Donnay X-blue 99

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Consolation, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. Consolation

    Consolation Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    I've been on a 18 month racquet search and finally ended here, posting for those that might be on a similar journey.

    I'm 41 and haven't played a tournament in 10 years, so have no ntrp, but play regularly with several D1 guys, some of the coaches from the USTA center in LA (my best friend from college is one of the coaches there), and as a hitting partner for the odd pro that passes through town.

    I started my journey using a K6.1 tour. I had used various versions of the PS dating back to my college days. I wanted to try something lighter and more maneuverable.

    Over the last 18 months I've used: Prince Ignite and Team, Volkl PB10mid, Dunlop 4d300T, APDGT (and +), and most recently BLX Pro Tour. I enjoyed the Ignites, especially the team, but string durability was terrible. I loved the feel of the PB10mid, but wanted something that had a little more pop. I tried all kinds of set ups with the 300T, but never found one that I really liked (I think something about the Dunlop feel just didn't work for me).

    I spent a good while with the APD's. Those racquets gave me the pop I wanted, but I was never able to dial in the rest of my game. I really wanted to make it work, because these racquets really helped by forehand and serve, which are my bread and butter. I did adjust some, but in the end, just couldn't get comfortable with my backhand and volleys.

    The BLX Pro Tour was a great compromise. There was nothing this racquet provided that wasn't bettered by another, but it also had no weaknesses for me. After 4 months with the racquet, I was just about settled on staying with it long term. Then I tried the Blue-99.

    For anyone that has not hit with the new Donnays, the feel is completely different. It's a dull thwack. The solid beam just feels different. I didn't like it at first, but it's grown on me. In terms of play, it hits everything I want.

    I do not understand why it feels so maneuverable. I replaced the leather grip with a Babolat skin feel, use 1 Yonex OG and the 10g butt cap. With that set up, my racquets weight 335g, are 6pts headlight, and have a sw of 342. Those stats aren't that different than how I had the others set up (some heavier, some lighter, but similar balance and sw). But still, it feels more maneuverable than any racquet I've ever used. I honestly think it's mostly mental, the thin beam just plays with your head. But whatever the cause, it's fantastic.

    This racquet has the power of the APD+ and the flexy feel of the Volkl (which is not to say it feels like the Volkl, it's completely different, but the same buttery aspect, while being much more solid...thwack). The power map is really pretty crazy for this racquet: http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/cgi-bin/poweruniverse.cgi. It has one of the largest speetspots TWU has measured. Unlike the APD though, I find it to have tremendous control also. I feel as confident hitting off-speed shots as with my old K6.1 and the PB10Mid. Spin is great, though I didn't really have a problem hitting as much spin as I wanted with any of the racquets I played with (including the Pro Tour with it's crazy dense pattern). Serves are better than any racquet I've used. Again, I don't know if it's an actual effect, or just mental, but the thin beam seems to make it so easy to whip through the air. My reaction volleys, ankle biters and drop shots are also the best they've ever been.

    I work really hard on my footwork and agility, but I'm still 41. I can drill with the college guys I play with just fine, but in matches I almost always lose 6-3 or 6-4. Since switching to the Blue, I've been winning at least half the time. The subtle, but noticeable, improvement in my weapons, and shoring up of my weaknesses, has payed dividends.

    I tried the Black and Red 99's for comparison. The black felt the same, but lacked the power. I had to adjust the red more to get it to the specs I liked, and ended up with basically a blue painted red. Still, it had a softer feel, and I really like the crisp feel of the Blue (20+ years of prostaffs...).

    In the interest of disclosure, I did get a deal on my racquets through my contacts. But the same is true of the other racquets I tried. I know there has been a lot of dubious hype for these racquets, but for me, it's the real deal.
     
    #1
  2. SBD

    SBD Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Messages:
    121
    Wow thanks for sharing, I have been on a 2 year racquet search and I have narrowed it down to either a Vantage custom or a Donnay X-Series racquet.I have even started a thread called "Vantage vs Donnay" but most think the vantage is better, I was wondering if you could tell me how stable this racquet is, thanks.
     
    #2
  3. Consolation

    Consolation Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    #3
  4. EKnee08

    EKnee08 Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Messages:
    949
    Consolation:

    Thanks for sharing. I have been trying unsuccessfully to get my hands on a Blue to demo for 2 months. I tried the Red 99. Didn't like it.

    By any chance do you know how my current sticks the Youtek Prestige MP and a customized Youtek Radical MP to specs of the Prestige compare to the Blue 99?
     
    #4
  5. Consolation

    Consolation Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    Nope, sorry, last prestige I played with was 10+ years ago. On paper, they look quite different. Similar weight and balance (at least how I have mine set up), but Donnay has a much higher swingweight, flexier, more powerful and more stable (as per twistweight).
     
    #5
  6. Fed Kennedy

    Fed Kennedy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Messages:
    4,799
    Location:
    With Roger
    Nice post consolation. What kind of string and tension setup do you run in there? It's hard to tell when reading all the feedback on the frame whether this rac is stiff or spongy...does it have a wilson-ish feel (i.e. stiff but awesome?)
     
    #6
  7. Consolation

    Consolation Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    I've been using PTG or Genesis gut in the mains, SPPP in the crosses, 57/54. I've tried full beds of ALU and Typhoon, but like the gut/SPPP hybrid best.

    There is nothing that compares to the feel of these racquets (in the sense it's different, not saying good or bad). It is flexible, you can feel it give on hard shots/serves, less than the PB10mid, but it's still there. At the same time it's a very solid feel. I liked the Blue because it felt more crisp than the black or red, and while I've used that adjective to describe other racquets, it a different use here. The closest I can come is comparing to how my K6.1 felt when I hit it exactly pure. The feel is a very pure thwack, like a single note being played as opposed to a mix of sounds. But as you can see, I'm reaching here. The feel is very different.
     
    #7
  8. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,606
    any suggestions on how to get a deal on one of these expensive sticks? x99 blue
     
    #8
  9. Consolation

    Consolation Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    I'd call and ask. I get the impression they are still in the 'get the product out there mode' and may be willing to negotiate price.
     
    #9
  10. Kal-El 34

    Kal-El 34 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    2,177
    Location:
    USA
    glad other people are enjoying the donnays as much as i am. great line of rackets
     
    #10
  11. SBD

    SBD Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Messages:
    121
    Would you say they are better than the prestige and vantage racquets, and which are the best in your opinion, thanks.
     
    #11
  12. Orion

    Orion Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    589
    Consolation- very solid review!!!

    EKnee08- I demoed the Blue 99, Blue 94 and YT Prestige MP at the same time. While my hit was limited to ball machine use, the Blue 99 was the standout. The 94 was solid but lacked the pop the 99 had. I prefer an 18x20 pattern so expected the 94 to be the frame I would gravitate to. The 16x20 in the 99 offered a good blend of feel, control and power. The Blue 94 lacked pop.

    The YT Prestige was my second choice. It plays similar to the Blue 94, but with a higher swingweight. Normally I would prefer the frame with higher swingweight as I prefer the extra plowthrough on groundstrokes. I grew up playing with OS frames and generally feel more comfortable with a 100sq in head. I'm sure this factors into my preferring the Blue 99. The YT Prestige, although not as maneuverable felt just as solid as the 94 and more powerful. Keep in mind that my time with them was limited to ball machine time.

    I've tried to play with 94/95 frames and while I find myself a bit more consistent. There are balls I'm used to ending points with that the 94/95 frames don't "put away" as well as 100/OS frames. I've tried adjusting my shot but it's not the same as having the pop in the frame. Taking short balls from the machine, I could feel the ball jumping off the Blue 99. It's the compromise frame I've been looking for, the control of a midsize with the power of an OS.
     
    #12
  13. Kal-El 34

    Kal-El 34 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    2,177
    Location:
    USA
    um yes and no. for my game personally, the donnays are better than the prestige. I've not spent too much time with Vantage, but I have heard good things. The blue 94 plays pretty close to the prestige I was hitting with, but with more control and more spin. I generate a lot of power on my own, so the added control and spin play into my game very nicely. I'm still experimenting with different Donnays and different set-ups though. The company has been very cool to me, which is also nice haha.
     
    #13
  14. Kal-El 34

    Kal-El 34 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    2,177
    Location:
    USA
    i think your reviews are pretty much dead on. I have no had a chance to hit the blue 99 yet but will be getting one this week to tinker around with. Did you feel the blue 94 swung heavier than the prestige MP even though the Prestige lists higher swingweight? I feel the blue swings heavier, which I notice on my forehand.
     
    #14
  15. Orion

    Orion Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    589
    Yeah the Blue 94 did swing heavier. The YT Prestige MP felt smack in he middle of the Blue 99 and 94. I didn't realize the YT had an higher swingweight. The YT hit a heavier ball than the 94, but lacked Ommph

    As fate would have it. I'm ready to order the 99 and TW is backordered..AAARRRGGGGHHHH.
     
    #15
  16. backatcha

    backatcha Guest

    I would think that both the Blue 99 and 94 would both swing heavier than the prestige MP as the SW is 318 for the MP vs 331 (99) and 325 (94). For me this would be a plus if the control was still there!
     
    #16
  17. backatcha

    backatcha Guest

    Consolidation,
    I had been thinking that the Black 99 would be the better pick until I read your post... I was wondering if you could elaborate on the difference between the Black 99 and the Blue 99... I am looking for the one that I can really rip and still keep on the court... I assume that the customization options can significantly vary the power and perhaps the stability (of off-center hits) of each of these sticks... is there really much difference betw them?
     
    #17
  18. Consolation

    Consolation Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    No there isn't a huge difference, but it's there. Feel wise the blue has a firmer feel (though it's still got a very flexible hoop, you can feel the give on hard shots and especially serves).

    Power wise there is a small difference, in favor of the blue. I tried lots of different set ups with both racquets (using tape, I didn't want to be limited by the options the slides provide). I couldn't get the black to match the blue's power potential. The difference is slight, but that small difference was exactly what I was looking for. My quest for a different racquet was specifically to find a little more power for very specific shots. One example is a forehand I'm running around with the intention of hitting inside-in down the line. Sometimes I misjudge it and can't get in position to drive it dtl. A weak shot dtl leaves me vulnerable, so instead I loop it deep crosscourt. I'm not set up for that shot either though (as it's usually at the last moment I realize I'm not going to be able to execute the DTL drive), and wanted a racquet that would provide more oomph to make the shot more defensive. It was easier to generate more effective defensive shots from those situations using the blue as opposed to the black. When set up properly, I can't say the blue is any more powerful, but when pressed, or forced to hit a shot I'm not prepared for, the little extra power potential shows.

    On the flip side, I still felt the blue had tremendous control. There was never a case where I felt I was sacrificing control in order to get the extra power. I was no more accurate or consistent with the black. The extra power, while subtle, for me is free, there's no down side. The difference in power isn't large, and were it not for the Blue, I'd be playing the black right now. The black is a close second of all the racquets I tried, but it is most definately second.
     
    #18
  19. Kal-El 34

    Kal-El 34 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    2,177
    Location:
    USA
     
    #19
  20. Backhanded Compliment

    Backhanded Compliment Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    2,672
    I demoed the Blue 99, Blue 94 and YTPP and YTPMP. I really liked most aspects of the Blue 99. Both Donnay's were extremely solid and I'd describe it them as "Thuddy" like the old wooden rackets I grew up playing with and the Max 200G which I used throughout high school. This was a huge plus and I preferred the 99 to the 94 because I was hitting very big flat serves with it 125-130+ mph with good placement and no pain (10g butt cap). Nice Kick serves too. It took no adjustment. It was also incredibly good for reaction volleys and slice backhands. Forehands were good. I really wanted to get it but it felt strange with on my full eastern topspin 1HBH. (which was patterned on Don Budge but as topspin became more dominant resembles Henin's with Budge's grip). Somehow I just couldn't feel comforatable when I'd really rip into it. I suspect a less radical grip might be fine with this racket. Anyways I ened up getting the Head Youtek Prestige MP... a bit more control than both of the donnays, even better placement on serves with nearly the same velocity on serve. Id say the biggest difference is the Head has a ridiculously predictable response whereas the donnay has a bit more flair. The Heads are a bit more demanding but Im liking the added control (the backhand and serve has never been better because I generate massive headspeed already). Forehands were easier to crush with the Blue 99 though, with the prestige I am forced to think a bit more.

    If you are a doubles player the Blue 99 is probably a must demo because of its combination of serve ability and volley reaction traits. I wanted to buy the donnay but the Prestige was just too perfect (though demandingly so, its made me better).
     
    #20
  21. Backhanded Compliment

    Backhanded Compliment Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    2,672
    Blue 99 and Prestige impressions

    I demoed the Blue 99, Blue 94 and YTPP and YTPMP. I really liked most aspects of the Blue 99. Both Donnay's were extremely solid and I'd describe it them as "Thuddy" like the old wooden rackets I grew up playing with and the Max 200G which I used throughout high school. This was a huge plus and I preferred the 99 to the 94 because I was hitting very big flat serves with it 125-130+ mph with good placement and no pain (10g butt cap). Nice Kick serves too. It took no adjustment. It was also incredibly good for reaction volleys and slice backhands. Forehands were good.

    I really wanted to get the Blue 99 but it felt strange with on my full eastern topspin 1HBH. (which was patterned on Don Budge but as topspin became more dominant more sembled Henin's... only with Budge's grip using the thumb). Somehow I just couldn't feel comfortable when I'd really rip into it. I suspect a less radical grip might be fine with this racket. Anyways I ended up getting the Head Youtek Prestige MP... a bit more control than both of the donnays, even better placement on serves with nearly the same velocity on serve. Id say the biggest difference is the Head has a ridiculously predictable response whereas the donnay has a bit more flair. The Heads are a bit more demanding but Im liking the added control (the backhand and serve has never been better because I generate massive headspeed already). Forehands were easier to crush with the Blue 99 though, with the prestige I am forced to think a bit more.

    If you are a doubles player the Blue 99 is probably a must demo because of its combination of serve ability and volley reaction traits. I wanted to buy the donnay but the Prestige was just too perfect (though demandingly so, its made me better).
     
    #21
  22. pgtennisconnect

    pgtennisconnect New User

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Messages:
    19
    How to re-spec the RED99 to match BLUE99?

    Heya Consolation,

    I truly second all your confessions above the BLUE99. It's the ultimate dream stick for me. Shots are so magical I can even afford to change my mind in split second choosing variety of strokes to hit. With the BLUE99, I've bamboozled all my opponents over past 2mths..& haven't yet lost a real competitive match actually...

    How did u customize the RED99 to perform & feel like the BLUE99? I have the former too. Tried at least 8 different combo of (grip change+lead tape+strips adjustment+hybrid/co-poly string setup) but none came close to replicating the BLUE. I'm struggling 2mths still adapting with the RED..while experiencing almost zero burn-in time with the BLUE.

    If i can save the RED99, at least I don't have to lose $$ selling it, or hunting hi-low for another BLUE (very difficult to find now since discontinued)

    Thx for ur reply!

    Yung Wei
    Penang island, Malaysia
     
    #22
  23. Magic of tennis

    Magic of tennis Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Messages:
    528
    Location:
    USA
    Did you demo new Pro One 97? If you did, can you compare x-blue99 with Pro One 97?
     
    #23
  24. pgtennisconnect

    pgtennisconnect New User

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Messages:
    19
    Re-spec of X-RED99 to match X-BLUE99 feel?

    Consolation, Kal-El:

    Hey guys, based on all your accumulated experience with Donnay X, X-Dual, Pro & formula series so far...what's the best tweaking recipe to convert an L2 X-RED99 to match the feel of a L4 X-BLUE99 closest way possible? Mind sharing some helpful tips?

    I've tried basically 10 different setups of lead tape+grip changes+inserts+hybrid re-tensioning/matching..but to no avail. My performance across these 2 rackets is so obviously glaring, that whenever I ditched the RED99 for the BLUE99 (during doubles changeover, being 0-3/double breaks down)..I could hear my confident opponents suddenly cowering with concern..

    Cos with the BLUE in my hand, the ultimate magic stick comes into display, normal tennis order is restored & the whole match from then on becomes more like exhibition stuff of endless winners, tactical barrages, boggling shotmaking & point-squeezing strategies underlining my pair's straight romp to victory

    I just feel the RED deserves its chance off the bench too, but not when victory is blatantly compromised, & it impact-feel is nowhere similar to its BLUE counterpart. So guys, help me figure how to resuscitate this stick OK?

    Thanks a lot!
    pgtennisconnect
    Penang island, Malaysia
     
    #24
  25. Kal-El 34

    Kal-El 34 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    2,177
    Location:
    USA
    Tough to say as they are just different sticks. I liked the red with the 5g cap in the handle and 3G weight slides at 3 and 9 with nothing at the top... The blue 99 is just a different animal. The 16x20 string pattern works well with the blue
     
    #25

Share This Page