Originally Posted by anubis
OK, here's the answer:
--Small head size racquets have such high prestige because they were the most common racquets amongst many of our own tennis heros from the 80s and 90s. They were the tools of the "professionals" and so therefore they have this mystique about them.
That's all. They're not "better racquets", they aren't even the "best" racquet. They are the "classic" racquets from a long time ago when the game was different than it is now. They were the standard frame for a long time and they were the tools that so many top ATP pros won millions of dollars and numerous awards with.
So the question remains: is it right for me? Is it right for you? My answer is: depends on your game. Same answer as a lot of folks here have given.
But in my opinion, I think that heavy, low powered, small head size frames can actually make it harder for amateur players to consistently perform well for 2 or 3 hour long matches in the hot sun -- and keep your UE's low. I think they can cause more harm than good and in some cases actually keep players from performing their best. These classic frames take a lot of skill to use properly.
So yes, it is sexy to use Federer's frame, and yes you may or may not play any better than with a Pure Drive -- but you may be making it harder for yourself to succeed in the long run. These classic racquets require:
--more stamina to wield
--greater hand/eye coordination to really connect with the sweet spot
--excellent footwork and timing
--better anticipation of where the ball is going
--better stroke/technique in order to keep the ball in play
--significantly faster swing speed to generate the same velocity as you can with a Pure Drive with a slower swing
Of course, ATP pros have all of these requirements in spades. That's why they can wield them and make magic happen.
But for the rest of us mere mortals, perhaps we need to acknowledge that we are not pros and we are playing for fun, not millions of dollars. Sometimes playing with a "tweener" can make life a whole lot easier.
-- more stamina to wieldNot really, you need mass to play good tennis. Nadal's tweener has roughly the same SWINGWEIGHT as Federer's player's racket. Same swingweight requires same effort resulting in same level of fatigue. This is false.
--greater hand/eye coordination to really connect with the sweet spotCan be false - The sweetspot is bigger on a stock blx 90 than a stock APD due to blx's higher swingweight
--excellent footwork and timing False again, you need excellent footwork and timing to play good tennis regardless of racket type. The belief that a lighter, wider, bigger racket allows you to magically recover with a flip of the wrist is a myth. With either type racket, you need a smooth, acelerating controlled stroke. For me, I can make a defensive shot when out of position with a heavy racket - much easier with a heavy thin beam control racket than a tweener as the tweener tends to launch the ball
--better anticipation of where the ball is going False. Are you saying the heavier classic racket is going to slow down your court speed? No way unless a few grams makes you slower. To me, this is like saying playing without underwear will make you faster. This is silly. Lighter may be more manueverable but most pros playing 98-100 are playing HEAVY rackets that most here could not manuever well.
--better stroke/technique in order to keep the ball in play Why, 99% of us can learn to make a smooth swing with a heavier racket with a wee bit of practice. A 100" head sprays the ball more than a 90 or 93" head and is harder to control - it requires better technique to control the livelier stringbed and most end up stringing the 100" head tighter to control it which isn't that good for you health. Rafa uses medium tension super thick all poly for control and many of the other 98"-100" pros even string poly >55lbs
I think the main reason more pros are playing in the 95-100" zone now is simply because that's what they grew up with.
Also, you can get just as much power from a 90-93" if you lower your tension a bit and still maintain excellent control. Power is a function of racket mass, swing speed, string type, string tension, and string length. I hate the feeling of power from string length and string tighter with 98" heads to overcome this trampoline effect.
Really, it is just preference. You can play modern tennis with a 90" or 100" or anything in between.