Expert Review: Yonex VCore Pro 97 Racquet · Unstrung

Published on 11/14/2022 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the racquet, which I purchased with my own money in August of 2022.
Brandon M., Tennis Expert
By Tennis Expert Brandon M.

All photos courtesy of Brandon M.

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the racquet, which I purchased with my own money in August of 2022.

My take

The Yonex VCORE Pro 97 is an excellent choice for high-level intermediates and advanced players looking for a fast-moving racquet that offers high-levels of control and a comfortable feel. The VCORE Pro 97 offers good stability, superb racquet head speed, and an arm-friendly feel.

About the gear

  • Model: Yonex VCORE Pro 97
  • Grip Size: 4 ⅜ / EU 3
  • String and Tension: Yonex Polytour Pro 16 56lbs
  • Head size: 97
  • Racquet Length: 27
  • Any Customizations: Wilson Pro Overgrip

About me

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 185 lbs
  • Previous Racquet Played With: Head Graphene 360+ Gravity MP
  • Experience: 28 years of playing tennis
  • NTRP/UTA Rating: 5.0

Test conditions

  • When I tested these: August 2022
  • Days tested: 5 days
  • Court Surfaces: Hard
  • Match Play/Practice Session/Both: Both
  • Where I’ve used it: Kingsford High School, Kingsford, MI

How it performs

Ground Stroke

What I was looking for

I’ve been playing with the Head Graphene 360+ Gravity MP for 15 months now and have little to no complaints about it. I’ve been a lifelong Head racquet fan, and the Gravity MP is my favorite to date. My one small concern is that against heavy-hitting opponents, I need a bit more stability from the racquet. I have been testing racquets all summer to see if there is a racquet that offers a better combination of control, feel, easy spin, and stability than the Gravity MP. On paper, the Yonex VCORE Pro 97 looked like it may have what I need.

Why I chose this gear

I’ve always been intrigued by the VCORE Pro line as it offers a lot of what I like about my Gravity with a softer flex, maneuverable swingweight, and a bit of mass-based plow-through. However, after spending 5-6 hours playing with this racquet, it was not enough to convince me to change. The more forgiving nature of my Gravity MP outweighs the added stability of the VCORE Pro 97.

What I love about it

  • Control: The VCORE Pro 97 offers a lot of confidence to go for my target. The soft flex, good feel, and low power combined allow me to swing out on groundstrokes and know they will land where I want if I hit the sweet spot. Missing the sweet spot is a bit more inconsistent, though.
  • Maneuverability: The comparatively low 318RDC swingweight makes the VCORE Pro 97 very fast to swing and get the racquet where I want it to be. While on the run, I can generate plenty of racquet head speed to get pace on the ball, and at the net, I can react to hard passing shots with ease.
  • Volleys: I’ve mentioned this in every Yonex review I’ve done this summer, but using their racquets at the net is an absolute joy. The stability, maneuverability, and control give me confidence when I make my way forward and hit all volleys.
  • Stability: For a racquet with a lower swingweight than my Head Gravity MP, I never feel the VCORE Pro 97 get pushed around by heavy shots. On serve returns, I can take full swings and be confident that the racquet will hold up on impact, where I have struggled most with my Gravity MP.
  • Other: The paint job of the VCORE Pro line is fantastic. It’s a retro yet modern look that just works, in my opinion, even if it has nothing to do with how the racquet performs.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Power: Based on the spec sheet, I knew that the VCORE Pro 97 would be underpowered, but I am still somewhat disappointed in what was on offer during my test. It was particularly noticeable when I worked on adding extra pace when going for winners because my opponents were getting them back more often. Finally, balls hit outside the sweet spot were especially weak and turned into easy put aways for opportunistic opponents.
  • Groundstrokes: I hit some very good groundstrokes with the VCORE Pro 97, but I also hit a lot of really bad ones. The bad ones were a combination of mishits and weak shots due to a combination of factors. The small sweet spot and smaller head size than my usual racquet were primarily responsible for my inconsistency. Still, I also struggled with timing which I attributed to the low swingweight. I pulled a lot of balls because I was catching them too early.

Favorite moment with this gear

The Yonex VCORE Pro 97 allowed me to hit many nice drop volleys. I could confidently attack an approach shot due to the racquet's control, make my way into the net, and then use the stability and soft feel to take the pace off of my opponents’ passing shots and hit short touch volleys quite easily.

Value for the money vs. other options

Yonex racquets are generally priced at the higher end of the market, and the VCORE Pro 97 is no different. It is $20 more than its most similar competitors, the Tecnifibre TF40 315 16x19 and the Dunlop CX200 Tour 16x19.

Final verdict

The Yonex VCORE Pro 97 is a precision weapon for high-level juniors, ambitious intermediates, and advanced-level players looking for control and feel in an easy-to-swing racquet. It would also be great for a former high-level player who has taken some time away and may not have the same racquet head speed that they used to and need a faster-moving racquet that still offers the control and feel of traditional players’ racquets. The low-powered response and small sweet spot of the VCORE Pro 97 demands a level of aptitude that can make it frustrating at times, but when one gets it right, the racquet is a joy to use.

Brandon M., Tennis Expert
Brandon M.
Tennis Expert
72 Reviews
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