Wilson BLX: evolution or flavor of the year?

The new Wilson BLX racquets have been out for a couple of months now, so time to see what BLX did to the classic frames and how a some of the new racquets feel.  You can read a couple paragraphs about the new material on Wilson's website.  I'm sure the marketing folks have been very excited creating a lot of hype around volcanic rock and gold fibers - but how do the racquets do on court?

For a first demo round, I picked the folowing frames:

From Racquets

Federer's weapon of choice has always felt great to me, until actually hitting a ball :)  I've been hoping for a softer version for a long time, so maybe this is the one!

As for the 6.1, I did enjoy my nCode for a couple of years and played some good matches with it.

The specs of the new black-yellow "Pro Tour" promised a pleasant hit.

Finally, Justine Henin's comeback frame seemed interesting to me too: some extra length and a relatively open string pattern, plus Justine came back with a more aggressive style of play and pretty crips volleys.

My impressions after taking the demos out for a couple of hits:

Wilson Six-One Tour BLX (Roger Federer's racquet, at least officially)
  • Same great feel as always when you pick it up.  Does not seem quite as stiff as the N and the K predecessors.  Great control, but can't see myself putting someone under serious pressure from the baseline with it.  If you have refined technique and like to win with control & finesse, this one might be for you.  Don't string it too tight and remember to keep a loose arm :)
Wilson Six-One 95 BLX (16 x 18)
  • Liked it a lot.  Even tightly strung it was comfortable to play with.  Might be the best volley racquet out there, rock-solid.  For me, it felt great for long baseline swings, like a one-handed backhand.  I did see someone with a compact swing hit the fastest forehand I have ever seen, so that seems to be possible too :)  As always, I appreciate the open string pattern for some extra bite, and an easier string job. 
Wilson Pro Tour BLX
  • Friendly feeling control racket, reminded me a bit of my beloved Hyper Carbon 6.5 which I played for a record ~5 years.  Personally, I'd prefer a more open string pattern, and I don't think I could hit winners from anywhere on the court.  However, I would enjoy casual hitting or teaching with this stick.  Don't think that Juan Martin del Potro can hit as hard with the stock version, so if he's playing something like this racquet, my guess is that it's very much customized and a lot heavier.
Wilson Tour BLX
  • Not bad.  Quite powerful and swings nicely.  When I pick up a slightly longer racquet I tend to find the sweetspot more easily, and no exception here.  Could imagine more baseline rallying or playing up to 4.5 guys with it.  Don't think it will be versatile enough for me stand up against 5.0+ players.  Might improve the game for folks with long swings and a baseline game, especially on clay or hard court.
    All in all, I agree with other opinions posted on the web that the new BLX frames dampen vibrations (and feel) a little bit more than the predecessors.  Personally, HyperCarbon still remains my favorite Wilson frame series - special feel, solid stability, and ample power.  I'd be surprised if Wilson kept BLX around for more than a year and built on it, but happy to be proven wrong ;)

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