Wilson Shift 2023 [REVIEW]
Tennis Racquets

Wilson Shift 2023 [REVIEW]

Looking for a racket with an incredible amount of spin, but which still allows very aggressive and flat balls? The Wilson Shift is what you’re looking for!

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  • The most important thing about the Wilson Shift
  • One of the best rackets for heavy spin moonballs
  • Very hard frame that puts strain on the arm
  • Extremely variable play via novel frame technology

What’s a “Shift”?

Phase 1

Wilson sent the Shift prototype to some test players in early 2023. They could then use a QR code printed on the racket to send their feedback to Wilson. 

Based on this feedback from the first phase of testing, Wilson decided that the entire Shift concept had potential and that it should move forward with the project. 

 

Phase 2

The second phase was started with a limited release of the SHIFT to get a wider range of feedback. And that’s how it was born: the Wilson SHIFT.

The Wilson Shift is the latest model from Wilson.
The complete name is actually Wlabs Project Shiftbut here in the article simply “Wilson Shift”
The Wlabs is a kind of research department within Wilson, which develops so-called concept rackets.

So the Shift is a concept racket with which Wilson wants to test a few new technologies.

It fits right in between the Clash (lots of power, medium control) and Blade (lots of control, medium power) in Wilson’s racquet lineup.

Wilson SHIFT 315

What’s new with the Shift 2023?

Normally I compare the new model with its predecessor here with a table. However, since the Shift is the first of its kind, there’s nothing to see here 😛.

Technologies in the Wilson Shift

Here are once all the technologies (there is only one) in the Shift easily understandable explained:

 

Lateral Bending

How does Patent Pending Frame Design work?

So first I should mention that this technology doesn’t have a name yet, because the patent is pending but not through yet. As soon as it is, I’ll change the name here.


Patent Pending Frame Design in the Shift is actually an innovation that I have never seen before in a frame. The Shift not only bends (minima) from back to front (like a catapult), but also from bottom to top.

 

What does Patent Pending Frame Design do for me?

The supporting movement from bottom to top increases the topspin and changes the departure angle of the ball significantly upwards. 

Design

The Wilson Shift racket is an excellent choice for players who appreciate a traditional design and a solid feel. An outstanding feature of the racket is its constant width, which gives it a very comfortable feel in the hand.

The head shape is also well thought out and has a classic look without being too big or too flashy. Something different for a change, reassuringly classic and no “teardrops” or Yonex shapes.

The overall design of the racket is sleek and attractive, with a pearlescent finish that catches the eye and adds a touch of elegance.

From a purely visual point of view, an excellent choice for players who value a traditional design.

Variants

So far, you can buy the Wilson Shift in the following variants:

  • Wlabs Project Shift 99/315
  • Wlabs Project Shift 99/300

 

Specs

Shift 300 Shift 315
Head 99 in² 99 in²
length 27 inch 27 inch
string pattern 16×20 18×20
Balance (strung) 32.5 cm 32.5 cm
Balance (unstrung) 31.5 cm 31.5 cm
Weight (strung) 11.15 oz 11.68 oz
Weight (unstrung) 10.58 oz 11.11 oz
Swingweight 319 333
RA Rating 69 hehe 70

Pro Players

Currently, no professional plays or promotes the Wilson Shift.

Wilson Shift 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

400

Hits per Racket

6

Hours Tested

438.491

Readers

Groundstrokes

Forehand

Right from the start, the Shift felt very good on groundstrokes, especially on the forehand. That’s probably because I play a lot of topspin.

When you play the shift, you will immediately notice how high the balls go off the bat. 

That’s nothing special at first, but the ability to play significantly flatter balls with the smallest of changes almost feels like switching clubs between two shots.

Flat strokes with a slightly more open grip and little spin I could not control at first. The Shift has a lot of power due to its very stiff frame and in my opinion can only be controlled with spin.

Other testers immediately coped with flat strokes, but I can only share my experiences and they looked a bit different.

After some time on the court, however, slightly flatter and more aggressive clubs felt better and there were no more unwanted surprises, such as balls landing 2 meters out.

 

315

The heavier 315g racket has a very tight 18×20 string ratio, which gives it very good directional control. My forehand had consistently good length.

However, the high trajectory of the frame is extremely unusual for such a control-oriented racket. Nevertheless, a very interesting combination and definitely rather a plus!

The spin I can play with the Shift is decent, comparable to one of my favorite rackets for the “heavy” ball, the Extreme Tour.

 

300

The slightly lighter 300g Shift has a more open 16×20 string ratio. It is much more user-friendly than the heavier 315 and produces even more spin, which I like extremely well!

For me personally, the bat is a bit too light and I adjusted it a bit with 2g of lead on the head. 

Backhand

To control the power from the shift with the backhand, you either need to have good control of the takeoff angle on flat shots, or just pack a whole lot of topspin into the ball.

I tried both variations and was very pleasantly surprised. My strokes had excellent length and lots of spin.

Slice

It’s rare that I play a racket where the slice comes across as well as with the Shift. This is probably due to the extreme spin combined with the new frame.

The Shift has convinced me for the baseline and I like it already better than the Blade!

Volleys

Volleys, great! Especially the 315 is virtually the perfect racket at the net.

 

Serves

At impact, it took me much longer to get a few rockets into the field due to the extreme takeoff angle.

Especially on the second serve I had a hard time, because I can’t put as much topspin into the ball as it flies high.

After a while, however, you get the hang of it and the shift feels good on impact. Not a high-flyer, as with the groundstrokes, but definitely not bad either!

Returns

I was able to block fast serves well and return them far to the baseline with only little effort.

I didn’t manage aggressive returns on first serves, but I don’t manage that with my current gamer (Extreme Pro) either! 😛

With the second serves it was a different story. Right from the start, I could either use very unpleasant high spin balls or go for it. If there is enough time, some things can be done with shift.

What I like about Wilson Shift

The Shift has attracted a lot of attention due to its innovative frame shape and geometry, which is different from previous offerings. The unique deformation of the racket is what makes the Shift special, but also very good!

They allow for minimal deformation on contact and provide a lot of power in the strokes.

In addition, the lateral flexibility of the frame provides high stability while achieving a higher takeoff angle and more spin. Unusual, but very good!

Thanks to its high RA value, the Shift naturally has the usual advantages of hard frames. What surprised me a lot is how soft the frame feels, despite being so stiff on paper.  

With a racket as high RA as the Shift, stringing tension determines how the racket feels and plays more than soft racket frames. Some racquets, like the Ezone, feel muted regardless of what string or tension you use.

So if you do test the shift, remember to get out what you put on it.

 

Tour

If the Pro is too heavy for you and your arm, the Tour is probably a better choice at 295 grams.

 

MP

The MP is another 10 grams lighter, but not as control-oriented as the other two variants.

Another advantage on the Gravity is that the MP and Tour variants are great for modifying. 

What I do Not Like about the Wilson Shift

The obvious first. The Shift is deadly with a high RA-rating for players with arm problems.

I don’t think anything is really bad (as long as your arm cooperates). Of course, the behavior of the frame and the extreme differences in the launch angle of your balls is very unusual, but there are certainly enough players who are looking for exactly that.

A tip for you and your stringer:

The Shift has a unique 18×20 string pattern because it has 10 mains at the beater heart. Therefore you have to start stringing at the bottom of the beater heart and not at the top as usual.

20 minutes saved!

Who is the Shift for?

If you manage to use the frame technology from the Shift, it is certainly worth a test.

And how do you get the frame to do that?

In which you swing more vertically than horizontally, aka. play topspin!

For this type of player, there are of course others (Pure Aero, Extreme Tour), but the Shift virtually “shifts” to a different club depending on the type of stroke. 

So if you like to sprinkle in a forehand board and then just play moonballs again for now, the Shift is made for you.

The Shift is definitely designed for modern players with topspin and a higher trajectory. At the same time, it also works great on flat balls, especially slice, which is also thanks to the frame technology.

Regardless of the type of player you are, you should only choose the Shift if you can generate a decent tempo with your swing. The whole technology of the shift shows its effect only then.

Who is the Shift not for?

If you are someone who hits the ball extremely flat, this racket is definitely not the best choice for you, as you can really feel the ball being picked up in the stringbed, making it difficult to control the trajectory of the ball.

Especially without spin, no chance!

If your goal is not to produce a heavy ball with a lot of topspin that flies 2-3 meters above the net edge, the Shift is not the right choice for you. 

Since probably rather worth a Wilson Blade or HEAD Prestige.

The Shift is not a good choice for beginners due to its weight and frame hardness.

If you’re a beginner looking for a racket, you’ll definitely find a better racket than the Shift in my article The Best Tennis Racquets for Beginners 2023.

Should I switch to the new Shift?

Since this is the first Wilson Shift, the question is more about whether it’s worth upgrading from your current racket to the Shift.

If you play rackets like the Babolat Pure Aero, HEAD Extreme (Tour) or Tecnifibre 305, a test could definitely be worthwhile.

For topspin, the racket plays very similar to those mentioned above, but offers new options for aggressive, flat attacking balls.

Questions?

Of course you can also ask me questions about the new Wilson Shift aka. Wlabs Project Shift 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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