When I previously wrote about “Tennis Racquet Bump Guards and Grommets,” I mentioned that I keep at least one replacement set for each racquet on hand at all times. It keeps me from having to switch frames under the duress of a short time constraint when the replacement grommets are inevitably no longer available. Racquet manufacturers don’t make parts for discontinued racquets indefinitely.
When restringing my racquets a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I had cracked grommets on two of my frames. Per my standard practice, I immediately tried to reorder a new set for each racquet before swapping to the new grommets and guards. Babolat is no longer manufacturing the replacement set that I need. It has been a long time since the racquet was produced. Probably I was already on borrowed time.
Fortunately, the practice of keeping a spare set on hand meant that I didn’t have to immediately scramble to find a replacement racquet. With three imminent National level tournaments on my calendar at the time, it would have been fairly stressful to change frames. I am anticipating a long and arduous journey to find my next racquet brand and model.
Babolat racquets have famously “tight” grommets. That means replacement is a challenge. My go-to secret weapon is to use a heat gun to soften the new grommet strips. That makes them more pliable for insertion into the frame. Unfortunately, one of my kids absconded with the heat gun when she moved to her “adulting” residence in another city. The absence of that critical tool gave me one last chance to experience the unadulterated frustration of the Babolat grommet swap in its full glory one last time.
Blood was shed. I scraped my hands pretty badly in the process. I also broke the tip off the end of my stringing pick trying to stretch one grommet strip into the proper holes. For that reason alone, I don’t harbor a lot of brand loyalty to Babolat as I launch my new racquet search.
I am anticipating some racquet spec posts in the near future as I puzzle out replacement racquets. Additionally, I bet the Trophy Husband can’t wait until Christmas to see what frames he ultimately decided to buy for me.