It’s all about perception and control for the new Yonex tennis racket franchise Percept. Launching Aug. 25, the new line aims to heighten the connection between hand, racket and ball and focus on sensory advantages enhanced by technology.
Based on the development concept of offering “control like the palm of your hand,” Soichi Toyota, Yonex tennis product development member and part of the research and development team, tells me that to provide the ultimate control experience, Yonex focused on optimizing the connection point.
To make it all happen, the new line that replaces the VCore Pro and sits alongside the VCore and EZone as a Yonex premium racket series, focuses on accurate sensory information, improved ball pocketing and stable ball trajectory.
To improve the sensory feedback, Toyota says they needed to reduce unwanted vibrations. That’s why a new Servo Filter resin film combines with graphite to diminish these vibrations by 14% at impact.
The transparent film has a high elasticity and bonds well with graphite, so it retains flexibility and doesn’t harden during the molding process. “Due to those characteristics, using Servo Filter between graphite layers increases the flexibility of the racket compared to a conventional racket that only contains graphite content, ultimately reducing unwanted vibrations,” Toyota says.
Compared to a racket with only graphite, Yonex says the resin offers 60% improvement in flexibility and more than a 500% increase in vibration reduction.
Gaining better ball pocketing capabilities requires increasing flexibility in the racket’s shaft. The FlexCon System, a shaft design developed by Yonex, attains 15% higher flexibility in the racket shaft, which leads to better flex on the racket.
The system features a tapered and elongated box frame shaft, 2G-Namd Flex Force technology and the newly added Servo Filter, all playing a role in helping the racket flex and extend the duration of ball pocketing upon impact by about 10%.
“Because of this, the ball-pocketing duration got extended,” Toyota says.
To differ from the VCore and Ezone, the Percept features a box frame shaft and a reverse R-shaped cross-sectional structure to specialize in racket flex. In contrast, the VCore has a box frame shaft with a T-shaped cross-sectional structure for stability and the EZone has an aero-shaped frame and oval-pressed shaft.
With all the improvements in feel and flexibility, Yonex still needed to provide stability. “Having a stable racket surface is important for achieving a consistent and stable ball trajectory,” Toyota says. “The Percept racket series adopts a new design to increase racket face stability by increasing the amount of graphite content in the overall frame, which results in the frame rigidity to be enhanced by 3%.” This gives improved control over off-center strikes.
In the Percept, the stiff hoop serves the purpose of enhancing rigidity of the frame while improving racket-face stability and the flexible shaft improves ball pocketing. “The two characteristics benefit players with higher ball control,” Toyota says, “in other words, excellent ball trajectory control.”
Coupled with the Yonex signature Isometric frame technology with a 7% larger sweet spart compared to a conventional round frame, according to the brand, the Percept offers greater control without losing the power.
As Frances Tiafoe, Stan Wawrinka and Dayana Yastremska all switch to the Percept in July, Yonex will launch the entire line of eight Percept racket models together on Aug. 25.
Yonex targets “highly advanced players” with the Percept 97, 97D and 97H, a 97-square-inch head with differing weights. Intermediate and advanced players can peruse the Percept 100 (a 100-square-inch head size) and the Percept 100D, which comes in a heavier weight of 305 grams and an 18×19 string pattern. Intermediate players may be drawn to the lighter Percept 97L or 100L and juniors can opt for the Percept Game.
“The lineup includes heavier specification (97H) and specifications (97D, 100D) with a finer string pattern and enhanced ball-crushing capability,” Toyota says, “which are not available in other series. This makes it a series that can cater to your specific requirements.”
The aesthetics of the olive green racket with pink accents is meant to bring a sense of boldness and warmth to the design. Yonex will also release a “mint” color of its popular Polytour Rev string to match the Percept.
“The design pattern features opposing concepts of calmness and energy,” Toyota says. “By combining the powerful, energetic design pattern and design that has layers of colors that express depth, Percept’s design embodies the opposing nature of the racket: accuracy and power.”