Can you play tennis with a wooden racquet these days? Well, of course, you can, but is it enjoyable? I brought out my old Bancroft Bjorn Borg to find out…
Wooden tennis racquets went out of fashion in the early 80s. Bjorn Borg was one of the players that clung to his racquet, but then he also retired in 1983. There is a reason wooden racquets went out of fashion. They are simply very difficult to play tennis with. Yes, you can play tennis with a wooden racquet these days, but I wouldn’t recommend it. And here are some reasons why:
- Wooden racquets are HEAVY. The Bancroft Bjorn Borg I played with for a short while measure 371 on the swing weight machine and was around 400 grams strung. You need to be the hulk to get some racquet head speed on this thing!
- Wooden racquets are small. The hitting surface of most woodies are around 65 sq inches. This is a bit less than half of most recreational racquets these days. You need to really be on your game to consistently find the center of your racquet with these things.
- Wooden racquets are low-powered. Wooden racquets are ridiculously flexible and you need to provide most of the power yourself.
It is not easy to play with wooden racquets!
I just did. But despite being a crazy tennis nostalgic and racquet enthusiast it was quite frustrating. If I compare it to playing with the Wilson Pro Staff 85 a few days before, that was a racquet I could really enjoy and play competitively with, not so with a wooden racquet. I haven’t played with a lot of different woodies, but I would be surprised if they were remarkably different considering they all need to be: heavy, small and flexible.
I really like old-school tennis racquets and tennis nostalgia. Playing with the Pro Staff 85 felt great. But I couldn’t manage more than 15 minutes with the wooden racquet before I gave up. As long as I hit with an ultra-flat stroke and a long continental-style swing, I managed to contact the ball properly. Generating any topspin is another story. But I am sure it can be good practice for aspiring players to learn how to find the sweet spot!
That is why I wanted to give the players who competed with wooden racquets a lot of respect and props for being able to play so well with a racquet like this. It definitely requires a lot from the user. So well done to you who mastered the woodies!
Have you played with a wooden tennis racquet recently? Thoughts?