Wilson has been riding a hot streak as of late with the introduction of the Clash line and the revised Blade line both being well received. It is now time for Wilson to set their sights on updating the Ultra lineup. The mainstay Ultra 100 v3.0 has 3 key technology updates that Wilson says take its power to the next level. An Inverted Power Rib geometry in the throat provides reduced twisting and a more stable feel on contact. This effect is complemented by the Integrated Perimeter Weighting System in the sides of the head. At 3 and 9 o’clock Wilson has added Sweet Spot Channels which elongate the cross strings for added power and response. I previously tested earlier versions of the Ultra so I was eager to see how this updated version would measure up.
Wilson’s tagline for the new Ultra, “People to the Power” is on target. I found the Ultra 100 v3 to be immensely powerful. It’s 24/26/23 mm beam width and 72 RA combined to make it explosively powerful from the back of the court. I had no trouble generating tremendous power off either wing. If anything, I found it challenging at times to control the easily generated pop. The frame reminded me a lot of the TFlash CES from Tecnifibre. Both have chunky beam widths whose power can get away from you if you aren’t careful. For me, bigger swings equaled better results. It was when I slowed my swing speed or didn’t get all the way over the top of the ball that shots tended to sail. If I had high racquet head speed and got over on the ball, the result was usually a heavy, deeply placed shot. The 11.1 oz strung weight applied a good amount of mass behind the ball, making a rarity to hit short in the court. The 16 x 19 string pattern made it easy to access spin on groundies. I was easily able to combine racquet head spin and the open pattern to generate height and action on my groundstrokes. I appreciated the extra lift the Ultra gave to my fairly flat backhand. Stability was above average for its weight class. The Ultra’s geometry and design seemed to keep it solidly stable against big hitters and it did not take much to return their shots with interest. My favorite backcourt shot with the Ultra 100 was snapping off dead run, DTL forehands because of how quick the frame came around and the explosive power it put on even defensive balls.
Volleys & Serves
Nobody was going to mistake the Ultra 100 v3 for a natural born net frame, but it performed capably at the front of the court. The moderate weight and slightly headlight balance allowed me to position the frame easily. I felt the beam shape and thickness did make it feel a bit clunky at times, but I stayed in front of more quick exchanges than not. The easy power made any volley left up for me a breeze to finish off. I was able to drive volleys deep into the corners with speed. If anything, I had to avoid being to casual as that was when volleys would sail a bit more than intended. The firm response made touch volleys a bit harder to pull off, but the frame compensated by making it so easy to finish points with one volley. The stability of the Ultra 100 shined again at net. I never felt like it got pushed around by big shots and it absorbed more than its fair share of pace when up at the net.
Serving with the Ultra 100 v3 was an exercise in breaking out the boom stick. It felt like it was born for one thing and one thing only: blasting big serves. It took me a bit to find my range with the high power level. Once I did though, my first serve felt like if it was in, it was a guaranteed ace/service winner. It hammered flat serves with effortless pace and depth. Precision targeting was not its strong suit, but it didn’t need to be. If I was anywhere close to my target, I was in good shape for the point. Second serves were also fun with the Ultra. It generated plenty of kick and bounced high up off the court, out of returners strike zones. It was a bit less effective on slice serves, I felt it lacked the mass to really skid them out wide. In the end, I didn’t really notice because I was too busy hitting flat heaters or high jumping kick serves to notice.
The Ultra came across as a firmly constructed frame built for the modern baseline game. The high RA value meant the ball came rocketing off the string bed, spending very little time on it. Players who prefer delicate shot making and plenty of ball pocketing are not who the Ultra was primarily built for. The new frame didn’t adapt the Free/Feel Flex tech from the Clash and Blade lines, so it felt definitively stiffer than either of those. I didn’t find it too harsh, but it was stiffer than I prefer. Players with arm sensitivities would want to utilize a softer string and/or reduce tension in order to mitigate potential arm issues with the racquet.
Previous fans of Wilson’s Ultra line will feel right at home with the new update. It boasts incredible, easy power in an easy to swing package. It hits with authority from the baseline and transitions well to the front court. Add in the ability to win ample free points on serve, and it is a dangerous modern frame. The new Wilson Ultra 100 v3.0 absolutely puts power in the hands of the people who wield it and they will reap the rewards on court.
About the Author: Matt Locke formerly served for 3 years as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho. He is a PTR certified coach and is an active USTA 4.5+ League and Tournament player. He loves Nadal’s determination, but secretly wishes he had Federer’s effortless style.