YONEX Vcore Tour 97 Tennis Racquet Review
Yonex has always had a flagship racquet carried by their top players, and the Tour 97 continues on that legacy. Currently used by Lleyton Hewitt and Sabine Lisicki, the Yonex VCore Tour 97 took many great features from its predecessor, the VCore 95D, and gave it an enhanced, polished new game.
Before demoing the Tour 97, I had been using racquets right around 11 ounces strung for about 3 weeks, and the initial transition to using a 12.2 ounce racquet felt difficult. For the first 15 to 20 minutes, I found this racquet to be a little less maneuverable than I would have liked, despite being 8 points head light. But after getting used to the weight, the total benefits of this frame opened up like sunshine on a rainy day.
Right away, I was noticing that I was getting a tremendous amount of controlled power from this frame. The ball really popped off of the string bed and what initially felt like a burden (the 12.2 ounce strung weight), proved to be a huge asset. I could really drive through my shot and create a strong, consistent rally ball in a way that I haven't felt with many other frames on the market. The total weight of the racquet really helped to add a great amount of plow through and held up to absorb and return the pace of very hard shots. Having always used racquets that are around 12 ounces, I didn't struggle to generate a great amount of racquet speed. The head light balance really helps to get the racquet through the hitting zone quickly.
Holding true to how I feel about many of Yonex's 16x20 string patterns, the Tour 97 has a very dynamic and lively stringbed that allows you to create heavy spin on groundstrokes or drive through them more flat. Having always enjoyed varying my shot style, I appreciate that I don't have to hone in on one hitting style to best suit the racquet.
Lastly, the overall feel and forgiveness of the Tour 97 really impressed me. At a stiffness rating of 64, it has enough flex to feel comfortable and soft, yet transfer a noticeable amount of power back into your shot. I greatly enjoyed how forgiving this frame was on off-center shots. Although they definitely came across the net slightly weaker, they did tend to fall into the court with some manner of control. The 97 square inch headsize felt and played like a 93-95 inch frame, giving me the precision and control I desired, while still feeling like I had plenty of room for error. Whether playing aggressively or defensively, I found that the Tour 97 gave me just about everything I needed and then that little extra that made me fall in love with this frame.
Much like the ground strokes, I didn't feel like the Tour 97 felt very maneuverable up at the net. I tended to feel a little clunky and that I had to be very diligent in order to prepare fast enough. That being said, once making contact, this frame delivered very accurate and consistent volleys. It truly performed as a scalpel, and I found that I had the greatest success when slowing the racquet down, focusing on placement, and letting its weight do the work.
Having used the Tour 97 Light version for several weeks beforehand, I was really excited to see how this model would perform while serving. For me, it blew away the light (310g) version in this regard. From the get-go, creating a fast and accurate delivery felt commonplace. The serve is an area where I feel like Yonex's weight is an all-around asset. It combined with the balance and flex to create a very lively yet controlled feel where smacking it hard and flat, curving a low slice, or rolling a high kick serve are all within the realm of possibility.
The VCore Tour 97 continues Yonex's tradition of producing superb mid-plus racquets. For anyone who is used to a racquet that weighs in around 11.5 ounces or higher, this frame is a must try! What I really enjoyed about this frame was the amount of control, power, and comfort I felt from all areas of the court. On groundstrokes I felt comfortable and secure, both when taking large cuts at the ball or playing with more feel and touch. The Tour 97 provides ample weight to drive shots deep into the court or absorb power on the defense, while also having a string bed and flex that enhances the modern heavy topspin game.
About the Reviewer: Brandon Arradaza is a Tennis Professional at the Chris Lewit Tennis Academy in New York City. He is a graduate of the Professional Tennis Management Program at Ferris State University, a USPTA Elite Professional, PTR Professional and USRSA Master Racquet Technician.