ohplease's grand unified theory of everything in tennis

ohplease

Professional
In essence, rackets are a trade-off. We want power, but we also want control (or at least, consistency in power). Finding your own personal balance is the hard part.

But what if it turned out that your playing style is predetermined by that balance? In other words, is there any truth that the Pure Drive and its practitioners don't volley well? Call it the impossible question of nature vs. nurture, if you want - but oh, yes - this is where we're going.

Now, the USRSA will argue that their definition of power really means launch angle, and therefore depth. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about momentum transfer. That's how much mass you're putting on the ball, and how quickly. This is otherwise known as the TASTES GREAT (stab stab)!!!/LESS FILLING (stab stab)!!! school of tennis racket spec flamewar, especially with regard to mass.

Note that when we say "mass" we really mean hitting weight. Only a fraction of a racket's total mass actually contributes at the point of impact.

What if (gasp), what we're seeing on court is actually true? The Pure Drive is INDEED a better mousetrap, at least for the currently en vouge style of baseline bashing. What if it's combination of slightly less mass (and therefore hitting weight) and slightly higher swingspeed does indeed more often than not result in higher total momentum transfer? This would therefore apply when we're swinging, right? As in during serves and groundstrokes, right? As in Andy Roddick, right?

Well, what of volleys, then? You're swinging less, and less fast, too - but the hitting weight involved is still lower than traditionally weighted frames. So, the working theory is that Pure Drive users would consequently be less well-equipped to volley, even against opponents using traditionally weighted frames - and they'd be at that much more of a disadvantage against opponents using Pure Drives against them. Which would mean the preponderance of Pure Drives in today's modern game would also correspond to far, far less netplay.

HOLY FRIJOLES, batman. IT'S FULL OF STARS. IT'S ALL TRUE.

Say you're a serve & volleyer. You know you've been screwed for a while, but I've just told you *WHY* you're screwed. So, you go down to Q's lair of neato gadgets and ask him to build you your own better mousetrap. What do you need? Well, you need higher total momentum transfer during the serve - which, as discovered by all those evil Pure Drivers, means less mass and higher resulting swingspeed. But less mass means less hitting weight, which means that unless you start swinging at your volleys, a bigger serve comes with the trade-off of less effective volleys.

Reality check - are people, in fact, hitting more swing volleys? Again, full of stars, HAL.

Q's got bad news for you, though: for you to be more effective at both serve & volley, the rackets you'll need for either are mutually exclusive. So you need to pick, bub - bigger serve (less mass, faster swing, higher total momentum) or easier volley (more mass, less swing, higher total momentum).

Reality check - do doubles players, who make a living at net, tend towards either frames that swing even faster than pure drives (i.e. more "granny" frames) or traditionally weighted, head-light frames? Really, HAL, I've got all the stars I need. Thanks, though. Granny frames yield big enough serves to make the lack of mass irrelevant, considering the weak replies. Playa frames assume you've got the skillz to serve big enough with such a frame and be able to back it up at net - cause you'll need to, especially nowadays.

I've got an idea, though - let's design the six-million dollar tennis player. He'll be faster, stronger, better than before. He'll realize that the way to exploit a monoculture in playing style is to play a different playing style altogether. Survive the bigger serves, and play prevent defense against the bigger groundies until you can take your own shot. Since the ball's coming faster, you need to either swing faster (with less mass) or just block and chip it back with more mass for adequate total momentum back.

Well, since EVERYONE is swinging with less mass, let's go the other way - just for grins.

In other words, the Pure Drivers NEED to swing fast - take them out of position, neutralize their ability to swing fast, consistently - and they're done. Whatever it takes. Hang some higher, or lower, or wider, or into the body - just don't let them get a good cut.

Do we know anyone who plays this? Who would then, according to what I've just laid out, pretty much own Andy Roddick and players like him? HMMMMMM.

Oh my god, ohplease, you're the greatest TW contributor ever! Yes, yes. Thank you. You've all been great. I'm here all week. Remember to tip the waitresses.

Forget baseliner vs. server & volleyer. It's not about where you stand, anymore. It's about WHEN you take your shot. We're now in an era of pure punchers vs. counterpunchers. Less mass and higher swingspeeds if you play first strike tennis and insist on flicking at the ball when you're out of position on defense (another area where the Pure Drive archetype shines). More mass for chip and slice defense and better volleys - though you'll need to wait for your chances on groundies (reality check - does Federer play this way? Yup).

If you never hear from me again, it's because Federer and his people have rubbed me out for revealing his dirty little secrets - but you heard it here, first.
 
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ChicagoJack

Hall of Fame
ohplease ;)

What are we to make of this guy and his racquet, how does he fit into the grand scheme of things ? Leander Paes: 36 Pro doubles titles, $4.2 million in career prize money, and former world # 1 doubles player ( 1999 ) and plays with what most people think of as a "baseline racquet" a Babolat PD. Go figure.

-Jack
 
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EricW

Professional
ohplease ;)

What are we to make of this guy and his racquet, how does he fit into the grand scheme of things ? Leander Paes: 36 Pro doubles titles, $4.2 million in career prize money, and former world # 1 doubles player ( 1999 ) and plays with what most people think of as a "baseline racquet" a Babolat PD. Go figure.

-Jack
Coming up with 1 example isn't good enough, its true theres always gonna be exceptions
 

ohplease

Professional
Hi oh please -

What are we to make of this guy and his racquet, how does he fit into the grand scheme of things ? Leander Paes: 36 Pro doubles titles, $4.2 million in career prize money, and former world # 1 doubles player ( 1999 ) and plays with what most people think of as a "baseline racquet" a Babolat PD. Go figure.

http://www.sportspad.org/images/_leander_paes.jpg
http://www.indianfootball.com/theindernet/artikel/tennis/ausop2003_02.jpg
http://www.masters-cup.com/Global/Styles/TMC/photos/200x250/paes_zimonjic.jpg
http://static.flickr.com/57/176166413_1954b9dd21_m.jpg


-Jack
I've actually used him as a counter example in previous discussions. The claim was the Pure Drive couldn't volley - I pointed to Leander Paes, too (here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=12240&highlight=paes). By most accounts, he's a weird guy - and he's allowed his choices, anyway.

To follow up on movdqa's question about doubles specialists, let's take data from jura's post, here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=48880

Take averages for the doubles specialists vs. singles players - doubles players have more massive frames, with more head light balances. Segregate the singles S&V'ers (Ancic, Srichaphan, Mirnyi, Rusedski, Karlovic, Arthurs, & Bjorkman) - and the averages spread even further apart. HMMMMMM.

What's that - Arthurs has a particularly light frame? Isn't he known for having a serve and not much else? HMMMMMM.

In all seriousness, I don't honestly believe "rackets are destiny" - that was all done mostly tongue firmly in cheek. That said, I was honestly surprised to see the specs in jura's post jived with the spiel I put down above.
 
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BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
ohplease ;)

What are we to make of this guy and his racquet, how does he fit into the grand scheme of things ? Leander Paes: 36 Pro doubles titles, $4.2 million in career prize money, and former world # 1 doubles player ( 1999 ) and plays with what most people think of as a "baseline racquet" a Babolat PD. Go figure.

-Jack
Paes didn't always use the PD, he used a Prince. Not sure exactly when he switched to the PD but it was only a few years ago.

OK, I did a search and Paes switched to the PD only at the beginning of 2003.

Here he is in 1999 with his POG (longbody?): http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=51618361&cdi=0

Near the end of 2002 still with his POG: http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=1431712&cdi=0

At the 2003 AO with the PD: http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=1745088&cdi=0
 

ChicagoJack

Hall of Fame
BP - Wow nice bit o detective work there! Had no idea he also played with a pog.

ohplease - Yes, leander is an odd one, and what is the saying? "the exception proves the rule". I agree jura's post is quite revealing when you study the dub specialists vs the singles guys. Very clear pattern emerges. Who was it.... David Nestor I believe, ( of nestor/knowles fame ) plays wih a 375 gram frame, unstrung.... yowza.

movdqa - Don't know if you've seen this yet, but might answer your question in post # 2
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=48880

-Jack
 
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ohplease

Professional
BP - Wow nice bit o detective work there! Had no idea he also played with a pog.

ohplease - Yes, leander is an odd one, and what is the saying? "the exception proves the rule". I agree jura's post is quite revealing when you study the dub specialists vs the singles guys. Very clear pattern emerges. Who was it.... David Nestor I believe, ( of nestor/knowles fame ) plays wih a 375 gram frame, unstrung.... yowza.

-Jack
I think that's an important conclusion. Traditionally, conventional wisdom held that if you play doubles, you need a lighter, bigger, stiffer frame, for help with quick reaction volleys. I think an unstated benefit of that approach, at least at the club level, is that you might have a bigger serve, too. Add in the fact that you'll be doing more reacting (since you're not a pro) - and it starts to make a lot of sense.

That said, when you play at a level that requires you stick it - or else - there's simply no substitute for hitting weight. You need mass.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Nestor's racquet sounds pretty interesting. High static weight and headlight.
15 points! Which is probably way more than the setups here. I don't recall
many here with that kind of balance and only a few with that kind of weight.
 

ohplease

Professional
I thought leander played with the PDR. A little heavier atleast and not a bad volleying racquet.
He might play with the Roddick version now, but the reason we all remember Leander switching was his televised doubles matches with Navratilova - which were at least two years ago - well before the introduction of the PDR.
 

ChicagoJack

Hall of Fame
Nestor's racquet sounds pretty interesting. High static weight and headlight. 15 points! Which is probably way more than the setups here. I don't recall many here with that kind of balance and only a few with that kind of weight.
Good afternoon movdqa ;)

375 grams = 13.2 ounces, So you must have estimated the total strung weight to get 14oz. But you forgot to estimate the effect of the strings with the final balance point too. Nestors frame ( unstrung ) has a balance point of 29.5, which is indeed 15 Pts Hl. You are looking at strung weight and unstrung balance, which might give you the wrong idea.

With strings, I'd guesstimate Nestor's frame in the more standard 10-11 pts HL range. Your overall observation is still correct though. The dubs guys all use more heavy and more head light, than the singles guys.

There is a perfectly valid thesis that the pros play in a weight range that isn't meant for us mere mortals. I get it. Perfectly valid thought, can't argue with that sensibilty. But even the most tenacious skeptic of heavy frames ought to take notice of the fact that the dubs specialists all prefer heavier and more head light than the singles players. They didnt call a union meeting one morning and decide at once by mutual agreement to do this. It is no fluke either.

You are also right there are very few stock frames available with both the pick up weight and SW of the Pros. The Head Radical MP Tour Version XL has a SW of 366. That's the closest thing I know of avail in stock form. Heavy frames, don't sell well - also an undeniable fact worth pondering.

-Jack
 
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bad_call

Legend
look at McEnroe and Fleming. if memory serves me, Mc played with the smaller racquet and Fleming with the POG (or some other larger head racquet). u must look at what each tool of choice brings to the game.
 

ohplease

Professional
look at McEnroe and Fleming. if memory serves me, Mc played with the smaller racquet and Fleming with the POG (or some other larger head racquet). u must look at what each tool of choice brings to the game.
Different era. Different choices. I'm not pontificating on the one true racket for either singles or doubles. Instead, I'm making an attempt to explain what's going on in the game today, how we got here, etc. Your example doesn't really work in this discussion.
 

Amone

Hall of Fame
For what you call a "tongue in cheek" post, I actually agree with many of the things you said. Good work, even if it was teasing.

Where does the term "Full of Stars" come from? I guess it's before my time...
 

ohplease

Professional
For what you call a "tongue in cheek" post, I actually agree with many of the things you said. Good work, even if it was teasing.

Where does the term "Full of Stars" come from? I guess it's before my time...
Go see Kubrick's "2001: A Space Oddesey." Until you do, you're pretty much letting untold numbers of inside jokes go flying right past you.
 

Amone

Hall of Fame
Go see Kubrick's "2001: A Space Oddesey." Until you do, you're pretty much letting untold numbers of inside jokes go flying right past you.
Weird thing is, I have... o_O Prolly cause I never paid a whole lot of attention to it.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
look at McEnroe and Fleming. if memory serves me, Mc played with the smaller racquet and Fleming with the POG (or some other larger head racquet). u must look at what each tool of choice brings to the game.
Which years are you referring to because most of the time they played together they both used wood racquets so both were the same 65 sq. in. I think Fleming used a Wilson Jack Kramer Autograph woodie, if I'm not mistaken.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Fleming used a Yamaha Fiberglass racquet for a while. It had a fairly small head
(smaller than 65 sq in I think). I hit with the racquet a few times and it was a
rocket launcher. The finish looked like shiny plastic.
 

bluegrasser

Hall of Fame
In essence, rackets are a trade-off. We want power, but we also want control (or at least, consistency in power). Finding your own personal balance is the hard part.

But what if it turned out that your playing style is predetermined by that balance? In other words, is there any truth that the Pure Drive and its practitioners don't volley well? Call it the impossible question of nature vs. nurture, if you want - but oh, yes - this is where we're going.

Now, the USRSA will argue that their definition of power really means launch angle, and therefore depth. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about momentum transfer. That's how much mass you're putting on the ball, and how quickly. This is otherwise known as the TASTES GREAT (stab stab)!!!/LESS FILLING (stab stab)!!! school of tennis racket spec flamewar, especially with regard to mass.

Note that when we say "mass" we really mean hitting weight. Only a fraction of a racket's total mass actually contributes at the point of impact.

What if (gasp), what we're seeing on court is actually true? The Pure Drive is INDEED a better mousetrap, at least for the currently en vouge style of baseline bashing. What if it's combination of slightly less mass (and therefore hitting weight) and slightly higher swingspeed does indeed more often than not result in higher total momentum transfer? This would therefore apply when we're swinging, right? As in during serves and groundstrokes, right? As in Andy Roddick, right?

Well, what of volleys, then? You're swinging less, and less fast, too - but the hitting weight involved is still lower than traditionally weighted frames. So, the working theory is that Pure Drive users would consequently be less well-equipped to volley, even against opponents using traditionally weighted frames - and they'd be at that much more of a disadvantage against opponents using Pure Drives against them. Which would mean the preponderance of Pure Drives in today's modern game would also correspond to far, far less netplay.

HOLY FRIJOLES, batman. IT'S FULL OF STARS. IT'S ALL TRUE.

Say you're a serve & volleyer. You know you've been screwed for a while, but I've just told you *WHY* you're screwed. So, you go down to Q's lair of neato gadgets and ask him to build you your own better mousetrap. What do you need? Well, you need higher total momentum transfer during the serve - which, as discovered by all those evil Pure Drivers, means less mass and higher resulting swingspeed. But less mass means less hitting weight, which means that unless you start swinging at your volleys, a bigger serve comes with the trade-off of less effective volleys.

Reality check - are people, in fact, hitting more swing volleys? Again, full of stars, HAL.

Q's got bad news for you, though: for you to be more effective at both serve & volley, the rackets you'll need for either are mutually exclusive. So you need to pick, bub - bigger serve (less mass, faster swing, higher total momentum) or easier volley (more mass, less swing, higher total momentum).

Reality check - do doubles players, who make a living at net, tend towards either frames that swing even faster than pure drives (i.e. more "granny" frames) or traditionally weighted, head-light frames? Really, HAL, I've got all the stars I need. Thanks, though. Granny frames yield big enough serves to make the lack of mass irrelevant, considering the weak replies. Playa frames assume you've got the skillz to serve big enough with such a frame and be able to back it up at net - cause you'll need to, especially nowadays.

I've got an idea, though - let's design the six-million dollar tennis player. He'll be faster, stronger, better than before. He'll realize that the way to exploit a monoculture in playing style is to play a different playing style altogether. Survive the bigger serves, and play prevent defense against the bigger groundies until you can take your own shot. Since the ball's coming faster, you need to either swing faster (with less mass) or just block and chip it back with more mass for adequate total momentum back.

Well, since EVERYONE is swinging with less mass, let's go the other way - just for grins.

In other words, the Pure Drivers NEED to swing fast - take them out of position, neutralize their ability to swing fast, consistently - and they're done. Whatever it takes. Hang some higher, or lower, or wider, or into the body - just don't let them get a good cut.

Do we know anyone who plays this? Who would then, according to what I've just laid out, pretty much own Andy Roddick and players like him? HMMMMMM.

Oh my god, ohplease, you're the greatest TW contributor ever! Yes, yes. Thank you. You've all been great. I'm here all week. Remember to tip the waitresses.

Forget baseliner vs. server & volleyer. It's not about where you stand, anymore. It's about WHEN you take your shot. We're now in an era of pure punchers vs. counterpunchers. Less mass and higher swingspeeds if you play first strike tennis and insist on flicking at the ball when you're out of position on defense (another area where the Pure Drive archetype shines). More mass for chip and slice defense and better volleys - though you'll need to wait for your chances on groundies (reality check - does Federer play this way? Yup).

If you never hear from me again, it's because Federer and his people have rubbed me out for revealing his dirty little secrets - but you heard it here, first.
To me the Prestige mp volleys much better than the 100' PD with an open pattern, it doesn't make any sense as the Prestige has a closed pattern, smaller head, yet the sweetspot ( on the volley ) seems larger - strange indeed, but with overheads the Prestige is tougher, more mishits at least for this turkey.
I'll still go with the Prestige, because the stick feels like an extension of my arm & when you hit hit dead on, it's like a good.....it feels real good.;)
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
I just read the auction at e b a y. The winning bid was $11.50 for six racquets.
The other four racquets were two head masters and an old dunlop 65 sq in
fiberglass or graphite racquet. I think I would have paid $11.50 for the Yamaha
alone. Would be neat to hit with that thing again.
 

bad_call

Legend
Fleming used a Yamaha Fiberglass racquet for a while. It had a fairly small head
(smaller than 65 sq in I think). I hit with the racquet a few times and it was a
rocket launcher. The finish looked like shiny plastic.
could be...memory fuzzy on that one. think i imagined it bigger the way Fleming used to pound the volleys.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
I don't mind using my wood racquets to hit back and forth for a while but I
don't think that I'd want to hit out with them for fear that they would break.
I've broken a lot of racquets in the past, wood and steel. Aluminum racquets
held up though.
 

AAAA

Hall of Fame
Paes didn't always use the PD, he used a Prince. Not sure exactly when he switched to the PD but it was only a few years ago.
I think he switched because of the increased power, can't be sure though. We all have our ways to gain more power, Paes I think chose the racquet fix.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Played S&V on 90% of points. I think that I'd have to take off some weight to
use this as a regular serve and volley racquet as adding .4 ounce to the head
makes it too powerful at the net. I have a version without the lead in the hoop
but it doesn't give me the power that I like in hitting groundstrokes. So it's one
of those tradeoff things. I guess you have groundies, serves and volleys and
I like different racquet characteristics for each of the strokes.

I dropped off the old modified racquet for restringing and will consider just
adding .2 ounce to it instead of .4 to see how it plays.
 
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BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
I think he switched because of the increased power, can't be sure though. We all have our ways to gain more power, Paes I think chose the racquet fix.
But I'd be willing to bet that Paes has his PD customized to play very close to his previous POG. ;)
 

Amone

Hall of Fame
I don't mind using my wood racquets to hit back and forth for a while but I
don't think that I'd want to hit out with them for fear that they would break.
I've broken a lot of racquets in the past, wood and steel. Aluminum racquets
held up though.
I got over that particular mental block the second or third time I used one, when I realised that not hitting out, tends to mean not getting to the other baseline, to a degree. I hit around with a guy who's got even more serious problems than I do, especially with his patience, and my serve had plenty of spin, vollies were great, but from the baseline I had trouble keeping up. Then, played a few other guys, and really, just couldn't stand on my own two feet at the baseline. Net, I was playing about my normal quality of tennis, but at the baseline I was very beatable. Granted, I was using wood, they were using graphite. ;)

Played S&V on 90% of points. I think that I'd have to take off some weight to
use this as a regular serve and volley racquet as adding .4 ounce to the head
makes it too powerful at the net. I have a version without the lead in the hoop
but it doesn't give me the power that I like in hitting groundstrokes. So it's one
of those tradeoff things. I guess you have groundies, serves and volleys and
I like different racquet characteristics for each of the strokes.

I dropped off the old modified racquet for restringing and will consider just
adding .2 ounce to it instead of .4 to see how it plays.
I find the cure for excessive power is accuracy. But that's just me.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
I got over that particular mental block the second or third time I used one, when I realised that not hitting out, tends to mean not getting to the other baseline, to a degree. I hit around with a guy who's got even more serious problems than I do, especially with his patience, and my serve had plenty of spin, vollies were great, but from the baseline I had trouble keeping up. Then, played a few other guys, and really, just couldn't stand on my own two feet at the baseline. Net, I was playing about my normal quality of tennis, but at the baseline I was very beatable. Granted, I was using wood, they were using graphite. ;)

I find the cure for excessive power is accuracy. But that's just me.
The Dunlop Maxply that I have is one of two racquets from a memorable tournament a long time ago and I'd like to keep it in one piece. I broke the
other one sometime ago so I know that they aren't the strongest things
in the world. And both racqets saw a fair amount of use.

The thing about using a 16.4 ounce racquet is that any kind of momentum
on the racquet on a fast ball and you're talking about some serious punch.
Give it a try sometime.

I should get one of my racquets back sometime next week so I'll have one
at 16, 16.2 and 16.4. I think that 16.2 will be a better balance between
groundies and volleys. I'll have to put a little more effort into groundies
but volleys should be better controlled and maneuverability should improve.
It's not all that bad right now but it wouldn't hurt (at net) to be a bit lighter.
 

AndrewD

Legend
Paes uses the PD, Cara Black uses the PD, Wayne Black used the PD, Wayne Arthurs uses the PD, Lopez used the PD, Nathan Healey used the PD. That's enough examples to show that it can be a perfectly good racquet for volleying 'old style'. I realise that almost none of those players would use it stock (not that someone like Paes could make it remotely close to the POG mid) but we could say the same thing about any racquet.

As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with the PD as regards weight, balance or flex when it comes to volleying. My issue with it, on the volley, has always been the string bed response (no doubt, could be fixed but I don't have the resources to do so). Other than that, it does the job well and provides an added boost on serve (especially with spin).

Oh, and Peter Fleming, when he switched from his wooden racquet (a Yamaha but dont recall him using anything except the wood), used the Dunlop Max 200G for the majority of the time he partnered McEnroe. I have a very vague notion he might have used a ProKennex in his last years on tour but it wasn't an oversize. Perhaps someone is getting McEnroe and Fleming mixed up with McNamee and McNamara where, for a time, one used a standard sized wood (before switching to the Prince Woodie) and the other used a POG OS?
 

ohplease

Professional
Paes uses the PD, Cara Black uses the PD, Wayne Black used the PD, Wayne Arthurs uses the PD, Lopez used the PD, Nathan Healey used the PD. That's enough examples to show that it can be a perfectly good racquet for volleying 'old style'. I realise that almost none of those players would use it stock (not that someone like Paes could make it remotely close to the POG mid) but we could say the same thing about any racquet.

As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with the PD as regards weight, balance or flex when it comes to volleying. My issue with it, on the volley, has always been the string bed response (no doubt, could be fixed but I don't have the resources to do so). Other than that, it does the job well and provides an added boost on serve (especially with spin).
As I said before, I don't think rackets are destiny, and have myself come to the defense of the Pure Drive in other threads, specifically with regard to volleys.

That said, is there a compelling story to be told with regard to the increased presence of the Pure Drive and its various knockoffs, at all levels of the game? Is there any data to back up that story? What about in doubles? I say there is, and I've outlined that argument above.

In fact, I'll put it even more simply - people around here like to crow about how their ideas about racket specs are the ONE TRUE WAY. I make no such claim. All I'm saying is that momentum transfer still depends on racket speed and racket mass. Someone asked about doubles players, to see if my spiel applied to them - and it does.

Now, either I got REALLY lucky, or I stumbled on something true. Remember, this isn't the traditional cherry-picked example argument. This is using specs, in aggregate, as supplied by a poster with access to that data, to reality-check statistics against physics.

If you really want to ding my story, point to the small sample size - but I have a feeling that if someone were to put in the work to get a bigger and therefore statistically significant dataset, we'd still see the same trends.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Paes uses the PD, Cara Black uses the PD, Wayne Black used the PD, Wayne Arthurs uses the PD, Lopez used the PD, Nathan Healey used the PD. That's enough examples to show that it can be a perfectly good racquet for volleying 'old style'. I realise that almost none of those players would use it stock (not that someone like Paes could make it remotely close to the POG mid) but we could say the same thing about any racquet.

As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with the PD as regards weight, balance or flex when it comes to volleying. My issue with it, on the volley, has always been the string bed response (no doubt, could be fixed but I don't have the resources to do so). Other than that, it does the job well and provides an added boost on serve (especially with spin).

Oh, and Peter Fleming, when he switched from his wooden racquet (a Yamaha but dont recall him using anything except the wood), used the Dunlop Max 200G for the majority of the time he partnered McEnroe. I have a very vague notion he might have used a ProKennex in his last years on tour but it wasn't an oversize. Perhaps someone is getting McEnroe and Fleming mixed up with McNamee and McNamara where, for a time, one used a standard sized wood (before switching to the Prince Woodie) and the other used a POG OS?
I'm pretty sure that I saw Fleming with the Yamaha in person at a tournament a long time ago.
 

AndrewD

Legend
Okay, but I can't see what you've 'stumbled on' that hasn't been discussed previously, albeit in a different fashion.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I'd like to make a general comment. I agree with much of what is written in the OP. But I don't think that the light racquets have much do with the death of S&V. In fact, heavy racquets that are good for volleys can make fine serving racquets (as evidenced by Sampras).

I'd say that the increased need for spin, in conjunction with the slower courts, is a bigger factor. The modern player needs to have a spin-friendly racquet to win a rally on the slow courts, or else he can't stay in a rally long enough.

The problem is that the more spin-friendly your racquet, the worse it works for volleys. This is just based on the laws of physics. If your strings grab the ball better, then your racquet is more spin-friendly. But if your strings grab the ball better, then your opponent's high rpm passing shot is going to be more difficult to volley with the proper rebound angle, because the rebound angle is more dependent on the incoming ball spin.

So the best volley racquets are not very spin-friendly. You want S&V? Easy. Just speed the courts up again. The need for spin will be lessened. And high string tensions and volleys will come back into vogue. But please don't complain then about the points being too short. We can't have it both ways.
 
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rocket

Hall of Fame
I'd say that the increased need for spin, in conjunction with the slower courts, is a bigger factor. The modern player needs to have a spin-friendly racquet to win a rally on the slow courts, or else he can't stay in a rally long enough.

So the best volley racquets are not very spin-friendly. You want S&V? Easy. Just speed the courts up again. The need for spin will be lessened. And high string tensions and volleys will come back into vogue. But please don't complain then about the points being too short. We can't have it both ways.
Actually, modern tech has made frames super powerful like we see nowadays, so the younger crop learned to hit with heavy spin to keep the ball in. Courts are becoming slower only recently to extend the rallies to please the spectators.

The S&V game has somehow died due to the impossibly fast serve-returns that no-one dares to venture to the net systemetically, unless one is super-fit to scoop up those fast dipping balls. Those light & powerful frames have made it very easy to handle hard serves & even blast balls back.
 

bad_call

Legend
Actually, modern tech has made frames super powerful like we see nowadays, so the younger crop learned to hit with heavy spin to keep the ball in. Courts are becoming slower only recently to extend the rallies to please the spectators.

The S&V game has somehow died due to the impossibly fast serve-returns that no-one dares to venture to the net systemetically, unless one is super-fit to scoop up those fast dipping balls. Those light & powerful frames have made it very easy to handle hard serves & even blast balls back.
true, true. in addition strings have added to this change in the game. i still S&V but not as often. i also concur that returning hard serves it much easier with my mid than my PS 85.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
Which years are you referring to because most of the time they played together they both used wood racquets so both were the same 65 sq. in. I think Fleming used a Wilson Jack Kramer Autograph woodie, if I'm not mistaken.
Oh, and Peter Fleming, when he switched from his wooden racquet (a Yamaha but dont recall him using anything except the wood), used the Dunlop Max 200G for the majority of the time he partnered McEnroe.
Actually, I was just watching the "Legends of Wimbledon: John McEnroe" DVD and they showed some of Mac's doubles matches with Peter Fleming and Fleming was definitely using a Wilson Jack Kramer Autograph when he used a wood racquet. I paused the DVD and could see the "Wilson" name printed on the shoulder and the gold crown insignia on the shaft, and also the distinctive 4 red bands on each side of the shoulder.

You can catch a quick glimpse of it here towards the end of this Google video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-665418377583234312&q=peter+fleming&hl=en

BTW, I think you are right about him using the Dunlop Max 200G in his later years with Mac. On the same DVD, I could make out a black graphite racquet with a clear Dunlop "<D" logo on the strings which appeared to be a Max 200G.
 
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