Do rackets really lose stiffness over time? Has anybody measured new/old frames on a Babolat RDC machine?

Sweets3450

New User
In this interview Federer goes on to explain he uses about over 60 rackets every year, replacing all 12 of his rackets 5 times a year because they lose their stiffness. It's also something that gets mentioned on the forums here. "Micro fractures" is the common term.

I have used this frame since I was in middle school. It's a 3/10 condition going by TW for sale ratings, you can see where I used duct tape on the frame where I wore the bumper away in college a decade ago.


I bought these from a TW poster, they're in 9/10 condition and have barely seen use.



All of these rackets feel identical. I can not tell a difference in feel or play between these fresh ones and the ones I have used for almost two decades. Why is this?

My best guesses:
-I'm not skilled enough to notice. I'm maybe a 5.5 player nowadays

-The rackets I recently acquired are also old and have been worn more than their paint reveals, perhaps stored in poor conditions. I remember we got access to a radar gun in college and we were all messing around with it. I can crank a high forehand over 100mph easily according to that radar gun. So it's not likely these newer ones have been used anywhere near as hard as my old ones since I'm a big hitter.

-The "micro fractures" have no pragmatic meaning to the average player. Rackets losing their stiffness only applies to the top professionals who are sponsored or can afford to replace them every year because either they can notice or simply do it for peace of mind their equipment is not to blame.


Have any of you purchased new frames and noticed any differences? Do they actually feel stiffer or have any beneficial differences such as being crisper? If anybody knows somebody with a Babolat RDC machine near NYC I'd love to put each racket on the machine and see what it says.

On the Babolot RDC stiffness:
I've been searching for new rackets and find some of the consumer measurements confusing and obfuscate the decision making process. I tried the RF97 as the RDC stiffness rating was similar to my old 6.1 Hyper Pro Staff but actually felt far stiffer and gave me an injury. I've also used the PS97 Counterveil and Yonex Vcore 97 for a few hours and both felt far stiffer. So I've been skeptical the stiffness rating means anything at all to anybody not a technician or manufacturer. I'm really skeptical the RDC stiffness rating has any practical use. It's measured by putting a pivot in the center of the racket and pulling down at the tip. The old Wilson measurement would measure the flexibility from tip to tip, not including any pivot point in the middle. Hence the Wilson naming convention - 5.0, 6.1, 6.9, etc. I have played with multiple Wilson rackets that felt appropriately more or less stiff according to its model name as that was its flexibility rating. However, I have played with multiple frames different RDC ratings and some felt stiffer at lower ratings and others felt the same with differing ratings. From my experience, it's a useless measurement to the consumer. Unlike a weight measurement which is going to feel the same regardless of materials and composition, the stiffness rating does not really explain how a racket is going to feel as the actual stiffness can differ purposely on certain areas of a racket.
 
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TheIntrovert

Hall of Fame
There’s definitely a difference. I have been using the 2014 RF97 since it came out and after every hitting session, my tricep tendon would be very sore. Had tendonitis as well. Recently bought the tuxedo RF97 and it feels a lot deader and more stable. Have not experienced any pain whatsoever either. Lower powered as well. I’m sure some of it has to do with the matte paint but a new racket really does feel very different.
 

flargosa

Rookie
How much stiffness do racquets lose though? These pros are hyper sensitive to racquet changes. Even a few grams added and they can feel it, 1 or 2 day old strings are not acceptable. Maybe a racquet going from 69 stiffness to 67 is huge to these pros, but to regular players like us, it's too minimal and makes zero difference.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
There’s definitely a difference. I have been using the 2014 RF97 since it came out and after every hitting session, my tricep tendon would be very sore. Had tendonitis as well. Recently bought the tuxedo RF97 and it feels a lot deader and more stable. Have not experienced any pain whatsoever either. Lower powered as well. I’m sure some of it has to do with the matte paint but a new racket really does feel very different.
Imagine if that RF97 and grommets were 20 yrs old
 

Alexh22

Professional
The tuxedo rf97 is a bit softer than other versions. I remember seeing a video somewhere about this.
my k90 feels the same after 10 yrs
 

TheIntrovert

Hall of Fame
The tuxedo rf97 is a bit softer than other versions. I remember seeing a video somewhere about this.
my k90 feels the same after 10 yrs
Nearly every source I’ve seen said they play practically identical, only a little deader.
Well yeah I thought my RF97 played the same as well. You have no barometer to say that the k90 plays the same. I’m sure if you picked up a brand new one, they’d feel quite different. There’s obviously some wear and tear over the years of constant hitting and stringing that affects how a racket plays.
 

fox

Semi-Pro
The problem is you cannot tell the difference becuase you are getting used to softening feel ober time. If you want to check the differnce you have to play with new frame and compare it to the one you use.
 

DJ-

Hall of Fame
This is apprently how Babolat make 62ra pure strikes and 64ra pure drives, by stringing them 100's of times :p
There was a thread somewhere about RA dropping slight % each time..
My Angell tc100 about 2-3yr old frame was 61ra strung, now it's 60ra (babolat rdc) approximately 10-12 re-strings
 

Alexh22

Professional
They make low ra PDs and PAs right from the factory. If you know the right person you can order them.
 

Booger

Hall of Fame
I had an original RF97 with maybe 60 string jobs that had also been bounced who knows how many times picking up low volleys.

When I bought a new one, there was a noticable difference. The old one hadn't become a wet noodle, but you could tell. I had one of my hitting partners try both and he said the same.
 

badmice2

Semi-Pro
Yes they do. A friend of mine had the original Purr Drive (swirly) and that things plays much flexier than other PD.

Similarly i have both the original release of the 200G MW and the TW reissue, the feel between the 2 are nothing alike.
 

Zoolander

Hall of Fame
Frames go through a lot of stress with each restring. A pro will get his racquets restrung dozens of times, even if he replaces them regularly like Fed.

I have no problem believing all those restrings would make a measurable difference in feel and flex over time.
 

tribesmen

Professional
My Pro Staff Classic 95 from '90 is a noodle today, but now it decorate a wall instead of some picture ( I prefere to have rackets and guitars on the wall).

When it was new, it was one of the stiffest "elbow killer" :) Fortunately I didn't have any problems, but some of my friends gave up the racket because it was too stiff*. Prince was considered as arm friendly rackets.

*next post is reserverd for n8dawg6 :)
 

pvw_tf

Rookie
How much stiffness do racquets lose though? These pros are hyper sensitive to racquet changes. Even a few grams added and they can feel it, 1 or 2 day old strings are not acceptable. Maybe a racquet going from 69 stiffness to 67 is huge to these pros, but to regular players like us, it's too minimal and makes zero difference.
Rackets loose it stiffness over time, you can count it with each string job. Players do not notice it because it happens gradually. The will notice is when you pick the same racket up but with way less string jobs. Depending on the quality of the rackets it will be 5 to 10 ; 10 to 20/25, or up to 30/35. But that is about the high end limit. You will loose control and precision playing with an "older" racket.

And it could very well give arm and shoulder troubles in the longer run.

Peter
 

itsstephenyo

Semi-Pro
Rackets loose it stiffness over time, you can count it with each string job. Players do not notice it because it happens gradually. The will notice is when you pick the same racket up but with way less string jobs. Depending on the quality of the rackets it will be 5 to 10 ; 10 to 20/25, or up to 30/35. But that is about the high end limit. You will loose control and precision playing with an "older" racket.

And it could very well give arm and shoulder troubles in the longer run.

Peter
30-35 what? RDC points? So after a few restringings a 65 stiffness racquet could be 30 stiffness?

I don't believe that in the least bit. Do you have anything to back up that claim?
 

marco forehand

Semi-Pro
consider me a stiffness (RA as measured by a Babolat RDC) loss sceptic.
I have multiple tools to measure RA. The one I use most often is a Babolat RDC.
I currently have 5 or 6 original PS 6.1 95 on hand, they all measure within 1 pt of 71 (72 was Wilson's specs as shared with the market). While it's not a large sample, they are 20+ year old racquets collected from a variety of sources. I have to believe one or two of them have been restrung "a lot".
I do agree that stringing represents THE challenge to a tennis racquet's ability to maintain it's original "feel"
Since that isn't reflected in a measurable dramatic change in RA, perhaps RA has less of an impact on a racquet's feel then is commonly believed ?
 

itsstephenyo

Semi-Pro
consider me a stiffness (RA as measured by a Babolat RDC) loss sceptic.
I have multiple tools to measure RA. The one I use most often is a Babolat RDC.
I currently have 5 or 6 original PS 6.1 95 on hand, they all measure within 1 pt of 71 (72 was Wilson's specs as shared with the market). While it's not a large sample, they are 20+ year old racquets collected from a variety of sources. I have to believe one or two of them have been restrung "a lot".
I do agree that stringing represents THE challenge to a tennis racquet's ability to maintain it's original "feel"
Since that isn't reflected in a measurable dramatic change in RA, perhaps RA has less of an impact on a racquet's feel then is commonly believed ?
I feel like you're partially right there. RA has a difference in feel, sure, but the change in RA over 10 years to an average tennis player is not something that is necessarily "felt" but more mental. It's the eternal struggle of choosing a new string, a new racquet, a new bag, a new... dampener to achieve the best "feel", and hence the best equipment for an average tennis player. If all of us just shut up and played tennis and hit the dang ball and stopped worrying about 1 RA over 10 years, we'd all play better tennis.

I'm sure a GOAT like Federer has to be hyper particular about his equipment, since he makes a LIVING off his racquet. It's funny, though, because I remember Babolat saying Nadal only uses a few racquets over the course of the year, because he likes his racquets when the grip is so worn down that it's molded to his hand. These two all time GOATs are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. One uses an average of 5 racquets a month (60 over a year) and one uses 1 a month on average. That alone should tell everyone to just go play some dang tennis.
 

1HBHfanatic

Legend
-its not hard to image that the material fibers from a racquet break down over time!
-contant hitting of the ball and restringing would break the fibers down!
-just imagine bending anything "10 times" vs same item bent "500 times",, the material would break down and loose its rigidity
-old racquets feel like "wet noodles", vs a fresh racquet that has not been hit with
-the time it takes to get to that point "wet noodle", it would depend on the hours played
 

speedysteve

Legend
-its not hard to image that the material fibers from a racquet break down over time!
-contant hitting of the ball and restringing would break the fibers down!
-just imagine bending anything "10 times" vs same item bent "500 times",, the material would break down and loose its rigidity
-old racquets feel like "wet noodles", vs a fresh racquet that has not been hit with
-the time it takes to get to that point "wet noodle", it would depend on the hours played
I can't see that the materials used in a tennis racquet are subject to the same phenomenon as say metal fatigue!
If you don't go past the materials flex specification then what wears? Not the fibres. They are set in resin like laterals. Perhaps the adhesion of the resin to fibres.
Micro cracks in the resins through shock, maybe though.

I have a new Völkl C10 Pro and one from 2008. No idea how much hitting and stringing jobs the old fish scale racquet has, but they play the same for me..

Lower RA - bring it on.

Tennis racquets are subject to much lower forces than say wishbones on racing cars or keels / rudders on racing boats..
How often are these CF parts changed I wonder?
 
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pvw_tf

Rookie
30-35 what? RDC points? So after a few restringings a 65 stiffness racquet could be 30 stiffness?

I don't believe that in the least bit. Do you have anything to back up that claim?
Talking about the number of string job. Did not mention RA value of RDC points.

Peter
 

1HBHfanatic

Legend
@speedysteve
-I do see your point of view, but I feel different about it, I guess our own experiences show us differently??!!
-while I do agree that the break or bend is not excessive and/or very clear, on each and every bend/flx, the material does suffer
-the more you flex/bend ANYTHING, the easier it gets to flex/bend next time

-about 5 years ago, i had a chance to hit an OLD head.prestige, provably one of the first models,, it was an old timers racquet,
-he played/s alot of tennis and never changed racquets
-this racquet had sooo much flex, that it really felt like a "wet noodle" at impact,,
-the racquet had no signs of cracks/breaks on the outside, but the repetitive stress of both hits and stringing had taken its toll on the feel of the racquet
-in regards to you volkls, maybe 10 years is not enough time for us to feel a real/notisable difference ??!!
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
BITD we felt the flex in a wood racquet within 6 months, and retired/replaced it. Had a Bancroft Executive so flexy after 2 months, could bend it by hand. And we are sweating 10-20 yo sticks?
 
consider me a stiffness (RA as measured by a Babolat RDC) loss sceptic.
I have multiple tools to measure RA. The one I use most often is a Babolat RDC.
I currently have 5 or 6 original PS 6.1 95 on hand, they all measure within 1 pt of 71 (72 was Wilson's specs as shared with the market). While it's not a large sample, they are 20+ year old racquets collected from a variety of sources. I have to believe one or two of them have been restrung "a lot".
I do agree that stringing represents THE challenge to a tennis racquet's ability to maintain it's original "feel"
Since that isn't reflected in a measurable dramatic change in RA, perhaps RA has less of an impact on a racquet's feel then is commonly believed ?
I don’t even think RA is really that applicable to a racquet’s performance. It’s a static measurement or a fixed point, while hitting a tennis ball is a dynamic event. Head showed with their graphene racquets that you can game the RA measurements by making a weak throat bridge and still have stiff and hollow arm breaker. I know Wilson has a different in house measurement they use, but I’m ignorant if the same holds true for other brands. TWU has a page of the measured vibration frequency of racquets and I’ve found that to be just as accurate a predictor of comfort as RA, if not more.

Regarding pros being more sensitive, anyone who has seen a racquet that has been used by a pro for a few months will tell you that those sticks get absolutely abused. The paint will be scraped to shreds with exposed graphite all around the head. If players can tell the difference in feel between velvet and gloss paint jobs, I’m sure a frame with areas of exposed graphite feels like a different racquet.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Kevo

Legend
I think it does change over time, but it's slight. For some people that might be an issue. I think Fed likes his frames a bit crispy judging by the Wilson's I've hit with that were supposedly the frame he uses. I can imagine that after so many stringings and hours it wouldn't be that difficult for him to detect a difference. Whether or not it matters that much to a normal person I seriously doubt. If you're one of the best of all time and you can get that fresh new crispy feeling you like whenever you want it, why not change frames.

Me, if my frame dropped a couple of RA points I'd probably be happy about it.

The other thing you have to take into account is the stringing. With certain kinds of strings at the right tension you will feel a sensation the is pretty much identical to frame flex. This feel can become extreme. A friend of mine that used to play with the Pure Drive strung his frames with NXT on his own lockout stringer. After about 10 hours or so his frames felt like cushy pillows. I loved it, but he didn't like it because it sapped some power so he would cut them out and restring. The spin with the strings like that could get crazy though.
 

ewiewp

Hall of Fame
I believe pros restring almost all of their frames every day.
I remember Jame Blake once said he often pops a string bed in 30 minutes in practice or something like that.
Stringing is the biggest stress one can apply to frame, I believe.
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
Imagine what the high differential guys are doing to their frames by stringing 80-90lb mains and 40-50lb differentials. The idea is to squash the frame and shorten the length of the frame creating a harnessed energy bow effect with the racquet face. Makes you say..hmm. They claim no effect on the frame.
Recently had the opportunity to hit with a new re-issued 6.1 Kfactor 95 and compare it to a 6.1 Kfactor that was used for years by a 4.0-4.5 player. Replaced the grommets in it and strung both frames the same.
The frames are night and day in terms of stiffness.
 
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Ihatetennis

Hall of Fame
I tried to get new sticks every year 3-6 depending on the year.

The biggest difference I’ve seen has been in rackets where hoop stiffness is most important but aren’t weighted for the tip to come through the ball

For example the pure aero vs(stars and stripes aerostrike) was my college racket and over a year I felt the difference because the ball used to pop off my racket and then it just felt like the hoop was flexing back too much and killing my power.

Overall I lost quite a bit of spring over the course of about 60 string jobs each racket at 52-58 depending on conditions
 

Kevo

Legend
I think anecdotal evidence is useful, but this question keeps coming up because we don't have much actual data to go on. To really test this sort of thing we would need to get frames from the same production batch and measure them all to start with and then set some aside and string and play the others for a period of time and then measure them again.

A lot of people feel differences between frames. Even frames off the same shelf people often report having one frame that plays better or worse than the others. I've noticed this before and sometimes the difference is pretty obvious.

Overall though I think that for the most part the difference is minor and immaterial for regular players. We know for a fact that you can get new frames in a wide range of stiffness ratings and people switch frames a lot. I've yet to encounter a player that switched to a new frame and gained any noticeable improvement in speed of shot from the switch regardless of how stiff the new frame was. And on the other side, you have people who can go from a modern frame to a wood frame and still serve aces at over 100mph.

Personally for me I go back to feel. When picking a new frame I always tell people to test a lot of frames and pick one that you like the feel of hitting with. I would never advise someone they should get a new frame because their current one is old and has probably become less stiff. It almost sounds ridiculous to me.

I'd like to see some actual numbers if anyone has tested this somewhere. I wonder what it would take in terms of loss of stiffness to produce a 5% drop in shot speed for instance. So say I have a frame that has an RA at 65. Lets say I serve on average for flat serves 100mph. If I string that racquet over and over again until it drops 5 RA points to a 60, would that drop my average serve speed to 95mph?
 

Ihatetennis

Hall of Fame
I still have my pure aero vs and the original specs from when the frames were matched. I can get the rdc on them for stiffness. They were each strung about 2 times a week for a year and a half
I think anecdotal evidence is useful, but this question keeps coming up because we don't have much actual data to go on. To really test this sort of thing we would need to get frames from the same production batch and measure them all to start with and then set some aside and string and play the others for a period of time and then measure them again.

A lot of people feel differences between frames. Even frames off the same shelf people often report having one frame that plays better or worse than the others. I've noticed this before and sometimes the difference is pretty obvious.

Overall though I think that for the most part the difference is minor and immaterial for regular players. We know for a fact that you can get new frames in a wide range of stiffness ratings and people switch frames a lot. I've yet to encounter a player that switched to a new frame and gained any noticeable improvement in speed of shot from the switch regardless of how stiff the new frame was. And on the other side, you have people who can go from a modern frame to a wood frame and still serve aces at over 100mph.

Personally for me I go back to feel. When picking a new frame I always tell people to test a lot of frames and pick one that you like the feel of hitting with. I would never advise someone they should get a new frame because their current one is old and has probably become less stiff. It almost sounds ridiculous to me.

I'd like to see some actual numbers if anyone has tested this somewhere. I wonder what it would take in terms of loss of stiffness to produce a 5% drop in shot speed for instance. So say I have a frame that has an RA at 65. Lets say I serve on average for flat serves 100mph. If I string that racquet over and over again until it drops 5 RA points to a 60, would that drop my average serve speed to 95mph?
 

Kevo

Legend
I still have my pure aero vs and the original specs from when the frames were matched. I can get the rdc on them for stiffness. They were each strung about 2 times a week for a year and a half
That'd be cool. Any chance you can get the specs from the same machine?
 

Shangri La

Hall of Fame
I had an original RF97 with maybe 60 string jobs that had also been bounced who knows how many times picking up low volleys.

When I bought a new one, there was a noticable difference. The old one hadn't become a wet noodle, but you could tell. I had one of my hitting partners try both and he said the same.
Other than the flexibility, is there any performance difference between the old and new RF97 (power/control/stability/etc)?
 

Shangri La

Hall of Fame
In this interview Federer goes on to explain he uses about over 60 rackets every year, replacing all 12 of his rackets 5 times a year because they lose their stiffness. It's also something that gets mentioned on the forums here. "Micro fractures" is the common term.

I have used this frame since I was in middle school. It's a 3/10 condition going by TW for sale ratings, you can see where I used duct tape on the frame where I wore the bumper away in college a decade ago.


I bought these from a TW poster, they're in 9/10 condition and have barely seen use.



All of these rackets feel identical. I can not tell a difference in feel or play between these fresh ones and the ones I have used for almost two decades. Why is this?

My best guesses:
-I'm not skilled enough to notice. I'm maybe a 5.5 player nowadays

-The rackets I recently acquired are also old and have been worn more than their paint reveals, perhaps stored in poor conditions. I remember we got access to a radar gun in college and we were all messing around with it. I can crank a high forehand over 100mph easily according to that radar gun. So it's not likely these newer ones have been used anywhere near as hard as my old ones since I'm a big hitter.

-The "micro fractures" have no pragmatic meaning to the average player. Rackets losing their stiffness only applies to the top professionals who are sponsored or can afford to replace them every year because either they can notice or simply do it for peace of mind their equipment is not to blame.


Have any of you purchased new frames and noticed any differences? Do they actually feel stiffer or have any beneficial differences such as being crisper? If anybody knows somebody with a Babolat RDC machine near NYC I'd love to put each racket on the machine and see what it says.

On the Babolot RDC stiffness:
I've been searching for new rackets and find some of the consumer measurements confusing and obfuscate the decision making process. I tried the RF97 as the RDC stiffness rating was similar to my old 6.1 Hyper Pro Staff but actually felt far stiffer and gave me an injury. I've also used the PS97 Counterveil and Yonex Vcore 97 for a few hours and both felt far stiffer. So I've been skeptical the stiffness rating means anything at all to anybody not a technician or manufacturer. I'm really skeptical the RDC stiffness rating has any practical use. It's measured by putting a pivot in the center of the racket and pulling down at the tip. The old Wilson measurement would measure the flexibility from tip to tip, not including any pivot point in the middle. Hence the Wilson naming convention - 5.0, 6.1, 6.9, etc. I have played with multiple Wilson rackets that felt appropriately more or less stiff according to its model name as that was its flexibility rating. However, I have played with multiple frames different RDC ratings and some felt stiffer at lower ratings and others felt the same with differing ratings. From my experience, it's a useless measurement to the consumer. Unlike a weight measurement which is going to feel the same regardless of materials and composition, the stiffness rating does not really explain how a racket is going to feel as the actual stiffness can differ purposely on certain areas of a racket.
How many restrings do you think your old frame has? Even if it's strung once a month, that's 240 restrings :eek: At your level, you must have strung more often than that, but you probably had other racquets in rotation.
 

Booger

Hall of Fame
Other than the flexibility, is there any performance difference between the old and new RF97 (power/control/stability/etc)?
Nah, not really. If you like the way your frames play, keep them. If you do manage to find a NOS frame, scoop it up and compare. You may notice a slight difference, not worth fretting about as club mug.
 

Sardines

Hall of Fame
This topic resurfaces often. Plenty of evidence proving material fatigue from use. However, ultimately , it depends on how often you string the frame, how often and hard you hit, and also how accurately you center the ball.
 

Ihatetennis

Hall of Fame
This topic resurfaces often. Plenty of evidence proving material fatigue from use. However, ultimately , it depends on how often you string the frame, how often and hard you hit, and also how accurately you center the ball.
I hit hard, I string often, I bang them around a bit from stretches and slices. And I shank the shhhhh out of them sometimes
 

Miki 1234

Semi-Pro
-I would like to know this as well!!??
-he averages about 60 rakets a year, that's a lot of giveaways, year after year..??!!
-Wilson provably pics them up, but what do they do with them after? (from RF and other Wilson players)
Yeah you are right, they are not on the market that is for sure.
Probably destroyed.
Same as truck of his once worn clothes.
 

Shangri La

Hall of Fame
Imagine what the high differential guys are doing to their frames by stringing 80-90lb mains and 40-50lb differentials. The idea is to squash the frame and shorten the length of the frame creating a harnessed energy bow effect with the racquet face. Makes you say..hmm. They claim no effect on the frame.
Recently had the opportunity to hit with a new re-issued 6.1 Kfactor 95 and compare it to a 6.1 Kfactor that was used for years by a 4.0-4.5 player. Replaced the grommets in it and strung both frames the same.
The frames are night and day in terms of stiffness.
Meant to ask you in an earlier post as well. Other than playing softer, does the old K95 lose any performance (power/stability/control/etc) compared to the new one? Assuming the new release is exactly the same racquet as the old one.
 

Shangri La

Hall of Fame
Overall I lost quite a bit of spring over the course of about 60 string jobs each racket at 52-58 depending on conditions
I still have my pure aero vs and the original specs from when the frames were matched. I can get the rdc on them for stiffness. They were each strung about 2 times a week for a year and a half
2 times a week for a year and a half is about 156 string jobs on each racquet. So is it after 60 or 156 string jobs when you feel the racquet has lost some power?
 

Ihatetennis

Hall of Fame
2 times a week for a year and a half is about 156 string jobs on each racquet. So is it after 60 or 156 string jobs when you feel the racquet has lost some power?
Off season and summer break was pretty light, so in season should be factored in. Think 1 month fall season, 4 month spring season 1 month fall. Plus some breaks when I wasn’t in season. I strung 8 reels into them total
 

Kevo

Legend
This topic resurfaces often. Plenty of evidence proving material fatigue from use. However, ultimately , it depends on how often you string the frame, how often and hard you hit, and also how accurately you center the ball.
Well, I think we know that materials can fatigue from use, but some of us would like to see actual data on tennis frames. I still have yet to see anything that could be considered scientific. All I've seen is a handful of posts on this board from people that have had old frames measured, and unless I recall incorrectly it's always been after use, so no initial measurement of the specific frame(s) to compare to. All we can go by is the published specs which we also know don't always match up to actual measurements on specific frames.

If you do have any references please post them.
 

Kevo

Legend
-its not hard to image that the material fibers from a racquet break down over time!
-contant hitting of the ball and restringing would break the fibers down!
-just imagine bending anything "10 times" vs same item bent "500 times",, the material would break down and loose its rigidity
-old racquets feel like "wet noodles", vs a fresh racquet that has not been hit with
-the time it takes to get to that point "wet noodle", it would depend on the hours played
It's also not hard to imagine that the material is strong enough to withstand thousands upon thousands of impacts. Lots of tool handles are made of fiberglass. I'm pretty sure I have more than one tool with a fiberglass handle that has a lifetime warranty. If it's good enough for a 4lb sledge hammer a tennis ball shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Some old racquets feel like wet noodles because that's the way they were made in the first place. I have a few. I would like to find an example of a formerly stiff frame that now plays like a wet noodle. I've never seen one.

So I guess I am dubious that the common sense reasoning you outlined is actually the case. I have actually hit with severely cracked frames that still played stiff compared to my old school racquets. I've also strung some cracked frames that were able to withstand a few stringings before finally breaking. I have seen several frames that actually break from hitting. I think that is actually more likely than a frame going soft. It's not clear to me at all that frames can significantly degrade in stiffness just from stringing and hitting. I would like to see some actual evidence of it.
 

TheIntrovert

Hall of Fame
Other than the flexibility, is there any performance difference between the old and new RF97 (power/control/stability/etc)?
There’s a difference for me between the red and black and the new tuxedo I bought. The red and black feels slightly more powerful, and is also worse at absorbing shocks. Partly could be down to paint, but wear and tear definitely plays a part
 

fritzhimself

Semi-Pro
All I can tell you is that I have several performance players where two patients tell me the same thing.
Since I have been accompanying them for years with racket tuning, I also have the data of the older racquets in the archive.
With the RDC I can detect very small differences in measurement. Mostly the RA is stable over the years. I also have Calibration Racquets to check if my RDC still measures the same as years ago.
Apparently it is a head thing - I cannot imagine that a carbon frame loses stiffness - this would have to be accompanied by fine cracks or similar on the paint.
Have meticulously examined such rackets and found nothing in this direction.

Many people spend a lot of money to buy soft racquet frames - mostly the professional Racquets are softer.
So I can't do anything with the thesis that the racquet becomes softer by playing a lot.
Therefore I usually suggest that we do a "general service" - change the grommets, clean everything and mount a new basic. This helps in most cases.

While we are on the subject of professionals - I have an original Racquet from Thomas Muster from the years 1991 - 93 at my home.
Namely the Prestige 600 Classic Beam in green/grey.
Can therefore confirm that the "played" Racquet still has 65 RA - it has been strung for a good 30 years now.
According to the sticker, the Racquet was measured with 67 RA when unstrung.
And these are no faked data.
 
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