Why so much interest in what the pros use?

Discussion in 'Pros' Racquets and Gear' started by JW10S, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    I'm curious as to why there is so much interest in what the pros use. There was a time when racquet manufacturers made racquets that appealed to pros then marketed them to the general public essentially saying 'if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for you'. Then racquets were all named after pros, i.e. the Jack Kramer, the Pancho Gonzalez, the Tony Trabert, the Chris Evert, the Stan Smith, the Arthur Ashe, and on and on. That all changed when Prince came out with the oversized racquet. The pros did not immediately take to them yet the public bought them like hotcakes. Just a couple years ago the best selling Wilson racquet world-wide was a Triad when not a single pro on either the men's or women's tours used one. Is what a pro uses so important? Are people still so starstruck that they will rush out and buy a racquet for no other reason than their favorite pro uses it?
     
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  2. Duzza

    Duzza Legend

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    No one buys their favourite pro's racquet these days, because we know they use paintjobs. Well I speak for most people on these boards.

    I show interest in what the pro's use because its interesting to know and fun to see if any pro's use YOUR racquet :p
     
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  3. AJK1

    AJK1 Hall of Fame

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    'Cause we are all tennis tragics!
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2006
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  4. Richie Rich

    Richie Rich Legend

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    pretty much
     
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  5. plarazza

    plarazza Rookie

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    You'd be pretty stupid to buy a racquet just because your favourite player etc uses it. I think it's more because they are pros and what there using must be a good racquet. Plus yer its interesting to know how they have their setups.
     
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  6. M Dean

    M Dean Rookie

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    i'm actually wondering if any player uses the frame we see it, i get the feeling (specially when i read this forum) that all frames are pj's. is there any top 100player using what we see (i'm not talking about customizing)?
     
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  7. nickb

    nickb Banned

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    There are top 100 players who use what you see, mostly 03 users and babolats as they are hard to paintjob.
     
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  8. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Yes (to a lot of people) and yes (I submit as evidence, the 'K-factor' thread in the Racquets section LOL).
     
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  9. federer_nadal

    federer_nadal Professional

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    they are famous people want to know. Why do you think tabloids sell so much.
     
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  10. Lambsscroll

    Lambsscroll Professional

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    I guess its part of the fun of tennis. Watching Fed hit sweet backhands with his nCode makes me want to hit the same type of backhand. So I figure if I'm going try to resemble his stroke mechanics I mind as well have the racquet as close as possible to what he uses.
     
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  11. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Because people have the false belief that using a racquet that a pro uses will automatically benefit their own game.

    In fact I would bet my life that if a study was done, it would be determined that people who use racquets that their favorite pro uses play worse with that racquet than if they used one that was based on what feels best for them.
     
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  12. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    lots of people around here seem to define themselves as tennis players because of what they use rather than their ability. this forum isnt indicative of how things are in the real tennis world.
     
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  13. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Yeah, but as ridiculous as we are, golfers are a whole different asylum...

    ...MAXIMUM SECURITY!!!
     
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  14. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Notice how the Racquets forum has well over double the number of threads as the Tennis Tips forum.

    I used to go to some guitar player forums and it was the exact same way over there. People buy all this fancy equipment (based on what their favorite bands use), yet they suck horribly and wonder why they can't reproduce the same sound as the bands.
     
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  15. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    aye..that's one of the reasons why i've retired from golf, in addition to expensive, time consuming, fattening, etc

    ya man..i can see it. lots of people who can basically only play 3 chords trying to school professionals on the forum. the equivalent happens around here
     
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  16. vkartikv

    vkartikv Hall of Fame

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    I wonder if any other sport has paintjobs. Cricket just cannot, you just can't paint wood to look like another bat....
     
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  17. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    i think paintjobs exist all over the place and in different professions. maybe the guitar guy in this forum will confirm, but a musician friend of mine claims guitars are sometimes paintjobbed.
     
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  18. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Are you talking about painting the racquet to look like a different racquet than they are actually using? If so, how common is this? And are they usually using an older racquet model by the same brand or are they using a completely different brand than what the paintjob appears? If you get on the ATP site and it lists their racquet, is that the paintjob of the racquet or the real racquet?
     
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  19. Thud and blunder

    Thud and blunder Semi-Pro

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    The disproportionate focus on pros' racquets is due to people's unwillingness to acknowledge that 'it's the Indian, not the arrows'.

    People are always looking for short cuts...maybe if they get Federer's setup, then maybe some of that magic dust will rub off on them...hell, it's a lot easier than practicing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2006
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  20. python

    python Semi-Pro

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    It's the same reason why people ask stars for an autograph. They want a personal connection to the player. "I use the same racquet Andre Agassi does".
     
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  21. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    Fanboyism.
     
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  22. Zets147

    Zets147 Banned

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    I just want to know and get a chance to see for myself what kind of racquet "works" at the pro lvl i guess.
     
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  23. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    But Kartik has a point - in sports, who else uses PJs? I could not think of any after 2 minutes of trying. In racquet sports: table tennis racquets are too small for viewers to discern brands and there is no logo, badminton and squash/racquetball sticks - I have not heard of PJs there but it could happen.
     
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  24. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    interesting point. i dont have inside information to other sports, but i bet it happens..i mean if they paintjob guitars? maybe hockey sticks? i bet players would want to use the same stick as their fav pro? and i bet there is a lot of variation in hockey sticks as in tennis racquets
     
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  25. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    I went to ccmsports.com a very large Hockey company that makes sticks. I don't think they have pantjobs they even offer custom sticks. Here is the link:
    http://en.ccmsports.com/catalog/view_prod.php?p=2663&cat2=15

    They offer graphite and wood blades for the sticks and a variety of blades with different degrees. Graphite shafts are also available so is wood.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2006
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  26. Richie Rich

    Richie Rich Legend

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    hockey skates. nhl players pretty much use 1 or 2 brands of skates. the nike/reebok stuff is just cosmetic or "pj" if you will.
     
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  27. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    Richie Rich when did Nike buy Bauer?
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2006
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  28. maverick1

    maverick1 Semi-Pro

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    It sort of does happen in Cricket. Few Cricket bats have distinctive shapes. The only identification is a sticker the Manufacturer slaps on the bat. I am told most cricketers have a personal favorite batmaker who has always made their bats, and they use stickers of whoever pays them at that given moment.

    The biggest bat sponsor(MRF) doesn't even make sports equipment. They essentially rent valuable advertising space on the bats of the best cricketers.
     
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  29. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    Can the public still buy the bats if they know who the real batmaker is?
     
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  30. Jesse K.

    Jesse K. Rookie

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    I think paint jobs are so weanie. So deceptive and so wrong. I understand all the reasons why it is the way it is, I just can't believe it's acceptable. I mean come on...AA has a raquet with little flexpoints painted on it...

    So lame. Obviously people like to use a racquet a pro is using, or they think is using, because it provides a psychological boost to them.
     
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  31. maverick1

    maverick1 Semi-Pro

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    It is all but impossible for the public to get the best bats. All decent cricket bats need to be made from Willow grown in England. Apparently the precise climate in whi the trees grow matters. Of the English willow that is harvested, the best pieces are saved for the professionals.

    I used to buy custom made bats from a New Zealand batmaker(http://www.laverwood.co.nz/) who sold three models of bats, the only difference being the type of wood and blemishes in the grain. If a bat is made from the top 5% of the stock (that he imports from England), he sells it for (US) $700; if it is made from the next 10%, it is about $350; and the rest were about $250. That was a few years ago. I don't know his pricing now.

    I assume the pros get the top 1% of the stock.

    Edit: I guess I should explain that there is such a thing a custom made bats in cricket. Good Off the shelf bats go for anywhere from $100 to $250, but if you are willing to pay abit more, you can have it made to any spec(weight, weight distribution, shape, lengths of handle/blade, location of sweet spot...) you like. The only hard part is the quality of the raw material. So I guess comparting the situation with cricket is apples and oranges. In Tennis, it si the exact opposite. The raw materials are synthetic and almost anyone can get what Federer uses. But we can't precisely customize the shape, weight distribution and size.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2006
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  32. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Slazenger makes many bats. I don't follow cricket any more, but from what you are saying, the bat has say a MRF sticker. Since no one can buy a bat from MRF, it is not really a PJ equivalent.

    But I have seen bats in shops with the autograph of a player who endorse the bat. In a sense, that is closer to a PJ, as it makes it appear that the player uses the model.
     
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  33. BlackJesus

    BlackJesus Rookie

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    I think that focus only of what equipment a single pro is playing with is too misleading but if we know the mean specs of pro's racquet we can mod our racqet in that way in order to play better. It's sure that having the real Fed's racquet will never give his talent but appling a pro's set-up to a stock racquet can in some way improve your tennis.
     
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  34. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    This is a very common thing with guitar players. There are guys out there doing everything in their power to recreate Eddie Van Halens guitar...which he made himself..when the whole point of him producing his guitar was that he wanted something different and unique. Also, they think there is some magic mojo in his amplifier and everything else he used that produced such a rock icon. The truth is, 90% of his notierity is about how he played, not a striped homemade guitar.

    Likewise, a tennis player should probably just try a bunch of racquets and use what feels and works best. But, you will always have people who want to use what Roger or Rafa or Pete use.
     
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  35. maverick1

    maverick1 Semi-Pro

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    The Slazenger, Kookaburra and other bats are definitely the equivalent of paintjobs.

    MRF is a bit different, because they are huge company and don't give a rat's a$s about Cricket equipment market.

    You can even buy MRF bats, they sell them in stores simply because there is demand for them. The bats are made by different people than the guy who makes Sachin Tendulkar's bat. I've heard the top batmakers usually work alone or with a couple of apprentices somewhere in Punjab. There is no way they can meet public demand. Even if they do make bats for the public, you can bet those bats don't get the attention of the main guy.
     
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  36. AJK1

    AJK1 Hall of Fame

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    All paintjobs prove to me is that there are two technologies: 1) for the pros, who basically use no gimmicky technology, no BS frames, and paint them, and 2) BS technology frames for the consumer. Racquet technology is like fashion, if it's so good why do they keep changing it each year?
     
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  37. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    That is one of the smartest statements I have read on this board. Did you know during the wood era Dunlop made the Maxply Fort from 1933 to 1983. That is 50 years of the same racquet. Now it of course evolved and was refined but the same basic racquet. Wilson made the Jack Kramer Autograph from 1948 to 1983. That is 35 years of the same racquet. What is going on AJK1 is exactly as you describe.
     
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  38. Lambsscroll

    Lambsscroll Professional

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    I think its horrible and a crime that someone enjoys learning and trying out what the pro use. Why should that person have fun with the game of tennis in a different way than I? Its down right wrong.
     
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  39. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    Marketing and sales. Pure and simple. That's what drives paintjobs and new frames every 2-3 years.

    People buy a frame based on what they see on TV or hear from the salemen at pro shops and racket sales reps.

    There has been some guitar talk and I think it's a good parallel. That's why "signature" models are made and marketed. They are supposed to be close to the specs of what the particular player uses.

    People want to know what string gauge/type, fret wire, tuners, trem blocks, picks, pickups, potentiometers, capacitors, cloth covered wiring, pickguard material, wood type, finish type, finish thickness, cable, effects pedals, amplifier, amplifier tubes, recifier tubes, speaker cones, etc. that someone is using....

    I remember seeing this one Santana tribute band on public access TV. The guy had the Paul Reed Smith Santana Signature model, amplifier, even the big triangular Fender pick than Carlos Santana uses. Even a flashy shirt. He just came off as a poser and a mere cheap copy of the Santana sound.

    People want to know what the pros use because they are fans and the people they are most interested in are making money playing tennis or have a style they want to emulate. If they are successful, perhaps they can be too.
     
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  40. AJK1

    AJK1 Hall of Fame

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    I love Sampras and Federer, and would like to use the racquets they use. But those frames do not suit me, and so i use racquets (Head Tours) that suit me and my game far better. It took me about 7-8 different frames (and a lot of money) to finally get what i love using. My game is more important to me than how i look or who i idolise.
     
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  41. Richie Rich

    Richie Rich Legend

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    few years ago. bauer was going belly up and nike "swooshed" in and saved the day!!
     
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  42. ionutzakis

    ionutzakis Semi-Pro

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    I would impose a rule just like for car parts, a racquet should be produced for at least 10 years!
     
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  43. sypl

    sypl Rookie

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    Eh, what rule is this? Sounds interesting.
     
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  44. trimick7

    trimick7 New User

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    Lance Armstrong won the 1999 Tour de France on a litespeed TT bike painted to look like a Trek and Trek sold thousands of bikes.
     
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  45. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    Most of the paint jobs are because players are using the same frames they have used for years, but the average life span of a racquet these days is about 18 months or so before the 'new and improved' version comes out. Since it has taken the pros a time to find what they are comfortable using and get them just right they don't want to go through all the tinkering involved every time a new frame comes out so their old frames are painted to look like contemporary ones. Far less often does it occur that a manufacturer makes special one-off frames just for a certain player--it is simply too expensive to do so. So for the most part the pros are playing with 'regular' frames it's just that they're older models that they are used to. And yes, there actually are some pros who use the exact same racquet you can buy in a pro shop. So most of the conspiracy theories posted here are just that--theory not always based on fact. Pros becoming comfortable with a certain frame is also why you don't all that often see players switching brands. It does happen yes, sometimes because the pro genuinely likes the new racquet and in some instances it is a simple question of money. After Safin handily beat Sampras to win the US Open he was offered a huge contract from Dunlop. But he never got comfortable with the Dunlops and after a year or so of tinkering around with different frames Dunlop and Safin mutually terminated their contract and he went back to his trusty HEAD.

    The new innovations the racquet companies keep coming out with are more for the recreational player rather than the pros. They also want to 'keep up with the Joneses'. Since all the other brands keep bringing out new technology all the time gone are the days when you could buy the same frame for years and years.

    As for other sports where this kind thing occurs I have it on good authority that the Nike golf clubs you just bought from the pro shop are not much like ones Tiger has in his bag.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2006
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  46. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The conspiracy theory is not that pros play with older models or some pros get unique racquets. The reason people are concerned is because of the deception tactics. Most recreational players don't even know what you have posted. The companies indulge in false statements about the racquet used by a pro. Whether the racquet is an old model, a one-of-a-kind, or an optical illusion is not the point.

    And who cares if golf has paintjobs too? If a burglar is caught, can his defense be that there is at least one more burglar in town?
     
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  47. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    Less so than in tennis though. 1 or two guys on each team is "old school" and play with discontinued gear (Paul Kariya's stick, Teemu Selanne's skates before he swtiched to Mission, Markus Naslund's skates). Most are skates, since the companies are making them stiffer and stiffer now (with a few exceptions), something the older players dont necessarily like (not sure about Joe Sakic, but i think he's still wearing old bauers). Sticks wise, the pros tend to use the latest and greatest. 10% still use wood sticks, but they're totally cutom made for them from the best materials. If you get "pro stock" hockey gear off places like ****, you're most likely still getting the latest technology, but just custom made/painted.
     
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  48. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    For those of you who are so concerned here is a quick (and unofficial) breakdown of brands used by the top 30 pros on the ATP tour. I'm sure it will mean some changes on the Xmas lists.

    HEAD 10 players
    PRINCE 4 players (and I'm including Blake and JCF)
    BABOLAT 4 players
    DUNLOP 3 players
    WILSON 3 players
    YONEX 3 players
    FISCHER 2 players
    VOLKL 1 player
     
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  49. Duzza

    Duzza Legend

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    That list doesn't prove anything. On these boards Dunlop, Wilson and Yonex are the most popular of the big brands, Prince and Head not as popular.
     
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  50. chunlimeyers

    chunlimeyers Rookie

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    This is why. We all see pros hit harder, make better, more accurate shots. And, when you have the physical size that a pro has, you start to really wonder how much is in a "pro racquet", and how much is them. Well, let me tell you, it is all in the weight and to a lesser extent, balance, of a racquet. I weighted down my wilson tour 90 to 13.5 oz and made the frame basically an even frame like Sampras had(though his was slightly heavier and had a smaller head), and, this is important, with not much technique change, basically the same strokes. Serves, about the same speed, no change. Groundstrokes=insane amount of more power. And, what i mean about power, is not power going out of bounds uncontrollable power, but penetrating, driving power from the ball gettting pummeled by a much heavier object. Volleys=night and day better, no form change.. Why?.. physics again, a heavier frame flattens that tennis ball out and keeps it from jumping off the racquet and causing it to sail. So, i can really DRIVE my volleys hard into the court. Approach shots=night and day difference.. with no grip change my short ball troubles are WAYY over since now i can drive a ball harder with the SAME STROKE, keep it from floating, and make it a winner or a winner off the next easy volley. Also, with the "new frame" I can volley better from farther back because the racquet gives soo much more velocity to the ball. And, my backhand?.. Used to be my weakness, now, with the same form, i can pummel backhands that used to land short, and they have soo much pace on them i would swear they came from my forehand or i was lefty!
    Now when i hit my other 2 same frames that i haven't weighted down yet, they feel like feathers(at probably 12 to 12.5 oz), and i feel the ball float or not stick and not have nearly the same velocity on shots. Also, my forearm, and body used to be "late", and still sometimes is when warming up. But, now my forearm just automatically makes a stronger contraction to handle and swing the heavier frame.
    Yet, again, everybody is right when they say you could not swing a pro frame. If you are an armswinger, and never learned to use your body to make power, don't even think about it(and, that counts for about 90 percent plus of people i see hit the tennis ball). Your arm will wear out quick and you may get injuries hitting the ball late. I adjusted my serve to get more shoulder turn, so not to use as much arm and much more body, and my consistency and power are up also.
    So, bottome line, if you have good biomechanics and always wanted to hit a ball like the pros, do it. If you are an armswinger you can try it, but if your arm rips off, don't blame me. (I put the weights in the 10 and 2 positions, though i believe it was just important to get more weight in the hoop to achieve the proper total weight of the frame and also to achieve an even balanced frame vs the tour 90's head light balance)
     
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