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  • The design of the modern tennis racket goes back to England in 1874

  • and a man named Major Walter Clopton Wingfield.

  • Wingfield patented the rules for a game known as lawn tennis,

  • standardising elements like balls, nets and rackets.

  • For the next century rackets would be made of wood and remain similar in shape to Wingfield's

  • original design.

  • But in 1961 French tennis legend Rene Lacoste unveiled a radical invention.

  • "The Crocodile" - as he was nicknamed - had made a prototype using metal.

  • Just a few years later Wilson released the T-2000, the first stainless steel racket whose

  • futuristic design caught the eye of players like Billie Jean King and Jimmy Connors.

  • Its small head and open throat reduced air resistance and helped Connors win the US Open

  • 5 times.

  • The 1970s ushered in an era of aluminium which was lighter and easier to mould than steel.

  • This was followed by fashionable oversized racquets that had a larger sweet spot and

  • gave players more power.

  • Eventually the quest for lightness and durability led to graphite rackets as well as other materials

  • like kevlar and graphene.

  • Today Wilson and French brand Babolat dominate both the men's and women's game with the

  • two brands winning 71% of professional tournaments in 2017.

  • Precise and powerful this is the design that's helped to create legends with every stroke.

The design of the modern tennis racket goes back to England in 1874

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