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Making a racket!
Around the Academy:

Tommy Haas is firing on all cylinders
Aim for the top - like Germany's Tommy Haas

The Academy serves up some ace racquet facts...

What are tennis racquets made of?

Racquet frames were made of wood until the 1970s.

Now, they're made of graphite, fibreglass and other man-made materials.

It means racquets are a lot lighter - but just as strong.

Tennis legend Bjorn Borg won 11 Grand Slam titles in the 1970s and 80s using a wooden racquet.

In 1991 he made a comeback wanting to prove his old-fashioned wooden racquet was still good enough.

But he was blown away by little-known Jordi Arresse using a modern graphite racquet.

When big hitter Mark Philippoussis compared the speed of his serves using wood and graphite racquets, they were found to be almost the same.

The difference was that the graphite racquet was far more accurate.

Do racquets come in different sizes?

The first oversize racquets were introduced in the early 1980s.

The racquet heads are larger which means they have bigger 'sweet spots'. But they're harder to control.

Better players usually choose smaller head sizes.

Men and women can play with the same size racquet, although the grip size is usually smaller for women.

Any strings attached?

The best racquet strings are made of animal gut, although synthetic strings are more common these days.

Peter Wessels, of the Netherlands relieves the tension
Testing the tension!

The tension of the strings on a racquet is almost as important as the choice of frame.

High tension in the strings gives more control and spin, while less tension equals more power.

Bjorn Borg used to have his racquets so tight, the strings would snap during the night.

Strings will lose their elasticity with time and use. When this happens, racquets can be restringed.

Top players usually have their racquets restrung after every match.

I want to invest in a new racquet. What should I be looking for?

Junior racquets can be very similar to those used by pros, especially if they're made of graphite.

With some, the only difference is in terms of proportion.

However, you don't have to break the piggy-bank to get kitted out.

Aluminium racquets are a cheaper option.

Pick a racquet that comes with a head cover and look for a bumper guard that will prevent scratches.

The length of racquet you need will increase as you grow taller.

Here's a rough guide:

  • 21" length racquet - up to 4ft tall (122cms), approx 4-6 years
  • 23" length racquet - 4ft - 4ft 6" tall (122-137cms), approx 6-9 years
  • 25" length racquet - 4ft 6" tall (137-152cms), approx 9-12years
  • 27" length racquet - over 5ft tall (152cms) approx 13+ years

    How can I make sure I look after my racquet properly?

    Argentina's David Nalbandian vents his frustration
    Temper tantrum!

    Don't smack it on the ground, or over your opponent's head!

    Seriously though, one good tip is to always remember to dry your racquet when it gets wet.

    Also, when you've finished playing remember to pop the cover back on.

    Apart from that, racquets are pretty resilient.

    So what are you waiting for? Get out there and serve up some aces.

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  • Introduction
    New balls please
    Making a racquet
    Cyclops and speed guns
    Eye on the future

    Did you know?
    The last wooden racquet used in a championship was at Wimbledon in 1988
    Wimbledon's stringing team strung a total of 2,032 racquets last year
    Many pro players carry up to seven replacement racquets in their bags

    :: Wimbledon 2003

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