Gear Q&A: Plus and Minus

by: Jon Levey | September 18, 2017

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Jon Levey answers your equipment questions in Gear Q&A. Click here to email your question, or send him a tweet at @72unforced.

I read your review on the Yonex VCORE SV 98+. Have you tried the standard version? If so, was wondering about your thoughts between these two. I have tired the standard version and like it on all shots but my backhand slice lacked plow through for me. I am going to demo both to compare but if you have any thoughts in comparison please let me know. Thanks.—David Ashman


Although I haven’t posted a full review of the standard Yonex VCORE SV 98, I have spent some court time with it. It’s a good frame, and stands out as the crisp, powerful and spin-friendly modern mid-plus in the Yonex lineup. However, if picking between the two, I would side with its slightly longer plus-size version.

The differences between the two are somewhat typical of standard versus extended length frames. The SV 98 handles better and whips more quickly through the hitting zone. This shows up when putting extra spin on the ball, or when deft maneuvering is required on volleys, returns of serve or when stretched out on the defensive. It’s also not quite as powerful, making for more controllable shot execution.

The extra half-inch length of the SV 98+ offers more oomph to shots. The added leverage gives serves and ground strokes greater punching power. That plow through you’re lacking on your slice backhand? Much less of an issue with the plus version. It takes more effort to wield, and the timing can be an adjustment, but the added swingweight creates a heavier ball. In fact, accuracy and consistency are more of a challenge to maintain than with the standard version.

The feel of frames, while highly subjective, is also a bit different. The VCORE SV line, in general, falls into the firm-feeling category. Neither of these offerings, in my opinion, bring much in the way of comfort features to the court. The static weights and flex rating ratings are nearly identical, but between the two, I found the SV 98+ to feel more solid and have a cleaner response—especially slightly off-center—at contact. The standard model offers more feedback, occasionally of the brassy kind.

All that said, either frame is a worthy choice. I happen to like the boost the extended length offers my serve—the best part of my game—and my two-handed backhand—the weakest part of my game. It also suits the aggressive baseline game—my preferred style—a bit better. But a player looking for easier access to spin in a more control-oriented, quicker package will be plenty happy with the standard option. Figure out which model does the most to enhance your performance and you'll have your answer.

Best of luck making your decision.

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