The Pros are going to have to start playing with wooden racquets again

Discussion in 'Pros' Racquets and Gear' started by JAY1, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    But why are you so sure "more athletic tennis" is what most people want to see? More people tune into ESPN to watch poker than to watch today's tennis. Are they tuning in to watch more athletic poker?

    More people enjoyed watching the cerebral strategic tennis of yesteryear than the "wham-bam-thank-you ma'am" endless rallies tennis of today.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2013
    #51
  2. Sentinel

    Sentinel Talk Tennis Guru

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    How many slams would Breakpoint win if they played with wooden racquets ?
     
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  3. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    You really know your tennis!
    And you get it!
     
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  4. Winners or Errors

    Winners or Errors Professional

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    Where's the money in tennis? Has it ever been in TV revenues? I find the suggestion of moving to wooden racquets ludicrous, as I like the game from the 80s and 90s, which was played with graphite racquets.

    There are many reasonable suggestions regarding the ball, the courts, etc., but the horse is already out of the barn on racquet tech and I see no compelling need to put it back in, especially given the fact that no manufacturer on earth would want to do so.

    Personally, along those lines, I think we should all play in Adidas Stan Smith tennis shoes or the first Reeboks from the 80s. That'd really slow down the game. ;-)
     
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  5. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    I'm not so sure about that. Back during the wood era, there were probably 3 times as many companies making tennis racquets as there are today. (Remember Tad Davis, Spalding, Bancroft, Donnay (the real one), Snauwaert, Garcia, Slazenger (the real one), Rossignol, Fila, Le Coq Sportif, MacGregor, Yamaha, Adidas, Kawasaki, Rawlings, Chemold, Penn, Wright& Ditson, etc.?) That tells me that more companies were able to make a profit making wood tennis racquets than in making graphite tennis racquets.
     
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  6. hrstrat57

    hrstrat57 Hall of Fame

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    I've actually been asked a couple times if I wanted to do that hit back and forth thing during the HOF tourney.

    Still got a couple of wood frames but don't have the required garb.....so have never done it.

    Anybody here on TT had a hit there during the tourney.

    I am still considering it ha ha, trying to talk another peep or two into doing it with me.
     
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  7. vandre

    vandre Hall of Fame

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    excellent point! similarly, I always laugh hysterically when Navratilova bags on racquet tech since she was one of the first to hop on the graphite racquet bandwagon.

    furthermore, does anyone believe that the racquet companies would really allow this sort of thing to happen without resistance? they're making way to much moolah currently to just go along with this sort of a change. it would be way too difficult to pj a tweener to look like a pro's 70" stick (and that is assuming that the pros don't go back to the monoshaft woodies). if the racquet companies aren't going to make money, they would dump their pro endorsers wholesale and could even reduce the money they pump into tournaments.

    and as far as tv audience goes, do you think anyone less than the most diehard of tennis fans will sit through matches of mishits, shanks, and 2 stroke rallys? the general public, it seems to me, likes the long rallies. when was the last time you saw a crowd give a 3 minute standing ovation to an ace or a serve-return- volley point?

    this sounds very bad for the game to me...
     
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  8. vandre

    vandre Hall of Fame

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    all of them!
     
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  9. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    They certainly weren't complaining making money at the time using these frames while the poor game of tennis was beginning to suffer. Please
     
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  10. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    Because new viewers of tennis can't appreciate the difficulty of the tennis of yesteryear. They don't know how difficult dropshots are or being a successful serve and volleyer. They can appreciate, however, the physicality of modern tennis. I've had my non-tennis fan roommates watch some tennis... they always ask "why doesn't he just hit the ball short????". And when Federer pulls off a no-look slice winner, they go "meh". They don't understand the difficulty of skillful shots. But when Nadal smacks a curving winner on the full sprint and slides to a screetching halt on hardcourt.. that's something they actually go "woooaaa!!" about.

    You say more people enjoy the tennis of yesteryear because of strategy... but I'm telling you, it's only the old folks that can really appreciate that. New viewers mostly like and appreciate the athleticism of modern tennis
     
    #60
  11. HRB

    HRB Professional

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    This is so correct...go back to wooden sticks and you'll kill the sport, end of sentence....the old guys watching for nostalgia won't pay the bills!
     
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  12. Venetian

    Venetian Professional

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    It's that time of the year again! The wood racquet thread comes back for more. With some "ban poly" posts sprinkled in for good measure.

    I've still yet to hear any of my non-tennis-playing friends say to me, "You know, I'd watch tennis more often if they just went back to using wooden racquets. That's where the real action is!".
     
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  13. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Yes, the racquet companies are making so much money that Prince keeps going bankrupt and Fischer got out of the tennis racquet business altogether, and I'd bet Volkl and Becker will follow soon. Not to mention the many dozens of other companies that got out of the tennis racquet business because they couldn't make any money (e.g., Bancroft, Spalding, Donnay, Snauwaert, etc.). The fact is, I'd bet only Wilson and Babolat make any money in the tennis racquet business if they're lucky and I'd bet it's not much. Everyone else probably loses money. It's like the smartphone business - only Apple and Samsung make any profits while all the rest of them lose money consistently.

    The truth is, the general public doesn't watch tennis at all regardless of how the points are played. Heck, I even know of some die-hard tennis players who never watch pro tennis at all. They just play it. Besides, many more times the number of people watched the 1980 Wimbledon final between two wood racquet wielding players than watched any Slam final between Nadal and Djokovic, by far.
     
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  14. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    If they hadn't used graphite racquets at all, how would they understand why they are destroying the game?

    And no one is going to stop using graphite racquets and go back to wood unless all of their competition did as well. That's why it needs to be mandated.
     
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  15. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Your non-tennis playing friends wouldn't know the difference between a wood racquet and a graphite one.

    But guess what? Many more non-tennis playing people were watching tennis during the wood era than they do now.
     
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  16. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    The point is they never pushed to revert to wood back then. Only now when they are retired they can jump on their pedestal.
     
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  17. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Because they now realize the damage graphite racquets have done to the game. It's like asking someone who's been smoking for 20 years why they didn't stop 15 years ago. Because only now do they realize the damage smoking has done to their bodies.
     
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  18. Vcore89

    Vcore89 Hall of Fame

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    Don't know the probability of ever going back to wooden racquet though I'd like for it to happen.

    Anyway, being mindful of where we are now in our tennis evolution (no turning back to woods). Maybe we should just limit the beam thickness between 14 mm to 18 mm. Re-classify mids as between 65 to 74 sq. in, mid plus as 75 to 84 sq. in., and oversize as 85 to 94. 95 to 100 for recreational players (18 mm to 21 mm beam width).
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
    #68
  19. Fedinkum

    Fedinkum Hall of Fame

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    As much as I enjoy the novelty of watching wooden tennis, I like to see how far tecnology can push the game and the players.
     
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  20. Vcore89

    Vcore89 Hall of Fame

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    Do with the technology, limit them to 14 mm beam thickness and if possible everyone plays within a 10 sq. in., range between 65 to 74. ...maybe the pros must only use a 65 (graphite) sq. in., racquet.
     
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  21. vandre

    vandre Hall of Fame

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    the fact that this match took place during the fabled "tennis boom" had nothing to do with that :roll:
     
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  22. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    If woodies were introduced again tennis would change drastically. Yes - you can hit very hard with wood. It's true. You can also serve very hard with wood.

    BUT.... your accuracy suffers, which is why players hit much 'safer' in the old days and didn't hit the **** out of the ball like they do now. I don't think Nadal would be very effective with wood with the kind of state of mind that he developed when growing up with a graphite racket.
    Hand him a wooden racket and he'd have to get a brain transplant.

    It's all fair and square. Different eras, different players. Whatever. I accept it.

    But, folks, try and be fair to the players of yesteryear. They'd wipe the floor with today's players if wooden rackets were used. They possessed unparalleled touch compared to today's pros because they had to learn a different, more subtle game. It sure didn't look like something from a video game with lightning fast rallies, but it was impressive all the same.

    It was art. But not everyone can recognize art....
     
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  23. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Sure......in the old days everything was better. :rolleyes:

    Those were the days:
    http://youtu.be/1F9vRVyV914
     
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  24. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    Actually, very little was better in the old days, but tennis certainly was!
     
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  25. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    So why was there only a "tennis boom" when everyone used wood racquets? And as soon as everyone switched to graphite, tennis declined precipitously and there has never been a "tennis boom" during any period in which all the players used graphite racquets. Look at how many threads and stories there have been about how Nadal vs. Djokovic bores viewers to tears!
     
    #75
  26. MethodTennis

    MethodTennis Hall of Fame

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    these would make everyone grind more?
     
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  27. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    That statement is easily perceptible.
     
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  28. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    We will never see a return to wood. It's simply not going to happen. That said, I completely agree that the equipment of today has altered tennis into a sport that is unrecognizable when compared to what it was from the 1800's until technology.

    I do think that professional tennis should adopt standards, like baseball and golf and NASCAR even, that drastically limits the equipment that can be used. Manufacturers can and do make frames that are so customized as to be one-offs for the pros now. They can now fully replicate the weight, balance, flex, and every characteristic of a wood racquet.

    Old folks will remember that measuring the height of a net with a wood racquet was fairly precise. You took the frame, stood it on its handle, marked that height with your hand and then used the head to measure 36 inches. One of the suggestions I've heard is that the length of a racquet + the width of the head cannot exceed 36". That would give some leeway in design.

    I personally prefer rules like in baseball and golf and NASCAR which clearly define what materials, properties, and sizes the equipment can be. I also think hard court tennis should be more limited and all Majors should be played on natural surfaces.
     
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  29. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    wrong. The reason why tennis and everything else becomes boring is.... MONEY. Back in the day when the money sucked and players weren't making 100,000,000,000,000,000 in sponsorship dollars they were more REAL. They had personality and authenticity and weren't afraid of acting like themselves. Like normal people do in real life when they're not afraid of what the sponsors media would say about them. If you took the technology of today back in time you'd still get amazing matches and a tennis atmosphere that would be much more entertaining to the viewer to follow. Tennis now is clinical and the top players are boring robots with zero emotion and personality. That's why you get so much shock when someone like Roddick gives an interview and does nothing more than tell the truth. What a concept. Wood / Graphite, has nothing to do with anything
     
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  30. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Baseball is a horrible comparison because hitting the ball far equals a home run (incontestable points). There is no human ability that can stop a home run (save for the HR that barely clearly the fence. Those can be jump-caught). Without limiting the power of the bat the home run is wildly overpowered and doesn't just imbalance the game, it breaks it.

    Some would argue that in Tennis, modern strings (not powerful racquets) have imbalanced the game, some might even say it has broken the game. The latter have no clue what they're talking about, the former have an argument--I just happen to disagree with them. Countless epic, amazing, and hyper competitive matches since the advent of modern strings lend strong support to the idea that the game is experiencing a fine level of balance.

    If opinions could be wrong, yours certainly would be. I suppose more than anything, I feel someone sad for you, that you can't enjoy some of this magic I get to watch week after week. Sucks to be you!
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
    #80
  31. BlueB

    BlueB Hall of Fame

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    They could, but why would they do that? Wood racquets sucked big time.

    At the moment there is the limit on the head size, length and string patterns. That's quite enough to limit designs going overboard, while leaving some space for inovation.
     
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  32. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    So is football more boring today than it was 40 years ago because there's now more money in football? How about basketball? Golf?
     
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  33. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    According to whom?

    Did Laver think his wood racquet "sucked big time" when he won his two calendar Grand Slams? Did Borg think his wood racquet "sucked big time" when he won his 5 straight Wimbledons and 6 French Opens?
     
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  34. BlueB

    BlueB Hall of Fame

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    According to me ;) I sucked too as a player, back then (and still do), but I sucked less when I tried the graphite. :D

    Kidding asside, according to the number of ATP pros playing the wood today...
     
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  35. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    You just don't get it! And I don't think you ever will.
     
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  36. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    You do get it, 100%.
     
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  37. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    well mcenroe, martina, boris all switched to graphite more than 20 years ago. it's a little late now, not going to happen.

    maybe they could make a maximum stiffness rule or ban poly strings. they also could limit head size to 95 or so but I think once you get past 90 more head size doesn't make all that big of a difference.
     
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  38. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    There was nothing, NOTHING that felt as good as a Dunlop Maxply Fort strung with uncoated natural gut at 58. There was nothing, NOTHING that sounded as good as centering a ball in the middle of a Dunlop Maxply Fort strung at 58.

    Sure, it was harder to play, but that was the allure of the game. It was an accomplishment, playing a high level with wood.
     
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  39. fuzzfactory

    fuzzfactory Rookie

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    That's only your opinion bro. I love hitting a ball as hard as I can with a stiff racket with a stiff poly and watching the ball STILL go in.
     
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  40. Vcore89

    Vcore89 Hall of Fame

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    wood is good

    [​IMG]At the 1978 U.S. Open, Pam Shriver became the first player to play a Grand Slam final with an oversized racquet, namely the 110-square-inch Prince Classic. Though she lost the match to still-wood-wielding Chris Evert, Shriver’s performance with the aluminum frame despoiled the woody in many eyes, setting the stage for the emergence of game-changing racquet technologies. As Stephen Tignor explains in High Strung: Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, and the Untold Story of Tennis’s Fiercest Rivalry, “[Shriver’s] frame had been manufactured two years earlier, but it had been widely derided among recreational players as a ‘cheater’s racquet.’ Once Shriver legitimized it, the floodgates were open.”
     
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  41. lstewart

    lstewart Rookie

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    I can remember just finishing my senior year of college tennis and receiving a couple of 110 s.i. Prince Pros from Prince. I was playing wood Spaulding World Opens strung with gut. I would play a set with the Prince, switch to the wood racket for a set, back to the Prince for a set, etc. I actually won every set that day against another college player. That might be the most amazing feat of my tennis career, as now being use to modern frames with poly makes being able to pick up a wood racket and play decent tennis impossible. I agree that poly strings have had more impact on the current state of the game, and everyone looking the same. Before poly, power ruled, but there were still many attacking serve and volley types. Now with poly, everyone has amazing dipping passing shots that never miss, and it is just too hard to attack and win.
     
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  42. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    just speed up some of the court surfaces so the big swingers can't just sit back and take home run swings at their groundies.

    that would satisfy me, abit.
     
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  43. Crocodile

    Crocodile New User

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    I would like to see perhaps racquets go back to the age where there were wood graphite composites, but improved on. Something like a Pro kennex Golden Ace or Prince Woodie in modern form. The Core 6 and 10 were interesting developments and the Lacoste prototype is interesting as well. My main fear with the current popular frames, is the potential to cause injury to wrists, elbows and shoulders. The extra spin, bounce and higher bouncing surfaces is killing off diverse playing styles, is brutal to the body (Lots of spinal stress factors appearing now), and is quite disconnected to how many recreational players could or would relate to the game.
     
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  44. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    What problem are we trying to solve here? Ticket sales at the majors and 1000 events keep breaking records. So tennis, when the top guys play, is doing very well. Just because some ex-pros are living in the past isn't a reason to turn back the clock and stifle technology. A device like golf's Iron Byron that would measure initial velocity and spin would be ok - but the max levels would still be set to a modern level, not from the wood days.

    As I alluded to, tennis' biggest problem is that its too star driven. The ATP needs to figure out how to market the game and not just the top stars.
     
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  45. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Question: How do you market Ryan Sweeting and Dennis Kudla? What about the raging Latvian Ernests Gulbis?
     
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  46. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    That's a bit extreme: Sweeting played a whopping 1 match on Tour this yr. Kudla 16. And Gulbis doesn't exactly come across as a 'people person'.

    a) take guys 8-20, get them to do as many interviews as possible; b) create highlight reels (shots of the week) - make sure you show plenty from the guys who aren't in the top 5.
     
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  47. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    This is a silly thread. It is nice as a hypothetical, but it just isn't going to happen. Most of today's touring pros have only spent at best a few hours hitting with wooden frames. They would all protest if forced to play with what is now unusual equipment.

    Wooden rackets don't make it easier for recreational players either. As someone who has experience with wooden frames, the modern frames are easier for a recreational player to use. Tennis already loses a lot of players in the United States because it is very difficult for most beginners.
     
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  48. Chico

    Chico Banned

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    No thanks. I prefer them to play with modern racquets.
     
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  49. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Sweeting played one match?! How does he make any money?! Maybe he is marrying Cuoco for financial security.. :oops:

    They could do player biographies on the Tennis Channel and neighboring sports networks.. Ooh! Maybe Player of the Week! :D
     
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  50. Vcore89

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    Personally, it wouldn't matter if tennis reverts back to wooden racquet so long it is not the steel, aluminium racquets.
     

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