BATTLE OF THE OPEN STRING PATTERNS : Wilson 99s vs. Vortex Tour 95 & 100

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by The Dark Knight, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Day 1 with the Wilson steam ( note the jury is still in deliberation as I'm in the honeymoon period....these are not final results)

    I have been through quite an interesting racquet journey. Basically I've been playing with the same racquet and just kept changing the string pattern. My journey started with the Donnay pro one 18x20 and then on to the 16x19 version ....and now I have switched to the Vortex tour 100 at 14x17 & vortex tour 95 at 14x17 depending on the day.

    I thought I was set with Vortex when along cane the Wilson 99s with a string pattern of 14x 16.

    I'm really confused now but I must say I'm leaning to switching to the Wilson steam 99S.

    I've been through enough sticks to know this is only the honeymoon period ....therefore the jury is still out .

    Introduction:

    Upon feeling the sticks the Wilson feels far more flimsy and cheap. The Vortex seem much more solid . I felt like the steam could break in half at any moment..

    I'm a 4.0-4.5 depending on the day and I used Vortex multi in the mains and Vortex poly on the crosses at 56 pounds.

    Specs:

    Vortex tour 95 & 100

    Length: 27
    Weight: 11 ounces unstrung
    Balance: 3 pts HL (strung)
    Swing weight : 328
    Pattern: 14m x 17c
    Flex: 70#RA
    Beam: 21.5mm straight beam

    Wilson steam 99s

    Length: 27in / 68.58cm
    UnStrung Weight: 10.7
    Balance: 3 pts HL
    Swingweight: 328
    Stiffness: 70
    Beam Width: 22.5mm / 24mm / 23.5mm /
    Composition: Basalt
    Power Level: Low-Medium
    Stroke Style: Medium-Full
    Swing Speed: Medium-Fast


    1st serves

    Steam : 9/10

    Vortex tour 95 (14x17).... 7/10

    Vortex tour 100 (14 x 17).... 9/10

    Second serves

    Steam : 8/10

    Vortex 95 : 9/10

    Vortex 100 : 7/10


    Topspin

    Steam 10/10

    Vortex 95...... 9/10

    Vortex 100....10/10

    slice

    Steam 9/10

    Vortex 95.... 7/10

    Vortex 100 .....6/10

    Flat shots

    Steam. .....7/10

    Vortex 95....7/10

    Vortex 100 ...7/10

    lobs

    Steam .....10/10

    Vortex 95....8/10

    Vortex 100....9/10

    Drop shots

    Steam : 9/10

    Vortex 95.....8/10

    Vortex 100...8/10

    Return of serve

    Steam .....9/10

    Vortex 95......6/10

    Vortex 100..... 8/10

    Volleys

    Steam : ....8/10

    Vortex 95.....8/10

    Vortex 100...8/10

    [/b]Overhead[/b]

    Steam .....6/10

    Vortex 95.....7/10

    Vortex 100.....9/10

    Conclusion

    The jury is still definitely still in deliberation as I have only had an hour and a half play against a colleg pro .....

    But the steam did everything I wanted to . I was consistent; however my balls did not seem as heavy or effective as with the Vortex.

    The steam seem like a flimsy cheap stick compared to the vortex tours .....however results are more important than feel.

    But it's a pretty good day one for the steam . I am in love with my vortex' and the steam had a tough job to beat them and so far it definitely has done that.

    I still need some real match play to make a final determination . I am however blown away by the steam .

    It just seems the more open pattern I try the more I love it ! It's been some journey.....

    I hope they don't come out with a
    14x 13 because it will drive me crazy.

    I was talking to my pro and I said "I don't think a pro would ever use this stick ".....he said "wrong !!! Mark woodforde use a very similar open string pattern ".
     
    #1
  2. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    I just saw your post.

    I recently got a Steam 99S.

    I thought I would mainly enjoy hitting with it for the topspin, but after adding some lead, am really enjoying it as an all around racquet.

    Before I added the lead, I shared your feeling that the racquet seemed too flimsy.

    Since I was coming from a BLX Six.One Pro Staff 90, I wanted to make the frame more head light, and not change the overall swing weight much.
    [SW BLX90 = 327, SW non-leaded 333 per Tennis Warehouse.]

    And I wanted to be able to change the lead tape easily, so I put a pair of 2 gram strips on the inside of the throat just above the handle.

    I thought this would be just a first attempt at modifying the weight, but this small amount feels very good on the couple of hitting sessions I've done.

    Have you tried adding any lead tape to the 99S?

    Any more updates on your comparison to the Vortex frames?
    (Had never paid any attention to this niche brand until I got my Steam last week and just saw your post.)
     
    #2
  3. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Wow someone actually showed an interest lol !

    I posted my testing in the 99s thread and diary of a racquethoc thread. But will post here happily.

    Thanks for the lead tape advice I will give it a shot.

    The jury is still deliberating on which racquet but the 99s has lost quite a bit if steam .

    Initially I liked the 99s much better .....but as i played matches I noticed the vortex just hits a more devastating shot .

    It's pretty much the same string pattern in a better frame. The vortex is a wilson blade or donnay p1 with an open pattern

    I'm sure Wilson will catch up to vortex but right now the quality of these sticks are subpar compared to the Vortex tours.

    I'm going to give the 99s one last chance with lead tape and 4g.....

    But honestly the Vortex is just a better stick.

    It's just solid and you still get the slingshot effect. Wilson's idea is nothing really new and Vortex has been at this for years.....even their string choices are so much better than limiting to 4g.....they actually have a multi that works great on the stick as well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
    #3
  4. counterpuncher

    counterpuncher Hall of Fame

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    Have been keenly following your posts on the topic in the various threads. Given the similar swing weights, does the Steam swing easier than Vortex tours? Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
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  5. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Yes the steam swings a bit easier but it also packs less of a punch.

    The steam feels like you can swing very fast ....but it's like swinging with a whiffle ball bat instead of a wooden one if that makes any sense?

    Vortex also has the advantage of making many other models besides the tour versions....but again those versions seem far more similar to a whiffle ball bat as well.

    The only Vortex I found appealing were the tour versions
     
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  6. counterpuncher

    counterpuncher Hall of Fame

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    The Vortex 100 Tour does sound appealing due to it hitting a heavier ball and being more solid than the Steam. My issue is that I generally like something around 6HL and a max sw of around 325-330, which is impossible if those racquets are on spec.

    I can't demo the Vortex as I'm down under, so I'll either have to take the plunge or just stick with trying to find an under spec Steam. I have similar preferences to yourself as currently I'm using a P1 (from a PST) and flirting with a leaded Rebel 98, which has surprised me.

    BTW I noticed the Vortex website still says that the new Tour 100 is coming soon. I take it that you got yours early and those specs are of the new version?
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
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  7. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    The tours are 6 pts head light .....the specs on the site say 12 pts head light .....that's UNSTRUNG .....with strings it's about 6 pts headlight .

    The new tour never came out ....they must have had that sign up for a hundred years. It never seems to happen .

    I believe there's a demo program with vortex and a 30 day guarantee. I'm sure if you pay for the shipping it can work
    .....but that's probably a million bucks. You should call and talk to them and make a deal .

    They also will customize by sawing the racquet off to make shorter or adding to make longer so that's sort of cool .

    The steam however is a great great stick !! I love it and I'm able to hit very consistently with it .

    It's just not the same power as the Vortex and the balls on the Wilson seem to stay a little to high up .

    It's really just really a question of personal taste....both sticks are virtually the same as far as pattern ......it just comes down to the racquet itself....which weight and balance do you like better
     
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  8. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

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    No biggie, but the Wilson 99s does not have a 14x16 pattern. The pattern is 16x15.
     
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  9. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Thanks for responding!

    I hope you like the Wilson99s with the lead.

    You have me very intrigued by the Vortex tour racquets.
     
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  10. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    It's basically exactly the same as the 99s.....just different weights of the racquets .

    The 99s is just a little to light as it is now . I will try it with the lead though . Thanks for the advice !
     
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  11. counterpuncher

    counterpuncher Hall of Fame

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    Yep shipping will probably be around $50, which doesn't make it too pleasing, but I'll contact them and see what they say. 6HL strung is far more appealing to me than the balance of the Steam.

    That weight of shot is what I much prefer, along with the more solid feel, as per the Pro One and PST.
     
    #11
  12. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Just talk to them and tell them to go down on the price of the stick. They are very nice . It's not a very big company at all.
     
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  13. counterpuncher

    counterpuncher Hall of Fame

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    I just dropped them an email, thanks for the suggestion.

    A quick question for you on the 100 tour. Given that it has a fan shape string pattern for better control on shots hit high on the stringbed and power for shots hit low, how do you find it plays in terms of consistency? Is it in theory only? I tend to hit high on the stringbed and hate racquets that have a dead spot at 12.
     
    #13
  14. souledge

    souledge Semi-Pro

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    How is it the exact same? One has less mains than crosses. The other has less crosses than mains.
     
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  15. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    The difference is really not a big deal . I think Wilson probably made it one string difference because of a patent ? But I notice no difference between the spin potential .
     
    #15
  16. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    I don't know if that "V" design is a gimmick or not bit the racquet has great control.

    The other models are quite different in that the design of the racquet is different . The throat is wider or higher up or something ? I don't know?

    I found the ES 100 to be an incredible racquet as well.....very similar to the 99s .....maybe a little better? It's really close I can't decide.

    As far as emails I wouldn't bother . I'd call them up and just speak to the receptionist and be nice .....she will give you a good deal I think . They have always been pretty personable . Tell them your situation and that if you like the racquet ......

    But I'll do one better ......if you get a tour 95 and don't like it I'll happily buy it from you.......

    The problem is you can't get a tour 95 as they are completely SOLD OUT. I'm trying to get my hands on a used one from them .

    They say another shipment should be coming in June.

    The tour 100 is just about as good . I can switch racquets in the middle of a set and not feel much of a difference between the tour 95 or 100.

    In fact what I'm doing is using the tour 100 on return serve games and the tour 95 on serve games.

    It's a great stick .....I promise . In fact all their sticks are really interesting .....but the tours are their only real player sticks .
     
    #16
  17. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    This mist have been taken before the tour versions came out

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Bad day for my vortex .

    It was amazing indoors but now that the outdoor clay court season has started it changed everything .

    The vortex tour seemed a bit underpowered and I lost to a guy I normally beat.

    I'm going to have to try the 99s out again .

    The race is back on.
     
    #18
  19. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    OP you got me to try a Steam 99s from TW. Will report back when it comes this week
     
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  20. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Oh great but I see you are a pro staff user ....and a at Vincent no less.

    I have a st Vincent as well.

    The 99s is a completely different feel altogether .

    I've never tried the 88 but heard amazing things about it .

    I like the old school heavy player stick feel just like you and that's the one thing I don't like about the 99s.....

    But I'm dying to hear your opinion because as a pro staff user you will really be able to comment on the difference .
     
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  21. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    I'll be happy to report back!

    I like lots of sticks but PS85's are by far my faves. I do have an early and mid Chinese PS85 that I may mess around with string pattern wise by omitting some crosses and see if I can get close to the 99s spin.

    The pattern in the PS85s are actually pretty open. Perhaps skipping 2 crosses and getting down to a 16 x 16 pattern could do some interesting things spinwise... time will tell but I can't do that without a 99s handy to compare.

    Forgive the derail but string changes can do incredible things to a racquet. My Yamaha Secret 04 was unplayable with syngut 16 in the 50 lb range. Spiky Shark 17 at 35 lbs and it became a serve and spin monster.
     
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  22. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Strings are more important than a racquet for sure !

    That's the whole technology behind the 99s and the vortex.....

    Having said that .....I really do like a heavier playing stick like the ps85 or a vortex tour . The 99s just feels to light to me......but the spin on the stick is freakishly addictive.
     
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  23. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    And the winner is........

    The Wilson 99s steam!

    I cannot believe it....what a comeback.

    It took me a while to get used to but the snap back really works a bit more than the vortex snap back.

    Having said that the vortex hits a heavier ball....but the consistency is off the charts with the Wilson. Every ball goes over the net.

    Well it's my stick of choice for now!
     
    #23
  24. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Well after weeks of testing here's the conclusion :

    Singles : Wilson 99s

    Doubles: Vortex es 116

    The 116 was a real shocker for me . But this is the greatest volleying stick I have ever played in my life. Amazing slice , chip and return of serves .

    Where it fails is baseline topspin groundstrokes. The 99s kicks butt here.

    So that's it .

    Except Vortex coming out with a new 116 and a new 100 and I have to try the 105s......ugggggh.....hurts so good :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
    #24
  25. Osmar Berges

    Osmar Berges New User

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    Looking at the specs of this racquet, would you recommend it?
    I am thinking about it because of the cheap price.
    Head Size:
    98 sq. in. / 632.26 sq. cm.
    Length: 27in / 68.58cm
    Strung Weight: 11.5oz / 326.02g
    Balance: 12.58in / 31.95cm / 7 pts HL
    Swingweight: 309
    Stiffness: 60
    Beam Width: 21mm / 21mm / 21mm /
    Composition: Graphite
    Power Level: Low-Medium
    Stroke Style: Medium-Full
    Swing Speed: Medium-Fast
    String Pattern:
    16 Mains / 16 Crosses

    http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Prince_Rebel_98_ESP_Racquets/descpageRCPRINCE-PR98.html
     
    #25
  26. SinjinCooper

    SinjinCooper Hall of Fame

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    What an odd place to ask this question.

    I hate patterns that open, but the Rebels have a great reputation among serious players. Doubt you can go wrong if the specs are in your preferred wheelhouse.
     
    #26
  27. Osmar Berges

    Osmar Berges New User

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    I actually use an 18x20 racquet but would like to try this out of curiosity to experiment and find what could be better.
     
    #27
  28. macattack

    macattack Professional

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    It was a strange bump. Got me excited about another TDK Vortex thread, though. Hahaha.
     
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  29. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    It's impossible for me to say without knowing your strengths and weakness'.

    In fact one has to really understand ones own strength and weakness' themselves to actually find their holy grail.

    I had written my impressions of the vortex and the Wilson a long time ago . Since then I realized that I actually didn't know my own game and therefore could not pick the right racquet.

    This involves letting go of ones ego and being brutally and painfully honest .

    I wanted to hit huge topspin winners from the baseline and that's just not who I am for a number of reasons .

    Through a painful introspective journey I finally found my holy grail and I will never switch again .

    Shockingly the VORTEX ES 116 is the racquet for me and not the 99s .

    I thought my perfect sticks were always a 95-100 and weight about 11.0-11.5 ounces . Turns out although this is what I wanted to be I was actually lying to myself and I would not even look at a "granny stick" over 100.

    An analysis of my game made me realize that I am quite slow on the court and my stamina is not good either . Therefore unless a ball was right where I needed it to be my ground strokes suck .

    My serve is really very good and my volleys are very good as well . For some reason I do not move very well side to side but sprinting forward to the net works and I have quick reflexes and good hands .

    The VORTEX ES 116 turned out to help me in every department . First it is hands down the greatest volley stick that I have ever played with in my entire life ....it's a monster .

    But ground strokes was where I was shocked . I had reported that the 99s was "better" for ground strokes......well that's only partly true and beauty is really in the eye of the beholder.

    If you are quick and strong and really can rip
    The ball then the 99s is better for strokes. But that's not me .

    The VORTEX is so long and big that it allows me to get to balls that I never could reach with the 99s.

    Furthermore the VORTEX is the most powerful racquet that I have ever played with . This allows me to get to hard to reach balls and still hit them back with power .

    If I'm right on top of a ball the 99s is better in this department .....but in a match that's not what happens most of the time .

    The VORTEX ES 116 is a specialty racquet that seems to have been made just for me . Serves and volleys are perfection and ground strokes the racquet helps me immensely because I just don't have the wheels with a 99s.

    I hope that helps?
     
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  30. n8dawg6

    n8dawg6 Hall of Fame

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    dude, i think this means youre a 3.5
     
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  31. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    That's because you think you understand the game better than you really do.

    Since switching racquets I went from 4.0-4.5 and I got bumped to 5.0 over a period of a couple of years but it was based on my doubles record....undefeated at last nationals. ( it didn't happen overnight ....like I said it was a long journey)

    My baseline game is probably a 3.5 ...you are right .....but on serve and net it's totally 5.0. John McEnroe was a great player as well but his ground strokes were not exactly what I would call the best .

    I'm more of a serve and volleyer . The VORTEX ES 16 is Great on serves and volleys and yet helps me on my weak ground stroke games .

    Outdoors on red clay in the heat and singles is pretty hard on me ....especially against a pusher runner .

    Indoors on a fast surface is a completely different story .
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016
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