View Full Version : Biggest gamble ever?

03-25-2004, 08:34 PM
What was the biggest gamble a racquet company has ever made with a new technology or racquet style? Some that I think would make the list are the Head intellichip and the Prince Longbody. Could the ergonom be up there?

03-25-2004, 08:46 PM
babolat aerotour......?

03-25-2004, 09:07 PM
prince longbody, wilson hammer, and wilson profile

03-25-2004, 09:28 PM
Biggest successful gamble: Prince Classic.


Biggest unsuccessful gamble: Snauwaert Ergonom.


03-25-2004, 09:50 PM
Yeah, those are SO obvious; how could ANYONE not see it (slaps self on forehead).

03-25-2004, 10:32 PM
Keep slapping self. Please.



03-25-2004, 10:55 PM
I would have to say 'Power Holes' is the most unsuccessful gamble by far...

ps 6.0
03-25-2004, 11:44 PM
How could nobody have said Wilson Rollers yet??

03-26-2004, 12:50 AM
I think when we're talking about REAL gambles - the all or nothing sort - we're talking about concepts that would make a major impact on the way ALL racquets are made in the future. For this reason, singular gimmicks like 'Power Holes' or 'Rollers, or any of the other 1200 gimmicks that the racquet companies have unleashed upon us in the past 10 years, don't really qualify.

The Prince Classic changed the size of ALL racquets from that point forward - what's it been, about 30 years thus far? With that racquet, Prince created a billion dollar company. And, even more significantly, forever changed the way that the game is played.

On the other side of the coin, Snauwaert must have hoped for the same type of success in changing the shape of the tennis racquet with the midguided Ergonom, as Prince had changed the size. Instead, Snauwaert was barely heard from after the laughable failure of the Ergonom. This suggests that they might have risked too much in gambling on the Ergonom's success.

There have been other gambles, surely - the T2000, etc.; the Arthur Ashe Competition (aluminum/fiberglass sandwich)... but none have had the long term impact of the Prince offering. Remember - they were a brand new company who had to sell this bizarre, huge, never-before-seen racquet to the recreational player without any significant pro endorsement at the beginning. THen they had to sell the pros on it. The survival of the company rested on the success of their flagship frame. That's a pretty large gamble.

03-26-2004, 04:33 AM
I agree with Deuce. Prince invented a market and Howard Head made a kazillion dollars (twice even). The Prince racket forever (better/worse is up for debate) changed tennis and the way tennis is played. I, for one, think it was for the worse. The advent of the Prince racket marked the beginning of the decline of the tennis boom that the early 70s saw. Players get started quicker with bigger frames, but don't stick around the game as long as when they had to work at their games to get better.

Snauwaert never had a problem taking a risk. In addition to the Ergonom, I think they either produced or looked very seriously at producing the Handler, the frame that Ilie Boukeir invented. It has two handles that come from a "Y" in the shaft of the frame and are at an angle. I hit with one, and since I only use one hand, it was pretty much an exercise in futility for me.

03-26-2004, 04:39 AM
I don't know how much of a gamble it was , but when Prince introduced midsize rackets I was taken aback . It hit me sideways . They promoted the oversize as the best why bother .

Kevin T
03-26-2004, 05:09 AM
Agree with all the above concerning Prince. Wilson bombed with the rollers and power holes but the power holes live on in their racquetball and squash racquets and really do provide solid benefits in those sports. Wilson also produced two of the most successful gambles with the Profile and Hammer technology. The Profile started the widebody revolution, which continues to this day, and like it or not, Hammer technology is what catapulted Wilson into the #1 spot in tennis. You win some and you lose some.

03-26-2004, 06:13 AM
Nice answer Deuce, you proved yourself to be the historian on racquet obsolesence that I knew you were. Kevin, I was thinking the profile started the widebody revolution, but I wasn't completely sure, thanks for the info.

03-27-2004, 06:11 AM
Nice answer Deuce, you proved yourself to be the historian on racquet obsolesence that I knew you were. Kevin, I was thinking the profile started the widebody revolution, but I wasn't completely sure, thanks for the info.

Then isn't all history just a study of obsolesence?

I think knocking around with old frames is fun. Hell, I own enough of them to open and Obsolete ProShop.