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View Full Version : Back in the 80's, what did beginners use?


meowmix
04-21-2009, 03:42 PM
From what I can tell, there weren't exactly a plethora of oversized powerful rackets back then. So, I'm curious- what exactly would an absolute beginner who's never played tennis in his/her life use? For that matter, what would a beginning player who happens to be 8ish use?

VGP
04-21-2009, 04:29 PM
They used a tennis racket. Whatever one they liked.

Well, it also depends on which 80's you're talking about.

Early - wood/metal, mid - midsize graphites/metal, later - oversizes were readily available

meowmix
04-21-2009, 05:10 PM
When did the first oversizes come out?

VGP
04-21-2009, 06:58 PM
Howard Head with Prince released the Prince Classic in 1976......

droliver
04-21-2009, 07:19 PM
I was a kid during that era and can remember the transition from wood/aluminum rackets when I was learning in the late 1970's.

The racquets popular in that era that I remember were:
Prince Classic
Prince Aluminum Pro (a lot of the teaching pros and better junior players had this)
Prince Woodie
Head Pro (aluminum)
Head Edge
wooden Wilson Pro Staff and Jack Kramer Staffs were still common
Yonex R-1

dataseviltwin
04-21-2009, 08:26 PM
Howard Head with Prince released the Prince Classic in 1976......

Victims of the 80's usually started with whatever they could afford - that was usually a cheap aluminum racket (Wilson Match Point for me...), or a cheap wood racket (similar to today, the cheap rackets had famous player names on them...). We then graduated to "something better" like a Kramer Auto/ProStaff, Donnay (if you of the Borgian persuasion), Head Pro or Master, Dunlop Maxply, or something of the like... about the same time as Prince came along, decent graphite rackets came along. Princes were viewed as "cheating" - and most wood racket users didn't like them. So... it took awhile... Head Edge... Head Edge Graphite... or something of the like... By then, Andre came along, and then it became cool(er) to have an oversize racket, and... But... most purists stayed with mid's or mid-pluses (85-95ish sq inches). So, between that, and rather voluminous rants about old graphite vs. new, made in USA/Europe vs. made in Korea/China/Taiwan, etc. etc. [apologies to Plasma and others...], that's how we got to what we're we get to throw in the net when we miss that sitter at the net... :twisted:

plasma
04-21-2009, 09:01 PM
oh those days, when inventors and companies actually designed quality products, and not sweat$hoped crepe...
http://i40.tinypic.com/25z3sas.jpg
fischer, rossignol, snauwaert, le coq, kneissl, what happened to people and racquets not being identical? what happened to authenticity and a non-homogenous country? I'm marching in the streets naked at midnight with my kneissl at midnight to protest our very manifest destiny, who's with me????(ladies only please)
http://i42.tinypic.com/2yphklv.jpg
I've seen the greatest players of my generation destoryed by midplus, wandering addicted in the sweatshopped path, overhitting, lacking consistency and touch, looking for an angry composite.
Searching for the synthetic clad fantasies of their materialistic misgivings,
passing through judgmental universities of their own physical ignorance,
arms and legs flailing, without leverage let alone center,
not a nickel bag of rear toe pivot on their forehand,
just a shouldering chimpanzee locked in a cage,
sun, clouds, the wind, and the constant reminder and belief in the return of the 85,
it is what makes us unique,
remember what mother told us every night, when we were but tiny children, nestled in her bosom:
"This is thunderdome, death is listening, and will take the first man that screams..."
well maybe it was something else she said, anyways, I'll try and remeber and get back to you..
-Plasmaberg

pshulam
04-22-2009, 09:53 AM
I'm marching in the streets naked at midnight with my kneissl at midnight to protest our very manifest destiny, who's with me????(ladies only please)
It's hoped that it does happen when the weather is below freezing in the middle of winter in the *******.

I meant to say the M i d W e s t.

jimbo333
04-22-2009, 04:05 PM
it is what makes us unique,
remember what mother told us every night, when we were but tiny children, nestled in her bosom:
"This is thunderdome, death is listening, and will take the first man that screams..."
well maybe it was something else she said, anyways, I'll try and remeber and get back to you..
-Plasmaberg

Well I tried to get into the Thunder/Plasma/Dome, but didn't have the "tuning" key to get in:(

tailofdog
04-22-2009, 04:37 PM
oh those days, when inventors and companies actually designed quality products, and not sweat$hoped crepe...
http://i40.tinypic.com/25z3sas.jpg
fischer, rossignol, snauwaert, le coq, kneissl, what happened to people and racquets not being identical? what happened to authenticity and a non-homogenous country? I'm marching in the streets naked at midnight with my kneissl at midnight to protest our very manifest destiny, who's with me????(ladies only please)
http://i42.tinypic.com/2yphklv.jpg
I've seen the greatest players of my generation destoryed by midplus, wandering addicted in the sweatshopped path, overhitting, lacking consistency and touch, looking for an angry composite.
Searching for the synthetic clad fantasies of their materialistic misgivings,
passing through judgmental universities of their own physical ignorance,
arms and legs flailing, without leverage let alone center,
not a nickel bag of rear toe pivot on their forehand,
just a shouldering chimpanzee locked in a cage,
sun, clouds, the wind, and the constant reminder and belief in the return of the 85,
it is what makes us unique,
remember what mother told us every night, when we were but tiny children, nestled in her bosom:
"This is thunderdome, death is listening, and will take the first man that screams..."
well maybe it was something else she said, anyways, I'll try and remeber and get back to you..
-Plasmaberg

Don,t know if thats what we all dream of but, you gotta like the heartfelt passion and DRAMA!!!

DrumWizOHBD
04-22-2009, 10:07 PM
I had my first tennis lesson in 1987 and I remember going to some really cool tennis shop somewhere in lower Manhattan. OUt of the wall of racquets I chose the "Prince Jr." It was metal (lightweight) and had a green plastic piece in the throat. I believe it was an oversize, because I remember seeing the others players at the club I was taking lessons at, and their racquets seemed smaller. I used this racquet against my garage door until about 1993 when I started playing tennis for real...then moved on to a Head Graphite Pro which was a sweet stick that I wish i still had.:-?

Deuce
04-22-2009, 10:54 PM
I was a kid during that era and can remember the transition from wood/aluminum rackets when I was learning in the late 1970's.

The racquets popular in that era that I remember were:
Prince Classic
Prince Aluminum Pro (a lot of the teaching pros and better junior players had this)
Prince Woodie
Head Pro (aluminum)
Head Edge
wooden Wilson Pro Staff and Jack Kramer Staffs were still common
Yonex R-1
I began playing in 1980, and I don't recall Prince frames being very popular then.
Sure - we'd see one here and there, but standard sized frames outnumbered Prince racquets about 20 to 1 - among beginners as well as experienced players.

Personally, my first racquet was a black Fischer standard size metal, whose model name I don't recall.

Victims of the 80's usually started with whatever they could afford - that was usually a cheap aluminum racket (Wilson Match Point for me...), or a cheap wood racket (similar to today, the cheap rackets had famous player names on them...). We then graduated to "something better" like a Kramer Auto/ProStaff, Donnay (if you of the Borgian persuasion), Head Pro or Master, Dunlop Maxply, or something of the like... about the same time as Prince came along, decent graphite rackets came along. Princes were viewed as "cheating" - and most wood racket users didn't like them. So... it took awhile... Head Edge... Head Edge Graphite... or something of the like... By then, Andre came along, and then it became cool(er) to have an oversize racket...
^ Good post. Quite accurate.

roundiesee
04-23-2009, 02:14 AM
I consider myself as quite lucky as I started with The Maxply Fort and the Donnay Allwood, then switched to the Kramer Autograph. When the Prince "revolution" started I switched again, this time to the very first large headed racket, I think it was the Prince Classic (the one with the green plastic throat). This was a blast to play with, the sweet-spot being as big as a barn-door, but unfortunately not very maneuverable. Data was quite right to say that most would likely start with a cheap walmart type of racket with a famous person's name emblazoned on the frame.

origmarm
04-23-2009, 03:02 AM
I had a Donnay Jnr racquet at the time (can't remember which one). I had two in different sizes as I grew. My first "real" racquet was a Donnay Pro Cynetic (with rubber weight thingys), still have it but I believe I've lost the rubber bits.

plasma
04-23-2009, 05:06 AM
please look for the bits and contact me; there is a great and fascinating writer putting together a book on Donnay. This would be perfect for his project. The balance markings on the donnay look like some sort of military device. What happened to good midsize racquets,
there were so many back then???
http://i41.tinypic.com/2vt5oia.jpg
I'd love to find a panther pro ceramic and a Donnay Pro Ceramic, the only 2 Ceramic 85's I know of... Spectrum comp taught me that Ceramic feels better than Anna's Kournikova....I'm about ready to quit my job, smack my landlord, and march over to the racquet companies and camp out outside their hq with mercenaries; demanding the return of good mids. ( I need someone like jet li or racquetfreak to fund my revolution by paying the mercenaries with new PS 85's)

bluegrasser
04-23-2009, 05:13 AM
Howard Head with Prince released the Prince Classic in 1976......

I remember in 78/ or 79', when the Prince Pro' aluminum OS came out - it seemed that almost everybody was using that stick, even touring pros. I still have mine but it's turned to a greyish silver due to the age - really a great stick. I also remember the touring pro Jay Burger couldn't give those up when the graphite OS came out, so he used to purchase them at Kmart.

plasma
04-23-2009, 05:23 AM
sure was a great stick! I had mine strung with purple technifibre 515! what great plough thru. Black and Gold Aluminum "Prince Pro" was awesome!

origmarm
04-23-2009, 05:45 AM
Plasma I'll have a look but it's in another country at the moment at my folk's place in the basement so it'll be when I get over there again. Could be a while I'm afraid :(

Rorsach
04-23-2009, 05:50 AM
I'd love to find a panther pro ceramic and a Donnay Pro Ceramic, the only 2 Ceramic 85's I know of...

I managed to crack my only Donnay Pro Ceramic 1 last week. No idea how that happened, didn't hit the court with it or had any shanks afaik. :(







And here's the real downer for you: i was planning to send it to you.

Rabbit
04-23-2009, 06:58 AM
Victims of the 80's...

I go back to the 70s....and I was a victim.... :)

My first tennis racquet was manufactured by Western Auto.....

My first real racquet didn't show up until about a year later, a Wilson T2000 my uncle gave me.....

After that I "upgraded" to a Head Ashe Comp 1....

My first wood frame was next, and I loved it....a Spalding Pancho Gonzalez Auto......

The rest as they say....

SOY78
04-23-2009, 06:16 PM
I was a beginner in the 80's and I used a Russian Wood racquet on clay that cracked when my older brother used it too much :( Then I moved to the US and got a Prince Pro 110 that thing was sooooo much easier to use than the woodie, I felt I could hit winners all day with that stick lol

JesseT
04-24-2009, 11:05 AM
My uncle sawed off the ends of old Wilson woodies for me to learn on until I could hold a full head of balls (yeah, i said it) with one hand. Then I could graduate to a full length racquet.

First full length for me (after a Prince Jr) was a Dunlop 200. Still wish I had that racquet.

FloridaAG
04-24-2009, 11:15 AM
I started with a wooden frame -don't recall the brand. Most people my age, I'm about to turn 37 - started with metal frames like the Wilson Defender, Prince Classic (that is the silver/green one right?), the Prince Pro was a little more expensive etc. If they were into tennis, ie. it caught on, a change to graphite starting around 1984-5 happened with people picking up the Black Max, Max 200G, Prince Graphite, Wilson Pro Staff etc.

plasma
04-26-2009, 05:40 AM
back then people were content and proud to play with non top of the line frames. Is it a co-incidence that we also though freely back then???... inexpensive but good frames like the Wilson Agressor were available. I have been playing since I was 6 (competing formally in tournaments at 12 through NCAA). It saddens me that tennis is the only sport inwhich players constantly try to buy a better game at the pro shop. Tennis is Zen, faster and deeper than the concious mind, but first you have to master the techniques and strokes; a $300 racquet endorsed by a former German tennis star will just add to the embarasment when you meet a real player...
buy the cheapest racquet you can find at the thrift store (as long as the grip is not too big) and split the rest between Vic Braden Videos, actual lessons (time to admit we all need some) and donating the money (that was way beyond your budget anyways) to local people who are hungry.

Superman1272
04-27-2009, 08:27 AM
I remember my parents cutting the handle off of some wooden Dunlop racquet for me. My dad re-shaped the throat to something similar to an octagon shape and re-wrapped it with the leather he pulled off the handle that he had cut off.

I remember it being heavy. :)

Rorsach
04-28-2009, 09:28 AM
I'd love to find a panther pro ceramic and a Donnay Pro Ceramic, the only 2 Ceramic 85's I know of...

Found another one to add to that list, the Hema Graphite GTX Pro, as used by Paul Haarhuis at the start of his career.

MBbreinin
09-17-2009, 12:02 PM
I started in 1981-1982. I had a Prince Classic that was my mom's or my dad's. I then got a Prince Pro new. My first Graphite came in 1983 or thereabouts and it was a Pro-Kennex..not sure which model, Blue Ace, Blue Max..something like that. After the Kennex I had, briefly, the Pro-Kennex copy of the Prince Woodie, then an Original Price Graphite. Then, I moved on to Yonex when I was a more serious player. I had an R-22 and then a pair of R-27s. Finally, I played with the first Wilson Pro Staff when it came out, after a brief flirt with an Addidas GTX-Mid.

Mike

cadfael_tex
09-17-2009, 12:26 PM
First racquet for me (I was just starting junior high though) was a Spalding Pancho Gonzales Auto. Next came a Wilson Extra II Oversize.

audioaffliction
09-17-2009, 12:44 PM
Found another one to add to that list, the Hema Graphite GTX Pro, as used by Paul Haarhuis at the start of his career.

OMG. I remember that because Paul played a satellite event in Singapore (where I'm from) and won; quite possibly his first pro title. He was the player I rooted for during that week and I got to meet him and had a picture taken together. His racquet was very heavy as I recall. Very, very nice guy.

audioaffliction
09-17-2009, 12:50 PM
My first racquet was the aluminum Prince Pro in 1986. But I quickly switched to graphite because the kids on my tennis team used them--mostly Heads. I remember going through a bunch of different Head sticks, which I bought used: Composite Edge, Composite Director, TXD. For some reason, I always wanted a TXE but never actually bought one. But the racquet I consider the one I learned on is the ProStaff because I only started with "lessons" when I got into a Wilson junior program.

So for me, I don't believe in all this rubbish about "player" frames being too demanding for beginners. If anything, they're more valuable as learning tools because they force you to focus on technique.

tandayu
09-17-2009, 01:14 PM
in the 80's , even beginners used what ever Borg, McEnroe, Connors, Lendl, WIlander, Edberg, Becker were using: DOnnay Allwood, Maxply McEnroe, Max200g, prostaff 85, jack Kramer staff, Adidas GTX, Rossignol F200, and many Prince (POG, Pro).

IN the early 70s, many beginners used Head Master, head Professional, Wilson Ultra, and in the late 70s pretty much Prince was everywhere

ZhengJieisagoddess
09-17-2009, 01:51 PM
Started with a Jack Kramer Pro Staff and then a Donnay Borg Pro.

callen3615
09-17-2009, 01:58 PM
Started with a Jack Kramer Pro Staff and then a Donnay Borg Pro.

My dad went thru 6 jack kramers.

FedererClone
09-17-2009, 07:34 PM
I'd love to find a panther pro ceramic and a Donnay Pro Ceramic, the only 2 Ceramic 85's I know of... Spectrum comp taught me that Ceramic feels better than Anna's Kournikova....

Surely you of all people know of the Wilson Ceramic 85 and Sting SC 85. The SC also comes in PWS w/out the bridge and hits pretty sweet. I can attest to the Wilson Ceramic also (8% ceramic), but 60lbs is not tight enough. Needs to be strung tighter to overcome the slight "dull" feel of the frame on contact w/ the ball...

I wasn't aware that you'd felt Anna and left her for the Spectrum. You are indeed a man of unquestionable taste!