Yonex is quick to give their VCore Pro line a fresh update after the line was just refreshed last year. For intermediate players and developing juniors, Yonex has updated the VCore Pro 100 280g model. Wearing the new eye catching green and gold cosmetic, this lightweight offering also packs some new tech from Yonex. Integrated into the handle is a new material called Vibration Dampening Mesh (VDM). According to Yonex, VDM offers 30% better shock absorption compared to the outgoing model. Yonex continues to use Namd material in the frame for flexibility without sacrificing power and response. The Lock Booster grommets provide additional power and spin by promoting better string contact. Having hit with the entire refreshed VCore Pro line, it was time to get my hands on the lightest member of the family.
Off the ground, the lighter VCore Pro 100 retained the family’s combination of power and control. The 21 mm beam provided the frame a good amount of power from the baseline and was slightly thicker than the beam used on the more advanced 97s. The 10.5 oz strung weight and 310g swingweight made it a breeze to accelerate and ratchet up the pace off both sides. The lighter weight didn’t provide the court penetration of the heavier models, but I was still able to add plenty of raw speed to the ball. The lighter weight made it a little easy to overcook balls if I was too casual, so I had to be more deliberate about my intentions. The 100-inch Isometric head had a large sweet spot and provided consistent power, even off center. I found this lighter version of the 100 to have the same solid accuracy as the heavier model. As long as I was fully committed to the shot, I could hit to any spot on court with reliable consistency. Spin production was easy to come by courtesy of the 16 x 19 pattern and fast swinging nature. I was able to hit with plenty of margin and this lighter version actually performed better at looping topspin shots back since it lacked the mass to effectively flatten out the ball. As expected, the frame was a bit lacking in the stability department. Developing players should find plenty of stability at medium pace, but the frame would need a bit more weight to be able to effectively defend against bigger hitters.
Volleys & Serves
Speed was the name of the game with the 280g frame at net. It packed plenty of finishing power, but I had to be a little bit cautious as too big of a volley would send the ball sailing farther than intended. The frame was light enough to rapidly maneuver into position during exchanges at the net. I never felt like I got caught behind the ball during net rallies. While not as precise as the other models in the line, I still found adequate control over volley direction and placement. I was able to create angled volleys and push the ball into the corners with relative ease. The lack of mass again contributed to lower stability at the net. It simply lacked the weight to deflect hard struck shots without significant twisting. Intermediate play shouldn’t expose this too much but as players advance, they would likely want to add additional weight to beef up the stability.
Much like volleying, serving with the 280g VCore Pro 100 was about relying on the frame’s raw speed. It was easy to accelerate the racquet through contact. This allowed me to put plenty of speed on my first serve. Serves weren’t as heavy as with other models in the line, but they still had an effective amount of pace behind them and I could snag a free point here and there as a result. The frame still served with impressive accuracy for its class. I was able to pick spots around the box and hit them with a high degree of reliability. It wasn’t as pinpoint as serving with the 97s, but I still felt confident I could get the serve into the right area repeatedly. Kick serves worked well as the easy racquet head speed and 16 x 19 pattern combined to provide plenty of jump off the court. I stuck to the kick serve as my slice serve lacked the weight behind it to be consistently effective.
The addition of the VDM material was the most noticeable change in the current model (outside of the paint scheme). It dampened the response quite a bit more than the outgoing version. It was effective at absorbing shock and only occasionally felt like it overly muted connection to the ball. Most of the time, the feedback was soft but consistent and provided enough feel to judge what the ball was doing on contact. The racquet played with outstanding comfort. I never experienced any discomfort, even on off center shots. The VDM and mid 60s RA combined to ensure that the racquet played very comfortable and player should have no problem pairing the frame with a variety of strings and tensions.
Players looking for a forgiving and highly maneuverable frame will enjoy this update from Yonex. It offers power that is easy to master, outstanding accuracy and enough spin to be dangerous. Roll all of that into a package that is free swinging and easy on the arm and the Yonex VCore Pro 100 280g should please any developing player or rising junior.
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.