06 March 2018
Modern Day Tennis
Over the last 10 years or so, tennis has evolved into a sport of incredible athletic ability.
In the new generation of tennis, pros like Federer or Nadal are hitting the ball with crazy topspin
and power. Tennis today, at least at the professional level but also in the youth ranks, has
evolved into a sport requiring incredible strength, agility, flexibility, endurance, stamina, and
hand-eye coordination. The speed of the serves, the power in the groundstrokes, and the foot
speed to chase down attempted winners screaming over the net is as great as it ever has been.
The fast development of the game was mostly due to the technology of racquets and
strings. The technology tennis uses has advanced since wooden racquets and gut strings. In
today’s tennis racquets, the average weight of the racquets have decreased.When tennis first
started people mainly used wooden racquets; the racquets usually weighed around 415 to 420
grams. This restricted players to only a shorter swing with less control of the ball. If a player
were to hit the forehand with the same technique as many of the players today, it would likely be
impossible to make clean contact on every shot. The sweet spot of the racquets back then were
smaller, hence the players had to be more stable and precise with your racket. Therefore, a
slower moving racket would be more stable and easier to manage, rather than the fast high paced
racket speed of today’s modern tennis. The average weight of tennis racquets today is 300 to 310
grams. This allows players to fully extend their arm, which creates more power.
The weight decrease in racquets was due to the change of materials. The main material
used today is carbon fiber, which is lighter and malleable compared to the wooden racquets.
With this lighter frame players are able to create more top spin and racquet head speed.
Strings in the racquets have also changed. Traditionally, players on the pro tour had been
using natural gut string, made from animal intestine and known for its unmatched tension
maintenance, power, and soft feel. However, when Gustavo Kuerten won the French open with
polyester string, players began to realize something. Since polyester is much stiffer and lower
powered than traditional natural gut, it allowed for players to take much larger swings at the ball,
unlocking their own natural power. With greater racquet head acceleration, players were able to
generate more spin and ultimately more power than ever.
Technology has also made a change in game. During matches, when players think a call
made by the umpire or line judge is false, he/ she can challenge the call. Then an...