As the world’s leading manufacturer of ball sports equipment for almost 100 years, Wilson has earned the reputation for manufacturing some of the most reliable and high-quality tennis racquets available. The KZen Team, does not come short of the reputation. With its 103-inch head size and 10.1 oz. weight (strung), it is one of the most versatile racquets on the market. It blends control and spin with power, and its light weight makes it an excellent racquet for either serve-and-volleyers or doubles players.
Wilson utilizes a blend of graphite and their exclusive Karophite Black technology, a breakthrough in racquet structure. The Karophite Black is created from bonding Carbon Black, Graphite and SiO2 together at the nanoscopic level. The combination creates a denser and stronger racquet matrix. It provides the racquet with more stability than ever before, significantly reduces vibrations, and is an upgrade from their fabled nCode technology.
I found that on my forehand, I could hit a good angle with plenty of pace from pretty much anywhere on the court. The racquet is a bit stiff, but this is mediated by the added sweet spot size offered by the slightly-above-average 103-inch head. Mis-hits were few and far between; my shot was really quite reliable, no matter how hard I swung. The infusion of the graphite and Wilson’s Karophite Black technology also contribute to the racquet’s excellent stability.
The case was much the same on the backhand. I was hitting Federer-like angles, whether I was way behind the baseline or on the run off the court. I could switch from hitting defensive, spin-laden shots while getting back in position to hitting penetrating approach shots and winners at will.
The KZen Team’s biggest strength lies in its volleys. Its light weight and relatively large head size render putting away volleys simple. It was very easy to hit a clean, crisp put-away from pretty much any spot at the net, no matter if the ball had pace on it or not. Drop volleys, possibly the weakest and most embarrassing part of my game, were executed with startling efficiency with this racquet. While not a huge difference-maker, the racquet’s extra .25 inches (it is 27.25 inches long) give you just a tad extra reach for those hard-to-get balls.
The first time I hit a serve with this racquet, I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding!”. But it wasn’t a joke. If used correctly, this frame allows you to hit serves that would make Andy Roddick jealous. (well, maybe not that good, but almost). The ease with which I could approach the net off a strong serve and put away my opponent’s weak return was astounding. Despite the good spin it generates on ground strokes, I had trouble hitting a kick serve, as the racquet had a tendency to flatten my serve out. This was not a serious drawback, though. The placement, power, and consistency were good enough that the spin wasn’t really needed.
Returns of serves are the most crucial part of winning a tennis match. Everybody can hold serve, but you’ve got to do something with your opponent’s serve to win the match. Well, the KZen Team sure lets you do something with their serve-that something being anything you want. You can hit a return winner easily with it, or at least put a good serve back into play.
On the Whole…
If this racquet is any indication of what Wilson’s K-Factor line has in store, then sign me up! Their new technologies are marked improvements over the already-exceptional nCode line. Since this racquet excels in both serving and volleying departments, it would be a wise choice for players who spend the majority of their time at the net. If you are a fan of stiffer racquets, this racquet is a dream come true.