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Tennis rewind. Racquet technology.

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Tennis rewind. Racquet technology. Empty Tennis rewind. Racquet technology.

Post by luvsports! on Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:50 pm

Away from religion. Away from fedal and the current era.

I want to know about the racquet tech of wooden rackets and its evolution up to say Lendl and no further!
Did players have greatly different racquets back then i.e. frame size, strings, weight etc.

What did the likes of laver, rosewall, pancho play with compared to say borg, connors, jmac and then again lendl, edberg and becker. 
Seriously please no mention of federer or nadal here. Let's try something different.

How much did that impact their play and how were they inhibited by the tech. Not the best question (not put very well) but worth a go.
Shoot smiley

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Post by Tenez on Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:59 pm

Well I probably own each one of those raquets (Borg's, McEnroe, Connors, Vilas, and Lendl's).

I would say besides Connors who had the famous metallic one all the others played very similar. McEnroe was slightly lighter on the head while the others were pretty similar. The racquets were certainly not very different to one another and the strings were simply the same for all....except when Nastase started to play without those spaghetti ones (double layers of strings) which were quickly forbidden. There may have been slight differences with older racquets (Laver's time) but again I don't think the science evolved that much at that time.

It's very much like snooker cues actually. There is so much you can do with wood.....and nat strings.

And this is why I say that the differences in surfaces is very much a recent phenomenon cause clay and grass were not that different before the arrival or larger graphite racquet. You had many champions who did the FO/Wimby double like Borg. The larger frames certainly helped the Svers on grass and moonballers on clay.

It is so difficult to find the right balance as one player can make a surface extreme when typically all the other players make it a normal pace.

A few players would be simply unbreakable on grass if they had not introduced bigger ball. They would be guaranteed to reach the TB on every single set. This is the problem we have nowadays with slow courts...some players are simply guaranteed to win over best of 5 cause they are so fit...especially on clay.

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Post by bluenose on Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:53 pm

My first opportunity to play at tennis when we finally moved outside and there were "courts" was with my parents' wooden rackets from the 40's. Good lord, you can't even imagine how heavy and awkward those rackets were!  And you had to put them in a press so they wouldn't warp.  It was another world.

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Post by DEC1M8 on Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:00 pm

Wow Tennis really has changed much over the years I admit.

I remember my parents getting me my first tennis racket as a 22nd birthday present, I think the year was 1924 or something of the sort.
Certainly rackets have changed a lot since then, they've become more powerful with the likes of the ATP and NIKE at the helm of most changes.
The rackets are much lighter now actually, but more powerful than in those days.

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Post by luvsports! on Sun Nov 24, 2013 1:06 pm

what were the size and weight of racquets?

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Post by Daniel on Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:04 pm

Much smaller...  I don't know the actual spec but I saw an older couple using them at the place we usually play tennis.  I couldn't believe how much smaller and weaker they were.


Last edited by FedererKing on Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:10 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by luvsports! on Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:29 pm

No mention of current players remember!

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Post by Daniel on Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:10 pm

Aye aye.

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Post by luvsports! on Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:14 pm

So the racquet that borg used, where he used topspin, what kind of rpm are we looking at here, was there a lot of talent to do that without it shanking off all over the place, or was his racquet tech able to do that when he came along?

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Post by Tenez on Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:19 pm

Low rpm I guess. He framed a lot btw.

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Post by luvsports! on Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:37 pm

Shortest answer I've ever seen from you Tenez Winking

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Post by Tenez on Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:50 pm

But as right as ever! Winking

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Post by luvsports! on Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:55 pm

I stand corrected, even shorter smiley
Can I ask why you were a fan of borg?

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Post by Tenez on Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:13 pm

Because I was young. When you are young you don't understand so much the game and the skills. You simply want to find a hero, someone who is going to achieve so much he is going to give you faith on your own life. In that respect I understand why the kids love Nadal and that 's his positive side (we all have one....even him). I am still a big fan of Borg but it is purely because I was then. He is the one that got me into tennis and also I think he behaved very well as a champion.

However had I been a bit more knowledgeable I probably would have supported Nastase, Guerulatis over him. Though Borg had some talent...his footwork, very light on his feet, what he was doing with the racquet was not that great.

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Post by luvsports! on Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:26 pm

Good post! Very true. This post re nadal may give something for JS to cling onto Winking

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Post by DEC1M8 on Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:31 pm

I thought we're not meant to mention current players such as El Goat, and Federer in this thread tennisball 

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Post by luvsports! on Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:31 pm

I knew you would hold me to that JS, but for this one rare instance I thought it was worth it.
Won't happen again!

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Post by DEC1M8 on Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:38 pm

It was actually Tenez who mentioned El Goat first, not you.
Naughty Tenez borg 

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Post by luvsports! on Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:46 pm

No goat talk either!

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Post by DEC1M8 on Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:01 pm

luvsports! wrote:No goat talk either!
Absolutely, as I said no mention of him at all. wizard 

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Post by DEC1M8 on Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:02 pm

Anyway... to get us back on track:

Has the increasing sweetspot size not made it easier to attack as racket technology has progressed?

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Post by luvsports! on Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:08 pm

I guess you look at it both ways.
For instance I would assume that the old tech makes it harder to hit on the defence and also on the return. Just bunt it back without getting as much purchase, spin and control as later generations would. 
A well timed attacking play could generally thwart a more defensive ploy.

We need the oldies from otf to weigh in on this Winking

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Post by laverfan on Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:33 pm

I have an old Yoneyama, 6-7" round, natural gut. Would break often. It is badly chipped. Will try and post an image when I can get it out.

As BN says, the frame had to be kept in a vice, which looks like /-_-\, with four metallic clamps, one at each corner. Google can show you many images.

Borg played with a special racquet built by Donnay specifically for him.

Laver played with Dunlop/Slazengers, but I recall an experiment with Carltons.

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Post by Tenez on Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:40 pm

I played with wooden racquets young but only a few months before I bought my first graphite. However I played again recently on grass as in a fun tournament. The main difference is that hitting the ball becomes the challenge as much as aiming the court. Nowdays you can take a swing at the ball and you'd have to be very poor to miss the ball. The bigger sweet spot makes a huge difference. With wooden racquets one has really to concentrate on the shot itself and there one tends to be very careful when hitting the ball. That's why back then it was all about placing the ball.
 
The first player to really whack (swing) the ball with a wooden racquet was Lendl, afaik. All the others were much more cautious in their swing.
 
Playing with wooden racquet is a real joy as it really requires skills and give you a real sense of "play" instead of physical exercise. It's a bit like playing darts or snooker I guess.

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Post by legendkillar on Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:12 am

I used a Dunlop wooden racquet as a wee lad and even now I can remember how the ball felt out of the racquet very true and pure. I can't remember the specs as it was a present from me mum and dad. I wasn't old enough to see Borg in his prime. I remember watching Becker, Lendl, Edberg and McEnroe and being in awe of them.

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Post by luvsports! on Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:11 pm

Some very different players there LK, nice mix.

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