Do TT pros use what they endorse?

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Hello. Noob here coming from the tennis camp. Was wondering how much customization is done with the pros? Does the general public have access to the same equipment they use? Does static weight, swing weight, and balance point apply with TT? Curious to know any similarities.
 
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I'd actually say that compared to 10-15 years ago, it's an astounding 'yes', but more from the standpoint of pros actually using their sponsor's equipment instead of everyone using tenergy like during that time period. Every manufacturer makes good material now.

But for 'pro' versions of things, seems to be a mixed back of pros getting a model that's not out to the public but is on the ittf approved list (eg - Rasanter c55, V>15 Sticky, G1 50, etc), or butterfly pros getting something special. I thought it was interesting to hear Heming Hu talk about how based on his experience hitting with other pros rackets that the tenergy or dignics that guys like Boll and Dima are given is very different compared to the stuff you and I can get, but that the Hurricane the CNT are playing with is pretty much the same shit we can get. People often would say it's the opposite. I've only used a CNT players racket one time (Zhou Qihao's racket), but I thought the fabled differences just came out at a point beyond my ability because it felt about the same as the hurricane I was using.

When it comes to weight though, everyone is different. I know Boll for example is very particular about how much each sheet of his rubber weighs. Most ams care about blade weight even. Some players care and some don't so much. Any pro sponsored player I'm sure can get rubber weights they want though.
 
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From what it looks like, the blades themselves are developed based on what the player asks for, so the composition and general feeling are probably the same, however the weight of the blade changes a lot, so I'm sure they get exactly what they ask for.

I know that Timo had (or still has) a special handle on his blades, something similar to the anniversary blade Butterfly released some time ago. Also heard (but can't confirm) that FZD was using a Viscaria with a Stiga handle when he was sponsored by Stiga. So the handles and therefore balance can change a lot too, even when the composition is similar.
 
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Limitless possibilities to select and customize blades. Veneers of different thicknesses or even different material, handles put on totally different blades altogether, or special made. A player´s individual blade might differ from the one sold with his name in detail, yet some just get sent a number of blades off the production line and pick the ones they like best.

As for rubbers, there should be a limit to the variants. Different sponge hardnesses and selected weight no problem, even if you would like rubber A topsheet on rubber B sponge (or custom sponge) the sponsor can deliver.
The limitation should be the topsheet, which has to be included on the LARC. But the process of "stamping" rubber name and number on is a separate process, so it would be possible to produce an individual topsheet and give it the appearance of one that has been authorized by the ITTF.
 
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FZD was using a Viscaria with a Stiga handle
That wasn´t such a big secret ;-)

It is surely the most common example of someone using a blade that is not produced by their sponsor - put a different handle on.

The most prominent example of using none of his sponsor´s material was Ovtcharov. They couldn´t keep the tenergy rubbers under a lid because they would be visible.
But while he was experimenting with everything from different manufacturers, always with a DONIC handle, DONIC kept producing Ovtcharov blades marketed as follows (with only a little exaggeration):
- the one that Dima plays
- the one that Dima plays now
- the one that Dima really plays
- the one that Dima really, really plays this time
and then he went to Butterfly and ever since his blade is probably what he really plays, with a little customization.
 

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The Donic Ovtcharov blades are now remaned to Donic Original and they are told to be very good - you get a fine blade for a very good price, the same goes for other Donic blades.

I like this strategy much more than calling a blade a JM ZLC ABC EFG and charging 300 EUR/USD for a blade that the player does not play anyway or has a special variant of it which is 10 g heavier and has a slightly other handle shape etc. so plays differently.

The real problem are the rubbers - one gets told that the rubber is super agressive and an amateur just cannot swing hard enough - I had a professional rubber a long time ago and I experienced it vice versa - the rubber had much more speed and spin available even with slow swing than the shop version.
 
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Rasanter c55
I guess that was more of an idea that never materialized because it was considered unplayable by most, and 53 was enough.
For any pro who wants 55 degrees I think they would put a harder sponge underneath a C53 topsheet because then it wouldn´t be a "rubber amateurs can´t get" so obviously.

Last word, the quality and performance of out of the box rubbers has become so good that it is possible to play with them on a pretty high, professional level, and in facr some pros just apply some booster to what is otherwise a standard, if thickness and weight selected, product.

So the demand for access to pro material can be satisfied, but some people now wonder that the more performant a rubber is, the less durable it is normally. Well, can´t have your cake and it eat, too.
 
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The Donic Ovtcharov blades are now remaned to Donic Original and they are told to be very good - you get a fine blade for a very good price, the same goes for other Donic blades.
Some of them ARE really good and also some are competitively priced.
And of course there are numerous blades with players names, from premade to pro level.
Obviously, Ovtcharov wouldn´t use one with a DOTEC handle, and from the excellent No 1 blades he would of course have used the one with the Senso handle and not the other one (while in fact he used only the Senso handle on a different blade).

However over a short period of time new "the one he really plays" blades came along, and it was really embarassing. Just an old story used to illustrate, never mind.
 
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I think the biggest issue with blades is this: all wood is slightly different so 20 Viscarias will all feel slightly different. A pro will get sent a batch of blades 10-50 and will try many and keep the ones they like, the ones that feel "better" to them.

One time I got to try a blade that Xu Xin had tried and rejected and it felt pretty darn good to me. :)

With rubbers, usually when you buy a rubber, it was sitting on the shelf at the retailers for....we don't know how long. When the pros get rubbers, they are likely fresh off the press, they have just been manufactured.

I have a friend who used to be sponsored by Butterfly. I got him to get me T05 and T05fx. I paid cost for the rubbers. I had a friend who had just bought the same rubbers from Paddle Palace. Our blades were similar. We swapped setups to see how each felt with brand new rubbers. The rubbers on my blade felt alive and juicy, really good, really responsive. The rubbers on his blade felt tired and old in comparison. There was no question that he felt the difference as well.

So....yes and no. But certainly, a top pro can also get a TT company to customize blade construction, ply thickness, gluing process, head size, handle shape, for a blade. Like, I think Xu Xin, at least back then, when I tried the rejected blade, used a blade with a notably larger head size than the actual model of the branded product.

Also, with rubbers, a top pro could get a company to tweak sponge hardness and top ply hardness to their liking. I think Timo Boll was noted for using T05 that was a little harder than the standard fare.

So, some of this does also depend on the pro you are talking about. And some of the issue is their access to the equipment so they can try and choose. Some has to do with them choosing slight modifications that naturally occur. I think those harder T05s TB used were a little heavier and Butterfly just searched for the ones that fit that category and gave them to him. Rather than it being something that just was not available to anyone else.

But it could have been what caused the development of T05H.
 
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Sponsored players usually use the "same" equipment as what they sell online, except a version that is exclusive to the players, mentioned earlier in the thread.
For example, Chinese player Lin Gao Yuan is using his families brand blade, but with his signature blade's composition, it is a custom blade, but still has the same handle as the retail version
So yes, they do use what they endorse, except most undergo custom modifications to fit to world-class standards and the player's needs
 
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  • It seems we consumer had been lied to by most TT manufacturers.
  • No more I say!
  • We too can play the same game. Let's customize it ourselves.
  • Just contact the custom blade maker on this site: Hipnotic / SDC and many others and start ordering our very own customized blade.
 
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The pros will use it if they like it... if they like another blade, they will use that and slap on the company handles and call it a day.

At the end of the day (pun intended) do what Gozo just said and get with a custom blade maker and get them to custom make ur very own Mass Annihilation Unit.
 
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When it comes to weight though, everyone is different. I know Boll for example is very particular about how much each sheet of his rubber weighs. Most ams care about blade weight even. Some players care and some don't so much. Any pro sponsored player I'm sure can get rubber weights they want though.
How would they do that? The rubbers are made with big machines and molds to press the rubber are very expensive. Maybe they use the same machines but with different additives in the rubber mixture?
Just wondering how bespoke a setup can be. Of course a blade can be handmade to a player's liking, but the rubbers?
 
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How would they do that? The rubbers are made with big machines and molds to press the rubber are very expensive. Maybe they use the same machines but with different additives in the rubber mixture?
Just wondering how bespoke a setup can be. Of course a blade can be handmade to a player's liking, but the rubbers?

Somehow they can tailor make rubbers. For some time Ma Long was playing with H3 41.5 degree. The 0.5 degree is not available in any H3 versions.

They must have a QC process to measure the final density and weight of the rubber given that they know the cut dimension.
 
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They must have a QC process to measure the final density and weight of the rubber given that they know the cut dimension.
Every product comes with a degree of variations.
Therefore the selection by weight (Boll example) is not a big deal.
Sponge hardness on commercial products also varies, and I am sure if they do a run of a dedicated Ma Long 41,5 hardness even some of that wouldn´t be 100% precise.
But yes, you can measure and hand-select the ones that are and sell the rest as 41 degree National or whatever...
 
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get with a custom blade maker and get them to custom make ur very own Mass Annihilation Unit.
One thing though, you need to know what you´re doing.
If you tell a blade maker "build me a Viscaria, but with 0,25 mm thicker outer veneers", you should know the effect of such modification in advance.

For most, finding a blade which grip fits your hand and which balance puts you at ease should be sufficient, there are so many to choose from.
Pair it with rubbers that support your game and that you can control, then play to your best.

Playing with a pro´s blade may not improve your game, no matter how good it is as such. Boll´s blade with the best available Dignics rubbers are not for someone who is best suited with a Stiga Allround Classic and two thin Srivers.
 
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