My first Yonex racquet was the 65 square-inch green aluminum YY8500. As a young high school player who had never used anything but wood, the easy power—especially on serves—was a revelation to me. Eventually, I went back to wood, then on to the first Pro Staff mid, and thought nothing more about Yonex. However, 20 years later, I became a Yonex dealer and switched from the Prince Graphite mid to the RD-7. An amazing frame that, like the Pro Staff 85 and the POG, is not too dissimilar from the player’s racquets of today.
Recently, I had the chance to check out one of Yonex’s newest player’s frames, the VCORE Pro 100 (300). It’s predecessor, the VCORE Tour Duel G 100, was one of my favorite playtests from 2016, so I was eager to give this one a go.
From the first ball, the VCORE Pro 100 seemed maneuverable and fast off the ground, but with a high degree of control. Many “whippy” frames in the 100 square-inch, low 11 oz. range make it tougher to consistently keep balls in play—not so with this one. In fact, when I was stretched or a little off-balance, I found myself wishing for additional easy pace off the ground. The power level seemed to be a little less than the Duel G 100 so I had to work harder to get my shots to penetrate the court, particularly my slice backhand and flattened out forehands. Still, quick swings produced plenty of topspin and I was able to angle the ball off the court with confidence.
I also found a lot of consistency with the serve. While heavy, dictating serves were easier to come by with the VCORE Pro 97 (330) I tested alongside this one, my accuracy and variety were enough to make up for the lack of pop. The VCORE Pro 100 was also less onerous to serve with after a couple of hours than its heavier stablemate. When returning serve, I quickly found that I could line the frame up on a big serve and it would do most of the work for me. The results were incredibly reliable—returns seldom floated long or landed too short. On second serves, however, I did have a little trouble creating my own power, while still controlling my shot. That resulted in me being a little less aggressive than usual in order to minimize errors.
My volleys in doubles were exceptional with the VCORE Pro 100. Good feel and great maneuverability stood out. I could easily knock off high balls, but this frame was equally adept at digging out tough, low mid-court volleys and half-volleys. While finesse and control were good, there was a lack of stability when volleying hard hit passing shots. In singles play, volleys occasionally lacked the penetration I find with a heavier or more powerful frame. That led to some over-hitting on my part. A little lead tape would almost surely help this frame up at net.
In the end, the feel, versatility and playability of the VCORE Pro 100 made it one of my favorite play tests of the season. That said, I would have to recommend that Yonex fans looking for a bit more help and forgiveness should also check out the EZONE and EZONE DR 98/100 models, along with the VCORE SV line. But for the control seekers out there looking for a lighter weight player’s frame, the VCORE Pro 100 is a great option.
Kin Roseborough is a tennis professional and racquet technician at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, SC.