An interesting editorial in the current Tennis magazine by Douglas Robson is a study on the temperament of current players on the tours. Robson carried a few wooden rackets and visited the practice courts of Indian Wells and the Sony Ericsson Open with hope of getting a few of the players to take a crack at hitting with wood.
Who were the most personable and approachable players? Take a look:
Swiss Martina Hingis, an old school player in her own right, had this to say about hitting with wood:
“You'd have to get used to it and find out the strength and weakness of the racket because the strategy would definitely have to be a little different,” [...] “You get the flat ball, so you'd have to be more aggressive [and] try to hit winners sooner."
Spin merchant Russian Sveta Kuznetsova, when asked if she could possibly beat a current player with the wood, said:
“Yeah,” [...] “Depends against who, but I think I would.”
Cutie Novak Djokovic and his 2 hitting partners played a series of tiebreaks with the wood. Always the "Djoker" the Serb had this to say:
“It's the first time in my life,” [...] “When we started to play, I tried to play as players did 20 years ago – the flat hits, chip and charge… volleys, slice. Then I tried to hit as we do today with spin and it was pretty good. I won I think three dinners."
And, clearly not the modest type, Daniela Hantuchova said:
"It was coming off the racket pretty well...I always thought I'd be quite good playing maybe 100 years ago."
Not a surprising bunch, at least to us. But more interesting was who gave wood the thumbs down:
It makes us wonder why they refused to experiment. They are obviously too young to have actually played with wooden rackets so why the disinterest? Too intensely focused or too self-conscious??
We think it would be great to see modern players compete with old technology in an exhibition match. Some players need to appreciate the history...and lighten up.