Maybe the word “review” is not a fair statement when I’ve only played the stick a few hours, but here are my first impressions of the highly reviewed Yonex Ai 98.
First of all, it’s very easy to get used to. It moves briskly through the air and is still remarkably arm-friendly which I don’t find in a similarly playing racquet like the Aero Pro Drive. This is obviously key in the modern game where you need massive racquet head speed to create spin on the ball.
Secondly, it’s quite stable for its weight. Some players who prefer players’ sticks in the 360 gram range (like me), might still find it too light, but it’s definitely not unsubstantial or “flimsy” and will give most players a really solid and nice response.
From what I’ve gained so far is that it benefits from a co-poly string, but strung low to get the nice pocketing effect and some extra power. On the other hand, I’ve never enjoy polyesters strung high so maybe that’s just me. (Wait, no it’s not – most people play low tension polys these days!).
It doesn’t offer the same power as an Aero Pro Drive, but definitely more than most player racquets and you can always control the power level by how you string the racquet. It would be interesting to try it with a hybrid setup for example.
What it does offer in comparison to the APD is more control and better feel (highly personal, but I think the higher flex contributes). The APD is more powerful and I think I get more spin with it despite both being 16×19 string patterns, but for my game the Ai 98 is close to as good as it gets. It won’t be my first racquet of choice, but of the ones that have come out in the last few years, it’s in the top three on my list.
So try the Yonex Ai 98, it’s a highly recommended racquet that I think will fit a wide variety of players. Let me know how it goes in the comments below!