I wanted to preface my post by saying that although I read this forum regularly, I rarely post anything. After hitting with several Wilson frames yesterday I felt like I had to add to relay my experience.
A little about my playing style and background:
I am a 46-year-old 5.0 former D1 college tennis player and currently ranked #12 Nationally in my age group. My playing style is all court leaning toward aggressive baseliner with a semi-western forehand and one-handed backhand. I currently play with the Head Prestige Pro with poly/multi hybrid strings at 50 lbs. My rackets are customized to 345g.
I hit with several of the new Wilson rackets yesterday for a couple of hours looking to add a little power to my game without sacrificing much control. I went into the hitting session with an open mind but leaning toward the blade (16x18 or 18x20). The blades felt very good, big improvement over the current models and I probably would have chosen the 16x18 had it not been for the 99S.
I decided to hit the 105S and 99S after reading the hype just to see if I could tell a big difference in spin. The 105 felt OK but was too light and I struggled to rein the power in and control was an issue. The 99S was sublime!! Even though the weight was light (I currently modify all frames anyway) the control of the open sting pattern was hard to believe. All the rackets were strung with 4G at 56 lbs, but the string jobs were several weeks old. The 99S had more control than the 16x18 blade and felt on par to the 18x20 blade. The spin, while more than my normal stick, was not mind blowing; but the difference was the effort needed to impart the spin. My desired shot is a “heavy” ball 2-3 feet over the net that lands in the back third of the court and I only needed to use about 1/3 of the effort as I currently do with my Prestige. I have tried many rackets over the last couple of years including the APD and the 99S is far superior in spin production and control.
The bottom line is the 99S will improve my game by allowing me to hit heavy deep balls with less effort than any other frame!
Groundstrokes: Heavy, deep balls that penetrate the court and keep my opponent on the defensive. I didn’t experience any of the “ballooning” that others have described. Slices were deep and penetrating as well.
Volleys: Biggest surprise to me were the volleys. Tons of control with ample power. Placement was within the same 6 inch target as my current stick.
Serve: Another big surprise. I could flatten out my serve without losing much control. My kick serve was out of this world. I normally can hit a second serve that lands 5 feet high on the back fence; with the 99S it was 6-7 feet.
Overall the 99S is a great stick and a “game changer” for those of you trying to take your game to the next level. As with any racket, your skill level and practice time will dictate your success.
My Wilson rep told me that 2014 Wilson will bring this technology to the player sticks. I can’t wait for 2014 and will be getting my new rackets in several weeks to start customizing.
Hope this helps some of you determine whether the hype is warranted or not, but for my vote it’s a no brainer!
Wilson Steam 99S!!