Originally Posted by J011yroger
It's a good thing she's pretty. The sweet paintjob is the only redeeming quality of this frame. I had the displeasure of trying to hit with this thing for a couple of hours last night.
My initial response was confusion, followed quickly by the conclusion of "Are they f'ing kidding with this thing?"
The original K-Blade tour was a gutless tinker toy, and this frame holds true to its heritage.
Groundstrokes: The ball comes off at too low of an angle as compared to any other frame on the planet, and Wilson messed with the grip shape (WTF?!?!?!). So it took me a minute or two to figure out how to hit the ball over the net instead of into the ground. Once I figured out how to hit the ball over the net, I quickly realized that it wasn't going very fast, and didn't have very much spin on it. So I did the only logical thing; I swung faster, and faster, and faster. It was like pushing a boulder up a hill. Usually when one is made to feel like a mythological Greek by a racquet, he hopes to feel like Zeus, not King Sisyphus. This thing starts at the point of diminishing returns.
Not to be daunted I persisted in trying to figure out how to hit a representative ball with this thing, I mean, I can play pretty well with a wooden racquet, so I have got to be able to coerce a decent shot out of a modern racquet right? She was probably just being a bitter and frigid b'tch because of a former lover's spurn, and once I broke down her defenses with my natural charm, intelligence, and witty banter, I could surely get her to crack a smile right?
Well, on the backhand, I abandoned all thoughts of power and attack with my two-handed topspin turning it into a purely rally high trajectory topspin shot. I made sure to loop it very high over the net buying me time to recover court position and relying on the fact that the ball would be out of my opponent's strike zone (due mostly to it bouncing, and a little to it kicking) to prevent me from being run all over the court. When I got a short ball on the backhand, the only thing to be done was to slice approach and volley.
On the forehand I carried over the high bouncing topspin ploy, which also kind of worked. In an attempt to find some form of attacking forehand, I discovered that if I hit the ball way the heck out in front of me (like out in god's country) with a come out of my shoes type Dave Winfield worthy swing and a very shallow swingpath, I could generate a pretty fast, tightly spun, rifle shot trajectory ball.
So there it was, my baseline game with the Blade 93. Rally from the back-court with heavily topspun balls in high arcs moving them around and keeping them out of my opponent's strike zone until I got a short ball, and then either slicing and attacking the net with my backhand, or rifling a winner with my forehand and coming in behind it in case the ball came back.
To play from the back court with this thing you need placement, strategy, accuracy, patience, and variety. Ain't nobody got time for that *&^%$.
Groundstroke grade: D+
Volleys/Touch/Slice: The ball seems to do what you want it to, but it feels awful. With touch shots there is no rewarding sensation of knowing instantly "Oh, I got that one." that just brings forth that warm tingly feeling from within. That warm sensation is replaced with the mildly surprising sensation of "Hey! That one went in." because you didn't have a darned clue where the ball was going to end up when you hit it.
It feels like volleying with a cheap, non-stick frying pan that you would buy from the dollar store, and though the shots go in, and go where you want them to more often than not, you find yourself perpetually surprised every time it happens. Confidence inspiring at net is the last thing I would say this frame was. There is nothing like getting a short ball slicing your approach and sliding in behind it, then split-stepping while a little voice in the back of your mind queries "Is this actually going to work?".
Volley/Touch/Slice grade: C-
Serve: If nothing else, I have an arm. I've served around 120mph with a piece of junk wooden racquet I bought from a thrift store for $3. This thing laughed at me. So I tried harder. The racquet looked at me with the same look Andre the Giant would give an angry two year old who was punching him in the foot.
Serve grade: D-
A note on sweetspot, stiffness, and feel: They somehow made this racquet stiffer, but the ball didn't go any faster, which is counter-intuitive, and downright confusing, baffling, or flummoxing. The sweetspot is dead in the center of the racquet, except that almost nobody with long fast strokes hits the ball there, they hit the ball higher in the bed where this racquet is stiff, dead, and lame. Heaven forbid you hit the ball higher in the bed than that, or off center on a volley, either of those awards you a sensation similar to hitting a brick wall with an aluminum baseball bat. The frame was easily pushed around, twisted, or otherwise bullied on off-center hits, or attempts to short hop, or block groundstrokes.
Final word: If you absolutely must try this thing, string it as loose as you dare with the most lively poly or hybrid you can fathom, and take an unholy rip at the ball. I wish you the best of luck.
I see no reason why anyone who plays any sort of power game would want this racquet, and if you are one of those touch/variety/keep the ball in play types, though you may be able to play as well with this racquet as another, I can't help but think there has got to be something better for you out there.