Wilson Pro Staff RF 97

Slowly but surely Wilson is revealing more details on the racquet Roger Federer has been playtesting for 2014. What is this black Wilson Federer racquet you ask? Being a Wilson Pro Staff player his entire professional career, imagine what goes into a player of Federer’s caliber changing racquets at this stage of his career. Federer has been all but alone on the ATP World Tour in continuing to use a racquet 90 square inch headsize. As opponents have grown bigger, stronger, faster, and more spin-oriented, apparently the time has finally come for Roger to get with the times and update to a more contemporary 97 square inch frame size. The results so far in 2014 seem to indicate this is the right move, with Federer playing more competitive tennis than he has in years.

What does this mean for the average consumer? For starters, fans of Federer who want to play with the same racquet, can actually play with the same racquet! The Pro Staff 97RF Autograph is made to the exact same specification as Roger’s frame, down to the shape of the pallet on the handle, as well as the hefty 12.5 ounce strung weight. The 97 square inch headsize is likely more appropriate for the non-professional player as well, than the ultra control oriented 90 square inch model available for RF fans. Always wonder how many of those who bought the 90 could actually play with it? As of this post, the final cosmetic has not been released to the public, with Roger still using a blacked-out frame in his most recent tournaments. Rumor has it that the final cosmetic will be rolled out sometime prior to the US Open in August. A flat beam design remains consistent with previous generations of Pro Staff, albeit now in a wider 21.5mm thickness for added pop and forgiveness.

The Pro Staff line will also see updates in the way of a Pro Staff 97 which is about an ounce lighter than the RF97 Autograph. Wilson Spin Effect string patterns will also be options in the form of a Pro Staff 97LS and a Pro Staff 95S.

Stay tuned for updates as soon as they are available.

 

Wilson new RF racquet specs

Roger’s New Racquet

Tennis players like to have their own rituals & superstitions, rarely changing anything that comes in the way of what they do successfully. The best players in the sport like to keep “change”… minimal.

Change & Roger Federer are two things that are rarely heard together in the same sentence.  Back in 2013, at the start of Federer’s 15th season as a professional, Federer’s game started to dip at a level never seen before. His game started to look like most professionals. His game was professionally average. And change was looming. Federer was essentially at the first crossroad of his career, where to go now? Federer needed the change.

When you think of the word “change” in context to the sport of tennis, you often point to one of two things: a coaching change or an equipment change. Federer ultimately decided on both.

In July of 2013, 17 time major champion, Roger Federer took the plunge and made the switch from his customary Wilson Pro Staff Six One 90 (square-inched head) to a new unreleased blacked out racquet. All we knew about this “new” mystery racquet was that it featured a 97 or 98 square inched head size. Federer debuted this frame at a match versus the then 58th ranked Daniel Brands, at an ATP 250 event, the bet-at-home Open in Hamburg, Germany.

Federer, a winner of over 960 matches,  rarely plays in any of the lower ATP level events, therefore has the luxury to tinker and be experimental with his game at events like the bet-at-home Open.  Switching racquet frames isn’t the ideal methodology for professional tennis players. Players are often testing new models during practice time, but to fully commit and switch racquets, that is a huge step.

Federer was part of the 10% minority of players whom used frames less than 95 sq. inches.  Hey, Federer won 77 singles titles, 17 grand slams and reigned as the world No. 1 for over 300 weeks while using a 90 square inched frame. But one of the greatest tennis players ever knew that father time most notably an ailing back and technology were catching up to him.

After continuing to test and test the new 97 square inched frame at some of the lower tournaments, Federer decided to hang up the frame just before the 2013 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Federer switched back to his old frame, the Wilson Pro Staff Six One 90 and used that racquet through the U.S. Open. Federer finally decided that enough was enough and switched back to the 97 square inched frame on a permanent basis to begin the 2014 season.

Federer quoted in a press release, “I grew up idolizing legends of the game, so it was natural for me to play with Wilson Pro Staff 85 inch racquets. I love the feel a smaller head provides, and larger racquets couldn’t deliver the feedback I needed to be successful. This new Wilson Pro Staff racquet has been a long time coming, but I finally have the feel I need in a 97-inch head.”

Change was on! Roger wanted to get #Betterer

After three years of development, Wilson has announced that the next generation of Pro Staff racquets are ready to be released. Not so fast, no not today, pre-sale will happen in Mid-August, and the new Pro Staff racquets will go on sale at Midwest Sports tentatively, October 1st.

A whole generation of tennis players grew up with the original Wilson Pro Staff. For the next generation, the Pro Staff has been re-invented with the help of the greatest tennis player of all time – Roger Federer. A combination of an aggressive and youthful new look and re-engineered technology will inspire young players for generations to come.” -Wilson Sports

Wilson new RF racquet specs

Western & Southern Open Player Field Announcement

Cincinnati, Ohio (July 14th, 2014) - The Western & Southern Open was pleased to announce both the Men’s & Women’s tournament fields for the W&S Open which is being held from August 9th – August 17th at the Linder Family Tennis Center 20 miles north of Cincinnati in Mason, Ohio. The player field announcement was held at the historic Ensemble Theater located in Over-the-Rhine in downtown Cincinnati.

The Men’s commitment list features the top 43 players in the World (rankings as of entry deadline of June 30) including the famously dubbed “Big 4″. The World’s No. 1 player Novak Djokovic, fresh off his 2nd career Wimbledon title, is looking claim the Rookwood Cup for the first time in his career and become the first player to win all nine of the ATP Tour Masters 1000 series events. The Men’s field also includes the 2014 Australian Open champion & World No. 4, Stanislas Wawrinka.  You can’t talk about the game of tennis without mentioning two of the greatest players of all time, 2013 Western & Southern Open champion, Rafael Nadal & four time (2012, ’10, ’09, ’07) Western & Southern Open Champion Roger Federer.  The Men’s field will be jammed back with great competition.

The Women’s draw will feature all of the WTA’s World Top 30 tennis players including World No.1 Serena Williams. Williams who has struggling in 2014, battling injuries and early exits from the first three major championships, is looking to capture her first title in Cincinnati. Williams will look to get into a nice hard court groove before trying to defend her 2013 U.S. Open title. The World No. 10 ranked player, Victoria Azarenka, will look to shake off her 2014 injury ridden season & defend her title at the Western & Southern Open. New comers, Genie Bouchard & Simona Halep, will look to continue make loud statements with there play at the Western & Southern Open.

The Western & Southern Open established in 1899, is the oldest professional tennis tournament in the United States that is still held in it’s original city. The W&S Open is only one of five events in the world outside of the Grand Slams with events of both ATP Tour Masters 1000 series and a Premier 5 event for the WTA occurring during the same week at the same venue.  According to a report in 2011, the Western & Southern Open produced a $62.5  million impact for the economy of Great Cincinnati through its capital expansion, tournament operations and spending by visitors outside the area.

The event will be broadcasted by the Tennis Channel, ESPN 2 and CBS to more than 60 million people in 170 countries worldwide. The Western & Southern Open is one of the last stops prior to the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York.

 

Player Field announcment

Wimbledon Babolat 2014

Babolat has now partnered with the All England Lawn Tennis Club to produce a line of racquets, bags, footwear and accessories that bear the Wimbledon brand. Rather than rolling out what could have been a stodgy white/gold line of products (as quite happens with other product lines “inspired by Wimbledon”) Babolat has taken a bolder approach in
offering some exciting takes on the green, purple and white themes of Wimbledon. The advertising graphics for this line even take a cue from the London punk scene of the late 1970′s with its Sex Pistols inspired font and grass mohawk treatment of the Propulse and Pure Drive, just to let you know that this collection is meant to have a bit of an edge to it.

The Pure Drive is updated with a bright green, white and black graphic and keeps the playability expected from this legendary model unchanged. Same for the Aeropro Team (the lightweight counterpart to Nadal’s Aeropro Drive.) Expect to get some attention on court with the look of these frames. The Team Line bag collection also gets the black and green Wimbledon treatment in the 12 racquet bag and tennis backpack configurations. Fans of the top of the line Propulse 4 shoe will be happy to know that there is another striking color in this shoe, with this all-green update with Wimbledon logo and purple trim.

The kids have not been forgotten either, with a Pure Drive junior racquet and smaller version of the Propulse also being options in this line.

Babolat’s Wimbledon collection still honors and respects the tradition of Wimbledon, but brings a fresh edge to this classic tournament. Cheers!

 

BAB503_Wimbledon 2014-80x60.indd

The Queen of Clay?

Maria Sharapova French Open Gear

Maria Sharapova has reached her third straight finals at Roland Garros after defeating 20 year old Canadian, Genie Bouchard, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.  Sharapova has won 19 of her last 20 matches at Roland Garros, her only loss came at the hands of Serena Williams in the finals last year. Sharapova is trying to relive some of the magic she found in 2012, after she marched through the field at Roland Garros & achieved the allusive career grand slam (wins at all of the major tournaments) and first title at the French Open.  Sharapova won the title in 2012 after defeating the crowd favorite & one of France’s own, Sara Errani, 6-3, 6-2.

Sharapova’s road to the finals this year drew clear after the World No. 1 & defending French Open Champion, Serena Williams, was upset in the 2nd round.  Before the tournament started, many fans had penciled in a Williams vs. Sharapova quarterfinals matchup.  That potential matchup could have been a gigantic hurtle to overcome for Sharapova, who is winless versus Williams since 2004 and holds a 2-16 career record against Serena.

The match between Sharapova and Bouchard for a chance at a finals berth was a clear example of Sharapova’s clay dominance. Sharapova has proved to be the “Queen of Clay” over the past 3 years, partly due to her charm and grace on and off the court, but particularity due to the impressive 53-4 record Sharapova holds on clay since 2010. Sharapova took her normal, not necessarily good, “slow start” approach to this match, dropping the first 6-4 to Bouchard. Sharapova battled back resiliently in the next two sets, fight off the 20 year old, 7-5 in a well contested 2nd set. In the 3rd set, Sharapova started to mix in her proven experience at grand slams to go along with her overall talent on the clay surface, asserting her dominance over the future star from Canada, 6-2 in the 3rd.

Sharapova will take on 22 year old & soon to be World No. 3, Romanian, Simona Halep in the finals on Saturday. Sharapova holds a 3-0 record versus Halep. These two last met in the finals of Madrid Open in early May in which Sharapova won 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.


Maria Sharapova French Open Attire

WTA Sony Open 4th Round Results

Women’s WTA 4th Round Results (March 24th, 2014)
Serena Williams defeats Coco Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-1
Maria Sharapova defeats Kirsten Flipkens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
Petra Kvitova defeats Ana Ivanovic  3-6, 6-0, 6-0
Dominika Cibulkova defeats Venus Williams 6-1, 5-7, 6-3
Agnieszka Radwanska defeats Elina Svitolina 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-2
Li Na defeats Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0, 6-2
Angelique Kerber defeats Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
Caroline Wozniack defeats Vavara Lepchenko 6-0, 6-1

 

Serena Williams performs the splits during her 4th round match at the Sony Open in Miami, Florida

Serena Williams performs the splits during her 4th round match at the Sony Open in Miami, Florida

Photo Credit: Sony Open Tennis

ATP Sony Open 3rd Round Results

Men’s ATP 3rd Round Results (March 24th, 2014)
Stanislas Wawrinka defeats E. Roger-Vasselin 7-5, 6-4
John Isner defeats Nicolas Almargo 7-5, 6-3
Rafael Nadal defeats D. Istomin 6-1, 6-0
Tomas Berdych defeats J. Sousa 6-2, 6-4
Fabio Fognini defeats R. Bautista Agut 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
Milos Ranoic defeats G. Garcia-Lopez 6-1, 6-2
Alexandr Dolgopolov defeats D. Lajovic 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (5)
B. Becker defeats A. Bedene 6-3, 7-5

 

Sony Ericsson Open - Day 6

Rafael Nadal lunges for a ball versus Denis Istomin in the 3rd round of the Sony Open in Miami, Florida.

Photo Credit: Sony Open Tennis