Wilson upgraded its Blade line of rackets for 2015, releasing a newly redesigned black and vibrant green colorway. The Blade is the racket of choice for 2015 Australian Open champion Serena Williams, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils, David Goffin and Madison Keys. The new frames are loaded with new technology, featuring parallel drilling to expand the sweet spot, and are constructed with braided graphite and basalt to be more elastic at the point of contact.
The new rackets come in three versions, the Blade 98, Blade 98S, and Blade 104. The review unit I was given by Wilson was the Blade 98S, which is the spin version with a 18 x 16 string pattern. Compared to the Blade 98 (18 x 20), the 98S is a tad lighter (11 oz strung). I found the Blade 98S to be firm for its weight, swiftly maneuverable on both forehands and backhands, and maintaining consistent height and depth on shots. The racket is about even balanced and hitting aggressive groundstrokes felt crisp. Swing away as you don’t have to worry about lack of power.
The improvements to the frame’s construction are apparent at net, comfortably absorbing pace on volleys. Light and easy to accelerate, the Blade 98S brings plenty of pop on the serve. I like the black/green paint job and the thin beam allows for fast swings. The feel is quite improved in this edition compared to Wilson’s previous generations of Blade models. For a frame weighing in at 11 ounces, the Blade 98S still brings a plow-through feel which I personally enjoy when playing. I would highly recommend the Blade 98S (and Blade 98/104) for all players, as it brings a rock solid feel at the baseline, tailor made for the aggressive game.
The new 2015 Wilson Blade 98S is available for purchase at Wilson.com.