Originally Posted by couch
It's so funny that people who use a dense string pattern say this racquet hits horribly. I have typically used a 16x18 pattern and that's what my game has been grooved on. For me the Steam 99S is an easy and natural fit. My business partner hits a blade and he simply said he was leaving balls short in the court because it doesn't suit his style of play. That doesn't mean it's a horrible racquet. Different strokes for different folks.
This racquet, in the right player's hands, can be a real weapon. It hits an extremely heavy ball and explodes off the court. This racquet will play well for a 3.0-5.0 if you ask me, but for different reasons.
A 3.0 - 4.0 will generate more spin, have nice power, more control and less UE if used correctly. A 5.0 who is used to a Pure Drive type racquet can make this racquet do whatever they want but with more spin and action on the ball.
That's my take on this racquet.
Agreed with couch on his assessment. He's a 5.0 guy. I'm well below his level. This frame can be a weapon in the hands of a player who's style of play and skill utilize it. For guys use to 16x18 and 16x19 patterns, the switch is simply enough. Yep, I send some shots long due to a poor swing, but shot after shot dive a foot in, that appear to be going two feet long. But this frame can hit shots that are not available with my Wilson Pro Opens.
My only issue with the frame is the stiffness, so I will be adding silicone to one of the handles as my attempt to use this frame 12-15 per week continues. Right now, my elbow doesn't like this frame for more than a few sets a day. Playing four to five sets a day with my Pro Opens three days straight is not a problem. Playing four sets a day with the Steam 99S and I feel the pain instantly.
What would be the affect if Wilson made a more arm friendly (64-66 flex) version with a 16x16 pattern? ???
More flexible = more control so maybe a 64 Flex version of a 99S would help. Maybe this is simply the beginning for Wilson and other companies to start experimenting in various patterns (16x15 and maybe 16x16) with more arm friendly flex ranges and standard weight ranges (300, 310, and 315 gram frames). This seems exciting to me that the Steam 99S and 105S may simply be the launch of something much bigger than just two frames. The Steam 99S / 105 S could be the equivalent of the first generation poly strings.
Kudos to Wilson!
This was the first attempt by a company with 15 crosses to my knowledge. Yes, I know about Vortex, but Vortex uses 14 mains and 18 or 19 crosses. This is different, just like gut mains/poly crosses vs poly mains / gut crosses. The latter doesn't generate snap back like that first.
From Strings and Spin: Applying What We Know About Copoly" by Joshua Speckman
Federer's setup actually bears some resemblance to spaghetti strings, as that invention also used natural gut in the mains and a synthetic in the crosses. Many players find the combination of extremely elastic gut mains with stiff, hard and slick copoly crosses to be as, or more, spin-friendly than a full bed of copoly, while also being more comfortable, powerful and giving better feel for the ball.
In string-on-string friction tests, tennis equipment researcher Crawford Lindsey found that gut mains slide with less friction along copoly crosses than any other string or string combination. And he found that - unlike other strings, where notching ramps up friction and disables the snapback mechanism – inter-string friction actually gets lower as the notches get deeper.
Why? Lindsey and Cross speculate that natural oils seep out of the gut at the notches and lubricate the string intersections. This suggests that a gut/poly hybrid might retain its spin-generating potential for longer than any other string or combination. Well, at least until the gut breaks.
Surprisingly, the opposite configuration – poly mains/gut crosses – slides much less easily. Lindsey says the two materials are sticky in reverse perhaps because the surface of the gut crosses quickly abrades, pulling up microscopic fibers that get hung up on the copoly mains as they try to slide.
The reason poly strings initially became popular with professional players was because of their inherent durability. Although modern copolymer strings are softer than "1st generation" polyester strings, they are still stiffer and harder than nylon or gut, and typically take longer to notch and break.