Wilson came to Tennis Warehouse last week to show off and share their Spin Effect technology with some of our staff. If you have been living under a rock, then it will be news to you that Wilson debuted two very spin-friendly frames this year — the Wilson Steam 99 S and Wilson Steam 105 S. The rest of you have probably already demoed one of these racquets or are anxious to get these racquets in your hands and are curious if this spin effect is too good to be true.
The Spin Effect technology from Wilson actually increases the RPMs of every shot hit when using these Steam S racquets by maximizing the spin-enhancing string “snapback” during ball contact. It is no secret that one of the biggest changes in the game has been spin. With the new shaped polys and racquet technologies, every player is looking for the best way to enhance their game. Wilson has created a doppler based device to track the ball, spin, speed, trajectory and more. They found that the traditional string pattern actually limits the spin potential in a racquet. With this information, Wilson was able to open up and optimize the string pattern on these Steam S racquets to provide more spin for the average player. Using the Steam 99S or 105S has actually been scientifically proven to automatically add more spin to your shots — up to as many as 200 more RPMs. With these stats, an average tennis player will find that this ends up lengthening the court by a foot and lowers the net by 2 inches. You can check out this technology in depth in this video: Wilson’s Spin Effect
If you thought sliced bread was big, you have to check out Wilson’s newest racquet technology that is changing the game of tennis. Earlier this year, Wilson unveiled its new Spin Effect technology in its Steam line of racquets. With an extremely open 16×15 string pattern, the new Steam S racquets can produce upwards of 200 to 300 more RPMs on each one of your shots.
Every time you make contact with the ball during one of your shots, the racquet’s strings slide on each other and snap back into place. When this happens, it creates the topspin or slice on your shot. With Spin Effect technology, there are fewer cross strings than main strings in the stringbed of a racquet as opposed to the traditional string patterns (like 16×18 or 18×20) where the opposite is true and there are more cross strings than mains. With the 16×15 string pattern, the stringbed of the racquet is more open, creating more space for the strings to slide on each other. With more room for the strings to slide, you can produce significantly more spin compared with racquets with traditional string patterns.
Welcome to the very first Playtester Spotlight blog. Each week, I will interview a Tennis Warehouse playtester on the different racquets, strings, shoes, and/or anything else (e.g. grips, socks, sweatbands) he/she is currently playtesting that week. I thought it would be a perfect time to start as we are starting to get really busy playtesting all new products for 2013. I am going to start with our social media expert, Jason.
Hours Spent Playtesting this week: 5
Playtesters you hit with: Carol, Brittany, Spencer, Karly
Type of Playtesting (singles, doubles, drills): Drills and baseline games
Playtesting Court: TW indoor
Wilson BLX Blade 16×19 and 18×20, Wilson Steam 99 S and 105 S
I’m currently hitting the new Wilson Blade 98 racquets, both the 16×19 and 18×20 as well as the Wilson Steam 99 S and 105 S. I like these new Blades over the previous versions because they seem to have better ball pocketing and feel better; the feedback is more comfortable. It is a bit tough to judge these Blades because for the two sets we received, the swingweight difference was over 20 points.
I think the real stars are the S racquets (although the S doesn’t stand for “star”). The amount of spin I am able to get is ridiculous. Dare I say, almost illegal? I dare. Dare I say nasty? I dare. I thought with the 16×15 pattern, I would lose control and the stringbed would be trampoline-like, but that was not the case at all. The control was there, and I could just take huge cuts at the ball. I was able to hit shots higher over the net for higher percentage shots and they would still land in because of the spin.
We first hit these with the Wilson team and they brought along a NLG (neat little gadget) that could track the spin on our shots. I am happy to announce that I maxed out at 3,200 RPMs on my forehand with the Steam 99 S. Take that, Rafa! They are strung up at a bit higher tension and use a thicker gauge string made specifically for these racquets, the Luxilon 4G S. I just wish there was just a bit more weight to the Steams, but other than that, these racquets could be my next racquet of choice. They’re really that good!
Editor’s note: Jason just gave you a sneak peek at the new Blades that will be available on our site for pre-sale Nov. 15. The new Steams as well as Luxilon 4G S will pre-sale Jan. 1, 2013.
Luxilon 4G S
If you read my comments above for the racquets, which I’m sure you did, then you know I’ve been hitting the new Luxilon 4G S. It’s a 1.41mm (15 gauge) string. I love the regular 4G and was glad to see them come out with the thicker version for these racquets. Without them, none of us would be able to hit the Wilson S racquets because Andy would break the regular gauged strings in his one hitting session. Jerk.
EleVen Men’s Apparel
I was one of the lucky few to playtest some of the men’s apparel for Venus Williams’ EleVen brand. I have two shirts, and they both are made of a moisture wicking material. And I gotta say, pretty impressed. Not only do they look good, but they feel good too and do the job of actually wicking away sweat. That’s what we in the industry call a trifecta.
Thanks for reading this week’s blog. Keep your eyes out for EleVen men’s apparel in the near future. Next week, Siobhan will be going over her current playtest schedule.