Originally Posted by AJK1
According to "Technical Tennis" modern racquets are only about 2% more powerful than wood racquets. So where does this myth come from?
It has nothing to do with the inherent power of the racket, and everything to do with the size of the head and the string set-up. Big modern rackets make it far, far easier to hit with topspin than in the past, meaning you can hit with more power and still keep the ball under control. Of course, Bill Johnston was hitting with bucket-loads of topspin in the 1920s and earlier, so it was always possible, just took a lot more skill to do so. And those who weren't hitting with topspin, like Ellsworth Vines, needed to have absolutely minimal net clearance every time, hence their more erratic play. Laver is 100% correct that wooden rackets bring the skill out, in that they reward good form more and bad form less, whereas the modern technology is much more forgiving. Federer, of course, would be even farther ahead of the current field than he is now if they all used wooden rackets. Then again, if the current crop of players had grown up using wood, they'd be a lot more technically skilled, rather than just banging the ball back and forth the way that they do. Sampras had it right, I believe, that everyone should grow up using wood; I even think McEnroe has a point, that pro tennis should only be played with wood. Certainly, today's players would be better than they are, and more like the players of Laver's generation and before.