For its V-Feel line, Volkl makes some big changes to the new V-Feel 9 model. They start by increasing the head size to 100 inch from the previous version’s 98. The beam width is also now slightly thicker. Volkl also updated the string pattern from a 16 x 17 to a more standard 16 x 19. In addition to these design changes, the V-Feel 9 also boasts the latest material innovations. The frame layup utilizes V-Cell, a cellulose material that provides improved responsiveness and better feel. Volkl also updates their renowned shock absorbing handle with REVA, a material that offers 25% more shock absorption. The butt cap has also been revised with a new silicone polymer called VTex for better shock absorption and is more resistant to shrinking and cracking under extreme temperatures. With some significant overhauls in place, I was curious how the new V-Feel 9 would perform on court.
Off the ground the V-Feel 9 definitely packed a punch. The 70+ RA and 24-26-23 mm beam width combined to provide ample power from the back of the court. With more juice than I typically play with, it took me some time to get my groundstrokes fully under control. Once I did, I appreciated the easy power the frame produced. At 11.4 oz strung with a headlight balance and a swingweight in the 320s, the frame accelerated through contact well, allowing me to put plenty of racquet head speed behind the ball. The results were balls that landed deep in the court and kept opponents from attacking too much. The V-Feel 9 wasn’t as precise as thinner beam frames and I found myself picking bigger targets in order to play a bit safer and not hit myself out of points. Even with the change to a 16 x 19 string pattern from a 16 x 17, the V-Feel 9 still had plenty of spin. I was able to put plenty of margin on my shots and lift my normally flat backhand over the net well. Stability was solid and I felt the thicker middle part of the beam helped keep it steady when deflecting hard shots. It wasn’t as stable as a frame with a swingweight closer to 330, but I never ran into major issues trying to defend against pace.
Volleys & Serves
The V-Feel 9 was a solid performer at the net. Its easy power made quick work of anything left sitting up for me to pick off. The manageable weight and balance also made it quick to position during exchanges, although I missed the more compact head size of the previous version. The 100 inch head just didn’t feel quite as nimble and precise. Directional control was average and I had to be careful not to be too casual as the extra power would sail balls past the intended target. The stability of the V-Feel 9 was again solid at the net and I was able to fight off harder shots without leaving myself too compromised. The frame felt noticeably stiffer than previous version so I didn’t find as much touch for delicate volleys. The racquet was at its best when I was attacking aggressively at the front of the court.
Serving was where the V-Feel 9’s power was most enjoyable to deploy. After a bit of dial in, I was able to consistently hammer big first serves. The frame had smooth acceleration through the top of my motion, allowing me to put plenty of pace on my serves. The V-Feel 9 was closer to a blunt instrument than a scalpel but I was still able to move my serve around the box and just hit to slightly bigger spots. My kick second serve had good height and movement off the court and was effective at keeping returners off balance. My slice serve swung wide but lacked the bite I got with heavier frames.
Feel & Comfort
The V-Feel frames played noticeably firmer than past iterations and the V-Feel 9 was no exception. Volkl has raised the stiffness on this new version and it plays with a firmer, crisper feeling response. The new V-Cell material did a good job taking vibration out of off center shots, giving the racquet a cleaner feel on contact for the most part. While the feel was clean, I missed some of the flex and feedback of older Volkl models. It wasn’t always easy to tell what the ball was doing on the strings by feel. The reliable Volkl handle system did a great job in helping soak up unwanted vibrations. While the V-Feel 9 played firm, it was still comfortable overall. I experienced no issues, but players with sensitive arms may experiment with different strings and tensions to improve feel and ensure it plays comfortably.
This updated V-Feel 9 makes some major changes over the previous model. It packs plenty of firepower from the baseline while offering excellent spin and solid control. Its fast feel at the net and on serve makes it a strong offensive weapon. The new Volkl V-Feel 9 is a great match for anyone looking for easy power in a fast swinging, all court capable package.
About the Reviewer: Matt Locke formerly served for 3 years as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho. He is a PTR certified coach and is an active USTA 4.5 League and Tournament player.