new racket is the "best yet" -- more spin, more control and certainly more power.

    But do they deliver?

    Well, the Steam 99S from Wilson is the latest innovative racket on the scene, with new tech designed to help players put better spin on the ball.

    In this Gear Test, ESPN Playbook enlisted Andrew Carter, the University of Louisville’s three-time Big East champ and current pro, to put the new Steam through its paces and see if the hype is at all justified.

    PRODUCT: Wilson Steam 99S, $219.99; available January 2013

    WHAT IT’S SUPPOSED TO DO: Using Doppler radar technology, Wilson was able to accurately measure the spin placed on a tennis ball when hit.

    By putting fewer strings on the Steam 99S -- the string pattern is a spread-out 16 x 15, as opposed to the more common 16 x 18 or 19 x 18 -- the company believes the racket can boost spin by up to 200 RPM.

    More spin means more room to work the ball. Wilson claims the added spin effectively lengthens the court by a foot while making the net up to two inches lower. In theory.

    What does this mean? Well, pros using the Steam will become spin wizards, and your average club regulars will start hitting shots they never dreamed they could.

    DOES IT WORK? Here’s the good news: Wilson has made one heck of a racket.

    For starters, for a racket that weighs only 10.7 oz., the Steam 99S has oodles of power -- something Carter found when he pummeled some balls.

    “The racket produces a lot more pop,” Carter said. “Much more than usual on a Wilson racket. When you hit it in the sweet spot, it has a lot of pop.”

    Wilson typically makes rackets with smaller head sizes that come with smaller sweet spots -- but everything is that much bigger with the 99S. For players who trade backcourt bombs, the 99S will be a powerful weapon.

    It also delivers slice shots that Carter described as “unbelievable." They’ll stay so low your opponent will be scraping his racket along the floor the whole match, hopefully throwing in plenty of McEnroe-esque cursing to boot.

    But here’s the less good news: It's that spin again. While the 99S definitely generates extra spin, for the elite player it could be the unwanted kind.

    “When Nadal hits the ball, he hits rockets,” Carter explains. “With this [99S], it’s like hitting balloons. When Nadal hits it, the ball goes straight through, but this ball sits up.”

    Translation: You'll get plenty of spin, but the ball may spin up at a higher vertical angle, which could give your opponent more time to hit the ball back. Against a casual player, this effect might be negligible, but against a pro it could make a big difference.

    Another small complaint from Carter about the 99S is that while power isn’t lost because of the light weight, control can be. When hitting off-center shots, the racket can feel unstable.

    “On volleys, if you don’t hit it exactly in the sweet spot, it’s going to twist in your hand because it’s too light,” Carter says. "Someone of a higher ability would probably need to start digging out their lead-weight tape."

    PRODUCT 2.0: Wilson wants you to get oodles of spin using the 99S, and it wants you to use Luxilon strings (made by Wilson) to achieve this.

    Ideally, buyers of the 99S will get it strung with Luxilon strings in lieu of the cheaper generic Wilson strings. Most people buy racquets and yet rarely restring them, but if you want to maximize your Steam experience, make sure you get the strings to do it.

    In conclusion: Wilson has made a very, very good racquet, but like all things in life it isn’t quite perfect -- yet.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  19. Federerkblade

    Federerkblade Professional

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    would be interesting to hanks view on that article above and also drakulie and all other play testers
     
  20. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    which is better ? this one or babolat aeropro drive 2013?
     
  21. grimmbomb21

    grimmbomb21 Professional

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    Definitely one of them for sure...



    :???:
     
  22. thecrusher956

    thecrusher956 Rookie

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    The ball just sits up if you try to add spin, or if you try to play flat as well?
     
  23. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I think Wilson knew the pros and cons, and that is why did not introduce the spin effect for the elite frames (till now at least).

    Interesting question is whether the ball would still sit up if the same open pattern was used in an elite heavy frame.
     
  24. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    The 99s is 27.5 inches long? I was hoping for 27.
     
  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Do we ever gain anything without some loss somewhere?
    More spin? More wear and tear on the LESS strings?
    Big spin at sweetspot, but hinted maybe not the same response off center?
    Less precise control on harder swings at harder incoming balls?
    Seldom do we gain anything without a loss somewhere.
     
  26. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    In this case, yes.

    But when we went from wood to graphite, did we "lose" anything in terms of performance (not talking about opinions about the game)? I don't think so. We gained more power, more spin, more comfort and less weight.
     
  27. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    Maybe. I didn't actually get to hit with the 99S but the owner knows me well enough that I trust his opinion...to an extent.

    A little background about me. I grew up playing on a mixture of clay and hardcourts. Regardless of surface, I used to play with SEVERE topspin off of both sides. In my teens, I learned to flatten out the ball more and use less spin in general except when the situation dictated it. The one thing I've learned in making that change is that if I have to change racquets, I never want to choose a racquet that causes me to alter my swing path so severely that I have to "re-learn" my strokes. That's part of the reason why I'm not really comfortable with the Pure Drive/Aeropro racquets.

    What the shop owner was implying..I think...is that for my current stroke mechanics I would find the racquet too powerful and would not be able to bring the ball back down into the court. I won't know if that's true or not until I have time to hit with the 99S.
     
  28. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    The 99S is 27 inches. The 105S is 27.5 I believe.
     
  29. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    Thanks that is good news!
     
  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Problem I see is .....
    The reason they came up with 18x20 stringing is to provide more control for hard hit shots against hard hit shots.
    Now you're going to LESS strings, and bigger racket head. I think LESS control against hard hit shots, if you hit hard also.
    Does that Wilson really have more power AND control than an AeroPro or a Dunlop500? Or the new stiffer Head Speeds?
    Remember, all those stiff rackets gain a bunch of power and spin from looser stringing, as they have more strings than the new 99S.
     
  31. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I hate to burst anyone's bubble here, but for me the 105s is not even close to an option. It is super light, and I am not going to mod a demo. It feels like a toy, and I had the brand new APD from TW that I worked into the mix. The APD hit a bigger ball and felt more substantial, but it does weigh more. The 105s is basically much too light for me.

    The spin I could produce in all honesty was nice, but I can produce that type of spin with my Blade. One difference I noticed was the ball was bouncing higher than my blade. It was shooting almost straight up off the court but it didn't really phase any of the 3 guys I hit with tonight. So while I did see a difference in spin, it was not anything that blew me away. I do hit with a lot of spin and can get the ball to drop sharply down with my 18x20 Blade. With the 105s, it is a launcher due to being so light and stiff. It was very easy to hit long, but I am sure I could get used to that if I used the racquet longer. I simply was not interested in doing so and probably hit with the 105 for 45 minutes total.

    That being said, I am excited to try the 99s. The 105 is not a racquet for me anyway, no matter what the drill pattern is. It is far too light and lacks the control I like. I love to hit a heavy driving ball with placement and spin. That is my game. With the Blade I am able to place the ball exactly where I want it, and I believe placement is everything in tennis, even over spin. I did grow up playing with a western grip and heavy spin though, so I have never had a problem putting a lot of action on the ball.

    I expect a much better experience with the 99s. I dry swung the regular 99 and it felt so much more substantial in my hand. I think it will be a lot better gauge for me on if this drill pattern is something that helps my game or not.

    Basically what LeeD is saying is what I found tonight. I love control and the 18x20 gives me that. The 105 head size with a pattern that open just has too huge a sweetspot and too much power for me, even with the heavy spin. The weighting of the Blade gives me a ton of head speed to get the ball to drop sharply down, and I am still firmly Blading while open minded and excited about the 99s demo.

    Other thing - what is up with the new overgrip? I really hate it because the grip size is a lot bigger now to me. I can not feel the bevels at all like I can with the 98 Blade. This was a very bad move by Wilson IMO. So if I buy a steam 99s or a new Black blade, I have to figure out how to make the handle feel like the 98 Blades. I am hoping the old wilson grips weigh the same so I can just put one on, but if not, that is a bit of a pain.

    Anyone else notice how the new grips suck and feel bigger (especially with an OG on)?
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  32. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    that is because you don't have enough forward motion. Step in and add your body weight as well as spin. the topspin will just come thru big time, heavy and hard. like Rafa hit his shots.
     
  33. miami

    miami New User

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  34. cork_screw

    cork_screw Hall of Fame

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    I think one important thing to try to do is for those who are reviewing the racquet; give the racquet to your partner and have him hit balls to you so you feel what they are feeling. So you get an understanding of how much spin is really getting generated from a first person perspective, because keep it mind, when you hit your "spin" shots, they are coming all third person perspective because you're not directly being effected by the spin, you're merely displacing the spin on others. So get a first person perspective by handing off the racquet to capable hands and get a taste for yourself!!!!!
     
  35. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    Excellent advice.
     
  36. Tennisspieler

    Tennisspieler Rookie

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    I think it is unfortunate that many racquet companies offer extended length models only on ligther and larger versions of there racquets. Look at Wilson with their Steam 99S vs. 105S, Blade 98 vs. 104 or Donnay with their Pro One 97 vs. Pro One OS Ext. If you want to play an extended length racquet, that forces you to go for an oversize racquet an put quite a lot of lead tape on it, which ends up in quite a challenge: If you just add lead to the 3 and 9 o'clock position, your balance may shift to much to the top. Thus you also need to put weight to the handle in order to maintain the headlight balance and prevent the stick from becoming head-heavy - and adding weight to the handle decently is a major operation.

    I guess this a part of the success of the Babolat racquets over recent years. They offer Plus versions on their standard head sizes and weights. You can order your APD and PD in extended length versions without having to accept larger head sizes and reduced weight. On the PD, you can even go for the heavier Roddick Plus version.

    Many customers are a bit scared to try extended length racquets, but the adaption process is far easier than many people think. It gives you more pop, more spin, a better reach and especially a better serve. Double handed backhand players will also enjoy the longer handle.

    So Wilson: Give us a Wilson Steam 99S Plus. And a heavier Wilson Steam 105S.
     
  37. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    That is correct, the 105s is the 27.5" and the 99s is a standard 27"
     
  38. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    Isn't that why they make lead tape, for personal customization? I love a 105 frame size but hate the weight and the balance of most. I find most are strung weight around 10-10.5 and around an even balance for a little HH. This one is heavier at 10.8 strung and 4 HL, which is a great improvement, now just a tiny bit of tape gets you to the 99s weight which is only 11 strung.

    I loved the 105s and I did what the previous post mentioned, hit for a long time with a partner who I have had for the past few years and he told me to "buy a case" of the Steam 105s. No ballooning here, more pace and more spin. That having been said, I am the kind of hitting that even with spin, I only clear the net by about 12-24 inches on average.....so I am working on clearing a little higher now that I have spin that will drop it in.

    If I had any issue it was balls low over the net with a lot of spin that dropped in the middle of the service box and allowed him to come forward and attack....just my thoughts on the 105s.
     
  39. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    The thing is that I dont care what someone else does with the racquet if I am going to use it. I'll put it like this, I know if the spin is advantageous because the opponent will struggle with it, the ball will drop in more often..etc. While the ball does kick higher and straight up off the bounce, most guys I play are not really phased by that any more. We grew up seeing those bounces. That being said, the 105s just has no weight behind it in stock form, so it is not an ideal option for someone who hits with heavy top already. the 99s will be the benchmark for me, and I am simply waiting for it to come back to the shop so I can try it out.

    The 99s is 15 grams heavier than the 105s. That is not a tiny bit of lead tape by any means. It is actually 60 inches of 1/4 in tape.
     
  40. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    fazed
    ........................
     
  41. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    You really going spell check on me? Give us more Steam Suresh.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  42. corners

    corners Legend

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    Just wanted to point out that the "sitting up" Carter mentions is a matter of trajectory, not spin. The OP, Drakulie, found that, in his hands, the 99S generated more spin and more pace than the APD. It also consistently gave him more net clearance, which means it produced a higher average launch trajectory. A high trajectory means a higher bounce. But we all know that trajectory can be changed. We can hit super spinny forehands that pass an inch over the net and land in front of the service line, or we can hit super spinny forehands that clear the net by ten feet and land on the baseline. That's up to us. The 99S most likely does rebound the ball at a higher angle than closed-patterned racquets, but trajectory is still something under the player's control. One way is to close the racquet-face, which lowers the launch trajectory AND generates even more spin. So if Drak was hitting with more speed and spin high over the net, he could hit with even more spin lower over the net. A fast shot with more spin on a lower trajectory is not a sitter, it's a heavy ball. This might not work for all players - conservative grips might make it tough to close the face, etc. - but I wouldn't write off these frames just because a high-level player wasn't able to make them work for him during a short playtest. The strings might have also been too loose, which would raise the launch angle even more - the ESPN piece doesn't say how they strung it.
     
  43. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Corners I appreciate your defense of the open pattern, but the facts are that I hit with it, and I disagree. First off, controlling the trajectory of every shot is not that easy. In fact I think that is why most players pick a string pattern. I can hit loopers with my 18x20, but my natural grip and rip forehand with the 18x20 is a lower trajectory ball that penetrates the court far better than with an open pattern. I like to contact the ball flush with just a little forward tilt of the racquet face, and there is no way I would want to close it more just to control an open pattern's higher trajectory.

    The high kick is not due just to trajectory but also to how much spin is on the ball. What the playtester from ESPN is saying is that there is definitely a case of too much spin, and if you already know how to hit with it, you will hit more balls that will sit up like this. This also happens sometimes with the APD ( i just sen that demo back to TW), and it happens at the highest levels as even Nadal has been beaten due to his ball sitting up in the strike zone sometimes.

    If you dont hit with a lot of spin, then this pattern will be a revelation in how the ball can drop sharply in, but if you already do, I will be surprised if this racquet makes you want to switch.

    Once again, I have yet to hit with the 99s, just the 105s. But for me, it is not even close to the Blade 98 in any way.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  44. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You don't get something without losing something?
     
  45. thecrusher956

    thecrusher956 Rookie

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    I really don't think its going to live up to it's hype...isn't it more for the amateur player?
     
  46. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I believe it is getting way too much hype on these boards, but I need to hit with the 99S before I can say for sure.

    It is well documented how many sticks I have tried and bought. So if it is the real deal, I assure you I will buy one. I love wilson sticks, and the steam could be a great compliment to my Blades.
     
  47. RadicalMPfan

    RadicalMPfan Rookie

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    Power Player,

    Are you playing with blades in stock form? In my opinion this is one of the best racquets in stock form. It hits a heavy ball, nice balance/SW/weight ratio, and you have a lot of control with access to spin when needed.

    I'm afraid to try the new blades because they lowered the swing weight.
     
  48. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes I agree, and I am playing it at stock weight as well.

    The good news about the new blades is it is just Wilson QC and they did not actually lower the SW. You will be able to get a new blade that has the same SW as the 98. Most of them are in fact 331-335, just like the last ones.
     
  49. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    I respect your posts corners but you can only close the racquet face so much before the ball starts feeling like its sliding off the strings rather than embedding properly. Even with an APDC you can only flatten the ball out so much because you can only ever work against the design and drill pattern of the racquet to certain degree. It's never going to produce the type of the ball that say a closed 6.1 is going to produce.

    Nadal is an animal. Anyone who's ever had the pleasure of watching him courtside knows that he absoutely crushes the ball. I've never seen any pro that hits a ball that's as heavy as he does. The power he generates is immense, with the ball rising, then diving, embedding before shooting forward and rising rather than dipping beyond the baseline. I don't think that anyone who plays with the 99S is going to produce anywhere near the same amount of power than he does, so any ball produced is always going to have a different, more of an up/down trajectory. I could be wrong, but I just can't see it happening.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  50. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    What I see, for most players, is that a slight increase in spin on all shots might make no difference whatsoever in your level of play!
    The opponent sees it from warmup, so has time to dial in and figure out a counter.
    YOU start hitting with the advanced new spin, and get used to it.
    So when the points start to count, it's nothing not encountered.
     

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