Yoshihito Nishioka swings the new VCORE 98

Price: $259 (buy here)
Head Size: 98 sq. in.
Length: 27 in.
Weight: 11.4 oz.
Balance: 6 pts. HL
Swingweight: 318
RA Rating: 62
Beam Width: 23 mm / 23 mm / 21 mm
String Pattern: 16x19

What’s New

Ever since the SV version of the VCORE three models ago, the frame has undergone a gradual softening of its stiffness rating. This 7th generation—noted with an “07” inscribed on the beam—is the most flexible to date. It’s also thinner at the tip to help bolster racquet acceleration. A slight widening of the head at the 2 and 10 o’clock positions of the face helps expand the sweet spot in the upper hoop. This also results in more spacing of the main strings. Along with the new silicone-infused grommets for faster string snapback, this creates greater spin potential.

What Works

In the VCORE family, the 98 offers a welcome compromise between the precision of the smaller 95 and the bombast of the bigger 100. If you’re familiar with the past few iterations of this model, this one has a familiar playability. On ground strokes there’s command enough to move the ball around the court with ease, rip one when necessary, or hit a solid slice on defense to stay neutral in a rally. The added flex this time around gives the racquet a sweeter feel at contact, along with a deeper pocket; the ball sinks into the strings before shooting off deep into the opposing court.

The tweaks made to the frame shape, thickness and grommets all seem to help elevate the spin potential as well, which is the specialty of the VCORE line. Whether biting slices or heavy forehands, it’s highly capable of putting lots of work on aggressive shots, making them troublesome to return.

Serving in particular was a highlight. The racquet accelerates easily and has an extra gear that produces screamers without coming out of your shoes. Balance that with the action available on sliders and kickers, and it was a fun and effective weapon for starting points.

At net the racquet more than holds its own. The combination of soft, connected feel, good control and deft handling add up to dependable volleying. The racquet approaches the touch and frontcourt versatility found in a more traditional player’s frame, but in a lighter package.

Yonex VCORE 98

Yonex VCORE 98


What Needs Work

While the continued lowering of the frame’s stiffness has benefits, some players could find it more of a disadvantage. If you prefer a crisper feel with a ball that shoots more quickly off the string bed, this response may be lacking.

Along those same lines, the spin-potential is ample for this category, but the power may not be as flowing as other stiffer or heavier racquets. There’s pop to be had, however it can take some effort to generate pace and depth on ground strokes. Similarly, the control is quite good, but other options with tighter string patterns may have a leg up in command.

But these are quibbles that boil down to playing style and preferences more than significant demerits in an otherwise worthy frame.

Tester Feedback

“The lower RA is offset by the launch angle and a string bed that is a tad more lively, so more comfort without a drop off in power. What’s not to like about that?”

“This 98 is an excellent middle ground in the VCORE family, and fits beautifully into the more powerful 98 square-inch space.”

“This could be my new racquet this year…absolutely love it!”

Final Verdict

Spin compliant, spirited, yet controllable power and great feel at contact—the VCORE 98 hits lots of winners.