Can I play the best tennis of my life with a 200g?

Snaab

Semi-Pro
Shoulda switched to the 200g? :)
Saw Borg play in Atlanta in the mid 90s with the Head Prestige Mid - in some ways similar to the Max 200G: smaller head, flexible, etc. I played my best 5.0 tennis with a Volkl Tournament Pro in the 90s. Still have it and like to hit with it occasionally - as well as the Head TXE and Jack Kramer Autograph, but wouldn't consider a league match with any of them. I definitely enjoyed the less homogenous, more varied styles of the 80s and 90s.
 
I find that the Max 200g is one of the few graphite frames flexible to give the woody-like flex that makes the frame easy to volley with. I confess that I don’t fully understand the physics, but I can volley well with really flexy wood frames with RA in the 30-50 range, and I can volley really well with really stiff frames, especially when RA is 70-80. But frames with RA in the 50-60 range have an intermediate response that makes it much harder to volley well (but easier to apply spin).
Curiously, the opposite happens to me.
With RA 35-50 I do the stop volleys well. With RA 60-70 (I don't play with more) the deep volleys. And with RA 50-60 all good.
It is clear that each of us is a different world.
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
In my 38 years of playing tennis, testing racquets, and tuning racquets, I have noticed a few generalities pertaining to the game, how it’s played, and the equipment that is used to play the game:

Recreational players flocked to the oversized (initially Prince, then Wilson and others’) oversized frames. They were a crutch, forgiving poor footwork, racquet prep, or hand/eye coordination... and they caught on quite well! The tradeoff was an inherent lack of ball control, “trampoline” effect from the overall longer string lengths across the head. The manoeuverability of such a large object on the end of a stick was also an issue. Midsized frames offered the user a degree of the benefits with a lesser degree of the penalties. In all cases, the compromise between materials and manufacturing technology, warranties, and usability by a larger cross-section of players kept racquet weights around 12 ounces, which for all but the smallest women or children was just fine. To counter the trampoline and lack of control, better players had to employ heavy topspin to succeed (i.e., keep the ball in court). The prevalent style of play would evolve.

The wide deployment of the first wave of widebody frames in 1988 offered another huge crutch to allow poor technique to further thrive. Instead of long, smooth strokes being necessary to generate racquet head speed for power, short, spastic strokes with an ungodly stiff widebody racquet would substitute. They sold like hotcakes. And the prevalent way of playing the game would again evolve.

After the market paradigm shift to widebody designs, the only other engineering battlefronts had to do with lowering unit production costs (therefore increasing per-unit profits in a dying market), and using CAD-CAM technology to evolve moldings to use less materials (less production cost) and have less weight. Less weight (down to 9 ounces, in many cases) was perceived in pro shop test swings as “wow, that feels great!” with a sense that lots of racquet head speed could be whipped up, for the topspin that everyone now needs, but the downside of the lighter frames lied in the arm pains many would get, from simple Newtonian physics (less mass in the racquet hitting an object transmits more shock from the impact through the less substantial hitting object, which is probably acoustically tuned by its high stiffness to dissipate the vibration of hitting in lower-amplitude, higher-frequency patterns: “buzzier” (most players find the use of string dampeners to be a mandatory necessity). Also, the lighter racquets are another crutch allowing poorer technique, footwork, and racquet prep to persist. And again, the game has evolved. Two-handed backhands are now almost mandatory among beginners and intermediate players, and heavy topspin cuts are the only strokes I now see taught here in California—biomechanically damaging, ugly, and unnatural.

Pick up a heavy, small, flexible old graphite composite mid or old midplus (anything between 80 and 95 square inches), and you probably won’t be able to compete with the same sloppy footwork, poor timing, and unnatural strokes that you were getting by with. It will diagnose and filter out the faults in your technique, and force you to watch the ball more sharply, have better footwork, take the racquet back with a proper turn of the torso, and uncoil and follow through. Once you’ve adapted, and proper technique is locked in, you can pick up a more modern, yet classic frame (i.e., Head PT 2.0, Fischer Pro One, Prince Phantom, etc), and play surprisingly well, incorporating flat balls with the topspin, and reveling in the improved, more multidimensional PLAYER.

A side hobby of mine is racing sports cars, and in that venue, I have always been much more impressed by fast drivers in slow cars, than fast drivers in fast cars. One has skill, the other has financing. Our discussion of racquets is analogous.
 

michael valek

Professional
Also the frames you mention are not the same as max200g. No one can surely say they play better tennis with an 85 than a 97. Borg example is the control test here. Playing your best tennis possible with one frame is not the same as playing your best tennis possible.
 

max_brat

Rookie
The preferred mod is to get a "Medium" labeled 200G. Then no weight is needed.
Remember, when they actually made different weights - it is called Craft...
I've only ever found one "Medium" labeled Max 200G, and it doesn't feel too different (mind you, I received it two weeks ago and have only swung it a few times). I honestly thought it was a misprint at first. Did they ever make "Heavy" Max 200Gs?
 

max_brat

Rookie
Hi
I do not enter the forum to debate with other colleagues and this will be my last reply for you.
ok let's talk about professionals.

The ex-atp (with victories over Nadal, Ferrero, Ferrer, Monaco and others) who leads my training group tells me privately that the rackets I use are better than the modern ones used by my young training partners and that he has sold off your sponsorship brand. According to him in the last 20 years there has been no significant improvement and the quality is much worse.

In this forum we all know that Murray plays with a 1993 PT57A (with 16x19). Nadal has been wearing it since 2005. Djokovic has a 1999 tgk frame.

Let's look at the case of Federer. He does play with a new racket.
Until 2002 he played with Ps85 from 1982. This for Wilson was very unprofitable in the market. They pressured Federer to switch to a bigger hoop and after much discussion Roger agreed if the new racket was an enlarged copy of the PS85. With that racket and his multiple paintjobs he has won 17GS.

As for the issue of why Dunlop abandoned the manufacture of the injected graphite mold, there is extensive information in the forum from very competent colleagues.


One last question: we all buy products made in China because it suits us, but we must be aware of the involution of quality that this implies. You can't be so naive as to believe that a $ 5 manufacturing cost racket is a quality product.

I respect your opinion and arguments and I will not enter into any further debate.

a cordial greeting
Quick question: did Wilson originally develop the PS90 for Sampras? I know he wrote in his book that his last year he had demoed some larger frames, yet didn't want to make the change from his PS85 so late in his career. The other reason I ask this is because I have an Asian-market PS90 Hyper Carbon model and on the frame it says "St. Vincent Method" so I thought maybe Wilson had taken the same idea as the original St. Vincent PS85 and created a special mold for the PS90 just for Sampras. I'm interested to hear your thoughts!
 

max_brat

Rookie
A side hobby of mine is racing sports cars, and in that venue, I have always been much more impressed by fast drivers in slow cars, than fast drivers in fast cars. One has skill, the other has financing. Our discussion of racquets is analogous.
I'm in the same boat as you, Retrowagen. I've been watching motor racing for most of my life, and I'm always more impressed with what guys from the back of the grid can do in lesser equipment than what the guys starting from pole can do. I consider the Max 200G to be a bit like those early-80s Ford Cosworth DFV powered F1 cars; maybe not as good as a turbocharged Renault or Ferrari (in this case, anything with a 95-105 head size), but no less enjoyable to drive. Hey, those DFV cars were still good on twisty circuits, so why can't a Max 200G be good on something like grass or hard court?
 

max_brat

Rookie
Also the frames you mention are not the same as max200g. No one can surely say they play better tennis with an 85 than a 97. Borg example is the control test here. Playing your best tennis possible with one frame is not the same as playing your best tennis possible.
What do you play with usually? I saw your post in another thread about the Prince NXG 100 (which I have one of that I'm thinking of selling), and that seems like a "old-school" racquet rather than a racquet from 2002-present (I define that as an era simply due to string changes and racquet changes).
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
The Max200G is too big - try the Tennis Pointer. I saw one of the coaches at my club hitting with it today and a few minutes later, I saw that she gave it to her 4-year old daughter to train her. Good coaching or child abuseo_O

 
Quick question: did Wilson originally develop the PS90 for Sampras? I know he wrote in his book that his last year he had demoed some larger frames, yet didn't want to make the change from his PS85 so late in his career. The other reason I ask this is because I have an Asian-market PS90 Hyper Carbon model and on the frame it says "St. Vincent Method" so I thought maybe Wilson had taken the same idea as the original St. Vincent PS85 and created a special mold for the PS90 just for Sampras. I'm interested to hear your thoughts!
Everything suggests that the PS90 Tour was created for Federer, but there is no doubt that Wilson had to evaluate the possibility that Pete would use it if he continued. Wilson's managers (and fans) had to dream of repeating the 2001 match at Wimbledon (perhaps in the final?) both using the PS90Tour. It would have been a shocking moment. Anyway, as fans of Sampras I liked that he retired in all his glory as a champion. It was also a magnificent tribute from Wilson to dedicate him the KPS88 years later and thus close the PS85 saga.

Of course Wilson continued to recreate the "St.Vincent method" for the rackets that he supplied to his professionals, but unfortunately he would in no way apply it to commercial rackets.
 

michael valek

Professional
What do you play with usually? I saw your post in another thread about the Prince NXG 100 (which I have one of that I'm thinking of selling), and that seems like a "old-school" racquet rather than a racquet from 2002-present (I define that as an era simply due to string changes and racquet changes).
Everything you could ever think of, but now some Wilson h22. Tried the new pure aero vs 2020 yesterday, that was pretty good.
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
Quick question: did Wilson originally develop the PS90 for Sampras? I know he wrote in his book that his last year he had demoed some larger frames, yet didn't want to make the change from his PS85 so late in his career. The other reason I ask this is because I have an Asian-market PS90 Hyper Carbon model and on the frame it says "St. Vincent Method" so I thought maybe Wilson had taken the same idea as the original St. Vincent PS85 and created a special mold for the PS90 just for Sampras. I'm interested to hear your thoughts!
Everything suggests that the PS90 Tour was created for Federer, but there is no doubt that Wilson had to evaluate the possibility that Pete would use it if he continued.

i thinkremember it being made for sampras, as it came out in spring of 2002 and at the time there was little doubt that sampras wasnt coming back, he was just taking a few months off. there were also stories of wilson developing a new racquet for him for his comeback, all the while federer was not a household name at all at this point. i remember i went into a sporting goods store and saw the new ps90 frame and i said to the stringer "wow is that the new sampras racquet?" and he said it sure is lol.. everyone thought he would comeback for wimbledon but when that came and went , retirement rumors began...
the reincarnations after the original were definitely tweaked for federer tho
 

Frankc

Professional
In my 38 years of playing tennis, testing racquets, and tuning racquets, I have noticed a few generalities pertaining to the game, how it’s played, and the equipment that is used to play the game:

Recreational players flocked to the oversized (initially Prince, then Wilson and others’) oversized frames. They were a crutch, forgiving poor footwork, racquet prep, or hand/eye coordination... and they caught on quite well! The tradeoff was an inherent lack of ball control, “trampoline” effect from the overall longer string lengths across the head. The manoeuverability of such a large object on the end of a stick was also an issue. Midsized frames offered the user a degree of the benefits with a lesser degree of the penalties. In all cases, the compromise between materials and manufacturing technology, warranties, and usability by a larger cross-section of players kept racquet weights around 12 ounces, which for all but the smallest women or children was just fine. To counter the trampoline and lack of control, better players had to employ heavy topspin to succeed (i.e., keep the ball in court). The prevalent style of play would evolve.

The wide deployment of the first wave of widebody frames in 1988 offered another huge crutch to allow poor technique to further thrive. Instead of long, smooth strokes being necessary to generate racquet head speed for power, short, spastic strokes with an ungodly stiff widebody racquet would substitute. They sold like hotcakes. And the prevalent way of playing the game would again evolve.

After the market paradigm shift to widebody designs, the only other engineering battlefronts had to do with lowering unit production costs (therefore increasing per-unit profits in a dying market), and using CAD-CAM technology to evolve moldings to use less materials (less production cost) and have less weight. Less weight (down to 9 ounces, in many cases) was perceived in pro shop test swings as “wow, that feels great!” with a sense that lots of racquet head speed could be whipped up, for the topspin that everyone now needs, but the downside of the lighter frames lied in the arm pains many would get, from simple Newtonian physics (less mass in the racquet hitting an object transmits more shock from the impact through the less substantial hitting object, which is probably acoustically tuned by its high stiffness to dissipate the vibration of hitting in lower-amplitude, higher-frequency patterns: “buzzier” (most players find the use of string dampeners to be a mandatory necessity). Also, the lighter racquets are another crutch allowing poorer technique, footwork, and racquet prep to persist. And again, the game has evolved. Two-handed backhands are now almost mandatory among beginners and intermediate players, and heavy topspin cuts are the only strokes I now see taught here in California—biomechanically damaging, ugly, and unnatural.

Pick up a heavy, small, flexible old graphite composite mid or old midplus (anything between 80 and 95 square inches), and you probably won’t be able to compete with the same sloppy footwork, poor timing, and unnatural strokes that you were getting by with. It will diagnose and filter out the faults in your technique, and force you to watch the ball more sharply, have better footwork, take the racquet back with a proper turn of the torso, and uncoil and follow through. Once you’ve adapted, and proper technique is locked in, you can pick up a more modern, yet classic frame (i.e., Head PT 2.0, Fischer Pro One, Prince Phantom, etc), and play surprisingly well, incorporating flat balls with the topspin, and reveling in the improved, more multidimensional PLAYER.

A side hobby of mine is racing sports cars, and in that venue, I have always been much more impressed by fast drivers in slow cars, than fast drivers in fast cars. One has skill, the other has financing. Our discussion of racquets is analogous.
As always, so enjoyable to read and consider.
I am more biased than ever at this moment as I am in the midst of another viewing of the '82 W Nastase-Smith Final. The variety, tactics, point building, and variety ( again) are all so skillful and athletic. We will never see that again - a balance of technology and surface that allowed athletes to work each other over and use the geometry of the court to gather an advantage, often with more than a few shots. Never again... the balance... beautiful to watch...
Agree about the skill and movement that was needed with earlier racquet technology - timing, weight shift and keen hand eye... But, the balance of tech - racquets and strings - and surface of the 70's- early 80's was just right to my eyes and perception of "tennis" that used the full geometry of a court. I admit, to my eyes ( and maybe I am alone)...
In Nastase's book he tells that his Dunlop frames were custom made with a "nervy" feel to the head - thin and lively. He liked that feel to play around with the ball, he says. It was that nervy quality of a fine wood frame that allowed the head and that fine gut (that gut is long gonetoday) to hold or wrap around the ball and could be timed to precision and untold variety of shot.
The different shots that Nastase an Smith played in any given point on that fast grass is just beautiful and skillful and makes for great competition between two gifted athletes. A gradual push and shoving contest where gradually the better player shoved the other along... and out. Wonderful to watch.
When we left wood tech and thin quality gut and more flexible shafts, we lost that - never to return. That cupping quality of a "nervy" wood head...

In the midst of the wood to early graphite transition, I witnessed a regional small $ Final where a local guy (played #1 as a freshman at a powerhouse D1 school) ran through his draw - tall, all power off both sides - his shots seemed to leave craters in the green clay indoor courts. Unbeatable, we thought...graphite mid...
Since it was a $ Tourney, a local pro entered who was maybe 10 years off the Tour and was legit World Class... Slazenger Challenge 1 Wood ...
We gathered in anticipation - the verdict was quick as World Class meant that every shot was within 6 inches of a line, and once at the net, those massive power passing shots met a deft drop or angled volley... The shoving match was done early. It was a quick match. Precision and variety and skill ... Yes, at a World Class level...
Will never forget those opening games...
When we left wood, so, so much started down another highway...
 

max_brat

Rookie
the reincarnations after the original were definitely tweaked for federer tho
Oh no doubt. The PS90 is okay, but I was playing with it at the end of 2019, and I was making these good shots, but it was killing my arm to do it. The next time out, I took the Max 200G and made the same shots with less effort. I think the secret to Pro Staff 85s and 90s is lead. I have a Hyper Pro Staff 85 I picked up in Japan. It came leaded at 3 and 9, and strung with NXT, I played good tennis with it.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
This thread needs a shout out to @onehandbh , who without a doubt plays his best tennis, Edberg-style S&V along with confident topspin fh’s and slice bh’s with the Prostaff 85.
 

onehandbh

Legend
I'm currently a 5.0 player in training for national level over 35s in my country.

I'm currently playing with V3 TC 95 by Angell but I have always liked the feel of the Dunlop Max 200g but haven't played with it extensively.

Would it be suicide for my tennis to switch? Could I really play the best tennis of my life with a max 200g or should I stick with a more modern frame?

My game is aggressive net rushing, heavy slices, but have an all court game too.


Your guidance welcome
I think where you might struggle with it is on slow courts against heavy topspin.
 
As always, so enjoyable to read and consider.
I am more biased than ever at this moment as I am in the midst of another viewing of the '82 W Nastase-Smith Final. The variety, tactics, point building, and variety ( again) are all so skillful and athletic. We will never see that again - a balance of technology and surface that allowed athletes to work each other over and use the geometry of the court to gather an advantage, often with more than a few shots. Never again... the balance... beautiful to watch...
Agree about the skill and movement that was needed with earlier racquet technology - timing, weight shift and keen hand eye... But, the balance of tech - racquets and strings - and surface of the 70's- early 80's was just right to my eyes and perception of "tennis" that used the full geometry of a court. I admit, to my eyes ( and maybe I am alone)...
In Nastase's book he tells that his Dunlop frames were custom made with a "nervy" feel to the head - thin and lively. He liked that feel to play around with the ball, he says. It was that nervy quality of a fine wood frame that allowed the head and that fine gut (that gut is long gonetoday) to hold or wrap around the ball and could be timed to precision and untold variety of shot.
The different shots that Nastase an Smith played in any given point on that fast grass is just beautiful and skillful and makes for great competition between two gifted athletes. A gradual push and shoving contest where gradually the better player shoved the other along... and out. Wonderful to watch.
When we left wood tech and thin quality gut and more flexible shafts, we lost that - never to return. That cupping quality of a "nervy" wood head...

In the midst of the wood to early graphite transition, I witnessed a regional small $ Final where a local guy (played #1 as a freshman at a powerhouse D1 school) ran through his draw - tall, all power off both sides - his shots seemed to leave craters in the green clay indoor courts. Unbeatable, we thought...graphite mid...
Since it was a $ Tourney, a local pro entered who was maybe 10 years off the Tour and was legit World Class... Slazenger Challenge 1 Wood ...
We gathered in anticipation - the verdict was quick as World Class meant that every shot was within 6 inches of a line, and once at the net, those massive power passing shots met a deft drop or angled volley... The shoving match was done early. It was a quick match. Precision and variety and skill ... Yes, at a World Class level...
Will never forget those opening games...
When we left wood, so, so much started down another highway...
The Smith-Nastase duels (including the final Master of 72) are for me the best tennis matches that I have seen in my life. Incomparable. You have made a perfect description of them.
I learned to play and used a standard slazenger challenge 1 since I was 9 years old. I still have it and recently weighed it out of curiosity: 412grs and grip 3. This gave me to think about how things have changed. My companions and I at 9 years old and using maxply, slazenger, J.Kramer, Spalding Pancho Gonzales and various models from Snauwaert and Tretorn, we never complained about the weight, it seemed natural to us and we all had 1HBH. Also the grip was a 3 for all. Adults generally a 5.

It is true that tennis has changed, but I am still struck by the number of players who say they cannot with more than 300grs. Equally incomprehensible seems to me the widespread use of grip 1 and 2 by adult men.

A greeting
 

Frankc

Professional
Appreciate the kind words - and really great to hear how you enjoy such marvelous tennis skills, Nastase and Smith. Yes, I only have an OK copy of the 72 Masters match - I am lucky to have near perfect quality of the W 82 Final. Near perfect quality of that kind of tennis is a joy, like being there - and I seldom rewatch more than a set at a time... just too special. I know that you understand.

Yes, grew up with wood - Spalding early and Kramer later - You are very lucky to still have that Challenge 1. Must be fun to hold. No, weight was not an issue - simple physics, mass is essential to energy and we just prepared early, worked on our skills, and wielded that wood for great effect. (That was long before the notion that one would "buy improvement," imo) Was a far more interesting game... Wood really separated the skill levels, no doubt...
Yes, agreed on the new love of superlight frames and small grips - no doubt all these injuries are a part of that, and unforced errors at a Recreation level. (And lack of any variety at all.)

A friend of mine who is a baseball fan asked me why I have lost interest in modern tennis - it was a sincere question. He loves baseball, at all levels. I told him - well, in MLB drop the pitcher's mound to level and move the mound back 3' or so and give the MLB batters aluminum/graphite bats. Buy your beer and sit and watch the changes in the game - a home run contest... Ironically enough, a non BB crowd might find it fun to watch, but you? He said that he understood now how I feel about the changes in Tech and top Tennis...
 

frinton

Professional
Tennis is currently under lockdown in Switzerland, unless your 16th birthday is still ahead of you... as I don’t really qualify, all I can do, is go hit balls against the wall... took out one of my 200g’s... one that actually has relatively current strings in... (as opposed to me usually playing them with whatever string they come, typically 30 years old give or take a few). I was really positively surprised by the 200g, spin, power, control, crisp but not a hard feel. Was even testing the idea to use this as my main stick... would have to test with my go-to string, if I like it! If anyone‘s interested, here is a video: Some hitting with a 200g.
 

jxs653

Semi-Pro
In my 38 years of playing tennis, testing racquets, and tuning racquets, I have noticed a few generalities pertaining to the game, how it’s played, and the equipment that is used to play the game:

Recreational players flocked to the oversized (initially Prince, then Wilson and others’) oversized frames. They were a crutch, forgiving poor footwork, racquet prep, or hand/eye coordination... and they caught on quite well! The tradeoff was an inherent lack of ball control, “trampoline” effect from the overall longer string lengths across the head. The manoeuverability of such a large object on the end of a stick was also an issue. Midsized frames offered the user a degree of the benefits with a lesser degree of the penalties. In all cases, the compromise between materials and manufacturing technology, warranties, and usability by a larger cross-section of players kept racquet weights around 12 ounces, which for all but the smallest women or children was just fine. To counter the trampoline and lack of control, better players had to employ heavy topspin to succeed (i.e., keep the ball in court). The prevalent style of play would evolve.

The wide deployment of the first wave of widebody frames in 1988 offered another huge crutch to allow poor technique to further thrive. Instead of long, smooth strokes being necessary to generate racquet head speed for power, short, spastic strokes with an ungodly stiff widebody racquet would substitute. They sold like hotcakes. And the prevalent way of playing the game would again evolve.

After the market paradigm shift to widebody designs, the only other engineering battlefronts had to do with lowering unit production costs (therefore increasing per-unit profits in a dying market), and using CAD-CAM technology to evolve moldings to use less materials (less production cost) and have less weight. Less weight (down to 9 ounces, in many cases) was perceived in pro shop test swings as “wow, that feels great!” with a sense that lots of racquet head speed could be whipped up, for the topspin that everyone now needs, but the downside of the lighter frames lied in the arm pains many would get, from simple Newtonian physics (less mass in the racquet hitting an object transmits more shock from the impact through the less substantial hitting object, which is probably acoustically tuned by its high stiffness to dissipate the vibration of hitting in lower-amplitude, higher-frequency patterns: “buzzier” (most players find the use of string dampeners to be a mandatory necessity). Also, the lighter racquets are another crutch allowing poorer technique, footwork, and racquet prep to persist. And again, the game has evolved. Two-handed backhands are now almost mandatory among beginners and intermediate players, and heavy topspin cuts are the only strokes I now see taught here in California—biomechanically damaging, ugly, and unnatural.

Pick up a heavy, small, flexible old graphite composite mid or old midplus (anything between 80 and 95 square inches), and you probably won’t be able to compete with the same sloppy footwork, poor timing, and unnatural strokes that you were getting by with. It will diagnose and filter out the faults in your technique, and force you to watch the ball more sharply, have better footwork, take the racquet back with a proper turn of the torso, and uncoil and follow through. Once you’ve adapted, and proper technique is locked in, you can pick up a more modern, yet classic frame (i.e., Head PT 2.0, Fischer Pro One, Prince Phantom, etc), and play surprisingly well, incorporating flat balls with the topspin, and reveling in the improved, more multidimensional PLAYER.

A side hobby of mine is racing sports cars, and in that venue, I have always been much more impressed by fast drivers in slow cars, than fast drivers in fast cars. One has skill, the other has financing. Our discussion of racquets is analogous.
Hmmm,, role of equipment seems a little overestimated, I think. According to what you said, ordinary rec players must've had better mechanics, proper swings etc. than today overall because they had no options but heavy, smaller-headed racquets, but did they really?
 
I find that the Max 200g is one of the few graphite frames flexible to give the woody-like flex that makes the frame easy to volley with. I confess that I don’t fully understand the physics, but I can volley well with really flexy wood frames with RA in the 30-50 range, and I can volley really well with really stiff frames, especially when RA is 70-80. But frames with RA in the 50-60 range have an intermediate response that makes it much harder to volley well (but easier to apply spin).
Quick question: did Wilson originally develop the PS90 for Sampras? I know he wrote in his book that his last year he had demoed some larger frames, yet didn't want to make the change from his PS85 so late in his career. The other reason I ask this is because I have an Asian-market PS90 Hyper Carbon model and on the frame it says "St. Vincent Method" so I thought maybe Wilson had taken the same idea as the original St. Vincent PS85 and created a special mold for the PS90 just for Sampras. I'm interested to hear your thoughts!
I think that autobio of Sampras was written just before the kps88 came out, which supposedly is basically like a heavier ps90, but an autograph Sampras version ( pic ). So maybe the OP if he hasn't done so already, could consider the kps88 which has great plowthrough , crisp contact, reportedly great on volleys, and requires good and full form. ( old TW review here )
 
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retrowagen

Hall of Fame
Hmmm,, role of equipment seems a little overestimated, I think. According to what you said, ordinary rec players must've had better mechanics, proper swings etc. than today overall because they had no options but heavy, smaller-headed racquets, but did they really?
Yes, they did. It was sink or swim.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
Pick up a heavy, small, flexible old graphite composite mid or old midplus (anything between 80 and 95 square inches)
I was lying in bed this morning and thinking about that little wooden paddle trainer "The Tennis Pointer" that a friend of mine was thinking of getting for his daughter to try out. I then thought why not just use a 65" wood racket? I think I'll just start carrying one of my JK or Stan Smith Autographs when I go hit with friends - at least for a warm up to reinforce both keeping my head still and early preparation.
 

max_brat

Rookie
I think that autobio of Sampras was written just before the kps88 came out, which supposedly is basically like a heavier ps90, but an autograph Sampras version ( pic ). So maybe the OP if he hasn't done so already, could consider the kps88 which has great plowthrough , crisp contact, reportedly great on volleys, and requires good and full form. ( old TW review here )
Here's the thing about the KPS88: it's fantastic on volleys and great net approaches, but that thing weighs more than a 70s Cadillac. I have one, and all I can say is that if you want to use a small-headed racquet that weighs a lot, a Max 200G is WAY more forgiving.
 

Trickster

Rookie
Gre
If the former great Italian professional/craftsman Gianluca Pozzi (all slice or flat groundstrokes, and someone who actually looked to get to the net) switched from the Max 200G to the lighter, longer, larger Dunlop Super Revelation +1.00" at some point in the mid to late 90s, lesser mortals should take note. It is okay to be wrong, but not when your paycheck is on the line. Here is an actual example of someone making the switch to stay competitive and "play their best tennis". If you remember, Pozzi was the guy who took Safin to 5 sets in the 4R 2000 USOpen, the year Safin mugged Sampras in the final. He actually beat Safin at Queen's Club earlier that same year. Did Pozzi, McEnroe and Graf all switch from the Max 200G to play less then their best?
Great anecdote. I used to love watching the crafty Pozzi play
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
Could I really play the best tennis of my life with a max 200g or should I stick with a more modern frame?
66 yr old guy here playing over 60 yrs. You are playing for fun right? As a player who I assume grew up with poly string and graphite rackets and I assume predominantly playing "modern" East West tennis, do you have first step speed, serve and crash the net game to beat your contemporaries playing North South tennis? If so, heck yeah!
 

mike schiffer

Semi-Pro
Does anybody know thw weights of the old Max 200's?.......I just switched to a 12 oz frame thinking...I handled 13+ oz back in the day ....this 12oz stik should be OK ......my point being I still use the old Max's as a reference point even 35 years later.....
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Does anybody know thw weights of the old Max 200's?.......I just switched to a 12 oz frame thinking...I handled 13+ oz back in the day ....this 12oz stik should be OK ......my point being I still use the old Max's as a reference point even 35 years later.....
Mine is about 12.6 oz. and about 335sw.
 

Deannie

New User
I'm currently a 5.0 player in training for national level over 35s in my country.

I'm currently playing with V3 TC 95 by Angell but I have always liked the feel of the Dunlop Max 200g but haven't played with it extensively.

Would it be suicide for my tennis to switch? Could I really play the best tennis of my life with a max 200g or should I stick with a more modern frame?

My game is aggressive net rushing, heavy slices, but have an all court game too.


Your guidance welcome
The Max200g is my second favorite racket of all-time (Rossignol F200 Cabrbon is my #1). Having said that, if I played my modern Babolats against myself with Max200G’s, the modern rackets would win every time. It’s often discussed, “what if“ a great player from the past played with a modern racket... The answer always is, they’d be much better. Average serve speeds increased over time more due to racket technology improvements than the advent of increased physical training (and increased avg height of top players). I just checked and 8 of the 10 fastest recorded serve speeds in sanctioned matches have occurred in the last 10 years. It’s not all about fasts serves either. Over time, tour rackets have been able to increasingly produce greater power with larger sweet spots and no loss of control. Compare a 30 year-old race car to a modern one... which will go faster around the track? Good luck!
 

Deannie

New User
Shoulda switched to the 200g? :)
Could Borg’s example be anecdotal? His lack of comeback success can neither be blamed on nor excused due to racket choice. I’d guess there were probably a lot of other factors in play - age, moti.
In my 38 years of playing tennis, testing racquets, and tuning racquets, I have noticed a few generalities pertaining to the game, how it’s played, and the equipment that is used to play the game:

Recreational players flocked to the oversized (initially Prince, then Wilson and others’) oversized frames. They were a crutch, forgiving poor footwork, racquet prep, or hand/eye coordination... and they caught on quite well! The tradeoff was an inherent lack of ball control, “trampoline” effect from the overall longer string lengths across the head. The manoeuverability of such a large object on the end of a stick was also an issue. Midsized frames offered the user a degree of the benefits with a lesser degree of the penalties. In all cases, the compromise between materials and manufacturing technology, warranties, and usability by a larger cross-section of players kept racquet weights around 12 ounces, which for all but the smallest women or children was just fine. To counter the trampoline and lack of control, better players had to employ heavy topspin to succeed (i.e., keep the ball in court). The prevalent style of play would evolve.

The wide deployment of the first wave of widebody frames in 1988 offered another huge crutch to allow poor technique to further thrive. Instead of long, smooth strokes being necessary to generate racquet head speed for power, short, spastic strokes with an ungodly stiff widebody racquet would substitute. They sold like hotcakes. And the prevalent way of playing the game would again evolve.

After the market paradigm shift to widebody designs, the only other engineering battlefronts had to do with lowering unit production costs (therefore increasing per-unit profits in a dying market), and using CAD-CAM technology to evolve moldings to use less materials (less production cost) and have less weight. Less weight (down to 9 ounces, in many cases) was perceived in pro shop test swings as “wow, that feels great!” with a sense that lots of racquet head speed could be whipped up, for the topspin that everyone now needs, but the downside of the lighter frames lied in the arm pains many would get, from simple Newtonian physics (less mass in the racquet hitting an object transmits more shock from the impact through the less substantial hitting object, which is probably acoustically tuned by its high stiffness to dissipate the vibration of hitting in lower-amplitude, higher-frequency patterns: “buzzier” (most players find the use of string dampeners to be a mandatory necessity). Also, the lighter racquets are another crutch allowing poorer technique, footwork, and racquet prep to persist. And again, the game has evolved. Two-handed backhands are now almost mandatory among beginners and intermediate players, and heavy topspin cuts are the only strokes I now see taught here in California—biomechanically damaging, ugly, and unnatural.

Pick up a heavy, small, flexible old graphite composite mid or old midplus (anything between 80 and 95 square inches), and you probably won’t be able to compete with the same sloppy footwork, poor timing, and unnatural strokes that you were getting by with. It will diagnose and filter out the faults in your technique, and force you to watch the ball more sharply, have better footwork, take the racquet back with a proper turn of the torso, and uncoil and follow through. Once you’ve adapted, and proper technique is locked in, you can pick up a more modern, yet classic frame (i.e., Head PT 2.0, Fischer Pro One, Prince Phantom, etc), and play surprisingly well, incorporating flat balls with the topspin, and reveling in the improved, more multidimensional PLAYER.

A side hobby of mine is racing sports cars, and in that venue, I have always been much more impressed by fast drivers in slow cars, than fast drivers in fast cars. One has skill, the other has financing. Our discussion of racquets is analogous.
I agree with your philosophy (fast driver in a slow car), but put that same driver in a fast car and you get the highest evolution of that sport. The same holds true with modern rackets. All else being equal, a talented player using a newer racket will almost always beat him/herself with a classic racket. Manual transmissions rule!
 
Of course you can. This racket is perfect for playing classic offensive tennis. IMO is a golden age to do that kind of game because opponents are not used to countering it.
I continue to use it to devastating effect against players much younger than me. Of course you have to use it by shortening the points to the maximum and doing S/V. This and other classic rackets are fully competitive if used correctly: they were not designed to run a physical marathon at every point. Try it.
I fully agree.
 

Cam24

New User
You certainly can technically play great tennis with old frames, plenty of evidence on youtube for that. However, I would ask McEnroe if he would've played better with modern graphite frames or 200g... Although of course the frame is but one aspect of many. Mental game, athleticism, technique, strings, all factor as much if not more than the racket itself.

Far as my fairly limited semi-competitive experience, frame doesn't matter too much on amateur level. It does to an extent, mostly comfortability and ease of mind. I have been blown off the court many a time for what I thought was a "tweener crap" prince holey type racket (& I've even heard Serena dominated on tour with essentially a kmart frame, tho I can't confirm if it's true or not... The myth Pioline used a walmart racket isn't true-- a frame can still be very high quality even with a hard plastic throat- as is the case with Cash's magnesium pro and similar racket (forget the name of the blue one, I've hit with it and played fairly solid tennis with it)

In my experience, the max200g is difficult to use mainly due to the ball-sized sweetspot and hard to generate easy topspin with it. I have played some relatively very good tennis with the rosignol f200 and f250 (2nd one stiffer and easier to generate power), so much so it's the only racket I believe I would've used over my trusty ol Prince tour diablo mid in my peak in high school had I know an old small 85 square inches racket could be so solid... Would I play with it against super heavy hitters? I'm like 3.5-4.0 florida max, hard to say, was not pro level competitive, but at least on the counter puncher/ intermediate/ top spinny but knowing what I'm doing and serving decently well level, nearly any racket is usable. But the only question is-- is it practical for what you mean to use it for?
 
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Crocodile

Legend
Depends how you like to play. A strong S and V player can do it. It just takes time to get used to it. It feels a fair bit slower through the air than today’s racquets, The injection moulding technology is very solid and if I recall right Mizuno also did one with their 8.9 and 9.2 frames.
 

13GATOSNEGROS

Professional
I played the best tennis of my life with a red Head Professional. Would i have played "better" in the late 70s with a 2021-stick? I doubt it, but my tennis would have been different. Did playin those old rackets during the 70s and 80s improve my today's tennis? Definitely.
So, what was the question?
 
After not playing for a few decades I got back into tennis. I bought a new generation racket but couldn't get into so I went back to the racket I had used previously. I'm back to using my Graphite Edge now for 3 years since I have rediscovered the game and haven't looked back.

Now to address the OP's question (albeit indirectly). I recently played a UTR flex league singles match and my opponent was wiping the floor with me. Hitting shots that I couldn't put a frame on and rocketing serves where I could only pray to somehow at least touch. He only brought one racket (a Clash) to the match and he broke a string. Since he didn't have another racket and he didn't want to reschedule another day to finish the match, he asked if he could borrow one of mine. I said sure but I warned him that it would be probably best if we reschedule since my racket is from the 80s and it was way different being much smaller (81 vs 100) but he was insistent so we continued.

He had broken his string right after winning the 1st set. After the switch, I subsequently won the 2nd and took the 3rd set supertie pretty easily.

So now to answer the OP's question: playing with a quality racket from long gone yesteryears may not make you play your best, but it will most likely make your opponent play their worst. :)
 
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Frankc

Professional
Ah, to continue on the Head Edge ...

Maybe a decade ago or so, I popped into a non-competitive mixed doubles night at a very fine local club. That club has a great pedigree as to fine players. There was a woman there and a quiet word was she was once on the tour and was now coming off major shoulder surgery. She blended right in and she was older so the prime skills were perhaps a step off. Very nice, unassuming, blended right in, but anyone could see that she was really holding back to fit in politely. She used a Head Edge , an early model, and her shots were so flat and precise, one had to smile. Every shot sounded alike and the varied precision was a joy to watch - Luckily, as we rotated so that we played together, I happened to carry a later Graphite Edge and that brought a very pleasant smile.
All I can say, is that I still remember how if one knew the classic "Book" on shot patterns and mixed percentage placements, well she played perfectly by the book and, as a partner, it was so easy to react and plan each point. She was holding back, but the precision and pure variety and that sound still have me smiling.
Pure shot making - her talent and that Head Edge...
 

teachingprotx

Hall of Fame
Ah, to continue on the Head Edge ...

Maybe a decade ago or so, I popped into a non-competitive mixed doubles night at a very fine local club. That club has a great pedigree as to fine players. There was a woman there and a quiet word was she was once on the tour and was now coming off major shoulder surgery. She blended right in and she was older so the prime skills were perhaps a step off. Very nice, unassuming, blended right in, but anyone could see that she was really holding back to fit in politely. She used a Head Edge , an early model, and her shots were so flat and precise, one had to smile. Every shot sounded alike and the varied precision was a joy to watch - Luckily, as we rotated so that we played together, I happened to carry a later Graphite Edge and that brought a very pleasant smile.
All I can say, is that I still remember how if one knew the classic "Book" on shot patterns and mixed percentage placements, well she played perfectly by the book and, as a partner, it was so easy to react and plan each point. She was holding back, but the precision and pure variety and that sound still have me smiling.
Pure shot making - her talent and that Head Edge...
Awesome
 
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