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YONEX VCore 98 2018 Review

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[dropcap style=”font-size: 40px;”]N[/dropcap]ew for 2018 is the highly anticipated YONEX VCore 98, the middle child in the new VCore series of YONEX frames launched on August 25 – the day before the start of the US Open championships. We received some early demos and did some testing prior to the open launch event so that we could provide feedback to YONEX and other attendees. YONEX has dropped the “SV” moniker similar to dropping “DR” from EZone and has completed the simplification of frames lines into “VCore Pro”, “VCore” and “EZone”, respectively. Similar to Babolat, retailers will end up suffixing frame models with the launch year – but it might be better than coming up with a new technology to nickname the frames. Onto the gear!

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Aesthetically, these are gorgeous frames. The paint is a matte Ferrari red with subtle shades of burgundy, highlighted with metallic silver logos. In my opinion they are far more attractive than the VCore SV models. From a retail perspective the “95”, “98” and “100” labels are easier to read and identify at a quick glance than the SV models. FORM AND FUNCTION. New to the 2018 VCore are three distinct changes from the SV models: Aero Fins above the throat, newly engineered straight hole grommets and an Aero Trench to recess the grommets at the top of the frame. I have never personally put much stock in grommet or aero technology, but I can see how these items will add to the overall mission statement of the 2018 VCORE: Maxiumum Spin.

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In true YONEX fashion, the first stick out of the stack measured in exactly at 305g without what I call “factory correction” – lead tape under the head guard, under the grip, or silicone in the handle after graphite production and handle moulding. YONEX manufacturing is truly remarkable in their consistency. Our test stick was strung with YONEX Poly Tour Strike 1.20 in Iron Grey at 53#.

Specs as tested:
(With YONEX Grap, YONEX dampener)
Weight: 329g
RA: 62
Swing weight: 324
Balance: 323mm

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PLAYTEST: This frame is solid! Reminiscent of early 2000’s classics, it has feel & soul. The 3-4 points lower RA than the VCore SV 98 has a lot to do with this, and if you prefer stiff frames with less feedback you may not love this one. Although it’s flexible and has feel, it’s still crisp, more so than the EZone DR 98(+). As advertised, the spin potential is there. I swing an almost full western long and fast stroke and I don’t have problem hitting spin with most any frame – this is no exception. Serving with this frame for me was as good as any frame that I have ever used. I dumped a few balls into the net and then realized that this frame is flexible and generates spin and you can go all out – swing for the fences. I hit my spots with spin and pace on both sides and could snap flat serves with plenty of margin. Frame fitment will vary for every player and even every stroke, but right out of the box the VCore 98 is a frame that I could play with unmodified. I will add a leather grip and some weight to test this frame at 345g and 335sw which is where I setup my VCore SV 98 for an even comparison.

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Summer is the time to tinker! Part 2: Strings

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PART 2 – Stringing

At Wrigley’s Tennis, we pride ourselves on outstanding stringing. Service is what separates one retail store from another – especially when everyone sells the same popular tennis gear. Stringing is crucially important to your game.

Tension is control. The tighter your strings are, the more control you will have to keep shots in the court. This couldn’t be more evident than on the Pro Tour, where players like Roger Federer have 10-12 racquets strung before each match, and switch to a freshly strung frame after every 7 games. This level of racquet preparation is overkill for the recreational player, but fresh string and good string tension is beneficial at all levels. We recommend restringing as many times per year as you play per week and at least every 8 weeks if you use polyester monofilament strings.

Not all string jobs are created equal. Experience, equipment and execution makes for great stringing. At Wrigley’s Tennis, when it comes to racquets we have seen it all and have the experience to properly string any racquet. Racquets are inspected for cracks and grommet issues and are strung at proper tensions following the manufacturer’s recommended patterns and specifications.

Equipment matters. At Wrigley’s Tennis, we regularly replace our machines and currently use an electronic machine from Yonex Japan that is in our opinion the finest machine available worldwide. Used on the Pro Tour and the official machine of the Olympic Games and the Australian Open, your stringing will be accurate and consistent every time.

We have also had the opportunity to work with and learn from the Yonex Stringing Team and bring these experiences back for you. Starting methods, weaving methods, knot-tying, and stringing techniques all contribute to accurate and consistent stringing.

Beware of the hobbyist stringer. While there are many great stringers out there, we receive a lot of customer frames that are strung improperly by amateurs. From mis-weaves, wrong patterns, inconsistent tensions or very low tensions. In the worst case scenarios – the frame is broken or crushed during stringing. Also, string selection with a hobbyist stringer is usually limited to a couple choices and we see customer racquets belonging to recreational players with strings that are more suited for a high school or junior tournament player.

Get your racquet tested, anytime, for free. – At Wrigley’s Tennis, we have a state-of-the-art racquet diagnostic center from Babolat that can test the string bed stiffness of your frame. Different from “reference tension” which is the tension that each string is pulled by the stringing machine, string bed stiffness measures the energy in the string across the entire string bed, taking into account the string type and string pattern. It is commonly recommended to restring when the number has fallen 20% or more. We store this number every time your racquet is strung and have data for the past 20+ years.

We currently stock over 200 strings from all of your favorite brands and will continue to bring in the latest and greatest the industry has to offer. If you don’t see something that you are looking for, please ask!

Have fun out there this summer!

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Summer is the time to tinker!

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Summer is Here! The perfect time to tinker with your game and your gear!

For those of us die-hard year-around Floridians, summer means lots of rain, morning tennis, and a great opportunity to test out some new gear! Most local league play is over. USTA leagues are primarily combo and mixed – which typically don’t count towards your USTA ranking. There is no better time to try out a new racquet or string setup than now when most of your tennis is social.

You may love your old racquet, and that’s okay! New racquet technology is constantly emerging and new designs and materials are creating more powerful, more comfortable frames than ever before. If your game is changing, you may be ready to upgrade to a frame that better suits your future playing level before you get there. We have seen more advancement this year than we have seen in a decade towards arm-friendly, low-shock frames that still perform beautifully. Tennis elbow is the #1 reason that people stop playing tennis, and the industry is listening!

Racquets unfortunately don’t last forever – they are light, thin and under constant tension. When inspecting frames before stringing we often come across undetected cracks and have to deliver the bad news that your favorite racquet is no longer serviceable. Sometimes fear and panic sets in! Choosing a new frame can take a weeks and the adjustment (at least for me) takes a couple weeks. If your favorite aging racquet might be on it’s last breath – take out some demos and get familiar with the new frames and technology before you have to rush the decision and potentially make a poor purchase that could have otherwise been better.

Don’t get caught up in the numbers. Demo! Occasionally we have a customer who shops online for one reason or another, sometimes even to buy a frame that we have in store for the same price, only to bring it in for restringing because they can’t stand it. The reviews were great, the numbers matched up but it just doesn’t work! I’m a numbers guy – and we have expensive, high end diagnostic tools, scales, and decades of data at Wrigley’s Tennis. These are all excellent resources for comparing and customizing frames and for getting “in the ballpark” on a recommendation. But, racquets all have a unique ‘feel’. A Ford Mustang and a Chevrolet Camaro have the same amount of horsepower but some will prefer one over the other. Racquets are no different! Take a test drive. We will use our knowledge and tools to put some great frames in your hand and let you decide.

Get a second, professional opinion! Take a private lesson with a couple demo frames. Your tennis pro will have the ability to see things that you don’t necessarily notice yourself and can provide good feedback on which frame better suits your current or desired level of play. If you have never taken a private lesson or aren’t working with a tennis professional, let us know and we will get you pointed in the right direction!

We currently have over 100 demo frames available from all of your favorite brands and will continue to bring in the latest and greatest the industry has to offer. If you don’t see something that you are looking for, please ask! We will also purchase or take in on trade your old frame(s) to lessen your expense of your new racquet purchase. We look forward to seeing you soon. Stay tuned for the next edition: String.

Good luck out there this summer!

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Wilson Blade 98 Countervail 16×19

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The Blade 98 16×19 Countervail is here! First un-boxing impression of these frames: they look fantastic! Wilson dumped the semi-cheesy ruler-scale graphics at the 9:00 & 3:00 position and bring us a beautiful matte finish with signature color blocks in green like the Pro Staff and other Wilson variants of late. Specs and descriptions are laid out in subtle grey on black, a new all-red buttcap and “v6.0” denoting the 6th generation of Blade frames.

New for Blade 98 16×19 v6.0 is Wilson’s “Countervail” integrated material technology. Wilson.com touts 30% less racquet vibration with same feel, 10% less fatigue and 40% more control over shots when nearing exhaustion. Sounds great – we put it to the test. We strung it at 52# on Babolat Star 5 with Solinco Hyper-G 1.20mm.

The Blade weighs in at 11.4, strung, with pro feel dampener, sublime grip, and protection tape. Frame flex is 65 RA (Strung) and swing weight is a healthy 330 due to 337mm balance as tested.

This frame performs beautifully! The weight/balance is very familiar and the string pattern is moderate. The frame definitely feels softer than it plays; generating great power and spin while feeling soft, more like a Head Prestige Rev Pro. The last frame that I felt similar characteristics was the Yonex EZone DR 98 with this Blade being even more so “soft but powerful”. Not visible on the frame is any reference to the smart tennis sensor – technology that probably didn’t take off as well as everyone in the industry thought that it would. The buttcap is still compatible, though.

With the evolution of the game, huge swing speed and lots of wrist, combined with stiff frames and stiff string, it’s no surprise that industry leaders are looking for more comfortable ways to generate big power.

[button link=”http://www.wrigleystennis.com/product/wilson-blade-98-countervail-16×19/” color=”green”] Shop Blade 98 CV 16×19 now![/button]

 

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Wrigley’s Tennis Grand Re-Opening was a great success!

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We would like to thank family, friends, customers, and the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce for making our event fun and memorable! We had a ribbon cutting, hit some tennis balls in the parking lot, shared some great food and enjoyed local beer from our very own Fat Point brewing!

Since purchasing Wrigley’s Tennis in the summer of 2015 we have put a lot of hard work in. We have re-organized, painted inside and out, remodeled the retail space, checkout counter, bathroom and changing room. We have added new product lines, great apparel and Pickleball products all while maintaining the highest level of customer service possible.

This community is very special to me – Wrigley’s tennis was my first place of employment in the 90’s when I was a student at Charlotte High School, just blocks from our store. With the passing of our dear friend George Wrigley, I am committed to maintaining the excellent relationships that he built with local tennis groups, and continuing to give back to the community and help others.

We are currently stocking 100+ different frames, over 200 different strings, full lines of apparel, accessories, footwear, bags and more! We have stacks of paddles from PaddleTek, Engage, Selkirk Sport, Pro-Lite and more! Come visit us for your tennis and pickleball needs!

-Rich Vernsey, Owner

 

 

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