Wilson Blade 100L v8 Racket Review
The Blade line of rackets from Wilson is aimed at players that want to combine control, spin and feel to tame their natural power. Racket of choice for big hitters like Serena Williams, Sebastian Korda and Emma Raducanu, the Blade is a perfect fit for clean ball strikers that want to make their mark on the court. The Blade 100L v8 brings a familiar specification to the new and popular Blade line up. This lighter version of the standard Blade is perfect for players that want to generate even more racket head speed or simply want that classic Blade experience in a more accessible package.
8.5out of 10
The Blade 100L has always been the more accessible racket in the line up compared to the standard model. Not quite as much of a featherweight as its little brother the 100UL, but still offering a nice blend of control and precision.
The fact that the Blade 100L is easier to swing makes it the ideal choice for a beginner to intermediate player looking to improve their game and their technique. You get a great sense of connection with the Blade 100L, so you know exactly where the ball is going time after time.
The Blade 100L is also perfect for a junior player who wants to tame their natural power. They will obviously need a lighter racket that is manageable and controllable, but will also want a control focussed and spin friendly frame that will help develop their game.
The sublime feel is one of the stand out points with the 100L. It allows you to place the ball exactly where you want to, whilst also helping you feel exactly what is going on at the point of contact.
Wilson has gone a long way to make the eighth edition of the Blade the best one yet. They have implemented their now famous FortyFive technology, which was first introduced in the Clash models. This is a revolutionary new layup which helps the racket flex whilst still remaining stable on contact.
This material accommodates the modern way of striking the tennis ball, which tends to be more vertical than horizontal due to the increased levels of topspin used in today’s game.
Wilson has also introduced a new innovation called Direct Connect with this updated version of the Blade. The buttcap is now connected to the handle using carbon fibre, which further increases stability.
The 100L has a 68 RA stiffness rating, but it is by no means harsh on the arm. It strikes a lovely blend between stiffness, feel, comfort and control and communicates what is going on with the strings unlike any other racket. Wilson has nailed the brief with the latest version of the Blade, and the 100L simply opens this up to a wider audience.
With that in mind, the 100L definitely feels more approachable than the standard Blade 98. The combination of a slightly larger head size, thicker beam and lighter weight makes the racket a little more forgiving, more powerful and easier to swing. From the baseline you can just feel that the racket is more willing to travel through the ball and requires less effort to do so.
The lack of weight does of course take away some of the plough through and stability of the racket compared to the heavier models, but this doesn’t detract from the overall experience. The lower swing weight will also help players that struggle to generate power, thanks to how easy it is to push the racket through contact.
Obviously the Blade 100L v8 is not as stable as its heavier older brother, and this shows when you are returning or blocking back faster balls. The racket can feel a little like it will buckle under higher loads.
However, it is surprisingly stable for a racket of this weight, so for the juniors or beginner to intermediate level players out there it would actually do a pretty good job. Wilson has done well here by combining stiffness with comfort, so you get a nice blend of stability and feel when hitting from the baseline.
The racket feels pretty plush when hitting slices and approaching the net, so it definitely encourages you to play an all court game style.
8out of 10
Another strong point for the Blade 100L is how it performed up at the net. You would think that the lower weight and larger head size would detract from the rackets precision and stability. However, this was hardly noticeable and it actually performed really well. It is very feelsome and you can tell exactly what is going on with the ball on the string bed.
The 100L feels well damped to the point that any unwanted vibrations or harshness have been dialled out, but you still get a nice crisp response.
The racket is just that little bit easier to get into position than the heavier models which is a real benefit that will suit younger players. This will also help improving beginner players that don’t feel so confident up at the net to improve their game and need an easy to swing racket. Compared to the 100UL, the 100L does feel more stable and precise, albeit not quite as solid as the standard version.
8.5out of 10
On serve, the Blade 100L feels solid, easy to swing and well measured. It is not overpowered by any means and there are definitely other rackets out there that will offer more easy pop.
But, the fact that you can generate a lot of racket head speed with the 100L makes it so easy to generate a lot of power and spin, whilst maintaining your control and feel.
Whilst it doesn’t exceed in one particular area, there isn’t a lot that the Blade 100L does wrong on serve to be honest.
Bear in mind that improving beginners and juniors that will likely be using this racket will probably be going through some technical changes on the serve. Therefore, the racket being lighter in weight, offering good control, spin and feel makes it the ideal fit.
8.5out of 10
Again, on returns the racket felt surprisingly solid and this is definitely a running theme with the Wilson Blade 100L. It blends control, spin and feel nicely to offer a great all round package.
You can generate a lot of angles with the racket due to its open string pattern. Whilst it isn’t the most powerful racket in the world by any means, the fact that it is so accessible and easy to swing makes blocking fast serves back deep a doddle.
You can definitely improve your returning technique using the Blade 100L too, as there is plenty of feel and control to know what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong.
The racket also compliments the modern game as it is clearly well suited to taking bigger cuts at the ball, even when returning serves.
Where it may be difficult to control a longer swing with some of the more powerful modern rackets, the Blade 100L allows you to take a big swing and still control the ball easily. For the junior or improving player that needs a solid base to hone their returning technique from, the Blade 100L would be an ideal choice.
8.5out of 10
Overall, the Wilson Blade 100L v8 is a brilliant all rounder that ticks virtually all the boxes for its intended audience. For me, it is perhaps a little on the lighter side, but for a junior player that is transitioning into the adult game or a beginner looking to improve their game, it is a great match.
The 100L is surprisingly stable for this type of racket, which helps it feel reassuringly solid on contact without being harsh.
The racket is loaded with technology to help improve the control, feel and vibration dampening, whilst still retaining that classic Blade feel.
The racket isn’t overly powerful, but it is easy enough to swing, meaning most players will be able to generate their own power without any issues.
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