Wimbledon is in full swing (pun unintended), and both the players and their rackets look more imposing than ever. It wasn’t so long ago that tennis pros used (gasp!) wooden rackets and strings made of cat gut (exactly what it sounds like). I set out to discover which tennis pro first made the switch over to a more modern instrument.
Unlike past journeys into the wilds of the untamed Internet, this search was relatively simple. According to several sources, including this article from ITF Tennis, the first widely used non-wooden racket was the Wilson T2000.
Tennis Express explains that metal rackets were available as far back as the 1800s, but they were never popular until Jimmy Connors started playing with the T2000. According to Tennis Express, Connors continued to use the T2000 “for most of the 1970′s and would use its power to win Grand Slam after Grand Slam.”
Although it was a giant leap forward for tennis players, not everybody dug the metal racket. ’80 Tennis writes that many found the “sweet spot” on the T2000 to be too small and unforgiving. Nevertheless, it marshaled in the beginning of a new era in tennis. Wooden rackets used by icons like Bjorn Borg would soon be extinct.
These days, most rackets are composite, made from glass fiber and carbon fiber. And, though rackets have gotten more technical, the sizes have been standardized. According to eHow, the maximum size is 29.5 inches.
So, that’s the story of the first metal racket. Anybody out there know why tennis is scored the way it is? Love, 15, 30, and 40 seem pretty random. If you have any ideas and links, please leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading,
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