Wilson Blade 98 V8 18×20 Racket Review
Wilson have always been famed for making precision focussed rackets that have great control and feel.
This dates all the way back to the early days of the Wilson Pro Staff and Hammer days, where Wilson used advanced graphite technology to give professional and recreational players alike the most well connected feel to the tennis ball they could possibly get.
However, technology has most certainly moved on since those days and so too has the compatibility of modern rackets. The Blade has become a mainstay in the Wilson stable and has a simple but challenging job description. Be a control oriented racket that suits the game of a pure ball striker.
With that in mind, the Blade should be a feelsome racket that offers comfort, control and maneuverability. The latest version definitely fits the bill.
Where the 16×19 version of the new Wilson Blade offers a bit more spin and a lively, responsive stringbed, the 18×20 version is an even more dialled in version of this spectacular stick.
It is a great choice for the player that is looking to dominate play from anywhere on the court and wants the most precision possible from this all rounder.
What you lose slightly in spin you more than make up for in touch and feel with this racket. The new paint job on the Blade is a revolution too!
It is a unique design that is almost psychedelic in the way light bounces off the frame at different angles.
So, let’s delve a bit deeper into how the new Wilson Blade 98 18×20 actually performs.
8.5out of 10
The Blade line of rackets from Wilson have always been designed from the ground up to deliver great touch and feel whilst being easy to manoeuvre and versatile.
Where the Pro Staff line of rackets tend to be aimed more at advanced heavy hitters that want precision to compliment their powerful game, the Blade line has always been more aimed at clean ball strikers that want control, consistency and an easy to swing racket.
The new version 8 of the Blade certainly delivers this in spades. It is an incredibly plush racket and is surprisingly stable despite its low 60 stiffness rating.
This level of flexibility can sometimes leave a racket feeling mushy and unstable at times, like it will always vibrate at the slightest off centre contact.
This is not so with the new Blade.
Wilson have implemented their new FORTYFIVE technology into the frame of this racket which promises to reduce excess vibrations, meaning they can increase comfort and stability at the same time.
However, these racket characteristics are usually at odds, as more stiffness and weight is often needed to reduce feedback from the ball, through the racket to the hand.
However, the new technology seems to have done the job as this is far from a wobbly racket when swung quickly.
It is not the most powerful racket on the market, but this is to be expected as it also comes with a low swing weight and high degree of maneuverability.
Unfortunately this is a trade off that can’t be rectified by technology. The racket does give a decent amount of feedback and you can definitely feel what the strings are doing as they contact the ball.
Whilst this lack of overall grunt does mean you have to swing aggressively through your shots, the great level of control you feel over the ball gives you the confidence to do this without fearing the ball will fly on you.
The tighter string pattern feels really well sorted and does suit the characteristics of the racket really well. Of course, the 16×19 version does deliver a lot of feel, but the 18×20 is a little better sorted in terms of overall control and feel for the ball.
In terms of striking from the back of the court, the 18×20 version of the new Wilson Blade is a job to hit with, it is very easy to swing and Wilson have clearly opened up this version of the Blade to the masses thanks to the low swing weight and plush feel.
It is a very arm friendly racket, so if you have ever suffered from tennis elbow you shouldn’t have any problems swinging this with confidence.
In fairness, there isn’t really a lot that the new Blade doesn’t excel at. It is a very capable racket that instills a lot of confidence and the new integrated butt cap design makes the racket feel very easy to wield.
In some ways the grip almost feels longer than before, but that could just be due to the enhanced control and lack of vibrations travelling through the grip due to the new shock absorption technology.
8.5out of 10
Whilst it took a little bit of time to feel dialled in with the new Wilson Blade 98 up at the new, when I found my feet I really loved the experience!
It is a very comfortable racket to volley with due to the low stiffness rating and was incredibly easy to get into position thanks to the low swing weight and head light balance.
This would be a great racket to play doubles with as it is very easy to react to quick net play situations and feels plush to hit through low approaching volleys around the service line.
Of course, it didn’t feel as stable when hitting swinging aggressive volleys as a stiffer or heavier racket might, but it definitely felt solid enough to have confidence in.
This is a very feelsome racket that can elevate your confidence around the net and give you the bravery to try new things, like hitting drop shots from further back in the court or going for acute angles that you wouldn’t normally attempt.
It is a classy all rounder that shows its worth when approaching and up at the net.
8out of 10
As control oriented rackets go, the Blade 98 V8 18×20 made a really good first impression on serve.
It felt solid and well connected to the ball and in this setup does suit a softer string due to the tight string pattern. It is a very impressive racket that helps you pick and find your serving sports with ease.
The Blade V8 didn’t quite deliver the pop and spin potential of the 16×19 version, but it definitely had a one up in terms of precision and that solid feeling.
If you are the type of player that likes to strike your serves with authority and don’t mind producing a bit of a flatter shot, this version of the new Blade would suit you down to the ground.
It is very comfortable and does not take much toll on the body at all, making it a great choice if you are a weekend warrior looking to put in some serious hours out on court!
8out of 10
The Blade 98 V8 was a lovely racket to return with. Despite the low swingweight and reasonably low static weight for the mid-plus category of rackets, the Blade felt stable and was easy to dial in on returns.
The tight string pattern helped a lot with control and I was able to block faster serves back with confidence.
It did take a little bit of time to build up this confidence however as the lower launch angle of the 18×20 string bed meant that I was dropping a few sliced returns short as I tried to knife the ball.
Although this proved quite effective in the end, I felt more confident when I found my range and could put the ball back deep in my opponent’s court with ease.
The improved accuracy and feel over the 16×19 version really helped when attacking second serves as it was easy to pick a small target and go for it with a lot of confidence.
8.5out of 10
Overall, the new version of the Wilson Blade 98 is a joy to play with! It is a confidence inspiring racket that dials up the feel and helps you feel incredibly well connected to the ball, no matter where you are on the court.
Whilst it is definitely not the most powerful or responsive racket out there in this guise, it is not void of feedback and the low stiffness rating helps it feel very comfortable indeed.
This is a great choice who wants a plush feeling all rounder and wants enhanced control over the ball.
We hope this gives an insight into the new Wilson Blade 98 V8 18×20!
Is the Wilson Blade 98 V8 Right For Your Game? Find Out With a Custom Fitting!
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