The Pros are going to have to start playing with wooden racquets again

JAY1

Semi-Pro
As in baseball, there are calls for the pros to start playing with wooden racquets again. Recently a lot of esteemed ex tennis pros and tennis experts have called for a return to wooden racquets.
Tennis is the one sport where it is impossible to compare today's pros with pros from the past, as the equipment is so very different. Everyone will agree this is very sad.
But should the pros return to wooden racquets, how would it effect the racquet companies, how would it effect us mere mortals-would we want to play with the same wooden racquets as our heroes would be using or would we continue to use our space age sticks.
From a pro tennis point of view it would make men's pro tennis a lot more exciting and interesting as the pros would have to develop unique playing styles as opposed to most of them playing the same way, as now.
They would have to master the equipment before they would try and master their opponents.
What do we all think?
 

mxmx

Professional
dumb idea. The should look at other means to place some limitations. The new rackets only do "so much"...Higher net...shorter courts...No second serve etc may be better alternatives.
 

Wooly

Rookie
Tennis is the one sport where it is impossible to compare today's pros with pros from the past, as the equipment is so very different. Everyone will agree this is very sad.
its the same with any other sport, it just keeps evolving ... so exempt of a few strange people somewhere in a Tennis Forum NOBODY actually is sad ... :)
 

Fedinkum

Legend
how about an exhibition tournament where only wooden rackets are allowed to be used by pros?
Seeing today's pro using woodies will certainly draw interests in an exhibition. I remember Hingis did something like that (a promo at Wimbie?), very classy. I wish there is a video of that event.
PS. add bare foot and hippies dress to the new wooden racket rules if the players are hotties.



 

sundaypunch

Hall of Fame
As in baseball, there are calls for the pros to start playing with wooden racquets again. Recently a lot of esteemed ex tennis pros and tennis experts have called for a return to wooden racquets.
Tennis is the one sport where it is impossible to compare today's pros with pros from the past, as the equipment is so very different. Everyone will agree this is very sad.
But should the pros return to wooden racquets, how would it effect the racquet companies, how would it effect us mere mortals-would we want to play with the same wooden racquets as our heroes would be using or would we continue to use our space age sticks.
From a pro tennis point of view it would make men's pro tennis a lot more exciting and interesting as the pros would have to develop unique playing styles as opposed to most of them playing the same way, as now.
They would have to master the equipment before they would try and master their opponents.
What do we all think?
And would you have a source that identifies this massive group of pro's and experts?
 

JAY1

Semi-Pro
And would you have a source that identifies this massive group of pro's and experts?
Bud Collins in his book, John Barrett in latest magazine of Tennis Head, John McEnroe, Peter Fleming, Chris Evert, Martina Navaratilova, John Lloyd to name but a few....
"Bjorn Borg has proposed that, while club and amateur players go on hitting as they like, that the pros return to wood. John McEnroe has said it and written about it. If you’re among the best players in the world, you should surely be able to focus on a smaller sweet spot, generate your own pace, and win by displaying subtlety and variety in shotmaking rather than bludgeoning your opponent with casts of steel. Martina Navratilova recently publically endorsed, at the least, lessening the width of racquets, also being sure to insist that the game itself not be changed to accomodate the development of these super-charged excalibers. “Something needs to be done about the racquets,” says Navratilova. “The materials are ridiculous now. The game’s too easy with these racquets.”


The emphasis given by wood racquets to the elements of feel, touch, and control in tennis have likewise been “overruled” by the new power game and power establishment. Some people will say, “The equipment has improved. What can you do?”

But it is worth considering that perhaps the equipment hasn’t “improved” if the effect of those changes is to bring the game down below its efficiency level to function as a sport not purely about results and winning, but about process and the disciplining and refining of the spirits of the players, and staying true to the soul of the game.

It's very hard to possess the perspectives above unless you play or have played to a high level. If you haven't played to a high level you will find it extremely hard to understand and comprehend.
 

JAY1

Semi-Pro
It can’t be said that no one has taken notice. At the 2003 Wimbledon Championships, an open letter was issued to the President of the ITF (International Tennis Federation) with leading players from the past such as John McEnroe, Pat Cash, Martina Navratilova, Boris Becker all signing it (Evert did not attend Wimbledon 2003), in which they claim that tennis has become too one-dimensional. They did suggest that the width of the tennis racquet should at least be reduced to remedy this and help challenge the effectiveness of the hard hitters. But it is also noteworthy that it was a letter signed only by past champions, and no current players. As Andy Roddick said upon hearing about the letter, “I'm not really sure what their, you know, concern is.” And that’s the problem: most current players, raised already on the power game without roots to the sport's past, really DON’T know.
 

JAY1

Semi-Pro
The integrity of the sport and the sport’s ability to discipline and refine its players (and better them as people by doing so) is dependent on the sport’s inherent structural challenges remaining intact. While there is nothing meant to suggest that pro tennis need return to wood racquets, there are many issues well worth considering regarding the altering of the sport from its classic roots of play.

The smaller racquet head of wood forces the player to concentrate harder to hit the sweet spot. This isn’t a DISADVANTAGE cured by the advent of mid and oversized racquets, but is a necessary test of a player’s ability to maintain unbroken concentration against rising external pressures. That’s essential to the discipline of the sport of tennis. Even a defining characteristic.

Adding unearned power, and making it easier to hit the ball by changing the materials and structural size of the racquet, cheats the players and audiences of the challenges presented by the sport of tennis as a discipline. It gives the illusion of improvement when the change in performance is more due to shifts in equipment, rather than enhanced skill levels.

Professional Baseball does not allow players to use aluminum bats or to use cork in their wooden bats, because - while it increases power - the American Professional Baseball Association saw rightly that everyone was hitting home-runs and that making it “easier” on everybody to gain “success” was actually hurting the sport. Because it was like cheating.

Meanwhile, the current group of top players is the first in history, on both the mens and womens side of the draw, to sometimes have over 30% of the top ten out for 6 months or more from injury. Tennis was always known as the 'sport for a lifetime' but the lack of regulation on the power of our equipment--as well as over-scheduling and a dramatic rise of hard court events, which should also possibly fall under the ITF's care and guidance--has allowed the strain on the body to place players in danger for both short and longterm injury. This, a sport historically closer to yoga and martial arts than today's version of the sport, exerts more pressure on the body than it appears to be made to handle.
 

aimr75

Hall of Fame
Bud Collins in his book, John Barrett in latest magazine of Tennis Head, John McEnroe, Peter Fleming, Chris Evert, Martina Navaratilova, John Lloyd to name but a few....
"Bjorn Borg has proposed that, while club and amateur players go on hitting as they like, that the pros return to wood. John McEnroe has said it and written about it. If you’re among the best players in the world, you should surely be able to focus on a smaller sweet spot, generate your own pace, and win by displaying subtlety and variety in shotmaking rather than bludgeoning your opponent with casts of steel. Martina Navratilova recently publically endorsed, at the least, lessening the width of racquets, also being sure to insist that the game itself not be changed to accomodate the development of these super-charged excalibers. “Something needs to be done about the racquets,” says Navratilova. “The materials are ridiculous now. The game’s too easy with these racquets.”


The emphasis given by wood racquets to the elements of feel, touch, and control in tennis have likewise been “overruled” by the new power game and power establishment. Some people will say, “The equipment has improved. What can you do?”

But it is worth considering that perhaps the equipment hasn’t “improved” if the effect of those changes is to bring the game down below its efficiency level to function as a sport not purely about results and winning, but about process and the disciplining and refining of the spirits of the players, and staying true to the soul of the game.

It's very hard to possess the perspectives above unless you play or have played to a high level. If you haven't played to a high level you will find it extremely hard to understand and comprehend.
Most of the people you quoted had at some point used racquet technology beyond wooden racquets at some point in their professional career. Where were their convictions about sticking to wood then? How about focusing on what they've done to the surfaces with each tournament from what it was to what it is. Strings of today play a big role as well
 

spaceman_spiff

Hall of Fame
Most injuries nowadays are due to the game becoming more physically demanding and points lasting longer, not because of the materials in the rackets. If you want the points to be shorter and see more attacking tennis, you can do that by simply speeding up the courts. That would be a lot easier to implement than a complete rule change on equipment.

But keep in mind that the sport's popularity started declining at the height of Sampras' dominance (along with a bunch of other serve machines such as Ivanisevic, Krajicek, and Phillippousis), because most people don't enjoy watching 4 hours of nothing but 2- and 3-shot points over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. People actually enjoy watching good rallies.

There's a reason the courts were slowed down in the first place. It wasn't just a random change.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Something that was pitched a few years ago - I think it came from the USTA - was to reign in a little bit of the game's speed by going to a slightly larger ball of the same weight. I think that the new ball was 6% larger and the thinking was that the whole graphite racquet movement was very much out of the barn. Altering the official ball was the more feasible option.

The problem with promoting that idea is that everyone has to sign on, including the ITF, etc. It didn't happen, so none of the manufacturers went ahead and produced this new ball.

Hard to know who could even produce large numbers of wooden racquets these days. I think that there's one builder in the U.K. who makes racquets for court tennis, but that's it. If the demand came back though, I'm sure we'd see counterfeits flowing out of China in no time. :shock:
 

TennisCJC

Legend
its the same with any other sport, it just keeps evolving ... so exempt of a few strange people somewhere in a Tennis Forum NOBODY actually is sad ... :)
Equipment has impacted how the sport evolved immensely. Think what major league baseball would be like if they allowed use of the metal bat. Offensive statistics would go thru the roof.

I would not support going back to wooden rackets and there are other things that could be done to change the game. Eliminating poly strings would be a rather simple change that would swing some degree of advantage back to the server and attacking player as quality of passing shots and returns would diminishing a bit. You could also limit head size to 95" or even 90". Beam width and flex ratings could be restricted too. Basically, just changing the parameters of the modern racket and string restrictions could move the game in a vary different direction. Having a tournament with all rackets 95" or smaller and a beam width of 20 mm or smaller and without poly strings would be interesting to see.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
Something that was pitched a few years ago - I think it came from the USTA - was to reign in a little bit of the game's speed by going to a slightly larger ball of the same weight. I think that the new ball was 6% larger and the thinking was that the whole graphite racquet movement was very much out of the barn. Altering the official ball was the more feasible option.

The problem with promoting that idea is that everyone has to sign on, including the ITF, etc. It didn't happen, so none of the manufacturers went ahead and produced this new ball.

Hard to know who could even produce large numbers of wooden racquets these days. I think that there's one builder in the U.K. who makes racquets for court tennis, but that's it. If the demand came back though, I'm sure we'd see counterfeits flowing out of China in no time. :shock:
Wouldn't a fat ball give even more advantage to the returners and grinders. I think if USTA/ITF/ATP do anything, it should shift advantage back to the risk takers/shot makers.
 

BGod

Legend
I have always questioned why the pro tour doesn't have harder restrictions on racquet size.

It is 135sq inch head size last time I checked, which is an insane leniency.

I would have it set at 105 and maybe even 100.

As for bringing back wood, meaning to ban other materials, it is an impossibility. Not to mention there's too many companies profiting from the use of other materials. ALTHOUGH, wooden racquets were always easier to break/splinter so maybe the manufacturers would like that.
 

atatu

Hall of Fame
I have always questioned why the pro tour doesn't have harder restrictions on racquet size.

It is 135sq inch head size last time I checked, which is an insane leniency.

I would have it set at 105 and maybe even 100.

As for bringing back wood, meaning to ban other materials, it is an impossibility. Not to mention there's too many companies profiting from the use of other materials. ALTHOUGH, wooden racquets were always easier to break/splinter so maybe the manufacturers would like that.
Very few pros play with anything over 100 square inches these days, so it isn't a question of head size. If anything, they should ban polyester strings, which have changed the game more than rackets.
 

Sander001

Hall of Fame
I'd love to see a governing body take this on: Crack open a random racquet every now and then...Finals of the US Open and Djokovic got graphite hidden inside: Cancel the final! Everybody go home! $135 to see a trophy presentation.

[just imagining one alternative, carry on]
 

BGod

Legend
Very few pros play with anything over 100 square inches these days, so it isn't a question of head size. If anything, they should ban polyester strings, which have changed the game more than rackets.
There's enough that play above 100 and in an age where Federer is moving up I can only imagine 10 years from now more players using 105-110.
 

sundaypunch

Hall of Fame
Bud Collins in his book, John Barrett in latest magazine of Tennis Head, John McEnroe, Peter Fleming, Chris Evert, Martina Navaratilova, John Lloyd to name but a few....
"Bjorn Borg has proposed that, while club and amateur players go on hitting as they like, that the pros return to wood. John McEnroe has said it and written about it. If you’re among the best players in the world, you should surely be able to focus on a smaller sweet spot, generate your own pace, and win by displaying subtlety and variety in shotmaking rather than bludgeoning your opponent with casts of steel. Martina Navratilova recently publically endorsed, at the least, lessening the width of racquets, also being sure to insist that the game itself not be changed to accomodate the development of these super-charged excalibers. “Something needs to be done about the racquets,” says Navratilova. “The materials are ridiculous now. The game’s too easy with these racquets.”


The emphasis given by wood racquets to the elements of feel, touch, and control in tennis have likewise been “overruled” by the new power game and power establishment. Some people will say, “The equipment has improved. What can you do?”

But it is worth considering that perhaps the equipment hasn’t “improved” if the effect of those changes is to bring the game down below its efficiency level to function as a sport not purely about results and winning, but about process and the disciplining and refining of the spirits of the players, and staying true to the soul of the game.

It's very hard to possess the perspectives above unless you play or have played to a high level. If you haven't played to a high level you will find it extremely hard to understand and comprehend.

As I expected, you have identified a handful of old pro's that don't like that the game has changed since they played. Another case of solving a "problem" that doesn't exist.
 

gwing

New User
Very few pros play with anything over 100 square inches these days, so it isn't a question of head size. If anything, they should ban polyester strings, which have changed the game more than rackets.
Negative bans such as that tend to be inherently flawed as there would be endless discussions on 'just exactly what is a poly string' and an endless succession of new chemical variants that were sort of 'poly like' in characteristics to get round the ban. Mandating natural gut in top level tournaments might be rather hard to get round though :) and also much easier to implement than re-engineering the worlds racquet manufacturing capability back to wood or rebuilding all our courts to smaller sizes.
 

TimothyO

Hall of Fame
Equipment has impacted how the sport evolved immensely. Think what major league baseball would be like if they allowed use of the metal bat. Offensive statistics would go thru the roof.

I would not support going back to wooden rackets and there are other things that could be done to change the game. Eliminating poly strings would be a rather simple change that would swing some degree of advantage back to the server and attacking player as quality of passing shots and returns would diminishing a bit. You could also limit head size to 95" or even 90". Beam width and flex ratings could be restricted too. Basically, just changing the parameters of the modern racket and string restrictions could move the game in a vary different direction. Having a tournament with all rackets 95" or smaller and a beam width of 20 mm or smaller and without poly strings would be interesting to see.
Except for the ban on poly strings (too hard to legislate chemical composition) I really like this idea. It leaves in place the tennis industry as a business in that rec play could remain unchanged. It's the least disruptive option that brings greater variety of play to the pro tour.

The ATP/WTA tours would be limited to specs along these lines. And if a junior wants to strive to join the pro tour he/she can limit the hardware to the tour specs. Effectively the pro tour specs exist as a subset of the broader tennis industry instead of wiping out that industry by replacing current tech with would frames.

In some ways this situation currently exists except that pros use setups of much higher SW and static weight (and therefore much higher, controllable power) than most rec players. Their "subset" of the tennis industry is simply an extension of it in modded form.

It also means that the tech that has evolved to make "tennis easier" continues to thrive and feed $$$ into the sport by making it accessible to more people.
 
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BlueB

Legend
The Pros are going to have to start playing with wooden racquets again?
Sure. Also, the skiers would go back to wooden skis with screw-on edges, racing sailboats back to wooden masts, pole vault and fisherman back to bamboo, airplanes back to wood and canvas, condoms back to animal intestines...
 

Overdrive

Legend
Unfortunately, Racquet companies are trying to move away from the midsize frames because of poor sales and the demographic has changed.
 

robok9

Semi-Pro
One thing to consider is that having non-wooden racquets has not always been a problem. I don't really know of many people in the 80's and 90's that had a problem with newer technology. It just seems like in the last 10 years or so, it has become a little bit of an issue. To compare it to baseball, I don't necessarily think that pros should have to use wooden racquets, however maybe they could institute something like how they banned composite bats in all of baseball (not just the pros). Going back to wood would be a huge step that wouldn't sell, but how about a smaller ban like limiting the types of materials for the racquets. However, even that wouldn't sell because tennis is a very "equipment heavy" sport, so racquet companies would settle for a limitation of inovation.
 

newpball

Legend
Recently a lot of esteemed ex tennis pros and tennis experts have called for a return to wooden racquets.
Names and references please.

Tennis is the one sport where it is impossible to compare today's pros with pros from the past, as the equipment is so very different. Everyone will agree this is very sad.
Nope, I do not think there is anything sad about that.

What do we all think?
A living in the past baby boomer?
 

GoudX

Professional
There's enough that play above 100 and in an age where Federer is moving up I can only imagine 10 years from now more players using 105-110.
If anything there are less top players hitting with oversize racquets now than there used to be. Agassi, (Chang maybe?) and the Williams sisters use oversized frames. None of the younger top players use OS racquets, they are nearly all 95 sqin Head/Wilsons or 100 sqin Babolats.

This is because as topspin and long rallies become more important a balance between manoeuvrability and hitting area needs to be found, making very big or very small racquets harder to use. Racquets are gravitating around 95-100sqin at the moment, and I can't imagine significant changes any time soon.


On the main pint: I think it is only a select few of the older generations, channelling their inner Luddite, who say we need to go back to wooden racquets. Usually they are longing for the days when they could spring around their local club in their best white clothing, knowing the riff-raff will be kept out.

More sensible approaches would be:
  • Impose a maximum racquet size, eg: 90sqin, whilst allowing modern materials, perhaps introducing maximum stiffness ratings of 65 or so to reduce injuries. This would make the optimum game style slightly more attacking, as defending becomes harder but possible with lightweight racquets with open polyester string patterns.
  • Smaller, heavier ball with little felt could be used, as it speeds the ball up and makes defending more difficult as topspin is less effective.
  • Faster courts, with reduced service box length. Attacking play is encouraged, but big flat serves are less effective.
  • Higher net, reduces serve effectiveness, without having much effect on topspin groundstrokes.
  • Low bouncing courts, increases the effectiveness of slices, big shots and net play.
 

thejuice

Hall of Fame
A better comparison would be to compare tennis to golf. The USGA and R&A decided to cap a driver's head size at 460cc. The governing bodies of tennis could do the same thing (as mentioned in the post right above mine). I'm thinking 95 sq inches max (as this was considered a midplus in the 80s).

On another note, OP I'm curious how old you are. The only people I hear that complain or have concerns about today's game (and this also goes for golf and basketball to name other sports) are the older generation. Everyone you named that has a problem with today's game is over 50. Sports must evolve since people evolve. The human race is taller and more athletic naturally than we were 30, 40, and 50 years ago. As we evolve so should the sports we play. The old farts that wish we went back to wood should either give up the game or start a wood-only pro league.
 

palmerop

Rookie
Maybe they could limit players fitness. They could make physiotherapy or weight training illegal, they could force players to eat burgers, pizzas and drink at least a predefined number of beers a day. And no cold baths. No jogging. There would be a lot more net play, although maybe less graceful that Hingis', as players, chronically short of breath, would try to close points ASAP.
 

Chotobaka

Hall of Fame
Maybe they could limit players fitness. They could make physiotherapy or weight training illegal, they could force players to eat burgers, pizzas and drink at least a predefined number of beers a day. And no cold baths. No jogging. There would be a lot more net play, although maybe less graceful that Hingis', as players, chronically short of breath, would try to close points ASAP.
LOL, I could go pro with that set up. Or take a cue from my buddies in the Philippines, drink rum before and during matches and snack during changeovers. These minor adjustments for one major per season would be very entertaining. Or, have one ATP tournament per season where players must use woodies -- sort of like spec racing.
 

grhcan99

Semi-Pro
Rather than change things outright, why not create a different category of tennis where only wood racquets are allowed and some other rules to govern it's play. See if it get's a following. I'm quite sure I will be one of those who will get one and try it just for fun. Maybe have some regulatory body to govern it, hold some small tournaments, etc. Who knows. Maybe there'll be some adapters.
 

grhcan99

Semi-Pro
Edited due to typo:

Rather than change things outright, why not create a different category of tennis where only wood racquets are allowed and some other rules to govern its play. See if it gets a following. I'm quite sure I will be one of those who will get one and try it just for fun. Maybe have some regulatory body to govern it, hold some small tournaments, etc. Who knows. Maybe there'll be some adapters.
 

palmerop

Rookie
LOL, I could go pro with that set up. Or take a cue from my buddies in the Philippines, drink rum before and during matches and snack during changeovers. These minor adjustments for one major per season would be very entertaining. Or, have one ATP tournament per season where players must use woodies -- sort of like spec racing.
I think we onto something here...
 

spinovic

Hall of Fame
How about leaving it alone. Tennis is great. Different? Sure. But not worse, IMO.

The only changes I would not mind would be to speed things up a bit. You could do that by changing the balls, which would be a uniform change across the schedule. Or you could speed up some selected surfaces...like the grass at Wimbledon, the USO, etc, to add a little more variety of play and make it more difficult for the same guys to win everywhere. I would not mind some faster conditions to create more of a contrast between some surfaces.

As for the equipment, if metal racquets and poly strings were going to be banned, that would have had to be done long ago. It is too late now. And I don't think it is necessary anyway. But imagine if they tried it...the top players could be totally different overnight.
 
There is a reason there is evolution. I'm sorry but tennis today is exciting. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it, and it would be stupid for the sport to go backwards...
 

Crisp

Professional
Equipment has impacted how the sport evolved immensely. Think what major league baseball would be like if they allowed use of the metal bat. Offensive statistics would go thru the roof.

I would not support going back to wooden rackets and there are other things that could be done to change the game. Eliminating poly strings would be a rather simple change that would swing some degree of advantage back to the server and attacking player as quality of passing shots and returns would diminishing a bit. You could also limit head size to 95" or even 90". Beam width and flex ratings could be restricted too. Basically, just changing the parameters of the modern racket and string restrictions could move the game in a vary different direction. Having a tournament with all rackets 95" or smaller and a beam width of 20 mm or smaller and without poly strings would be interesting to see.
Ilikethese ideas you have floated CJC. They would all affect the ability to produce power and spin while essentially leaving the equipment somewhatthesame as it is now.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
Most of the people you quoted had at some point used racquet technology beyond wooden racquets at some point in their professional career. Where were their convictions about sticking to wood then? How about focusing on what they've done to the surfaces with each tournament from what it was to what it is. Strings of today play a big role as well
If they HADN'T ever used graphite racquets then their concerns would not be credible. It is precisely BECAUSE they have used BOTH wood racquets and graphite racquets that they could personally compare the two from their own experience to know how different they are and what a dramatic change it has made to the game.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
Most injuries nowadays are due to the game becoming more physically demanding and points lasting longer, not because of the materials in the rackets. If you want the points to be shorter and see more attacking tennis, you can do that by simply speeding up the courts. That would be a lot easier to implement than a complete rule change on equipment.
Are you serious? So you don't think ultra stiff modern racquets with RA's in the 70's cause any more injuries than ultra flexy wood racquets with RA's in the 30's? And you don't think ultra stiff poly strings cause any more injuries than ultra resilient natural gut?

But I agree that running around the baseline endlessly can also cause more injuries.

But keep in mind that the sport's popularity started declining at the height of Sampras' dominance (along with a bunch of other serve machines such as Ivanisevic, Krajicek, and Phillippousis), because most people don't enjoy watching 4 hours of nothing but 2- and 3-shot points over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. People actually enjoy watching good rallies.
And what kind of racquets were they using. Yup, graphite. Tennis was much more popular when almost everyone was using wood racquets, like Borg, McEnroe, Vilas, Gerulaitis, etc.

People also enjoy watching attacking tennis and volley winners.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
It also means that the tech that has evolved to make "tennis easier" continues to thrive and feed $$$ into the sport by making it accessible to more people.
Yet, fewer Americans today play or watch tennis than they did back when everyone used wood racquets despite the almost 50% increase in population since then.
 

KineticChain

Hall of Fame
Or how about everyone stops whining about how tennis is different from when they grew up? Things change... deal with it. Anything to make tennis more physically demanding is okay in my book because it actually attracts new young players when they see the sport looks more manly with players like Nadal and Djoker grinding away versus serve and volley play, which is only appreciated by old people who grew up with it.. run-on sentence
 

KineticChain

Hall of Fame
Yet, fewer Americans today play or watch tennis than they did back when everyone used wood racquets despite the almost 50% increase in population since then.
This has nothing to do with wooden rackets. It has everything to do with personalty. The players now, in my opinion, play much more exciting athletic tennis... but their personality is non-existent. People loved to see Mcenroe yell at umps and Connors being a maniac. Nothing like that exists now to attract non-tennis fans.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
A better comparison would be to compare tennis to golf. The USGA and R&A decided to cap a driver's head size at 460cc. The governing bodies of tennis could do the same thing (as mentioned in the post right above mine). I'm thinking 95 sq inches max (as this was considered a midplus in the 80s).

On another note, OP I'm curious how old you are. The only people I hear that complain or have concerns about today's game (and this also goes for golf and basketball to name other sports) are the older generation. Everyone you named that has a problem with today's game is over 50. Sports must evolve since people evolve. The human race is taller and more athletic naturally than we were 30, 40, and 50 years ago. As we evolve so should the sports we play. The old farts that wish we went back to wood should either give up the game or start a wood-only pro league.
Well, that's because younger people never grew up using wood racquets so how can they compare how the game has changed between wood and graphite?

And if people today are more athletic than they were 50 years ago then they should have an even easier time handling heavy, tiny wood racquets than the less-athletic players back then, right?
 
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