When a top-ranked player on the Pro Tour decides to change racquets, it becomes a big story. This change can be very tricky for the athlete. You get used to a feel of a frame and confident in the frame that helps you win. Most of the time, a change made by a top pro is due to a big pay day from a new sponsorship or endorsement company.
In a recent big change, this was not the case, but a change of sticks was made to add a little more pop in his game. The great Roger Federer has been play-testing through his career. He began as a junior with an 85 square-inch frame. The classic Wilson Pro Staff that was used by Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert and made famous by Pete Sampras. Through play-testing the same frame with a 90-inch head size, Roger began his run of 17 Grand Slam titles.
At some point, Father Time catches up to us all and the swing speed we had as teens and into our 20s is no longer there. I was told during one my own play test sessions in my 30s toward the end of my career that “I wasn't 18 anymore.”
The adjustment for me was the same as it is for Roger now and can help with his game. Let the frame help you with a little bit bigger sweet spot for more pop and the racquet will do more for you.
My advice about a racquet change is to make sure the new frame does not affect your favorite shot. Do not compromise the shot or shots that win you critical points. The new racquet should enhance your weapons and not compromise them.
As we head into spring, maybe it's time to pull a Federer and find a really cool-looking and feeling stick that makes your game amazing! A good place to start is the local stringer. Stringers are the ultimate gear geeks of tennis and know all the latest on the newest technology. Tell them a bit about the style you play, and I promise the stringer will point you in the right direction.
Let the new technology add more zip to your game, unless you are a classic like me looking to make a statement when I play these days—I'm a Jack Kramer Autograph player. It was the first frame I bought for $20, and I will go down the long tennis road with it.
That is my swing! Go for the lines at ALL times!
Raised in Ludington, Mich., Luke Jensen’s resume includes 10 ATP Tour doubles titles. He was also a member of the U.S. Davis Cup teams that reached the finals in 1991 and won in 1992. His ambidextrous play, including his ability to serve the ball with either hand at 130 mph, earned him the nickname “Dual Hand Luke.” Luke is currently director of racket sports at West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y. He may be reached by phone at (315) 403-0752 or e-mail LukeJensen84@yahoo.com.