Yonex VCORE 98 (305) Specs
Head Size: 98 in² / 632 cm²
Length: 27in / 68,5cm
Strung Weight: 323g / 11,4oz
Unstrung Weight: 305g/10,8 oz
Balance: 32,49cm / 6 pts HL
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
The racket company that has gone up most in my estimations since I started doing these playtests is without a doubt Yonex. I’ve really enjoyed some of their heavier pro-style rackets and generally find that the lighter sticks keep many of those good qualities. There also seems to be a million options with Yonex, which brings us to the Yonex VCORE 98 (305).
This stick looks absolutely fantastic and nails the specs of a modern tennis racket. I was a massive fan of the VCORE Pro 97 (310) and it appears there is a lot of the same good stuff in the VCORE 98 (305).
Spec wise, the VCORE 98 comes in very similar to my Babolat Pure Strike 18 x 20 , so there wasn’t too much adjustment to get this racket playing exactly how I wanted it. Both rackets come in around 305g unstrung but pack a big punch with 320+ swingweights.
The one major difference between the two rackets is the string pattern. My Pure Strike has a closed string pattern of 18 x 20, whereas the VCORE sticks to Yonex’s isometric head shape and a 16 x 19 string pattern. This should make the Yonex a little bit more power and spin friendly, with the more open string pattern giving it a little bit of extra pop.
We picked up this baby in the galaxy black color, which we think looks exactly how a tennis racket should look. Sleek but menacing, you’re sure to look like a (tennis) baller when you walk onto court with this stick!
The galaxy black keeps all the same great technology as its red brother with Aero Fin, Aero Trench, and NAMD all included. The Aero Fin grooves and Aero Trench grommets help reduce drag to aid the fast nature of this thin beamed frame, helping to turn it into the ultrafast modern racket that today’s game requires. This is nicely complimented by NAMD, which adds extra spin to your game.
Based on the specs, I was expecting the VCORE 98 (305) to be a good option for intermediate to advanced players that look for a slightly lighter racket. In the past, I might well have discounted this as a beginner player’s racket based on it being too light, but I think technology has made a big change to this belief.
Today’s rackets are capable of providing good levels of control even at 305g of weight. Contrary to popular belief, it’s really more the swingweight that matters these days, so I was expecting lots of control and feel from the VCORE 98.
I took the VCORE out on a perfect February morning with the sun shining and was hopeful that my racket would be as good as the weather! I used to have all sorts of problems getting dialled in with Yonex rackets, but lately that hasn’t been a problem, so I was hoping that pattern would continue with the VCORE 98 (305)!
Groundstrokes – 8/10
One thing I notice very quickly with these VCORE rackets is how nicely they cut through the air. The Aero technology and isometric shape of the head tend to make the Yonex rackets very fast and this opens up a lot of options for its user. Whether it’s in my mind or not, the shape of the head does take a little bit of getting used to and I seem to find the frame a lot in the warm up, but I almost always settle into my rhythm.
I quickly found that I enjoyed the balance of this racket. Often, rackets can be fast because they are very headlight, but the VCORE 98 (305) feels quite evenly balanced despite being listed as 6 PT HL. This meant that I was getting a lot of racket head speed off the back hand side, but the racket still had enough plow through to get good length and power.
The VCORE 98 is very spin friendly, which worked out quite nicely on the backhand side. I found it so easy to play with, as I effortlessly swung away, getting good depth and spin as a I went.
I found things a little bit more complicated on the forehand side where I missed the more closed string pattern of my Pure Strike. The difficulty for me is that I’m much more suited to a heavy racket on the forehand side, whereas a lighter racket works out better for me on the backhand side.
On the forehand side, I found the VCORE to be unnecessarily fast and a little bit punchy. I was getting too much spin and struggled with my attacking shots. This is something I find with a lot of rackets, so it’s not a big negative for the racket.
I think the VCORE is better suited to someone who looks to add spin to their game through the racket as opposed to looking to flatten the ball out. I would also recommend it for people with medium to fast strokes as opposed to very fast, whippy strokes. It’s a racket I found I could sit back with and just ease myself into points.
As a personal preference, I much preferred the VCORE 97 (310), but to be fair, that’s a high standard to live up to. I gave the VCORE 98 (305) an 8 out of 10, which still a pretty good score. The balance feels really nice, but I would prefer just a touch less spin and a little bit more control.
Volleys 7.5 – 10
I love volleying with these slightly lighter rackets with decent swingweights. OK, they might not have quite the stability and feel of the much heavier rackets like the Yonex VCORE Pro 97 (330), but they make up for it with maneuverability.
The VCORE 98 (305) certainly does that, with wickedly fast movement that ensures you’re always in position with time to spare. This is something that is easily overlooked, especially if you play a lot of doubles. Sometimes with heavy rackets you just put so much effort into getting the racket moving that it takes up all your energy. This is certainly not the case with the VCORE 98 (305) which makes strokes a doddle.
As you would expect from a racket with a 322 swingweight, the VCORE puts in a very decent performance on the volleys, giving you solid control and feel. As with my Pure Strike, I do find it has a tendency to let the odd ball fly long, but I find I combat that with a little extra focus on my shots.
This racket’s not quite like the VCORE Pro 97 (330) where you rock up at the net and everything feels like a dream. You have to work a bit harder and use your hands more to get the most out of this racket at the net, but it’s certainly not going to hold you back if you’ve got the ability.
The only thing I would say is that I would probably prefer an 18 x 20 string pattern to the 16 x 19 just to deaden the feel a little bit. The 16 x 19 has a little bit more pop which can be harder to control. I’m pretty much always moaning about not having an 18 x 20 string pattern though, so feel free to ignore this paragraph!
Overall, I would say the VCORE 98 (305) does a very good job at the net for a 305g racket. I would certainly recommend it as an allrounder’s racket and gave it a 7.5 out 10 at the net.
Serve – 8/10
The Yonex VCORE 98 has all the qualities I like in a racket when it comes to serving. Maneuverability is a big thing for me when it comes to the serve, but you also need a solid swingweight to ensure your racket head speed is converted into power.
I recently played with the Prince Textreme Tour 100 (310) and absolutely loved serving with it. So, the VCORE 98 had a difficult job following that one up. The two rackets have very similar specs, but I found that I got a little bit more out of the Prince at serving time. I’m not sure if that’s because of the extra 5g of weight, but I had a little bit more pop and control.
That’s not to say the VCORE 98 job did a bad job though, and I found it to be quite similar to my Pure Strike on this shot. The VCORE perhaps gives you a little bit easier access to power and spin than the Pure Strike, but I also found I made a few more errors.
These are things that I’m sure I would iron out given a bit of playing time with this stick and you can’t really fault the racket. It’s one of those sticks that is good at everything, and it’s not easy to find any negatives about it.
This is reflected by my score of 8 out of 10 on the serve. Another very decent score, which puts the Yonex VCORE 98 firmly in the allrounder category.
Overall – 8/10
Overall this is a very solid racket and one that I would suggest to anyone looking for a racket around the 305g mark. Its main attributes are excellent maneuverability and good access to spin, which make tennis seem pretty effortless.
While I would say the Yonex VCORE 98 performs best from the back of the court, it is more than capable at the net and on serve, making it suitable for players who like to attack the net. It could benefit from a little more stability on the volleys, but you wouldn’t want to change the balance of the racket too much.
I think this racket could suit a very wide range of players, with both intermediates and advanced players benefiting from its easy spin. Style wise, it’s hard to define, because I could see it working well for someone who likes to sit back and counterpunch just as much as it would for an aggressive baseliner.
The broad appeal of this stick earns it an 8 out of 10 overall from TheTennisBros.com. You really can’t find too much wrong with the Yonex VCORE 98 (305) and it does tons of things well. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.
Review by: Will