Thursday, August 04, 2011

Pat Markey

Extra Long tennis racquets, where are they today?

Extended tennis rackets were making their way onto the tennis scene about 1995 and they were making waves fast.  The traditional tennis racket is 27" inches long and in 1995 racquet manufacturers were marketing their 'extended', 'extra-long' or 'long' frames along with the traditional length tennis racquets.  The frames were anywhere from 1/2 an inch to 2" inches longer.  You might remember Prince supported the Longbody Racquets with the Precision Graphite Michael Chang, Extender Ripstick and Extender Mach 1000 among others and Prince's tagline was "Do you play longer". 

According to an article in Tennis Magazine by Bill Gray in 1995, it was estimated that 25 models from 12 companies would be entering the market in the extended category the following year.  As I remember back to this period in my tennis experience the extended rackets were great for extra reach, some additional pop on the ball and possibly more power if you can get the racket around quick enough.  It was said that extra long racquets were going to improve your game, and that they were designed  for all playing levels.  Along with the benefits highlighted the player needed to make a few adjustments to their current game in order to make the extra long racquets perform.  Some suggestions discussed in the Tennis Magazine article included slowing down ones serve, tossing the ball a little higher and a little more in front and using more durable strings due to the breakage factor. 

I remember customizing frames at this time and actually adding length to customers existing frames.  It was a fairly simple undertaking which included glue sticks, a glue gun, tape and plastic grip build up sleeves.  Naturally at the conclusion of the process the balance of the frame had changed and some adjustments to weight were often needed.  This was a great way to get players into extended length frames and the process was reversable.

Fast forward 15 years to 2011 and lets review the current position of the extended tennis rackets.  Babolat offers the Babolat Aeropro Drive Plus GT Tennis Racquet in a 27.5 inches long version..  Babolat also offers the popular Pure Drive Roddick GT Plus in an extended version, the newer version of the Pure Storm is also available in a 27.5 inche frame.

The Boris Becker Line of rackets also offers several frames that are 27.6 inches long including the Boris Becker Delta Core Power frame.  Dunlop offers the Aerogel 4D super light in a 27.5 inch frame.  I also found the Head YOUTEK IG Speed 16x19 to be 27.2 inches long.  Head also offered the Head YOUTEK Seven Star in a 27.3 inch frame along with several other frames in the YOUTEK star series.  Prince is offering the EXO3 Red 105, EXO3 Blue 110 and EXO3 Silver 115 in the 27.25 length.

ProKennex has a wide offering of long rackets starting with the Ionic series.  The Ionic Ki 5x, Ionick 20 are both 27.5 inches.  The Ionic Ki 15 pse is 27.25 and the Ionic ki 15, Ionic ki 30, Q15, Q30 are all 27.5 inches long. 

Volkl has the Powerbridge series of rackets with various lengths.  Wilson's BLX tour limited is 27.5 inches long as is BLX stratus three. 

These are a few of the many racquets that are available today that are longer than the standard 27 inch tennis racket.  In todays extended family of rackets, the extreme lengths of 1 or 2 inches longer are hard to find, the majority of frames are within the 1 inch longer variety.  Again, the benefits vary and the racquets should be demo'ed several times to really feel the difference.  Extra power, reach and more pace can be generated from any frame if you hit the ball correctly.  Check them out and see if they can help your game today.  Please comment and provide your feedback here.

Pat Markey

About Pat Markey -

Patrick Has been stringing rackets for over 25 years including at many professional events around the country including the US OPEN and AUSTRALIAN OPEN. He brings a depth of knowledge and love for the industry.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
5:53 AM delete

To check the difference for yourself, try playing with a racket cut down to 26 or 25" and tell me it don't make much different to you. It makes a lot of difference to have that extra 1" or 1.25", but you can't find them in the stores, must still be customised, like the pro's.

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