Friday, October 4, 2013

Yonex Nanospeed 9000X badminton racquet-a gem and classic rediscovered

Picked up one from a warehouse sale after

wondering what the fuss was all about.

This model was released around 2006

as one of the pioneer Yonex lightweight

and headlight series and a quick check of

the 2007 All England revealed that half the China

team ie.the women were using it eg.Wei Yi Li,

Zhao Ting Ting,Zhang Jie Wen,Yang Wei,

Zhang Ning ,Xie Xin Fang,Huang Sui and Gao Ling.

That explains why the people who snapped up the

racquet at the sales were mainly uncles and veterans.

Surprisingly Lee Chong Wei used it in early 2006

when coached by Li Mao,but switched to a harder

racquet to match Lin Dan and Taufik power later as Li

Mao had noticed LCW's deficiency in that area.

The racquet was probably withdrawn when Yonex

collaborated with Li Ning to produce a new line of

racquets for the China team.

I have recently settled with using the Nanoray

700 RP as my standard because it is light,fast

especially in defence and manoeuvred easily,but it

lacks slightly in power and control. The Nanospeed

9000x could have been designed to overcome this

problem in power and control of the Nanospeed 7000

which preceded the Nanoray 700.

It is essentially a headlight racquet with a very stiff shaft

but has a light,resilient,slim and flexible frame, reinforced

at certain points like the old Titanium racquets to afford

stability and control.The design of the frame allows the

racquet to be speedy, manoeuvrable but  gives it a bit more

in terms of power and control.So it gives defensive and

speedy players an extra bite in smashing ,dropping and

clearing as well as accuracy at the expense of a little less

speed and manoeuvrability.The manufacturer attributes

the additional power from the "elastic" titanium laced frame.

Never tried the Nanoray 9900 but it must have been an

improvement of the 9000X.

I believe the current Nanoray z Slash is actually following

this process of upgrading it from the Nanoray 700 RP or

"rough" Ti 10, just as the 9900 was an upgrade of 9000x,

and this in turn an upgrade of the Nanospeed 7000 .

So when comparing Nanoray 700 with the 9000X,

the following are my conclusions (just my opinion

and how it suits my defensive, countering ,driving,

tapping and flicking playing style)

                  Nanoray 700    Nanospeed 7000  Nanospeed 9000

Speed               10/10                 9/10                  8/10                

Control               8/10                 8/10                  9/10

Power                9/10                 7/10                  9/10

Manoeuvre        10/10                9/10               8.5/10

In short it is not wrong to say that Nanotechnology is not just

marketing hype,it has made racquets lighter,slimmer,more

aerodynamic, faster, and still  maintaining power.The Nanospeed

series pales in comparison with the Nanoray series,even the low

end Nanorays outperform high end Nanospeeds.

Maximum power can be achieved with many head heavy racquets

and maximum control with stiff frame Arc Saber models ,at the

expense of other advantages of course.

Manoeuvrability is a matter of whether the racquet

is flexible enough to be twisted to execute quick,deceptive

strokes using the wrist and whether the racquet is light enough

to be wielded up and down rapidly between attack and defence

without tiring out the player and still stable enough to generate

accurate placements.

Control is a matter of accuracy ,the stiffer and more stable the

frame, the better quality the shots especially at the net and placements.

Speed and power are dependent on aerodynamics, built

on Newton's ancient First Law ie. Force =Mass x Acceleration.

Pressure =Force/Area, Bending Moment and Deflection = Force x Distance

Swinging a racquet downwards is aided by gravity, dragging it upwards

is resisted by gravity.

 All three racquets are essentially built for doubles play

although many are using it in singles.

The biggest drawback of the Nanospeed 9000x to me is its

poor recovery and braking effect.This means that after a big swing

downwards it takes effort and time to pull the racquet back to

position to repeat the swing or even to perform a block, unlike

the speedy Ti 10,Nanospeed 7000 or Nanoray 700. In this sense

it is no better than the head heavy racquets and the stiff frames of the

Arc Saber series.That must be the reason why this model was consigned

to the graveyard of badminton racquets,although it may suit singles play.

Or, the Elastic Titanium technology was simply shifted from the Nano

series to the Amortec. By 2008 most players except Xie Xin Fang had

adopted the Amortec series.Another glaring weakness of the 9000x is

the difficulty of playing shots after they have crossed the hitting zone and

behind the back.That is why the 'S' version with a flexible shaft was more

popular than the' X'.

 The Nanospeed 7000 is basically a failed product because of its very

weak frame.Hafiz Hashim, Julianne Schenk and Wong Mew Choo

were the few who adopted it and it definitely suited their softer,

defensive styles.The 9000x seems to fit many players' expectations

ie.light, fast,manueverable,but with a stiff shaft and strong light frame

that controls the shuttle well and still imparts a lot of explosive power

for smashing and clearing.A long backswing is not required,the stiff

shaft and resilient strong frame will do all the work although a strong

wrist and elbow work is required.In this unique design the frame is

the part that provides the punch instead of the stiff shaft,which hardly


 On another note,Li Ning racquets used to be built around powerful

head heavy racquets but the 3rd generation series are designed to

be softer either to accomodate "weaker" amateurs or enabling

China players to focus more on softer play expounded by

players from other countries ie. better defence,accuracy ,

racquet speed and deception. In fact,personally I find the

Nanospeed 9000x plays like a lightweight and headlight Li

Ning N90II, but  faster,more flexible and a little less powerful,

exactly where Li Ning Gen III racquets are heading nowadays.

Even girls like Porntip and Busanan can use the N90 II now.

The best advice to anyone buying a racquet is to buy one only

after having tried out the model.Never depend on manufacturer's

marketing tricks or advice from other players.Change models if

the current racquet used cannot cover the weaknesses of the

player.I must have at least 10 Li Ning and Yonex racquets in

my bag,and they all play very well. I only change them to suit

the speed of shuttles used or to counter glaring weaknesses of

my opponents.

To me,playing doubles is like Volleyball, the ultimate goal is to

force opponents to give a weak return so that it can be spiked

at the net,or like football,hockey or basketball, it is about

teamwork and collaboration to set up the striker to score the

goals,doubles is not about killing the shuttles with a power smash

from the baseline, its simply too easy to defend nowadays.

      Xie Xin Fang was the biggest fan of the Nanospeed 9000 using it till the end of her career


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. As of this date of comment,
    there are several units still
    available at Racquet World
    Pertama Complex but not at
    70 % discount.