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View Full Version : James Blake has THREE racquets left!


OrangeOne
03-15-2010, 05:36 PM
...so why do you need 10? ;)

Read this in another thread. Amazing. Figured it's worth a thread of it's own.

http://www.bnpparibasopen.org/News/Tennis/2010/Interview-Transcripts/Interview-Transcripts/Extra-Column/James-Blake-First-Round.aspx

Q. Kind of a tough situation if I have it right with your racquets. What's up? What's happening?
JAMES BLAKE: Oh, man. I don't know. I don't even it would be too long of a story to get into. My racquets feel great right now. I don't have that many of them left, so I'm hoping that I can find a way to get more of them and find someone that can make a racquet exactly the way I like it.
It seems like I think it's just the modernization of the game that the racquets that are being made now don't feel the same as the ones when I started on tour. When I started, I think it was different materials. Using different materials, to me, feels a little more hollow, tinny. I guess the materials that are used are lighter and more powerful. For me it just doesn't it doesn't have the same feel. I never thought I was picky about racquets until I went through this situation where I'm trying to find one that's just like mine, and no one has been able to do it.
I'm really looking forward to putting this behind me and hopefully someone being able to make a racquet that I can use. We'll see if that happens soon.
Q. Do you treat your racquets sort of like a Stradivarius?
JAMES BLAKE: Yes, I do. They get treated very well nowadays. I don't want any of them breaking. You won't see me throwing racquets. I might hit a ball, I might yell and scream, but I'm not going to be throwing racquets. It will be a weird feeling, because I haven't done that for a long time, to be able to have a bad practice and actually smash a racquet, because I haven't done that in years.



Q. They just can't find the right materials?
JAMES BLAKE: Um, yeah, I think that's what it is. You know, I'm I just go by what it feels like, and, you know, all the racquet technicians and the people at Dunlop and any other companies, they tell me what their opinions are and everything. They've got this material in it and this stiffness and this swing weight and this and that, and, you know, all I go by is what it feels like.
I put in it in my hand, and if it doesn't feel good and I don't feel like I can compete with it, then that's all I go by. In my gut it feels like it's the material. They can make it the same weight, same balance, the same mold, the same everything. But if it doesn't feel the same, I only my only possibility in my head is that it's the material.

Q. How many do you have? How many racquets do you have left?
JAMES BLAKE: Not enough. I got three.


Q. Really?
JAMES BLAKE: Yep.


Q. You need to take a different racquet on the side, so if you want to smash it you can walk over...
JAMES BLAKE: I'd feel a little silly to do that. I'll leave that to the juniors. I used to do that when I was about 14, 15 years old.

Q. When you say it doesn't feel right, what is it that doesn't feel right?
JAMES BLAKE: I think the new material feels hollow, like tinny, and so it doesn't it's hard to describe. That's another problem is because I have a tough time articulating exactly what it is.
But the ball, it feels like it jumps off, and then it still it still doesn't fly out. Like some of the ones that have a lot of power, when I hit it solid, with my racquet I feel like I hit it solid and it's going to drop down in the court, with the new material I feel like it goes a little further out and goes flying out.
It's a material that to me it feels like it still jumps off. I don't have to create all my own pace, but it still dips down and has that spin that adds to it. I'm sure it's a tough combination for a company to make, and I'm finding that it's really, really tough for them to make.

Q. Where does the string fit into this?
JAMES BLAKE: The string, I've been using Luxilon since 2002 probably, and that's to me, it doesn't get any better than that.
Until someone puts a string in my hand that convinces me hands down it's better... Because I still remember the first day I used Luxilon. I put it on my racquet and I said, I'm switching. There was no doubt about it. It's so much better, and it feels it just feels so good.
Because you can swing hard and it and the ball, just it grabs. The string grabs it. And I've said it before. I think that's been the biggest change in the game in the last 15, 20 years. The reason for sort of the death of the serve and volleyers is you're absolutely able to rip those returns with this string and you're able to put it down at people's feet so much easier. You're able to control the ball with power better than you can with, in my opinion, any other string.
So until someone can show me something that feels better than that, I don't see myself changing string.


Q. Back to the racquet for one second. Barring a fit of destructive anger, do they have a life? I mean, do you find after a certain period of time they get a little dead or...
JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, well, they do start deadening, which is another issue, because I've been playing with these for so long that they've changed from when I first used them. So that's another issue where they have to try to make them as if they've been broken in, and so that's tough.
But they eventually their life span probably isn't that much longer, because more than just deadening, they actually break without me doing anything outside of normal play.


Q. They crack?
JAMES BLAKE: The last one that I had that broke was last year in Paris, and that was a bad day. I was just warming up and hitting returns, and I took a swing at a forehand and it hit the top of the frame and the throat just cracked. I wasn't too happy about that. It was a bad day.


Q. You travel around the circuit with three racquets?
JAMES BLAKE: Yep.

Q. Did you play Memphis with them or a different frame?
JAMES BLAKE: I played Memphis. That was the first tournament this year I played with them.

Q. You played Australia with a different frame?
JAMES BLAKE: Yeah.


Q. Was the brand W?
JAMES BLAKE: Ah, it was a different racquet.

Q. You're carrying more racquets than the three, right? You're carrying something you don't care for?
JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, I'm carrying some backups just in case. But, you know, I plan on using those three.

vsbabolat
03-15-2010, 05:43 PM
I think it is that Blake has THREE racquets he likes.:)

Nextman916
03-15-2010, 06:10 PM
That's so awesome, but hopefully he can get a company to clone some more for him.

drakulie
03-15-2010, 06:26 PM
Part of the problem for him is that he is getting so used to "broken in" frames, that it will be nearly impossible for any manufacturer to replicate that feel.

downs_chris
03-15-2010, 06:28 PM
wow...great interview!

ChevyTennis
03-15-2010, 06:34 PM
I think its all in his head. But still cool nonetheless that he's down to 3 of them. I hope he finds what he's looking for.

leonidas1982
03-15-2010, 07:25 PM
he should try the kps88. feels solid, yet it has spin and power.

Cup8489
03-15-2010, 07:29 PM
he should try the kps88. feels solid, yet it has spin and power.

na, the KPS88 is a different beast from his rackets. different mold, string pattern, flex etc. i think he should try a redondo.

decades
03-15-2010, 07:30 PM
send him a link to TW! Aerogel 300 tour James.

downs_chris
03-16-2010, 03:19 AM
send him a link to TW! Aerogel 300 tour James.

hahahaha...that made me laugh....

Zefer
03-16-2010, 03:32 AM
I think he might be getting over paranoid about this. Perhaps he is just over-analysing every aspect of the new frames and because he knows they are different, he doesn't feel comfortable with them. Not so much an issue with the new technology, just the fact he knows it's not identical.
Hopefully he'll sort this out before the last of the frames break; I really think it's purely a problem with the idea of a new frame, more than feel though. He just needs to break a load of new ones in and get used to it. :)

By the way, this proves no one on TW need 10 of the same frame. :p If you can survive on the ATP with 3, then you can survive on the club/county circut with 3.

nicolaisidek
03-16-2010, 03:42 AM
What are those 3 racquets?

schap02
03-16-2010, 03:53 AM
Kind of weird that he can't find a simple mold and then have someone like P1 customize the frame to fit the exact specs of the ones he is using, I mean can it honestly be that hard for manufacturers to figure out the materials used and replicate something close?

BTW - Downs_Chris, love your sig...

Rabbit
03-16-2010, 04:02 AM
...I mean can it honestly be that hard for manufacturers to figure out the materials used and replicate something close?


Unless....the material his racquets are made from is no longer available, which is what I read in the interview.

Apparently, he has run out of his "stock" which were made for him. Dunlop has tried to replicate the frame apparently with new materials and has been unable to replicate the feel of the original frame. I really don't see this as that far fetched.

I did see Roddick/Blake play Murray/Hutchison in doubles on the Tennis Channel and Blake is still carrying a Dunlop bag which implies that he is still working with them. If you noticed, Blake also refused to name the "other" racquet he tried.

Blake tried in the past to change endorsements as evidenced by his deal with Prince. He wound up back with Dunlop. I think Blake is being honest with his predicament and the graphite has just changed enough that it doesn't feel right to him.

downs_chris
03-16-2010, 04:05 AM
Kind of weird that he can't find a simple mold and then have someone like P1 customize the frame to fit the exact specs of the ones he is using, I mean can it honestly be that hard for manufacturers to figure out the materials used and replicate something close?

BTW - Downs_Chris, love your sig...

haha...thanks -- nice avatar! i'm guessing you play with the PSLGT too?

Xenakis
03-16-2010, 04:10 AM
He should speak to Paul at Vantage.

Gugafan
03-16-2010, 12:19 PM
Blake is a pro and he does not care about SW, stiffness etc. He goes by what feels right for him, when he picks up the stick. I think sometimes at the amateur level we can be guilty of looking too much into racket specs and modification, rather than just playing with a racket that is comfortable for your game.

JRstriker12
03-16-2010, 12:34 PM
WOW! Good interview.

Tough spot for Blake, he's used to a racquet that they don't make anymore and I doubt the manufacturers are going to move heaven and earth to suit him at this stage in his career.

Maybe it's in his head? One racquet maker should tell him they found the super secret formula for his old sticks, set them up to the same specs and see what happens.

I wonder if any other pro on tour is in this situation???

JRstriker12
03-16-2010, 12:37 PM
He should speak to Paul at Vantage.

He could also check out Bosworth. IIRC, didn't Stepanek go with their custom frames?

Shangri La
03-16-2010, 12:48 PM
When Blake weighs his racquets to 14+oz, 400+sw, and strings them at 70+lbs, he's going to realize that he needs 20+ racquets.

O.O

ChevyTennis
03-16-2010, 01:47 PM
I hope he finds sticks that can help get his mojo back. Poor James... he only has one more racquet than do I.

BDAZ
03-16-2010, 04:44 PM
hasn't it been said in other threads that the quality of the graphite used these days is not as good as in the past? maybe this is what blake is detecting in the newer frames. not to say that he's so in tune that he can tell the difference in graphite quality, but something along those lines.

Greek Goliath
03-16-2010, 04:49 PM
hasn't it been said in other threads that the quality of the graphite used these days is not as good as in the past? maybe this is what blake is detecting in the newer frames. not to say that he's so in tune that he can tell the difference in graphite quality, but something along those lines.

Interesting thought. So James's frames are older graphites? The Hotmelts?

Cheers,

Greek Goliath

wangs78
03-16-2010, 05:25 PM
Three racquets is all Blake needs before retirement (i.e., soon!)

athiker
03-16-2010, 05:43 PM
Interesting, thanks for posting. You don't read that stuff directly from players too often. I would lean towards at this point its just going to be hard for anyone to make a new racquet that feels like his broken in racquets. Even if someone made a racquet just like the ones he has, he wouldn't think they would "feel" right at this point!

Mansewerz
03-16-2010, 06:16 PM
Maybe no manufacturers see it as a worthwhile investment to make him the kind of frames he wants. I'm sure they could actually get the materials.

kingdaddy41788
03-16-2010, 06:20 PM
Maybe no manufacturers see it as a worthwhile investment to make him the kind of frames he wants. I'm sure they could actually get the materials.

Agreed, which really sucks for Blake.

decades
03-16-2010, 06:25 PM
why doesn't jame try out some of the sticks all the many players ranked above him use?

Hidious
03-16-2010, 06:32 PM
why doesn't jame try out some of the sticks all the many players ranked above him use?
He did just that with Roger's BLX 90...

Raiha
03-16-2010, 06:52 PM
I'm a huge Blake fan and was really hoping for him to make a comeback this year, but interviews like that make me doubt that it will happen. He's questioning his equipment way too much, to the point where he's wearing cage I's with the nike logos ripped off. fila must love that.

but the three frames he has left are EU tiger frames, right? i think that was the consensus i remember from the old blake racket thread.

Bubba
03-16-2010, 07:17 PM
wow...great interview!
wahoo-wa!!!!!

HookEmJeff
03-16-2010, 07:37 PM
I'm a huge Blake fan and was really hoping for him to make a comeback this year, but interviews like that make me doubt that it will happen. He's questioning his equipment way too much, to the point where he's wearing cage I's with the nike logos ripped off. fila must love that.

but the three frames he has left are EU tiger frames, right? i think that was the consensus i remember from the old blake racket thread.

I have to say I'm pretty picky about my equipment, too, especially shoes and racquet grip sizes (and women, too!), so I understand finicky-ness. I'm right there with ya JB.

I can usually find about a pair of shoes I like per year (I'm a Nike ***** so they usually make one I can play in per year). I typically try to buy a couple as soon as I find something I like.

Those shoes JB had on tonight against Almagro...obvious Nike Breathe blue and white Cage's. Why even bother ripping off the logo ---everyone knows what those are!

Still, I would think a pro could pick up a new stick and, with about a week's worth of hitting, be pretty comfortable with it. I know those guys are extremely fine-tuned with their sticks and tension.

Tsonga went from Wilson to Babolat and hasn't really had too much of a dropoff. Djokovic switched sticks, Agassi did it a couple of times.

I think it's mental and that's the tougher battle to fight. JB might be getting in his own way these days if that's the case. I sure hope not. I really love his athleticism and shot making and hope he can stay around for as long as those three old sticks hold up!

On another topic, I can't wait to see the day when people "paintjob" their clothes.

Jeff

OliverSimon
03-16-2010, 09:34 PM
So what if Blake breaks a string during a match?!

AJK1
03-17-2010, 12:36 AM
he should try the kps88. feels solid, yet it has spin and power.

What an idiot.....

mtommer
03-17-2010, 12:41 AM
Maybe no manufacturers see it as a worthwhile investment to make him the kind of frames he wants. I'm sure they could actually get the materials.

Most likely not. Tennis is just one business group among many that shares the carbon graphite sheets/processes currently used in mfg.

mtommer
03-17-2010, 12:44 AM
hasn't it been said in other threads that the quality of the graphite used these days is not as good as in the past?

The opposite is true.

In the case of the new BLX raquets the basalt is actually a cheaper and lesser quality material than carbon graphite sheets. Now, how much basalt base material is used in Wilson's racquets? No idea.

aphex
03-17-2010, 04:03 AM
James Blake has 3 racquets, but 4.0s on this board need 20 matched k90s.
nice, real nice.

niktub
03-17-2010, 04:36 AM
Would anybody have a pic of the Dunlop Revelation Tour 95(Asia-Pacific version?),similar mold as Haas Berdych Blake?
Does it even exist?Thanks in advance.

ChevyTennis
03-17-2010, 05:24 AM
[QUOTE=aphex;4476440]James Blake has 3 racquets, but 4.0s on this board need 20 matched k90s.
nice, real nice.[/QUOTE

:shock: Wow - direct shot there! :shock:

niktub
03-17-2010, 05:28 AM
Thank you
Would anybody have a pic of the Dunlop Revelation Tour 95(Asia-Pacific version?),similar mold as Haas Berdych Blake?
Does it even exist?Thanks in advance.

Power Player
03-17-2010, 05:32 AM
I hit with a Rev200 sometimes and the feel is incredible. I think Blake is so used to those classic Dunlop Pro molds, or Tiger/Tecnifibre frames..whatever he uses, they are all real solid and flexy graphite. I can completely relate to what he is is saying because the newer sticks do not have that feel.

Ironically, the 4D200 for me recaptured a lot of that classic feel, and I wonder if he won't end up with a more flexible version of that.

Rock Strongo
03-17-2010, 05:49 AM
Since James mold is from Tyger (or so i've heard on these boards) why can't he just contact them directly? I mean, they are still making racquets based off that mold (Exel Drive C20, same headsize and all).

aphex
03-17-2010, 05:55 AM
:shock: Wow - direct shot there! :shock:

if it were a direct shot, i would've said "20 J90s"...




....woops:shock:

Rabbit
03-17-2010, 06:29 AM
Since James mold is from Tyger (or so i've heard on these boards) why can't he just contact them directly? I mean, they are still making racquets based off that mold (Exel Drive C20, same headsize and all).

I don't think that's the problem. In the interview, Blake indicated that they are using the same mold, producing the same flex, same swing weight, static weight, etc... But, the materials they are using do not produce the same feel. Ergo, the old materials may not be available any more...

niktub
03-17-2010, 06:42 AM
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=304919

No Tyger but Dunlop

niktub
03-17-2010, 07:25 AM
http://www.teijinaramid.com/smartsite.dws?id=20090

it feels really strange that the old school feel would be that difficult to duplicate.
Don't believe the hype!

Ronaldo
03-17-2010, 07:28 AM
I hit with a Rev200 sometimes and the feel is incredible. I think Blake is so used to those classic Dunlop Pro molds, or Tiger/Tecnifibre frames..whatever he uses, they are all real solid and flexy graphite. I can completely relate to what he is is saying because the newer sticks do not have that feel.

Ironically, the 4D200 for me recaptured a lot of that classic feel, and I wonder if he won't end up with a more flexible version of that.

How do you get in touch with this guy? Have a new Revelation 200G collecting dust.

athiker
03-17-2010, 07:53 AM
If you mean James Blake you can try:

http://www.jamesblaketennis.com/jb%20pages/08_askjb.htm

jamesblaketennis@gmail.com

ChevyTennis
03-17-2010, 08:09 AM
Maybe my logic is flawed here, but isn't part of the problem according to James himself is the feel of the new racquets. He's playing with old frames that have been broken in and probably feel nowhere close to what they played like in the beginning. So even if he was able to get sticks to the same specs they would take time to break and have the same feel to them, would they not?
I think the main issue is inside his head (epecially after watching his relentless back and forth with with chair umpire last night at IW.)

Ronaldo
03-17-2010, 08:16 AM
"I've got five people inside of me, all trying to be free" And only have a racquet for three

Orion
03-17-2010, 02:05 PM
"I've got five people inside of me, all trying to be free" And only have a racquet for three

Pretty funny.

OP nice find on the interview. One one hand nice to hear him being so candid and the funny thing is that there has been a shift in the manufacturing processes. There was a poster The Expert that apparently was a Head insider but was run off the board. I for one am curious as to what the rationale has been for the change in feel of frames. There is a distinct difference in the crispness of classic players frames. I can only surmise that it boils down to economics and finding cheaper materials that statistically perform as well.

Just when The Expert was getting into technical racquet developments, everything he was posting was being refuted and disputed by a few people who obviously didn't posses the technical insight he was privy to. Needless to say I haven't seen him on in the past month. On one hand Blake is onto something, but he's gotta move past it and find something close to right.

Ronaldo
03-17-2010, 07:32 PM
Always wondered if the racquets from the 90s like the Head Tour series or the Dunlop Revelations were really just that soft or just played out. Are the re-issued racquets using the same materials as the originals. Or is it just me?

mikro112
03-17-2010, 08:24 PM
James Blake has 3 racquets, but 4.0s on this board need 20 matched k90s.
nice, real nice.

Yeah, that's hilarious!

Ross K
03-17-2010, 09:19 PM
Wow, this really is a special interview... how often do you come across pro's discussing their views on their frames in such detail? And it confirms a lot of ppls views on modern v older frames re material composition and performance... BTW, I'm with Xenakis - he should contact Paul or Sven at Vantage!:)

R.

Meaghan
03-18-2010, 12:34 AM
Wow, this really is a special interview... how often do you come across pro's discussing their views on their frames in such detail? And it confirms a lot of ppls views on modern v older frames re material composition and performance... BTW, I'm with Xenakis - he should contact Paul or Sven at Vantage!:)R.

......Paul was, after all Head of racket development at Dunlop, he may be able to help. It would be interesting to hear him comment.

AlpineCadet
03-18-2010, 12:47 AM
Whatever those three frames are, I'm sure they're easy to replicate. Not sure why he has to harp on about them in the interview. As for his opinions on Lux, I'm sure they're spot on. Poly today, gone tomorr... in 1 hour.

*BTW, I saw him playing dubs with Roddick this past Monday, 15ft away from the court, and Blake was hitting flat as hell compared to Roddick. His timing/strokes are pretty insane, and he really doesn't have much room for error.

AlpineCadet
03-18-2010, 12:52 AM
Most likely not. Tennis is just one business group among many that shares the carbon graphite sheets/processes currently used in mfg.
You aren't even connected to the industry. Please stop talking as though you know how companies like Dunlop/Head/Wilson etc. work. Blake has issues with his strokes/timing, not JUST his equipment as he has stated.

Rabbit
03-18-2010, 03:38 AM
Maybe my logic is flawed here, but isn't part of the problem according to James himself is the feel of the new racquets. He's playing with old frames that have been broken in and probably feel nowhere close to what they played like in the beginning. So even if he was able to get sticks to the same specs they would take time to break and have the same feel to them, would they not?
I think the main issue is inside his head (epecially after watching his relentless back and forth with with chair umpire last night at IW.)


Well, Blake mentions that in the interview giving some credence to it. But he says that the newer frames don't "feel" like his old frames even when both were new. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Dunlop had run 250 off for Blake some years ago and now his stock is running out.

ericsson
03-18-2010, 03:58 AM
Since James mold is from Tyger (or so i've heard on these boards) why can't he just contact them directly? I mean, they are still making racquets based off that mold (Exel Drive C20, same headsize and all).

Well you've heard wrong, Tyger doesn't make rackets but copy or use molds from other brands. The racket James plays has absolutely nothing in common with Tyger, it is a Dunlop mold (and racket).

1hbhBUX
03-18-2010, 04:13 AM
There are other threads on this, I know, but wasn't the Tyger mold sold to Dunlop, then to Tecnifibre (previous tfight frames) and back to Dunlop (current 300 tour)?

Rabbit
03-18-2010, 04:58 AM
^^^^^
In some cases, the manufacturer doesn't own the mold, so anyone can use it given proper access and funds.

JRstriker12
03-18-2010, 05:40 AM
Well, Blake mentions that in the interview giving some credence to it. But he says that the newer frames don't "feel" like his old frames even when both were new. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Dunlop had run 250 off for Blake some years ago and now his stock is running out.

If he learned to adjust to the feel of his rackets as they broke down, I doubt his perception of how his rackets felt new is accurate anymore - especially considering that those racquets were new over a decade ago????

Rabbit
03-18-2010, 07:13 AM
If he learned to adjust to the feel of his rackets as they broke down, I doubt his perception of how his rackets felt new is accurate anymore - especially considering that those racquets were new over a decade ago????

I understand, but if you read the interview, Blake concedes that his frames are broken in (worn out) which does complicate it. But, he says that the new frames don't feel as good as his old frames when they were new.

Let's assume that Dunlop did run off 250 frames for him some time ago. He wouldn't have used all the frames. He would have used what he needed. When he "felt" they went dead, he'd have gotten more out of inventory. In any event, he "knows" what a new frame feels like. I think that his current situation is more out of circumstance than choice.

Witness his experiement with Prince. He tried and Prince tried to replicate the feel of his frames. Apparently then he had plenty of inventory, including new inventory, for Prince to sample and replicate. They were unable....

AlpineCadet
03-18-2010, 07:17 AM
Nadal/Roddick love their hollow/tiny frames. Maybe Blake just has superhuman powers that not even Luxilon can control.

Rock Strongo
03-18-2010, 09:05 AM
Well you've heard wrong, Tyger doesn't make rackets but copy or use molds from other brands. The racket James plays has absolutely nothing in common with Tyger, it is a Dunlop mold (and racket).

Then, I supposed all rumours are wrong.
Sorry for my ignorance!

Rock Strongo
03-18-2010, 09:06 AM
Were*
I want my edit button!

decades
03-18-2010, 09:24 AM
if only Blake would have made that extra 20 grand at IW he could find some decent rackets. As it stands he could sue the chair umpire for damages as well as pain and suffering. As for our pain and suffering watching him bash balls mindlessly, well we have no recourse but to change the channel.

VGP
03-18-2010, 10:40 AM
if only Blake would have made that extra 20 grand at IW he could find some decent rackets.

What are you talking about?

Companies are bending over backwards trying to make frames for him. They want to make frames he's willing to use and endorse so that they can make money off his brand.

He's just not willing to compromise his performance to switch. Although for some, his "performance" being debatable, given Blake's game, as he illustrated in the interview, his game is high risk and has little room for error. He's looking for "that certain feel" and a frame that gets him that little bit of dip at the end of a full-court ground stroke or return. Even if it's out by a millimeter using a "new" frame (as confirmed by Hawk-eye), out is out.

As for newer materials not being "better" than the old? I assume the graphite is better in the sense that it's finer, lighter, and stronger. Better for other uses, if not most things. As someone pointed out earlier, tennis isn't the only industry that uses carbon fiber. Newer materials might be better but it is different.

I do buy into the newer materials having a different feel. Pick up an old but in decent shape Prince Graphite from the late 80's and give it a whirl. You can feel the fibers grabbing onto each other kinda like velcro.

WeaponX
03-18-2010, 11:48 AM
Theres something that i don't get it, James play AO with the BLX 90 right? is he still using that frame??

JRstriker12
03-18-2010, 12:02 PM
Theres something that i don't get it, James play AO with the BLX 90 right? is he still using that frame??

Please read the article in the orginal post. It will answer your question...

decades
03-18-2010, 12:12 PM
What are you talking about?

Companies are bending over backwards trying to make frames for him. They want to make frames he's willing to use and endorse so that they can make money off his brand.

He's just not willing to compromise his performance to switch. Although for some, his "performance" being debatable, given Blake's game, as he illustrated in the interview, his game is high risk and has little room for error. He's looking for "that certain feel" and a frame that gets him that little bit of dip at the end of a full-court ground stroke or return. Even if it's out by a millimeter using a "new" frame (as confirmed by Hawk-eye), out is out.

As for newer materials not being "better" than the old? I assume the graphite is better in the sense that it's finer, lighter, and stronger. Better for other uses, if not most things. As someone pointed out earlier, tennis isn't the only industry that uses carbon fiber. Newer materials might be better but it is different.

I do buy into the newer materials having a different feel. Pick up an old but in decent shape Prince Graphite from the late 80's and give it a whirl. You can feel the fibers grabbing onto each other kinda like velcro.

oh yeah they are bending over "backwards" to supply some nonexistent perfect racket to some 30 year old guy who is sliding down the rankings faster than bode miller does a dowhill. there are just NO rackets out there good enough for Mr. James Blake. I guess it's because he can't afford them? Somehow the 51 or some odd pros ahead of James in the rankings have found something that is acceptable. Blake's brand only has high status with a small but annoying group of fans in NYC called the "J BLOCK".

Matt H.
03-18-2010, 12:43 PM
he just needs a PT57A.

Lefty78
03-18-2010, 02:18 PM
Well you've heard wrong, Tyger doesn't make rackets but copy or use molds from other brands. The racket James plays has absolutely nothing in common with Tyger, it is a Dunlop mold (and racket).

James' racquets come from the mold: PT 924_0

VGP
03-18-2010, 02:42 PM
oh yeah they are bending over "backwards" to supply some nonexistent perfect racket to some 30 year old guy who is sliding down the rankings faster than bode miller does a dowhill. there are just NO rackets out there good enough for Mr. James Blake. I guess it's because he can't afford them? Somehow the 51 or some odd pros ahead of James in the rankings have found something that is acceptable. Blake's brand only has high status with a small but annoying group of fans in NYC called the "J BLOCK".

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. It's just that even at his current #52, there are less than 10 guys in the top fifty that are more marketable than Blake. Sad but true.

IMO, the fact that Prince and Dunlop were (perhaps the optimal word here) in development for a frame specifically for him is "bending over backwards." Not every player gets that sort of treatment.

Racketdesign
03-18-2010, 02:51 PM
James' racquets come from the mold: PT 924_0

Correct

Although the 0 is the start from the all important Lay up version...

Mdubb23
03-18-2010, 02:52 PM
Maybe Blake should by a fourth from Greg (on the bay).

Dave M
03-18-2010, 02:53 PM
......Paul was, after all Head of racket development at Dunlop, he may be able to help. It would be interesting to hear him comment.

I'd of thought that their pathes may of crossed in the past, if only Blake saw this thread we could point him to vantage now and his career could gt going in ernest again.

Xenakis
03-18-2010, 03:23 PM
I'd of thought that their pathes may of crossed in the past, if only Blake saw this thread we could point him to vantage now and his career could gt going in ernest again.

Yes. Well Paul has graced this thread with his presence now so perhaps he could help get Blake's career back on track by furnishing him with some decent frames.

He is of course half British and perhaps with Paul's help we could coax him into our Davis Cup team.

Muzza and Blake might actually be reasonably competitive.

Nanshiki
03-18-2010, 03:37 PM
I think James is full of it;

It's not the materials in modern racquets, it's the fact that someone isn't making him a custom layup with a custom mold any more. So obviously a stock BLX90 isn't going to feel as good to him as his old custom racquets that were designed for him.

Although I do admit that off-the-shelf racquets nowadays don't have the same labor an cost-intensive processes that made racquets so much better back in the day...

But I don't think it's the materials as much as it is the layup, and the process.

vsbabolat
03-18-2010, 04:31 PM
I think James is full of it;

It's not the materials in modern racquets, it's the fact that someone isn't making him a custom layup with a custom mold any more. So obviously a stock BLX90 isn't going to feel as good to him as his old custom racquets that were designed for him.

Although I do admit that off-the-shelf racquets nowadays don't have the same labor an cost-intensive processes that made racquets so much better back in the day...

But I don't think it's the materials as much as it is the layup, and the process.

His Dunlop's are not a custom mold. Blakes's racquets as well as the Dunlop Aerogel 4D 300 TOUR come from the same MOLD as the old Dunlop Revelation Tour 95. Berdych's old Dunlop racquets came from the same MOLD as well.


FYI, AG300T 4D uses the same mold as Tomas Berdych's frame but has different lay-up. Berdych's frame is a bit softer and more powerful.

http://4k6nnq.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pk1aoyGaPasbHj7Rm-EDJw6Y7ZJqGWDTfpMoNLlcJfgUMyg1mjVSkslY55lABNaeUAll IhlwKr3y6x5ZgsS5cUw/SAM_7752.JPG

http://4k6nnq.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pGtY1EtTOm_75ETP9yQKAffgHP-QaH_wc8wM1aowMWolYLPfR19Ti1GrSHs529VjPEamzR6MpVPU_ GHjMy5TOAg/SAM_7753.JPG

http://4k6nnq.bay.livefilestore.com/y1px0tzBveQjKyxn4yMehCj-OhWorl_77b-lzeGSeRqU1aNbqDUItdckKV0qtsGK3ZvnQoF0R_jd0LJQmZWJE _Ltw/SAM_7758.JPG

Blake is back to his old Dunlop. However Dunlop is unable to manufacture his racquets the way he likes because the same raw materials are no longer available. That is a fact.

But the former designer from Dunlop who posts regualy can design and manufacture the racquets Blake would like.
To keep it simple -

Hotmelt is where the resin is heated before being applied to the dry carbon cloth. Gives good uniformaty and saturation.

"Standard" prepreg is achieved by pulling the carbon through a cold resin bath. Prone to less consistant coverage and possible dry spots.

In many racquets, a combination of both materials are used.

The "feel" element comes from a variety of factors such as material mix percentages, layup design for each layer, Grade or quality of the raw carbon cloth.
Whilst some of the older grades of carbon are no longer available, its still possible to re-create the old school feel.. just costs a few more $$ and needs a bit more thought ;)

BLX
03-18-2010, 05:13 PM
Anyone noticed that after he moved from nike to fila
his website attempted to photoshop almost every single nike tick in the gallery (http://www.jamesblaketennis.com/jb%20pages/10_galleryedit.htm)?


"you cost me $20,000 mofo"
old
http://www.jamesblaketennis.com/07Images/newhaven14.jpg

WTF
http://www.jamesblaketennis.com/07Images/newhaven10.jpg

decades
03-18-2010, 06:13 PM
I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. It's just that even at his current #52, there are less than 10 guys in the top fifty that are more marketable than Blake. Sad but true.

IMO, the fact that Prince and Dunlop were (perhaps the optimal word here) in development for a frame specifically for him is "bending over backwards." Not every player gets that sort of treatment.

I doubt they are trying to very hard to make him happy at this point in his career. I think you're kind of looking in the rear view mirror with regard to James. His star power is rapidly diminishing. As it stands, his popularity was essentially a media creation given he has only made it as far as a grand slam quarter, his last, 2 years ago in AUS. His record is about as good as Tommie Robredo's is.

VGP
03-18-2010, 07:33 PM
I think you're kind of looking in the rear view mirror with regard to James. His star power is rapidly diminishing.

Yeah, you're right. But.....as for a player being able to sell stuff with a lower/fluctuating or non-existent ranking, look at Sharapova with Nike and Prince and Kournikova with K-Swiss.

As for Blake and his rackets, for a guy that broke his neck a couple of years back, sucking it up and using a new frame should be looked at as a blessing. Hell, he could even secure additional endorsement dollars before he hangs it up.

film1
03-18-2010, 08:47 PM
James' racquets come from the mold: PT 924_0

What old stock frame is close to this?

decades
03-18-2010, 09:14 PM
Yeah, you're right. But.....as for a player being able to sell stuff with a lower/fluctuating or non-existent ranking, look at Sharapova with Nike and Prince and Kournikova with K-Swiss.

As for Blake and his rackets, for a guy that broke his neck a couple of years back, sucking it up and using a new frame should be looked at as a blessing. Hell, he could even secure additional endorsement dollars before he hangs it up.

I agree with you. I think he is really really frustrated that he's not top ten any more and losing early. It's new for him and he's not handling it well. I mean I didn't realize he could be such a jerk like we saw the other night. I think we know why the two gals sell rackets. :)

Rabbit
03-19-2010, 06:11 AM
His Dunlop's are not a custom mold. Blakes's racquets as well as the Dunlop Aerogel 4D 300 TOUR come from the same MOLD as the old Dunlop Revelation Tour 95. Berdych's old Dunlop racquets came from the same MOLD as well.


Blake is back to his old Dunlop. However Dunlop is unable to manufacture his racquets the way he likes because the same raw materials are no longer available. That is a fact.

But the former designer from Dunlop who posts regualy can design and manufacture the racquets Blake would like.

I continue to be in awe of your posts. You are definitely one of the best resources for the truth on the boards. Please keep up the good work. Excellent post(s)!!!!!

vsbabolat
03-19-2010, 07:19 AM
I continue to be in awe of your posts. You are definitely one of the best resources for the truth on the boards. Please keep up the good work. Excellent post(s)!!!!!

Thanks a lot Rabbit! I think you have a impressive history in tennis and got to be exposed to a variety of very interesting racquets and you are truly a great contributor to the boards. You and people like Racketdesign are great assets to this tennis forum!!

niktub
03-21-2010, 01:46 PM
Specs James Blake YMTP03011XF DUNLOP TENNIS PT-924 309+/-2 320+/-3 67.5+/-1 97

AlpineCadet
03-21-2010, 04:14 PM
Specs James Blake YMTP03011XF DUNLOP TENNIS PT-924 309+/-2 320+/-3 67.5+/-1 97

http://www.tenis.net.pl/forum/viewtopic.php?f=104&t=3858

tenis
03-21-2010, 06:55 PM
http://www.tenis.net.pl/forum/viewtopic.php?f=104&t=3858

Very interesting, thanks.

OliverSimon
03-21-2010, 07:26 PM
Cool pics on that website.

AJK1
03-21-2010, 08:59 PM
James Blake has 3 racquets, but 4.0s on this board need 20 matched k90s.
nice, real nice.

That's hilarious, well said:)

larry10s
03-22-2010, 07:23 AM
blake needs a vantage demo

OliverSimon
03-22-2010, 08:53 AM
That's hilarious, well said:)

LMAO :):)
10char

ChuDat
03-22-2010, 10:06 PM
Blake should go on the boards and check the FS section. Of course use an alias that won't give his identity away

Don't Let It Bounce
03-23-2010, 01:47 PM
His Dunlop's are not a custom mold. Blakes's racquets as well as the Dunlop Aerogel 4D 300 TOUR come from the same MOLD as the old Dunlop Revelation Tour 95. Berdych's old Dunlop racquets came from the same MOLD as well.Do you mean the retail 4D 300 Tour? If so, and given that it's listed at 98 sq in: is the 300 Tour really a 95, or was the Rev Tour 95 really a 98?

Skabeast121
03-23-2010, 03:33 PM
I think he just needs to move on and get a new racquet. At this stage in his career no company would go out of their way to make a completely custom frame for him. He is near retirement there would be no point

brinkeguthrie
03-23-2010, 05:49 PM
Hard to believe this guy can't find a frame on the planet he likes.

Federer found one.
Nadal found one.

But JAMES BLAKE can't find a frame to work with?

He's not exactly top tier, anyway.

OliverSimon
03-23-2010, 07:43 PM
IMO, Blake should have stayed with the Wilsons.

OrangeOne
03-23-2010, 08:15 PM
Hard to believe this guy can't find a frame on the planet he likes.

Federer found one.
Nadal found one.

But JAMES BLAKE can't find a frame to work with?

He's not exactly top tier, anyway.

Both of the above players you identify have (arguably) been playing with the same frame for most of their careers. Blake just wants to keep playing with the same frame, but they don't make it anymore.

IMO, Blake should have stayed with the Wilsons.

Sometimes these forums are bizarre. You somehow make it sound like you're opinion is somehow valid - on a frame that someone else should use, someone that has been top 10/5 in the world - someone that has earned almost 7million in prizemoney? Strange.

TennisNinja
03-23-2010, 09:10 PM
Wow, great story, interesting to find out about and well done.

film1
03-23-2010, 09:44 PM
His racquets do not have the ISIS system of the tour revelation.

RacquetCraft
03-24-2010, 03:34 AM
Both of the above players you identify have (arguably) been playing with the same frame for most of their careers. Blake just wants to keep playing with the same frame, but they don't make it anymore.


Sometimes these forums are bizarre. You somehow make it sound like you're opinion is somehow valid - on a frame that someone else should use, someone that has been top 10/5 in the world - someone that has earned almost 7million in prizemoney? Strange.


Bang on OrangeOne!!!...it's refreshing to finally read an intelligent post on the subject!

Racquetcraft

Tennisguy777
03-24-2010, 06:52 AM
What James needs is not a new frame but a new game. James is a nice guy, sometimes too nice. He refused to get rid of his coach whom he has had all these years. James also refuses to change his game, he wants to play BANG, BANG, BANG, tennis which might have worked in the past but it is not going to work for him as he is aging and as the game has evolved. He needs to stop his go for broke flat style and learn to play with topspin, control and pace sort of a Federer meets Tsonga type of style. If he would play this type of game with his one handed backhand he'd be lethal.

Look Roddick and Blake were neck and neck in the standing for along time the reason that Roddick has continued to be in the top 10 is that he realized his game wasn't going anywhere and he changed his coach and changed his game, almost won him another slam.

In Tennis you got to make adjustments for instance Nadal's overpowering grind it out style worked for a few years, even made it to #1 but what happened his body can't take the toll. We need to wait and see if Nadal will make the adjustments necessary or if they are even possible to bring him back to # 1

Back to James, hes a good player, a good guy and hopefully he can get it together.

I'd also recommend the AG300 4d tour, you can have mine James. :)

Go James - Go Dunlop.

OrangeOne
03-24-2010, 04:50 PM
Bang on OrangeOne!!!...it's refreshing to finally read an intelligent post on the subject!
Racquetcraft

Thanks RC :)

What James needs is not a new frame but a new game.

James is a nice guy, sometimes too nice. He refused to get rid of his coach whom he has had all these years. James also refuses to change his game, he wants to play BANG, BANG, BANG, tennis which might have worked in the past but it is not going to work for him as he is aging and as the game has evolved. He needs to stop his go for broke flat style and learn to play with topspin, control and pace sort of a Federer meets Tsonga type of style. If he would play this type of game with his one handed backhand he'd be lethal.

You make it sound so easy. We're not talking about teaching spin to an 11 year old here.

Here James, let's take a forehand that you've hit literally millions of times, with world-class success, and change it.

Very, very, very difficult to do. Far easier - in fact, actually possible - to find the right frame, and play the last few years of his career with the same game that was top-ten only 12 or so months ago.

Outlined
08-16-2010, 05:42 AM
hasn't it been said in other threads that the quality of the graphite used these days is not as good as in the past? maybe this is what blake is detecting in the newer frames. not to say that he's so in tune that he can tell the difference in graphite quality, but something along those lines.

Well, sticks nowadays are not 100% graphite anymore but use things like fiber-glass as well.



IMO Dunlop does not care good enough for their (former) top 100 players. I mean they are their icons and the reasons Dunlop is still a rather big brand. Fischer did it all wrong and is now out of business.

With Berdych the same. Dunlop offered him a new stick, he did not liked it and now he plays with a Radical. Unbelievable. Hire some storage box and put about 1000 player sticks in it so you never run out of stock.

Rabbit
08-16-2010, 08:52 AM
Well, sticks nowadays are not 100% graphite anymore but use things like fiber-glass as well.



IMO Dunlop does not care good enough for their (former) top 100 players. I mean they are their icons and the reasons Dunlop is still a rather big brand. Fischer did it all wrong and is now out of business.

With Berdych the same. Dunlop offered him a new stick, he did not liked it and now he plays with a Radical. Unbelievable. Hire some storage box and put about 1000 player sticks in it so you never run out of stock.

Racquets were made out of fibreglass long before graphite was a material. There were grahite composites long before there were "100%" graphite frames.

If you read the interview, Blake says that Dunlop has tried to replicate the racquet and can't.

Kirko
08-16-2010, 08:56 AM
I continue to be in awe of your posts. You are definitely one of the best resources for the truth on the boards. Please keep up the good work. Excellent post(s)!!!!!

VS a real barometer for the truth no fudging or guessing. a boon & benefit to the forum.

Outlined
08-16-2010, 09:08 AM
If you read the interview, Blake says that Dunlop has tried to replicate the racquet and can't.

That is why they better keep much more of those (classic) player sticks in store. Hiring a storage box is no money for a company like Dunlop-Sports.

Power Player
08-16-2010, 10:58 AM
It's funny that I started up with the Tfight 335 after a long tennis hiatus, then after months of demoing, and having to go to a lighter stick, end up buying the 300T which is basically the same mold, just lighter in static weight and not as HL balanced.

decades
08-16-2010, 11:30 AM
one will be enough it seems.

Rabbit
08-16-2010, 12:08 PM
That is why they better keep much more of those (classic) player sticks in store. Hiring a storage box is no money for a company like Dunlop-Sports.

It doesn't matter how big your "storage box" is, when you use the last item in it, it's gone.

Blake says clearly in the interview that he's down to three frames and that Dunlop cannot replicate the feel of those three frames. He says they've built the same weight and flex, but the materials must have changed enough so that the frames cannot be replicated.

Outlined
08-16-2010, 04:46 PM
It doesn't matter how big your "storage box" is, when you use the last item in it, it's gone.



That case you should better manage your storage box. Blake and Berdych are very marketable people. Too stupid Dunlop can not give them the frames they want.

Ronaldo
08-17-2010, 11:39 AM
That case you should better manage your storage box. Blake and Berdych are very marketable people. Too stupid Dunlop can not give them the frames they want.

Dunlop had the same problem with Safin 10 yrs ago. You may not get what you want but they can't even get what they need.

Outlined
08-17-2010, 12:56 PM
d.e.l.e.t.e.d.

LPShanet
08-19-2010, 02:10 PM
Well, sticks nowadays are not 100% graphite anymore but use things like fiber-glass as well.



IMO Dunlop does not care good enough for their (former) top 100 players. I mean they are their icons and the reasons Dunlop is still a rather big brand. Fischer did it all wrong and is now out of business.

With Berdych the same. Dunlop offered him a new stick, he did not liked it and now he plays with a Radical. Unbelievable. Hire some storage box and put about 1000 player sticks in it so you never run out of stock.

If we're being totally accurate, fiberglass is actually used much less nowadays than it used to be. It was common in racquets in the 70's and even 80's, but is now used much more rarely, as it's pretty heavy in terms of strength/weight ratio, and a pain to work with. So I think you have the fiberglass thing a bit backwards. There are just as many "100% graphite" sticks around now as before...it's still the most common makeup.

Note: The term "100% graphite" is in quotes to denote the use in its industry standard sense for the benefit of those on the boards who like to point out that no racquet is ever technically 100% graphite.

El Diablo
08-19-2010, 02:24 PM
$270 if you buy all three, cheaper if you pick them up yourself in New York after the third round.

gloumar
08-19-2010, 02:24 PM
Blake is a pro and he does not care about SW, stiffness etc. He goes by what feels right for him, when he picks up the stick. I think sometimes at the amateur level we can be guilty of looking too much into racket specs and modification, rather than just playing with a racket that is comfortable for your game.

That's exactly waht a very good player who selled me a racquet told me : wieght, SW, Ra : pure ******** !!
Don't care specs. Just pick up and try. dot.
Of course, we know similar things can do it, but he was himself very surprised switching from prestiges to Kblade, that he tried once.
the man is nearly in 1st series in france, let's say within 500 best in france.

gloumar
08-19-2010, 02:25 PM
Blake is a pro and he does not care about SW, stiffness etc. He goes by what feels right for him, when he picks up the stick. I think sometimes at the amateur level we can be guilty of looking too much into racket specs and modification, rather than just playing with a racket that is comfortable for your game.

That's exactly waht a very good player who selled me a racquet told me : wieght, SW, Ra : pure ******** !!
Don't care specs. Just pick up and try. dot.
Of course, we know similar things can do it, but he was himself very surprised switching from prestiges to the Kblade he tried once.
the man is within 500 best in france.