Wilson Blade 98 V8 16×19 Racket Review
The Wilson Blade has become a staple in the American tennis powerhouse’s line up since its introduction in 2006. The Blade has always been the racket of choice for big, clean ball strikers that want to get as much power and speed out of their game as possible.
The likes of Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and Emma Raducanu have all favoured the Wilson Blade and it is easy to see why! The Blade has always been a control oriented racket that also offers great access to spin and power, and the 8th edition is no different.
The Blade was traditionally a stealthy looking racket, with blacked out paint jobs and only the occasional green accent.
However, with the introduction of the matte black Pro Staff to the Wilson range in 2016, the Blade started to have a bit more personality. We saw bright green enter not only the 9 and 3 o’clock positions, but the entire racket!
Special editions of the Blade have also followed, but the new V8 Wilson Blade has taken things to a whole new level.
The paint job is completely unique and can be seen a mile off. It is a metallic green, but in some lights looks almost purple.
The introduction of the FORTYFIVE technology seeks to increase stability and flexibility at the same time, two characteristics that are usually opposing in a tennis racket.
With a 61 stiffness rating the new version of the Blade is reasonably pliant, and you can certainly feel this when you hit with it.
It is a plush feeling racket for sure, but one that is also well damped and you can have confidence in even when counter punching fast balls.
The Blade remains a control focussed racket that offers superior access to spin with its 16×19 string pattern in this guise. The new integrated buttcap technology feels great in hand, something that can’t be said for some of the newer Wilson’s of late.
A few of the Pro Staff rackets have more angled ridges on the buttcaps, which can feel a little uncomfortable after longer hits if you do not have the grip set up correctly.
The grip changes that Wilson have applied to the new Blade make it a lot easier to maneuver in, it almost feels like the racket has been moulded to your hand.
8.5out of 10
As expected, the newest edition of the Wilson Blade is an instant hit! It feels crisp, responsive and easy to swing thanks to its aerodynamic construction and new FORTYFIVE technology.
I was expecting the racket to feel slightly too soft due to its low stiffness rating, but it surprised me by how solid it felt when I stepped in and attacked the ball.
It was plush enough to feel comfortable and it is definitely a racket you could use for hours and hours on end.
It certainly didn’t feel mushy or underpowered despite its middle of the road weight and it does feel more comfortable than the previous version.
The open 16×19 string pattern offered a nice sense of comfort, knowing that ground strokes would reliably land just inside the baseline even when struck with pace.
In terms of power vs control, the Blade has always leaned on the side of control and feel rather than out and out grunt.
The new iteration of this iconic model is no different, as its flexible setup makes touch shots feel butter smooth and the low swing weight allows you to create a lot of spin and add pace no matter where you are on the court.
This is a racket that you can feel confident to swing in a relaxed manner as it has a tonne of feel and control.
However, it is not the most powerful racket out there so occasionally needs a bit of extra help when you are looking to really unload on the ball.
Naturally, the new Blade doesn’t have quite as much pop as a Babolat Pure Drive, but it is a great all rounder that ticks virtually every box.
8out of 10
Up at the net the new Blade felt plush and dialled in. It didn’t take long to find my range with this stick and its low swing weight meant I could get it into position very easily.
The new technology Wilson has added to this version of the Blade adds a good amount of stability to what could have otherwise been a vibration heavy racket.
They have done a great job of dialling out some of the excess noise from the frame, so you can still feel confident of making solid contact on high swinging volleys as well as apply delicate touch to acute angled put-aways.
8.5out of 10
The new Blade felt great to serve with overall. The added flex made the racket comfortable to hit big serves with from start to finish, meaning you can really relax and focus on hitting your spots without having to consider any arm fatigue or soreness.
The open string pattern also helps add a nice amount of spin to both first and second serves, whilst the new grip shape allows you to create a few more angles with the wrist.
If you are an all-court player that wants to feel in control of your game from the start of the point onwards, the new Wilson Blade is a great option to consider.
8out of 10
The comfort and playability of the new Blade really stood out on the new Blade. Returning is an area of the game that can be difficult to dial in when using a new racket, however the Blade 98 V8 felt very easy to use straight off the bat.
Whilst its lack of overall power did hold it back slightly when attacking slow second serves, it performs brilliantly in other aspects of the return game.
It is a plush feeling racket that offers a lot of feel and you can really catch the ball in the strings nicely as you take more compact swings at the ball.
It almost feels like the ball is staying in the string bed for longer with the new Blade, since you can get such a crisp and well connected feel.
This made guiding returns to small targets a lot easier than with other rackets, and blocking the ball back felt surprisingly manageable for a racket this flexible. The feel was great and it felt surprisingly robust even when returning heavy kick serves and powerful flat serves.
8.5out of 10
If you are the type of player that likes to play a smooth game, strike the ball cleanly and be in control of the ball no matter where you are on the court, the new Wilson Blade is a great option to go and play test.
It is a remarkably solid feeling racket considering the classic mid plus weight, flexible construction and high degree of maneuverability.
It remains a control focussed racket that will give you a lot of confidence and feel like it is pocketing the ball nicely as you hit.
Whilst it is not the most powerful racket out there, we can forgive this as extra pop was never really the out and out goal of the Blade racket line. It is a racket that feels great when you middle it and remains solid even on off centre strikes.
The open 16×19 string pattern does a great job of helping you produce plenty of spin on all shots, which works well with the low swing weight and new grip technology to make this an easy racket to swing.
The comfort and softness that this racket comes with makes it incredibly confidence inspiring, meaning you can really take big cuts at the ball and go for outrageous shots with a lot of belief that you can make them time after time.
The paint job on the new Blade is a revolution too. It did take a few people (myself included) by surprise when it was revealed, but it really has to be seen to be believed and is an absolute game changer for Wilson and the racket industry at large.
So, the new Wilson Blade is an instant success and should definitely be considered if you are looking for a solid feeling, predictable mid plus racket.
If you are looking for a bit more support on your journey to finding your next tennis racket, check out our custom fitting service where we take all of the hard work out of the process.
It’s great to have someone dedicated to improving your tennis on your side to lend a hand when looking to buy a brand new stick!
Is the Wilson Blade V8 Right For Your Game? Find Out with a Custom Fitting!
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