when did racket manufacturers stop making two versions of each racket model?

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Jack Romeo, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. Jack Romeo

    Jack Romeo Professional

    Mar 11, 2004
    i was sort of wondering why manufacturers largely stopped making midplus and oversize versions of their rackets. i remember there was a time when many of them did this. some also made regular and long versions.

    today, there are very few frames that have both midplus and oversize versions. what they do instead is to make pro and tour versions for those who want heavier versions and team or lite versions for those who want lighter sticks. in short, they make different weights and not different head sizes. although some team or lite versions have slightly larger head sizes than their regular and tour/pro versions, the differences are not than much. this is unlike before when rackets would be made in vastly different head sizes. in the late 80's prince made 90 and 110 versions of some of their sticks. wilson was making 95 and 110 versions in the 90's. in the late 90's many companies were usually making 97-100 and 107-110 versions. so the differences in head sizes between midplus and oversize versions became smaller and smaller.

    today the emphasis is on different weights and not head sizes. oversize rackets are marketed as different models/lines. it seems the radical is the only line that is still being made and successfully marketed as having both mp and os versions. there are a few others still being made in mp and os versions but they are not as successful with one version or the other. for example, the pure drive has a 107 version but it far less prominent than the regular pd.

    there is also a trend among players' sticks for companies to make different mp versions. the vcores and blx pro staffs are good examples. they have different head sizes but none are oversize.

    i tend to think this has a little to do with the shift in emphasis to strings and string technology and away from the frame itself. of course, racket manufacturers are still coming up with new technological gimmicks but in terms of design and racket mold but the most successful models chiefly retain their molds and specs. in fact, for some of their models, babolat and technifibre (both of which started out mainly as string manufacturers) just do new paint jobs without even saying that anything in the frame is actually new.

    i think in the past, when most people used natural or synthetic gut, players would choose different head sizes depending on their ability. for example, if an advanced player idolized agassi or chang, they would use the midplus version of the radical or pog. or if someone liked sampras but didn't have his hand-eye coordination (who does?) then he could get the 95 or oversize version (yes, i remember there was an oversize version of this pro staff).

    today, people are more apt to tinker with their string set up. advanced players looking to emulate nadal or djokovic use polys and beginners can use multifilaments or synthetics while using the same model they endorse or just a lite/team version.

    maybe today, players like doing this instead of getting oversize versions because this allows them to "be more like their idols." they could feel like the pros because they look like they're using the same racket. they would be seen by others and no one would be able to tell that they are using a different version. in contrast, in the past, when one would use an oversize version of a player's stick, he would "look too different" from his idol.

    i know, the reason sound shallow but frivolous things like this do influence markets.
  2. Deuces Wild

    Deuces Wild Rookie

    Sep 7, 2011
    I don't believe there has been too much of a change in the way product lines are managed these days. We have a great deal of variety nowadays which we didn't have before.

    Look at Head. They have the prestige, radical and extreme lines in multiple head sizes. Yonex has done something similar with their v-cores. And look at Wilson's new Pro Staff and Blade lines. Donnay has many of their sticks in 99 and 94 head models.
  3. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

    Mar 31, 2010
    Oversized racket with today's ultra-stiff graphite? Good luck keeping the ball in the court. 100sq in is big enough. 110 is excessive.

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