Tennis is an ancient sport with a long history in the development of equipment technology. The oldest tennis event, Wimbledon, was established in 1877 and the first Australian Open was held in 1905. Through advanced engineering techniques, tennis rackets have changed a lot since these early games.
Early tennis rackets borrowed designs from the older real game of tennis, an early racket sport dating back to around the 16th century, played by the wealthy and elite. They are made of wood, have a long handle, and have a small head, which makes it easier for players to bring the hitting surface closer to the ground to hit the low bouncing balls typical of real tennis. However, wood and metal frame tennis rackets have problems such as the warping of wood caused by humidity, and the weight of metal rackets can cause wrist injuries to athletes. People have to start researching new stable, lightweight, and high-strength materials to make tennis rackets. As a result, high-end tennis rackets have been made of fiber-reinforced composite materials such as glass fiber, carbon fiber, and aramid (strong synthetic fiber) since the 1980s. The advantages of these composites over wood and metal lie in their high stiffness and low density, as well as their versatility in fabrication. Composite materials give racket engineers more freedom in parameters such as the shape, mass distribution, and stiffness of the racket, as they can control the placement of different materials around the frame. The higher stiffness of composite rackets means they lose less energy to vibration on impact, so players can hit the ball faster. And lightweight modern rackets are also easier for players to swing, and they tend to swing the racket faster during the stroke.