IS LONGER BETTER? PRINCE UNVEILS NEW TECHNOLOGY AROUND CHANG
For the last eighteen months, Michael Chang has used a
Prince 28-inch racquet, one inch longer than the standard model.
But it was Chang's appearance in the French Open Finals this
month that generated interest in the longer racquet, including
how the extended size could affect the game and Prince's plans to
market their new merchandise.
"WAVE OF THE FUTURE"? The new Prince racquets will be
28 and 29 inches long, up from the standard 27 inches.
International rules set racquet length at no longer than 32
inches. Jack Groppel, Chair of the USTA's Sport Science
Committee, said the new technology of a longer, lighter
racquet enables the player to swing through the ball,
increasing racquet speed and generating more pace on shots.
Groppel said it has added close to 7-10 miles per hour on
Chang's serve. Groppel: "This is definitely a wave of the
future, because it gives the player power and control.
These really are racquets for everybody." Howard Brody,
Professor of Physics at UPenn and a member of USTA's Sport
Science Committee, says that "this has been done before, but
is has been made with wood which was too heavy. The new
technology with graphite is light and maneuverable. It will
help every player with their serve, especially shorter
players who need more reach for their serves."
FIT FOR PRINCE: Prince has set a U.S. launch for the
long body racquets in August as a tie-in with the U.S. Open,
according to Adrian Marrullier, Dir of Event Marketing at
Prince. Prince will introduce three long body racquets --
two 29-inch models -- the "Mach 1000," dubbed the "Most
Powerful Racquet in the World," and the Prince "Ripstick."
The third, the "Precision Michael Chang Graphite" racquet
will be a 28-inch signature racquet, the same model used by
Chang at the French. The racquet has helped Chang jump from
No. 8 to No. 4 in the world (he's currently No. 5), and
Prince reportedly has had more pro players requesting the
longer body model. Prince will market the "Precision Chang"
to the "more active recreational player," while the "Mach
1000" and "Ripstick" will be geared to players of all
levels. Prince will run a considerable amount of
"breakthrough, creative" print ads globally in coordination
with parent Benetton Sports System, stage consumer-base
events using Chang, and launch an extensive demo program to
get club players to test-play the racquets. Marrullier:
"We feel the long body launch will revolutionize tennis,
both in how it is played and the enjoyment of the game. The
advantages are tremendous" (THE DAILY).