Kevin Curren-wood racquet in '84?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Moose Malloy, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Just started watching the Wilander-Curren '84 AO final(on grass)

    Was pretty shocked to see that Curren was still using a wood racquet(not the part wood/part graphite larger racquets that were popping up around that time, but a standard, old-school woodie)

    And was shocked that he was serving a ton with it, to me it looked as big as he served in the '85 W final vs Becker with graphite. Wilander had a tough time returning it, even with his graphite racquet.

    I read that Curren served 35 aces vs Connors at the '83 W, I assume he was still using wood then? Anyone know? did he switch back & forth? He could be the most prolific acer of the wood era.

    I know Mac was the last player to win a major with wood('81 US) & I has assumed he was the last to make a final with it('82 W) Its a pretty big gap to have no wood racquets used in major finals, from '82 W until '84 AO. Guess Curren will always have that bit of trivia.

    Was the fact that he still used wood in '84 considered unusual? Looks like no other top players were.
     
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  2. Capt. Willie

    Capt. Willie Professional

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    I believe he used the Wilson Jack Kramer Prostaff.
     
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  3. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    The Curren-Chris Lewis semi at Wim 1983 was a great match, should be somewhere to find on the internet. But i don't remember, if Curren still used pure wood. Dibley and Tanner had huges serves with wood, too. In the late 70s, the wooden rackets had some other material in its structure, often fiberglass.
     
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  4. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    When did Tanner use wood? I have a couple of his matches from '77 & '79, looks like an aluminum/metal racquet.
     
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  5. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Chris Evert was the last player to win a major using a wooden racquet (French 83). The last player to make a final using a wooden racquet was Miloslav Mecir at the 1989 Australian Open.

    Tanner beat Stan Smith at the 1974 US Open while using a wooden racquet. Not 100% sure but it looks like a Kramer. I posted a picture in a recent thread.
     
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  6. LttlElvis

    LttlElvis Professional

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    Tanner used an aluminum racket at the height of his career. The PDP Open. Later switched to Le Coq Sportif.

    Curren was using the Kramer Prostaff when he was acing Connors in '83
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2007
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  7. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    thanks, I just meant the men.

    Some different answers on that in this thread.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=10623&highlight=mecir

    When I think wood racquets, I think of the Kramer, etc, not a mid sized graphite racquet with a wood core.

    Amazing, thanks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2007
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  8. djsiva

    djsiva Banned

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    Are you sure about Mecir's racket? Are you saying it was all wood? Like the Prince woody?
     
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  9. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Not that you care but, Mecir's wooden racquet was reinforced with 1 graphite overlay - that's a hell of a long way from being a graphite racquet. It was then and remains today a wood, not graphite, racquet.
     
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  10. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

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    Im sick of people being shocked by big serves with wood racquets. Its not that hard to hit big with them. TENNIS magazine did a side by side comparison of wood to graphite racquets with Philippoussis serving, the diff was only 5 mph or so.
     
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  11. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Have you played with a wood racquet?

    Curren's 33 ace performance vs Connors in '83 was very unusual, I can find only a few other records of a player that hit that many aces in a match with wood, which is sort of telling, don't you think?

    I was more shocked to see that he was still using wood in '83/'84 when hardly anyone else was on tour at the time, than with how big he was serving.

    And I think its misleading to use Philippoussis(or Curren) as an example of what one is normally capable of with wood racquets. They are among the best servers ever, & are really big, strong guys with great technique. Tennis magazine should have serving experiments with Davydenko or Ferrer to see the drop-off in the effectiveness of small guys with average serves with wood vs graphite.

    Plus serving experiments have no way of replicating how someone hits a 2nd serve, that's where the biggest drop-off is with wood, you can't hit with as much spin. Therefore guys went for less on 1st serves with wood.

    Philippoussis' accuracy did drop with wood, I recall.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2007
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  12. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

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    Yes I have. Its not difficult to hit hard serves with them.

    I did not know Curren used a wood racquet however. Thanks for the info on that.
     
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  13. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    did you play a match with them or just hit with them? what was your 1st serve %?

    2nd serves are where you see the biggest drop-offs.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2007
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  14. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Wait, so are you saying that using a wood racquet was a factor for Chris Evert in '82/'83 but not a factor for Kevin Curran in '83/'84? :confused:
     
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  15. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    One of the big differences is as Moose mentioned.....2nd serves are the big diff between wood and a modern composite. It;s simply much easier to hit an effective 2nd serve with a modern racquet, so you can more confidently bust the 1st
    Additionally, while you can hit first serves with a similar amount of work on them with a wooden racquet, it takes much more out of you physically over the course of the match to do that. it's much easier to serve consistently strong over the course of a match with a modern frame.
    We reconfirm this everytime I do a wood exhibition.
    Hope all is well in Mikeville. Mojo
     
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  16. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Just vs Martina. I'm sure Chris could've beaten the rest of the tour silly for years with wood, but Martina was kinda on another level(have you seen her record in 1983 & 1984? Its like she was playing another sport)

    I think it was wise for Evert to make a change. And you can't really dispute she started faring better vs Martina once she made the switch.

    I generally agree its the player not the racquet, but it can still make a difference at that level.

    And Curren wasn't #2 in the world, not even close, pretty different from Evert's situation.

    Either way Curren did switch in '85 & had the best Wimbledon of his career. Maybe it would have happened regardless of racquet, who knows.
     
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  17. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

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    All's well, thanks for asking! Heading back to icy Kansas in a few days. To be honest I dont remember my 2nd serve percentage or even what they were like. I just remember being able to hit flat bombs that went in perfectly straight and beating a guy 2 & 2 with the thing. The mass was great for flat serves. I also enjoyed the low power level allowing Fernando Gonzalez-like swings on the FH and keeping it in by a yard. The guy I played actually smashed his Babolat Pure Control into pieces, I guess he didnt enjoy it as much as I did.
     
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  18. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    All I remember is that I used to hit tons of aces every match with my Dunlop Maxply Fort woodie in high school, but now I hit far fewer aces with any modern graphite racquet that I use and I honestly don't think my serve has gotten any worse. But, yeah, I used to be able to crank my first serves with plenty of pace and placement with a wood racquet. Of course, the biggest difference is that my opponents can return my serves much better now with modern graphite racquets than they could with wood racquets, which probably is the real reason why I hit fewer aces and service winners today than I did with a wood racquet.
     
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  19. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    At Wimbledon, the record for aces with a wooden racket may be 44 by Brit John Feaver in a match with John Newcombe in the late 60s. Feaver was never a factor on the tour. His countryman Mike Sangster, called The Server, was widely seen as the hardest server of the 60s. But i have no stats on his ace ratings.
     
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  20. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Interestingly enough, I saw a picture of Tanner using a wood frame...it was the Wilson Stan Smith Auto... :)

    It is indeed correct that the biggest differnce serving with a wood frame versus a graphite mid - mid+ - OS frame is the second serve. The whole reason you reigned in your first serve was the second serve had such a smaller margin of error. Today's frames allow you to take a fuller cut at the ball on the second serve with greater confidence. This was just not true of standard sized frames.

    A few years ago, when I played a whole year + with the Head Vilas, folks were really shocked that I could hit a 1st serve as hard as I could. It was really neat to hit a heavy first serve and have the ball still going up when it hit the fence. Problem came when you were a bit off. If your first serve wasn't clicking, the second serve was certainly more of a dicey proposition. The sheer lack of head size dictated a whole different set of tactics when playing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2007
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  21. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    I guess it was like the Prince Woodie, but that was a wood composite racquet, not purely wood.

    On another note, it occurred to me that the last woman (I realise we've been talking about the men) to reach the final of major using a wooden racquet wasn't, as I had thought, Chris Evert at the 83 French but Kathy Jordan at the 83 Australian Open. Using what I remember to be a Kramer, she lost to Martina in straight sets.

    Lastly, in case anyone is interested, here's that picture of Roscoe Tanner playing with a Wilson wood (not sure which model).

    http://www.autographedtoyou.com/celebpics/roscoe_tanner4.jpg
     
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  22. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    That looks like a Jack Kramer Autograph that Tanner is using. I've also seen other pics of Tanner holding a JK Auto as well.

    Also, if memory serves me correctly, Kathy Jordan used a Jack Kramer Pro Staff (same model that McEnroe used).
     
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  23. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Yes, it was the Kramer Pro staff and always, if your recall, with green gauze tape.
     
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