Tennis experience/background: I've been playing tennis for over 20 years. I am a 4.0 all-court player.
Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): More all-court, former strictly serve-n-volleyer; I quest for the net whenever I can
Current racquet/string: Wilson BLX Blade 98/ X-One Biphase 17 @ 48 lbs
Racquet model tested: Babolat AeroPro Drive LITE
How many hours did you play with the racquet? 3 hours of doubles play
Comments on racquet performance:
-groundstrokes: at 9.8 oz strung (TW's specs), the racquet is significantly lighter than my BLX Blade 98.
This racquet was SO easy to swing, and it felt incredibly light. There was a definite lack of plow through, though early
prep time for shots was easy and some power was there. I had to swing hard to get power and depth just on my forehand and
I rarely hit beyond the baseline. If my timing was perfect, I could get decent power/depth, but more than not I hit a shorter
ball. I have a 1HBH and I liked being able to get around the ball fast, but again, I had to work to get good power behind the shot.
A definite challenge for those with TE, as this still will tire your arm out and it's stiff, which with having to swing harder
to get power, puts more strain on the arm. Nothing remarkable about slice shots, though a few did land short and made it hard
for the opponent to hit the ball back.
-serves: serves were a challenge, though I had occasional power on a flat serve (the whole timing thing again, with added frustration
at this point); spin serves just ok and the ball seemed to sit up in the wheelhouse for some players. I could get a funky, fall-away
spin second serve that frustrated one power opponent who hits out on EVERY shot, but I would get too frustrated if I had to rely on
that all the time, I would become more frustrated.
-volleys: this is probaly the shining star of this racquet; I had a couple of tough low, hard-hit balls at my feet and I was able to
hit a good volley back at my opponents. On shoulder-high volleys though, it was more of the same lack of put-away power. It was interesting
that when I picked my Blade 98 again just to compare, I was more focused at the net and hit some fantastic put-away volleys. I wanted a
comparison specifically on volleys, and the Blade (unsurprisingly) rocked, compared to the two racquets
-serve returns: serve returns were just ok, but lacked pace, and the racquet got pushed around by hard/ fast serves. I liked that I could
setup early, but the lack of plow was not good.
General reaction/comments on overall performance: Too light for me and not enough plow through. If you are already using this type of racquet, or want to get a a racquet that would be good to customize, it's worth at demo. I look forward to trying the non-light version.
Thank you, TW, very much for the opportunity to demo and provide feedback.
Currently, rehabbing a ruptured Achilles tendon. Hope to be back in action Spring 2014.