Home GearTennis Racquets The Wilson Pro Staff 85

The Wilson Pro Staff 85

by Jonas Eriksson

When you’re writing about legendary tennis racquet, you cannot forget one of the so called “holy grails” and that is the Wilson Pro Staff 85. Played by Pete Sampras and Stefan Edberg it is one of the best racquets of all time.

The Wilson Pro Staff 85 is not the correct naming, but I think it simplifies it a bit. The racquet is actually called Wilson ProStaff Original 6.0 and was released in 1984. Originally manufactured in Chicago, Illinois and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Pro Staff line was Wilson’s answer to the Prince Graphite, Yonex Rex series, and the Dunlop Max 200G.

Another famous players that started out using the Wilson Pro Staff Original 6.0 is Roger Federer and that’s why Wilson have released the tribute version called Wilson Pro Staff RF 85. It is supposed to have the exact same specs as the old version of the Wilson ProStaff so if you already have a couple of old ones in decent condition, you might not need this one. But if you haven’t tried the Wilson ProStaff 85, you HAVE to try the racquet at least once.

What is so good about the Wilson Pro Staff 85 then?

Well, when you play with a 85 sq inch racquet you really feel the sweet spot which in likelihood makes you focus even more on hitting it or “not shanking”. It also has such a nice, solid feel when you hit the ball. The ball “pancakes” on the string bed and the tiny head size offers excellent control, while the heft of the racquet creates all the power. It surely is an almost religious tennis experience when you’re “on” your game and play well with the racquet. On a lazy day with bad footwork it isn’t the most forgiving however and using it in serious tournament play against players who hit with massive top spin might not be the best idea.

The Wilson Pro Staff 85 is an excellent racquet to bring out when you want to bring your technique back to basics and play aggressive tennis where your feet move towards the net like a heat missile. Playing serve-and-volley tennis with the Wilson Pro Staff 85 makes you understand why it was such as good match for players like Stefan Edberg and Pete Sampras in the first place.

The Wilson Pro Staff RF 85 looks like this:

Technical characteristics OF THE WILSON PRO STAFF 85
Technology Braided Graphite + Kevlar
Composition Graphite
Head Size 548 cm² cm² / 84.94 in²
Weight unstrung 342 g / 12.1 oz
Length 68,5 cm cm / 26.77 in
Stiffness 68 RA RA
Balance unstrung 30,5 cm cm / 11.81 in
Beam Width 17 mm – 17 mm – 17 mm mm
String Pattern 16×18
Tension 22-27 kg kg

Here’s a video of me hitting a bit with the Pro Staff 85 Original (not the RF 85)

Racquet composition (thanks to an excellent post on Wikipedia)

The frame composition consists of 80% graphite and 20% kevlar. The high percentage of graphite allows for a ‘softer’ feel, while the kevlar provides more strength in the frame. Also unique is that the graphite in the Pro Staff Original is braided. While more modern racquets consist of many pieces of graphite spliced to the framework of the racquet, the braided graphite construction of the Pro Staff Original was such that only a single, long piece of graphite is used, which is then ‘braided’ around the frame. This created more strength and stability in the racquet, while increasing the weight of the frame.


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Luis G September 27, 2017 - 19:10

I demoed the new RF 85, very decent fun racquet. very proper racquet. Solid, flexible. Muted. Head size is all mental.

Though more than any other 90 I play with some of the balls were landing a bit too short to my liking, but not bad.
and finally felt a racquet where you really need to work to get the spin and parabola you want and need for a heavy ball. Im happy with my Prestige mids, but this one is really fun to have

I wouldnt buy it for that price though especially if im not gonna match play with it. But nice to have overall.
The RF face is just too much, I dont need to stare at his head all game, a simple RF logo would have more than sufficed.

Tennisnerd September 28, 2017 - 09:38

I agree a hundred percent that the RF face is too much and I’m a Fed fan. You can take fanboy-ism too far and with Fed it seems to happen a lot. I also agree that the price is too high since it’s just a re-release. Cheers / J

Howard July 16, 2020 - 19:04

Hi there, thanks for writing that helpful article.. I was wondering what the differences were between the prostaff 85 that Sampras used versus the one that Federer used in 2002? Is there any way to find out which one I have if i bought one second hand? Also what’s the significance of the white butt cap vs the black one (what i have)?

Jared August 10, 2020 - 14:13

The rumor at the time was that Pete Sampras only played with the racquets out of the Saint Vincent plant. There is a 3 letter code on the end cap of each racquet that designates what factory produced it.

Will December 20, 2020 - 14:26

Actually the racket came out in 1983 for the ’84 tennis season and it was called the Pro Staff 85 in the Chicago version that I bought back in December of ’83. The original moniker was added on the China version in the mid 90’s

Ajay December 20, 2021 - 19:34

I saw an interview with Federer where he mentions that the PS85 has got the best sweet spot. He used a mid-Chinese production model up until he switched to the 90 model. The Hyper Pro Staff 90 (black with yellow) feels very similar to the stiffer Chinese 85 frames. This makes perfect sense as the RF97a is also a bit of a stiffer feel than the original SV Pro staffs. So, by deduction, we can assume that working up the ranks, Federer did not have a pro stock frame until he switched to the PS90. He was using ‘off the shelf’ Chinese made PS85s.
Sampras used late production St Vincent frames (all with Butt Code BSQ), which were not quite a stiff as the Chinese models. But the ‘feel’ was sublime. Best feel for volleys, and when you hit the sweet spot, perfection in every stroke, but very demanding.
The new RF85 is nothing like any PS85. It’s more like a modern racquet for the modern game, by which I mean it is really flexible and totally underpowered. Does not feel like part of the Pro Staff family at all, probably more of a Blade feel.
If you want stiff, go for Chinese (they did hurt my arm).
If you want perfect feel and accuracy, St Vincent (Butt Codes containing the letter ‘Q’).
Something in the middle – go for the Taiwan model (Butt Codes beginning with ‘S’).
The only problem is that the SV fames are old now, i don’t think any of them will have the original authentic feel that Wilson brought to the game at that time which so many pros fell in love with.


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