Whether you are a tennis player that is interested in how to repair your own racquet or you simply would like to know more about how racquets are made, we have all of the information that you need.
Tennis has a long history and racquets have seen a huge evolution since the early days of tennis, which date back to the 16th century. The first tennis racquets, as you would imagine were of a much more basic design without the luxury of the materials and manufacturing equipment that are available today. The original racquets resembled not much more than a plank of wood, gradually evolving to rounded racquets with strings inserted across the central hole.
The more sophisticated designs involving laminated wood appeared in around 1947 and later in 1968, the Wilson T2000 steel racquet was invented. Seven years later, the lighter option of aluminium became the more popular choice. Then in the 1980s we saw the introduction of graphite tennis racquets and the rest is history!
To start with you will need the materials such as graphite, although if you have not got sophisticated racquet making equipment then you are best trying to make a racquet out of the traditional wood. The grips of the racquet can be made from a variety of different materials including rubber or synthetic material.
You might want to stop reading this if you are just in the middle of eating but the most playable string is made from natural gut, or in other words, animal intestines. However, let’s assume that this is not a valid option and you can instead go for nylon strings. Polyester is another material that you can make strong tennis racquet strings from.
Most tennis racquets are produced in factories where material such as aluminium is melted down and poured into a racquet-shaped tube to form the frame. Then the frame will be sanded down and holes drilled for the strings to be looped through. The actual stringing element is usually completed by a factory worker using a stringing machine and some racquets are sold without the strings so that the owner can add their own string and set it up however they prefer, i.e. material and tightness of strings.
It probably isn’t realistic for you to actually start manufacturing tennis racquets unless you have access to all of the equipment but it certainly is quite interesting to find out more about the materials used and the basics of the manufacturing process.
Tennis is not the only sport that has a large choice in terms of different materials used for equipment, golf clubs, for example, have come along a similar journey from wood to graphite. Even bicycles can be made with different types of material depending on the main purpose i.e. lighter materials for smooth, fast races and heavier ones for mountain biking where you require a sturdier frame.
If you are looking to buy a tennis racquet have a read of our guide to the best tennis racquets in the world.