This week we have been sending a barrage of tweets in regard to our complete and total disgust with tennis racquet manufacturers and retailers. They are either oblivious to the impact of manufacturing and selling frames with unhealthy specs, (in terms of tennis elbow), or they just don’t care. I fear it may be the later which disgusts me.
As a professional stringer I come across new customers each week who have been unknowingly saddled with unhealthy equipment. This week I have had at least a half dozen cases. The typical scenario involves a player who was convinced that a lighter weight frame would be better for him/her, by a tennis retail sales rep. (Shame on you if you are reading this blog and this describes you!) Tennis retailers MUST become more attuned to the advantages and DISADVANTAGES of lightweight racquets. They MUST educate themselves about other factors such as RA (racquet stiffness), balance, head size, string pattern and weight. The average tennis playing customer is not going to be versed in this subject. He/she is coming to the retailer for advice. If he/she is coming for advice you better darn well have it. Afterall, in theory the advice and knowledge offered is what separates you from the online retailers!!! Failure in understanding this has the potential to harm customers and kill the local business. (While you are at it you might want to learn about strings too. The average recreational/league player should NOT be using Luxilon ALU, a string developed in 1993 with the life span of less than a Mayfly! Another related topic for another day.)
Manufacturers…there is no way you are off the hook. What are you thinking in designing frames weighing less than 9 oz with an RA of 70+??? This is completely irresponsible. There is not a single logical reason to produce frames with unhealthy specs. Quite frankly there is no justification for such a practice and the engineers doing so should be fired or at the very least tarred and feathered. ALL the BIG BOYS are guilty. Prince, Wilson, Head, Babolat, even Volkl, Dunlop and Yonex. All are guilty. Clean up your act!
He steps off soap box.
Let’s try to end this blog entry on an upbeat and positive note. Earlier today I received a kind email message from a customer who I assisted with tennis elbow issues a few months ago. Ironically it is the text of this email that sent me into the above rant.
John - my elbow would like to thank you for your stringing job. After suffering constant pain over a three year period,racquet changes, icing and even resorting to cortisone shots, I found your service through an internet search. I was skeptical that the string or the stringing could make a material difference in my struggle with tennis elbow. All I can say is, WOW! After your first effort, my elbow recovered, while I continued playing. Having tried so many other solutions without relief, I can only attribute my recovery to your effort. I can't thank you enough - I recommend you to everyone I meet. Thanks, L. Haymond We care about our customers using healthy equipment. We take pride in helping those who are experiencing pain. We care.