Yonex VCore Pro 97HD 18 x 20 Racket Specifications
Head Size: 97 in² / 626 cm²
Length: 27in / 68,5cm
Strung Weight: 337g / 11,9oz
Unstrung Weight: 320g/11,3oz
Balance: 31,98cm / 7 pts HL
String Pattern: 18 Mains / 20 Crosses
There are so many great rackets coming out at the moment! Surely, one of the best of the lot is the Yonex VCore Pro 97HD 18 x 20. This racket has everything an experienced player could ask for and adds to the great line up of VCore Pro rackets.
The Yonex VCore Pro rackets have to be one of our favorite lines at TheTennisBros.com. Whether you want a 290g racket, a 310g racket, or a 330g racket you get the same excellent performance from these sticks.
They always have great feel, they’re always speedy, and you always get good control. However, with the 97 HD, Yonex has upped the ante when it comes to control. When you look at the specs for this racket, they’re simply a dream for the experienced player who likes control.
If you’re a control lover then you’re going to have some fun with these features:
- Concise 97 sq inch head
- Dense 18 x 20 string pattern
- Thin 20 mm beam
Everything’s been taken care of here when it comes to control, but the surprising thing about this stick was the maneuverability. At 320g unstrung, this is certainly not a light racket by modern standards, but it cuts through the air so well that it feels much lighter.
This maneuverability means you’ve got the potential to get this racket moving really quickly through the swing and you know what racket head speed means? It means power and spin, and when you get lots of this you’re going to be putting your opponent under serious pressure.
Of course, if you’re going to produce tons of racket head speed, you’re going to want plenty of control to keep the ball in court, but fortunately, that’s the VCore Pro 97HD’s bread and butter.
Recently, we’ve seen updates from Wilson and Head, with the updated Wilson Blades and the new Head Graphene 360+ Gravity rackets. Both have made big steps forward in combining comfort with feel, but with the Vcore Pro rackets, Yonex were already pretty much there.
With these latest updates, they have made even more progress, with a new Vibration Dampening Mesh and a slight change to the layout of the racket. This means that you don’t have to compromise when it comes to comfort and feel, and boy does it work well.
To complement the soft feel of the Vcore Pro 97HD, we strung this racket with Luxilon LXN Smart String at 50 lbs. We find that this string gives a nice balance between performance and comfort and should help us squeeze all of that performance out of the Yonex VCore Pro 97HD 18 x 20.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m quite a fan of the new paint job on this racket. The green is obviously an in color at the moment, with the Head Gravity rackets sporting a similar color scheme.
Anyway, we were extremely excited to get this stick out on the court and give it a try!
Groundstrokes – 9.5/10
This racket is just so sleek and fast through the air that you really don’t realize you’re playing with a 320g racket. It reminded me a bit of the Babolat Pure Aero Tour in this sense, but whereas the Aero is all about spin, the VCore Pro 97HD has a bit of everything.
Being an 18 x 20 string pattern, you’re never going to get ridiculously easy spin and power but there is still ample power and spin to be had if you can get the racket head speed. The great news is, the balance of the racket encourages you to swing fast and swing big.
When I was given time on the forehand side, I was absolutely crushing the ball with this racket. I was able to take big, fast swings at the ball, knowing the racket would give me the control I needed to keep the ball in the court. Essentially, if my opponent didn’t hit a great shot to my forehand then he was going to lose the point because I was just on fire off this side.
The other great thing about the maneuverability of this racket is that it helps you out on defense as well. You’re not constantly fighting to create the racket head speed like you can be with some 320g rackets, which is a big help when you’re playing a difficult shot.
For advanced players who are used to playing 18 x 20 string patterns, I don’t think you’re going to find any faults with this racket. The complaints will likely come from players who are used to 16 x 19 swing patterns and players who don’t generate enough racket speed to get the most out of this stick.
I understand where these players are coming from. If you’ve played with 16 x 19 sticks all your life then the switch can be quite drastic. The launch angle and way that you generate spin and power is quite different, and if you go from something like a Babolat Pure Drive to this, you’re going to find it very alien.
If that’s the case then it might take you a bit of time to get used to this racket, but if control, feel, and maneuverability is what you seek then it’s worth persevering with the Yonex VCore Pro 97HD 18 x 20.
I loved every minute of this playtest from the back of the court and gave the VCore Pro 97HD a 9 out of 10. Feel, comfort, speed, control, spin, power, you name it, it can give it to you.
Volleys – 8.5/10
When you’ve got feel, control, and speed you’ve got all the ingredients for some great volleys. Having spent plenty of time with the Vcore Pro HD at the back of the court, I was pretty certain it was going to be a hit at the net, but you never know with these things! I needn’t have been worried though as the Yonex performed nearly as well at the net as it did from the back of the court.
The Vcore Pro rackets have a way of feeling solid yet soft at the net. When the ball is hit really hard at you it doesn’t get pushed around, but still, you don’t feel like you are playing with a plank of wood. There’s tons of cushioning and you’ve got great feel for the ball as it seems to stick in the strings.
I was lucky enough to play a bit of doubles with this racket and I was really impressed. Playing with this racket is easy, despite it being a bit heavier than the racket I normally play with and the results are great. I was hitting some great first volleys all night with this stick and it set me up to win a lot of points.
The Vcore Pro 97 rackets have always been extremely strong at the net, but the Pro 97HD 18 x 20 is right up there with the best. I’d say the extra weight in the Vcore Pro 97 (330) gives it a slight edge but the 97HD is not far behind.
There’s no weakness with this racket. It’s great from the back of the court and it’s great at the net. We gave it an 8.5 out of 10 for the volleys.
Serve – 9/10
Sometimes when I watch myself serving on video it looks like I’m going in slow motion. Especially when I’m hitting with heavier rackets, I just don’t get the racket head speed as easily as I do on the other shots. The Yonex Vcore Pro 97HD might weigh 320g but its maneuverability meant that I didn’t have any problems swinging through with speed.
Once you get the racket head speed right then you’ll find a lot of other things fall into line. Being an 18 x 20 racket you’re not given tons of spin and power without having to work for it, but if you’ve got a solid technique then you’ll find the Pro 97HD gives you a ton of performance.
I’ve been working on my accuracy on the serve lately, trying to hit my targets more often and the Vcore Pro 97HD was exactly what I needed. My serving can be a little bit shaky, especially at doubles, but while I was on this playtest my serve was rarely troubled.
Obviously, it always helps when you’re playing good tennis behind your serve, but I found the serve was setting me up really nicely in the points. Even on the second serve, I was able to get a lot of spin and get the ball jumping up at my opponents, making it difficult for them to attack me and I felt very confident being aggressive with the second serve.
As I said earlier, there really aren’t any weaknesses for this racket and if there are, they’re certainly not on the serve! We gave the Yonex Vcore Pro 97HD 18 x 20 a 9 out of 10 on the serve, another extremely good score.
Overall – 9/10
An excellent racket. There are so many positives with the Vcore Pro 97HD and very few negatives. As long as you’ve got the strokes then you will get a ton of performance out of this racket.
I normally have one aspect of the playtest that I enjoyed above all others, but with the Vcore Pro 97HD that wasn’t the case. It did everything well and the balance was spot on which meant I could just relax and play my game. I was able to really go after the ball and play on the front foot, which is where I play my best tennis.
On the groundstrokes, the most impressive thing is the maneuverability this racket has for a 320g racket. The thin frame cuts through the air beautifully and encourages you to keep on swinging through the ball. When you do this, you’re rewarded with spin, power, and a ton of control that means you can put the ball where you want it.
At net the good performance continues. The Pro 97HD combines stability with feel in an excellent package that’s as at home on a singles court as it is a doubles court. When the speed gets ramped up you won’t find this racket getting pushed around, as it stays nice and solid and pops the ball back.
Possibly, the area where the VCore 97HD helped me out the most was on the serve. I served extremely well throughout this playtest and that was partly to do with the Vcore Pro’s blend of speed and stability.
All in all, advanced players looking for a racket with plenty of control can’t go too wrong with the Yonex VCore Pro 97HD. It was a joy to play with and gets a 9 out of 10 from us.
Review by Will