its NOT the racquet! or the strings!

our #1 doubles team found a sub recently.
he said he hadnt played tennis for 10 years, but somebody
knew him from back in the day and said he was decent.
he helped win his match not with any power but
with amazing touch and placement.

he took a lot of ribbing for doing it with an 88" (approx)
flourescent orange Yamaha racquet from the 1980s.
i held it, and it felt like a very nice stable racquet, similar to Yonex mids or k90... but the paint was crazy!

the next week, he wins his doubles match again, and he used his daughters racquet, "to get with the modern times" he says. it was a Wilson HOPE oversize, that cost about 20 bucks, glued together racquet from k-mart!
He said he liked it better!

I told him he wouldn't want to face the heavy hitters in singles with it, but man, if the other team with their fancy K-factors knew they got beat with the Hope stick... talk about adding insult to injury!!!!

So quit being so picky about your racquet and learn to hit a volley!
i know.. this is sort of tongue in cheek as I am pretty particular about equipment.

but when a guy comes along and can literally play decent with anything it does remind me of how silly I can be about tinkering with tension/string/lead/racquets etc...

this guy really doesn't use power but is very patient and moves well and is very thoughtful about his shot placement.
definitely not my type of game, but it appears to work in his doubles matches.


Hall of Fame
Nice reality check. Thank you.

The advent of the power game was made possible by the more powerful OS size as new materials made their construction feasible. And when you view old matches, there was a lot more placement in setting up points. Players seemed to do more steering of the ball with the older racquets, imparting less topspin, and biding their time.

Get out on the court with an older racquet to see what I mean.

I played an older player the other night who hit everything three-quarter pace and just killed you with consistency and placement. I can count on one hand the amount of time he missed. He was using a Bab PD, but his game style was old school.

It is not contentious at all to acknowledge that our more powerful, lighter, stiffer, racquets are a complement but not a substitute for true tennis skills.
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About 20 years ago, there was a guy living here who, if I remember correctly played some Davis Cup for Egypt. Never have I seen anyone choke up on his racquet like him; his hand was not far from the hoop. He won tournament after tournament, but unfortunately suffered an industrial accident on his hand such that he stopped playing tennis.


Hall of Fame
It is DEFINITELY possible to beat people with a HOPE racquet, I can definitely see him as the smart net man who dares poach.

If he does get serious about tennis, however, he should find a better racquet and stick with it. Then he will develop to become even better than he is with that HOPE racquet. It's just that at his team's level, that adjustment and practice is not needed vs. his opponents.


he'll stop using the HOPE the day he meets his match. im sure federer could beat us all with a wooden donnay. but could he beat nadal with it?


One of my friends and I go out regularly and play with our old wooden racquets. Mine is still strung with the old Blue Star string! The only thing I changed was to remove the leather grip and add a Wildon Contour with a blue Tournagrip on it. It is definitely a different game! It's a lot of fun to work the points and really feel the placement and control of yoru shots. Of course, we forget ourselves at times and try to rip returns or try for some crazy angle which works with our poly strings and OS heads, but to no avail. I wish there were leagues or tournaments that required play with wooden raccquets for us league players and for the pros. It would make tennis even more exciting. Just like you have surfacce specific players, you could have racquet specific players too. I still don't think Tim would win the W though. :)


Hall of Fame
babar, you have discovered one of the secret tricks to some fun tennis. Wood racquets. Everyone should have one. You can pick up nice ones at yard sales and thrift shops for a few bucks. A new grip (or overgrip) and some fresh string and you are good to go. For some reason, its one of the best kept secrets in tennis.

If everyone had one, I bet you would see more folks organizing wood only tournaments.



yup very true. It's always more about your own skills than the racquet or strings.

However, it's always nice when you find that one racquet that you love to play with and is comfortable for you.
It's true to a certain point. Anyone of us (regardless of level) can just beat some certain players that we know among our friends with just about any rackets and vice versa.


Once in a while I'll string up the Prince Classic (the one with the green plastic throat piece) and go play few sets of doubles. I'll do a hybrid with some multi in the main with poly in the crosses at around 50# or so. Strung weight is around 13 oz. w/ plenty of spin, good power, right amount of flex AND serves kicks extremely well.

You should see the looks I get from these young kids swinging the latest high tech racquets!!


New User
If I'm losing to a guy with a Wilson Hope, I'll fake an injury. ;-)
yep, me too

But seriously my game improved somewhat from switching from my old hammer 110 to a K95. But at the same time it's not like I can't play tennis with my old racquet almost as well. It probably feels a lot different to me than it might look to a bystander, so I get where this guy is coming from.


New User
I have to agree that it's always about the technique and ability first. Then when you start to play at a more advanced level and more regularly, it's worth going for a more 'advanced' stick, something heavier and head light, just so that they are beneficial in helping prevent injuries by means of greater stability and less shoulder pull/crunch and elbow/wrist crunch.

Speaking of old racquets, it was just yesterday that I brought along a Dunlop 'McEnroe Autographed' woodie with me to court to try some shots. Sure enough, it's almost impossible to take big swings at the ball, much less the modern style of full hip rotation. But it was fun, forcing myself to volley properly, and it made me appreciate the skill these people needed back then.

The head was tiny. I was able to demo the K90 comfortable and currently buying an Aerogel 100 (90 head size) but with these old woodies, I was framing a lot of shots. Of course, the frame vibration was horrible on the arm. But when I did on occasion get the pin-sized sweetspot, well... it was as sweet as can be. I love the heft and flex that is so missing in today's sticks.


New User
obviously...when you're playing people that are worse than you. just because he used bad racquet doesn't mean that racquets don't matter. he's just better than them.


Currently playing with an APDC or a PDR, but tonight, I am bringing out my Adidas Lendl GTX Pro-T for the first time since I got it about 2 years ago. It's still strung and has string savers on it. Either I get through the day and hopefully do well, get through the day with tennis elbow, or the first contact with the ball the strings pop...whatever happens, it should be fun.


Just got back from playing with the Adidas for 3 hours, felt great. Backhand was consistant, forehand had more accuracy than power, but it was fun. Volleys were pretty bad, especially half volleys. Serves were impressive. Actually felt more comfortable and double faults ;)


Hall of Fame
I have a name for these people, I call them levellers

At the end of the day its true that its mostly you and maybe 5% your racquet, strings etc...
I played one of my best games with an aluminium racquet when I broke two sets of strings and ran out of racquets once, because I was concentrating on the game and not on bashing the ball


Last year or was it 2 years ago... I was down at my parents place (Hilton Head area) and wanted to play. Only racquets available to me were 2 woodies and 1 old prince graphite which was my mother's from like '85. I played with the woodies and it wasn't that bad. It didn't feel that different from my PS 6.0 85's (maneuverability). Took me a while to find a player (nobody wanted to play a guy holding 2 wooden racquets). I eventually got out with a 4.0-4.5 player and beat him 4 and 3. I did adapt to the racquet though and flattened out a swing a bit and used more semi western then full. I also came to the net a lot more then normal, which is almost never.

I have to say it was the most satisfying win in a long time, if ever. I am extremely fussy over my equipment. I'll play with anything, but I know when the tension has dropped 1lb, the strings are too slick or something, etc. To play with the woodies, I had all the excuses in the world but they were too obvious, I just had fun and played for control. It really taught me a lot. I used to keep a difficult racquet like a woody for students to better improve their swing mechanics. It can really open your eyes up.