RACQUET TECHNOLOGY (DUNLOP, HEAD, PRINCE)
It never ceases to amaze me how tennis racquet manufacturers are always
coming up with new ways to improve their tennis racquets. Some technology
is abandoned so fast you wonder if the technology really worked to improve
their tennis frames. I would like to give a brief run down of some tennis
racquet technology and how it has changed or died.
Since I am a Dunlop Advisory Staff tennis pro and since I sell exclusively
Dunlop racquets, I will start with Dunlop.
DUNLOP â€“ A few years ago, Dunlop began making tennis racquets with â
€œhot meltâ€�. Hot melt is a thermoplastic liquid forming a graphite skin
layer over the whole racquet. This make the frames 30% stronger and 34%
more powerful. Next they came up with I.C.E. technology. Internally Cooled
Engineering is process of rapid cooling a tennis frame after the mold is
made, by injecting cool air through hollow tubes inside the frame. This forms
a crystalline fusion of resin and fibre creating maximum strength. Now for
2005 Dunlop has added M-Fil (multi filaments) fibers to the 3 and 9 oâ
€™clock areas of a tennis frame. Different types of fibers are combined to
soften and give a more cushioned response. The 2 Hundred uses carbon, s-
fibers and magnesium. The 3 hundred uses carbon, t-fibers and tungsten.
The 5 hundred has carbon, r-fibers and boron. The 7 Hundred has carbon, e-
fibers and chromium. Each blend of fibers have specific properties to
enhance that racquet. At least Dunlop kept â€œhot meltâ€� and just added
the M-Fil technology.
HEAD â€“ Intelligent fibers were the new advance in frame technology a few
years ago. They were fibers that â€œstiffenedâ€� on impact with the ball
creating a stiff and powerful frame. Then Liquidmetal came along and
intelligent fibers disappeared faster than warm Krispy Kremes on a Sunday
morning. I guess they werenâ€™t so smart after all. Liquidmetal was to give
Headâ€™s racquets new found power by placing Liquid metal in the four
stratigic areas of the frame. Liquid metal has tested to be be stronger and
more powerful than titanium. Now Head has a new gimmick (thatâ€™s my
opinion) with Flex Point. Flex points are holes drilled in the side of the frames
at 3 and 9 oâ€™clock. Supposedly the frame is to flex on impact with a ball
and â€œcupâ€� the ball to offer ultimate control. Dunlop is using this same
idea in their recreational racquet line of I-Zone frames. Head is still using
Liquidmetal in the frames and is adding a â€œholesâ€� in the sides.
PRINCE â€“ They gave us the original â€œoversizedâ€� tennis racquet.
Lately itâ€™s the Triple Threat technology which has fibers added to the
frames at 10 and 2 oâ€™clock and in the handle. Different frames had
different fibers added. Much like Dunlopâ€™s M-fil, Prince was using various
combinations of titanium, tungsten, copper, and carbon. Next came the â
€œMoreâ€� series of racquets. These frames were glued together from 2
separate halves with holes for the strings that were made in the mold not
drilled like most racquets. The claim was the strings touched the frame and
gave better feel and less vibration. Now Prince has molded bigger holes and
called them the â€œO-zoneâ€�. These huge holes are going to expand the
sweet spot and eliminate vibration (string vibration before was cancelled out
with dampeners place between the strings in the throat area. Does anyone
remember the Wilson â€œRollersâ€� racquets with huge holes in the sides?
At least it looks like Prince is still adding tungsten and titanium fibers to the 10
and 2 oâ€™clock areas. This means Triple Threat technology was a true
advancement and is here to stay.
Next well look at Babolat, Volkl, Yonex, and the â€œkingâ€� of all
Doug Hofer, USPTA & USRSA Certified March 30, 2005