Yonex Ai 98: tell me more about her

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by maxpotapov, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. Dgdavid

    Dgdavid Professional

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    i got one of these too, playing tonight. The Ai 100 was nice but not quite for me. looking forward to hitting it.
    hoop isn't much bigger than my Dunlop F2.0 and M2.0 actually.
     
  2. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Well that is the funny thing. I have no real normal grip size. For example the Tfight 315 is a 1/4 for me. It is a bit small. But the Speed MP stock grip or shock shield just felt too big. So what I am thinking is I'd get a 1/4 yy and then thicken it up just a little with a Babo Skin feel.

    I will know more once it is in my hand. My main goal is to try and stay more SW than Western and that can be tough when the grip is a little bigger than I prefer.
     
  3. Matchball

    Matchball Semi-Pro

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    I agree with JackB1, the grip size on the Speed Pro is slightly larger compared to the Ai 98.
     
  4. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Hey David. Looking forward to your thoughts as well. Would be great too if you could compare the 98 to the 100. What was it that you didn't like about the 100? Too much power? Too light?
     
  5. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Might be a good idea to find a grip size you like and then measure it. I always go 2" up from the butt end. Then you always know for sure if it's too big or too small. I just use a soft measuring tape from my wife's sewing kit :) What did you use when you were playing the RDIS 200?
     
  6. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    3/8ths but I really am somewhere between the 2 sizes I think. I will know when I put my hand on it. I always use an OG as well.
     
  7. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    the good news is that the Yonex grip on my demo came off rather easily. None of that sticky residue I usually encounter. I hope that's the case for the AI line. I used to have to break out the goo gone and work on it for a while to get rid of that Yonex grip mess.
     
  8. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, I don't mind the the thin little yonex grips, but you just can't change them out and not expect a size increase. So that is why I am considering going smaller. No biggie, I'll figure it out.

    First thing is to see how I hit with it. It definitely sounds like it is up my alley.
     
  9. Dgdavid

    Dgdavid Professional

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    It was pretty powerful but to be honest, I only tried it with Yonex 850 multi and I usually play with polys like RPM Blast or Volkl Cyclone. Maybe they would have tamed the power a bit (a lot actually) but wasn't feeling much towards it so just let it go.

    Much more excited about the Ai 98. Still got my ESP 100 (now with lead) and ESP 98 Banana as it happens, both to be re-tried too.

    Talked into trying the Ai 98 but a fellow forum member (federerkblade) not that i needed much persuasion!
     
  10. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah I need an option if the open pattern thing go south on me. I have been looking hard for a more powerful version of the Tfight 315 ltd, and this is as close as I have found on paper. The new Head Rads let me down, as I thought they may be the ones, and the Speed MP ripped through my hybrids a little too quickly for my tastes.
     
  11. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    My demo also had full multi, which made it a little tougher to generate spin.

    I think the AI 98 is going to be a gem and a big hit around these parts. I gave my demo to a practice partner (5.0) to hit with and after a few groundies he just said "wow......wow". Then he tried some volleys and again..."wow". Seems like it's a pretty big hit with Ivanovich as well :) If she wins the AO, watch out! :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
  12. oldcity

    oldcity Rookie

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    Is the beam any narrower than the xi98? I'm watching the ivanovic/Bouchard match....and it's really, really hard to pay any attention to the racquet, but it seems pretty narrow.
     
  13. seb23

    seb23 Rookie

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    I assume your lack of attention has nothing to do with the tennis either ;)
     
  14. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    It's a 1/2 mm thinner. Pretty much the same specs as last model. Ivanovich may be using a custom mold with the AI 98 paintjob?
     
  15. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Ok got a run with the ai and was lucky enough to get one that had a 1/4 grip (which feels perfect). Initial impressions are always hyped as we all know, so keep that in mind. Also for backstory, i played the rdis 200 for around 5 months, used the 95d briefly ( bugged my arm for some reason, but it was excellent), and demoed the xi 98 (didnt like it...it felt clunky to me and a bit too muted).

    Initial impressions were that this racquet is simply good at everything. I am used to compromises coming from pure player sticks (low power, need to be on your A game or you will cough up short balls), and currently the Steam (feel is not great, string characteristics change rapidly, volleying is tough).

    With the ai, there is no real weakness. You can serve and volley, baseline bash, all court, hit flat, hit with big top...it doesnt matter what your game is - this racquet will work. I could recommend it to anyone who plays tennis at a decent level and wants a modern racquet. Even the PJ is fantastic. It has a lot of cool detail in it, and yonex did a great job there as well.

    The main takeaway here is that i felt very connected to the ball and finally got that elusive - extension of the arm feeling. The feel reminded me of the xi, but better. It is muted, but crisp enough so you will always know what the ball is going to do. As a result, this racquet is very comfortable. My confidence level during match play finally returned because the ball was landing where i thought it would. The control level of this stick is very high, but it also has pop. So you can place the ball on a dime and also defend well by keeping your opponent back. The balance of pop and control is some of the best i have ever experienced. It definitely plays like the blade in that aspect.

    I rdcd the one i grabbed and the sw was 324. So i added some lead to 12 and the throat. Final specs are 336 and a sw of 330 w/5 pts hl balance. This setuo worked out really well for me as i warmed up with a big hitting ex collegiate player before playing matched with a teaching pro. Timing came around rather quickly.

    On thing i will say is the trajectory is lower than i expected (not 18x20 low) But i adjusted for it, and my strokes really came alive after that. I started hitting like my old self again, and that was a nice feeling.

    Is this racquet going to make you a half level better or turn you into Thor? No. But it is maybe the most honest and balanced racquet i have ever tried. I usually demo a stick and say - if you are x type of player, give this a demo. But honestly, you can pound heavy top if you want, place perfect drop shots, slice off both wings..whatever you want, it will do it great.

    I will most likely be buying this racquet and it may have ended my steam experiment as well. Its just that impressive to me, and i really had a good time playing with it. All that is left is to log the court time and practice. Great job by Yonex.
     
  16. corners

    corners Legend

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    Absolutely epic initiative and followthrough, PP! Got wind of it, read about it, talked about it, got it, played with it, reported on it, all in short order. Fine work. Thanks for your review.

    I'm starting to wonder why Yonex doesn't put swingweight in their official specs. Their QC on this spec appears fantastic. If you compare the swing weights reported by various retailers the top Yonex sticks are always within a couple units from site to site. Most brands, as we know, vary by about ten units.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
  17. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks corners..you summarized it so well, i didnt even realize i had indeed done all those things rather fast. Haha.

    From what you are posting in your MP thread, i strongly suggest you demo this frame. I think it hits every check point you listed.
     
  18. corners

    corners Legend

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    I will gladly follow your recommendation!
     
  19. etd

    etd Rookie

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    Sorry if this is off topic, but does anyone have feedback on the AI98 Lite. I am looking at this racquet for my father. Thanks!
     
  20. Dgdavid

    Dgdavid Professional

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    My initial impressions after three sets of singles are also very promising.
    As PP says, no weaknesses, good all over.

    Two more demanding singles matches in the next two days, I am underdog in both but will be using the Ai 98. Well aware of initial honeymoon (me more than anyone) so will write up more in a few days.
     
  21. Dan Z

    Dan Z Rookie

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    dgdavid: do you mind me asking where you demoed it from? I'm also based in surrey and quite keen on having a hit with one having had similar feelings towards my AI100 (though i have to say it is growing on me... ).
    was it the place formally known as ***?
     
  22. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I knew it! I was willing to bet the house that you were going to come away with these kind of impressions and I was talking about the AI 98 before TW's glowing reviews came out.

    What racquets does the AI 98 remind you of? I was thinking of a Blade crossed with the RDIS 200. Or maybe a slightly easier 95D? How was the power level compared to the Speed MP? I thought the Speed had more pop.
    Don't you love that smooth feeling at impact the AI 98 has? Just makes you want to hit balls all night long. Would you consider it a pure "player's" racquet or a "players/tweener" hybrid? I would say it's on the same level as a Blade or Radical. It's pretty easy to play with, but the only things that make it more "advanced" are the semi lowish power level and the 98" hoop size. It looks smaller than 98 to me, but that may be an illusion.

    Anyway, keep posting impressions during your demo! Like I said, I predict the AI 98 is going to be a big hit around here.
     
  23. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    After trying the AI 98, I was very curious about the 98 Lite. It looks like it could be an excellent platform racquet and the specs are identical to the 98, but at a lighter static weight. I would say for anyone who feels the 11.5 oz 98 is too heavy, give the Lite version a shot and weight it up to your desired specs.

    ETD, what stick does your Dad now use? I tried the AI 98 & 100 and they shared many characteristics and I would imagine the 98 Lite would too.
    I think the 98 Lite will require a fast & whippy swing to generate power, since the 98 gets some of it's pop from it's heft and plow. If he doesn't have decent swingspeed, it might not be a good choice, but its hard to say without more background info.
     
  24. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, it is easier for me to use than the Blade. I demoed the Blade 16x19 when I demoed the Steam and the Blade is a lot more head heavy in balance. The ai 98 has a better balance to it, which is one of the reasons that I feel it suits so many styles of play.

    It has a little less pop than the Speed for sure, but it definitely hits with more easy depth than a more classic racquet. what stuck out to me was the control of it balanced with the power. I am used to getting this type of control with a lower powered racquet or a more closed pattern. So to get it in a stick like this that has some extra pop in it is something I have not experienced in a 16x19.

    If I was forced to label it, I would say player's tweener, but I think it is easier to use than a Blade. I feel like I could hand to a beginner who is serious about learning tennis or a pro - and that is like the APD. Except the Aero pro is not nearly as balanced as this racquet.

    I have not read the ratings or anything on this racquet from Tennis warehouse, but ill attempt to copy them for fun. here are my ratings based on matchplay and hitting so far:

    Power - 7.8
    topSpin- 8.0
    groundstrokes- 8.3
    Serve-8
    Return-8
    control- 9.2
    touch/feel -8.8
    slice - 8.5
    volleys - 8.8
    comfort - 9
    maneuverability - 9
     
  25. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I had to return my demo of the AI 98 and swapped it for a demo of the 100, but I may have to revisit the 98 to see if I can possibly make it work. The ONLY issue I had with it was serve. Because of the flex and my "abbreviated" serving motion (or lack of racquet drop) I have a hard time getting my usual pace on serves with the 98. I only tried it briefly, so I am anxious to give it another go. Maybe strings/tension will help? The AI 100 gives all the pop I need (like the APD & Speed) but doesn't feel nearly as sweet or solid as the 98. I need a "AI 99" dammit!! :)
     
  26. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Serving with this racquet for me was just as good as any other stick. It was actually awesome, just really honest and did exactly what I thought it would on contact. I think the flexy tfight 315 is one of the better serving racquets out there, and this is right with it. I think most of this opinion comes with my serve motion getting more and more refined, but the ai98 is not going to be tough to serve with by any means.

    The racquet drop is everything on serve. Without that you will not really be able to judge how a stick serves because that drop and quick whip up to the ball is where the power is really generated.
     
  27. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Sounds good David. The entire AI line are viable options, including even the AI 98 Lite (great platform racquet). Looking forward to more of your thoughts on the 98 since we often go for the same types of sticks. How is your demo strung? Mine had full multi (NXT).
     
  28. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I know that, but I have only been able to make small gains in that dept.
    Maybe due to lack of flexibilty, I don't know? I have been trying all the drills and watching all the videos re: racquet drop. My serve is quite adequate for my level and really doesn't hurt me, so I am reluctant to make major changes at this point. If you watch TW's Chris Edwards, he is similar in that he only gets about a 50% racquet drop, but obviously he makes it work.

    Maybe you could post a video of yourself hitting some serves? I would love to see that if you have the time. I know it's a risk with all the "critics" around here lately, but you could always make it private and give the password only to those that request it from you privately. I am going to go that route from now on I think.
     
  29. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Yes I will video my serve, it's just been an issue of timing since I show up and play and don't really have time to set up my phone and film. When I get some court time alone, I'm going to do this because I need to see a few things anyway.

    I agree about Chris's serve, but I think an effective serve like his would be just fine with this racquet. All I can say is I was going over the racquet drop, and it won't really boil down to flex to get a drop. It helps to get a super deep one like Roddick, but it should be a very very loose motion. To get mine going, I had to rework away from an abbreviated serve I used for a long time to the classic "down together, up together" timing as I found my arms were just out of sync. That motion really gets the racquet moving and it basically will drop itself if you do it right. It doesn't happen overnight, and I am still DFing more than I want, but I see progress.

    So with that in mind, the serve with the ai98 was excellent. It really rewarded a clean motion with nice kick and placement. I was seeing the potential to crank big ones with it, but currently I am just working on consistency and placement, and don't go big too often just yet. The few times I did, it was a free point.
     
  30. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Cool. I am going to re-video mine also, since it is different from the last one that I put up, due to some tweaks I made in my motion. It's better, but still a long ways away. Funny thing is when I do the "Florian" drill where you hold the racquet up with the tip facing the the right fence and the face down and just serve from there (I think it was the "fluid motion drill?), I get almost the same pace as when I serve with a full motion. Shows me I need to work on that drill more and learn how to stretch it out into the full motion.
    I think I will video myself doing that drill and go from there.

    OK, back to AI98 discussion. Sorry for the detour! :)
     
  31. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Its not a biggie. On that Florian Meyer drill if you can do that over and over you will notice that it is hard to time the toss with it, which is why he says not to use it as a real serve. But if you get the racquet drop right from there, and then do the up together down together motion, I think you will have a fluid serve with a racquet drop.

    I now have a new ai98. I went with the 1/4 grip, and it is perfect with a supergrap on it. So far I have not modded the buttcap with tape. I think this is due to getting a better sized grip for my hand.
     
  32. Bundey

    Bundey Professional

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    How is the handle length? No problem with a 2 hander?
     
  33. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Handle length is great. I think a little longer than normal, like Yonex usually is. The leverage on the 2 hander for me was awesome last night, and I was able to really crank off that wing.

    I always have a good run with my 2 hander on a favorable demo the first few days, so it's a bit biased right now. But initial impressions were extremely favorable.
     
  34. Dgdavid

    Dgdavid Professional

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    Pure Rackets Sports in Farnham (ask for Mitch). Used to be *** Farnham but they dropped the franchise.
     
  35. rlau

    rlau Professional

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    Not sure if this question has been answered already, but how does it compare to a 95D? I assume the latter has bit less spin, more control, more muted feel, and about equal power? Or are there notable differences?
     
  36. Bundey

    Bundey Professional

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    Good to hear. After all these years I've never hit something that did it all as well as my LM Rads. Maybe this will be the one that lures me away. I like that the composition seems to be 100% high modulus graphite. No gimmicks! Also the QC from Japanese production has always intrigued me with Yonex. Just ordered my demo.
     
  37. Matchball

    Matchball Semi-Pro

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    Hey PP, what is the string you are using? Ay idea about tension?
     
  38. Bundey

    Bundey Professional

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    Another question I had. Which set ups work with this frame?
     
  39. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I didn't even know it was all graphite..thats awesome, probably another reason I love it. I am a big time sucker for graphite only sticks. Aesthetically, the thin bridge beam going into the thicker head width looks and plays awesome. Tough to describe that until you pick it up, but it's an incredibly designed racquet.

    Yes - I had a multi at 56#s, and it felt nice, but the one I bought now has polybreak and forten sweet at 50#s put in by me. I keep the tension the same on the yys since the syn gut cross softens a little and yonex recommends the cross tension should be a little lower.

    I'd personally recommend the low 50s if you hybrid. But really, just put in your strings and preferred tension. You can sort it from there. A flatter hitter may prefer it tighter, but I really think the secret is using your preferred string at your preferred tension and then adjusting if you must. In my experience, I rarely ever adjust.

    So basically to answer setups - I would strongly suggest using what you prefer normally.
     
  40. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    There was some talk of this racquet being "string sensitive" in the review, so like PP says, I wouldn't deviate too much from your usual setups. The testers seemed to prefer an all copoly setup, but I would guess poly/nylon would work well to add a little more pop. The 16x19 pattern also isn't too "open" so hopefully you stringbreakers out there will get good durability too.

    My demo had full NXT and wasn't overly powerful, so I could imagine you could get away with pretty low tension in the 98 without the ball flying on you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  41. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah I watched that review. Britt said it was string sensitive and Andy said to try anything..lol. I would lean more towards Andy on this one.

    I would definitely string full poly lower..50#s or less, unless you have a strong preference for it at a higher tension.
     
  42. oldcity

    oldcity Rookie

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    I too thought the xi98 was a little clunky for some reason but like i said the demo strings were falling apart when i got it. maybe the head shape makes this more appealing. the ai98 specs are really close to the xi98 with only slight changes in the beam and sw and one pt different on the balance. pretty close for any noticeable difference. other reviews stated slightly more control and slightly less power than the xi 98. that could be strings. i wonder if it really plays different.
     
  43. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, it plays different for sure. I did not like the xi nearly as much.
     
  44. oldcity

    oldcity Rookie

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    sounds good to me. i'm using 6.1 ps 95's so i'd imagine this will have a little more pop. yonex is kind of appealing to me since no one around here uses them. i sort of want to find one i like.
     
  45. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I think this is their best offering. It is more like a mainstream racquet in terms of head shape. In fact, most people will think it's an older model APD from the PJ.

    The head shape reminds me a lot of the Tfight 320 v02 max, just a little bigger.
     
  46. etd

    etd Rookie

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    Looking for feedback for AI98 Lite


    My Dad currently has a pair of Head Microgel Radical Teams. He's put heavy use on them for the past 5.5 years.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  47. oldcity

    oldcity Rookie

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    i recall liking the tfight 320... and the vcore tour97 (310). maybe you've used yonex before, any issue transitioning to the different grip shape?
     
  48. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    No, I went to a 1/4. I never have liked the Tec grip shapes, but I can adjust and just deal with it. I am a wilson grip guy, and the yonex transitioned just fine. The butt cap flair is less, but that can easily be modded if I decide to.

    To be honest, the 1/4 yy grip size fits my hand perfectly. It is a very pleasant surprise.
     
  49. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I could definitely get away with a multi/poly in the 98, since I could with the Speed.

    So you going to play some more with it tonite? It's too cold here in ATL for tennis tonite (going down to 20's)
     
  50. The Isomotion31

    The Isomotion31 Semi-Pro

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    I'm waiting on the demo now. Will it be enough to make me switch? I'm anxious to find out.
     

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