Wilson Pro Staff X / 97 v14 [REVIEW]
Tennis Racquets

Wilson Pro Staff X / 97 v14 [REVIEW]

Looking for a racket that gives you maximum control but also challenges you to the max? The new Pro Staff v14 is a challenge that could be worth it for your tennis.

  • The most important things about the Pro Staff v14
  • The new Pro Staff X v14 is clearly easier to play
  • “Paradigm Bending” technology improves the feel of the stroke a bit
  • Little change from the predecessor v13

What’s new with the Pro Staff v14?

On the whole, not much is new on the Pro Staff v14. No new mold, but a new technology called “Paradigm Bending” for more precision.

The real innovation is the release of the Pro Staff X v14, which is identical to the “standard” Pro Staff 97 v14, but has a 645 cm2 racket head.

“We understand that attracting new players to the Pro Staff franchise is critical to the continued success of this iconic racket, and we have designed the Pro Staff X with this in mind. Our goal is to provide players with the best of both worlds: the legendary Pro Staff feel, combined with modern technology and design.”

– Rodrigo Mariz, Wilson global product specialist

Here is an overview of the new and old technologies in Pro Staff v14 compared to the old v13.

 

Technologies Pro Staff V14 X Pro Staff v14 97 Pro Staff v13
Paradigm Bending
BRAID 45
String Mapping

What’s a “Pro Staff”?

The Pro Staff is an absolute legend among Wilson racquets and has been used by the best of the best, such as Roger Federer, Chris Evert, Roger Federer, Stefan Edberg, Roger Federer, Jim Courier, Roger Federer, Steffi Graf and Pete Sampras.

That’s a total of 117 Grand Slam titles!

Did I mention that Roger Federer plays the Pro Staff?

The Pro Staff has been sold by Wilson for 40 years now and is known for its Kevlar frame and incredible precision.
So whenever a new Pro Staff is announced, the tennis world looks very closely.

In this case, I am the tennis world and look even closer.

Technologies in the Wilson Pro Staff v14

Here are once all the technologies in the Wilson Pro Staff v14 easily understandable explained:

Paradigm Bending

How does Paradigm Bending work?

Paradigm Bending is a new construction of carbon in the frame, which increases flexibility in the joint between the club head and neck.

 

What does Paradigm Bending do for me?

The increased flexibility is said to further improve the precision and feel of the v14.

 

BRAID 45

How does BRAID 45 work?
Through BRAID 45, the graphite and Kevlar fibers are arranged at a 45 degree angle to allow the frame to deform in multiple directions, making it even more flexible.

 

What do I get out of BRAID 45?

Braid 45 keeps the ball significantly longer in the racket and increases control and precision

 

String Mapping

How does String Mapping work?

String Mapping actually only describes a frame where the distance between the eyelets has been reduced. This makes the string bed look much narrower.

 

What is the benefit of string mapping?

Just as a tighter string ratio (e.g. 18×20) increases precision, so does string mapping.

Design

The design of the Pro Staff v14 polarizes about as much as BMW’s new “nostrils”.

Wilson has opted for a dark brown-orange tone, which should be very reminiscent of the group’s original colors.

Variants

So far, you can buy the new Pro Staff v14 in the following variants:

  • Pro Staff 97 v14
  • Pro Staff 97L v14
  • Pro Staff X v14
  • Pro Staff 25 v14

Specs

PS v14 97 PS v14 97L PS v14 X
Head (cm²) 626 626 645
Head (in²) 97 97 100
Length (cm) 68.58 68.58 68.58
Length (in) 27 27 27
String Pattern 16 x 19 16 x 19 16 x 19
Strung Balance (cm) 32 33.5 32
Strung Balance (pts) -7 -2 -7
Strung Weight (g) 330 305 330
Strung Weight (oz) 11.64 10.76 11.64
Taper System (mm) 21.5 FB 23 21.5 FB
Unstrung Balance (cm) 31 32.5 31
Unstrung Balance (pts) -10 -6 -10
Unstrung Weight (g) 315 290 315
Unstrung Weight (oz) 11.11 10.23 11.11

Pro Players

These players “play” or promote the Wilson Pro Staff 97 V14:

Please note that the rackets are most likely special frames that are not available in stores. They simply look like the Pro Staff v14 as the racket has been given the matching paint job by Wilson.

  • Ons Jabeur
  • Petra Kvitova
  • Daniel Evans
  • Grigor Dimitrov
  • Kyle Edmund
  • Reilly Opelka
  • Roberto Bautista Agut

Wilson Pro Staff X / 97 v14 2023 Review

Finally, let’s get to the important part that you’re probably here for. The test!

Independent & Unbiased

All products featured on FourtyLove are tested independently by me. I do not favour any brands nor do I receive any money from brands influencing my results. I might earn a small commission if you buy products through my affiliate links.

2

Rackets Tested

500

Hits per Racket

8

Hours Tested

446.989

Readers

Groundstrokes

The first thing I noticed when breaking in the Pro Staff 97 v14 is how long the ball stays in the racquet and how good that feels. It feels like you have absolute control over the ball.

Right after that, I noticed how low the ball comes out of the racket, because at first I just hit it into the net.

Due to the even softer and more flexible frame, there is hardly anything left of the already low spin potential. My normal heavy topspin balls make as little sense with the Pro Staff v14 as they did with all 13 versions before it.

But you don’t buy a Pro Staff for that, but for precision and “touch”. 

The distinctly flat forehands with little spin feel insanely good with the v14 and are just plain fun. However, when things get a little tight and the ball isn’t hit perfectly in the sweet spot, the racquet lets you know.

Volleys

The extreme precision of the Pro Staff v14 is especially evident on volleys. The racket is incredibly stable in the point of impact and is really fun at the net.

 

Serves

Pro Staff 97 v14

When I hit the ball correctly, serves are absolutely top notch with the PS 97 v14. The second ones with a lot of kick work, but aren’t particularly good because the small racket head just isn’t designed for such “wipe” motions.

 

Pro Staff X v14

With the X v14, both serves are much easier and I didn’t feel a big difference between centrally hit balls between the two frames. Here I would go for the Pro Staff X every time.

 

Returns

With the 97 Pro Staff I had a lot of problems with the returns, because I simply didn’t have enough time to get such a less forgiving club well behind the ball.

If by chance I was ever right, the v14 97 is the perfect bat.

 

Pro Staff v14 X

With the Pro Staff X v14, the returns are much easier and still very precise.

What I like about Pro Staff v14

Pro Staff 97 v14 

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

That’s about how Wilson has been treating the Pro Staff for years, and that’s a very good thing, because the Pro Staff simply works. The sales figures also show that. 

 

The new Pro Staff v14 feels like the classic Pro Staffs from the 90s through Paradigm Bending, combined with a distinctly modern racket like the Wilson Blade.

 

So, to sum up, I like the fact that not much has been changed on the Pro Staff, because (if you can play it) it’s been a great racket for 40 years.

 

Pro Staff v14 X

I like the X extremely well! Finally there is a Pro Staff for the better mass sport, which does not simply weigh 30 grams less. The weight and especially the swing weight has always been one of the most decisive factors in the Pro Staff, which is why I never saw the Pro Staff L clubs as a real PS.

 

You don’t have to mention that you’re playing the X 😛

you-play-a-pro-staff-v14-meme

With the Pro Staff v14 X, Wilson goes the right way and simply reduces the size of the racket head while keeping the other features as good as possible.

For players looking to make the move from an advanced racket like the Wilson Ultra to a tournament racket, the X is just the ticket.

But also for those who may still play a “real” Pro Staff 97, but in the meantime due to age, or the shortage of time for tennis no longer hit the ball as well as before, the Pro Staff X v14 is the best compromise.

Federer already demonstrated this in 2014 with his racket change from 581cm2 (!!!) to 632cm2.

What I do Not Like about the Pro Staff v14

It’s hard for me to find anything really bad about the Pro Staff. A frame with such huge potential and which has already won so many titles can’t really be bad.

The only criticism for decades of the Pro Staff is that it is very, very hard to play.

But isn’t that what makes Pro Staff so appealing?

And besides, a piece of Pro Staff, with the v14 X, is yes now available to all. 

Who is the Pro Staff v14 for?

The Pro Staff works best when you have time to execute your stroke cleanly and walk through the ball.

And when are you in this situation?

That’s right, when you’re on the offensive!

So the Pro Staff shines for offensive players who want to keep rallies short and like to finish at the net.

Just like all the Pro Staffs before it, what I like most is that if you can control the Pro Staff and use it to its potential, there probably isn’t a better racquet for you.

 

Pro Staff v14 X

What I really like about the Pro Staff v14 X is that it makes the “Pro Staff” feel more accessible to players who aren’t playing at the very highest level.

It is also very nice that the v14 comes with a high swing weight. This will please many players as no modifications are necessary.

Who is the Pro Staff v14 not for?

For most players, the Pro Staff v14 97 is not suitable.

Few players have the footwork, timing, hitting point, arm speed and technique to take permanent advantage of the Pro Staff 97 v14.

The Pro Staff remains the club we all want to play, but shouldn’t.

The Pro Staff v14 also remains a racket that only a very small target group should play. The target group that buys the racket, however, is much larger, thank you, marketing!

However, the Pro Staff v14 X changes that by quite a bit. The X v14 is the Pro Staff we should be playing!

Should I switch or upgrade to the new Pro Staff v14?

Pro Staff 97 v14

If you are currently playing a Pro Staff v13, I would not recommend upgrading. The improvements from v13 to v14 are simply too small to justify 300$ or more.

However, if you still have a v12 in your pocket, I would at least recommend a test of the v14. You’ll like the differences that BRAID 45 and Paradigm Bending have brought.

 

Pro Staff v14 X

Since there was no Pro Staff X before, the only question is which racket is worth switching from to the PS X v14.

A step forward would be to upgrade to the Pro Staff X from racquets like the Wilson Clash 100 v2, Wilson Burn 100, Wilson Blade 104 and all versions of the Wilson Ultra.

Questions?

Of course you can also ask me questions about the new Wilson Pro Staff 97 v14 and Pro Staff X v14 in the comments.

I’m happy to help you out.

Timo GD

32 years old and has been playing tennis since the age of 9. Formerly ranked top 400 in the country and would have surely become ATP #1 if it hadn’t been for something else.

More about Timo

Timo GD

  • Racket
    HEAD Extreme Tour (2022)
  • Strings
    IsoSpeed Baseline Control
  • Dampener
    none, useless.
  • Tennis Shoes
    Nike Zoom Cage 4
  • Racket Bag
    HEAD Gravity Duffle Bag
  • Tennis Balls
    Balls Unlimited Code Black
  • What else?
    Blackroll, headphones and a banana. Absolute must haves.

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