A pro+wooden racquet VS 5.0 + modern racquet?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Rozroz, Jun 9, 2013.

  1. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    i'm interested in speculating who'll have the edge :)
    after a proper warm up of course.
    what do you say? is 5.0 enough for an upset? or should it be higher?
     
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  2. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    Think you're overestimating the effect of equipment. Ask yourself this question, could a 5.0 even get a point off of a prime Borg playing with a wooden racquet? Maybe they can hold a service game if they are the upward moving Karlovic of 5.0, and Borg wasn't bothering to return wide serves, and the stars aligned, but they will still lose the match with a very one sided score.

    I own a slightly warped wooden racquet, and I sometimes use it for a laugh. I will lose to people I can normally beat in a close match, but I stay within roughly the skill level - players I dominate, I still dominate. The biggest problem is that my kick serve becomes impossible, which is a pain as it is my most effective shot.

    One of the top 4 would still probably be in the top 100 (or higher) playing with a wooden racquet, and the top 20 would still be in the top 200. Hell, 54 year old McEnroe could win in straight games against any 5.0 using one of his old racquets, never mind a current pro.
     
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  3. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    A top pro with a wood racket would beat a Futures player using a regular racket. (Assuming he had some time to practice with it) Using it will cut down on the margin of error due to smaller racket head size and less availability of spin. Someone with a big serve like Isner may actually lose very little in his game. In a long grinding clay match, the slightly higher percentage of unforced errors would make a much larger difference.
    Going from wood to graphite (really more about changing head sizes and string technology) changed the optimal percentages in how the game is played.
     
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  4. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    a tend to agree with the above responses, however, in reality this remains to be seen (also if we include wood/gut VS modern/poly)
     
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  5. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Pro would crush IMHO. Racquets are overhyped by the media I think.. A racquet switch like that could destroy the rankings and make say Federer struggle on tour and catapault low ranks pros like Donald Young..

    But 5.0 to 7.0. That's just a GIGANTIC difference..
     
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  6. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    i'm not so sure it's that simple.
    can you just take your PRO technique and use it on a wood stick?
    no you can't. a modern strokes pro will have to make huge adjustments to play a decent game IMO.
     
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  7. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I realize you're just trolling, but this is much sillier than even the infamous 5.0 versus woman 7.0 thread.

    A pro wouldn't get as much spin with modern technique and a wooden stick, but he would still easily bagel a 5.0. Borg and other players in the 70s and early 80s were hitting topspin shots with wooden sticks. Even Nadal, with his extreme swings, would have a trivial time. On serve, the pro could still hit 120-130mph easily on first serve, though the action on the 2nd would be reduced a little.

    In short, stupid question.
     
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  8. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    wow, thanks for the nice polite reply.
    no, i may be naive but i wasn't trolling.
     
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  9. hawk eye

    hawk eye Hall of Fame

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    And still, loads of rec players switch every month from all kinds of Bablobats to all kinds of Dunlobs and so on, and want to believe it makes a difference..
     
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  10. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    all you are saying sounds true but pretty theoretical.
    legend pros themselves saying the game should go back to petit sweetspots and gut, because technology changed the game.

    so maybe not a 5.0, but still, seeing this experiment for real will be very interesting.
     
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  11. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Gut strings in a wood racket would give essentially the same amount of ball velocity as poly in a graphite racket. Ease of producing spin would be the major difference. A top pro with a bit of practice would have no problem controlling the ball. Remember, there was a time when both graphite and wood rackets were used by pros in the 70's. Graphite rackets gradually took over, but it didn't really change how people played or who were the top players. When a lower-ranked player changed to graphite, it didn't cause him to quickly rise in the rankings. The poly strings make more of a difference in how the game is played but, once again, it didn't make a big difference in the rankings when particular pros switched to poly.

    Spaghetti strings were banned when unknown players - who were still touring pros - started beating the top players. Nothing like that happens with wood vs. graphite.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
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  12. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    OK, I apologize. Perhaps I was confusing you with someone else who constantly trolls.

    You are correct that modern rackets and modern string make it easier to hit big topspin. There is a difference and it is important. However, it is not nearly a big enough difference to make a 5.0 competitive with a 7.0.

    I played with a wood racket a little when I first played in the 1980s. For a short period of time, you had people playing with the black POG and others playing against them with wood rackets. Shanking is easier with a wood racket, but it is still possible to generate a fair amount of spin. Blasting a hard flat shot is quite doable with a wood racket, especially on the serve.

    I think if you play both wood and modern rackets you'll get a feel for the difference.
     
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  13. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    ok. now we are all clear about this.
    what i still don't get is the slow swing the retro pros made with the wood sticks VS todays super fast swings. how could this be done with a wooden stick?
     
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  14. BevelDevil

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    Yeah, if modern pros could effectively use their modern technique on a wooden racket then why didn't old-time pros also use those types of strokes? Why are Nadal's and Federer's forehands so radically different from those in the wooden-racket era?

    Also, didn't Nadal himself say he couldn't hit with a wooden racket?
     
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  15. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    There are always these threads with weekend hackers trying to conjure up some machination to say that they can beat a pro player. Moving on. . .
     
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  16. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Here's a video of Borg for those of you who haven't watched him play much. He was considered a topspin guy, but he wasn't the only one.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg2gzBR9Klg

    You can hit modern style swings with the old rackets, it just isn't as easy to do and you have to have better control not to shank because the wood heads were so much more narrow. A guy like Federer would have no trouble at all getting sweet-spot with a wooden frame and he'd work any 5.0.

    Here's another comparison.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKF1K1BdXG8
     
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  17. jackcrawford

    jackcrawford Professional

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    #17
  18. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    This is quite believable, but doesn't really get at the heart of the question the OP was trying to ask. Sampras is quite comfortable playing a S&V type game, and a wood racket is still good for playing S&V. I'd argue that McEnroe for instance would easily work a 5.0 using a wood racket today.

    The adjustment would be a little greater for someone like Nadal who is used to taking a huge cut using a wide stiff racket. Borg had similar or at least proto-Nadal type strokes in the early 1970s using a wood racket. I don't see any reason Nadal couldn't hit a little bit more like Borg. The modern composite rackets and poly string has meant more spin, but the modern strokes could be adapted to the heavier wooden rackets. Especially if they were balanced to be more headlight.
     
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  19. JW10S

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    A player who played on a national 4.5 or 5.0 USTA team (I forget) bet me $200 I could not beat him using a 65" wood racquet--I won. He then bet me double or nothing I couldn't beat him using a T2000--I did. He then bet me $500 I could not beat him using a Big Bubba--I did. None of the racquets were mine or had my usual grip size or strings. The guy doesn't seem to want to bet me anymore...
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
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  20. Mike Bulgakov

    Mike Bulgakov Semi-Pro

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    ..........
     
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  21. NLBwell

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    Bobby Riggs made a living for many years betting guys like that. He'd play wearing a raincoat and galoshes, with chairs on his side of the court, and most any other handicap anyone could think of.
     
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  22. TomT

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    How old are you? I've seen guys like Connors, McEnroe, Laver, Rosewall, Newcombe, Nastase, Ashe, Amritraj, Chris Evert, etc. ect. play ... up close. Back in the 60s, and 70s. In my humble opinion, there's absolutely no way that a current 5.0, using whatever, would threaten a current pro, using whatever. Unless you've actually seen the players, and their ilk, that I mention above play in person, then you really can't have any idea of just how good they were with their wooden racquets. Those people, and many others, played amazing tennis with wooden racquets. Their level of play is so far above the current 5.0 level with modern equipment that it's pretty much incalculable. Bottom line, the pro wins every time ... easily.

    Those top level pro players, using wooden racquets, hit shot after shot much more precisely and consistently harder than any 5.0 level player is capable of ... even with modern equipment.

    I first learned how to play back in 75-76. I think that the average level of rec play, with wooden racquets, was maybe a little bit higher then than it is now. At least where I played ... in Fort Lauderdale.

    Just my two cents.
     
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  23. TomT

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  24. BevelDevil

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    Definitely some pros would adjust to wood easier than others. As mentioned above, big servers would have a relatively easy transition. Also, players who hit more flat and/or who have compact strokes would adjust well.

    Someone like Sampras would adjust way more easily than Fedal (of course, Sampras grew up using wood).

    Of the Big 4, I think Murray would play the best with wood, and Nadal the worst, mainly because of his big forehand.

    I also think the "ATP" style forehand stroke in general would tend to have a tougher time compared with the "WTA" stroke, which suggests women pros would adjust to wood more easily, all else being equal.


    Probably not. So they decide to ask a question here to get some answers and (hopefully) civil discussion.


    I think you're missing the OP's point. You're citing players who built their games/strokes around using a wooden racket. Of course they would do well with wood.

    What OP was basically asking is, "What if we get guys who grew up playing with modern rackets and forced them to play with antiquated, wooden rackets after only 'warming up' with it for a bit?"

    Perhaps its just a way of asking whether modern strokes (especially on the forehand side) are compatible with wood.
     
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  25. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    very interesting read. i saw many retro videos lately and i am far more impressed with the wood racket tactics.

    but i always thought they HAD to play tactics because they could not make those insane speed strokes.

    so as stated above, that's what i was asking (What if we get guys who grew up playing with modern rackets and forced them to play with antiquated, wooden rackets after only 'warming up' with it for a bit?).

    i found it hard to believe that the "wooden game limitations" would so easily be learned by a modern pro on the spot (perhapes not including Federer), so i suggested a 5.0. could be 5.5, or even 6.0 for that matter.

    you all put on a valid explanation so i cannot argue with that.
    but why does Navartilova and Mac saying it's a different game today BECAUSE of the technology? cannot argue with them...
     
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  26. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I stand corrected. Ok then, the above situation is a much tougher call, but I'd still go with the modern pro who is using a wooden racquet for perhaps the first time in competition over a 5.0 using any sort of current racquet. The pro's game and strokes are that much better, that much more solid and consistent, than a 5.0, imo.

    The more severe topspinners might have a more difficult adjustment, but I think they'd be able to do it. Look at guys like Borg, Vilas, et al. who were hitting some pretty severe topspin back in the wooden days. Not as severe as today of course, but they milked the technology of their day for all the topspin it could produce, which, if you see it up close, is pretty awesome. A guy like Nadal is smart enough and talented enough to adjust fairly quickly to the limitations of the technology of the 60s and 70s, imo.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013
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  27. RetroSpin

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    A 5.0 is not going to have the weapons to challenge an ATP pro, even if the pro is using a sawed off broom handle. It's not like the pro is going to have to dominate another pro while using outdated equipment. All he has to do is return a 5.0's shots. Those shots might seem pretty awesome to you, but they will be largely sitters for a pro.
     
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  28. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    James Blake beat his trainer 6-1 using a Frying pan as a racquet. I would imagine his trainer is at least a 5.0:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=319618

    If the pro wins the match against the Recreational player, with objects which are not even racquets, then they will win easily with a slightly outdated technology.
     
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  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    "trainer" could be a 3.0.
    A coach should be at least 4.5.
    A hitting partner maybe 5.5+
    Blake's lawyer is probably a 3.0.
     
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  30. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    GOOD ONE ;)
     
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  31. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    I don't know what level you're at, but let's say you're a 4.0 for this example.

    Find a 2.0 and hand them the best racket, shoes, wristbands, whatever that money can buy, and you use a wooden racket from the dime store back in the 60's, and wear some Converse All Stars.

    I would expect you to win 0, 0, and 0 and very possibly play a golden set.

    I don't see much difference as to how one sided each of these results would be in favor of the higher rated players. Do you?
     
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  32. President

    President Legend

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    Lol..I would hope a top 10 players coach would be a little better than 4.5....
     
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  33. RetroSpin

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    He could be old. Maybe a tour pro in his day but old now.
     
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  34. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    not sure it's quite the same. a 2.0 had NOTHING to offer whatsoever.
    a 5.0 has some tools and maybe enough power to give back something.
    (i take back the 5.0 though. let's say 5.5, ok?)
     
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  35. GuyClinch

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    I'd argue that the gap is bigger not smaller between the NTRPs as you go up. Your theory is that because the 5.0 is better he is closer to the 7.0. But its just not true.

    The 7.0 just does EVERYTHING so much better. Better footwork, better anticipation, better endurance, better fitness, better mental understanding etc.
     
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  36. Harry_Wild

    Harry_Wild Professional

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    Touring Pro like a Roger Federer using a wooden racket would win in goose eggs against all 5.0 using a modern racket of any sort!
     
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  37. rony67

    rony67 New User

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    4-5 years ago, on my way home from work, cycling through the local park, I did see a former world no 1 and a former world top 10 player practising with old wooden racquets. I was late for dinner so I did not have time to stay and watch them for long, but I can say they handled the old racquets in a very, very impressing way. Myself being the equivalent to an 4.5 would not get a single point from either of them, that's for sure...
     
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  38. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    what do you mean? former as in wood racket era? or former from current era? big difference..
     
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  39. rony67

    rony67 New User

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    Former from recent era, Late 80's and 90's.
     
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  40. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    Similar experience. A few years ago, on my way home from work I stopped by
    the local park to try and play some pickup tennis, but the courts were full.
    I saw a former ATP multiple GS winner playing a 5.0 with a modern racquet.
    On the next court over, there was a top 20 WTA player playing a
    5.0 as well. On court 3, there was a current d1 woman playing a male 4.0.
    Court 4: former wood era #1 who was still in good condition, playing a
    recent top 10 player. Both using wood racquets.

    I wish I could have stayed to watch longer than 5 minutes because the
    points were pretty interesting, but I didn't want to miss the new
    episode of big bang theory.

    If there is any interest, I'll post my observations.

     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013
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  41. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    is there a reason you don't say the names??
     
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  42. rony67

    rony67 New User

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    Not really. I just tried to contribute to the discussion with my observation. I did not think the names were that important. Sorry. It was Edberg & Larsson. It is the only time I have seen them play with wooden racquets. I have no idea why they used them. The power generated and, especially, the placement of the balls were very impressive.
     
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  43. shazbot

    shazbot Semi-Pro

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    Few months ago I saw a few unicorns playing tennis with wooden racquets, didn't bother to stop though. Didn't want to interrupt their match.
     
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  44. BevelDevil

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    Edberg used a continental grip. I would expect him to hit well with wood, and he may have grown up using it. Sampras is younger than Edberg and he grew up using wood.


    Sure, who were they and what was it like?
     
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  45. Avles

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    People are casting doubt on your story and it does sound incredible-- but somehow it seems like Sweden is the kind of place where something like this might happen.

    The best players I've ever just randomly seen at a public park were about 5.5 level I think (looked one of them up based on his college t-shirt and saw that he played D1).
     
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  46. Baxter

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    It could happen in Sweden. The only Swede I know has hosted Borg in his house. The tennis world is pretty small there.
     
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  47. DoctorBackhand

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  48. rkelley

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    If the pro is playing with their non-dominant hand (and is not named Nadal, Sharapova, or Jensen) and hopping on one foot, then I think the 5.0 has a chance. Otherwise no, the 5.0 loses in bagels.

    Seriously, have you watched the US Open that's on right now? The shots these people hit on a routine basis are just freakin' amazing. I hit with 5.0 players and I see and experience some pretty solid shots, but the pros are just so many levels higher it's not funny. A wood racquet is not enough of a handicap.
     
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  49. Doctor of Tennis

    Doctor of Tennis Rookie

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    Easy answer. I read in a thread on this forum that Todd Martin beat a D1 player using a a wooden racket, so there's your real world evidence. The pro with wooden racket would destroy any 5.0.
     
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  50. Tennisean

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    Modern stroke dynamics are more of a factor than modern rackets.
     
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