Bag Check: $25K Pro Circuit Winston-Salem Futures

At last year’s $15k Winston-Salem Futures, three racket companies dominated among the players. Together, Babolat, Head, and Wilson accounted for 81% of all the rackets I strung (recall not all players in the tournament strung with me).

WS Futures Rackets

At this year’s tournament, I saw much the same in the stringing room in terms of overall market share by the big 3, but a different ranking within them:

  1. Wilson – 45%
  2. Babolat – 34%
  3. Head and Yonex – 6% each
  4. Prince – 4%
  5. Tecnifibre and Pro Kennex – 2% each (i.e., one racket)

Babolat remained steady at 1/3 of rackets (same as last year), but Wilson overtook Babolat as the #1 racket, riding the success of the Blade.

I am really surprised to see Head not making more inroads with Djokovic and Murray as key endorsers and the Prestige being a classic player’s frame, but perhaps the overabundance of American players in the tournament (and paucity of Europeans) explains Head’s low numbers.

It’s good to see more male players using Yonex. I used to sell Yonex rackets and they were far superior to the big 3 in my opinion. The rise of Wawrinka and Kyrigos to replace Hewitt and Nalbandian is good for the company.

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Bag Check – ITF Pro Circuit $15K Futures of Winston-Salem

Three racket companies dominate competitive tennis: Babolat, Head, and Wilson. Together these three brands accounted for 81% of all the rackets I strung at the ITF Pro Circuit Futures of Winston-Salem recently.

By comparison, at the NCAA tournament they accounted for 94% of all the rackets I strung.

Rackets at Futures of WS

At the Futures of Winston-Salem, t  he racket brands broke down as follows:

  1. Babolat – 33%
  2. Head and Wilson – 24%
  3. Yonex – 9%
  4. Gamma, Prince, Tecnifibre – 3%

The biggest surprise of the bunch was the Gamma RZR Bubba, a 137 square inch, sub-10 ounce racket used by Matt Seeberger, who won the Futures of Winston-Salem doubles championship with Julio Peralta.

Seeberger Gamma

In case you didn’t know, Seeberger also won two NCAA team titles, 3 NCAA singles titles, and 3 NCAA doubles titles playing for the D3 University of California – Santa Cruz Banana Slugs.

Stringing Report for ITF Pro Circuit $15K Futures of Winston-Salem

At the ITF Pro Circuit $15K Futures of Winston-Salem last week, I strung rackets for 34 different players.

33 players used all monofilament strings, including one who used a hybrid of two different monofilaments (Luxilon 4G S mains and Luxilon Alu Power crosses). One player used a traditional hybrid of Luxilon Alu Power mains and Wilson Sensation crosses.

Here are the brands of string we saw in our stringing room:

  1. Solinco – 38%
  2. Luxilon – 21%
  3. Babolat – 12%
  4. Yonex – 9%
  5. Pacific, Genesis – 6%
  6. Dunlop, Head, Tecnifibre – 3%

(Note that 3% = 1 racket.)

Solinco

As I noted in my post on stringing at the NCAA tournament recently, the plurality of players using Solinco string is evidence of their success in connecting with junior and college players, and those connections seem to be percolating up to the lower levels of professional tennis now (which see a large number of junior and college players involved).

On the ATP World Tour, Luxilon is still the dominant string, but we do see more Solinco string there, too.

More in later posts on racket brands and tensions.

2014 String Pricing

We recently updated our stringing price list for the 28 different strings from 8 different manufacturers that we regularly stock, including: Babolat, Gamma, Luxilon, Prince, Tecnifibre, Volkl, Wilson, and Yonex. 12 of the strings on our list are by Pacific — the major brand we carry and use for ourselves, as our default for our clients, and for the Wake Forest men’s tennis team.

The prices on our list include installation. If you have your own string, that is usually your least expensive option — cost is $17 for installation for new customers. Existing customers, will continue to pay $15 through 2014 as a thanks for your support of our business. Wake Forest University students get a student discount, paying $15.

Consider taking advantage of our “off list” special on LUXILON SAVAGE: $25 installed while supplies last.

We also have random sets of strings that we have accumulated along the way — over 100 — so if you don’t see what you like on the list, please ask if we have what you want.

PDF Price List

 

Bag Check: USTA National Clay Court 12s

What rackets, strings, and tensions are some of the best 12 and under tennis players in the United States using? Stringing at the USTA National Clay Courts 12s at Hanes Park has given me some insights. Through 3 days of stringing, here is what we saw in terms of rackets. (More on strings and string tensions in the coming days.)

The most commonly used racket brands at this tournament are:

Babolat –32.3% of players stringing with us

Wilson –32.3%

Head –17.6%

Prince –6.0%

Tecnifibre – 6.0%

Yonex –6.0%

Brands not seen in the stringing room include Dunlop, Volkl, Donnay, Solinco, and Pacific.

Most popular racket models are the Babolat AeroPro Drive (including the lighter “Team” version), Wilson BLX 6.1, and the Head YouTek Speed. This is not at all surprising as these are the models endorsed by Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic, respectively.

The millions in endorsement dollars paid by these racket companies translate rather directly into racket choices by junior players. Of course, junior sponsorships help, and to be sure Babolat, Wilson, and Head are among the most liberal in doling out free and reduced price equipment. But many (most?) of the kids playing at this tournament could get full or partial sponsorship from any of these companies, so their choices are instructive.

One of the most interesting developments I notice in the decades since I was a junior tennis player is the decline of Prince among competitive juniors. Only 6% of players we strung rackets for used Prince. In the 1980s, if memory serves correctly, all of the cool kids played Prince. Now it seems to be more of a racket for recreational players and country clubbers.

I was happy to see a few players using Tecnifibre and Yonex, both of which make fine equipment. Compared to the Babolats and Wilsons of the tennis world, I suppose both of these companies must be content to be niche players. At 6% of the market each at this tournament, that may be right where they want to be.