In the early 1980s, "graphite" (carbon fibre) composites were introduced, and other materials were added to the composite, including ceramics, glass fibre, boron, and titanium. Some of the earliest models typically had 20% or more fiberglass, to make them more flexible. Stiff rackets were typically not preferred by most players because of their familiarity with the comfortable softness of wood. These early models tended to be very flexible and not very powerful, although they were a power upgrade over wood and metal rackets. Wilson created the Jack Kramer Pro Staff, the graphite version of the wood racket of the same name extremely popular in the late 70's and early 80's. This was the origin of the extremely influential Wilson Pro Staff 85. Chris Evert's first graphite racket was this Jack Kramer version, which had 20% fiberglass. It was not a market success and she, along with everyone else, quickly replaced it with the stiffer Pro Staff 85, which had 20% kevlar. It used the same mold and had the same braided graphite, but offered a very noticeable improvement in power. The very popular Prince original graphite, an oversize in its most popular form, was also quite influential and used by many pros, especially as juniors. Jennifer Capriati and Monica Seles, for instance, used the Prince graphite to contest their influential Wimbledon match in 1991 that has often been hailed as the beginning of the power baselining game in the WTA, although that claim is somewhat hyperbolic and is, in large part, due to the mistaken impression that the players were hitting much harder when, in fact, the rackets were more powerful. However, the very large head size, when compared with the midsize and, especially, the old "standard" size, made it easier to produce power. The racket also had an open string pattern. The Prince "original" graphite name is rather a misnomer, as it went through some significant design adjustments over its lifetime. For instance, the truly original model had a reverse teardrop head shape, something no subsequent versions had. Stiffer composite rackets, when compared with the first and second generations of graphite composites, are the contemporary standard. The last wooden racket appearing at Wimbledon appeared in 1987, long after they were abandoned by practically all professionals.[17] Borg tried to stage a comeback with his standard wood racket, after his premature retirement, but it quickly ended in failure, as the standard wood was no match when placed against a stiff midplus graphite. It is also commonly argued that Chris Evert would have been able to beat Martina Navratilova during the latter's most dominant period if she had switched from her wood racket years sooner. Additionally, the last influential wooden racket, the Prince Woodie, had layers of graphite to increase its stiffness and was an oversize. It was used by Tommy Haas, Gabriela Sabatini, and quite a few others. It offered very little power but did offer much more surface area than a standard-size wooden frame. Sabatini found it helpful, as compared with smaller rackets, due to her production of heavy topspin. The only woman to beat Martina Navratilova in 1984, Kathleen Horvath, used the Prince Woodie, one of only six losses Navratilova suffered in a three-year stretch involving 260 matches.[18]
Nearly one hundred years after its construction, the Royal Tennis Court became symbolic of the brewing French Revolution. On 20 June 1789, the deputies of the Third Estate met there at the time of the Estates General, since the Menus-Plaisirs hotel, their usual meeting place, had been closed by order of the king. On that day, they took an oath not to separate until they had endowed France with a written constitution. This founding scene was immortalised by the painter Jacques-Louis David in a grand fresco, sadly unfinished, called The Tennis Court Oath, which joined the Palace collections in 1921.
Tournaments are often organized by gender and number of players. Common tournament configurations include men's singles, women's singles, and doubles, where two players play on each side of the net. Tournaments may be organized for specific age groups, with upper age limits for youth and lower age limits for senior players. Example of this include the Orange Bowl and Les Petits As junior tournaments. There are also tournaments for players with disabilities, such as wheelchair tennis and deaf tennis.[81] In the four Grand Slam tournaments, the singles draws are limited to 128 players for each gender.
This discussion is very timely for me because not only is it helping me stabilize my game, my daughter is now six and showing interest in “Playing tennis.” When she was four and five that meant catching and sweeping the ball along the floor with a racket back and forth with me, and now it means gripping the child’ racket her aunt brought her with both hands and hitting FH on the soft coach’s ball I toss or hit softly to her. She is a natural leftie, and I showed her a LH grip with two hands, but often she uses the RH backhand grip instead, and I just let her go with it. What is amazing to me is how good her balance is and how well she steps in and rotates through the stroke, pulling the racket through. She is already an accomplished dancer and seems to understand how her body moves, and that clearly helps, but her synthesis of gripping, which she was taught, swinging, which she imitates, and rotating with balance is just natural.
The Challenger Tour for men is the lowest level of tournament administered by the ATP. It is composed of about 150 events and, as a result, features a more diverse range of countries hosting events.[92] The majority of players use the Challenger Series at the beginning of their career to work their way up the rankings. Andre Agassi, between winning Grand Slam tournaments, plummeted to World No. 141 and used Challenger Series events for match experience and to progress back up the rankings.[93] The Challenger Series offers prize funds of between US$25,000 and US$150,000.
The rules of modern tennis have changed little since the 1890s. Two exceptions are that from 1908 to 1961 the server had to keep one foot on the ground at all times, and the adoption of the tiebreak in the 1970s. A recent addition to professional tennis has been the adoption of electronic review technology coupled with a point-challenge system, which allows a player to contest the line call of a point, a system known as Hawk-Eye.
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