Wood Rackets. Any Diamonds in the Rough?
I started acquiring some wooden rackets mainly from garage sales when I was in high school. I particularly enjoyed the rackets that had the players faces. They became mostly for decoration and I don't know very much about wooden rackets but I am wondering if any of these are rare/desirable to any of the TT posters. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Here is the link to the Flickr image. Below is a list of all the rackets pictured. Rackets 1-3 are top row, 4-6 middle row, 7-9 bottom row.
(Start at above and click newer for correct order)
1. Wilson Imperial Jack Kramer
2. Wilson Pro Model Don Budge (young) “Famous Players Series”
3. Wilson Personal Tony Trabert
4. Dunlop Maxply Vincent Richards
5. Wilson International Mary K. Browne
6. Bancroft Wimbledon King
7. Wilson Golden State Bobby Riggs
8. Dunlop Evonne Goolagong
9. Dunlop Autograph Evonne Goolagong
1. Chemold Tournament Rod Laver
2. Wilson Super Stroke Bruce Barnes
3. Wilson Valiant Jack Kramer
4. Wilson Match Play Alice Marble
5. Regent Jaguar Don Budge (old)
6. Wilson Valiant Mary Hardwick
7. Wilson Super Stroke Jack Kramer
8. Wilson Pro Special Don Budge (young)
9. Wilson B B Ellsworth Vines
1. Wilson Finalist Maureen Connolly
2. Regent Driver Alex Olmedo
3. Dunlop Autograph Frank Froehling
4. Gold Palm George Lott
5. Chemold Margret Court “Winner of 1970 Australia, French, Wimbledon, USA”
6. Wilson Finalist Frank Sedgman “Famous Players Series”
7. Wilson Bobby Riggs “Famous Players Series”
8. Wilson Signature Model Ellsworth Vines “Famous Players Series”
9. Dunlop Autograph Marty Riessen
1. Spalding Top Flite Pancho Gonzalez
2. Blue Flash Ken-wel
3. Bancroft Wimbledon Bjorn Borg Model
4. MacGregor Autograph Frank Parker
5. Wilson Stylist Tony Trabert
6. Penn Centre Court
7. Wilson Stylist Tony Trabert
8. Slazenger Personal Ken Rosewall
9. Wilson Autograph Chris Evert
1. Slazenger Challenge “Bamboo Rim” “Quality Product Featuring Cane” “Famous Player Series” Alice Marble
2. Slazenger Clipper
4. Wilson Autograph King
5. Pennant Perfection
6. Rawlings Signature Earl Buchholz
7. Wilson Chris Evert
8. Donnay Elite
9. PDP Fibergraph
1. Spalding Rosie Casals
2. Donnay has “your choice” “my choice” either side
3. Spalding Pro Champ Pancho Gonzalez
4. Tad Davis Classic
5. Tad Davis Hi-Point
6. Bancroft All-American
8. Tad Davis Professional
9. Bancroft Prestige
1. Wilson Autograph Butch Buhholz
2. Bolles Brendamour Wimbledon
3. Wilson Chris Evert
4. Wilson Jimmy Connors
5. Spalding Professional Ashley Cooper
6.Wilson Match Play Mary Hardwick
Most of the "Autograph" frames with decals were not the best ones around.
The best ones to play with, IMHO, would be the Davis frames, Donnay Allwood and Chris Evert Autograph.
When I hit with wood, I use a white Rossignol Strato, with a white overgrip and black synthetic strings from the wooden era.
I remember reading an interview with someone who had worked in the tennis manufacturing industry. He said that the Spaldings had the best wood quality. I think he mentioned the Gonzales models. Towards the end of the wood racket era, sourcing high quality wood had become difficult. According to him the TAD Davis rackets had less desirable wood.
Nota bene: I happen to like the TAD designs and I have one that I use occasionally. The TAD Imperial is one of the best looking rackets ever.
Nice collection but for playability the Donnay Allwood, Evert Auto and the PDP Fiberstaff (of course not wood but fiberglass and polymer) the only "player" frames. The rest for the most part were models produced per contracts with the players. Goolagong never used her "auto" frame.....she was Maxply Fort then Dunlop Volley.....as an example.
Love the Marty Riessen stick........the fact that he got an Auto frame is great.
Nice display for all those woods.
Most of the player photo decal rackets after the 1950s era were not used by the players for competition but rather made for amateurs and collectors. Some of the older player endorsed models like the Budge, Vines, and Tilden rackets were heavy duty logs made for the best. Wilson, Spalding, Bancroft, Donnay and Snauwaert all made many great recent tour quality player wood models.
As for "diamonds in the rough" YES there are lots of them, for instance Fila wood rackets.
Fila made many very high quality player rackets and they do not seem to get much respect now, maybe they get more in Europe ?
I have many including a bunch of NOS Fila woods and have a friend that was sponsored by Fila who also still has a bunch of them.
There are many other good hitting wood rackets that were not common names.
Check out the 80s tennis website - he has posted some ads and pics of many of the original Fila line.
I've got some nice Fila woodies too...Competition and Master.
All n.o.s. from Germany. I strung up both models, put them in an old Fila racketbag and used them in the Vintage Tournament in Verviers, Belgium last September. Together with my old school Fila apparel, the only non Fila item were my shoes (re-issue Diadora's).
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