William Dawber

Characterisation of tennis racket parameters – Wimbledon AELTC.

The grant allowed me to assist Dr. Luca Taraborelli with the research for his paper on the historical development of tennis rackets from codification in the 1870s until present day.

Myself and Dr. Taraborelli visited the All England Lawn Tennis Club where we had the privilege of working in the Wimbledon Tennis Museum, here we had access to around 1000 tennis rackets dating back to the 1870s. During the week-long trip we were able to evaluate around 100 of these rackets on several parameters including geometric, inertial, dynamic and manufacturing properties. My role was to take measurements on racket swing speed and calculate values of transverse and polar moment of inertia for each of the rackets. All of this data is now being documented alongside a further 300 other rackets already tested in order to investigate the effects these changes in design have had on performance. Going forward I plan to continue my work with Dr. Taraborelli to further aid in the production of his paper by helping with research and testing.

I am a BEng Sport Technology undergraduate at Sheffield Hallam University with an ambition to further research in Sports Engineering. This trip provided me with valuable hands-on experience testing sports equipment, furthered my understanding of correct research procedures and boosted my knowledge of design development and the effects it has on performance.

The first outcomes of this project were presented at the ISEA 2018 conference in Brisbane and were appreciated by the audience. Since our trip, Dr. Taraborelli presented his updated results at the ISEA sponsored Sport Engineering Seminar Day at Manchester Metropolitan University on the 2nd May 2018 where I was in attendance. It was great to see the reception he received for his hard work and how the Sport Engineering community is continuously growing and demonstrating its impact on industry.
Thank you to the ISEA for their generous funding. Without this, the trip would not have been possible for me. The funding paid for return travel from Manchester to London, accommodation near to the club, food and drink for the week and transport in London. The experience I have gained has been priceless and I hope to use this as a building block to one day make impact on the Sport Engineering community.