Don’t Let the Equipment Keep You From Playing Your Best Tennis!
Using the proper equipment is vital for both performance and injury prevention. However, many tennis players severely lack knowledge when it comes to choosing the right strings and racquets for their style of play. Fortunately, former USPTA Pro of the Year and resident equipment expert for Solinco, Matt Previdi, is working to fill this void.
Matt Previdi, The Master of Stringing
Previdi was on the Indian Wells stringing team for three years. He also stringed the 2010 Italian Fed Cup Championship team.
Growing up in Connecticut with parents who ran clubs, a career in tennis was the only logical option for Previdi. After graduating college, he moved to San Diego. While in California, he quickly realized the level of playing and coaching was much higher than anticipated. Determined to differentiate himself, Previdi made a concerted effort to become an equipment and stringing expert.
Today, Previdi is focused on how equipment customization and specialty stringing impacts players’ health and performance.
When Choosing Tennis Equipment, Beware of the Sales Pitch
According to Previdi, most of the information available regarding racquets and stringing is biased towards driving sales, which means players’ health is rarely a central concern for retailers. That is why he is committed to providing players with advice that will not only improve performance, but also keep them injury-free in the long run.
“A lot of my information is based on keeping players on the court first, and then getting them to play their best tennis second,” explained Previdi.
Previdi strives to spend time on the court with each of the players he works with in order to make the most accurate recommendations and adjustments. Just as patients see a doctor to diagnose an illness, Previdi diagnoses issues on the court and provides players with the correct ‘medicine’ for optimum performance.
Always Get to Know Your New Tennis Equipment
Previdi recommends that players spend ample time getting used to their new equipment. “We’re not trying to find a racquet that they like only from the baseline and only when hitting comfortably. We’re trying to find a setup that they like on the run, on defense, when playing offensively, from the net, when serving, at the beginning of a match, and at the end of the match. It’s not just about getting used to the feel of the racquet and strings, it’s also adjusting the way you strike the ball and adjusting your strokes,” he said.
As time has progressed, Previdi has seen a shift in the type of racquets and strings players are looking for. He notes that the industry is becoming more focused on flexible racquets in order to maintain players’ bodies, which is why he recommends playing with polyester strings.
Although polyester strings may take some time to get used to, Previdi believes they will benefit athletes in the long run. “There’s this famous trope of stringing your racquet tight for control and loose for power. That does not apply to the modern game of tennis anymore. It’s keeping people from evolving their equipment. I put their health first by going very loose and then ease them into strings that last long enough and have enough durability. As long as you use a thin enough gauge and string your rackets loose enough, almost anyone at any level can enjoy the enhancement added to their game by polyester strings,” he explained.
When Choosing Equipment, You Are the Best Judge
Above all, Previdi recommends that players experiment with and take ownership of their equipment choices because only they can feel the differences between racquets, strings, and tensions. Although they may or may not have the players’ best interests at heart, coaches and stringers are not able to have the same perspective as the athlete.
“That’s the joy of tennis. We go out and experiment with topspin forehands, flat forehands, slice forehands, and it’s up to you to decide which one works best for which situation in a match. I would challenge you to do the same with your equipment,” Previdi urged.