Pete Sampras’ Wilson Pro Staff Midsize St. Vincent
|Pete’s St. Vincent
|Retail Pro Staff MS (not St. Vincent)
|Retail Pro Staff 6.0 Midsize 85
Notes on Pete’s racquet
This racquet is in the USRSA collection. The USRSA got this racquet to take to Kids’ Day at the U.S. Open some years ago.
The layers of lead tape at 3 and 9 o’clock were beautifully applied by Nate Ferguson, of Priority One — which provides racquet services (including stringing) for touring pros.
The differences between this racquet as measured (and pictured, see below) and as it would have been when Pete used it have to do with the strings. Where Pete used Babolat gut, this racquet is strung with nylon. The USRSA received this racquet without strings, and nylon seemed more appropriate for a racquet to be used by kids than natural gut. Also, the stringing method for this racquet was the straight Wilson one-piece, not the around-the-world or box method used by Nate. Finally, the USRSA applied the “W” stencil, not Nate.
Because of the historical importance of this racquet, I have not removed the overgrip and/or grip to see what might lie beneath them. However, the only thing that might possibly be of interest is the shape and/or dimensions of the pallet, as Sampras is said to have requested pallet customization. Any lead tape under the replacement grip is unimportant because if you are attempting to match your Pro Staff Midsize measurements to match those of Pete’s racquet, it doesn’t matter where the lead tape is on Pete’s racquet. It only matters where you have to put lead tape on your racquet to get it to match Pete’s, and these locations are almost certain to be very different. If you don’t understand this point, then you probably don’t understand how to match racquets, so you’re better off having a master racquet technician do the work for you.