Wilson Sporting Goods has made some changes to their tennis racquet line for 2012. One thing Wilson has done is to categorize their racquets by three types: Control & Spin, Power & Spin, and Power & Comfort. I was able to play-test their new STEAM 100 BLX racquet which is placed in the “Power & Spin” category.
APPEARANCE / STYLE
This Wilson racquet simply looks great! It has an exciting & colorful red/white/blue/yellow scheme and probably won’t show scratches or other “war-wounds” like some “plain” racquets often do. If you ignore the paint you’ll see that it is a bit of an “old school” design, i.e., flat-beam construction. But, as you read below, it is an “all new” product.
The WILSON STEAM 100 BLX features two of Wilson’s newer tech features:
1) Basalt (BLX): Basalt fibers are woven into the frame to reduced unwanted frequencies (vibrations) and to provide better feedback and feel;
2) Double Holes: Increased diameter on grommet holes to allow more string freedom which increases the “sweet spot” and adds power.
The WILSON STEAM 100 BLX Mid Plus has a 100” head and weighs 10.4 oz. unstrung. It has a moderate16 x 20 pattern and is 5 points* head-light. It has a moderate 23 mm flat beam. It is rated by Wilson as appropriate for players with a medium to long swing. It is an extended-length racquet with a 27 ¼” length.* Wilson literature states 5 pts. HL, however, the frame decal states 8 pts. HL.
The STEAM 100 BLX is outstanding at the baseline. It hits groundstrokes with confidence and power. Its control (ball placement) was exceptionally good—one can really swing-away and have some fun moving your opponent around! It is surprisingly quick considering its extended length—getting it around is not any problem at all. The only negative—and it is a very minor issue (I’m being picky)—is it has a slight more vibration than I anticipated. But this only occurs, however, on off-center hits. This vibration did not bother me at all—just surprised me. After about one set I forgot about it.
The WILSON STEAM 100 BLX provided excellent control on volleys and its power was above average. It reacts quickly on reflex-volleys and, again, its extended length was not a negative at the net.
The STEAM 100 BLX performed well on overhead “smashes”. It was solid and the accuracy was very good.
The WILSON STEAM 100 BLX is really in it’s element on serves. I was able to generate excellent racquet-head speed and the extra .25” seems to provide a little more “pop”. I was very impressed with its accuracy and power. It does everything right when serving.
The STEAM 100 BLX provides sufficient spin and its 23mm beam gives enough clearance on slice shots. Whether topspin, underspin, or side-spin, it does it all well.
The WILSON STEAM 100 BLX is a racquet that has excellent “feel” and provides good power. Its accuracy is outstanding and it’s a “rock-star” when serving. It should be great for a wide range of players. i.e., “touch” players will love it as well as big-hitting baseliners. It’s a light, modern, well-designed stick that is suitable for players in the 3.0 – 5.0 range (NTRP).
Guest Contributor Greg Christopherson is a professional tennis stringer who lives in Oceanside, Calif.