Wilson Blade 98L Specs
Head Size: 98in²/632cm²
Length: 27in / 68,5cm
Weight: 10.7oz / 303g
Unstrung Weight:10.1oz / 286g
Balance: 34,03cm / 1 pts HL
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
The Wilson Blade 98L brings a lightweight option to the excellent Blade family. These rackets offer excellent feel as well as a good blend of power, spin, and control that should be ideal for beginners, intermediate and advanced players, alike.
We’ve loved the Blades we’ve tried so far, with the Blade 98 (16 x 19) particularly impressing us as a great racket for intermediate and advanced players. It sounds simple, but for whatever reason, the Wilson Blade rackets just feel great and allow you to get a lot out of your game.
The Blade 98L sees a reduction in weight from 303g Blade 98 to 286g, which really opens this racket up as an option for beginners and players who prefer a lighter, more manoeuvrable racket. For beginner and intermediate players who are still developing their swings, this weight is ideal, making it much easier to get into position quickly and swing through the ball easily.
The 286g weight also makes the Blade 98L a good option for juniors who might play at a good level but aren’t ready for a heavier racket just yet. With a combination of good stability and the manoeuvrability the Blade 98L offers, it means you can still play to a good level with this racket without putting the extra stress of a heavy racket on your body.
This also makes the 98L a nice proposition for more advanced players who, for injury reasons, or just preference, want to move down to a lighter racket. You’re not going to get quite the performance of the heavier Blades, but the Blade 98L will be able to stand up to a good level of play, nonetheless.
When you’re perfecting your game as a beginner or intermediate player you want something that is relatively lightweight because it makes the learning process a little bit easier. There’s nothing worse than having to try and make these alien movements with a racket that’s too heavy for you and difficult to move.
On the other side of the equation though, when you’re a beginner or intermediate player, you’re going to be improving rapidly. That’s why it’s important you have a racket that can grow with you. Pleasingly, the Blade 98L can do that. Some of the light rackets simply don’t have levels of control that you need as you advance your game, but the Wilson Blade 98L has enough performance to ensure you’ll have a long relationship with this racket.
How you string your tennis racket can make a big difference to how it plays, so for this playtest I went with my normal set up. By using Babolat RPM Blast at 52 lbs I was set up to get plenty of control and spin from the Blade 98L and hopefully get the most out of my game.
Groundstrokes – 8/10
In today’s game, groundstrokes are the shots that are most important to the majority of us. In order to excel from the back of the court, we need a racket that gives us access to spin, power, and control in equal measures. The Wilson Blade 98L does this.
As you would expect from a lightweight racket, the Blade 98L is very manoeuvrable and easy to use, but what you might not expect is the good level of stability this frame gives you. When you’re playing against someone who hits a powerful ball, it’s easy for lightweight rackets to get pushed around, however, the Blade 98L gives you great stability on contact for its weight.
This means that it can give you good levels of control, whether you’re playing at a beginner, intermediate, or slightly more advanced level. For us at TheTennisBros.com, this is an important characteristic for a lightweight racket because it means you’re going to get plenty of use out of the racket no matter how fast you progress. There’s no point buying a $200 racket just to outgrow it in a couple of months. Rest assured, you won’t be in danger of that with the Blade 98L.
On both sides, the 98L is fast through the swing and solid on contact, allowing you to play with fast swings, and convert your racket head speed into power and spin. If anything, I would say the Blade leans a little bit more towards spin than power, which can be helpful for beginner and intermediate players looking to develop their spins.
During the playtest the Blade increased my belief that this is a great racket for any junior player as it has so many of the characteristics of the heavier Blades. This allows junior players, who might have quite an advanced game, but aren’t ready for the heavier rackets, the option to play with a high-performance racket, whilst keeping the benefits of the light weight.
I couldn’t really find anything to complain about with the Blade 98L as I enjoyed its feel, comfort, and performance. It didn’t quite have the stability I needed to play my best tennis with Larry smashing balls down at me, but no 286g racket can.
I would put the Wilson Blade 98L at the same level as the Yonex Vcore Pro 97 (290) and give it an 8 out of 10 for groundstrokes. Personally, the Blade 98L feels ideal in my hands and it does everything I would want from a 286g racket.
Beginners, intermediates, juniors, and advanced players who need a slightly lower weight should all take a look at this racket. It’s beautifully balanced and gives excellent performance from the back of the court.
Volleys – 7/10
For anyone moving down in weight to the Blade 98L the biggest difference they might notice is on the volleys. I always find that the weight of the racket makes a big difference at the net, and lower weight rackets can make it much more difficult to volley if you’re playing at quite a high standard.
If you’re a beginner or intermediate player though, it’s quite a different story. You have to be able to get into position quickly at the net, and the only way to do that is by having a racket you feel comfortable with. If your racket is too heavy, you’re going to find it quite difficult to find the right positions on the volley, so it’s preferable to have a light, manoeuvrable racket.
The Wilson Blade 98L certainly allows you to find those positions without worrying about a heavy frame, and it also gives you good performance considering its weight. As long as the ball isn’t coming at you with too much power, the Blade has the stability to help you control the ball back into court and keep you in the rally.
When you are presented with an easy put-away volley, its speed allows you to inject some real pace into the ball and give your opponent no chance. While I struggled a bit with this stick on the more difficult volleys, I had absolutely no problems with the easy put-aways, and always felt comfortable with the racket in my hands.
Overall, I gave the Wilson Blade 98L a 7 out of 10 at the net. It’s stronger from the back of the court, but for a lightweight racket, it didn’t do a bad job at the net.
Serve – 7.5/10
The Wilson Blade 98L continued to show its all-round capabilities with another good performance on serve. The excellent speed of this racket gives you tons of option on serve, with a great blend of power, spin, and control.
Again, the lightweight nature of this racket means advanced players won’t be able to get quite as much power as they would from the regular Blade, but this will help beginner and intermediate players. The key to power as an intermediate or beginner is swing speed, and you need a lighter racket like the 98L to get that.
Once you’re more confident swinging the racket you can move up to heavier rackets which will give you more power, but when you’re starting out, the swing speed is essential. The nice thing about the Blade is that it’s not just about the swing speed, it does actually have performance behind it as well.
I felt like I was getting a good amount of control on my serves with this racket, leading to a good first serve percentage and a lot of confidence on my second serve. While I couldn’t hit with the same kinds of speeds I would expect from my regular, heavier racket, I was still able to put my opponent under pressure with some good placement, and I generally didn’t lose too many points on serve.
I still think the biggest strength of the Wilson Blade 98L is on the groundstrokes, but it wasn’t far behind when it came to the serve. If you continue to improve your strokes, then the Blade 98L will reward you with some excellent performance and help turn your serve into something to be feared!
I gave the Blade 98L a 7.5 out of 10 for the serve, which is a great score for a light racket. There were no areas where I didn’t feel comfortable with this racket and that is reflected in its solid scores across the board.
Overall – 7.5 /10
Overall, the Wilson Blade 98L is an excellent option if you’re looking for a racket under 300g. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, advanced junior, or older player looking for a light racket, the Blade 98L will give you all the performance you need.
This racket excels from the back of the court, where it swings fast and offers a lovely blend of power, spin, and control that can suit all game styles. If you’re playing at a very high level then the power levels might be a bit much for the 98L to handle, but for everyone else, this stick can do a job.
I would class this racket as an all-rounder’s racket, although, the net is probably its weakest area. That being said, for a 286g racket, the Blade did a good job, and as long as the incoming power levels aren’t too high, I would feel comfortable volleying with this stick. For a beginner or intermediate player though, the Wilson Blade 98L does more than enough at the net.
On the serve, the Blade 98L continues to offer high performance in a lightweight, comfortable package. You won’t struggle to generate racket head speed with this stick and so long as you keep attacking the ball, you will get good results from it.
All in all, this is one of my favorite sub 300g rackets. It offers a near perfect balance of power, spin, and control that will suit a lot of players and has the ability to play across nearly all levels of tennis.
I gave the Wilson Blade 98L a 7.5 out of 10 overall. This is about as high as it gets for sub 300g rackets. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a lighter racket.
Review by: Will