Sampras says he should have switched to a bigger racquet

Discussion in 'Pros' Racquets and Gear' started by Torres, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Last edited: Feb 14, 2011
    #1
  2. He mean's that he shouldn't have that stubborn......=_=
     
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  3. JasonPlaysTennis

    JasonPlaysTennis Banned

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    Isn't Lleyton Hewitt's racquet a 90" head size? I don't know anything about Yonex's tho, so that's just a guess based on nothing... Anyone using the 90" frame should really go up to at least 95" if not 98" or 100". If you have good control the Pure Drive is the BEST racquet out there.
     
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  4. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    Not really new news--he has made this point several times (including in his biography) Of course, in this interview, not once did he mention larger head size (you can perhaps infer size was an issue by his "Blade versus Calloway" reference (and he mention head size in his book, I believe)). Rather, his focus was on more flex and string technology and the resulting effect on his arm. Those reasons make a great deal more sense and my guess would have a greater effect on his game than a few square inches of headsize.
     
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  5. JasonPlaysTennis

    JasonPlaysTennis Banned

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    I'm trying to wrap my head around how Sampras' Pro Staff 88 is stiffer than Roddick's super lead taped up original Pure Drive Plus setup.. that's got to be a stiffness somewhere around 75-77. I didn't think Wilson had ever made a racquet that had a stiffness rating over 70 but apparently so. Either way, Federer should jump ship onto Babolat if he wants to win another slam.
     
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  6. ryushen21

    ryushen21 Hall of Fame

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    Don't forget that Pete's PS 85s, KPS 88s and Pure Storm are all heavily leaded. Somewhere around the 396 range with lead at 3 and 9 in several layers.
     
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  7. martin

    martin Banned

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    Pete's PS had a flex of 62. Babolat just paid Pete to say some nice words about the babolat racket.
     
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  8. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Petes upset because Courier won the French with the PS85, and he couldn't do the same.

    ITS NOT THE FRAME, ITS THE PLAYER.
     
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  9. ryushen21

    ryushen21 Hall of Fame

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    Really?

    I thought the PS85 generally came in somewhere around the 66 range on flex.
     
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  10. T1000

    T1000 Hall of Fame

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    He did, but now he switched to, at least a paintjob of, the new vcore 95D
     
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  11. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

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    You're absolutely right, of course. Federer clearly is inferior since he's using the BLX Tour 90.. he only won 16 majors, got 237 weeks at no. 1, is number 2 in the world.. but yeah, he's inferior because of his wilson mid.

    The ONLY racquet babolat makes that would be even remotely appealing to him would be the PSL, and he may as well stick with the wilson since it suits his game perfectly.

    Babolat is not the greatest company ever.. and the pure drive is definitely not the best racquet ever.
     
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  12. Pioneer

    Pioneer Professional

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    Federer
    Safin
    Hewitt
    Dimitrov
    Johansson

    Those guys are clearly disadvantaged with their mids
     
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  13. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I hope this makes a lasting impact on the people who claim that head size does not make a difference. Listen to Sampras saying: "more margin for error." I really don't want to hear any more that 5 or 10 sq in difference makes "no difference" etc because "a shank is a shank." Clearly, the best of the best regrets not switching to a bigger frame with more margin of error. Same applies to Federer too, and no, Federer is not the "best judge" of that, just like Sampras says he wasn't.
     
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  14. mrtrinh

    mrtrinh Professional

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    didnt hewitt just switch over to a mp frame? the new vcore 95?
     
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  15. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I'm sure roger has enough money to afford those 5 extra inches:D.

    If he wants to he could switch to a bigger racket. Very likely wilson people come to him after every season and ask him to test new rackest.

    If he would like a bigger one better, he would play one. roger is not dumb, he knows tennis.
     
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  16. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    He also wouldn't need to switch to babolat. wilson makes enough 95,100 or even 110 inch frames to choose from.
     
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  17. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    not as well as people on this forum though
     
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  18. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    Exactly. My guess is that Pete has the same impulses we do. We can only guess what would have been had we done some things differently. Pete might feel that he would have done better with a different frame but even he doesn’t know that for sure. I’m sure Pete has a few sleepless nights here and there about never winning the French or how if he knew Federer would have taken out his record he would have focused harder on winning a couple of more slams. After all, he’s only human.
     
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  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    And Sampras didn't have money and was dumb?
     
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  20. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    ouch..truth hurts. i have said it a million times..pete's game did not equate well enough to FO (clay in general).
     
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  21. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    Back when Sampras was playing and had his best chances to win at Roland Garros it wasn't his racket that held him back, it was his footwork.

    I'll take the opinion of someone who's played him, Fabrice Santoro:

    These days, at Sampras' age and the way technology's come, it's time to switch. Especially that many players, young and old have really adapted to the technology. I think he was suffering (perhaps unknowingly) from a transitional time in 2000-2002 as Luxilon strings were making their way on tour.

    One thing that I gathered from Agassi's book, 'Open' was that he had to work through his transition to polys from his long-time use of Prince Pro Blend. Agassi switched to polyester strings in the spring of 2002 during the clay court season. He immediately loved the stuff even saying that either everyone would be using them or they should be outlawed. But when he got to the grass at Wimbledon, he faced Paradorn Srichaphan only to find that his ball didn't have enough on it to work on the grass court surface. Agassi lost in straights.

    I could see Sampras' reluctance to try something new especially when you're entrenched in the tour and for over a decade you're winning at least a major every year.....
     
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  22. tennis4josh

    tennis4josh Rookie

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    He was referring to "strings" (poly) when he said "margin of error". I think people are making too much of that comment. He never implied that changing to a large racket head would have improved his game. He just regretted not being "open minded" in trying out new technology. That's all he said.

    -Josh
     
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  23. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    And he has mentioned the big racquet head explicitly prior to this.

    Point is, he admits a change could have benefited him. It is not that far to extrapolate that to Federer.
     
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  24. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    I haven't read through this thread or perhaps some others, but I'm sure someone's mentioned his opinion is based on hindsight.

    It's been over 8 years since he played his last tour match. A lot has changed as far as how to benefit best from the combination of rackets and strings.

    Yeah he was stubborn and burnt out by 2002. But with his time away from the game and still being able to play the young guys closely I'm sure the thoughts of what-could-have-been have to creep in.

    Imagine if he just took a year break in 2003 and in that time experimented with new gear......
     
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  25. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    Wilson has made plenty, including players racquets. The Hyper Pro Staff 5.0 Midplus and stretch were about 74. The Hyper 5.3MP, at 75, the euro version was used by Henin.

    -SF
     
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  26. junk

    junk Rookie

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  27. martin

    martin Banned

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  28. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Hmmmm....."more margin for error" sounds like it gives you more opportunities to make more errors. :lol:

    Which is exactly what you get with a bigger racquet as they have less control than smaller racquets.
     
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  29. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    The key word there is "could". Switching to a bigger racquet could have also destroyed his career.
     
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  30. 1970CRBase

    1970CRBase Guest

    Pete could have switched to a bigger racquet BUT what would have been the tradeoff? You gain a little somewhere, you are bound to lose something elsewhere.
     
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  31. 2Hare

    2Hare Semi-Pro

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    I agree with pete, Pure Storm Tour is a great control racquet to switch from PS90 or 85. Easy to pick up after using ps90. Like pete said it gives you extra pop and forgiveness while maintaining great control and spin over the ball compared to wilson. Don't get me wrong, the stiff ps90 or 85 gives you great feel, but it just drain away your concentration much faster than bigger racquets against good opponents. And serving with pure storm tour almost feel like cheating after using ps90, just give you so much pop and kicks. I would recommend all prostaffers to give a a test run. it's the only babolat series that have great feel IMO.
     
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  32. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    i think sampras' french open results may be better he if played today since the clay court game these days is more shot making and less grinding. like lendl said, tennis has changed in becoming less of a marathon/endurance sport and more of a power/sprint..
     
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  33. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Maybe yea but i fully agree with VGP, it was his footwork that didnt work out that well on clay, take the fact that his FH and serve was not that penetrating on clay and there you go...
     
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  34. 2Hare

    2Hare Semi-Pro

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    really? I think it's the complete opposite regarding sampras. Federer is much better on clay than Sampras and he still can't beat Nadal on it, what makes you think Sampras can do better on it today with his small 85? Nadal is so good on clay partly because his topspin's randomness in bounce is amplified on clay. Meaning a bigger racquet would help a lot against him especially on clay. Not to mention Nadal is such a good grinder on clay.

    even though the games have shifted toward more power plays, we still get really long matches as power shifts between players. so player are required to have as much or even more endurance than ever before. some of the longest matches in history are played in the last few years of grand slams.

    So at the end, I believe that Sampras would definitely benefit from a bigger racquet as 85 is simply not enough for clay today. I'm not so sure about Federer though. 90 is probably big enough for Federer's lightening reflexes on clay. But his concentration level seem to have dropped off gradually over the last year or 2. So he may benefit from a bigger racquet now, who knows.
     
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  35. Wilander Fan

    Wilander Fan Hall of Fame

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    Really? More so than the Aero Storm? I thought AS was the most underpowered control orientated racket in the babalot lineup.
     
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  36. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    im sure a bigger racquet would help too, i was just remembering some of his matches where european clay specialists would try to pin him back and moonball him to death to his backhand and he didnt have alot of opportunities to come to net. he lost by the 3rd round there 9 years! but now with more shotmaking involved, he may have more chances of coming in.

    also, although matches seem to be lasting longer i think theyre less draining than before. the players after an epic 5 set match from the 80s used to look EXHAUSTED, and now if you watch a 5 set match, you can barely tell if its the 5th set or the 1st set, by the way they are playing..

    i still dont think sampras would have won the french tho, kind of the same predicament with lendl at wimbeldon, just wasnt in the cards for him (altho lendl seemed to put more effort at wimbledon than sampras at french)
     
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  37. Wilander Fan

    Wilander Fan Hall of Fame

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    Just to chime in on this discussion, I think you definitely give up some precision as you increase racket head size. It could be as much as a foot variation and given how much Fed paints the lines its just not worth it. Ive never seen shanking to be an issue of sweetspot so much as its an issue of footwork, which is really an issue of fitness as far as Fed is concerned. On the 1hb, you tend to shank like that when you dont get low enough. Fed's shanks dont seem to come off those half volley shots he hits on the rise. He seems to shank sitters and normal rally balls which points more to his concentration and fitness more than anything else.
     
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  38. 2Hare

    2Hare Semi-Pro

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    Well I personally think players today are simply fitter than the ones from 80s. Science in training and recovery and lessons learned over 3 decades have help the athletes today to become fitter than ever. We also get a lot of tennis players with soccer background these days that help in their endurance and speed. Just pull up the pictures of tennis players from the 80s then look at the ones today and judge for yourself.

    Think of this as an evolution process in tennis. In low power tennis that focused on tactical shots in the 80s, tennis players that thrived does not need to be as fit because as long as they have great touches and tactics, they can overcome body advantages. So we could expect to see players with better tactics and touches thrive instead of power players.

    But in a tennis environment of high power, fast speed tennis, those who survive must be faster and more powerful. so we see a lot of players with soccer background or training in the games, because you simply can't survive without endurance and speed. so we can expect the players to skewed toward the fitter side.

    really about the survival of the fittest. environment has changed, so players must change.
     
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  39. 2Hare

    2Hare Semi-Pro

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    And smaller racquet drains away concentration faster, so it's not just about the size of the sweet spot. Fed simply doesn't have same level of concentration these days. so it might be wise for him to boost it up to 93 or 95 next year.
     
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  40. Pioneer

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    Dunno about what would be wise for Fed but what would be unwise would be to ditch the racquet he made 16 Slams with and risk losing the chance for another slam final forever
     
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  41. Lsmkenpo

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    Funny stuff, the switch to Babolat obviously wasn't entirely
    to increase his playing performance, he could have switched to a different Wilson frame (Blade 98, BLX 95 ) if all he wanted was a bigger headsize.

    I suspect what he really wanted was more endorsement money from Wilson than they were willing to offer, thus a bunch of BS about wanting to switch to a Babolat frame.

    Than he goes to the media and pulls a Kanye West on Wilson,

    "Wilsons a great frame and all but it hurts my arm, I tried Rodddick's soft and flexible PD+ and I'm here to say Babolat made the best frame ever."

    Regardless, watching his exhibition against Monfils his serve didn't look as heavy to me, and he wasn't getting as much punch on his volleys using that PSGT.

    One person I bet wishes Sampras would have used a
    Babolat like racquet during his career, that guy is Andre Agassi.

    Pete's game would have suffered if he used a big racquet during his career. He won slams from his serve and volleys and both would have been weakened using a bigger frame.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
    #41
  42. SandV

    SandV New User

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    Just as in the interview, Pete says in his bio: "BUT ON CLAY, you can benefit from having a greater margin of error...but in any case I'm certain that my small-headed racket was an ideal tool on grass."

    Remember that the potency of his game is responsible for the slower conditions of today. "In the wake of our 1994 match (Goran), Wimbledon went to softer, slower balls, and they began to develop a new grass mixture that ultimately slowed down the courts and made grass-court play more rally-friendly." The U S Open changed to slower DecoTurf II in 2003 after Sampras wins in 2002.

    It is these baseline-favoring conditions that require the power rackets, larger heads and poly strings of today. Fed goes to the 90 right before the clay season of 2002, and Pete probably would have too at some point, had he not retired. No surprise that he's adopting modern technology now.
     
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  43. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    Talk about putting words in the guy's mouth.....

    The whole "bigger racket" argument should be taken in context. The context of when Sampras was on tour.

    Back then, the prominent player to use the 95+ square inch racket with Luxilon to great effect was Kuerten. It's not like he advertised that fact early on and word on poly strings from Luxilon was slowly leaking onto the tour.

    All that while Sampras was still winning slams. It's not like he was Wilander who held on for eight years after winning his last slam. From Sampras' point of view he wasn't going to change a winning formula looking at his career as a whole. He didn't do like Lendl who tried the Mizuno just to win Wimbledon. Sampras wasn't going to switch to a bigger racket just to win Roland Garros.

    Back then, I don't think Sampras would have thought to try a bigger racket AND the gut/poly blend of string. Going to a larger headed frame for an assumed increase in power or margin for error with a full bed of gut might have lead to a loss of control. Sampras has always strung his rackets tight. Imagine thinking he'd have to go to 80 lbs strung on a 95 just to keep the ball in the court.

    The first inclination might to go with a full poly string bed and the first reaction might be that he could have hated it. It's not like Agassi going from Prince Pro Blend (Kevlar/syn gut) to poly and getting immediate results.

    Sampras saying that on a whim he tried Roddick's racket at an exo leads me to think that he's not the type of guy to try everybody frame known to man, if any. The only thing he did was to try the "Federer" racket in the N90 version that Federer used, I'm sure on the recommendation/opinion of Nate Ferguson.

    Obviously he didn't like it as much as he could have and went with Wilson to develop the kPS88. Probably he played out a two-year deal with Wilson and then happened to try a different setup after his experience with Roddick.

    People say he's had a long standing relationship with Babolat with their strings and it would be an easy financial transition to go with their frames as well... who knows.

    As for whether he's playing "better" with the bigger racket? He's beating his peers and losing close exo matches......kPS88 or no kPS88.
     
    #43
  44. heftylefty

    heftylefty Hall of Fame

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    Awesome blast...pulling a Kanye! Simply classic.
     
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  45. SandV

    SandV New User

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    see Post #42
     
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  46. Terre Battu

    Terre Battu Rookie

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    Awesome - this thread finally ended!!!
     
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