Published on May 1st, 2013 | by Greg0
Like Spin From Your Racquet? Meet The Wilson Steam 105S
Speed. Control. Spin. These are the basics of tennis, and generally, you’re going to fall into one of the three camps. If you’re really good, you might be able to get two of the three. Only the professionals can achieve top marks in all three categories, and we confess that we’re not pros here. But when you hit the court, you should definitely bring a weapon of choice that complements your playing style. If you’re a precision or control player, then today’s racquet is probably not your best choice. Most beginners should also aim for something a little more balanced. But if you want some wicked spin that is sure to improve your game, and don’t mind a learning curve, then check out one of the newest tennis racquets (note that we use both spellings of the word intentionally, to make certain that search engines pick up both).
The Wilson Steam 105S (2013) is an interesting beast, a fairly nondescript high-performer that hides some interesting features. The manufacturer’s basic description covers it well: “Steam rackets are engineered for hard-hitting players who use spin to curve the ball’s flight and control the game. Our revolutionary Spin Effect Technology is the first racket system that actually INCREASES the RPM of every shot by maximizing spin-enhancing string “snapback” during ball contact.”
In practice, we found a few things that were definitely impressive, as well as a couple of drawbacks. For starters, most of the players here like spin but don’t focus on it, and the hope was that this racket could make up for some of our shortcomings. It’s a dangerous game though- the first couple of hours were harsh. In service, there is plenty of power, but returns were often overshot, or misplaced. Volleying was better, but the Steam 105S definitely takes some getting used to.
After a few games- and several lost sets- we started finding the rhythm. The initial impression- effortless spin- had been offset by a relative lack of control. But with some time, our returns improved and fewer shots went wide. The sweet spot is fairly large and forgiving, and provided that you are able to reach shots without over-extending and sending the ball careening, the Steam can both accelerate and add a whopping spin surprise that leaves most opponents off-balance. We found ourselves having to hold back a little, in fact. It’s a little bit stiff, and less friendly and approachable than some other racquets in our arsenal, like last season’s Prince EXO3. The slightly smaller headsize (this one is 105 inches per the name) is still plenty large, and it’s also a bit heavier than some we’ve used (289g unstrung). The 105S requires and rewards fast play and attention to each shot.
If your style could be termed aggressive and you want to be a spinmaster, then the Wilson Steam 105S should be your new best friend. Available now, online and in stores, for around $200.