How rackets have changed tennis

Tennis has seen many changes in the size and shape of its rackets over the years.

Players have tried just about every variation down the years to try and hit that ball as sweetly as possible by using curved heads, square heads, triangular heads etc. 

But the really exciting changes came during the late 20th century.

Wood v Metal
In the 1960's Wilson developed a revolutionary racquet called the T2000.    

Made of steel and with a round head it was lighter and moved through the air quicker than wooden rackets.

Eight-time Grand Slam winner Jimmy Connors used the T2000 for most of his playing career.

Spalding launched an aluminium racquet, called The Smasher in 1968. Even though the Spalding racket was lighter and more flexible than steel it was less accurate than wood due to its stiffness. 

Players felt they did not have the same feel and touch as with wooden rackets 

Wood remained the choice of most players for another decade and it worked for Bjorn Borg in the 1970s and 80s, who won 11 Grand Slams using his trusty Donnay. 

Graphite appears
Dunlop launched the Maxply McEnroe in 1982 which was a racket made from graphite which combined the accuracy of wood with the increased power and durability of fibreglass.

Graphite is a form of carbon fibre that can be used to make racquets on its own, or combined with other materials such as fibreglass. This is used by most players today.

Oversized rackets
In the 1980's oversize rackets were introduced which gave a player a much larger ‘sweet spot' and more power.

The issue with these rackets was that it was more difficult to control the ball and the top players usually choose smaller head sizes.

Power changes everything
The huge increase in power nowadays has made tennis a very different sport from 20-years ago.

Technology has undoubtedly played a big part, in particular the development of the wide body racket.

Wider than a traditional racket, this design provides added power but reduces flexibility. It's a hugely popular racket, but not everyone is impressed.

Past tennis greats like John McEnroe have complained that the modern game is too reliant on power and boring to watch as a result.

What is your take on the tennis racket development?

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