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

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

  1. drak

    drak Professional

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    if the new Blade 18x16 plays like my "modded Blade 98" 18x15 it will be a big winner, bigger than the 99S IMO.

    Drak
     
  2. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    double home run?
     
  3. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Are we going to be seeing a Cincy P1 Thread Year 2?
     
  4. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    How you got your Blade 98 modded?
     
  5. drak

    drak Professional

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    yep, see the other thread, just skipped every 4th cross down starting from the top, love the way it plays as an 18x15, more control than a 99S, easier on strings and very good spin and control.

    Drak
     
  6. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Drakulie!

    Had an epiphany with my 99S tonight. I was playing one of my 2 regular hitting buddies. He and I are always neck and neck but I haven't beaten him all summer.

    Tonight I was using my PS 125 (yes really) and fell behind 2-5. I switched to the 99S because things couldn't get worse.

    Somehow things aligned and I hit 8 aces (I haven't hit 8 aces all darn summer) and started cranking forehand winners and won the set 7-5.

    If you're on your game, the 99S is a darn good stick. I probably could have done as well with my PS85, but a few of my forehands just dipped in on the back lines
     
  7. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Not much else to add, other than it was great being asked to come back this year. Lots of racquets, long days/nights, lot of laughing, joking around, and of course...... lot of stringing. It was great fun. I'll post a photo of Federer in the stringing room when I get a chance.

    Great stuff. Sounds like you clicked really well. If only we could all play like that all the time. 8 aces is a lot, so your serve was definitely,,,, el fuego. :)
     
  8. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    @ drakulie

    Not sure if you've had much of an extended outing with the 98s but would be very interested to hear your further thoughts/comparison on 98s VS 99s...
     
  9. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I'm hitting with it this entire week, so will have a better description of it towards the end of the week. So far, I would say it is much lighter, easier swing, more control, less spin, but this could change as I hit more with it. Have it string with gut mains, poly crosses at 45 lbs.
     
  10. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Great stuff. Look forward to it.

    And btw something you said there reminds me of what I feel is one of the slight contradictions or whatever re the 99s... I actually always found it swung really easily and smoothly and felt pretty lightish. Annnyway...
     
  11. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Steam 99s vs Blade 98s (comparisons)

    After a week of hitting primarily with the blade, here are my thoughts:

    The blade definitely has less spin, although it does have more spin potential and higher launch angle than other blades. It is much lighter, lower swing weight, and is flexier. I found the "power" level to be about the same, and maneuvarability to be better with the blade. 99s is a bit more stable, probably due to extra weight.

    Volleys were great with both as were slice shots, although the steam hits a more "knifing" slice, with much more bite.

    All in all, the blade is a real nice frame, but a bit light, so one would need to add some weight.

    For those who find the steam to be too much over the top with the spin, the blade is a great compromise.
     
  12. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Someone asked me to post this. Photo of me stringing at cincy this year. Don't know who the guy in pink is. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    ^HA! nice.
     
  14. bertrevert

    bertrevert Hall of Fame

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    Primarily to me the lower swingweight of the 98S Blade is welcome - because the 333 of the Steam defeated me, I lost swing speed and manouverability (eg. flicking off toes when jammed on the baseline).

    There again I think the static weight edged me out anyways.

    The idea that power level is there in the 98S is a big win.

    Can you say whether the thinner beam of the S-Blade added soem feel back into your shot making?

    Did you get a little more flex and feel back?

    many thansk
     
  15. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I agree with everything you stated in your post, and most definitely agree with this part, which I should have added in my thoughts. The thinner beam definitely gives more feel and much better feedback overall to the playing characteristics of the frame.
     
  16. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Drakulie,

    Were you strining Murray's racquet? The cosmetic has a darker red than the retail version.
     
  17. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Oh crap....do you string Nadals sticks as well?
     
  18. Trojan1994

    Trojan1994 New User

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    Had one of my 99S Racquets restrung today with Ripspin 16 @ 30lbs.,

    will test tomorrow and post feedback. Hoping for similar results as my 105S strung with Ripspin 17 @ 30lbs.

    Regards,

    Tony
     
  19. roundiesee

    roundiesee Hall of Fame

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    Wow, thanks for the picture! :)
    Are you the one stringing the "pinkish" frame?
     
  20. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I'm the guy with the black Wilson shirt stringing a radical. I believe I was stringing sloane Stephens frame during this photo.
     
  21. Sup2Dresq

    Sup2Dresq Hall of Fame

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    With one hand in his pocket.. his version of "one hand tied behind my back"..

    He's that good?
     
  22. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    Hey Drak - Thought Sloan was playing w/ the " Pro" version, so it's a reg mp Radical then, not a painted Prestige = thanks
     
  23. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Too funny, Sup. :)

    Bluegrasser, your welcome. She uses the radical pro.
     
  24. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Great pic there drakulie, how cool is that?!... . :cool:

    Good also to hear your comparison on 99s V 98s... so are you tempted to switch?
     
  25. fortunecookiesjc

    fortunecookiesjc Semi-Pro

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    anyone try ripspin 15s with this racquet?

    I only get like 4-6 hours on my strings with the 99s
     
  26. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Thanks, Ross. Appreciate it. Yes, I'm tempted to switch to this frame because it provides many of the benefits of the steam, but the feel is much closer to what I like in a frame, and the comfort level is awesome. Still, the steam offers so much that it is hard to put down. Also, I believe there will be a pro staff spin effect frame down the line, so am eager to try that frame if it ever materializes. :)

    I've tried it. Pretty good durability compared to other strings, which cost two to three times more. Playability leaves something to be desired, although it does have pretty good control. Basically a good inexpensive alternative for string breakers.
     
  27. fortunecookiesjc

    fortunecookiesjc Semi-Pro

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    its really annoying having to string after 2 outings >.>

    Thinking about using them as crosses and find durable mains, since the ripspins are slick
     
  28. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    use silicone spray. My 99S is on it's first stringjob (Lux Monotec 16L) and even after 21+ hrs there is no notching and it's still nicely playable
     
  29. rnrd001

    rnrd001 New User

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    love the 99s but I can't reach the 4 hours of plays durability even with thicker gauge except for the BB 138 (which I don't like).

    I don't know how how you guys manage not to break every week with this frame?

    Looking for another frame that would play alike in the Wilson range. I shortlisted the Six.One 95 BLX 16x18 (331gr or 309gr?) and the Blade 98 16x19 (the 98s ain't available in Europe yet). What would you consider as a good move? Maybe I'd take a little more power/stability than the 99s without losing manoeuvrability. Tolerance is not an issue.
     
  30. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Silicone spray
     
  31. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I got a set from TW to test and strung it in a friend's racquet who has been breaking strings in his 99S about every 3 sets or so. I asked Drakulie for some advice and he replied that I should drop his tension. I did, from 58 to 50 and that fixed him. With the Ripspin 15, I put it in at 50 and he tells me that it cannot be broken despite his best efforts. He's got more sets on it than he has had anything else including a set of Prince Beast 15 (2X and counting the Beast 15).
     
  32. mnehls

    mnehls New User

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    Thanks Rabbit for your setup, I tried it yesterday and the racquet played much better, (well I am sure the racquet always plays well), but I was able to play more consistent with much deeper, heavier ground strokes and my opponent commented on the difference. I am thinking about trying it at 40 next.
     
  33. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Very cool & thanks! Please let us know how 40 works out.
     
  34. mnehls

    mnehls New User

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    Curious of your serving game, any details on your 1st/2nd serve approach?
     
  35. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I'm a lefty, so the 3 basic tenets of my serve are 1) spin, 2) spin, and 3) spin. Actually, I have been working on my serve as I perceive it has lost a bit. But, there is truth in what I said. I use spin and placement more than anything, moving the serve around. I am able to hit the corners on both sides fairly well.
     
  36. purple-n-gold

    purple-n-gold Professional

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    mods?

    Picked up a used 99s and slapped on a leather grip on for starters. I demoed earlier this summer and felt it was a little lite for my tastes. Fun hit today,a few reflex shots were a little unstable,raq head wobbled. I'm thinking of trying a little lead,interested to hear any lead configurations.
     
  37. rst

    rst Rookie

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    forten makes reels of 15 nylon string. i have had some quality control issues with it. the white color has felt softer than the natural unless my stringer was not doing their job right. isospeed also makes a cheap reel of 15g poly that is pretty soft. i have the forten 15g on mains and isospeed 15g poly long life in crosse both at 45lbs on a donnay x-silver lite 99 (16x19). good depth, decent spin and comfort...plenty of durability.
     
  38. rst

    rst Rookie

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    confirmed or denied rather quickly , right?? mere hours?
     
  39. rst

    rst Rookie

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    i dont know if its a home run...i tend to think not. i hit with oen of the 15 by 16 or whatever wilsons and it didnt give anytign more significant that many existing so called open patterns. balance , stiffness and customization probably go a lot further than steam-ish ness
     
  40. fibonacci888

    fibonacci888 Rookie

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    So just want to get your opinions:

    However i really like my steams 99s i find myself in some situations in trouble.

    Against a dominate player i can't get away from the pressure. Recovery shots have to much spin and tend to fall short. The swingweight and spin are downsides at those moments.
    The same is passing a netplayer. Low netclearence is hard to accomplish.
    Last but not least is the framestifness and poly strings. I often have a score shoulder for a day.

    I'm thinking on looking for a frame with lower weight and lower swingweight. Then put in synth gut. The steam however lowered my unforced errors and i love the free power.

    So finally there's the question:

    Any of you guys relate to my findings? What were your solutions?
     
  41. SoCal4.5

    SoCal4.5 New User

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    I have related, at times, but I've made some choices that have all but eliminated these problems. I have other problems left in my game that I can't fault the racquet for, but that's another topic. =)

    On the first point, recovery shots falling short, I've definitely had to make a concerted effort to just go for the ball and trust the spin to keep it in. I have to use more angles to make sure that spin is doing work keeping my opponent out of the point, no matter how hard their groundies are.

    That dovetails into your second issue, passing shots. I find passing to be extremely easy with this racquet precisely because of the extra spin. That spin adds more margins on getting the ball by the net player. And it also lets me just rip one right at the player, with the spin dipping the ball down at the feet, leaving an extremely difficult volley. When I'm warming up for a match I take a little extra time while my opponent is at net to feel confident with that super spinny and short, low clearance ball.

    On the stiffness... I use poly and just string VERY low. I'm at 38 lbs. No arm tension, extra power and spin... balls only fly on me if I was going to miss it anyway. No real problems with control at all.
     
  42. SoCal4.5

    SoCal4.5 New User

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    Also, other people have mentioned this "too much spin" thing as a problem for them in their games. Yes, you don't want the ball to be at the service line, but remember to play to your opponent. Some opponents love it when I flatten out the ball and hit with more pace (it still comes off with a lot of top on my forehand, but at some point they adjust to that shot so it doesn't bother them as much). But, throw in a loopy almost lob with heavy topspin, changing up the pace, and people lose their timing so quickly. Throw in a biting slice and winner once you've outpositioned them and all of a sudden you're winning points against someone who used to beat you. That's been my experience. Keep playing with that spin! Sometimes you want lots, sometimes medium, sometimes flat, and don't blame the racquet for a short ball, that's just how you hit it.
     
  43. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Tell you the truth, once you get used to the frame, you can hit any ball with it. The big advantage with the frame is that it accentuates spin. It won't turn Jimmy Connors into Bjorn Borg. :)
     
  44. A_Instead

    A_Instead Professional

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    I am finding better results with the regular 99.
    Not having string issues or the other issues with it that people are mentioning in regards to the 99s
    Yes the 99s has more spin, but the spin levels between the 2 are close IMO.
     
  45. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    SoCal4.5 - where were you when I was in SoCal looking for a 4.5 hit? don't know anyone in central FL area using the 99S and would like to hit with an opponent who doesn't have "issues" with the 99S. :)
     
  46. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    So I finally got my hands on 99S.

    I liked it...for a few brief moments the strings lasted. :twisted:

    I poped what looked like a new 16g poly stringjob in the demo in about half an hour.

    I had surprisingly little problem with launch angle and short balls you guys are talking about. I just put on my full western game and had no problem with control at all - just gotta make sure to brush every shot and so long I kept to that rule I had no problem putting the full stroke in. I'll post a video.

    Demo did feel on the heavy side (which I like), gotta put it on the scales.

    Definitely felt some extra spin and curve in the game. I'll try stringing with 15g but I really don't think this racket would be an option until I get my own stringer.
     
  47. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    I've said this many times before but I'll repeat again - silicone spray. Spray, let it dry. Play.

    I'm at 23+ hrs now on my first string job from TW. Zero notching. Luxilon Monotec 16L strings at 45 lbs. Tension still reads 40 lbs on RT.

    I hit hard and use lots of spin. This racquet is pretty amazing, tons of spin and power and great for serving. Mine is very stable.

    I don't like the frame width, I prefer a more "players" profile frame. Hoping they come up with a Pro Staff version soon. If they did I would only break out my PS85 StVs on rare occasions.
     
  48. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    I had 16g poly in there and could't get a solid hour - it got VERY loose, very fast and poped. Now I understand the friction may have broken the string, but silicone will not help string bed getting super loose.

    But you are telling me that you hit with aggressive spin and 1.25mm poly string is lasting you 23 hours and lost only 5 lbs? I don't see how that is possible.

    Having said that, I'll try the spray and see what happens.
     
  49. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Anton

    I can't explain, I can just tell you what I found. I would have thought the strings would have loosened up a lot but they didn't and I crank my serves and whip through my strokes so I would have thought the strings would have broken by now

    I just peered really closely and there is the tiniest bit of notching on a couple of crosses. I'll take pics later today

    And I used to break strings like crazy. Since I started siliconing my strings I haven't broken any. Luxilon Monotec 16L is on my 99S

    And playability hasn't decreased either. Still comfy on my tender wrist and elbow
     
  50. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I've been using the 99S for about a year now. I've tried a number of strings, some expensive, some not. I think I've finally found a winner in a string that I never would have suspected or tried, but did so at the behest of a friend of mine.

    Prince SynGut/Poly Blend at $5.25 a pack is the best string I've tried. And I've tried:
    • Wilson Spin Cycle
    • Luxilon Ace
    • Iso Speed Pulse
    • Solinco Tour Bite Soft
    • Volkl V-Rex
    • Black Magic
    • Luxilon 4G
    • Tourna Big Hitter Black 7
    • Tourna Big Hitter Blue
    • Pacific ATP Power Poly Pro

    What I like about the Prince SynGut/Poly Blend is:
    • Price
    • You can string it tight (within recommended range) and it doesn't kill you
    • Ball cupping
    • Control
    • Power
    • Touch
    • Spin
    • Durability

    :) I actually keep a spreadsheet of my racquets with comments about the different strings, tension, date strung, etc. So if anyone has a question about what I didn't like, I have a comment at the ready.

    Where I was getting 3 sets of play with BHB7, I've played 9 sets with this set up and there is just a bit of notching on the synthetic. The string combination gives you all the good things you expect from a non-poly setup like ball feel and cupping with none of the drawbacks, no feel, high impact, etc. I used to use Luxilon Ace with TF NRG 17. I thought the NRG would be a better selection than a plain jane synthetic, but I don't think so anymore. If you're wondering about a cross, take this for what it's worth, but I like synthetic gut in the crosses as much or more than anything else I've tried.

    The Tournament Poly in 17 with the Synthetic gut gives, hands down, the best feel of anything I've tried in this frame to date. I have a few sets of the Tournament Poly 16 that I intend on trying as well again with a synthetic gut cross. And, I have to say that the cost of this string is a definite bonus. If I like the 16 gauge version, the costs are unbelievably low even compared to the $5.25 price tag for the prepackaged set. If you get a reel of the 16 poly and a reel of PSG 17, your stringing costs goes from $5.25 to $3.61. The difference between the two is enough to purchase another set of PSG.

    The increase in tension has also benefited me serving and around the net. I'm still adjusting my ground strokes a bit but they are very good with this set up.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013

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