Wilson BLX Six.One 95 16x18 Tennis Racquet
Since the first Wilson Pro Staff Classic hit the market in the mid-90s, high-level players have flocked to the series for feel and control. Following in that tradition, Wilson has updated the line for 2012. Still available in 2 string patterns, I’m trying the BLX Six.One 95 in the original 16x18 pattern today.
The mass of the frame makes up for its narrow head, providing good stability on groundstrokes (even those mishit on the sides). Hit it up high, though, and you’ll feel a noticeable flex and loss of power, as the narrow beams and lower stiffness make for weaker performance at the tip.
Since the Six.One has most of its weight in the handle, the sweet spot follows the weight and sits a little low, and I got excellent power in its “hot zone” just a few cross strings below the center. Hit it cleanly and the racquet rewards you quite nicely, but high mishits are penalized, as noted earlier.
The light head makes it quite easy to move the racquet up the back of the ball, and I hit solid, heavy topspin with the Six.One 95. The open pattern aids greatly in spin generation, and you can really feel the strings grab the ball. Slice groundies take off nicely, the lower sweet spot matching up well with the contact point for these shots. All in all, the Six.One 95 is a great frame for advanced all-court players from the backcourt.
The Six.One series has always been liked by net players, as it has a high recoilweight (resistance to “kicking back” in the hand) and excellent feel. Basalt fibers combined with Wilson’s new Amplifeel handle pallets only reinforce that reputation, giving this year’s model even better communication to the player. Whether I try to snap off a volley or feather it short and soft, the frame lets me know exactly how well I did (or didn’t) pull it off.
The head light frame is quite easy to move up high on serves and smashes, despite the weight, and the ability to generate racquet head speed combines with the open string face to allow you to hit excellent slice and kick serves. “Scissor kick” overheads are also simplified with this model.
The Pro Hybrid grip isn’t exactly traditional leather, but the foam backing is a fine comfort aid. It’s a little thin, which allows for good feel of the handle’s bevels. The bumper guard has good depth, so you won’t have to worry about string damage for quite a while, even if you’re an active net player like me. The aerodynamic beam allows for less wind resistance than the Pro Staff series, and the paint job, while not as eye-catching as the Pro Staff’s, is a definite improvement over the original BLX’s dour black design.
Now, on to the string pattern. As a player, I love how the openness of the 16x18 pattern allows me to spin the ball. As a stringer, I love even more how it eats strings for lunch. As a technician, I have no understanding how Wilson could engineer a pattern with such wide spacing between the strings in the crucial areas of the frame. So, just to be straight: if you break a lot of strings, either get the 18x20 pattern or deal with string breakage. If you love spin, get the 16x18 and you’ll love it.
Wilson has made a good improvement on an already classic design with the BLX Six.One 95 16x18. Consistent flexibility combined with traditional weighting and head size setups give advanced players everything they could want in a control-oriented frame. Solid groundstroke execution combined with fine feel and variety at net and on serve make this frame a good player’s dream come true. Since there are two string pattern choices, you can decide how much spin (or durability) you want, something most frame lines don’t offer. All in all, Wilson has hit another home run in advanced (4.5 and above) player racquet design.