Racquet aging

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by katematt, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. katematt

    katematt New User

    Dec 4, 2007
    Does a racquet get old?

    15 year old Daughter plays 5-6 days a week plus tournaments. Each of her 4 racquets has been strung at least 12 times each and are rotated evenly. Racquet is a you tek radical mp.

    I ask bc she cracked one recently and I strung an old one and a new one the same way and she preffered the new one but did not know which was which. Old one was about 12 months old.

    So my question do frames fatigue?

    Thanks for any thoughts.
  2. scotus

    scotus G.O.A.T.

    Jul 5, 2005
    Yes, frames fatigue, but the mileage your daughter has put on those frames shouldn't be enough to result in cracks.

    Having said this, I hear that some recent Head racquets are prone to cracking. (Ask vsbabolat).

    Make sure to use the warranty.
  3. TennisMaverick

    TennisMaverick Banned

    Oct 5, 2010
    Once you can feel the difference between the new one and the old ones, if she is a competitive player, the old ones should be relegated to the practice pile ONLY, and she needs new sticks. She should also have six, not four--it's just like rotating your kicks; if you have only one pair, it will wear out to the point of poor performance much faster than rotating three pair. You'll cut-down on all of the restringing per frame, and will never be stressed-out without a frame for a match, especially when a kid can need to play three matches per day, if so scheduled, where your own stringer is not present. Get the cracked frame warranteed. If she has a jr contract, they'll do so, even at 12 months.
  4. whomad15

    whomad15 Semi-Pro

    Aug 31, 2010
    I play with a 25 year old racquet. Plays fantastic
  5. BobFL

    BobFL Hall of Fame

    Jun 11, 2007
    It does but it gets better with time just like a fine French wine...
  6. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

    Aug 30, 2010
    Ask Jolly! He's the master on racket fatigue here!

    Rackets do fatigue with a fair amount of string jobs, just the way it is. Head has been having problems, (something my local shop has been discussing,) with having rackets crack prematurely, from normal use.

    It's very unlucky! 12 string jobs shouldn't fatigue that much. I've put on 20+ string jobs on my main frames during their life, and they are still relatively good. 12 seems like such a low number, but I could be just lucky.

  7. ultradr

    ultradr Legend

    Oct 16, 2006
    I have a friend who retires his racquet once it becomes 6 month old but I personally can't tell the difference with my 4 year old racquet.

    Cracking 1 year old frame is probably different issue. Your local pro shop might be able to replace it under warranty...
  8. coolblue123

    coolblue123 Hall of Fame

    Mar 2, 2006
    Rockville, MD
    i just took out my Prince CTS Graduate from 1989 from my parent's garage. i just strung it and made it a tad headlight just under 13oz. Just waiting to playtest it again.
    Just to tell you guys how badly the racquet inside is probably worn out, the strings literally cracked when I was hitting it against the heels of my shoe. Was really happy that the racquet looks fine as it didn't crack while I was stringing. Just itching for the weather to get warmer.
  9. TennisMaverick

    TennisMaverick Banned

    Oct 5, 2010
    Bottom Line: The player can feel the difference between a new frame and her used frames. For best performance, time for new frames. PERIOD.
  10. tampa_edski

    tampa_edski New User

    May 11, 2011
    Palm Harbor, FL, USA
    WhenI got back into playing regularly again 4 years ago I asked the stringer at the shop I go to about old sticks. I have a late 80's (or early 90's) Prince, and wondered about a "more modern, lightweight" racquet.

    The first thing I was told was "mass is not your enemy"...then told that graphite does eventually lose it's pop. But there are too many factors...I suspect since I am not an insane power guy (never popped a string) I might be a bit more gentle on my frames than others. The Prince is still a favorite of mine (although a 4 or 5 year old K6.1-95 is my main stick now), and feels like it has enough umph for me.

    I think the operative idea is YMMV. So if the girl can tell the difference, it probably means she's a pro shop's dream customer (as opposed to me! :) )
  11. jonnyjack

    jonnyjack Semi-Pro

    Mar 23, 2009
    Bay Area, CA
    How long are rackets supposed to last before this "aging" occurs and they should be replaced?
  12. 10nisne1

    10nisne1 New User

    Nov 21, 2011
    About 60,000 miles. Just kidding. :)

    I would imagine it depends on how hard you are on your rackets and the racket itself. I recall an article I read where braided graphite lasted longer than rackets made from unidirectional graphite.

    Having said that I hit with the original Wilson PS 85 (single racket) for over 14 years before switching over to a pair of Head i.Prestige Mid which I had used close to 10 years or so. Only recently switched to a pair of Dunlop 4D Gel 200's early last year. Without testing against new frames of the same racket, I didn't feel like my game was diminished any from playing with rackets past their prime. Probably because the fatiguing happened over a gradual time and the difference was very subtle. I normally go through strings every 12-16 hours of playing time.
  13. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Apr 20, 2010
    I can not recall exactly but I believe tennis magazine said 1 year for modern frames to show degradation for someone who plays a lot. This is a guideline and a soft hitter at lower level can probably play 3-4 years with a frame while a high level basher can probably feel a difference in 6 months.

    I usually buy a couple, string them myself 1 or 2 times per month, and try to get about 2 years out them. I play 4.0-4.5 and play about 4-5 times per week. They are pretty bashed up near the 2 year mark. I also replace grommets about 6-12 months.
  14. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

    Oct 5, 2010
    I wonder if materials also play a part.

    Head YouTek is supposed to stiffen on impact. It would seem that with repeated impacts this capability would change over time.
  15. lefty001

    lefty001 Rookie

    Apr 13, 2008
    Frames don't need to be replaced unless the player can feel a significant difference between a new and fatigued frame. The fatigued frame should feel dead even with new strings, while the newer/normal frame should feel lively with new strings.

    IMO frames last more than 2 years unless
    1. You hit extremely hard. By hitting "hard" means you feel the racquet throat/head flex, or can feel the ball squashed against the stringbed. A simple indication of hitting hard is you break polyester strings within 5-8 hours of play.
    2. You string at high tension or near the recommended max
    3. You string it very frequently. i.e. within 7 to 14 days
    4. You play almost everyday with conditions 1-3

    If you have a crack with only 12 strings jobs, there must be with a problem with
    1. the frame itself (bad batch, poor QC, etc...)
    2. aggresive frame use by the player (throwing it against ground, grommets totally shaved off from use, etc...)
    3. or the stringer's technique (inproper mounting)
  16. katematt

    katematt New User

    Dec 4, 2007
    Thank you

    Thanks for all the info, FYI she cracked one but that is in the trash. The comparison was for one that was a year old not cracked and one that was new both with the same fresh strings. She felt the difference, and per some of the replies she could be correct.

    Anyway, great stuff here, thanks for the help. We'll relegate older non cracked for practice and save the fresh ones for tournaments.
  17. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

    Jan 29, 2007
    Vienna, Austria
    as she is a competitional, it would rather be indicated that she also practices with the "new" ones. the old ones can be kept for like emergency back-up.
    it would not be smart to practice a certain "feel" and than have to adapt to the "other, fresh feel" in an important competition.

    roughly speaking a frame should take somewhere between 20-30 string jobs before fatigue appears and there is a sizeable difference between a fresh and an old frame. my son is getting 13 this summer and since he breaks strings about every second week, currently i have three sticks for him which are replaced about every two years. you should always rotate sticks so they get about the same wear on them, so not to have a "different feel" each time a string breaks.

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