Courier

Federer Racquet – What A Racquet

by James A. Crabtree

Roger Federer playing in Hamburg

Roger Federer’s switch to a new racquet has made more news stories worldwide than a lunar landing. And so it should. When the world’s most successful assassin changes his most trusted weapon, this is big news.

Federer has made minor adjustments over the years, from the Pro Staff 85 6.0 he used in 2001 to defeat Sampras (the same racquet Sampras used). He then went to the Hyper Pro Staff which looked like a paint job of the previous.

If you painted your old Porsche and told everyone it was a new model would they believe you? Well, lets just assume your friends are gullible. And you would argue it is still a Porsche and should be driven with care. Both the Porsche and the Pro Staff are tough to handle.

By 2003 Federer was using a racquet with a 90 sq. inch frame and winning slams. This was the most dramatic adjustment and to many an observer the racquet has barely changed since. Just subtle paint jobs and a twinge on the marketing with a new name to keep mugs like myself trying to emulate our Swiss hero. The nCode range followed, then the nSix-One Tour 90, K Factor Six One Tour, Six.One Tour BLX and up until Wimbledon 2013 the BLX Pro Staff Six.One.

This is a tough racquet to play with. It may also be the least friendly racquet for your regular club player, as it doesn’t allow for errors. It’s a pure players racquet for Samurai’s who have mastered the craft.

So is it the same old Pro Staff that has been around for Eon’s. Well it is and it isn’t. The racquet has been moulded and adjusted to fit the player, rather than the other way around. Federer has made detailed and minute changes to his racquet and although it may look like the one in the shops it would feel and play totally different. The model, which has the same shape and hard edges would vary in weight, balance, swing weight, composite material, grip and strings whether you chose the version played by Sampras, Edberg, Courier or Federer. Regardless, it can still account for 41 slams.

Irrespective of the intricacies the Pro Staff, a racquet initially designed for Jimmy Connors, is now gone. The replacement looks like the Blade that Monfils has been using, but is now suspected to be a prototype. Whatever racquet it is, the switch has laid to rest the most successful racquet in grand slam men’s tennis history.

Usually when players change racquets it is for money, such as Djokovic to Head or more recently Wawrinka and Tomic to Yonex. When players switch model within the same company more often than not it is a paint job. Federer’s latest racquet is definitely more than just a façade.

Federer lost one surprise match at Wimbledon and it’s not unreasonable to think he has overreacted. He has had a horrid year thus far, with only one tournament win and no victories over a top 10 player. On top of this his confidence has taken a hit. He has dropped in the rankings, and showed inconsistency with his various game plans. Is a new racquet just a desperate shot in the dark to find form, or another experiment that could plummet his woes further?

Is Federer learning from Pete Sampras, who never changed his racquet throughout his career but suggested perhaps he should have. Or is coach Paul Annacone in his ear, having been there at the end of both the careers of Sampras and Henman.

Federer has stated he is happy with the new racquet, and the greater sq. inches it provides should add a little more power and help with the various shanks we have become accustomed to seeing. The new racquet hasn’t yet experienced a loss or been put up against a considerable opponent. His arm may have been tested, but not his ability to deal with the underlying psychological aspects it will undoubtedly present.

Kournikova And Rubin To Compete In Mixed Doubles Exhibitions At Outback Champions Series Event In Charlotte

NEW YORK, N.Y., August 7, 2008 – InsideOut Sports & Entertainment today announced that Anna Kournikova and Chanda Rubin will compete in special mixed doubles exhibition matches at The Championships at The Palisades, the fifth of eight events on the Outback Champions Series tennis circuit to be played September 24-28 in Charlotte, N.C.

Kournikova and Rubin, both former top 10 players on the WTA Tour, will compete in mixed doubles exhibitions during both the day and night sessions on Saturday, September 27 with two players chosen from the field of eight men’s players competing in the tournament field. Confirmed players for the event include former world No. 1 and 2006 tournament champion Jim Courier, two-time Charlotte finalist Todd Martin, 2003 Wimbledon finalist Mark Philippoussis and 1992 Olympic silver medalist Wayne Ferreira. The final four players in the field, as well as the schedule of play in the round-robin event, will be announced in the near future.

Tickets for the event are available now and can be purchased by calling 877-332-TIXX. Ticket prices start at $12. Full ticket information can be found at www.championsseriestennis.com.

“We are excited to add Anna and Chanda to the roster of players in Charlotte as we continue to expand the entertainment options on the Outback Champions Series,” said Jon Venison, co-founding partner of InsideOut Sports & Entertainment and the Outback Champions Series. “One of the most frequent comments we hear from our fans is the desire to see their favorite female players play at our events. We are delighted to be able to provide this for our fans with the addition of these mixed doubles matches in Charlotte featuring Anna, Chanda and some of our Outback Champions Series players.”

Kournikova, from Russia, was ranked as high as No. 8 in the world in singles in 2000 and ranked No. 1 in the world in doubles in 1999. She won 16 career WTA Tour doubles titles, including two Australian doubles titles with Martina Hingis in 1999 and 2002. Known as one of the most popular tennis players in the world, Kournikova reached the singles semifinals at Wimbledon in 1997.

Rubin, from Lafayette, La., was ranked as high as No. 6 in the world in singles and won seven career WTA Tour singles titles and 10 career doubles titles, including the 1996 Australian Open with Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. Her best singles showing at a major tournament was also at the 1996 Australian Open, where she reached the semifinals, losing to eventual champion Monica Seles.

Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier and others. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team.

The Outback Champions Series features eight events on its 2008 schedule, with its next event being the International Tennis Hall of Fame Champions Cup in Newport, R.I., August 13-17. Each event features an eight-man round-robin match format with the winner of each four-player division meeting in the title match while second place finishers in each division meet in the third-place match. Each event features $150,000 in prize money with an undefeated winner taking home $54,000 as well as Champions Series points that will determine the year-end Stanford Champions Rankings No. 1.  Beginning in 2008, the year-end champion will receive a $100,000 bonus courtesy of Stanford Financial Group, the official rankings sponsor of the Outback Champions Series. Through the first three events in 2008, McEnroe and Courier are tied for the No. 1 position with 1600 points each. Wayne Ferreira is in third position with 950 points, followed by Aaron Krickstein and Todd Martin in fourth place with 900 points each.

The 2008 Outback Champions Series kicked off March 12-16 in Naples, Fla., at The Oliver Group Champions Cup where Martin defeated McEnroe in the final. Courier won the second event of the season at The Residences at The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman Legends Championships April 16-20, defeating Ferreira in the final, while McEnroe won his first career Outback Champions Series even in Boston April 30- May 4, defeating Krickstein in the final. The next five events on the 2008 Outback Champions Series calendar are stops in Newport, R.I., Charlotte, N.C., Dallas, Texas, Surprise, Ariz., and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. More information can be obtained by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

InsideOut Sports & Entertainment is a New York City-based independent producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including one-night “Legendary Night” exhibitions as well as charity events and tennis fantasy camps, including the annual Ultimate Fantasy Camp. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com