Letter from John Cauthen to Steve Davis

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johncauthen

Semi-Pro
September 10, 2014

Dear Steve,

I told you two years ago I would send you a racquet when I was satisfied with it. It was never good enough, so I never sent it.

But this racquet I have sent is dramatically good. I have made a breakthrough: the bell-shaped weight.

Wilson has been developing the Roger Federer Autograph to be a pro racquet that is light enough so average players will like it. Now, the time has come to introduce it, but it isn’t ready. People were commenting that Federer was not playing well with it.

I am familiar with that kind of failure. I thought I could send you a light commercial form of this weighting two years ago. And Wilson might have believed they could develop a racquet Federer would like that would be light enough for regular players.

I couldn’t send you that racquet when I thought I could because the problem Wilson and I were trying to solve is a hard problem. The Roger Federer Autograph weighs 340g unstrung; and so, regular players won’t like it. Wilson had to come out with four versions of it, and that is a failure.

But this modified Warrior I have sent you is 317.6g strung with an overgrip and a vibration dampener. That’s 11.2 oz ready to play on the pro tour!

Regular players will like it, and pros will like the same racquet.

My bell-shaped weight, which Wilson does not have is what makes it work. The bell shape for this kind of weight will be easy to patent and easy to protect.

But Prince will not communicate with me, nor look at this racquet. I need your help to get through to them. I only need for them to look at the racquet. It can quickly become the most popular racquet in tennis. Prince can outdo Wilson.

I just saw the W&S Final from Cincinnati. I realized the RF-97 was actually designed to feel like a very good head heavy racquet.

Serve and volley came into tennis when the racquets changed to skinny shafts and heavy heads in the 40’s. The typical modern wood racquet had a heavy head and a skinny shaft.

The 1940’s and 1950’s wood racquet was like a heavy weight on the end of a stick, though it was possible to set them up to not feel completely clumsy.

Before serve and volley, antique racquets were dominated by a longer thicker handle, and a thick shaft.

That made them feel more evenly balanced, and you could effectively return serve and hit groundstrokes.

Borg wrapped his grips higher, which made his racquets look and feel like antique racquets. He excelled.

The Wilson T2000 was designed by Rene Lacoste who was familiar with the feel of antique racquets. And due to being metal, the head was lighter.

It turns out Connors and Borg were both using racquets dominated by the weight of the handle, like antique racquets.

My great uncle, who was a 1928 South Carolina Doubles Champion told me he quit playing tennis because he hated the way the new wood racquets with heavy heads and skinny shafts felt. His old Wright & Ditson had more weight in the handle and shaft. It also had a fragile light head that would only last a couple of months.

The Jack Kramer had a one-year guarantee, so the head was heavier. The new, stronger wood racquets, which had a one-year guarantee brought about serve and volley, because players couldn’t effectively return serve with the head heavy wood racquets.

In 1976, during the week of my wedding when my wife and I were moving to Atlanta, I found my uncle’s racquet that he had won the state championship with in my grandmother’s basement in Columbia SC. It was the best feeling tennis racquet I ever held in my hand.

At the time I couldn’t figure out why it felt so well balanced. It was also unusual for antique racquets because it was a 4 1/2 Light. Almost no one has ever seen a 4 1/2 Light antique racquet.

I studied it intensely in 1979 after my wife left. She left because I couldn’t keep a job, and we didn’t have any money, and we didn’t have any hope of me ever keeping a job.

In 1971 my mother meditated and prayed in her meditation room, “Dear God, how would her son ever make a living?” She told me that God answered her by saying I would design a tennis racquet and become world famous.
 
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johncauthen

Semi-Pro
Second Part

I only seek pure truth, I never conform to what other people think. But the result of that kind of thinking is my racquet design dominates pro tennis today. You had to be amazed by what happened to Ferrer’s career after our meeting that inspired you to apply my weighting to his racquets. It took off.

I came to see you because I wanted a job.

I should have gotten a job with Wilson in 1989 when my weighting idea became the #1 selling racquet in the world. That was the first time my son really needed my help, when he was 12, because his stepfather hated him. Now he’s 37. And because he didn’t really have a father he’s a rebel. However, that gives him a personality people can identify with. And now, his stepfather likes him a little bit. But I never had a chance. I am not a rebel. I totally conform to the elite world of corporations, marketing, and things like that, which most people despise.

I know we are at a crossroads in tennis. They want to take us back to 1960’s serve and volley, and the experts are saying racquets with my type of weighting are bad for tennis.

It’s true, there has been a problem with these racquets: they hit the ball too hard and accurately when used by the strongest players. Andy Roddick was able to hit winners from the backcourt at will against Hewitt, the best player at covering the court. Rosol hit winners at will against Nadal. And Nadal is the best player at covering the court.

So they took the best racquet weighting away from Rosol and they took it away from Roddick. Those two players cannot get the best racquets. That was unfair because Roddick never won another Grand Slam title.

After beating Nadal and almost beating him a second time, now Rosol is having problems with the racquets Wilson is giving him. But if they give Rosol the best racquets he would overpower the game. So, what can the authorities do?

The authorities didn’t like the fact that Nishikori beat Djokovic at the US Open with racquets perfectly set up using this upper handle weighting that I discovered and developed from my uncle’s old racquet. Nishikori went for winners every time he had a shot. You could not call what he did an intellectual strategy, though it was a great match, and entertaining, but since it was not intellectual, since it was just hitting the ball hard, the experts don’t like these racquets or the tennis they produce.

Ten years ago I played a player who had been the #1 junior from Connecticut. You might know of him, he used Prince racquets, his name is Dave Mason. He was 25, I was 53. We stopped at 5-5 in the only set we played and that was the best result of my life. We hit together four or five times the month he lived at my apartment complex.

I was always athletic. I played football as a guard, and I was the goalkeeper on the state championship high school soccer team. I saved the game in the Semifinals in the last minute and a half. I grabbing the ball just before the kicker kicked it. Instead of the ball, he kicked me in the side. As I rolled over with the ball, I saw him flying over me doing a graceful somersault. The doctor said I had a cracked rib. We taped it up and I played the Final game the next weekend. We won the Championship.

But though I was athletic, I could never play tennis confidently. The hidden secret to tennis is not being able to hit the ball too hard for your height.

Rosewall excelled, but most people at his height could not excel because they have too much power for their height. I had too much power for my height.

Rosewall’s shots went just to the baseline. His power was perfect for the court. When Anna Kournikova’s serve got harder as she became an adult, they were too hard for the court at her height and she had to hold back. She could not hit her serves freely and she lost her pro level game. The same thing happened to a lot of teenagers who did better as teenagers than as adults, so the ATP/WTA banned teenagers, which is how they solve problems.

The biggest problem in tennis is that you’ve got to have exactly the right amount of power for your height. You can’t hit the ball too hard for your height. We have different clubs in golf so you can swing freely, because when you try to back off on your pace, you lose your touch.

But when I hit with Dave Mason with my modified Hammer 6.3, it allowed me to back off on my power and not lose my touch. It was 340g strung and it was still too heavy. When people picked it up, they usually said, “This racquet feels heavy.” I would always say, “But you can play great tennis with it.” They would say, “It’s too heavy for me.”

And yet, I started to sell those modified Hammer 6.3’s but Wilson discontinued the frame.

I removed the lead tape covering the handle, and that made the bare frame and grip 255g. When I modified it, my athletic ability translated into tennis ability and I was able to play confidently with a good player.

The secret is racquets that allow you to control your pace and still retain your touch. They are the answer to the biggest problem in tennis, but we need a light version because that is the weight that people want, and the lightness will keep it from being too powerful when used by the strongest players. Lightness should solve the worst problem created by these racquets.

This Warrior 100L frame starts out at 255g, and it weighs 317.6g ready to play; so, it is light enough.

But the authorities are trying to bring back serve and volley by taking racquet technology backwards. I think that may be why Ted Waitt bought Prince. He wants to use Prince and IMG to control what type of racquets the players are using. He would do that in order to make the game better, and to make the world better, in part because the sad truth is a young Martina Navratilova today could barely make it into the top 50. She needed the game with the racquets the way they used to be. That is why there is a move to produce only racquets with less performance, and that seems like the best way to proceed.

This Warrior I have sent would make a young Martina Navratilova competitive, and we would not be not taking technology or the game backwards. Together, you and I will have taken racquet technology forward.

Easton could apply my bell-shaped weight to Fastpitch softball bats. You can try it on a softball bat. The weight should be about twice as long on a bat. You can get the sheet lead at ABC Supply, and there is one near you. These bats when perfected will make playing actual sports feel like playing a computer game, where everything works effortlessly.

The argument against this is, it’s too easy. But is that really a problem? This weighting can make a lot of money for Easton. They can dominate the market. Fortunately, the Fastpitch authorities are not saying being too easy is a problem, since the players are girls.

Once this weighting is applied to one single piece of sports equipment it will revolutionize sports. But there is a real problem with tennis racquets overpowering the game. I think this Warrior is too light to overpower the game, and it will be the most desirable tennis racquet on the market.
 

OTMPut

Hall of Fame
I only seek pure truth, I never conform to what other people think.
I am not a rebel. I totally conform to the elite world of corporations, marketing, and things like that, which most people despise.
WTH, within a space of couple of paragraphs ...
 

SoBad

G.O.A.T.
WTH, within a space of couple of paragraphs ...
He conforms to the elite world and despises the people who fail to conform to the elite world. Not particularly unusual for the non-rebel pure truth seeker types.
 

johncauthen

Semi-Pro


This is the bell shaped weight on an Aeropro Lite. That's an older version of the weight. I'm taking a photo of the newest bell shaped weight now.
 

DNShade

Hall of Fame
Second PartAndy Roddick was able to hit winners from the backcourt at will against Hewitt, the best player at covering the court. Rosol hit winners at will against Nadal. And Nadal is the best player at covering the court.

So they took the best racquet weighting away from Rosol and they took it away from Roddick. Those two players cannot get the best racquets. That was unfair because Roddick never won another Grand Slam title.

After beating Nadal and almost beating him a second time, now Rosol is having problems with the racquets Wilson is giving him. But if they give Rosol the best racquets he would overpower the game. So, what can the authorities do?
Wow -- just wow.
 

DNShade

Hall of Fame
Just to any newbies out there stumbling across this post -- let me help you.

This is all delusional BS.
 

SoBad

G.O.A.T.
I used to windsurf with DaveMason (DavyStorm, we used to call him at the courts) in EastHampton the summer before he won his first tri-state motocross championship. Played mixed in Flushing with AkgulAmanmuradova – guess who won the set?
 

johncauthen

Semi-Pro


This is the bone structure in or elbows that makes our arms feel evenly balanced so we don't feel the weight of our hands. It took me a long time to figure out how to apply that design to a tennis racquet so you don't feel the weight of the head.

When I wrote the part of about being a rebel and conforming to the elite world, I wasn't totally satisfied with how that came out. I guess what I mean is, I like to fight the battles at the corporate level while most people are fighting just for themselves. This battle to create this racquet and then get it produced is intensely interesting to me.
 
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johncauthen

Semi-Pro
I was hitting serves at the courts outside my apartment and Dave Mason came over and asked me to play. I didn't know he raced motocross and windsurfed. He was a doctor working at the nearby hospital and he lived at my apartment complex until he could find a house; but he was also going to Iraq in a year to be an army doctor there. Though it sounds like the same Dave Mason: really cool guy.
 
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johncauthen

Semi-Pro
The part about taking the high performance racquets away from Roddick and Rosol is something they don't want you to know about. But since Roddick is married to a girl who lived in Matthews near Charlotte, there is one of Roddick's personal racquets at the tennis shop here. It feels just like a regular racquet with lead tape on the top of the head. And so, I know they were giving Roddick regular racquets like the ones you can buy. Everybody here knows the pros don't use the regular racquets you can buy.

Selling people the same racquets pros use is what the RF-97, and what my Warrior that I hope Prince produces is all about. Most pros use racquets with extra weight at the top of the grip, but that weighting technique is critical, so if you get it wrong the racquet feels clumsy, and it usually made the racquets feel a little heavy.

My new bell shaped weight is efficient, so it's effective and doesn't feel heavy.
 

johncauthen

Semi-Pro
There is a question. Wilson is coming out with a true pro racquet, the first racquet people can buy that a pro actually uses, but they are having problems. I have come out with a design I think pros and regular players will like, to compete with the Wilson. Prince is on the verge of going out of existence, but if this racquet does what I think it does, it can save Prince.
 
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jrs

Professional
Would filling the handle with silicone give the same effect?



This is the bone structure in or elbows that makes our arms feel evenly balanced so we don't feel the weight of our hands. It took me a long time to figure out how to apply that design to a tennis racquet so you don't feel the weight of the head.

When I wrote the part of about being a rebel and conforming to the elite world, I wasn't totally satisfied with how that came out. I guess what I mean is, I like to fight the battles at the corporate level while most people are fighting just for themselves. This battle to create this racquet and then get it produced is intensely interesting to me.
Would filling the handle with silicone give the same effect or adding weight inside the handle?
 

SFrazeur

Legend
Funny with all these used and customized prostock racquets floating around that no one has never noticed the Super, Ultra Special Weighting system. Last time it was a roman Gladius shape as I recall now its a bell shaped lead. And like the liberty bell something is cracked.
 

Carsomyr

Legend
Logically that makes no sense.
Back when I was valet at Miami Int. Airport, I would take my brunches in Emilio's Cafe, where there would be 4000 Cubans sitting in gunboats 300 yards from me in the Gulf of Mexico, so don't come here and think you'll flash your "logic" and make anyone nervous.

:-|
 

onehandbh

Legend
Is the bell shape the secret to the weighting system?

If it is, can I attach the bell-shaped mcnugget to my racquet handle instead of a lead weight? I'd rather have something food grade (but just barely) than something toxic.
http://www.businessinsider.co.id/why-mcdonalds-chicken-mcnuggets-have-four-shapes-2014-2/



This is the bell shaped weight on an Aeropro Lite. That's an older version of the weight. I'm taking a photo of the newest bell shaped weight now.
 

SFrazeur

Legend
johncauthen,

You are missing one crucial piece of evidence to prove the special weighting only available to select pros and that is. . .any evidence at all!
 

SoBad

G.O.A.T.
Back when I was valet at Miami Int. Airport, I would take my brunches in Emilio's Cafe, where there would be 4000 Cubans sitting in gunboats 300 yards from me in the Gulf of Mexico, so don't come here and think you'll flash your "logic" and make anyone nervous.

:-|
RumAndCoke at the EmilioCafe was always a blast, although not as much fun as spending a week in Bangkok getting 250 baht an hour massages twice a day. Surprised how quiet the College Talk crowd is these days in the aftermath of Jung getting blown out early week after week by Go Soeda. You wouldn’t want a nice tennis career get in the way of late night romantic walks at the Bund or the traditional salt and pepper pork chops for lunch. And let’s not even get started on the Shanghai soup dumplings conversation.:lol:
 

Crisp

Professional
Personally I like to read John cauthens musings. He could probably use so one to help get things down on paper appropriately. The distance between crazy and genius is sometimes less than you think.
 

SFrazeur

Legend
Personally I like to read John cauthens musings. He could probably use so one to help get things down on paper appropriately. The distance between crazy and genius is sometimes less than you think.

I have quarrels about him thinking special lead shaped weights are the key to the best possible tennis. That could be genius. However, its the outlandish and baseless statements he makes about special weighting being given to and taken from pros that is crazy.
 

OTMPut

Hall of Fame
I remember JC mentioning a few years ago how the "authorities" took away Federer's racquet because he was unstoppable at AO (forgot which year, i guess it was the year when he beat Gonzo in the final). Is that correct JC?

I think both KPS88 and Vcore TourG330 use the weighting system you describe. Have you hit with them?
 

johncauthen

Semi-Pro
Steve Davis was the Head Engineer for Prince. Now he works at Easton after Prince downsized six-fold.

"Personally I like to read John cauthens musings. He could probably use someone to help get things down on paper appropriately."

My girlfriend, Kathie, who sees herself as a good writer went ballistic when I showed her my first attempt at writing that letter. She told me everything I did wrong. I took her advice and this attempt came out better, but you should have heard her yesterday.

As for this weighting being given and taken away from pros. You have to know what it does and know how it affects the player's strokes to see whether a player has it or not.

Here is part of that letter I haven't posted yet, about when a player has it and when he doesn't.

The reason Nishikori beat Djokovic is because Nishikori’s racquets were set up perfectly with this upper handle weighting technique that I developed in the 80’s and showed to Wilson. All of Japan was paying attention to how Nishikori would do in the Final, but the ATP, whose stringers are in a position to restring all of a player’s racquets before every match have total access to Nishikori’s racquets. The ATP hates this antique weighting concept to such a degree they altered Nishikori’s racquets, and then, everyone who paid for a ticket to the Final, and millions of people all over the world were disappointed.

The racquet I sent you, to show Prince, who refuses to look at it, addresses the problem of this weighting technique overpowering the court, which is what the ATP should be worried about.

Remember when Wilson did the “Some people are stupid” ads? One of them even featured Nishikori. They basically said the Tennis Establishment doesn't like these racquets and they are stupid. Wilson will be on my side, and now the Federer racquet could turn out to be an embarrassing failure.
 

DNShade

Hall of Fame
The reason Nishikori beat Djokovic is because Nishikori’s racquets were set up perfectly with this upper handle weighting technique that I developed in the 80’s and showed to Wilson. All of Japan was paying attention to how Nishikori would do in the Final, but the ATP, whose stringers are in a position to restring all of a player’s racquets before every match have total access to Nishikori’s racquets. The ATP hates this antique weighting concept to such a degree they altered Nishikori’s racquets, and then, everyone who paid for a ticket to the Final, and millions of people all over the world were disappointed.
HA HA - Oh my God.

No. That is total unfounded batsh*t crazy BS and 100% not true.


Please stop posting this nonsense and go back on your meds.
 
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galain

Hall of Fame
I'm happy to see John Cauthen back on the boards. He keeps things interesting.

I've never tried any of John's ideas out, but back in the day I wrote about his weighting theories as they applied to traditional martial arts swordsmanship - something about which I know a little. The weighting John was advocating a few years back is pretty much exactly how a good sword - Japanese or Chinese - should be weighted.

Whether we can juxtapose swordmaking onto tennis racquet design I have no idea, but why not keep the ideas he's presenting as a potential racquet mod for some people?

Does no harm, and as I say, it's a little more colour to have John back here - at least for me.
 

DNShade

Hall of Fame
Does no harm, and as I say, it's a little more colour to have John back here - at least for me.
Him suggesting ideas does no harm - even really crazy ideas -- true. But he is out here making totally false and crazy claims about pro players and their equipment, the ATP, equipment companies and all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories and other stuff that is just plain untrue made up delusions.

THAT DOES DO HARM - and he should be called out it period.

Some people who haven't been out here for a long time might actually start believing his claims - so that needs to be nipped in the bud asap.
 
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uk_skippy

Hall of Fame
"The reason Nishikori beat Djokovic is because Nishikori’s racquets were set up perfectly with this upper handle weighting technique that I developed in the 80’s and showed to Wilson. All of Japan was paying attention to how Nishikori would do in the Final, but the ATP, whose stringers are in a position to restring all of a player’s racquets before every match have total access to Nishikori’s racquets. The ATP hates this antique weighting concept to such a degree they altered Nishikori’s racquets, and then, everyone who paid for a ticket to the Final, and millions of people all over the world were disappointed."

So, Wilson who supply Kei's rqts, and also run the stringing service at the US Open, knowingly changed the weighting of the said rqts while in the stringing room. 'Cause Wilson didn't want Kei to win so they'd make more money out of him winning than losing. They'd knowingly sell-out one of their top player as directed by 'officials'. Also, the ATP doesn't run the US Open, or any of the grand slam tournaments, so their 'influence' would be non-effective.

No professional tour stringer wouldn't dare change anything about a pro's rqts. We're like doctors, we treat every rqt the same.

I follow others on here...total BS
 

johncauthen

Semi-Pro
Couldn't you notice there was something different about Nishikori in the Final? He could have been tired but he didn't look tired.

The biggest problem when setting up these racquets is getting them exactly right. They are critical. You don't have to change this weighting very much to make the timing go off, which will destroy your game. The racquet will still be the same weight and even the same balance. The player couldn't tell, except that it is not performing right.

That's why the bell shaped weight is so important. It's the most forgiving shape I've found.

Whoever would slightly change the racquet or provide another frame that is slightly off would not let the stringers in on it. If they did, that would create an international incident.

But you can tell when a player thinks his problems are coming from his racquets. He will stare at his racquet and hit the strings with his palm. Then, he will become totally resigned to the fact that he cannot produce good tennis that day. Nishikori pretty much did that.

In the Final, he had 19 winners and 30 unforced errors. Against Djokovic he had 37 winners, a huge difference. And he had 34 unforced errors, which is about the same.

This racquet weighting allows you to hit winners, and that is what the traditionalists don't like about it. They come to net and they want to pressure you, but you hit a winner. That destroys their whole concept of tennis.

But the audience loves it when the underdog who is being pressured overcomes and hits a winner. And yet, what happened in the Final was that Cilic the big guy rolled over Nishikori who only managed to hit 19 winners.

Cilic hit 43 winners and had 23 errors in the Semis and hit 38 winners and had 27 errors in the Final, which is about the same, nothing was different. But going from 38 winners to 19 winners means there was something different about Nishikori. It could have be the racquet or it could have been that he was tired or injured.
 
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