Pro Staff 97 v13 Specs & Technologies
The 2020 Pro Staff 97’s specs and technologies combine for a racquet that’s responsive, yet delivers exceptional control.
Let’s start by looking at the racquet’s specifications, which are useful to gain a sense of what to expect. However, while helpful for comparison, they won’t tell you how a racquet will feel, so I encourage players to demo a racquet whenever possible.
For the most part, the Pro Staff 97 specs remain very close to the prior generation from 2017. As you’d expect, the racquet offers a smaller 97 in² (626 cm²) head size and maintains it’s 27-inch length while also continuing with the 16×19 string pattern.
For its unstrung weight, Wilson markets the racquet at a somewhat heavier 11.1 ounces (315 grams), and although what ships often differ, my Pro Staff 97 came in spot on at 11.14 ounces or 315.6 grams.
Wilson hasn’t always had the greatest track record in hitting these specs, so it’s great to see that this particular offering is accurate.
A racquet’s strung weight will vary slightly depending on the strings you choose and its gauge, but the addition of 18 or so grams is usually fair, which puts this racquet’s strung weight at 11.7 ounces or 332 grams.
The Pro Staff 97 also has a swingweight of 321 and a balance of 10 pts HL at 31.2 cm unstrung. With strings installed, you’ll find the balance reduces a bit to 7 pts HL at 32cm.
A racquet’s stiffness measures how flexible the frame is and contributes to the racquet’s feel and power. The Pro Staff 97 has a mid-range RA or stiffness rating of 66.
You’ll also find the racquet has a control-centric 21.5 mm beam.
Pro Staff 97 v13 Technologies
For the thirteenth generation of the Pro Staff, you’ll find many familiar technologies players have come to expect from this line of racquets.
However, relative to the prior version, some crucial changes are worth noting, directly impacting the racquet’s feel and performance.
Countervail is History
In 2017, Wilson updated the Pro Staff line and introduced a new technology called Countervail, which the aerospace and cycling industries had successfully implemented.
According to Wilson, Countervail intended to reduce player fatigue and improve comfort by reducing vibration passed to a player’s arm. Although their studies suggest improvements with this material, many players, including me, recognized a noticeable change in feel.
In essence, Countervail dampened the racquet’s feedback and subsequently reduced its feel. For some players with arm issues or discomfort, this type of change might be welcome. However, many others, who enjoy the classic Pro Staff feel weren’t fans of the update.
Players who fall into the latter camp will be happy to hear that the latest generation of the Pro Staff line no longer contains Countervail.
Braid 45 (Graphite + Kevlar)
The Pro Staff’s continuous braided graphite and Kevlar construction sits at the foundation of the racquet’s performance and feel, which has been in use since the Pro Staff Original 6.0.
Most racquets layer smaller sheets of graphite to form the produce their frames, which, although a perfectly acceptable approach, changes how the racquet feels and performs.
However, for the latest release of the Pro Staff 97, they’ve tweaked the construction. Now the graphite and Kevlar fibers braid together at a 45-degree angle for enhanced feel and ball pocketing.
The string pattern, which refers to the number of main and cross strings, along with the density or space between each string, directly influences a racquet’s performance – most notably topspin and control.
The Pro Staff 97 maintains its 16×19 string pattern for this release, but they’ve adjusted the string bed’s density by decreasing the space between them for a more tightly woven sweet spot.
String mapping intends to improve the racquet’s control and feel without giving up too much on the spin front.
Perimeter Weighting System
Another time-tested Pro Staff technology is Wilson’s Perimeter Weighting System (PWS), which strategically places extra weight at three and nine o’clock on the racquet’s head to reduce twisting and improve stability.
For the racquet’s thirteenth generation, the Pro Staff 97 retains this part of the formula, which gives the head a distinct style.
Weight, Balance, and Beam
Last but not least, the Pro Staff 97 maintains it’s higher-end weight, significant head light balance, and relatively thinner beam, all of which combine with the technologies mentioned above to produce a feel that’s unique to this family of racquets.