Yonex Ezone 98+ Specs
Head Size:98 sq. in. / 632.26 sq. cm.
Length: 27.5in / 69.85cm
Strung Weight: 11.4oz / 323g
Unstrung Weight: 10.8oz / 305g
Balance: 13.18in / 33.48cm / 5 pts HL
String Pattern:16 Mains / 19 Crosses
I always feel like extended length rackets are something that not that many people know about. They’re viewed a bit like a secret cheat code that gives you extra power in a video game. Our Tennis Bro Tom is one person who always goes on about how good extended length rackets can be, so we thought we would try one out in the form of the Yonex Ezone 98+.
I’ve tried a few extended rackets in the past and been fairly impressed whilst not being tempted to switch from my regular length rackets. This time, it would be the Ezone 98+ which had the chance to change my mind!
The regular length Ezone 98 (305) is a racket that I really enjoyed, so I was hoping that the extended length version would have much of the same qualities. The big selling points for the extended rackets are generally extra reach and power so I was interested to see how this would change the Ezone 98.
I’m not a player who craves power from my rackets, I’m much more of a control kind of guy so it’s quite important to me that the Ezone 98+ kept the great control levels of the regular racket. What’s the point in having tons of power if you can’t use it all?
Anyway, Tom assures me that there are plenty of players using extended length rackets on tour, mostly the slightly shorter players. Of course, if you’re David Ferrer who’s 5ft 9, and you’re up against even someone like Andy Murray at 6ft 3 (let’s not even talk about the Isners of this world) then you’re going to be at a slight diadvantage.
This disadvantage is particularly acute when it comes to the serve, where the taller you are the more you can simply hit the ball straight down, making everything a lot easier. The extended rackets allow those players who aren’t giants to get a little bit more height into their serve and ramp up a little extra power.
That’s all well and good, but in your search for power, you don’t want to lose out in other aspects. You still need to be able to maneuver the racket enough to generate good racket head speed and you still need to be able to get good control.
When I’ve played with another extended length racket, the Prince Textreme Beast Pro 100 Longbody, I got on great with the racket, other than the fact you need to be an absolute beast to swing this racket for a whole set, let alone a full three-set match. You’ve got to be able to find a happy middle ground between a racket that gives you a little power boost but doesn’t take away in other areas.
That’s why I decided to give the Yonex Ezone 98+ a thorough playtest, to find out if it is the all-round racket that can give you a little power boost that I hope it might be!
While I was looking for an extra bit of power from this stick, I’m still a control guy at heart so I took the Yonex Ezone 98+ out with Big Banger Original strung at 50lbs.
Groundstrokes – 8.5/10
My one big issue with the regular Ezone 98 was that I felt it lacked a bit of stability on contact. That is certainly not the case with the Ezone 98+ though, as the swingweight has been ramped up to an impressive 338 and this results in some serious stability. We said that many people like the extra power of extended length rackets and the Ezone 98+ surely gives you that.
The big question remained though, could the Ezone 98+ give you that power without sacrificing too much in maneuverability and control?
Now I’m not crazy, I know if you add some extra bulk to a racket it’s not going to swing as easily, but I was hoping that it would come somewhat close to the regular Ezone’s levels of maneuverability. To my delight, I found that whilst being a little more sluggish than the regular Ezone 98, the extended length version was decidedly agile.
If there’s one side where I struggle a bit to keep the racket head speed up then it’s the backhand, so I knew that would be the shot that signaled whether I could get on with this racket. I was immediately put at ease though as I managed to hit some ripper backhands down the line early on in my playtest.
The Ezone 98+’s combination of excellent stability and reasonable maneuverability continued to see me having a strong backhand performance throughout the test, but it was on the forehand where everything came together. My forehand is always a super fast shot, so the maneuverability wasn’t as important here but the stability, control, and power had me hitting some beastly shots.
I think despite the fact that this racket is pretty maneuverable for an extended length racket, it is one that’s best suited to someone with plenty of racket head speed and confidence in their strokes. If you’re someone who is still learning their strokes then this racket will make that process much more difficult because it’s not super easy to get into position. Likewise, if you’re a more advanced player but you just struggle a little bit with racket head speed then this might not be the stick for you.
For any other player who feels like they need an injection of power without sacrificing too much on control, I’d definitely recommend the Yonex Ezone 98+ as a racket that’s worth looking at. You might pay a small price when it comes to feel, but to some people, it’s certainly going to be worth it.
The Ezone 98+ does everything you could ask of it. It’s got that extra reach and power without sacrificing too much in control and maneuverability. For me, it’s an upgrade on the regular Ezone 98 from the back of the court and I’ve given it an 8.5 out of 10.
Volleys – 7.5/10
The Yonex Ezone 98 Plus is full of contradictions at the net. On the one hand, the stability makes it easy to absorb power and push difficult volleys into play. On the other hand, it is a bit difficult to get into position, and it does lack some finesse when it comes to drop-volleys and things.
Once again, with the regular Ezone my biggest problem was that it lacked a little bit of stability. This meant the ball was winning the collision with the racket and I lost some control, but this was easily fixed by the Ezone 98+ which has greatly improved levels of stability.
Maneuverability wise, the 98+ is not at the levels of the regular 98, but I don’t think that would worry advanced players. I wouldn’t class it as easy to get into position, but I don’t think it negatively affected me in any way.
The area where I did find the Ezone 98+ to be a little bit disappointing though was its feel. For all the power it exudes from the back of the court, it’s not too surprising that it just lacked a little bit on the finer details when it came to pinpoint precision.
Overall, I think the Ezone 98+ is a slightly better volleyer than its regular-sized counterpart. It gives you a very solid platform to volley from, and I wouldn’t mind spending time at the net with this racket.
Again, the Yonex Ezone 98+ outscores the Ezone 98 with a score of 7.5 out of 10 at the net.
Serve – 8/10
The serve was my favorite part of the regular Ezone 98 playtest, so I was extremely excited to see what the extra length could do for me with the 98+. At 6ft 2, I don’t really struggle for height when it comes to the serve, but still, I’m always hearing about the magic of the extra length.
To be honest, I actually found this was the main area where I preferred the regular Ezone 98. I just found the Ezone 98+ a little bit unwieldy and this hampered my performance.
I don’t know why this is, but more than on any other stroke, I feel like I can easily lose racket head speed on serve if I’m not 100% comfortable with my racket. It may just have been that I needed a bit more time to get used to the Ezone 98+ but I felt like I missed some of my usual speed on serve.
I’m also going to be honest here and say I didn’t really notice any great benefits from the extra length. Perhaps my natural height negated the effects because Tom assures me there are big benefits to be had, but personally, I would choose the regular Ezone.
What you do get with the Ezone 98+ though is stability. The two rackets have the same weights, but there’s a big difference in plow through and stability that certainly gives you some extra power potential. If you can keep your racket head speed up then you have a great chance to rack up some serious power with this stick.
On a personal note, I didn’t feel like the extra stability made up for the loss of maneuverability but it really depends on what you value most. If you like the idea of the extra length without losing too much maneuverability though, this racket is one you will enjoy.
I gave the Yonex Ezone 98+ an 8 out of 10 on the serve. Not quite as good as the regular Ezone 98, but still, a very good score.
Overall – 8/10
Have I been converted to an extended length racket disciple? I wouldn’t say so, but I was impressed with the Yonex Ezone 98+ nonetheless. When it comes down to it, the Ezone 98+ is not quite maneuverable enough for me, but, for an extended length racket, it doesn’t lose too much speed.
This means the 98+ isn’t just a hefty racket for big, strong players to use. Instead, it is a racket that a wide range of players can use to get a little bit of extra reach, stability, and power. For the players out there like Tom who enjoy the extended length rackets, but don’t want to lose too much on maneuverability, the Yonex Ezone 98+ is an ideal racket.
The Ezone 98+ performed well in all areas of our playtest, but it was from the back of the court where I really clicked with this racket. As my groundstrokes are my strongest shots I found it didn’t matter if I lost a little bit of racket head speed due to the extended length of the Ezone 98+ and the extra stability gave me some real power and spin.
The one area where this backfired a bit was on the serve where I did find it was a bit harder to keep my racket head speed up and suffered a little bit as a result. It certainly wasn’t a bad performance though in this area, and those players who seek power over maneuverability will be happy with this stick.
All in all, I was very impressed with the Yonex Ezone 98+ and have given it an 8 out of 10. If you are looking for an extended length racket that’s got good playability then be sure to take a look at this racket.
Review by: Will