Clash 98: underrated racquet of 2019.

PhxRacket

Professional
Jolly
How do I know if the Clash 98 is for me? I absolutely loved everything about the RF97A, but it left my connective tissue sore.
 

avocadoz

Semi-Pro
Coming from the RF97A & Blade 18x20, the Clash 98 is a semi-automatic weapon that should be banned. I hardly have to lift a finger to generate power & spin but that's also its downfall. If I put in full effort like that of the Blade and RF97A, the ball would hit the fence. Overall, super comfortable and fun racquet to hit with tho. It's just not really a player's racquet.
 
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J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
The Clash 98 is a semi-automated weapon that should be banned. Coming from the RF97A & Blade 18x20, I hardly have to lift a finger to generate power & spin in the Clash. That's also its downfall. If I put in full effort like that of the Blade and RF97A, the ball would hit the fence. Overall, super comfortable and fun racquet to hit with tho. It's just not really a player's racquet.
It is if you know how to hit topspin...

J
 

avocadoz

Semi-Pro
I just checked TW power map and the Blade v7 18x20 has more power, sw, and twist weight than the clash 98.

How are you guys getting more power using the Clash 98?
I'd agree with this. The Clash 98 is easier to generate pace & spin but it doesn't hit a heavy ball. The Blade otoh bludgeons the ball. To sum it up, The clash hits a faster ball but the Blade hits a heavier ball.
 

Dags

Hall of Fame
I favour a classic feel: played with the PS85 in the mid 90s, and have had TGK 238.1s for the best part of the last decade after a break. They flex, and then some.

I’m struggling to find a demo of the Clash. Those of you who have hit with the older frames… is the feel of the Clash in any way comparable, or is this something new that I’ll be shouting at to get off my lawn?
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I favour a classic feel: played with the PS85 in the mid 90s, and have had TGK 238.1s for the best part of the last decade after a break. They flex, and then some.

I’m struggling to find a demo of the Clash. Those of you who have hit with the older frames… is the feel of the Clash in any way comparable, or is this something new that I’ll be shouting at to get off my lawn?
It doesn't feel like anything.

It's like wearing a condom.

J
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
I favour a classic feeI’m struggling to find a demo of the Clash. Those of you who have hit with the older frames… is the feel of the Clash in any way comparable, or is this something new that I’ll be shouting at to get off my lawn?
the clash feels VERY different from a PS85. It’s a unique feel but it’s very fun to hit with.
 

WillGinRVA

New User
I'd agree with this. The Clash 98 is easier to generate pace & spin but it doesn't hit a heavy ball. The Blade otoh bludgeons the ball. To sum it up, The clash hits a faster ball but the Blade hits a heavier ball.
What's the difference between a fast and a heavy ball?
 

djNEiGht

Hall of Fame
Hhhmm. I’ll take a shot at that.

fast jab to the jaw
Heavy body blow
‍*facepalm*
Sounded cooler in my head
 
What's the difference between a fast and a heavy ball?
Okay, I'll take a swing at this one too.

On any hard court surface, the rate of spin of a topspin ball **after** the bounce will be directly proportional to the ball's forward speed. That's because a hard court's surface is rough enough to fully engage the surface of the ball. Sometimes on a very heavy underspin shot, where the underspin makes the ball come in at a shallow angle, the ball can come off the court with still some underspin or with no spin. A topspin shot dives towards the court and the contact pressure is high enough that there is no sliding between the ball and the court.

So, if Nadal hits his 5000 RPM topspin forehand and the ball comes off the court at 60 MPH, and I hit a 1000 RPM topspin forehand and it also comes off the court at 60 MPH, they will have the exact same spin rate **after the bounce**. However, his incoming ball may only need to be going 70 MPH in order to bounce at 60 MPH, because it's already spinning at nearly the speed it needs to. My incoming ball may need to be going 80 MPH in order to bounce at 60 MPH, because more forward energy needs to go into adding the extra rotational speed.

So when a player describes the opponent hitting a heavy ball, what they really mean is that they are playing against someone who hits with more spin than they may be used to or are expecting from the visual look of the swing or the visual speed of the ball traveling through the air. If they are used to someone who hits a 1000 RPM topspin, they may see that 80 MPH shot and expect it to come off the ground at 60 MPH. However, if Nadal were to hit his 5000 RPM forehand at 80 MPH, it may come off the court at 70 MPH. This causes a player to be late and/or make less than perfect contact, which creates a jarring impact and gives the impression of "heaviness".

Heavier racquets deflect away from the ball less during contact, and that can enhance string movement of the mains along with facilitating overspin of the ball as it rebounds away from the stringbed. The extra spin generated can fool the opponent, who then catches the ball a bit late and with less perfect contact. More of the ball's kinetic energy is transferred into the frame, resulting in higher impact shock, with the result the player says "Wow, that's a heavy ball!"
 

crazyups

Professional
Okay, I'll take a swing at this one too.

On any hard court surface, the rate of spin of a topspin ball **after** the bounce will be directly proportional to the ball's forward speed. That's because a hard court's surface is rough enough to fully engage the surface of the ball. Sometimes on a very heavy underspin shot, where the underspin makes the ball come in at a shallow angle, the ball can come off the court with still some underspin or with no spin. A topspin shot dives towards the court and the contact pressure is high enough that there is no sliding between the ball and the court.

So, if Nadal hits his 5000 RPM topspin forehand and the ball comes off the court at 60 MPH, and I hit a 1000 RPM topspin forehand and it also comes off the court at 60 MPH, they will have the exact same spin rate **after the bounce**. However, his incoming ball may only need to be going 70 MPH in order to bounce at 60 MPH, because it's already spinning at nearly the speed it needs to. My incoming ball may need to be going 80 MPH in order to bounce at 60 MPH, because more forward energy needs to go into adding the extra rotational speed.

So when a player describes the opponent hitting a heavy ball, what they really mean is that they are playing against someone who hits with more spin than they may be used to or are expecting from the visual look of the swing or the visual speed of the ball traveling through the air. If they are used to someone who hits a 1000 RPM topspin, they may see that 80 MPH shot and expect it to come off the ground at 60 MPH. However, if Nadal were to hit his 5000 RPM forehand at 80 MPH, it may come off the court at 70 MPH. This causes a player to be late and/or make less than perfect contact, which creates a jarring impact and gives the impression of "heaviness".

Heavier racquets deflect away from the ball less during contact, and that can enhance string movement of the mains along with facilitating overspin of the ball as it rebounds away from the stringbed. The extra spin generated can fool the opponent, who then catches the ball a bit late and with less perfect contact. More of the ball's kinetic energy is transferred into the frame, resulting in higher impact shock, with the result the player says "Wow, that's a heavy ball!"
But I thought the clash is supposed to have more spin than the blade? Maybe the higher launch angle is what "gives it more power".
 

crazyups

Professional
Okay, I'll take a swing at this one too.

On any hard court surface, the rate of spin of a topspin ball **after** the bounce will be directly proportional to the ball's forward speed. That's because a hard court's surface is rough enough to fully engage the surface of the ball. Sometimes on a very heavy underspin shot, where the underspin makes the ball come in at a shallow angle, the ball can come off the court with still some underspin or with no spin. A topspin shot dives towards the court and the contact pressure is high enough that there is no sliding between the ball and the court.

So, if Nadal hits his 5000 RPM topspin forehand and the ball comes off the court at 60 MPH, and I hit a 1000 RPM topspin forehand and it also comes off the court at 60 MPH, they will have the exact same spin rate **after the bounce**. However, his incoming ball may only need to be going 70 MPH in order to bounce at 60 MPH, because it's already spinning at nearly the speed it needs to. My incoming ball may need to be going 80 MPH in order to bounce at 60 MPH, because more forward energy needs to go into adding the extra rotational speed.

So when a player describes the opponent hitting a heavy ball, what they really mean is that they are playing against someone who hits with more spin than they may be used to or are expecting from the visual look of the swing or the visual speed of the ball traveling through the air. If they are used to someone who hits a 1000 RPM topspin, they may see that 80 MPH shot and expect it to come off the ground at 60 MPH. However, if Nadal were to hit his 5000 RPM forehand at 80 MPH, it may come off the court at 70 MPH. This causes a player to be late and/or make less than perfect contact, which creates a jarring impact and gives the impression of "heaviness".

Heavier racquets deflect away from the ball less during contact, and that can enhance string movement of the mains along with facilitating overspin of the ball as it rebounds away from the stringbed. The extra spin generated can fool the opponent, who then catches the ball a bit late and with less perfect contact. More of the ball's kinetic energy is transferred into the frame, resulting in higher impact shock, with the result the player says "Wow, that's a heavy ball!"
Seems more likely that the rate of topspin after the bounce would be proportional to the ball's total speed plus its spin before the bounce.
 
But I thought the clash is supposed to have more spin than the blade?
This is a bit more complicated, so apologies for another long winded message. And again, this is based on my observations and experience.

The Clash does seem to generate more spin than the Blade for an equivalent amount of effort put into the swing, but the differences decrease the more racquet head speed there is. There are two parts to this so let me talk about them individually.

For the same amount of effort/energy put into the swing, the Clash allows a bit more racquet head speed. This is just a function of swingweight, and the Clash's swingweight is lower so will be swung faster for the same effort. Also, the Clash tends to be a bit more headlight, so any kind of swing that involves rotation of the wrist/forearm will pivot the racquet slightly closer to the handle, increasing the speed of the stringbed area of the racquet.

The Clash also has a more open string pattern, which allows a slower racquet head speed to achieve the necessary string movement to enhance spin that would take a faster swing on a racquet with a more dense pattern. Every time I string the Clash, I wonder why the string pattern is so tight up near the tip of the hoop but so open in the sweetspot area. They could have easily done away with the top cross string, and possible two cross strings, without really affecting the string density in the sweetspot.

In any case, these two factors add up to more spin generation at racquet head speeds up to a moderate level.

Where the Clash starts to become an issue, for at least my swing technique, is when I try to swing really fast but just skim the ball, to create a loopy, heavy topspin shot. Because the swing path is not so much through the ball any more, a lighter racquet feels like it rebounds away from the contact more, with the result that I have to swing more forward and less upward or I don't get enough ball speed to have the ball go deep into my opponent's court. For this type of swing, I can maintain a more upward path with a more massive racquet like a Blade, and generate more spin than I could with a Clash that I have to use a more forward swingpath.

I'm sure that there are many players with better swing technique than I have, that can generate as much or more spin with a Clash than with a Blade under all circumstances, but I have to say that those players are probably pretty rare, and definitely on the younger side and at the top of the recreational skill levels if not beyond that. I hit weekly with a guy in his middle 30's who was a former college player with modern heavy topspin stroke techniques and a typical live arm from that age and he also has the same issue generating heavy top and good pace with a lighter racquet. This guy would be competitive with any 5.0 on a good day and though he relies a lot on his spin to gain an advantge, he prefers the Blade for the ability to hit his heaviest topspin shots with a more natural swing, and also for the better control the Blade offers him at those swing speeds. He has played with lighter racquets that help his defense, but they hurt his offense, and the Clash is the same for me.

I hit many mornings with a group of guys all in our later 50's or older, and two of them are Clash users who switched from the Blade. With more moderate athletic capabilities at our age, the Clash has given these guys back some of the spin they lost over the years and can't get from the Blade any more. But none of us can hit the ball like we did ten years ago - that liveliness in our arms is just gone.
 
Seems more likely that the rate of topspin after the bounce would be proportional to the ball's total speed plus its spin before the bounce.
It maybe only seems that way because a ball with heavy topspin slows down less on the bounce. But this shouldn't be the case for a shot that comes in with topspin. At some point during the bounce, the ball and court are locked to each other and there's no sliding at all. The surface of the ball is forced to rotate forward at the same speed it comes off the court. You can see this in action on those slow motion videos that accompany some of the shotspot replays, where they actually show a video of the ball landing. If you watch a variety of men's and women's shots, and watch the rate of the ball rotation after the bounce, you'll see that even though the men hit a lot more topspin, after the bounce the spin rates are proportional to the rate that the ball leaves the contact point on the court.

That being said, there will be slight differences that may make a minimal but not substantial difference. One is that as a ball compresses, the radius of the ball decreases. It like if you roll a golf ball and a tennis ball at the same speed, the golf ball spins faster. During a bounce, the tennis ball compresses down and will spin at a rate appropriate for its compressed radius at that moment. At some point during the impact, the contact forces decrease and the surface of the ball will start to move independently of the ground. In this case, it is spinning faster than the ground, and may retain some of this "overspin". This is the same kind of thing that can happen with poly strings as well. Their slickness allows the ball to disengage from the stringbed when the ball is still partially compressed, and I believe this is also one reason a poly string creates more spin.

Enough verbal diarrhea for one day from me!
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
I haven't hit the 98 yet, but fwiw I hit a heavier ball with my Clash 100 than any Blade 16*19 I've hit. Proper loose mechanics with these frames is crucial in oder to tame the power with spin. The Blade hits a more linear ball ceteris paribus, which will penetrate through the court more quickly and more often force late contact I think. But the Clash gets that heavily jumping ball which has a tendency to push opponents back more easily.

YMMV, we all have different strokes. I have a fairly modern forehand, so if you have a flatter stroke what I say will likely not apply to you.
 

DJ-

Hall of Fame
I love the Clash 98 only with the minimal time so far... The fact it has 8 mains in the throat is fantastic! Modern strokes really bring out the frame, but the control and flat strokes are there also due to the 8 mains and smaller head.
I think people can generate more power with the 98 as they can get more RHS on their shots, it really feels light to swing, the HL balance is fantastic too.
 

WillGinRVA

New User
The issue I'm facing is that while I like the Clash 98, I also like swapping out original grips with a smaller leather grip + overgrip. This adds weight and I don't really want to end up with something that is crazy headlight lol. Nor did I like adding weight to my Clash 100 which made it feel weird, so I'm not sure if I'd be up for adding weight to the hoop of the 98.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
The issue I'm facing is that while I like the Clash 98, I also like swapping out original grips with a smaller leather grip + overgrip. This adds weight and I don't really want to end up with something that is crazy headlight lol. Nor did I like adding weight to my Clash 100 which made it feel weird, so I'm not sure if I'd be up for adding weight to the hoop of the 98.
Just hit the f'ing ball.

Who gives a crap how much your grip weighs?

J
 

PhxRacket

Professional
The only flaw was that I couldn't get much gas on my big serve. Spin serves were great. I suspect it was a timing issue not a racquet issue.

J
Just played a 4.5 doubles match with the 98. What a beauty. Not perfect, but we have to stop looking for perfect. For me, it was too light. I was way too early on returns and my serve took a set to normalize. But it was comfortable on my old man elbow. I didn’t lose control on groundies. When I hit long, it was a technique issue. It could have been a tad more stable when I was attacked at the net. Like others, I prefer the Blade 98 18x20, but the Clash 98 is a very close second.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Just played a 4.5 doubles match with the 98. What a beauty. Not perfect, but we have to stop looking for perfect. For me, it was too light. I was way too early on returns and my serve took a set to normalize. But it was comfortable on my old man elbow. I didn’t lose control on groundies. When I hit long, it was a technique issue. It could have been a tad more stable when I was attacked at the net. Like others, I prefer the Blade 98 18x20, but the Clash 98 is a very close second.
I think it would be a beast with just a touch of lead.

J
 
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tpro2000

Rookie
Just played a 4.5 doubles match with the 98. What a beauty. Not perfect, but we have to stop looking for perfect. For me, it was too light. I was way too early on returns and my serve took a set to normalize. But it was comfortable on my old man elbow. I didn’t lose control on groundies. When I hit long, it was a technique issue. It could have been a tad more stable when I was attacked at the net. Like others, I prefer the Blade 98 18x20, but the Clash 98 is a very close second.
By too light I'm assuming you mean swingweight? Or light in weight overall?

If you you liked the strung weight but found it "light" add at 12 first and see how it feels. if you want the whole thing heavier but like the balance I like putting it at the top of the handle under the grip.

Most of it is trial and error, but TW has a nice customization page that can tell you where to put the lead in a way that gets the results you want :)
 

tennis347

Semi-Pro
Has anyone had success playing with the Clash 98 with a synthetic string? How does the control compare to the new Blade 98 16 × 19? Which is more forgiving on off center hits, meaning comfort and the ball still staying in play? Is the Clash 98 a game changer over the new Blade 98 16 × 19?
 

avocadoz

Semi-Pro
For some reason, I struggle to volley with the Clash 98. I have no such problem with the Blade tho. It could be the thicker frame issue.
 

tpro2000

Rookie
What's the issue?

J
I think he's got the same issue I have with thicker frames - feels slower coming around, and more of a less stable/hollow feeling on harder shots being hit at you. Rather than a thin beam which always feels solid, and moves through the air a little quicker. Just my opinion though....

I need thin beam as I found out
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I think he's got the same issue I have with thicker frames - feels slower coming around, and more of a less stable/hollow feeling on harder shots being hit at you. Rather than a thin beam which always feels solid, and moves through the air a little quicker. Just my opinion though....

I need thin beam as I found out
Coming around what? He is talking about volleys.

J
 

tpro2000

Rookie
Coming around what? He is talking about volleys.

J
Yeah - so am I. I don't play singles so to me I can hit groundstrokes decently with almost any frame weighted properly. The net game though, the thinner beam comes through quicker, less clunky the other frames. To me anything 22mm and under has been amazingly quick and solid at net.
 

tonylg

Professional
You guys are funny. There's plenty not to like about thick beams, but coming around on volleys is not really a thing.

FWIW .. I tried the Clash 98 and liked it enough to order one. It takes me a while to really sus a racquet out so I'll see in a month or two if I've found my new weapon.
 
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