How did Sampras' racket play

mxmx

Hall of Fame
How did Sampras' stock racket play compared to the newer Wilson ps models?

Anyone played with these rackets and newer models to compare?
Not with Sampras' setup though...
 

David Le

Hall of Fame
How did Sampras' stock racket play compared to the newer Wilson ps models?

Anyone played with these rackets and newer models to compare?
Not with Sampras' setup though...
Buttah. The closest to the newer modern PS would the discontinued PS 97S V2 imo.
 

Alexh22

Professional
I still have an original 85 and it feels more flexible and heavy than the newer wilson sticks. Sweet spot is small. Good serving but I tend to frame the ball more than the new RF 97.
overall I love it but it is much difficult to play well with.
 
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AtTheNet

New User
Never played with an original St. Vincent's frame, but have the more recent RF85 frame that Wilson made in a limited production run. It is an awesome racquet if you have the game to use it. Strung it with a full gut bed, a lot of fun to play with.

On good days, I have the game to use the racquet well. On other days, well, I pull the Blade 98 from the bag.
 

jmacdaununder2

Hall of Fame
A good multi wouldn't make the cut?
When I tried the 85 back in the 90s there were two of them, one strung with I think Sensation and one with gut. The gut restring provided some power and forgiveness - we were playing with heavy balls on clay - and much needed comfort and enhanced feel; the sweet spot was very small, even in comparison with my 95” Princes. The fact that I was already using 28” racquets would have coloured my overall impressions. The control was way up there with virtually no trampoline sensation but depth was somewhat hard to come by. The racquet was really suited to flat drives, and it’s strengths and limitations reminded me of a wood racquet - I played with wood and wood composites until my early 20s - or at least a much stiffer evolution of one.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
Never played with an original St. Vincent's frame, but have the more recent RF85 frame that Wilson made in a limited production run. It is an awesome racquet if you have the game to use it. Strung it with a full gut bed, a lot of fun to play with.

On good days, I have the game to use the racquet well. On other days, well, I pull the Blade 98 from the bag.
I consider the blade rackets probably one of the best series ever.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
When I tried the 85 back in the 90s there were two of them, one strung with I think Sensation and one with gut. The gut restring provided some power and forgiveness - we were playing with heavy balls on clay - and much needed comfort and enhanced feel; the sweet spot was very small, even in comparison with my 95” Princes. The fact that I was already using 28” racquets would have coloured my overall impressions. The control was way up there with virtually no trampoline sensation but depth was somewhat hard to come by. The racquet was really suited to flat drives, and it’s strengths and limitations reminded me of a wood racquet - I played with wood and wood composites until my early 20s - or at least a much stiffer evolution of one.
Which 95" Prince is this?
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
But Sampras' setup was the key ingredient of the technology that is lacking in today's racquets.
I'm not really interested in Sampras' setup in this thread. This is not about Sampras. If you cannot compare the rackets, you are welcome to discuss his setup in a new thread perhaps? As we are not professional players capable of playing with Sampras' extreme setups, the focus and point is on the racket in stock form. I'm basically trying to determine how much thin framed Wilson rackets have changed in the composites especially...and how different it would feel against a modern Wilson racket that are shaped similarly. Or shaped as similarly as possible.

Besides....I'm sure Sampras would have leaded the modern rackets also, even Babolat or Head.

Edit: perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you are trying to say?
 
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mxmx

Hall of Fame
I still have an original 85 and it feels more flexible and heavy than the newer wilson sticks. Sweet spot is small. Good serving but I tend to frame the ball more than the new RF 97.
overall I love it but it is much difficult to play well with.
I have the same problem with one of my Prince 95 rackets. Very small sweetspot and also flexible and heavy.

It is a very rewarding racket when one connects with the sweetspot. But I have a problem using this racket on the double backhand (in a match). Serving is accurate but very hard to generate power. But I hardly ever frame on the serve. Great volley racket.
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
I'm not really interested in Sampras' setup in this thread. This is not about Sampras. If you cannot compare the rackets, you are welcome to discuss his setup in a new thread perhaps? As we are not professional players capable of playing with Sampras' extreme setups, the focus and point is on the racket in stock form. I'm basically trying to determine how much thin framed Wilson rackets have changed in the composites especially...and how different it would feel against a modern Wilson racket that are shaped similarly. Or shaped as similarly as possible.

Besides....I'm sure Sampras would have leaded the modern rackets also, even Babolat or Head.
won't tell you much about the Wilson racket development, you can probably ask @Alexh22 but I can tell you about my experiments with Head and a bit of Babolat.

just for background,
previously I was playing with Babolat Pure Aero.
in autumn 2019 I picked up Gravity Tour and got used to it.
then I had the chance to purchase some of the Head Classics: Radical Tour Bumblebee and Prestige Classic 600
during the lockdown I actually tried them, against the wall. Already against the wall I noticed that they are both more demanding and quite rewarding. If you manage to hit the sweet spot it's a very nice feeling.
then I tried them during training, and to keep it short: if you have the footwork and strength to constantly find the sweet spot, you'll be just fine with a 20 years old racket.
but when you hit outside the sweet spot, the new rackets are more forgiving, and the probability that you will stay in the rally is much higher.

I also tried the Babolar Pure Control 360 Zylon, to which I have very good memory from childhood.
while it is not as demanding as Bumblebee or PC 600, I found that with Gravity Tour it is easier for me to play at competitive level. And that is mostly related to handling the incoming pace.
might be the larger sweet spot, or might be the more forgiveness when hitting outside of sweet spot.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I'm not really interested in Sampras' setup in this thread. This is not about Sampras. If you cannot compare the rackets, you are welcome to discuss his setup in a new thread perhaps? As we are not professional players capable of playing with Sampras' extreme setups, the focus and point is on the racket in stock form. I'm basically trying to determine how much thin framed Wilson rackets have changed in the composites especially...and how different it would feel against a modern Wilson racket that are shaped similarly. Or shaped as similarly as possible.

Besides....I'm sure Sampras would have leaded the modern rackets also, even Babolat or Head.

Edit: perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you are trying to say?
I’ve been playing for the past couple of months with racquets set up to play very similar to Sampras racquet in a more forgiving package, and I’m not talking about the stock PS85.
Current frame is BLX 6.1 95 18x20, extended to 27.25”, strung tight with poly/nylon at 54 lbs prestretched. 13.2 oz, 12.8” balance, 365sw, lead on sides of hoop. Great all-around performance with hard heavy serves, solid returns, crisp volleys, penetrating accurate groundies, and good touch. Makes me feel more like Pete.
 

mnttlrg

Professional
Great leverage and control from small head; dime sized sweet spot making full gut almost a necessity.
My Prostaff 85 hits amazing with Sheep Micro and/or Wilson Power.

And ironically, I think regular multi is total crap. Give me the old school pure syn gut.
 

jmacdaununder2

Hall of Fame
Assuming you're playing on hard court? Do you find it still has enough forgiveness on rough clay or natural grass - i.e. surfaces which produce bounces with inherent deviation?
 

WYK

Hall of Fame
Imagine playing a PS85 with a full bed of poly. I bet a piece of dust has a larger sweetspot.
Strung with some of the softer black 18G strings at higher tension, it would probably be nice with some spin.
The closest thing in feel to me is the RF and mebbe the stiffer 97s'. It makes sense - those moulds are based on the 85 design sized up. Just ask RF.
 

El_Yotamo

Hall of Fame
If I understood correctly I think what you're trying to get is a comparison between the original PS85 and "today's version" which in many ways is the RF97. I think the reason some people are confused is because such a thread belongs in the racquet section rather than the pro's gear section but nvm.

End of the day today's frames are a lot more forgiving and come in a lighter package. More specifically, comparing the RF97 to the PS85 the former is stiffer, lighter, and more powerful overall while the latter will have a smaller sweet spot and a more classic "buttery" feel which when combined with the right string setup and stroke can produce thunderbolts on occasion. The modern game can't quite cope with the likes of the PS85 in the same way that it does with larger headsize sticks like the RF97 because when the ball is coming at you quickly and with a lot of spin you need something that's gonna hold up to it, especially when impact is made off center. That being said, the likes of the PS85 are in no way "dead" and playing with one from time to time is not only a great way of tuning your strokes but also an awesome way of having fun because these kinds of frames play fantastically and feel like something which no modern frame can really offer.

My (admittedly expensive) recommendation to you is to buy either a vintage PS85 or the RF85 which is very similar and to give it a go on court. As much as comparisons by people on the internet can be helpful (and I hope mine has been) the only way to really know how something plays/feels is to try it yourself. Good luck!
 

JW10S

Hall of Fame
I never played with Sampras' Pro Staff but once when I had my racquets strung by the same guy who had strung a couple of his I did get to at least hold one. His racquet was pretty heavy. He had 3 layers of lead tape from 2 to 4 and 10 to 8. He used thin gauge gut strung tight, I didn't ask the exact tension but I could feel just from hitting it against my hand that it was tight. The grip, as I recall, was pretty big. I'd wager that even good rec players could not handle his racquet for more than a couple minutes.
 

Lavs

Hall of Fame
My Prostaff 85 hits amazing with Sheep Micro and/or Wilson Power.

And ironically, I think regular multi is total crap. Give me the old school pure syn gut.
Give me Same strings but in iPrestige Mid and bring me in early 2000th and I would get twice more Joy from every single shot :)
 

Cup8489

G.O.A.T.
It's a joyful experience of control and precision. But my god do you lose power out of the sweet spot. That being said, I think it's the best serving frame I've ever used, I always felt like I knew exactly where the ball was landing and that it was going to have the movement it needed. Not the biggest serving I ever did, but I always felt like I could hit an unreturnable most of the time. slices were immaculate, and the control on the groundstrokes was fantastic.

I also tried the sampras setup on a reissue, and it had a lot more power.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
If I understood correctly I think what you're trying to get is a comparison between the original PS85 and "today's version" which in many ways is the RF97. I think the reason some people are confused is because such a thread belongs in the racquet section rather than the pro's gear section but nvm.

End of the day today's frames are a lot more forgiving and come in a lighter package. More specifically, comparing the RF97 to the PS85 the former is stiffer, lighter, and more powerful overall while the latter will have a smaller sweet spot and a more classic "buttery" feel which when combined with the right string setup and stroke can produce thunderbolts on occasion. The modern game can't quite cope with the likes of the PS85 in the same way that it does with larger headsize sticks like the RF97 because when the ball is coming at you quickly and with a lot of spin you need something that's gonna hold up to it, especially when impact is made off center. That being said, the likes of the PS85 are in no way "dead" and playing with one from time to time is not only a great way of tuning your strokes but also an awesome way of having fun because these kinds of frames play fantastically and feel like something which no modern frame can really offer.

My (admittedly expensive) recommendation to you is to buy either a vintage PS85 or the RF85 which is very similar and to give it a go on court. As much as comparisons by people on the internet can be helpful (and I hope mine has been) the only way to really know how something plays/feels is to try it yourself. Good luck!
Good post. Thanks.

P.s. I never was interested in owning a Sampras model wilson as such. I do however like the idea of what Federer had at his disposal vs. Sampras.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
I never played with Sampras' Pro Staff but once when I had my racquets strung by the same guy who had strung a couple of his I did get to at least hold one. His racquet was pretty heavy. He had 3 layers of lead tape from 2 to 4 and 10 to 8. He used thin gauge gut strung tight, I didn't ask the exact tension but I could feel just from hitting it against my hand that it was tight. The grip, as I recall, was pretty big. I'd wager that even good rec players could not handle his racquet for more than a couple minutes.
I fully agree. One of my 95" rackets are about 340g and plays great when my game is on. But it's too demanding for me and I know my wrist won't cope with a Sampras setup.
 
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