Originally Posted by vsbabolat
I'm the same way with my racquets.
Yes, within the first few weeks of learning the game, I noticed the racquet felt noticeably different, one side to the other – mostly a combination of the interface between butt cap and the bottom few wraps of leather grip. I’m pretty obsessive about my tennis gear, so much so that even in the juniors, I would get new racquets, remove the grips and butt caps, and refit them so they felt “right”: the old Kneissls had an engraved serial number on one side of the shaft just above the grip (Head racquets of the same era usually had a stamped number in the same general location), and a grip size sticker on both sides of the shaft. I’d remove the sticker from the side opposite the S/N, and designate that the “up” side. The grip and butt cap would be refitted so that the larger bunch would be on the fingertip side (away from the palm contact side). Thus the tactile feel of the serial number, sticker, and grip would indicate whether the racquet was up or down. All my racquets only had head rash on the “down” side, mostly from low backhands, with the occasional tic from a low forehand volley on the other edge. The “up” side halves of the hoops were pristine.
I thought it was weird until I read Ivan Lendl’s “Hitting Hot” book, where he admitted he did exactly the same thing. Later, I noticed John McEnroe, at the height of his ATP career, had his Max 200g’s leaded up asymmetrically, so that one side of the head (the “down” side) carried weight, whereas the other side did not. Same phenomenon…
FWIW, I also think the old Kneissl butt cap design (also used on the Adidas Lendl GTX frames), with top and bottom sides squared off and left and right sides arced (without corners), is the most hand-friendly butt cap design ever made - it fits the pocket between the heel of the palm and the lower muscle mass of the thumb perfectly. The fully oval Rossignol design of the 80’s is also quite nice, much better than eight pokey corners fighting with the meat of one’s hand.
It's little details like that which set apart those racquets when they were new, and helps make them unique from the rather homogenous designs of today.