Donnay X-Black 94 Review
this is another one of the most impressive offerings from the new donnay line. The cosmetics are among the best I've ever seen on a frame. The black and smoke color really make this look like an elegant, yet dangerous weapon. This frame is like the younger, stronger, more easy going version of its blue 94 brother.
Again I was instantly attracted to the 18x20 string pattern of the black 94. The racquet is a bit heavier, but swings lighter in my opinion as it feels more headlight. It also was a bit less demanding than the blue 94, but offered a little less pinpoint control. However, the control was still better than just about anything else out there. I was getting a little more pop off the ball with the black 94 and i was the blue, which was nice. I usually like a bit stiffer racquet, but this one felt pretty much right on the money to me. I could really take big cuts at my forehand. The control was very nice, and I was getting a nice blend of power / spin / depth. This racquet felt very good. It also impressed me on my backhand side. I enjoyed hitting slice the most, as the flexibility of the frame gave it a nice soft feel, without being mushy like i thought the x-dark red 94 was. My two handed backhand was coming off the strings hot, with good pace and action when I wanted to really go for it. Defensive balls were also no problem with this. The weight of the racquet may be a bit much for some, but if you can handle it, it can be a big help. You don't have to go all out, just let the weight of the racquet do its thing. Smooth half swings were landing deep in the court with pretty good pace. I felt very comfortable swinging the x-black around. I've knicknamed this the dark knight
Another area where this racquet stood out to me was at the net. The more headlight balance made this frame very easy to move around at the net given its weight. However, the benefit to it being heavy was the fact that it felt EXTREMELY solid when striking the ball on volleys. Ive got to say I've never been so confident in my net game as I have been since hitting with these racquets. I could dial up great power when I wanted to just nail one, and the flexibility of the frame was great when I wanted some touch. There was no vibration on off center shots. In fact, if you don't feel like you're hitting the sweetspot on these racquets, you probably are hitting the frame because the sweetspot is very big for a 94 sq. in. racquet. Of all the 94's, this and the blue 94 performed the best for me. I think the stiffness of the blue provided me with a little more control at the net. However this one felt really good too. It's all a matter of preference here... so which one do you go for??
Serving with this racquet is a real treat. Hitting a serve with this is about as close as I'll ever get to striking someone down with an excalibur type sword. I felt like a beat swinging this thing around haha. Power was there, a little more so than I felt with the other 94s I think. The 18x20 allowed me to really go after my flat serve, and I was noticing a little more pop than I was with the blue 94. I was getting that same very heavy spin on my kick and slice that I mentioned enjoying with other previous 94 in this line. The weight did not feel like an issue to me here either. In fact, I felt like I could be a bit more fluid with my motion, and really just let the racquet do the work. I did not feel like I had to put a massive swing on the ball to get the power I was looking for. I thought the weight would be an issue in serving during long matches. But I have had a couple days where I've played 5 or 6 sets and have had no should problem or anything whatsoever. Very nice.
Overall I like this racquet in every aspect of critique. Cosmetically it is amazing and it plays very nice as well. The power and spin is great on the groundstrokes, while maintaining a very comfortable feel. It felt very nice on volleys, providing the right blend of punch and touch. Serving was monsterous, and another area where this frame is great. It is heavy, but if you can handle the weight, it will reward you in big ways