Serena Williams will return to the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA for the first time since 2001. William has won the tournament twice in her career, but had not played in 14 years due to an ugly incident that happened back in 2001.
“I walked out onto the court, the crowd immediately started jeering and booing. In my last match, the semifinals, I was set to play my sister, but Venus had tendinitis and had to pull out. Apparently that angered many fans. Throughout my whole career, integrity has been everything to me. It is also everything and more to Venus. The false allegations that our matches were fixed hurt, cut and ripped into us deeply. The undercurrent of racism was painful, confusing and unfair. In a game I loved with all my heart, at one of my most cherished tournaments, I suddenly felt unwelcome, alone and afraid.” – Serena Williams
One of the most played racquets on the ATP and WTA Tours, Wilson will update the Blade family in January 2015 with what looks to be the best version yet. In keeping with the stealth look of its predecessor, Wilson has added a striking green foil graphic at several points around the frame, no doubt for a bit more visual impact on court.
Technology updates include Parallel Drilled grommets for a more consistent response from the stringbed, as well as Braided Graphite + Basalt frame construction. Early playtests suggest that this remains the Blade you know and love, albeit with a bit more of a “cupping” effect where the ball feels like it remains on the frame a split second longer. Excellent feel and control remain, as do the specifications from the 98 (16×19, 98 (18×20), 104, and 98S (18×16) versions of this update.
Expect the Wilson Blade 2015 to have a strong presence on tour, as well as on courts everywhere, as the previous version has been very tough to come by in the latter part of 2014. Fortunately the Blade has continued its evolution from what was already an outstanding racquet to a world class performer that looks as good as it plays.
Q: I know you have your racquet coming up for the public to buy. How much is that version different from the one you use? How much input have you had in sort of the mainstream version. I know you did a lot of tinkering with the one you used.
Federer: Yeah, basically it’s a year ago where I started the racquet testing after Wimbledon. Anyway, it’s a long process. But actually, it all went pretty quickly because I did not use it again here actually for this tournament. Right before I switched my mind, I switched and I said, Okay, I’ll play the year normally.
After all the back issues I had I needed to first figure out what’s going on with my game and my back. So I really lost a few months there.
So the change was swift. I’m happy now that you can buy it. It’s the one I’m playing with. They are going to make it in three different versions. The one exactly I’m playing with, and then I think two lighter versions of it for younger people or weaker people, you know, who can carry such a heavy racquet.
Not that mine is crazy, but it’s good to have the choice. I’m very excited, because I have been playing pretty much with the same racquet since 2002 with some little adjustments here and there, but never to the extreme of changing the size of the racquet the way it is now.
So this is a major change for me, and I’m happy I have made the switch. I’m happy with the way I’m playing.
Q: Do you think the racquet is more important or strings, tension?
Federer: I mean, everything is on the racquet. Strings I use, what tension I use, the weight of the racquet it is, all the information is on the racquet.
So when you go buy it, it’s the one I’m playing with, which was the most important thing for Wilson, myself. That racquet does exist, of course.
Check out more info here: http://bit.ly/1vEy331
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.
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
Tennis’ newest rising star, Simona Halep, reached her first career Grand Slam semifinal after beating Svetlena Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-2. Halep, the 4th ranked player in the world, has been dominant at Roland Garros, not dropping a set this tournament.
After a 3 hour rain delay, the 22 year old Halep, put all of the nerves and pressure aside and just played her game. That game of hers, has been one of the best games during the 2014 season. Halep ripped forehand after forehand, wearing Kuznetsova down. Halep has become a force on tour & fashionable on the court as well. During her match versus Kuznetsova, Halep gave us a fresh look in her glow orange adidas tank with a tribe purple skirt with bright orange under shorts.
Serena Williams will be packing her bags earlier than expected as she was upset by 20 year old Spaniard, Garbine Muguruza in the 2nd Round of the French open, 6-2, 6-2. The win over Serena marks the first in the modern era that the top 2 women’s seeds have been eliminated before the 3rd round. Number 2 seed, Li Na, lost in the first round of the tournament yesterday to Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.
Serena struggled the entire match, only winning four games which is the fewest games won by Serena in 288 grand slam matches. Although Serena played poorly throughout the match, she was impressed by Muguruza’s game telling her at the net, “if she keeps playing like this, she can win the tournament.”
Congrats 2 my opponent today. She did her thing. I'm proud of her. I wish her well. Until next time. There's always tomm & I will be ready.
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) May 28, 2014