The Wilson Ultra rackets are quite an understated range, but I have to say, they are one of my favorites. That’s because they do everything well. They don’t lean too much towards any one characteristic, but they do give you good all-round performance. This time we took out the Wilson Ultra 100L to see if that great all-round performance would continue in a lighter package.
Coming in at 277g unstrung, the Wilson Ultra 100L is designed to give beginner and intermediate players access to a highly maneuverable racket that rewards improving swings with good performance. This makes it an ideal stepping stone racket for players who are improving quickly and looking to continue to develop their games.
The Ultra 100L is one of many great lightweight rackets produced by Wilson, with the Blade 98L and the Pro Staff 97L also being excellent rackets. Of them all, I would have to say the Ultra is the easiest to play with though, and it still offers you great power, spin, and control.
Like the other Wilson rackets, the Ultra 100L uses Wilson’s Uncontaminated Design, which we all think looks great. For me, it’s one of the best-looking rackets on the market, but I was skimming the internet and found a whole post about “is the Wilson Ultra the ugliest racket in tennis?” so maybe it’s just me (comment below with your thoughts on this).
Either way, it’s what’s on the inside of the racket that counts, and the Wilson Ultra 100L has plenty of technology to get you playing well. Power Rib and Crush Zone technologies come together to make this racket extremely comfortable whilst offering plenty of power and a nice, crisp feel.
For this playtest I took the Wilson Ultra 100L out with Kirschbaum Pro Line Evolution strings at 52lbs. This gave me a setup that was geared towards spin and control, allowing me to hit through with my fast strokes and still keep the ball in. For beginners, you might want to pair this racket with a softer string, but I think for intermediate players, this could be a good fit.
I’ve loved every Ultra racket I’ve tried so far, with the Ultra 95, Ultra 100, and Ultra 100 Tour all impressing me a great deal. Hopefully, the Wilson Ultra 100L would be equally impressive and offer beginner and intermediate players another great racket option.
Groundstrokes – 7/10
The word I would use to describe the Ultra 100L on groundstrokes is balanced. Although it is quite a light racket, it feels like it’s stable enough whilst still offering you great maneuverability. All of this is set to a backdrop of great comfort. Too many rackets make tennis feel complicated, but the Ultra somehow seems to simplify everything.
Off both the forehand and backhand sides, the Ultra 100L did everything I asked of it. Sure, it doesn’t offer incredible power, or incredible spin, or even incredible control, but it offers a balance that you can work with.
I always say that as a beginner or intermediate player you want a racket that doesn’t focus too much on one characteristic (power, spin, control). That’s because you never know how your game is going to develop. You might want a powerful racket today, but in a few months time your game will have moved on and you no longer need that power boost.
That’s why I think this racket is such a good option. It gives you a little bit of everything you need and encourages you to develop your game in a balanced way. There’s no point being able to hit spin like Rafael Nadal if you can’t get enough power to hit it over the net! “Everything in moderation,” I think the saying goes, and that’s what the Wilson Ultra 100L is.
This means that the Ultra is well suited to all styles of play. Whether you’re someone who likes to counter-attack, or someone who loves to attack the net, everyone can find something they like about this racket.
I’m someone who loves to get play onto my forehand and then really attack my opponent and the balance of the Ultra 100L worked well for me. However, I could see it working equally well for someone who loves to grind it out from the back of the court.
The versatility and great all-round performance of the Wilson Ultra 100L earned it a 7 out of 10 from us. This is a great score for a light racket and one that makes it a great option for beginner and intermediate players.
Volleys – 7/10
You find a lot of beginner/intermediate rackets that offer next to no performance at the net, but the Wilson Ultra 100L does pretty well in this area. Again, this comes from the Ultra’s excellent balance, feel, and comfort.
It might not be able to stand up at the highest level, but for beginners and intermediate players, it has more than enough performance. What you want at the net are control and feel, and I find there are few lightweight rackets that combine these two aspects as well as the Ultra.
Whether you’re playing an easy put-away volley or hitting a half-volley off your feet, the Ultra feels stable and controlled, allowing you to get the clean contact you desire. This makes this racket a good option for doubles as well as singles, with volleys being even more important when it comes to doubles.
You might not get the easy power from the back of the court that you get from some other lightweight rackets, but you get paid back with lots of control and feel at the net! For me, this is a tradeoff I would take all day long. In the long term, control is going to benefit you much more than easy power.
I don’t give many lightweight rackets a 7 out of 10 at the net, but that’s what I’ve given the Wilson Ultra 100L. As I’ve said, this racket does everything well and volleys are certainly a part of that.
Serve – 7/10
I must admit, I quite like doing the playtests for the lighter rackets. The maneuverability makes serving so easy and it’s always exciting to see how hard you can hit with them. Of course, for advanced players with full, developed swings, you’re going to get a lot more power from a heavier racket, but for intermediate players, the UItra 100L has a lot to offer.
Because the serve is a difficult shot to master, it’s important that as a beginner or intermediate player, you have a racket that you feel comfortable swinging. If you go for a racket that is too heavy for you then it’s going to make improving your swing so much more difficult.
That’s why the Wilson Ultra 100L is a nice compromise. It offers you good performance but at a weight that’s going to enable you to keep improving your game. I do think players are often too eager to jump to very advanced rackets, and they can stunt their development by doing this.
This is not a problem you will have with the Wilson Ultra 100L as it is geared to keep you improving whilst giving you the tools to win matches and compete well. For me, control is one of the most important aspects of a tennis racket, and with the Ultra, I felt like I was firmly in control of the ball and able to do what I wanted with it.
The Ultra gives you the performance to continue to master your skills and keep improving your serve. We gave it a 7 out of 10, another good score for a sub 300g racket.
Overall – 7/10
As you can tell, I was a big fan of the Ultra 100L. The key with any tennis racket is balance and that’s what you get with this stick.
If you’re looking for a racket that will give you crazy power, or Rafa-like spin, then this isn’t the one for you. But, if you’re looking for something that is going to give you good performance whilst helping you to develop your game, then you’ll find the Wilson Ultra 100L is a great option.
I particularly enjoyed the feel and comfort of this racket, which made my strokes feel effortless. I’ve often said, if I was a coach, I would use the Wilson Ultra 100 because it makes everything so easy, and on a slightly lighter scale, the Ultra 100L does the same thing.
Because of the balanced nature of this racket, it is well suited to all styles of play, and whether you’re a baseline grinder or net rusher, you’re bound to get some good results from this stick.
Normally I have a favorite part of the playtest, but, I would say the Ultra 100L performed equally well whether it was on groundstrokes, volleys, or serves. This is another feature I really enjoy about the Ultra rackets, they just give you solid all-round performance.
That solid, all-round performance has earned the Wilson Ultra 100L a 7 out of 10 from us, a great score for a light racket. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this racket to any beginner or intermediate player who is serious about improving their game.
Review by: Will