Wilson WLabs Project Shift (2023)
An interesting preview for Wilson, who have decided to introduce to the online market only these two new frames that have come straight out of their design laboratories. The Shift intention is to pursue an innovative concept for the American manufacturer, seeking to propose a product that can complete the already extensive catalogue. We do not yet know what the entire range will look like, and when it will definitively enter the global market, for now we appreciate the design, and the very attractive and bright pearl white colour.
Technical Data Sheet
Static and dynamic measurements taken, as always with great accuracy, allowed us to appreciate a minimal difference compared to the declared data, a symptom of excellent care in the construction phase. What is certainly at the highest level is the racquet’s large sweetspot and stability, in the case of the Shift 315 grams also an excellent power potential. It should also be noted that in both cases the string pattern is not one of the most popular, 16×20 and 18×20 being particular patterns that already denote well-defined aptitudes. Also very unusual is the choice of the 5 (10-string) bridge in the Shift 99/315, probably a consequence of the reduced centre string spacing.
On Court – Pros
Starting with the 300 grams, the easy and immediate feel it gives when hitting the ball is very impressive, the manoeuvrability is really good and the not too heavy head allows you to go fast at any phase of the game. It also maintains a good feeling, and can easily be described as an ‘all court’ racquet.
Switching to the 315 grams, we immediately realise that all they have in common is the construction mould and the colour, this frame is solid and has a high pushing power which is balanced by the 18×20 string pattern, allowing it to push with confidence. Compared to the lighter one it requires to be used firmly, so it returns excellent results on both fast, linear shots and spin, especially in the slices. Used with good technique it is excellent on serves and decisive near the net.
On Court – Cons
Let’s talk about the Shift 300 first, again, with very few negative notes to report. One point that comes out when using it is that the ball doesn’t come out very heavy, certainly fast and deep, but the 315-gram balance will probably be the feature that will most influence the player’s choice or not.
Moving on to the higher-performance 315 gram model, we realised that it is recommended for a high-end competitor, but remains playable even for players used to medium/heavy frames, provided that they prefer the control that an 18×20 pattern provides. In this case the pattern has very little space between the centre strings, so control is assured but topspin spin is to be very difficult to find.
Let’s start with the most versatile racquet, Shift 99/300 is really suitable for a wide range of users, including a female audience who can appreciate the great maneuverability. We recommende The big sister to competitive players with good technique who can move the racquet at adequate speed, but in general those who are used to controlling the action and need absolute precision may find good feel from this new racquet.
For our Play Tests we used Wilson Revolve 125 monofilament, Luxilon Alu Power 120 and Luxilon Element 125. We also tested a hybrid solution with Wilson NXT 130. Always at not too high tensions between 21 and 23 kg.
If the renovation of an existing historical line is in itself an eagerly awaited event, even more the launch of a completely new product on the market creates an even greater expectation. Wilson, is working on a massive social level, with dedicated testimonials and events. Whether one wants to play with the first available version, or wait for the next and final one, will be a personal decision.
We thank WILSON ITALIA for the provision of the demo frames (Andrea Peruzzo).
We would like to thank FIT instructors Simone Todaro and Edoardo Pichini of MAX TENNIS TIME for the on-court tests.