Tennis Warehouse Playtest: 2016 Wilson Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph

moon shot

Hall of Fame
Saw this on the black Pro Staff page:

"Although the description has changed (due to a licensing agreement), this racquet's braided composition has the exact same ingredients as the previous generation."

@TW Staff , is Wilson not allowed to use "Kevlar" anymore in their advertising?
I suppose Kevlar is trademarked by DuPont or someone. They may have wanted a logo on the sticks Wilson wasn't willing to use. That always bugs me about the textreme.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
That's some pretty nice power.
Thanks! What impresses me about this racket is the control you get with it that allows you to really hit out.

I will be playing friday and the guy hits pretty flat and fast so I will be pressed I think and will see if I can still hit with the heft I have this at...

Call me crazy but the paint or color has some psychological affect i think, it exudes solidity
 

Biogenic

Rookie
Just a question for Peterfig since the ask a question thread was deleted already. Just wondering what is the cause of the price hike on the new Prostaff line? Is it the paint?
 

bkr

Rookie
Wilson has no clue that their spin technology is a failure atleast at the high levels even the Demitrov moved over to his old racquet.Agree Demitrov racquet is still 18*17 and effect may be minimal on smaller head and may not launch the ball just as the 97s does.

I wish they release this Wilson 97s thin beam in 16*19 or 18*20 as I heard some juniors also asked the wilson for this and it seems Wilson has plans in 2017.
 

gino

Hall of Fame
Wilson has no clue that their spin technology is a failure atleast at the high levels even the Demitrov moved over to his old racquet.Agree Demitrov racquet is still 18*17 and effect may be minimal on smaller head and may not launch the ball just as the 97s does.

I wish they release this Wilson 97s thin beam in 16*19 or 18*20 as I heard some juniors also asked the wilson for this and it seems Wilson has plans in 2017.

Don't both Nishikori and Dolgopolov still use spin patterns? I wouldn't call that a failure...
 

ShooterMcMarco

Hall of Fame
Thanks! What impresses me about this racket is the control you get with it that allows you to really hit out.

I will be playing friday and the guy hits pretty flat and fast so I will be pressed I think and will see if I can still hit with the heft I have this at...

Call me crazy but the paint or color has some psychological affect i think, it exudes solidity
After reading the TW review I'm left to believe that the new frame is the old frame in the new suit...but I guess the added mental game game is a bonus ;)
 

bkr

Rookie
Don't both Nishikori and Dolgopolov still use spin patterns? I wouldn't call that a failure...
Nishikori doesn't use it and I think he uses 16*20 ncode mold.Yes, dolgopolov does use it.

I was looking at who has done well at the pro circuit with this racquet.I'm a big fan of Wilson brand and want to see them do well with minor changes to their models as I hardly see juniors using in US.I travel to lot of junior tournaments with my son.

Wilson racquets have been used by so many great champions
Sampras,Federer,Evert,Edberg,Courier,Delpo...list goes on....really want to see that tradition continue as they produce great racquets...
 

gino

Hall of Fame
When only 2 top(ish) pros uses a new "technology" while the rest, and the better tour players are not switching over, I'd say it's a failure.
I mean relative to all the other basic patterns out there, sure. But I find it hard to believe that Wilson would keep making blades, burns, ultras, and pro staffs with the S pattern if it wasn't selling around the globe. The 6.1 95S was a really popular frame with an S pattern. As well as the Steam 99S.. Maybe it's not as prevalent on the tour. But we have no clue what Wilson's sales figures look like across their different offerings.
 

PeterFig

Professional
When only 2 top(ish) pros uses a new "technology" while the rest, and the better tour players are not switching over, I'd say it's a failure.
I mean relative to all the other basic patterns out there, sure. But I find it hard to believe that Wilson would keep making blades, burns, ultras, and pro staffs with the S pattern if it wasn't selling around the globe. The 6.1 95S was a really popular frame with an S pattern. As well as the Steam 99S.. Maybe it's not as prevalent on the tour. But we have no clue what Wilson's sales figures look like across their different offerings.
The SpinEffect technology is more aimed more at recreational players (like Say Chi Sin Lo and myself) to help them generate extra spin. Most tour players (like Federer) have no issues with generating spin on their own. The popularity of the SpinEffect models has been reflected in their ongoing existence through all of Wilson's main model lines.
 

TW Staff

Administrator
If you notice in our description at the bottom of the RF97:

Although the description has changed (due to a licensing agreement), this racquet's braided composition has the exact same ingredients as the previous generation.

Thanks,
Brittany, TW

PS- I have also added it to the Pro Staff 97 for better clarity.
 

PeterFig

Professional
If you notice in our description at the bottom:

Although the description has changed (due to a licensing agreement), this racquet's braided composition has the exact same ingredients as the previous generation.

Thanks,
Brittany, TW
Thanks Brittany! That's a better explanation than what I was trying to say :) :)
 

gino

Hall of Fame
The SpinEffect technology is more aimed more at recreational players (like Say Chi Sin Lo and myself) to help them generate extra spin. Most tour players (like Federer) have no issues with generating spin on their own. The popularity of the SpinEffect models has been reflected in their ongoing existence through all of Wilson's main model lines.
@PeterFig are we to infer anything from the re-release of the 6.1 95S? TW is expecting a shipment next week. They are pre-strung, are these new stock or just left over from old production cycles?
 

WhiteStripes

Semi-Pro
The SpinEffect technology is more aimed more at recreational players (like Say Chi Sin Lo and myself) to help them generate extra spin. Most tour players (like Federer) have no issues with generating spin on their own. The popularity of the SpinEffect models has been reflected in their ongoing existence through all of Wilson's main model lines.
Believe for a while after it was introduced, the Steam 99S was among the top selling racquets along with the usual suspects (APD and PD in particular) per the RSI magazine, which is a pretty impressive feat given that it was a new line at the time with no major pro player using/endorsing the frame. While I'm not a big fan of the SET patterns as it does not suit my game all that well (and I've tried almost all of them, and still have a Pro Staff 95S in my bag), I used to see quite a few SET frames out there (especially the Steam), although I haven't seen quite as much of them in recent years. The frames can be quite effective in the right rec player's hands.
 

RanchDressing

Hall of Fame
After reading the TW review I'm left to believe that the new frame is the old frame in the new suit...but I guess the added mental game game is a bonus ;)
The specs are identical. Maybe the stiffness is like at most a few RA below, but all together any difference people feel is going to be either manufacturing variation between two frames they used, OR purely mental.
 

JohnBPittsburgh

Hall of Fame
Coming from a person who has tried a ton of frames (but surprisingly not the RF97a original) I think this is a pretty awesome frame!! I absolutely crushed someone last night :) and for the duration of the playtest, I am resisting my usual urge to switch frames (RF only for 30 days). It has a satisfying sound when you crush a first serve, it looks awesome, and the stiffness hasn't bothered me at all (I even like the way the ball comes off the strings). I am not a Wilson fan boy, but I have to give credit where it is due, this is one helluva racquet ;)
 

gino

Hall of Fame
Coming from a person who has tried a ton of frames (but surprisingly not the RF97a original) I think this is a pretty awesome frame!! I absolutely crushed someone last night :) and for the duration of the playtest, I am resisting my usual urge to switch frames (RF only for 30 days). It has a satisfying sound when you crush a first serve, it looks awesome, and the stiffness hasn't bothered me at all (I even like the way the ball comes off the strings). I am not a Wilson fan boy, but I have to give credit where it is due, this is one helluva racquet ;)
Agreed about the stiffness, it seems to be much softer than the RA rating indicates.
 

ShooterMcMarco

Hall of Fame
The specs are identical. Maybe the stiffness is like at most a few RA below, but all together any difference people feel is going to be either manufacturing variation between two frames they used, OR purely mental.
That's a good way to articulate it...I'll just have to try the frame myself! I was actually hoping for more plushness out of the first gen 97A, hoping to get that here with the newest iteration.
 

gino

Hall of Fame
You should try a PC600 (with Twaron) or the Muscle Weave/Hotmelt 200G, both were in the mid-high 50 RA, and they had Kevlar too.

It's like playing with a pillow.
Love the suggestions. I hit with the hotmelt 300g, but never the 200g. love the black/yellow cosmetic as well.

Those PC600's with Twaron look great. Quite expensive on the big auction site, though
 

gino

Hall of Fame
Anybody remember when the RF97 was initially launched and Wilson used the all-black frame in promotional/advertisement material?

Pretty cool looking back. The prototype with the traditional leather is so nice:

 
Love the suggestions. I hit with the hotmelt 300g, but never the 200g. love the black/yellow cosmetic as well.

Those PC600's with Twaron look great. Quite expensive on the big auction site, though
Should have came to me, I sold 3 matched PC600 from TW-reissue not too long ago.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Just got off the court after my first hitting session with the racquet so this is just an informal note. I have a file which contains the ongoing overall review.

I had it strung with the included strings at 55 pounds and put on two Wilson Pro overgrips with more overlap than usual to get to 4 3/8s and this worked out rather well. My impressions playing with it stock is that the power level is pretty low but it's a fairly precise racquet. It felt slightly stiffer than my current frames despite a much higher stiffness rating and I'd guess that the stuff in the handle which makes it so headlight provides additional comfort. It didn't feel as brassy as the KPS88. I had to put much more effort into hitting the ball and I had a LOT of problems on the serve, similar, I'd guess to Shroud's.

Hitting with it stock, I'd say that it's a racquet that rewards good footwork and preparation and an attacking game. I had the feel of wanting to come to the net with it. I have 70 minutes of video that I need to run through iMovie to whittle it down and then upload it. There's a warmup and then a set. I'm not experienced with shooting and editing video so we'll see how I do. I should have it up by Sunday. I have many more hitting sessions to go with this.
 
Question for playtesters:

I don't remember where I read but someone said that the black leather was fairly thin vs a normal leather.
With that being said, is the grip size smaller to that of other Wilson rackets of the same grip size? Has anyone noticed any differences in the grip size vs other Wilson leather gripped rackets?
 

gino

Hall of Fame
Just got off the court after my first hitting session with the racquet so this is just an informal note. I have a file which contains the ongoing overall review.

I had it strung with the included strings at 55 pounds and put on two Wilson Pro overgrips with more overlap than usual to get to 4 3/8s and this worked out rather well. My impressions playing with it stock is that the power level is pretty low but it's a fairly precise racquet. It felt slightly stiffer than my current frames despite a much higher stiffness rating and I'd guess that the stuff in the handle which makes it so headlight provides additional comfort. It didn't feel as brassy as the KPS88. I had to put much more effort into hitting the ball and I had a LOT of problems on the serve, similar, I'd guess to Shroud's.

Hitting with it stock, I'd say that it's a racquet that rewards good footwork and preparation and an attacking game. I had the feel of wanting to come to the net with it. I have 70 minutes of video that I need to run through iMovie to whittle it down and then upload it. There's a warmup and then a set. I'm not experienced with shooting and editing video so we'll see how I do. I should have it up by Sunday. I have many more hitting sessions to go with this.
Great to hear your initial thoughts. I find interesting that you had some issues on serve as well. I am excited to see some of the footage you have as I went through the same process (having never edited film or a video before), so I understand that. Best of luck dialing the serve in. I really enjoyed coming forward with this frame as well
 

gino

Hall of Fame
Question for playtesters:

I don't remember where I read but someone said that the black leather was fairly thin vs a normal leather.
With that being said, is the grip size smaller to that of other Wilson rackets of the same grip size? Has anyone noticed any differences in the grip size vs other Wilson leather gripped rackets?
That was me. I haven't compared it with my other wilson frames. But I can do so when I get back from work later..
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Question for playtesters:

I don't remember where I read but someone said that the black leather was fairly thin vs a normal leather.
With that being said, is the grip size smaller to that of other Wilson rackets of the same grip size? Has anyone noticed any differences in the grip size vs other Wilson leather gripped rackets?
I didn't pay too much attention to the grip as I put overgrips on it but it didn't have the smooth feel of the K90 and KPS88 - it felt a little textured. I think that those that took the grip off to modify the handle will have a much better feel for the thickness of the leather.

I can provide some comments on handle shape compared to Head racquets but it would be hard for me to compare the size to other Wilson racquets.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Great to hear your initial thoughts. I find interesting that you had some issues on serve as well. I am excited to see some of the footage you have as I went through the same process (having never edited film or a video before), so I understand that. Best of luck dialing the serve in. I really enjoyed coming forward with this frame as well
It was worst on the serve but I had problems getting the ball over the net during the warmup. The solution was to hit the ball higher of course. I'm sure that it will feel a lot more comfortable at my usual specs.
 

gino

Hall of Fame
It was worst on the serve but I had problems getting the ball over the net during the warmup. The solution was to hit the ball higher of course. I'm sure that it will feel a lot more comfortable at my usual specs.
My issues were rooted in lack of control. I couldn't really hit my typical heavy/controlled kicker. I detail more about it in my written/video review. Should be finished up with that later today..
 

gino

Hall of Fame
I have only used gut/poly in the playtest I have hit with a full bed of Luxilon Element in the original RF97 and liked it quite a bit.
How's the gut/poly treating you? I feel like the RFA is too powerful to include a guy/multi/syn gut IMO
 

haqq777

Legend
Have any of the other play testers used a full bed of poly/poly hybrid? @Shroud @JohnBPittsburgh @Geoff @movdqa @haqqani1777 @kvan
I used a full bed poly (Cyclone @52) for the first 8-10 hours. Liked it alot. Broke the string. Re-strung with Tonic/RPM @56/52. Didn't like it that much. So many possible combinations out there to try for hybrid setups. Makes it next to impossible for a perfectionist like me to settle on one thing, lol
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
My issues were rooted in lack of control. I couldn't really hit my typical heavy/controlled kicker. I detail more about it in my written/video review. Should be finished up with that later today..
My first attempt bounced on the service line on my side of the court. This is why this is the first different racquet that I've tried in the last five years. I was able to serve well-enough in the set. The vast majority were topspin serves and I had one flat serve that was pretty nice. I look forward to your video later today. I have to go through the other reviews here as well.
 

gino

Hall of Fame
I used a full bed poly (Cyclone @52) for the first 8-10 hours. Liked it alot. Broke the string. Re-strung with Tonic/RPM @56/52. Didn't like it that much. So many possible combinations out there to try for hybrid setups. Makes it next to impossible for a perfectionist like me to settle on one thing, lol
How did you feel about the liveliness of the string bed at 52lbs? Mine was pretty powerful after the first 10 hours or so, lost a lot of control
 
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