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Old 12-09-2012, 04:26 PM   #811
couch
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Hit with the Steam 99S for 1 1/2 hours today and here is my initial review. I had the racquet strung at 58lbs with Luxilon 4G on a constant pull machine.

My background:

42 year old 5.0 player. Played with the Volkl Tour 8 for about 8 years or so and am in the market for a new stick. Primarily play from the baseline in singles but have an all-court game. Serve and volley on first and second serves in doubles. Hit with a western forehand and 2HBH. Like to hit the forehand as much as possible. Favorite shot is inside-out forehand. Decent serve but at 5' 10" it's mostly placement and percentages, especially in doubles.

Groundstrokes:

For me this stick just oozed confidence. I felt like I could really swing out and let the racquet do its thing. This was very apparent on the forehand side. With the additional spin I was able to generate I was able to take bigger cuts at the ball and felt like the ball was always going to land in. I never really felt like the ball was going to fly on me either. If you hit with a western grip and use spin to control the ball then this stick may be for you.

Volleys:

Felt like the added heft of this racquet (it's about .4 oz heavier and less headlight than my Tour enabled me to relax more on volleys and hit deeper with less effort. One downside of my Tour 8 is there's not much heft, nor much weight in the head. Therefore, volleys are tougher to get deep.

As with groundstrokes, I never felt any loss of control due to the more open string pattern. Racquet felt extremely solid and stable on volleys.

Serves:

This is where I struggled a bit. I don't think it was any fault of the racquet but just my getting used to a little heavier stick with a little more weight in the head. I double-faulted a few times and was hitting my serves a little long. I think with a little practice and getting more dialed in, serves will be fine.

Second serves had some nice kick to them and I think they will only get better the more I get accustomed to the racquet.


Negatives:

One downside of this racquet is if you're an accomplished player you will probably go through strings very quickly. I checked the strings and they are notched about 1/3 of the way through already. Your local pro shop is going to love you if you don't do your own stringing. I don't really mind since I string my own racquets.

Conclusion:

Overall this was a really fun hit. This racquet just felt right in my hands and I was really able to dictate play from the back of the court. The extra weight of the racquet compared to my Tour 8 was very apparent and welcomed. I was able to hit bigger, heavier balls with the Steam 99S. I think Wilson has done an excellent job with this stick and the extra bit of spin you generate with this stick makes you feel like you can really take a big cut and have the ball land in. It just makes you feel confident. I didn't feel like the spin generated by this racquet was mind blowing but it was definitely enough to make a difference. I think the stats of gaining 300-400 extra rpm is probably pretty accurate.

If you play a modern game and use topspin to control your shots then this is a must demo. I will definitely need to hit with this stick some more but at this point I think this will be my new stick of choice.
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