Photo of Roger Federer returning a shot, courtesy of
Photo of Roger Federer returning a shot, courtesy of

Tennis: Inside the Royal Game

Roger Federer, courtesy of
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About This Episode

What chance does someone have of returning a serve that’s the equivalent of a 120mph fastball thrown at a 13-foot-wide strike zone and spinning at 4200 RPM? What makes modern composite rackets better than the older aluminum, steel, or wood rackets? Why are tennis balls fuzzy? Is it true that some tennis rackets are strung with cat guts? These are just a few of the questions for which hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly serve up answers, with a little help from astrophysicist Charles Liu, professional tennis player Jared Donaldson, and Ron Rocchi, the Advanced Innovation Manager at Wilson. First, Jared and Charles take a deep dive into the mechanics and physics of a serve, including how Pete Sampras turned the serve into a devastating weapon and Roger Federer perfected it. You’ll find out how height can provide a 5-15% advantage in power. Investigate the impact of different surfaces on ball movement, and why winning multiple Grand Slam events is so difficult. Explore the factors that make balls spin, from their famous fuzz exterior to modern string technology. Speaking of strings, find out how many cows it takes to string a natural gut racket, and why some pros use a hybrid of natural gut and monofilament strings for better performance. Discover how Spin Effect Technology string configurations can add up to 22% more spin to your normal swing with no loss of control. You’ll also hear about how a new material technology on the horizon called Countervale, developed in conjunction with a US Department of Defense contractor, can help reduce the impact, shocks and vibrations of playing tennis. Plus, once again Chuck suggests an over-the-top way to make yet another sport more exciting.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch/listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Tennis: Inside the Royal Game.

In This Episode

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