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

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

  1. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    that's kind of what I was trying to say. :oops: You make little adjustments that take no real conscience thought and from that point on, you'r good. It's not really "changing your swing" as in making huge alterations to your swingpath....it's just "fine tuning". Sorry if I confused the issue.
     
  2. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    We're good :)

    I think my point was that the adjustment shouldn't be that difficult and if it is, than the racquet's not for you.

    Thats said....I think the 99s is a better singles/baseliner's racquet, than a "double's specialist's" racquet.
     
  3. PED

    PED Legend

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    Anyone try Black Magic 15L (1.33mm) with this stick. seems like it might be a good choice.
     
  4. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I think I suggested that a few pages back. I agree it might be a great choice in the 99s. Cheap too :) $90/reel!

    going to Beast 16g too soon. I really liked that as a full bed poly.
     
  5. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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  6. fibonacci888

    fibonacci888 Rookie

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    Made up my mind: this is my new racket!
     
  7. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    One thing I think I'm having some issues with is actually the balance of the stick.

    Still haven't dialed in the serve, finding the net a bit too often for my liking generally, and a bit too erratic still on g/strokes.

    Yet every now and then I'm ripping one with such effortless zip and spinny heavy raking oomph I'm left gobsmacked, blown away.

    So, whilst today I didn't find that 'ball sitting up too much' syndrome or whatever some of were discussing a day or two ago to be such an issue, I am, specially re groundstrokes, aware of this lack of consistency, control, predictability, whatever.

    On a wider note, I absolutely accept more time has to be spent adjusting to the quirks of the frame etc. But on a few occasions when I've put my Pure Control in the mix for a few games, it's striking how my serves are suddenly landing in and with more venom, and how my groundstrokes are suddenly transformed into consistent controlled performance.

    I don't know... is this balance related?
     
  8. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    Ross, I think you're more used to the weight and balance and way of coming through of the swirly.. To me your longtime love, the APD, moves more sluggishly than this Steam... Same for me and my frames. So when I first bit the frame, i couldn't find the box, instead constantly the net. Once I really adjusted to the easier swing - letting the ball drop a tad more to line up my strike, unlike my usual frames where I have to start everything sooner in order to crack it - the serves transformed from uncontrollable to beastly and surprisingly accurate. Play around with toss location, too. But this thing swings so easily, at first it's hard not to always be (too) early to the ball.
     
  9. Dgdavid

    Dgdavid Professional

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    too late to write up tonight's experience but we won our tournament match comfortably against a good pair and I played good consistent tennis in the first set with the 99S then very aggressive strong tennis with the IG Rad OS in the second (which just plays like a powerful MP version). The main comments from my opponents were that they had more time on my shots in the first set but my shots were much hotter in second.

    Still interested in the Steam frame but I think the 99S is going back. Will definitely look at the non-S 99 though and will report back.

    ps. a real stand out for me with the 99S is the slice backhand. happens to also be the only main weakness of the Rad OS as it happens.
     
  10. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    JG,

    Great points ^.


    DG,

    Okay, so you've made up your mind then. Well, I'm not reaching for my towel and heading out the steam room quite yet :) . I'm also suddenly curious about a bit of lead, changing it up a bit to maybe shift the balance, get it even more solid, etc. I seem to suddenly be playing a fair bit, so a good few opportunities in the next week-10 days to try and work it out.
     
  11. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    QSN for aimr (think you've done this?) and others...

    Anyone put lead on their 99s?

    How much and what locations?

    How has this worked out for you and changed things up?

    TIA
     
  12. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    Ross, I have modded it to my usual spec of 345g strung with overgrip and a balance of 32cm. Mods are silicone in the handle (10g) and lead at 3/9 (4 x 6inch) and 12 (4 x 4inch).

    It's as solid as any of my other frames at this spec. Swingweight for me still feels like I can bring it around without any trouble and the plow is ample. No vibrations and didn't notice any issue with off centre hits. Spin as expected is more than my 18x20's. balls visually kick up on groundies and for me the power is controlled.

    Not sure what you typically swing in terms of spec, but it feels great at this spec for me.
     
  13. fibonacci888

    fibonacci888 Rookie

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    Funny,I have exactly the same conclusion about this racket. Only thing is that for me that is a good thing. I make way to many unforced errors and this racket gives me the margin i needed. Yesterday i played a good 2 hours and felt in control within the point. Before it was basically hit and run. This racket gives me the confidence to wait for the right ball to go for the winner.
     
  14. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Cheers aimr. Hmm, food for thought...
     
  15. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

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    Update #3

    Played 4 hours last week, no matches, 2 hours hitting partner, 2 hours drills. USTA doesn't start up till next week for me. I continue to dial it in and at this point I'm fairly confident with the stick. I like it and I'll be switching to it.

    Now the bad news. It eats gut. Like a hungry, angry monster. Yesterday 30 minutes into a hitting session I snapped the 5&6 main AT THE SAME TIME. That's only 4.5 hours of heavy hitting on the racquet. It was string with Pacific Natural/Gosen sidewinder 54/48.

    It snapped on an off center hit but it was no where near the frame. In the past with other sticks I've always broke gut in the mains in the sweet spot after the fraying has started. Not with this stick. I have not managed to get more than 5 hours out of a hybrid before the gut snaps.

    I'm kinda shocked at this. I'm boggled that *2* mains snapped this last time this fast.

    I ordered another 99s. I'm going to string one up full bed lux 4g and one full bed topspin cyber (my favorite soft smooth poly) both at 48 and see how they play. I'll cut each out at 8-10 hours if I don't break it so as not not wreck my arm.

    If they play like crap I'll just suck it up and go through half a pack of gut each week... the wicked backhand alone is worth it :)
     
  16. Rafaboy

    Rafaboy Rookie

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    I kind of dont understand how you some guys are constantly breakin stings. Is it largely due to the technique? are you hittng mostly flat shots with a lot of pace? Or is it that you are playing at a high degree of power alone that causes this?
     
  17. PED

    PED Legend

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    It's a combo of the ultra wide open pattern and hitting with alot of spin/power. It's death on strings in a stick like this.
     
  18. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

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    Well, I'm not a massive string breaker like some of the guys I play with. There are a number of factors that break strings:

    1) Swing speed. Obviously the more energy you impart into the ball, the more general wear on a string.
    2) String movement. If the face has an open pattern the strings move. this causes friction on the strings that causes fraying in something like a multi and a natural gut but also causes stretching which can cause the string to snap if the elasticity threshold is surpassed.
    3) Off center hits. Hits to the outside of the hoop can cause sheer forces against the grommets and knots along with there being less strings to take the impact.
    4) Form. Good technique often increases string breakage. Very good technique causes the most energy transfer per swing. This is a bit tricky to describe. Its best illustrated in the serve. A good server gets his body moving up into the ball via his legs, his arm swinging and hitting the ball at the peak of its rotation, and his wrist snapping down all exactly at the correct time to impart ALL that energy into the ball. If any of these are out of phase there is wasted energy that does not make it into the ball.

    I break strings mostly because of #2, #3, and to a lesser part #1. I normally don't break them from off center hits, but the 99s seems the be particularly sensitive to this with gut and sheer forces causing a break. I do swing fairly fast with a semi to full western grip.
     
  19. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I don't get it either. I hit harder than about 60-70% of the guys I face at the 3.5/4.0 level and I am not breaking strings (yet) :)
     
  20. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    it's the combination of spin and pace. flat shots won't cause strings to break. also, it's alot easier to break strings if you're returning heavy shots. if the guy on the other side isn't giving you much pace, your strings will last alot longer as a result.
     
  21. corners

    corners Legend

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    The snapback effect has maximum effect on groundstrokes, minimum impact on serve. This has to do with the fact that on serve the ball has zero spin on it when struck.
     
  22. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    Makes sense.

    Now, any explanation for kickers not kicking? I thought they'd jump all over the place but are very tame thus far.

    Otherwise, super fun and easy frame on all shots. Wicked slices and angles. The 99S gets a thumbs up for me. Now, if only the strings can last longer than four hours...
     
  23. Buford T Justice

    Buford T Justice Semi-Pro

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    I am having the reverse issue! My second serves are massively better with this frame and double faults have been cut in half (when "going for it" on seconds), but flat serves I have not yet found the range on and probably miss 3 out of 4 right now. It seems I am "off" just a touch on depth as many of them are missing the back service line by maybe 6". The pace off the strings is great though. Perhaps this is just a case of getting a tad more pace on the flat serves than before, such that even if they are hit at more or less the same angle down, they are carrying a tad long?
     
  24. jonestim

    jonestim Professional

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    I loaned the demo to my hitting partner. He was much more consistent with it and his shots were getting good pace and spin and staying in. He was quite impressed with it and had fun.

    On the other side of the net I actually found the balls easy to deal with. They were faster, but with good bounce. I have more trouble with low balls and these were easier for me to return. We had longer rallies with him loosing less points due to hitting long but loosing more points because I was returning them better.
     
  25. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    played 2 sets tonite with my regular hitting partner and he mentioned that my groundstrokes definitely had more spin than usual. He said the ball seemed to get on him quicker and he felt like he had less reaction time. He also said many balls that he let go because they looked like they were going out stayed in.
     
  26. syke

    syke Professional

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    Same experience...

    Got a number of free points, because they looked like they were going out.
     
  27. jonestim

    jonestim Professional

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    I would also agree on this, but tonight I was playing outdoors on a slow hard court. I have been playing for the last few months indoors on a quite fast surface so I was able to handle it. Had we been playing inside on the faster surface I don't know if I would have.
     
  28. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

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    I've had two 99S frames for a couple of weeks now. Now, on the 4th and 5th string setups now, and WC B5E / WC Silverstring taken over as my new favorite setup at 52 lbs. The strings move right back in place very well. I was skeptical of this combo, but is works for me.

    Just ordered another reel as I used my last 1/2 set of B5E today with the MSV Soft Hex. Soft Hex doesn't feel as soft as B5E/Silverstring, but I hit the the Soft Hex within hours of stringing when I normally wait a day to let the strings drop tension naturally overnight before hitting.

    I didn't care for the Tonic Gut / Yonex Poly Pro Tour 125 setup, as it never felt right. I keep going back to the full Poly Pro Tour frame until I cut both the gut/poly and Yonex Poly out, and tried the Weiss Cannon setups. The frame 99S does hurt my arm when I try to play my normal routine of Sat/Sun/Mon/Tues am before leaving town Tuesday evening, so I have actually stopped playing any doubles with the 99S and only use it for singles.

    Earlier today I added 5 grams of lead and upgraded to a Wilson Pro Hybrid grip that weighs 20oz cut to fit, compared to 12 oz stock Sublime grip that comes with the frame. Net increase of 13 grams per frame (all in the handle) so each weigh in at 336 grams and feel much more solid. Hit about 30 minutes tonight with a buddy, and the additional weight makes this frame feel better to me.
     
  29. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    :eek:


    What are your thoughts and impressions re the full PPT set up in the 99s?
     
  30. Dberger820

    Dberger820 Rookie

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    A quick review comparing the 99s to the 2013 Aero Pro Drive:

    I had used the Head Radical Pro for a few months until the new APD came out and was instantly won over by the Bab. I could hit every shot better with the Bab, only missing the solid plow of the radical. Over the past two months of using the APD I have started getting a few small pains after hitting for about two hours. I don't get pains while playing matches due to the amount of downtime between points, just during constant drilling. The one issue I was having coming to the APD was controlling the huge amount of power the frame provides. When I can, it's almost always a winner or would force my opponent into a forced error. If I am off my game with this racquet then I lose very quickly hitting lots of balls long.

    I received a demo of the 99s which I got merely to see what all the hype was about. I honestly pulled it out of my bag and chuckled because I thought of how big of a marketing ploy this was, but how it worked enough to get me to give it a try. I started warming up and couldn't hit the ball in a straight line for about two minutes. Felt like an idiot and almost dumped it back in the bag. Decided to give it a bit more time and I am beyond happy that I did. Once I got warmed up and brought up the speed of my swing the racquet seemed to wake up. It became an absolute beast from the baseline. For two hours the only ground strokes I hit long were framers when I was trying to hit ridiculous spin. Speaking of spin, I didn't see a huge difference compared to the APD other than all my shots were landing in. Needless to say that is enough for me. I hit a relatively flat shot so the added spin was just enough to boost my confidence immensely and allow me to swing out. That is something that was always in the back of my mind when ripping a shot with the APD and I would pull back to make myself swing softer. The pro I was drilling with was having an amazingly hard time keeping up with me in a rally and I was backing him up a solid 5-6 feet behind the baseline. After one 15 shot cross court rally he really got into it and began pounding the ball back. This racquet simply enabled me to absorb the pace and send it right back at him. Not bad for a 4.0 against an open level teaching pro. Again, the confidence to hit out is through the roof

    As far as the other aspects of the game, I saw no noticeable difference between the two sticks. But the confidence to swing out on both sides of my groundless is enough to make me jump one bandwagon onto the next. Plus how incredibly solid the Wilson feels in comparison.

    BTW, the Steam came to me with syn gut that I had to straighten the mains after every rally. I cannot even fathom how amazing this stick is going to be when I get a proper poly in it. I have a sinister smile on my face just thinking about it...
     
  31. Dberger820

    Dberger820 Rookie

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    Also, there is absolutely no pain when hitting the Steam as there was with the APD. The frame specs say it stiff but you can feel the flex when hitting the ball. Not nearly the flex that the Radical has which takes awhile to get used to. This flex felt more like a soft cushion grabbing the ball, giving it a smooch, then sending it on its way. Very comfy.
     
  32. anhuynh16

    anhuynh16 Hall of Fame

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    I am a believer in this stuff now. The wilson HQ team came down to my club and they did that spin effect computer stuff, and my results came out to around 83ish mph with around 1300 rpm..
     
  33. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

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    Ross, sorry for the delayed reply.

    This YPPT string job was strung at 56 lbs full bed. Compared to the Babolat Tonic Gut 16 / PPT, it had more power and I felt much more confident swinging with for placement or power. I was really disappointed in the gut/poly combo and this was surprising given I like the same gut / poly same combo in my Wilson Pro Opens. The YPPT did seen to drop tension much quicker as a full bed compared to the Tonic/Poly, but this biggest complaint I had was self induced. I would suggest 48-52 lbs instead of the 56 were I started.

    Serves: with PPT clearly better both flat down the T, spinning anywhere, while serving wide to the Ad court is my favorite with the frame.

    Backhand: both 2HBH or one handed slice. Clearly better with the Steam 99s than my Pro Opens and better with PPT Higher net clearance on the 2HBH and nice touch for the 1HS.

    Forehand: lost some control with this frame compared to my Pro Opens, but better with the Yonex full bed than the other setups excluding WC B5E/Silverstring.

    Drop shots:better with gut hybrid but not terrible with the YPPT

    I have hit the same full bed of Yonex Poly Pro Tour in both a Yonex 98D / 100S and RDiS 200. The RDiS 200 was my favorite of those three frames. The 100S was again stiffer than my elbow liked.
     
  34. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

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    Our club in Wisconsin just got the Steams in. One of my fellow co-works already has one and I heard him pop a string today. He told me it was about 5 hrs of play on the 4Gs. I told him he is going to need 13G string, ha ha.

    On a serious note I think these racquets will sell like hot cakes, which is great as I endorse the company!
     
  35. teamprovan

    teamprovan New User

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    My 14 and under girl started play testing the 99s today. Academy is switching from Prince to Wilson Sponsorship so we are going to see if they have anything that can beat her Bab PD GTs. Tried the Prince but the frames were breaking and the frames lost power and stiffness so she went back to the BABs.

    I strung with her standard string Tour Bite 17 at 51 Lbs. and OMG the ball was all over the bubble. They were playing super tie breaks when I gave it to her to try and she could only win a point on an ace but could not keep in a ground stroke to save her life. Went from top court to bottom fast. Took it away and gave back her 3 year old Bab and right back to the top court with no more losses.

    I gave the 99s to one of the top pro's and asked him to try it. Same thing as my kid, balls flying long with little control. He said the thing felt like the strings were way to loose maybe 5 to 6 Lbs.

    Went back and cut out the strings and put in the same at 57 Lbs. She played for 30 Min on a ball machine and said she liked it but needed to play a lot more because she said she had to be sure she turned the door knob big time or the ball would sail on her. Volley's she had to swing thru a bit more but liked what came off the racquet after making the adjustment.

    Later she played with a young Pro player who is just starting lower tour events. He is a big hitter of course so it was a good test for the 99s. She like it and said she was just getting into a groove and felt like she could hold her own when snap 30 min. in the strings were gone. The 2 center mains broke dead center in the string bed.

    She has always been hard on string using only one racquet per 2 set match. If a 3rd set is needed then she grabs a fresh stick. How ever 30 mins of soft hitting and 30 min of all out killing the ball and I could hear my wallet screaming in my back pocket.

    Tonight I restrung with the 4G 130 that the club had and ordered some 4G 141. I also added some weight under her hand because she likes the Babs at about 6 1/2 points HL and about 11.7 oz.

    She was also trying the Juice 100 but she thinks after I matched the balance and weight to her Babs and gave it the same 51 lbs. Tour Bite she said it was a lot like her Babs but not as good any where on the court.

    I will update on the 99s and see how the 4G 130 after it breaks most likly before morning break.
     
  36. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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  37. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

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    Wow. It sounds like your daughter is on a great track for tennis success. Might I ask which Academy she trains at? I am a teaching pro here in Wisconsin and one of our players plays at Sanchez Casal Academy in Florida in the summer months. Glad to hear you kept trying different string set-ups as this racquet is supposed to compare to the Babolats.
     
  38. teamprovan

    teamprovan New User

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    We are at the Center Court Academy in Chatham NJ. The full time Academy is new this year for the 2 and a half years before this year she was the only full time JR. at the club. The club owner told me she had a lot of talent soon after she changed sports to tennis at age 10 so we went full time 1/2 way thru 5th grade because with the late start we had some catching up to do. Now just starting her second year in the 14s she is top 3 in the East. I geuss she has cought up but now it is time to see if she can go to that next level.
     
  39. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

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    Wow that's great that she could commit full time to learning tennis. 14's is still pretty early to tell the type of success someone will have in the future so I bet she has time. I teach at a regular club here in Wisconsin but aspire to work with young juniors looking to take their game to the next level. Hope all goes well with your daughter and I wish her the best of luck.
     
  40. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Thanks, interesting stuff. One last qsn if I may: how many hours performance/life did you get here?
     
  41. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Fascinating to read this. Do update this if you can. I wish her well too.
     
  42. Dgdavid

    Dgdavid Professional

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    Had a great first hit with the non-S 99 (3 sets) and immediately preferred it but need more time. Got a tough singles match tonight and will use it in that (not a Box or Ladder match but a tough opponent who hates losing).

    Felt more penetrating and direct yet still good spin when you want it. My flatter shots improved and my consistency went up a notch. Mind you, singles is where most rackets I like fall flat so jury is still out. Will report back.
    The frame is very nice.

    If I win in two, will be pulling out a PB Mid 10 for a 3rd set!

    ps. on the 99S, over two demo stints (one with blacked out tester, the second with retail version) I have played 11 competitive singles sets, 6 competitive doubles, three Mix-In/Club Socials (around 3 hours each) plus some general wall hitting and knock-ups. It is definitely a grower and I like it. Haven't ruled it out but got a feeling the non-S might be the one for me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  43. PED

    PED Legend

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    One thing to potentially consider, since she's a TB user, you may want to look at the 1.30mm TB. I'm a long time TB user and much preferred TB 1.30 to 4G 1.30. I had to alter my swing with the 4G to get the same lift as I do naturally with the TB.
     
  44. teamprovan

    teamprovan New User

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    I know she would like to stick with TB but I am not sure any 130 Co-Poly will last in this racquet. We will see today if the 130 4G will last in a normal 6 hour hitting day or not. If it can take her hittting with Pro men players for 2 to 3 hours plus 2 hours of drills and 2 hours of playing down with kids 14 to 16 years old then the TB may be an option. I would hate to change everything she trusts right in the meat of the sectional season.
     
  45. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Does the non-S feel and swing exactly like the S? It should right, since the only difference is the pattern?
     
  46. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

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    I believe the SW is a little different. 328 for regular 99 and 333 for the S version.
     
  47. PED

    PED Legend

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    It probably won't last. FWIW, I'm getting 2.5 hours from the TB 1.30mm and 2 hours from the 4G.

    4G is stiffer, and has less explosive power IMO. I much prefer TB in the 99S.

    After my 4G popped today, I went back to a freshie with TB 1.30mm, I could tell a big difference.
     
  48. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    i'd be interested in seeing a 16x15 pattern in something like the PS90 where the frame is a lot more stable. Interested in the string pattern, not interested in the racquet they’re using it in.
     
  49. Dgdavid

    Dgdavid Professional

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    Surrey, England
    actually, the SW feels slightly higher on the non-S despite what the TW specs say but not much in it and that could be QC. I think someone else noticed that too. I will report back after my match which starts in an hour. 16x18 is still pretty open of course.

    one thing I do know is the 99S felt great in the hand to me and it was because of that I wanted to try the 99. will update in 3-4 hours or so.
     
  50. PED

    PED Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Messages:
    5,339
    FWIW, I had mine matched at TW & both of the S model came in at 321.

    They mentioned that the #'s are all over the place. At least Wilson is consistently inconsistent with their specs.
     

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