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Thursday, March 28, 2013 Racquet Review of the Week - Wilson BLX Envy 100

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Wilson has a way of coming up with a racquet for everyone, and the new BLX Envy 100 will find a place in the bags of a few different player types.

Specifications

The Envy has similar cosmetics to the hugely popular Steam 100, but it’s a full ounce lighter, coming in at an unstrung weight of 9.4 oz (266g). Couple that with a just so slightly head light balance and a very low swing weight of 296, and you have a highly maneuverable frame that should be great for women and juniors. A 22mm constant beam width and low flex of 62 should provide controlled power and comfort. The Envy has the now-commonplace 100 square inch head size that seems to provide the right blend of power, control and spin for modern styles of play, and the 16x20 string pattern is standard Wilson fare, providing control with a little added string life over a more open string face.

From the Baseline

The Envy’s low weight and narrow beams do pretty much what you’d expect from the baseline: groundies are smooth and controlled, but power is not tremendous, especially when the ball is hit toward the racquet tip. However, when you make contact from the center down (just exactly where many kids and beginners do), power is good, and the feel is buttery soft and smooth. Flatter strokes are preferred by the Envy because of the lower sweet spot, so a big topspin player will most likely want to look elsewhere. But, flat and slice players will love the feel and response form the Envy 100.

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Maria Sharapova

Net Play and Serving

The lower sweet spot falls perfectly in line with the contact point for volleys, and the Envy is most at home here. Find the sweet spot, and volleys of all types are solid, controlled and powerful. The narrow beams and soft flex allow for abundant touch and feel on angled and drop volleys, while allowing you to pound away sitters at net, as well. The racquet gets up in the air for overheads with ease, and lets you snap off those lobs that get just a little behind you going back.

The same qualities that make for good overheads also help with serving, as the Envy is easy to move quickly above your head, and the narrow beams allow you easily brush the ball on slice and kick serves. You’ll need to produce a little of your own power, but control and placement are outstanding.

Fine Points

The Envy has similar cosmetics to the Steam 100, which is to say it’s pretty bright. This should please kids and parents alike, because Junior will feel he has the same racquet as a parent or older sibling using the Steam, and can be satisfied at a lower price point. The CushionAire Perforated grip provides good tack and comfort, and the holes do help absorb a little extra sweat. The lower weight makes the Envy a prime candidate for customizing as a player’s game changes, giving you many options for adding weight to beef it up for a growing, improving player.

The best thing about the Envy, however, may be its price. A quality racquet at a sub-$100 price point is hard to come by these days, and means you can get 2 or more of them for your aspiring tournament player without breaking the bank.

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Wilson envy 100

Conclusion

Wilson has given aspiring young players a real gift with the BLX Envy 100. An almost perfect head size combines with a lightweight, easy-swinging frame to provide controlled power and feel. For doubles players, great feel and control at net combines with optimal placement on serve to produce a fine racquet for beginning to intermediate-level players. The ability to customize its playability as your game changes, combined with a price point enabling you to stock up on frames without going broke should make the Envy a parent’s dream come true. Demo an Envy 100 for your little ones today.


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