Wilson Blade 100 UL v8 Racket Review
The latest version of the Wilson Blade has been a hit with both recreational and professional players, not only because of its plush performance, but also because of its striking paint job! The almost neon dark green shimmers in the light and at times almost looks purple in certain lights. The UL version of the Blade opens up the range to less experienced players that are looking for an accessible, easy to swing racket that still benefits from the precision of the regular models.
7.5out of 10
UL in Wilson’s model lineup denotes Ultra Light. These versions of any of their rackets are specifically designed to be easy to swing and generate massive racket head speed. With this in mind, you are naturally going to get less stability and plough through with these versions compared to the weightier models.
However, what the racket loses in stability it makes up for in whippy feel, usability and manoeuvrability.
When it comes to the Blade 100 UL though, it is surprisingly stable thanks to its 319 swing weight, which is relatively high when you consider it only weighs 265g unstrung.
This gives it a more solid feel on contact, but the racket still retains that natural quickness as it zips through the air.
At a 64 stiffness rating, it is pretty much middle of the road as far as other rackets in this category are concerned, so you do get a reasonable amount of feedback from the racket without it being mushy.
One thing you can really benefit from when playing with the UL version of the Wilson Blade is the ability to get the racket through the ball with ease. This makes the hallmark control and precision of the Blade accessible to juniors or players that simply find the regular version too heavy.
The Blade family is famous for its accuracy and sits further towards the control end of the Wilson spectrum compared to more power focussed rackets such as the Clash or Burn.
With all this being said, it is important to remember that the UL version of the Blade is considered the entry point to the range. This means it is specifically designed to be light, whippy and easy to use.
This racket is also ideal for players that want a racket that gives them precision and a pure feel, but can also allow them to develop their strokes.
This would make the Blade UL most suitable for a beginner player that is improving their game quickly. The lightness of the racket will offer a great blend of playability and accessibility.
The 8th generation of the Blade is designed to be more comfortable and stable than the previous version.
Wilson have achieved this by staying true to their FortyFive frame technology, whilst adding Direct Connect Technology (which adds stability to the racket’s handle).
The FortyFive layup allows the racket to flex in a slightly different way to previous models, giving this version of the Blade a more comfortable feel on contact.
This is something you can definitely feel out on court, as the Blade UL feels pretty plush and soft when you strike the ball.
Of course, you do lack that added stability, plow through and solid feeling that you will naturally get from the heavier models in the lineup.
But, that being said the racket does allow you to get great amounts of racket head speed and, combined with the open string pattern, the racket delivers a lot of topspin on your groundstrokes.
We have experienced a lot of players using our custom fitting service that have struggled getting power and control on their backhands.
This is a very common issue with recreational players as the backhand is almost always the naturally weaker wing.
However, this is a racket that could solve a fair few of these issues due to it offering great precision and control, but also being so easy to swing that even players that struggle on their backhand will be able to generate a lot of racket head speed.
Overall, whilst the lack of weight from the Blade UL v8 did hinder the depth on my shots a little bit, it was surprisingly stable for such a light racket. The increased ability to whip through the ball was also a refreshing relief compared to some of the weightier rackets out there.
7out of 10
Up at the net, the Blade 100 UL v8 performed well, but was hindered slightly by its balance. On the one hand, a lighter racket will usually lack a bit of stability and you can feel this when redirecting pace on faster shots.
However, these rackets will make up for this by having better manoeuvrability due to their lack of overall weight.
However, whilst the Blade UL felt surprisingly solid up at the net, allowing me to punch through my volleys with confidence, the abnormally high swing weight did detract from the racket’s agility.
Now, as a player that tends to prefer playing with a heavier racket to begin with, this was not an issue for me personally at all.
The racket definitely feels more stable than previous versions and it is also more comfortable.
This is a step in the right direction for the Blade UL as far as I’m concerned, but when you consider who this racket is aimed at, it does beg the questions as to whether the weighty feel may put off some beginners from coming into the net.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a ‘heavy’ feeling racket overall. It is light, whippy and of course has that welcome stability.
But, most beginner players these days lack confidence up at the net as tennis is now predominantly played from the baseline. So, having a racket that is a little bit more difficult to get into position may not feel as user friendly to some recreational players that want to gain confidence up at net.
8.5out of 10
Considering this version of the Blade is designed to be easy to swing, it is a very accessible racket to serve with.
The stability of the UL combined with its nice balance, flex and speed means you can pocket the ball with ease.
This is a pleasant feeling as you can actually get some easy power from what would otherwise be a control focussed racket.
You therefore get a very nice blend of control, pop and spin with the UL on serve, which makes it a great stick to use on both first and second serve.
For players looking to improve their serve technique and add more power and spin with ease, this is a great platform to start from. The racket is also easily customisable, so if you wanted to add lead to the sides of the frame for a little bit more stability, this is easily done.
7.5out of 10
The latest version of the Blade 100 UL is not the most powerful racket in the world, so it doesn’t give you much free pop on returns.
However, what it lacks in out and out power it makes up for in feel, stability and manoeuvrability.
This makes it a pleasant racket to return with, as you can easily block the ball back and create angles, even if a little more effort is required to send the ball deep.
This isn’t a major issue, but will take some getting used to for players accustomed to more powerful rackets. Of course, despite the impressive stability of this lightweight racket, it does have its limitations when it comes to returning more powerful serves from opponents.
That being said for a racket in this ultra light category, it punches above its weight.
8out of 10
Overall, the Wilson Blade 100 UL v8 is an impressive racket for its weight.
This accessible version of a precision focussed classic from Wilson opens up the range to a wider audience, giving less experienced or less strong players the ability to experience the Blade feel.
Whilst it is not the perfect racket and falls outside of my preferred racket specs, it is impressively stable for such a light racket and it is incredibly easy to swing.
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