When Exactly Did Players Start Using Modern Rackets [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

When Exactly Did Players Start Using Modern Rackets

Xavier7
08-18-2010, 09:27 PM
Can anyone who was watching tennis in the 80s answer this?
When exactly did players stop using wooden rackets and graphite/metal rackets came into use?

I only started watching tennis in the Becker/Edberg era and so don't remember tennis when wooden rackets were at all still in use.

Was there a crossover period when players will using both?

dombrfc
08-18-2010, 10:00 PM
Bump for interest.

Johnny Groove
08-18-2010, 10:03 PM
Jimmy Connors, I think in the '70's. And his T2000 steel racket.

Everyone else was still using wood at that time.

Shirogane
08-18-2010, 10:11 PM
Mecir, the last one standing with a wooden racket in a slam final in '86. :worship:

borracho
08-18-2010, 10:16 PM
Roscoe Tanner vs Borg US Open 1979, Tanner was using metal racket and Borg a wooden.

BigJohn
08-18-2010, 10:18 PM
Jimmy Connors, I think in the '70's. And his T2000 steel racket.

Everyone else was still using wood at that time.

Mecir, the last one standing with a wooden racket in a slam final in '86. :worship:

nice. thanks

borracho
08-18-2010, 10:20 PM
didn't Mecir have a 90 or 95 inch wooden racket?

Voo de Mar
08-18-2010, 10:22 PM
Not too many players were using wooden racquets in the 80's, indeed Mecir was the last one who won a tournament playing with a wooden racquet and it was in 1989 so actually we can say that starting with a 90's decade definitely was finished the era of wooden racquets :)

paseo
08-18-2010, 10:23 PM
What about the strings? When did this extreme-top-spin-enabling strings was first used? And by who?

Voo de Mar
08-18-2010, 10:25 PM
Mecir, the last one standing with a wooden racket in a slam final in '86. :worship:

Mecir played a Grand Slam final also in 1989.

BigJohn
08-18-2010, 10:27 PM
Is there a site that "tracks" the evolution of rackets, strings, balls, courts... because if not, I will give that idea for free to anyone willing to do it.

Voo de Mar
08-18-2010, 10:35 PM
Is there a site that "tracks" the evolution of rackets, strings, balls, courts... because if not, I will give that idea for free to anyone willing to do it.

I'd add: equipment, clothes, hairstyles...

BigJohn
08-18-2010, 10:43 PM
I'd add: equipment, clothes, hairstyles...

I was hoping you would find the idea so good you'd start working on that site right away. Damn it...

Xavier7
08-18-2010, 10:48 PM
Not too many players were using wooden racquets in the 80's, indeed Mecir was the last one who won a tournament playing with a wooden racquet and it was in 1989 so actually we can say that starting with a 90's decade definitely was finished the era of wooden racquets :)

Thats weird because I'd wouldn't have thought players would be able to compete at the top of the game using wooden rackets as soon as metal rackets became widespread.

I guess the metal rackets weren't so good as then but even so, I kind of expected it would be like everyone on the tour would change to metal rackets within a couple of years of them being invented :confused:

straitup
08-18-2010, 10:52 PM
When Borg came back for his fail of a comeback in the early 90s (can't remember what year), didn't he use wood? Or did he use a "modern racket" and not do as well?

Xavier7
08-18-2010, 10:54 PM
This from Wikipedia:

Attempted comeback

In the early-1990s, Borg attempted a comeback on the men's professional tennis tour. This time around, however, he was completely unsuccessful. Playing with his old wooden rackets in an attempt to regain his once-indomitable touch, he lost his first comeback match in 1991 to Jordi Arrese at the Monte Carlo Open. From 1991 to 1993 Borg was defeated twelve straight times in the first round of ATP Tour events, losing to: Jordi Arrese, Andrei Medvedev, Chris Pridham, Goran Prpić, Lionel Roux, Nicklas Kulti, Olivier Delaître, Thomas Hogstedt, Wayne Ferreira, Alexander Volkov, Jaime Oncins and Joao Cunha-Silva.The closest he came to winning a match was in 1993 in Moscow, when he pushed Alexander Volkov to three sets and lost a final set tiebreaker 9–7.[13] After that match, he retired from the tour for good and confined himself to playing on the senior tour, with modern rackets.

straitup
08-18-2010, 10:59 PM
Thanks! Yeah I remember reading about his match with Arrese and how he just couldn't keep up (even though Jordi wasn't even a hard hitter)

Har-Tru
08-19-2010, 01:18 AM
Didn't Arthur Ashe use an aluminum or metal racket in the 1975 Wimbledon final? If so, that was the first slam final without a wooden racket.

Voo de Mar
08-19-2010, 01:29 AM
Didn't Arthur Ashe use an aluminum or metal racket in the 1975 Wimbledon final? If so, that was the first slam final without a wooden racket.

No, Muscles played with a metal racquet as well against Connors one year earlier in the Wimbeldon final.

Haelfix
08-19-2010, 04:46 AM
The big difference between old school metal and wood racquets was really felt the most in the serve.

I've played with both, and its not a huge difference. Wood actually gives you a ton of feel, although I imagine it must have caused all sorts of injuries (tennis elbow etc).

It wasn't until the early 90s where you start seeing oversized synthetic racquets where the huge change happens. I remember changing racquets and feeling like it was almost cheating by how much extra power I could generate with that relative to my heavy metal racquet.

Har-Tru
08-19-2010, 07:09 AM
No, Muscles played with a metal racquet as well against Connors one year earlier in the Wimbeldon final.

Really? Rosewall? When did he change his racket?

Echoes
08-19-2010, 08:02 AM
I think I've read somewhere that at a certain period he used a wooden racket in Australia (his usual Slazenger) but a steel one in the Northern hemisphere (Seamco). Must be around 1973 [Edit: sorry it was launched in 1971 and Rosewall won the WCT Finals of 1972 with it, but I think he still played the AO '74 with the Slaz]. Ashe's was definitely an aluminum one. Laver also used an aluminum one but hated it. Stolle said he threw it in a lake, I think. :lol:

Mecir surely switched to graphite in 1987 (Snauwaert Orbit). Hats off to him anyway

Who used the 1st graphite/fiberglass racket?
As far as I know, Lendl's Kneissl White Star in 1979 (or 1980?) but with a small frame. And Wilander's Rossignol F200 in 1982 with an oversized frame? Johan Kriek should have used one with a non-oversized frame as well.

Wasn't the turning point, the mid 1983 season when about any great player switched to graphite? McEnroe had at that time something like a 10 losing streak against Lendl with his wooden Dunlop Maxply and then a 10 winning streak with the graphite Max200G. Also Connors dropped the T2000 in 1983/84 for the Wilson ProStaff. But in 1985, I think he used the T2000 again, quite strangely.

And remember the comment made by Mac, about Becker's win at Wimbledon and his own defeat against Curren who just had a new model in 1985. He felt old at age 26 !! and said that despite all his talent, Becker's win was mainly due to the racket. :D

Raiden
08-19-2010, 10:24 AM
Jimmy Connors, I think in the '70's. And his T2000 steel racket.

Everyone else was still using wood at that time.No. Someone else was aHEAD of even Connors: Arthur Ashe.

Ashe was using Howard Head's aluminum composite stick already in 1969.

This was before Connors even became a pro.

Fumus
08-19-2010, 12:39 PM
I wouldn't consider steel rackets to be what we call today's modern frame. The man who invented what we call today's modern racket was none other than Howard Head, founder of Head racquet sports. Head developed the first over-sized racquet to increase the sweet spot on the string bed. At the time of the racquet's development Head was working with Prince and this lead to the development of the first graphite racquet.

I believe this is considered to be the first modern racquet as today's professional player's racquets very only slightly from Head's original design. The mold and string beds are almost identical to Head's original graphite prototype. Infact many players today still use the POG or Prince Original Graphite. Head would later leave Prince (obviously) and start his own company; the mold for his racquet the "prestige" is still used by many(many) players today.

Pretty cool, eh?

As the game evolved further in the 90s/00s and players were able to create more spin and power with longer strokes and the racquets became stiffer (for more power/less feel) and the string beds became even larger (more power+spin/less touch). This would be considered the "babolat" era of racquets. But I still think the majority of male players on tour play with a more classic frame.

Voo de Mar
08-19-2010, 01:28 PM
Mecir surely switched to graphite in 1987 (Snauwaert Orbit). Hats off to him anyway


There's info it was a wood/graphite composite.

bjurra
08-19-2010, 04:54 PM
Not too many players were using wooden racquets in the 80's, indeed Mecir was the last one who won a tournament playing with a wooden racquet and it was in 1989 so actually we can say that starting with a 90's decade definitely was finished the era of wooden racquets :)

I was a big fan of Mecir and I cant remember him playing wooden as late as 1989. I would normally never question any facts from you, Voo, but do you have a source?

Edit: How could I doubt you?

bjurra
08-19-2010, 04:55 PM
There's info it was a wood/graphite composite.

Ah, thats why I thought it wasnt wood.

bjurra
08-19-2010, 05:01 PM
As for the OPs question, I would say that the late 1980s was the main turning point. That is when Wilson Pro Staff and Head Prestige came out, racquets which would feel quite similar to todays equipment.

Anything pre 1980 would feel very weird and most racquets pre 1985 too.

Echoes
08-20-2010, 08:36 AM
I think Voo is right however. The graphite only seems to be paint. Mecir made all his career with a wooden racket. Truly amazing !!! :eek::worship:


[...]

Interesting post. Perhaps could you give dates?

Shirogane
08-20-2010, 10:00 AM
Time and again I've heard it was all a paint job, it's nice to finally have some sort of confirmation.

latso
08-20-2010, 10:26 AM
I wouldn't consider steel rackets to be what we call today's modern frame. The man who invented what we call today's modern racket was none other than Howard Head, founder of Head racquet sports. Head developed the first over-sized racquet to increase the sweet spot on the string bed. At the time of the racquet's development Head was working with Prince and this lead to the development of the first graphite racquet.

I believe this is considered to be the first modern racquet as today's professional player's racquets very only slightly from Head's original design. The mold and string beds are almost identical to Head's original graphite prototype. Infact many players today still use the POG or Prince Original Graphite. Head would later leave Prince (obviously) and start his own company; the mold for his racquet the "prestige" is still used by many(many) players today.

Pretty cool, eh?

As the game evolved further in the 90s/00s and players were able to create more spin and power with longer strokes and the racquets became stiffer (for more power/less feel) and the string beds became even larger (more power+spin/less touch). This would be considered the "babolat" era of racquets. But I still think the majority of male players on tour play with a more classic frame.
Good post with only this slight inacuracy - stiffer racquet = more touch

That's also why Edberg was playing with the yellow megastiff ProStaff racquet, very suited for s&v due to its stiffness.

Sampras' classic ProStaff was less rigid and more powerfull (Edberg 80% grafite, 20% fibres, Sampras' 70-30)

:)

Fumus
08-20-2010, 10:39 PM
I think Voo is right however. The graphite only seems to be paint. Mecir made all his career with a wooden racket. Truly amazing !!! :eek::worship:

Interesting post. Perhaps could you give dates?

I guess I could that would involve work. Just google Howard Head. It's actually a very interesting story because the guy went from revolutionizing skis to setting the new standard in tennis racquets.

All because like most players he blamed his racquet instead of himself. Except when you're a genius like Head you can do something about it. However the wikipedia article I read was kinda cruel and said even with his amazing breakthroughs his game never improved. :sad:

Good post with only this slight inacuracy - stiffer racquet = more touch

That's also why Edberg was playing with the yellow megastiff ProStaff racquet, very suited for s&v due to its stiffness.

Sampras' classic ProStaff was less rigid and more powerfull (Edberg 80% grafite, 20% fibres, Sampras' 70-30)

:)

Explain to how this makes any sense? Pete play with the most traditional least powerful most touch racquet ever the ProStaff 85. Not only was the head super small but then Pete would string them up to ungodly high tensions. The man wanted control though, not power.

As far what you said about the stiffness...when a racquet is less stiff it absorbs more of the impact of the ball strike therefore with that absorption you feel more. The racquet almost kinda tingles in your hand. Also it's really great for deadening the ball on volleys and slices. Exactly what a serve and volley player would want to do(like Pete). Absorb the pace of the passing shot and then hit a short angled volley to end the point.

Now a stiff racquet on the other hand will not absorb pace. It's stiff like a board. You won't feel as much and in fact this can cause elbow and wrist injuries because instead of the racquet absorbing the blow your arm does. This also why (among other reasons) modern players have much longer follow throughs. That whippy thing Nadal does after he hits a forehand isn't just for show...that's to prevent injury! In any event with less energy absorbed on impact more is given on your shot...more spin and power!

Therefore, the stiffer the racquet the more power...the less stiff...the less powerful. Hey, don't take my word for it...

http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/LC/BasicFacts.html
(checkout line 4 on racquet facts) :)