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What's the best modern spin racket? Aero 98 vs. VCORE 98 vs. Extreme Tour

Modern player's spin rackets are taking over. They've gained rampant popularity over the last several years and are some of the most well-rounded rackets on the market. Here are three of the best!
What's the best modern spin racket? Aero 98 vs. VCORE 98 vs. Extreme Tour Featured Image

The Aero Pro Drive (now Pure Aero) revolutionized the game. Its 100 square-inch head was forgiving, and the frame was designed to optimize spin production. It gained wild popularity and changed the game of tennis to be more baseline-centric, but the racket has always had its limitations. For those that want to vary their shot selection, it's not the best. When it comes to the highest level of precision, control, and feel, tweener spin rackets can't compete with more traditional, smaller head-sized rackets.

For many years, there was no in-between. You had the choice of a classic players' frame or a 100-square-inch spin racket, but not anymore. Brands wisened up and are now producing frames that combine the best of both worlds. In step the 98-square-inch spin monsters. Especially with the ATP's young players, these rackets have become insanely popular. In fact, three of the ATP top ten are playing with the Pure Aero 98.

To better understand why a modern player might prefer a more controlled spin racket, we'll compare Carlos Alcaraz to Rafael Nadal. Nadal plays with tons of spin, probably the most of any player all-time. We all see how much he brushes up on contact, and the resulting shot shoots up so much, no matter the surface. While his game has evolved, Nadal is a true baseline grinder at heart, and that's why the Aero 100 is perfect for him.

While many compare Alcaraz to Nadal, his game style is quite different. He still plays a modern, spinny style but also varies his shot selection. Alcaraz will still play high-percentage, loopy spin shots but also likes to press on the gas and hit hard, directional groundstrokes to end points early. He also loves to volley and has some of the best touch of any teenager in history.

These two players represent their rackets to a tee. The Aero 98 is a modern player's spin racket (that's what we'll call them). It combines the spin potential of a spin racket with the control characteristics of a more classic midplus frame.



But it's not just the Pure Aero 98 that is an elite player's spin frame. The Extreme Tour and VCORE 98 have also amassed plenty of popularity in recent years. If you're looking for this style of racket, these are the big three. Of course, they target that same general playability but differ in the key metrics.

Here is our comparison of the Babolat Pure Aero 98, Yonex VCORE 98, and Head Extreme Tour.


Of course, these excel at generating spin, but they differ slightly in how they achieve that.

The Extreme Tour has the easiest access to spin, and that's due to the Spin Grommets at 6 and 12 o'clock. These grommets are significantly wider than a standard set, allowing for tons of string movement and snapback. I've always found this specific technology best for generating an almost artificial level of spin, where you feel there's no limit to the RPMs you can put on the ball. Because the VCORE 98 and Aero 98 have more standard grommet sets, they're still very spin friendly, but not quite as much.

The Aero 98 is a close second in spin generation. It has that classic Aero shape, where the throat is molded to optimize aerodynamics when the racket is swung parallel to the ground. That gives it a unique swing pattern where the racket feels very quick through the air and helps it produce more spin on contact. The VCORE 98 and Extreme Tour have their own aerodynamically molded throat — like all spin rackets — but they aren't quite as effective as the Aero's.

Also, the Aero 98 may have a 16x20 string pattern, but the top and bottom crosses are so close to the frame that the string density is more like on a 16x19.

While the VCORE 98 is not quite as spin friendly as the other two, it doesn't lag far behind. On the v7, Yonex has added Silicone Oil Infused grommets, which have greatly increased the racket's spin potential. They're less effective for amplifying string movement than the Extreme's Spin Grommets, but you still get quite a bit more than standard.

These are easily the three most spin-friendly 98-square-inch rackets. That said, they don't have their tweener siblings' top, top-end spin potential, but they make up for that with much better control.

Control and Feel

Spin-friendly rackets generally have higher launch angles, which, for some, is the antithesis of control. While I agree to a certain extent, you're supposed to control these rackets by tapping into their spin.

The VCORE 98 has the most traditional control of the three rackets. Yonex completely redesigned the line on the v7, and the frame feels incredibly stable and consistent, which isn't usually the case on a racket with such a high launch. You need to play with spin to control it, but it never feels wild or unpredictable.

Also, Yonex reshaped the throat to make it flex more on impact while keeping the hoop a bit more sturdy, almost like an EZONE. You get plenty of dwell time on impact and an ability to guide the ball like on a more classic player's frame.

I think the Vibration Dampening Mesh takes away too much "feel" in the racket, but I got used to it.

The Extreme Tour has the most "wild" response, so it's probably the least controlled. That's mainly due to the Spin Grommets. Too much string movement leads to that uncontrollable and unpredictable response, and while it's not over the top on the Extreme, it's more noticeable than on the other two. Remember that string movement makes it so spin-friendly, so it's a necessary tradeoff.

There is a big caveat; the Extreme is the most flexible racket of the three, so if you like the feel of soft frames, you will definitely mesh with the Extreme.

While it's not as objectively good for control as the VCORE, I had the best experience with control on the Aero 98. It's the stiffest of the three and has the most "raw" feel. There is an addictive crispness to its response that helped me feel super dialed in. It also has the smallest and most precise sweet spot. Feel is a subjective characteristic, but this one does have more of that "wow" factor when I make proper contact.


Spin rackets are generally powerful. You need an open stringbed to produce high levels of spin, which always means more of the trampoline effect.

The VCORE is the most powerful out of the three. With its new, squared-off hoop at 10 and 2, you get a more open stringbed higher up the frame. The higher your sweet spot, the more leverage you have on your shot, so if you want to go for it with the VCORE, there is plenty of power potential. The launch angle is also the highest.

The Aero 98 is almost as powerful as the VCORE, mainly due to its stiffness and swing weight. It has great pop and never gets pushed around from the back of the court.

The Extreme is the least powerful and least stable of the three. It has the lowest swing weight, and it fluttered a little too easily when the rallies were fast. I would put some lead at 3 and 9 to stabilize the frame and have more mass behind the ball for harder shots.

Who are they for?

This is the million-dollar question.

If you want the most classic spin experience, just in a more controlled package, the Aero 98 is the best bet. It has the original spin racket in its DNA but with a feel and precision that I've never had on the standard Aero 100.

The Extreme Tour will give the easiest access to spin. It's also the best platform racket of the three. It's ripe for customization, and the right amount of lead could make it an absolute beast. It's also the most comfortable of the three.

The VCORE provides the most unique hitting experience. It was the hardest to adapt to, but its stability, control, power, and spin potential made it the most well-rounded once I was dialed in. I still think the VCORE 98 V7 could become a legend in Yonex's history.

Final thoughts

These would be the perfect three frames to demo when looking for a racket switch. They are the most complete rackets in the industry, and it's no surprise that so many high-level players are gravitating toward them. Come check them out in-store or on our website.

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