K90 to...what? Help me find my new stick a decade later!

Howdy ya'll! I'm finally posting to these forums for the first time in over a decade (the tennis bug always bites back!) to hopefully garner some insight into what I've missed in racquet technologies since the K-Factor/BLX days (lol) and gather your recommendations as I set out to demo a handful of new sticks.

For context, I'm currently swinging a stock K90 with simple Wilson synthetic gut 16 and loving it. I picked it up way back when mostly for novelty (at that time I had a lousy 2hbh and was terrified of a frame that heavy and with that small of headsize), but have since dusted things off, got back into regular hitting, and realized a 1hbh is actually the life for me. And as such, the K90 has been a surprising gem in my new playing days. The swing weight feels nice, 1hbhs are crisp and buttery when solid contact is made, and forehands have new added power.

However! We all know K90s are basically vintage now, finding backups for a good price seeeems like a treasure hunt, and I'm eager to try out some new racquet technologies. SO, as someone who is mostly enjoying the K90, can you recommend a few similar-ish racquets currently available on TW to demo? My main complaints about the K90 are heft and lack of forgiveness on serve (maybe I'm just still rusty) and I do get a bit fatigued hitting with it on longer sessions.

So. Is Wilson still the move? Some of these new Yonexes look sexy?! Why oh why is everything 97/98 sq in these days?!

HELP! :notworthy:
 

Villain

Professional
Head 360+ Prestige Mid and Prestige Pro will probably be the closest options. Yonex VCORE 95 is a little further off but may be the next closest thing. Not much these days will play like the K90. Great racquet BTW, the best of the Staff 90s IMO. If you do decide to go bigger than a 95, recommend you take a look at 18x20s or an 18x19.
 
Head 360+ Prestige Mid and Prestige Pro will probably be the closest options. Yonex VCORE 95 is a little further off but may be the next closest thing. Not much these days will play like the K90. Great racquet BTW, the best of the Staff 90s IMO. If you do decide to go bigger than a 95, recommend you take a look at 18x20s or an 18x19.
Noted! Funny you mention the Prestige line, I actually forgot to add the context that before my recent K90 stint, I was pretty locked in with my microgel Prestige MPs. For some reason, it just wasn't feeling as good when I picked things back up and starting swinging a 1hbh. I am intrigued by the smaller headsize and weight of the new Mid though. The VCORE 95 has been on my mind as well. I think I've started to lean more open string pattern too, but appreciate your recommendations!
 
Work your way back into tennis playing shape with your K90 but you can try the Wilson 6.1 95 first, but most racquets are 97-100 these days. There isn't any new racquet technology...only new marketing terms and paint jobs lol. Strings have gotten better though. Racquet brands differentiate themselves by butt cap and quality. They all make similar racquets to a degree. Yonex has best quality control and isometric shape.

Determine what flex you like and go from there. If you can play with a 90 you can play with a 95 and above. When demoing recognize string selection and even tension can have huge effects on feel. I've been buying and playing with 5 different frames over the past year and still haven't settled on one yet though the front runner is the 2014-15 PS 97. I'm having no problems with the string bed as some reviewers have reported. The RF97A also has the same string bed.
 
Prince phantom 93p, vcore 95, vcore pro hd, Dunlop cx200 tour, prestige mid and pro are the ones I would test out in no particular order.
Bless you, thanks! Sounds like the vcore 95 and prestige mid are definitely ahead of the pack and worth demoing thus far. Do you have a fave of the ones you listed? Or hit with any regularly yourself?
 
Work your way back into tennis playing shape with your K90 but you can try the Wilson 6.1 95 first, but most racquets are 97-100 these days. There isn't any new racquet technology...only new marketing terms and paint jobs lol. Strings have gotten better though. Racquet brands differentiate themselves by butt cap and quality. They all make similar racquets to a degree. Yonex has best quality control and isometric shape.

Determine what flex you like and go from there. If you can play with a 90 you can play with a 95 and above. When demoing recognize string selection and even tension can have huge effects on feel. I've been buying and playing with 5 different frames over the past year and still haven't settled on one yet though the front runner is the 2014-15 PS 97. I'm having no problems with the string bed as some reviewers have reported. The RF97A also has the same string bed.
Definitely some solid wisdom in there! It's not that I necessarily feel a need to change racquets or 'upgrade,' more so just eager to see what's out there and what I've missed now that I have access and time to hit more often again. I also just miss demoing racquets. It was definitely a bit strange logging back in here and finding that Wilson doesn't even make a 93...let alone a 90 sq in. frame anymore. What happened to the beloved Blade 93?!

Also agreed on the strings piece. Sounds like TW still just strings demos with whatever they've got on hand, is that right? Wish that was another element you could preference when ordering.
 

lelopez

Semi-Pro
No substitute. Some come close, but to me they were meh. Most have been mentioned here....93p, new Prestige mid, even the RF97.

But if your k90s are still in decent shape and you believe you can play well with them, just stick with them, to me there's no equivalent of what I can do on court with my k90s.

Oh, and if you still want to move on from them, just offload them to me :).
 
But if your k90s are still in decent shape and you believe you can play well with them, just stick with them, to me there's no equivalent of what I can do on court with my k90s.

Oh, and if you still want to move on from them, just offload them to me :).
aha, I tried to find a k90 by the bays and other places to replace my ps85 2014 reissue, but I couldn't find a decent one that wasn't so high bid priced to several hundreds or more, or none at all. So I went with two preserved new kps88's last year. And now they're totally gone from the bays, except for a few in used, beat up, or dubious shape. It was said on the boards the kps88 was like a "heavier k90", and arm & elbow killer, but I've been trying to "train" into it and managing the pain, haha.

I guess only if Federer retires (which I don't want him to) could Wilson maybe return to making smaller 95, 90 head frames with 17-19 mm beams again?
 
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.. but most racquets are 97-100 these days. There isn't any new racquet technology...only new marketing terms and paint jobs lol. Strings have gotten better though. Racquet brands differentiate themselves by butt cap and quality. They all make similar racquets to a degree.
..
've been buying and playing with 5 different frames over the past year and still haven't settled on one yet though the front runner is the 2014-15 PS 97.
Since I started to learn to string last year, I started to collect a few famous frames from about a decade ago, and to also practice stringing them. Finding a few cheap enough but close to good or new shape. For example I recently got a prince o3 white mp, which is 100sq in , but so light at 11.6 oz unstrung, varying beam width, with 21mm thinnest. So in general would you say it's still tech comparable to today's 100sq in racquets, and very similarly playable like them, particularly boosted with the latest new string tech of recent years?
 

corvax

New User
Bless you, thanks! Sounds like the vcore 95 and prestige mid are definitely ahead of the pack and worth demoing thus far. Do you have a fave of the ones you listed? Or hit with any regularly yourself?
The 2018 vcore 95 was my racket of choice for about 2 years. Late last year I tried out the 93p 14x18 and thought I liked it until I tried it out in a match. Went for the vcore pro hd after that and I'm still playing with it now. Access to spin is good and launch angle is just right for me. I like the extra bit of weight compared to the 95, the lower stiffness rating, and the vibration dampening stuff they added in the grip as well. Both are great rackets though and I'm sure I would have liked the 93p 18x20 had I got that one instead of the 14x18. Unfortunately, not had the chance to try the other rackets I mentioned.
 
New Prestige mid and phantom 93 as mentioned are fantastic options for you. If you expand out to 95 sqi you will see more to choose from.
Love it. Sounds like the Prestige Mid is calling my name for a demo. Phantom 93 too. You have stringing recs on either? I've just been running simple Wilson 16 synth gut in my K90 and don't have a ton of complaints.
 
Love it. Sounds like the Prestige Mid is calling my name for a demo. Phantom 93 too. You have stringing recs on either? I've just been running simple Wilson 16 synth gut in my K90 and don't have a ton of complaints.
I would just treat yourself with a nice multi if you come from syngut. Or even a multi/syngut hybrid. I'm not very at home with multis and synguts but I'm sure someone else reading this thread is.
 
No substitute. Some come close, but to me they were meh. Most have been mentioned here....93p, new Prestige mid, even the RF97.

But if your k90s are still in decent shape and you believe you can play well with them, just stick with them, to me there's no equivalent of what I can do on court with my k90s.

Oh, and if you still want to move on from them, just offload them to me :).
Noted! Sadly, while it's in great shape, I only have one which is why I'd love to find me a similar-ish backup in case a string pops or God-forbid something worse happens and I need to channel some similar mid-size magic haha
 
aha, I tried to find a k90 by the bays and other places to replace my ps85 2014 reissue, but I couldn't find a decent one that wasn't so high bid priced to several hundreds or more, or none at all. So I went with two preserved new kps88's last year. And now they're totally gone from the bays, except for a few in used, beat up, or dubious shape. It was said on the boards the kps88 was like a "heavier k90", and arm & elbow killer, but I've been trying to "train" into it and managing the pain, haha.

I guess only if Federer retires (which I don't want him to) could Wilson maybe return to making smaller 95, 90 head frames with 17-19 mm beams again?
It's so funny. At least where I grew up and played HS tennis, having a K90 at that time was grounds for getting made fun of for overtly poser-ish Fed cosplay and now it seems like that stick has achieved some greater sense of mainstream respect and appeal (maybe my initial judgements were wrong and obscured by my limited experience, but still!). Definitely crazy to see the prices now and I feel lucky to have held onto one in good shape! Do not think I could manage the KPS88 unfortunately...

Wilson, if you're listening, give the people our mids back! :cry:
 
The 2018 vcore 95 was my racket of choice for about 2 years. Late last year I tried out the 93p 14x18 and thought I liked it until I tried it out in a match. Went for the vcore pro hd after that and I'm still playing with it now. Access to spin is good and launch angle is just right for me. I like the extra bit of weight compared to the 95, the lower stiffness rating, and the vibration dampening stuff they added in the grip as well. Both are great rackets though and I'm sure I would have liked the 93p 18x20 had I got that one instead of the 14x18. Unfortunately, not had the chance to try the other rackets I mentioned.
Amazing, this is super helpful. Did you just find yourself spraying the ball too much with that open of a string pattern? I definitely think I'm going to need to try the vcore, sounds fantastic.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Love it. Sounds like the Prestige Mid is calling my name for a demo. Phantom 93 too. You have stringing recs on either? I've just been running simple Wilson 16 synth gut in my K90 and don't have a ton of complaints.
Id stay with the same string until you pick a new frame. It will really help you know which one is the one since changing strings and frames can make things tricky with too many variables.
 

wangs78

Hall of Fame
Will I find the 97 too big of a headsize increase if I'm mostly enjoying the smaller, midsize crispness of the K90? Or does it mostly retain the same qualities that make the K90 great?
There's definitely a tradeoff.

The RF97 has more power and stability/forgiveness. You'll be able to more easily hit the ball deep and avoid mishits (on both groundstrokes and volleys) because of the bigger racquet face / sweet spot.

The 90 has greater precision. If an opponent gave me a sitter for me to put away, I would choose the 90 bc the ball is going to hit the spot where I want it to go (assuming I'm on fire lol), whereas the RF97 is going to be a few points less precise.

Overall, the ball comes off the stringbed at the same angle for the two racquets as the string spacing in the sweet spot is the same for both racquets. This is not surprising bc Wilson had to design a racquet that minimized the amount of adjustment that Roger had to make to switch from the 90 to the RF97. Obviously the RF97 has a thicker beam and you are not going to get the same aerodynamic slice as you would with the 90, but you can hit an equally effective slice with the RF97. It just may not feel as smooth doing it. Overall weight and balance are the same so there shouldn't be much adjustment there.

Hope that helps!
 

2kay

New User
I second the Volkl PB10 Mid. Compared to the other 93'' racquets people have mentioned, it has a much more manageable swingweight and really comes through the air without being unstable. A good deal softer than your K90 I believe. It's also more forgiving than most other midsize racquets.
 
Id stay with the same string until you pick a new frame. It will really help you know which one is the one since changing strings and frames can make things tricky with too many variables.
Totally. Unfortunately the TW demo options only seem to be multi or poly, of which I chose multi since it seems like a closer relative to synth gut than poly would be. We shall see!
 
There's definitely a tradeoff.

The RF97 has more power and stability/forgiveness. You'll be able to more easily hit the ball deep and avoid mishits (on both groundstrokes and volleys) because of the bigger racquet face / sweet spot.

The 90 has greater precision. If an opponent gave me a sitter for me to put away, I would choose the 90 bc the ball is going to hit the spot where I want it to go (assuming I'm on fire lol), whereas the RF97 is going to be a few points less precise.

Overall, the ball comes off the stringbed at the same angle for the two racquets as the string spacing in the sweet spot is the same for both racquets. This is not surprising bc Wilson had to design a racquet that minimized the amount of adjustment that Roger had to make to switch from the 90 to the RF97. Obviously the RF97 has a thicker beam and you are not going to get the same aerodynamic slice as you would with the 90, but you can hit an equally effective slice with the RF97. It just may not feel as smooth doing it. Overall weight and balance are the same so there shouldn't be much adjustment there.

Hope that helps!
Thanks Wangs! Your comment made me pull the trigger in adding this to my list of 3 demos this go around. Have an RF97, Prestige Mid, and 93P on the way now :)
 
I second the Volkl PB10 Mid. Compared to the other 93'' racquets people have mentioned, it has a much more manageable swingweight and really comes through the air without being unstable. A good deal softer than your K90 I believe. It's also more forgiving than most other midsize racquets.
The Volkl sticks are definitely piquing my interest, but unless I'm mistaken, the PB10 Mid is an older frame, correct? So not available to demo on here?
 
There is shlt ton of 90s on the Bay.

I picked up 3 in the last few years.

Why deviate.

Stick with a 90. It just works.
I feel that. I guess it's two reasons for me.

1) Playing with and enjoying a stick like the K90 (with its mid headsize and weight) is a new phenomenon for me, so before I lock in I want to survey the field and see what else is out there that plays similar and might tickle my fancy even more.

and 2) Weren't there a crap ton of fake K90s circulating around resale markets at one point? I guess there's a fear that I'd get scammed on the Bay or get a stick that feels somehow different than the one I have now. Maybe that's irrational, idk.
 

JoelDali

G.O.A.T.
I feel that. I guess it's two reasons for me.

1) Playing with and enjoying a stick like the K90 (with its mid headsize and weight) is a new phenomenon for me, so before I lock in I want to survey the field and see what else is out there that plays similar and might tickle my fancy even more.

and 2) Weren't there a crap ton of fake K90s circulating around resale markets at one point? I guess there's a fear that I'd get scammed on the Bay or get a stick that feels somehow different than the one I have now. Maybe that's irrational, idk.
Irrational.

Get the white 2013ish era PS 90.

It’s the best version of the 90. IMHO anyway.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
If Dalee was a music producer he would still use an mpc60 over the newer releases.

This is a true artist and visionary sharing sage advice.
 

lelopez

Semi-Pro
I feel that. I guess it's two reasons for me.

1) Playing with and enjoying a stick like the K90 (with its mid headsize and weight) is a new phenomenon for me, so before I lock in I want to survey the field and see what else is out there that plays similar and might tickle my fancy even more.

and 2) Weren't there a crap ton of fake K90s circulating around resale markets at one point? I guess there's a fear that I'd get scammed on the Bay or get a stick that feels somehow different than the one I have now. Maybe that's irrational, idk.
If you get educated on spotting / what to ask about on 2nd hand k90s, you can help minimize the chances of getting scammed.

And I agree, you can pick up some on the big auction site or even here from folks that have moved on from it. Keep in mind that no two racquets will feel exactly the same unless you spec-match them.

That said, the racquet is indeed demanding, so if you're looking for something that retains some of the feel, but it is easier to swing, then there's definitely options to consider. For me it didn't work, but does not mean they are not excellent racquets.
 
There, fixed it for you.
If you get educated on spotting / what to ask about on 2nd hand k90s, you can help minimize the chances of getting scammed.

And I agree, you can pick up some on the big auction site or even here from folks that have moved on from it. Keep in mind that no two racquets will feel exactly the same unless you spec-match them.

That said, the racquet is indeed demanding, so if you're looking for something that retains some of the feel, but it is easier to swing, then there's definitely options to consider. For me it didn't work, but does not mean they are not excellent racquets.
:-D

Totally. It's been good demanding so far, but can easily turn into bad demanding after a long hitting sesh or when I'm just not "on" and that's when it would be nice to have some extra sq. inches to fall back into.
 

Ventoux

New User
You could try the newer PS90, 2012 style. I found easier to swing.
I've been all around of late and thought I'd settle on H22s. But they don't have that focus and plough through of a Prostate 90, or PS85. And not nearly so good for volleys.
I've just bought two pro stock Blade 93s from prostocktennis. Yet to take them out. I always enjoyed the Blade 93.
 
You could try the newer PS90, 2012 style. I found easier to swing.
I've been all around of late and thought I'd settle on H22s. But they don't have that focus and plough through of a Prostate 90, or PS85. And not nearly so good for volleys.
I've just bought two pro stock Blade 93s from prostocktennis. Yet to take them out. I always enjoyed the Blade 93.
Nice! Yeah someone else recommended the 2013 version, definitely something to look into as well. Let me know how you end up liking the pro stock Blade 93s, I've always thought that headsize on the Blade was pretty sweet.
 
Also, broad "thanks" to everyone that's chimed in thus far! Definitely giving me a lot to consider and test out.

For now, I've got TW demos on the way for the new Prestige Mid, Prince Phantom 93p (18x20), and an RF97. Vcore 95 was out of stock but will be first on my next list to demo.

Will report back with my thoughts!
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
I went from the K90 to the KPS88 and it was a great transition in terms of feel but my arm couldn't handle the stiffness. I moved to the YT Prestige MP and it was surprising at how hard the transition was from a 90 to a 95. I had to make some changes on how I hit my backhand (looser wrist, more topspin). The YT Prestige MP was also hard on the arm. And then I went to the IG Prestige MP which is what I use now. The frames I have are ten years old.

I did playtest the RF97 about four years ago and really liked the frame. The higher twistweight compensated for the added stiffness. That might be an option for you - kind of like Roger's transition.

It's hard to find 90s that are new and you might want to go 95 as there are some more of those but I think that even those are getting harder to find.

If I had to buy something made today, I'd look at the RF97, Prestige MP, Prestige Mid if they sell one and 100s if they are really soft.
 
I went from the K90 to the KPS88 and it was a great transition in terms of feel but my arm couldn't handle the stiffness. I moved to the YT Prestige MP and it was surprising at how hard the transition was from a 90 to a 95. I had to make some changes on how I hit my backhand (looser wrist, more topspin). The YT Prestige MP was also hard on the arm. And then I went to the IG Prestige MP which is what I use now. The frames I have are ten years old.

I did playtest the RF97 about four years ago and really liked the frame. The higher twistweight compensated for the added stiffness. That might be an option for you - kind of like Roger's transition.

It's hard to find 90s that are new and you might want to go 95 as there are some more of those but I think that even those are getting harder to find.

If I had to buy something made today, I'd look at the RF97, Prestige MP, Prestige Mid if they sell one and 100s if they are really soft.
Amazing. Thanks for the considered response! I think I mentioned above, I played with the microgel prestige MP for quite some time before the recent K90 stint, so I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to switching back to something around that size/feel. The K90 just clicked more with my 1hbh and volleys for obvious reasons. I think ideally something in-between (maybe 93 sq in.) would be nice, which is why the Prestige Mid and Prince 93p are on their way to my place as we speak ;)
 
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