The last Grand Slam of the 2012 tennis season runs through September 9. During the first week, match play pretty much runs true to the rankings, the top seeds usually advance to the second week without having to play that many five set matches. One tremendous advantage for the men players is the fact that the top seeds have developed all-round tennis skills. Today, players rely on the power of the racket head speed. Racket head speed is developed early in a player’s career, but precision ball placement depends upon the racket.
Novak Djokovic, the defending US Open champion uses the HEAD YouTek IG Speed Midplus. Of course, Novak Djokovic is no overnight sensation, he spent years performing grueling training, while listening to criticism about faking injuries, now his tennis skills have legitimized him on the court, this has silenced his critics. His choice of the HEAD YouTek IG Speed Midplus has helped him generate more power on his shots. The tennis racket has a slightly oversized head, which allows him to hit high-speed first serves as uncontested aces, and when he does need a second serve, the rallies are usually short because he clips the line for clean shot winners.
Roger Federer is looking to complete a tremendous summer with a win at the US Open. With his Wimbledon victory, he cemented his status as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. The racket of choice for Roger is the Wilson Pro Staff Six.One. The Wilson Pro Staff Six.One has helped him to regain the Number One ranking. When he was losing, he lost confidence in his racket. When he changed rackets, he started winning again. The unique features of the racket include the Amplifeel handle, small racket head size, and a patented open string pattern.
Of course, no conversation about the best men’s tennis players in the world would be complete without mentioning Andy Murray. Every spectator in the stadium could clearly see how disappointed he was to be runner-up at Wimbledon. He felt like the one who had let down a nation, so when he was presented with the opportunity to redeem himself at the Olympics, again on his native soil, he didn’t let up until he was atop the winner’s podium. Murray used the HEAD YouTek IG Radical Pro to avenge the lost he suffered at Wimbledon. He downed Roger Federer while using one of the best tennis rackets on the market today. The HEAD YouTek IG Radical Pro has a retooled head size with proprietary “Innegra technology.” The racket is built for high performance, this proved to be the perfect accompaniment for Andy Murray’s game.
Who will win the 2012 US Open?
- Roger Federer (39%, 73 Votes)
- Andy Murray (29%, 54 Votes)
- Novak Djokovic (23%, 42 Votes)
- Tomas Berdych (4%, 7 Votes)
- Juan Martin del Potro (3%, 5 Votes)
- David Ferrer (1%, 2 Votes)
- Other (1%, 2 Votes)
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (1%, 1 Votes)
- John Isner (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 186
HEAD’s new digital campaign ‘SPEED vs. INSTINCT – The Challenge’ features Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic and French Open winner Maria Sharapova using their YouTek IG SPEED and YouTek IG INSTINCT racquets in three quite unusual and surprising tests of skill.
Friends of HEAD Tennis on Facebook also have the chance to win exclusive, signed memorabilia from the films in a sweepstake application running from August 20th to September 17th.
Enjoy the videos below:
Maria dominates on the golf course…
By Cara Newman
Most tennis fans are preparing for one of the biggest tennis tournaments of the year: the 2012 French Open. Fans all over the world are discussing the odds of who will win; they’re examining the pros and cons of Nadal, Djokovic and Federer, but what about the people behind the scenes? The men and women who work hard to make sure the professionals have what they need to play their best. I’m talking about the racquet technicians. After all, nothing happens in a vacuum, not even winning a major tennis tournament.
I was curious to hear about these unsung heroes. These people whose time, talent and effort go into making sure these tournaments go off without a hitch.
Luckily, I live in Baltimore, MD, home of Holabird Sports, a running and racquet specialty store which employs many U.S.R.S.A. Racquet Technicians, including Jim Downes, who recently strung at the Sony Ericsson Open.
Jim Downes has worked at Holabird Sports since 1988. In 1994, he was recognized by the United States Racquet Stringers Association as a “Master Racquet Technician” — the highest level of achievement the U.S.R.S.A offers. Jim is also a member of the prestigious Wilson Stringing Team which comprises the exclusive on-site stringers at the U.S. Open, Australian Open, and Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.
If that wasn’t enough, Jim is recognized as one of the fastest racquet stringers in the world. He finished 2nd in the 2007 Las Vegas Speed Stringing Contest and in 2010 he won the Prince Speed Stringing event in Orlando, Florida. Jim can string a racquet in seven minutes flat.
While speaking to Jim about stringing at the last Sony Ericsson Open, he told me that, “Stringing at a major tournament is an honor and a challenge. Players that have risen to that level require and expect the highest standards for their equipment. After all, a lot of money can be on the line for a single match.”
It follows that qualifying for the Wilson Stringing Team is extremely challenging. According to Jim, “The first requirement is to be able to string a racquet fast (usually under 15 minutes), to achieve this under any circumstance means that the stringer has a lot of experience. The second and most important challenge is to be able to string many racquets fast, all day, with zero mistakes. There are many fast stringers out there and many technically precise stringers. But very few that can be fast and precise at the same time. The current team is composed of some of the best stringers from all over the world. A few of them travel almost full time to service many of the current top 20 ranked men’s and women’s players at international events.”
Hard work and talent are a given in almost every profession. But if you want to become a professional stringer, take Jim’s advice: “Just be passionate about providing the best level of service in every frame you string. The learning never stops no matter how many years or racquets you’ve completed.”
To get your tennis racquet strung by one of the best stringers in the business visit www.holabirdsports.com.
Photo by Dustin Webb
Article written by Dave
I took tennis lessons when I was a kid. Actually, let me rephrase that, my parent’s signed me up for tennis lessons every year. I didn’t really have any interest, but being that my father was an avid tennis player and ranked as high as number 2 on his high school tennis team (a fact that he was to continually remind me of throughout my formative years as a player) I didn’t have any choice. I not only took free tennis lessons in the park every summer, but being that we lived around the block from a tennis club, I was signed up there in the winter. Every Tuesday and Thursday I was hitting forehands and backhands, just me against the relentless ball machine. However, it didn’t take long for my love of the game to grow.
Tennis racquets have come a long way since the days of wooden and oversized racquets. My dad favored an old school wooden contraption. When I was growing up playing tennis it was all the rage to one of those giant, oversized racquets. They were more equipped for self-defense than optimizing power and accuracy. That’s ok. It was a fad. I found my true racquet when I first picked up a Dunlop Biomimetic 300 tennis racquet. With that racquet, my game improved. Effortless and accurate, the engineering and construction of Dunlop Biomimetic racquets bring tennis to a new level.
What makes these racquets so great? Dunlop Biomimetic racquets are the perfect marriage of nature and technology. Biomimetics is a concept that studies the natural world, and then applies what it sees to the development of sporting technology. They are constructed out of 100% Aerogel enhanced graphite. This makes them lighter than other racquets and easier to control. They are also built with Aeroskin, which reduces aerodynamic drag. The Dunlop Biomimetic 300 tennis racquet is all about power and racquet control. The technology is seamless and beautiful. It is as if the Dunlop Biomimetic 300 tennis racquet was the natural extension of your body.
The right racquet makes all the difference in tennis. How my father could have played with a wooden racquet is beyond me. Then again, those oversized racquets I used to play with were not much better. Technology has changed the game. With a sport as difficult as tennis, it is a good idea to get all the help you can get.
HEAD has just launched a digital campaign for Andy Murray’s new YouTek™ IG Tour Radical racquet series.
The centrepiece of the campaign is a surprising film in which Andy thinks about what kind of creative job he could have had, if he hadn’t become a pro tennis player. Barber? Chef? Rockstar?
The making of:
As part of the campaign, HEAD invites tennis fans and social media users to win the opportunity to also switch their job and, for one day, have the chance to experience the life of a tennis pro – together with Andy Murray
of course. The competition is hosted exclusively on the HEAD Facebook site www.facebook.com/headtennis.
This kinda reminds me of this adidas commercial with Stefan Edberg:
In 1987, the legendary first Prestige Pro racquet marked HEAD’s entry into a new generation of tennis racquets, based on a carbon fibre construction. This enabled players like Henri Leconte, Emilio Sanchez and Thomas Muster to play with an unprecedented level of power, control, and precision.
Now, the legend continues as HEAD launches the 2012 HEAD YouTek™ IG Prestige, which is coming to stores worldwide right in time for the Australian Open.
To honour the anniversary of this legendary racquet series, HEAD kicks off the year 2012 with a special celebration. Looking back at 25 years of history, outstanding players, epic tennis matches and trophies, and very special and personal Prestige moments, HEAD has launched a bespoke Facebook application and a series of YouTube videos, which allow tennis fans to dive into the Prestige history.
Each month, one of the past and current HEAD Prestige players reflects on a special ‘Prestige’ moment in his career. The Prestige legend featured in January is Thomas Muster.
Watch him talk about the career-threatening leg injury he suffered a few hours after his semifinal win over Yannick Noah at Key Biscayne, in 1989: