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Blade 98S 18x16 updates the spin-oriented Blade spec with the addition of the energy return benefits of Countervail. Countervail is a material concept designed to maximize energy transfer, reducing muscle fatigue and recovery time. Now with a stealth new look featuring matte black paint, gloss green and laser etching to look as great as it plays.
This version of the Blade 98 S continues to feature Wilson's legendary Spin Effect Technology
which permits additional string movement, increasing the RPM of every shot! In keeping specs consistent with previous generation, offering spin oriented 18x16 string pattern, 11.1 oz. strung weight, and 98 square inch head. This combination provides excellent feel and control for intermediate to advanced players with fast swing.
A 21mm flat beam and 98 square inch headsize. Continues to provide excellent frame feedback offered by basalt fiber BLX
technology. Improved feel thanks to Amplifeel handle technology. Parallel Drilled
grommets for a more consistent response from the stringbed, as well as Braided Graphite + Basalt frame construction.
For Optimal String Performance Wilson Recommends:
Please Note: Wilson does not include a cover with this racquet.
I am 4.0 level player who plays with a lot of spin. I ended up just demoing this racquet. Comparing the frame to the previous version, I thought it was a little stiffer. I did not notice any differences in spin. I like the new look to these frames, has a very sharp appearance out on the court. My demo came strung with a Wilson multifilament at what seemed to be around 54 pounds. It manages good control, but I lacked the power I was seeking. On some of my hits that did not connect in the sweet spot, they ended up being duds. Maneuverability was adequate, and the racquet was a tad more stable than the previous version. Fun demo sessions, I may take it out again before I make a decision on purchasing.
4 StarsNice Blade
Mirdad from CA wrote (November 16, 2016):
I've also demoed the 16x19 and found that racquet to be too head heavy. While the overall weight of the 98S is less than the 16x19 it still is too head heavy for me so I weighted the handle to achieve the right balance. The result was excellent for increased head speed for those who like to hit high angled shots with lots of topspin that drive your opponents crazy. I already own two of the previous years' version of the 18x16 Blade 98S and find that while the older version has a more flexible rating; this new version has a tiny bit more dampened effect. Try to find the softest poly as possible or hybrid set up to minimize vibration and you'll be loving the high angled topspin shots. The main downside to a less dense string pattern as the 98S is that flat shots may sail on you if your not careful. However, I've found you can still flatten out on some shots that are right in the wheel house for outright winners with total confidence, you just have to be a little pickier on such shots. Overall, in the past, I've played with denser string patterns but have been able to master this slightly more open string pattern and have found it to be more effective with my style of play (baseline)
If and when my racquets get damaged or a crack in them I will definitely switch to this current version.