Yonex VCore 100S Racquet Review
When Caroline Wozniacki switched to a Yonex frame everyone thought is she mad? Well I had my doubts as well but then I watched her playing with the new frame and notice a few things. A little more zip on her forehand. The fact that she seemed to have more spin on her ground strokes. Last but not least, she was actually making down the line forehands. Was it all just off season practice or could there be more to the answer than just practice. I wanted to know for sure.
So when asked to review this frame I jumped at the chance. Before you start thinking this is a “girl’s racket” consider this. I am 5’9” 170 lbs and a hit hard heavy topspin lefty ground strokes. When I was a junior, I broke frames hitting tennis balls not the court. THIS is NOT A GIRLS TENNIS RACKET!!!!. This is a tour quality frame that is a must demo for a spin player, especially if you play with the Babolat Aero Pro Drive. Do I have your attention yet?? Great, let’s talk about why I am so stroked on this frame!
Beauty is sometimes more than skin deep. This frame look nice enough but its real beauty is when it is used to rip the fuzz off a tennis ball. There are two marketing sound bites associated with this frame. One is 3-D spin. The other is this subtle little logo on the face of this racket. I call it the Alice in Wonderland label, it says “for spin”. No potion to drink just pick the frame up and you are ready.
X-Fullerene what is that? Well in a nutshell it is a description of the carbon nanotubes used in many of the current generation of racket frames. The two that seem to have used this to the greatest effect are the Yonex line and the Boris Becker / Volkl frames. The beauty of this material is that the stiffness of the material is outstanding as is its torsional characteristics. It is also hollow so the weight is quite low. There are small tuning nuances used in each frame so don’t be fooled in to thinking that all carbon nanotube frames are the same they are not. Fullerene is used in the upper portion of the head for improved stability and stiffness without a large weight increase.
The other change to the frame is the groove that runs around the inside of the throat on both sides. By adding this step to the cross section the torsional stiffness of the frame is increased. This improves the response of the frame on off center shots. Spin
I have never had a separate section about spin control in a racket review but this racket demanded it. There may be other frames out there that are in this class but of the many I have demo this is the ranking #1 Yonex Vcore100, #2 Tie Head Youtek Speed 16 x 19 & Babolat Aero Pro Drive and then everything else.
The 3-D part is not a joke the first night I hit with this frame I completely re-mastered the around the net post bender passing shot. I have been missing this shot since my comeback 3 years ago and suddenly I could hit it without fail. At the net I was able to hit the most ridiculous biting sidespin drop volleys that left my hit partner staring (& glaring at me). Everything about my lefty spin game was magnified. What was scary was this was with synthetic gut strings not something sinister like Babolat RPM Blast or Luxilon ALU Rough.
My ideal frame would have tremendous spin control, pinpoint accuracy, forgiveness, and sublime touch. The Vcore frame has this incredibly smooth feel very fast through the air. The feedback from the frame tells you exactly how you hit the ball without any harshness. The sweetspot is very large and the frame handles off center shots with great accuracy and surprisingly similar result to those struck cleanly.
It is equally at home hitting all types of strokes with slice, topspin, or flat something that most frames are not as good for. I was also amazed at how accurate and effortless the spin generation was. I was able to pin my opponents well behind the baseline using deep punishing looping strokes and then pounce on a short ball flattening out the shot for a winner. This is ideal for clay court patterns for singles and doubles. It also translates well for hard court tennis for spin players. In fact, I think that might be the biggest gain from this frame. Improving the effectiveness of a spin player’s game on hard courts.
My two favorite shots had to be the return drop shot and the bender passing shot. The combination of the spin and accuracy made these shots feel routine. Not far behind that was the amplification of the topspin that I normally hit. It is really fun to hit groundstrokes in the 75 mph range & have them accelerate after the bounce... well at least it was fun for me. Groundstroke grade A +++.
How can you go wrong with a racket that has accuracy, spin and control? The answer is that you can’t. I actually played a match the first night I hit with this frame and only had 1 double fault and I was not serving super conservatively. There are probably a few frames with more pop but that is not my first concern in a frame. You need good but not perfect technique to hit punishing spin serves but I think the frame is forgiving enough that someone with a fairly flat serve ( like most 3.0 -3.5 players) would do extremely well with this frame. Unlike many tweener frames, this one does not have a breakdown in control when you dial back the spin. The open string pattern and larger sweetspot make this a solid frame for serving. Serving grade A
It is a difficult task to design a racket that excels at the baseline as well as the net. So it is reasonable to expect that a frame will be good at one or the other. The Vcore100 breaks tradition as it is actually a very potent net machine. The feel is excellent and it is at home on drop and angle volleys as well as more traditional volleys. Drive volleys were easy to control and had great power. It is easily one of the top rackets in the over 93 inch head range. Volley grade A
There you have it, Yonex produces another incredibly well rounded (squared headed) frame. As great as this frame plays there is no doubt why Caroline adjusted to the switch so well. If you are looking at tweener fames with spin potential like the Babolat Aero Pro Drive you should definitely demo this frame. In fact if you consider playing with a frame bigger than 90 inches, I recommend that you take a look at this one as I think it will surprise you. It certainly surprised me.