Wilson Ultra 95 Countervail Racket Review
The Wilson Ultra 95 Countervail is a racket I’ve been really excited to take a look at. I’m a big fan of the Ultra series of rackets and the specs for the 95 really speak to me.
I love the idea of the lowish weight, high swingweight racket with a small head.
In my experience, these rackets offer the perfect blend of manoeuvrability, power, and control, and I find they get the most out of my game.
The specifications of the Ultra 95 are very similar to those of the Wilson Burn 95 CV, and it would seem like this racket is seen as the replacement to the Burn.
Even Kei Nishikori, the main poster boy for the Wilson Burn range has moved over to this racket, so it looks like the Ultra is where Wilson is putting its focus.
This Wilson Ultra 95 CV weighs in at 309g unstrung, a perfect weight for me, but it is the swingweight that is most impressive with this stick.
With a 339 swingweight, this racket packs some serious punch and is guaranteed to generate a lot of plow through.
Technology wise, the Ultra 95 Countervail continues with Wilson’s excellent Countervail dampening system.
Every Countervail racket we have played with so far has been excellent, absorbing shocks and taking some of the wear and tear out of tennis, but it will have its work cut out with the Ultra 95 CV.
To get the huge swingweight this racket has, Wilson has had to make it very stiff, so the Countervail technology will play a big part in making this stick more playable.
With a 95sq. inch head and a 339 swingweight, the emphasis with this racket should be on control – the main thing that I look for in a racket.
The thing I loved about other Ultra rackets though, especially the Wilson Ultra 100 CV, was that it provided a perfect middle ground.
It was good at everything without being overly good at anything.
At the end of the day, you can’t help but hit all kinds of different shots in tennis and the Ultra 100 countervail is perfect for that.
So, the main things I was looking out for with this Ultra 95 CV were the way in which Countervail could negate the harshness of this stiff frame, and whether the newest racket in the range would live up to the characteristics of the Ultra rackets.
No doubt it would have a little bit more control, but hopefully, it would remain a “jack of all trade racket”.
To make the most of my time with this stick, I took it out for a week, managing some singles sets as well as a couple of comprehensive doubles matches.
I’m always talking about how much I like the Ultra rackets and have been looking forward to this racket for a while, so I was hopeful this was going to be a great playtest.
8.5out of 10
The Ultras might be great all-round rackets, but groundstrokes are the shots people are going to spend most of their time hitting.
Any modern racket is going to be judged largely on its performance from the back of the court, and the Wilson Ultra 95 Countervail has all the ingredients to perform with aplomb.
You quickly notice that there is a lot more mass to this racket than other Ultras. 339 is a serious swingweight and you do notice it in the way it plows through the ball.
However, the difference between this racket and something like the Wilson Pro Staff 97 is that it maintains a lot more manoeuvrability.
The 310g weight of this racket makes it far easier to swing than rackets that are 330g plus, but you keep many of the advantages of a heavier racket because of the swingweight.
Of course, to do this, the racket is going to be quite stiff, but modern technology is now allowing stiffer rackets to absorb vibrations much better.
Everything combined brilliantly for me with this racket on my backhand and I spent the week hitting it like a dream.
The combination of easy manoeuvrability and strong plow through meant I was maximizing my strokes; the control this racket oozed allowing me to put the ball wherever I wanted it.
I was getting particularly good depth off this side and was frequently able to take control of points.
My forehand side is the one which is normally better suited to heavier rackets and so I was expectant that the swingweight of the Ultra 95 would suit me.
The 16 x 20 string pattern and 95 sq. inch frame do give you a lot of control, but I did feel like there was something missing.
Perhaps this goes back to the Ultra’s characteristics of being a strong all-round racket.
Some of the heavier rackets are perfect for my forehand, but I can’t get them to work for me on other strokes.
The Ultra 95 however, was great on my backhand and good on my forehand.
I said I wanted to see how the Countervail would soften this racket on impact, and the answers were very good.
I think people who are used to the Ultra 100 would find this racket a little bit harsh, but for the 339 swingweight, it is extremely comfortable, and I have no doubt Countervail is to thank for that.
My second question, as to whether this racket would stay true to the characteristics of the Ultra series, also had a positive answer.
Naturally, this racket plays a bit closer to the style of the Burn 95, but there are some familiar UItra traits in there.
My overall score for groundstrokes with the Wilson Ultra 95 CV was a little bit difficult to choose.
I was between a 9 and an 8.5, but I went with the 8.5 in the end.
It was dreamy off the backhand side, but not quite perfect on the forehand side.
If we did 1-100 scores it would be an 88.
8.5out of 10
For those people who love the Ultra 100 CV, the 95 might be a little bit more difficult to use at net.
One of the big plus points of the 100 is its manoeuvrability, which allows you to get into position super quick.
That’s not quite as easy with the Wilson Ultra 95 CV, simply because it’s that little bit heavier and has a much bigger swingweight.
If you’re used to playing with heavier rackets, then that’s not going to be an issue at all, but if you are stepping up in weight to this racket it could be an issue.
I did notice the difference in manoeuvrability when I was at the net, but I don’t think it made too much difference.
The Wilson Ultra 100 is so easy to play with that the 95 could never have hoped to match it.
What you do get with the Ultra 95 CV is all the benefits that some extra stability gives you.
This racket is so solid on contact that it absorbs all the power in the ball and allows you to punch the ball back wherever you like.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s an easy volley or a difficult pick-up, I found I had great confidence in the Ultra 95.
I managed to play some doubles with both the Ultra 100 and the Ultra 95, so it was nice to be able to compare the two in a slightly different situation.
I found the Ultra 100 to be so easy to play with, but I did find the ball tended to fly on me a bit.
I felt like I had to put 100% into every ball and be very aggressive to get the most out of it, which is not a bad thing, but sometimes it is nice to be able to change the pace up a bit.
The Ultra 95 was certainly not as easy to play with, but the added control it gives you is exactly what I look for when I’m playing doubles.
It is so solid on volleys and returns, which means you can take pace off and put pace on as and when you want.
For me, the Wilson Ultra 95 CV was an improvement on the Ultra 100, and I found it was an excellent stick for doubles.
I’m always a little bit tougher on my scores on the volley for some reason, but the Ultra 95 gets an 8.5 out of ten, about as high as it gets from me.
9out of 10
I’m always complaining about how I struggle to keep my racket head speed up on serve with heavier rackets.
The thing is, too light and you don’t get enough driving through the ball and too light, you lose racket head speed. In theory, the Ultra 95 CV should be the perfect balance.
At 309g, it’s manoeuvrable, but it has a huge 339 swingweight to turn that racket head speed into true power.
Once I got on court, it soon became clear that this was absolutely the case.
I clicked with this racket so quickly on serve, and the results were excellent.
I was getting a great blend of speed and power that had my opponent struggling throughout the playtest.
Whether I looked to hit a big flat serve, a slice out wide, or the kicker, I felt like I was in complete control of what was going on.
I find that variety is the most important thing when it comes to me winning my service games, and I was able to achieve it with the Ultra 95.
Sometimes I find a racket can give you too much spin or too much power, which makes you lose control, but this racket gets the blend just right, leaving you free to go after your serves.
All week with this racket I was able to just relax on serve and attack the ball.
I loved it.
My opponents did not!
All that great serving led me to give the Wilson Ultra 95 CV a 9 out of 10 on serve.
I was launching bombs, slicing balls off the court and generally bamboozling my opponents!
9out of 10
Another tricky score. I was between the 8.5 and the 9 but I went with the 9.
I’d say out of 100 it’s an 88 – the same as its groundstroke performance.
The Ultra 95 Countervail lived up to my request of maintaining the essence of the Ultra series, maintaining its all-around playability.
Although there is a lot more heft with the swingweight of this racket, I do think the Countervail technology goes a long way to offset the stiffness of this stick.
It is not as comfortable as the Ultra 100, but it is still not bad at all.
On groundstrokes, I was able to achieve great depth, using this rackets plow through to make the most of my racket head speed and pin my opponent behind the baseline.
I slightly preferred the performance of the Ultra on the backhand side, but in true Ultra style, I felt like it did everything well.
At the net, I think die-hard Ultra fans might miss a little bit of manoeuvrability, but for me, I couldn’t really find any fault with this stick.
It is solid on contact and does everything you need to make the volley.
The highlight for me was the serve. I felt like everything combined perfectly for me and I was able to maximize my serve as a weapon.
It is a great balance between the manoeuvrability of a light racket and the plow through of a heavier racket, so it gives me all the characteristics that I love.
When you put all that together, it makes for an excellent racket and a 9 out of 10.
I would recommend this racket to all styles of player and would definitely include it in my top picks.
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