Developing players and those needing a frame that supplies the fireworks while still being easy to swing are going to enjoy the new Wilson Ultra 108. This update to the Juice model line packs some key technology upgrades over its predecessor. The unique triangular inner beam shape gives it a fast, aerodynamic feel. Wilson ditches BLX in favor of a High Performance Carbon Fiber construction for more power and crisp feel. Comfort is addressed by the inclusion of the new CushionFoam handle for better vibration dampening. I spent some time on court recently with the most forgiving member of the Ultra line and let’s take a look at what I found.
Power is readily on tap for groundstrokes with the Ultra 108. The stiff construction and 26.5mm beam worked together to add plenty of power, even for shorter swing styles. The 10.4ozstrung weight made it easy for me to accelerate the frame through the contact zone for additional pace on my shots. The surprisingly solid 323 swingweight made this racquet with more depth and weight of shot than most others in this weight class. My backhand benefitted from the extra length and I used the extra leverage to drive the ball through the court from that side. The plentiful head speed and 16x19 pattern provided easy access to spin off both wings. I was able to vary my net clearance easily and could play balls with a wide variety of different margins. The lower weight made it a bit more difficult to flatten out short balls with authority. Directional accuracy with the racquet was solid if not spectacular. There was enough to control to keep the power under control but it wasn’t quite precise enough to attack the lines with a high amount of frequency. The racquet played with impressive stability given its static weight and the target audience should have no problem using it effectively on defense when needed.
Volleys & Serves
At net the Ultra 108 plays an aggressive power game. It maneuvers into position quickly even with the extra length. I didn’t find it as quick as the 97 or 100 models but its light weight still made it easy to keep up during exchanges. The on demand power allowed me to finish balls aggressively and the extra swingweight did a good job pushing the ball through the court. The power was a bit more difficult to control on more delicate volleys as I floated more balls than I wanted to. It also didn’t have as much feel as its 103S brother so drop volleys took some time to dial in. Stability was again pleasantly surprising at net. It held its own when under fire and the extra head size and big sweet spot provided me the ability to extend a lot of points when on defense at net.
Success when serving with the Ultra 108 is going to largely be player dependent. I struggled to control the high power level on my first serve. It accelerated so quickly that I found myself frequently hitting long. Players with slower swing speeds and abbreviated motions will see gains in their serve speed thanks to the frame’s easy power. Accuracy was also dependent on swing style. I was much more accurate serving with spin serves than I was with my flat serve. I found enough spin to easily control kick and slice serves. The extra leverage from the length gave me some extra pop and movement on my kick serve. My slice serve moved out wide effectively but did not stay as low as it did with heavier models.
The Ultra 108 played with a crisp modern response. The sweet spot on the large head limited the added vibration on off center shots and I found it to be very manageable. It did not play with the same softness as the 103S so it was a bit more challenging to execute touch shots from the back of the court and at net. The vibration sent through the handle was pretty limited with the CushionFoam and players should experience limited amounts of shock transmission.
For players who need free power and a racquet that swings effortlessly, the Wilson Ultra 108 is an excellent option. It plays with power and spin off the ground and offers stability that belies its light weight. Add to that its ability to manage net play and its serving versatility; and you have a very strong option for beginners looking for something to give their game some extra edge.
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.