Wilson Burn FST 95 Tennis Racquet Review
Fans of midsize frames were understandably concerned with no update to the vaunted Wilson 6.1 line in sight. Fear not players, as Wilson is bringing an entirely new offering to the table with the Burn FST 95. This new model looks to blend classic player frame attributes with modern speed. The biggest advancement is Fast Speed Technology, an octagonal frame shape for maximizing the ability to cut through the air. High Performance Carbon Fiber is incorporated into the construction for improved power and rigidity. The X2 Ergo system is built with two handed backhands in mind. It uses a set of handle inserts to give players more engagement and leverage with their top hand when hitting two handed backhands. I got to spend some time on court with the latest midsize offering from Wilson and here is what I found.
The Burn FST 95 was a precision instrument off the ground. The thin beam and 11.8oz strung weight made it easy for me to control the depth and placement of my shots from either wing. The frame design and head light balance allowed me to ratchet up the racquet head speed for excellent pace on ground strokes without sacrificing depth. The smaller head size provided excellent precision and I had no trouble playing aggressively to both corners and using aggressive angles from both sides. The handle system did seem to provide some additional leverage on my two handed backhand and I saw great success taking my backhand down the line. Spin production on the FST 95 was better than the 99 due to the more open 16x19 pattern. I was able create plenty of margin from both wings until the time was right for me to step in and flatten a short ball out. The additional weight of the 95 also provided excellent stability against big hitters. It was easy to redirect pace and set points back to neutral when I was forced into defense.
Volleys & serves
The Burn FST 95 lived up to its midsize heritage when at the net. The small head and head light balance made it exceedingly easy to maneuver around the net. I was able to gain the upper hand consistently during quick exchanges. The speed also made it exceptional on defense volleys as well. I fought off big shots and body strikes easily and with more opportunity to stay in the point. The solid mass of the frame made quick work of high volleys and put aways. Directional control was another solid point and I used a variety of angles and depths to my advantage on volleys. As with the rest of the FST line, I did find some challenge adapting to the very muted feel. There was some disconnection to the ball on contact, making it a bit more of a challenge to execute drop and touch volleys reliably.
Serving with the FST 95 was where I felt the beefy swingweight the most, both in a positive and a negative way. The added mass gave my flat serve a very heavy feel and made it easy to hit deep, penetrating serves. However, I also felt the racquet was a bit sluggish through contact and I didn’t generate as much pace on my first serve as I wanted to. Directional control and accuracy was a major highlight serving with this frame. I was able to pick a variety of targets and hit them reliably. This kept opponents guessing and unable to get comfortable attacking my serve. Spin production was better with this frame than the 99. The 16x19 pattern and decent head speed gave me good height and movement on kick serves. The extra weight gave my slice serve a lot of bite and I was able to swing it out wide and consistently push opponents out of position.
Compared to previous Wilson 95s, the FST 95 is the most muted feeling version I have hit with. For a stiff frame, it has a very dampened feel on contact. While I appreciated the arm friendliness, I could have done with a bit better ball connection for executing touch shots. Another impressive aspect of the frame was how little it vibrated on contact. It played with a degree of comfort not typical with most high stiffness frames. I’d still recommend smart choices in string and tension but players should not let the high RA rating of the Burn FST deter them.
The Burn FST 95 is a unique blend of classic attributes with modern sensibilities. It plays with the speed, spin and mass to control points from the baseline while also being nimble and responsive enough to attack points at the net. With solid spin and reliable accuracy on tap, the new Burn FST 95 should be a go to choice for players who value classic performance and maneuverability but want something purpose built for modern competition.
About the Reviewer: Matt Locke currently serves as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho and is an active USTA League and Tournament player.