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Wilson K Pro Staff 88 Review & Issues

I wrote an article a while back on my experiences and findings on the Wilson K Six One 95 having quality control issues. There were a lot of talks and complaints about the inconsistencies on various Wilson tennis racquets models. They either had shoddy paintwork, differences in grip sizes, differences in overall unstrung weight and different racquet balance. My last article on Wilson’s quality control issues was written about a year and a half ago on the Wilson K Six One 95 (Asian) having such alarming inconsistencies and variations which really surprised me. Based on that article, I had received lots of feedback as well as comments about the general public’s experiences with this frame or Wilson tennis racquets in general. I believe this issue might not be only restricted to Wilson, but perhaps with other racquet manufacturers as well. I was hoping that Wilson would at least try to correct this problem to silence their critics and vindicate themselves with all the negative feedback about the quality of their tennis racquets and quality control issues that have plagued them as well as some other racquet manufacturers over the years. Fake Wilson tennis racquets from China that have been flooding the markets have not helped them as well. I for one have never, will adopt or advocate the purchase or the use of these cheaper fake alternative tennis racquets and would rather get the “read deal” offering more “quality” for of course a more "premium price". Others on the other hand might have to reconsider their options now, I don’t really see the prices of Wilson tennis racquets dropping, what I do see is the poor quality control and inconsistencies of a product that so far in the spate of 2 years have been experiencing major issues with two of their flagship racquet models. The Wilson Factor K Six One 95 (Asian) and now of late the Wilson K Pro Staff 88 (Pete Sampras Signature) series which this article is about.

Weight balance issues with the Wilson K Pro Staff 88 (Pete Sampras Signature Series tennis racquet):

Images of two of my Wilson K Pro Staff 88 "BEFORE" it was replaced by Royal Sporting House. The racquet with the "weight balance issue" is the one with the sealed plastic wrapper with the "K Factor" logo on the handle. As you can see, the balance of the one with the plastic wrapper is more head light than my original racquet.

As with the image shown above, I found two issues with the Wilson K Pro Staff 88. Firstly the weight balance was totally out. I used a pencil to balance the two racquet at its throat to see if they were similar. The first K Pro Staff 88 I purchased was much less head light compared to the second K Pro Staff 88 (shown still sealed with plastic on the handle) which I purchased a week later from the same store.

I wasn't too impress by the inconsistencies and poor paintwork of the Wilson K Pro Staff 88 either.

The second difference was more to its cosmetics. The paintwork on my second K Pro Staff 88 was shoddy and the paintwork on the edges were not smooth but rather clumpy in appearance. More pictures on the Wilson K Pro Staff 88 can be found here. Take note my second racquet still has the plastic wrap on its handle while my first Wilson K Pro Staff 88 does NOT have the plastic on its handle as I have been playing with it for a week.

Comparing my Wilson K Pro Staff 88 (9 Point Headlight) with my Wilson K Blade Tour 93 (10 point Headlight). The 10 point head light K Blade Tour seems to be less head light compared to the 9 Point Headlight balance of the K Pro Staff. Perhaps this is not a really accurate comparison as both the physical weights of these racquets are differ.

I compared the balance of my second Wilson K Pro Staff 88 (plastic wrap on handle) with my Wilson K Blade Tour 93. The K Blade Tour 93 is supposed to be more head light (10 points) compared to the 9 points head light weight of the Wilson K Pro Staff 88, but surprisingly the K Pro Staff 88 seems to be more head light when I did a side by side comparison.

Comparing my Wilson K Pro Staff 88 (9 Point Headlight) with my Wilson K Blade Tour 93 (10 point Headlight). The 10 point head light K Blade Tour seems to be less head light compared to the 9 Point Headlight balance of the K Pro Staff. Perhaps this is not a really accurate comparison as both the physical weights of these racquets are differ.

This might be not so much of an accurate representation as I was not doing an Apple versus Apple comparison but more to an Apple versus an Orange. I just wanted to find out which was more headlight for my own information. The balance here could have been skewed due to the fact of the different physical weight of both racquets. The K Blade Tour 93 weights 324 grams unstrung while the K Pro Staff 88 had an unstrung weight of 349 grams or 12.3 ounces.

Getting my Wilson K Pro Staff 88 replaced:

I had brought up this issue with Royal Sporting House who is the agent for Wilson Tennis racquets here in Singapore. They have been very nice in the past helping me resolve the same issue I had with my Wilson K Six One 95 previously. As with the last incident, my complaint was received by one of their marketing managers who promptly called me to find out more about my issue. From my previous experience with Royal Sporting House, up till today, I would have to say that the level of service that they provide to their customers is second to none! There had been numerous complaints about customer service and support has been sadly lacking in Singapore. But I am glad to say that the staff at Royal Sporting House are extremely committed to customer satisfaction. They were polite and listened intently to my complaint. What’s most important was that they tried their very best to resolve the issue with my K Pro Staff 88. In fact, I have received about 3 to 4 follow up calls from Royal Sporting House and numerous emails updating me on the status of getting a suitable replacement for my K Pro Staff 88 and on Wilson’s take on this issue. Due to the already very limited supply of the Wilson K Pro Staff 88 here in Singapore, Royal Sporting House still managed to source out for two additional K Pro Staff 88 (most of them are out of stock here in Singapore already). They made a very special exception to obtain two K Pro Staff 88 (most likely from their store or warehouse) for me to select from. To top that up, their customer service representative advised me in her email that should I not be happy with the two racquets that were offered for replacement, they will inform me of when their next shipment of Wilson K Pro Staff 88 will arrive so that I can have a look at the racquets again until I find an identical frame that is to my liking. Royal Sporting House has clearly left no stone unturned to assist with customer satisfaction. This effort on the part of Royal Sporting House and their absolute commitment to customer service is indeed commendable and I personally applaud them for this. True customer service and after sale support is sadly lacking here in Singapore and other retailers should learn from Royal Sporting House’s example (Feedback to Royal Sporting House Here). At the end of the day, Royal Sporting House had managed to resolve the weight balance problem of my Wilson K Pro Staff 88 in about a week. Their turn around time was fairly quick. I must say that I was extremely fortunate to find a matching frame out of the two racquets which was provided for replacement which had a fairly similar balance to my first Wilson K Pro Staff 88.

Images of two of my Wilson K Pro Staff 88 "AFTER" it was replaced by Royal Sporting House. The "replaced racquet" is the one with the sealed plastic wrapper that has the the "K Factor" logo on the handle. As you can see, the balance of the one with the plastic wrapper now more closely resembles the balance of my first racquet but still not exactly identical. It is however so much better compared to the K Pro Staff 88 that Royal Sporting House had replaced for me.

I noted that the "other racquet" which was offered for replacement from Royal Sporting House which I did NOT choose, was more head light and balance had resembled that of the racquet that I had wanted replace. This led me to personally think that there might be two “different” variants of the K Pro Staff 88 a more balanced version and a more head light version. Incidentally, after sharing this info with a friend of mine, he told me that when he was looking at same racquets from two different stores he realized that there were two weight variations of the Wilson K Pro Staff 88 as I have highlighted in my article and as the images of the Wilson K Pro Staff 88 here suggests with different degree of head lightness. This could be perhaps due to the fact that they were manufactured from different batches or different Wilson factories (this is just my own personal theory, so don’t quote me on this!). I have also not gone to these stores to verify his claims so I cannot comment on my friend's claims. What I can personally say is from the images depicted here of the Wilson K Pro Staff 88, I found that there were two different variants or versions of these racquets. Going back to my article, the images here generally displays the same findings and the weight distribution on the Wilson K Pro Staff 88 generally differs from my two racquets. It also seems that I am NOT the only person finding inconsistencies with the Wilson K Pro Staff 88 I was reading a recent thread on the Tennis Warehouse Forum in which a user claimed that the head size of his K Pro Staff 88 was even larger than the K Six One 90! He also provided a very detailed analysis on how he came to this conclusion.

The 10 point head light of the K Blade Tour 93 versus the 9 point head light of the K Pro Staff 88. The K Blade Tour 93 seems to have a more headlight balance now compared to the new K Pro Staff 88 AFTER it was replaced by Royal Sporting House. Is this about right?

The question that comes to mind now is when you purchase a Wilson K Pro Staff 88, which version are you actually purchasing? The more balanced or the more head light one? Your guess is just as good as mine. It is therefore highly recommended that you do a balance test (assuming if you already have purchased your first K Pro Staff 88). Perhaps you might like the more balanced (lesser headlight) version or the more head light version of the Wilson K Pro Staff 88? I still need to get Wilson’s take on which is the actual “true” balance of the Wilson K Pro Staff 88? (It should be 9 points head light). So the million dollar question here is which of the two Wilson K Pro Staff 88s have the actual accurate specification as provided by the manufacturer? Is the more balanced Wilson K Pro Staff 88 the correct version or the more head light Wilson K Pro Staff 88 the actual version? Incidentally, which version of the K Pro Staff do you current have now? Would appreciate if you can send me some of your pictures so that we have a discussion here.

I have also made a feedback to Royal Sporting House about Wilson’s poor quality control and since they are the distributors for Wilson Tennis racquets here in Singapore, they should bring this up to Wilson. They have since reverted my case to Wilson and will be getting back to me once they get a response from Wilson directly. I will detail my “experiences” in my next post to hopefully end the “Wilson Saga” and what does Wilson have to say about this. This was quoted by Wilson the last time round when I had similar problems with my Wilson K Six One 95

“This racket is in our production spec. range although the handle size is on upper limit and weight is on lower limit after our R&D and QC review it. We think it should be the reason causing your customer has different playability and gripablity on the both rackets. But since the return sample is still in our production range, so it will not belong to defective racket, please understand. WRD# 2074 production range Prestrung weight : 325 +/- 7.5 g Prestrung balance : 32.5 +/ - 1 cm”

I was shocked at Wilson’s response as these are totally acceptable ranges! I won’t have any of this! A +/- 7.5 g tolerance level for weight and a Prestrung balance of +/- 1 cm is absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable to the consumer! I am also not getting any special discounts for the huge differences in weight and balance variations of my tennis racquets and will have to still dish out a premium price for a huge degree of tolerance. For the time being it looks like I will have only one K Pro Staff 88 to review now. Be sure to check out the Regentville Tennis Blog in the next couple of months to get my review on the Wilson K Pro Staff 88.

Conclusion:

As most of my readers will know I purchase many different types of tennis racquets to review and test them out. I offer my reviews as more of a “serious” amateur tennis player (whom I believe) most tennis racquets will be sold to. Tennis for me is not only a sport, but a great passion and I would like to share my passion, experiences and findings to my readers. I don’t mind purchasing a few tennis racquets just to review them as we don’t have much options to review or demo tennis racquets here in Singapore. I will have constantly stress that if you want to purchase two similar racquets try to bring your first racquet to do a weigh balance test at the store. It will be difficult as the new racquet will be unstrung so you’ll need to do a basic weight compensation test. I didn’t bring my first racquet as I was rushing to get my second one as initial stocks for the K Pro Staff 88 here in Singapore were very limited. I had to just try my luck and at the end got a totally “different” racquet in terms of balance. The price I am paying for tennis racquets have never been much of an issue for me, but I am more concerned about the quality of the tennis racquets or the products that I will be paying for. Does the performance and quality meets the actual high manufacturing standards that have been promised by the racquet manufacturers? In these days I would hardly think so!

I sincerely hope that Wilson as well as the other racquet manufacturer who license their manufacturing in places such as China put more emphasis on their quality control processes as well as have some better QA to their products. It’s not like we’re getting a major discount on this product so there’s nothing to complain about. Here we’re playing a premium price thinking that your purchase would be that of at least some quality and standards, however for the price you’re paying, you’ll be sadly disappointed about the tennis racquet that you have invested in. If this continues to be the case, and if Wilson doesn’t improve their quality control, I am concerned that people at the end of the day might go for other brands that offer better quality such as Fischer tennis racquets with the “Fischer No Tolerance Rackets” or the high build quality of the “made in Japan” Yonex tennis racquets. I generally like using Wilson tennis racquets and I sincerely hope that they work on better quality control and maintain some consistency levels when they mass produce their tennis racquets.

Images of my Wilson K Pro Staff 88 Before it was replaced.
Photos of my Wilson K Pro Staff 88 After it was replaced.

Hi Nawin,

I just came across your site and I think I've found my twin brother. I think we both have a lot in common. I live in Thailand and love tennis as well as photography. Check out my BLOG at http://suppawat.multiply.com. It's also a coincidence that you and me reviewed KPS88 today (March 1), and that we both review classic discontinued racquets recently. Check out my review http://suppawat.multiply.com/reviews/ (sorry it's in Thai).

Hi Khun Suppawat,

How are you doing... Well we could be twin brothers as well. I am half Thai as my mum in from Thailand (Lamphun) and my dad is Singaporean. I live in Singapore though but travel to Bangkok and Lamphun alot. Perhaps we can meet up the next time I visit Thailand (Bangkok). I saw your blog once when I was doing some research. Are you on facebook or do you have an email address so that we can hook up and talk more about tennis racquets and photography? ;) Hope to catch up with you soon and play some tennis in Thailand. All the best

Nawin

Yes, I just sent out a Facebook friend request to you. You can also email me or chat over Windows Live Messenger at suppawat@hotmail.com. Do you read and speak Thai?

I got KPS88 from Midwest Sport and it's a headlight version. I don't think KPS88 comes in 2 different versions. It's just a QC problem.

dear,

I thought the quality was guaranteed if we bought well known brand rackets in well known sport stores.

Any tips if i want to buy Babolat AeroPro Drive Cortex racket?

thanks,

Hans

I have 3 kPS88.

weight : 348, 349 & 350 g
balance : 316, 320 & 322 mm

Official : 349 g / 315 mm

I have three KPS88s and two on the way. The three that I have weigh 12.7 oz, 12.9 oz and 13.1 oz stock. The two on the way weigh 12.6 and 12.8 oz and are 9 pts headlight. So I will have them at 12.6, 12.7, 12.8, 12.9 and 13.1 oz. I am looking for one or two more as the line has been discontinued and I'm stocking up.

I actually like having some variance in frames. I can add lead to get them up to the weight and balance that I like and I also like to have a range of weights in my bag - if I'm playing someone that is pushing me, then I might switch to something a little lighter. I typically use a heavier frame for singles than I do for doubles.

This is standard Wilson Quality Control - +/- 0.4 oz in static weight. There is an advantage to this in that you can ask for a specific weight for a frame. Some think that 12.8 oz stock is heavy and would prefer 12.5 (BLX 90 weight). With Wilson, you might actually be able to find such a frame.

Hi Nawin, I've read your post once before, but I'm not sure if you're still reading after 2 years of posting. I myself have a question of authenticity of 2 KPro Staff 88 from eBay for $130 each. AFter all, retail went for $129 when it was still being produced. the seller gave me the serial number, but after contacting wilson, the guy told me to call back Monday. What is your gut feeling on this? Should I pay the guy? Thanks --Kyle

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  • I'm Nawin from regentville
  • Residing in Hougang Singapore
  • Racquets: X2 Prince EXO3 Graphite 100 (Main) X3 Wilson K Blade Tour 93 (Backup) Strings: Toalson Ultimate 115 Strung @ 48-50 pounds. Plays: Right Handed (Single Backhand). Shoes: mi Adidas Barricade V Apparel: Lacoste & Adidas Favourite Players: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic

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