I have had on and off tennis elbow issues ever since I demoed the Babolat Pure Strike a few years ago and although I don’t think the RF97 made the condition any worse, I did think I needed a less stiff racket if I wanted to continue playing tennis for years to come.
I looked at other arm friendly rackets like the Blade 98 and the Clash 100 but I eventually focused on the Wilson Clash 98 as it is the most control focused racket in Wilson’s Clash Series. I loved the control I got from my RF97 so I was looking for a racket that would give me a good level of control but without the stiffness of the RF97. With a stiffness rating of 55, the Clash 98 seemed the perfect fit.
There was a lot of hype around the launch of the Clash Series of rackets so I demoed the racket just to make sure it was a right fit for me. You can read my full review below but the result was that I have now switched from my Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph to the Wilson Clash 98 and I couldn’t be happier.
Wilson Clash 98 Specs
The Clash 98 racket I demoed was strung with Wilson Sensation Multifilament Tennis Strings with a tension of 50 lbs. Below are the factory specifications for the Wilson Clash 98 but bear in mind that quality control issues can cause the racket you actually get to be +/- 10% of the below specs in terms of Strung Weight, Balance and Swing Weight.
|Racket Specs:||Wilson Clash 98|
|Head Size:||98 in²|
|Racket Length:||27 in|
|Unstrung Weight:||310 g|
|Balance:||31.5 cm / 9 pts Head Light|
|Strung Weight:||326 g|
|Swing Weight:||326 g|
|String Pattern:||16 x 19|
|Recommended Tension Range:||21-26kg / 48-58lbs|
Wilson Clash 98 Racket Review
The Wilson Clash 98 really excelled from the back of the court and provided me with a good balance of power, control and spin on both my forehand and my backhand. I also felt it was a lot more forgiving on off center shots than my old RF97.
One thing I always worry about when switching to a lighter racket than my RF97 is that will the lower weight affect the quality of my backhands. With the Clash 98, I definitely thought I lost a tiny bit on the backhand side in terms of control but this was compensated by the additional power I got on my forehand side.
The racket was also good at helping me add some extra topspin on my shots without making any changes to my technique. Many times I would hit a groundstroke and I would think that it was going to sail long but somehow it would land in.
With the low stiffness rating of the racket, I also felt like I could play for hours without having any arm or elbow issues with this racket. It is definitely the most arm friendly racket I have ever played with.
Overall, I would give the Clash 98, 8 out of 10 on groundstrokes.
The Clash 98 felt great with my serve as it gave me the feeling that I could just pick my target and go for it and it would land in the service box. In comparison to my old RF97, I definitely felt like I got a few extra MPH on my serve.
In terms of absolute precision on the serve, I think the RF97 is the better racket but I think the balance of power and control you get on your serve with the Clash 98 will be better for the vast majority of recreational players.
On my second serves, I felt like I was able to get a good amount of topspin so that I could be more aggressive with my second serves.
Overall, I would give the Clash 98, 9 out of 10 on serves.
Return of Serve (8/10)
I had no issues with the Clash 98 in terms of my return of serve as I felt it was a solid racket on both my forehand and backhand returns. I also felt like if I missed the sweet spot, I had some chance of getting my return over the net when compared to returns using my old RF97.
Where I really think this racket excelled was returning weak second serves as I felt like I could really go for my shots as I had the confidence that the power and control provided by the racket would put my opponent under pressure.
Overall, I would give the Clash 98, 8 out of 10 on the return of serve.
I really wasn’t expecting the Clash 98 to be anywhere near as good as my old RF97 when it came to volleys. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how good and how stable the Clash 98 was at the net.
It definitely has a different feel to the RF97 and it does take a little time to adjust to it but when you do it is a real weapon at the net.
Overall, I would give the Clash 98, 9 out of 10 on volleys.
Overall Score (8.5/10)
Overall, It is very hard to find anything wrong with this racket as it provides an excellent balance of power, control and spin. The arm friendliness of the racket is also worth its weight in gold as I am now able to play for 2 hours and not feel anything in my arm the next day.
If you are a Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph user and/or you have a one handed backhand and you are looking for a lighter and more arm friendly racket to switch to, then I can highly recommend the WIlson Clash 98.
Where can you buy the Wilson Clash 98
You will find the Wilson Clash 98 in most good online tennis shops like Tennis Warehouse, Tennis Express and Amazon (see link below). Version 1 of the Clash 98 is currently on sale but it is likely that Wilson will release version 2 of the Clash 98 sometime in 2022 but this has not been confirmed yet.
If you want to buy the Wilson Clash 98 and you want to support our site then consider purchasing the racket through Amazon by clicking on the button below as we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.