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View Full Version : When did racquets stop getting better?


Robert Jones
06-07-2004, 12:51 PM
It seems todays sticks are not any better than the ones 7 years ago. Yea better than the metal ones and the early graphites but not much better in the last 5-7 years.

What is better about the new sticks these days? Does anyone play better with them or is it in their heads?

It seems there is a min. mass needed, you can't make them weigh zero. So the weight game is over. Now I guess they can make them thinner yet just as stong as a thicker frame, this means stiff frames and arm problems.

Size wise its seems 90-95 is the sweet spot.

Wonder how much if any can be improved with new technology.

BreakPoint
06-07-2004, 01:10 PM
I think racquets stopped getting better in 1983 when Wilson introduced the ProStaff 6.0 and Dunlop introduced the Max 200G.

gmlasam
06-07-2004, 01:36 PM
I hear yea Robert Jones.

I still play my old trusty Prince Graphite Mid Plus from the 80's Good thing I have 20 of these older frames and I will never sell any of them. Yes, 20 frames I purchased during the 80's. These are the orginal manufactures.

BreakPoint
06-07-2004, 02:13 PM
Ah, yes.... I forgot to add the Prince Original Graphite onto the list which I think was also introduced in 1983. What a year for tennis racquets!!! We got the PS 6.0, Max 200G, and the POG, all in 1983. Three of the most popular racquets ever made and many people are still using these three today!!

BigboyDan
06-07-2004, 02:20 PM
BreakPoint,

Could not agree more. Manufacturers are screwed - the best racquets out there are the Prince Graphite, Wilson Pro Staff both designed pre 1985. All the manufacturers have, or had, a really good players' racquet in their catalogs at one time or another (Volkl, Fischer, Dunlop, Head, Yonex, etc.), all pre-1990 designs, but most have been phased out... stupid.

I mean, the Wilson Tour 90 is only five years' old and is being dropped - who designs this junk? Current Head products, yeach! Seen their stock price?

gmlasam
06-07-2004, 02:29 PM
Ah, yes.... I forgot to add the Prince Original Graphite onto the list which I think was also introduced in 1983. What a year for tennis racquets!!! We got the PS 6.0, Max 200G, and the POG, all in 1983. Three of the most popular racquets ever made and many people are still using these three today!!Yup!!! The Wilson 6.0 and the Prince Graphite still being mass produced after all these years, 20+ years. I haven't played the newer Price Graphite thought and I wonder if they play the same as to earlier 80's models.

@wright
06-07-2004, 02:33 PM
The Estusas aren't exactly new fangled designs either. Can't remember, what year did the ancestor to the prestige classic come out? late 80's? Volkl's V-engine is a throwback to racquets they had in the early 90's, maybe even back to the 80's, with *gasp*, fiberglass, ack! Yonex and head seem to be stuck in the future unable to make racquets without a metallic name.

BreakPoint
06-07-2004, 03:08 PM
I mean, the Wilson Tour 90 is only five years' old and is being dropped - who designs this junk? Current Head products, yeach! Seen their stock price?

Actually, the Tour 90 has been out for only about a year and it's already being discontinued. I think Head makes too many ultra-light and stiff racquets that cause tennis elbow. They'd better change or go back to their '80's designs before they kill off all of their customers! :shock:

chazz
06-07-2004, 03:28 PM
Why can't the manufacturers go back to making racquets the way they did in the 80s with graphite, kevlar, and fiberglass? Those were some of the most comfortable racquets made. They should all come out with a retro line of racquets. I bet they would sell very well. Instead they discontinue all their good playing racquets like the RD7 and Prestige Classic among many others.

galain
06-07-2004, 04:42 PM
Are you racquet manufacturers reading this? We know you come here and lurk on these boards....

Ronaldo
06-07-2004, 05:14 PM
Go to a tennis club or public park and see how many players are using those old players' sticks. If the manufacturers kept making the racquets the same as in the 80s, no one would buy a new racquet. This board has a dis-proportionate number of college and would-be-pros that need to temper their power. Most of the rest of us are happy to just play. If these players want a lighter racquet with more power, that's what they will buy. IMO, the new racquets are tested not unlike Racquetresearch without human input. Numbers look great, nantechnology must produce a better 6.0, yeah right

swilburn
06-07-2004, 05:36 PM
I am still playing with 1985 -86 Slazenger Silhouette that beats any racket I have hit with since! I agree they have forgotten how to make good frames! What players want is a soild smooth hitting frame, not some hype to sell junk!

Richie Rich
06-07-2004, 06:19 PM
I think one point you guys are missing (Ronaldo kind of went there) is if you look at the players at a large club you will see most are 4.5 and below.

IMO, a 12 ounce 95 sq inch 18x20 players racquet will turn most of these players off tennis for good. 90% of the players use racquets around 10 oz and even balance to head heavy balance with a mid plus or oversize head. They also want the new technology and want what feels good in their hands or is pushed on them by the club pro :wink: Also, if you are new to the game are you going to buy a pro weight racquet? Not likely. This group of people are also buying most of the frames, not us cheapies that will use our players sticks until they crack.

I play with a heavy Volkl c10 pro tour and most people I play with use one of the classic frames b/c even though we are not pro level we feel better using one of these frames and like the feel and feedback. I let one of the players at my club hit with my racquet and 5 minutes later complained that he couldn't swing it any more. His normal racquet - Dunlop 400g and he loves it.

You have to remember that most people play tennis for recreation and social reasons and for most of them the 10 oz racquet is perfect.

Enough ranting for now
Cheers
Rich

kninetik
06-07-2004, 06:35 PM
Good point Rich. Last year I was turned off from tennis using a LM Radical MP. I'm glad I had a crazy light huge OS i.x6 to learn off of. Now I have strokes good enough to justify the Radical but I moved onto the Estusa.

Just curious. How old are the Estusa's sold on TW specifically the PBB?

bendover
06-07-2004, 08:01 PM
I think that the Wilson Triads and the Head rackets with the chip in it are just some of the lamest rackets every made.

Steve Huff
06-07-2004, 08:43 PM
I don't know that they're not getting better, but I do know that tennis itself changed when Prince introduced the Prince Classic. If rackets were still made of wood, aluminum or steel, you'd see a lot more entertaining, serve and volley games. But, rackets are going to change. Even aluminum was a "new thing" at one time, and some people didn't like the thought of going away from wood. And, most of the older rackets are still readily available used. If you like them so much, use them. It's still a free country.

a verrry large duck
06-07-2004, 08:55 PM
It seems there is a min. mass needed, you can't make them weigh zero. So the weight game is over. Now I guess they can make them thinner yet just as stong as a thicker frame, this means stiff frames and arm problems.
Size wise its seems 90-95 is the sweet spot.

I agree, the lighter line of racquets will never be performance racquets and is just that... for beginners. A tennis ball has and always will weigh around 55 grams. That means your racquet has to be heavier than say around 11.5 oz. for you to get any kind of solid hit onto the ball. To me, they have not really made the best racquet yet. WHY DON'T THEY TRY TO MAKE AERODYNAMIC 15MM FLAT BEAM RACQUETS WITH THE STIFFNESS OF A BABOLAT PURE DRIVE?? I mean that's gonna take some research. Could you imagine one of these cats weighing in at 12.5 ounces and a 7 pts HL balance or something. Would be the ultimate scalpel to completely take apart any opponent. The day they make this racquet is the day I say they've achieved the ultimate.

Robert Jones
06-07-2004, 09:44 PM
Hi Rich, Some good points, I dunno if I agree with a 10oz stick being better for the newbies. One of my nephews is just learning (he is 19) He was using a OS powerstick and tried a lower power players stick and loved it. He actually improved quickly with it. He said he felt he could control the ball better and he did. He went from a non improving forehad to a much more consistan one.

Not saying you can't play well with a 10oz stick but I would not assume that they are somehow easier to play with that a 11.5 oz stick. I think for weaker players (not all newbies are weak) a 10oz stick would be easier, thats kids and women but not most 16 year boys and older.

I think one point you guys are missing (Ronaldo kind of went there) is if you look at the players at a large club you will see most are 4.5 and below.

IMO, a 12 ounce 95 sq inch 18x20 players racquet will turn most of these players off tennis for good. 90% of the players use racquets around 10 oz and even balance to head heavy balance with a mid plus or oversize head. They also want the new technology and want what feels good in their hands or is pushed on them by the club pro :wink: Also, if you are new to the game are you going to buy a pro weight racquet? Not likely. This group of people are also buying most of the frames, not us cheapies that will use our players sticks until they crack.

I play with a heavy Volkl c10 pro tour and most people I play with use one of the classic frames b/c even though we are not pro level we feel better using one of these frames and like the feel and feedback. I let one of the players at my club hit with my racquet and 5 minutes later complained that he couldn't swing it any more. His normal racquet - Dunlop 400g and he loves it.

You have to remember that most people play tennis for recreation and social reasons and for most of them the 10 oz racquet is perfect.

Enough ranting for now
Cheers
Rich

Robert Jones
06-07-2004, 09:50 PM
I and a few buddies tested out the Triads. The 2.0 was super powerfull, uncontrolably so. I guess if you have tennis elbo problems the shock dampening system may be good. I can see a market for them for that purpose. Its kind of gimmicky for sure.

I think that the Wilson Triads and the Head rackets with the chip in it are just some of the lamest rackets every made.

Steve Huff
06-08-2004, 04:38 AM
I agree that there is a market for light, powerful rackets. Lot's of seniors just can't generate the arm speed they used to be able to hit strong shots with. They've learned to comensate by using rackets that are a little easier to swing, and ones that don't require a super hard swing to produce a good, powerful shot. Sure, they've given up being able to swing out on the ball--something they gave up the ability to do anyway.

@wright
06-08-2004, 07:16 AM
I know the braided power beam is a new frame, but I think the power beam and pro are basically the same frame made since the 80's, but I suspect they may be lighter and have a slightly different graphite/fiberglass percentage than the originals. Anyone have better info?

Kevin T
06-08-2004, 07:51 AM
Hey Alan,

Actually, Estusa produced the power beam braided with the power beam and power beam pro back in the late 80's/early 90's, with the power beam available in the current red/blue and white/black checkerboard patterns. Of course, just like with his Puma contract, Becker practically bankrupted Estusa and they went bye bye for a few years, until resurfacing in their current form. Estusa made great frames back then, including the Pro Classic series. It's a shame they had such limited distribution.

tarheelbornjohn
06-08-2004, 08:11 AM
Well, I love my new Head Prestige MP. I hit with a ProStaff 6.0 last week while my partner used my Prestige to try out the ALU strings I had in it. He went away liking it and I went away wanting my stick back. I will say that much of that likely was do to strings (his NXT and mine ALU). I did like the 6.0, just not as much. Weight close to each other. One thing that I have found is that the weight of the racquet I have used has always been about 12-12.5oz. I don't go out to find that weight, it is just what I end up with. My current stick is almost identical in weight/ballance/flex to the aluminum head I used back in 1982. I think the 82 head might be a little more flex.

Swan Song
06-08-2004, 09:56 AM
FYI: Prince Graphite was introduced in 1977.

@wright
06-08-2004, 11:37 AM
A verry large duck, the wilson hammer 5.5 spin is the closest they have come to your racquet to end all racquets. It must have been at least 15mm, the beam was as narrow as a bic ball point pen.

BreakPoint
06-08-2004, 11:52 AM
FYI: Prince Graphite was introduced in 1977.

Are you positive? If my memory serves me correctly, I thought the original Prince racquet (aluminum with green plastic throat) was introduced around 1977 and the graphite came quite a few years later. There was also the black aluminum Prince Pro in between. Can anyone else remember?

@wright
06-08-2004, 12:02 PM
Thanks for the info, Kevin. I thought the braided was recently released as a lighter, stiffer power beam. How did Becker practically bankrupt estusa, too much endorsement money?

Kevin T
06-08-2004, 12:44 PM
Yeah, Alan, too much endorsement $$. I remember reading an article about how everyone thought Puma paid way too much for Becker and they just didn't get the return on the investment. Same thing with Estusa. I don't think they were in the greatest financial shape to begin with and they pinned their hopes on Becker, a la Donnay and Agassi. Obviously, it didn't work out that way. The funny thing is, I believe that original Puma Becker Super mould was made by Kneissl. Kneissl is also out of tennis these days. It's a shame.

@wright
06-08-2004, 12:53 PM
I can't think of a mold that has created as many great player's frames as the becker super mold. If kneissl made it, it's a real dissappointment to me that they wouldn't try and modify it for a new racquet. But I really believe that frame design has no disadvantages, so it could just be that they couldn't improve upon it.

Lambro
06-08-2004, 03:49 PM
17mm flat beam, heavy, not stiff, not too flexible.

The POG for a large head or the PS 85.

if you over engineer it, the formula changes, reduce weight, well that would just be stupid, there are some ok hybrids out there but the realy magic was created many years ago. I really like the PK Laver C, the 5g PSE, and the C10 Pro, not much else flips my switch, Tour 90 is basically a PS 85

Discontinuing the PS 85 will be the single most idiotic manuver by a racquet manufacturer.

Ronaldo
06-08-2004, 07:24 PM
Seems most players locally play dubs and really need a racquet to chip and charge, serve and volley. Just played 5hrs of singles and dubs, 6 sets dubs, 1 singles. Just can't imagine using my 6.0 85 for 5 hrs as I did 2 yrs ago. Plus, unlike this group on this board, most are over 50, USTA seniors where there is only doubles played in league tennis. IMHO, some of the very best racquets were made in the mid 90s, Dunlop's Revelations and Prince's Precision line.

Datacipher
06-09-2004, 01:08 PM
A verry large duck, the wilson hammer 5.5 spin is the closest they have come to your racquet to end all racquets. It must have been at least 15mm, the beam was as narrow as a bic ball point pen.

That was one awful frame in my book though Wright. The narrow beam was great, I loved it. But it didn't have enough mass, you'd could WHIP it up the ball, getting huge spin, but it just didn't hit very solid....

Robert Jones
06-09-2004, 01:26 PM
I don't remember seeing any graphite princes in 1977 or 78. The green alu monster came out. and I do remember the pseodo graphite looking black prince pro.

FYI: Prince Graphite was introduced in 1977.

Are you positive? If my memory serves me correctly, I thought the original Prince racquet (aluminum with green plastic throat) was introduced around 1977 and the graphite came quite a few years later. There was also the black aluminum Prince Pro in between. Can anyone else remember?

@wright
06-09-2004, 02:18 PM
I consider the C10 Pro a great racquet behind its time. Apart from the lighter weight, it fits the bill of old graphite racquets very well with the kevlar mixed in. Too bad its latest incarnation seems to have titanium in it.

tschevap
06-09-2004, 02:47 PM
How can you tell, rackets got worse. People still hit the ball quite well and even faster. Touch and control are still there, maybe better than ever before. And even with a PureDrive some players (maybe not you) are able to hit the ball with pinpoint accuracy and great feel! So: who tells us, what is good and what is not?

Besides: when did cars stop getting better? 1899? Sometimes this message board is very weird...

Deuce
06-10-2004, 12:10 AM
Graphite racquets from the 80s were far more comfortable than anything even remotely current. It seems that weight and fiberglass are two of the key ingredients.

Today's racquets don't have anywhere near the feel, touch, and comfort of those oldies.

@wright
06-10-2004, 06:48 AM
The 80's racquets also couldn't be used as a crutch to get better, you actually had to improve your strokes and game to get better results. They were/are also much better on your body. Your chances of getting tennis elbow with a pure drive are far greater than with a boris becker super or POG.

andreh
06-10-2004, 07:01 AM
80s graphite sticks seem to be popular and I agree. They're sweet. I play with the PS 85 but there are many similar wilson sticks from that era that I like too, and have played with.