Yonex Ezone DR 98 Lite Tennis Racquet Review
The most recognizable aspect of a Yonex frame is undoubtedly their Isometric head shape. But look deeper and you’ll see they pack an awful lot of technology into their frames. The new update to the Ezone AI, the Ezone DR series is no different. The line uses Nanometric DR Carbon construction for enhanced energy return while the Oval Pressed Shaft improves flex and stability. Yonex then adds in Quake Shut Gel to filter vibration and improve comfort. The Ezone DR 98 Lite packs all of these technologies into a highly maneuverable and user friendly setup. Here’s a look at how it performs on court.
The Ezone DR 98 Lite is exceptionally fast off the ground. The 98 inch head and 10.6oz strung weight allow the frame to accelerate through contact for impressive power. The tapered beam construction provided plenty of power without sacrificing control. I was able to hit deep into the court off of either wing on command. I also found the flex in the frame to be very rewarding. It had excellent ball pocketing and provided good control to go with the power. The sweet spot was very generous and I saw a consistent power level, even on off center shots. The string bed has a lively feel to it and I stayed well connected to the ball as the frame has noticeable flex in the throat. The whippy feel and 16x19 string pattern also combined to make easy spin generation. I was able to create plenty of margin on shots and was especially impressed with the clearance on my backhand. The reduced weight of this model made it a bit more difficult to finish the ball when stepping into the court but that was countered by the confidence it inspired to go for aggressive targets. Defensive shots were also solid as the racquet got into position quickly and had enough power to block shots back and reset points.
Volleys & serves
The 98 Lite is an aggressive weapon at the net. The light weight and slightly headlight balance allowed me to maneuver it into position quickly and get the best of rapid exchanges. I would have preferred a bit more mass for put away volleys and less aggressive shots tended to float a bit more. The feel and response of the racquet also shined at the net. I was able to execute drop and touch volleys with high confidence. The unique flex of the frame also seemed to do a good job absorbing the pace of hard hit balls to the body and I was able to fight off several balls and extend points.
I had a bit more of a struggle serving with the DR 98 Lite. The frame accelerates through the zone easily so I found plenty of pace for flat serves, but I struggled with control. I attributed this to a combination of light weight and a more powerful string. I would probably have had better control with a stiffer, lower powered poly as opposed to the multi it had. Directional accuracy was solid. It wasn’t a scalpel but I could move the ball around the box enough to keep opponents guessing. Spin serves were a lot of fun to hit with this frame. The open pattern and high racquet head speed made it easy to hit kick and slice serves with both tremendous action and pace, furthering ensuring my service points started on my terms.
The DR 98 Lite played with excellent feel and response. The low RA and unique flex in the throat created a well connected feel that pocketed the ball on every shot. The racquet was also very arm friendly. The Quake Shut Gel seemed to do a very good job filtering out unwanted vibrations, leaving only enough feedback to know what the ball is doing on contact.
Intermediate players looking for a fast frame that blends power, control and spin in a highly maneuverable package will enjoy the Yonex Ezone DR 98 Lite. While more advanced players would want additional weight for stability and plow through, the racquet offers impressive capabilities in such a light frame. Add in the fantastic ball pocketing and arm friendly feel and players will definitely want be sure and take the DR 98 Lite with them on court.
About the Reviewer: Matt Locke currently serves as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho and is an active USTA League and Tournament player.