Thursday, September 18, 2008

If boosters are illegal, so are Tensors!

As some of you know, the ITTF recently introduced a new rule:

“2.04.07 The covering material should be used as it has been authorised by the ITTF without any physical, chemical or other treatment, changing or modifying playing properties, friction, outlook, colour, structure, surface, etc. “

Although I believe this was initially brought in to ban any treatment of long pimple rubbers, it seems to have gone well beyond this. The ITTF is now claiming this makes tuners/boosters illegal as well, much to the annoyance of many players who assumed this VOC free alternative would be perfectly legal! Although the ITTF ONLY approved topsheets not sponges, they claim it’s impossible to treat the sponge (while attached to the topsheet) without having some affect on the topsheet. This effect therefore ‘modifies’ playing properties, making it illegal.

Many claim (and I agree) this would make German ESN factory made “Tensor rubbers” by far the closest option for those that demand a ‘glue feel’ in their rubbers, as these have some of this effect/feel built-in. Whether this ‘feel’ translates into performance, or whether a non-tensor is a better alternative to glue, is another topic for discussion, as opinion vary wildly on this subject.

However the thought just occurred to me that if Tensor topsheets are under tension, does that technically make them illegal too? Although I don’t have proof, I do believe the topsheets of these rubbers ARE under tension, judging by their very lively feel, and the “name Tensor” certainly implies tension as well

Since only the topsheet is submitted for ITTF approval, and it's put onto the sponge under tension in the factory, then the characteristics would have been changed, making them just as illegal as boosted rubbers.

Of course this will be hard to prove... but just as we would have to prove that our boosted rubber don't have a topsheet with changed characteristics, so should the Tensor manufacturer with their Tensors? Fair is fair isn't it?

NOTE: I'm in NO way proposing that Tensors should be banned, as I think they are a good product. I'm merely pointing out the flaws in logic and consistancy by the ITTF in their new rules and interpretation.