Taylor Dent’s Wilson nSix-One 95
|Wilson Hyper Pro Staff ROK
|Wilson Hyper Pro Staff Zone 7.1
Notes on Taylor’s racquet
When Taylor switched from Volkl racquets to Wilson, he went through an extensive testing period that involved lots of bare (black) frames. What he seems to have settled on is a frame using the same mold as the Wilson Hyper Pro Staff Zone 7.1, but with a lot of extra lay-up and custom work, even though at first his racquet had the HPS ROK graphics.
I got a chance to hit with one of Taylor’s “ROK” racquets for about fifteen minutes, before I measured it. At the time, I was using a Wilson Hyper Pro Staff ROK with a custom-molded L8 grip and enough lead tape to make the overall weight 386 grams. Therefore, I wasn’t put off by the mass of the racquet, although it did take a couple minutes to get used to the different balance and swingweight. However, his racquet feels so “balanced” it was really a joy to use. I suspect that Ron Rocchi in the Wilson Pro Room spent a lot of time getting this racquet just right for Taylor.
I suspect that on switching to Wilson, Taylor first settled on the general configuration of the HPS Zone 7.1 as the base racquet. By the time additional weight had been added per Taylor’s desires, the mass and relatively open stringbed combined to make a racquet that could launch a tennis ball into orbit, so the Wilson Pro Room progressively increased the flex (reduced the stiffness) of the basic lay-up to reduce power and increase control until Taylor got just what he wanted. These racquets probably start life as drilled, cosmetized frames with the custom lay-up (AKA “hairpins’), which the Wilson Pro Room then weights, balances, and attaches a pallet.
In 2004, I was at the Mercedes Cup tournament in Los Angeles, the weekend of qualifying. Taylor was practicing on the main court with his coach, Francisco Montana, using a racquet with the nSix-One 95 graphics. During a break, I went over to Taylor to say hello. I pointed to his racquet and said, “That looks a lot like your old racquet.” He responded, “It plays a lot like my old racquet, too.’