Wilson Juice 100 BLX Tennis Racquet
Wilson has made a big deal out of their new BLX Juice 100 frame, especially in the spin production department (remember all their “is it legal?” ads). I thought it would be nice to take one out on the courts for a “spin” (there’ll be more humor later if you’re lucky!).
Even though the Juice is head light, I had a noticeable feel of weight at the very tip, as if the frame’s mass is “polarized”: where weight is placed at the very bottom and tip of the racquet. When I grip it, the handle weight sit solidly in my palm and is not really noticeable on groundstrokes. That allows me to really feel the mass at the top, and it swings strong and solidly as a result. The head weight let me “plow through” the ball from the backcourt, and it’s not easy to overpower for such a light frame. The stiffness helped me with not only power, but spin as well: combined with the open 16x18 string pattern, topspin is easy to apply, and the ball jumps off the court. Wilson appears to have advertised truthfully here.
Volleys & Serves
The Juice is not too hard to move at net, but its stiffness doesn’t feel as comfortable to me there as it does at the baseline. The Juice has, I think, been designed for the modern baseline game. You can try touch volleys all you want, but I think it’s better for swing volleys and other full-bodied shots. Serves and overheads are powerful, too, although it is a little harder to get the racquet overhead than you’d think, since the head weighting is so prominent. Spin is also pretty easy to generate on serves, especially slice.
The bumper guard has a nice, deep string groove, and it showed very little wear after quite a few hours of hard play. The Pro Hybrid grip is a tad short of cushioning, but edge feel is excellent, and the bevels are really well defined for semi-Western and Continental grips. The butt cap has good width at the bottom, and flares out perfectly for players who like to hold the racquet low on serves.
What can you say about the paint job? Busy without being garish, the light blue, navy, yellow and white design definitely stands out in a crowd. Deal with it, guys: if Feliciano Lopez can use it, so can you!
The firm flex may be an issue for those with sore arms, but a forgiving string should take some of the jolt away. I didn’t have any pain, but could really tell I was hitting with a firm stick.
Wilson has provided a fine frame for the modern game with the BLX Juice 100. Very interesting weighting allows it to swing with much more power and spin than the specs would imply, and I think Wilson’s claims of greater spin are correct. Net play is not its strong suit, but most tennis these days is played form the back of the court, anyway. If you’re a 3.5-5.0 baseline power player who is looking at a Babolat Pure Drive or Aero Pro Drive, Head YouTek IG Extreme, Gamma RZR 100 or such, you’ll want to put the Wilson BLX Juice 100 on your demo list.