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View Full Version : Graphite...Satan?


GrahamIsSuper
12-27-2004, 11:13 PM
So, a father of a junior player was asking me today how I felt about some racquets. Namely, the stiffness index. I proceeded to explain how I had been forced to use more flexible racquets, and was currently using the Estusa PBP (which contains 20% fiberglass construction).

"why," he said, "that brings up an interesting point! Ive had a long concern about my son playing with these all-graphite racquets (his kid was playing with a pure drive.....ouch) and how it's going to affect him in the future" He had some interesting theorys regarding the heft of a racquet means greater damage done, which, in theory, is incorrect.

I then began to explain how in the days of wood, most people complained that fiberglass was waaaay too stiff, and that using anything but wood would (sorry, didn't mean to "pun"ish anyone) make your arm basically fall off.

It was a lengthy discussion, but a rather interesting one.

So, I decided to take it to the source, so to speak. How do you feel about Graphite construction? Would you like to see increased usage of fiberglass or even wood (ie prokennex) in future designs?

equinox
12-28-2004, 12:14 AM
Would you like to see increased usage of fiberglass or even wood (ie prokennex) in future designs?

I absolutely loved the feel and comfort provided by my graphite fiberglass kevlar "Prince Tricomp 110".

Yes bring back fiberglass and wooden racquets.

Ronaldo
12-28-2004, 03:26 AM
Hand him a Dunlop Max 200G

Rabbit
12-28-2004, 05:17 AM
Hand him a Dunlop Maxply Fort

GrahamIsSuper
12-28-2004, 05:58 AM
I was under the impression that Estusa was the only one still using fiberglass in their frames today. It would be a bit inconcievable to bring back wooden frames in the day of titanium...thats asking for a bit much.

NoBadMojo
12-28-2004, 06:19 AM
volkl is using fiberglass in a few of their frames.

Venetian
12-28-2004, 08:53 AM
Look, I know that a lot of people on these boards grew up during the days of wood racquets. I'm 20 years old and played high school tennis and now play in a league. I think I've played with a wooden racquet maybe twice in my life, just to try it out. It just doesn't suit today's game. You can't turn back time so you'll just have to get used to the way racquets are made now. I have quite a few friends who play Div 2 and 3 college tennis and one that plays Div 1, and I know they can't imagine ever playing with a wooden racquet. Most of us started on PS 6.0's and 6.1's and grew up watching Sampras and Agassi, and then Roddick. That's just the way the game is played now. :) Sorry to burst anybody's bubble.

thejackal
12-28-2004, 04:31 PM
A common misconception is that 100% graphite means a stiffer frame. Being a hockey player that uses composite (graphite, kevlar, fiberglass etc.) sticks, I know for a fact that graphite shafts can be made much more flexible than even wood sticks by manipulating the orientation and the composition of the fibers. However, graphite is 3 times lighter and 10 times stronger than fiberglass, so more has to be used to ensure a playable weight, especially for player's frames. Beside, if you want and example of how flexy graphite rackets can be, look no further than the HPS 7.1 Zone.

GrahamIsSuper
12-28-2004, 06:21 PM
Venetian, I know a top-ranked teaching pro here in Oklahoma who is rather renown for his prowess on court....

The following is a true story:

So the clup pro is hitting against a backboard and an older gentleman walks out on court and says "is anyone playing with you? would you like to hit?"
He didn't have a racket.

The club pro asked the man if he wanted to use one of his backups, the man replied "no, I'll find something." He walked off court.

About 3 minutes later he walked back on-court with the handle of a broom. He then proceeded to beat the club pro very badly.

After the match, the club pro asked him who he was....turns out an old top 100 was visiting in oklahoma.

Point is, it's entirely possible to play with a wooden racquet today against the modern game. I can transition from the estusa to a slazenger woodie without any problems at all and still play the same shots and same strokes. Truth is, they arent THAT different.

hummer23
12-28-2004, 06:34 PM
lol yeah the old school heavy flexible graphite double braid frames play like woodies. no doubt. to assume that a babolat pure drive, also graphite, plays anything like a jack kramer woodie is beyond ludacris. its laughable.
Frames have evolved for the better. fiberglass is still used in fischers and volkls, and thats fine. leave the woodies in your closet and let them become antiques adn gain value. they are not useful on the court anymore.

My own Annecdote:

Imagine andy roddick trying to serve with a woodie after knocking out some aces with his bab. pdp. the swingweight may be similar, but the stiffness is so different that he wouldnt be able to get more than 110 or so on serves. if anyone cares to argue that point, please go out onto a court with a radar gun and launch up a few serves. if you can hit 100, i would be shocked.

Graphite is your friend. as is titanium, and liquid metal (lol) and whatever else racqeut companies cook up. take advantage of it.

NoBadMojo
12-28-2004, 06:51 PM
hummer it wasnt that long ago that mark phillapousisisisisisisis did exactly what you say. he served w. his regular bat, served w. a woodie, and served w. some really new technology powerful frame. there wasnt much difference in mph for him between all 3 of these frames. where the technology aids you is in return of serve, not the serve, and from the ground. also roddick's setup is quite a bit lighter than that of the standard woodie. also, you just can not compete w. a woodie and any decent level unless the person on the other side of the court has one. in one shot, the guy w. the modern frame can either hit a winner or get the person with the woodie on the defensive, and once that happens forget it.

Rabbit
12-28-2004, 07:10 PM
Look, I know that a lot of people on these boards grew up during the days of wood racquets. I'm 20 years old and played high school tennis and now play in a league. I think I've played with a wooden racquet maybe twice in my life, just to try it out. It just doesn't suit today's game. You can't turn back time so you'll just have to get used to the way racquets are made now. I have quite a few friends who play Div 2 and 3 college tennis and one that plays Div 1, and I know they can't imagine ever playing with a wooden racquet. Most of us started on PS 6.0's and 6.1's and grew up watching Sampras and Agassi, and then Roddick. That's just the way the game is played now. :) Sorry to burst anybody's bubble.


Well, the post was made in jest, but since you brought it up. I am a 4.5 and have played league well, since there was a league. I started playing when it was the Michelob Light Leagues. Anyhow, summer before last, I played the entire men's, mixed, and combo seasons with a wood racket, a Head Vilas. I own 5 of them and love them. I also won more than I lost with it, so I don't think your claim that it just doesn't suit today's game is quite fair. In short, it ain't the racket as much as it is the player.

Your friends can't imagine playing with wood because they've never done it. I let a younger friend of mine hit with a Kramer Autograph as he'd never hit with wood. Before he began, he asked "If it breaks, I don't have to buy it, right?" I smiled and agreed. He couldn't believe how well he hit with it.

I'm glad you grew up watching Sampras and Agassi. Sampras played with a wooden Jack Kramer ProStaff coming up and Agassi played with a Garcia like Harold Solomon used to play with (among other frames I'm sure). Both of these guys grew up with wood. Sampras, when he retired, was asked if he'd like his son to play tennis. He said he didn't care, but if he did, he'd try to find a wood racket to teach him with as that is how one learns to strike the ball correctly.

Hell, this has got me thinking of going back to wood again. :)

max
12-29-2004, 05:36 AM
Say, Hummer and Venetian, please don't take all this as being personally directed against you. But think about it: some time ago there was no such thing as a 3-point shot in basketball. Then they changed the rule. Now there are. Officials in tennis could do the same thing, change the rule, and make the net shorter or taller, ban graphite racquets and promote wood (think of major league baseball). In short, it's just a game, and at least some of the rules are open to change (not all rules; we still would want to keep scoring rules fair for all players, etc.). Wood racquets could easily come back.

equinox
12-29-2004, 06:45 AM
Interesting to hear everyone talk about returning to good old days of wooden tennis.

Strange thing happened to me yesterday. I was making my way down to my local tennis wall with POG OS in hand. I arrived and noticed a wooden racquet sitting beside the wall.

I walked over and on closer inspection identified it as a Slazenger Junior "ken rosewell" autographed wooden racquet.

I compared the slazenger and POG OS headsize and thought there's no way i'm going to hit well with this wooden racquet.

I was wrong! I was hitting cleaner and more accurate one handed backhands than i do with my POG OS. The feel and touch was indescribable.

I hit for 40 minutes with this slazenger and really wanted to take this racquet home.

Alas, i decided to put it back beside the wall, where i found it and hope some other lucky person has a similar experience as i did.

Venetian
12-29-2004, 11:06 AM
I have no problem at all with wooden racquets and if anyone likes to use them it's all good. If you can play just as well with it more power to you. But I just don't ever see racquets being manufactured with wood anymore. My generation just doesn't want to use wooden racquets. Like I said though, it's all good:)

To reply to Max, what happened to pro baseball and banning anything but wooden bats will not ever likely happen in tennis. The new generation of players doesn't want wood racquets. They aren't accustomed to using them and wouldn't switch. So why would the USTA ever implement such a rule?

GrahamIsSuper
12-29-2004, 11:14 AM
hm, I'm in your generation Venetian, speak for yourself. I can't stand the baseline game anymore, and now beat baseline power players with wooden rackets occasionally just to prove the point. Wooden racquets are just as usable as any racquet on the market today, if not more.

The only reason why they arent coming back are:

1) too expensive to make - you could most likely make 3+ graphite/whatever racquets for the time and price of 1 wooden, not to mention the warping problem

2) somewhat more of a learning curve - perhaps not, as just as many people played tennis back in the day as do now.

Dedans Penthouse
12-29-2004, 12:25 PM
I saw an episode of "Leave it to Beaver" entitled "Tennis, Anyone?" where this woman named Carol (Cindy Robbins-very HOT btw!), got ticked off at her grease-ball looking boyfriend who was an "assistant tennis pro" at the local courts because he broke a date with her. So while her assistant tennis pro boyfriend walks away (while tightening the press on his wooden racquet), and she's standing there by herself fuming, here comes none other than Wally Cleaver with a wooden tennis racquet in his hand. Wally as it turns out, was supposed to meet the pencil-necked geek Eddie Haskell for a hit, but Eddie didn't show. So, the chick asks Wally "do you want to VOLLEY?" and Wally accepts the invite.

Turns out, that this this 22-23 year old (very hot!) woman playing tennis with our hero Wally was simply using Wally in order to make her boyfriend jealous, so after they finish hitting for the 1st time, she (Carol) sets up a series of tennis dates on a daily basis with young Wally. Eventually, Wally thinks that he and Carol have "got a thing goin' on" (developing), but Wally's father (the wise but dour Ward Cleaver) tells him that (age-wise) he's outta his league and to drop her. Meanwhile, Wally's little brother Beaver tells Eddie Haskel and Lumpy that the reason Wally has not been "around" lately is because he's been hitting tennis balls with this (hot! older) babe on a daily basis. They scope him out, and after seeing this babe are practically bowing in honor at Wally after he comes off the court. Long story short: the grease-ball (pathetic tennis playing) "assistant tennis pro" boyfriend has been noticing Wally and Carol's daily "tennis dates" and he pulls the lad Wally aside and reads him the riot act: "she's my girl, stay away, yada, yada."

What does this have to do with the subject of this post? Hell if I know!!

All's I can say is that, considering its 1962 time period, Wally didn't look too much like a dork on the court; his short were like of long (Bermuda-ish), and the guy (as far as actors went) looked like he could hit a topspin forehand. I found out that Wally (Tony Dow) in real life was a junior olympic diving champion, so that explained the fact that the guy had some "pins" (calves) and some topspin forehand skills--of course, everyone in TV hits a crappy "flying elbow" backhand, and Wally was no exception there either. The guido-looking "assistant pro" on the other hand was hillarious--he was so bad it wasn't funny--possibly a 0.5-1.0 NTRP--on a good day. Anyway, all of the characters would come to the courts with their little wooden racquets--all well and good--but NOT ONE OF THEM had a can of tennis balls with them---they ALL would show up carrying a pair of tennis balls loosely in their hands (not 3 balls but only 2--odd).

The whole point of this rambling is: besides featuring a "tennis pro" (played by some nondescript actor named James Drake) who was possibly the worst tennis player of all time, and the fact that Wally had "some" talent.......................that chick (Cindy Robbins) was mouth-watering...........that's really all I really wanted to say.

GrahamIsSuper
12-29-2004, 01:06 PM
http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.decacs.com/caea/00-Cindy%2520Robbins%2520-4-9-00%2520Best%2520of%2520Breed-CAEA%2520Show.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.decacs.com/caea/shows2.html&h=267&w=199&sz=7&tbnid=gwHxD7VlgvwJ:&tbnh=107&tbnw=80&start=1&prev=/images%3Fq%3DCindy%2BRobbins%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D

The dog, right?

Datacipher
12-29-2004, 02:55 PM
Imagine andy roddick trying to serve with a woodie after knocking out some aces with his bab. pdp. the swingweight may be similar, but the stiffness is so different that he wouldnt be able to get more than 110 or so on serves. if anyone cares to argue that point, please go out onto a court with a radar gun and launch up a few serves. if you can hit 100, i would be shocked.
.

Phillipoussis was able to serve virtually the same speed with a wood racuet, a standard length and a large headed extra long. Sampras has switched to wood for a few points in exhibition and when he went for it, clocked 124mph with the wood. I myself have gone to 112mph with a wood frame...this was an old frame from a garage with ancient strings. I believe with a high quality wood frame and new strings, I'd probably get pretty close to my 124mph top graphite speed. However, I absolutely agree that most rec players would find a huge dropoff....for them...the racquet is crucial to their overall power....for advanced players with excellent mechanics, the racquet becomes much less of a limiting factor.

hummer23
12-29-2004, 02:57 PM
very impressive. point well taken.