Category: Tennis (網球)

My Experience Hosting a Happy Tennis Game

By admin, May 2, 2013 12:14

I’ve been hosting tennis game for over 4 years now, touch wood…never been really a problem.

Simply divide the courts by number of ppl,  of course the key is not to over subscribe. (ie, if it’s double, then max 4 ppl., ) and you got to set some rules say for a 3 hours game, if you join late, then it would be still equally divided, but sometimes with less ppl, I will calculate for them down to hours which I am sure they don’t mind either.

Of course there are always exceptions, I always host single game on Friday  3-6pm (3 hrs), 6ppl on both courts, at least I can get some rest this way, so it also depends on the length of the game.

Finally, I did over subscribe when I first start to host tennis game 4 years ago without much experience, one worst scenario was 8 ppl on a court for double (2 hours).

Well everyone learns from their past experience, it just takes a bit of time and Happy Tennis is the key!

Tennis Racket Paint Job (轉文)

By admin, April 30, 2013 16:21

Now, we are not talking about players that use the same thing as the off the shelf model available to us and add weight or a different grip shape like Pete Sampras used to.

For essentially his entire career, Sampras used the same ProStaff 6.0 Midsize racquet, although he did have a specific grip shape and size that he wanted, along with having it weighted to be much heavier and much more difficult to play with than the retail model.  One important note about his racquet is that Sampras would only play with racquets from the no longer operating St. Vincent factory.

The reason behind this is that Sampras was extremely sensitive to changes, and preferred the St. Vincent made racquets.  The quality control at the island factory was extremely high but more importantly, due to the humidity of the area, the molds became warped, resulting in a thicker 18mm beam than the standard 17mm from other factories.  Once the St. Vincent factory was shut down and only China made PS 6.0s were available, it wasn’t exactly the same racquet Sampras was playing on TV, but it wasn’t like we see today.

The question though, how similar the gear on the shelf to the ones the pros use?   Racquet manufacturers have gotten smarter in that from generation to generation, we are starting to see the same molds being used with updated technologies but essentially the same name.

For example, the Pure Drive that Carlos Moya used back in 2002 has many similarities to the Pure Drive GT of today.  So is it ok for a manufacturer to paint Kim Clijsters original Pure Drive to look like the new Pure Drive GT and sell the new model as her racquet?

Babolat, Wilson, and Head have been the most noted three companies customizign the pros’ gear.  For example, Andy Roddick still uses the same original Pure Drive + he did when he won the 2003 US Open, but now it is painted to look like Pure Drive + Roddick GT.

Rafael Nadal is still using the original black colored AeroPro Drive and the Cortex band is simply painted onto the racquet to look like the AeroPro Drive GT.

Wilson, of course, claims that Roger Federer switches racquets every two years, most recently to the BLX Six-One Tour.  Such small changes are made to the racquets between generations and Wilson is smart enough to implement internal only changes that it is not easily seen.

Other classic examples are Marat Safin who “changed” to the new racquet every generation but actually always used the predecessor.

While those examples are mainly differences in paint and a technology or two, what are the real differences?
When Novak Djokovic signed with Wilson years ago, Djokovic was using the Head Radical / Prestige / Pro Tour mold before, and Wilson developed the nBlade 98 in an attempt to mimic his previous frame.  Strangely enough, he never liked it enough to switch to it, and continued using the same mold he had been using.  Even when he won his first Australian Open supposedly using the 93″ KBlade Tour, a quick glance shows that both his nBlade 98 and KBlade Tour share the same 18×20 string pattern as his old (and current) Head racquets.

While both Wilson frames also have 18×20 patterns, they have a different drilling pattern and so it’s easily noticed that the positions of some of the strings are different.  Even now, Djokovic is listed as using the 100″ YouTek IG Speed MP 18×20, but continues to use the same PT57 mold.  Realistically, the closest racquet to what Novak is actually using would be an older Pro Tour 630 frame.  Compared to the approximately 11.6oz weight of the YouTek IG Speed, his racquet comes in about an ounce heavier in weight with more weight in the head.

Andy Murray claims that he is using the YouTek Radical Pro, but is he really? Check this out: Two indications jump out on this claim, the string pattern, and the grommets.  While the retail Radical Pro comes in a 100″ head with a 16×19 string pattern, Murray’s racquet does have a 16×19 string pattern, but different spacing, resulting in a different overall feel.  His racquet actually follows the string pattern of the Prestige Pro, which is a 98″ headsize.

As successful as Murray is, I honestly can’t imagine Head going to the effort of making a racquet with the same string pattern but different spacing, and making a mold and specially producing the CAP grommets that you see along the sides of his racquet when they have a 98″ mold already created.  The CAP system has most notably been seen on a majority of the Prestige models, and it’s no secret that Murray has been using the CAP grommets on his Radical frames even back to the days of his i.Radical.

A much more bizarre tactic of sales strategy involved Rafael Nadal up until about a year ago when he made the switch to Babolat RPM Blast.  While most will say that he is using the 16g version of the string, he is actually using a thicker version that is 1.35mm in diameter.  Up until that point though, Babolat was claiming that Nadal was using Pro Hurricane Tour, but was using the Duralast polyester.

There were actually two reasons for claiming that Rafa was using PHT instead of Duralast.  The first of course is that PHT is almost twice the cost and a newer string that they were trying to sell.  The second was because the Duralast string that Nadal was provided was yellow in color compared to the natural color available at retailers.

These are just a few examples of these marketing techniques, and plenty of other players customize as well.  Lleyton Hewitt, for example, used the SRD Tour 90 for a long time with various different paintjobs.  The most extreme instance that comes to mind was the short lived contract between Marat Safin and Dunlop.  At the time, Dunlop released the Muscle Weave 200G 90, which was never released in the US, to make it appear that Safin had switched.  It turns out that Safin never made the switch from his Head racquet though, and after having the Dunlop logo stencil put on the string, Head actually filed a lawsuit against Dunlop.

Del Potro…Wow~…Nadal…Wow…Wow!!!

By admin, March 21, 2013 12:51

Nadal在剛復出的重要賽事ATP Indian Wells Master決賽對1米98的阿根廷巨人Del Potro,面對巨人猛烈的正手抽擊,Nadal見招化招,充份利用自己梳頭式Top Spin的正手打法,不停左右開弓,終於得到了冠軍,過程實在是精彩萬分!

不能不提的是進步神速的巨人Del Potro在這次Indian Wells Master成為大家的新寵兒,憑其強勁的正手抽擊一路過關斬將,尤其在半決賽更將世界第一的Djokovic Knock Out!

Happy Tennis: 4th Year Anniversary (4週年紀念)

By admin, March 10, 2013 23:19

工欲善其事,必先利其器!

自從更換了我打了20多年的Price Original Graphite (POG) Oversize成為Head YOUTEK IG Extreme Pro之後,感覺明顯功力大增。

每星期也多了連續打2至3個鐘頭的緊張刺激Men’s Single,加上多了認真改進過往Foot Work的缺點,所以無論正反手抽擊、打斜線、小角方面都頗有進步。也開始了在適當的時候用多了Slice去調節彼此的節奏和放Drop Shot來Setup下一球的Planning。

另外就是下了不少苦功在發球技術方面,現在水平得到了顯著的提昇,重點還是師兄的那句:打網球要靠對腳,由下而上,做足準備動作,保持Complete整個Weight Transfer的動作打球才能事半功倍。

現在還需要加強的是網前Volley技術,不要再害怕網球對方的強勁抽擊,首先一定要鎮定,然後放鬆身體的動作,以其人之道還其人之身。

還有去年網球的用量明顯比前年環保多了,減少了近1/3。

最後就是最近開始了摸索Hybrid: Natural Gut + Poly的新體驗。

Some interesting statistics:

Courts Booked: ~204場
Tennis Balls: 44罐
Restring: 4次

IMG_8739

Hybrid新體驗2: Babolat VS Natural Team Gut 17g + Luxilon 4G 17g

By admin, March 9, 2013 18:22

3個星期前換了副Babolat Hybrid RPM Blast 17g + VS Gut Touch 16g混線後,可能是Main穿的RPM Poly磅數偏高(55 lb)的原因,所以一直都覺得手感不太舒服,也就是拍身Sweet Point比較偏硬。

經過了10個多鐘頭後,我感覺Head YOUTEK IG Extreme Pro開始越來越得心應手了,絕對多了很多手感,尤其是Underspin,幾乎可以感受到球將會著陸的位置。

這應該全歸功於跌磅的原因吧,早知如此,我應該一早就把作為Main的RPM Poly磅數比Cross的VS Gut穿低2到3磅(52-53 lb)。

最令我最高興的是,這次的Hybrid磨損程度比起NRG2來說,簡直就是救星,看樣子應該可以維持多1個半月,就是全程2個月左右。怎麼算還是折扣後的Hybrid也比兩副NRG2來得便宜,而且手感也好得多了,另外擊球的聲音也真的比較清脆好聽。

上星期五跟另一位志同道合的師兄合資,每人半副線去體驗Hybrid Take 2 on my 2nd Extreme Pro.

這次我們選的是Babolat VS Natural Team Gut 17g + Luxilon 4G 17g,最大不同的是這次VS Gut Team做Main (55lb), Luxilon 4G Poly磅做Cross (52 lb)。而且這次的VS Natural Team Gut是17g (1.25) 比上次的 VS Gut Touch 16g (1.30) 細了一個碼,所以壽命應該差些,但手感也會同樣增加一點。

另外就是那半副號稱不跌磅(或者跌磅不明顯/緩慢)的Luxilon 4G,聽穿線師傅說,Luxilon 4G比其它的傳統Poly都硬,所以穿此線需要的時間也比較長。

當談到線的耐用程度,師傅說可以考慮全副Gut,只要拉高磅數就可以避免球線之間的摩擦,從而減少磨損程度,不過換來的是一幅沒什麼手感的拍子。

另外他指出,如果把Gut作為Cross的話,其實浪費了腸線的功能,他個人認為如果Main用Poly這樣的安排,其實任何線做Cross都行,如NRG2等,不必浪費昂貴的腸線做Cross。

也就是說與其想要Gut延遲壽命的話,到不如直接用其為Main,雖然壽命可能會短1/4,但是你肯定享受腸線手感的那3/4時間會比Gut作為Cross的多得多。

我今天突然發現附送的Wilson網球拍塑料袋前後都有個小孔,所以根本不是密封。我個人認為如今Babolat的ThermoGut科技應該可以減少潮濕的影響,只要別在下雨的時候用腸線的拍子即可,所以我也不用任何塑料袋做為保護。

要等到下星期二才有機會試驗新的混線表現如何,到時候再如實報道。

BTG17-1

Babolat VS Natural Team Gut 17 (1.25)

Babolat’s top of the line Natural Gut in a thin, spin responsive 17 gauge. Used by top touring pros and players who demand ultimate feel and control. VS Natural Team Gut is constructed with a tighter gauge tolerance than any previous Babolat VS Natural Gut offering. Includes Thermogut Technology – a process of high temperature finishing that increases the cohesion of the fibers down to the core of the string. Now comes with BT7 technology which is a new layering structure, increasing durability by 15%. Offers a slightly firmer feel, but remains the “Gold Standard” for comfort and playability.

Gauge: 17 (1.25 mm) – Note: Was 1.27mm, now back to 1.25mm
Length: 40 feet
Natural gut material selection: “first grade”
Thermogut Technology increases elasticity & tension hold
Color: Natural

LUX4G125-1

Luxilon 4G 17 (1.25)

Though quite firm and durable, Luxilon 4G is loaded with playability. Our testers found this one to have higher than average comfort for a monofilament string, making it more than just a niche string for string breakers. Luxilon spent two years tweaking the molecular properties of 4G in order to extend the life of playability. This is a great option for players who want all the benefits of a control string without the high tension loss and impact shock that comes with some of the first generation polys. This doesn’t mean it will work for players who prefer natural gut or nylon multifilaments, but it does mean that for players with long, fast strokes, Luxilon has created a very user-friendly co-poly.

Gauge: 17 (1.25 mm)
Length: 40 feet / 12m
Construction: Co-polyester
Color: Gold

Update: May 24, 2013

Finally I’ve broken the string today on a forehand swing, it’s the main Babolat VS Natural Team Gut 17g. I would say this new combination did last at least for 2 months which falls within my expectation. The Natural Gut 17g as main did provide the best hand feel and perhaps I can use a cheaper poly as suggested by the pro-shop staff next time.

Update: Oct 6, 2013

I’ve got my racket restrung on Jun 4th, then it lasted for more than 4 months mainly due to excessive rain in Hong Kong and still going strong…but I couldn’t bear the lost tension anymore, so I went to pro-shop today and string it with the same combination of Babolat VS Natural Team Gut 17g and Luxilon 4G 17, but this time, I choose the tension to be a bit lower than before, which is 53 lbs for main and 50 lbs for cross as for some reasons, I found 55 lbs x 53 lbs is too stiff.

Update: Feb 10, 2014

Somehow, this is still the best ultimate combination I found so far, so this time it’s 53lbs x 51 lbs.

Head金罐網球

By admin, March 6, 2013 16:26

這些年來一直都在用Wilson US Open,主要因為價錢適中(大概$100四筒),但是最近Gigasport竟然在6個月內靜悄悄地連加兩次,從原先的$100到現在的$120,最差的是UO不怎麼耐用,所以是時候開始挑選其它的代替品了。題外話,很多師兄都推薦同樣是Wilson的AO, 因為比較耐用。

誰都知道Slazenger豹仔鐵罐好打而且耐用,但是價格實在太貴了。之前也曾經有段時間用過Head金罐網球,感覺十分良好,但是價格還是比較貴的那種。

今天中午去了一間Pro Shop穿線,突然發現身邊的Head金罐網球做特價,$128四筒,比Wilson UO只是貴多$8,當機立斷,買了4筒下一場試試看。

怎麼說鐵罐的保鮮程度也應該比膠筒的好些,希望如此。

另外剛收到的Fila 2013 Catalog竟然是舒淇做封面女郎。

IMG_8712

Update: Mar 8, 2013

剛打完球回來,發現Head金罐網球完全貨不對辦,3個鐘頭下來,球面已經幾乎沒有黃色的毛了,比起UO的9個鐘頭還要差,唯一的好處就是能維持硬度,比3個鐘頭的UO要硬一些。這次球友們的感覺大致相同,Head金罐網球的耐用度強人差意,下次還是用會UO或者AO好了。

網球拍L/SL/USL的意思

By admin, March 6, 2013 00:26

之前知道只有Wilson網球拍有美版和亞洲版的分別(在於重量)。最近跟其它師兄人討論這個話題後,得知原來L是美版(一般最重)、SL是歐洲版、USL是亞洲版,但在日本市場並無此種分類。

下一個網壇超級巨星: Milos Raonic

By admin, February 21, 2013 22:46

這個年輕的加拿大球手Really Rocks!

Hybrid新體驗: Babolat RPM Blast 17g + VS Gut 16g

By admin, February 16, 2013 20:38

hybrid

我之前一直都很喜歡Tecnifibre的NRG2 Multi,唯一的缺點就是不耐用,每個月就要再穿一次,不到20個鐘頭就斷線了,小數怕長計,一年下來算起來幾乎都可以買一只全新的球拍了。後來聽不同師兄的介紹,得知原來Gut線的Hybrid一來手感更好,二來壽命比較耐用,而且透過師兄更加有較大的穿線折扣,長遠來算比NRG2更加經濟實惠。

這次Hybrid的新體驗,感覺Babolat Hybrid RPM Blast 17g + VS Gut 16g的確比NRG2硬,開始很不習慣,經過了一個多鐘頭兩種不同的線不停地摩擦結合後才漸入佳境,慢慢感覺到了VS Gut的手感和RPM Blast的Spin。

Babolat VS Gut不用多說,手感控制當然一流,其實看見不少朋友們都會用塑料袋裝起腸線球拍,目的是防潮。但是現今VS Gut的最新Thermogut科技已經做到防熱和防潮,我認為放在塑料袋反而會困住了濕氣,對Gut造成負面影響。

雖然大家都是Poly,但因為Babolat RPM Blast擁有獨特的八角形相比起Tecnifibre Black Code的五邊形更加咬球,從而大大增加球停留在線床的時間,所以打起Top Spin來更加得心應手。

Poly線出名硬,有不少師兄都曾經深受其害(網球肘),尤其是Luxilon Big Banger,所以很多都不約而同地推薦較為軟身的Poly: Black Code就是這個原因,有說跌磅的Poly也是造成網球肘的元凶之一。另外聽說這次的RPM是”Team”版本,也就是Babolat所有”Team”版本都比較軟身和令到擊球更加舒服,也就是Arm Friendly。

另外就是兩副線都是黑色,連VS Gut (Babolat VS Natural ThermoGut 16 Touch String Black) 也用了罕有的黑色Coating,配上我那只Head YOUTEK IG Extreme Pro黃黑的Paint Job,的確好鬼型,哈哈。

我這次的選擇是Main用VS Gut、Cross用RPM Blast, 同是55磅,目的當然是想比較耐用。相反的話(Main用RPM Blast、Cross用VS Gut)手感肯定會較好,但是球線的壽命也會大大縮短。

根據觀察朋友使用的經驗來推測,這樣的組合應該可以維持至少2-3個月,當然Poly的RPM Blast的磅數應該已經全掉光了,其實這是所有Poly的死穴,就是從穿完線那刻就開始跌磅,聽師兄說最近出了一隻金色跌磅比較慢的Poly,這是一個好的開始,當然也有人中途再穿過一條新的RPM Blast(Cross)來維持整體磅數,但我認為這是多此一舉。

另外這次的體驗Hybrid開始不再用Damper,完全感覺到了純淨的感覺,很喜歡,現在覺得加了Damper後擊球的時候好像總是隔了層什東西的感覺,不知道你們有沒有同感﹖

其實兩年前我就曾經自行Mix過類似Hybrid,當時的選擇是Babolat Natural Gut (Main)加上Gamma TNT2(Cross)穿在Price Original Graphite Oversize上(一只超Classic和Flex的板)。手感好是好,但是就是代價不菲,因為不到一個月就斷線了,心疼死了,那次經驗實在太奢侈了,所以之後都沒有再穿過腸線。

最後在網上查此線資料的時候才發現原來Babolat Hybrid RPM Blast 17g + VS Gut 16g正是Nadal的選擇!

完全放棄Adidas 重投Nike陣營

By admin, November 18, 2012 22:15

上次因為Barricade 7刮後腳所以轉換成了Adizero Feather II,而且特別換成比較貼腳的7號,希望沒有空間可以產生摩擦,但事與願違,刮腳的問題依然,肯定是Adidas的新一代網球鞋後腳設計有問題,根本沒有足夠海綿保護,薄薄的一層經過兩個鐘頭的劇烈運動腳當然會起水泡。

原來想換Babolat Propulse 3美國國旗版或者KSwiss BigShot,但是太貴,捨不得買。

所以今天再次趁減價,重投久違20多年的Nike陣營,記得Nike網球鞋出名不耐穿,不到半年鞋底就報廢了,相對於Adidas的Barricade至少可以Last一年來說,性價比實在太低。而且親身經歷過,年少時的那對Agassi螢光綠網球鞋竟然在半年後鞋底整個自動掉了出來,實在太可怕了。

所以這次徵求了球友的建議,他說Courtballistec至少可以Last一年,還特別檢查了 Courtballistec 4.3的後腳設計,嗯,挺厚的,感覺像以前的Barricade V。

噢,這對Courtballistec是7號半的。

當然作為Barricade的忠實擁戴者,我還是會耐心等待第八代的到來,希望到時候可以解決後腳設計的大問題。

Nike Air Courtballistec 4.3 White/Black/Red Olympic

IMG_8470

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