Originally Posted by retrowagen
Yeah, there weren't too many big-name Fischer-sponsored pros out there prior to Steeb und Stich. Just Stan the Man Smith, Anders Jarryd, Jonas B. Svensson, and Jan Gunnarsson on the ATP side, and Jo Durie on the WTA side, all using the striped monoshaft Superform Mid. There were also a host of journey(wo)man pros sponsored by Fischer, mainly from German-speaking lands.
Völkl would have seemed like a particularly exotic racquet brand to most in the USA in the 80's, what with their top team pros such as Sylvia Hanika and Andrei Chesnokov! In fact, if I'm not mistaken, they sponsored (racquets, clothing, shoes) the entire USSR national team in the mid-80's, prior to the fall of the Wall.
Man, those were the days! Charly Steeb with an autograph frame! Hoo-rah! Different times! Would you now go buy a J.I. Chela autograph? Steeb had a nifty ranking and did some special things at the Davis Cup level, but auto frames back then were akin to playoff-advancement guarantees from Patrick Ewing...let's call it commonplace.
Re: the USSR and Volkl, I might have been initially under the impression that Volkl was a Soviet brand. I recall they'd equip the Soviets from "tip to grip" -- shoes, clothes, racquets of course. When Chesnokov came out of nowhere to knock off Wilander at the '86 French, I craved his game, with his racquet a close second; some odd-looking, deep-red and white midplus with a plastic throatpiece and a virtual monoshaft. Exotic! Not readily available! And to think that years earlier, the American southerner Mark Dickson played Volkl -- just did not compute.