Tennis Industry magazine

 

Right Frame, Right Game

For your customers, the latest offerings cover all the bases.

By James Martin

Racquet manufacturers are keying on all the things that your customers are looking for: more power, more comfort, more maneuverability and more forgiving frames. Here are some of the latest racquets that you should know about.

Head Protector

Tennis elbow is the bane of many players. In fact, some studies have concluded that 60 percent of the recreational tennis population suffers from the debilitating tendonitis. Head feels their pain, and hopes to make it better with the Protector, a new racquet designed specifically for those with tennis elbow.

Fischer Pro Tour FT
Fischer Pro Tour FT

The theory behind the racquet is simple: Shock transmitted to the arm exacerbates tennis elbow. The way the racquet eliminates the bad vibes is complex. When you hit the ball with the Protector, piezoelectric fibers in the throat produce an electrical output that’s transmitted to a microchip embedded in the handle. The chip analyzes the electrical impulse and sends back a countervailing vibration to cancel out the shock before it reaches the arm. This process, called EDS, or Electronic Dampening System, produces a rather “dead” sensation on impact and is supposed to reduce stress on the arm.

The Protector will cost $300 and is available in two head sizes. The mid-plus is 102 square inches, 27.3 inches long, and 10 ounces. It’ll appeal to intermediates with medium to longer, slower swings. At 115 square inches and 27.75 inches, the oversize has more power. Sell it to players with short strokes.

800-289-7366 — head.com

Fischer Pro Tour FT

What’s the hottest trend in racquets? It may be the lighter advanced sticks that most companies have been producing of late. These 10.5-to-11-ounce frames are easier to swing than traditional 11-to-12-ounce advanced-player racquets; they’ve been particularly popular with strong junior players (think the kid on the varsity team). Fischer’s entry into this growing market is the Pro Tour FT. It’s an extremely maneuverable frame, thanks to the relatively light weight and head-light balance. Endorsed by Karolina Sprem of Croatia, who upset Venus Williams at Wimbledon this year, the $180 Pro Tour features Frequency Tuning (metal powder placed at precise locations on the frame to optimize its weight and “tune” the vibration frequencies) and a vibration dampening technology in the handle.

412-323-0335 — gammasports.com

Wilson n6 and n3

By now you’ve probably heard that Wilson uses a nanotechnology process to make its new nCode racquets, but you still probably have little idea what the heck it means or how it works. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: Wilson fills the microscopic spaces between the racquet’s woven graphite fibers with silicone oxide crystals to increase the frame’s stiffness, strength, and stability, as well as to ensure that the racquet plays better, longer.

The n6 is a lightweight racquet that’s ideal for fast-swinging club players who prefer a head-heavy balance. It’s available in 95- and 110-square-inch head sizes, and at $179 it’s the lowest priced nCode on the market.

Although it’s significantly more expensive, the $259 n3 gives you more bang for your buck — literally. This is a powerful racquet, with a large 115-square-inch head, widebody design, and nZone, large oval channels in the head at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions that allow the grommets, and thus the strings, to move more on impact for a trampoline-like effect. The n3 also has the three-piece Triad design (the head and handle are separated by a vibration-eating yoke) for comfort. The n3 should be popular among mid-level club players who want to add pop to their short strokes.

773-714-6400 — wilson.com

Völkl Catapult 2 (Generation 2)

The name of Völkl’s latest racquet says it all. This is an update of the Catapult 2. What’s new? Völkl has added a new spring at the top of the head (complementing the ones at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions) to expand the sweetspot and make an already comfortable racquet feel even more forgiving. The frame is also a little stiffer, for extra pop, and will sell for $250 versus the original’s $270 price tag. What hasn’t changed? Same 115-square-inch head, 27.75-inch length, and 9-ounce weight.

800-264-4579 — voelkl-tennis.com

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About the Author

James Martin is the editor-in-chief of Tennis magazine and TENNIS.com. He is the former editor of Tennis Industry magazine. You can reach him at jmartin@tennismagazine.com.

 

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