Navratilova criticizes lack of racket regulation

Discussion in 'Pros' Racquets and Gear' started by cabernetjunkie, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    I don't recall Roddick ever using full gut. Can you cite some sources?

    Davenport may use gut because she hits the ball flat rather than heavy topspin. Mauresmo may use gut because she serves and volleys and poly has little feel on volleys.
     
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  2. sloe_torture

    sloe_torture Rookie

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    Old vs. New racquets and strings

    Yes, I agree with the above statement to a point. I just don't think a 56 lb. setup that Federer has with a Pro Staff has any more control than a 75 lb. gut setup of say, a Jay Berger. Is there really a difference (other than maintaining tension) in stringing an 18 gauge gut at 80 lbs. compared to 16-17 gauge Luxilon at 70 lbs. or less. I'm sure the stringers on this board would love to hear the departure of Luxilon-type strings at ATP events.

    Unfortunately I'm unfamiliar with wood racquets. But I find reverting to wood racquets akin to giving D.Wade and LeBron a pair of Chuck Taylors to do their thing on the basketball court. There is no 'magic' in the string, the players today are creating their own spin the same way Borg controlled his groundstrokes -- but with a stiffer racquet -- and that is why I feel that the work on the ball is attributed more to the player and not the racquet. There is no energy lost on the flex of the racquet, but there is also no flex assisting the athlete. Sure, the finesse perspective is disappearing due to changing racquet technology. This just challenges the future S&V players to have softer hands, better hand-eye coordination, hit better half-volleys, and have faster feet.
     
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  3. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Case closed.

    Without having played with wood racquets, there's no way you could make a fair comparison, and more importantly, no way your argument that it's the increase in athleticism of the players today and not the modern racquets and strings that allow the players to hit the ball so much harder has any credibility at all. The difference is like night and day between wood racquets with gut and modern racquets, like a Pure Drive, with poly. Did you see post #20 in this thread by "sureshs", here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=1116898&postcount=20

    Most of the stuff you see the pros doing today on the court they could not do with a wood racquet no matter how athletic they are. It's like the difference between using single shot musket rifle and an AK-47 machine gun rifle.

    BTW, I'd be willing to bet that Bjorn Borg was a better athlete in his prime than ANY pro on the tour is today, including Nadal. Remember that since the wood racquets were so low powered, it was nearly impossible to hit a winner from the baseline, especially on clay, so you had to be in much better shape to run down balls all day long as rallies would last forever.
     
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  4. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    A question for all those who support Martina's argument

    Ok, for all of those who are saying we should go back to small rackets or even wood, have any of you played anytime recently against a big server in a wood match?

    Imagine this situation: you give someone like Federer or Ancic a wood racket and force their opponent to also use wood, Federer and Ancic take a little while to adjust, but they soon go back to hitting their serves just about as hard and accurate as with their old rackets. Now, the big question is, how well will their opponents be able to return those serves?

    I can speak from experience that returning big serves with a wood racket is really difficult, and the server in an all-wood match has a huge advantage. So, what do you think the net result would be if you made the pros use these rackets? They would still be able to serve 120-135 (some might even hit 140), but no one would be able to hit a decent return. The game would be incredibly boring to watch (just remember the old Wimbledon match between Philipousis and Krajicek where no one could break serve), and the popularity of tennis as a spectator sport would diminish even further.

    If none of you believe me on this, just go find a couple of big serving players, give them both wood rackets, and watch them play. I'm sure the number of unsuccessful serve returns will drive you mad (or put you to sleep).
     
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  5. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    I agree with all of this. If Borg were playing today he'd be dominating everyone. He played in the relative dark ages of training information (which has exploded) and racquet technology, especially strings. Even the gut is better today, with the new coatings. Oh, and imagine Borg with a modern day trainer and an extra ten pounds of muscle, instead of the 20 pounds of fat he's now carrying. :(

    As for strings, if they are going to outlaw some strings I'd suggest they outlaw nylon. :) Blech. Please don't outlaw kevlar, which is the best stuff on the market after gut (beats Luxilon, IMHO) for spin generation.

    -Robert
     
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  6. sloe_torture

    sloe_torture Rookie

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    All I'm saying is that use of an infinitely stiff racquet strung at an infinitely high tension limits the variable of an athlete having an advantageous racquet. With other components equal, it's truly athlete vs. athlete.

    What is unnatural to me, in concept, is the shot-dampening flex of a wooden racquet or the trampoline effect of the racquet bed.

    Borg may be the greatest tennis athlete ever. But which generation has the quickest and strongest top-50 tennis players?
     
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  7. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    (Since when did this topic turn into a discussion about wood vs graphite? As a matter of fact, since the introduction of graphite, ball speed and precision has increased exponentially, and there's no argument to be made between the two as wood is def. inferior compared to today's technologies. Anyway, back to the topic.)

    It's the simple answer that defines what Martina is trying to say.

    Martina is upset with how power baseliners are taking over the way tennis is played, and she is finding reasons to blame the new trend. Hence her equipment and strings rant. :rolleyes:

    So in her mind... what can be the blame for the new power baseline trend? Equipment. Martina is obviously upset with her position in the tennis world, and there needs to be a boiled down reason for it all. But there's not much to her complaints because there's not much substance to it. Oversized heads have been offer long ago, and since when did strings make a 4.0 player into 7.0 player and beyond?

    It's just her insight as to why serve and volleying has died, and there needs to be a solution to her problem. Her slice of the pie is gone, so what is there left to blame? Just because she was a superstar once in her life, doesnt mean what she says is the opinion of the rest of the tennis superstar world.

    Get a grip, Martina.
     
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  8. jura

    jura Professional

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    One question to all the "pro Martina guys":
    What do you suggest to do? Banning all graphite rackets and go back to wood??? You can't be serious! Limiting the headsize? Down to which size? 90 sq in? Federer, Safin or Hewitt are inside this limit. So would this change the conditions really? And one more question: Were should these rules start to be valid? Professional tennis? So if you become a pro you have to change your material? Or for all competition tennis? What about the millions of recreational players who would become tennis elbow patients and probably quit the sport???
    Onliest thing you really can do is changing the surface or balls within the rules. So ITF, ATP and WTA could and should adjust the game. As they did before, when they made they game much more difficult for s&v.
     
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  9. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    Good point.

    Also, how many players in each generation were really good serve and volleyers in the WTA? Yes, there have been some individuals throughout the years that did really well, but at least over the last 20 years, S&V has not been really wide spread in the WTA (I can remember a number of baseliners volleying with two hands on the backhand whenever they were forced to the net). In my opinion, the ladies as a whole have improved their volleys (compare the volleys of the average baseliner today to those of the average baseliner 15 or 20 years ago). The WTA has never had a plethora of net rushers anyways.

    Claiming to be the best volleyer ever in the WTA isn't really much to brag about if you consider the few good volleyers they've had over the years. It's like claiming to be America's best ever cross country skier or Holland's best ever baseball player.
     
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  10. Punisha

    Punisha Professional

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    90 square inches and no polys.. great... i can continue with my set up and own everyone while they start adapting to the new head size :D
     
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  11. onkystomper

    onkystomper Hall of Fame

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    How can you possibly say Sampras would be mediocre now!!

    I think that more variety in the game would be a good thing. The question may not be should they regulate rackets. But instaed the surfaces played on should be more diverse. The ATP or Slam directors have manipulated the game by altering the balls and surfaces to make it more uniform.

    If the same light balls were used on the same grass (i mean the type of grass) at Wimbledon you would certainly see the serve volley game return there.

    Racket tech prob should have some regulations but it is more down to the pro tour to return to the diversifeid playing conditions at various tournaments to allow varying styles to emerge.
     
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  12. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    i never heard her complain about racquet size while she and Pam Shriver were playing doubles together. btw Pam played with some kind of POG i think.
     
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  13. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    I doubt it. Borg could never win the US Open and when he called it quit, McEnroe had broken his dominance at Wimbledon and a teenager named Lendl had taken him to five sets at the French Open.
     
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  14. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    This is exactly what has happened. The newer gear has benefitted the return of serve way more so than the serve, so there is no longer percentage in playing serve and volley T. Otherwise people like Fed would do it more and far fewer would be able to handle the 140mph serves of Roddick and others.

    I played open events way back then with a wooden racquet and serve volley on both serves. There was an advantage for me to do that as i had a good serve and volley and people had trouble returning my serve.i can no longer play that style because of the larger headed lighter frames makin the service return MUCH easier. We are able to proove this every time I do a wood exhibiton. I can serve just about the same with a wooden frame on both serves as I can with my DNX9's altho it takes much more effort to do so..on the other hand, an opponent with wood in his hand has a much tougher time returnng my serve because of the small headsize and heavier weight of the frame..the game is much more precise with wood.

    In addition to the gear changes, they have slowed the surfaces down and made the balls slower for the atp tour to compensate for how hard they are hittin the ball these days. they often still use a more lively ball on the wta. remember the serve speed is measured through the air, and the slower surface blunts the serve much more after the bounce.

    The strings also contribute...it's a combnation of things with the lighweight larger headed frames giving the edge to the service return and to the baseline style. also academy style tennis and rushing kids to get better and compete means more baseline style as all court and serve/volley takes longer to develop. without them using the lighter larger headsizes, there wouldnt be poly. poly has been around for ages..nobody used it back then because it just isnt close to playable in those small headed frames..it was the cheapest string availabe
     
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  15. Roforot

    Roforot Professional

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    Well we can't go back to wooden racquets; the cats out of the bag, but I think they should make some sort of racquet guidelines before things get really out of hand. Imagine if one of these liquidDNA of hyperfreeradicals technologies really does generate 60% more power or something to that effect. I think they should set weight/flex/headsize/beamwidth/ stringpatterns/composition rules.

    Besides this I agree they could make the surfaces more friendly or balanced for certain playing styles.
     
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  16. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Roscoe Tanner hit a big serve and it didn't seem to bother his opponents so much.
     
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  17. Craig Sheppard

    Craig Sheppard Hall of Fame

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    I'm pro-Martina. Let me elaborate on my take...

    What I think Martina and us "old-schoolers" in general are trying to eliminate is "basher mentality" and the ease that today's equipment allows that type of game to be played. With today's equipment, almost any player can have a big banger (hint, hint) type game with huge groundstrokes, huge topspin, and little creativity. It leads to boring, monotonous tennis. Yesterday's game used to have more flair, more variety. Instead of horizontal bashing, it was really an all court (horizontal and vertical) game.

    So what has changed in the last 20-30 years? The rules haven't changed. The balls haven't changed. 3 things have changed:

    1) Racquets and strings have become phenomenally powerful and have made it very easy to generate huge spin.
    2) Courts are slower now than ever.
    3) Player fitness is probably better than it it was.

    You obviously can't limit 3, and in general higher fitness leads to better matches.

    You can speed up the courts for sure... I'm not sure why this wasn't in Martina's points.

    You can limit the equipment. Who here has played with poly strings? You can slug the ball as hard as you can and it'll still drop in. It's amazing the difference these things make. It's not all about power though. Put gut in a Pro Staff Classic and you probably have the same power level as poly in a nSix-One. However, you don't generate the same crazy spin with the PSC. Poly strings really do have an effect.

    Racquets are more and more powerful, and a 100" or 98" Babolat or Head is going to be a lot more powerful than a 90" Wilson or Yonex. You also can take a bigger cut at the ball because you have a larger margin of error.

    I don't know about materials. It seems hard to regulate material b/c they're always coming up with some newfangled material, and how do you prove this actually makes a racquet more powerful? One suggestion is that the ATP or ITF could do scrutineering like F1 does it... devise a test to make sure a racquet doesn't go above a certain power level.

    So... in summary... fitter players + bigger racquets + poly strings = basher mentality.

    I'm not saying eliminate the baseline game and I'm not encouraging everyone to be a S&V'er. I'm saying that it's boring to see 95% of the players running sideline to sideline flailing around bashing huge groundstrokes and that equipment restrictions could be levied to help mitigate this monotony.
     
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  18. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    But that was when Borg was already past his prime. Besides, a player with the talent of a McEnroe only comes around once in a lifetime. Do you know of a player today that has the natural talent of a McEnroe? Other than Federer, do you know of a current player today that you think could beat Borg using a standard wood racquet at the French and at Wimbledon?
     
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  19. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    but those matches occured in 1981 when Borg was 25 years old and he retired the next year. I don't think you could say that Borg was past his prime at 25.
     
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  20. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Yes, you can. Look at Hewitt. He's also only 25 now. Or look at Chang. How old were Hewitt and Chang when they won their last Majors? Guys that did phenomenally well as teenagers tend to burn out by the time they hit their mid-20's. That's one of the reasons why Borg quit. He was just too burnt out.
     
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  21. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Borg had won 11 majors and had been on tour for about 10 years. He was definitely burnt out. McEnroe was relatively fresh on the scene and still had a lot to accomplish. Sure Lendl took him to 5 sets at the French but that was after Borg already had 5 French Open titles. I have that match on tape and it looks like Lendl was using graphite as well.

    Think of it like this: at 39, Jimmy Connors made the semi-finals of the US Open. Borg had the edge on Connors head to head. Borg would have been younger than Connors if he had entered the US Open that year (or any other major). If Connors can play that well in the nineties at 39 years old, why couldn't Borg compete against the same players?
     
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  22. sloe_torture

    sloe_torture Rookie

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    How would womens tennis be affected if racquets and strings were regulated? I'm glad the endless moonball days are over and, as a tennis fan, appreciate the power tennis games of a Mauresmo vs. Clijsters. I don't think there's less creativity in power tennis compared to the wooden racquet days. I find a good rally in todays mens and womens tennis to be as exciting as any marathon rally between Borg vs. McEnroe or Navratilova vs. Evert.
     
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  23. Tchocky

    Tchocky Hall of Fame

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    Is there anything Martina hasn't complained about? She's just a whiner. I'm so sick of her.
     
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  24. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    Adaptation to the sport allows survival, and it's not the fault of technology.

    There's a point she's trying to make about the current lack of serve and volleying, but her reasons for it are just a bit extreme. The reason for the increase in power baseline play isn't just because the pro's are offered bigger head sizes and god-like strings. That point doesn't seem to be true to begin with. Since she says power is so important, why isn't the mean headsize 110 or greater? And doesn't more power equal less control?

    Adaptation to the sport allows survival, and it's not the fault of technology. She should look elsewhere for her troubled demons.
     
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  25. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    Also, if all players are starting to hit harder and stay farther back, wouldn't you need, as a competitor, to increase your game speed and baseline play as well?

    the formula for coping with all this power play is simple: adjust and adapt, or be ranked incredibly low on the ATP tour.
     
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  26. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    haha. when she lost the 1986 french open final to chris evert, she told the french crowd that she enjoyed playing there even though "you guys did not like me"
     
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  27. tennisfanatic

    tennisfanatic Rookie

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    she should shut up and retire! I enjoy watching modern tennis than watching her matches 10-20 years back... if she doesn't like modern racket then she should not be playing with it instead she should play with wooden rackets. Tennis today is lot better than it was 10-20 yrs ago.
     
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  28. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Of course, the first question would be: Were you playing and watching tennis 20 years ago? Or else how could we judge that claim?
     
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  29. Noveson

    Noveson Hall of Fame

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    No it wouldn't do away with the baseliners but it would do away with Nadal's and others massive topspin, and don't come back to me with something about them just not hitting the ball square enough with a small racquet. With that much spin it just isn't possibly to consistenly hit the ball on the strings. Let me say once again I pro for changes, but 85" heads? I would be thinking more along the size of 95" so that it wouldn't be detrimental to all of the topspin.
     
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  30. tennisfanatic

    tennisfanatic Rookie

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    watching classics that never really a classic..
     
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  31. LN_Dad

    LN_Dad Semi-Pro

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    You make it sound like the racket technology enables almost anyone to do this. Becker is very talented and has a "live" arm. If he didn't play tennis, he can probably throw a 95mph fast ball or a football 60yards.
     
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  32. LN_Dad

    LN_Dad Semi-Pro

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    Navratilova is an over-the-hill egomaniac. Nobody proclaimed her the best volleyer ever except herself. She makes it sound like all one has to do is get the latest strings and rackets and go out and smack the ball as hard as they can and produce winners every time. What a crock of sh....
     
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  33. tennisfanatic

    tennisfanatic Rookie

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    agreed!!! she's a b!tch....hahahaha
     
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  34. neo

    neo Banned

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    There is another way to influence balance of different playing styles. Regulate tennis balls, and leave the frames and strings alone. For example, larger balls will fly slower through the air, and will slow down the game. Balls with less grippy surface will have less topspin, etc.
     
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  35. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Wow, I guess this flew right over your head. She's talking about the quality of the tennis. If she switched to wood then everyone else would have to. Tennis today is better than 10-20 years ago? A lot of people would argue with that. What's so much better about it? The lack of variety or the lack of people WATCHING tennis?

    Ridiculous. People, tennis is less popular now than it was. That's what matters. If it gets too unpopular, then people from the outside will come in and change the game drastically all in the name of raising ratings. They play music at changeovers at the US Open. What's next, cheerleaders? Music DURING play?
     
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  36. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    :rolleyes: don't be ridiculous, tennis will be played via handsets and lcd screens!
     
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  37. macroscopic

    macroscopic Guest

    Don't have an answer or opinion, just observations.

    I grew up watching players like Laver, Smith, Connors, Borg, King, Evert Goolagong and Court and must say that I can't watch more than 3 games of a modern match, it's pretty boring. Maybe it's me that's changed along with the game.

    After many years I started playing tennis again and found that I couldn't control the power of the modern racquets. I thought I was just out of practice but people used to play with said the gear is very different than the old days. Being a dinosaur that grew up playing wood I went to the local tennis joint and asked the guy for a racquet that played and felt like my old Kramer. He laughed and gave me a ncode n6-1 90 sq in racquet. He said Roger Federer used it..I asked who is Roger Federer? Don't know if it was me or the modern equipment but now I can swing pretty much like I used to and keep the ball in play.

    I think it's more fun to play tennis than watch it.
     
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  38. brinkeguthrie

    brinkeguthrie Semi-Pro

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    Grew up playing tennis in the late 70s for real, so that was at the tail end of the wood frame era. Started with the Bancroft Borg, then settled on a great frame, the Fila WUD1One, or "Wood One." Medium flex, very aerodynamic, strung it pretty tight with VS, and it was pinpoint control and great power.
    After I went thru as many as I could find, eventually moved to Prince (loved the Woodie) and it's been them since then. The wood is still my favorite- you could, to me, feel the ball.

    BTW, Borg would be a star no matter what the era. If he was in his prime now, he'd be using a Donnay Borg Graphite Composite or something, and cleaning everyone's clock. Including Federer. A truly great player would be great in any era. Connors, Evert, Sampras, Laver, McEnroe, Agassi, etc. Talent always rises to the top. No matter what the frame, you need to have the chops.
     
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  39. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    But both Borg and Vilas were able to hit massive topspin with the tiny 65 sq. in. heads on their wood racquets.
     
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  40. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    But watching is not nearly the same thing as doing. I think you have to have done it to appreciate and understand the nuances of what they were doing.
     
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  41. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    I don't recall ANY pro who was only 5'10" being able to hit a serve at 142mph with a wood racquet back in the wood era.
     
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  42. tennisfanatic

    tennisfanatic Rookie

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    how old are you? maybe you belong to martina's generation....:mrgreen: :rolleyes:
     
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  43. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Try getting a couple woodies and playing with a friend. It really is a different game. You think differently. Instead of trying to wack it you place it.

    With graphite however you begin to feel that making the ball travel quickly will make it more difficult for your opponent to return rather than placement. At this point the focus of the game becomes power, but the game was designed around placement and angle. Power has become the dominant element in the game and it simply wasn't intended to be.

    I was born in 1980 and think the game was cooler in the 70s. Watch the old matches and try playing with wood. It may change your perspective. All you kids who diss the classic game do so without any knowledge of it.
     
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  44. LN_Dad

    LN_Dad Semi-Pro

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    Let's see, Roscoe is about 5'11" and could hit 133mph serve with a primitive metal racket 30yrs ago. 142mph with a modern Babolat racket is no big deal; it's not like Becker can do that on every first serve.
     
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  45. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Yes, I do. That's why I'm able to intelligently comment on this subject since I've played tennis in both eras so I can compare from first hand experience. Why, how old are you?
     
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  46. tenis

    tenis Professional

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    Martina is 100% right, tennis doesn't have the variety
    anymore!
     
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  47. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    maybe 20 years from now when the players can hit 170 miles per hour serves, we will look back at this time and say things were much better in 2006 :)
     
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  48. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Tanner was 6 feet tall: http://www.atptennis.com/3/en/players/playerprofiles/?playernumber=T006

    And his metal PDP racquet was very heavy, probably at least 14 oz., unlike the lightweight Babolats of today, that's why he was able to hit his serves so hard. Besides, I don't think Tanner was hitting serves consistently at 133mph, more like under 120mph, whereas, Ben Becker was consistently cranking them at well over 130mph.

    In any case, Tanner was not using a wood racquet, which was my point.
     
    #98
  49. tennisfanatic

    tennisfanatic Rookie

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    at tennis courts!
    LOL... i knew it! With all due respect but i don't agree with you.. though i haven't played in Martina's generation, i think watching her ancient matches is enough to have better comparison... My dad (who competitively played in your generation) once had the same point of view as you until he saw Roger play!:rolleyes: it all changed when he saw ROger play in t.v. and in person.
     
    #99
  50. LN_Dad

    LN_Dad Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
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