Tennis Industry magazine

 

Racquet Technologies: Advancing the Cause

Stay up to date on the latest racquet technologies, materials and construction techniques.

By Bob Patterson

It seems that everything in our lives is driven by technology. Racquets are no exception. While revolutionary advances like the Babolat Play racquets or the Sony Smart Sensor scream technology, there are many other subtle advances in racquets.

Manufacturers continue to seek out new materials and construction techniques to improve racquets. They are also constantly tweaking the designs and integration between the frame and string bed to give player better feel and better performance.

These changes seem to come at a pace that makes it difficult for retailers to keep up. As part of our effort to make sure the USRSA Master Racquet Technician program exemplifies the highest standard of professionalism in racquet service, every MRT is required to complete an annual update test to ensure they are keeping up with the latest technologies introduced in the industry. (Visit USRSA.com for more information about certification.)

Here is a list of the latest technologies being introduced, along with a brief description provided by the manufacturers.

BABOLAT

Frame String Interaction Technology (FSI) — New frame technology that provides a tighter stringing pattern in the redefined sweet spot area (slightly higher than the traditional center of a racquet), along with an optimized woofer system, to offer more control and consistency on all strokes.

DUNLOP

iDapt — A revolutionary frame technology that allows players to choose how their frame feels, plays and even looks. Players are able to choose their head size and look, followed by their feel, which is driven by the Shock Sleeve, available in firm, medium and soft feels. From there the player chooses their grip size and handle length. The dealer assembles the racquet in minutes. iDapt allows 432 different combinations to be built from just 12 racquet heads.

GAMMA

Advanced Aerodynamic Cross Section — Aerodynamic frame shape reduces air resistance and allows easier maneuverability. Also gives the perfect amount of flex in the head to store power for maximum ball speed.

Recessed Bumper Guard — Bumper system built into the frame for a seamless blend with frame. This prevents less drag and faster racquet-head speed.

HEAD

Adaptive String Pattern (ASP) — Allows racquet to be strung with two different patterns (16x19 and 16x16), utilizing two exchangeable grommet inserts. Changing the number of cross strings changes the spacing between the strings in the center of the sweet spot, allowing the player to adapt the racquet to what they want.

GrapheneXT — Allows for an extreme distribution of weight from the shaft to the tip and grip to increase swingweight and raise the sweet spot to maximize power in the modern game. Up to 30 percent stronger and 20 percent lighter and produces up to 10 percent more energy transfer.

PRINCE

TeXtreme — New Prince TeXtreme frames utilize this high-tech material by positioning it in the shaft and lower hoop with a 45˚ orientation, resulting in 25 percent less twisting without increasing stiffness or swing weight. This provides more power and plow-through by reducing energy loss at impact. It also provides more control and accuracy by maintaining good racquet-face positioning at impact. Lower stiffness reduces overall racquet vibration and shock to the arm during play, improving comfort and feel.

TECNIFIBRE

Armor Cap — A thicker, wider and longer bumper guard providing better protection with more durability.

Dynacore — Frame construction featuring unmatched combination of flexibility and torsional stability. Solid construction for long-lasting performance. A softer feel for muscle integrity and less fatigue. Better and quicker communication to the hand.

EZ Lock Eyelet — Extra flat and larger grommets on tie-off holes eases stringing and improves tie-off knot.

WILSON

Braided Graphite + Basalt — An elastic and reactive material combination that improves the racquet flex and increases the ball’s contact with the strings to provide enhanced feel and greater control.

Braided Graphite + Kevlar — Provides a solid and consistent feel, dampens vibration, and enhances touch and control.

High Performance Carbon Fiber — Developed for aggressive swings, this premium modulus carbon graphite provides increased frame stiffness for power.

Sony Smart Tennis Sensor — Sensor attaches to the racquet to gather data about shots and strokes.

X2 Shaft — Combines a longer handle for increased feel and leverage on two-handed backhands and a rounded and narrower shaft to enable quick grip changes and optimal feel for the opposite hand on forehands.

Advance your own cause — and your business, too — by becoming a USRSA Certified Stringer or Master Racquet Technician. Visit USRSA.com for more information.

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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 Executive Director for the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association.

 

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