I unzipped my tennis bag and pulled out the destroyed Ai98.
Fiberglass shards snagged the bag on the way out.
The bright yellow Poly Tour Pro strings were still in tact, barely used.
I had put them in expecting the same level of play from the summer before, when I was playing my best ever.
It was getting cold, and my game needed a boost.
But I was looking for a shortcut, and well, now I'm down to my last Ai98.
Expecting is a mistake, in this game.
A thin enveloped showed up at the door, from Tennis Warehouse. I had been selected as a play tester for a new Yonex string.
Perfect timing, I thought.
Maybe it would be a sharper version of Poly Tour Pro, in my opinion one of the best polys out there.
But it wasn't.
When I took it out of the package I had flashbacks of Poly Tour Spin G, a string that was out of my league as you all saw in the video.
It wasn’t very edgy in the fingers, but very slick making it easy to string.
I decided to string it 5 lbs lower than normal.
My first outing was at 6am on a 27 degree morning. Indoors at least.
I had hoped 40 lbs would help make up for a slower, colder start.
Initial power at 40 lbs was medium low, and control higher than expected for 40 lbs. Launch angle lower than expected, medium low.
Balls were launching pretty good from the baseline but always diving back in. As I gained confidence in this new string and started to take full cuts, everything was going in, just on the later and deeper side of things keeping opponents back.
Serve power was impressive for a stiffer poly. I wasn’t complaining for that early in the morning given the level of this string.
Feel was pleasantly muted, but still some stretch to be felt at 40 lbs. More stretch than expected for cold weather and cold strings. Nowhere near as pocketey as PTP, but you had a sense of where the ball was.
It’s a serious string though, not a comfort string at all. Reminds me of a less sharp Confidential.
The Ai98 worked well softening the off centers, and I needed it.
Not bitey and not felt shredding but audibly snapping back crisply and clean, visually spinning the ball heavy.
Balls diving late and always going back in the court. No issues going long for low tension, and no issues going too short like a sharp Volkl Cyclone would.
It didn’t feel like a spin string. I think you really have to put it to work to see big spin from it.
After 5+ hours I thought the tension maintenance was better than average for starting so low at 40 lbs where things can usually get floppy after a few hours.
I wasn’t having any issues keeping the ball in the court depth wise, but was losing control going wide.
Strings were starting to move around at 5 hours.
I personally would have strung it 5 lbs lower to get more comfort out of it.
Yes, 35 lbs.
I think it could handle it and still have some control.
I played in a wide range of conditions from cold indoors to 70 degree outside and it held together nicely at low tension.
This string dominated from far behind the baseline and allowed me to take big wild cuts. The combination of a stiff string at low tension had me hitting winners from way far back - right where I like to be.
However, it wasn’t forgiving enough for my arm at current form and temp, so I had to end it at just over 5 hours.
I think it’s a big string for high performance players, and shouldn’t be taken lightly just because it's the latest and greatest offering from Yonex.
It's for someone super confident in their strokes and ability.
Someone who isn't looking for a shortcut.
Something I'm working towards.