Who is the first pro you recall that used a vibration dampener?

NickJ

Professional
I remember having a small foam cylinder/tube thing that was red & yellow, and when put inbetween the 2 central strings at the bottom of the stringbed, took on the appearance of a little tennis ball. That was probably early 80s. But I am not a pro . . . .
 

Seth

Hall of Fame
I remember having a small foam cylinder/tube thing that was red & yellow, and when put inbetween the 2 central strings at the bottom of the stringbed, took on the appearance of a little tennis ball. That was probably early 80s. But I am not a pro . . . .
I think Annacone used one of those in his POG.
 

GR190

New User
He did. This is what i used!


Sent from my SM-G975F using Tapatalk
Great pic/blast from the past... I used those too back in the day but completely forgot about them.

When I was growing up, good/snobby players would look down on those who used dampeners... But that was back in the natural gut era just as syngut/nylon was taking off. Guess gut inherently dampens vibration somewhat and they're needed more with synthetics? Then Sampras and Agassi started using them and now it seem many top pros do too.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
Great pic/blast from the past... I used those too back in the day but completely forgot about them.

When I was growing up, good/snobby players would look down on those who used dampeners... But that was back in the natural gut era just as syngut/nylon was taking off. Guess gut inherently dampens vibration somewhat and they're needed more with synthetics? Then Sampras and Agassi started using them and now it seem many top pros do too.
Syngut/nylon have been around since way before dampeners. Syngut/nylon was the only alternative to natural gut.
 

jmacdaununder2

Hall of Fame
The first one I remember was Stan Smith with the Fischer Superfoam. If I'm not mistaken, Fischer invented the dampener for the Superfoam and included it with every Superfoam sold.
I agree; though at the time I thought it was just a gimmicky way to fill in the 'visual' space created by the Superform throat.
 
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Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
I agree; though at the time I thought it was just a gimmicky way to fill in the 'visual' space created by the Superform throat.
I bought a new Superfoam. It came with the original dampener. Of course, I had to fiddle with it and it wasn't as pliant as it was when new.... :(

The two Superfoams I have weigh over 14 ounces. They are beasts. We had two retired touring pros at our club. I asked one of them if the racket mattered. He said "No, not really". I replied "Good, hit with this". He did and it was amazing. He loved the weight, the tiny ass head wasn't a problem. It was a thing of beauty watching him hit with it.
 
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michael valek

Professional
I had a Stan smith superform and it was awful. No idea why I bought it. The Fischer dampeners were not easy to put on plus were around the size of a pea so (IMO) next to useless. The donnay foam dumbees were better!!
 

JW10S

Hall of Fame
As others have said Stan Smith was the 1st pro I saw using a dampener. But the 1st person I saw using a 'dampener' was years before by a guy I used to hit with when I was a teenager. Back then everyone was still using wood, aluminum or steel standard head racquets and everyone strung with gut. There were some courts where a lot of top local juniors would go in the summers and hang out all day playing. There was a Romanian man in his 40's who worked at night and lived across the street from the courts who would also hang out and hit with anyone who wanted to. He wasn't much into playing sets but liked to hit/drill and was a groundstroke machine--all the kids would hit with him at some point as he was great to practice with. In his Jack Kramer Autograph he would wrap a piece of athletic tape, like you might wrap on your fingers, around the 2 center mains just below the last cross. When we asked why he did that he'd answer in broken English 'it feel better.' We all just thought he was crazy...
 
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HitMoreBHs

Rookie
When I was growing up, good/snobby players would look down on those who used dampeners... But that was back in the natural gut era just as syngut/nylon was taking off. Guess gut inherently dampens vibration somewhat and they're needed more with synthetics? Then Sampras and Agassi started using them and now it seem many top pros do too.
Hey, I resemble that remark! I started playing in 1980, going through the wood-aluminium-graphite transition. In 1987, one of my high school team buddies turned up with a dampener and got soundly derided for it! These days, I wouldn’t play without one, even with the PT600 which is pretty muted.

I always wonder what it would have been like using a dampener in an aluminium frame, which arguably would have been helped the most. By the time dampeners became mainstream, aluminium frames had disappeared and I’m not about to go digging in my parent’s garage for my old Head Pro “Redheads”!
 

Seth

Hall of Fame
Syngut/nylon have been around since way before dampeners. Syngut/nylon was the only alternative to natural gut.
As others have said Stan Smith was the 1st pro I saw using a dampener. But the 1st person I saw using a 'dampener' was years before by a guy I used to hit with when I was a teenager. Back then everyone was still using wood, aluminum or steel standard head racquets and everyone strung with gut. There were some courts where a lot of top local juniors would go in the summers and hang out all day playing. There was a Romanian man in his 40's who worked at night and lived across the street from the courts who would also hang out and hit with anyone who wanted to. He wasn't much into playing sets but liked to hit/drill and was a groundstroke machine--all the kids would hit with him at some point as he was great to practice with. In his Jack Kramer Autograph he would wrap a piece of athletic tape, like you might wrap on your fingers, around the 2 center mains just below the last cross. When we asked why he did that he'd answer in broken English 'it feel better.' We all just thought he was crazy...
A bit off topic, but I have a question for you guys who have played for a while. I started playing tennis circa 2003, so poly and other natty guy alternatives were already present. What did casual players use before synthetic gut/nylon? Was the only choice gut? Did it command a premium (as it does today), or was it cheaper then when it was the only option (seems like it would be more expensive if it was the only option, but maybe gut supply was greater then?)? Thanks!
 

JW10S

Hall of Fame
Back when I was referring to in my post above most people used gut because at that time the only other option was nylon and it did not play well at all back then--there was a huge difference between how gut played vs nylon. 'Synthetic gut' came a little bit later and while it was better than nylon it was still not close to gut. I used full gut string beds in my racquets until well into the 1990s. By then synthetic strings had improved a lot and more powerful graphite racquets were being used so the 'need' to use gut didn't seem as crucial. Gut was more expensive that nylon by a fair bit but most even casual players felt it was a necessary expense back in the old days. We would play with the gut until it broke to get as much as we could out of them. These days synthetic gut strings have gotten so good that using gut doesn't seem as worth it. Until a few years ago I was using gut/poly hybrids but these days I just use syn gut/poly hybrids and don't notice any real significant drop off in play. And I don't use a string dampener...
 

Seth

Hall of Fame
Back when I was referring to in my post above most people used gut because at that time the only other option was nylon and it did not play well at all back then--there was a huge difference between how gut played vs nylon. 'Synthetic gut' came a little bit later and while it was better than nylon it was still not close to gut. I used full gut string beds in my racquets until well into the 1990s. By then synthetic strings had improved a lot and more powerful graphite racquets were being used so the 'need' to use gut didn't seem as crucial. Gut was more expensive that nylon by a fair bit but most even casual players felt it was a necessary expense back in the old days. We would play with the gut until it broke to get as much as we could out of them. These days synthetic gut strings have gotten so good that using gut doesn't seem as worth it. Until a few years ago I was using gut/poly hybrids but these days I just use syn gut/poly hybrids and don't notice any real significant drop off in play. And I don't use a string dampener...
Very cool. Thanks for your reply!
 

NLBwell

Legend
I used Vantage 1 and then Vantage 2. I liked it best when it was worn and the outer fibers would stick out and (I believed) grab the ball better. I did not like Blue Star, which is what most people used.
Almost no one except the best players used gut because of the expense and perhaps more so because the gut would break if exposed to moisture.
Of course my dad used gut and the #1 on my tennis team used Africord gut. The red gut looked really good in his Rawlings John Newcombe Tie Breaker metal racket which had the red metal throat piece.
I'd never seen a dampener back then.

Just a thought. The pros, as well as regular players, would quickly switch between wood and metal rackets and back with no discernible change in their play (except for Chemold, which were junk the Aussies that were signed up quickly abandoned). Now, the pros and even regular guys have to have their rackets matched exactly and the pros change them out every few games.
For myself, I can feel the difference between very small changes in weight and swing weight. Even playing with completely different rackets out of my collection, doesn't change the level of my play, though.
A dampener isn't changing someone's level of play, it's just about what feels comfortable.
 

BorgCash

Legend
Probably Andre, he used his rubber even in 1988, first time i've watched him, match vs Mats in RG. But i did not pay attention to his dampener.
 
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