Overwhelmed intermediate needs help with racket search

phl92

Professional
Hello guys,
first of all English is not my native language, so please excuse any mistakes :)

Your forum here is very helpful, and since I found it 2 months ago I am reading a lot here and also I watch and read a lot of reviews to understand the whole universe about rackets. I do think, I kind of understood now the dynamics between Power, Spin & Control and how techn. specs like racket weight, string pattern, string tension, frame stiffness and so on can influence these elements. However I am still very confused when it gets to actually decide which rackets I should take to demo.
Since I am here in Western-europe, Tennis-warehouse let me only demo 2 rackets once at a time, and I honestly don't want to spend too much money on demoing.
Therefore I would like to get the best tips on how to demo rackets the right way. Specs on paper are one thing, but in practice I would also like to know on what to look out for.
The thing is, that just 2 weeks ago, I joined a tennis club in my city which has an Babolat Pro Shop in their building and we can demo rackets there for free. So I am gonna demo all Babolat rackets for sure, however after my first experience (Pure Aero) I already had some very slight issues with my elbow just after 2hours of playing, which I never ever had before with any tennis playing!! So I guess, the stiffness of Babolats rackets will cause this strange feelings in my right elbow. With my current racket I never had problems in ellbow area, the only thing I sometimes feel (mostly on the day afterwards) are some light wrist issues.

About me:
I used to play regularly (in a club) in my teenage years, from 11-15 years and also played tournaments in this time (not! on a professional level). I used to have 2-3 different kinds of Fischer racquets before I bought my last and still current racquet somewhere in 2009, I guess.
Since 2009 till mid 2019 I was playing less than 10 times with it, in total!!

I just started recently in September 2019 again after having been on an ATP tournament which activated my motivation again, and since then I play regularly around 3-6hours / week.
I still do have some issues especially with my backhand and my serves but I also take lessons to improve myx technique in that.
Since I restarted to play again (September 2019), I did not participate in any competitive matches, so the only ranking I can give myself is watching YT videos on this USTA ranking and I think 4.0 would fit me pretty well at the moment.

I am 27 years old, 193cm tall, 92kg (I am rather atheltic/muscular (the only sport I did while my long tennis break was weightlifting/powerlifting).
Because of the rare usage of my old Wilson stick, I still play with it and I tried different strings on it.
I play a two-handed BH, I would call myself a aggressive groundstroker who also likes to go to the net a lot (even though my volleys suck a lot atm).

I cannot find my exact model on the Racket recommender here on TT, but it is a Wilson ncode npro 98, weight: 305g, 18x18 string pattern and 27in long. I cannot find any information to its stiffness or other specs.
When I let my racket string 3-4 months ago, the stringer told me that he would increase my grip (with some additionally rubber grip under the basic grip) a bit and I additionally use overgrip. Because of all that I think my racket added quite some weight up to 338g now with strungs in total.
I first had some nylon strings on it at 23kg tension and before Christmas I wanted to try natural gut. I got the Babolat VS also at 23kg. I won't restring gut again, not only because it's way too expensive but also I kinda have a hard time get the spin on my balls and therefore a lot of balls go too long now. I will go next with a co-poly string, to see the differences in spin.

As said before, I still feel quite comfortable with my old current racket, therefore I was looking something which has similar specs. This Racket Recommender Tool on TT seems amazing, however often it confuses me a lot, when rackets with certain specs on paper perform totally different in the analysis.

I want to demo additionally to Babolat rackets around 6 other sticks to see what I really like.
Helpful would be if I could test from each racket category (spin focused vs control focused).

Since I am still quite happy with my current Wilson stick I definitely want to try the new v7 Blade 98 (probably in 16x19), as well as the Clash (98 or 100 no idea).
I read a ton of good things about Yonex rackets (couple of months ago I was not even aware of this brand). My own "research" says I should test here the Yonex VCORE Pro 97 model (310 or HD).
The Prince rackets seem to be a good option for a lot of players and I was putting the Prince Textreme Tour 100T into my test program.

When I tested the Babolat Pure Aero last week, I felt already on warmup (playing only small fields) that the racket (string were 25kg) has more power. On my FH I struggled a lot to keep the ball in the short fields. BH felt pretty well. However I struggled a lot on serves with racket. I used the racket during a training lesson, so I did not play a lot of calm groundstrokes, but more at the run shots.
So I am not sure if I tested this racket the best way possible, the only thing I know is that I had some strange sensations coming up in my right elbow right after 1hr of using it. This gave my a warning that this stick quite probably is nothing for me (at least with this string combination).
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
Hi, I found some specs for your Wilson nCode nPro 98 online. I can't be 100% sure what I found matches your model. But some other relevant info I saw was that you are playing with a 23mm beam and a 69 RA. The picture I saw showed the main strings being quite dense in the center. I would suspect you've got some power but it's not very spin-friendly. I think you should try the Babolat Pure Strike 98 (16x19). The new version is supposed to be easier on your arm. But if you feel discomfort then try the Yonex VCORE 98 (305). It's more comfortable but still has very good performance. I think the VCORE Pro models you mention will have a lot less power than your Wilson.
 

phl92

Professional
THanks for your answer.
Actually I read the on-written specs on my racket again:
Wilson ncode npro midplus 98
weight 300g,
balance: 32,2cm
string: 18x18

if my RA is really 69 then I am really surprised, because this means it's higher than the just demoed Pure Aero, which gave me ellbow pain after only 1 hour of playing, whereas my stick never hurt my except of some little wrist soreness sometimes.
Probably it's because of the String tension then. On my Pure Aero demos there was 25kg of some Blackout string (not sure which brand this is exactly, writting was almost not readable) but I guess it was poly.
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
Have you tried the Clash and Blade yet? What did you think? To stay more similar to your current frame, you could look at the Clash 98 instead of the Clash 100.
 

PistolPete23

Professional
You and I have a similar story. I played a lot as a junior, then from college until my early thirties did not play very often. When I rediscovered by passion for the game, I was quite taken aback by how prevalent poly strings had become. Although I've never hit with a Pure Aero, I do think the demo racquet you were using was strung too tightly at 25 kg, especially if it's a stiff string on a stiff frame. Would be interested to know whether the string job is new, because poly loses tension very rapidly. Also, just out of curiosity, what Fischer racquets did you own?
 

kipek

New User
I am also on the quest of racquet experimentation mainly between Wilson Blades and Babolat Pure Strikes. There is so much choice on the Wilson side. CV, non-CV, then 16x19 or 18x20 etc.

From my research and experience the older Pure Strikes vibrate more compared to Wilson’s even through stiffness ratings are similar. That could explain your pain.

I currently play with a Blade 98L with a hybrid string setup. It gives me everything I’m after and handy at the net because I also play some doubles. Comfort, control, spin, manoeuvrability, does feel light against heavy hitters.

I tried a Pure Strike 98 18x20 Gen2. It’s strung with RPM Blast and plays horrible. I can feel the extra swing weight but sweet spot is small, vibration is high and power low without that much gain in spin.

I’m a 3.5+ and looking to improve my game. Comfortable in all positions at the net and looking to build a more attacking and consistent game.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

kipek

New User
Also I think Yonex VCore 98 is worth looking at. Lots of good things being said about it


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

phl92

Professional
You and I have a similar story. I played a lot as a junior, then from college until my early thirties did not play very often. When I rediscovered by passion for the game, I was quite taken aback by how prevalent poly strings had become. Although I've never hit with a Pure Aero, I do think the demo racquet you were using was strung too tightly at 25 kg, especially if it's a stiff string on a stiff frame. Would be interested to know whether the string job is new, because poly loses tension very rapidly. Also, just out of curiosity, what Fischer racquets did you own?
On the string info there was the date and it said end of November. Meaning the string on the demo Aero was about 6 weeks old... no idea how many players tested in this period though. I will also try to find out which strings they exactly use.
I used one kind of junior racket of Fischer to start with and my second I cant really remember any name or Specs. I just know that everyone back then played with Fischer (maybe because it was an Austrian brand and I am in the middle of this country :). I am still in love with their design... unfortunately I cannot say the same about the other Austrian brand ..Head.
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
Hello guys,
first of all English is not my native language, so please excuse any mistakes :)

Your forum here is very helpful, and since I found it 2 months ago I am reading a lot here and also I watch and read a lot of reviews to understand the whole universe about rackets. I do think, I kind of understood now the dynamics between Power, Spin & Control and how techn. specs like racket weight, string pattern, string tension, frame stiffness and so on can influence these elements. However I am still very confused when it gets to actually decide which rackets I should take to demo.
Since I am here in Western-europe, Tennis-warehouse let me only demo 2 rackets once at a time, and I honestly don't want to spend too much money on demoing.
Therefore I would like to get the best tips on how to demo rackets the right way. Specs on paper are one thing, but in practice I would also like to know on what to look out for.
The thing is, that just 2 weeks ago, I joined a tennis club in my city which has an Babolat Pro Shop in their building and we can demo rackets there for free. So I am gonna demo all Babolat rackets for sure, however after my first experience (Pure Aero) I already had some very slight issues with my elbow just after 2hours of playing, which I never ever had before with any tennis playing!! So I guess, the stiffness of Babolats rackets will cause this strange feelings in my right elbow. With my current racket I never had problems in ellbow area, the only thing I sometimes feel (mostly on the day afterwards) are some light wrist issues.

About me:
I used to play regularly (in a club) in my teenage years, from 11-15 years and also played tournaments in this time (not! on a professional level). I used to have 2-3 different kinds of Fischer racquets before I bought my last and still current racquet somewhere in 2009, I guess.
Since 2009 till mid 2019 I was playing less than 10 times with it, in total!!

I just started recently in September 2019 again after having been on an ATP tournament which activated my motivation again, and since then I play regularly around 3-6hours / week.
I still do have some issues especially with my backhand and my serves but I also take lessons to improve myx technique in that.
Since I restarted to play again (September 2019), I did not participate in any competitive matches, so the only ranking I can give myself is watching YT videos on this USTA ranking and I think 4.0 would fit me pretty well at the moment.

I am 27 years old, 193cm tall, 92kg (I am rather atheltic/muscular (the only sport I did while my long tennis break was weightlifting/powerlifting).
Because of the rare usage of my old Wilson stick, I still play with it and I tried different strings on it.
I play a two-handed BH, I would call myself a aggressive groundstroker who also likes to go to the net a lot (even though my volleys suck a lot atm).

I cannot find my exact model on the Racket recommender here on TT, but it is a Wilson ncode npro 98, weight: 305g, 18x18 string pattern and 27in long. I cannot find any information to its stiffness or other specs.
When I let my racket string 3-4 months ago, the stringer told me that he would increase my grip (with some additionally rubber grip under the basic grip) a bit and I additionally use overgrip. Because of all that I think my racket added quite some weight up to 338g now with strungs in total.
I first had some nylon strings on it at 23kg tension and before Christmas I wanted to try natural gut. I got the Babolat VS also at 23kg. I won't restring gut again, not only because it's way too expensive but also I kinda have a hard time get the spin on my balls and therefore a lot of balls go too long now. I will go next with a co-poly string, to see the differences in spin.

As said before, I still feel quite comfortable with my old current racket, therefore I was looking something which has similar specs. This Racket Recommender Tool on TT seems amazing, however often it confuses me a lot, when rackets with certain specs on paper perform totally different in the analysis.

I want to demo additionally to Babolat rackets around 6 other sticks to see what I really like.
Helpful would be if I could test from each racket category (spin focused vs control focused).

Since I am still quite happy with my current Wilson stick I definitely want to try the new v7 Blade 98 (probably in 16x19), as well as the Clash (98 or 100 no idea).
I read a ton of good things about Yonex rackets (couple of months ago I was not even aware of this brand). My own "research" says I should test here the Yonex VCORE Pro 97 model (310 or HD).
The Prince rackets seem to be a good option for a lot of players and I was putting the Prince Textreme Tour 100T into my test program.

When I tested the Babolat Pure Aero last week, I felt already on warmup (playing only small fields) that the racket (string were 25kg) has more power. On my FH I struggled a lot to keep the ball in the short fields. BH felt pretty well. However I struggled a lot on serves with racket. I used the racket during a training lesson, so I did not play a lot of calm groundstrokes, but more at the run shots.
So I am not sure if I tested this racket the best way possible, the only thing I know is that I had some strange sensations coming up in my right elbow right after 1hr of using it. This gave my a warning that this stick quite probably is nothing for me (at least with this string combination).
did you demo the Head Gravity line?
try the Gravity Tour.
 

phl92

Professional
did you demo the Head Gravity line?
try the Gravity Tour.
Except that Pure Aero I didn't demo any other rackets. But my list for it is growing. Actually Head Gravity was on my list but I had the Gravity MP or MP lite on my list for some reason.

At the moment on my demo list are following rackets:
Babolat Pure Strike 16x19 maybe also 18x20
Babolat Pure Drive (not sure which version, maybe also the +Plus version if available)
Wilson Blade 98 16x19 v7
Wilson Clash 98 or 100
Yonex VCore 98 (305)
Yonex VCore 97 (310)
Prince Textreme Tour 100T or L
Head Graphene 360+ Gravity MP or Gravity Tour

Do you think these list is reasonable in terms of comparing differences?
As I posted in my first post here, I am not an experienced racket tester, I actually had only 3 rackets in my whole life. Should I add 1-2 rackets which are extraordinarily different from specs than the ones I posted above, just to feel the difference?
Because I guess all my rackets from the list above are quite powerful&spin friendly rackets, right?
 

flanker2000fr

Hall of Fame
If you have arm problems, I would strongly suggest picking a frame with the following characteristics:
- stiffness of 65 RA or less
- static weight at 310g (unstrung) or above
- balance at 9pt / 31cm headlight (unstrung - subtract 3pt for balance strung shown on the TW specs)

I would frankly stay away from whatever Babolat is producing these days, as I have lost count of the people around me who ended up with elbow issues playing with them.

For strings, avoid full beds of poly in favour of a hybrid poly / multifilament or a full bed of multifilament. If using poly, definitely string low (23kg or less).

Playing with a bit less power / spin is a good trade off for not being able to play at all because of a tennis elbow.
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
Except that Pure Aero I didn't demo any other rackets. But my list for it is growing. Actually Head Gravity was on my list but I had the Gravity MP or MP lite on my list for some reason.

At the moment on my demo list are following rackets:
Babolat Pure Strike 16x19 maybe also 18x20
Babolat Pure Drive (not sure which version, maybe also the +Plus version if available)
Wilson Blade 98 16x19 v7
Wilson Clash 98 or 100
Yonex VCore 98 (305)
Yonex VCore 97 (310)
Prince Textreme Tour 100T or L
Head Graphene 360+ Gravity MP or Gravity Tour

Do you think these list is reasonable in terms of comparing differences?
As I posted in my first post here, I am not an experienced racket tester, I actually had only 3 rackets in my whole life. Should I add 1-2 rackets which are extraordinarily different from specs than the ones I posted above, just to feel the difference?
Because I guess all my rackets from the list above are quite powerful&spin friendly rackets, right?
1. you need to be ready that 16x19 and 18x20 will be uncomparable.
switching between a new 16x19 and a new 18x20 racket might give you very wrong demo results.

2. stringbed.
If you have by a now a string that is comfortable for you, and the demo racket will have an unknown string at unknown tension -> this might give you very wrong demo results.

From my experience in transition from Pure Aero to Gravity Tour.
I had the luxury of extended demo, as I know a coach sponsored by Head.
I like to play with Babolat RPM Rough, and the Head sponsored coach obviously didn't have this string in the frame.
Yet I decided to give it a try.
Beyond the string, add: 16x19 transition to 18x20, very stiff Pure Aero -> not so stiff Gravity.

In 1 week I trained approx. 10-14 hours, and it didn't click. As simple as that. Some shots were great, but no consistency and I wasn't able to control the outcome.
So I decided to replace the strings to what I am used with.
What a game changer. I still needed some time to get used to it, but without string replacement I wouldn't choose the racket.
 

phl92

Professional
Thank you, your post is very very helpful. I am pretty excited testing the Yonex rackets, since I heard only best things about. And personally their unique design/shapes I can resonate quite a lot!
 

phl92

Professional
This makes a lot of sense what you wrote. Unfortunately I am not in the situation to have such extented demos and TT rents them to my country for only 7 days. I will be glad if Ii can play each stick around 3hours.

On the other side I dont think my level is high enough to make it worth such a deep research in the best racket for me. Will choose after some hours of playing the one where I have no pain and best feel
 

phl92

Professional
If you have arm problems, I would strongly suggest picking a frame with the following characteristics:
- stiffness of 65 RA or less
- static weight at 310g (unstrung) or above
- balance at 9pt / 31cm headlight (unstrung - subtract 3pt for balance strung shown on the TW specs)

I would frankly stay away from whatever Babolat is producing these days, as I have lost count of the people around me who ended up with elbow issues playing with them.

For strings, avoid full beds of poly in favour of a hybrid poly / multifilament or a full bed of multifilament. If using poly, definitely string low (23kg or less).

Playing with a bit less power / spin is a good trade off for not being able to play at all because of a tennis elbow.
Checked my focused rackets, and having your specs in mind the Wilson Clash seems to be the perfect fit. RA55 and very headlight but overall quite heavy 310g unstrung seems good. I am looking forward to test it.
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
Checked my focused rackets, and having your specs in mind the Wilson Clash seems to be the perfect fit. RA55 and very headlight but overall quite heavy 310g unstrung seems good. I am looking forward to test it.
I play with a Wilson Clash Tour and absolutely love it. I have mine strung with hybrid setup of Luxilon Natural Gut in the mains 58lbs and Luxilon Savage in the crosses 55lbs. I’m a 4.0 aggressive baseliner, but the racquet is great for all court. Super arm friendly. The key success with the Clash is finding the right string setup for your style of play.
 

phl92

Professional
I play with a Wilson Clash Tour and absolutely love it. I have mine strung with hybrid setup of Luxilon Natural Gut in the mains 58lbs and Luxilon Savage in the crosses 55lbs. I’m a 4.0 aggressive baseliner, but the racquet is great for all court. Super arm friendly. The key success with the Clash is finding the right string setup for your style of play.
Wilson Clash Tour 98 or 100? I heard the 100er version seems overpowered and harder to control. I will probaly just test the 98
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
Wilson Clash Tour 98 or 100? I heard the 100er version seems overpowered and harder to control. I will probaly just test the 98
The Tour version is technically the 100 version, but the specs are identical to the 98 with exception of the head size.
 

flanker2000fr

Hall of Fame
Checked my focused rackets, and having your specs in mind the Wilson Clash seems to be the perfect fit. RA55 and very headlight but overall quite heavy 310g unstrung seems good. I am looking forward to test it.
The Yonex racquets are quite good, too. Certainly the VCore 97 310 would fit the bill. The Ezone 98 was great went it was in its DR98 iterration, the next one was a stiffer / lighter, but the most recent one, which launched yesterday, is apparently a bit softer again, so well worth a try if you can get your hands on one.

Something to keep in mind as well: Yonex quality control is second to none in the major manufacturers (excluding niche, made to order brands like Angell), whereas Wilson is probably one of the worst. If you are getting a Wilson, either get in a physical store to measure the weight / balance, or if you order online, pay for the matching service at TW to make sure you get a frame close to the specs. When buying 2 RF97's separately a couple of years ago, they were 9 grams and 1cm of balance apart. If you search these boards, you will find this is not uncommon at all with Wilson. By comparison, my 2 DR98's bought separately were 2g apart with an identical balance.
 
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phl92

Professional
The Yonex racquets are quite good, too. Certainly the VCore 97 310 would fit the bill. The Ezone 98 was great went it was in its DR98 iterration, the next one was a stiffer / lighter, but the most recent one, which launched yesterday, is apparently a bit softer again, so well worth a try if you can get your hands on one.

Something to keep in mind as well: Yonex quality control is second to none in the major manufacturers (excluding niche, made to order brands like Angell), whereas Wilson is probably one of the worst. If you are getting a Wilson, either get in a physical store to measure the weight / balance, or if you order online, pay for the matching service at TW to make sure you get a frame close to the specs. When buying 2 RF97's separately a couple of years ago, they were 9 grams and 1cm of balance apart. If you search these boards, you will find this is not uncommon at all with Wilson. By comparison, my 2 DR98's bought separately were 2g apart with an identical balance.
I was not aware about such an service. I hope TT offers this "Racket matching" service also for their European customers. So far I cannot find it on their european website.. only Racket customization services..
 

flanker2000fr

Hall of Fame
I was not aware about such an service. I hope TT offers this "Racket matching" service also for their European customers. So far I cannot find it on their european website.. only Racket customization services..
Send them an email at information.en@tenniswarehouse-europe.com , they will tell you the procedure.

They do offer this matching service, however it is not cheap (about EUR 20 vs. USD 10 in the US). Typically they will take 5-6 racquets out and measure the specs and then you can order the one(s) you prefer. It's worth the investment, because otherwise you may end up with a racquet completely out of specs, and then you've basically lost your money.
 

phl92

Professional
Just demoed 2hours the Pure Strike. However, they had only they new version of 100 in Gripsize 2 (I use normally 4).
I just saw that this Pure Strike 100 has an RA of 69, however I really felt great during play and still have no ellbow issues or whatsoever.
The shop assistance was not so helpful and didn't know which strings were on the racket. A trainer thought it is a RPM blast stringed not higher than 23.

Warmup in small fields it felt really great, very good Spin and good feeling.
Serve was quite powerful and felt good as well.
Overall much better than the Pure Aero in all belongings.
Next week I will test the Pure Drive and then get my order with Wilson Blade 16x19 v7, Yonex VCore 97 or 98 and the Wilson Clash 98 or 100 Tour (not sure yet).
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
Just demoed 2hours the Pure Strike. However, they had only they new version of 100 in Gripsize 2 (I use normally 4).
I just saw that this Pure Strike 100 has an RA of 69, however I really felt great during play and still have no ellbow issues or whatsoever.
The shop assistance was not so helpful and didn't know which strings were on the racket. A trainer thought it is a RPM blast stringed not higher than 23.

Warmup in small fields he felt really great, very good Spin and good feeling.
Serve was quite powerful and felt good as well.
Overall much better than the Pure Aero in all belongings.
Next week I will test the Pure Drive and then get my order with Wilson Blade 16x19 v7, Yonex VCore 97 or 98 and the Wilson Clash 98 or 100 Tour (not sure yet).
PS can't be better than PA in every field.
PA is a spin and power machine.
PS is a more control oriented frame, that still gives you solid spin and power. And it is supposed to be more maneuverable, for easier access to volley for example.
 

Anton

Legend
I play a two-handed BH, I would call myself a aggressive groundstroker who also likes to go to the net a lot (even though my volleys suck a lot atm).

...Wilson ncode npro 98, weight: 305g, 18x18 string pattern and 27in long.

I first had some nylon strings on it at 23kg tension and before Christmas I wanted to try natural gut. I got the Babolat VS also at 23kg. I won't restring gut again, not only because it's way too expensive but also I kinda have a hard time get the spin on my balls and therefore a lot of balls go too long now. I will go next with a co-poly string, to see the differences in spin.

As said before, I still feel quite comfortable with my old current racket, therefore I was looking something which has similar specs. This Racket Recommender Tool on TT seems amazing, however often it confuses me a lot, when rackets with certain specs on paper perform totally different in the analysis.

I want to demo additionally to Babolat rackets around 6 other sticks to see what I really like.

Helpful would be if I could test from each racket category (spin focused vs control focused).

Since I am still quite happy with my current Wilson stick I definitely want to try the new v7 Blade 98 (probably in 16x19), as well as the Clash (98 or 100 no idea).

When I tested the Babolat Pure Aero last week This gave my a warning that this stick quite probably is nothing for me (at least with this string combination).
I would really recommend you find some Yonex DR98 Light and a roll of lead tape. They should be cheap used and are very light (285g) to start with so you can add lead and bring up the weight and balance to your preference(current and future). It's a comfortable frame for the arm (~64 RDC) and just all around good racket that has been very popular. This is an option that can suit just about any style of play.

String with co-poly like Volkl Cyclone 17 at like 50-52lbs.

v7 Blade 98 will porbably work for you as well.
 

phl92

Professional
I would really recommend you find some Yonex DR98 Light and a roll of lead tape. They should be cheap used and are very light (285g) to start with so you can add lead and bring up the weight and balance to your preference(current and future). It's a comfortable frame for the arm (~64 RDC) and just all around good racket that has been very popular. This is an option that can suit just about any style of play.

String with co-poly like Volkl Cyclone 17 at like 50-52lbs.

v7 Blade 98 will porbably work for you as well.
Yes I am going to test the Blade 98. Do you think I should test both string patterns 16x19 & 18x20?
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
If you developed some arm pain from an hour with an Aero Pro, I'd stay clear of Babolat.
My recommends for arm friendly frames to rekindle your love for the game include:
Wilson Clash 98
Wilson Blade 98 v7
Prince Phantom 100X 305
Prince Phantom 97P
Head Gravity Tour
Yonex VCORE Pro 97

And not in any particular order. You can't enjoy the game if you aren't playing and you can't play the game if you are injured.
 

phl92

Professional
If you developed some arm pain from an hour with an Aero Pro, I'd stay clear of Babolat.
My recommends for arm friendly frames to rekindle your love for the game include:
Wilson Clash 98
Wilson Blade 98 v7
Prince Phantom 100X 305
Prince Phantom 97P
Head Gravity Tour
Yonex VCORE Pro 97

And not in any particular order. You can't enjoy the game if you aren't playing and you can't play the game if you are injured.
Thanks for the list.
Your the second or third advising me here the Yonex VCore Pro 97.. however there is one heavy version 330g and one lighter version 310g. Which one should I consider? 330g unstrung seems quite heavy for me.
 

Soznie

New User
Thanks for the list.
Your the second or third advising me here the Yonex VCore Pro 97.. however there is one heavy version 330g and one lighter version 310g. Which one should I consider? 330g unstrung seems quite heavy for me.
If you like some room for customization, I'd say the 310 gr. version is the way to go. 330 gr. feels better to me to be played in stock form, very stable at net while still being relatively maneuverable.
 
First, if you're having elbow issues, I'd stay away from polyester strings. I know people that tell me they can tell when their polyester goes dead by how much their arm hurts. 2) If you couldn't get spin with natural gut, you'll probably not get spin with much of anything. The gut may have created a higher launch angle, and more power, so the impression that you weren't getting enough spin may be what you felt. You can string gut pretty tight to tame the power, and it will still give you plenty of spin. 3) I'd also recommend Yonex as a consideration. One of the 5.0 pros here uses the VCore si 100. I've strung it a few times and it feels pretty solid. Also, if playing with a big name isn't all that important, try a Pro Kennex 5 series (if they are available to you). They're great all-around rackets that are very easy on the arm. Good luck in your search. The shear quantity of rackets makes this a difficult adventure.
 
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Anton

Legend
Yes I am going to test the Blade 98. Do you think I should test both string patterns 16x19 & 18x20?
Yea, I would test out both but in general the differences should be:

18x20 - lower launch angle, more control, tighter feel. Usually preffered by flat hitters and all courters.
16x19 - higher launch angle, a bit more spin, looser feel - usually better for baseline spin game.
 
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Anton

Legend
First, if you're having elbow issues, I'd stay away from polyester strings. I know people that tell me they can tell when their polyester goes dead by how much their arm hurts. 2) If you couldn't get spin with natural gut, you'll probably not get spin with much of anything. The gut may have created a higher launch angle, and more power, so the impression that you weren't getting enough spin may be what you felt. You can string gut pretty tight to tame the power, and it will still give you plenty of spin. 3) I'd also recommend Yonex as a consideration. One of the 5.0 pros here uses the VCore si 100. I've strung it a few times and it feels pretty solid. Also, if playing with a big name isn't all that important, try a Pro Kennex 5 series (if they are available to you). They're great all-around rackets that are very easy on the arm. Good luck in your search. The shear quantity of rackets makes this a difficult adventure.
Natural gut main with soft poly cross is a good middle ground if you want both the spin/touch and the comfort...though low tension co-poly is still the go to for easy spin with control.
 

phl92

Professional
To update this:

My demos just arrived -->

Wilson Clash 98 (strung: Adrenalin Century 20 @ 23kg)
Yonex VCore 98 (305) (strung: Adrenalin Century 20 @ 23,5kg)
Wilson blade v7 16x19 (strung: Wilson Revolve 1.25 @ 25kg)
Wilson blade v7 18x20 (strung: Wilson Revolve 1.25 @ 25kg)

I don't know these strings (I am generally not experienced with polys) and also I have no information about when they got strung.

My first test play will be this Friday. I read a lot about the Clash and the Blade here in the forum, and I think it makes sense to test the Blade 16x19 vs Clash 98 in the same session to have a direct comparison. I was reading a lot that both have a soft feel (low RA) but Clash is all about Spin&Power whereas Blade is more about Control.

In case I like the blade 18x20 most of all, I will probably consider also 1-2 other 18x20 to test in the future (Yonex Vcore pro 97 HD)..

Will see how the VCore 98 (305) will compare to the rest. I am excited.
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
To update this:
My demos just arrived -->
Wilson Clash 98 (strung: Adrenalin Century 20 @ 23kg)
Yonex VCore 98 (305) (strung: Adrenalin Century 20 @ 23,5kg)
Wilson blade v7 16x19 (strung: Wilson Revolve 1.25 @ 25kg)
Wilson blade v7 18x20 (strung: Wilson Revolve 1.25 @ 25kg)

I don't know these strings (I am generally not experienced with polys) and also I have no information about when they got strung.

My first test play will be this Friday. I read a lot about the Clash and the Blade here in the forum, and I think it makes sense to test the Blade 16x19 vs Clash 98 in the same session to have a direct comparison. I was reading a lot that both have a soft feel (low RA) but Clash is all about Spin&Power whereas Blade is more about Control.

In case I like the blade 18x20 most of all, I will probably consider also 1-2 other 18x20 to test in the future (Yonex Vcore pro 97 HD)..

Will see how the VCore 98 (305) will compare to the rest. I am excited.
be prepared that Clash is a string eating machine.
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
Well I hope I do not break them during the demo though :D (how much I pay for that on TW demos :D? )
But in generally I am not a string breaker so far...
you don't need to be a string breaker.
some string (drill) patterns will do the job for you.
 

phl92

Professional
To update this:

My demos just arrived -->

Wilson Clash 98 (strung: Adrenalin Century 20 @ 23kg)
Yonex VCore 98 (305) (strung: Adrenalin Century 20 @ 23,5kg)
Wilson blade v7 16x19 (strung: Wilson Revolve 1.25 @ 25kg)
Wilson blade v7 18x20 (strung: Wilson Revolve 1.25 @ 25kg)

I don't know these strings (I am generally not experienced with polys) and also I have no information about when they got strung.

My first test play will be this Friday. I read a lot about the Clash and the Blade here in the forum, and I think it makes sense to test the Blade 16x19 vs Clash 98 in the same session to have a direct comparison. I was reading a lot that both have a soft feel (low RA) but Clash is all about Spin&Power whereas Blade is more about Control.

In case I like the blade 18x20 most of all, I will probably consider also 1-2 other 18x20 to test in the future (Yonex Vcore pro 97 HD)..

Will see how the VCore 98 (305) will compare to the rest. I am excited.
edit:
Was so sure I ordered the Clash 98, but I actually bought the Wilson Clash 100 Tour .... well,... either way
 

phl92

Professional
I write here foremost for myself as a log, but everyone is welcome to comment or give recommendations :)

log 17.01.2020:
Just tested the blade 18x20 and Clash 100 Tour. Had only 1hour and played with someone who was better than me and rallied me a lot after warmup.
Started to play with the blade 18x20, small-field warmup and then groundstrokes. The feel was different with this racket from the very first hit. On the small field I couldnt say if I like but as soon as we started long groundstrokes it felt great!! Very different from all other rackets I ever played.

After 20min I changed to the Clash Tour 100. The feel of this racket is much more like my old Wilson ncode npro. I felt that it has more power but also that my balls hit with less accuracy. Feel was also very dim. Backhand however was slightly better (more depth, length) but my backhand technique sucks a lot.

The last 20min I again changed to the blade. Wow. The difference is huge. I tried to hit quite hard and I feel you have to, but the difference is with this racket my balls landed in and where I wanted.

My shoulder muscles were a bit tired after this session but no pain in any joint. The reason fire muscle soreness probably comes from the gym session yesterday, and that we challenged us quite a bit.

Tomorrow I test the Yonex and the blade 16x19. Since I have 2 hours tomorrow I will also take the blade 18x20 to have a direct comparison. (However I didnt feel that I have to less spin with the 18x20)


Things to note:
Clash and Blade had different strings. Revolve 1.25@25kg vs. Adrenaline Century 20@23kg (Clash). I am not a poly player but it felt quite great on both.

Which strings are best for the blade 18x20?
 
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phl92

Professional
I noticed already at arrival of the rackets that the Yonex has a around 0,7mm longer grip. It's definitely noticeable as I thought for my 2H-BH which is so much easier to hold and really affects my stroke positively.
I just wonder, is this standard at Yonex rackets? Do they all have longer grips?

I started my 2hour session with the Yonex and it felt good. Especially my weakest shot, the backhand was soo easy to hit. I am not sure if the difference is only the longer grip or the whole construction. All grips are L3 with an overgrip which is actually too small for me, but L4 or L5 is not available for demos.

My second stick I played after 30min was the blade 16x19. Couldnt get around with it. First of all it felt strang to me in my hands (too small grip) and I couldnt feel any more spin than on the 18x20 but more power which resultated in a lot of shots too long. I really didnt like it and switched after only 20min again to 18x20. Felt better, but today after yesterdays session I could feel the lack of free power and after 1hour of playing my strokes got 'lazy' which immediadetly affected the depth and power of my shots. Backhand kinda hard. Volleys also not easy (my technique sucks).
So I switched again to the Yonex and again hits were much easier to access, especially my backhand.

I hoped to have after todays session already at least 2 closer candidates but now I am again at the beginning.
I have booked another 2 hour session tomorrow, and I think I should consider again to take all 4 rackets to the court.
I feel that my play after 45mins of hitting gets worse (lose of accuracy,power and focus) so tomorrow I will start with the Clash, then the 16x19 blade, then the 18x20 blade and to the end the Yonex.

I am not sure this is the right strategy to demo rackets, but I only have 4 days left to test and maybe 3-4 hour more playtime.


edit: I should also consider that the blades re different strug than the 2 other rackets. Blades are @25kg and Yonex is 23kg. But I am quite sure the string on the Yonex has someone before me played already At Least! 4 hours because the seem very used on a closer look.
 

phl92

Professional
3. log: Just finished my 2 hours session today. Playing the third day in a row, I have to say I am not used to it anymore and my body today morning felt a bit tired, as well as my hands and feet skin were hurting and to the end my skin at thumb even split up ..( I guess it's because of increased amount of playing last days + too small grip)

I didn't take the Clash to the court and started with the blade 16x19. Again, didn't like the feel, the trajectory launch angle is steeper than I like it and a lot of balls again went out. Feel/control is much less than on the 18x20.
After 30min played the 18x20, and today I liked it like on day 1. (Normally, I struggle with my backhand since I started again to play in Octuber, and yesterday I sometimes unconsciously played a one-handed backhand, which were not worse hits than my 2-handed, so today I tried from beginning the one-handed and it was great. I am very convinced now that I should do the transition to the one-handed only.)
Played the 18x20 quite a bit, and changed at the end to the Yonex. Also here, backhand again a very good shot, also one-handed. Everything feels a bit easier with the Yonex, and I think the Yonex is much more forgiving in terms of technique and the right swing technique. My partner also mentioned at the end that my balls hit by the Yonex had more spin, which makes sense from the specs.

So here I am now, prioritizing the Blade 18x20 v7 and the Yonex Vcore 98 305.
The blade is clearly more demanding, as soon as you get lazy with your preparation (swing technique..) you lose depth on the balls, on the other hand I really like the feel and the !control! on this racket.
The Yonex seems very forgiving (especially on backhand), the spin is better, and I have more free power to it. The feel is ok but nothing special and the control is way less the on the blade. Yesterday I was liking the Yonex also more, because it's longer grip (aprox. 0,7mm!) is easier for a 2-handed BH, which now if I make the transition finally to the 1-handed BH only, doesn't matter anymore. (For a 1-handed BH it's even better to have a shorter grip handle, right??)

Since I am not someone who is considering to buy a new racket every 1-2 years (my current one is 11 years old!!) I am also thinking which racket gives me space for progress. I didn't compete for more than 10 years, but seeing what atm is seen as a 3.5 level, I would definitely think I am 3.5-4.0 level player atm. However, I do take training seriously atm, and want to achieve at least a 4.5+ level for the next years.

I think I am going for the Blade 18x20, which is a demanding racket for me, but one the other side it forces me to play with good technique and not to get lazy with footwork etc. If I struggle too hard, I still can play with my old current racket. Of course the Yonex would be also a good choice, and maybe atm my game would be even more consistent with it....hmmm


edit:
I am considering another demo of Yonex sticks:
Yonex Vcore 97 Pro 330
Yonex Vcore 97 Pro 310
Yonex Vcore 97 HD 18x20

TW let's me demo only 2 racket at once. Which 2 of these 3 would you try if I already played the Vcore 98 (305g) but I was missing a bit of feel/control? I guess the HD 18x20 is pretty much the best rated stick atm, and seems right.
330g unstrung seems pretty heavy.
 
Last edited:

guilhermefdc

Semi-Pro
The Blade has replaced the Radical as the default answer for passionate tennis players looking for a new modern frame.

Despite being a “Head guy”, I’d just get the 18x20 Blade if I were you. That’s the advice I gave to a few of my friends and they were all satisfied...
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
I would just go with the Blade if you really like the feel and control. If you want a little more power or a little more spin, you can change strings to suit your needs.

I love your long-term outlook on the racket as well. Most Americans would rather take the Yonex and start winning now than the Blade and improve over time.

When I demo rackets I like to start with shadow swings to gauge if I like the weight/balance/swingweight. This is the most important thing to me, and is also not affected by the strings that are in the demo. What I am looking for when I shadow swing is to feel that I can naturally control the face of the racket. I don't want a racket that swings too light and I don't want one that swings too heavy. If I am satisfied that the racket I am testing is within a comfortable range, I will hit with it. When I am hitting, I try to be conscious of where the sweet spot is. Some rackets have a sweet spot closer to the handle than others. If it is too close to the handle, then I generally don't like it because I naturally hit a little higher up. After that, I will consider feel and of course, if there is any wrist or elbow pain after playing.

Remember that most of the errors you see are caused by you and not the racket. No racket is going to raise your game even a .5 level by itself, but one you "click" with can allow you to raise your game with practice by complementing the way your body naturally moves. Good luck in your search.

Remember if you do go with the Blade, to request that the one you buy is matched to the demo you used as best as possible.
 

phl92

Professional
Thanks for the advice.
I play them tomorrow again.

I think I will just order another demo, the Vcore Pro 97 HD 18x20 and the Vcore Pro 97 310 just to have another comparison also 18x20 vs 16x19 again.
Also I think that some sticks will get cheaper after the AO 20 :D
 

phl92

Professional
Oh wow thats an oldy now :)
I first got a Wilson Blade 18x20. I tried hard with a ton of different strings but the high SW didnt go well with my one habded BH back then. I sold it and bought a Yonex Ezone 2020 16x19 and I am quite happy with it. But I also switched to a 2handed BH back… and I have weight and lead on the racket
 
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