Wilson Ultra 103S
The Ultra 103 S was a dream to hit with on groundstrokes. The shape of the head is not quite as round as the Steam 105S that I have been currently using, both have the 16/15 pattern but the mains of the Ultra 103S are millimeters closer together, giving you the same spin production with a tad bit lower trajectory. I felt I could flatten the ball out when needed and still have some semblance of control, still this frame is not geared to flat hitting in general, it is for aggressive topspin or the savvy slicer and dicer. The cushion foam handle made the frame feel more solid than the previous Juice line and it did not feel as stiff as the Juice 100S. My test sample had Lux element and while I loved the playability of the string, it did lose its ability to snap back in to position rather quickly. After 2 hrs the strings needed to be straightened a bit, not like a multi but I get longer wear out of 4G or Kirshbaum pro line X.
Serves were another strong suit of the Ultra 103S. The spin and power were there when I wanted it and the balance of the frame felt better than the Juice 100S or my customized Steam 105S. The extra 1/4 inch length really gave me more consistency and leverage.
Returns were solid feeling with this frame and easily controlled as long as I blocked them or made sure I added spin to keep them in my target zone. I did lose a little control when going after flat returns on second serves on my backhand side down the line. I had to add some spin for consistency, this is where I typically have issues with the 16/15 pattern, but the intoxicating spin production outweighs my low percentage return.
At the net the 103S is quite capable with its firm solid feel. First volleys are a breeze as well as put away power. The down side is in the touch department, this is where I wish the frame had a little more flex.
Specialty shots were a mixed bag with the 103S. Anything that requires spin such as angles on passing shots, topspin lobs, and slice were great due to the amount of spin you are able to produce with the frame. Touch and feel shots that do not need fuller swings, like drop volleys and guiding balls around the court were a bit tougher due to the open pattern and balance of the frame.
What impressed me about the frame was that I could play with it without customization, which is rare for me considering the lighter weight of the frame. I needed to customize the Steam 105S and Juice 100S to make them feel more solid. This frame felt good enough in the stock form for me due to the added length, cushion foam in the frame and balance. I also liked that the head shape worked well with the 16/15 pattern adding some needed control to the string pattern.
The strength of this frame is also its weakness. The string pattern does a great job in the spin department, but will still go through strings quickly, and the frame needs to be firm to offset the open pattern. I would like to see this exact frame with a 16/19 and 64 RA for players who hit a flatter ball or want to use a multifilament. The 16/15 pattern pretty much forces you to use a poly.
This racket is great for any player that wants to add spin to their game. It is capable from all areas of the court and is a definite upgrade in the feel department from the Juice series. I felt like I couldn’t miss a groundstroke as long as I added some spin to the ball.