Want to stay up on all the latest racquet innovations? Learn what MRTs need to know to maintain their high standards of professionalism and service.
Racquet manufacturers are constantly working to improve their products. Sometimes, new technologies can cross through all manufacturers, such as wide-bodies and titanium. Other technologies, though, are proprietary and limited to one brand. Some are all encompassing involving a totally new design (Prince O-Ports, for instance), while others are minor tweaks to improve a certain racquet or previous technology.
As part of our effort to make sure that the USRSA Master Racquet Technician program exemplifies the highest standard of professionalism in racquet service, MRTs are required to take an update test each year to ensure they are keeping up with the latest technologies being introduced in the industry. (Visit USRSA.com for more information on certification.)
Here are brief definitions — based on manufacturers’ descriptions — of the most recent technologies introduced by racquet brands.
Evo Beam — Varied thickness of the beam, which is designed to produce less torque at ball impact and better responsiveness.
Flex Carbon — New technology featured in the Pure Control line. It has less density of carbon fibers for more flexibility and offers more control at ball impact.
Stabilizer Technology — A hybrid frame construction and stiff carbon fiber designed for improved torsional stability at ball impact, leading to more precise shots.
Strike Hybrid Frame Construction — A mix of square and elliptic construction designed to offer more responsiveness at ball impact.
Responsive Woofer — Provides energy restitution thanks to a new material, PEBAX, injected into the grommets and bumper.
X-Sider — New frame design that increases the sweetspot by 10 percent, adding more forgiveness on off-center hits.
BasaltX2 (BX2) — The second generation of the BasaltX technology, with 30 percent more basalt fibers within the same material. It is designed to be 20 percent lighter in overall weight, 28 percent stronger, and provide 20 percent more vibration dampening.
Extreme String Pattern (ESP) — More open and aggressive string pattern designed to deliver up to 30 percent more spin. ESP racquets are designed specifically for different player types by adjusting the head size, weight, balance, swing weight and stiffness along with the string pattern to achieve the best performance.
Synergy Link — The use of polyurethane in the bumper, which offers 18 percent additional shock absorption and more comfort.
Velocity Shaft Design — 11 percent less beam size on the shaft, designed to allow for more speed and spin versus a standard elliptic beam.
Bio-Sensor Grip Pin — Handle system featuring three different dampening pin lengths and materials for three different player profile groups — Recreational (Red Soft Pin, 7.72 cm); Intermediate (Yellow Medium Pin, 7.72 cm) and Tournament (Black Hard Pin, 3.81 cm).
Speed Grommet — Shaped grommets designed to allow string movements in all directions with no friction at the grommet wall and no energy loss.
Super Grommet — Speed grommets with V-Sponse material providing more control by extending receive time. It increases the sweetspot and produces more speed by providing the best energy return.
V-Sponse Technology — A visco-elastic polymer material, similar to Sorbothane, now used in the patented Volkl Super grommet system and bio-feel dampening pin. It is 20 percent more flexible than standard grommet and pin material, and provides additional dampening to the bio-feel grip pin. It generates an increased “spring effect” in the grommets. Has the lowest energy loss factor of all thermoplastic elastomers. V-Sponse is designed to provide the best dampening and energy return.
Parallel Drilling — Drilling the grommet holes parallel to each other to allow for increase string movement, which increases the sweetspot size by up to 27 percent. This provides more comfort, responsiveness, and a forgiving feel.
Dual Shut System — Shockless grommets at the bottom of the frame reduce impact vibration, and Quake Shut Gel, which is embedded inside the handle, is designed to remove the more subtle discomfort from the frame, resulting in a 50 percent reduction in vibration compared to conventional models. Designed to improve comfort and control.
New Isometric — Evolved Isometric Technology with improved grommet system applying both deep and shallow grooves inside of the frame. This new Isometric technology is designed to provide a maximum sweetspot.
New OPS (Oval Pressed Shaft) — Features rounder shaft corners, designed to provide an ideal level of flex, while a wider shaft face increases stability, resulting in extended ball dwell time for optimized ball spin and directional control.
Trans-Weight System — Integrates new Nanometric material, which improves the bonding strength between carbon fibers at the center and bottom of the frame, reducing the weight shift to the top of the frame. This results in a racquet head that reacts faster for quicker maneuverability and produces the fastest swing speed in Yonex history.
See all articles by Bob Patterson
About the Author
Bob Patterson , the founder of the RacquetMAXX customization service, is a Master Racquet Technician with more than 20 years of experience. He was RSI's Stringer of the Year in 2005. He is Special Projects Manager for Tennis Industry magazine.