With racquets being the primary asset for Wilson, having diversity in their lineups is critical. Realizing that players of all ages and abilities want to develop a power baseline game, Wilson has introduced the Burn 100 ULS. This racquet takes the technology from the Spin Effect Burn model (Spin Effect string pattern, X2 shaft for extra handle length at the top) and packaged it in an incredibly light and fast setup. I recently took to the court to see how this light weight power frame would perform on court.
Aggressive acceleration was the name of the game on groundstrokes with the Burn 100 ULS. The 9.8oz strung weight made it effortless to add racquet head speed for increased pace. The whippy action also made it easy for me to snap shots cross court from either side and play aggressive angles. The 100 inch head has a sizeable sweet spot but the string bed was a bit erratic in its response off center for me. I enjoyed the extra room for my two handed backhand that the X2 shaft provided as tend to grip a bit higher in the handle off that wing. The light weight and 18x16 pattern produced a tremendous amount of spin on the ball. Even on backhands, I was able to produce enough height to keep a lot of balls out of my opponents’ strike zones. Compared to the previous Steam line, the addition of a couple extra main strings improved the directional accuracy and overall control this frame had. While the pace and spin were present, stability and depth were a bit of a struggle. The racquet’s low weight made it a bit more challenging to get consistent depth on the ball and I got punished for short balls. The racquet also had a greater tendency to twist when I was playing defense against big hitters. Most players this model is aimed out probably won’t have many issues with stability during play but they would probably want to add some weight as they develop.
Volleys & Serves
Volleying with the Burn 100 ULS was all about utilizing its speed. It was so quick to position that the more aggressively I played, the better it performed. The light weight made it easy to position during quick exchanges and it was capable of finishing high volleys. It had a bit of a tendency to float some balls due to the reduced mass but as long as I worked to finish points aggressively it didn’t have an overly negative impact. This model had a bit more feel which helped me to execute drop and touch volleys more consistently. The quick reactions also helped when I was stretched out for defense volleys. There was a bit of instability when trying to block back big shots but again, the target audience should only experience this in a limited capacity.
I had the most success utilizing spin serves with the Burn 100 ULS. There was enough racquet head speed to add solid pace to flat serves, but I felt they didn’t have enough penetration to hurt people. I had much more success using the speed of the racquet and the open pattern to crank up the spin on kick and slice serves. Kick serves were taking big jumps off the court, keeping my opponents from being able to attack consistently. Directional control did not stand out but was still solid. I had a lot of success slicing the ball out wide so I could take the return aggressively. Players who are still developing their own pace will find enough power and will be aided by the good variety the racquet can serve with.
While still a fairly firm racquet, the 100 ULS benefits from being the lowest RA of the Burn line. It plays with a bit more comfort outside the sweet spot and the feedback on those shots is less harsh than other models. The racquet is firm enough to offer a crisp, connected feel while improving the overall comfort. With developing players and juniors the most likely players to use this frame, it’s a smart move for Wilson to lower the overall stiffness to create a more arm friendly, responsive feel.
Power baseliners in training will have a lot to like about this new offering from Wilson. It produces easy access to high spin levels and has enough power to be dangerous off the ground for intermediates and juniors. The addition of a bit more feel adds some stronger net capabilities and makes the Wilson Burn 100 ULS a solid choice for juniors transitioning to adult frames and for players who need a light weight frame that doesn’t compromise on baseline prowess.
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.