Do you think racquets/companies back in the day were region specific?

galain

Hall of Fame
I was thinking about how it seems as though half the tour is using a Wilson or a Babolat these days. Of course, there are far fewer companies around now, so their names are naturally going to be more ubiquitous, but thinking back to the 80's, I always associated Wilson with North American players, Prince too, and Head I thought was more often seen in the hands of Europeans.

Rossignol seemed to be cross continental, Yonex I have a hard time remembering outside of Martina...am I lost in a fog of nostalgia or am I remembering correctly that many companies dominated certain geographical regions and others didn't?
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
Up through the 1960’s, I would say that there was definitely a “regionalization” of equipment available to players... particularly in more isolated regions, such as the Anitpodes, or Asia. And certainly through the era of wood racquets, North American players were spoilt for choice over many American brands made from a variety of North American hardwoods.

The aluminum and graphite eras opened up the maket. What limited globalization to an extent was retail distribution networks. In the 1980’s, Adidas should have sold the Lendl GTX Pro like hotcakes in the USA, but it was extremely difficult to find the Austrian or French-made frame Stateside. Many of the ski-manufacturers occasionally sold racquets as a sideline out of ski shops in the USA, but ski shops only exist near mountainous areas, so many of these excellent but “boutique” brands never got much traction, and around 1993, much of the European raccquet manufacturing ceased, outsourced to Asian OEM’s.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
I was thinking about how it seems as though half the tour is using a Wilson or a Babolat these days. Of course, there are far fewer companies around now, so their names are naturally going to be more ubiquitous, but thinking back to the 80's, I always associated Wilson with North American players, Prince too, and Head I thought was more often seen in the hands of Europeans.

Rossignol seemed to be cross continental, Yonex I have a hard time remembering outside of Martina...am I lost in a fog of nostalgia or am I remembering correctly that many companies dominated certain geographical regions and others didn't?
HEAD was an American company and is very popular in the USA in the 80’s.
 
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galain

Hall of Fame
HEAD was an American company and is very popular in the USA in the 80’s.
True - but when i think of Head back then and US players, I think of Tim Mayotte, the Gulliksons.......and then I get stuck. I think more European and South American players were Head users (although my memory isn't what it used to be!)
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
True - but when i think of Head back then and US players, I think of Tim Mayotte, the Gulliksons.......and then I get stuck. I think more European and South American players were Head users (although my memory isn't what it used to be!)
Don’t forget David Wheaton, Barbara Potter, Arthur Ashe, Bettina Bunge (she played the American market racquets)
 

coachrick

Hall of Fame
Having been in the South(southern US that is) for all of my life, I think the '70s and '80s were even territorial within the North American market.
As a Rossignol rep in the late '70s, I can say if a "sporting goods" store didn't carry ski equipment(most didn't), then they may not have heard of Rossignol at all(probably didn't know Fischer or Yamaha, either). HEAD transcended those types of boundaries as one of the early "pro shop" brands that really went after exposure...a la celebrity tennis players on TV and cultivated the local "influencers" at shops and clubs. Much may have been related to the territory reps working the area...seeking out guys like me who managed a shop and taught on the side(and sold rackets all day). They had just enough snob appeal to be sought after; but didn't have the high prices to scare off "regular" folk. I would dare say many who bought, sold and played with HEAD clothing and equipment didn't even know what the ski-tip logo was...they just thought it was a cool brand with good quality.
I know this is a bit of a microcosm as I'm speaking of a relatively small section of a single continent.
 

galain

Hall of Fame
Don’t forget David Wheaton, Barbara Potter, Arthur Ashe, Bettina Bunge (she played the American market racquets)
Wheaton was a little after the time period I was thinking of, but I forgot Barbara Potter. Arthur Ashe, of course, but he was little earlier than when I was thinking. I was so fascinated by the aluminium sandwich when I first saw it! It looked so sci fi to me at the time.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
Wheaton was a little after the time period I was thinking of, but I forgot Barbara Potter. Arthur Ashe, of course, but he was little earlier than when I was thinking. I was so fascinated by the aluminium sandwich when I first saw it! It looked so sci fi to me at the time.
We had Arthur Ashe sandwich racquets until 1985 here
 
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