Everything I wanted to know about Lendl's "sawdust" routine but was afraid to ask:

Discussion in 'Pros' Racquets and Gear' started by MAXXply, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. MAXXply

    MAXXply Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,625
    Location:
    Sydney
    This was my understanding just from seeing it on TV:

    -Lendl's leather grip gets sweaty, so he reaches into his pocket and grabs a handful of sawdust.
    -He rubs it up and down the handle so the sawdust absorbs the moisture and dries it out
    -He thoroughly rubs the sawdust off the handle, motioning up and down many times so the dust is fully removed.

    -Was it specially prepared, extra-fine sawdust sourced from Bosworth and made to Boz's specs?
    -How did it not leak through his pockets or fall out during play?
    -Wouldn't the residue on his palm interfere somewhat during grip changes and strokeplay?
    -Was the sawdust cleaned up after every change of ends? (hardcourts/indoors)
    -Did players and officials ever take issue with it? (hardcourts/indoors)
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
    #1
  2. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Messages:
    8,846
    I do remember they had to clean it up sometimes. But, I only ever saw them do it near the baseline, where he stood to serve. Don't know if there was ever an instance were there was enough somewhere else on the court to warrant a clean-up.
     
    #2
  3. ALEJOVAL

    ALEJOVAL Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    226
    #3
  4. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    he then would kick his shoes...and grasp a few eye hair...
     
    #4
  5. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    7,437
    Didn't he also use a suede grip and not normal leather?
     
    #5
  6. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    1,896
    Back in the days when players used leather grips it was standard that the tournament had a container of sawdust either on the umpire's stand or somewhere near it for the players to use. Bozworth was not in the sawdust business.
     
    #6
  7. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,576
    Location:
    at the bottom of every hill I come to
    Yeah, a few years ago, TW had some Bosworth Lendl Adidas GTS Pros. I bought two real quick. I gave one to a friend of mine. They have suede grips on them.
     
    #7
  8. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Messages:
    1,840
    i thought he switched to some brightly colored synthetic grips in the late 80s? did he switch back to suede later on?
     
    #8
  9. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,617
    I recall other players complaining about the sawdust on the baseline after a changeover. I suspect he regarded that as a bonus reason for keeping his grip dry that way.
     
    #9
  10. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Messages:
    2,268
    Yup. Here's a little quote I dug up in which Pat Cash (somewhat fondly) recalls his displeasure with Lendl's sawdust. Ivan acknowledges he was aware it was annoying for the other players. Ivan had an obsession for towels too. If there was a towel out of place anywhere within his line of vision, he'd yell at a ball boy to remove it. I think maybe these two idiosyncrasies were expressions of the same need to feel in control of the environment.

    [..]

    Quote :

    CASH: If we had a time machine and go back a little bit--

    LENDL: You have one?

    CASH: No, I don't have one. I am working on it.

    LENDL: So then I could start my career again in golf, so I don't ever have to give up.

    CASH: That is true. But you had a pretty good career in tennis. We played a couple of matches together and I was surprised at how hard you hit the ball. I think you hit the ball in some shots a lot harder than I ever seemed to play.

    LENDL: I work out more. I have these golf exercises that I do (ph)

    CASH: Really?

    LENDL: Yes, my shoulder is a lot stronger than before.

    CASH: And if you had to go back and play me again in the Wimbledon final, what would you do? Is there anything you would do differently?

    LENDL: I don't know that I could. It was always a very difficult time of the year for me. I was many times close to tears thinking I would pack up the bags and leave during the two weeks before Wimbledon after the French, because it was such a difficult transition for me. In those days I had to serve and volley because of the movement on the grass was so difficult for me, I want a natural mover.

    CASH: One thing I noticed was, wow, this is a really slippery court.

    LENDL: I did not notice that. I was used to slipping because I used to throw sawdust on the court.

    CASH: Yes, you did all the time, I wanted to say, Excuse me, can you come and clean this off. I don't know if that annoyed you more.

    LENDL: Well what annoyed you was I would reach in the bag and throw some more.

    CASH: You would do that. It's amazing we ever finished a match.
    By the way, it is really good seeing you.

    LENDL: I am glad you had a good time in Czech Republic, maybe we can play together one day.

    CASH: That would be fun. Thanks for your time, cheers.

    -- CNN Transcripts, Aired June 28 2012
    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1206/28/oc.01.html

    [..]
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
    #10
  11. RNEast

    RNEast New User

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Messages:
    65
    Thank goodness no one uses sawdust any more. Imagine if tennis manufacturers started selling it the way they do strings. We'd have several "gauges" of sawdust, different wood types, hybrid packets of sawdust...

    We'd have threads asking what the best sawdust is for a beginning player, how often should I change my sawdust, how long can I store my sawdust before it goes bad, and which top players are getting new sawdust contracts. We'd probably even see one that said "Player A" has never been the same since he changed from pine to hickory.

    Thank goodness science finally went high-tech and invented the towel.
     
    #11
  12. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,536
    Location:
    New England
    It would be tough to pj. "He's using blacked out sawdust, lowes is gonna tear his contract up!"
     
    #12
  13. MAXXply

    MAXXply Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,625
    Location:
    Sydney
    ...Not to mention the ongoing debate about Made in China clear-felling sawdust vs sustainably forested Austrian shavings.

    But really I'm waiting for the day Nike releases a Dri-Fit hand towel designed to be tucked into the front of one's shorts. You know, like the players used in the 70s and 80s. The kids will go wild for that and they will sell like crazy, with Rog and Rafa's logos on them.
     
    #13
  14. The Isomotion31

    The Isomotion31 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    483
    Location:
    The Bay Area, California
    ^^^or market some sort of super tennis shorts with a RF logo on it. sell it for like $80. Because in the pockets are a new dri-fit material where you can wipe your hands inside your pocket.
     
    #14
  15. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,267
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    this is funny, true.

    at least he didn't pick his arse then sniff his fingers.
     
    #15
  16. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,536
    Location:
    New England
    I used to have adidas shorts with a similar idea anyway. It bothered me oddly enough.
     
    #16
  17. jelle v

    jelle v Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,978
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    This post cracked me up! Thanx! :mrgreen:
     
    #17
  18. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,617
    Surprisingly fondly! From some of the things I've heard those two (well, Cash at least) say, and given how little either strikes me as tolerant and forgiving, I would not have imagined them sitting down together. Time reveals our grudges for the pettiness they always were, I guess.

    Agreed. Remember when Mecir made fun of him for it during a match?
     
    #18
  19. dje31

    dje31 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    767
    That interview between Cash & Lendl shows the subtle, dry humor side of Lendl that lots of folks don't know, didn't see, or realize. Made me chuckle.

    BTW, suede is just the rough side of a leather hide / grip. Most folks use the smooth side out. I tried the suede side years ago, and haven't looked back. I scoff at your overgrips and synthetics that wear out in three hours ( or less ) !
     
    #19
  20. Lefty78

    Lefty78 Professional

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    Messages:
    940
    Location:
    Florida
    ^Bosowrth used to have those grips custom made for Lendl. They don't have a smooth side.
     
    #20
  21. dje31

    dje31 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    767
    That may be true...I got one of the Bosworth GTX Pros from TW way back when, and it's suede side out, but definitely leather. I never unwrapped it to confirm.

    But it's still just the rough side of leather. Maybe they have the smooth side roughed up as well, in case they wanted to re-wrap it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suede

    I love Wikipedia, even if there are questionable submissions and data there. But I think this one's spot-on.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
    #21
  22. dje31

    dje31 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    767
    Somewhat contradicting myself, but from Wiki:

    Split leather is leather created from the fibrous part of the hide left once the top-grain of the rawhide has been separated from the hide. During the splitting operation, the top-grain and drop split are separated. The drop split can be further split (thickness allowing) into a middle split and a flesh split. In very thick hides, the middle split can be separated into multiple layers until the thickness prevents further splitting. Split leather then has an artificial layer applied to the surface of the split and is embossed with a leather grain (bycast leather). Splits are also used to create suede. The strongest suedes are usually made from grain splits (that have the grain completely removed) or from the flesh split that has been shaved to the correct thickness. Suede is "fuzzy" on both sides. Manufacturers use a variety of techniques to make suede from full-grain. A reversed suede is a grained leather that has been designed into the leather article with the grain facing away from the visible surface. It is not considered to be a true form of suede.[3]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leather

    So, to some extent, Lefty, we're both right.
     
    #22
  23. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Messages:
    1,840
    i remember hearing lendls grip was pigskin suede
     
    #23
  24. raphMODE

    raphMODE Professional

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,224
    Location:
    France
    You're right :)
    I can even hear people saying "Federer needs some bigger sawdust" !
     
    #24

Share This Page