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View Full Version : The Ultimate Racquet Debate


Joe Oldschool
02-28-2004, 11:53 AM
So we have debated the balls and courts. So now what about the racquets? I am in favor of adding a few new rules to limit the impact of racquet technology on the game. There are already restrictions on racquets, I am just advocating adding a few more. Although I think the game today is fantastic, I think a few limitations would be wise in order to prevent a more lopsided game down the road. After all, spaghetti strings were outlawed to prevent such changes. So there is a precedent for it. I don't think we need to be using wood racquets (although I am not against listening to the idea), I just think we don't have to buy into the idea that any restriction is somehow "unnatural". Here are the rules I would add...(BTW these would leave most currently used Pros racquets as legal, but would impact only a few pros who would whine and complain :x ).

1. Beam width limited to 25mm max. (or maybe some sort of maximum racquet stiffness rating if a rating scale could be agreed upon.)

2. Head size limited to 110sq in max. (110 is plenty big enough for club players)

3. No "active grommet systems". Strings must be woven through a fixed frame.

4. Minimum weight of 10.5oz. (that's pretty darn light after all)

polakosaur
02-28-2004, 12:25 PM
most pro's already follow those rules except for maybe the grommet rule, only women's tennis players use racquets that are less than 10.5 oz.

lets just kill this topic its point less

NoBadMojo
02-28-2004, 12:40 PM
I don't think it is pointless at all. I think limit the headsize the pros can use to maybe like 85 or so....any materials and beam width and weight and length they like...the cream would rise to the top IMO and we would see more all court and s/v play. Ed

joe sch
02-28-2004, 06:00 PM
I dont think the racket rules matter for the top level players since most play midsize rackets or oversize racket with thinner beams. The large head/beam rackets mostly help the senior players so let them have any advantages they need. Maybe the widest beam racket that is currently favored by top players is the pure drive and the only way the players are now taming it is by stringing it poly. I would also like to see the stringing restrictions removed so that some speghettti string variants could be used to help the spinners and junkers. I think it would only make senior play more interesting and would not be seen on the pro tour.

Ronaldo
02-28-2004, 06:10 PM
Leave the rules alone. Personally watched players with no serve find one after using a Profile or the Prince Mach 1000. If you place limits on racquets, you will lose players.

Joe Oldschool
02-29-2004, 07:41 AM
most pro's already follow those rules except for maybe the grommet rule, only women's tennis players use racquets that are less than 10.5 oz.

lets just kill this topic its point less

Pointless? As I said before, most pros do fit these criteria now. I also said before that the game is in good shape for the most part now. However the point of new rules is not to radically alter the current game. The point is to prevent radical changes to the game in the future. If something isn't done sometime, it is only a matter of time before a handful of players are winning on unreturnable serves. 140mph is regularly being broken now. As serves cross 150mph, they will be unreturnable. (Imagine the second serves coming in at 125mph)=very boring matches.

I certainly would be open to adding even stricter criteria. The weight limits could be heavier etc. I like the idea of a stricter headsize limit too. Maybe I was being too generous at 110.

Finally, there is no reason why club players can't play with anything they want. If you want to shoot tennis balls out of a bazooka, go ahead. Pro baseball players are restricted to wood bats, even though they play with metal ones at every other level of the game. Professional golfers abide by rules that club players conveniently ignore. I see no reason why there can't be some additional rules on players at the highest levels. Steroids are banned at the pro level even though you can take all of the human growth hormone you want.

Basically, some rules are appropriate for pros and some are appropriate for amateurs.

Ronaldo
02-29-2004, 09:04 AM
IMHO it is not the racquet, it is the players technique that creates the power. Monica Seles used the largest, most powerful Yonex racquet and her serve barely broke 100 mph. Venus uses some old school Wilson PS 110 and routinely breaks 120. Btw, ever think those speeds are inflated for hype? Or at least measured off the strings?

Rabbit
02-29-2004, 07:46 PM
I would love to see rules governing rackets for professional players, much like the rules baseball and golf impose on their participants at the professional level.

I see on these boards the argument that the pros already play with old school rackets. On the flip side of this, the majority of posters on these boards seem to feel that the pros play with heavily customized frames. Which is it? If the players, even the top players, are playing with frames that do not resemble what we can buy, why not return them to what's sold off the shelf?

These frames are not old school enough. IMO, the frames should be weighted and balanced like wood frames, be no more flexible than a wood racket, and a string pattern closer to wood.

I can pretty much guarantee you that when you bought a Dunlop Maxply Fort, you bought the same racket that the pros played with. Now, you had a choice of purchasing a weight, either L(ight) or M(edium). The pros may have played with a medium weight, but it was the same frame. The first player to my knowledge to have a frame built specifically for him was Borg, and his was only done so to support the high tensions that he played at.

With all the outrage about professional athletes in tennis and golf playing with uniquely built equipment, it would be a breath of fresh air if tennis were to take a stand. It won't happen, but it'd be nice.

I remember buying rackets in the real old days, and it was nice to think that Ilie Nastase, John McEnroe, or Rod Laver was swinging the same piece of wood that I was.

Rocky Top
03-01-2004, 11:11 AM
I don't understand why technology is such a sacred cow that no one in the governing bodies of the sport dares to touch it. Certainly some are afraid of lawsuits from the equipment manufacturers (a la the PGA). But clearly there's some precedent for a sport to set reasonable limits (e.g., baseball v. aluminum bats, etc.).

Joe makes an excellent point - technology is not stopping here in 2004. Golf analysts wondered if technology had gone too far in the late 90s, but the driver/ball combos of the last 2 years have pushed the envelope WAY past that point. And please don't give me the "we're reaching the limits of physics already" line - the kids now pulling all-nighters at MIT & Princeton will certainly prove you wrong at some point in the not-too-distant future.

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ukguy
03-01-2004, 05:23 PM
Its not the racquet , its the player , great players could still play well with a 70 square inch racquet, it doesnt matter what size the head is.

nyu
03-01-2004, 05:50 PM
Sorry, but this topic is pretty pointless. All I hear are older folks yearning for the days of "real" tennis: aka the wooden racquet era, hence all the "like wood" comments. Games change, they evolutionize.

Also, arguing that new technology would create a game in which serves became unreturnable is completely false. That was the argument of the mid to late 90's, when players like Flip were making people believe tennis was going to be a bash-fest. Who's at the top of the game now? All-court master Federer, speedy counter-punching nalbandian, agassi(the best example of new racquets helping returns), coria(really, how big is this guy?), Grosjean is up there.

So honestly, I say let the game evolve. Very very few of the pros use oversize heads, none of them use racquets weighing less than 10.5 ounces, and serves are more returnable. Roddick's record breaking serve against agassi was returned...agassi won the point.

NoBadMojo
03-01-2004, 06:04 PM
rabbit great point. and i am from those days as well.. it was cool to walk on the court w. what you knew to be the same bats your hero used, the exact same court, w. the exact same balls and try your best to hit the exact same shots. you could relate to the game alot better. who knows what these guys actually use these days. the pros didnt have trainers, psychologists, aids, coaches, and all that abba dabba back then so much either which also made them more like us..but thats progress....it's still an amazing game though. best to you. Ed

Deuce
03-01-2004, 11:56 PM
I'm with Rabbit and Ed.

Good stuff, guys.

@wright
03-02-2004, 07:55 AM
Rabbit, I agree with your point, but say you use a pure drive like Andy Roddick. It IS the same racquet, but Roddick just essentially created a higher weight PD by adding lead. You can do the exact same thing to your PD, but it's still the same old racquet under the lead. Now that is a rare example because I believe many of the pros with paintjobs have frames that are made custom weights, headsizes and maybe even flexes. Agassi is an obvious practitioner of this, as he changes head sizes frequently. Scud is another pro that starts with the same racquet any PC user does, even from the same place(TW)!

Rabbit
03-02-2004, 03:47 PM
Just for the sake of argument, how do you know that you're using the same Pure Drive as Roddick? Do you know that he hasn't had has custom made? Is the flex, balance, and weight of his the same as the stock frame? I know he leads his up, but is this just a further customization of an already one-off racket?

Problem is, these days, you can't tell. Because it's graphite, you can build as much weight into it as you like, or take as much out as you like. Some time ago when Todd Martin was allegedly playing with a widebody, John McEnroe said that the pros were playing with rackets that didn't resemble their commercial counterparts.

Roddick, Corretja, Moya, Wayne Arthurs, and Kim Clijsters all play with the Pue Drive. It's been reported here that Moya's frame is extremely light and extremely head heavy. I'd bet a dollar to a doughnut that if we could get our hands on all of their rackets and put them on an RDC and weigh them that they'd have little in common.

So, I guess the final question is, will the real Pure Drive please stand up? This wasn't the case with wood.

equinox
12-30-2007, 10:34 PM
Rules regarding equipment should continue to be adapted to keep the pro game in check.

Really unbalanced atm.

flyer
12-30-2007, 10:42 PM
Its actually a really interesting debate and you can make a valid point for each side, I am undecided, I guess my thing is right now we are ok but I'm not against possible rule changes in the future if necessary.

fgzhu88
12-31-2007, 11:37 AM
Let the pushers use super oversizes with spaghetti strings. The GOAT's will always be the mid-size wielding heroes

J011yroger
12-31-2007, 11:54 AM
Hey Mojo,

I know you are pretty sensitive to SW, and I was wondering how the quality control was back in the days of wood. I mean if you had 4 frames, could you tell the difference? Or were they pretty close?

J

sureshs
12-31-2007, 12:09 PM
So we have debated the balls and courts. So now what about the racquets? I am in favor of adding a few new rules to limit the impact of racquet technology on the game. There are already restrictions on racquets, I am just advocating adding a few more. Although I think the game today is fantastic, I think a few limitations would be wise in order to prevent a more lopsided game down the road. After all, spaghetti strings were outlawed to prevent such changes. So there is a precedent for it. I don't think we need to be using wood racquets (although I am not against listening to the idea), I just think we don't have to buy into the idea that any restriction is somehow "unnatural". Here are the rules I would add...(BTW these would leave most currently used Pros racquets as legal, but would impact only a few pros who would whine and complain :x ).

1. Beam width limited to 25mm max. (or maybe some sort of maximum racquet stiffness rating if a rating scale could be agreed upon.)

2. Head size limited to 110sq in max. (110 is plenty big enough for club players)

3. No "active grommet systems". Strings must be woven through a fixed frame.

4. Minimum weight of 10.5oz. (that's pretty darn light after all)

Can you name a single ATP or WTA pro who currently violates 1, 2, or 4?

And what are active grommets?

Kaptain Karl
12-31-2007, 12:24 PM
equinox, you trouble-maker!!!

I skimmed this thread thinking, "Didn't we already do this...?" THEN I saw you resurrected a 3-year-old thread ... and the rest of us jumped right on that band wagon, huh?

I agree that Pro restrictions would actually make the game more interesting ... but the OP's choices are goofy.

And, Jolly, we could modify the woodies ... just not as much or as easily. The SW quality control was fairly good. (But every once in a while -- maybe 20:1 -- you'd get a frame with bizarre Static-to-Swing differences ... but we didn't use those terms to describe it....)

- KK

firstservethenvolley
12-31-2007, 01:01 PM
Let the pushers use super oversizes with spaghetti strings. The GOAT's will always be the mid-size wielding heroes

Agassi ?

racquetfreak
12-31-2007, 01:58 PM
rackets smackets.... no more rules for rackets. restrict player size to 6'2" for men and 5'9" for women. they should all eat the same diet and adhere to a preapproved training program that won't allow current players to outsine the old guard players.:twisted:

Kevo
01-01-2008, 09:09 AM
I think Nascar drivers should all have to drive the exact same car. In fact they could draw at the beginning of the season to see what car was going to be used for each race. One week it'd be the Ford, next week, the Chevy, next the Porsche.

Now if we applied that to tennis, if the Kfactor happened to be the frame every one had to play with at the French, Fed would finally win one. ;-)

Blade0324
01-02-2008, 10:06 AM
I think this is a really interesting debate but have to put in my 2 cents. I think that more regulations would only hold back the evolution of the game and prevent it from developing further. Some people here have stated that making some regulations would lead to more S&V play. Sure it would but wouldn't that really be regressing to an older time. Most S&V is gone because it is not really a viable way to play on most surfaces in todays game. I personally like the game today with more baseline play and then players look to perhaps finish a point at net if they can work the point to allow it. To me that is the way the game is played today. You have to work the point some if you want to be able to come to net and finish. I am not really a fan of S&V tennis as it is a bit too predictable and boring. This is just my opinion but I'm sure I'll get flamed by some.

Kaptain Karl
01-02-2008, 01:44 PM
I think that more regulations would only hold back the evolution of the game and prevent it from developing further.The problem is "the game" isn't really evolving so much as it's cycling. (Up through Bill Tilden's time, most players used extreme grips.)

Some people here have stated that making some regulations would lead to more S&V play. Sure it would but wouldn't that really be regressing to an older time.Sometimes "the good ol' days" really were better. You probably don't think this is one of those times. I do....

Most S&V is gone because it is not really a viable way to play on most surfaces in todays game.I think the case has been made pretty convincingly that it's not the "surfaces," but the racket technology which is the larger contributor to the dumbing-down of tennis. Also, changing the strings allowed is a more efficient and effective way to regulate the game than it is to change the rules about surfaces.

I personally like the game today with more baseline play and then players look to perhaps finish a point at net if they can work the point to allow it. To me that is the way the game is played today. You have to work the point some if you want to be able to come to net and finish. I am not really a fan of S&V tennis as it is a bit too predictable and boring. This is just my opinion but I'm sure I'll get flamed by some."That's why they make chocolate and vanilla." I liked the '70s and '80s because there was no predominant style of play. It was most entertaining to see contrasting styles on the same court. (And I don't think you'll get flamed. If we all wanted tennis to be played the very same way ... wouldn't that be boring...?)

- KK