WILSON Three BLX Tennis Racquet
Wilson’s racquets in the “3” rating on their Swing Scale have traditionally been ultra-lightweight, powerful widebodies, and the new-for-2013 Three BLX is no exception.
The “3” frames have long been Wilson’s lightest models, but the new Three gives that honor up to the Two BLX for this year. Not to worry, however, because it’s no heavyweight, coming in with an unstrung weight of just 9.2 oz. (260g), or just over an ounce more than the Two. That low weight is offset by a 7-point head heavy balance for stability and control (classic Wilson Hammer weighting) which, combined with the 27.5 inch length, produces a solid 317 swingweight. Throw all that in with a 117 square inch head size and 26.3mm Dual Taper racquet beam, and you have an ideal weapon for folks with shorter, slower swings. The use of Triad technology and BLX basalt additives should assure a good dispersion and dampening of shock and vibration.
You don’t really “swing” the Three BLX as much as you “point” it. The power and length of the frame allow you to do so, and really discourage a full cut at the ball: there’s so much inherent power in its head size and stiffness that a fast swing is almost impossible to control. A slower, more measured swing sends the ball the length of the court with ease and good pace, and the fan string pattern puts as much spin on the ball as a short, slow swing can produce.
The width of the head helps increase the Three’s twistweight, and makes it quite stable on mishits from the baseline, and the Triad system takes up quite a lot of the shock stiff racquets like the Three produce, working with the weighting to make almost all groundstrokes feel solid and low in vibration. As long as you maintain discipline in your swing speed, the Three helps you produce a solid stroke.
Net Play and Serving
While the Three’s large head size gives a lot of room for error, the head-heavy balance lowers the recoilweight quite a bit, meaning volleys mishit high on the string face are quite hard to control, especially as the passing shots get faster. This probably won’t matter to the Three’s target player, as the speed of play probably isn’t going to be ultra-fast. What you do get at net is plenty of power on putaway volleys, and a crisp, solid feel from the firm flex. Choking up on the grip at net will increase maneuverability.
The Three’s stiffness and length provide more than adequate power on overheads, and allow you to find angles on smashes you may not have otherwise. Hold the racquet all the way at the bottom of the grip on these shots and enjoy the power.
Serving can be one of the Three’s strengths, as the length helps provide leverage and angles a standard-length frame can’t produce, and the fan pattern increases both power and spin. The “teardrop” head shape puts a big chunk of the sweet spot high up in the string face, just where serves are hit, so take a rip and have fun with them!
The bumper guard is Wilson’s norm for this frame type, using “cutouts” to reduce weight. It may not hold up well to a lot of low volleys, but the Three’s target player isn’t normally going to be digging out a lot of low balls, anyway. The Three uses Wilson’s Comfort Hybrid grip, and it provides a soft feel and fine shock absorption. Edge feel is not as good as with a thinner grip, but the Three player will appreciate the cushion much more. A stylish black and silver paint job gives the Three an understated elegance many will love.
Wilson has produced a strong, solid frame for senior citizens and beginner to intermediate level baseline players with the new Three BLX. A lot of power features (large head size, firm flex, head weighting and extra length) combine with shock absorbing qualities (Comfort Hybrid grip, BLX and Triad) to produce what should be a friendly yet powerful racquet for shorter, slower swings. There are several new Wilson game improvement frames out for 2013, and the Tennis Express demo program has them all. The Three BLX may be the most solid one of the lot.