Regentville Condo Versus Kowloon Tennis Club

The Regentville condo tennis team started 2007 with a friendly match against the Kowloon Tennis Club. The Kowloon Tennis club comprises of a group of Hong Kong expats based here in Singapore. Led by their team organizer Raymond Lau, the Kowloon Tennis Team comprises of mainly experienced veteran players and displayed great expertise in terms of both defensive and counter attacking play. The friendly nearly didn't happen due to unexpected rain but fortunately the sun came out and managed to dry the courts in time for the schedule matches.

On behalf of the Regentville condo tennis team, i would like to thank Raymond and the Kowloon Tennis team for coming all the way down to Hougang to have a friendly tennis game with us. It was a weekend of fun filled tennis. I believed both teams had great fun and made many new friends from this friendly match. We're also thinking of having another game with the Kowloon Tennis Club some time soon. Most importantly, I believe this friendly has highlighted the friendship and the ties that can be made from a tennis game.

Photos of the friendly tennis game between the Regentville condo tennis team and the Kowloon tennis team here.

Gamma X-ES Review

Here's my review on Gamma X-ES electric constant pull stringing machine.


It was really frustrating regularly breaking strings and having to go all the way down to Queensway to get my racquets strung. I use very thin gauge strings 17 to 18 gauge and I tend to hit with more spin so I break them pretty fast. I prefer more open pattern racquets and my current Yonex RDS 001 MP (My review on the Yonex RDS 001 here) has an open 16x19 string pattern. My string of choice is the Toalson Ultimate 115, previously called Toalson Apex and they break pretty fast. For me the Toalson strings usually lasts around 10 to 15 sessions - around roughly a month, before they break. I visit Queensway pretty often to get my racquets as well as my friend’s racquet done.

We have a large base of tennis players playing in the Regentville condo, so its not usual to get piggy back requests to get their racquets strung as well. The main frustrating point for me was the times when you will have to wait to get your racquets strung. First priority will be given to the customer who purchases a new racquet compared to customers who just sent their racquets for stringing. I normally have two of the same racquets so I don't have issues about being not able to play if one of my strings break, but going all the way to Queensway to Hougang takes at least an hour to reach by Public Transport. If I take a cab, it will cost me around SGD$11 per trip. It its going and return from Hougang to Queensway around $22 to $23 which is the price of another string job for me. Both ways for me, I will end up spending either more time or money getting my strings done.

I was quite fascinated from an early age on how to string a racquet, using a combination of racquet tensions as well as hybrids and learning different stringing techniques as well as knotting. I decided to finally get a stringing machine of my own. I thought since I am breaking strings as well as getting requests for team members to help them string their racquets to purchase my very own tennis stringing machine. It’s more of a learning thing and passion for the game rather than investing in a tennis stringing machine for the commercial aspect (i.e making money from stringing)

I was contemplating between a drop weight, crank or constant pull machine. Most tennis stores now seems to have adopted to the more modern constant pull machines and I decided that's the way to go for me. I did some research and found that a good machine that provides constant pull stringing at a reasonable cost was the Gamma X-ES. A great resource for selecting tennis stringing machines can be found here. The Gamma X-ES got pretty good reviews and has a 5 year warranty attached to it. Spare parts seems to be also readily available. I though since l Gamma was willing to give a 5 warranty, it must be pretty good to be able to stand by their brand for that long.

The going rate for the Gamma X-ES stringing machine is between USD$949 to USD$1499.90. I have also seen some going for USD$899 (all prices quoted found online). Since the Gamma X-ES is a table top machine, most of the prices here are quote without the additional Gamma table top stand which can be purchased separately for around USD$99. But in most cases, stringing machines are only shipped within continental United States. So its highly unlikely that I will find a company willing to ship such a large and heavy item all the way down to Singapore.

I made several inquires and found out that it will cost like a couple of hundreds extra to ship a stringing machine to Singapore by sea. The other thing was I was afraid the electronics for the constant pull mechanism might get damaged during the long journey here to Singapore by sea.

If I were to purchase the Gamma X-ES stringing machine from overseas, I would not be able to enjoy the 5 year warranty attached to it, as well as any servicing required thereafter from a local agent or distributor. I eventually gave up on the idea of shipping the machine from overseas. Shipping a stringing machine from overseas is not as simple as purchasing a tennis racquet which was rather quite easy and less pricey as weight was an issue here with a stringing machine. The Gamma X-ES weight about 26KGs!

I thus decided to try to locate local distributors for tennis stringing machines here and I was surprised to find a local Gamma Sports distributor here in Singapore pretty close to my location. I called the distributor up and to my surprise he had the Gamma X-ES machine for sale here! The price was around the same or slightly more expensive to that of the US prices as I have to factor in shipping from the US to Singapore and that alone will be costly.

The main important thing was that I will get warranty and support for 5 years from the local Gamma distributor based here in Singapore. The Gamma X-ES stringing machine also came by default with the stand. The Gamma X-ES however came in a box and you will have to assembly the machine yourself. This was pretty tricky especially the part when you will have to mount the machine to the stand. There are actually no grooves that fit the stand. You will have to unscrew the base of the machine with an ellen key to expose the grooves and then proceed to mount the Gamma X-ES stringing machine to the stand. With the exception of mounting the machine to the stand, assembly of the machine was pretty simple you'll just have to just the clamps as initially the clamps were not gripping the strings tightly enough causing slippage. After tightening the clamps everything was working fine.

The distributor also taught us a couple of stringing techniques as well as different kinds of knotting. Initially it took us sometime to learn but after stringing a couple of racquets its pretty much routine now. Serene is very good at it and we have strung a couple of racquets for our Regentville tennis team members. Many now are referring their friends to us. Both Serene and me have full time jobs, so stringing is pretty much a pass time for us. We might however do a couple of tennis stringing in the Hougang area in the future but that all depends on whether we have the time to start a stringing service. Right now, we're just pretty much contented stringing tennis racquets for the Regentville tennis players and their friends.


Stringing with the Gamma X-ES stringing machine is very easy and due to the electric constant pull, you'll get a perfect and consistent string tension all the time. So far, according to what I’ve heard from other reviews as well as the Gamma distributor, there has been not much issues with the machine losing it's tension but the machine has to be checked and calibrated after a couple of years just to be on the safe side.

Aligning the racquet on the Gamma X-ES stringing machine takes some time to get it properly aligned and clamped. According to some reviews I read, some tennis stringing machines are so easy to align and secure. Anyway, I like to take my time doing this to ensure that the racquet is sitting firmly on the machine. This process should not be rushed, as an improperly secured racquet might result in inconsistent string tension as well as well the possibility of cracking the frame from the racquet moving about. Getting the racquet placed securely is imperative in get consistent stringing results as well as NOT having the possibility of damaging the frame or grommets. It cannot be rushed, so ultimately this is a good thing as it makes you more cautious and alert to the potential dangers.

I also like the foot pedal for hands free operating. This is important if you need to hold on to the sides of the grommets towards the end when you are doing the crosses as the grommets might just pop up and damage the frame. Using your foot also enables you to do lots of other things like securing the strings as well as making sure that the turntable does not move too much when tightening. It's a very useful and convenient feature to have.

The sides of the machines has two deep drawers to place all your tools since as your Gamma Pathfinder Awl, Awl, Pliers, Razor Cutter and other tools kept neatly for storage. There is also enough room to store the foot pedal there. The drawers also come with a catch so that it will not just slide out easily and spill all your tools if you're moving your stringing machine about. After all this was meant to be a table top machine easily to move around for travel and storage purposes. Having a security catch for the drawer was a very intelligent design on the part of Gamma.

There is also a deep trench below the turntable to store all your tools while stringing so it's easily accessible. The cutting block at the side of the machine is pretty neat so that can easily trim your strings. But here I felt Gamma could have used better materials rather than cheap plastic which gets easily scratched and chipped.

Price wise, I think the Gamma X-ES is pretty reasonable. The 5 year local warranty, as well as the availability to easily get spare parts was the other major consideration why I choose to purchase this machine. It's a great machine at an affordable price that gives professional results. I sincerely hope that my review on the Gamma X-ES string machine has been useful in helping in your tennis racquet stringing machine research.

Mi Adidas Custom Shoes

When Adidas introduced its mi adidas shoe customization program here in Singapore. I was rather intrigued at the prospect of customizing my own shoes. I am flatfooted and I have problems settling into many shoes be it for tennis, jogging, casual walking shoes or work. Getting the correct shoes for me was more of a chore and I didn't have much of a choice when it comes to purchasing shoes. All my shoes had to be very broad as whenever I tried anything narrower, the entire arch support area of the shoe will sink or cave in.

Michael the Adidas staff who assisted me, he's the Mi Adidas expert. Being a runner himself, he has customized his own Mi Adidas shoes, he knows his stuff and gives very sound advise. I highly recommend you look him up should you want to customize your shoes.

Previously I was strictly into Nike their Challenge court 3 and 4 series of the nineties were very wide and it provided me the comfort I needed. But in recent years, I realized that tennis shoes were becoming more and more narrower. Adidas naturally had very narrow tennis shoes. The Adidas Barricade tennis shoe line was the workhorse of the Adidas Tennis shoe series. Its most latest model, the Adidas Barricade IV tennis shoes were a perfect example, many individuals I know who had slightly shallower arches on their feet had complained bitterly about the Adidas Barricade IV. I tried an off the self pair at Queensway. I told the guy that I was flatfooted and he bluntly told me that I there was no way I could wear it. Looking at the narrow construction of the Adidas Barricade IV, I already knew that I will have problems wearing it let alone face problems being able to wear them comfortably. I tried nevertheless and couldn't even squeeze my feet in! I was practically screaming in pain trying to walk around in them. And Yes! I am not exaggerating about the severe discomfort you'll experience from wearing the Adidas Barricade IV if you have flat feet.

In the end, I had to settle for shoes with broader soles like Reebok basketball shoes. My previous Adidas Barricade III was extremely good in terms of durability but it took me many months to "break" the shoes in or in Singapore terms "season out" the shoes. Even then I still had problems and felt constant pain at the side of my feet especially around the arches of the feet. I then discovered New Balance shoes that were a godsend especially the ones with the extra wide 4E models. I particularly like the New Balance 1002 series that were not only broad but were well ventilated with it's cloth like mesh fabric as well as its durable reinforced outer toe protection. But like with all the other shoes, I not only had to content with shoes with narrower soles but tennis toe issues.

I was very happy with my current New Balance 1002. The 4E version was extremely broad and I did not get much pain in the arches. I however was suffering from a very bad case of tennis toe. Both my big toes are current affected and it hurts badly every time I jam my toes against the front of the shoes especially when running to retrieve a drop shot. Tennis toe is a condition you'll get due to the constant banging of your toes against the front of your shoes resulting in injury. While many people tend to suggest tightening the shoe laces more or using thicker socks. I don't think this will really solve the issue. For one, tightening the laces too much will constrict the blood vessels in your feet and using thicker socks would only make it more difficult for your feet to breathe.

My tennis toe problem was not attributed to the New Balance shoes, but prevalent in all my other tennis shoes. This issue comes about due to the fact that no two feet are alike in size and thus you tend to ram your toe nails more on both toes causing pain and hemorrhaging. This problem could be addressed if you had shoes with a perfect fit and the only way to do this is for you to have your shoes custom made.

Images of both my tennis toes being battered by the constant ramming of my big toes against shoes without proper fitting. mi adidas greatly helped with this problem. Now since i have the exact fit, my toes are not hitting against the front of my shoes anymore. Not sure when my toes will go back to normal though...

Despite all this I was not really considering to have my tennis shoes custom made, but it was more strictly by chance that I was at the Adidas store at Vivo City that I saw that they had the mi adidas shoe customization booth. I was just looking around wanting to get more information about mi adidas technology and what it entails that I might a very knowledgeable and friendly staff named Michael. He briefed me on the processes involved in shoe customization with mi adidas and I explained to him my problems of getting the correct shoes. He said that customizing my shoes should solve my problems.

I thought well what the heck? I was prepared to paid a premium for this kind of service, shoes after all for me are really difficult to find and I was already suffering so much due to the pain. I set up an appointment with Michael to get my Adidas tennis shoes customized. In the case of Adidas they only customize certain particular models. For the case of tennis shoes, they only did the Adidas Barricade IV. I set a date to come see Michael again for him to take all my necessary foot specifications. This process will take about roughly and hour. So I set a time with him to come back a week later.

I was reminded by Michael to bring my regular socks as well as any special insoles or arch support that I have (some flatfooted people) have special orthopedic soles that can be incorporated to customized shoes. According to Michael, the customization can go up to 0.3 of an mm compared to the standard half sizes you get in the store. Plus incorporating the thickness of your preferred socks to ensure an even greater and more snug fit. I went one step ahead to even bring my old Adidas Barricade III for him to have a look at the wear patterns (although this is not necessary, I just wanted him to have a look at the different wear patterns and how they affected all my previous shoes.

Michael explains to me about the the ware patterns found on my old Adidas Barricade III

Mi Adidas customization consists of 3 steps:

1) Mi Fit
This process involves getting the exact length and width of your feet. I had a step into this box like device that resembled something like a weighing scale barefooted to get the length and width of both my feet. Two devices then pushed forward some ruler like device horizontally and vertically to get my precise feet measurements for both feet.

This process is important to get an exact custom snug fit preventing problems like tennis toe from your shifting feet while running and braking suddenly on the tennis courts. Regular shoe that do not have the exact measurements jam your toes into the front part of the shoe causing tennis toe problems.

(Image on the right, stepping on the machine to get the exact foot measurements for my Addidas Barricade IV using mi adidas technology).

2) Mi Performance
This is where it get's slightly interesting and tricky. Your foot fall, foot pattern and pressure distribution applied on each foot is measured here. There is a pad on the floor which looks like a slightly oversized mouse pad you will have to do a short run and hit the pad one foot and a time. This is tricky as it will involve lots of timing to land the right foot correctly on the pad. The other thing will be that you'll to the center of attention at the Adidas store as you will generally attract a crowd when doing this. I highly suggest if you're uncomfortable with people watching you try to set an appointment on a weekday after lunchtime when there will be generally fewer people.

Running and having to get the timing right for both my feet. This is to measure the pressure forces exerted on both my feet.

From the results of the scan, you can see clearly the pronation of the feet as well as my flat feet condition. The pressure points applied and the axis or path that my feet is taking. According to Michael there was something a bit wrong with my left feet if you notice compared to my right foot my left foot seems to be going off a little. Take a look a the straight line marker that runs across the entire image. The curved lines should generally run across the same straight line pattern just like my right foot. But if you take a look closely on the left foot, the curves runs completely off the straight line starting from somewhere close to the bottom of the feet and complete skews out of the main central axis line. Not really sure what this means but this pattern was prominent when I did several tries with the foot scan so it's not the problem with the device but inherent my left foot itself.

Results of my footscan. Do note that the lines for my left foot has gone somewhat astray compared to that of my right foot using the straight line as a reference guide. My flatfootedness is clearly pronounced here. You can see from this image a complete lack of arches on my feet.

Based on the results Michael suggested using a more stiffer and firmer rubber sole and a more comfortable insole liner. What I really liked Mi Customization of the Adidas Barricade IV is that the sockliner part which is the area that covers your ankles is complete reinforced with "Geo Fit" (TM) a more thicker and spongy foam material that really gives additional comfort and protection to your ankle area. Geo Fit(TM) is an internal technology that enhances fit and comfort with the use of memory foam padding in the anatomically correct areas. This patented Adidas technology is apparently available only on there other lines the Supernova running shoe series and not available to the regular Adidas Barricade IV that you find of the selves. To therefore have this Geo Fit technology fitted on my Adidas Barricade IV was really cool and a nice welcomed added feature to have.

With my detailed foot specifications in the computer, Michael let me try a couple of them "molds" or ready made Adidas Barricade shoes with different specification Please note that each of these shoes have different numbers at the back of them and have different widths and lengths. They are also dull in color like in the pictures shown below and NOT shoes that are off the shelf available for purchase. The aim of this exercise is actually to get a feel of what and how my customized shoes will feel like and give Michael a indication if what's stated in the Mi Performance test results were actually accurate. This is NOT the exact replica of my custom shoes that I will be getting. So after trying a couple of molds I finally managed to get two molds that fits pretty close to what my exact foot specifications are like. He then entered it into the computer. What I generally think would be that my shoes will be built with these specifications as a guide, but will incorporate the full and specification provided on the PC with my exact foot details.

Stepping into the custom "molds" to get a "rough" fitting. These "molds" are dull color and have individual numbers at the back varying in width and lengths.

3) Mi Design
This where the real fun begins. Customize the colors that you want on your shoes as well as the name that you want to appear on the shoe. I would say that this is the most fun part compared to the Mi Fit and Mi Performance part. There are various colors to choose from and different colors combinations that you can use for the base, accent and highlight color. The trick here is to be different and have something very unique that nobody has. To be different to have something that basically represents YOU! Michael was nice enough to show me a couple of ready made pairs that some of his customers had designed and I must say that they looked very cool. I choose the color combination that I liked and not really that common. So far from the time I customized this pair I think only one other person here in Singapore had this color combination for the Adidas Barricade IV from the store at Vivo not sure about the other outlets so I guess it should be unique enough. I also like black with orange but I was also tempted in getting a blue with yellow stripes but I chose black with orange instead.

Choosing the colors and lettering to put on my custom Barricade IV. The most exciting and fun part of the entire exercise.

Next came the other exciting part. Customizing what letters do you want stitched on to your customized shoes. You have a choice of like 12 letters (if I can remember correctly) to choose from. It can be either in caps and small lettering or a combination of both. I chose "Nawin" plain and simple. You can also choose the color of the stitching that your name is going to be stitched on. The thing about this is that whatever words you choose has to be identical to both pairs so it has to be "Nawin" on both sides of the shoes. Here I think mi adidas should be more flexible by allowing you different wordings on both shoes its just words sewn on so I don't see the problem. That would have been more neat and cooler but besides this I think it was generally a very cool process and something fun to do. Should I decide to customize another pair of Adidas Barricade IV all my personal data and information is already stored in the central database in Germany. I can just choose to change the colors the next time round. My information is stored in Germany but customization is all done in Hong Kong from the data provided from Germany. It will take roughly around 4 to 6 weeks to get your brand new customized shoes ready for you to take the courts.

The final end product. 100% satisfaction!

I have been using my customized Adidas Barricade IV for almost a month now and I absolutely loved it. I didn't experience much pain. It took sometime for me to adjust to the new shoes, this will be the case with any new shoes you buy customized or non customized. I didn't feel any pain to my tennis toe any longer issue even when not lacing up my shoes tightly, my foot does not slip forward banging my toes against the front part of my shoes any more. The fit was excellent there were no addition gaps that allowed my feet to move about in the shoe causing any discomfort or injuries.

The pair I got just like Michael had explained were more of a perfect fit compared to the earlier molds that I tried out. The color I choose was great but honestly on the PC he didn't really reflect what the actual shoe will look like. I think Adidas can do a better job here by providing actual physical samples to their customers of how the shoes will actually look like.

I was particularly impressed with Michael who was the staff in charge of the Mi Adidas section. He was very experienced and knowledgeable. He clearly knew his stuff. He was also very patient in explaining to the customer the various processes and took his time to explain things. Customization requires the customer to fully understand and comprehend what's going on and the purpose of why are we going through all these processes. He was able to also give good sound solid advice from experience he had and that's extremely important to the customer. It was through Michael that I had obtain special permission to photography
the entire customization session of my Adidas Barricade IV and I would like to thank Michael from the Adidas store based at Vivo City to be able to document the whole customization process.

On the day I was supposed to collect my shoes, I had forgotten to bring my original receipt as I was collecting it directly from the office. The staff at Adidas Vivo City made special arrangements for me to collect my shoes without receipt and this was clearly appreciated on my part as they had provided excellent customer service.

The Damage...

I spent SGD$269 for my pair of individually customized Adidas Barricade IV using mi adidas technology. Yes it's pricey but for the benefits you get its worth every penny! This is my most expensive sports shoe to date. My most expensive shoes that was close to around this price range was Michael Chang's Legendary Reebok Court Victory Tennis Pump. All Michael Chang fans wanted to have that pair of shoes way back in the early 90s. I remember buying that shoe sometime in 1991 or 1992 in Queensway shopping center and it cost a stunning $220 for a student doing his A levels at that time... I had to practically beg, borrow and steal to that the funds to finance this shoe. It looked cool. The Reebok Tennis Pump ad looked pretty cool but honestly the shoes sucked big time. The pump system was to address the customized feel. At that time I remembered the selling tag line of this shoe was that "No two feet were alike" and the pump system was supposed to tighten each shoe to be comfortable to both feet. In reality the Tennis Pump didn't really fit well and it was not even durable. I used it for something like 3 months before the sole got worn out. All that's history now with mi adidas technology! Any shoe designed with mi adidas technology will really FIT you no questions

An off the shelf pair direct from the Adidas store will cost you around $179. An off the shelf pair in Queensway Shopping center will cost you around $125 to $132 subject to size and availability. Assuming you buy your Adidas Barricade IV off the shelf direct from the Adidas store you will be paying around $90 more to get your shoes customized according to your exact feet specifications. You get a unique shoe with the colors you want and added additional padding and protection with better firmer soles and Geo Fit(TM) technology for your sockliner not available on regular off the self Adidas Barricade IVs. You'll also get to print your name on it. I personally think that if you have problems with your feet this is a really good deal. One should not stinge on shoes that might damage or injury your feet and maybe other parts of your body that might even cost you more in the long run as this article suggests on taking proper care of your feet while playing tennis. Overall its a really good investment for me and I would not hesitate twice to customize my next pair of Adidas Barricades with mi adidas technology. In fact, I am already thinking of the next color that I would want to get for my next shoe but by then, the Adidas Barricade V would have been already released. :)

On a side note:

I believe that all Adidas sponsored tennis players or athletes have customized Adidas shoes. They however will still maintain an off the shelf look due to the fact that they would need to sell the same design and look to the mass market. By customizing, you will be able to have a shoe not even the Pros have 

I sincerely hope that the review and information provided here on customizing the Adidas Barricade IV was helpful to individuals thinking of customizing their sports shoes. For more information visit this site or a local Adidas sports store near you. Please bare in mind that not all Adidas stores have the mi adidas customization facilities therefore before you go, please make some calls to find out if the store does mi adidas customization.

More photos of the entire mi adidas customization for my Barricade IV can be found here.

Yahoo versus Google Tennis Tournament

Google and Yahoo are the world's two largest and most popular search engines. Yahoo was very big search company a couple of years back, but Google since has over taken them in every aspect of search and search engine popularity. With Google's innovative approach for many business and consumer web based applications like Gmail and lots of other innovative products from Google, it is no wonder they have won numerous search accolades and awards.

According to report from Nielson Netratings in July 2006, Google still owns close 50% of the world's share of search engine searches. Yahoo is around 24% followed by the other search engines.

In other words, Google has beaten Yahoo hands down in being the worlds most popularly used search engine.

Recently however, Yahoo got back some pride by beating Google not in Search engine popularity, but on the tennis court to decide which of the two search organizations were better organization in the game of tennis. Apparently Yahoo turned out to have the better tennis team by beating the Google team by a short margin of 163 to 157 in a contest named "Battle over the Net".

The two search organizations fielded an impressive line up of 20 to 30 tennis players and played double matches at the Stanford Stadium. Cedric Beust a Google software engineer documented the entire friendly tennis match on his blog. Click here to view more Photos of the "Battle over the Net" tennis challenge between Yahoo and Google.

Tennis Elbow Treatment

If you been searching the internet looking for a cure, treatment or information with regards to tennis elbow you've come to the right place. This article is about personal battle with tennis elbow and how i've managed to overcome it. This is neither a medical paper or something that i am trying to sell like magic gel or cream, but it describes how I got through the pain and angish of this condition and how you too can go about possibly curing the condition or at least alleviate it. It also talks about my long battle with tennis elbow, the pain, suffering and frustration i had to endure with this condition as well as my quest to find the cure and treatment to remedy my problem that has already plagued me for more than a year.

Important Note: Before reading further... Please bare in mind that I am not a medical professional. All this are from personal views and research I have done as well as and what I have personally experienced myself. Everyone's body is different and might respond differently to different kinds of treatments. Therefore when in doubt, please consult a professional health care physician or doctor. Please do not use my personal experiences as a way to treat your injuries as this might result is severe complications.

"Tennis Elbow"
or Lateral Epicondylitis as its medically coined, is pain or tenderness found on either the outside or inside of your elbow. Many people genearally perceive tennis elbow to be attributed to playing tennis, and yes, this can be generally attributed to this. But what many people fail to realise is that tennis elbow is not just restricted to playing tennis or any form of racquet games or sports. It can be attributed to direct injury to your elbow from a small that causes trauma to the tendon in your elbow OR repetive stress injury to the muscle and tendons on the outside of the elbow such as using the hammer or even painting. The pain from tennis elbow is from the result of inflamation or having tiny tears in the tendons found in your elbow. In the case of tennis however, tennis elbow is attributed to several reasons
  • Improper swing technique especially with the backhand.
  • A stiff tennis racquet (causing vibration and shock to your elbow resulting in tendon inflation or tears in the tendon).
  • Highly strung racquet tension (pretty much the same issue as having stiff tennis racquet).
  • Improper tennis grip size (recent studies however have showed that improperly sized tennis racquet DOESN'T cause tennis elbow).
I've have suffered and still am suffering (although not as bad now) from a very bad case of tennis elbow. The problem has been around for over a year now, but it got better due to hours at the gym with weights I have managed to strengthen the area around my elbow to play without much pain now. Besides going to the gym which I think gave me the most success with my recovery from tennis elbow. I sought alternative treatments like acupuncture, taking oral glucosamine and oral and non oral painkillers such as gels and creams. Personally none of the pain killers or acupuncture worked at all. The acupuncture treatment was killing me in terms of the cost of treatment and it did not have any effect relieving the pain or even alleviating it. Personally I found that a total waste of time and I was seeing one of the top acupuncture practitioners here in Singapore. Icing or warm water treatments did not help either.

Here's a list of items I tried to cure my tennis elbow problem.

Rest - To a hard core tennis addict, this is extremely hard to do. Especially when you have to watch from the sidelines. But trust me, I rested for close to about two months and still no results. Pain was there all the time never went away. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation) is the standard procedure to treat injuries but in my case, it hardly made a dent.

- Just numbs the area, but honestly did not work for me.

Warm Water - About the same result as ice.

Oral Painkillers
- I think this is the worst form of treatment as it basically sends signals to your brain telling it that there is actually no pain. This is bad, as pain is an indicator to tell your brain that something is wrong, and you'll need to stop to risk even further damage. Pain killers to numb pain in my personal opinion is bad. The painkillers the doctors gave me also did not help. The pain was consistently there. The only time when I felt the pain more or less go away with oral painkillers is when I had my wisdom tooth removed. I took that and it seemed that the pain in my elbow was totally gone. I think that this pain killer prescribed by the dentist is much stronger than the one prescribed by the doctor. I felt better, so I tried hitting a few balls. True enough pain was gone but I still felt something in that area not pain but just a weird numbness kind of feeling in my elbow area where the pain used to be.

External Painkillers - Fastum Gel, Hot/Icy Cream, did not work at all. Not even marginal.

Acupuncture - A total waste of time and money!

Oral Glucosamine - This had immediate impact after just 2 days of taking them. I use to get pain in my elbow by pinching or even wriggling my fingers. After the first day of taken the Glucosamine the night before, I felt no pain when wriggling my fingers or very marginal slight pain. So that was an indication to me that it was working in my case. So you might want to try Glucosamine. I took the double action one Glucosamine with Chondroitin as this combination is supposed to help better with inflamation of tendons and tissues.

Swimming - Breast Stroke Only. Swimming greatly helps to alleviate and I believe strengthen the muscles but does not solve the problem immediately. After each swim I feel very much lesser pain in my elbow but the pain will come back after an hour or so after my swim. So swimming was a short term success in terms of curbing the pain but not eradicating it totally.

Changing Racquets - This I have been experimenting for a long while, each racquet feels different therefore I tried to choose racquets which were very flexible and less stiff. I went to the tennis warehouse review section to try to get the flex rating which was low. I also went about trying to choose racquets with much smaller grip sizes or at least smaller rounder 4 1/4 grip sizes. I went with Head as they seem to have more rounded grip sizes. Prince too have smaller rounded grip sizes but I was never pretty much a fan of Prince racquets. Racquets such as Babolat, Wilson and Yonex have a more square shaped grip and therefore larger in grip size. During this period I experimented with several racquets such as the:

Head Flexpoint 4 (My Review of the Head Flexpoint 4)
Head Liquid Metal Prestige
Head Flexpoint Instinct
Head Flexpoint Radical OS
Wilson nCode N61 95 - USL Asian Specs
Wilson nCode N61 Tour - USL Asian Spec
Head Flexpoint Prestige Yonex RDS 001 MP

Changing string tension I have experimented with these low tensions 48 pounds, 50 pounds, 52 pounds, 53 pounds and finally 54 pounds. Each tension will be different for each racquet. But I found that the optimum tension for me is around 52 pounds to 53 pounds for most racquet. Sure control is compromised and and more spin is required each time I play. But with that tension my elbow does not really feel that much stress as compared to playing with a racquet strung at 55 pounds and over. But I must also say that each racquet plays differently and if the racquet is naturally stiff you will the pain in your elbow So pains have to be taken to find a very flexible racquet and strung at a low tension. Sure control is compromised but if you're a die hard tennis player playing some tennis (even though crappy at times) is still better than playing no tennis at all.

Changing grip size - I stuck with head racquets as they generally have a smaller grip size compared to other brands as you can see that was the reason why I was experimenting with more head racquets. I finally decided to start ordering racquets from overseas like from Tennis warehouse USA. (Review on ordering racquets direct from Tennis Warehouse USA). I didn't want to just be stuck with head racquets for smaller 4 1/8 grip sizes for other brands so that I can get a grip size that I am comfortable with without having to sacrifice brands I am sure there are other brands and models that might suite my specific playing needs and I didn't want to be just restricted due to the problems of not having the right grip size to play with. Sure I will have to pay a premium price but in return for that I might actually find a true hidden gem in the form of a racquet which plays much better than any Head racquet out there. And I believe that this might have been found in the Yonex RDS 001 MP. It has been also long noted that improper grip sizes can lead to tennis elbow, but this article Improperly-Sized Tennis Racket Grip Doesn't Cause Tennis Elbow recently released from seem to suggest otherwise.

In Conclusion:

What works...

Of all the cure's I tried these are the ones that I find personally worked best for me in order of success rate. It could be a combination all these factors which helped out as well but I noticed immediate results when going to the gym to do weights for my arms and shoulders especially when working with dumb bells.

1. Going to the Gym and doing light weights.
2. Glucosamine.
3. Changing to a less stiff racquet.
4. Changing to a lower string tension.
5. Getting a correct and more comfortable grip size.
6. Swimming (Breast stroke).

* In addition to this i will also have to add having the right stretching and strengthening exercises not to aggravate the injuries even more (see image below)

The images above belongs to the above mentioned copywrites. In no way i make any references that these images belong to me.

Here are also some sites that i highly recommend for tennis elbow strengthening exercises.

2. NISMAT (Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine & Athletic Trauma)

What didn't work or failed miserably...

1. Acupuncture (Total waste of time and money)
2. Oral and External Pain Killers.
3. Ice and Hot Water treatments.
* Resting and not playing for months is subjective so I won't speculate on that...
** All my comments are based on personal experience, everybody's body is different and will respond differently to various forms of treatment. So keep an open mind. When in doubt consult a professional physician/doctor.

I can now have a good game without experiencing much pain now. The pain is not 100% gone but it’s manageable for some games now. The cause for my tennis elbow? Most likely due to the stiffness of the Babolat Pure Drive. I don't think I was the tension as I strung it pretty low at 56 pounds and I have been using that racquet for many months without any issues. I still feel that another attributing factor was the grip size but this article which was only just recently released seemed to suggest likewise and dispute the fact.

Another cause for tennis elbow could be wrong stroke mechanics but if that is the case, I would have encountered that a long long time ago. Furthermore if its strokes mechanics, it will be mainly from a poor backhand. I could hit my backhand without much issues, it's the forehand which was causing more pain. Changing racquets also alleviated some pain, so I guess it could be just the stiffness of the Babolat Pure Drive or the larger grip size. By the way I also experimented with a lower string tension and that did not help.

I sincerely hope that from my personal experiences dealing with tennis elbow and the various treatments that i have applied would be helpful to you. I have also found these links below extremely helpful in research as well providing more information on tennis treatments and tennis elbow related injuries.

Tennis Elbow Related Resources

Tennis Elbow Treatments
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Hughston Sports Medical Foundation (for tennis related injuries)
Regentville Tennis on Facebook

About me

  • I'm Nawin from regentville
  • Residing in Hougang Singapore
  • Racquets: X2 Prince EXO3 Graphite 100 (Main) X3 Wilson K Blade Tour 93 (Backup) Strings: Toalson Ultimate 115 Strung @ 48-50 pounds. Plays: Right Handed (Single Backhand). Shoes: mi Adidas Barricade V Apparel: Lacoste & Adidas Favourite Players: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic

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