Wilson Blade 98 18×20 v8

Tennis Racquet

Grip Sizes: 1, 2, 3, 4 (learn more)
Colors: Green, Copper, Black
Finish: Glass
Grip: Wilson Performance Pro
Pre-strung: No
Cover Included: No

Overview   |   Specs    |    Tech    |    Strings

Alternatives    |    Players Endorsing    |     Reviews

Overview   |   Specs    |    Tech    |    Strings    |    Alternatives    |    Players Endorsing    |     Reviews

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By Jon Crim
TennisCompanion

Overview

Two years in the making, the Blade 98 18×20 v8 is Wilson’s latest revision to one of their most popular control-oriented racquets, which launches with a fresh new dynamic green and copper color-shifting cosmetic.

Due to its heavier 11.4 oz (323 g) strung weight, smaller 98in² (632) cm² head size, and thin 21 mm beam, the racquet will appeal primarily to strong intermediate to advanced players who’ve developed sound technique and are looking to maximize control and precision.

The 18×20 is one of two racquets in the lineup with a 98 in² head size, the other being the Wilson Bade 98 16×19. However, this model has a tighter 18×20 string pattern, providing more control, added precision, a firmer response, and a lower shot trajectory.

For its stiffness, the racquet has a low stiffness or RA rating of only 60, meaning the racquet is more flexible than most, providing exceptional comfort and excellent feel that’s ideal for hitting with finesse.

For added stability, the racquet continues to use FortyFive, a technology Wilson previously called FeelFlex. This unique graphite layup optimizes horizontal and vertical flex resulting in a lower stiffness for comfort while preventing twisting to help maximize stability and control.

New for 2021, Wilson introduces their Direct Connec handle, which fuses the butt cap to the racquet’s carbon fiber handle for added stability rather than stapling it, as is common practice for racquet manufacturers.

From the back of the court, the Wilson Blade 98 18×20 v8 offers lower power and a predictable response ideal for accurately placing the ball with depth. With a tighter string pattern, it’s not the most spin-friendly racquet, but it’s more than sufficient in this department.

Hitting volleys, the racquet’s weight and 4pt HL balance reduce maneuverability to a degree. However, it has the added benefit of helping maintain rock-solid stability when facing extra pace from an opponent. It also offers excellent feel, which is ideal for net play.

On serve, the racquet emphasizes control and precise ball striking. It’s not overly powerful, but due to its heavier weight, there’s plenty on tap for players who can generate the required racquet head speed. Fielding returns, the frame is a bit more demanding but rewards early preparation and performs exceptionally well against bigger serves.

Overall, the Wilson Blade 98 18×20 v8 is a terrific option for strong intermediate to advanced players looking for exceptional control.

Specifications

Here’s a table showcasing the Wilson Blade 98 18×20 v8’s specs alongside the seventh generations, so you can gain a sense of what’s changed if you’re considering an upgrade.

SpecBlade 98 18×20 v8Blade 98 18×20 v7
Head Size98 in² / 632 cm²98 in² / 632 cm²
Length27 in / 69 cm27 in / 69 cm
Strung Weight11.4 oz / 323 g11.4oz / 323g
Unstrung Weight10.8 oz / 305 grams10.8 oz / 305 grams
Strung Balance33 cm / 4 pts HL33 cm / 4 pts HL
Unstrung Balance32 cm / 7 pts HL32 cm / 7 pts HL
Swingweight327334
Stiffness6062
Beam Width21mm / 21mm / 21mm21mm / 21mm / 21mm
String Pattern18 Mains / 20 Crosses18 Mains / 20 Crosses Mains skip
String Tension50 – 60 pounds50 – 60 pounds

The Wilson Clash 98 18×20 v8 is available in the standard length of 27 inches and features a smaller 98in² (632) cm² head size with a closed 18×20 string pattern for added control.

For its weight, Wilson quotes the frame weighs 10.8 oz (305 g) unstrung, and the racquet I have on hand comes in very close to spec at just under 10.8 oz or 306 g, which is always appreciated and nice to see.

Some strings weigh more or less than others, but you can add roughly 18 or so grams for its strung weight.

On a related note, keep in mind that a tighter string pattern equates to slightly more string and weight in the head of the racquet when strung, which influences static weight, swingweight, and balance.

Balance or weight distribution throughout the racquet is 7 pts HL at 32 cm when unstrung. After installing strings, expect that to drop to 4 pts HL at 33 cm and a swingweight of 327.

The Wilson Blade 98 18×20 v8 is a high-comfort racquet, so it’s no surprise it features a lower stiffness or RA rating of 60, which falls on the lower end of the spectrum.

Finally, the racquet features a flat 21 mm beam all the way around.

Tech Features

The Blade 98 18×20 v8 features several technologies that help Wilson attain the unique performance and feel for this line of racquets.

However, for the 2021 release, the only new tech featured in this racquet is the DirectConnect handle.

Braided Graphite & Basalt

Like the previous generation, this frame maintains its braided graphite and basalt construction to give the racquet its unique flex and feel, the combination of which enhances control.

FortyFive

To improve vertical and horizontal flex for the modern swing path, Wilson leverages FortyFive, a proprietary technology that also maintains stability.

Parallel Drilling

Historically, manufacturers drilled grommet holes perpendicular to the frame regardless of the location around the racquet’s head. Instead, Wilson implements parallel drilling for the Blade for select grommets, resulting in a more prominent sweet spot and forgiving response.

DirectConnect Handle

Most companies staple their butt caps to the racquet’s handle and, although secure, leaves room for subtle movements. To solve this, Wilson fuses the butt cap directly to the racquet’s carbon fiber handle to eliminate movement and improve stability.

Top Grip Taper

Wilson adds a slight taper to the top of the grip to enhance how it feels to hold the racquet when hitting a two-handed backhand.

Ergonomic Butt Cap

Some butt caps feature a squared-off edge, which can cause discomfort in a player’s hand, especially when first learning to play. Wilson’s rounds the edges of their ergonomic butt cap to improve comfort.

Strings & Tension

Wilson recommends stringing the Blade 98 18×20 v8 with 17 gauge or 1.25 mm Luxilon 4G, a modern polyester that delivers excellent spin, control, and feel, along with above-average tension maintenance.

For tension with Luxilon 4G, Wisson suggests 53 lbs or 24 kg in the mains and crosses. However, they more broadly advise a tension between 50-60 lbs (23 – 27 kg) for optimal performance.

If you’re new to this racquet, I’d recommend you string the racquet for the first time at 55 lbs (25 kg) as a starting point. Then, after hitting with the racquet at this tension, you can adjust up or down to your preference, i.e., lower for more power, higher for more control.

Alternative String Recommendations

Luxilon 4G is an excellent string that some of the tour’s top pros, including the Williams sisters and Grigor Dimitrov, use.

However, if you’re looking for a different string that will pair well with the Wilson Blade 98 18×20 v7, I’d encourage you to check out the following polys, each of which I’ve found to perform very well.

Although my first recommendation for most players using this racquet will be a polyester tennis string, this type of string is stiffer and can be harsh on a player’s arm, causing discomfort over time.

If that’s a concern for you, I have two alternatives to consider. First, you could combine a polyester in the crosses with a multifilament or natural gut in the mains as a hybrid string setup.

If you’re still weary of using any polyester string in your racquet, a control-oriented multifilament is an excellent option that will be more forgiving while delivering less power.

Of course, a high quality softer multifilament is still a viable option if you’re looking for maximum comfort.

Stringing Instructions

Follow these instructions when stringing the Wilson Blade 98 18×20 v8.

  1. Start the mains at the racquet’s throat
  2. When stringing the mains, skip grommets 8T, 8B, 10T, 10B
  3. Tie off the mains at 7B
  4. If one-piece stringing: Start crosses at 8B, tie off at 6T
  5. If two-piece stringing: Start crosses at 8T, tie off at 12B

Key:
T = Top of the Frame
B = Bottom of the frame

Alternative Racquets to Consider

The Wilson Blade 98 18×20 v8 is an excellent control-oriented tennis racquet, but other frames with similar performance characteristics are worth exploring if you’re undecided about this racquet.

Here are a few of my top picks for you to check out.

As a starting point, I’d recommend you check out and compare the specs for each to gain a high-level feel for their similarities.

Players Endorsing

The Wilson Blade is one of the most popular racquets on the pro tour. Here’s a list of players endorsing a model within this family of racquets.

Men (ATP)Women (WTA)
Alex de MinaurAlison Riske
Aljaz BedeneAryna Sabalenka
Alexander PeyaAstra Sharma
Andrey KuznetsovBarbora Strycova
Blake MottJelena Ostapenko
David Ferrer (retired)Kateryna Kozlova
David GoffinKiki Bertens (retired)
Dimitry TursunovLaura Robson
Dudi SelaLauren Davis
Filip KrajinovicMadison Brengle
Guido PellaMargarita Gasparyan
Juan Ignacio LonderoNatalia Vikhlyantseva
Jiri VeselyNina Stojanovic
Karen KhachanovPaula Badosa
Laslo DjerePetra Martic
Lorenzo SonegoPolona Hercog
Lucas LackoSara Sorribes Tormo
Michal PrzysieznySerena Williams
Milos RaonicSimona Halep
Nicolas MahutVenus Williams
Norbert GombosVeronika Kudermetova
Pablo Carreno Busta
Pedro Martinez
Roberto Carballes Baena
Salvatore Caruso
Sebastian Korda
Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tennys Sandgren
Ugo Humbert
Vasek Pospisil

Please keep in mind that players change racquets periodically, so I’ll do my best to keep this list up-to-date.

Prior Generation Comparsion

If you’re considering an upgrade from the seventh-generation Wilson Blade 98 18×20, check out the following table comparing the two models.

SpecBlade 98 16×18 v8Blade 98 18×20 v8
Head Size98 in² / 632 cm²98 in² / 632 cm²
Length27 in / 69 cm27 in / 69 cm
Strung Weight11.3 oz / 320 g11.4 oz / 323 g
Balance32.6 cm / 5 pts HL33 cm / 4 pts HL
Swingweight317327
Stiffness6160
Beam Width21mm / 21mm / 21mm21mm / 21mm / 21mm
String Pattern16 Mains / 19 Crosses18 Mains / 20 Crosses
String Tension50 – 60 pounds50 – 60 pounds

Aside from the pain job, very little has changed from the last racquet. The only change to the racquet’s tech is its new DirectConnect Handle, which provides a slight stability improvement.

Reviews

What’s your take on the Wilson Blade 98 18×20 v8? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the section below.

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