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Me and my racket: Jarkko Nieminen


 

Originally published on: 18/10/13 00:00

Does racket technology interest you?
Obviously it’s important, because it’s a player’s most important tool. It’s interesting when a new model comes up, but I don’t have a much deeper interest than that. It’s always when new rackets are coming up. Sometimes there are bigger changes, but it’s not often that they have a major change.

Is it difficult to adjust when your sponsor updates your racket from the previous model?
In the end, it’s the player who decides [whether or not to switch]. You always have time to try them out. I feel it’s always been up to me, and my free choice. Personally I’ve never been under pressure to change anything.

How long have you been working with Wilson?
Since 2000.

What is it you like about the brand?
Well, first of all I like their rackets. All the brands have very different rackets but this Wilson has been working really well for me – I really like when you have good control with the racket and my racket has very nice control, very good feel. I still get enough pace, but I prefer to have good control.

Is your racket customised in any way?
Mine’s just a little bit longer, otherwise it’s the same as the factory racket. Some are a half-inch longer, mine’s a full inch longer. They used to sell those ones in the shop as well – I think the half-inch is still very popular.

How come you ended up playing with a longer racket?
They started to make these halfinch and one-inch stretch rackets about 15 years ago. I was one of those who tried it, and since then I just liked to play with a longer racket. Obviously if it’s too long it doesn’t feel good, but I liked it right away and I’ve stayed with it. I’ve been playing well with that, so I don’t want to change – that would be a pretty major change for me, to go back to a normal length racket.

What strings do you use, and at what tension?
I used Luxillon AluPower original, and my average tension throughout the year is about 25kg. Sometimes less – it was a little bit lower at Wimbledon – and sometimes more.

Do you have any superstitions with your rackets?
It’s not a superstition, but when I get a new set of rackets I try to use them all – but sometimes you end up using some of the rackets more than the others. I put numbers on them, so I know that I have played more with No. 1 than No. 6. But it’s not superstition – basically it’s so I know that I have to practise a bit more with No. 5 and No. 6!

Do you keep any rackets after memorable matches?
Not really, but I keep one of each model – I have one of every model I’ve played with since I started playing tennis.

Do you hang them up at home?
No, but I do have a plan for them. I have all my trophies at the tennis club where I grew up, and I want to do something good later with those rackets. I don’t need them in the closet at home, so I’ll use them for a good cause.

Wilson Six.One 95 BLX
Head size: 95 square inches
Length: 27 inches
Unstrung weight: 332 grammes
String pattern: 16 x 18
Cross section: 21.6 mm

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