Blade 2019 98S 16x18

drak

Hall of Fame
Just got the new 98s and it's pretty much right on spec, 295 grams and 5.5 pts HL, just a hair off from the 6 pts HL they list. Don't think I will be able to hit with it tomorrow but do have some dubs on Saturday. Will start with my standard gut (15L)/poly string job. Nice lookin frame. I played some of best tennis (singles) with the 2015 98s so I am lookin forward to this new/softer model.
 

drak

Hall of Fame
Thought I read somewhere it was 62 or 63 RA but I can't find it again, weird they don't list that anywhere. Probably very similar to the 16x19 RA
 

ed70

Semi-Pro
Yes 2015 98s was very underrated & for me was the pick of the blade range. So the new ones 9g lighter?
 

drak

Hall of Fame
Just got the new 98s and it's pretty much right on spec, 295 grams and 5.5 pts HL, just a hair off from the 6 pts HL they list. Don't think I will be able to hit with it tomorrow but do have some dubs on Saturday. Will start with my standard gut (15L)/poly string job. Nice lookin frame. I played some of best tennis (singles) with the 2015 98s so I am lookin forward to this new/softer model.
strung the 98s (295 grams unstrung) with Legend 15L/revolve 16, it added 18 grams to 313 and ended up just a hair over 2 pts HL. Took off the Wilson grip (15 grams) and added a Kimony w/overgrip and that weighed about the same as the original grip. Added 4 grams at the butt area, 2 grams in trap door. Racket now weighs 321 grams and is just over 4 pts HL. I may modify further down the road but this is a good starting pt for me. Note that with the original grip it was a bit larger than 4 3/8. Now is a hair under 4 3/8.

Note that I compared the 98S head shape to a Angell TC95, its definitely wider and rounder, about same distance from top to throat but 98s wider at 3&9 area. Also main strings are significantly tighter in spacing on the 98S vs the Angell. Nice amt of room for some customization - I added all in handle area. Got a match tomorrow so I will report back after it.
 

drak

Hall of Fame
strung the 98s (295 grams unstrung) with Legend 15L/revolve 16, it added 18 grams to 313 and ended up just a hair over 2 pts HL. Took off the Wilson grip (15 grams) and added a Kimony w/overgrip and that weighed about the same as the original grip. Added 4 grams at the butt area, 2 grams in trap door. Racket now weighs 321 grams and is just over 4 pts HL. I may modify further down the road but this is a good starting pt for me. Note that with the original grip it was a bit larger than 4 3/8. Now is a hair under 4 3/8.

Note that I compared the 98S head shape to a Angell TC95, its definitely wider and rounder, about same distance from top to throat but 98s wider at 3&9 area. Also main strings are significantly tighter in spacing on the 98S vs the Angell. Nice amt of room for some customization - I added all in handle area. Got a match tomorrow so I will report back after it.
hit against the wall for 15-20 minutes this afternoon, biggest take was how plush/solid it felt, hit side by side with my TC95 with same string job and for that 15-20 minutes 98s felt more comfortable. Hit some serves too, seemed to serve similar to the TC95, will get full test tomorrow morning with some doubles play.
 

drak

Hall of Fame
Waited to play two doubles matches and a long hitting session to write this new 2019 98s v7 review. First dubs match played with modest mods at 321 grams/4 pts HL with Klip legend 15L 58lbs/Revolve 16 at 51 lbs. Most of weight added at buttcap area. Had little warm up so I started slow, played better with racket each set, FH was hardest to adjust to as return took a while to dial in and racket was not set up how I prefer. But by 3rd and 4th set was hitting some real nice returns, I served pretty well, rest of game was OK. Biggest standout was how smooth and comfortable racket was, moreso than the 2015 98s version, similar spin characteristics but racket stock has a lower Swingweight.

Now for the FUN part, as I did additional mods as racket felt too polarized and I wanted more static weight and more HL balance. Moved buttcapp weight higher and added weight (10 grams from 3.5 inches from bottom of handle to 7in area, added a couple more grams inside length of throat and then added two grams at tip (one 1/4 inch strip across top). This brought final specs to 328 grams and 4.5 pts HL. Sunday dubs was much better, served about the same but the mods I did weaponized my BH return and my FH was back to normal, really good spin and pace, I could slice/top/flatten my BH at will. I hit my FH well but too often missed long by 2-6 inches. Volleys with this racket are solid for me, not great nor bad. I have an averageish 4.5 serve and served fine, did get some extra kick. My game when playin well revolves around good groundstrokes off both sides and good returns with very good overhead, I played some of best tennis of the past 5-6 yrs with the older 98s. Overall I was pretty happy with how I played the second dubs with the modded version, especially since having not had a hitting session yet.

Now for today's hitting session, I did make a stringing change because of too many long FH's in dubs - I hit my FH best when I can hit out with confidence my balls is going in if I make a good stroke, I think the revolve just had a bit too much power/springiness especially with only 16 crosses. So I had some max power 1.30, ripped out the crosses and restrung crosses at 47lbs. Made a big difference on FH, maybe dropped power a bit but I could now take a big cut and balls stayed in on the FH with very good top and perhaps a bit lower launch angle than the Revolve cross but still a higher than usual launch angle as this is an18x16 spin pattern. I could add big top when I wanted today, drive it flat equally well, both with very good control. Slice BH with this racket and set up is probably as good as any racket I have ever played with. BH drive/top was clean and easy. No vibe dampener needed on this puppy, very comfortable with a nice sized sweetspot and did not notice any hotspots. I like a somewhat muted feel and this racket has this, still with some decent feedback.

Overall an improvement IMO from the 2015 98s, never played with the CV version. Plenty of room for modest customization with little or no need for added head weight, note that with the handle weight I added I also added just a couple grams at the tip, "for me" and my strokes that made the mods really effective. Racket feels very solid at modded specs. I will give it another few weeks but at this time I like this frame better than my Angells (TC100 and 95), we will see if that lasts, I think it will as my groundstrokes today were as good as they have been in a long while off "both sides".
 

Dim Sim

Rookie
Thanks drak, have you played the 16x19 to compare it against? I’m sorely tempted to get the 16x18 on the assumption it’ll put more pronounced action on the ball and be more fun for use on artificial clay.
 

drak

Hall of Fame
Thanks drak, have you played the 16x19 to compare it against? I’m sorely tempted to get the 16x18 on the assumption it’ll put more pronounced action on the ball and be more fun for use on artificial clay.
no I have not, have always preferred the "s" blade vs the 16x19 for my game
 

AtTheNet

New User
I cannot speak to the 2019 Blade, but I play with 2013 versions of the Blade 16x19 and the 16X18, so maybe my impressions can be helpful. The two racquets play very similarly to me, although the strings move around more on the 16x18, and I like the 16x18 strung 3-5 pounds tighter than the 16x19. The 16x18 also wears strings (VS Team Nat Gut 17 ga) quite a bit faster than the 16x19.
 

drak

Hall of Fame
I cannot speak to the 2019 Blade, but I play with 2013 versions of the Blade 16x19 and the 16X18, so maybe my impressions can be helpful. The two racquets play very similarly to me, although the strings move around more on the 16x18, and I like the 16x18 strung 3-5 pounds tighter than the 16x19. The 16x18 also wears strings (VS Team Nat Gut 17 ga) quite a bit faster than the 16x19.
I get decent enough wear with a 15L gut main and Poly cross, key difference for me is the greater spin potential from the 98s - both slice and topspin, I get good control with the gut/poly set up and its an easier platform from which to customize
 
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n8dawg6

Legend
the 16x19 is more demanding than the 18x16, IMO, due to the increased weight and a little heavier SW. the advantage is that the 16x19 has more control and the strings last longer. my 18x16 is the 2015 and my 16x19 is the v7
 

DJTaurus

Professional
the 16x19 is more demanding than the 18x16, IMO, due to the increased weight and a little heavier SW. the advantage is that the 16x19 has more control and the strings last longer. my 18x16 is the 2015 and my 16x19 is the v7
What about feel ? Cause 2015 98S owns 2015 18x20 and 16x19 imo! Softest and most plush of the 3.
 

n8dawg6

Legend
What about feel ? Cause 2015 98S owns 2015 18x20 and 16x19 imo! Softest and most plush of the 3.
cant do a direct comparison, but 2015 98S is softer than v7 16x19 when hit side by side. you can feel it just bouncing balls next to each other. part of that is gonna be a function of the more open pattern of the 98s, though.
 

DJTaurus

Professional
cant do a direct comparison, but 2015 98S is softer than v7 16x19 when hit side by side. you can feel it just bouncing balls next to each other. part of that is gonna be a function of the more open pattern of the 98s, though.
Not a direct comparison but i just played with the so called soft clash tour that shares tech with v7 and despite its low stiffness the feel on contact is firm...
 

drak

Hall of Fame
Not a direct comparison but i just played with the so called soft clash tour that shares tech with v7 and despite its low stiffness the feel on contact is firm...
the new 98s is what I would call rock solid plush, not too flexy and not too stiff, obviously string choices in a spin effect frame IMO make a big difference in how the string bed "feels"
 

DJTaurus

Professional
the new 98s is what I would call rock solid plush, not too flexy and not too stiff, obviously string choices in a spin effect frame IMO make a big difference in how the string bed "feels"
I tried most of the strings out there on my blade 98s and only 4G at 1.25 tamed it and gave longevity..... i don’t want to use 1.30 strings cause of added mute.
 

drak

Hall of Fame
I tried most of the strings out there on my blade 98s and only 4G at 1.25 tamed it and gave longevity..... i don’t want to use 1.30 strings cause of added mute.
I used to use Kev/ZX but that combo eventually caused shoulder issues in my old 98s. When I got this new 98s I did 15L Klip gut crossed with Revolve 16 at 51, it was just modestly too powerful/springy. I then cut out the crosses and used Maxpower 16 at 47, that resulted in significant improvement on FH depth control, seems about just right now. Maxpower is lower powered like a 4g or Head Hawk, so I think that type of gut/lower powered Poly in the new 98s is a good way to go at least for my style of play (all court 4.5) and power level.
 
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drak

Hall of Fame
I get decent enough wear with a 15L gut main and Poly cross, key difference for me is the greater spin potential from the 98s - both slice and topspin, I get good control with the gut/poly set up and its an easier platform from which to customize
More I play with this frame more I like it, the clear standouts for me are groundstrokes (both sides) and return of serve, every time I hit with it I get more comfortable and feel like I won't miss, nice spin and a heavy ball and versatility (top/slice/drive) Starting to serve better as well as I adjust to it.
 

DJTaurus

Professional
the 16x19 is more demanding than the 18x16, IMO, due to the increased weight and a little heavier SW. the advantage is that the 16x19 has more control and the strings last longer. my 18x16 is the 2015 and my 16x19 is the v7
I liked the feel of blade v7 16 19 but I couldn’t generate same heavy ball like my 98s 2015. Also it didn’t help me on defensive shots.... it’s a demanding frame only for advanced players. Also 16x19 on V7 is like 18x20 on other manufactures....very tight pattern which I am not a fan of. So i just ordered a v7 98s.....
 

n8dawg6

Legend
I liked the feel of blade v7 16 19 but I couldn’t generate same heavy ball like my 98s 2015. Also it didn’t help me on defensive shots.... it’s a demanding frame only for advanced players. Also 16x19 on V7 is like 18x20 on other manufactures....very tight pattern which I am not a fan of. So i just ordered a v7 98s.....
great, interested to hear how you like the v7 98s.
 

drak

Hall of Fame
I think new 98s v7 version is more comfortable, not dramatically but nicely so. Liking the frame more and more as I play more and gel with it, the confidence I am gaining in my groundstrokes is probably the most important factor in switching to this frame, the extra topspin and nasty slice are welcome additions to my stroke arsenal. I can grind really, really well and also open up when I want to, very heavy ball and my topspin lob with this racket has come alive. Honeymoon phase extending to about 3 weeks now, 2nd racket arrives late next week. And 15L Gut/Poly hybrid playing great and lasting nicely so far - just did restring the crosses to try a different Poly.
 
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DJTaurus

Professional
I think new 98s v7 version is more comfortable, not dramatically but nicely so. Liking the frame more and more as I play more and gel with it, the confidence I am gaining in my groundstrokes is probably the most important factor in switching to this frame, the extra topspin and nasty slice are welcome additions to my stroke arsenal. I can grind really, really well and also open up when I want to, very heavy ball and my topspin lob with this racket has come alive. Honeymoon phase extending to about 3 weeks now, 2nd racket arrives late next week. And 15L Gut/Poly hybrid playing great and lasting nicely so far - just did restring the crosses to try a different Poly.
Lifting low balls and swinging with ease is on par with 2015 model? Does it feel more solid too?
 

drak

Hall of Fame
Just got the new 98s and it's pretty much right on spec, 295 grams and 5.5 pts HL, just a hair off from the 6 pts HL they list. Don't think I will be able to hit with it tomorrow but do have some dubs on Saturday. Will start with my standard gut (15L)/poly string job. Nice lookin frame. I played some of best tennis (singles) with the 2015 98s so I am lookin forward to this new/softer model.
I now have my second new v7 98s and just did the specs unstrung, this one was exactly on spec at 295 grams and 6 pts HL, the first on was 5.5 pts HL and 295 grams. Very, very happy with Wilson's vast improvement in QC at least for the two frames I have rec'd. I remember on my 2015 98s frames there was a dramatic difference on one racket I bot.
Continuing to love this frame, best frame for my groundstrokes/returns on both sides I have used in the past 10 yrs or more. The ease of top/drive/slice stands out, perfect power level for my game with a gut/Poly hybrid. Definitely prefer it over my recent TC100/TC95/K7 red frames, only thing those frames did a bit better for me is volley, the 98s volleys solidly but not as good as the Angell's. My specs are currently modded to 4.5 pts HL and 327 grams. Note this frame when strung squashes a bit (26 7/8 after stringing), becomes more rounded as I string with a 7-8 lb differential and with only 16 mains it rounds out just like the 2015 model did.
 

drak

Hall of Fame
Ooh err, RA 65, surely that's pretty nice yeh???
yeah, flex is just about right for me as an 18x16 is "softish" as well, very plush frame no vibe dampener needed at all, I always thought the Blade 98s's were the best spin effect rackets I'd played with as they got the combo of head size/string pattern/spacing pretty darn right and this latest version is IMO the best of the bunch, and playing with 15L gut mains/poly cross is providing very good string life, got about 16-18 hrs so far and restrung the crosses only about 4 hitting hrs ago, looks like I got another 10 hrs at least
 

drak

Hall of Fame
Such a limited (geographic release) so weird. How the swingweight, less beefy than the v6.0?
I don't calculate SW but stock is 3 pts HL and 313 grams, so stock SW should not be too high, I lead up the handle a good bit. Also the racket length after stringing is about 26 7/8 as 18X16's tend to squash a bit with the fewer crosses, so that will result in approximately a 5 pt or so SW reduction.
 

n8dawg6

Legend
bump. wish the 18x16 wasnt dead (in the US). the 16x19 is more predictable but doesnt give that crazy ball action you get with the 18x16.
 

drak

Hall of Fame
bump. wish the 18x16 wasnt dead (in the US). the 16x19 is more predictable but doesnt give that crazy ball action you get with the 18x16.
they are easily "gettable" shipped for about the same price of a Blade V7 16x19 in the U.S., ya just gotta be good at googling. I got my 2nd one (there was a sale) at about $185 U.S. including shipping. Stupid of Wilson not to sell them here, Still lovin them
 
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