Tennis Warehouse Playtest: Yonex EZONE Racquet 2022

philxor

Rookie
I demoed the poly (not sure which poly TW strings it with) EZ 98 from TW a few weeks ago along with a couple of the new Prince ATS racquets, the 98 and 310. I've been using the 2020? version of the TT 310 and the Phantom 100x 305 for the last year or so and used the 100P previous to that for a few years.

I had a flex league singles match and warmed up with the EZ98, hit well enough with it I decided to just use it for the first set. I served really well with it. As I get older my arm strength has gotten a bit weaker, so definitely thought the balance and weight of it worked well for me. The EZ98 didn't really feel like a 98 in. racquet, it was more forgiving than the ATS 98 on off center shots. The guy I played wasn't a big hitter so it was a little hard to gauge the stability of the racquet, but I didn't have much trouble generating my own pace with it once I got used to the faster swing speed. Volleys were really good with it, the maneuverability was great. Volleys with the 310 were a bit crisper if I had time to properly set up for them, but for faster reactions really liked the EZ. I used the 310 in the second set and my groundstrokes were also a little better but I would chalk that up to familiarity and string setup. The EZ is certainly stiffer than the 100x 305, which is very flexy, but it felt like that racquet with a bit more power and that suited me well.

Between the warmup and playing the 1st set it was easily an hour of playing time with the racquet, I felt no arm pain whatsoever during or after playing. I liked it enough I decided to buy a used one to get more playing time with it.
 

Aldukuhi

New User
Hit with 98 today, strung with hyper g soft 18 @54/52.

My elbow just recovered from TE (not fully healthy) and of course.. my wrist start to have little pain.. But, I don’t got it when using prince textreme 98 with same string but different tension @53/51

Any advice what should i do?
- string with lower tension with HGS?
- change to hybrid / multi / syn gut maybe?

HGS 18 very suit my style of play. It has control & spin that i needed.

and i don’t want to buy another rackets, because this is my 5th different stick in a 1.5 month LOL.

So, really need some help here.
Thanks!
 

Aldukuhi

New User
Having been using the 2022 EZ98, the cause of arm pain for some, is its low stock twist weight. A racquet reviewer/youtuber, named “Tenncom” actually documents this and says it had poor off center stringbed performance. In my experience, adding weight at 3 & 9 and at the handle remedies this.

Sorry, could you explain more about weight at 3 & 9? Does it make more head heavy so its absorbs the vibration or what?

thanks
 

Wheelz

Hall of Fame
Tenncom like low Tw sticks. I also agree on the forehand it’s nice a lower TW. I bump my SW on the 98 at 12 and add in the end cap(and or leather). It’s already a depolarizer stick but that’s a personal thing.
 

Wheelz

Hall of Fame
Racquet received: Ezone 98 2022

String and tension used for test: After being disappointed with Poly Tour Pro, I used ALU 130 at 48# then 46#

Tennis experience/background: Former collegiate player, current coach. 5.0 NTRP and 11 UTR if anybody cares about that

Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): Baseline counterpuncher. I used to basically just be an aggressive baseliner, and I was able to play more that way with this racquet when I wanted

Current racquet/string setups: Head Gravity MP with weight or Blade 98 18x20 but grew up with prestiges and pure storms - any thick, crisp poly (RPM Blast, ALU, Tour Bite, Confidential, Lynx Tour) at 44
How many hours did you play with the racquet? 15

All comments are for the racquet in stock form which was pretty much right on target from the factory - I did end up customizing it to 344g, 31.8cm balance, and 334 swingweight which is much more in my wheelhouse.

Comments on racquet performance for each stroke (each section should be 3-5 sentences minimum):
-Groundstrokes: Good control here with power and spin on tap. I found the power controllable and accessible while maintaining feel unlike I find with most other frames like this one (Strike 98, Dunlop 500 Tour, Radical MP and older Pros). I could still manipulate the ball through the court despite the extra power and higher launch angle. The ball came off heavy and fast. I was wanting some more plow and control over depth, and that was better when I got it closer to my preferred swingweight.

-Serves: Best serving racquet I've used in awhile. The headlight balance and low swingweight combined with the free power and spin allowed me to move the ball in and out of my opponents' strike zones quickly on sliders and kickers. Flat serves weren't bad either because it's so fast through the air. I wasn't raving about the targeting, but I can't complain either. I served even better when I added weight to the tip: just a little easier to get the flat serve zipping through the court there, and I feel more comfortable swinging more heft.

-Volleys: Rock solid for such a light frame. Maneuverable and forgiving up at the net with just enough mass for blocking a reflex volley. Enough feel, especially with lower tension poly, for touch too. Better than I expected here given the specs.

-Serve returns: This is the one area where I really needed more weight. Returning is a critical part of my game, and this racquet just needed more mass for me to block back the serves I'm used to seeing. If you're used to racquets in this spec range, I'd assume you'll like the returns. I was never really out of control and the racquet helps enough where I can just worry about making clean contact and aiming for my target.

Comments on racquet performance in each area (should be 2-3 sentences minimum)
Power/Control- Lots of power available, but I never felt like I was overhitting. With a lot of other racquets in this spec range, I'm slappy or out of control when I'm on the run or pressured. Not the case here. I think the big thing is that there's enough feel to understand what the ball is doing when there's more free power than I'm used to.

Top Spin/Slice- Plenty of this whenever you want it. I was able to get a deep heavy rally ball, dip the ball a little extra when needed, and knife a slice through the court with ease. Really pleased here.

Comfort- No issues to report here. I have some ongoing wrist issues, so that's stopped me from using some great racquets in the past: blade pro, speed pro, CX200Tour, and the 6.1 line. No problems at all here, even at the lower weight or when I tossed a leather grip on. If you're concerned for comfort AND power but don't like the feel of something like a clash then this is worth a demo!

Feel- A bit muted, but I got used to it. I like the feel of the VCORE 2018 the best out of all of Yonex's recent racquets, but this one I could play with. No problem with touch and feel: flick lobs, drop shots, slice backhands...all of them were effective and pleasant enough. It's not like a pro staff 85 or classic prestige, but what is anymore?

Maneuverability- I found this very whippy and easy to maneuver in stock form. When I needed to move the racquet quickly on defense or volleys, I could. When I wanted just a little extra spin or pop, it moved quickly for me. No complaints here.

Stability- Surprisingly sufficient for a 305g, lower swingweight frame. The only place I really had issues was on returns. Tough poking back 110+ with this stick for me. Found it more than enough everywhere else.

General reaction/comments on overall performance: This is the best 98 square inch frame for my game I've tested in a long time. I said it in a previous comment, but it's the only racquet that's billed as a "modern players frame" that I've found no issues with besides dialing in the specs to something I'm used to. There's free power and spin but not so much that I can't control it. There's comfort but the frame isn't so dead and muted that I don't know what the ball is doing. It's fast and maneuverable but still stable. Honestly, it ticks a lot of the right boxes for me and even takes weight well. Odds are I'll be switching to this frame. Well done, Yonex and a big thanks to TW for the chance to review!
How is it with the customization that you did ?
 

colan5934

Professional
How is it with the customization that you did ?
It’s just customized to my specs, so my timing feels like it always does. The frame/layup is really awesome for me. I actually took just a little lead off from 12 and dropped the swingweight a couple points because I’m playing even less now and want that extra maneuverability. I could probably just go stock or stock with a leather on this frame.
 

gutfeeling

Hall of Fame
It’s just customized to my specs, so my timing feels like it always does. The frame/layup is really awesome for me. I actually took just a little lead off from 12 and dropped the swingweight a couple points because I’m playing even less now and want that extra maneuverability. I could probably just go stock or stock with a leather on this frame.
What is the lighter spec you are using? After playing it stock for a while I decided to switch to 310 g, 31 cm, 285 sw unstrung. Hoping it evens out the swing path and gives me a little more plow.
 

XFactorer

Hall of Fame
Adding some more thoughts now that I've had the EZONE 98 long term.

* Recently hit with my 2020 version again - it's noticeably less stable at impact - more vibrations. Could be old strings, though
* I don't miss the 5 g from the DR generation, going to 305 makes it easier for more people to use
* The paint chips off, doesn't just scrape off like most racquets
* This racquet needed a break-in period - I've never experienced this with any other EZONE. Most of that first month of play testing was me trying to figure out what works - now I can string it with most anything and it feels good.
* Still prefer this with a dampener even though I toyed around with no dampener in the beginning
 
  • Like
Reactions: AA7

colan5934

Professional
What is the lighter spec you are using? After playing it stock for a while I decided to switch to 310 g, 31 cm, 285 sw unstrung. Hoping it evens out the swing path and gives me a little more plow.
330 swingweight instead of 336 strung. 342g and 31.8cm balance (325g, 30.8cm, 300sw unstrung with overgrip). The hoop is pretty stable so I took off a couple grams at 12. Still very much in my wheelhouse just wanted a little more maneuverability. Honestly I enjoy this racquet stock and play well with it. Just am used to heavier sticks and over-swing at stock specs
 

n80aoag

Professional
I'm pulling the trigger on the 100. The blade 98 v8 is too demanding for me.

I'm a L3 in Wilson. Should I go for the L2 in the Yonex? Thoughts on changing to a leather grip and open to suggestions.
Stick with L3 for Yonex and thin overgrip
 

Wheelz

Hall of Fame
Picked up two 100s with dragons.

Unstrung SW 290, Strung is 315 with PTP. I will try it out before adding some lead and bringing it up to 320. How are you guys experimenting with lead? Prefer 10 and 2 or 3 and 9?
It’s already very high twistweight. I’d go at 12 but I don’t like high twistweight sticks.
 
Coming from a PA 2019, what do you think it's the best option adding lead tape on a ezone 100 2022

3 and 9
10 and 2
12

just to add a little bit more plow through and stability
No need a lot of Gr

thank you
 

ChrisJR3264

Hall of Fame
Coming from a PA 2019, what do you think it's the best option adding lead tape on a ezone 100 2022

3 and 9
10 and 2
12

just to add a little bit more plow through and stability
No need a lot of Gr

thank you
10 and 2. When I was using the previous - I had strips covering 8 grommets worth.

Now I still didn’t like the Ezone lol. I settled into the tfight 305 instead. Preferred only weight to the handle.
 

Maverick13

Semi-Pro
Coming from a PA 2019, what do you think it's the best option adding lead tape on a ezone 100 2022

3 and 9
10 and 2
12

just to add a little bit more plow through and stability
No need a lot of Gr

thank you

I can’t get lead to work no matter how hard I try with my Ezone. Try going up a string gauge. That added a great deal of plow through for me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AKB

A_Instead

Legend
I was part of this play test..had a good go for the test period then put it away as my season was fast approaching and wanted to focus on my current racket at that time..
This past September I was going through my collection and nearly forgot I had the Ezone 100..so I threw it in my bag..
I can honestly say..I wish I would have stuck with it..it's great... not sure where my "head" was during the play test...
After that experience I did proceed to buy another and 2 of the Ezone 98..
Both are great for me.. now..
 
Last edited:

Maverick13

Semi-Pro
So I’m really at my wits end trying to get my 98 weighted right. Have any of you tried the new + version? The bump in SW makes it seem worth it but idk if the lack of static weight hurts the stability…
 

koolio

Rookie
So I’m really at my wits end trying to get my 98 weighted right. Have any of you tried the new + version? The bump in SW makes it seem worth it but idk if the lack of static weight hurts the stability…
I haven't tried the + version, but do you know what target specs you're aiming for?

What really made the Ezone 98 feel right to me was the final specs of:
  • Total Strung Weight: 335g
    • Side note: I also don't mind it at 331g, but prefer 335g.
  • Weight is based on:
    • Adding lead: 1g at 3 and 9 (2g total)
    • Wilson Pro Overgrip (5g)
    • String Dampener: 1g
    • String: Cyclone Tour 16
  • Balance Point: ~12.8 inches (note, I measured this the ghetto way: on the edge of a counter with a measuring tape)
  • Swingweight: TBD, I should know this week...borrowing a friend's Briffidi machine :)
This was after experimenting with adding lead to different locations and different amounts of lead. In my experiments, I tried adding lead to the throat and at 12 (never tried 10 and 2, but may one day just out of curiosity). In the throat, I've added 5g and 3g. At 12, I added 2g.
 
So I’m really at my wits end trying to get my 98 weighted right. Have any of you tried the new + version? The bump in SW makes it seem worth it but idk if the lack of static weight hurts the stability…

Been playing with the 98+ for about a month now. Loving it. I put 4 grams in the throat for a little extra stability. firms it up a little bit. Swingweight is 338 with hyper g soft 16. Doesn't feel heavy at all. Zero complaints regarding stability, playability, arm issues, etc.
 

Q452

New User
Anyone else notice that adding lead at 12 makes the Ezone 98 feel even more muted and disconnected? I’ve played with many modern dampened frames but on this 98 I can barely feel the ball. Maybe because I got it strung with velocity which is pretty muted.
 

gnawhb

New User
Been playing with the 98+ for about a month now. Loving it. I put 4 grams in the throat for a little extra stability. firms it up a little bit. Swingweight is 338 with hyper g soft 16. Doesn't feel heavy at all. Zero complaints regarding stability, playability, arm issues, etc.
Same here. 98+ is my go to now, bought 2 more racquets. Placed 4g lead at 3 and 9 and loving it. Ex-College player coming from using the Blade 98 since 2008. Typically I prefer more mass in the head just from being used to the blade for so long, but the XL and increased swingweight makes up for it. Has been great for my serves and volleys and doesn't feel heavy at all
 

Maverick13

Semi-Pro
Same here. 98+ is my go to now, bought 2 more racquets. Placed 4g lead at 3 and 9 and loving it. Ex-College player coming from using the Blade 98 since 2008. Typically I prefer more mass in the head just from being used to the blade for so long, but the XL and increased swingweight makes up for it. Has been great for my serves and volleys and doesn't feel heavy at all
Is the lead at 3 & 9 a preference or for stability?
 

B-Line

Rookie
Playtest racquet: 2022 Ezone 98

String and tension: Hyper G Soft 1.20 mains x 1.25 crosses @ 54 lb (constant pull)

Tennis background: 4.5 computer rated, 33 years old, have been playing competitively since I was a kid, temporarily stopped USTA in 2020 – have been playing 1-2x per week since then either drilling or practice sets

Playing style: All court player, semi-western forehand, two-handed backhand, lately have been working on moving forward to finish points earlier/at the net

Current racquet/string: Head Graphene 360+ Extreme Tour, Hyper G Soft 1.20 mains, 1.25 crosses @ 54 lb (constant pull)

Racquet performance: I played with the 22EZ98 for about 10 hours mixed in with the 20EZ98 and the ET (current racquet). I used the same string and tension in all three frames which were all roughly 305 grams, 31.5 cm, and 285 SW unstrung. The 22EZ is a great frame which does not have any apparent weaknesses and which fixes the slightly erratic/launchy response the 20EZ can have at times.

I will not be switching to the 22EZ from the ET. I am also a 20EZ owner but I will not be upgrading. However, I think the 22EZ is a logical choice for someone new to the Ezone line or that cannot make the 20EZ work. Surprisingly, this playtest made me take a second look at my 20EZ, which is a little more powerful and forgiving than the ET. This is helpful on off days or when I am defending against more advanced opponents.

As expected, due to the thicker beam the 22EZ is firmer than the 20EZ and does not flex as much at the throat. Nevertheless, it is still a comfortable racquet and the increased firmness helps create a more predictable response than the 20EZ. I also felt really good pocketing from the stringbed, which I assume could be due to the larger grommet holes which I noticed made pulling the crosses easier than the 20EZ.

Groundstrokes and returns of serve with the 22EZ were great and very similar to the 20EZ. Both racquets provide a muted response. I can see why some people call it plush because the racquet is not harsh in feel or sound. I can play both without a dampener. Both the 22EZ and 20EZ also are relatively maneuverable and stable with generous sweetspots. This was apparent when I switched back and forth between them and the ET, which is noticeably more controlled and less generous in terms of sweetspot size and location (lower in the stringbed). One slight downside is that the wider beam in the hoop can feel slightly clunky at times and does not cut through the air as quickly as the ET - however, I do not think this is unique to the 22EZ and is probably just part of the adjustment period.

In terms of spin, I think the 22EZ and 20EZ both provide acceptable levels of spin (both topspin and slice) in terms of ball RPM, moreso than the ET. However, all three frames have relatively flat/low launch angles. I think dropping the tension could help raise the launch angle but I was not particularly bothered by it and I appreciated the predictability and precision.

I always found the Ezone line to be a great volleying frame despite its 305 gram stock weight and the 22EZ was no exception. I think the hoop width and large sweetspot, which is relatively higher in the hoop, makes its particularly stable and forgiving at the net.

I also found the 22EZ and 20EZ comparable when serving, however I think the increased stiffness of the 22EZ provides a little more free power. Both frames provided great access to spin on slice and kick serves.

General comments: I like what Yonex has been doing with the 2022 and 2020 Ezone line. To me the Ezone provides all of the sweet spot and power benefits of the wider, elliptical beam-shaped hoop that Babolat has been using for years. By adding some flex to the throat Yonex reels in some of the power and adds control and comfort which I find lacking in Babolats. While everyone may not be a fan of the muted VDM feel, I don’t hate it and I think it is effective at filtering unpleasant shock and vibes on mishits. Compared to the 2021 Vcore 98, I think the 2022 Ezone 98 provides a more predictable, linear response that enables you to drive the ball at the slight expense of spin generation, where the Vcore 98 excels.

One of my regular hitting partners still plays his beloved Ezone DR 98s with a leather grip. I worked in a few hits with the DR98 side by side with the 22EZ and 20EZ. While the DR is unmistakably plush and soft, I think this luxury comes at the expense of forgiveness and power, where the newer Ezones excel.

Thank you for the opportunity, TW! I really enjoyed this playtest. Anyone on TT should feel free to reach out if they have any questions or want me to provide additional comments.

Oh, and most importantly:

Great review! Love my 2020 Ezone 98.... Couldn't get on with the 2022 as it felt clunky on my one handed backhand.
 
Top