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

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

  1. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    12,391
    In short, the apd is a power machine that turns power into spin with the right technique.
     
  2. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    huh??? ...................please explain what you mean
     
  3. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    331
    The point I'm trying to make is that the APDGT is not intended for a flat stroke - full stop. Can you use it as such, of course - but it's not going to operate at its full capabilities. Thus, if you compared the APDGT with the Wilson - while using a traditional stroke - it's not really fair to say that the Wilson imparts more peak spin (although I have no doubt that was the case). Unless, of course, you utilized a WW FH and a Western grip while trying out both (in your case, all three) racquets... just trying to determine if that's the case (which I read it as not).
     
  4. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    12,391
    More powerful lighter modern racquets are more conducive to producing topspin, if you have the technique, than the older heavy higher swingweight racquets that produced power differently.

    Sure string spacing plays a role, with launch angle in particular, but the new steam looks like a powerful lighter modern racquet with an even more open string pattern.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
  5. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    12,391
    The apd is not intended for a flatter stroke imho because its powerful, but when you hit a flatter stroke its a pretty good winner.

    For a typical rally ball what you get is easy power which, with the right technique, allows you to put spin on the ball in a seemingly effortless way.



     
  6. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida

    OK. I'm following you now.

    That said, the APD, in my opinion, is not necessarily a "spin" monster or "power" frame. For starters, this BS that Babolat sells to people by claming the APD is aerodynamic and is the reason it imparts more spin, is simply that, BS. To make it aerodynamic, the head, especially as it gets closer to the tip, and not necessarily the shaft/yolk would be tapered. It's not. Its actually normal, which would not allow it to "cut" thru the air as they claim. So this whole argument of WW or "modern" FH need be used to "optimize" it's full capabilities, is Babolat simply Bamboozling consumers.
     
  7. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    12,391
    The apd throat does indeed do nothing for spin, but it is a powerful racquet so it lends itself to using spin if you are trained correctly to hit a modern stroke.
     
  8. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    By modern stroke, I'm going to assume, you mean "topspin"? Anyway, any racquet will get you topspin if you brush up on the ball, including the KPS88 which is head and shoulders more powerful than the APD, so you're not saying much here, and the APD surely hasn't re-invented the wheel.
     
  9. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    331
    Actually, its from my personal experience testing out some of the most revered frames against the APDGT. I'm not looking to begin a redux of my prior thread, but there is a noticeable difference in how this racquet plays via a WW/Western forehand stroke relative to other racquets. Simply put, I haven't come across a racquet that can match its spin, pace and accuracy when utilizing this stroke. Not the old Prestiges, not the PT630, not the Fischer Vacuums, not the Radicals, not a slew of other racquets. To me, it's not b.s. (and no, I don't have a poster of nadal on my wall). Your perspective on Babolat is well documented, I'm just trying to find out if this Wilson indeed may be a racquet that can take it a step futher....
     
  10. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    12,391
    The lighter, wider-beamed more powerful racquets make the production of the topspin stroke easier for people below an advanced level of play.

    There are also types of power and the question of ease of power production that you miss out on in your comparison of the 88 with the apd.

    Moreover, there is the research concerning spin window that is also important and why spin has rendered racquets under roughly 90" redundant.

    It has also led to rounder racquets.

    Wilson has simply reworked the string pattern side of the equation with the steam.

    Others worked on the frame by making it more easy-powered.

    The pd class of racquets which includes the apd and the juices and the opens and the extremes are just all variations on the theme and one's choice among them is more personal than anything else.
     
  11. Broly4

    Broly4 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Messages:
    298
    This is a girls stick, I hope they use this pattern in more serious frames, no offense
     
  12. KFwinds

    KFwinds Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2004
    Messages:
    1,318
    Has anyone posted pics of these new Steam frames?
     
  13. corners

    corners Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    5,441
    Ha, ha. Yeah, I'd like to see a 16x15 in a Pro Staff 90. One of the benefits of "free spin", either from copoly strings or open patterns, is that you can either use your normal swing and get extra spin out of the deal, or you can flatten your swing slightly but still get the same amount of spin as before.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  14. Fed Kennedy

    Fed Kennedy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Messages:
    4,752
    Location:
    With Roger
    You can bet they will.
     
  15. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Messages:
    3,137
    Location:
    Staten Island
    I disagree with you - if I want to hit full western and maximize high arch big spin on every shot I'd want a racket similar to APD.

    It's not that APD is aerodynamic(it's not), but the wider body lets it be more torsionally stable per weight allowing more polarization in overall lighter package and bigger, more round face shape increases margin for big spin game.
     
  16. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,117
    Location:
    DcMdVa
    Is this a facetious statement?

    I did not know there were gender specific racquets.
     
  17. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    12,391
    What about a kblade tour with 18x17?
     
  18. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    Messages:
    564
    That would be interesting. I am thinking that it is not as simple as just changing the string pattern but you also need to mess with the racquet head shape. Still an interesting idea.
     
  19. Geoff

    Geoff Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    Messages:
    945
    Location:
    In the now
    Stringing Specs

    Hi Drak!

    Was there any discussion of string and tension recommendations? More specifically was Wilson recommending a higher tension or a thicker gauge? If so, are they selling a specific string under the Wilson or Luxilon brand? Some may remember the Snauwaert Hi-Ten racquets of the 80's. They had two models. One was the Dyno and the other was the Mid. They were strung approximately 10 lbs. tighter with a thicker gauge string made by Snauwaert that was a poly. Snauwaert and Prince both sold a poly in the 80's that was a little before it's time. Thanks for sharing another great review!
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  20. KoolTennisKid

    KoolTennisKid New User

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2012
    Messages:
    57
    Location:
    you can find me at the net
    so im guessing the unstrung weight is about 10.8? seems a little light. hey drak or anybody else who went to the event, did you try out the new blade 16x19?
     
  21. hersito

    hersito Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2012
    Messages:
    399
    That was me, thanks for the review!
     
  22. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,887
    Anyone know what the stiffness is on this stick? The current Steam is 66. Was wondering if its similar to the current Steam or a little stiffer. Drakulie- what were your impressions on stiffness?
     
  23. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    Messages:
    564
    I know that I am not Drakulie but I also did a review and in my opinion it is stiffer than the original steam. It was also strung a little tighter than I do with poly so that could have accounted for the stiffness but I still think it had to be high 60's.
     
  24. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    Messages:
    564
    No problem. If you get a chance, test drive this stick and see what you think, I think most people will enjoy it.
     
  25. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,887
    This sounds good to me. I prefer sticks in the high 60s, or right at 70.

    Oh yeah, great review by the way. :) Really excited about this stick. Will probably settle on the 16x18 version but will definitely play test the 16x15 to make sure.
     
  26. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    Messages:
    564
    Yeah no problem! Another pro at the club really liked the 16/18 but also liked the 16/15. To be honest when looking at it the holes between the mains and crosses look about the same size which is impressive considering the low amount of crosses in the 99s.
     
  27. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Messages:
    5,298
    I tried playing with the prince o white awhile back which was 100" and 16x19 open string pattern with slightly wider beam and fairly stiff. Eventually, I gave up as I felt it was not very controllable. It was great if you got a sitter but not so great for "playing" because you only get sitters a small percentage of the time. But, I will probably demo the 99s out of curiosity.
     
  28. realplayer

    realplayer Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    Messages:
    504
    I guess you need thick gauge strings. With thin strings the 100" was uncontrollable for me and with the wilson i probably need wire to control it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  29. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    Geoff, good to hear from you. Hope all is well.

    From the engineer I spoke to and some of the other Wilson gurus at the event, the Luxilon 4g is going to be released in a 15 gauge, so many feel this will address two issues related to strings:

    1. Tension stability
    2. Durability

    Personally, I can't wait to try this frame out with gut mains/poly crosses. This set up should really amp up what is already cRaZy spin on this frame. Question will be control and durability.

    I did try out the new blades. The paintjobs are amazing as well as the performance of the frames. However, I don't want to bog this thread down with information/discussion about those frames. Sorry.

    Couch, I felt like the head of the frame *felt* like it had some flex to it. Not sure if it is the open pattern, or perhaps the string, but I would say this would be my explanation for the comfort I discussed in my OP.
     
  30. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    3,440
    Drakulie - Maybe you can post your comments about the BLX Blade in the other thread and I also look forward to getting the Steam 99S and putting gut mains and poly crosses to see how much more spin this will produce.
     
  31. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,803
    Trip report

    OK so I am back from the Wilson event.

    A plug straight-away: Watch for the RUSH PRO shoe they are introducing in February. It is supposed to be the latest technology best shoe in the world.

    Did I mention that Wilson is introducing the RUSH PRO shoe in February? Feliciano Lopez is already using it.

    After making a dinner of the appetizers and drinks at this exclusive country club, I attended John Muir's presentation (the GM whose name is on every issue of every tennis magazine). You know about Spin Effect so I will not repeat the facts. The other change is that Wilson is moving away from the traditional classification of frames as players vs game improvement, and compact vs long swings. They are going to keep 3 categories: Spin+Control (Pro Staff), Spin+Power (Steam) and Power+Comfort (Juice). They think the old classifications do not reflect how people play these days.

    There was a video felicitating Wilson winners in 2012, including Rosol beating Nadal, which I think is supposed to be symbolic of Wilson beating Bab.

    I asked the Director of Products about continued supply of the PS 85s to TW, and he said they plan to continue manufacturing it. I have to say that when the staff heard that I use that frame, there were some looks which I can only describe as sympathetic.

    Then we hit the court with the Doppler radar technology. Rumor was that it is cheaper and better than Hawk Eye and might replace it. I was in the first group of 5 personally escorted by the head of Sales, which unfortunately included 4 competitive juniors sent by their coach to the event. Tennis Channel was on site, and started filming us. First 8 forehands with a Bab APD and then 8 with the Steam 99S, fed by a guy. The first 2 juniors finished, and showed an improvement of 200 rpm of topspin on average. The range was in the mid-2000s. It is close to Wilson's claim of 300 rpm increase in their blind tests.

    Then came my turn. I asked Tennis Channel not to film me, and they agreed, apparently because we had probably not signed the waiver. I did not want Tennis Channel viewers to be jealous of my youthful looks. To popularize the racket among club players and not to induce spin-envy, I toned down my top spin drastically, posting an average of 1100 rpm with the Bab and 1300 with the 99S. To keep it realistic, I also hit one of the 16 forehands into the net.

    The other thing to mention is that the launch angle and net clearance is much higher. Wilson's claim of an extra foot of net clearance is not an exaggeration.

    After that we headed out to the other courts to hit. I hit with the new Blades, including the 93 and the 98 with 16*19 pattern. The cosmetic of black and gold is very enticing and the juniors really took to this line of frames. It seems to be aimed squarely at them. In fact, the frame was circulated among them during the presentation itself.

    I then hit with both the 99S and the 105S. Apart from more top spin and net clearance, the other noticeable feature of Spin Effect is side spin. On higher shots, you can clearly see the ball curving away in the air due to the side spin. It is almost like you expect it to be here, but it actually there.

    But all good things must come to an end. I got a $20 gift card and a shorts and shirt is being mailed to me as a free gift.

    And did I mention the RUSH PRO shoe coming out in February?
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  32. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    3,440
    Sureshs - I am already jealous that you had a chance to hit with the new racquets:). I can't wait to get one given all the good things mentioned so far about the racquet.

    Can you post your findings about the blade in the BLX Blade 98 thread that is up there with this one? I would love to hear you thoughts on that racquet as well given it's back to 16x19 string pattern.
     
  33. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,117
    Location:
    DcMdVa
    Nice write up sureshs, thanks. Wilson has done a number at my local shop. They came in and rearranged half the wall with a carnival like booth, in promotion of the new line.

    I second parasailing, please post thoughts of new 16x19 blade in other thread.
     
  34. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,887
    Sure it's not the Rush Pro? :) Great review. Can't wait to get these racquets into our shop. I think Wilson is really taking things to another level with their new line. The Blades and the Steams, I think, are going to be big sellers for next year.
     
  35. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    3,990
    Location:
    1313 Mockingbird Lane.
    when can i preorder this bad boy?
     
  36. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,803
    Darn must have been the drinks.

    I edited by previous post.
     
  37. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,803
    They are doing that tomorrow at the local pro shop whose owner recommended me for the event. They are rearranging the wall just like you said.
     
  38. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,887
    Excited about the yellow/neon yellow Rush Pros that will be out in March. They also have a black/orange colorway available in March too. May have to wait til then to switch to this shoe. Sweet looking shoe though. Wilson is bringing it!!
     
  39. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,803
    Not much to say I am afraid. I hit best with the 93 so that is not very useful. The way it works is that they have many rackets lined up and you grab whatever you find and play, and then exchange it with someone else. Very difficult to remember exactly what you are hitting with. All the frames seem infinitely lighter than the PS 85 so that diminished my sensitivity a lot.

    The juniors could not keep their hands off the Blades though. The video also featured the Filip guy who has a thread in the Pro section.
     
  40. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,803
    Does anyone know how these radar numbers work? The data shows some 20 points. I had several 2000s, including a 2600, but only the last 6 count. I asked whether it measure the spin just after impact and then subsequently, but I was told it is for the entire trajectory, which I don't follow. Is spin contant throughout flight and the 2600->1100/1300 is an eventual convergence to the correct value?
     
  41. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,803
    Also should mention the huge promotion going on for the 4G string. The consider stuff like that "evolution" but the Spin Effect as a "revolution."
     
  42. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,803
    [​IMG]
     
  43. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    4,343
    Sureshs, you mentioned that your spin was greater and net clearance was higher and such, but you didn't really indicate whether you actually liked the racquet or not - ie, if the hit was good enough to warrant a future purchase, or demo, or whether it was just something interesting but you'll be sticking with the 85.... Is it anything that got you thinking about switching? Could you flatten the ball out enough to actually put the ball away or was it more of a spin machine that couldn't hit through the court like your 85? What about the 'feel'? You're hitting what is probably the best feel stick out there, so wondering if this felt more like a toy by comparison? Seems like you were a lot more adamant about the shoes than any stick.
     
  44. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,645
    It sounds like he got to hit a total of 8 shots with the racquet. I would love to try it but it would be hard to base a purchase on 8 shots.
     
  45. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,803
    The shoes were just for a bit of fun as Wilson is really betting on them.

    One of the staff members asked me the same question you were asking - will you be switching? For me, it is a matter of weight and what I have gotten used to. The first time I hit with the frames was actually before the scheduled time. I did not mention it in my post. It was during a previous demo session for dealers which was ending as ours was supposed to begin. I sneaked into the courts and ended up hitting against a female college player from the big school around here. On first contact, the Steams seemed very light and I had trouble returning her shots. Then it got better. By the time of the scheduled playtest, I had gotten used to the lighter weight. But please note that the college player was dishing out fast spinny shots with the frames the moment she picked them up.

    The PS 85 can never put the amount of spin the Steam can. If you want more heft, you can always lead it up. It is really about the way the game is played these days where spin is the basis of everything.

    Edit: Wilson's presentation on the blind test demo included 3 numbers: rpm, mph and net clearance. The average speed was about 2 mph HIGHER than the competitor. If you go by that, you are not sacrificing pace for spin, but getting best of both worlds.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  46. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,803
    8 during the radar test, and then a lot of hitting with them for a total of an hour.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  47. realplayer

    realplayer Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    Messages:
    504
    But it still doesn't match with a synthetic gut or does it? And is it designed for extreme spin players only? or also for players with a mixed style. Sometimes flat or spin and likes to volley.
     
  48. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    19,773
    Location:
    On my iPhone
    Suresh is not really a spin hitter going by the RPMs he posted. So it seems as if he probably would not really switch if I had to guess from his rather entertaining post.

    Sounds like a pretty sweet day.
     
  49. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,803
    The recommended string is obviously 4G. But as drakulie had posted before, the rpm increase should happen with any string.

    The idea as shown in the video is that at the beginning of impact (horizontal racket), the mains move a lot more, like 3 times more, due to less interference from the fewer crosses. Then at the time of ball exit, they snap back the same distance, biting and spinning the ball. Obviously, strings like 4G which snap back easier will get the most out of the design.
     
  50. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,803
    Yes I toned it down a lot to keep it realistic for the posters here.

    The juniors were averaging mph of 80 on their shots. I forgot to ask for mine after the test, so had to wait while the next junior finished, and the guy at the computer was very reluctant to tell me my speed and moved the mouse up and down very fast. I think I heard him mutter "40s". Now that was upsetting if I heard him right, but to my defense, this was right after food and drinks, and my entire effort was directed to lifting up the ball with spin and not put even one into the net (I did put one into the net for realism). I also find it difficult to swing something so light as the Bab or the Wilson.

    I think the spin and speed are related. If you hit with more spin with the correct technique (i.e., not just upwards but also through the ball), both spin and speed come together. And that is what the modern game is about. It is not about leisurely pendulum swings using the weight of the frame to do the job, and then adding a little spin on top of that. It is about lighter frames which are swung very fast. The Filip guy uses a stock Blade 98 with a strung weight of 11.3 oz and has been in all junior Slam finals and won two of them. That shows why Wilson is moving away from the old classification method. By that method, he would be a 3.5 tweener while I would be a pro. If someone has posted here that you could return Raonic and Cilic serves with a 11.3 frame, you would laugh - but that is what he does when he hits with them.
     

Share This Page