Next up for review we have the Slayer 99. This series of rackets is new to me, so it will be interesting to see how this one matches up to the other rackets i have tested on this blog. First of all this is a UK spec version, and the technical details are as follows.
Frame : 30T HM Graphite + 3K Woven + Carbon Nano Tube
Shaft : 50T HM Graphite + 3K Woven + Carton Nano Tube
Head Shape : ISO, Extremem Power Frame, 72 holes
Length : 675mm
Weight : 90 ± 2g
Balance Pt. : 290 ± 3mm (Even balance)
Shaft Dia. : Ø 7.3mm
Max Tension : 33/36lbs ( Main/Cross )
3 Structural Reinforcements at 12, 4 and 7 O'clock.
The racket is a 2U version so it weighs a little more than the 3U, and the flex is stiff. Apacs have their own flex ratings, where 9 is flexible, and 7 is very stiff. This Slayer 99 has a rating of 7.5, so it is stiff. It was also strung at 28lbs with Slayer 66 string. What can we tell from the spec? Well straight away we see it has an even balance and a stiff frame, so i immediately think it is designed to be an all round racket, but we will soon find out.
The Slayer 99 has the same reinforcement points on the head as the Lethal 100 has, and these are designed to make the head more stable when you hit the shuttle. Do they work? Yes is the answer, i found both the 99 and the lethal 100 to be very stable on impact, with less twisting of the head because of these changes. A few clears to begin with, and straight away i could tell the Slayer 99 was a decent racket. It felt easy to play with, and although it is stiff, it is not as stiff as the Yonex Arcsaber 8DX, i would compare stiffness to the lethal 70 or lethal 90 from how it behaves.
What we have is a very solid racket, very consistent, and easy to work with. Power is also pretty good as well, it is a low work racket, which is always a bonus for me. The even balance also helped around the net and for fast drives and defensive shots from smashes. I think the tension of 28lbs was just about right for the Slayer 99, it complimented the frame stiffness very well. Overhead from the rearcourt, it felt more powerful than the lethal 100, and this is despite it being an even balance, which is why i marked down the lethal 100 in the last review, it should have been better overhead but wasn't. As with any even balanced racket, you will sacrifice a little power from the back compared to most head heavy rackets, but the difference is very subtle. The advantage of even balance is around the net and for reaction shots, and the Slayer 99 proved this. The stiff frame and higher tension all help to control the shuttle better as well, so if this is where your strengths are, then a racket like this will compliment your style of play.
I was impressed with this racket i have to say. It offers a great all round playing experience and was very easy to get used to. I think the 3U version would suit those who like to play around the net or be more defensive, and the 2U version would help out the power players a bit more, whilst sacrificing the net play a little bit. Once again it will depend on the type of player you are, and what your style is, and the difference is only very slight. The maximum string tension is over 30 lbs for the Slayer 99, and i have no doubt it can take that kind of tension. I had mine at 28lbs and had no problems at all. My conclusion is that the Apacs Slayer 99 is a fine all rounder, it impressed me with its consistency and its stability on impact. I will give it a 9/10, one of the best Apacs rackets i have tested to date.
Next up is the Slayer 88 review, and i am hoping for good things if the 99 is anything to go by.
For a little fun have a look at the following video featuring Lee Chong Wei and Kenneth Jonassen.
Take a look at the video at 2.35 4.26 and 7.01 if you want to see some high quality backhand shots. The video quality is excellent so you can see very clearly what is going on. And for all you singles players out there, have a look at Lee Chong Wei in the rally at 0.58, this is a great example of movement into the deep forehand corner, and how to get back to base. He makes it look effortless, but this is one of the most difficult movements in singles.