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A review of tennis racket performance parameters

Allen, T and Choppin, S and Knudson, D (2016) A review of tennis racket performance parameters. Sports Engineering, 19 (1). ISSN 1369-7072

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Abstract

The application of advanced engineering to tennis racket design has influenced the nature of the sport. As a result, the International Tennis Federation has established rules to limit performance, with the aim of protecting the nature of the game. This paper illustrates how changes to the racket affect the player-racket system. The review integrates engineering and biomechanical issues related to tennis racket performance, covering the biomechanical characteristics of tennis strokes, tennis racket performance, the effect of racket parameters on ball rebound and biomechanical interactions. Racket properties influence the rebound of the ball. Ball rebound speed increases with frame stiffness and as string tension decreases. Reducing inter-string contacting forces increases rebound topspin. Historical trends and predictive modelling indicate swingweights of around 0.030–0.035 kg/m2 are best for high ball speed and accuracy. To fully understand the effect of their design changes, engineers should use impact conditions in their experiments, or models, which reflect those of actual tennis strokes. Sports engineers, therefore, benefit from working closely with biomechanists to ensure realistic impact conditions.

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