Essential Tennis kit 

The history of Tennis rackets.

Remember those summers, of grabbing your tennis racket and running to your nearest tennis court with your friends? Or that might just be us.

A bit about us.

Welcome to the world of Simply Sports, dedicated to those that love sport.

Above all we want you to enjoy your sport and we will do everything we can to help you achieve your goals.

Amongst many sports that we cater for, tennis has become an all-round year sport and one that Simply Sports has invested a great deal, in the very best products from brands such as Wilson, Babolat, Yonex, Tecnifibre and Dunlop. Our racket demonstration service is a great way to try out the premium rackets to make sure that you make the very best choice for your game.

However, the growth of the racket industry in general is coming from two fairly new sports to the UK, Padel Tennis and Pickleball. There is a great deal of expansion still to come from these two sports, Padel tennis is bigger than normal tennis in countries such as Spain and Portugal. For these two exciting sports we stock Bullpadel, Wilson and Babolat in all of our stores.

Ancient beginnings.

Tennis roots can be traced back to ancient ball games. Early forms of Tennis can be seen in the French game Jeu de Paume, where players struck a ball with their hands.

By the 12th century players began using gloves and then came wooden paddles to strike the ball.

15th Century made of cork and wrapped in cloth; they didn’t need to be sturdy as the balls were made of cork too.

The early days of Wimbledon, for example players used heavier wooden rackets made from Ash or Hazel wood, chosen for their natural strength and flexibility and needed a brace around the head to keep them from warping.  The heads were very small compared to today and the strings were made of animal guts, this era lasted until 1960s.

20th Century.

In 1968, Spalding launched an aluminium racquet, called "The Smasher". Aluminium is lighter and more flexible than steel, but stiffer – and therefore less accurate – than wood. Because of this, most of the top players still preferred to use wooden frames. 

In the early 1980s, "graphite" was introduced, and other materials were added to the composite, including ceramics, fiberglass, and titanium. The Dunlop Max200G used by John McEnroe from 1983 was an early graphite racket. Composite rackets are the contemporary standard, the last wooden racket appeared at Wimbledon in 1987. Later, people experimented with materials such as boron, ceramics, graphite as each material had its own quality, but ceramics and graphite were the best picks for being stiff as well as being good with vibration reduction.

Tennis Technology revolution.

The 1980’s saw a real shift in technology, with rackets being made of graphite, carbon fibre and Kevlar. And the wider body racket for more power and control and improvements in string materials and tension enhanced playability.

Playing styles.

Players could now hit harder, leading to fast paced matches. Serve and volley play became more pronounced as Pete Sampras demonstrated, using the Wilson Pro Staff a graphite racket which helped his powerful serve.  

21st Century.

As the 21st century approached racket technology was refined even further using carbon fibre, titanium and other composites.

Modern rackets are highly customizable with variation in grip sizes, string patterns and weight distribution to cater for each individual player.

“Smart” rackets 

Babolat invented smart rackets, bringing Tennis into the tech age and to transform

Tennis coaching.

“Smart rackets” collect data on forehands, backhands serves and smashes and compares your stats.

The Babolat Play Pure Drive is packed with sensors detecting string vibrations and movements, the device works with your smart phone or your laptop.

Babolat were the first to put the connected racket through the ITF – International Tennis Federation approval process.

The ITF, set up a programme called Player Analysis Technology (PAT) to regulate such "virtual coaches”.


Its purpose is to reduce the shock during contact caused by the ball hitting the racket strings.

This mainly affects the sound and feel of the string bed.

While some players only play with dampeners, others prefer to feel the ball feedback and sound.

Some brand information.

Tecnifibre Racket. 

A French brand founded in 1979 renowned for its high-quality tennis equipment.  

The Tecnifibre racket is favored by Iga Swiatek, who recently won the women’s singles French open, playing with the Tecnifibre T-Fight.

Tecnifibre’s tennis rackets exemplify the brand’s dedication to quality, innovation, and performance, making them a great choice for both tennis enthusiasts and professionals alike.


With a history dating back to 1875, Babolat has extensive experience and expertise in racket sports creating high-quality products.

The Babolat pure racket is favored by Carlos Alcaraz, recently winning the men’s singles French open championships.  

From recreational to the elite, Babolat’s commitment to performance and power confirms its reputation as a top versatile choice. 


An American brand founded way back in 1913 the company has been a subsidiary of Finnish retailer Amer sports since 1989.

The Wilson blade is favored by Emma Raducanu, after missing the French open Emma is due to return to the grass of Wimbledon 24.

The Blade series offers excellent feel and control. It features technologies like StableFeel for enhanced stability.

Intermediate and advanced players looking for controllable power and outstanding feel will love this one. 


How to choose a Tennis racket.


Weights vary but the most popular range are rackets weighing between 260g – 300g.

Grip – sizes




4 1/8”


4 1/4"


4 3/8”


4 1/2"



The main rule with grip size is that you want a handle big enough so that there is some space between the tips of your fingers.

If you are unsure, go smaller you can always add an over grip to build it to your perfect grip.

String tension – makes a huge difference.

This can vary depending on the frame however, most have a mid-range of 54lbs to 56lbs lower for a bit more power, higher means more control.

New balls please.

The tennis ball, during the Middle Ages in medieval Europe, was made from either wood or material strips tightly bound. Eventually the material strips became the core wrapped in twine and covered with cloth or felt. In 1972 the tennis ball was manufactured with yellow felt, now these yellow balls are mass produced for high performance.

Key modern day Tennis balls characteristics are a core made of pressurized rubber with a high-quality cloth, typically a mix of wool and nylon.

Interesting fact:

The ITF (International Tennis Federation) specifies that a tennis ball dropped from a height of 254 cm (100 inches) onto a concrete surface should bounce between 135 and 147 cm (53–58 inches).

From ancient hand-made balls to modern high-tech versions, the tennis ball has undergone significant transformations, contributing to the dynamic and exciting nature of tennis today.


A glimpse into tennis tournament history.

Roland Garros French open

The first Roland Garros tournament first named “French clay court championships” took place in 1891. The tournament was first only reserved for players who were members of French clubs but later opened up to players from further afield in 1925, when the French open was born.

Interesting fact: the toughest of slams, which has escaped many players including Boris Becker, Pete Sampras and Venus Williams.


The first tournament started in July 1877 and the final, you’ll not be surprised to hear, was delayed due to rain.

From Maud Watson the first female champion to Andy Murray the latest British man after Fred Perry, to win the championship, year after year fans from around the world celebrate the iconic game in a unique and special way.

The championships at Wimbledon have long attracted a royal following.

Did you know? 

King George VI competed in the men’s doubles in 1926 but sadly he and his partner lost in straight sets.


In summary today's rackets offer unprecedented opportunities to enhance and enjoy the game.

Technology advancements have led to rackets that offer more power and control, very much changing the dynamics of the game. Players adapt their techniques and strategies to leverage the benefits of these technologies.

The evolution of the racket has most definitely influenced playing styles, with an emphasis on powerful serves, baseline play and topspin.

From the old-school wooden wonders to today’s miraculous marvels, the tennis racket has had a radical makeover, revolutionizing the game we love and making it even more exciting for fans worldwide.


Some useful links & info:                                                   - Ben & Flo vintage sports


Popular posts from this blog

Hoka at Simply Sports Tonbridge

Dive deeper into the exhilarating journey of open water swimming.