- Blogs - The Pro Shop by Justin diFeliciantonio
Home       About Justin diFeliciantonio       Contact        RSS Categories       Archive
33 posts categorized "Jon Levey"

Appraising Apparel 12/23/2008 - 1:14 PM

As 2008 winds down, friend of The Pro Shop, Sarah Alvanipour, takes a look at some of the fashion trends from the second half of the season. Perhaps there’s something in her recap that would make a nice last-minute holiday gift for the tennis player in your life.

Here’s her review:

Women: Competition Top in Mono Pink with matching Competition Skort

The Look: Understated and classy.

Pros: Fun pink tone without risk of looking Bubblicious, faux layered look and detailed contrast piping along the front and back keyhole neckline in top and a feminine asymmetrical seam and pleated hem in skort for optimum range of motion, elastic waistband for variable fit, hidden compression shorts.

Cons: Tank has no built-in form of support.

Tip: As with most Adidas apparel, the fit runs true to size or slightly large.

Bottom Line: Comfortable, stylish and wearable without a lot of fuss.

Price: Both $45,

DjokoMen: Edge Tee and matching Edge Bermuda Shorts in Mono Sky/Lava and Rave Green/White

The Look: A staple in the Adidas line of tennis apparel—comfortable, lightweight and functional--but with a punch of color.

Pros: Feather light with excellent moisture management. Comes in bold colors and is durable with deep ball pockets in shorts.

Cons: None

Tip: Runs true to size

Bottom Line: The famed logo appears on the left chest and on the right arm, a departure from the classic three stripes. Still, it performs like classic Adidas.

Price: Both $50,


Women: Women’s Fall Dress in black

The Look: K-Swiss’ version of “The Little Black Dress”

Pros: A sexy silhouette, asymmetrical neckline with two straps, one removable, which stay in place throughout play and a built-in shelf bra.

Cons: Not a great choice for fuller busted women.

Tip: Dress length is a daringly 25” and sizes run slightly small so ordering one size larger is recommended.

Bottom Line: A cocktail dress for the tennis court that is ultra flattering and surprisingly wearable: light, comfortable, and fun.

Price: $75,


SzavayWomen: Heritage Wrap Skirt and Heritage Camisole in Periwinkle or Crystal Blue.

The Look: A versatile cool pastel palette and classic design that can be worn all year long.

Pros: Criss-cross adjustable straps and built-in shelf bra on the camisole add support and comfort. Faux wrap on skirt with built-in compression shorts adds style without compromising modesty.

Cons: Camisole may not offer enough support for larger busts.

Tip: V-neckline and chevron stripped piping in camisole enhance the bust line and fits snug to the body. For a more reserved look, try the Cap-sleeved or V-neck Tank.

Bottom Line: A more feminine look from Fila without the fuss.

Price: Skirt $34.99, camisole $36.99,

TursunovMen: Peacoat Navy Essenza Polo paired with the reversible Peacoat Navy/White Essenza shorts.

The Look: Classic style meets innovation.

Pros: Polo features a three-button closure and a ribbed collar for a more formal look. Reversible shorts are versatile and offer drawstring closure and ball pockets.

Cons: Micro Twill material on the shorts may cling a bit.

Tip: Fit is true to size as the relaxed cut in shorts offers a slightly longer length than we usually see from Fila, with a 10” inseam and 19.5” outseam.

Bottom Line: The polo is traditional in cut and appearance and the shorts provide good bang for your buck. You can wear them either as a solid print or a crisp checkered print on the reverse side.

Price: Polo $36.99, shorts $39.99,


MauresmoWomen: KFS Shimmer Tank and Skort in Endurance Blue/Caspian Sea Blue

The Look: Shine on in four different colors.

Pros: Tank features cross-back straps and a modest neckline with extra lip for added coverage and built-in shelf bra for support. Skort has compression shorts and a wrapped edge on both sides for twist on the classic wrap.

Cons: None

Tip: Runs true to size. The black version resembles an edgy leather look.

Bottom Line: The tank and skort offer contrasting fabrics in an attractive style. A shimmery satin look paired with a matte fabric in the same color family.

Price: Tank $29.99, Skort $27.99,


SerenaWomen: Serena Court Skort and Serena Court Tank in Sage/Black

The Look: As functional as they are feminine.

Pros: Skirt has built-in compression shorts with ball pockets on left and right hips, while the top has a high neckline for modest coverage and built-in shelf bra.

Cons: The top lacks a bit of form and doesn’t offer the same curve-hugging appeal of the skirt.

Tip: Fit is true to size. Mix and match with other pieces from the winter collection to optimize wardrobe.

Bottom Line: The skirt is the star of this ensemble offering two layers of ruffles along the hemline to build curves while the top offers a supporting role in the outfit.

Price: Both $60,

Men: Winter Control Striped Polo and Winter Control Short

The Look: Classic minimalism but with detailed flair.

Pros: Pin-stripes and detailed plackets on the polo add nice detail as does the additional logo printed on a tennis court on the left sleeve. Shorts offer button closure and zipper fly as well as subtle pleats and belt loops along waist for perfecting fit as well as side ball pockets.

Cons: May be too formal looking for some players.

Tip: Fit is true to size. Shorts are medium in length (9” inseam, 18.5” outseam).

Bottom Line: Style meets substance in this understated yet elegant paring. It is to the tennis court what a pin-stripe suit is to Wall Street.

Price: Polo $60, shorts $45,

7 Comments       Post's Permalink

Mail's In 12/12/2008 - 2:32 PM

Hey there! My question is, for sure, one that has been pondered about before: shock absorbers. Should we use them? I am a college-age tennis player that is considering losing the rubber bands I tie to my racquet and savoring the pure feel. Is this a good idea or is this something that somebody like Roger Federer should do?

Abraham Payton


A shock absorber doesn’t really do much. It has no effect on the quality of your shot, unless you have the misfortune of contacting the ball so low on your strings that you hit it. And it’s too small to effectively absorb the shock from your racquet, so it does nothing to prevent tennis elbow or arm injury. All it really does is change the sound when the ball hits the strings at impact. That’s why some people refer to them as string dampeners, because that’s what they essentially do – muffle the noise at contact. Still, that alone is enough for some players to swear by those rubber doodads. I hate playing without one. On the other hand, there’s an opposing camp that finds dampeners intolerable. The buzzing sound at impact is music to their ears. That could be the “pure feel” you’re referring to. But in terms of how much feedback is actually reaching your hand, it doesn’t matter whether you lose the rubber bands or keep them in your strings.

Hey Jon,
I have an "original" Babolat Pure Drive Team (100 sq. in.) racquet. Yesterday, I broke the crosses of my strings. They were a hybrid of Babolat VS natural gut and Babolat Pro Hurricane. They were strung about 6 months ago (maybe longer). Because it is a hybrid, I was wondering whether I could just replace the crosses (the Babolat VS) and leave the Pro Hurricane (mains) in. The problem is, it seems as if the tension is at like 20 lbs (originally above 63 lbs.) on the mains. Is this just because the crosses have broken, so the mains lost some tension? Should I replace the whole thing? Thanks.



I think it’s time for you to restring your racquet. All of it. Besides the fact that your strings have been in your racquet for quite a while, there’s really no good reason to replace half a hybrid. True, you could conceivably mount the racquet in a stringing machine, cut out the crosses, and put in a new set. And it might even save you a couple of bucks. But it’s your performance that will pay the price. The big reason is what you’ve already presumed – the tension of your mains has dropped significantly, and that’s not going to increase much after you put in the crosses. You’ll be playing with strings with vastly different tensions. Plus, from a practicality standpoint, you wouldn’t even be saving that much money since you’re replacing the much more expensive string. Natural gut is pricey, and I can sympathize with wanting to preserve a set, even a hybrid. But Pro Hurricane is fairly reasonable. Might as well treat yourself, and your game, to a new string job.


I just bought a new racquet, moving up to a 100 sq. in. frame after playing the past dozen or so years with a 95. Should I be stringing my new racquet at a higher tension than my old one? What do you think is the best way to figure out the right tension for your racquet?

Pat Litsche


It’s not a bad assumption that switching to a larger head size may require a bump up in string tension. But it’s difficult to say for sure. You can’t go wrong by starting in the middle of the racquet manufacturer’s recommended tension range and seeing how that feels. If you find that your shots are landing shorter in the court than you’d prefer, drop the tension 2-3 pounds and see if that helps. Or if your shots are landing long too often, adding a few pounds of tension can make a difference. Keep experimenting in either direction until you find the perfect landing spot. From experience, some players know they generally end up in the upper or lower part of the recommended tension range. If that’s your case, then use that as your starting point and work from there.

Got a gear question of your own? Hit the contact button at the top of the page and fire away. Thanks.

23 Comments       Post's Permalink

List Mania 12/05/2008 - 11:12 AM

The end of the year always brings holiday parties, Oscar movies, family vacations, and lists. Lots and lots of lists. Media outlets love to sum up the year by categorizing everything. It’s the quintessential December story. The topics are endless and usually in sets of 10, such as: Most Compelling People, Biggest Hollywood Screw-Ups, and Worst Expenditures of Taxpayer Money. is no different. We like a good list when it’s appropriate, so we came up with our favorite new gear from 2008 (read it here). It’s by no means definitive. There are plenty of other racquets, shoes, and accessories that we could’ve included, but these were the items we chose to highlight. One of the reasons lists are so popular is they spark debate and I’m sure some of you will agree with or ridicule our selections. Have at it.

But what I’m more curious about is the tennis gear you liked from this past year. The stuff you played with, wore, read, watched, or even heard about that you’d recommend. It could be anything as long as it’s tennis-related and new to the market. On the other hand, I’d also be interested to know what didn’t meet your expectations. Most of the products that equipment companies turn out are worthwhile, but some are certainly flawed. Over the years I’ve tested a few racquets and shoes that left me wondering what the manufacturer could’ve been thinking. Did you come across anything like that in 2008?

If so, do tell. Perhaps you can come up with a list of your own.

21 Comments       Post's Permalink

Pete's New Toy 11/21/2008 - 2:32 PM

K_ps_88_resizePete Sampras’ legacy in the sport of tennis is undeniable. The Grand Slam king will always deservedly be on the short list of the greatest players of all-time. But he was never a marketer’s dream. As demonstrative as his shot-making could be, Sampras’ approach to the rest of his game was borderline monkish. His was all business, right down to his understated outfits. While his results were worthy of respect and admiration, his detached demeanor didn’t push the needle.

Plus, Sampras was not a big believer in change. For his prime years he pretty much wore only one shoe – the Nike Air Oscillate. And for his entire career he used one racquet – the original Wilson Pro Staff 85. In fact, it had to be models that were produced in the island of St. Vincent in what use to be a Maidenform bra factory. As I said, the guy was precise. In his defense, why mess with a winning formula?

It’s pretty standard to see pro players switch to an updated version of their current stick. For instance, Roger Federer moved from the Wilson nCode Six.One to the [K] Factor Six.One. Andre Agassi used several different incarnations of the Head Radical. Whether some players simply opt for a paintjob is debatable, but they at least went through the charade. The racquet manufacturers that sponsor the players could get a bump from the endorsement.

Not so with Sampras. Wilson’s signature player at the time never budged from his weapon of choice. But now that he’s back competing – albeit on the senior circuit – Wilson might be trying to make up for lost time. In early 2009 the company will be releasing the new [K] Pro Staff 88, designed especially for Sampras. The update has the slightly larger head size and the addition of [K] Factor technology. Otherwise it’s still a heavy (13 ounces), control-oriented beast, like its ancestor. Sampras began playing with a prototype around this past March for his exhibition match with Federer at Madison Square Garden. After that he used a blacked-out version during senior play until the final version was approved. The list price is $230, and the models sold at retail will have the exact same specs as Sampras’ frame.

Because of how challenging it is to play with, Wilson is not expecting the frame to appeal to a wide segment of the tennis public. It’s also not part of what the company considers its core group of frames, so the [K] Pro Staff 88 was not submitted for testing for our spring racquet guide. However, our editor-in-chief, James Martin, did get his hands on one and took it for a test drive.

Here are his thoughts:

It has a rock solid, or "dead," feel to it. There's no need for a vibration dampener.

The 16x19 string pattern in such a small head size makes it harder to produce heavy topspin, but its control is exceptional. You find that hitting with slice is easier, too, because of the control and stability.

Volleys are great.

No getting around the fact that the racquet is heavy, with a sweet spot only slightly larger than the ball. If you're not used to taking a long, fast cut and putting maximum effort into the ball, the Pro Staff will exact its toll—tired arm, tired body.

Racquet definitely encourages, even demands, proper technique to get proper depth and pace, but when you hit the sweet spot with a long swing, you won't find a sweeter, more comfortable feel. And there's no worries about hitting the ball long, only short.

Any takers?

38 Comments       Post's Permalink

Two for One 11/14/2008 - 6:33 PM


I'm a shoe enthusiast. At least that's the polite term for it. My closet is overflowing with footwear, most of which don't see the light of day. I have a particular weakness for sneakers. Tennis, basketball, running, cross-training, and casual - I'm stockpiling as if a shortage is imminent. Still, when it comes to my sports kicks I'm usually pretty loyal. I wear a pair until it's got nothing left, praise them for a job well done, and find a suitable replacement. So I don't use a specific pair for practice and another on game day. It's one shoe for all occasions.

But I can understand the value of having a dual shoe system. You practice with one that has an emphasis on cushioning and durability for extended workouts. And then for matches you opt for a lighter more streamlined option that still provides adequate support. It will be players who subscribe to this routine that will be very interested in the K-Swiss Defier-miSOUL Tech. We'll call it the Defier for short. Due out in the spring of 2009, it's essentially a training and a competition shoe rolled into one. The reason being it comes with two completely different insoles: Cushion 1.0 designed to handle the rigors of drilling and practice, and Light 1.0 for match days. K-Swiss is also producing a running shoe, aptly called the Run One-miSOUL Tech, which also features rotating insoles.
Shoe companies have tried their luck at replaceable parts in the past. Nike trotted out the Air Zoom Revive a few years back which came with two outsoles. You pulled one off and slid the other into place. Not long after K-Swiss tried something similar with the Reinforcer, but that came with a spare piece for the toe-drag area and not the entire outsole. Neither model had much traction with the tennis public, as they're no longer being sold.

We have yet to test the Defier (expect to see a review in TENNIS and online in the spring), but we do have a couple of sample pairs in the office. The insoles are clearly different from one another, and with some practice, can be swapped in and out with relative ease. The company is also offering replacement insoles on its website, so if you play on a soft surface that doesn't chew up the outsole, you can really prolong the life of your shoes.

So what do you think? Does miSOUL sound like it could be your shoe?

8 Comments       Post's Permalink

Freedom of Expression 11/07/2008 - 12:06 PM

Window or an aisle? Baked or mashed? No matter what decision we have to make, however mundane, everybody loves to have choices. It goes against our instincts to accept that one size can truly fit all. It’s in that spirit that Prince has set up “customyze it” on to allow players who use the O3 Speedport Black to create their own cosmetic. Well, not totally, but you can choose which colors to use on the O3-port inserts at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock on the racquet, plus the grip. With six colors at your disposal, there are over 2400 different combinations. You can’t buy the racquet on the website, but you can print out how you want your racquet to look and take it to an authorized retailer who can make it a reality.

Now this is only for the Speedport Black and it’s purely decorative. You can’t do anything to alter the playing characteristics of the frame. It does make you wonder, though, whether players would like to have more control over how their racquets look. Have you ever decided against buying a racquet you played well with simply because of its appearance?

And should racquet companies take it a step further? Should it be easier to custom-make your own racquet? It’s a fairly common practice in golf. Over the summer I got fitted for a new set of clubs. I went out on a driving range with a representative from a club manufacturer and he had me jump through all the hoops. I tried different shaft lengths and flexes, club face angles at address, grips, etc. It took a while, but I found a desirable combination. Of course the first time I took my new clubs on the course I wanted to break them in half.

Sure, sophisticated customization like this exists in tennis, but you’d have to find a real craftsman. This is the type of attention to detail that top professional tennis players take with their sticks. Most retailers do the basics – grip replacement or putting lead tape on the racquet face. I’ve been to Wilson’s headquarters and seen the subtle differences between the frames of the players the company sponsors. They know exactly what they want down to the very gram in weight (ounces aren’t precise enough), or 1/16 of an inch for their racquet handles (neither is the 1/8 of an inch increments on a customary grip). The slightest tweak to any of the racquet’s characteristics and they can tell the difference.

I don’t want to make it seem as though the regular consumer is devoid of choice. Racquet manufacturers often offering a frame in several different models. For instance, a Tour version that’s heavier, a Team version that’s lighter, or an extended version that’s longer. It does give a player more options, with obvious limitations. If you wanted a Wilson [K] Blade with an open string pattern, or a Head Radical with an extra quarter-inch of length it’s not going to happen.

Perhaps it would be too difficult to make racquets this way. Perhaps a golf club, with its shaft and head two distinct parts, is much easier to customize on a mass level. Still, it would be fun to have complete control over all the specs of your racquet. The exact weight, balance, grip, size, flex, and string pattern that you require. A tailor-made frame if you will. Until then, we’ll have to keep buying our racquets off the rack.

9 Comments       Post's Permalink

Mail's In 10/31/2008 - 9:06 AM

Happy Halloween to all. Got any good costume ideas? My wife is pregnant so we’re going to a party as Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston. She’s going to show off her bump and I’m wearing a hockey jersey and painting my neck red.

When you’re not trick-or-treating, dressing up, or celebrating the pagan ritual in some other fashion this weekend (responsibly, of course), here are some reader questions to ponder. Remember, if you have a question you want answered, or just want to send some mail to the Pro Shop, complimentary or otherwise, please hit the contact button above and fire away. We’d love to hear from you.

Until then…

41xtsadicgl_aa280_I hope you will help me in choosing the right racquet for my son. He is 11 and actively playing tennis for last 4 - 5 years. His weight is 30 kg (66 lbs). Currently he is playing with Babolat Drive Z lite and his racquet has been adjusted by his coach bringing the whole weight to 295 g (10.3 oz). After the adjustment the head is heavier than the handle. He has developed pain in the shoulder muscles when is serving. His strings are Tecnifibre Pro Red Code, strung at 56. Do you have any advice what would be ideal weight for his age group and how to find it?

Tanja Minic
New Zealand


Conventional wisdom says he should use the heaviest racquet he can comfortably swing. That’s obviously going to vary depending on the player. Some are stronger than others, no matter what the age. So it would be impossible for me to tell you the exact weight of the racquet your son should be playing with. At his age I was swinging around a 13+ oz. wooden frame which would be scoffed at today. But since his coach is already adding weight to his frame, perhaps he could try a heavier model. The heavier the racquet, the better it is at absorbing shock (more stable), plus you can hit the ball harder (force = mass x acceleration). Granted, that’s as long as he can generate sufficient swing speed.

The Drize Z Lite is head heavy to begin with, and adding more weight to that part of the frame, while possibly increasing stability and pop, could make it more cumbersome to swing. Finding a more evenly balanced frame, even one that’s head light, will allow your son to play with a heavier racquet, yet still retain maneuverability. That may also put less stress on his shoulder.

But the best solution to that problem could be switching strings. Pro Red Code is a good, durable, control-oriented, and spin-friendly string, but it’s rather stiff. That’s why many players use it in a hybrid with a multifilament to soften the string bed. And I’m not sure that a still developing 11-year-old would reap the benefits of the string. He might be better off with a string that’s a little more playable and arm-friendly.

If a string job loses approximately 10% or more in the first couple of weeks, wouldn't it be wise to string the racket 10% higher than one wants?

Joe Stanisz


In matters of the string, I tend to defer to Dave Bone, the executive director of the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association and a TENNIS Magazine technical advisor. He makes for a pretty decent doubles partner, too. Here’s his take:

“Actually strings lose an average of about 10% of the tension in the first 24 hours after a racquet is strung. But, no I would not recommend increasing the tension you request to compensate. Strings have always done this and what felt good to you before should still feel good. Understand that strings are losing tension very quickly at first and gradually slow down with time. So, by the time 24 hours has passed, the strings are only losing tension very slowly.

This is why I always recommend that most players not have their racquet strung and go right out to the court. If the racquet feels good right off the machine, it probably will feel too loose a day later. So, unless you're cutting your strings out every day like the top pros, you should be asking for a tension that feels good to you at least 24 hours after the racquet is strung. Then that tension should change so slowly that you won't even notice it from day to day.”

I have been playing tennis for over 30 years and teaching for about 20 years. I have noticed in the last several years that the quality and consistency of tennis balls, even Wilson and Penn, has become so bad that I finally have to say something. The bounce and pressure is significantly different from one can to another, even on the Wilson US Open ball, which I consider the best. Penn, all of them, are mushy even when just opened and barely last one set or a half hour of hitting. And, with all brands, many times in a new can, at least one ball in the can is quite dead or mushy when opened. Something needs to be done about the quality, consistency, durability, and longevity; it has reached an all time low and is now an "epidemic" for lack of a better word.

Nick Souvall


Sounds like when you open up a can you're not sure if it's going to be a trick or a treat...Ok, that was awful. I can’t say I’ve noticed the severe drop in quality in tennis balls that you’re witnessing, but you’re around them much more than I am. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I don’t use a can of balls much longer than a couple of sets. I can tell you that in my dealings with ball manufacturers they are extremely sensitive to this issue. They realize that tennis players are incredibly in-tune with their equipment and are quite critical of anything they deem to be substandard. In other words, cut corners on avid tennis players and they’ll give you hell for it.

Still, let me take the contrarian’s view on the issue. What if it’s not the ball that has changed, but rather the person hitting it? What if tennis players have evolved into better ball abusers? Just think about how the game has changed since you started teaching it. Light, powerful racquets, allow players, even at the recreational level, to swing more aggressively and hit with greater pace and spin. A fondness for stiff, spin-friendly strings has also permeated down the ranks making for more punishing (literally) shots. True, if the current state of the game requires balls to be sturdier, then it’s up to the manufacturers to comply. And those that do will have the added consumers to show for it. But that doesn’t mean they’ve consciously started taking shortcuts. They just need to build a better mousetrap.

17 Comments       Post's Permalink

White Makes Right 10/23/2008 - 11:00 AM

It’s a fashion faux pas to wear white after Labor Day. Except for seniors in southern Florida – they can get away with anything. The other exception where tennis players are concerned is with their racquets. Most notably the handles, which in today’s game has been increasingly covered with white overgrips.

I don’t know the technology behind it, but white overgrips do have a pleasing feel to them. They’re tacky, absorbent, and it doesn’t hurt that they look pretty cool. The only downside is they get filthy rather quickly and need frequent replacement which is probably not a bad thing where retailers are concerned. The first one I became acquainted with was the Yonex Super Grap which remains one of my favorites. Since, I’ve tried an assortment from various companies as it seems all the grip manufacturers have gotten in on white movement.

Even Tourna Grip, the company with the trademark light blue wrap, is getting in the action. In 2007 they introduced Tourna Grip II which is a tackier update of their venerable original. They’re now changing the name to Tourna Tac (making it more of its own label) and in 2009 releasing it in white and pink versions to go along with the customary light blue. In fact, they will be offering multicolor rolls that include all three varieties. Fans of the original have no fear – there will be no changes to its coloring or materials.

So why are white overgrips so popular? I have to admit that given the choice, I will opt for one. As I wrote earlier – it just feels right. But is there really a difference between them and their colored brethren? Or are we all slaves to fashion?

25 Comments       Post's Permalink

Wrist Management 10/10/2008 - 3:31 PM

TennisFor the second post in a row I’m going to invoke the great Ivan Lendl. Well, maybe not the great Ivan Lendl, but the older, fleshier model. The one with a bad back who foregoes the tennis court for the golf course. In his defense Lendl has recently returned to the game that made him rich and famous by showing up occasionally at the U.S. Open and doing a semi-regular opinion segment on Tennis Channel called Perspectives. But the role I see him most is as pitchman for the Trion:Z ionic wristbands and necklaces. His image and quotes are all over the ads and packaging endorsing the merchandise.

“I recommend Trion:Z to everyone.” – Ivan Lendl

Magnetic bracelets are nothing new as golfers have been swearing by them for years. They’re designed to have a therapeutic effect on physical ailments and promote a general feeling of well-being. The Trion:Z products also emit minus ions. Why? According to the manufacturer people absorb too many positive ions from everyday electrical items such as cell phones, which can cause maladies like joint pain or poor mental focus. The minus ions serve as a counterbalance to put the wearer’s body in better harmony.

Now I’m not writing about Trion:Z because I believe in or use it. I’m pretty skeptical of magic elixirs. The only magnets in my house are used to hold up stuff on the fridge. That doesn’t mean I’m condemning it, either. Three co-workers recently tried the wristbands, and while one reported back she felt no changes and another said it made her wrist feel numb, the third believed it cured his bouts of restless sleep. And who among us couldn’t use more sound shut-eye?

So I turn it over to you. I’d be curious to read any feedback from those who wear or have tried magnetic bracelets. Maybe if you make a compelling enough argument I can be turned into a believer. Athletes are always looking for an edge, no matter how small, even if it is just between the ears.

16 Comments       Post's Permalink

Adidas Racquets? 09/25/2008 - 4:48 PM

Ivan Lendl wasn’t the easiest player to like, but you had to admire his game. Part man, part ball machine, Lendl would punish opponents with a devastating combination of power, consistency, and sawdust. He didn’t possess the innate shot-making genius of John McEnroe or the physical gifts of Boris Becker, but good luck to anyone who tried to trade ground strokes with the big Czech. He’s the patriarch of power-baseline tactics and turned fitness and conditioning into major weapons. Perhaps he came up a little small in some Slam finals, but he reached 19 of them, still a men’s record.
And for most of his career he was doing it all with a racquet that had a face the size of a ping-pong paddle and weighed as much as a lead pipe. OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but the Adidas GTX Pro, didn’t have a huge sweet spot and was a beast to swing. When Lendl switched to a Mizuno frame in 1990, Adidas frames faded away, relegated to dusty basements and eBay auctions.

Well it’s time for the next generation. In February of 2009, Adidas will be launching a new line of racquets sold at the company’s retail stores as well as tennis specialty shops. From clothes to equipment the apparel giant wants to completely outfit players. In keeping up with the modern game, the frames will have nothing in common with the GTX. There will be three distinct models, each named after Adidas shoes: Barricade (pictured), Response, and Feather. So far, details are a bit limited.

Within the Barricade family there will be four different models. The Barricade Tour is the heaviest (about 11.6 ounces) and stiffest of the new racquets aimed at advanced players. The Tour Light is about an ounce lighter for better maneuverability, but both share a dense 18x20 string pattern. The third racquet is the standard Barricade, which is lighter and less stiff than the Tour, and has an 16x19 string pattern for more spin potential and playability. The last frame of the group is the Barricade Junior for the wee ones. The racquets in this family will retail for $185.

All Barricades feature what Adidas is calling Power Structure Technology (PST). It’s essentially some extra material at 3 and 9 o’clock on the frame to provide more stability and power. Sounds a little bit like Wilson’s Perimeter Weighting System (PWS), but I’ll reserve final judgment until I give it a hands-on inspection.

The Response racquet is being targeted at the mid-level player and will cost $145. The Feather is the thickest, lightest and most powerful of the group designed for recreational or older club players. It’s price tag is $165.

That’s all I got. We’ll be reviewing these frames in our Spring Racquet Guide in the April issue of TENNIS Magazine, so stay tuned. Nothing has been released on whether a touring pro will be using the Barricade, but some rumors were swirling that Adidas might make a run at Djokovic. If they strike out with him, maybe they’ll give Ivan a call.

33 Comments       Post's Permalink

<<   Previous       Next   >>
Question of the Day: Leather Grips
Question of the Day: Blistering Hands
Question of the Day: Two Sticks for Net Rushers
Tennis Radar: App., Zap, and Co.
Question of the Day: Performance-Enhancing Grip Sizes
Question of the Day: Power Pads
Question of the Day: Oversized Sticks for Sore Elbows
This blog has 296 entries and 3591 comments.
More Video
Daily Spin