Thanks for relating what you heard on german television. Do you think that there might be a transcript of the conversation available somewhere?
Originally Posted by MrPaul
There was an interview ten minutes ago with Roger Federer in german television broadcasting the Gerry Weber Open live. Eurosport Germany has got a daily category called "Roger's Rasentennis". Today they talked about his rackets.
On the one hand it was quite interesting because he described his different racket specifications playing on different grounds. Playing on lawn means for him using a lighter head to be faster with his racket. In contrast to that he uses a more head heavy racket on clay in order to generate more powerful strokes. That means he switches the balance of his rackets regarding to the grounds?
Yes, it definitely means that he changes the balance of his frames depending on what surface he plays on. Now, the question is, does he change the balance by adding and subtracting mass from the butt of the racquet, and/or does he add or subtract mass from the head of the racquet?
Adding or removing mass from the butt is very simple, and one gram will change the balance point by 1mm. So he could remove 10 grams for Roland Garros and his balance might be 32.7 cm, and he could add 10 grams for Wimbledon, where his balance might be 31.7 cm. Of course, this means his frames are 10 grams heavier at Wimbledon.
However, he also said that he uses a more head-heavy racquet for more powerful strokes on clay
. This statement makes the above explanation a bit problematic, because a more head-heavy racquet is not inherently more powerful than a more head-light racquet, if the swingweight remains unchanged, as it would be if the only change is mass added or removed from the butt.
In my opinion, there could be two explanations:
1. He really does mean that he makes his racquet more head-heavy for clay for more powerful strokes
. Removing mass from the butt of a racquet can result in faster racquet-head speeds - more powerful strokes - for some people. The inherent power of the racquet does not change, but if swingspeeds are faster as a result of removing mass from the butt, this could result in more powerful strokes
2. He makes his racquet more head-heavy for clay by removing some lead from the butt AND adding some mass to the racquet head. Both would lengthen the balance (make more head-heavy), but adding mass to the racquet head also increases the swing weight, and thereby increases the intrinsic power of the racquet. However, increasing swingweight also makes the frame more difficult to swing, so this explanation is kind of the opposite of #1.
#1 might make his frame swing more quickly, and generate more powerful shots through higher racquet-head speed. #2 would make his frame more inherently powerful, with greater plow through, so even if his swingspeeds slowed down slightly, the racquet would make up the difference, so to speak.
On this forum, there are four or five racquets described by people who claim that they are Roger's actual match-day racquets. These racquets range in mass slightly, and I've seen balance points measured between 31.7cm and 32.2 cm. If each person who owns such a frame posted the exact specs, including swingweight, we could figure out exactly what he does to prepare his frames for play on various surfaces. My guess is that mass is added and removed only from the butt, but I really don't know.