Now, hasn't it been a long times since I wrote one of these? Well, there hasn't been any significant racket launches of late to warrant a try, and also I've been pretty slack in looking through new equipment to review.
Look at the waistline. It tells a lot.
Anyhoo, I've gotten my hands on the Yonex Nanoray 900 - the latest in line for their head light series. It was launched last year and received quite significant fanfare due to the likes of Saina Nehwal and the pair of Ahsan and Setiawan.
Now Yonex has never really made much out of its head light series of rackets - the nanos - from the epic Nanospeeds to the Nanorays, the series is traditionally high on defense and offers a little less in terms of hard smashes, which is typically what most leisure players look for.
With the indonesian pairing's blazing smashes and amazing front court play, the Yonex Nanoray 900 promises a faster response and an angled smash never seen before. To quote the website, "a totally new frame that suppresses the angle of the shuttlecock for a completely new angle to your smash shots."
That basically means your smash will come off steeper.
And steeper it did for me! But more on that later.
When I first held the racket, the first thing that hit me was how flexible the shaft seemed to be. Most of Yonex's rackets now come in stiff or super stiff, so it was a surprise to feel something to flexible in my hands. Mix this in with the considerably light head, and you sort of have a recipe for disaster.
|Not really the most innovative design neither|
photo from www.yonex.com
I remember past instances with this combination, and it didn't turn out well. I was expecting a serious lack of power in my shots.
But as I played on, I found shot making a breeze with the racket. I was able to move the head frame into position and pull off some higher difficulty shots. I also had myself a little more time to look at the opponent and plan my shots too, both on defensive and attacking shots.
What made it really enjoyable were the new smashes I could execute with the Nanoray 900. As advertised, the soft shaft and head light racket offers very steep smashes from anywhere on the court. I started out hitting net with a few jump smashes, but things got better when I found out that the NR900 actually puts out quite a bit of power on the wrist smashes.
Somehow, Yonex has managed to get a very good weight-power transfer onto the racket, and this translates very well in the shots you primarily use your wrist in.
Apart from the smashes, the speed of the racket was also amazing - front court was easier to play and defense naturally increased.
That whole use-your-wrist bit didn't quite come through in my backhand shots. While I'm pretty good with the backhands, the Yonex Nanoray 900 seemed to come off a little short, opening myself up to a few needless attacks.
Netplay with the racket seemed a little off too as well - perhaps it was the different speed of the racket head that I'm not used to. The NR900 is really fast. I was however able to pull off quite a bit of trick shots at the net, and I have the highly maneuverable racket for thank that.
I guess you can say that it's been a very pleasant first impression. The racket offers a new dimension to my gameplay, and with more use I think I can baffle opponents more by adding in the full-arm smashes instead of just relying on the wrist.
Stay tuned. I'll try and see if I can land myself more test runs.