The long awaited and highly anticipated Wilson Pro Staff line is finally back! Co-designed with Roger Federer himself, the Pro Staff series gets some nice upgrades for 21st century tennis. Wilson adds Countervail technology to the High Performance Carbon Fiber frame to give players a lighter weight feel and longer ability to play. The 97L is the lighter version of Roger's frame giving beginners to intermediate players the same solid frame and technology without the heavier weight. As a fan of the Pro Staff racquet line, I was excited to see how the newest Wilson would feel and play on the court.
Smooth, steady, and comfortable is how I would describe my groundstrokes with this racquet. Although I prefer heavier racquets, this frame, at a little less than 11 ounces, felt very comfortable from the back of the court. My swings felt absolutely effortless and was consistently smooth. The light weight of this 97L made it easy to create pace and get fast racquet head speed. With a head size right at 97 square inches, this racquet helps maintain good control of the ball all the way. Spin is relatively easy to produce as well thanks to the lighter weight and fairly open 16 x 19 string pattern. For advanced players you'll truly like the whippy feel that you get with this lighter weight control frame.
I absolutely loved how this racquet felt when I was putting away high sitting volleys. The racquet provides great stability and stiffness to defend against hard hit shots. Countervail also works in your favor to give you more feel and touch at contact. I also really appreciated its easy maneuverability as I approached the net. I was able to create good pace/spin on the approach shot and then get my hands up quickly to defend against the next shot.
Serves & Overheads
This is a very easy racquet to serve with, but it will require some precision. The good news is that it's painless to generate power or spin and it won't fatigue your arm. I was able to move through my serve motion quickly and get a nice pop off the racquet, espcially on flat serves. Where I struggled was with the directional control and accuracy. As you hit more powerful serves, it gets harder to precisly control them in the service box. Sometime I felt I lost some control for the ball and had to excessively spin the ball in order to get the point started.
This racquet will help you feel right at home. The Countervail technology is subtle, but keeps your arm incredibly comfortable no matter how fast you swing or what strings you use. The feel and touch are amplified compared to previous versions which I truly enjoyed. This is the type of racquet that I can see myself wanting to play with for awhile.
Overall, I am incredibly pleased with the new Pro Staff. I felt a true upgrade when it came to feel and comfort. At the baseline, its light weight balance and more powerful nature allow you to generate top spin effortlessly. This racquet will be great for any player looking for a lighter control racquet that will go the extra mile with their game.
About the Reviewer: Alex Meyers is a graduate of the Professional Tennis Management Program at Ferris State University in Michigan. He is also a USPTA Professional, PTR Junior, High Performance and Adult Instructor as well as a USRSA Master Racquet Technician. He has also strung for the Italian Fed Cup Team.