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PostPosted: 17 Aug 2009, 16:50 
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I think the only rule that applies here is:
2.04.07 The racket covering shall be used without any physical, chemical or other treatment.

Spinmax Aqueous is a water-based cleaner, and is designed to restore a rubber to it's original grip and maintain this through regular use. This would (IMO) not be considered as a treatment, as it does not change the characteristics of the rubber beyond it's normal life-time of wear and tear.

Now if it changed the rubber completely, like the original spinmax that could turn a non-tacky rubber into a tacky one, then it would be considered a treatment and be be considered illegal.

I think we need to look back and consider the reason the ITTF introduced (and laster updated) this rule... and the main purpose was to try and (1) put a stop to treatment of long pimples (as was done to make them frictionless) and (2) to eliminate boosters/tuners/speedglue that modify the rubbers well beyond it's approved state. I don't think cleaners were ever an issues, so as long as they are used sensibly and do not enhance/change the playing properties beyond the approved state and/or after wear and tear, it should be perfectly legal.

I think people worry or look to deep into this... technically any cleaner (even water) would be illegal under this rule, as cleaning can be classed as a physical or chemical treatment. Obviously this was never the intent of the rule. The makers of spinmax did the right thing... as soon as VOC-free proposal came out, they started researching into a water based spinmax, and a year later or so worked out how to do this. At the same time they changed the formula so that is does not change the playing characteristics of the rubber, it meant to just restore the rubber's original grip when used properly.

Of course this is only my opinion, and I would be interested to hear Adham's view on this as well.

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PostPosted: 17 Aug 2009, 19:44 
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What about the VOC version? That IS chemical, isn't it?

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PostPosted: 17 Aug 2009, 21:00 
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VincentB wrote:
Adham, is SpinMax now banned by the ITTF under the rule of not being allowed to change the characteristics of the rubber, or is it still ok to use?


If it appears on list No.30 of ITTF Authorized Racket Coverings, then it is OK to use. If it does not appear then you cannot use it at official events. Please check the authorization list on "www.ittf.com", go to menu item "Equipment", then choose "Racket Coverings". List No. 30 is posted in PDF. You can print it.

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PostPosted: 18 Aug 2009, 00:31 
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speedplay wrote:
Adham, Spinmax isn't a rubber, but some sort of fluid use to clean and regain tackiness on the rubbers. The thing is, if you use it on a non tacky rubber, it becomes slightly tacky. According to me, this is altering the rubbers characteristics, so it's not legal, but I'm not sure.


It really depends on the degree it will change the characteristics of the rubber, I guess this is a judgement call by the Umpire and ultimately by the Referee. If it "restores" the original characteristics, then I do not see a problem. But if it changes the original characteristics then it could be considered illegal. If it contains VOCs, then of course it is a health hazard and would not be safe to use.

I agree with Haggisv interpretation, the key word is "restore" so you are actually not "changing" the original state. I also not that it is Wtaer-based, so not a health hazard. So use it until you are told you can't, which I doubt. By the way, the ITTF did not ban any cleaners, we just do not have an approval or authorization system for them.

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PostPosted: 18 Aug 2009, 10:46 
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Even though it is only restoring it, it has to change the characteristics of the rubber to get it BACK to it's original state, does it not?

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PostPosted: 18 Aug 2009, 11:08 
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So does ANY cleaner to some extent, even water... read my post above... that is what I was trying to explain...

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PostPosted: 18 Aug 2009, 11:54 
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VincentB wrote:
Even though it is only restoring it, it has to change the characteristics of the rubber to get it BACK to it's original state, does it not?


The rule is that you cannot change the characteristics of the rubber (other than normal wear and tear) as you get it out of the package. But if you "restore" it by cleaning it and the process does not add anu=y VOCs, then it's OK.

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PostPosted: 18 Aug 2009, 17:37 
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VincentB

I'd maybe look at it this way. If spinmax (or whatever) has the ability to make a rubber tackier / faster than it originally was it would be changing it's characterstics, if it just allows for it's original characteristics to be maintained longer or restores them it should be ok and I think this is what the rule is intended for and how they would like it to be interpreted.

Although I may not agree with all their laws they do seem to try and apply them fairly (i.e. as they were intended) and lets face it at some stage a rubber is going to be cleaned whether it be by water, a cloth, compressed air, wiping it with your hand or spinmax.

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PostPosted: 18 Aug 2009, 20:49 
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antipip wrote:
VincentB

I'd maybe look at it this way. If spinmax (or whatever) has the ability to make a rubber tackier / faster than it originally was it would be changing it's characterstics, if it just allows for it's original characteristics to be maintained longer or restores them it should be ok and I think this is what the rule is intended for and how they would like it to be interpreted.

Although I may not agree with all their laws they do seem to try and apply them fairly (i.e. as they were intended) and lets face it at some stage a rubber is going to be cleaned whether it be by water, a cloth, compressed air, wiping it with your hand or spinmax.


That is correct.

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PostPosted: 18 Aug 2009, 20:57 
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speedplay wrote:
I was wondering if ITTF have an opinion on the high retail price for some rubbers? Cause, looking at the price on some of the newer rubbers, like Tenergy, it is kind of outrageous.

If ITTF cares about this, wouldn't it be possible to add a maximum retail price for rubbers to be approved/authorised? Or, would this be suice, as it might stop the development of new rubbers?

Also, as a bunch of EJ's (equipment junkies, who wants to try it all) I think we all find it frustrating to hear that the pro's use rubbers that aren't available for the crowd, should be able to sold by stating that a rubber must be mass produced to be authorised?


Unfortunately in a free market system the ITTF cannot do what you suggest. We can neither put a cap on prices nor can we dictate to the manufacturers what they provide to whom. We can only set rules to control the type of equipment produced and protect the consumer from hazardous equipment. Regarding the price of the rubbers this is determined by the market forces. If no one buys a rubber the price will fall, but if there is tremendous demand and people are willing to pay the price, then the price will go up especially if production does not meet the volume of the demand. This is the case now with the rubber you mentioned.

Regarding the fact that top sponsored players get special equipment, of course this is true. However the difference between what they get and what you buy is really minimal, and with all due respect neither you nor I would know the difference. It is usually a small adjustment made to the player's requirement. Slightly harder sponge, or slightly softer sponge, a specific sponge that is 1.9 mm thick, or 1.95 mm thick, etc. Most of it is due to the players' "feel" and at that level it may make a small and slight difference but enough for the player to feel good. At lower levels it would be impossible to detect the differences.

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PostPosted: 18 Aug 2009, 21:52 
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This is a sure-fire hands-down all-time Hall of Fame thread.

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PostPosted: 19 Aug 2009, 01:59 
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adham wrote:
It is usually a small adjustment made to the player's requirement. Slightly harder sponge, or slightly softer sponge, a specific sponge that is 1.9 mm thick, or 1.95 mm thick, etc. Most of it is due to the players' "feel" and at that level it may make a small and slight difference but enough for the player to feel good. At lower levels it would be impossible to detect the differences.

Why don't they use their own skills instead of relying on specialized equipment? I remember hearing that argument somewhere.

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PostPosted: 19 Aug 2009, 02:35 
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mynamenotbob wrote:
adham wrote:
It is usually a small adjustment made to the player's requirement. Slightly harder sponge, or slightly softer sponge, a specific sponge that is 1.9 mm thick, or 1.95 mm thick, etc. Most of it is due to the players' "feel" and at that level it may make a small and slight difference but enough for the player to feel good. At lower levels it would be impossible to detect the differences.

Why don't they use their own skills instead of relying on specialized equipment? I remember hearing that argument somewhere.


Yes, of course it would be much better. But what we are talking here is the difference between buying ready made as opposed to "made to measure". It is the same in other sports. The top players have direct contact with the manufacturers and so they can get things almost made to measure. When you reach this level of skill, small differences in equipment have an effect. But at lower skill levels they really almost impede your skill development. My philosophy is always to improve your skills, but these top players feel they are at the maximum skill level they can achieve. The best analogy I could give is with car racing. For me as an average driver, whether I have the maximum souped up car or a regular car, my skill level in driving is not advanced enough for it to make a big difference. But for the top racers, a small difference in the engine type, or wheels, etc. will make a small difference, but enough to help win a race.

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PostPosted: 19 Aug 2009, 02:39 
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speedplay wrote:
mynamenotbob wrote:
adham wrote:
It is usually a small adjustment made to the player's requirement. Slightly harder sponge, or slightly softer sponge, a specific sponge that is 1.9 mm thick, or 1.95 mm thick, etc. Most of it is due to the players' "feel" and at that level it may make a small and slight difference but enough for the player to feel good. At lower levels it would be impossible to detect the differences.

Why don't they use their own skills instead of relying on specialized equipment? I remember hearing that argument somewhere.


ROFL! Good one MNNB!

But, I was not thinking about changes in sponge thickness and stuff like that, more about Pro's being able to use Tenergy a year or two before it hits the market. And, I actually think it is possible to make rules about availability and price, but I appreciate your answer, thanks!


Oh, I see. Actually I was not aware that the top players used Tenergy 2 years before it hit the market. It probably is more like 2 months or so to my knowledge. The players get it directly from the sponsor, whereas the average buyer has to wait for it to reach the retailer. Perhaps a 2 to 3 months lag, but I do not think there is a difference of 2 years.

Of course, as I said before, we cannot make any rules on price, this is a question of free market supply and demand. We also cannot make rules about availability. Each manufacturer is free to sell to whom they want and wherever they want. In general they want to sell everywhere and to everybody this is why they sponsor the top players so that you are impressed and buy the same equipment. Perhaps where you live the availability of the equipment is not great?

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PostPosted: 19 Aug 2009, 07:31 
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Sorry to bring it back a few posts, but thanks for clearing that up about the SpinMax. It makes much more sense now.

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