When did tennis rackets stop being wooden?

Introduction to Tennis Rackets Evolution

Tennis has been around since the 16th century, and the rackets used for the sport have changed dramatically over the years. Before the advent of modern materials and technology, wooden rackets were the norm. In the modern game, wooden rackets have become obsolete, but when did the shift away from wood occur?

The Early History of Tennis Rackets

The first known tennis racket was created in the late 1500s and it was made of wood. These early rackets had a long handle and a wide head, giving them a shape that was similar to today’s rackets. However, the strings used on these early rackets were made of animal gut, and they were much more prone to breaking than the modern synthetic strings.

The game of tennis evolved quickly, and by the mid-1800s, rackets were being made of metal and gut strings were being replaced with gut-wrapped metal strings. This allowed for more control and power, and the modern game of tennis began to take shape.

When Did Wooden Tennis Rackets Become Obsolete?

The shift away from wooden rackets began in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when manufacturers began experimenting with different materials. By the late 1960s, aluminum rackets were becoming more popular, as they were lighter and more durable than wooden rackets.

The advent of graphite rackets in the 1970s changed the game of tennis forever. Graphite rackets were lighter and more powerful than their aluminum counterparts, and they allowed players to generate more spin and power.

The Subsequent Evolution of Tennis Rackets

The graphite racket revolution ushered in a new era of tennis, and it wasn’t long before other materials were being used to make tennis rackets. In the late 1980s, titanium rackets became popular, as they were even lighter and more powerful than graphite.

In the 1990s, manufacturers began experimenting with composites, which are a combination of different materials such as graphite, Kevlar, and carbon fiber. These composites allowed for even lighter, stronger, and more powerful rackets.

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Today, many of the top players in the world use rackets made of these composite materials, and wooden rackets have become almost entirely obsolete.

Why Are Wooden Tennis Rackets Obsolete?

Wooden rackets have become obsolete for a variety of reasons. The primary reason is that they simply cannot compete with the power, control, and spin that can be generated with modern materials.

Modern materials are also much more durable than wood, meaning they last longer and require less maintenance. The lighter weight of modern rackets also makes them much easier to swing and maneuver, which is beneficial for all levels of players.

What Are the Benefits of Wooden Tennis Rackets?

Despite their obsolescence, there are still some benefits to using wooden rackets. One of the primary benefits is that they are much more affordable than modern rackets. Wooden rackets also have a softer feel, which some players prefer.

The Popularity of Wooden Tennis Rackets Today

Despite the fact that wooden rackets are obsolete, they are still popular among some players. There are a few companies that still manufacture wooden rackets, and some players prefer the feel and control that they offer.

Wooden Tennis Rackets in the Professional Game

Wooden rackets are almost never used in the professional game today, with the exception of some doubles teams. The power, control, and spin offered by modern materials are simply too great for wooden rackets to compete with.

The Future of Tennis Rackets

The materials used in tennis rackets are always evolving, and the future of the sport is sure to bring new and exciting innovations. Technologies such as 3D printing and artificial intelligence are already being used to create rackets that offer even greater levels of power and control.


Wooden rackets have been a part of the game of tennis for centuries, but they have become obsolete in the modern game. The shift away from wood occurred in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when manufacturers began experimenting with different materials. Today, wooden rackets are still popular with some players, but they are almost never used in the professional game. The future of tennis rackets is sure to bring new and exciting materials and technologies, and wooden rackets will continue to be a part of the sport’s history for years to come.