WILSON Steam 100 BLX Tennis Racquet
I think I may have found Petra Kvitova’s secret. Sure she’s an incredibly talented physical specimen at six feet tall, but she also plays with the Wilson BLX Steam. I recently gave the racquet a try and, without sounding overly complimentary, it seemed to give me the ideal combination of control and power. Sounds too good to be true, I know.
At 11 ounces strung, this frame sits at a great weight for just about any intermediate to advanced player. As proof, you’ll be interested to know that Ernests Gulbis, Melanie Oudin, and Kei Nishikori all use the Steam on the pro tour. If you’re at all familiar with those names, you know that they all have very different game styles.
The 100 square inch head gave me plenty of room to work with on my groundstrokes. Though it’s three points head light, it felt evenly balanced in my hand (which I tend to prefer), and I didn’t particularly notice the fact that the racquet head is a quarter-of-an-inch longer than the standard 27 inches. It’s definitely a sturdy frame from the baseline, easily handling heavy spin. That said, I particularly liked this racquet on high-bouncing, weaker balls. The weighting seemed to aid me in getting on top of my approach shots. Also, I found the flex to be helpful in creating touch on drop shots.
Though the BLX Steam didn’t seem to have quite as much life at the net, I did appreciate the feel it afforded me. I could create backspin if necessary to change pace, and swinging volleys felt fantastic.
Though I’m no specialist on racquet technology, Wilson worked wonders with the aerodynamics on the Steam. The racquet is a solid five ounces heavier than the racquet I currently use, yet I found it easy to accelerate on my overheads.
After hitting a few overheads, I looked forward to seeing how this frame felt on my serve. I’ll admit I liked the feel more on my flat serves than on my kick or slice serves. The spin serves just felt a tad weaker than I would have liked, but that’s also something I may have been able to adjust to over time.
I really enjoyed giving this racquet a try. Adding some lead tape in the 3 and 9 o’clock positions of the racquet may have helped to add a touch more stability (odds are good that Kvitova, Gulbis, Nishikori, and Oudin use lead tape to tweak the frame as well). Other than that, this seems to be a solid new frame for Wilson, and I’m not surprised there are rumors Wilson will be expanding the line in the near future.