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