racket technology hasn't changed much since the mid 80’s and early 90's. fed’s racket was introduced in 1983, and tons of pros who use head are basically playing with a painted variant of the prestige pro which came out in 1986. it's the polyester strings (luxilon) which have radically altered how the game is played, not the rackets.
Yeah this. Racquets have changed a little bit but it's the strings that have influenced the game. Ridiculous amounts of power plus the spin to control it.
I often wish that tennis was more like cricket or baseball, which set very strict equipment parameters very early on in their history. Modern cricket bats are very different from the bats of 100 years ago, but they are still made of wood and still roughly the same dimensions. As a result the game has not changed too much due to improvements in technology.
I have been to retro 'woodie' tournaments where very good players (ex-Div 1 US college players and ex-satellite tour pros) play with wooden racquets on grass courts. They are awesome matches - a lot less power, but far more craftiness. Paradoxically, the power players really stood out - in a normal match the strings and racquets give everyone power, but at these tournaments its only the guys with genuine power and technique that get real heat.
I try not to be too much of a stick in the mud traditionalist, but I kind of figure that sports are designed (and become successful) on the basis of the equipment that exists at the time. The rules we all play by - the height of the net, the size of the courts, the number of serves - were designed because the people who invented the game assumed we'd all be using an old flannel ball and a wooden stick strung with catgut. If they'd known we'd have futuristic sticks capable of creating absurd and inconceivable spin, then they would have set completely different rules.
Realistically you can't go backwards though. Modern players have crafted their games to suit modern equipment. People have become used to seeing the type of tennis we see now. Which I think is unfortunate. There are a lot of things that I like about modern tennis, but the homogeneous baseline slugfest that the game has become is completely different from the way the game has been played for 90% of its history.
I don't think (m)any people want to see a return to wooden racquets but I would like to see a bit of a compromise. A limit on string technology to reduce the absurd amounts of spin we see nowadays would do a lot to introduce a bit more variety back to the sport. But I don't see it happening.