Both competitive and recreational tennis players need to have the ability to adapt to their surroundings. Different court surfaces such as hard, clay, grass and even carpet courts require players to change their game and may even require different shoes. It`s not just court surfaces, however, that require a player to step outside their comfort zone and adopt a new style of play. Tennis net tension also varies from court to court, causing an irregularity in the game.
According to ESPN.com, this year`s US Open has become a showcase for engineer David Glass` new invention, his TNT Gauge system. The device aids in measuring tennis net tension, providing consistency throughout the sport; giving players one less thing to worry about.
Glass` small device gets attached to the anchor hook on the outside of the net post and will be able to measure the tension of the net. The reasoning behind it, Glass said is, “Wimbledon is notorious for very loose nets. The U.S. Open nets were so tight the ball could bounce very high or completely out of bounds. There was an inconsistency in the game.”
During last year`s US Open, Glass` invention was tested on two outer courts and this year all courts were equipped with the new device.
Glass`s original intention for the gauge was for adjusting tension of the cables of airplanes but when he noticed that his patent, which he received back in November of 2010, was broad enough to cover sports nets tension, he realized that the device would work for tennis nets as well.
As a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Glass used the tennis center at his old school with the help of the Volunteer`s tennis program to further develop the gauge.
Sam Winterbotham, University of Tennessee men`s tennis coach said how great he thought the invention was saying, “I’m hoping that it’s adopted worldwide because it just adds that consistency. Balls do hit the net. If the ball’s consistently going to hit the net and bounce off the net in the same manner on every court that’s played on, that’s only helpful to the game.”
Originally, Glass thought that his device would be popular with club players and work its way up from there to the professional circuit. But luckily for Glass, pro tennis is beginning to use it first and clubs are beginning to follow suit.
If this device becomes a part of the game, tennis players will have one less obstacle to overcome when stepping onto a new court, allowing them to focus more on their opponent and the type of court surface they are playing on rather than worrying about how to change their game based on the how tight or loose the tennis net is.
Glass` device may very likely change the game for the better, allowing for more consistency among both the professional league and recreational players. Glass` invention might be a turning point for the sport of tennis and in turn may make him a very wealthy man. The question is, will these gauges become mandatory on the professional tennis circuit?
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Courtney Sloan is a freelance writer and a student at Mira Costa College studying mass media. As a writer with a passion for tennis, health and fitness, she has made it her mission to find helpful information about tennis products and other important issues and share them with the community.