I find that labeling a racquet powerful based solely on measurements such as weight or stiffness can often be misleading. As long as it is swung with sufficient racquet-head speed, I find heavier “control” frames to pack much more of a punch than lightweight “power” frames.
For me, the measure of a racquet’s power is derived more from what happens when you don’t hit the ball properly. If my mishits often sail long, or I struggle to flatten out shots with a measure of control, then I find the racquet to be overly powerful, regardless of the weight. If those same mishits flutter and land short in the court, the frame would fall into the control-oriented, low-powered category, and it wouldn't matter the flex or mass.
There’s no question the Yonex VCORE Tour G 330 matches the latter description. The snazzy black, silver, and orange racquet of choice of Stan Wawrinka can certainly bring the heat. When you step into a shot and drive the ball with good technique, you’ll never be left wanting for power. There were times I felt I absolutely crushed the ball with more pace than I could with any lightweight, stiff frame.
However, when contact is not clean, get ready to play some defense.
The reason this might be so noticeable with the VTG 330 is the weight. It’s in the 12+ oz. range I prefer, but how the mass is distributed makes it feel even more substantial. I wouldn’t call it cumbersome or tough to maneuver—more like beefy. And it might be the defining characteristic of the racquet. How well you handle it will go a long way to forming your impression of the frame.
On the plus side, all that weight makes for a very solid feel at contact. It’s extremely comfortable as there’s virtually no twisting on balls outside the sweetspot. It also means that you can deflect back hard-hit incoming balls with little effort. All it took was a short chop for my defensive backhand slices to be very effective. And when you do have time to step into a ground stroke and give the ball a rip, you get that great pancake feeling; the ball compresses on the stringbed and shoots off with tons of weight and plow through.
The frame came strung with Yonex 850, a softer multifilament, which is noticeably different from my usual low-tensioned poly. The 16x20 string pattern is also denser than I’m accustomed, and I found that I wasn’t initially getting the depth or spin I wanted on the ball. Once I adjusted my target height and launch angle, the length on my shots greatly improved, but I still couldn’t get the jump I wanted on my ground strokes. Next time I try the frame, I’d like to see what it could do with a more spin-friendly setup.
The downside to all that mass is it takes a lot of work to make the VTG 330 work. Because if you’re late on a swing due to an opponent’s good offense or inadequate preparation, the racquet exacts a penalty. I have always found this to be particularly true for Yonex advanced player’s frames, and this one is no different. The 97 sq. in. head provides a nice sweetspot, but it needs to be found for the shot to have a decent chance of making an impact.
Perhaps that’s why serving was my favorite thing to do with the VTG 330. I like to take big cuts on my serves, and with the ball in hand, it’s much easier to consistently find the sweetspot. Once you get the frame moving, the mass creates a penetrating delivery. Directional control was also quite good. When I didn’t feel like dialing up a fastball, I could still find my spots with enough weight behind it to start the point off on my terms. Second serves, like my ground strokes, didn’t have the usual kick. But they had enough pace and placement to at least neutralize the return.
Volleys were another highlight. The stability at impact makes redirecting passing shots a breeze—just get the frame in front of the ball, hold steady, and let it do the work. The friendly flex also lends to plenty of opportunity for touch shots. All-courters with soft hands who employ various angles will be able to do a lot of damage with this frame.
But it will take some effort to do so. I find the VTG 330 to be somewhat of an aspiration racquet: Not only do you need to be a talented player to use it, but even then you still need to be fit and playing at your best to make it hum. The weight and precision needed would seemingly make it a tough choice for the everyday grinder. But skilled, aggressive players who like to dictate and move forward rather than react, or even highly advanced doubles players, should certainly give it a try.
Just make sure to bring your A game.
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