September 12th, 2014
Tennis Game Changer: Dunlop iDapt Racquets to Be Used By Pros
The USTA Florida Game Changer series examines the leading tennis industry products, tips and industry insights. USTA Florida members get first access to the information,
and can share using the hashtag #GameChanger. Share your insight in the comment section below.
As many recreational players realize over the years, professional tennis players don’t use racquets straight off the store shelves. They usually employ racquet technicians to tweak their sticks to be more head heavy or light, to provide more stability, or even extend the length.
Now you have that power, and your personal racquet tech is at your local pro shop.
Dunlop is rolling out its iDapt line of customizable racquets, unveiled during the US Open, and now offered locally at pro shops where you can modify racquets to your specs.
So confident is Dunlop in the new line that Florida Dunlop representative Ray Harrison says the top Dunlop-sponsored pros on tour will be using iDapt racquets by the 2015 Australian Open.
“We have Dominika Cilbulkova, Heather Watson, and on the men’s side Tommy Robredo and Nicolas Almagro in Top 20 as Dunlop-sponsored players,” Harrison says. “They’ll all be in the new iDapt racquets by the Australian Open, if not sooner.”
Major companies such as HEAD and specialty racquet makers such as Vantage have long offered customizable racquets that can be ordered to specs, but the iDapt takes it to a new level. Take your racquet to a local iDapt-certified pro shop and they will switch your racquet for a bigger or smaller racquet head, longer or shorter grip, or different level “Shock Sleeve” to change the feel.
“Basically you choose the head size (98, 100, 100S (“S” for “spin” with a more open string pattern), and 105 square inches), and within each you have three different cosmetic options,” Harrison says.
“Then you choose your feel with the Shock Sleeve which is the blue (firm), the green (medium), and the red Shock Sleeve which is going to give you the most comfort and forgiveness, as it is 40 percent softer than the firm one. With the grip you can choose the 27-inch grip which is the standard length, or you can have 27-1/2 inches, which is going to give you a little bit more reach and power.”
You can also choose the standard grip sizes, which all add up to many combinations to create your perfect racquet.
“You have 432 different combinations when you add everything up, and then you can take it to a whole different level with the Blast Zones,” Harrison says of Dunlop’s weight option, which removes the toxic “lead” from lead tape. “They use non-toxic silicone strips to add weight the same ways the pros do with lead tape.”
The racquet is put together (or taken apart) by a tool utilized by iDapt-certified racquet techs that enters through the bottom of the handle, up to the point where the handle meets the racquet head. The tool tightens a connecting bolt to a specified pressure where you hear a loud “click,” and the racquet is ready to play, with no discernable feel from a molded one-piece racquet.
Dunlop says the racquet line is the result of a deep dive into consumer trends and the move toward increased consumer input into today’s products, where players desire to customize tennis accessories to their game, and not vice versa.
“I had the 98 (head size) and I liked that better because it had more control,” said tester and USTA Florida employee Liz Coates, who batted the ball around with a racquet featuring pink cosmetics for the ladies. Or for guys. We’re not here to judge. “I had the blue shock absorber, and then I had the red shock absorber and it was definitely more forgiving on my arm.”
See the video below where Dunlop representative Ray Harrison puts together an iDapt racquet, and USTA Florida play testers talk about their experiences hitting with the different models.
“We’re thinking this will not only be a game changer, but an industry changer,” Harrison says.
For more info go to the Dunlop iDapt website at www.dunlopidapt.com.
What is your take on the new Dunlop iDapt line? Have you play tested one yet? Will it be an industry game changer?