The Recognition Minute
Williams, Federer and Nadal January 29 2017, 0 Comments
Yesterday was a family affair, where two blood sister fought to win the ladies Australian Open championships. It is not the first time they have faced off in professional tennis. This was a record-breaking event, with Serena taking full honours. She was heard to have said, "Its a win for the family". Such was the spirit of her achievement, shared with the whole family, and no less with Venus and their fans.
Today, two more champions battle it out, providing enthralling tennis at it's best. What is it within a man when two games down, fights to win back his position and a whole lot of respect to boot. Such stamina, character, fortitude and grit is supported by the prospect of winning, raising trophies, wearing medals and many people from teachers, coaches and family giving their all for the reward, alongside. The duce! And now, 14:15 SA time - Federer wins the men's singles, Australian open, 2017. What champions!
TENNIS RACQUETS: EVOLUTION OR REVOLUTION January 25 2017, 0 Comments
THE TENNIS RACQUET
The man known as Slew was asked in the late 1970s about the changes in the equipment used to play tennis. He didn't hesitate. "You can play with a tomato can on a broomstick if you think you can win with it," he quipped. As the then-chairman of the US Tennis Association, his opinion carried.
But oh, how times have changed.
In 1993, Hester Slew died at the age of 80. During his lifetime he saw a game that evolved immensely. Wooden racquets became steel. (Jimmy Connors won at Wimbledon with a Wilson T2000 steel racquet). Steel became carbon. Carbon will - sooner rather than later become graphene.
Not all players used steel racquets, some being more comfortable with the wooden-frame models. Administrators were worried about the direction the sport was taking and questioned whether tennis drifting in a similar direction to motor sport where the game would be won or lost because of the technology and not the player?
Although Connors used metal until the mid-1980s, he soon found he was being left behind in the technology stakes. His rivals had shifted to more advanced designs and manufacturing techniques. Steel began to lose it’s shine but instead of returning to wood, other alternative were being explored. The result of all this innovation would herald a sport that was on its way to changing beyond all recognition.
Unlike Slew Hester, those responsible for tennis regulations today - the International Tennis Federation (ITF) - were bothered about technology. They keep tabs on everything - squishing every ball, for example, to ensure it makes the grade - bouncy, but not too much.
When the ITF looks at racquets its principal concern is whether they offer too much power. Given a free rein, a manufacturer could make a racquet so good at smacking the life out of a ball that the game of tennis would quickly descend into being little more than a serving competition. In other words, bone-dry boring. The awards and medals would then be highly predictable and spectators would dwindle.
The ITF tests racquet power using machines that move faster than the eye can follow. A computer calculates the speed of each ball. At 120 mph capability, the steel racquets fell well within the stated limits. However, to give some perspective of the power of players, Andy Murray delivered his fastest shot at a speed of 145 mph! A mind-blowing 233 km/h!
In the small Austrian town called Kennilbach, Head Inc., innovators of top racquets, set up shop. It is here that the champions Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova’s raquets are manufactured to their precise specifications. Innovation for improvement is ongoing and there are many more materials in the wings, waiting to add to the exhilaration for the crowds, watching tennis balls flying at speeds previously thought impossible.
Awards are part of the drive to be great. See http://www.prestigeawards.co.za/search?q=tennis&x=0&y=0 for the trophies and awards available to you, for all your champions! And there is much more to come.
TENNIS AND TROPHIES January 19 2017, 0 Comments
It is Australian Open time again, the first on the annual calendar of four grand slam tournaments. Each year, about this time, tennis fans gather to watch the drama of hard-won tennis matches. Who will lift the final trophy is always top of mind but that is only a small part of this major competition. It is also who will get the medals along the way to victory and who might upset the cart by stealing a match from a favourite, right under their noses.
Lifting the winning trophy, a weighty, silver, perpetual cup is a dream most of us won’t realise in a lifetime but we can be part of the glory of victory it all when these awards are presented.
The Men’s Singles trophy, called the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after a former Australian tennis champion, has a history. It bears hallmarks of London, dated 1906, making it 111 years old this year. Standing proudly at 43cm high, including the plinth, it bulges to an overall width of 39cm, including the impressive handles. The design was based on a large marble vase, dated second century AD, found in 1770 in what was the gardens of Emperor Hadrian’s villa. The original vase would have been of the best that Rome had to offer to satisfy the emperor and, therefore, represents the excellence that is dished up on the court today!
The trophy is what we see and applaud. What else awaits the winner? This year, the singles winners (both mens’ and women’s) can look forward to a cool $3.7 million, which translates into a neat 50 Million Rand. If you feel that a win is out of reach, you could bow out with 5 Million at the Quarter finals, which would at least buy you a new pair of shoes and a ticket home with a suite case full of change.
If you play tennis, coach tennis or are in charge of selecting the trophies for you club or school, have a look here:
http://www.prestigeawards.co.za/search?q=tennis&x=0&y=0 for a wide variety of options, and make your event a grand slam to remember.