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

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

  1. Broly4

    Broly4 Rookie

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    Pro Hurricane Tour 1.35 is my choice, I find it the most balanced string in the Steam along with 4g.

    Playability-wise Cyclone 1.30 is my favourite, but dies quickly, Tourbite was a let down here, too launchy and mediocre feel. Black widow 1.31 lasted me just 20 min, and may become too mushy in the Steam. Black shark could be a nice option too, but just lasted one set.

    With PHT I get 5-6 hours , which is somehow acceptable for me, given that the performance is quite consistent.
     
  2. Sunshine22

    Sunshine22 New User

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    For some decent pop and good ball pocketing, I would recommend either Sonic Pro 16 or Poly Star Energy 16. Tension maintenance is not great with Poly Star, but that shouldn't as much of an issue on this racquet.
     
  3. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    I could not agree more, such a disappointing offer from Wilson.
     
  4. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Ok, more time with Prince XC. The XC definitely means extra control, because this string has no real power at all. It was very tough for me to find my feel with it. I struggled last night to beat a guy I usually beat 6-2. Some of this was definitely me playing with some questionable footwork, but I just lacked confidence due to not being able to gauge the proper swing speed to use.

    On a positive note, it is very very comfortable. It did not even felt like I played tennis at all after that match. Since I have another pack, I will definitely revisit this string, but I also need to check out the new XS that should be out soon. It may be more up my alley.

    XC reminds me of B5E - which I do not like for the same reasons.
     
  5. fibonacci888

    fibonacci888 Rookie

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    I've been playing with the steam again after some shoulder issues.

    My new string of choice seems to be a winner.

    Yonex pro poly tour 1.25
     
  6. Sparky

    Sparky Semi-Pro

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    Whoa, now that's a racquet review. Thanks for all the work of adding links etc.
     
  7. Problx

    Problx New User

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    Has anybody tried lead tape on the 99s and what were the results?

    Thanks
     
  8. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I did before I sold mine back to TW.

    I put 2 grams at 12 and I think 6 or grams in the throat. Its nice, but the feel of the Steam is not my thing with the full thick poly. I tried to adapt to it, but I could not.

    Some people get their string setup locked down and choose a frame based on that. The Steam taught me that I was that guy.
     
  9. canadad

    canadad Semi-Pro

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    I've got one I am testing out. The lightness really bothered me, I like to have a little weight. I put an extra overgrip on the handle and some lead at 3 and 9. I feel it is more solid with a little bit of weight.
     
  10. canadad

    canadad Semi-Pro

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    Is anybody getting any type of longevity out of string jobs? I am a string breaker and I have had three strings tested so far:
    1. Wilson Ripspin 15 at 56- 4.5 hours
    2. Kirschbaum Black Shark at 58 16- 1.5 hours
    3. Genesis Black Magic 16 at 58- 4 hours

    It almost makes me want to sell it, I enjoy the racquet though.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2014
  11. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    I was breaking strings with the 100T ESP but not with the Steam 99s, so my input might not be helpful.

    I hit pretty hard and with spin. So far I've used 4G 1.25, Beast 1.25, and PLII 1.30, all at 58CP. All are lasting me 10 hours+. I'm pretty sure I'll stay with 1.25 as I much prefer the feel and comfort, and personally I don't need thicker.

    Could be that I use only smooth polys and especially 4G seems to have a hard, durable surface. Other than Ripspin, the polys you mentioned are shaped. Wilson recommends 4G over Ripspin as their durable poly for spin racquets.

    I'm also trying Ramons setup soon: Monogut ZX 16 and Gamma marathon 15L. My son is using it with good durability, comfort and feel in an PS 100LS.
     
  12. canadad

    canadad Semi-Pro

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    I would love 10+ hours. The Genesis Black Magic is smooth, not textured. The Black Shark was definitely a very silly test. I would definitely not use textured or shaped poly again in the 99S.

    It really is a nice racquet, I have confidence hitting deep and getting the ball over the net. I have added a little lead at 3 and 9 and like it a lot more. However, with the lead I don't think I am getting the same amount of spin. It has a nice sweet-spot as well.
     
  13. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Did you break RipSpin in the sweetspot? My game is harsh on strings and I get longer than that. Maybe Kevlar mains are worth a shot.
     
  14. canadad

    canadad Semi-Pro

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    I did break the RipSpin at the sweetspot. I just seem to go through strings extremely quickly. With my 7G's, I was going through multis every two to four sessions, whether it be full bed or hybrid. I do hit hard and with spin but I am wondering if a lot of the reason I am going through strings so often has to do with my technique. I asked a pro and he said I am not plowing through the ball as much as I could and I am brushing to the side, across my body, abruptly with my forehand. I think I developed this habit when I was trying to hit more open stance and modern as opposed to my old traditional strokes I developed in my youth. He said I have to lengthen my swing through the hitting zone, almost like attempting to have the ball on my strings longer. So maybe that is more the reason. The Steam seems to amplify things. So user error.

    Would Kevlar be harsh on the arm? I have had arm issues and I find the Steam to be very arm-friendly, even with full poly. The frequent stringing as annoying as it is, is not enough for me to give up on things.
     
  15. canadad

    canadad Semi-Pro

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    Well, I ordered some Kevlar to try to up the longevity of string jobs. It will be interesting to try it out. I tried it once with a friend's 6.1 95 and thought it was actually pretty nice. I think I will start with a Kevlar/syn-gut mix and see if it destroys my arm. After doing some research on the boards, I am seeing mixed messages. Some say it really isn't that harsh on the arm and others saying the opposite. Time to play with fire.
    Any advice from experts about tension? In this frame I like the poly at 58, I am new to this so not sure where to go.
     
  16. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I have Kevlar/RPM in a 99S at 45lbs. I usually play with Snakebite at roughly 67lbs in that frame. It's a great groundies setup but I lost SO much zip on serves. Didn't kill my arm by any means, but I found it a lot less comfortable than my full poly set up.

    -Fuji
     
  17. canadad

    canadad Semi-Pro

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    Thanks Fuji, I think I will go lower then. Perhaps not as much of a margin as you have used, but lower. I have tried in the 40's before on other frames and just can't control anything. I just ordered a couple of sets of Kevlar, so I can do a couple of experiments before I commit to buying a reel.

    Do you lead your 99S?
     
  18. bandyman35

    bandyman35 Rookie

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    Today I won a Wilson sweepstakes through twitter and was given the choice of a free Juice 100 or Steam 99s, needless to say I chose the 99s, super excited to try it out, I've been playing the blade 98 18x20 so it'll be fun to try something completely different.
     
  19. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    99s review

    I tried out the Steam 99s about 3 months ago when I had a chance to test hit an assortment of Wilson racquets. I instantly ordered 2 and can't put them down - it was an instant cure for my 'holic tendancies. It is a game changer.

    Me: Just turned 54, 4.5 and play with a wide range of players from 4.0-5.0. Hit pretty hard driving balls with decent topspin (Fed grip on FH). OHBH, 70% topspin - 30% slice. Hard flat 1st serve with either well-placed slice or kick 2nd.

    vs. 100 ESP T: I previously played with the Prince 100 ESP T. I experienced very short string life, needed to use 1.35-1.40 all-poly to get 10 hours of string life. 1.27 was very notched after 2 hours. It was comfortable but I don't like the disconnected Prince port feel. The lower RA means lower power, and lack of plow - just didn't work for me.

    99s string life: I was surprised at a much different experience with the Steam. I read many early posts of short string life, but most of these posters were not using full poly (or maybe play with extreme grips and hit with less drive and only topspin). I can use 16ga 4G @58 and I get only little notching in the first 4 hours. Thicker gauge poly was not comfortable for me in the Steam, but I did not try it at lower tensions. Similar good results with Beast XP 16ga.

    This week I put ZX Monogut 16 / Marathon 15L ga @62CP. I absolutely love this setup. Very comfortable, best feel. However, ZX broke while stringing it the 1st time. Worked 2nd time. It's the only low point with ZX at high tensions, but it also happened to me before. I would like to go with higher tensions still. The combination of Steam SW, stiffness and- this string setup is unique. After 3-4 hours, no notching yet, but tension has dropped somewhat.

    Ground strokes: Low static weight and high SW allow me to hit a hard driving ball with spin - easily, without getting tired in the 2nd hour. I've looked long and hard for this combo. I could probably play the regular Steam and would enjoy it almost as much.

    Feel and comfort: The 99s is my ideal combination of stiffness and comfort. Never jarring, but powerful. It was uncomfortable with thicker poly at high tension - unlike the Prince 100 ESP T.

    Serves: The combination of high SW and low static weight serves bombs. The spin effect on slice and kick serves is noticeable. I get more aces and unreturned serves than with any other racquet.

    Serve returns: Again the high SW and stiffness allow me to block powerful 1st serves for deep returns and it's easy to take a big cut a 2nd serves. Same for volleys. Very solid and stable feel.

    Control, precision and variety: This would be the weaker aspect of the 99s. I've previous enjoyed 18x20 string patterns and this is not the same. I've replaced this with a strong ability to keep my opponents back with a variety of heavy balls and then use short slices, wide topspin, and often use drop shots to draw errors. I don't go so much for the corners when changing directions, but I don't have to.

    Game changer for me is angles. As I mostly play with younger players, I have to control the points and end them ASAP. I've succeeded in moving my opponents out of the court within 2-3 balls, hitting to the opposing side, and then moving in for either a swing volley, or volley to finish the point. Never has this been easier. I get wider angles with confidence, and the SW and power help with swing volleys and volleys.

    I'm puzzled that there is not much action in this thread, which based on my results, is hard to understand. I know a lot of posters moved on - maybe their game is different. The Steam 99s is a Best Seller on TW. Two TW playtesters use it. Against many of my regular opponents, it has become a game of cat and mouse. I know that racquet choice is personal, but I can't see how someone < 5.0 in great shape can get better match results from the other Spin choices at Wilson.
     
  20. canadad

    canadad Semi-Pro

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    Great Review! I can agree with pretty much all of this. I am 37 and play with mostly 4.0-5.0 players as well. I also and have a OHBH and it is my strongest shot. I hit hard and with spin.
    However, I am still not getting that long out of strings. The last one I broke was Genesis Black Magic 16, tied for the longest at 4.5 hours with Wilson RipSpin 15. I ordered some Kevlar and will get to play with it hopefully next week. I needed some lead to get some weight, stock it feels too light for me. For me, the biggest benefits are the way the ball seems to drop in when hit deep, the spin, the nice sweetspot and how easy it is to maneuver.
    A pretty great racquet, but I definitely dislike having to string all the time.
     
  21. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    Too bad you're not getting the string life. I hope the Kevlar works for you. You might want to also try Roman's Monogut/Marathon. It seems to be the only other non-poly that works great in these racquets; he claims more than twice the string life. I don't know yet as I've just started:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=8117871#post8117871

    When looking for this link, I came across another post where he suggests using the natural color. I wish I would have seen this sooner as so far I've broken the ZX Red 2 times and succeeded without breaking three times. I use this in my son's racquet too.
     
  22. freeflap

    freeflap New User

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    my experience with the 99s based on my son's hitting:

    1. great racket. feel is intuitive and minimal vibration / shock, even with tight string tension.
    2. spin: superb. Simply amazing. Shots that seem like they would sail long, drop in at the last second. Very vexing for his opponents.
    3. Not too powerful compared to others we've tried.
    4. only negative:: string life> this racket EATS strings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. DO NOT buy this racket if you don't own your own stringing machine. having said that, we've tried Luxilon 4g, wilson ripspin, gosen polylon, volkl cyclone, and solinco tour bite. Don't waste your time with any shaped poly. shaped strings will be notched and cut through within 2-3 hours of play.

    so far, he likes the wilson ripspin in a 16 gauge. I like the gosen because it's dirt cheap, and plays great, but looses it's spin snap back quickly. at $2.50 per stringing, it's not an issue.

    I've read a lot about LOW tension stringing here. Anyone use this racket strung in the 30's? I think Chris from TW has a blog where he was testing out polys strung as low as 10? but i don't think he was using this racket.

    lower tension: better ball pocketing, more spin, less power, less fatigue, and perhaps LONGER string life.

    will experiment with this racket using gosen in the 30's.
     
  23. canadad

    canadad Semi-Pro

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    All pretty true, can't disagree at all. I have a stringer, but it is still a hassle. I like mine a great deal.
    I served with it for the first time tonight with is and it was not great. I will blame this on the user, but so far it is not as good as my 7G's.
     
  24. wmrhawk

    wmrhawk Rookie

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    10s and 30s?
    What unit of measurement?
    Are we talking about Lbs.?
     
  25. freeflap

    freeflap New User

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    Yes. Lbs. You read that right. It seems unorthodox to use such a LOW tension. But with polys the rules are different. it's not a trampoline.

    here's his blog post: http://blog.tennis-warehouse.com/miscellaneous/how-low-can-you-go/

    think about a basketball: when fully pumped with air, it bounces high. when the air pressure / tension is low, it doesn't bounce as much.

    i think with polys the same is true. lower tension = lower power. if the ball stays in the pocket LONGER, you will get more spin, comfort, and fewer balls flying too long.

    not sure how this may affect control. am going to do some experimentation.
     
  26. wmrhawk

    wmrhawk Rookie

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    I've gone as low as 48 in my 105s while I was attempting to recover from medial epicondylitis, but I'm back up to mid 50s now. I may give it a try following my next USTA match, which is in two days. Since I have a 105, maybe I'll try 35 lbs and report back.
     
  27. canadad

    canadad Semi-Pro

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    Let us know how that goes. What Gosen string are you referring to?
    I have tried low tensions with different racquets and have disliked it every time, maybe this one will be different.
     
  28. freeflap

    freeflap New User

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    Gosen polylon 17
     
  29. John Kawasaki

    John Kawasaki Rookie

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    There's something to be said about polys and low tension. I was playing the 99s with full poly beds (TB 16, Hawk 16) at 58 to 60 lbs (cp) and they played well for me for the first 3/4 hours after which the tension drop off would render them uncontrollable for me. Recently I picked up 99LS demo (friend's shop) to experiment and it was strung with Prince Tour XC at 52 lbs (cp) around 2 months ago and had been hit with by 2 other customers. I leaded up the hoop with 6/7 grams and went out for a hit: couldn't believe the control, power and spin. I checked the tension of the string bed and it was at 36 lbs (!). I have since bought a 99LS and had it strung at the same 52 lbs and noticed that this particular string has very high initial tension drop: after 24 hours (unplayed) it was at 42 lbs......after 3 hitting sessions it seems to have settled in around 35/36 lbs and still plays very well in all aspects. What I am learning is that in general polys seem to have a different/lower performance tension window that can vary from poly to poly. There seems to be that "higher window" of tensions that I have just "bumped up" to achieve control and then there's the lower tension window (could be 30 to 40 lbs depending ?) in which there really is a "lower energy return to ball" by the poly. With a poly that does not have a lost of initial tension drop (like Solinco Revoultion), I am going to start low with that...maybe 40 lbs. So, bottom line is that you may have to try this a few times keeping the string the same because each strings may have different playable tension windows. I have been using RacquetTune app to at least establish a baseline....I'm sure an ERT would work as well. This probably belongs in the "string section" but the question was raised here.
     
  30. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    i am experimenting with my backup Steam racket 105s- 18g Kevlar mains 52lbs/ Gaucho Gut crosses 44lbs and after 5 hours it's working great. Serve spins are a little less than full poly but power on flat serves and control on groundstrokes, volleys,returns and lobs is outstanding. I'm gonna keep this setup till it breaks,then experiment some other kevlar,poly,gut with a reel of Monogut Pro 17.
    ps: low tension full poly (under 50lbs) did not work for me in the 105s as i had control issues
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  31. wmrhawk

    wmrhawk Rookie

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    I'm trying this out tonight in my 105s:
    Pros pro Intense Heat mains w pros pro iString soft crosses. Both at…

    35lbs.

    My regular tension has been between 52 & 62lbs, depending on mix of string. It should be interesting.
     
  32. wmrhawk

    wmrhawk Rookie

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    Inconclusive.
    I could only hit for about 10 minutes and my hitting partner (a former tour pro) probably wasn't giving me an ideal ball to hit for this experiment. I'll spend some more time in the laboratory and see if I can develop a better assessment.
     
  33. bandyman35

    bandyman35 Rookie

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    Has anyone put the NXT Duo 2 hybrid of NXT and Luxilon Adrenaline in a 99s? I picked up a set and wondered what experiences are
     
  34. wmrhawk

    wmrhawk Rookie

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    I tried the 35lbs hybrid above a second time. Much better experience. Serves seemed to be the best. I think in general, w the super low tension, it is better on slow incoming balls and thus also the serve. I think on ground strokes a slower incoming ball and a more moderate swing speed produced better results. I d say there was a little higher ball launch with a little more spin, as you would expect.
    Lastly, it was very comfortable on the arm and this would probably be the major advantage of this setup after one gets used to the differences. Also, it certainly sounded strange.
     
  35. Ryebread

    Ryebread New User

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    Do you have an update for us?
    Anyone else find a string that has good feel and longevity on the 99S 99LS?
     
  36. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    try black magic 15 gauge, or 4G 1.41.

    You should get a few more hours out of the string job.
     
  37. JG4tennis

    JG4tennis New User

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    With a open string pattern 16:15 I would certainly expect a huge amount of spin. However my experience with rackets that have very open string patterns is that the strings keep separating. It is very distracting to have to keep adjusting the strings after a play. Of course the pro's have lots rackets and can afford to restring after a match t omaintain the string roughness that keeps the strings in place but not the average player.
     
  38. canadad

    canadad Semi-Pro

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    With poly string, adjusting strings was not really a factor. However, the constant breakage was. I played the year with these, but the constant breaking was a problem and I sold mine.
     
  39. Deuce Bag

    Deuce Bag New User

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    Leather grip & 7g of silicone in the handle for more headlight balance and vibration absorption.

    3g lead in the throat

    4g lead at 12 oclock

    SWEEEEEEEEEEEET
     
  40. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    need a "homerun" string to go along with this stick. suggest multi strand wire cable til then. :rolleyes:
     
  41. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    While Wilson deserves credit for putting these SPIN racquets on the map, the 99S is far from "dominating public courts everywhere". In fact. I hardly ever see them being used on public courts. Still see way more APD's, PD's and Radicals.

    The thing is, not everyone benefits from crazy amounts of spin and power. These OPEN patterns tend to be hard to control if you have a flattish or traditional stroke.
     
  42. harryz

    harryz Semi-Pro

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    Indeed

    Rick,
    Having read this guy's posts on threads about your stringing experience and reviews (and those of the so called "racket king" as well), I am reminded of one of my favorite professor's life rules: "Never argue with someone who knows less than you do."

    They aren't worth your time or energy.

    Best-

    Harry Z
     
  43. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Although I agree to some degree with your post, you need to remember that Wilson stopped promoting this particular frame in order to start promoting and pushing their other spin racquets like the Juice spin, Pro Staff spin, Blade spin, and now the Burn frames, while slowly weeding out the Steam line.

    Still, the 99s started it all, and for quite a while was a best seller, and actually for several different quarters from the time of its release was the #1 selling frame. Where I live, we still see quite a few of the 99s' and 105's.

    It also started the trend that the other companies followed, such as Head, Prince, and Dunlop introducing spin frames. Even Babolat jumped on the boat by adding the word "spin" or "spin effect" (can't remember which) to their frames, but had to take back a bunch of frames back off the market because of a suit brought by Wilson.
     
  44. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Wise words Harry. And yes, I suppose a bunch of the posts were taken down, but I'm aware of what you are referring to. Thanks for the words of wisdom. Hope all is well.
     
  45. sbaniak

    sbaniak New User

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    I have nothing of value to add to this discussion, and I apologize for the interruption.... But Deuce Bag is hands down the best user name ever created. My hat is off to you sir.
     
  46. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

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    While APD's and PD's will always outnumber Steam 99S frames on courts, I can count the number of my friends who left Babolat APDs and PDs and switched to Steam 99S at six, because they can't beat me with those Babolat frames. :)

    One buddy is the last die hard PD user, and he and I hit at least twice a month. I keep teasing him with "I use to play with Pure Drives, but the 99S just makes me a better player" ;)
     
  47. rlau

    rlau Professional

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    Anybody tried Prince Tour XC 15 in their 99S?
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
  48. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I did at one point. It's a stiff string and hurt my arm more than Kevlar. I definitely wasn't a fan at all.

    -Fuji
     
  49. j1ggy

    j1ggy New User

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    I hit with a lot of spin and play with APD Originals.
    So a friend of mine suggested that I try this stick (99s) for a couple of days. It had Black Code strung at 25kg. And immediately I felt the spin, but the power was too much.

    My regular sticks are strung with:
    RPM Blast at 25kg
    Alu Big Banger at 25kg

    So after hitting with it for a few days, I decided to restring it at higher tension to compensate for the power. So I strung it at 28kg with Volkl Cyclon but still no joy.
    The power is there, the spin also. But the problem I'm having is control. Just couldn't get the ball close / on the line with a lot of spin.
    I had to to decrease the shot power, which meant more spin, which meant even less control.
    The only thing I could do is hit flatter, but that beats the purpose of the racket and changes my playing style.
    Backhand was going in more, but I couldn't aim for foot by foot mark on the court, I had to aim for a 2 by 2.
    I play doubles 4-5 times a week with a former pro and now a respected tennis coach. So I hit a lot of volleys and my net game is really solid on both sides. But I found that I had to work harder in order to control the damn thing. Yeah, open string pattern will do that...

    So, for me, APD is still as good as they get in the spin department and has a fair amount of power, when you need it.
     
  50. rlau

    rlau Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Messages:
    1,234
    Location:
    NL
    Thanks for the warning, Fuji. I guess I'll have to experiment to see what works best and is reasonably durable.
     

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