Revisiting Adidas GTX Pro

Tennis Man

Hall of Fame
I was doing some search for information about the original Adidas GTX Pro and came across this guide on the big site (see below). I thought you may be interested.

My only question is, in terms of significance (not rarity or collectibility), Kneissl/Mizuno aside, which Adidas racquet is more important, GTX Pro or GTX Pro-T? Thanks to all the gurus.

by: bravo_leon (TT name???)
"I previously published here a guide regarding Boris Becker's early racquets, and I thought I'd do one for Ivan as well. This is based on archival references I have, essentially comprehensive copies of Tennis and World Tennis magazines from the 70s and 80s. I hope you enjoy reading this.

The earliest competitive Lendl photo I found was one of him competing as a teen in the Orange Bowl 18s, at which time he used a Dunlop Maxply Fort. This would have been around 1978-79. He was already wearing adidas. In fact, he was wearing canvas/leather Nastases that had holes in them, from use.

Lendl rose quickly in the pro ranks, using a white Kneissl composite during 1980-1981. That frame was called the White Star Pro (1st generation of that model). It was almost all-white in color, with very minimal navy blue branding and accent pinstriping. (This is not the same White Star Pro that Kneissl introduced during their 1982 global coming-out; that White Star Pro was also mostly white, but featured a bold navy blue/kelly green repp stripe cosmetic on the throat. This frame is not the White Star Lendl Pro, discussed below.)

Note that during the time that Lendl actually used a Kneissl in competition, he did not have a namesake frame - the Kneissl Lendl Pro racquet was introduced in 1982, after Lendl had moved over to using the adidas GTX Pro exclusively. Distinguishing the Lendl Pro from the White Star Pro, in addition to the Lendl Pro's enhanced stiffness, was the use of a bold royal blue/red repp stripe cosmetic on the throat. The Lendl Pro was clearly Kneissl's flagship at that time, and Kneissl outfitted that frame with stock, tan Fairway leather grips - the overall aesthetic effect was quite attractive and well-presented. Keep in mind that Kneissl had another, intriguing frame in that 1982 line, the Super Pro Vario, made from the same mold as the White Star Pro and the Lendl Pro, bright yellow in color, with a variable balance tool built in to the frame - while the Vario was more expensive, the Lendl Pro was the truer, high performance unit-mover of the line.

Sorry to digress - back to Ivan. As early as 1980 but certainly by 1981, Lendl had dual racquet contracts with Kneissl and adidas. Kneissl initially made all of Lendl's frames in Austria, including the adidas frames. Once adidas took over exclusivity on Lendl (and the frame was ready for sale to the public), manufacturing (by adidas) of the GTX Pro was moved to France. That's why you won't find any GTXs made anywhere but France, even though Kneissl made the frame in Austria when Lendl first used it.

The particulars of when Ivan would use the Kneissl or the adidas frame during 80-81 have faded with time. My understanding is that, like Borg for a period with Donnay and Bancroft, Lendl used the adidas in certain countries, and the Kneissl in other countries. Or, Lendl used the Kneissl on the Grand Prix tour, and the adidas on the WCT tour, or vice versa. Honestly, I don't think Lendl himself would know if you asked him today. Bottom line: he split usage of the two cosmetics until 1982, for contractural reasons.

From 1982 through 1985 (4 tour years), Lendl used the adidas GTX Pro. He also experimented with its midsized version, the GTX Mid, but did not use that frame in competition.

In 1986, adidas altered the cosmetic (and composition?), resulting in the GTX Pro T. I've never heard any explanation for this shift. I will say that adidas also "refreshed" Ivan's shoes in 1986, issuing the $100 Lendl Supremes (replacing the 1984 $80 Lendl Competitions), so perhaps the racquet shift was part of that freshening of the Lendl brand. Maybe the "T" stands for titanium, a high-grade metal that was gaining truck as a racquet material then, and which would have stiffened the Lendl frame for the common man, bringing it closer to the club that Ivan actually used in competition. Guess, though - nothing more.

Lendl used the Pro T cosmetic longer than any other frame in his career quiver, into 1990. This use was largely exclusive, although Lendl did play a grass court season, including Wimbledon, one year with the black-colored, GTX Mid T (in an effort to increase his error margin with that frame's larger face, and help deal with the added pace of new-age grass opponents like Becker, Zivojinovic, etc.). He played with a custom, midsized Mizuno frame through the end of his career, in 1994. (Remember that I'm only trying to cover Ivan's early frame history here, hence the quick wrap-up.)

Lendl reinvented, for better or worse, men's tennis. His grips, fitness emphasis, and power baseline game focusing on the serve and forehand are the modern template. That he did this while using a 14+oz., 75 sq. inch, mostly fiberglass racquet with no overgrip is pretty remarkable.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it."
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
On the shoes. The Lendl Supreme did not replace the Lendl Competition. The Supreme was added to the line in 1986. Adidas had refreshed the Lendl Competition in 1986 adding red accent to the shoe. I wore both the Lendl Supreme and the Lendl Competition and both they were available from 1986-1989.

At the 1981 French Open Lendl was using the Adidas GTX Pro.
 
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Rorsach

Hall of Fame
Just some additional material for his later frames:

The early Mizuno's he used were just Adidas GTX-Pro T paintjobs, after that he switched to the 90 sq.in. version, and he did try a custom designed Mizuno, but afaik never used it in a tourney. The last racquet he used competitively was his Bosworth.

PS: I think i have some early match from Lendl vs Borg where he did use that White Kneissl with the blue and green stripe, but the quality of the video is a bit off, so i could be wrong.
 
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retrowagen

Hall of Fame
I played with the White Star Pro Masters (the Kneissl replacement for the White Star Lendl Pro, otherwise identical) in 1984 and the Adidas Lendl GTX Pro in 1985. These two models have a different layup, with the addition of Kevlar in the Kneissl Lendl Pro (whereas the White Star Pro which Lendl used prior to his branding switch to the Adidas frame [the first batch of Adidas frames were actually made at the Kneissl plant in Austria, identified as "Made in Austria," yet paintjobbed as Adidas; the remainders were made in a factory in France for Adidas] was a graphite-fiberglass composite without kevlar as was the Adidas model from the same moulds). The Kevlar-enhanced model was lighter and less stiff than the G/F layup which Lendl preferred.

The Pro-T was a graphics refresh, although some claim it was a bit lighter overall for the consumer models. I believe the "T" stood for Tennis, but was there mainly to make the model seem different and new. Same with the Mid-T. IIRC, There were also boron-enhanced Pros and Mids of both versions, which are extremely rare.

To answer the OP's question: I'd suggest the Lendl GTX Pro was the more iconic model between it and the Pro-T. Why? More pros and world-class juniors used it, including Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, and (famously) Boris Becker. Seems like Ivan was the only pro using the small-headed Pro-T by 1986. The equivalent Kneissl players (the White Star Pro Masters was renamed the Masters 10 in 1986 and discontinued in the summer of 1987; I played this model in 1986 and in early 1987) migrated to other manufacturers (notably Puma), or to the Kneissl Aero 20.
 
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vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
Lendl wore Superga shoes until 1983 When the Lendl comp came out. As for clothes he wore the Italian brand "Australian" until 1982 when Adidas came out with the argyle pattern for him. For all of 82 he wore Adidas soft goods but Superga shoes.
He never had duel contracts with Adidas/Kneissl he was already using a Kneissl frame in 1979 and in 1980 they issued the Lendl pro that he used until 1981 when he started using the Adidas GTX frame, at the 1981 masters in January he had already started using the Adidas frame. I played him in the juniors in 1979 and he was Already using a white Kneissl frame.
When Lendl lost to Borg at the 1981 French Open Final and at the 1981 Wimbledon Championships he was using the Adidas GTX Pro:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kW4z0FnUz4o Look at the video at 2:00.

I think in 1979 Lendl was out of the Juniors, he was 19. The last year Lendl played Juniors was 1978.
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Le/I/Ivan-Lendl.aspx?t=pa&y=1979&m=s&e=0
 
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TMR

Rookie
Adidas GTX Pro-T

I played with the White Star Pro Masters (the Kneissl replacement for the White Star Lendl Pro, otherwise identical) in 1984 and the Adidas Lendl GTX Pro in 1985. These two models have a different layup, with the addition of Kevlar in the Kneissl Lendl Pro (whereas the White Star Pro which Lendl used prior to his branding switch to the Adidas frame [the first batch of Adidas frames were actually made at the Kneissl plant in Austria, identified as "Made in Austria," yet paintjobbed as Adidas; the remainders were made in a factory in France for Adidas] was a graphite-fiberglass composite without kevlar as was the Adidas model from the same moulds). The Kevlar-enhanced model was lighter and less stiff than the G/F layup which Lendl preferred.

The Pro-T was a graphics refresh, although some claim it was a bit lighter overall for the consumer models. I believe the "T" stood for Tennis, but was there mainly to make the model seem different and new. Same with the Mid-T. IIRC, There were also boron-enhanced Pros and Mids of both versions, which are extremely rare.

To answer the OP's question: I'd suggest the Lendl GTX Pro was the more iconic model between it and the Pro-T. Why? More pros and world-class juniors used it, including Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, and (famously) Boris Becker. Seems like Ivan was the only pro using the small-headed Pro-T by 1986. The equivalent Kneissl players (the White Star Pro Masters was renamed the Masters 10 in 1986 and discontinued in the summer of 1987; I played this model in 1986 and in early 1987) migrated to other manufacturers (notably Puma), or to the Kneissl Aero 20.
Plasma was of the opinion that the Pro-T version was much better than the Pro. At least that is what he told me.
 

Tennis Man

Hall of Fame
I played with the White Star Pro Masters (the Kneissl replacement for the White Star Lendl Pro, otherwise identical) in 1984 and the Adidas Lendl GTX Pro in 1985. These two models have a different layup, with the addition of Kevlar in the Kneissl Lendl Pro (whereas the White Star Pro which Lendl used prior to his branding switch to the Adidas frame [the first batch of Adidas frames were actually made at the Kneissl plant in Austria, identified as "Made in Austria," yet paintjobbed as Adidas; the remainders were made in a factory in France for Adidas] was a graphite-fiberglass composite without kevlar as was the Adidas model from the same moulds). The Kevlar-enhanced model was lighter and less stiff than the G/F layup which Lendl preferred.
You got me confused here. So to break it down:

- White Star Pro Masters was graphite-fiberglass composite without Kevlar?
- Adidas Lendl GTX Pro was graphite-fiberglass composite with Kevlar?

What about Adidas Lendl GTX Pro-T and what are the percentages of G/F/K if you know? Thanks.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
You got me confused here. So to break it down:

- White Star Pro Masters was graphite-fiberglass composite without Kevlar?
- Adidas Lendl GTX Pro was graphite-fiberglass composite with Kevlar?

What about Adidas Lendl GTX Pro-T and what are the percentages of G/F/K if you know? Thanks.
White Star Pro was Graphite-fiberglass composite
White Star Lendl Pro was Graphite-fiberglass-Kevlar Composite
White Star Pro Master was Graphite-fiberglass-Kevlar composite
 
Love me some White Star Pro Master....I hadn't played for a long time & when I did start playing again, I had the hardest time finding a modern stick that felt as solid as a WSPM...finally "settled" for the Wilson Tour 90s.... lately I find the Pure Storm LTD GT the closest to that old magic for me....
 

daddabompa

Hall of Fame
Sorry for taking out this old thread, but I found on sale this Adidas GTX Mid T with strange writings on it.
Does anyone know if they have a sort of particular meaning ? Or simply a bad utilization of the owner?
Thanks!

 

BorgCash

Legend
Sorry for taking out this old thread, but I found on sale this Adidas GTX Mid T with strange writings on it.
Does anyone know if they have a sort of particular meaning ? Or simply a bad utilization of the owner?
Thanks!

Inside the throat is the name of the owner i think, 9/86 is probably the date of restrung, LV - ?
 

daddabompa

Hall of Fame
Inside the throat is the name of the owner i think, 9/86 is probably the date of restrung, LV - ?
Many thanks for your suggestions, in fact it's a really strange kind of writings.
I hoped them should indicated a "test" player's frame.
About "seger" sticker I believed it should be the name of something like strings or a sporting goods company.
Anyway, what a pity to ruin such a beautiful racket with so apparently meaningless writings. [emoji17]
 

PBODY99

Legend
Name in the throat on a Dyno plastic label maker from the era. Should peel off using a x-acto blade to lift the leading edge of the sticker. Gold writing looks like a personal ID.
Even in the 1980s test frames had the engineering /ID information inside the throat.
Nice find enjoy. have the Masters 10 and the mid the Masters 25, which I strung @ 45 lbs with 1.20 mm SG back in the day. Unique feel.
 

daddabompa

Hall of Fame
Name in the throat on a Dyno plastic label maker from the era. Should peel off using a x-acto blade to lift the leading edge of the sticker. Gold writing looks like a personal ID.
Even in the 1980s test frames had the engineering /ID information inside the throat.
Nice find enjoy. have the Masters 10 and the mid the Masters 25, which I strung @ 45 lbs with 1.20 mm SG back in the day. Unique feel.
Thanks for the info!

So do you think that gold/silver writings on the bottom hoop should refer to a Pro Player of that time ?
Or simply to a recreational player ?
What do you mean exactly with "Dyno plastic label maker from the era" ?
Sorry but I'm relatively young and I don't know much of that tennis era...

Thanks
 

PBODY99

Legend
Thanks for the info!

So do you think that gold/silver writings on the bottom hoop should refer to a Pro Player of that time ?
Or simply to a recreational player ?
What do you mean exactly with "Dyno plastic label maker from the era" ?
Sorry but I'm relatively young and I don't know much of that tennis era...

Thanks
Pardon my spelling error DYMO still makes plastic embossed label machines, which is how the label was made.
No way to tell who used this, most likely a rec player named Seger.
 

BorgCash

Legend
This is definitely the name of the owner (rec player) inside the throat. I got some other racquets in my collection with the same type of writing.
Once more time, 9/86 seems like a date to me, September 1986, probably the date of strung or purchasing (not so common).
BTW, I got the same racquet and i like it very much, playing great, close to GTX Pro-T, just more forgiving because of bigger headsize.
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
It might interest some of you to read that the GTX Mid was, at the time of its introduction, the stiffest racquet on the market, and was so until the Kuebler Resonanz/Wilson Profile widebody was introduced. When World Tennis magazine (USA) lab-tested it, it was stiffer than their established scale of numbers could measure - even stiffer than the concurrent Wilson Ultra II or Prince Boron.
 
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