Babolat launches new technical centre
Originally published on: 28/08/12 00:00
Already the official equipment supplier of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the French manufacturer will offer a specialist racket service to all those who play at the hub of British Tennis, encouraging players to understand and best utilise their equipment. The unique collaboration between the LTA and Babolat allows all players, parents and coaches visiting the facility to benefit from an attention to detail usually reserved for the professionals of the game.
“There’s no other place in the world that this has happened,” says Babolab technician Roger Dalton. ”[The concept] is designed to provide the sort of services that the top players get in terms of customisation, matching rackets and top class racket stringing to the GB team.”
Many emerging players – and even some professionals – admit to a limited understanding of rackets and strings, even though a few tweaks here or there can amount to the difference between winning or losing.
“A lot of people aren’t sure why top players change their rackets every nine games, but there’s a reason for it and it’s not because they’ve got money to burn,” explains Dalton. “It’s because of a loss in tension over those nine games. Players change rackets that often to get consistency across the board. It might only be a few pounds that they’re losing [after nine games] but a few pounds can make a big difference on court.
“[Babolab] is about trying to teach players things like that.”
The benefits of having an on-site customisation and stringing service at the National Tennis Centre are significant, says Dalton, Head Stringer at Wimbledon and one of only 10 Master Pro Tour Stringers in the world. Players are not only able to develop a racket that best suits their game, but also increase their technical knowledge to allow them to ask for the right racket set-up when they are playing in different conditions across the globe.
“It’s going to be so easy to tweak things while they’re on the court here,” says Dalton. “Normally players might say ‘oh, can you just put a bit of weight on here’ and they’ll take it away for a couple of weeks and come back and ask to tweak it again. But here [at the Babolab], we can go backwards and forwards and tweak the racket as we go.
“The first part of the process is to get the exact racket that’s right for their game, and then match their rackets so they’re all exactly the same. Stringing-wise, we’ll give the players consistent top class stringing but I’ll also be teaching the players that string their own rackets how to do it properly to get more consistent results.”