The Clash revolution continues to grow in the summer of 2019 as Wilson expands on their all new lineup of frames. The new Wilson Clash 100L takes Wilson’s game changing Clash technology and puts it into a lighter, easy swinging package. This offering uses the same 2 main technological developments from Wilson. FreeFlex carbon mapping allows Wilson to lay the carbon fiber in new ways, producing a frame that can bend and flex to match any swing style. To counter this dramatic flexibility, the Clash uses StableSmart frame geometry to provide enhanced stability and control. Having hit with the heavier 100 inch versions of the Clash, I was eager to see how the lighter 100L would perform in comparison.
Much like its heavier siblings, the Clash 100L brought plenty of power to the party from the ground. The 24.5 mm beam and 10.5 oz strung weight made it easy to ramp up the swing speed for maximum power off both wings. The sweet spot on the 100 inch head was substantial and offered plenty of power across the hitting surface. There was so much power on tap that I struggled to control it on aggressive shots, much like the other Clash 100 models. The frame was outstanding on rally balls but the response became a bit more erratic when I stepped on the gas and more balls sailed long on full strokes than I’d prefer. Directional accuracy was very solid at medium pace and I was able to guide the ball around the court during rally exchanges. When I wanted to go for a finishing shot or flatten a ball out, I had to pick a bit larger targets to compensate for the inconsistent control. The 16 x 19 string pattern was pretty widely spaced and made spin easy to come by. I could easily put air under the ball and create a variety of shot heights. The lower weight of the 100L took some bite out of my backhand slice, but I was still impressed with how low it stayed for a frame in this weight class. The quick reflexes of the racquet also made it easy to snap stretch winners off on defense and find ways to scramble back into points. The stability of the Clash 100L was impressive for its weight. It fluttered against bigger hitters, but developing players and juniors will find it to be very stable and forgiving for medium levels of pace.
Volleys & Serves
At net, speed was the 100L’s greatest asset. The low weight made it easy to position rapidly and consistently stay in front during quick exchanges. With plenty of easy power on hand, I made quick work of anything left up for me to volley. I found I needed to stay aggressive on volleys as the frame had a bit of trampoline to it that tended to sail casual volleys (I saw the same thing on the other Clash 100s). With best in class stability, the 100L was able to handle most shots, only twisting against the hardest hitting opponents. The flexible nature of the frame gave me better touch on volleys than stiffer competitors. A tighter string pattern would have offered even better control for delicate volleying and angle creation.
While it took me some time to find my groove, I enjoyed serving with the Clash 100L. The fast swinging nature made it easy to over hit my first serve a bit early on. As I established a better rhythm, I was able to hit first serves with easy pace and solid depth. While it lacked the court penetration of the heavier models, the 100L still had plenty of pop to win free points on first serves. Directional accuracy was solid. It didn’t have laser like precision, but I could hit to any area of the box and use a variety of locations to keep returners from jumping on serves that were too predictable. The racquet offered plenty of spin on my second serve. I was able to kick the ball off the court with impressive height and movement. Slice serves needed a bit more weight behind them to truly cause problems, but I was still able to swing the ball out wide on the ad side and set myself up for a quick first strike.
The entire Clash lineup was wholly unique feeling and the 100L was no different. It was crisper feeling on contact than you might expect but not in a problematic way. The frame offered a very unique combination of flex and ball pocketing along with direct, modern response. Classic racquet fans may need some time to adjust to the juxtaposition of exit speed and sound with the flex of the frame. While not as meaty feeling and smooth as a classic flexible frame, the Clash 100L still boasted more pocketing and flex than any competing frame on the market. The racquet exhibited zero comfort issues, even with a low powered, firmer polyester string in it. The racquet will be instantly comfortable for any arm sensitive player and would be a great alternative to the stiffly constructed racquets the Clash 100L compares to.
The Wilson Clash 100L expands on Wilson’s unique and innovative Clash family of frames. It offers unique feel, easy power and ample access to spin. All of this is packaged in a lighter, easy swinging weight that makes it incredibly accessible. Developing players and juniors will appreciate its easy swinging nature and above average stability. Players looking for a lightweight, powerful frame that provides more flex and comfort without sacrificing power and spin to any other brands will have a new top option in the Wilson Clash 100L.
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.