RF97 vs Blade v7

Tjg

New User
Has anyone played with both racquets and noticed one played better than the other? I know it’s not as easy as this is better than that, as the player and play style make a huge difference in how it played for you. But just would like to hear your experience with the blade vs RF97
 

Booger

Hall of Fame
Yes I have played with RF97 since release day and am trying out the blade 18x20 now. Both are best suited for advanced players and are not forgiving of poor technique. Lots of better choices for the 3.5 crowd.

RF97- firm, big power, heavy. Best for big serves and forehands as well as net play. Takes a longer period of time to get used to.

Blade - softer, less free power and spin, best for baseline players BUT you have to use good footwork. Great control but nothing free. Easier learning curve. Needs leather grip and a little lead, imo.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Has anyone played with both racquets and noticed one played better than the other? I know it’s not as easy as this is better than that, as the player and play style make a huge difference in how it played for you. But just would like to hear your experience with the blade vs RF97
For me, the RF97 is hefty and heavy compared to the Blade V7. I got tired swinging the RF and haven’t for the Blade.


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guardian2002

New User
Has anyone played with both racquets and noticed one played better than the other? I know it’s not as easy as this is better than that, as the player and play style make a huge difference in how it played for you. But just would like to hear your experience with the blade vs RF97
The RF97 is heavier than the Blade but the Blade can be customised for weight and balance. The big difference for me is that the RF97 is alot stiffer than the Blade. Blade has a much softer cushioned feel and for me is the better frame for hitting groundstrokes with topspin whereas the RF97 is a suits a flatter more precise game.
 
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mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
If a player can handle the static and swing weight of the RF97, I don’t think there is another frame that is as potent. I’m not one of those players, but I can vouch from playing against someone who can actually use the frame well that it really packs a punch and spin. Even the shots that are hit right at me are difficult to handle because the frame really helps the strong players with well grooved strokes.

I really like the Blade V7 (*18x20, not 16x19) because it can do almost everything that the RF97 can do but comes in at much lighter static weight. The balance might be a deal breaker for some, but since I stuck with the frame, I don’t really notice it anymore.

Though it is less powerful than both frames, I really like the Prince Phantom Pro 93P. It is such a fun frame to play aggressive, attacking tennis. There is the 97” version that you should also take a look.
 

Alexh22

Professional
Nothing can beat the stability of a rf97. It actually does the work if you can handle the heft.
 

Arak

Semi-Pro
I’m a middle aged recreational player and I play with a few different rackets including the blade 18x20 cv (I understand it’s quite similar to the v.7) and the RF97. The latter is by far my favorite as it allows me to hit heavier balls and helps me defend against the rockets my younger and stronger hitting partners launch at me. I don’t find the weight to be a problem despite my slight build. I just play better with it.
 
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J B

Semi-Pro
Owned both, in a nutshell the blade just cant hit as heavy of a ball as the RF97A, at the net the RF is way more stable. I like being able to swing away and not worry about it going out. It has a low launch angle comparative to a 18x20, clearly not one but compared to a PA you can get it low and hard. Currently have 2 of them. Relax and swing and volley away the RF does all the work for you.
 

avocadoz

Semi-Pro
The RF97 is heavier than the Blade but the Blade can be customised for weight and balance. The big difference for me is that the RF97 is alot stiffer than the Blade. Blade has a much softer cushioned feel and for me is the better frame for hitting groundstrokes with topspin whereas the RF97 is a suits a flatter more precise game.
Absolutely not true that the RF97 is more suited for flatter hitting. The Blade 18x20 has the RF97 beat in this category.
 

Djinn

New User
Used RF97A for over a year and switched to Blade 98 v7 18*20 on release after extensive demo.

Keep in mind, every player is unique and what they feel is not going to be the absolute truth for everyone else.

RF97A is the best racquet I ever used for my one-handed backhand. The problems I had with the racquet were the stiffness and the fact that it wasn't great defensively. Keeping up high racquet head speeds with such a hefty racquet over a long three set match isn't an easy thing to do. Whipping a hefty racquet around especially when you are on the defense also isn't an easy thing to do.

The Blade is slight worse for my backhand, certainly because it doesn't have the same stability. It's definitely not as good at net either. But the difference between the two was negligible for me. I gained much more with the Blade. I added 4g lead at 12 and 8g lead above the buttcap. SW around 340. I can whip this around for hours. I can generate more racquet head speed with the Blade than I could with the RF97A. My game is much better now, especially on the defense. I can
am just as effective on the offense as I was with the RF97. For my game, the Blade was the better racquet.

PS. There's going to be a lot of disagreement here, but people here seem to over exaggerate the difference in spin generation between 16/19 and 18/20 patterns. Most of the spin on a shot comes from the players technique, not from string pattern or even string type. Don't get me wrong, you do gain some spin from a more open pattern and poly strings, for example. But, the gains are not significant in most cases. Spin depends mostly on technique and racquet head speed.

I hope this was helpful.
 
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Quicknick

New User
I've been playing for years RF97A (black) & PS97 CV (black) and I've been switching between both sticks from time to time and like them both a lot, although sometime I had some issues with my shoulder (RF97A) or my elbow (PS97 CV)
In order to test something new I've bought a Babolat PS98 28/20 (2019) as well as an WIlson Blade v7 18/20 and the Blade v7 was way to "powerful" for my game style.
It reminds me a lot of the Clash 98 as the power delivery isn't "linear" but it's true you can play/ swing this stick for hours w/o any issues!
I've stringed the Blade up with Head Lynx Tour (24/23kg) and didn't like it at all as this string doesn't provide me with the same feel and spin as my normal string setup, but maybe my feeling with the racket and the strings would have been better with a higher tension (25/24kg)
 
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I’ve tried them both customized to my specs, and to me the big difference was feel. I’ve played with the pro staff series since I started playing tennis and the braided graphite and Kevlar layup has a unique feel. I’ve tried other racquets and liked them, but something about the graphite + Kevlar just keeps me coming back. I would recommend that you demo both to see which one has a better feel for your game, since it’s a subjective quality that can’t be changed like weight or balance.


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Tjg

New User
Summer: VS gut mains, ALU Rough crosses.
Winter: Hyper G 1.20
Tension varries between 45-50 lbs.
Do you need to change strings more often with lower tension? I would imagine once they start to lose the bounce back they will really need to be adjusted after every shot?
 

Djinn

New User
Do you need to change strings more often with lower tension? I would imagine once they start to lose the bounce back they will really need to be adjusted after every shot?
Strings naturally move less in a more dense 18*20 pattern. I have noticed that the crosses get displaced upward (think making a frowny face) on new string jobs. But its not by much, and its a quick fix. I can't say the mains get displaced very much, or I always restring before that has ever happened. I restring before strings break anyway, but I would not say that string at a lower tension results in having to string more often.
 

UCSF2012

Hall of Fame
Ground strokes, Blade hits harder with less effort. Not quite a spin monster but adequate. Balls tend to not clear the net as much and land deeper. RF gets more action, and you can get the ball to dip more. The ball path/arc is completely different with each racket.

RF serves faster and the ball stays in by a larger distance (ball dips). Blade serves hard, but the ball path is more linear, so fewer stay in.
 
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Mischko

New User
Hi all

Big differences between the two, but both are attacking style racquets, to hit with fastest long swings in front of the body, even if on defence.

RF97A is heavy and stiff but dampened and difficult to swing. Unbelievably stable, in its own category really. Much more controlled power than Blade, balls go long easily, you need some spin to make them dip down. With the Blade you can hit flat 200% and still keep it all in with minimal effort. If you prefer flat shots with RF97A, it will usually mean that you can't swing it fast enough. Or that your swing is so fast that you can string it super tight and hit flat, but that will surely be much less common. When you can swing it fast enough then you totally need some spin for the ball to dip, and it is a racquet well suited to total spin players as well. Because of the weight you need time to get to the spot and extra time to swing back and out with all your might, and that will make you slow, and tired also, your heart rate will definitely know. Difficult to defend, same reason, but you can make good defence because when you make it you send back deep balls, heavy enough. It has a relatively high launch angle, you can easily pick up even the lowest of balls and get them effectively over the net and place them with power and precision even with an extreme grip, if your swing is not too slow. You can crush the ball effectively from many positions, even if it is not a super clean sweet spot hit, to be constantly producing heavy shots that push back the opponent. It is not easy, I would even say almost impossible to get it moving super fast on serve, even if you are a pro player. But serving is great with it, powerful, precise, constant. It is slow but super stable on returns, often just a stab or block, it is difficult to swing back and forth returning first serves, racquet is too heavy. Strings last very little, for me on the third hitting they will break in 90% of cases so I used to restring very regularly.

Blade v7 18x20 is light, even too light for me, medium soft-stiff feel but a very stable racquet, also nicely dampened and with very good feel. However with the Blade I crush the ball only with a clear sweet spot flat-ish hip level hit, whether on fh or bh (I am built approx. like Dimitrov, 1.91m/83kg, attacking style). When I catch the ball only slightly off sweet spot or I give it more spin, and it is often, lots of higher balls, or lower too, on return or late or on the half-stretch, it still a good and precise and predictable shot, and I aim deep, but can't crush the ball nearly as well or make it heavy. Then my ball is attackable, but it then changes the power balance in the point and in the play in general, opponents quickly relax and I get pushed around. For example, with a 16yo top junior, very fast but not tall or powerful but I just can't get him off balance left or right or push him back, and he easily places his shots where he wants and walks me around much more than I like. With the Blade I am very fast around the court, my heart rate stays stable and low in a long point and match, I can defend or "get unstuck" in a point easily. Much much more manoeuvrable than RF97A, although it still needs full long fast swings pretty much non-stop. You can easily constantly crush first serves with it, and have great even attacking second serve, but you have to swing it fast constantly, no slow swings when serving. Strings last more, second hitting easily, maybe even third if not too thin and used.

Backhand slice, both high or low is phenomenal both with RF97A or with Blade, but different. With the Blade I can't just block it, I have to swing back and hit it proper. Just like you see Thiem swing back to hit the slice, but Federer or Wawrinka just block it with a minimal back swing. Lack of mass is the reason once again. It is not a technically difficult thing to do, and Blade has all kinds of slice in its pocket easily, a 5* racquet for slice, like most 18x20 racquets, you can easily be very creative. But I have to swing back and hit it, not just block. With RF97A I can just block it, but slices are not so fast and low skidding as with 18x20 racquets, they are often more floating kind of balls which is not ideal if not placed perfectly, people attack them easily.

It is a recurring experience for me with lighter racquets, being pushed back. With the white Babolat Pure Strike v2 16x19 I had a similar experience concerning the weight of my shots, I just couldn't attack the way I am used to. My game was often reduced to just keeping the ball in. That was my first attempt to go down in weight, from RF97A, and K88 before it etc. And although I played with it only once, Wilson Ultra Tour is another excellent example of a good frame that is just way too light, and where constant full racquet head speed can't save the day. Blade v7 18x20 is great in comparison to UT, and they really did balance it well, lower mass with higher swingweight, and its mass distribution, feel and flex and stability are all excellent, not just good, and it's a great racquet for a huge number and type of players.

However, ordered from more to less, with RF97A or Yonex VCore 97 330g or Gravity Pro or 97HD it is always me who pushes opponents back, or at least don't get pushed back, and people notice it and convey that experience. For example, with RF97A however I hit the ball, center or off, it goes heavy, even long. But also, in the same order, as you probably know - those frames are more difficult to wield. I played for several years with RF97A , it is like a heavy train composition, and I was often late, many more unforced errors and very tiresome for the heart rate and legs. But a diamond for just hitting while hopping in the middle, you feel like Federer until you have to move haha. One of my friends I trained with, as teens for many years, plays with a RF97A. We recently played, we are very very close in level, and both play a lot, I had the Blade. He totally but totally pinned me back, I could attack a bit, but wasn't heavy enough, and he counter attacked and defended really well. Then of course he relaxed quickly and started attacking more, and he isn't lazy there. When he started attacking left or right he won all those points, I just couldn't get back into the point. Blade gives me consistency and speed around the court, but my style of play isn't "Gilles Simon", I am not really trying to just keep a solid ball in court for hours, my style is to open an attack of some kind, build the point and end with a winner or similar. If I have to defend, then my psychology is to do it with one or, if I have to, max two shots and then go back to hitting hard and attacking.

Blade v7 16x19 I haven't tried it, but simply out of experience, I have a good idea how it would play. It will be a better choice for better intermediate players and players who don't have "attack only" style. Probably a better choice for almost everyone except hard hitters who try to crush the ball with every swing.

Too much I know, sorry. If it helps someone then great. Since I had already typed most of it for another response I just posted it here as well..
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Both frames are attacking racquets and you can hit with spin with either as well. They are both specced for experienced players. A stock 18x20 blade with 340 sw is the same spec as some pro frames now. Obviously the rf97 is weighted more for the all court player who prefers higher static weight.

Blade doesnt need a leather grip for me. I like the advantages of its lower static weight and balance. Thats the signature of the racquet.

Getting pushed around with either is a technique/ footwork issue or the guy across the net is simply better than you.
 

Mischko

New User
OK, thanks for the input. Who are pros that play with a 303g racquet if you know pls? I was wondering about that, I know that many younger players play with lighter racquets, but I only know for some their exact specs.

Footwork is definitely a no 1. factor, but a racquet where I can't the power needed except on a clean flat sweet spot hit is also a factor. I agree that Blade is great as it is, I also wouldn't add a leather grip to it, the fact that I move around with it so quickly is top. And that you can play with spin with both, easily. But the effect is not exactly the same, that was the point of my "novel", kind of.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
OK, thanks for the input. Who are pros that play with a 303g racquet if you know pls? I was wondering about that, I know that many younger players play with lighter racquets, but I only know for some their exact specs.

Footwork is definitely a no 1. factor, but a racquet where I can't the power needed except on a clean flat sweet spot hit is also a factor. I agree that Blade is great as it is, I also wouldn't add a leather grip to it, the fact that I move around with it so quickly is top. And that you can play with spin with both, easily. But the effect is not exactly the same, that was the point of my "novel", kind of.
Off the top of my head, Tiafoe. Sw is around 340
Weight is 335. 18x20 pattern. Huge spin game. He started on the Blade. Theres a video on youtube with his current racquet on an rdc. Another is titsipas. I think he plays with close to the same specs.
 

Mischko

New User
Aha OK, thanks. If 335g strung and ready, that would be ~315g unstrung? I think he plays with a Duel G 310g, slightly modified with lead, 16x20, but I'm just guessing there. It is a lovely racquet. I demoed it, liked it, but then played with 330g, that was a mistake. I should have stuck with that 310g. So a ~13g difference, my Blades are ~322g strung with overgrip. As for Tsitsipas I've read somewhere that he plays with a modified BLX Blade, 320g unstrung. But that is even more that Tiafoe's, and my gripe was that at 303g my Blades seem a bit too light for me.

When trying to change from RF97A I played with for several years, I wanted similar, Wilson, 320g or something like that. But there was nothing similar. Pro Staff 315g wasn't for me, way too much power, I really lacked control with it. So I tried and bought many frames in these past 3 years. I am not really a racquetholic, no collection or similar, but now I really have an idea about it all, and would still like to know even more.
 

McGradey

Semi-Pro
I whacked a leather grip (Babolat) on my v7 18x20 and can highly recommend it; the feel on the handle is much better than with the stock grip. The racquet feels slightly whippier too, either that or I'm just more confident because the feel of the bevels is more defined in my palm.

Strung specs (w leather grip, overgrip and dampener):

337g
333 SW

Unstrung this racquet was 307g with the stock grip.
 

tennis347

Professional
I have to say that the 16 x 19 v7 Blade is definitely an attacking frame in light of the lower static weight. Even in stock form, there is ample swing weight for heavy hitting. I would also say that you do need to take a full swing most of the time to maximize its potential. With that being said, you need to be better than average intermediate player to execute heavy balls with the Blade. I am a 53 year old Male on the 4.0-4.5 level and can hit the cover off the ball with the Blade. I can also execute a mean slice. It's certainly much easier to use than a RF frame IMO. With some minor customization the Blade could be pretty darn close in power with a stock RF. The Blade is definitely has much better comfort has a nice flexible feel.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
You can put a babalt skin feel on the blade and get the same bevel feel as leather without changing the weight. Thats what I do.
 

Holdfast44ID

Semi-Pro
I have to say that the 16 x 19 v7 Blade is definitely an attacking frame in light of the lower static weight. Even in stock form, there is ample swing weight for heavy hitting. I would also say that you do need to take a full swing most of the time to maximize its potential. With that being said, you need to be better than average intermediate player to execute heavy balls with the Blade. I am a 53 year old Male on the 4.0-4.5 level and can hit the cover off the ball with the Blade. I can also execute a mean slice. It's certainly much easier to use than a RF frame IMO. With some minor customization the Blade could be pretty darn close in power with a stock RF. The Blade is definitely has much better comfort has a nice flexible feel.
Much easier to blast away consistently and with spin with the 16x19 Blade V7 vs the 18x20, which I've used for a few months. I used the RF97A until I popped my wrist.

Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
 

tennis347

Professional
Much easier to blast away consistently and with spin with the 16x19 Blade V7 vs the 18x20, which I've used for a few months. I used the RF97A until I popped my wrist.

Yes, I would agree. The SW on the 18 x 20 is quite a bit higher and with closed pattern it will be more difficult to generate topspin.

My Blades are around 330 strung with a Contour grip along with a couple of grams of lead added. There's enough SW for me to attack with and still a manageable SW IMO.

The 18 x 20 version is too much racquet for me to handle these days but also a top notch addition from Wilson.

My sweet spot with SW is in the mid to upper 320's these days. I have to take it easy on my shoulder after injuring it a number of years ago. I use to play with a SW around 335-340 when played with the old C10 Pro and Head Prestige Classic. It definitely helped being alot younger, lol.

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phl92

Semi-Pro
I whacked a leather grip (Babolat) on my v7 18x20 and can highly recommend it; the feel on the handle is much better than with the stock grip. The racquet feels slightly whippier too, either that or I'm just more confident because the feel of the bevels is more defined in my palm.

Strung specs (w leather grip, overgrip and dampener):

337g
333 SW

Unstrung this racquet was 307g with the stock grip.
You play also an Overgrip over the leather grip, do you?
 

Goldie

Rookie
My v7 blade is 18x20 4 1/2 grip with Tourna overgrip and it weighs in at 12 ounces. Much easier on my joints, almost as soft as the Clash. So far no injuries with racket. I do get wrist soreness when using smaller grip sizes. Tried the RF97, but not for me, just did not feel right for my game. Really enjoying the new blade, dumped my clash, and plan on staying with the Blades. Bought 2 and they weigh about the same, and rotate rackets after each set.
 
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