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Old 12-31-2012, 06:35 PM   #6
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 133

Originally Posted by Yaz View Post
Had the opportunity to hit with the new Wilson Blades today and compared them with my current Donnay P1 16/19. I could only demo 2 at a time so I had the Blade 93 and 98 18x20. Next week I will try the 98 16x19.

Some background:
Donnay: Strung with KB Proline II 16g, originally at 56 but down to about 52 by now. Was going to restring last night but wasn't able to. Stock with overgrip weighing in at 11.8.

Blade 93: Strung at shop with NXT and probably Lux4G. I was first person to use it so it felt pretty tight, probably high 50s. 11.9 with tourna grip

Blade 98: Same strings, felt a little looser, prob around 55 or so. 11.1 with tourna grip.

Me: Mid 40s 4.5. Classic strokes with good technique. Aggressive baseliner with OK volleys, OHBH with probably a little more RHS on that side.

Played 3 10pt TBs and several games of 11s with a very strong 4.5/low 5.0 partner.

Blade 93: Demanding stick, too much racquet for me at my age. Obviously the strings play a big factor, but I found it a little unforgiving and difficult to generate pace. I hit better off my bh side because I swing a little faster with that stroke. On the FH I kept dumping the ball into the net and I really had to change my swing and almost just try to hit every ball as hard as I could, but obviously my consistency suffered and I just couldn't find a groove on that side. Serves were OK, good spin but lacking pace. Solid volleying racquet but only if I hit the sweetspot. Lots of control and was able to place balls almost anywhere with confidence as you might expect. Subjectively felt a little heavier than 11.9 and found it more difficult to swing towards the end of the hitting session.

Blade 98 18x20: Really, really liked this racquet. It was everything I had hoped the P1 18x20 would be, I tried that stick but it just didn't click for me. On groundstrokes, I immediately found a groove on both sides, was hitting with good depth and pace without any adjustments to my strokes. Good consistent response off the strings and no shock with a very plush feel. When I first picked up the racquets and started dry swinging, the 98 felt a bit flimsy but even though it's quite a bit lighter its more even balanced than the P1 so upon actual hitting it felt much more stable than expected. Volleys were more consistent, didn't have to hit dead center on the strings every time like the 93. The P1 is a great serving racquet for me, but the 98 18x20 was very close in terms of power and spin.

Thoughts: I like the P1 because as an older player, I can get a little more free power out of it and the foam filling really makes it a comfortable stick for me. My only gripes with it are that it's just a tad heavy and the power can be a little tough to tame sometimes. It plays great for me with fresh strings (full bed of KB PLII 16 at about 56-57) but when the tension drops I can get really inconsistent. Higher tension are tougher on the arm, and hybrids also feel just too powerful. I used a YT Prestige MP before and liked the control of the 18x20 but it didn't seem to have that putaway power I was looking for. I had hoped the P1 18x20 would provide that balance of control and power, but after an extensive test I just couldn't connect with it. So far I really like the Blade 98 because despite the lighter weight, it still has good stability and almost as much pop as the P1.

I'm going to play some dubs with all 3 racquets tomorrow, weather permitting so will report back after that. Also going to take the Blade 98 16x19 for a spin next week and compare with the P1 and Blade 98 18x20.

EDIT: Let me just add that the pj on the 93 is just awesome...the matte black with dark gray graphics looks really sharp in person...the 98 is nice too but the gloss black with chrome graphics isn't quite as striking IMO. If there was ever a racquet I would buy just based on looks alone it would be the Blade
Nice review. As a former P1 user as well I agree with a lot of things you liked and disliked bout it. Maneurability is a definite downside of it. I would also recommend that you try the dunlop 3.0 tour. Similar 18 x 20 pattern with the blades but produces much better spin+control and is also more of a dampened and comfortable ride, not unlike any of its predecessors. It just needs a touch of lead tape in the upper hoop and it is good to go
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