There is a new type of racquet being used by Venus, Serena, and Andy Roddick.
In 1989 with the Constant Taper System, and with Triple Threat weighting Prince has marketed racquets with extra weight at the top of the head, which is countered against weight in the handle.
And in 1989 Wilson marketed an idea where they took weight out of the handle but added a lot of weight above the handle.
Here is a 1987 racquet that has weight added to the shaft above the handle.
I showed that racquet to Wilson, and the idea became part of the Hammer System. They added weight above the handle and took weight out of the handle itself.
The news was a more head heavy racquet, but that idea has the high polar moment of inertia that Prince was marketing. There is weight at the top of the handle, and weight in the head.
Now at Wilson, the Hammer has been discontinued in favor of a new weighting that is different. It has a low moment of inertia. In Venus and Serena’s new racquets, most of the weight is concentrated at the string bridge. They are light at the top of the head and light in the handle, but heavy at the string bridge for a low polar moment of inertia.
I developed my idea since 1980, and got a lot of control with it. Here is one of the racquets I used regularly back then.
But with weight concentrated at the string bridge, there is a low moment of inertia. Serena’s complaint when she lost was that she had no feel for the ball. She said she was timing it well; but she couldn't control where it was going. She couldn't manipulate two weights with a high polar moment of inertia to direct the ball while she was hitting it, which is a skill most avid tennis players possess. They know how to feel the different weights in different parts of the racquet and manipulate those weights to direct the ball.
But the new Roddick racquets also have weight moved from where it was to its new location near the string bridge. There is only one main weight, and no feel. In every rally where Baghdatis returned Roddick’s serve, Baghdatis had the advantage of better, more effective groundstrokes than Roddick! It was due to racquet balance.
Venus, Serena, and Roddick are all using a new philosophy in racquet balance. It feels solid and seems okay, but when you are pressured, when Serena was under the pressure of losing, she said, “I had no feel for the ball.” That's the problem with this new type of weighting, it takes away your feel and control.
Venus and Serena lost while using it and Roddick lost to Baghdatis. The verdict on this new weighting is amazingly definitive.