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Kneissl racquets

Austrian company Kneissl enjoys cult status amongst vintage racquet collectors, largely due to the fact that Ivan Lendl started his career playing Kneissl racquets. But in 1977, Kneissl also built the world's first fully synthetic tennis racquet, the "White Star Pro. It was a miracle mighty weapon for the courts, what was impressively demonstrated by Ivan Lendl, hammering himself way up to the top with the White Star Pro. In 1978, Ivan Lendl became ITF Junior World Champion of the year, and ATP Player of the Year in 1979. In December 1980, Kneissl introduced the White Star Ivan Lendl which was similar to the White Star Pro, but additionally featured the component kevlar. However, the name of the new White Star racquet actually was an anachronism, as the Kneissl/Lendl era should very soon come to an end (and Lendl never actually played the Lendl signature Kneissl racquet): Beginning from 1 January 1981, Lendl was contracted with adidas, from then on playing the Adidas GTX Pro Graphite which was identical with the White Star Pro, a true paint job. Shortly before his contract with Adidas began, on occasion of the Davis Cup final CSSR vs Italy (4:1) in December 1980, Lendl had already played a Kneissl White Star Pro revarnished into Adidas design. But Lendl`s shift to Adidas actually was a name game only, as Kneissl produced the GTX Pro Graphite for Adidas in Austria. Later on, the Adidas GTX Pro Graphite Ivan Lendl was made in a separate factory in France on behalf of Adidas, but evidently Kneissl still sold Adidas the respective molds. And Kneissl kept on building own racquets. In 1984, the White Star Lendl Pro was renamed as White Star Pro Masters, with only the inscription being changed (see photo below). The era of that very small 10% head size ended by 1987, when the last model of the White Star line was launched, the White Star Master 10.

When Kevin Curren had been runner-up in the Wimbledon final 1985 playing a Kneissl White Star Pro Masters, Kneissl`s racquet sales increased by 21 percent in the aftermath. After the US Open 1985, Kneissl proudly declared that in six US Open finals, seven players had used a Kneissl racquet.

Apart from the famous White Star line, Kneissl also launched a Red Star and Blue Star line. The White and Red Star line included various models with different head sizes reaching from 8-10% ("Pro"/"Master") over 25-28% ("Mid") to 40% ("Big"), the Blue Star line only included "Mid" and "Big" types of racquets. There also was a "Twin" sub line (18%) that had a different, partly squared throat. Kneissl terminated its traditional Red and Blue Star lines in 1988, replacing them by new racquet lines such as Aeramic and Spark. And also the famous White Star line played a minor role from then on, there was only one more model released, the White Star Pro Style in 1989. In 1991, Kneissl even totally stopped producing tennis racquets, but returned in 2006, reviving the legendary White and Red Star amongst others.

 

Kneissl racquet gallery

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