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Modern tennis racquets vary in length, weight, and head size. 21" to 26" is normally a junior's length, while 27" or 27.5" are for stronger and taller adult players. Weights of a racquet also vary between 8 ounces unstrung and 12.5 ounces unstrung. Racquets originally flared outward at the bottom of the handle to prevent slipping. The rounded bottom was called a bark bottom after its inventor Matthew Barker.
But by 1947 this style became superfluous. Head size also plays a role in a racquet's qualities. A larger head size generally means more power, and a larger "sweet spot" that is more forgiving on off-center hits. A smaller head size offers more precise control. Current racquet head sizes vary between 88 sq. inches and 137 sq. inches.
Throughout most of tennis' history, racquets' heads were around 65 square inches and racquets were made of laminated wood. In the late 1960s, Wilson produced the T2000 steel racquet with wire wound around the frame to make string loops. It was popularized by American top player Jimmy Connors. In 1975, aluminum construction allowed for the introduction of the first "oversized" racquet which was manufactured by Weed. Prince popularized the oversize racquet, which had a head size of approximately 110 square-inches and opened the door for the introduction of racquets having other non-standard head sizes such as midsize 90 square-inches and mid-plus size 95 square-inches. In the early 1980s, "graphite" (carbon fibre) composites were introduced, and other materials were added to the composite, including ceramics, glassfibre, boron, and titanium. The Dunlop Max200G used by John McEnroe from 1983 was an early graphite racquet, along with the very popular Prince "Original" Graphite. Composite racquets are the contemporary standard.
Stringing (material, pattern, tension) is an important factor in the performance of a tennis racquet. A few elite players use natural gut, but the vast majority of strings are a nylon or polyester synthetic.
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