When Wilson produce a new racket, the tennis world sits up and takes notice – and that is especially true with the all-new Wilson SHIFT.
The first concept racket from Wlabs, the SHIFT 99/300 was specifically crafted to provide players with massive spin and controllable power.
Built around the insight of maximum lateral bending and best-in-class torsional stability, SHIFT allows players to hit the ball consistently deep in the court with increased confidence and spin on each shot.
SHIFT 99/300 features a 16×20 string pattern for a balance of control, spin, and power.
There is also a Shift 99/315 version featuring an 18×20 string pattern for enhanced control, giving players a more connected feel upon contact.
THE KEY DETAILS
- First concept racket from Wlabs
- Innovative bending profile built to be stable, yet laterally flexible for controllable power and spin
- 16×20 string pattern provides balance between control, spin, and power
- First racket of its kind to experience lateral bending with minimal torsional bending
- Built and refined with feedback from players worldwide
- Patent pending frame design to allow for an innovative, never seen bending profile
- Sleek arctic prism design creates clean, modern look
THE STORY BEHIND WILSON SHIFT
With testing capabilities hit by the Covid pandemic, Wilson got inventive as they looked to get feedback on the SHIFT.
Late last year, Wilson shipped 1,000 concept rackets to play testers around the world, from Europe to Asia.
The racket itself includes a QR code to allow play testers to both learn about the frame and give pointed feedback via a survey.
Positive reaction encouraged Wilson to release the racket to the public last month.
The Wilson SHIFT is an eye-catching frame.
While the Wilson range has a look that singles them out as very much part of a family of rackets, the SHIFT is a little different.
The colour scheme could be described as silvery blue, with the tone changing as you tilt the racket.
A grey grip on the racket handle perfectly compliment the look, with the iconic W on the strings confirming this is a Wilson frame.
WHO IS THIS RACKET FOR?
The SHIFT is a racket for all.
While the Clash and Blade rackets in the Wilson collection are rackets that offer differing qualities for players, the SHIFT sits somewhere between the two in what it delivers.
A mass market appeal should ensure that this is a big hit for the company that gave Roger Federer and Serena Williams the weapons they needed to become tennis icons.
Intermediate and advanced players should see an improvement in their game when they pick up this racket, with players who enjoy control from the back of the court certain to feel the most benefit.
February Third ⚗️🧪 pic.twitter.com/90dD9BR2fH
— Wilson Tennis (@WilsonTennis) February 2, 2023
SHIFT TEST DRIVE
Tennis365.com was given a chance to test drive the Wilson SHIFT and the verdict is all positive.
With an unstring weight of 300g, this frame is relatively heavy and yet it feels light in the hand.
This allows players to test the full range of motion on the racket, with the ‘bending profile’ that sees the frame shift as you hit a shot offering a thrilling experience.
When you time a shot correctly and make good contact, this racket makes a wonderful clapping sound and gives you extra pop on your shot.
The idea that the frame is moving to add an extra thrust to your shot may sound like a fantasy from a tennis racket designer, but you experience that injection of pace and power when you get your shot right.
This racket gives you great spin and that is especially helpful on the second serve.
There is no lack of power when slamming down a first serve, but the SHIFT comes alive as you arch around the ball for a second serve.
If you are playing on a surface receptive to a kick serve, this racket will give you a chance to get the ball to lift off the surface.
The modern game is dominated by players playing from the back of the court and this racket offers everything you need to thrive.
The noise created by this frame when it makes a perfect contact with the ball is the obvious takeaway from our test, with the ‘pop’ sound a delicious feast to the user.
We also found this racket offered plenty of control on the backhand slice shot, with good spring off the strings allowing players to return balls that are staying low.
This punch you get from the back of the court is also useful when you are trying to finish a point at the net.
This lightness in the hand allows players to be creative at the net, with good touch allowing you to explore the full range of capabilities of the SHIFT.
WHAT THEY SAY
Michael Schaeffer, Wilson senior product manager: “We wanted to work on the way we can innovate and bring products to life. The idea behind WLabs is we can work on something we are excited about and think has legs and get it out to a broader audience than if we would do traditional product development and play testing. Shift is the first product we have used this strategy for, and it is kind of a necessity based out of the pandemic.”
The Wilson SHIFT is a triumph.
Regular users who are used to a familiar look to a Wilson frame didn’t recognise it as part of the family, but the new look adds to the appeal of this frame.
The fact that Wilson are still aiming to add improvements to future SHIFT rackets suggests this is a story that will have additional chapters, but what a start this is.
For any player looking to shake their game up in 2023, they need to give the Wilson SHIFT a test drive.
Check out all the details on the Wilson SHIFT here.