Donnay X-Red 99
cosmetically looks just like the 94 red. same smoke color as all of them fading into the red. This is one of the frames that I have had some time to both hit with and extensively mess with the weighting systems.
for me the red 99 played the best with the 5 gram cap in the handle, and the 3 gram strips at 9:00 and 3:00. The standard 1g strips were fine, but i like the 3 better.
the frame felt very good in it's stock weight with no strips as well.
really all things considered, i did not care for the frame as much with the 10g cap and no strips. it altered the balance a bit too much for my liking and made the frame feel a little to whippy for me.
This is an incredibly smooth stick from the baseline. I tend to agree a lot with the tenniswarehouse review of this frame. A great blend of power / control. if you are looking for a little more flexible 99 sq. in. than the blue, you are in for a treat with this one. One thing I noticed was that the depth of my shots seemed much improved over my usual with YT prestige mps. i loved how consitently I was striking the ball with this frame. I originally thought the black and blue would be too heavy for an 8 hour day on court, so i initially went to this. A little more power, from a softer feel on the groundies. My topspin forehand was realling working well, and I felt like I could take big cuts at the ball again with this frame. It did seem that although I was hitting topspin, the ball was coming off the strings a bit flatter than with some of the others. The frame is still rather balanced, but it felt a bit more whippy on my two handed backhand. once i added a little weight to the frame, it seemed to perform a little better as well. Return of serve again was very stable, whether I was getting aggressive on a weak serve, or just blocking back a big one. both felt very good to me.
the red 99 did not perform as good at the net in my opinion as some of the others. if i were strictly a baseliner, i may consider this frame a lot more than i did. it is pretty solid, but i did notice a bit of vibration from the frame on off center hits. I was still volleying pretty effectively with the red, but it left me wanting more. i could still drive the ball deep into the court on just about any volley rather effectively. however, it was the touch shots that didn't feel as good as I was getting with say the blue 99. the flexibility of this racquet did impress me on reflex volleys. i wasn't getting a ton of them, but they are reflext volleys haha. I was however getting more of them back than normal, which let me work back into a few points I feel I normally may have lost. All in all a good stick at the net, I just preferred the feel of some of the others really. Very easy to make contact and drive the ball, but simply lacked a bit of feel at times.
The red 99 is a pretty nice serving frame. The first thing I noticed about it was how comfortable it felt when striking the serve. Because the frame is a bit lighter, it was very easy to get racquet head speed when going big on the serve. like on the groundstrokes, I did tend to notice a little flatter ball coming off the strings than I did with the others. Because I like booming flat serves, I did enjoy crushing flat ones at some of my players haha. With some of the other frames, I was going for more slice and kick... but with the red I liked going flatter. Slice still came off with quite a bit of bit, but my kick seemed like it wasn't doing too much. Favorite serve with the red was a big flat one out wide on the ad side. i was hitting bombs pretty far out wide, and very consistently as well. Overall I was pretty impressed with the red 99 while serving.
Overall this is a pretty impressive racquet. I like the fact that it is a bit lighter in weight. This allows for more comfortable use of the customization kit, which I did enjoy. I really did enjoy hitting groundstrokes with this racquet - especially my forehand. My backhand got a little whippy at times, but it was still smooth and comfortable when striking the ball at all paces. Although the frame performed well at the net (better than my prestige, but not as well as others in the Donnay line) I did prefer volleying with the heavier racquets that Donnay has put out a little better. Serving was good with the red 99 as well. It you are a flat hitter, this may be the racquet for you. If you tried the 94 version of the red, and liked the feel but thought it a bit heavy, then look no further than the 99 red... give it a go