*I was gifted this product in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
One of the questions I get asked most is which racket I use. I like to try new rackets quite often, just to compare how they differ in feel, and performance. I've tried several rackets over the past couple of years. Head Radical, Wilson Serena Blade, and the Solinco Blackout to name a few. The one I always circle back to is the Babolat Pure Drive. It's the one I feel suits me best, feels the best, and is the most comfortable. When a friend told me that the new Wilson Shift 99 V1 tennis racket plays a lot like the Babolat Pure Drive, it definitely peaked my interest.
The Wilson Shift 99 V1 is the epitome of a modern racket. Wilson Labs used computed aided ARC technology to create a frame that bends laterally, helping create massive spin. Think of Rafa Nadal, Casper Ruud, and Iga Swiatek. Their heavy topspin game reduces net errors, their ball grips and kicks up higher, and they can hit crazy angles. Obviously, their perfect technique gets most of the credit, but the Shift 99 V1 technology is made to help maximize this game style. Tested and approved by 500 professional players, the Shift 99 V1 is a total game changer.
Here are the specifications:
Head (sq cm) 639
Head (sq in) 99
Length (cm)68.58 Length (in) 27
String Pattern 16X20
Strung balance (cm) 32.5
Strung weight (grams) 316
Strung weight (ounces) 11.15
Taper System (mm) 23.5
Unstrung balance (cm) 31.5
Unstrung weight (grams) 300
Unstrung weight (ounces) 10.58
My First Impressions
After I received the unstrung racket, I had it strung with my usual stringing preference. Natural gut on the mains, poly on the cross at 53 lb. of tension. The recommended stringing range is 48-58 lb, so my normal tension is within range.
I started off hitting on the ball machine, just to get a feel for it. On low balls, it's light enough to generate great hand speed to lift the ball up and over the net, and I didn't feel any pain in my elbow. Where it really shined was creating deep heavy topspin to push my opponent back and open up the court. After the ball machine, I did a live ball drill and it felt great! I was able to hit great power shots and generate lots of spin.
The real test of course is match play. I played two sets with some really good players and overall the racket felt amazing! My slice serve had great power and pop, and my 2nd serve kicker felt smooth and jumpy. It also felt great at the net, and my overhead had nice pop.
The Final Score
I think I found myself a new racket! I love the feel and adding more spin and depth to my shots is something I'm always working on. It gives me confidence in this goal, knowing that I'm using a racket that's specifically designed for generating more spin.
Last but certainly not least, it's a beautiful racket. Looks may not help you win matches, but we all care about how our tools look, and the SHIFT 99 V1 design is sleek, modern, and slightly futuristic. It all reflects a move toward using modern technology to create the ultimate racket, something that Wilson Labs takes very seriously.