There seems to be a fear of low-cost equipment in some circles. As a retailer myself, I’ve had customers walk away because the price tag was too low. “A whole racket for only $75? No thanks. I’m looking for something around $200.” They seem to think that price has a direct relationship with quality and performance, so Chinese brands like DHS, 729/Friendship, LKT and Gambler can’t compare to Butterfly, Donic and Stiga.
Twenty years ago, they would have been right.
Quality control and manufacturing have improved by leaps and bounds while the cost of labor has still remained very low in China, so prices have stayed low for Chinese manufactured goods. So why aren’t people taking advantage?
I’m currently using the 729 Dynasty Hinoki Carbon blade with Cream Transcend on the forehand and Gambler Wraith on the backhand. Total price tag? $60 USD. How’s it holding up? Well it’s helped me earn a 2136 USATT rating playing once a week. Imagine if I actually trained seriously. I don’t say this to boast, I’m just trying to make the point that you don’t need to spend $54 on each sheet of rubber and over $100 on the blade to succeed. Your key to success does not depend heavily on how much you’re willing to spend.
The Butterfly Tenergy 05 ($54) and Stiga Boost ($60) rubbers have made a lot of headlines as the rubbers of the future after the speed glue/booster/tuner ban, but there are some Chinese rubbers that are now being considered comparable substitutes (though not exact clones) which are worth trying, given the low cost.
So give them a try. If you find a lower-cost option, this will save you tons of money in the long run. And this money can go towards coaching, which will really improve your game. So why not save some cash and give them a shot? Aren’t we still in the middle of a recession?