Yes, Donnay racquets are still around and should not be forgotten. Here is our Donnay Octacore Pro One 97 Review.
Donnay Octacore Pro One 97 Review
Donnay’s trademark in recent years for tennis racquets has been various layers of foam to make them arm-friendly. This Xenecore foam will help dampen the impact and create a solid response.
The racquet I reviewed is also “unibody”, meaning it’s all in one piece. No pallet or foamed grip. That is supposed to increase the solid feel.
One benefit of Donnay racquets is their arm-friendliness, and the new Octacore Pro One 97 does not disappoint.
It plays with excellent comfort, and I had no issues with my hitting arm even after using a full bed of poly. I tried it with Donnay X Poly 1.25 at 51 lbs and Yonex Poly Tour Pro 1.25 at 53 lbs.
Both strings worked fell in the racquet, but I think I went a bit high and will re-string this racquet at 49 or 50 lbs with medium firm poly.
These average specifications come from the Donnay official website. I will measure my specs for the upcoming video review on our YouTube channel.
Head size: 97sq”
Unstrung Weight: 305g
Unstrung Balance: 315mm
Strung Weight: 317.5g
Strung Balance: 5 Points HL
Strung Swing Wt: 314
String Pattern: 16×19
Rec. String Tension: 45lbs (+/- 10)
Beam Width: 21/21/21mm
Length: 27 inches (standard)
Technology: Octacore X?neCore™
How does it play?
I have tested the Pro One 97 in various iterations and generations. The official website talks about it being similar to a PT57A. It doesn’t have that feel and flex, but that is the inspiration. An old-school control racquet somewhere in between a Prestige and a Pro Staff.
With a lower string tension (dropping to something like 45 lbs), it plays with a generous amount of power for its specifications. There is also room for customization since the average swing weight is low.
The 16×19 pattern opens up for a decent amount of spin, though.
The lower stiffness can sometimes be felt on off-center hits when a stiffer racquet might be a tad more stable.
It took me a while to groove with the Pro One 97. Previous generations have been difficult to use, but I think the stiffness is slightly higher here, enlarging the sweet spot and giving you more power.
I much prefer the Octacore line to the Hexacore. I am unsure if it’s the Unibody tech or something they’ve changed in the line-up, but I get better power and a more solid feel with these new Donnay racquets.
It’s still a very control-oriented racquet, however. You need to provide the power.
But the thin beam and small head size allow you to create lots of racquet head speed easily. When I had time to attack the ball, the racquet delivered in spades. I could swing it fast and generate lots of pace. But on defense, the Pro One is much more punishing than the Formula 100, for example.
On serve, the racquet comes through the air with generous pace and you hit heavy flat serves as well as spinny kicks serves, but it’s all in your hands. The racquet doesn’t provide any power for free.
All-in-all, when you’re on your game, the Donnay Pro One 97 Octacore delivers.
Donnay keeps being a solid option for players looking for arm-friendly racquets. I am not sure where you can get these except for the official website—big thanks to Racket1.no, who arranged the demo racquets for me.
I think they ship within Europe, at least if you are interested, and the Donnay racquets retail at a slightly lower price than the main brands.