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Racquet Review: Volkl C10 EVO
A lighter, more user-friendly version of the iconic player's frame.
Published Oct 01, 2022
If a racquet has stayed on the market for 25 years, it’s a good bet that it has received its share of makeovers. It will have seen at least a half-dozen iterations with varying changes to its specs and technologies in order to adapt to a changing audience. Unless that racquet is the Volkl C10 Pro. Still a highly regarded player’s frame, the C10 Pro is one of the rare offerings that hasn’t received any significant modifications since the day it launched. However, to commemorate the racquet’s quarter-century birthday, a new EVO version gives the classic frame an updated twist.
The biggest change to the frame is it has received a 20g (0.8 oz.) haircut. Even though the weight has been lowered and balance shifted to reflect a more modern sensibility, the mold has remained intact. So much of the racquet’s characteristics still scream old-school charm; namely a thin (20mm), constant beam, soft flex and lower-powered response. Just holding it in my hands and looking at the oval head shape and retro zebra stripes made me want to carve a nasty slice and break out my CD collection.
Yet matched with the right player, the EVO is no relic. The downside of removing so much mass was it didn’t feel quite as solid at contact, but it still possessed a very comfortable, buttery response with the lighter weight making it a bit more explosive. The improved quickness, along with the open string pattern, also made employing spin and creating angles noticeable assets. It was right at home carving a low skidder or wide serve, or pulling the brakes on a delicate drop shot. The thin beam cut through the air easily, which came in handy on defense; if a ball got behind me a quick snap of the wrist produced a neutralizing slice or squash shot.
The energy surge was somewhat relative in comparison to the easy power and large sweetspot of something like the Volkl 8 line, but the C10 has always favored precision over brute force. It’s best attributes revolved around its playability and control. Players who prefer throwing haymaker serves and forehands to end points quickly will probably not be awed by what they find here. There’s potential to play first strike tennis, but I do think there are other frames better-suited to that tactic. Rather than heavy artillery, this was more of a sniper rifle. Strokes were easy to place, but it took proper execution to make them sting. Any breakdown in form and the racquet wasn’t helpful bailing out so-so second serves and hesitant backhands.
It was right at home carving a low skidder or wide serve, or pulling the brakes on a delicate drop shot.
The flip side to that, however, was the opportunity to take big rips at the ball without fear of overhitting. Players who generate ample swing speed and consistently clean contact won’t have much difficulty playing aggressively. I could really go after my strokes and got rewarded with offensive shots that would build a point. I could manipulate the ball to manipulate my opponent. If my handiwork resulted in a short ball, there was just enough juice to deliver a killshot. However, more often than not I would look to make the positional play and direct the ball to the open court to take advantage of the frame’s prowess in the transition game.
I hesitate to call any frame a net rusher’s racquet anymore as the strategy has evolved into a change of pace rather than a playing style. But the C10 EVO, perhaps due to its origins dating back to an earlier era, seems right at home at the net. It was quick, relatively sturdy and deadly accurate. The Twin Absorber dampening system in the handle gives volleys a solid, muted response with adequate feedback to feel the ball on the strings. Punch, angle, dig, drop—it has all the bases covered with spot-on control and touch. I might consider adding a bit of mass to give it more backbone; and, unlike its predecessor, its current weight makes it ripe for customization.
Add it all up, and the C10 EVO is a welcome and perhaps overdue addition to the line. The lighter weight makes it more accessible to a wider audience than the original, without robbing its more traditional playability. Crafty all-courters and accomplished doubles specialists will certainly appreciate its smooth handling, feel and precision. And fans of Volkl heritage frames will find it a very comfortable bridge to their past favorites.