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Wilson Pro Staff V14 X

Wilson goes big for the first Pro Staff release in the post-Federer era. They're aligning the racket closer to the modern game and giving us a 100-square-inch model in the brand-new Wilson Pro Staff X.
Wilson Pro Staff V14 X Featured Image

The Pro Staff line is about as legendary as they come in the tennis world, but for the first time in almost 35 years, it's lacking a figurehead carrying it to success. First, it was Pete Sampras who swung his Pro Staff 85 from birth to extinction, and then came Roger Federer.

It was almost as if the legendary American literally passed a baton to the Swiss. Federer first played with Sampras' 85, then obliterated the tennis world with the 90 before creating his very own Wilson Pro Staff RF 97. Wilson plans to keep the popular Federer frame and the lighter Pro Staff 97, but now, they're releasing a new model to modernize the Pro Staff line.

The Wilson Pro Staff X is a 100-square-inch racket and weighs 315 grams. It has a 16 X 19 string pattern and a 22-millimeter beam. Yes, you read that right; it's a 100-square-inch Pro Staff. For some purists, that may sound like blasphemy, but like with all things in life, you must adapt or die. And that's just what the Pro Staff is doing. 

It was already a massive change going from a 90 square inch head size to a 97, so realistically, this 3 square inch increase shouldn't kill anyone. Give it a shot; I like what Wilson is doing here. Pro Staff users demand the utmost precision and solidity from their frame, and Wilson stays true to that standard with the Pro Staff X.

What the X does is open up the line to a wider variety of people. 97-square-inch rackets are hard to swing; 100s, not as much. It's a more user-friendly version of the racket, and I love that more people will have access to Wilson's legendary silo.

Of course, sacrifices must be made when going to a bigger head size, so does the racket live up to its name? I tested the Pro Staff X with ALU Power and RPM Rough at 53 pounds. 




It's interesting to start a Pro Staff review by outlining its power characteristics, but it makes sense here. You've created a recipe for power when you combine that tweener head size with a 315-gram static weight and a 335-strung swing weight. I immediately felt it when I  took the X off the stringing machine. There's plenty of weight in the head, and just looking at the chunkiness of the beam, I could tell it was going to pack a serious punch.

The Pro Staff X is one of the more powerful rackets I've used recently. It's a rocket launcher that puts a ton of mass behind the ball.

A lot of this power is down to the PWS system. PWS is essentially like adding lead tape to the frame's 6 and 9 o'clock positions and helps make the racket feel super solid on impact. For years it's been one of the driving factors in making smaller Wilson Pro Staffs feel so solid, but on a 100-square-inch racket, it turns into a different beast. Because the sweet spot is quite a bit bigger and the PWS increases the stability, ball pocketing is extremely efficient, and no energy is lost on impact. You can easily let the racket's mass do the work for you and rocket the ball off the stringbed.

It's the easy access to power that also helps make it so forgiving. The sweet spot is big, and even when you don't hit it perfectly, the frame won't punish you.


Is this the most important characteristic of a Wilson Pro Staff? A Pro Staff doesn't give "traditional" control. They aren't soft and buttery like a Head Prestige, but anyone who's used one will tell you they feel a fantastic sensation of control.

For me, control in the Pro Staff line comes down to its consistency and solidity. Because they are solid and stable, you can easily get into a groove where you feel like you won't miss, and every contact with the ball is the same. That is the case on the Pro Staff X.

Now there is a new technology on the X called Paradigm Bending, but it might not sound so new when you read up on what it does. Paradigm Bending supposedly brings the flex characteristic of the Pro Staff X back to the more traditional flex of the Pro Staff 90. It bends more in the throat (69%) and less in the hoop (31%), with increased stability as the main goal. That makes sense: less movement in the hoop means less fluttering, but does it actually work?

There was no previous Pro Staff X (despite being called the V14), so I can't directly compare it to a model without Paradigm Bending. Still, as I have said, it's an incredibly stable racket, so I can only assume the tech plays a role.

The Pro Staff X is also quite soft; it flexes at 61 RA but feels a bit softer. You get an extra sensation of ball pocketing that isn't typical on a racket with a 100-square-inch head size, and while I wouldn't describe it as "point-and-shoot," there's still a good amount of directional control.


Now my experience controlling the Pro Staff X wasn't so good. Because the racket is so heavy in the head, I had difficulty whipping it through contact as much as I would have liked to generate the amount of spin I need to control its power. I prefer a racket that feels a little more snappy, which is definitely not the case here.

I wouldn't go so far as to say it is a "slow" racket, but with its big head size and heavy weight, the number one sacrifice was always going to be maneuverability. It definitely feels like a lot of racket, maybe just too much for me.

The X also has Wilson's signature Pro Staff String Mapping technology. That's Wilson's fancy name for a dynamic string bed that is more open on the outside and tighter in the sweet spot. That gives it such a solid and stable feel, but it also takes away some of the string movement and snapback needed for the highest spin potential.

Keep in mind, it still has a 16 x 19 string pattern, so spin is far from impossible to generate, but it just won't have the same effortless access to RPMs as some other rackets.

Comfort and Feel

The Pro Staff X is so comfortable. The combination of its soft, thin beam and the stable and forgiving feel of its 100-square-inch head makes for one of the most comfortable hitting experiences, and I tried it with two stiff polyesters. It feels softer than its 97-square-inch sibling, but that might be because it doesn't have the same crisp response.

That crispness is one of the feelings I love in a classic Pro Staff, and again, it's a necessary sacrifice when moving up in head size. Because the sweet spot is bigger, you get a slightly less defined "crack" on contact. It still has a good feel, especially for a 100, but not quite comparable to the 97.

Who is it for?

The Pro Staff X does just what it set out to do; open itself up to a wider variety of players. It's more forgiving, stable, and powerful than Pro Staffs with a smaller head, but it doesn't render those rackets obsolete.

If you have a quicker, snappier stroke, you'll still prefer the classic Pro Staff 97 over the X. It's more maneuverable, more responsive, and provides a better feel, but if you swing a little slower and want the mass of the racket to help you out a bit, the X is the perfect option. It's still very much "Pro Staff" in its stability and solidity but in a more user-friendly package.

Final Thoughts

Bringing the Pro Staff's head into the 100 square inches was going to be controversial, but Wilson has knocked it out of the park. I've never been against these brands innovating outside the status quo because they usually know what they are doing, and the X is proof that you can maintain a racket's name while molding it to a different game style. It has its place in the Pro Staff line and doesn't step on the toes of any of the other models; well done, Wilson. Come into the store to grab a demo, or check out the Pro Staff X on our website. 

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