Bottom Line Up Front: The Wilson RF97A is an Awesome racquet! I recommend buying this racquet if you’re an advanced player with sound strokes.
If you’re a beginner or intermediate club player, 3.0 to 4.0, this won’t be the racquet for you.
Today, 22-October-2021, I intensely hit 2 hours and 46 minutes with my new Wilson RF97A.
I didn’t make any modifications to the RF97A even thought it is a bit lighter than I’m use to.As I mentioned in my past BLOG, my Volkl C10 Pro are heavier than my RF97A, so in my case, the weight of the RF97A was not an issue for me.
I only took a 20-second water-break, while I hit with heavy hitters. I was THE constant on my side of the court, as three players rotated in to hit with me.
Novak Djokovic is my favorite tennis player; my second favorite is Roger Federer; and, my third favorite and Alexander Zvarev.
The muscles in my wrists, arms, legs, abdomen, and shoulders were not introduced to heavier weights like most recreational tennis players moving to a heavier racquet like the RF97A — in fact, I’m sure all my major muscle groups, abdomen, legs, arms, shoulders, and wrists, were happy to have a lighter racquet in the RF97A.
So, what was the issue?
The RF97A has excellent plow-through; hence, I had to adjust my timing to adjust for it being lighter than my C10 Pro. Because the C10 Pro was heavier than my RF97A, I was making contact with the ball way too early with the RF97A; I was uncoiling way too early and catching the ball way too much in front of me that the shot would fall to the net or land short into my adversary’s service box.
If you ever experienced a misfire when discharging a firearm, that’s the way I felt with the RF97A — I misfired by uncoiling way too early into my shots.
I had to adjust my uncoiling and keep my wrists laid back just a little longer before uncoiling my body and snapping my wrists forward behind the path of the ball. I had to adjust the timing of my weight transfer of my legs.
Oh man…when I got use to the timing after the first 30 mins and into the duration of my 2 hours and 46 minutes’ session, the RF97A blended very well into my body and became a very fluid extension of my body — smooth as silk, and my shots had the pop that I expected to have with the RF97A.
The racquet was stable, and I did not notice any vibration. I do not use dampeners on my strings.
Also, the RF97A is a new racquet with new technology and new materials when compared to my old graphite C10 Pro, which had thousands of hours on the court and thousands of balls smashing it from heavy hitters from my 25+ years past. So, of course, my C10 Pro has degradation in its structure.
Hell, Serena Williams recommended players to get new racquets every two years.
After I adjusted to the lighter weight of the RF97A, which took me about 30 minutes, it was a sensational experience. It was stable during my volleys, and it was smooth as silk on both wings of my groundstrokes. It had a very distinctive pop, sound, and feel unlike the other new racquets I test drove before purchasing the RF97A.
The smaller head didn’t affect me — my Volkl C10 Pros are 98 square inches, so the 97 square inch in the RF97A wasn’t drastic for me, though I did notice the difference in the smaller sweet-spot and not being able to get away with sloppy footwork.
Marina Navratilova said, “footwork is 70% of the game.”
As the three players rotated to take turns to hit with me, they all commented on the additional punching power they noticed from my RF97A.
“Yeah, [Alfonso] you always had punching power with your C10 Pro; but, with the Fed, I can feel more punching power that’s pushing me to hit off my back foot — your balls are traveling faster and launching full force off the bounce.”
This comment came from my buddy Jonathan — a former division 1 player from University Of Miami. He is in his 30s, and he smacks the snot out of the ball — he has the best footwork I’ve seen — he can give some ATP and WTA players a run for their money. I learned some of my footwork skills by watching Jonathan.
The thing I immediately noticed about the RF97A is the weight is perfectly distributed throughout the racquet, which makes it so nice to swing — I have a full Modern Stroke with a short take-back on both wings. The RF97A compliments and rewards players of my style with control, depth, and power without the player having to work so hard. In fact, I found I ran into problems whenever I forced my shots or was hasty in my stroke-production, which is the reason, I, along with other players that use the RF97A, always mentioned the importance of technically sound groundies and RELAXED tennis strokes.
The weight of the RF97A is so perfectly distributed for my style of play, I don’t need the extra 6 grams — for now, I’m gonna keep the RF97A as stock, which is a wonderful surprise and gift for me!
The other benefit I like about the RF97A is that my defensive backhand flick, when I’m fully extended, as a result of being pulled out wide by my adversaries, is effortless, and the ball travels deep into my adversary’s side of the court. The contact is smooth, and the ball seems to quickly propel off the string-bed.
Occasionally, I will execute a one-handed slice from the back-court…the RF97A feels great doing the slice unlike my C10 Pro. The slice with the RF97A feels smooth at contact — I will use the analogy of a very sharp knife cutting through a slice of paper.
My C10 Pro feels like a not-so-sharp knife cutting through paper. I can feel the roughness of the ball leaving the string-bed, and I must exert some effort into that slice.
I have to adjust my timing on the serve with the RF97A; because, my C10 Pro, at 13.6 grams, is heavier than the RF97A, which resulted in uncoiling too fast and snapping too fast on my service motion.
After hitting with me, Greg mentioned:
“Yeah, when your timing is on, and you make clean contact, that racquet [RF97A] is sending me a deep, fast, and heavy ball.”
Greg is 50 years old — in great shape. He played division 1 at UCSB; and, he has been working with me on tuning my groundies — his principal is to make clean contact and power, control, speed, and weight will all be there.
Some of you wanted a video clip; I will do that tomorrow, 23-October-2021. If it doesn’t rain, I will hit with my buddy, Greg, again, and I will record my session.
I’ve been working on clean contact, and he is absolutely correct.
I am very happy with my purchases of the Wilson RF97A tennis racquets. They are wonderful and useful tools for me as an amateur tennis player in excellent health with solid and sound strokes.
Ha…I got several text messages and emails asking about the stuff that’s in my tennis bag.
I only wear ADIDAS; and, I only use ADIDAS tennis bags. I have a very good reason, but I won’t mention it in this BLOG.
That’s it — nothing special nor out of the ordinary.
/s/ Alfonso Faustino