Racquet technology is sometimes mentioned in discussions about court speed and death of S&V. But what do you think, are modern racquets too good?
I really don't know too much about last century's tennis. But at least in '90s, fastest surfaces had turned into acefests. And I think a reason to that was improved racquets. They enabled faster and more accurate serving. On the other hand, better racquets have obviously also helped in defence. If you are just able to hit the ball, you can control the shot better than previously. A common explanation for the extinction of S&V is that with modern racquets, it's easier to hit a good return and pass the guy on net.
If the racquets were worse, it would favour more skilled players. It would be more difficult for ballbashers to blow their opponents off the court. But it would be more difficult also for grinders, it would be difficult to return shots from defending position. And who would win? The creative shotmakers. For example, only the most skilled players would be able to serve so well that they would be able to come to net. The opponent could return the serve, but it would be difficult for him to pass the guy on net.
So, if they could go the former racquets, I think tennis would be more about skills. Fastest surfaces wouldn't anymore be acefests but S&V-fests. Clay would still favour good defending, but it would be easier to beat a defence-only player with skillful playing. I'd love if they could go to '80s racquets but I guess that would be too radical a move. It would be too difficult for players to adapt to that and big crowd wouldn't necessarily understand going backwards. But at least I wouldn't like the racquets to improve anymore, better racquets mean hitting requires less skill. And I don't think regulating racquets wouldn't be against the spirit of sport. For example, they regulate skis in Alpine skiing, and sometimes make regulation changes. Why couldn't tennis also regulate racquets more? Of course, racquet manufacturers wouldn't like that. Nowadays racquets are sold by their quality, spec racquets would be sold e.g. by their paintjob.
I agree with practically everything you said there. But, that is not a strong enough reason to not let technology play its part. In any racquet sport(an argument could be made for any sport), with time the sport is going to be forced to evolve. As you said, better equipment facilitates better serving, better shot making, better defence etc. Better tennis, which is what everyone wants. Some of the hardcore tennis fans may want to see a technically better game and a more 'skillful' player(over defence and ball-bashing), but that is not what the average fan wants. The sport survives on the big crowd, not merely us hardcore fans. The average fan would not find the wooden racquet game very interesting. I don't really know anything about skiing, so I won't comment on that. But practically every sport evolves with time. The cricket bat, badminton/squash/table tennis racquet, football, etc. I would even go so far as to say that it would be foolish to not let technology take its due course.
The point you(and me for that matter) need to face is that the traditional definition of skill no longer holds. Good defence(a.k.a. grinding) is a skill now. Using the racquet technology to your advantage is a very important skill. If Nadal is able to use better strings to his advantage by generating more topspin than most players are used to, it is a skill which gives him an advantage over the others. It would be pointless to say that 'he couldn't do the same with a wooden racquet'.
If used in the right way, these better racquets actually expand the meaning of creative shot making. There are wider variety of shots possible now than with the wooden rackets.
While better racquets does mean hitting well requires lesser skill(in the traditional definition of skill), it does not mean the value of skill is lost. Most people would agree that Federer is a very 'skillful' player. From what I understand, the racquet he uses is of no where near the latest technology. So 'skill' is able to do well in todays game. In general, surely a more skillful player can outperform a less skillful player even today.