In the old days, wooden rackets warped; that’s why they were stored in presses, screwed tightly onto the frame. Even so, wood fatigued and got softer with use. Any hard contact with the court produced an immediate crack which rendered the thing useless.
Nowadays graphite frames are the rule. They will last for twenty years if you don’t abuse them and there’s no warping or spooning under normal circumstances.
The main thing that will wear out a graphite frame is constant restringing under high tensions. Pros on the circuit rest every racket for every match and most use high tensions for better control. So it’s not unusual for them to replace a relatively-new frame every six months or so.
The rest of us can expect our rackets to last a lot longer. In fact, we usually replace our racket when we get tired of it and move on to a newer model.
Racket companies and racket dealers love it when we replace our perfectly-good rackets frequently.
Gary Sherby is tennis director at Racquets and Togs Tennis Center, 115 Bradford St., just off the downtown square. His tennis tips appear Sundays.