^ The wood rackets are being mentioned to emphasize a point, but when I'm talking about young Mac, he could use his old Dunlop 300g or a Babolat for all I care.
But since we're talking about it, yeah, I give the edge to young Mac even if he's using his wood racket. I didn't see him shanking much with those things. Ask Borg who would win: 20 year old Borg with wooden Donnay or today's Borg with whatever racket he wants.
He's probably nuts but Jimmy Arias insists he played better with wood. Then why didn't he stay with wood? No idea. And today's male players still go out of their way to play with rackets that would be considered too heavy and underpowered by recreational standards. Mac's Dunlop was designed to play, and look, like wood. Babolats are a very different kind of racket, but a lot of today's rackets aren't really that different from the original Pro Staff or Prestige, although Wilson and Head would have you believe they've reinvented the wheel every 12 months. I hit with a guy from these boards, and he bought some K Factor rackets and eventually abandoned them to go back to the old Pro Staffs.
People are conflating a lot of different things here, though. The people who grew up playing with wood aren't going to lose as much going back to wood as would some of today's players who never touched a wooden racket in their lives. Think about Connors still beating guys playing with mid sized graphite rackets with his T-2000. Their mechanics are different, formed by wood, and even today, translates well to wood. They have more level swing paths, they don't pronate as much, and their strokes are more compact. So yes, it's a different game, but mostly due to younger guys who never played with wood implementing technique that never would have developed if they grew up playing with a 14-1/2 ounce wooden racket. This change doesn't really apply to Johnny Mac, or Evert Lloyd or Jose Higueros for that matter. Sure, some of their shots may have changed slightly due to newer rackets, but their strokes still betray their wood pedigree. They're not a completely different player today -- a completely modern player today -- because of their newer rackets.
Yes, Mac has said he he hits harder now, but he was a way better player back in his early 20's. Tennis isn't just about hitting harder.
Last edited by 35ft6 : 09-30-2009 at 06:26 PM.