Wilson launches new 2017 Blade performance line
Wilson has officially announced the introduction of four new high performance rackets to its Blade performance tennis franchise featuring Countervail technology.
(We covered the initial Countervail announcement during the U.S. Open.)
Countervail is a patented, one-of-a-kind, layered carbon fiber, originally designed for the aerospace industry to dissipate vibrational energy in airplanes and space vehicles. Check out the entire Wilson Blade line – looks like the availability date is November 1, 2016.
Wilson Labs strategically placed precise amounts of the new technology into specific areas of each Blade racket frame to give tennis players meaningful and cumulative physiological benefits over time, including maximum energy, particularly in late sets or long matches, and less fatigue. As a result, athletes will have more control over his/her shots and recover from training and matches faster.
Countervail is unlike any racket material ever introduced in the tennis industry in the way it minimizes the effects of vibration. Importantly, this technology is undetectable by a player, which means the feel of the racket is maintained, while control and accuracy is maximized.
ATP ranked #6 Milos Raonic transitioned to his new Blade racket with Countervail in January 2016, (just prior to the Australian Open- a bold choice. Pros typically never mess with their gear in-season, and certainly not prior to a Slam.) He was the first professional athlete to use the technology on tour.
“When Wilson shared this technology with me at the start of the season, I knew I had to have it,” said Milos Raonic. “I made the switch just three days before the Australian Open, which was a risk, but it has paid off. I’ve had the best season of my career, and as I train, practice and play nearly every day, I’ve found that my energy, shot placement and late match power have gotten much better. The best part though, is that my Blade feels the same in my hands. I honestly can’t tell Countervail is in there, but I can feel it working.”
To better understand how Countervail could aid performance tennis players, Wilson collaborated with the University of Minnesota’s School of Kinesiology. They conducted a study with men and women collegiate players, to determine if playing with a Wilson racket with Countervail delivered meaningful benefits. In the study, athletes playing with a racket with Countervail, experienced up to 30 percent less vibrational energy in the racket, leading to 10 percent less fatigue when playing. With greater energy, these players had 40 percent more control over their shots, without compromising feel.
“For years, we’ve heard from players, including Milos Raonic, about the compounding effects of rigorous training, playing and hitting on the body, specifically the hand, wrist, arm and shoulder,” said Hans-Martin Reh, General Manager of Wilson Racquet Sports. “Our Wilson Labs team has continually explored how we could best protect a player’s body from absorbing vibrational energy from every shot. When we discovered Countervail from Materials Sciences Corporation, we knew we had found something special and that was unlike anything in tennis today.”
The newest members of the Blade family with Countervail include the Blade 98 CV (18×20), Blade 98 CV (16×19) and Blade 98S CV (“S” stands for Spin Effect technology). All 2017 Blade models are also compatible with Wilson’s X2 Ergo Handle, which allows a player to create a personalized, optimal feel on two-handed backhands for more power, versatility and feel. The rackets also incorporate Braided Graphite and Basalt construction and Parallel Drilling for enhanced feel and control and an expanded sweet spot for more power and forgiving feel, respectively.
The design of the 2017 Blade carries forward the new design DNA for Wilson performance rackets. This aesthetic features simple, modern, clean lines and bold color accents, matte finishes, a smooth velvety paint, and laser engraving.
And here’s how the testers at Tennis Warehouse view these new releases:
Wilson Blade 98 CV 18×20 Countervail Racquet Review
Wilson Blade 98 CV 16×19 Countervail Racquet Review
Wilson Blade 98S CV (18×16) Countervail Racquet Review
Raonic court image from Facebook. Racquet image and Raonic feature image from Wilson.