McEnroe podcast: Wants reverse innovation

Livedeath

Professional
Interesting podcast of John McEnroe, one of the interesting points of the podcast was when asked what innovation he is expecting in coming years, he replied that he is all for reverse innovation, he wants to see how the current players, in his words more athletic, stronger players, will fare with the small piece of wood.
Some nice advice for Andy too. :)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/12037230/The-Tennis-Podcast-John-McEnroe-on-why-Andy-Murray-Novak-Djokovic-et-al.-should-use-wooden-racquets.html
 
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The Green Mile

Bionic Poster
Unfortunately for him and many others, the majority of tennis fans of today, do not want to see that happen. Wooden racquets haven't been seen for a number of years now, and I can't seem them returning any time soon. The sport evolves and will continue to evolve. Too many modern tennis fans now. It would be interesting to see how a conversation on this topic would go with the ATP and it's players, lol...
 

Livedeath

Professional
Unfortunately for him and many others, the majority of tennis fans of today, do not want to see that happen. Wooden racquets haven't been seen for a number of years now, and I can't seem them returning any time soon. The sport evolves and will continue to evolve. Too many modern tennis fans now. It would be interesting to see how a conversation on this topic would go with the ATP and it's players, lol...
Wooden racquets will not be feather weight either, hence swing, in comparison to the modern racquets will be much lesser, less racquet head speed. I wonder how Karlovic would serve with this tiny heavy 68 sq.in...lol.
 
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Adv. Edberg

Hall of Fame
Well, he was joking with wooden racquets. But I think he wants to step back a bit though. Maybe to midsize+ng.

ITF should have introduced some regulations to racquet and string tech in the 90s some time.

I would love it. But it's too late for that.
 

ArcspacE

Legend
Interesting podcast of John McEnroe, one of the interesting points of the podcast was when asked what innovation he is expecting in coming years, he replied that he is all for reverse innovation, he wants to see how the current players, in his words more athletic, stronger players will fare with the small piece of wood.
Some nice advice for Andy too. :)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/12037230/The-Tennis-Podcast-John-McEnroe-on-why-Andy-Murray-Novak-Djokovic-et-al.-should-use-wooden-racquets.html
Move over, John - it's 2016
 

Livedeath

Professional
Wooden racquets might be a bit extreme, but I wouldn't mind if they standardised a max head size of 90' for any competition use though. That will make the tour so much more interesting:)
I have always wondered about this, why they dont standardized the racquet head size, a person playing with a bigger frame may have unfair advantage, as even if he/she mishits, it is highly probable that the ball still hits the strings and he/she is still in point, whereas for player who uses a smaller frame, will have more mishits or shanks, but then again a counter argument for this could be, a player can train himself/herself to hit the middle of the racquet to negate any chance of mishits, and if there will be any chance of mishits it will be lot less, hence size of the racquet is irrelevant.
 
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Minion

Hall of Fame
Would be great if they can standardise the equipment to some extent. I'm sure many other sports do it?
 

Garhi Shot First

Hall of Fame
I agree on standardizing the equipment, including uniform court conditions for all courts within a single tournament. (Things like playing speeds and lights, at least, even if retractable roofs at every court would be impossible.) I wonder why they haven't done that.

Off topic: I found a wooden racket this weekend at an antique store. I've never played with one before, so I'm eager to try it after I make sure it's in good, working condition. :)
 

TheFifthSet

Legend
There's no way such a seismic change could be implemented. How far would it go? All the way to juniors? What about the juniors that are accustomed to playing with graphite . . . which is all of them. What about, say, power baseliners/servers whose game was tailor made for the more powerful equipment? Strikes me as a little unfair to render so many years of hard work all for naught and force them to start from scratch. We're kind of at a point of no return here, where something like this is just not feasible. Fun hypothetical, but laughably impractical in the real world.


Additionally, wth do you do with all the graphite racquets with no players to market them? Surely those more powerful frames lend themselves better to the rec game too.


Said for cheap thrills, simply put. Never a dull moment with Mac but no substance to that suggestion.
 
Wooden racquets will not be feather weight either, hence swing, in comparison to the modern racquets will be much lesser, less racquet head speed. I wonder how Karlovic would serve with this tiny heavy 68 sq.in...lol.
I'll refer to the test Philippoussis did in the 90's where he was 1 mph off his normal serving speed with wood.
 

Livedeath

Professional
I'll refer to the test Philippoussis did in the 90's where he was 1 mph off his normal serving speed with wood.
Did he use the same strings in wooden racquet as used in graphite racquets? if yes then great result. In that case I wonder why the ATP never thought of going back, one plausible reason could be the pressure from the racquet manufacturers, after all they would had invested heavily with all new technology(whether it was only for paper only), and any change by ATP would had plummeted the sales of graphite racquets.
 
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Limit to say 95 sq inch frames and string regulations. So, you wouldn't have to go all the way back to wood necessarily. Specs. Otherwise, imagine the frames of 2050. Will #1 in 2050 be "the GREATEST ever, greater than Borg, Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic I tell you..they'd all be BAGELED".
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
Wooden racquets might be a bit extreme, but I wouldn't mind if they standardised a max head size of 90' for any competition use though. That will make the tour so much more interesting:)
My preference would be 70" max head size of any composition for any sanctioned competition. Ain't gonna happen... the train left the station on this issue a long time ago.
 

bigserving

Hall of Fame
McEnroe has made a career of trying to continue to make himself relevant.

Racquet manufacturers make their money off of us hacks. Some companies pay players to give us of visual test drive of their products. There would be no plausible reason for them to make wooden frames for the touring pros and graphites for us. Until the paying public desires to go back to wood frames it will never happen.
 

BlueB

Legend
Mac is a troll. No one should be paying too much attention to what he says. He plays with graphite, himself.
 

JBH

Rookie
Golf, through the USGA and R&A organizations, have fairly effectively reigned in the equipment manufacturer's design criteria. There is a limit to driver head size and COR, shaft length, wedge and iron groove characteristics, putter configuration...

They have accomplished this by limiting sanctioned events to conforming equipment, and it has been successful. The USTA, WTA, ATP can and need to do similarly. They are either too weak, unorganized, or tied financially to the equipment manufacturers to do so.

John is certainly correct in his ideals, but holding up wooden racquets as a standard bearer isn't quite the optimal approach to a solution.
 

Livedeath

Professional
The bat held by South African Barry Richards on the left is the one with which he made 325 at WACA(Perth) in 1970 in a single day, whereas the bat on the left is David Warner's current bat. David Warner's bat looks more like a mace than a bat.
 

Elektra

Professional
Today's racquets have made the game more difficult and physically taxing. The game is faster and gets people more emotionally invested in the match. Wooden racquets would have slow down the game which is not good for television optics.
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
McEnroe has made a career of trying to continue to make himself relevant.
In fairness, if we restricted our interactions only to people who didn't fit this description, we wouldn't have many friends. Most folks put at least a little effort into trying to stay relevant.

Lest we forget nearly half a century ago when Colin Dibley (who lives in the next town from here, West Orange, NJ) hit a serve at 148 mph with a wood racquet.
I don't think the serve is the big issue - it's the groundstrokes and volleys. With a serve, you have complete control over your toss, so the ball's movement isn't really an issue - you just have to strike it right. But when the ball is moving (with spin and in conjunction with your own movement) that 65" wood frame - with its tiny sweet spot - makes things a lot more difficult as compared to a big modern racquet. I actually played with nothing but wood racquets for six months a couple of years ago and when I switched over to a modern racquet I noticed a pretty big difference - and my game is very wood racquet friendly.
 

President

Legend
My preference would be 70" max head size of any composition for any sanctioned competition. Ain't gonna happen... the train left the station on this issue a long time ago.
You don't find modern tennis as entertaining as tennis from the past?
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
Wooden racquets will not be feather weight either, hence swing, in comparison to the modern racquets will be much lesser, less racquet head speed. I wonder how Karlovic would serve with this tiny heavy 68 sq.in...lol.
Karlovic would serve just as hard with a 68 sq in. wood racquet. Philippoussis did just that.

The extra weight and concentrated in a smaller area turns your racquet into a hammer and really allows you to pound the serves. Colin Dibley held the fastest serve record at 148 mph using a 68 sq. in. wood racquet. which held for many decades until Roddick broke it. And Sampras used to pound his serves with an 85 sq. in. racquet that was 14 oz with a 400+ SW.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
Today's racquets have made the game more difficult and physically taxing. The game is faster and gets people more emotionally invested in the match. Wooden racquets would have slow down the game which is not good for television optics.
Yet, TV ratings for tennis have fallen off of a cliff since the switch to graphite racquets. Way more people in the U.S. played and watched tennis when everyone used wood racquets.
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
You don't find modern tennis as entertaining as tennis from the past?
Personally, no. It seems pretty one-dimensional relative to the 70s/80s, for example. Just my minority view, of course. I watch very little pro tennis. (I'm sure I'd watch a lot more if they restricted the racquet head size.) Clearly, I'm not in the target market.

Karlovic would serve just as hard with a 68 sq in. wood racquet. Philippoussis did just that.

The extra weight and concentrated in a smaller area turns your racquet into a hammer and really allows you to pound the serves. Colin Dibley held the fastest serve record at 148 mph using a 68 sq. in. wood racquet. which held for many decades until Roddick broke it. And Sampras used to pound his serves with an 85 sq. in. racquet that was 14 oz with a 400+ SW.
Personally, I don't think the big issue is serve speed (post #25).
 

stingstang

Semi-Pro
There's no way such a seismic change could be implemented. How far would it go? All the way to juniors? What about the juniors that are accustomed to playing with graphite . . . which is all of them. What about, say, power baseliners/servers whose game was tailor made for the more powerful equipment? Strikes me as a little unfair to render so many years of hard work all for naught and force them to start from scratch. We're kind of at a point of no return here, where something like this is just not feasible. Fun hypothetical, but laughably impractical in the real world.
.
Its not actually that unfeasible. You just drip feed the changes over a long length of time. For example they could say by 2020 rackets on the atp tour must have a max headsize of 98" and poly as mains or cross only.

Tennis might have a crisis in a few years when Fedal retire. There is nobody charismatic coming through, viewing figures could tumble. Don't be surprised if thet make changes, maybe not tech but something.
 

PMChambers

Hall of Fame
Good to see Mac sticking to his guns on this one, he's been going on about this since mid 80 and woven graphite really screwed him over. Not sure if I agree or disagree, there are already racquet regulations but no string regs, maybe regulating strings is more of a priority first, I haven't hit with Mac Maxi Ply for a while, should try it with poly, a mix of old and new. I sure as hell wouldn't want to play with 65 again. Current tech suits amateurs better, though leads to injury.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
I don't think the serve is the big issue - it's the groundstrokes and volleys. With a serve, you have complete control over your toss, so the ball's movement isn't really an issue - you just have to strike it right. But when the ball is moving (with spin and in conjunction with your own movement) that 65" wood frame - with its tiny sweet spot - makes things a lot more difficult as compared to a big modern racquet. I actually played with nothing but wood racquets for six months a couple of years ago and when I switched over to a modern racquet I noticed a pretty big difference - and my game is very wood racquet friendly.
Don't forget that your opponent will also be using a wood racquet (i.e., heavy, ultra-dense string pattern, strung with full gut or nylon, etc.), so you wouldn't get the same massive spin coming at you as when your opponent was using a big, modern racquet strung with poly.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
Good to see Mac sticking to his guns on this one, he's been going on about this since mid 80 and woven graphite really screwed him over. Not sure if I agree or disagree, there are already racquet regulations but no string regs, maybe regulating strings is more of a priority first, I haven't hit with Mac Maxi Ply for a while, should try it with poly, a mix of old and new. I sure as hell wouldn't want to play with 65 again. Current tech suits amateurs better, though leads to injury.
I think the stiff poly strings might eat right through the wood hoop. Remember that wood racquets don't have grommets.
 

DolgoSantoro

Professional
Yet, TV ratings for tennis have fallen off of a cliff since the switch to graphite racquets. Way more people in the U.S. played and watched tennis when everyone used wood racquets.
That had much more to do with a phenomenon of the times than the switch. Tennis was booming decades ago, for reasons that I'd seriously doubt had much of anything to do with the rackets.

McEnroe has made a career of trying to continue to make himself relevant.

Racquet manufacturers make their money off of us hacks. Some companies pay players to give us of visual test drive of their products. There would be no plausible reason for them to make wooden frames for the touring pros and graphites for us. Until the paying public desires to go back to wood frames it will never happen.
+1 to all of this. Unless the public by and large wants it, it ain't happening.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
It'll never happen.

The best he can hope for would be an occasional wood racquet tournament which wouldn't be attended by any of the top players for fear of hurting their arm or ego.
 

sundaypunch

Hall of Fame
There has been 100+ years of technological advancement in tennis equipment, yet McEnroe thinks we should dial back the clock just to his era. Forcing people to play with outdated equipment sounds like a great way to attract new young players and viewers to the sport.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
There has been 100+ years of technological advancement in tennis equipment, yet McEnroe thinks we should dial back the clock just to his era. Forcing people to play with outdated equipment sounds like a great way to attract new young players and viewers to the sport.
Poker still attracts a lot of players and viewers. Has there been 100+ years of technological advancement in poker?

Not everything needs technological advancement. Heck, people are even going back to playing vinyl records on a turntable. LOL
 

Roddick85

Hall of Fame
I really don't see the point in going back 30+ years in time technology wise and going back to wood. It's non-sense. Maybe have the players play with that in an exho just for fun, but not on the ATP. I would agree however to regulate frame size and court speed. If they really want to spice things up and have new match-ups and winners, they could easily switch the court speed. Tennis desperately needs variety.

I wouldn't be so quick to associate TV ratings with wood racquets. For starters, when wood was still used, Americans' were at the top of the game which is the main reason why ratings were higher in the states. Also things were different back then, TV ratings for any show or sports were probably higher because you didn't have the internet or streaming services that were eating up your market share.
 

TheNatural

G.O.A.T.
Rather than going back to wood they should just simplify the racket regulations to a few basics by limiting the
rackets to:

1/mono shaft rackets only, and
2/perhaps other limits on the shaft width/circumference, and
head size.

How is this:
1/85 square inch max
2/mono shaft only
3/limit on shaft width/circumference.
4/29 inch max length.
5/Perhaps a limit on beam width
 

Alien

Hall of Fame
Old conservative people. Tennis level is extraordinary nowadays, at a pro level as well as at club level. We have never hit the ball as hard.
Let it be.

Those who want smaller racquets, serve yourself and play with 85. For those that think that bigger frames are unfair, try to compete with a 125 or 110.
 

Alien

Hall of Fame
Rather than going back to wood they should just simplify the racket regulations to a few basics by limiting the
rackets to:

1/mono shaft rackets only, and
2/perhaps other limits on the shaft width/circumference, and
head size.

How is this:
1/85 square inch max
2/mono shaft only
3/limit on shaft width/circumference.
4/29 inch max length.
5/Perhaps a limit on beam width
Why the hell you would do that ?
 

Livedeath

Professional
Old conservative people. Tennis level is extraordinary nowadays, at a pro level as well as at club level. We have never hit the ball as hard.
Let it be.

Those who want smaller racquets, serve yourself and play with 85. For those that think that bigger frames are unfair, try to compete with a 125 or 110.
How about everyone playing with the same racket frame whether it be 85 or 110? it might be interesting how players will get accustomed to this.
 
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Enga

Hall of Fame
The tech changed the game, but it wasnt really ever for the quality of the sport. It was so recreational players could go shopping around for their advantage. Back then, I see no cases where someone was specifically asking for the game to change because they were unsatisfied with it, it just did. No one sat back thinking "man, if only we had polyester strings and 100sq in racket faces, thatd make the game so much better". People were just shopping for an advantage, and manufacturers complied.

Tomorrow, the game will change again, because of still advancing tech designed to give recreational players an edge. I get not wanting to go back in time. But if we dont put our foot down and ask them kindly to stop changing our sport, then it will change again, and the game will be unrecognizable-yet again, in 20 years time.

If the current game is "superior" (subjective), then we ought not allow manufacturers to keep changing the game with new tech introductions.
 

TheNatural

G.O.A.T.
How about everyone playing with the same racket frame whether it be 85 or 110? it might be interesting how players will get accustomed to this.

sounds good. I'd like to see everyone play with a max 85" mono shaft frame. The modern racket tech and strings give the players ample power and control, so it could be good to limit the shaft and head size so that we could see more skill and less 1 dimensional ping pong style rallies. We see too many of the 1 dimensional ping pong style rallies because it is too easy to control the ball with the modern rackets and strings. 85 inches is still relatively huge compared to the 65" rackets they used to play with.
 

BlueB

Legend
Can't believe we go into this **** over and over again...
No regulation is needed. It's self regulated already to the setups optimal for the game. 99.9% of the pros play the head size between 95 and 100, length between 27 and 27.5, almost everyone has full poly or poly hybrid. Even the w and sw are in the ball park for pros, both north of 340. What else do you need?
Then for us amateurs, who cares, play what you like.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
Old conservative people. Tennis level is extraordinary nowadays, at a pro level as well as at club level. We have never hit the ball as hard.
Let it be.

Those who want smaller racquets, serve yourself and play with 85. For those that think that bigger frames are unfair, try to compete with a 125 or 110.
But why is hitting "hard" a good thing?

But why does it have to be a "125 or 110" to be "unfair"? Why isn't a 95 or 100 "unfair"?
 
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