Question of the Day: (II)legal Dampeners
TENNIS.com gear editor Justin diFeliciantonio and his technical advisers answer your equipment questions each day. Click here to send in a question of your own.
What’s the rule on where you can place vibration dampeners? Do they have to be at the bottom of the racquet, or can you put them anywhere on the stringbed? I had placed mine at the tip of the frame, and then one of my opponents told me that it was illegal.—Kerrin A.
According to International Tennis Federation rules, vibration dampening devices “may only be placed outside the pattern of the crossed strings.” This effectively means that you can place your vibrasorb in one of two places: above the first cross at the tip of the racquet, or below the last cross at the bottom. But while it’s technically legal to place your dampener at the tip of the frame, as you did, the vast majority of players who use the little rubber pieces place them next to the racquet’s throat, as incoming balls are less likely to strike there.
To read about the advantages and disadvantages of dampeners—and how they affect notions of “feel”—check out this mailbag entry I wrote back in June.