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Datacipher 07-12-2004 12:42 AM

Here's a question for tennis trivia masters
 
How bout a trivia question just for fun?

Here's one:

What current top ATP player once used(albeit very very briefly) a 31 mm !!! widebody racquet in tournament play and what racquet was it?

I don't know if this question is too hard or too easy. Any takers?

Ballmachine 07-12-2004 04:34 AM

Off the top of my head, I would say Guga Kuerten. He used a Head Liquid Metal Instinct racquet at one tournament, and then stopped using it. I'm not sure how thick an Instinct is, or what tournament Guga used it in, but that's my guess.

mlee2 07-12-2004 05:33 AM

Pete Sampras

JohnThomas1 07-12-2004 06:02 AM

Sampras isn't current, mores the pity. The Instinct is 25mm at it's widest point. Now who could this be. I'm trying to remember if Agassi tried one of the very early widebodies back in the day.

JohnThomas1 07-12-2004 06:05 AM

The Scud tried one in some Tennis Magazine serving speed trials but never in comp from memory.

JohnThomas1 07-12-2004 06:08 AM

The Wilson T2 fits the bill but i couldn't imagine a male pro even trying it.

atatu 07-12-2004 07:35 AM

Don't know. I know that Jim Pugh used the Wilson Profile for awhile when he was one of the best doubles players in the world.

Datacipher 07-12-2004 01:36 PM

Congrats to the brave souls who hazarded a guess.

Atatu, yes, Pugh played with the profile as did a few other atp players at the time, but I assume Pugh has retired.

A good try Ball Machine but the Instinct is not near wide enough....this racquet was a monster.

Mlee....I'm assuming this was a joke?

John, good thinking with the Scud serve experiment but as you pointed out that was not tournament play. HOWEVER, you were on the right track when you pondered Mr. Agassi.

During the spring of 1990, Agassi used briefly a 31mm oversize widebody granny stick prototype which was later released as the Donnay Ultimate Pro. He used it in the clay court season warm up and discontinued by the French Open. I recall that asked about the switch right at the beginning of the French, Andre replied that going back to the Donnay Pro One was like going back to an old friend so it wouldnt' take him any adjustment time and indeed it didn't as the Pro One took him the final that year.

I still have a couple matches on tape with that widebody The highlights being that after Andre had built an insurmountable lead, he would then proceed to blast the ball with all his might. As Roscoe Tanner commented "it's like he has a new toy and he just wants to see how hard he can possibly hit the ball". Already though I could see that a few of his shots were suffering,notably short balls where he clearly was (for Andre) babying the ball, unable to hit out freely and still be confident of dropping it inside the court. Andre said at the time that he didn't need more power, he just wanted to be able to generate it more easily. That racquet definitely fulfilled that wish but I think Andre came to see the drawbacks outweighed the benefits.

thomas martinez 07-12-2004 01:56 PM

You're also forgetting Carlos Moya who used to play with the Prince Synergy Lite MP which was 32mm at the tip. There were other more obscure players as well using things like the Thunderstick(yes) and Profile 95.

Kevin Patrick 07-12-2004 02:13 PM

Datacipher,
do you know which tournaments/matches Andre used this racquet in? just curious, I looked up his 1990 season at atptennis.com & it said he just played one claycourt event (hamburg) before the French. Was it Atlanta? I recall that it was an exhibition tourney before becoming a tour event.

Datacipher 07-12-2004 03:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin Patrick
Datacipher,
do you know which tournaments/matches Andre used this racquet in? just curious, I looked up his 1990 season at atptennis.com & it said he just played one claycourt event (hamburg) before the French. Was it Atlanta? I recall that it was an exhibition tourney before becoming a tour event.

That's exactly right I think Kevin. The matches I still have are from the exhibition, easy wins over Mayotte/Scott Davis/David Wheaton as well as Yzaga in the final. Then I also recall him playing only 1 warm up(Hamburg). Although I did not see that match, I heard he was playing with the widebody again...I assume it was somewhere in or around this loss that he might have been questioning the widebody as he had been seemingly thrilled with it during the AT&T exhibition.

Now, the only thing I'm not sure of is (maybe someone can help) is whether or not he actually STARTED his FO 1st round with the widebody. He was down at the beginning of the match(possibly against Layendecker?) and there was an incident with him breaking some racquet/s before coming back to win. By the end of the match, which I saw, he was using the Pro One again. Anyhow, I believe he either switched between Hamburg and the FO or actually in the 1st round of the FO! In any case, that is why they asked him in the press conference about the no lead time racquet switch.

Datacipher 07-12-2004 03:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thomas martinez
You're also forgetting Carlos Moya who used to play with the Prince Synergy Lite MP which was 32mm at the tip. There were other more obscure players as well using things like the Thunderstick(yes) and Profile 95.

That's a close hit Thomas, the Prince was indeed 32mm at the tip. We did mention Pugh and some others using the Profile. I'm trying to remember a male using the Thunderstick but my memory is too faded.... do you remember any specific names?

Kevin Patrick 07-12-2004 03:15 PM

Datacipher,
Changing racquets mid-match? I wouldn't put it past Andre circa 1990, what a talent only he could pull stuff like that off. It's funny to see how well he did at the French early in his career with virtually no clay warm-ups. Ditto Wimbledon.

Datacipher 07-12-2004 04:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin Patrick
Datacipher,
Changing racquets mid-match? I wouldn't put it past Andre circa 1990, what a talent only he could pull stuff like that off. It's funny to see how well he did at the French early in his career with virtually no clay warm-ups. Ditto Wimbledon.

Heh, that's why I wouldn't put a spontaneous racquet change past him either though I don't know if that's what happened. LOL, Bollettieri, in his book, describes Andre's 92 Wimbly prep like this....

"A week later, in mid June, only a few days before the start of Wimbledon, my phone rang at 2 in the morning. I knew who it was before i picked it up...."Nick, what the hell are you doing?" said Andre. "I'm not doing anything," I said. "Coach, do you think we should practice some before Wimbldeon?" "Yeah" I said "I don't think it would be a bad idea.".....I asked where he wanted to practice....he suggested a tennis club in Boca Raton.... as soon as we arrived...we played 18 holes....at about 4 in the afternoon, Andre said he was ready to start hitting tennis balls. He hadn't hit a lick since the FO. We found 2 hard courts in a private condo development. They were painted green, so we pretended they were grass courts at Wimbledon. Andre got on the court and hit with Raul and Seguso for about 45 min. One of the amazing things about Andre was that he could go for weeks, or even longer, without hitting a ball, then pick up a racquet and start hitting just as well as if he had played the previous day...."What do you think coach? Should we practice more?" "Shit, I think you're ready." Andre agreed "Shit, I"m ready." he said. "Let's go on over there.".... We flew to England the next day.....a reporter asked "are you excited about Wimbledon?""Yeah, I"m really looking forward to it," Andre said. "How have you been preparing for it?" "I've been in Boca Raton," Andre said, "playing on grass courts for the past ten days. You have to get used to grass." "How do you like it?" someone asked. "it's a great surface," Andre said and turned and winked at me.....I didn't believe we had the slightest chance at Wimbledon. After 1 day of practice!

JohnThomas1 07-12-2004 11:37 PM

Awesome stuff guys!!! Hey Data if we're going back a bit remember Yannick using the stiff powerful Yamaha Secret 04 for the tail end of his career? 26mm and stiff as. He won a tourney (NSW Open i think) out here beating Lendl in the semi and Steeb (sp?) in the final with it.

Datacipher 07-13-2004 12:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JohnThomas1
Awesome stuff guys!!! Hey Data if we're going back a bit remember Yannick using the stiff powerful Yamaha Secret 04 for the tail end of his career? 26mm and stiff as. He won a tourney (NSW Open i think) out here beating Lendl in the semi and Steeb (sp?) in the final with it.

Yes, I sure do John. That Secret got great reviews as I remember. One of my practice partners at the time used it for a while. I never tried it, but I remember I liked the look of it...very serious looking...sort of matte grey with a interesting texture to it? Was not one of the super powerful widebodies of the era but was surprisingly wide.....

He did beat Lendl in a warm up to the Aussie....though in Feinstein's book Hardcourts the win is portrayed as a bit of a giveaway. I guess the inside line was that the locker room was expecting Lendl to lose as Becker had lost and nobody thought Lendl would want Becker to have any extra prep/rest time before the Aussie.

I was excited though as I would have loved to see Noah get another GS or at least get back into the tour's elite. I had heard he had a new dedication to fitness and I was hopeful that Dennis Ralston could make some impact in shoring up his game. In that AO semi, (of which I have the 1st set on tape before broadcast went wonky....after that all we got was sporadic sound and a static picture of the stadium for quite a while lol) Noah was robbed of an ace with a very bad call and went down an early break. He served brilliantly however, ripping flat and slice serves past and through Lendl. If not for that early break, the first set would have been a real contest, as Noah held every game after that.

Unfortunately it seemed that losing the first set also took away Noah's heart and deep down belief that he could win and his game really faded in the next sets. By the time we got picture back I couldn't believe that the same guy blasting screaming aces now looked like he was too tired/unmotivated to even really care if the serve went over the net. Even without the bad call, Lendl probably was just way too solid for Noah, but upsets do happen and Noah had looked really good. I was hoping he would be back in the swing for the rest of the year but he took a big nosedive, I think Hardcourts made it sound like he was having women problems(big surprise ;-) and retirement thoughts.

Ben42 07-13-2004 07:35 AM

I remember him stomping one of those racquets to death on court in I think the Italian open.

He just put the tip on the ground and snapped it right in half. I think he stopped using it right after that match.

JohnThomas1 07-15-2004 02:55 AM

Great overviews Data. I have read Feinstein's book as well and know exactly what you refer to. I don't doubt it's true too. I also recieved the DVD of the AO match you refer to but have only watched 2 games. I did see a handful of aces right off the bat tho. Yannick was a very emotional player and sometimes let things bother or dishearten him to easily. I remember an Italian Open semi (I think) where at a very late crucial junction Noah got a bad call or change of a call against him that probably cost him the match. He did get ripped off a bit. Then there was the famous Flach/Seguso hair incident in the USO Final (I think lol), with the end result being Noah and co tanking. I'm sure you would remember that one, don't know about the Italian tho?

Ah interesting Ben, must have been near the end of his career too.

thomas martinez 07-15-2004 06:21 AM

You're also forgetting the other controversy that Noah was involved in. When Amos Mansdorf went up to Noah's family and cussed them out. ALmost brought fisticuffs to the tennis court!
As for the Secret 04, stiff as can be, yes. But had all the control of say a Pro Staff 6.1. In fact my ex Yamaha players started to play with the 6.1 locally after Yamaha left the US shores. I was also lucky in being able to see both Yannick and his protoge Ronald Agenor play live a few times at the Hamlet Cup here in NY. It's a shame they both did not have better mental games. What players they were to watch.

Datacipher 07-16-2004 01:54 AM

Yes, John it's great you have that match, as I recall you'll see Noah really showing his beatiful serve at least in the 1st set of that match, scorching flat serves and sweet sweet slices. I know he hits his wonderful slice down the middle of the ad court a few times(a pure slice down the middle of the ad is a lost shot now because of modern mechanics). Noah could hit that one with big speed and a little break or ahuge break wide (as in it would hit the backstop about 7 feet into the deuce court.)

You and Thomas are certainly right about the emotionalism. Perhaps Noah rode it to victory at the French but it sure cost him at other times. Still I think he needed passion because honestly his game was not solid enough to beat the big guys generally. He needed to be lunging and diving(which he did so much better than anyone else ever has, not like lumbering Becker or Flipper flopping around ;-) and using his athleticism to intimidate. I always liked Arthur Ashe's description of Noah "Michael Jordan with a racquet".

I do remember all those incidents (except for the racquet breaking)!

It's nice you got to see Agenor Thomas, he was a fun player. Did you know that he was actually one of Agassi's least favorite player's to play? Gilbert once said he was Agassi's "nightmare". Andre just did not like his game. I was always impressed how fast he could pop the 1st serve for a little guy.


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