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

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

  1. Andyroddickfan

    Andyroddickfan Rookie

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    Wouldn't string durability be an issue with a 16x15 string pattern?
     
  2. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    Thanks PED. I have some Tour Bite sitting around so I'll give it a try too. I think it's 16L but will see how it works. BB Alu Power lasted about 2-3 hours when I tried it. Is their durability comparable? Haven't used tour bite enough to know.
     
  3. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    Yes, very much so. That's the one thing that concerns me about this racquet.
     
  4. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

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    About the gut mains and durability: I don't think the mains are going to be the problem. Its going to be the crosses. My mains (granted only been an hour) look just like they do after an hour on my 16x19 stick. I normally break gut mains in 8-12 hours on my RDiS. Based on my first session I don't see any difference here.

    The crosses, well, that's a different story. Its poly. It looks great then snap. Who knows.
     
  5. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    The racket I demoed had TNT in it and it was moving all over, this stick is made for poly. A multi will not last long, the way the new string was moving on me it had huge gaps between the mains from hitting top spin. This racket is definitely over hyped, it is not that special.
     
  6. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Sorry but any main other than poly or kevlar is not going to last very long in this racket.
     
  7. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    I wonder what this will do to wrists, elbows, and shoulders in the long run.
     
  8. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    I would never, ever, put a multi in this racquet. I think a full bed of poly is about the only way to go in this racquet if you're a decent player (4.5 and up). I broke 16g 4G in 3-4 hours the first time out and I was getting more spin, not tons of spin, but enough to give me that little extra confidence to swing out a little bit more.

    I don't think this racquet is over hyped at all. The proof is in the puddin'. That said, it's not going to be for everyone and everyone isn't going to be able to get the most out of this racquet. I see you use a Rebel strung at 68lbs with 4G. I could tell you that this probably isn't going to be the racquet for you. Have you tried the 99S with a good poly in it?
     
  9. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    I agree this racket is made for pretty much poly only, I do need to give it a try with 16 gauge 4g at high tension. Where is the proof that this racket is not over hyped? I have used the vortex racket and if you want super spin it will beat the 99s easily.
     
  10. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    couch - just to say I've been following/liking your posts on the 99s. Anyhow, unlike on that other 99s thread where any discussion of string/tensions is strictly "verboten" :) - I'll ask this here: how do you think 4G @ about 50 lbs would perform in this frame? Am about to get 99s strung with full 4G 16 but have never used it previously and TBH don't know a whole lot about it. Straight 50 was like my reference tension for a while, though more recently I've gone down into the 40's... btw, interested to hear about the Black Code test.

    klem - "Great minds think alike"!... I think I posted at the end of last year in the diary thread how much I liked Poly Tour Pro in my Juice 100.

    PED - Yes, I'm waiting to hear some feedback from others re TB in the 99s. I thought I'd play safer by initially going for the 4G as so many like it in the 99s and it's Wilson's designated string for it. Dare say it won't be long before I see if TB's a good fit though.
     
  11. PED

    PED Legend

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    Ross, mine is coming strung with tb 16l so I can get a baseline reference. I'm going with 45/44 tension wise as I've been playing with the prestige s at 42/41 for the last four months and really dig the lower tension.

    I'll try out the 16g tb as well to see how it goes as it lasts a good deal longer.

    I'm done with string testing, lol, only tb for me. 4g sounds good but tb is only 7.5 per set off the reel and I get the feeling the steam is going to out a new wing on my stringers house ;)
     
  12. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Hey man, it has been a while. Today is my first day back on court since I tore my calf on October 29th. I too have noted our affinity for the same frame over the decades (??????? :) ) now.

    I'll post a review in this thread after I've hit today. But based on everything I've preordered two without even hitting (damn dumbass me)

    Hope you are well.
     
  13. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the nice words. :)

    4G, at least to me, seems to be somewhat low-powered and holds tension extremely well. I normally string my frames with full poly around 54-55lbs (50-60 reference range). Since the 99S has such an open string pattern I decided to go up a few pounds to compensate. Also, the rec. tension is 54-64 so I just strung 1lb below mid tension like usual.

    I would start with your reference tension and maybe add 2-3 pounds given the open string pattern. 4G, even strung at 58lbs, feels comfortable to me so I wouldn't worry about the comfort level too much if you string a little higher than normal. I think it's just the open pattern that gives the extra comfort of this frame.

    Will give a Black Code update when I get a chance.
     
  14. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

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    Couch, thanks for all your posts. I am no where near your level of player, but would love to find a softer poly that holds tension and performs great in the 99S. I know my elbow can't take 4G so I didn't even try it. I have had bouts of TE off and on all my life and can't hit with stiff frames like PDGTs, so settled in with a Wilson BLX Pro Open (RDC measurement of 66) for the past 2.5 years. I have no issues with TE if I hybrid the Pro Opens with X-One Bi-Phase, or NRG2.

    I prefer poly/multi hybrids, but the 99S isn't designed for this type of hybrid, so I have one with a full bed of Yonex Poly Pro Tour 125 (stiffness from TW University is roughly 200), and another one with Babolat Tonic / Yonex Poly Pro Tour 125. The Gut / Yonex is softer but I like the way the full poly hits.

    Love any thoughts or suggestions? Now at 4.0 level, playing singles and doubles, putting about 10-12 hours a week on the courts. I break X-One Bi-Phase crosses in about 12 hours in my Pro Opens, so durability isn't really a factor.

    Priorities:

    1)Comfort
    2)Cost
    3)Power
    4)Durability

    The Tonic 16 / Poly Pro Tour 125 is better for my arm, but would love to find a softer poly that my elbow can manage. I love the Steam 99S but would love to see a more flexible version of a midsize with the same 16x15 pattern soon.

    I played five days with it now putting in 21 sets. My arm is a little sore as I generally hit Sat-Sun-Mon then leave town for work on Tuesdays back on Friday afternoons.

    Thanks for any help you might offer.
     
  15. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

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    And you know this because you've gone through how many gut mains? Exactly. I'll let you know what really happens after I play with the stick and wear through the gut.
     
  16. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

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    The stick hits pretty soft. I felt no difference between it and the RDiS. In fact, it felt softer. On the other hand the RDiS is pretty firm.
     
  17. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

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    And again, How many times have you hit with the 99s? Yea. Exactly.
     
  18. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

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    I'm not couch, but I have had bouts of TE in the past. I found the following to be softer polys and still ok with tension. I'm assuming you will brealk or cut them in 8-12 hours. Use the string size that lets you break it in 8-12 hours. I've played with all of these:

    MSV CoFocus
    MSV Hex
    PolyFibre TCS
    Gosen Sidewinder
    Topspin Cyberflash
    Polystar Turbo (Loses tension fast, high power)
    Mantis Power poly
     
  19. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Maybe for you it will last, but I had a brand new set of TNT ready to break and moving all over after a half hour. This racket is already to powerful so good luck with nat. gut, but it depends on if you take big cuts at the ball or short pusher swings. Any player that really swings out with a lot of spin is going to eat through strings quickly with this racket.
     
  20. drak

    drak Professional

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    I do not agree, I am a 4.5 who hits pretty hard, did gut Pacific classic mains with 4G Poly cross and strings looked great after 1.5 hrs, and not too much power at all int eh 1.30 gauge
     
  21. drak

    drak Professional

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    I think using syn is a "sin" for this frame
     
  22. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Look I play 5 days a week all year long, and I try a lot of different sticks. It does not take me numerous hours to know what a racket can do. I do want to give this racket another try with thick poly at high tension because then I will know for sure if this stick could work for me.
     
  23. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Ya I agree that is what the demo came with. But TNT is a multi, but not a very good one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  24. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    TNT does that in every racket I've tried it in. It's a horrible string to have by itself IMO. So the 99s is only going to amplify how bad that string is. Other soft strings are much better and much more durable.
     
  25. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    Sorry but TNT is a syn gut with multifilament layers.
     
  26. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Okay it is like a half multi, but like you mentioned it does not compliment the 99s. I will try something else but it sure won't be a soft string, more like a stiff and low powered string.
     
  27. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

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    Thanks wmilas.

    I see there is a new MSV Soft Hex out now also.

    Gosen Sidewinder 17 seems to be pretty soft and descent tension stability.
     
  28. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Tour Bite Soft comes out soon too.
     
  29. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    I have played a Signum Pro Tornado/Syn Gut hybrid for the last several years so I haven't really tried too many polys but these would be on my short list for soft polys to try:

    Signum Pro Tornado- since it's shaped and twisted not sure how well it would do in the 99S. Does hold tension well.
    Signum Pro Hyperion- fairly soft and good tension maintenance.
    Signum Pro Poly Plasma- another softer poly that holds tension really well.
    Weisscannon Black5edge- have played with this a couple times and I believe people talk about its softness.
    Yonex Poly Pro Tour- hit with it once in the yellow and this one seemed like a pretty soft and elastic/powerful poly so it might be a good option

    I just strung up the Black Code and hope to bit with it tomorrow so I'll give my feedback then.

    Also, not sure what gauges you are using but you may try a 16L string. 4G has 16L and that may soften the stringbed up a bit. Just throwing out some options.

    Any one else have any ideas as I am trying to find the right combo of power, spin, and durability in a string for this racquet.

    On a side note- won my usta doubles match today 6-3, 6-2 using the steam. Probably served better than anything.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  30. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

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    Hi TLM - You are the umpteenth person to come into the thread, comparing the racquet to a Vortex, then wondering what all the hype is about. Anybody who puts a full bed of nylon in this frame clearly has no idea what the 99s is designed to do. Fewer crosses than mains (something none of the vortex frames have) reduces string on string friction, and promotes the sliding and snapping back of the mains as the ball exits the string bed. The extra spin comes from string movement. You need to put slippery strings in there or it defeats the whole purpose. Your full bed of TNT is sliding, which is good, but they are too sticky to snap back into place, like a Gut/Poly or full poly bed. If you want to know more about this you can check my post #1000 a few pages back.

    Low string to string friction, (which promotes string movement) is far more important to spin production than high ball to string friction, or "ball bite". There is nothing to believe or dis-believe about that statement. It is, simply said, an observational fact. It has been observed, confirmed, re-confirmed, and re-confirmed again.

    These four independent confirmations took place starting in 2005, by two Physicists working in Japan, by the International Tennis Federation circa 2006-07, followed by Crawford Lindsey's studies which can be found right here in the TW university which occured 2009-2011. Wilson's in house R&D studies are only the final confirmation.

    There are dozens of high speed film studies available to show exactly how this happens. The net is littered with these videos like broken dreams at a redneck bar, they are everywhere. I will provide a link to Joshua Speckman's article published in the Atlantic, because the online version contains excellent video illustrating very clearly ( see 2:50 - 5:50 ) how the mains sliding and snapping back creates additional spin.

    The New Physics Of Tennis
    By Joshua Speckman, The Atlantic Magazine
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/01/the-new-physics-of-tennis/308339/

    It's wicked ironic, that for a very long time, (especially following the University Of Sheffield Studies) the brainiacs in the white lab coats were telling us that string makes no difference at all with regards to spin. Zero, Zip, Nada. Around 1999-2003, as poly began hitting the pro tour in quantity, that idea seemed down right goofy. Now we have clear evidence from the lab explaining why poly is so spinny, and lots of us simply don't want to accept the explanation.

    This is old news. Old thinking dies hard. This information has been available since somewhere in 2005-2008, yet the board continues to be pounded with questions about how to increase "ball bite" with the regularity of waves crashing into the beach.

    Bite is dead. Slide is the new King. Get over it.

    -Jack
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  31. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    I would not have put that string in the racket it is what the demo came with. I completely understand that less x's can aid in the snap back of the mains which gives more spin, that is no secret. But just because it has 1 less cross than main does not make it the spin monster of the century. My main weapon is consistent high jumping top spin, I go by how high and quick my shots pop up and give my opponents trouble. Not by what the # of x's are to main strings.

    A few years ago i used a vortex for a few weeks and tried different string set ups to experiment on what this racket would do. Regardless of the amount of crosses the vortex has it produced tremendous spin, and it really did not matter what string i used in it. I could use poly or a cheap nylon and still got massive spin from this racket. The spin came from the open pattern, the number of crosses meant nothing.

    I will try the 99s with some poly to give it a real test and then report back. But what i could tell from the first time out it does not seem produce the amount of spin as the vortex does. But after a couple of different poly set ups I am hoping that i can get this super spin that many are saying.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  32. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

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    Yes of course. You were unimpressed with the 99s, because you were playing with full nylon. I wish you luck with your play test... but your play test... is not going to add or subtract one iota from what has already been confirmed under tightly controlled conditions.

    Jack
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  33. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Really what exactly has been confirmed? And under what tightly controlled conditions? I really don't care to add or subtract from anything, this is just another tennis racket. You make it sound like you may have some financial interest in this racket being promoted. I demoed the 99s and the new blade 18x20 the other night, my opponent said that the ball came off the court much quicker with better hop from the blade, which surprised me but I am just stating what happened.

    I am going to put some poly in the 99s tonight and hit with it tomorrow night. I hope that it plays great and I love it and it helps my game. I will be glad to report that if it works out to be a special racket. But if it does not I will report that also, so what like I said it is just another tennis racket.

    What I won't do is exaggerate or over state its performance because it has 1 less x's than main string. I go by performance not unwarranted hype!
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  34. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    Hitting the 99s with synthetic gut or a multi almost totally negates the purpose of the racquet. I don't see how anyone would like it this way. The 16x15 pattern will turn the racquet into a rocket launcher if you are a flat hitter or if you use a string that doesn't snap back.

    I have no idea if you will like it with poly but am not surprised that you hated it as demo'd.
     
  35. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Well it is pretty funny that the suggested string that is printed right on the racket is 4G, which happens to be one of the lower powered polys out there.
     
  36. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Ya I am interested to see how well it plays with a full poly job.
     
  37. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

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    Oh good lord. Really? You and I already had that conversation on posts 998, 999, 1000 and just a few moments ago in 1283. I provided bucket fulls of information, supported with numerous links and references there. Good luck with your racquet. No more wacky matches for me. If you want to have the last word on this feel free to take it. Not worth the investment for me.

    -Jack
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  38. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    In all these buckets of information that you provided were exactly is there any proof that the 99s can produce more spin than the vortex racket? The vortex racket with its open design definitely gets a whole lot of snap back action also.

    Or are you saying that because it does not have one less cross like the steam it cannot give the snap back action or spin of the 99s? Better yet have you tried both rackets to actually see how they perform? Or are you to busy reading lab reports?

    I think lab tests can give some good information and be helpful, but many players have found that they don't always match real life on the court experience. Which is exactly what I have found, I have found what really happens on the court to be much more accurate.

    I have strung the 99S up with a full poly job and will give it a try tomorrow. I am hoping that it gives me great spin and control and helps my game. Like I said spin is a huge part of my game so I am hoping this stick works out and improves my game. If this happens I will gladly say so and report on how great this racket is. But if I don't think it is all that I will state that also, regardless what some lab tests say.
     
  39. syke

    syke Professional

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    [​IMG]

    Got myself a backup, and I was pleasantly surprised that both my racquets are identical in static weight. Yoohoo..
     
  40. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    ^
    You, sir, need to by a lottery ticket immediately.
     
  41. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    Would it be possible to use a 15 gauge syn gut as a cross? I haven't hit with the 99s yet but I get nervous(as in wrist health) hitting with full poly.
     
  42. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    I think it would certainly be worth a try. Lots of guys I know use poly mains and a simple synthetic cross. I think the synthetic cross would still allow some of the snap back that you need to take advantage of this racquet. I used Gamma synthetic gut a bit and it seemed to work really well. One of the guys in the string forum likes this a lot too. But Gamma, Prince, or Gosen OGSM I think would be good options. Make sure you get the plain synthetic, not with duraflex or wearguard. I don't think those types offer the snap back as plain synthetic.
     
  43. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Probably not a bad idea.

    I hit with the 99S yesterday. At the request of its owner, I strung it at 58.5 mains and 55.5 crosses. It was strung with MSV Focus Hex 17L. First, I think it was strung a little too tight for my tastes, but I was really amazed at how well it played strung with poly at what I consider too high a tension for me. Three of us, 2 4.5s and 1 5.0, hit for two hours and played some Canadian doubles.

    Overall
    The thing that really struck me was, as others have said, how much more clearance you get over the net. Once you get used to the frame, you can keep the ball lower for times when your opponent is at net. The other striking thing about this racquet was how the ball "dove" at the end of well hit strokes. This caused the 5.0 on the other side of the net (ProKennex about 15 years old) to mishit ball after ball. He remarked more than once about how cleanly I was hitting the ball.

    Comfort, especially considering an all poly string job at 58, was excellent. Control was great and touch was as good as any other frame save possibly the C10 that I've hit with of late.

    Serves
    I was really impressed with serves. I arrived earlier than the other two and took some serves. I started off just limbering up, hitting some easy kick serves. I then hit a couple of harder serves. I was able to hit the corners, and with more pace than I've been getting with my Prince frames. This frame is much firmer playing than the O3's, but not necessarily in a bad way. Serves were definitely a plus with this frame.

    Forehand
    If struck properly, the ball really has a nice trajectory. Crosscourt forehands were for the most part unreturnable if I made it a point to step into them. On all shots, it seemed that the ball was coming down into the court much faster and at a steeper angle.

    Backhand
    One-handed backhand here and it was sublime. I hit a couple of balls that had so much spin on them they literally shot off the court after hitting it. And the really good news is that slices were effortless and "dug" into the court more. I was able to really hit the ball without worrying about this being a new frame. It was like I had played with the frame before.

    Net
    This frame is nice and fast around the net. Proper technique is rewarded with some good stick on volleys. Touch was great with half-volleys going back and angled volleys were pretty good too. I think my net game was a little off due to the all-poly string job and I did club a few.

    Service Returns
    The one thing to keep in mind with this frame is "swing". You really need to give the ball a good cut to get the proper response out of it. This is really most true for service returns at least 1st hit. I may, after some time with this frame, figure out how to hit a softer return, but out of the gate, if you swung aggressively, you were rewarded with a great return.

    Downsides
    The 5.0 who owns the frame called me to check on how I liked it. I basically loved it. He said there is a downside. He had the other one and strung it with ALU 16L. He said that he broke strings right after the 1st set. I took a look at the MSV in my frame and it was notched about a quarter through. I think a soft, cheap, thick poly may be in order here. That said, I'm probably going to string mine with Lux Ace or Pacific PF 18 or Isospeed Pulse 17 when they come in. I know for sure that I'll string it at 54 or 55 and the crosses at 52 or 53. I suspect from previous experience the BB Original may be a good candidate for this frame as well.

    From my experience, this frame plays great right out of the gate. I didn't have to make any big adjustments.

    And, I'm going to try a few hybrids in this frame ----- Draulike?

    But this is a great frame. Maybe Mark Woodforde and Felix Mantilla did know something none of the rest of us did!
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  44. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Got the answer:

    "Correct, the model does not include open string patterns. I will try to fix that at some point, but it I'm afraid it is way down the to do list at the moment."
     
  45. drak

    drak Professional

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    nice review Rabbit, I'll play some dubs Tu and Thurs and I'll have more to add.

    I did a TW search and Black Widow has a 15L Poly, but I thins it's only a 1.32. I loved the gut mains with the 4G crosses the first time out so I will see how it lasts. Interesting you found the serve to be good, I did not hit serves my first time so I'll look forward to that tomorrow.

    Drak
     
  46. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the suggestions in your other post. I have a reel of B5E and have that is what I have been using the last 18 months with X-one crosses. Love that combo in the Pro Opens.

    Forgot about NvY as a option for crosses. The Tonic 16 / Poly Pro felt better after a few hours of hitting with it Strung at 52 / 54. Thinking the tension will die quickly on the poly. Maybe I should start lower on the tension.

    Will try some various poly / NvY combos and see if that helps.

    It could just be my elbow does like the flex of the 99S and that will be a complete buzzkill :( as I love the frame after six days of hitting with it.

    Mikeler, going to UPS store today as they accept USPS mail. Sorry I didn't the strings in the mail Sat. Was gone from 845 am until 530 pm on Sat and didn't get that B5E mailed to you.

    I will keep you posted on the MSV Soft Hex as well.
     
  47. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the post. Since I'm not a big string expert, does anyone have any suggestions for a 15 gauge syn gut that would allow snapback but is also some what durable?
     
  48. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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  49. chunlimeyers

    chunlimeyers Rookie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2004
    Messages:
    163
    Ok, just a warning to those who think they might be having arm problems with the 99s. I got to demo it and the stringer said he strung it to 58 lbs with Luxilon 4G (mains and crosses). So, as you all know, that is relatively high for a poly string. Well, I first was exited and hit outside with it on a 45 degree day. I could feel the vibration through the frame when I was hitting big. So, i blamed it on hitting in the cold and then got to hit it indoors with newer balls. Same thing, just could feel the whole frame vibrate. I thought this was cool, until I realized that is the definition of tennis elbow, and about 3 months ago, I just got over a bout of that as i was experimenting with different string tensions/patterns. However, a number of you guys probably don't hit as hard as me and just use a window washer motion and probably will never even feel this. Also, I am thinking, that the racket was simply strung too high with all poly, further showing the hollowness of the frame. I am also spoiled, as my main racket is the head microgel mp, which, the "microgel" is just a fancy word for silicone injected in the frame, which gives it this rock solid feel and no vibration to it(plus its way less stiff, also). I also have a pure drive gt, which is very similar to this frame in stiffness, but again did not notice any vibration on my frame. If you hit anything in the top third of the racquet hard enough you will feel what I am describing(unless I got just a bad demo model). I don't have tennis elbow anymore so i didn't have any pain hitting with this, but was wary and didn't use it too much.
    As for the spin? Well, I was experimenting with a new combo of strings in my babolat, and thought it made more or as much spin as the 99s! Though, compared to the babolat, the 99s was smaller(i was pleasantly surprised, as I don't really like how large the head is on the babolat) and more shaped like my 98square inch head microgel(which is more like a 95 compared to other company specs), which i liked. I had decent control/accuracy with it and overall, felt almost like hitting with the most powerful wood racquet because of this give and vibration through the frame. This caused me to return it quicker just in order to keep my arm in 100 percent shape that it is now. Oh, and I almost forgot, all rackets had the same dampener in that I always use, so that was not a factor. So, for now, until or if they make a more solid players racket version of this, I am going to put my new string combo in my microgel and then decide if I am going to use my babolat or head or both for the summer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  50. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,654
    Lux. 4G at 58 lbs. makes me cringe let alone playing it in 45 degree weather.
     

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