The evolution of the tennis racket and its effect on serve speed

HAAKE, Steve, CHOPPIN, S., ALLEN, T. and GOODWILL, S. (2007). The evolution of the tennis racket and its effect on serve speed. In: MILLER, S. and CAPEL-DAVIES, J., (eds.) Tennis science and technology 3. International Tennis Federation, 257-271.

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Tennis and its rules have changed since the game's inception in the 1870s. An analysis of tennis rackets from the 1980s to the present day shows that they have got lighter and stiffer with the balance point moving away from the tip of the racket towards the butt. The swingweight (the transverse moment of inertia) of rackets has decreased, making the racket easier to swing. A simulation program, Tennis GUT, was designed to analyse the effects of equipment change. Analysis showed that if a player used rackets and balls from the 1870s, 1970s and 2007, then serve speeds would have increased by around 9.7 m.s -1 (21.8 mph) or 17.5% since the 1870s, with a quarter of the change coming since the 1970s. Similarly, the time available for a return would have reduced by 15% since the 1870s, with a quarter of the reduction occurring since the 1970s.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: The proceedings from the 3rd ITF international congress on tennis science and technology
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Sports Engineering Research
Page Range: 257-271
Depositing User: Carole Harris
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2010 09:06
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 11:15

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