Had a local club owner tell me this yesterday

stapletonj

Hall of Fame
Had a local club owner insist to me that, even with recreational use (4.0 level and under), any and all rackets "go dead" within about 2 years.
Since I was in his club, I quietly deferred to his expertise, but I had always heard that was "malarky".

Maybe I should have made this a poll?

So what do you guys and gals think?

malarky or gospel?
 

travlerajm

Talk Tennis Guru
Had a local club owner insist to me that, even with recreational use (4.0 level and under), any and all rackets "go dead" within about 2 years.
Since I was in his club, I quietly deferred to his expertise, but I had always heard that was "malarky".

Maybe I should have made this a poll?

So what do you guys and gals think?

malarky or gospel?
Does he have racquet merch on the walls of his pro shop?
 

chic

Hall of Fame
I've heard the same from tennis pros, that once you're hitting decently hard they go dead. Same 'microfractures' stuff that gets said in the marketing mumbo jumbo.

Whether it's true or not, I don't think owners and teaching pros have any more real insight than the average player. Other than maybe they have gotten to do direct comparisons of fresh vs old racquets.

At the end of the day though it's not like the racquet goes sour after 2 years. It would just change (ie different specs on an rdc maybe.) So if you still like how it hits, it doesn't really matter.
It would only really come into play of you wanted more racquets than you have already (ie if you start breaking strings more) it might be harder to get a newer frame to feel the same as an older one (if the marketing schtick is real). Otherwise all your racquets have changed in roughly the same way over a time period so long you haven't noticed.

So who cares!?
 
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Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Had a local club owner insist to me that, even with recreational use (4.0 level and under), any and all rackets "go dead" within about 2 years.
Since I was in his club, I quietly deferred to his expertise, but I had always heard that was "malarky".

Maybe I should have made this a poll?

So what do you guys and gals think?
Malarkey. Many shops dream up all kinds of stuff to sell rackets.
 

socallefty

G.O.A.T.
They get less stiff for me after about 250-300 hours and 20 stringjobs. Since I rotate 3 racquets and play 500 hours a year, the effect is noticeable after about 2 years on each racquet. I string all my racquets the same and when I compare it to a brand new racquet of the same model, the power difference can be seen. The old racquets are still playable, but I have to reduce tension slightly compared to the new racquet.
 

codonnell

Rookie
Definitely not true lol. There are many old frames out there that have been used and still play phenomenal especially for us people at the 4.0 level.
 

Seth

Legend
Reminds me of a shop owner who tried to sell a Youtek Speed Elite to every person who asked about racquets, regardless of level. Maybe it had something to do with him still have 25 of them hanging on the wall?
 

norcal

Legend
I play with frames from 2013. I bought several so I still have one unused and one barely used. When I strung up the 'new' old frame it was definitely more stiff than the more used ones...I actually like the softer feel of the more used ones.

They certainly don't go 'dead' though...love to see the shop owner do a blind test and see if he can tell which frames are 'dead' lol.

Grommets do get brittle and break over time (even if unused), so grommets do go dead :)
 
They get less stiff for me after about 250-300 hours and 20 stringjobs. Since I rotate 3 racquets and play 500 hours a year, the effect is noticeable after about 2 years on each racquet. I string all my racquets the same and when I compare it to a brand new racquet of the same model, the power difference can be seen. The old racquets are still playable, but I have to reduce tension slightly compared to the new racquet.
Agreed - really depends on how much mileage you put on the racquets - this sounds about right, and agree they don't go dead - they just lose some of their stiffness over time after that much usage. For some players, it's actually better for them since they probably would benefit from a more flexible racquet in the first place.

If I have 3 of the same racquets, same specs, and I love them, I would expect them to play really well for 3-4 years playing about 3-4 times/week (I'm a 4.0/4.5 mostly singles player). I could probably play with them longer than that and they would be just fine. The larger issue is getting wooed into trying something new and fancy, that would probably not meaningfully help my game, but exciting given the consumer culture that we live in.
 

penguin

Professional
It's true, and they are only playable after those two years- before that they are just stiff bats for rubes. Real players like Agassi (had his racquets worn in by other players for him) and Del Potro know this (as do others I forget).

Side point, I did have one racquet lose all its power, but it was heavily cracked to achieve that.
 

dr. godmode

Hall of Fame
My ETs are about 2 years old now and have seen a lot of court time and string jobs. I recently tried my friends brand new ones and they feel like they have quite a bit more pop. Part of this could certainly be due to layup/RA QC, but I have felt like my ETs have been fleecier than they used to be, with noticeable degradation occurring in the last 6 months.
So I think that racquets do change overtime but I think calling them dead is a stretch for most cases.
 

A_Instead

Legend
And it also depends on your level of tennis..as well as performance expectation.. I can play fine tennis with a dead racket...and I can play fine with an off the shelf brand new racket..
Luckily for me I don't require a perfected racket.. luckily I don't depend on tennis to keep a roof over my head nor food down my jib..
 

AVSH

Banned
I dont think its completely BS. 2 years is on the shorter size especially for rec players... I think of the fibers and graphite that wear down over time from string jobs and hitting. I think of stretching out a rubber hand with both my hands. Over time the rubber band looses elasticity (ie strings going dead) and after a while my hands are gonna get tired from pulling tension on it (ie racket going dead)

2 years might be a good rule of thumb for people hitting 3-4 times a week? and restring fairly option
 

Chopin

Hall of Fame
I still use two RDiS 100 mids I bought in 2009. My level is 4.5 and I break a lot of strings. I definitely think they've softened up over the last 14 years and who knows how many stringings. On one of them, the grommets are disintegrating by the throat (I've replaced all the grommets before). I'm still playing pretty good tennis with these frames and regularly take down younger 4.5 players using much newer frames. Now, I'm looking to move away from the RDiS 100 mids because I do think they're worn out now, but it's a joke that a racquet is "dead" after two years for an amateur player.
 

bigbadboaz

Semi-Pro
He's trying to sell frames, period. If no pro shop in the club, then perhaps he's just way too invested in this particular old-wives' tale.

Either way, complete, 100% BS. Ignore it and don't give him any sales. If so inclined, call him on it. Total crap.
 
They actually do go dead, not in 2 years maybe, but the materials decay. For instance, James Blake had his favorite rackets coming up and they had decayed, the racket sponsor he got tried to give him or recreate that racket feel for him, but they couldn't replicate the decay feel. He had to adjust. Just a little anecdote. But yeah, people who keep sticks for 10 years even if they aren't using them, aren't getting the same performance from that old stick as they would from a new one.
 
The rackets definitely change, but I have a hard time thinking a racquet is “dead” after 2 years for amateurs. My friend has a few 2 generation old prestige mids (I forget what it’s called, but it’s the one before the bright red version) and they still play fabulous and they have a lot of play hours on them.

I have had experience with my aero gts becoming unplayable due to the harshness. I imagine there lots of little cracks that have developed. That is like a 13 year old racket though.
 

socallefty

G.O.A.T.
Just string at a lower tension and/or with thinner gauges when a racquet loses stiffness after a couple of years.
 

NickJ

Professional
I still use my 25+yr old Pro Staff 6.0 95 and to me it 'feels' better than the brand new Speed I bought a few weeks ago. Yes, that may be that I'm used to it, and I know it, I've used it for years, but not a chance that the 6.0 is 'dead' Utter tosh.
 

stapletonj

Hall of Fame
Yeah, I pretty quickly figured out it was malarky. This was right after he got his new Yonex and Head demo frames in. He saw that I had 3 frames (2018) model and guess he could make some quick $$$.

In his defense, however, he runs good clinics with good players, charges reasonable fees for those clinics, doesn't charge guest fees for people who live over 50 miles away, no matter how many times you come.

He also actually turns up the heat in the winter so the court temp is about 60 deg. , unlike some other local clubs ( 1 each 30 miles in one direction and 30 miles in the other)

So he gets a pass from me on that......
 

PBODY99

Legend
Frames are mechanical not living things so only my leather grips are "dead".
My 2009 O3 Speedport Golds don't feel dead to me. I still have 5 unused frames vs the 7 I have used for various number of years.
Just as our bodies breakdown over time, so do frames. I feel that if you don't get the response from your usual fresh string job, it might be time. to look for a fresh frame.
Every player is different., just keep them regularly strung strung.
 
Yeah, I pretty quickly figured out it was malarky. This was right after he got his new Yonex and Head demo frames in. He saw that I had 3 frames (2018) model and guess he could make some quick $$$.

In his defense, however, he runs good clinics with good players, charges reasonable fees for those clinics, doesn't charge guest fees for people who live over 50 miles away, no matter how many times you come.

He also actually turns up the heat in the winter so the court temp is about 60 deg. , unlike some other local clubs ( 1 each 30 miles in one direction and 30 miles in the other)

So he gets a pass from me on that......
He might have said it to influence sales, but like I mentioned, the materials in rackets decay just sitting around. The people on the podcast discussing it were a pro and some professional stringers on the pro tour, I'm too ignorant of materials and engineering to do it justice but it's something like the resins or some kind of other materials that are part of keeping the racket together, they just decay and lose properties over time. I'm sure most people here who don't play everyday like a professional or James Blake wouldn't notice the performance drop off, but there is one. In other words your club owner may have lied about his little situation to get more racket sales, but despite that, he was correct, rackets don't last for years. (even if people reading this swear by their 20 year old head stick they love lol, it doesn't play the same as it did year 1).
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
Tennis Magazine addressed this topic directly several years ago. They said a tour level professional will wear out a frame in 6 months. 4.5's take about 5 years. Below that, rackets are good forever. These are generalizations and there are exceptions. One should note that James Blake, after his Prince dalliance, was playing with old Dunlop MW 200's. He even bought back frames he had previously donated. There are several players around town here, 5.0 and above who have had the same frame for 10+ years. When I say the same frame, I mean the exact same frame.

Bottom line, if you want a new frame, buy it. But it's not required. Do whatever makes you have more fun and play better.
 

NicoMK

Hall of Fame
Since 1999, I have collected quite a number of the same racket ; don't ask me why but at one point I thought it would be nice to have all PJ, internet allowing decent prices for racketaholics like me. I acquired the latest one last month, brand new. I strung & took it with me for playing. All the rackets are matched and strung the same.

And you're going to tell me : who cares? but that's my point :

Coincidentally, I had in my bag the very first that I bought in May 1999. I hit with the new one for almost two hours -- felt really great, then I took the oldest one -- which was strung and has played the most in 23 years : I felt no difference.

To my knowledge, a piece of graphite that "goes dead" is a piece of broken graphite. Before we, recreational players, can feel a difference, we can play tennis for a lifetime, or two. It's a bit different for pro players but the placebo effect might work for them as well.
 

jimmy8

Legend
Every hit, every serve bends the racket, sometimes deforming the racket in many directions. 2 years contain a lot of serves and hits. The racket gets less stiff. Everything wears out.
 

Anni.Angel

Semi-Pro
If he believes that he should do as I do. I sell my old racquets for change or gift them to friends, when I think they are "dead".
 

KungfuTennis

Semi-Pro
In addition, racket's getting softer over time does not equate to rackets "going dead". -3,4,5, even 6 RA doesn't really make the frame dead, just a bit softer.
 

SupahMan5000

Hall of Fame
In addition, racket's getting softer over time does not equate to rackets "going dead". -3,4,5, even 6 RA doesn't really make the frame dead, just a bit softer.
and in my opinion rackets at this stage are much nicer broken in. when i got fresh rackets to a used stable , the fresh rackets didnt mesh well with me. always preffered the used ones
 

tennis4me

Hall of Fame
I don't know about going "dead", but from material science perspective, metal "fatigue" is a real thing. Of course it depends on many factors. There's of course the amount of force applied to the racquets, the frequency of use. Then material or structure itself - I've had a 2nd or 3rd gen (?) Babolat Pure Drive that exhibits hairline cracks in 2 years that many people seems to have. Then there's a possible factor that "shorten" frame's "life" like improper mounting during stringing, etc.

Probably for most rec players it's not an issue. Even my hairline cracked Babolat was probably still playable for several years without issue.

Your love for the old racquet sometimes goes "dead", and you itch for a new racquet. :D
 

TennisManiac

Hall of Fame
After a racket has been strung about 30 to 40 times it gets a tad bit softer. So depending on how often you string a racket, it can lose it's "pop" in a couple of years. But you can still play with them for as long as you like. I've been rotating 3 rackets for 7 years now. And I can play just as well with them now as when they were new. Never listen to Club owners. It's their job to make you want to buy stuff.
 
Tennis Magazine addressed this topic directly several years ago. They said a tour level professional will wear out a frame in 6 months. 4.5's take about 5 years. Below that, rackets are good forever. These are generalizations and there are exceptions. One should note that James Blake, after his Prince dalliance, was playing with old Dunlop MW 200's. He even bought back frames he had previously donated. There are several players around town here, 5.0 and above who have had the same frame for 10+ years. When I say the same frame, I mean the exact same frame.

Bottom line, if you want a new frame, buy it. But it's not required. Do whatever makes you have more fun and play better.

Frames do go dead over time. But not from rec players playing 3.5 doubles a couple of times a week.
You guys are addressing a valid point of the use of the racket wearing the rackets out, but the podcast I got the info from was discussing like the resins and other materials they use to make the rackets and those were referred to as actually "decaying" over time, like the material loses it's properties just sitting around after , well who knows, they didn't say, but I'd guess 5 years or so. Probably not a feel or performance difference a rec player would notice, but for the obsessive ones, but it's a thing, the rackets just get old sitting around.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Frames are mechanical not living things so only my leather grips are "dead".
My 2009 O3 Speedport Golds don't feel dead to me. I still have 5 unused frames vs the 7 I have used for various number of years.
Just as our bodies breakdown over time, so do frames. I feel that if you don't get the response from your usual fresh string job, it might be time. to look for a fresh frame.
Every player is different., just keep them regularly strung strung.
And buy extra grommet sets when/while you can
 
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