This week I got to hit the new Wilson Blade 98 16×19 V7 alongside the Clash 98 and really get a feel for the two different racquets. I play with the Clash Tour (check out my Clash 98 review) so the Clash 98 felt super familiar in my hands. I’ve hit a few different iterations of the Blade, but I will tell you this one was my absolute favorite.
Blade V7 vs Clash 98: Play Test Comparison
The new Blade V7 is a scalpel, where the Clash 98 is a sword. If you’ll follow me down analogy lane for just a moment, the Clash 98 can be incredibly precise when used by the right person, but it’s always devastating with its combination of comfort, power, and stability. The Blade is a precision tool no matter who is using it, but it’s not necessarily pretty unless you know what you’re doing.
The Blade and Clash each have eight mains in the throat versus most 16×19 have six, but not all 16×19’s are created equal. The Blade’s pattern is much tighter in the sweet spot of the racquet, really upping the control. The Blade’s swingweight is also almost 10 points higher, and while it still swings easily, the added swingweight and tighter pattern really showed through when I was able to step inside the court and flatten the ball out.
Feel is where the V7 was absolutely stellar. Honest to goodness, if I got to sit down with an engineer and design my perfect tennis racquet I would say, “hit the new Blade. I want it to feel exactly like that.” It’s throat design has an almost box beam, so it’s flex is right where I like it in the lower 60s. The only shot I didn’t feel 100% dialed in on was volleys right at net level, for whatever reason I consistently pushed those long, but everything else was awesome. On low balls from the baseline I would give the Clash the advantage. The super headlight balance really allowed me to whip the racquet around to pick the ball up and over the net. On high balls, the added swingweight of the V7 really helped me power through the ball, and on serve, the slightly denser pattern really let me go after small targets. At net, the Blade really came through with its mix of touch and stability. The Clash felt very familiar all over the court, but the Blade definitely has some areas where it shines brighter.
I will also say, the cosmetic for the new Blade is growing on me. The matte finish is really nice, and has been durable to this point, so I’m pretty pleased with that as well.
Which Tennis Racquet Is Better?
Overall, the Blade 98 16×19 V7 is a racquet designed and built for the player that already knows what they’re doing. Between the added swingweight and more classic feel, all styles of players will find something they really like. The Clash is a pickup and play line of racquets. It’s superb, but lacks a little bit of the top end precision that some players look for. The newest iteration of the Blade 98 has precision in spades with a more classic feel than most modern player racquets. If you’re a player with solid technique and good fundamentals, the Blade 98 16×19 V7 is a must try.