Wilson BLX Six.One Team 95 Tennis Racquet
Starting with the nPS series almost 10 years ago, Wilson has endeavored to put Six.One feel and control into the hands of players wanting a lighter-weight frame. This year’s version, the BLX Six.One Team, carries on that tradition with an interesting twist.
There are a lot of players out there wanting a control-oriented frame that just aren’t strong enough to swing one that weighs 12 ounces or more. For them, Wilson has made the Team a full 1 ½ ounces lighter than the standard-issue Six.One. Coming in at 10.2 ounces unstrung, it has a lot less weight to swing. To stabilize the frame, Wilson has clustered most of that weight above center, as the Team balances out 1 point head light, a full 8 points (1 inch) closer to the center of the frame than its “big brother”. This is good because a light frame with a low balance point would have very little stability. That higher balance point should help stabilize the top of the hoop. Beams are slightly more narrow at 21mm (vs 22), which should improve comfort at a slight loss of power.
Flex is also very low at 64, and swingweight is a more manageable 319. The interesting thing about the 2012 version of the Six.One Team is the more open string face. While it has always used an 18x20 string pattern in the past, the Team now sports the 16x18 pattern. Is Wilson on to something with this switch?
The first thing you notice about the new Team is the greater spin available from the open string pattern. Like the 16x18 version of the standard Six.One, you can really feel the string bed grab the ball and send it spinning back out. Combined with the easier-swinging weight, I feel I can explode on the ball with topspin from either side, really make my groundies jump.
The open-patterned, soft-flexing, narrow-beamed frame is as friendly as you could ask for from the backcourt, absorbing shock very well even on shots hit at the top of the head. Power is lost here, as you’d expect, but there is minimal shock and not as much torque as I’d anticipated.
The Team’s lower weight makes up for its higher balance point nicely, and it offers fine maneuverability at net. The open string bed allows for adequate power on put-away volleys, and also allows you a deft touch on angled and drop volleys. The recoilweight (resistance to “kicking back” in your hand) is a little low, and I found it a hard to control on the hardest-hit passing shots. Otherwise, performance at net was fine, even on rapid-fire doubles points.
Serving was a little bit of a mixed bag, as the Team’s light weight made for great slice and kick serve action, but the power level on flatter serves was lacking. Going back for “scissor kick” overheads was a breeze, the light weight once again enabling me to get the racquet up and through even on balls behind me.
The Team’s commitment to comfort is evident even in its choice of grip. Instead of using the Pro Hybrid grip, Wilson has made the good choice of outfitting the Team with their Performance Hybrid grip. Based in polyurethane instead of leather, it has a more plush, comfortable feel, and it also absorbs shock better. Edge definition is not as good, but it may be a worthwhile sacrifice for its target player. The Team also avails itself of Wilson’s new Amplifeel technology, placing Basalt fibers in the handle to dampen out even more vibration. All told, the Team’s handle is as comfortable as you could find.
The bumper guard is fine, as well, with a good depth to the string groove to withstand many hours of hard net play. The Team has the standard 2012 Six.One red and white paint job that is sure to be an eye-catcher.
I just want to add a thought on the string pattern. If you break a lot of strings, the 16x18 pattern on the Team will not help you in this regard. Go up a gauge in your string, or switch to something more durable, and enjoy the softer feel and extra spin potential of the open string face.
Wilson has made some worthwhile updates to its Six.One series, and the Six.One Team has been nicely enhanced, as well. An open, more spin-friendly string pattern combines with Amplifeel technology to make an already comfortable frame even more forgiving. Six.One devotees will love it, and it should bring more players into the fold.