The Yonex VCORE Pro line gets a new, old-school racquet and it does not disappoint. Here is my Yonex VCORE Pro 97 HD racquet review.
Yonex updates its VCORE Pro line with some new technology, a more muted response, and a completely new racquet. The Yonex VCORE Pro 97 HD takes us back to the good old days with thin beams, tight patterns and a flexible feel. Does it have what it takes to compete with more modern-style racquets? Or is it just nostalgia? I definitely think this frame offers a lot for players who like to play aggressively and can generate their own power.
The new generation of Yonex VCORE Pro racquets are emerald green and have received a lot of positive feedback for their design. Some players I hit with thought I brought an old racquet to the court. That is how old-school this frame looks. And it feels pretty old-school too with its sub-60 stiffness rating, its 20 mm beam and its 18×20 string pattern. But I think it offers a bit more power and spin than the specs might tell you.
Specs and Tech
The Yonex VCORE Pro 97 HD comes with VDM, which is short for “vibration dampening mesh”. “VDM is a stretchy mesh material that adheres well to graphite to reduce arm fatigue. Integrated within the grip, VDM minimizes vibrations by 30% resulting in improved feel and precise ball control.” Several brands seem to look into how to dampen vibrations through the handle. Most pros use silicone, but I am sure the VDM technology works as well. This racquet is definitely comfortable enough.
There is also a new “Lock Booster” grommet system that “promotes string contact for efficient energy transfer and ball crushing power. My guess would be that it is a grommet system that improves string movement. It might be what is producing a bit more spin than what is common with most 18×20 string pattern racquets. But I can't be sure of course.
Specs strung with a thin overgrip:
Weight: 340 grams
Head size: 97 sq inches
Beamwidth: 20 mm
String pattern: 18×20
Balance: 31,8 cm
Stiffness rating: 59
Swing weight: 331.5
Find the unstrung specs and more tech info on the Yonex official website.
Other key info:
Strings: At first I tried this racquet strung with Yonex Poly Tour Pro 1.25 at 22 kg / 50 lbs. I did not really feel connected to the ball with that string. When I restrung it with Yonex Poly Tour Strike 1.25 at 20 kg / 44 lbs, it played much better. I would definitely recommend stringing this racquet low if you are using a poly string. Another good option is using a hybrid setup.
How does it play?
As you can see from the specs, this is not a power and spin frame for intermediate players. This is for you who can generate your own power and value feel and comfort. It is definitely a frame centered around feel and control, but it packs more pop than I would have imagined. It is not noodle-like despite the low flex rating. I would compare it to the HEAD Gravity Pro (link to my review), but with smaller head size. Both offer great feel, but while the Yonex swings fasters, the Gravity offers a slightly larger sweet spot.
Other racquets that compare well with the Yonex VCORE Pro 97 HD (Amazon link) is the Angell TC 97 Custom 18×20 (link to my review). They both offer a comfortable response, stability on volleys and block shots, an aggressive slice trajectory and decent power for control frames. Not sure which one I would pick, but I could enter a tournament with either frame and be happy.
Yonex VCORE Pro 97 HD Review Summary
I enjoyed this racquet on serve too. Sometimes it can be difficult to generate pace with this type of racquet, but the weight helps and it did have more power than expected. Still, it is not a -“weapon” in that sense of the word, but the thin beam helps you generate racquet head speed.
The only shot I struggled a bit with this racquet, for some reason, was the one-handed backhand. For some reason, it did not feel as natural with this frame as for example the Yonex VCORE 95 (link to my review) or the Tecnifibre TF40 (link to my review). I do tend to like a lower static weight on my one-hander so perhaps this is why.
That is really my only dislike (albeit personal) with this frame. It is a really nice, control frame for advanced players looking for arm comfort and feel. It is one of my top racquets in the player racquet category for 2019.
Have you tried the Yonex VCORE Pro 97 HD? What did you think about it?
Very fair review Jonas. I played Sunday with a fresh restring IceCode (17G) @47lbs, previously I was using Poly Tour Strike @50lbs.
I think the match was great, even though I’d never used IceCode previously. I did have trouble on my 2nd serve however, not being able to generate my usual ‘kick’, hitting them a bit long, so assume this string doesn’t produce the same amount of spin as Strike.
I think the key is….any crisp poly strung a little lower. I definitely don’t think it feels like RA 59. There’s way may pop (surpringly) & the 18×20 pattern isn’t overly tight, so spin generation not a huge loss coming from a 16×19.
The comfort factor is huge. Of the ‘players’ spec frames currently available, I’d doubt there’s any that are more comfortable. And yes, the thin beam makes this stick feel very fast.
I think all round it’s up their with the best, if this style of racquet is your thing. There’s also some room for customisation, if you think it needs it. However, in stock it still plays very solid.
Sorry…I meant to say 48lbs…Lowest I’ve ever strung any of my racquets. 50lbs has been the norm over the past year or so!!
I have the Gravity Pro but really am interested in this one. I know you said they are similar but what would you give the slight edge to and why? Also, would the Poly Tour Strike at 44lbs work well with the Gravity?
This frame looks gorgeous !! Nice to hear that it offers more spin and power than expected, it could be worth testing it.
Is the weight of 340g the weight with leather grip and thin OG? I try not to play with racquets heavier than 335-339g so this one might be just over my limit…
Thanks for your nice reviews. Is this comparable to the Prince Phantom ?
Yes, quite comparable! Today I played them side by side with a hybrid setup consisting of Mantis Synthetic Gut in the mains and Alu Power Rough in the crosses and it was easy to switch between them. The Phantom is faster and more controlled, the Yonex offers more spin and a bigger sweet spot.
What was your tension for the Mantis / Luxilon hybrid?
Also are you still using leather for this racket?
Your take on using Solinco tourbite on this racket?
Could work! I prefer a softer setup though.
What are your ideal specs for a 95-98 inch racquet?
Strung: 345 grams, 32 cm balance, 20-21 mm beam, RA 60-62.
Do you use your usual grip size for HD/ other yonex rackets ? How would you rate the stability for this racket on return of servers?
Yes, I do! They run slightly, slightly larger in my opinion, but I am not so picky with grip size. The stability on return is very good. Cheers / J
If you had only one choice, between the Yonex or the Gravity Pro, which would you choose at this moment?
The Yonex for now, I prefer the smaller head size.
Jonas, are you planning to review the new VCORE Pro 330? I’ve heard some people say it’s the same as the last version and others say it’s a lot more like the old Duel G. Really curious to see what you think about it.
I hope I can do it, but I can’t afford to keep buying new racquets, so I hope Yonex can send me a demo.
Does this racquet play similar to the Head PT57A? The specs seem very similar.
Both are control-oriented racquets with 18×20 patterns that still offer a decent amount of spin, but the Yonex has a larger sweet spot, while the PT57A is much “sweeter” and a bit more precise.
Thanks for your thorough reviews! I recently switched to the Vcore pro HD from a dr 98, and I really like it. I found that restringing it with a full bed of velocity MLT(due to wrist issues) solved the slightly underpowered feel on my one-handed backhand, and I didn’t have much trouble getting enough spin to keep my forehands in. Might be worth a try if you are having arm issues.
Sounds like a great setup! No arm issues currently, fingers crossed. Very happy with the new Prestige MP at the moment.
Jonas, how do you compare the HD to the Blade 18×20? Personally, I felt the HD was a little more muted feeling due to the flexible frame than the Blade. I replaced the stock grip on both frames with Kimony leather and over girp. The HD had a gut/poly setup, and the Blade is a full bed of multi. I felt more connected to the Blade. Thoughts?
They are both quite flexible, but yes, I think the VDM tech in the handle does mute the feedback a bit. (Too much for some players perhaps). So I can understand where you are coming from here. Personally, I think the new Prestige MP is the most connected, but the Blade is quite close. Cheers / J
I demoed HD and really liked it, but have really enjoyed other Angell frames (TC95, ASL2) and think I might need to try K7 Lime before committing to HD.
How would you compare K7 Lime and VCore Pro HD? If you had to pick between the two, which would it be? Specifically, I was impressed with spin and maneuverability of HD for 18×20–are these features similar with K7 Lime?
I would say the spin potential is a bit better with the Yonex, but the Angell is a bit faster through the air. Not sure which one I would pick, if you could try the K7 Lime first, that would be best. Has quite a unique feel. Cheers / J
I’ve playing with this model for the past 4 months love it. Got it strung yonex poly pro spin g 60lbs in mains and 57.5 in crosses. Along with tennis warehouse tungsten tape the whole 8 inch strips at 3 and 9 o’clock. This just allows me to be super aggressive and I can aim with this frame do easy this is my frame for a long time.
Hi, thanks for the great review! The feel on the racquet is supreme. Just out of curiosity, how would you compare the feel and control to the DR 98 plus? Thanks!
I can’t demo the frames that I am interested in so I was hoping to get your feedback on them
The Vcore pro 97 HD vs the Vcore 95 vs the Phantom 100x 305g
Which would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their footwork , timing and strokes? I do like coming to the bet but I also like setting up a point and being patient
Anything above 65 RA gives me wrist pain
Hi jonas, how are you?
Do you think that prestige mp and the yonex vcore pro hd 97 are quite similar?.
Which one do you think is better?
Hi, all good thanks. Hope the same with you. Tough call, they are quite similar. I prefer the feel of the Prestige, but they are both great control racquets with similar power/spin levels. Cheers / J
Hello from Australia Jonas,
Just picked the VCORE Pro HD after much researching and a couple playtests along with the Prestige MP and Technifibre TF40. Your videos were helpful in narrowing down these frames and now I’m looking at a couple of your articles on softer string set ups (I noticed straight away that I needed lower tension in this denser string bed and hefty racquet). I have played with a hybrid set up for many years but noticed that you’ve mentioned on a couple occasions that you have played with poly in the cross and multi in the mains – I’ve always used the poly in the mains and the multi in the crosses… What’s your thinking on the difference of these set-ups?
Cheers, Jay P