The fact that key tour player Stan Wawrinka has been sidelined with injury lately hasn’t stopped Yonex from updating the frame that he endorses. New for 2018, Yonex has replaced the Duel G 330 with the V-Core Pro 97 330. This update brought some new material innovations into the mix. Yonex utilized Namd carbon in strategic areas around the frame for more flex and a unique, spring action response on contact. The grommet system now also incorporated Lock Booster ridges for improved energy transfer and power. Yonex kept the thin 20mm beam and removed a cross string, cutting it to a 16x19 pattern instead of the 16x20 Duel G pattern. All of these updates left me eager to see how they would translate on the court.
This. Thing. CRUSHES. The 330g unstrung weight absolutely obliterated the ball any time my timing was on. It was heavier than I am used to playing with so there was some adjustment for me to get the racquet around fast enough on groundstrokes. Once I was dialed in, the amount of plow-through this frame had was seriously impressive. I was able to produce heavy, high speed shots from both wings. I felt the frame was little easier to swing and more maneuverable than the previous version, which allowed me to generate a bit more racquet head speed off the ground. The spin production of the frame was also highly impressive. The combination of a slightly more open pattern and the use of Namd material resulted in huge topspin that leapt off the court. I was consistently able to pin opponents deep behind the baseline with high spin and then punish short balls with a flatter shot as soon as I saw an opening. While I felt the previous model had a bit more accuracy, the V-Core Pro 330 still offered a high level of control. I could consistently target corners and lines without the fear of sailing the ball. The added mass also added bite to my backhand slice, driving it low through the court. I found the frame to be impressively stable, absorbing pace with ease and redirecting it. This racquet had no trouble letting me dictate play from the baseline against anyone.
Volleys & Serves
Much like its lighter sibling, the V-Core Pro 330 performed impressively in the front of the court. The headlight balance made it pretty easy to position the frame although I felt it was a little slow to move on balls close to my body. The added mass made short work of any volley that was left high and I felt I could drive any volley through the court. I used the solid directional control to create angle volleys and open up the court. I also found enough feel to execute touch and drop volleys with regularity. The higher weight of the frame helped me bleed pace off the ball, producing volleys that died right after dropping over the net.
“Bombs Away” was my mentality when serving with the V-Core Pro 97 330. It took me a little time to adjust to getting the weight moving at the top of my serve. Once I did, the mass of the frame produced huge pace and weight on my flat first serve. The ball drove through the court and got on top of opponents quickly. The spin friendly nature of the racquet also produced heavy bouncing kick serves and my slice serve on the ad side was problematic for returners as it slid incredibly wide and opened up the court. I also benefitted from the accurate nature of the frame. I had no trouble moving my serve around the box, switching from serves out wide to bombs down the T. I found all the serving variety of the lighter model but the improved power of the 330 made this racquet an even more impressive weapon when it was my turn to serve.
The V-Core Pro 97 330 offered a smooth, well connected feel. It felt a touch firmer than the previous Duel G model but overall still offered a balance between crisp response and more flexible feel. I could feel the ball on the string bed well and the response was consistent and predictable. Despite the slight increase in firmness, I still found the racquet to be comfortable overall. The Namd material gave it a bit of flex and it still had a softer response than many of today’s modern baseline oriented racquets. Pairing it with a softer string should help anyone with a sensitive arm. For racquets in this weight class, I found the comfort level to be above average (especially compared to something like the RF97A).
Heavy hitters who want a racquet with mass to do some serious damage will be in good shape with the Yonex V-Core Pro 97 330. It offers enough plow-through to punish the ball off the ground and for hitting blistering serves. Its stability and accuracy put the finishing touches on anything left short in the court and it has enough feel for even the most delicate of shot making. Anybody who wants to step on court with something that packs a statement making punch would be wise to consider the Yonex V-Core Pro 97 330.
About the Reviewer: Matt Locke currently serves as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho and is an active USTA League and Tournament player.