After several months of social media buzz and hype building, Wilson is finally ready to unleash their latest racquet revolution. The all new Wilson Clash 100 is one of the most innovative frames in Wilson’s storied history and is positioned as the answer to today’s stiff, powerful frames. This all new offering utilizes 2 main technological revolutions. FreeFlex carbon mapping allows Wilson to lay the carbon fiber in new ways, producing a frame that can bend and flex in accordance with any swing style. To counter this dramatic flexibility, the Clash uses StableSmart frame geometry to provide enhanced stability and control. Wilson has been promising the Clash will offer a one of a kind blend of power, control and feel so it was only natural for me to put it through its paces on court.
From the first ball, I could tell the Clash 100 was not going to skimp on power. The 24.5 mm beam and 10.9 oz strung weight offered easy power and depth from both wings. The 100 inch head had a generous sweet spot although I could feel the power level drop a bit when I made contact outside the center. The racquet accelerated through contact incredibly fast, producing easy power and pace. If anything I felt the frame was a bit over powered on aggressive shots. It excelled when I was playing rally balls at about 75%, producing easy depth and pace. When I got really aggressive, the higher launch angle of the racquet became a bit more erratic and more of my shots sailed past the baseline. Directional accuracy was very solid at medium pace and I was able to move the ball around the court easily. I just had to be more cautious and pick larger targets if/when I decided to redline a shot or flatten it out a bit more. I found spin production easy to come by as the 16x19 pattern was pretty openly spaced. I had no issue putting air under the ball and creating different shot heights. Slice backhands stayed low but I felt they lacked the bite of a heavier frame overall. The Clash 100 was incredibly stable for its weight. There was a bit of flutter when defending some of the hardest hit balls, but overall it did an impressive job of redirecting pace with interest.
Volleys & Serves
The speed of the Clash 100 was on display at the net. It was easy to maneuver and stayed in front of rapid fire volley exchanges. The wealth of power made quick work of any volley that was left up for me to attack. Despite the flexible nature, the frame still had a little bit of trampoline effect so volleys I played more casually sometimes floated a bit too much. The impressive stability handled hard hits and shots close to my body with ease. I was able to fight those balls off and extend the point. The inherent flex of the frame provided good touch for delicate volleys but I felt the wide string spacing sometimes didn’t provide enough control over the ball to really drop it where I wanted.
Serving with the Clash 100 was fun once I found my groove. Similar to groundstrokes, I had trouble reigning in the power on my flat serve if I went for too much. Once I established a more relaxed rhythm, the frame produced pace and depth on my serve with ease. It was enjoyable to get the pace and acceleration on my serve that I was finding without feeling like I had to go 100% on every serve. Directional accuracy was solid. While I didn’t feel it offered pinpoint targeting, I could hit relaxed serves to any area of the box and use variety of location to keep returners off balance. The spin friendly nature of the racquet really added to my second serve. Kick serves had impressive jump off the court and consistently got out of my opponents’ strike zones. Slice serves were easy to send wide in the ad court, giving me plenty of court space to target on my first ball.
There definitely was no easy comparison point for the feel offered by the Clash 100. It was actually crisper feeling on contact than I expected (given all the hype about flex and softness) but not in a bad way. It was unique sensation of modern feedback coupled with being able to feel the frame flex and pocket the ball on contact. It was a bit mentally confusing because the speed the ball exited the string bed and the sound it made were so similar to a stiff frame construction but the feel on contact was more flexible in nature. Wilson said they named the line the Clash because it brought together attributes that were usually diametrically opposed and I understood their thinking when I tried to categorize the feel of the frame. While not as buttery smooth as an old school flexible frame, it still offered much more pocketing and flex than any modern power oriented frame. The racquet was comfortable throughout my time with it, even with a firm, low power poly in it. The racquet should play comfortably for any player and anybody who struggles with arm pain from stiff, powerful frames will have an immediate alternative with the Clash.
The Wilson Clash 100 represents one of the most radical designs Wilson has ever produced in a tennis racquet. It offers one of a kind feel, easy power and ample access to spin. Intermediate players and developing juniors will appreciate its easy access to power and spin as well as its above average stability. Players seeking a modern, powerful frame that provides more flex and response while also being more comfortable than virtually any competing racquet should step on court with the Wilson Clash 100 as soon as possible.
About the Reviewer: 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.