We continue to discuss with Bruce Levine, Technical Adviser for Tennis Magazine and tennis.com for racquets and strings, how to choose a right tennis racquet.
Q.: There are a lot of brands on the market: Babolat, Wilson, Head, Prince and many others. All of them say that they use “unique” new technologies that make player’s game more effective and consistent. What is your opinion?
A.: Each of the brands has its own technologies but in general there are trends that these technologies perform. First it was making lighter racquets and using titanium, then it went into intelligent materials… The big trends today are that the vibrations are dampened in the frame and grip systems and that frames have intelligent materials in their make up.
Q.: Value and non value of new technologies. How can you define them? How can an average player can understand all this tech and marketing information from producers and sellers?
A.: It depends what a player is looking for in a frame. The “game improvement” category of racquets will have visible technologies and many bells and whistles. Most of these are visible and have clear “benefits”. Big grommets are a good example. Volkl has this technology in their new Volkl Blast (as well as several other frames ). The whole for the string (the grommet) is larger and allows more string movement which increases the movement of the string on off center hits and allows the ball a better chance to get a better hit.
The more playeresque a racquet is, the less technology you will generally find moreover the less change you will find in the frame from generation to generation.
To understand technologies, I think one must read what the manufacturer writes, read our Gear section in http://www.tennis.com/ and feel free to e-mail and ask. Technologies are a tough area to understand and changes happen often in the industry; do your homework.
Q.: Recently, two former #1 women players Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki changed their racquets brands. Now Maria Sharapova plays Head (was Prince) and Caroline Wozniacki plays Yonex (was Babolat). Why?
A.: I believe that changes that are made are for two main reasons; #1 money and #2 playability. I n the case of Sharapova I believe she felt she could no longer play inure free with her Prince racquet and this looked around and found something that gave her comfort and the playing characteristics she wanted.
Understand that players’ frames are customized in many ways to make the frame play the way he/she wants; in all ways.
Q.: Your personal opinion. What is the best tennis racquet brand?
A.: This question I cannot answer.
OK, I understand you. Thank you very much for your answers.