At the recent Longboat Key Cat II tournament, someone observed that more and more seniors are switching to the oversized/supersized tennis racquets. Why Go Big?
While I have just moved down in size from a 110 to a 100 square inch frame (what Hank Irvine calls a “player’s racquet”), most people I know have been playing with something slightly larger: 108, 110, etc. But the supersized racquets are the maximum size allowed at 137 square inches; and also the maximum length allowed at 29 inches.
So, Why Do It?
Clive Kileff (75s): I found my Big Bubba racket gave me more power on my volleys and at the same time, helped my shoulder.
Jack Lease (85s): I use the Vortex. The racquet has a larger sweet spot that I find very desirable. There is no distress to my elbow. There is no downside for me.
Noble Hendrix (75s):
- I’ve played with several racquets from 96 to now 137 square inch head size and 27 to now 29 inches in length in my short 17-year tennis adventure.
- Of the racquets that I have tried, the RZR Bubba has continued to feel the best in my hand over the last two years.
- My hand, wrist, arm and shoulder feel comfortable with it and it continues to deliver good consistency, spin and power.
- As time passes, I believe that more players will turn to this good racquet.
Bill Simonton (75s):
- I am using the Gamma RZR 137. It has a narrower frame, compared with most of the other big rackets, such as the weed. Therefore, I feel that it gives you a lot more control on ground strokes.
- It is obviously great on volleys and overheads.
- I feel that despite its size I don’t lose a whole lot on my serve although a smaller racket certainly comes through the air more quickly.
- I compensate by stringing my racket fairly tight, at 60 pounds. Other players string it very loose at 30 to 40 lbs and as a result they hit the ball with a lot of slice or they hit it flat.
- The other great advantage of a super oversized racket is the fact that during a course of a long match, particularly singles, there is much less of a fatigue factor involved in hitting the ball. I probably hit the ball more cleanly for the first 30 minutes with a more traditional head size racket, but after 30 to 45 minutes it just takes so much more effort to play with a smaller racket that fatigue can set in.
- I really believe that any over 70 player who is not using the gamma 137 racquet is losing 10 to 15% of his or her potential.
The Case for the Smaller Size
Here are thoughts on the other side of the issue from former tour player (and my sometimes doubles partner) Hank Irvine:
“Oversize racquets have become the norm for senior tennis players. In many cases, these racquets are a huge advantage for these players who may be compromised by the aging process – slower movement, poorer eyesight, loss of power and strength, slower reflexes, limited flexibility and restricted reach.
“However, I believe that if you are still in pretty good shape and have good ‘hands’ you will be better off using a player’s racquet – smaller head size and slightly heavier – to maximize your tennis skills. Ball control is the key ingredient to be successful in senior tennis and I firmly believe that it is easier to accomplish this by using a player’s racquet.”
What kind of game do you want to play? It seems to me, if you want to go out there to get the ball back in play and outlast your opponent from the baseline, then the big racquet is right. But if you want to take the offense (and you still have the hand skills), then using a smaller racquet is better.
What are YOUR thoughts on the size of the racquet?
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