Seb Proisy, weather and tension (and how he designed Serena’s gloves)

During the Roland-Garros, Tennis Majors is presenting a talk show hosted by Jenny Drummond and joined by different guests to chat tennis. In episode one, the tennis gear guru Seb Proisy hops on to discuss how players are adapting the racquet string to the conditions, as well as designing Serena Williams’ glove that she wore in practice.

September 28, 2020
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Perfectionists have to be adaptive

With Roland-Garros being in late autumn, the conditions are rather unprecedented with an outdoor tournament being played in 15-degree Celsius weather. Proisy foresees the changes made to adjust to the weather would hinge on the string tension.

“One of the main things this is going affect is the tension. Most of these players for sure would like their tension a little bit lower than they used to, because the strings are stiffer in these conditions.”

Apart from working with an unprecedented conditions, the players also have to adjust to the change of the balls — with the new balls being heavier — and it could be difficult, but there are staff members to offer advise that alleviates the main concerns.

“I don’t expect to see too many people struggle, maybe in the first rounds, but I think past the third round, players should be where they at.”

With a consistent outlook on the Roland-Garros fortnight weather-wise, it also assists the players as they know what to expect.

“Generally, you’re looking at tensions that are going to be 1-2 kilos lower that what they’re used to. But again, these players are used to changing the tensions like this throughout the year in different tournaments. They know the effects the lower tension is going to have in their game.”

Proisy also sees players will be able to adjust to the changes on-the-fly with a collection of racquets at different tension, which is something most players already do.

Designing Serena’s glove

Serena Williams was seen wearing a glove in her practice session on Sunday to combat the cold in Paris. It was Proisy’s work and design five years ago, and had to circumvent the main problems in ordinary gloves in that they strip away the feel from one’s palm and fingers.

“It was to try to get something that wouldn’t deprive the players from the feel they have when they actually hold the racquet… These gloves are designed to have the whole palm of your hand to be free — so it covers the whole back of your hand, plus the fingertips, and allows you to still feel the racquet and feel pretty much the same.”

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