For fans of the Juice racquet line, they should see no disappointment with the introduction of its replacement, the Wilson Ultra line. The new Wilson Ultra 100 offers players the same prodigious power and fast feel that made the Juice so popular. The new triangular beam shape improves the aerodynamics for an even faster feel. Wilson replaces BLX with High Performance Carbon Fiber construction and uses Parallel Drilling for additional power. The new CushionFoam handle is aimed at absorbing unwanted vibrations. I got the chance recently to see how the Ultra 100 stacked up in on court performance.
Power tennis is the name of the game with the Ultra 100 on groundstrokes. The 100 inch head had a generous sweet spot and the 26mm tapered beam offered a high amount of power. The 11.1oz strung weight made it easy to ratchet up the head speed on my swings, increasing pace from either side. I actually found full, high speed swings to be most effective with this racquet. When I slowed my swing speed, the power was a bit more difficult to control. This could have been remedied with a bit stiffer, lower power string selection. Much like the Ultra 97, I noticed a bit of a power drop higher in the bed although it was less noticeable with this model. Directional accuracy was solid. I was able to utilize the entire court but I didn’t have quite as much control to pick aggressive targets as I did with the 97 inch model. Spin production was also very solid from either wing. The open 16x19 pattern and head light balance allowed me to create a lot of whip in my swing to amplify the topspin of my stroke. Flattening balls out was a little tougher and I definitely wished it had a bit more weight to put behind the ball. Stability also took a little bit of a hit with the reduction in weight, with the frame fluttering a bit against heavy shots. Both of these issues could be easily fixed as the frame has ample room for customization.
Volleys & Serves
The Ultra 100 makes the transition from baseline to the net pretty smoothly. Its manageable weight and balance made it easy for me to maneuver around the net, ensuring I had the upper hand in quick exchanges. The frame’s inherent power made volleying aggressively a rewarding exercise. I made quick work of anything left high and had no trouble driving the ball through the court. Touch volleys took a bit of adjustment to the lighter weight and firmer feel. I eventually was able to execute them with good success. Defensive volleys were mostly effective as the head size and ample sweet spot led to a lot of forgiveness. A bit more weight would have improved stability against hard, close shots but again, that’s an issue easily addressed with customization.
The Ultra 100 has the power to make anyone feel like a pro when they step up to serve. The frame exhibited tremendous power for me on serve. It accelerated very quickly through contact, creating plenty of head speed for pace on my flat serve. My favorite serve was hitting big, flat bombs down the T. The control on serve was a little lacking compared to the 97i inch model. I was not as confident serving to the lines and ended up playing to a bit more conservative targets. I found plenty of spin for my second serve and utilized a variety of kick and slice serves with great success. My ability to create both types of ball movement consistently kept my opponents from being able to attack my second serve.
The Ultra 100 played with a crisp modern feel. There was a bit more vibration off center and I was definitely aware when I connected outside the sweet spot. When solid contact was made, the feedback was very clean and it had a relatively good connection to the ball. I’d prefer a bit more flex for touch shots but overall, this area was better than expected for a more modern style frame. The frame played with plenty of comfort for me. There was no glaring shock sent through the handle and most players shouldn’t experience any comfort issues.
Players who loved the Juice 100 are in good hands with its replacement, the Wilson Ultra 100. It offers the same high powered, fast feel that players are accustomed to. Its quick reflexes at net and excellent power on serve make this racquet an excellent choice for offensive minded players who want to play points on their terms.
About the Reviewer: Matt Locke currently serves as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho and is an active USTA League and Tournament player.