Today I returned to the racket company of my youth as I tried out the Volkl V-Feel V1 Pro. I must say, I’m a big fan of some of Volkls more “old school” rackets, but I find their modern ones to be quite hit or miss. The V1 Pro looks like it’s a racket that might suit me nicely though, so I thought I’d give it a good playtest.

The one thing I really like about Volkl’s rackets is the technology they put into making their rackets comfortable. If you really struggle with joint pain, then Volkl seems to offer some of the best rackets out there. The V-Feel V1 Pro comes equipped with V-Feel, VCell, VSENSOR, and REVA, all designed to increase shock absorption and comfort.

However, in some Volkl rackets, I find the feel is just a little off, with a super involved, hecticness to them. This newest version of the V1 Pro has seen a few changes to its specifications though, with a slightly bigger swingweight and what should be a more muted feel.

In the past, I’ve enjoyed the V-Feel V1 Pro’s balance of power, spin, and control, it’s just been the feel that I haven’t been a fan of. I was hopeful that this might change with the newest iteration and was actually pretty excited for this playtest.

That’s because the specs of this racket are exactly what I look for, with a 305g unstrung weight, a 323 swingweight, and a 3 PTS HL balance, it is very similar to my Babolat Pure Strike. I also really like the look and feel of the Volkl V-Feel V1 Pro in my hands, it’s nice and sleek with a smart blue and orange paint job. Of course, aesthetics shouldn’t matter, but it’s always nice to look good!

There are some very good rackets around the 305g weight, notably, the Pure Strike, and the Wilson Blade 98, so the Volkl certainly has plenty of competition. However, when Volkl do get their rackets right, they can really compete with the very best rackets out there, so I was hopeful that this would be a great playtest.

Since I play with a racket that’s quite similar in style to the VFeel V1 Pro, I figured I’d go with my normal string set up of Babolat RPM Blast at 52 lbs. This would allow me to maximize the control I get from the racket whilst maintaining good access to spin.

From previous experiences with the Volkl rackets I know they bring great levels of comfort, the question that I would be looking to answer in this playtests is whether or not the Volkl V-Freel V1 Pro would bring the performance.

 

Groundstrokes – 8/10

 

I really liked the small changes Volkl have made to the newest version of this V-Feel V1 Pro. They’ve made it just a little bit more stable and dampened the feel which I found really suited me. Two things I look for in a racket are maneuverability and stability, and I found the V-Feel had a nice blend of these attributes.

It’s not the most speedy racket out there, but it’s certainly not slow and it felt comfortable throughout the stroke. The big improvement is at contact point, where the V-Feel feels much more solid and in control. This allowed me to feel the balls on the strings much longer without feeling like the strings were pinging everywhere.

Off the backhand side, everything felt really good. I was able to get plenty of racket head speed and the stability allowed me to keep good depth, pinning my opponent behind the baseline. This allowed me to get my forehand into play, running around the backhand and attacking the short ball with the inside out forehand.

My forehand is a much more complicated shot, and sometimes with really fast rackets I can lose control of the stroke, but the balance of the V1 Pro was ideal. I was able to attack the ball with confidence and really go for my shots, a combination that worked out very nicely!

Some people might find the fact that this V1 Pro is slightly stiffer and less maneuverable than previous versions as a negative, but I thought it actually worked very nicely. Of course, everyone has different ideas about what makes the perfect feel for a racket, but for me it is that more muted feel where you’ve got to do the work to get power and spin. I can’t stand a racket that feels like the strings are moving everywhere and you can feel every sinew (I don’t know if you can apply this term to a racket – but I just did) of the frame vibrating.

The Volkl V-Feel V1 Pro felt solid yet comfortable in all areas from the back of the court and I gave it an 8 out of 10. I felt confident hitting through the ball on my backhand side, and had enough control to really attack off the forehand wing.

 

Volleys – 7.5/10

 

The newest V-Feel V1 Pro might have a little bit more stability than previous versions, but it still wasn’t quite where I wanted it for the volleys. I found that when the ball came at me with a lot of pace, the racket got pushed around a bit, and subsequently I lost some control.

It just goes to show how complicated rackets are, because different players look for different things on different shots. From the back of the court, I really like the 305g weight, but at the net, I prefer something a bit heavier and would probably feel most comfortable around 320g. With my Pure Strike, I’ve gone with a compromise by weighting it up to 312g and I absolutely love it.

If I was to buy the Volkl V-Feel V1 Pro then I would consider doing the same thing and adding some lead tape in the V. You might lose maneuverability from the back of the court, but it would give you some extra control and feel at the net. This is essential if you’re playing doubles to a high level, but if you’re just playing singles and don’t find yourself at the net too often then I wouldn’t worry about it.

Again, I’ve seen quite a few people who were disappointed that the newest V1 Pro isn’t as maneuverable or soft as past versions, but I liked the feel. On easy volleys I was able to inject plenty of pace into the ball and hit winners with minimal fuss.

It was just on the hardest volleys, the pick ups off my toes and volleys on the stretch where I wanted a little bit more stability. Still, you can’t have everything, and really, the V1 Pro does enough for a singles player who comes to the net sparingly.

The Volkl V-Feel V1 Pro’s performance at the net was solid if not spectacular. I gave it a solid if not spectacular score of 7.5 out of 10.

 

Serve – 7.5/10

 

The serve was the one area where I prefered the maneuverability of some of the older V1 Pros, but I didn’t feel like it affected the performance too much. Once again, I liked the V1 Pro’s more solid feel on contact and this gave me some solid performance.

The V1 felt comfortable throughout this playtest, but I particularly noticed it on the serve, where everything felt quite effortless. I was able to get good power and spin, which meant I hit some big first serves, but still had plenty of confidence on my second serve.

Maneuverability was the one area where I took a point off the V1 Pro. It just felt a little bit slow for a 305g racket and I feel like I could have got even more power if I was able to produce just a touch more racket head speed.

My favorite part of this playtest was definitely from the back of the court, but I felt that the Volkl V-Feel V1 Pro wouldn’t let you down on the serve. It was solid on contact but if you struggle for racket head speed on serve then it might not be the racket for you.

Overall, this wasn’t the best part of the playtest, but it’s nothing to worry about. For the majority of players whose focus is on groundstrokes the V1 Pro is a great racket. For the serve volleyers, possibly not the right match – I gave the Volkl V-Feel V1 Pro a 7.5 out of 10 on serve.

 

Overall – 7.5/10

 

I think the Volkl V-Feel V1 Pro is a very good racket. For me personally, I liked the changes Volkl has made to this racket, giving it a little bit more plough through and making it firmer. Of course, everyone is different, so there will be some players who find it lacks maneuverability for a 305g racket, but I didn’t see it as a huge problem.

The best part of this playtest was on the groundstrokes where I found the Volkl had great balance. I was able to attack with control, generating good power and spin, and generally playing some very good tennis. I’d like to put myself in the modern aggressive baseliner bracket, and I thought the V-Feel V1 Pro catered to my game style nicely.

At the net, the V1 Pro was about what you would expect for a 305g racket. It was fairly solid whilst not having quite enough weight to really maximize volleying potential. If you’re someone who mainly plays from the baseline then the V1 has more than enough volleying prowess to get the job done, but for serve volleyers I think you would want a little more in this area.

It was a similar story on the serve, where the V1 Pro did a very decent job. It didn’t blow my mind, but I felt it was solid on contact and gave me pretty good performance. It may be a little slower than other 305g rackets, which did take a little bit of racket head speed out of my shot, but it’s not something that affected me too much.

All in all, I think the Volkl V-Feel V1 Pro is a nice racket for a baseline player. I played really well with it from the back of the court, and felt like it helped me get on the front foot and play my attacking game style.

When I came to the net, it was generally off a good approach, so the V1 Pro didn’t have to do too much on the volleys, and what it did have to do it did well. Likewise, on the serve, for someone whose serve is neither a huge weapon nor a huge weakness, I felt like it did everything I needed it to do.

Certainly a racket for players who like to play aggressive baseline tennis, the Volkl V-Feel V1 Pro is a nice alternative to rackets like the Babolat Pure Strike and the Wilson Blade 98.

I gave it a 7.5 out of 10.

 

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Review by: Will