Yonex VCORE 98+
Head Size: 98 sq. in.
Length: 27.5 in.
Weight: 11.4 oz.
Balance: 5 pts. HL
Beam Width: 22.5 mm / 23 mm / 21 mm
Extended length racquets are an acquired tasted. Playing with an extra half-inch—pretty much the standard in longer frames—generally causes adjustment issues. Whether it’s modifying the contact point or reining in the added power, some sort of transition is usually required. One of the bigger hang-ups is the lessened maneuverability brought on by the extra size and higher swingweight. It can make playing defense or quick reactions more challenging.
However, I found the Yonex VCORE 98+ hid it’s length better than most. It wasn’t an extension of my arm, but it was smooth enough that I didn’t feel overly clumsy or inept in those situations. And the tradeoff was the extra oomph on my strokes. It may not seem like much, but that little extra half-inch is like a turbo button for serves and ground strokes.
True, it could be unruly at times, especially when trying to flatten out a ball, and targeting wasn’t laser-focused. But being the spin franchise in the Yonex arsenal, it was easy to put heavy rotation on the ball to keep shots from sailing. For this generation that includes changes in frame geometry to promote faster swings, thin grommet nozzles at 6 and 12 o’clock for more string movement and an updated graphite in the upper throat and lower hoop to encourage the racquet to quickly flex and snap back.
The feel of the racquet could best be described as—cue the Pink Floyd—comfortably numb. It was firm and solid without being brassy or arm-unfriendly. The Vibration Dampening Mesh in the handle did an admirable job of filtering out unwanted shock. Depending on your preferred level of feedback, it could potentially be too muted. There wasn’t a great connection to the ball on the strings, but the line wasn’t dead, either. Besides, players tend not to gravitate toward extended length frames for their touch and feel.
They’re looking to play with bombast; first strike tennis that puts aggressive baseliners in control of a point within an imposing serve or heavy ground stroke. Which the VCORE 98+ does to great effect. That said, it was no slouch at the net, either. Again, not spry, but decent enough handling to get into position to stick the volley. It had the necessary stability to stand up to hard passes and block the ball back with easy depth. No magic wand when subtlety was required, but punished anything soft and above the shoulders.
There may be some growing pains, but those players who crack the ball with heavy pace, spin and abandon, littering up the stat sheet with winners and errors, will welcome what this racquet can do. Yet, it’s not so wild that it can’t engage in occasional grinding or counterpunching. If you’re a fan of extended length frames, or are curious what they could add to your game, the VCORE 98+ does the category proud.