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John McEnroe racquets

When in 1977 impressing everyone with his Wimbledon semi-final appearance at his first Championships - a remarkable achievement for an 18-year-old qualifier - John McEnroe played a Wilson Jack Kramer Pro Staff. When loosing the Wimbledon final 1980 against Borg, McEnroe still played this racquet. In the winter of 1980, McEnroe tested different racquets of several manufacturers. Tennis Magazine Dec. 1981 reports: "All along, as McEnroe weighed the competing racquets, he continually came back to one sentimental favorite: the Dunlop Maxply Fort. He had used the Maxply Fort as a junior before signing with Wilson. And although that gave Dunlop an advantage, there still were difficulties to overcome. McEnroe had become accustomed to a more angular grip on his racquets than Dunlop offered, so the company quickly modified the handles of his Maxply Fort to accomodate him. McEnroe also pointed out that the head of the Maxply Fort was actually smaller and lighter than conventional U.S. wood racquets and, therefore, moved through the air faster. So lead tape was added to both sides of the hoop and McEnroe again tested the prototype. It felt better, but he was still troubled by the flexible head." Nevertheless, McEnroe played this modified Maxply Fort throughout 1981, even winning his first Wimbledon title against Borg with it. However, among the conditions of the agreement between McEnroe and Dunlop was that a new racquet would be built for McEnroe to satisfy his needs, and however the racquet developed, Dunlop would sell exactly the same frame to the public. The five-year worldwide contract began on January 1, 1981. It was said to be worth 3 million UDS, or 600,000 USD per year. For the new racquet to be developed, the name "Dunlop Maxply McEnroe" was chosen. According to Mike Casazza, former marketing manager for Dunlop USA, "John has been intensely involved in critquing prototypes developed in England." The final Maxply McEnroe version was launched at the beginning of 1982, being manufactured in England alongside the famous Maxply Fort. But McEnroe played the Maxply McEnroe racquet also only for about a year, as in 1983, he jumped onto the graphite racquet wagon, switching to the Dunlop Max 200G. This time, McEnroe sticked to his new racquet for a very long time, playing it until the end of his ATP career in 1992 - almost a decade!

 

John McEnroe with Dunlop Maxply Fort, Dunlop Maxply McEnroe and Dunlop Max 200 G.

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John McEnroe racquet gallery