University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Tennis Rackets One World
Many people know what a tennis racket is, it is used as a extended arm for hitting the tennis ball to the other side of the court (opponents side) to score. During the old days of tennis, about 900 years ago, people have been using their hand as a tennis racket, but it is evolved to pallas then wooden rackets, but the pallas and wooden rackets are really hard to control since it only have a really small racket head size so that it will be harder to hit the sweet spot (center) to have more accuracy on the ball. But after the new/ modern tennis “Graphite racket” was invented, we can now have more control, more accuracy, more spin, more speed for the shots. (GGN. (2011). Evolution of the Tennis Racquet) Now let’s look at how it relates to the Newton’s Laws of Motion.
A tennis racket is actually related to the newton’s third law of motion – “for every action, there is a equal or opposite reaction, the formula is F1=F2”. (Henderson, T. (2011 December 11). Newtons Third Law) It is related because when a tennis ball is coming towards you from your opponent in a constant velocity (not counting how the wind and air resistance), and then you using your racket (F1) to hit/ act upon the ball and the tennis ball (F2) will go to the equal speed and direction as the racket (F1), and the harder you swing your racket, the faster the ball goes.
A tennis racket is like a extension of your arm, and it is a third class lever, because your shoulder is the pivot point, the arm muscles that you use (biceps and flexor digitorum) are the force, and the contact point between the ball and the racket (most of the time is the sweet spot of the racket because players will try to hit the ball on the sweet spot be make the best quality shot.) is the load. And you can tell that it is a third class lever because the force (muscles) are between the load and the pivot point. Not only how strong your muscles are effect the shots, also the racket and racket strings.
There is a wide range of strings that can affect the quality of the shot, such as: natural guts, synthetic guts, nylon, polyester etc. And there are total 10 kinds of stings. It is mostly going to introduce the polyester strings, because it is the most modern and new, and over 60% of the ATP player uses it. It have the newest technology of being the most durable. (Henry, D. (2009 December 11) Polyester Tennis Strings: The Choice of the Pros | Inspired Tennis) Many players think that it they are able to apply more spin to the ball, and it have be proven that it is true because it have been verified by experiments. (Wikipedia. (14/2). Strings Tennis Retrieved From) It is also shown that the bonus spins were because there are less friction between the strings, and the ball stays at contact with the strings longer so that it will have more time for the player to act more spin on it. But it will have affect the health of the player since it has more time in contact, it will have the player to absorb more vibrations and so it will lead to a greater chance of arm injury.
There is a really good example: Rafael Nadal, he is really well known for his extraordinary spin, it is because he have a really strong arm, and also because he used a brand of strings called “Luxilon”. Since he is using this type of strings, he is always injured and needed to skip a lot of tournaments such as the 2012 London Olympics, Nadal was supposed to be the person flag bearer for Spain, but he was injured, so he didn’t go to the olympics and had the Pau Gasol as the flag bearer instead. (Reuters, T. (2012). Gasol replaces Nadal as Spanish flag bearer | Olympics 2012) But the racket (racket frame) itself makes a lot of affect on the player too. This new “Luxilon” polyester string is much more better because the new polyester strings has time times more spin than the strings on the old wooden rackets. (Cross, R. (2004).The inch that changed tennis forever – Racquet Sports Industry)
Since that the modern, tennis rackets and strings, have a really high technologies that can improve the quality or the tennis shot, the cost of the the different equipment/ accessories for the tennis rackets are much more expensive than the old wooden rackets. For example, the old wooden rackets frame are just made of wood and doesn’t have any other functions. But on the other side for the modern graphite tennis racket frame, it have used nanotechnology to make the racket be bother lighter and harder and many other good improvements. And so, it will need much more man power, time, machines in order to improve the racket using nanotechnology, so it will cost much more than just wooden rackets.
There is also a wide range of tennis rackets, and to make the shots at it’s best qualities and best for the player, they should find the one that have the maximum weight that the you can use, because it the racket will be more steady in contact so the shots can be more accurate, and the ball you hit can go faster since the force = mass x acceleration. But if you choose a racket that is too heavy, the shots will still be steady, but you will have a slower reflex since it is harder to move it fast, and the speed will not increase as much or maybe decrease because if it is too heavy, you wouldn’t have that much acceleration, and the force will still be the same or less.
And most of all if the racket is too heavy, you will easily get injured. For the old wooden rackets, it is really light, and made with very skinny pieces of wood, and it would be really inaccurate so it will shake a lot what contacted with the ball and the player will absorb a lot of vibrations and will have high risks of arm injury. Another reason that the new rackets are better is because they have dampener that they can put it between the strings right above the throat so that is can absorb most of the vibrations before it gets to the throat and to the player’s arm.
Sometimes people say that “it is always the bigger the tennis racket head size the better.” because all the old wooden rackets have a really small racket head size. It is not a 100% true, but is is true that the bigger the racket head is, the bigger the sweet spot is, and that means it will have more chance to hit the sweet spot where it will have the best quality of shot from. But if you hit at the smaller sweet spot for the smaller racket head rackets, the shots will be more accurate and will be able to go where you want, when the bigger racket head one makes it easier to add more spin to it. However, the old wooden racket have a really small racket size, too small, and it is really hard to aim for the sweet spot. (Cross, R. (2004). The inch that changed tennis forever – Racquet Sports Industry)
In conclusion, the new modern “Graphite Racket” with the new “Luxilon” strings are much better, than the old wooden rackets, because it have a bigger racket head size for a bigger sweet spot, relatively heavier body to be more steady and more force, and a polyester string that can make the ball stay contact with the racket longer for more spin but it comes with more vibrations that hurts your arm, but it have a vibration dampener to absorb most of the vibrations. So the new tennis rackets are more accurate, more faster/force, more spin, and more control/balance/steadiness to make the best tennis shots.
Cross, R. (2004). The inch that changed tennis forever – Racquet Sports Industry Retrieved From http://www.racquetsportsindustry.com/articles/2006/01/the_inch_that_changed_tennis_f.html
GGN. (2011). Evolution of the Tennis Racquet Retrieved From
Henderson, T. (2011 December 11). Newtons Third Law Retrieved From http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/newtlaws/u2l4a.cfm
Henry, D. (2009 December 11). Polyester Tennis Strings: The Choice of the Pros | Inspired Tennis Retrieved From http://www.inspired-tennis.com/2009/12/polyester-tennis-strings-the-choice-of-the-pros/
Joe, S. (2012). Stringing Wood Tennis Rackets and Taking Care of them
Reuters, T. (2012). Gasol replaces Nadal as Spanish flag bearer | Olympics 2012 Retrieved From http://www.reuters.com/london-olympics-2012/articles/basketball/2012/07/20/gasol-replaces-nadal-spanish-flag-bearer
Wikipedia. (14/2). Strings Tennis Retrieved From