Laver quote from The Sunday Times....

Discussion in 'Pros' Racquets and Gear' started by chess9, Feb 4, 2007.

?

Rod Laver is....

Poll closed Feb 19, 2007.
  1. Too full of himself.

    9 vote(s)
    13.4%
  2. Dead wrong about wood "rackets" bringing out the skill.

    5 vote(s)
    7.5%
  3. A bloody genius.

    28 vote(s)
    41.8%
  4. Delusional if he thinks Roger will play with wood.

    25 vote(s)
    37.3%
  1. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    "I'd love Roger to play with a wooden racket. It brings the skill out."

    Ah, the Rocket thinks wood is good....

    Is Laver too full of himself?
    Delusional if he thinks Roger will play with wood?
    A bloody genius?
    Dead wrong?

    Don't be shy, but please be nice. :)

    -Robert
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2007
    #1
  2. Nick Irons

    Nick Irons Semi-Pro

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    I think his point is simply that the modern game is mostly about power.

    (The tour needs to restrict the racquet technology similiar to the way the PGA does.)

    Another thread.
     
    #2
  3. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Oh, I agree, Nick.

    -Robert
     
    #3
  4. mwitiiram

    mwitiiram Rookie

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    i was reading another tw thread about this power thing yesterday. yes its about power, but the skill is also needed. Anyone can swing to the moon but to be able to swing to the moon AND create angles, consistency, etc that takes a pro.
     
    #4
  5. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    If Roger played with wood, yeah, it would bring the skill out. But he would lose a lot of matches.
    If everyone else played with wood, too, Roger would have already won Roland Garros twice, I think. Two calendar Grand Slams. And counting.
     
    #5
  6. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Roger could play with a coffee can lid and "bring the skill out." :) His win over Gonzales has me dazzled....

    -Robert
     
    #6
  7. johncauthen

    johncauthen Semi-Pro

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    Gonzalez would have won the Final if he played with a high tech racquet, and Sharapova would have won if she could have played with a properly set up high tech racquet. They are already controlling the technology and determining who wins.

    Roddick or Safin would have won and overpowered the court, so that the game doesn't even work, if they had been allowed to have properly set up high tech racquets.

    If we used 1920's wood racquets, Safin or Roddick would have won by hitting cold winners time after time.
     
    #7
  8. jackcrawford

    jackcrawford Professional

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    In a fantasy time machine match, it's always a question of to bring the older star forward or the newer one back, and giving the mover a few weeks to adapt to the equipment. I think Laver just fancies his chances better in the latter scenario.
     
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  9. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    WOW! Those are some strong words about the importance of stringing and tensions to the game of tennis. I may not feel as strongly as you do, but I think you are definitely close to the truth. Also, Sharapova did not show up at the AO. She was either intimidated by Serena or she wasn't feeling well. I'm not sure how much difference the racquet made. Regarding Gonzo, I think he poured so much into the first set that he had nothing left after. Federer has played at the top for quite awhile, while Gonzo has been near the top but drifting until recently. Gonzo also doesn't seem to have the endurance of Federer, passing the issue of ability. But, you seem to be saying that if Gonzo had something like an SW2 setup, strung low, he might have had a better chance? Interesting stuff from a guy with your credentials.....

    -Robert
     
    #9
  10. AJK1

    AJK1 Hall of Fame

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    According to "Technical Tennis" modern racquets are only about 2% more powerful than wood racquets. So where does this myth come from?
     
    #10
  11. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

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    It has nothing to do with the inherent power of the racket, and everything to do with the size of the head and the string set-up. Big modern rackets make it far, far easier to hit with topspin than in the past, meaning you can hit with more power and still keep the ball under control. Of course, Bill Johnston was hitting with bucket-loads of topspin in the 1920s and earlier, so it was always possible, just took a lot more skill to do so. And those who weren't hitting with topspin, like Ellsworth Vines, needed to have absolutely minimal net clearance every time, hence their more erratic play. Laver is 100% correct that wooden rackets bring the skill out, in that they reward good form more and bad form less, whereas the modern technology is much more forgiving. Federer, of course, would be even farther ahead of the current field than he is now if they all used wooden rackets. Then again, if the current crop of players had grown up using wood, they'd be a lot more technically skilled, rather than just banging the ball back and forth the way that they do. Sampras had it right, I believe, that everyone should grow up using wood; I even think McEnroe has a point, that pro tennis should only be played with wood. Certainly, today's players would be better than they are, and more like the players of Laver's generation and before.
     
    #11
  12. Jet Rink

    Jet Rink Semi-Pro

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    Gnosis - you are a gentleman and a scholar. I'm teaching my kids with wood racquets for exactly the reasons you outline here and I concur mightily (and have done so probably too many times here before) that pros should use a standardized wood racquet. It works in MLB, why not in pro tennis?

    I know, I know... here it comes.

    Jet
     
    #12
  13. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    2% is a HUGE difference at the top of any sport. If I won an Olympic Gold Medal in the 100 meter breast and beat the second place swimmer by more than 1%-about .55 seconds or so it would be very unusual. Ditto for most running races at the top.

    In pro tennis, where, say, a few topspin forehand cross-courts at a crucial time might make the difference between winning and losing, then 2% is an enormous number, or so it seems.

    Am I wrong here? My understanding of the technical issues is far from perfect, so I have an open mind.

    -Robert
     
    #13
  14. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Kids might benefit from a smaller headed, head light racquet in the 11-13 oz range. I'm not sure it has to be wood. But, I'd like to hear from the top coaches on this issue. Guys like Yandell, Bolletieri (he'd probably oppose it), Van der meer, etc.

    Have the lighter, bigger, more powerful racquets brought more kids into tennis? Actually, I don't think that's the case. The 70's were huge for tennis, but now you have to watch the AO at 2 a.m. in the States. American tennis is not on the ropes, but we aren't experiencing a Renaissance. Neither is Australia or England, two of the historically strong tennis powers. Of course, you can't be 300 lbs and play tennis, and all three countries are facing varying degrees of fitness erosion.

    My personal view is that kids enjoy a challenge just as much as adults do, so they might benefit from both the old technology and the new, integrated into a comprehensive training program. You want them disciplined enough to be able to hit with a small racquet head, but they need to compete with the best modern equipment, especially strings.

    -Robert
     
    #14
  15. johncauthen

    johncauthen Semi-Pro

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    Laver’s racquets had weight centered around the shoulders. That type of balance meant that he had to swing the racquet back, wait for it to gather itself, then swing it forward without letting it get out of sync with his body. You can see the 50’s and 60’s players doing that. They played tennis in slow motion. That was the insider secret to world class tennis: don’t do anything too fast: don’t just rip.

    When racquets got better, the Prince Pro was the first, its balance was still centered around the stringbridge, but the stringbridge was low and the racquet was faster. It almost had an immediate response, which caused traditional players to say the game was losing its class because you could just go out there and rip.

    Every other racquet was engineered to feel like the Prince Pro. Traditionalists have hated the Prince Pro. Everybody else loved it and tennis boomed. Becker’s racquet happened to be the best Prince Pro clone.

    But lately, traditionalists have fought back. They are making racquets with the weight centered higher in the frame, more like the racquets Laver played with. Those racquets slow you down. We could go back to playing tennis in slow motion, never letting our bodies exceed the speed of the racquet, which was the secret to classy and successful tennis in Laver’s time. That tennis required a certain discipline but was less athletic.

    It was classy, but Federer and Gonzalez have just showed us what the highest version of modern racquets can produce. How did Gonzalez get this racquet balance? Because Gonzalez’s game was in serious trouble. He was almost ready to quit tennis in the early rounds of the Australian. He was down on himself, and he has an influential coach, so his coach apparently got him some of the best state of the art racquets Babolat could produce.

    The state of the art was no longer exclusive. Six-out-of-eight doubles semifinalist used the same racquet at the Masters. The doubles was spectacular. Federer came to the Australian with that racquet in perfect tune and played amazing tennis. Somehow, Gonzalez through his influential coach got this racquet balance technology. In two matches after he wanted to quit tennis altogether, Gonzalez had 65 winners and 5 errors.

    In the Final neither Federer nor Gonzalez played well. That was probably because the traditionalists want to go back to 1950’s balance and they were actually offended by the tennis Federer and Gonzalez were playing. Traditional tennis is where you conform to the speed of the racquet. Gonzalez and Federer were both playing intuitive tennis, where you move the racquet as fast as your body could move. The tennis was inspirational. Tennis had achieved the pure athleticism of other sports.

    It only lasted until the Semifinals of the Australian. That tennis was not seen in Chile yesterday as Gonzalez lost early. Nor at Delray Beach where Blake had the same racquet he used at the Australian, but it wasn’t at the level of Gonzalez’s racquet when Gonzalez beat him.

    There is now another side to the “racquets are ruining tennis argument”. We’ve seen what perfect racquets can produce. They make tennis inspiring, which makes us think perfect racquets might be just what tennis needs.

    Meanwhile, there is a war between racquet philosophies. Prince is slowly turning Sharapova’s racquet into Laver’s racquet balance. But Wilson decided on that occasion to give Serena the best racquet they could make. Sharapova got 3 games.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2007
    #15
  16. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    What was Serena's racquet John, and how was it weighted? Any idea?
    You certainly are thinking out of the box. I'm going to have to read that several times to understand your point of view. :)

    -Robert
     
    #16
  17. jorel

    jorel Hall of Fame

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    its always possible for Roger to play with a wooden racquet in some type of exhibition. if he wants to or not is another question, i heard a while back that courier and sampras played a throwback match where both of them used wood racquet spec;d out to their current frame and both of them were still destroying their groundstrokes
     
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  18. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    John are you adding weight to the handle just above your grip? Added 2-2.5 oz to a pr of PK racquets, amazed by the improvement.
     
    #18
  19. jackcrawford

    jackcrawford Professional

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    Check out pgs 132-133 of Technical Tennis - modern racquets can put four times, or 400 %, as much topspin on the ball, leading to much faster swings because the topspin will bring the ball down into the court. A ball that can be hit totally flat like an overhead on top of the net is where the 2% figure would come in.
     
    #19
  20. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, Jack. I have the book upstairs, but haven't read it recently. I'll look at it tonight before I go to bed. Regardless, I think you are right on about that. I hit with my Jack Kramer woodie occasionally and only get modest amounts of topspin with it compared to my huge and modern RDS001 mid strung with gut and SPP HEX.

    -Robert
     
    #20
  21. alwaysatnet

    alwaysatnet Semi-Pro

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    This is the heighth of insanity and only an absolute moron would claim that Gonzalez could've beaten quite probably the greatest player of all time if ony he had another racquet. I realize this poster is notorius for his convoluted rants and conspiracy theories but really,only an absolute lunatic thinks that the difference in the straight set win in Australia for Fed could have been off set by a different racquet.I try not to get angry but it's hopeless. Only a fool believes that the difference between the two players was a tennis racquet. A fool!
     
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  22. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Try playing with a wood racquet, your pace doesn't change much, but your %'s drop big-time. Most pros would be lucky to have a 30% 1st serve, if they serve exactly the same way with wood as they do with graphite, its very hard to hit kick serves.

    In the wood racquet era, players made far more errors than today, even with slower pace, which shows how hard it is to consistently hit out with such a small racquet.

    Federer uses a lot of wrist on his groundies, I don't think he'd fare that well if all players were using wood today. Would mishit every other ball. I think Mac would have a shot of beating any current pro with wood racquet.

    That never happened, but Mac & Sampras played a tiebreak with wood arround 1996. Sampras could still serve 120, but lost the tiebreak.
     
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  23. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Basically, the tour bosses set all of these things in motion. There are good racquets made great through proper weighting. There are great racquets made mediocre by faulty customization. Whether it makes a difference in a match or not is irrelevant.

    They are constantly stealing frames and replacing them with exact replicas -- same balance and weight, just different weight distribution. They get every detail right, and nobody notices. If someone does notice, they will not talk. They make certain of this. At the height of their careers, why do you thinhk Boris and Pete traveled with their own stringers? So the ATP could not have their hand in their equipment. At least not easily.

    The racquet-tampering that goes on is actually very subtle, but the ATP gnomes do it well. It's a high level conspiracy that starts with the stringers, the volunteers, the coaches, the COO and CEO of the ATP and even the trainers and the tournament staffers with the walkie-talkies. Probably too complex for anyone to grasp, except maybe Bjorn99 and JohnCauthen himself.

    There are sidebets, not-so-sidebets....and a lot of money to be made off these facts. Fortunately, or unfortunately, John Cauthen is one of the few honest people involved. He wishes to be involved to the extent that, well, he just wants for everyone to have equal and uninterrupted access to the good stuff. Is this so wrong?

    Watch out for the new virtual frames being developed. They cannot be tampered with, cause they're invisible. We'll see if the ATP allows it. Of course Bechtel could pay them off and it could be a go. You never know, right John Cauthen?
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2007
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  24. alwaysatnet

    alwaysatnet Semi-Pro

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    They will be made from the hull of the UFO craft that crashed at Roswell. Frames infused with Unobtainium will be only given to certain players though.Sculley and Mulder could probably tell you why.If suddenly Vince Spadea starts winning majors you'll know the fix is in.
     
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  25. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, man. Finally, someone I can talk to about unobtanium! That technology is amazing. It's been around since Roswell, circa 1947, uh huh. But only know do they finally have the weighting right so it is responsive enough for world-class tennis on the modern tip. John Cauthen, you know what that's about, man.

    Spadea had his chances ten years ago in the parking lot of the Kennedy Center, on a post-Puccini walk over to the Watergate hotel. That fateful night, Vincenzo's opera singing dad ran afoul of the cigarette smoking man. Cigarette smoking man HATES opera. He only uses it as a meeting place. But no, Spadea's dad had two martinis in him and had to show off his pipes. That was the night the Spadeas kissed unobtanium g'bye foreva. A lost endeavor. Never say neva. Well, never.
     
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  26. Jet Rink

    Jet Rink Semi-Pro

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    :confused: :) :eek: :D

    I'm with you AlwaysAtNet - I am completely and totally lost reading through the above post (Tour organizers are behind stealing and replacing racquets...?) and the other re: "proper" set up and miraculous, intuitive tennis.

    I'm all for a super-inter-galactic alloy though. Wilson should get a jump on this. Maybe it'll play just like ... wood.

    Jet
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2007
    #26
  27. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Is this true, folks? When I watched a replay of a Borg-McEnroe USO match awhile back, I don't recall them making more errors than the '62 Mets.

    Anyone?
     
    #27
  28. OnyxZ28

    OnyxZ28 Hall of Fame

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    You've exposed the Dharma Initiative! Now The Others are out to get you...
     
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  29. officerdibble

    officerdibble Semi-Pro

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    I wonder what would happen to rallies if the top players used wooden rackets now? Fitness levels and strength have improved massively in tennis; would the rallies go on forever? Or would there just be a much higher error to winner ratio?
     
    #29
  30. Bill Tilden

    Bill Tilden New User

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    Laver is in the right way
     
    #30
  31. alwaysatnet

    alwaysatnet Semi-Pro

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    Since it is so difficult to put the ball away with wood you can assume there would be more rallies. Hard court tennis would become more like clay and clay would become a sort of Bataan Death March in tennis shoes. There would be no winners,only survivors who move on to the next round through attrition.
     
    #31
  32. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Sounds like someone who remembers tennis on clay in the seventies.
     
    #32
  33. louis netman

    louis netman Hall of Fame

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    Well said. Laver must have been speaking hypothetically, as if we were in a modern, utopian tennis world... where tennis was fun to watch and men played on grass more often than not...:)
     
    #33
  34. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    I agree, but the racquet industry has too many $'s invested, and they won't let that happen. Q: Where would you draw the line - wood, 85" max, I mean Federer is # uno and he's hitting with a mid & has as much power as the next guy. If you look at most of the players using those 100" stiff frames, they're heavy on the spin.

    I think you have to look at the athlete, who is much faster and stronger than a few decades ago, more than the racquet being the problem. Maybe go to one serve, or use a slower ball, have let serves be legit. Pat Mac was saying that he was looking at some old clips of matches and felt the points were longer today than back in the seventies. Just look at that point that Fed and Hewitt played at the USO, that was longer than a Borg/Vilas point at the French Open.
     
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  35. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    I've seen the entire Borg-Vilas '78 FO final recently, the length of rallies in todays game isn't remotely near the same length. Ditto Wilander vs Lendl circa 1987 with small graphite racquets.

    here are some clips of Borg-Vilas:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOqAxHZeOwU&mode=related&search=

    As far as rallies on grass, of course today rallies are longer since everyone S&Ved on grass in the wood racquet era & no one S&V today.

    As far as hardcourt, I'm not sure about average length of rallies. I saw the 1982 Vilas-Connors US Open SF recently & it featured some very extended rallies.

    Todays athletes are overall faster & stronger, but that doesn't account for the drastic change in the game over the years. Its not like the best athletes are playing tennis more than they were 30 years ago(when participation in the sport was at an alltime high in the US) Its not like I see any Lebron James/Allen Iverson type athete playing tennis. I doubt Federer is anywhere near as fast as Borg or Gerulaitis. Or that anyone on tour today is as strong as Vilas. Yet he couldn't hit the ball that hard with all that natural strength. Its all about the racquet(& the techniques/grips that became common once graphite emerged)

    I saw nalbandian/gaudio play a doubles exo vs vilas/clerc with wood racquets recently, it wasn't pretty, they looked clueless. its in the best interest of the atp to never allow wood(or racquets that small, regardless of material) to return, the quality of play would drastically drop & the public will realize that pros are not the gods that we think they are.
     
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  36. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Tell us about this match, Moose.
    Did Vilas and Clerc finesse those two to death?
    Did Gaudio's backhand drop like five levels?
    Was Nalbandian's return no longer a weapon?
    Did Clerc's serve and volley and touch game throw those guys?
    How does Vilas move now? He stikes me as stiff and slow. Not bad for a 54 year-old dude, though. Bet Clerc is fit as can be.

    Tell us all about it, man.
     
    #36
  37. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    I don't know if I buy the 2% thing, but even so, you can't swing as fast and expect to hit the sweet spot, so power is reduced much more from this manner. I would say the Pure Drive is at least 10% more powerful than a Kramer.

    I've hit extensively with both.
     
    #37
  38. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    While I didn't see it, I did hear about it. Yes, Nalbandian & Gaudio lost if I remember correctly. And it wasn't that close.

    On another note, it is good to hear the Clerc and Vilas are on good enough terms to play together.
     
    #38
  39. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Roger is playing with about the most low tech and oldest rackets on tour. Maybe only the Prince Graphite is as old as his pro staff.
     
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  40. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    If pros played with wood they would adapt. Any pro that can't hit with wood doesn't truly love the game because anyone at that level should love the game enough to be interested in its past. I hit with wood often and play matches with wood as well. It's a blast. The one difference that is most distinct that I can note from playing with both is that modern frames push you further back. You can feel it. There is a fear of approaching. With wood there's a sort of magnetic draw towards net at certain moments. It's like the court tells you "go now". With graphite, I feel like it's often a kamakaze run toward the net. It's just so easy to get passed these days.
     
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  41. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    I use wood too.
    But when I do, against someone at the same level as me, yeah, I want to go to the net, but if my approach is not a well-placed slice, the oppenent rocks a pass by me. Less so if he's got a wooden frame in his hand.

    Of course, it's tough to find fellow woodsmen these days. Everyone wants to try two minutes with it, sure, but people are afraid to actually commit to it. Maybe they fear injury or something, even though a freshly strung wooden frame is as safe as can be, IMHO.

    And yeah, like Laver is saying, they definitely bring out the skill. And fitness, I might add. Points tend to be longer, even indoors with wood. I have to play a more calculating, patient, selective, attacking style with them. Can't just bang.
     
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  42. javier sergio

    javier sergio Professional

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    John, this video proves ?????????? something that you stated about Gonzalez (unfortunately in spanish).
    He is warming up for the first round of the Australian Open and the guy that interviews him says somethig like this while introduces Gonzalez;
    ....... first round for Gonzalez......... when are you playing......? and before He finishes with the question Gonzalez says "I'm playing my first and last round"
    He is laughing about that but somehow does not show much confidence to reach the final of the AO.
    What happened from then on, Did he change his racquet? Is it the racquet what makes the difference ? Not the players????
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2007
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  43. javier sergio

    javier sergio Professional

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    Vilas - Clerc I believe are not friends but they shared many events in the past couple of years.
    I saw that match last year, I think the young guys won, but they could not play at all with the old racquets.
    With the new technology racquets they beat the old ones pretty easy.

    > Javier
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2007
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  44. schwuller

    schwuller Rookie

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    yesterday i watched j blake and d tursinov play in toronto. serve-forehand- error. serve-forehand winner. serve forehand error. that was all i saw. last night i watched laver play a match on youtube. there's no shot this guy couldn't hit, and hard, with a wood racket. some rallies contained EVERY TENNIS SHOT you can name, and hit damned hard. which would you rather watch? i can't even find a video of pancho gonzalez unfortunately. wood requires more talent to use just as a manual tranny requires more ability than a higher tech automatic. less fun to drive, less fun to watch.
     
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  45. lefty10spro

    lefty10spro Semi-Pro

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    492
    What rocket doesn't understand (none of the old timers do) is that if they had the current technology they would still have yesterdays technique. The modern forehand is the revolution not the racket.
     
    #45
  46. crazylevity

    crazylevity Hall of Fame

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    Jul 27, 2005
    Messages:
    1,978
    Indeed. Australia and the US are number 1 and 2 in the world in obesity rates, I believe. Are we expecting tennis champions to be bursting at the seams in these places, then?
     
    #46
  47. crazylevity

    crazylevity Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2005
    Messages:
    1,978
    I don't mean to sound negative or offensive, but I find it hard to believe that the powers that be (whosoever they may be) are tinkering with pros' racquets at their whim and fancy. Do you mean to say that Gonzalez had perfect racquets that got him to the AO final, only to have them replaced by crap the next tournament? How is that so? Players get racquets at regular intervals, about 4 times a year. Racquet companies are independent, are they not? How would Prince and Sharapova's racquet, and Wilson and Serena's racquet be related?

    I'm sorry, but there are too many dots in between that I just can't see connected. You'll have to paint a much clearer picture to convince.
     
    #47
  48. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
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    14,202
    Their shorts certainly are bursting at the seams.
     
    #48

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