Released in 2019, the original Wilson Clash took the tennis world by storm.
Forgiving, powerful, 100 square inch frames had been commonplace since the early 2000s, but were notoriously uncomfortable, sometimes harsh in their feel and transmission of energy through the arm. Traditional tweeners like the Pure Drive, Wilson Ultra and Head Extreme read exceedingly high on stiffness scales. It’s what turned those frames into true powerhouses, but also what caused many players to turn away after a few too many uncomfortable off-center hits.
In creating the original Clash, Wilson maintained most of the features on those tweeners, but dramatically reduced its stiffness, creating one of the softest, most comfortable rackets on the market. The Clash dethroned its competitors by becoming the best selling racket for nearly two years. Finally, the long-awaited Clash V2 has arrived.
Here’s what the Wilson Clash 100 V2 has in store for you.
Traditionally, soft rackets had come in the form of thin beamed, heavy weighted, small head-sized precision instruments. For many purists, a racket should only flex in the mid-50s if it has a razor thin beam and a hefty swing weight to maintain stability in those noodle-like frames. Thick-beamed, light rackets are not supposed to be soft; that would simply make them too unstable.
To combat this, Wilson developed technologies FeelFlex and StableSmart, in the Wilson Clash 1.0, which targeted adapting the racket’s flex to the individual player. In theory, for beginner and intermediate athletes with a shorter and slower stroke, the Clash will flex comfortably, pocket the ball for a longer period of time and shoot it out with the power of a light, tweener racket. For those advanced players with more modern fast groundstrokes, the technology will flex a lot, maintaining its comfortable response, but will also push back, a sensation more in line with a stiffer frame, in order to produce the necessary power.
Many advanced players found the response of the Clash V1 a bit too unfamiliar. These technologies led to a “bottoming out” sensation with that final pushback making many feel like they had reached the end of the frame’s flex, rather than an intended technological creation. It was still comfortable, but the Clash V1 felt almost mushy, and at the end of that mush was a roadblock in the way of total connection to the ball on the stringbed.
With the release of the Clash V2, Wilson added its patented FortyFive braided carbon layup, already found on the Pro Staff and Blade lines, with claims of added stability, and a better feel for the modern game, all the while maintaining the core features of the original Clash. All those things sound good, but how did they actually perform?
After my first forehand with the new Clash,
I instantly felt the difference.
While I didn’t dislike the old version, it wasn’t the racket for me. I felt a bit lost in the stringbed and often launched the ball around the court. With this one, I felt instantly more connected to my shots. The flex of the racket is crisper, sharper, and more precise than in the V1. The sweet spot is still big and the racket is extremely comfortable, but the overall experience of hitting powerful groundstrokes has significantly improved. The racket flexes in a more traditional way, with that feeling of bottoming out nowhere near as prevalent as on the previous version. For a racket as light (295 grams) and as soft (55 RA) as the Clash 100 V2, it is stable and responsive, and can keep up with fast paced, heavy baseline play. It is still foreign to me to feel such a soft flex from such an inherently powerful and thick frame, but the V2 has certainly gained in its connection to the ball.
While all the technological bells and whistles of this racket make it a unique experience, this frame still shares many features with other 295 to 305 gram, 100 square inch, 16x19 rackets. The Clash is extremely spin friendly, with a high launch angle almost begging for a windshield-wiper groundstroke motion. When hitting hard with the Clash, it will be difficult to maintain control without putting a high number of RPMs on your shots. The Clash also moves through the air very quickly. Not only does it have a low static weight, but it also has a relatively low swing weight of 304 strung. For those of you reading this and thinking, “I don’t hit very hard and don’t use a lot of spin”, don’t worry. It is the adaptive technology of this racket that makes it so accessible to different varieties of players. You only need the spin if you hit hard. If you hit slower, flatter balls, the racket will have enough control to keep your shots within the lines. However, if your game is centered on precise, flat, powerful groundstrokes, I would advise you to look elsewhere; the racket is certainly not “point and shoot.”
With its open string pattern, thick beam and light weight, the Clash 100 V2 doesn’t necessarily have specs synonymous with those scalpel-like, volley frames. And this racket, more than most in its spec range, does seem to lack some connection to the ball at the net. It is still relatively stable, but its new school feel doesn’t translate to a racket that encourages confidence in the volley. That’s not to say this racket can’t volley a ball; of course it can, and the low flex will lead to a decent amount of ball pocketing on contact. Technique will just be all the more important to overcome the imprecision of the Clash 100 V2 at the net.
Slicing with the Clash is a similar story to volleying with the racket. For those of you that love a low hanging, loose and confidence-inducing slice, this racket simply doesn’t have it. Its open stringbed tends to grasp and launch the ball rather than punch through it like more slice-friendly frames. Again, the Clash doesn’t feel the best at slicing, but with the proper technique, it will do just fine.
Because of its low static and swing weight, the Clash can be whipped through the service motion very quickly, generating a lot of racket head speed. With its thick beam and the stable response, it thunders flat serves off the stringbed, similar to other, stiffer rackets in its spec range. The Clash 100 V2 does have a very unique sound, that is all the more apparent when serving (the hardest shot in tennis). There is a distinct “thud” denoting when proper contact is made in the sweet-spot. Second serves are fantastic with the Clash. Its open pattern and low flex come together in grabbing at the ball and shooting it out with loads of spin, giving it that little bit of extra hop off of the bounce.
The stable and soft response of the Clash 100 V2 also make it an easy racket to return with. Many stiff tweeners can feel harsh on returns, when contact isn’t perfect. The Clash quite simply never feels harsh, but it also maintains the stable response that those tweeners have when returns are hit properly.
The “racket revolution” Wilson claimed in 2019 certainly came to fruition with the Clash V1’s overwhelming popularity. The biggest issue with that racket was its lack of top end, hard hitting potential. While the V2 may not feel traditional in any sense of the word (and the Clash never will), it has taken a massive step in the right direction if the line hopes to peak the interest of advanced and expert players. The racket has maintained all of the core elements that made its predecessor such an outstanding option for so many, but significantly improved on the aspects that could open it to a whole new market.
The Clash is now available, get yours today!