TENERGY 05 was the first, unveiled in April of 2008 – ushering in a whole series of rubbers, the TENERGY series, later completed by Tenergy 64, 25, 80 and their FX versions. A story of success.

Which Tenergy rubber is the right one – for you?

TENERGY rubbers

TENERGY rubbers

Selecting the TENERGY rubber most fitting cannot be accomplished purely by numbers, and the blade plays a huge role as well. But some basics can be easily understood that help in deciding on the best rubber for your play. TENERGY rubbers all support offensive play and excel in speed, spin and control, but with a different focus on these aspects for each rubber. The “right” rubber depends on the strengths and wishes of each player as well as on their style of play. In the past, selecting has been a little simpler. Rubbers, such as the BRYCE provided high speed and power, but with a limited spin capability. TENERGY makes the choice a bit more tricky, as it provides both – in spades. Another important aspect among players is often simply called “control”. But what exactly is control? More on that later on. Overall, TENERGY has lifted the level of play for many players, as highly demanding techniques such as counter topspins and the “chiquita” flick suddenly became possible for everyone. The Butterfly R&D team agrees:

TENERGY rubbers enable players to use more technically-demanding shots of a higher level – they invite players to do so. Overall, the sport becomes more fun, as players realize these shots are now suddenly possible – and with less mistakes.

Speed with spin, or spin with speed?

Comparison: Speed & Spin

Comparison: Speed & Spin

The first things players demand from their rubber are speed and spin.

Speed genius TENERGY 64

The fastest rubber is TENERGY 64, followed by 80 and 05. Professional players often select TENERGY 64 in order to accomplish maximum speed and power of their shots – such as Jun Mizutani, Zhang Jike or Chuang Chih-Yuan.

Spin maverick TENERGY 05

The strongpoint of TENERGY 05 certainly is spin.

Rotation: TENERGY 05

Rotation: TENERGY 05

When hit tangentially, the ball reaches the highest number of revolutions per second, more than with TENERGY 80 or 64. This not only supports players with heavy spin topspins, but equally well with Service and even in defense while chopping. TENERGY 05 is widely used by top players, among them Timo Boll, Marcos Freitas or Kenta Matsudaira.

Multi-talented TENERGY 80

The basic aspects of spin and speed are well-balanced with TENERGY 80. Its pimples structure lies between Tenergy 64 and 05 in terms of diameter and height – so are its playing characteristics as a result. With high spin and speed, TENERGY 80 stays controlled at all times, supporting receive game and overall placement. This makes TENERGY 80 the right choice for allround players such as Tie Yana, Seiya Kishikawa or Joao Monteiro.

Comparing trajectories: Topspins

Understanding the strengths of each TENERGY can be illustrated with the different trajectories on Topspin. Let’s have a look:

The higher and more curved the trajectory, the more spin is on the ball.

The straighter and lower the line, the faster the ball.

Comparison: trajectory at topspin

Comparison: trajectory at topspin

TENERGY 05 has the most curved trajectory on topspin, TENERGY 64 is the straightest. The curved trajectory of TENERGY 05 not only means the most spin, it also helps in directing the ball back precisely onto the table, even when hit late and below table level. This supports spin players like Timo Boll or Tiago Apolonia. The higher speed of TENERGY 64 keeps the trajectory low and straight, reducing the travel time of the ball covering the same distance, in turn reducing the reaction time of the opponent. Players like Zhang Jike or Jun Mizutani especially value this aspect.

 

Players looking for heavy spin and “stable” topspin to topspin play should look for TENERGY 05 as their rubber.

Players valuing high speed and powerful shots are more suited to playing TENERGY 64.

Players looking for the balance between these aspect are well consulted in trying TENERGY 80.

Comparing trajectories: Backspin

Comparison: trajectory at backspin

Comparison: trajectory at backspin

The tables are turned in the most literal sense when we look at the trajectories of backspin shots. Here, TENERGY 64 has the highest ball trajectory, the lowest and most direct on TENERGY 05. The principle, however, stays the same as simply the movement of the tangential hit is reversed. Instead of moving upwards on a topspin swing, it moves downwards on a chop!

This allows the following conclusion:

The harder the rubber surface, the more precise the ball follows the movement of the racket swing.

Defensive players who value the spin – also on the attack – tend to favor the TENERGY 05 rubber, so does Greek player Panagiotis GIONIS:

Gionis: Tenergy 05

Gionis: Tenergy 05

Playing with more backspin is not always the best option however, as it allows the opponent to answer with a more vicious topspin, that can be tough to bring back onto the table.

How much “control” do you need?

Besides speed and spin, the characteristic players want most is often called “control.” This is where the difference between rubbers of the TENERGY family lies. Let us compare the three most popular TENERGY rubbers: 05, 64 and 80 in that aspect:

Comparison: surface hardness

Comparison: surface hardness

The sponge is the same on all TENERGY rubbers, except for their FX versions, which feature a softer and lighter sponge. So the difference between the rubbers has to be in the rubber’s surface – it is indeed the geometry of the pimples. The shorter pimples of TENERGY 05 make the rubber harder, more than TENERGY 80 and 64.

Hardness has importance in ball control. But:

What is control anyway?

Ball control is an aspect more difficult than most people would admit. There is not 1 but rather 2 aspects of ball control:

There is ball control in passive play, meaning ease of returning a shot of the opponent

And there is ball control in active play, meaning the ease of placement of a shot

softer rubber surface (T64)

softer rubber surface (T64)

Control 1: passive play.

The two pictures illustrate the principle of passive control very well.

On the right, we can see the ball “digging” into a softer rubber’s surface with longer pimples. Because of the deep impact, the ball has as smaller exit angle, resulting in less “spraying”.

This means when hitting a ball straight on, a rubber with softer surface makes for more control in blocking or overall passive play, as it helps to deal with rotation by reducing the exit angle. This makes TENERGY 64 most interesting for players looking for passive control and the ability to produce safe blocks and smash shots.

harder rubber surface (T05)

harder rubber surface (T05)

 

 

With a harder rubber, such as TENERGY 05, the ball cannot dig deep into the rubber’s surface, as pictured on the left. Passive control is reduced, as the exit angle for an incoming shot (with spin) is higher, demanding a higher technical skill from players as they need to find the correct angle to counter the spin. The rubber is overall more sensitive to incoming spin.

 

 

Control 2: Active play.

In active play, the same principle produces different results.

The harder a rubber’s surface, the more precisely the ball follows the movement of the racket, resulting in better placement and higher active control.

Exit angle: Tenergy 05 vs Tenergy 64

Exit angle: Tenergy 05 vs Tenergy 64

If we look at it this way, TENERGY 05 offers the best control, followed by TENERGY 80 and 64. Have a look a the All About Tenergy-Video explaining in detail.

Ball control – conclusion.

Players looking for placement control in active shots, like TImo Boll, will find the best control in TENERGY 05. Its hard rubber surface allows the ball to follow the movement of the racket most precise, enabling the player to play straight forward without opening the racket too much for topspin. The additional spin stabilizes the ball in flight, creating more safety in placement.

Players looking for passive control, like Jun Mizutani, demand a high amount of safety in returning shots and are therefore best equipped with TENERGY 64. With its longer pimples and softer rubber surface the ball digs deeper into the rubber on impact, allowing the player to deal better with the incoming spin on block or smash shots.

TENERGY 80 allows a balanced approach between the other two.

Jun Mizutani

Jun Mizutani_AAT-Shoot_small

Jun Mizutani

We hace asked Jun Mizutani for his experience with both rubbers. He currently plays with TENERGY 64 on both sides, after using TENERGY 05 for some time.

„While I liked the stability and spin of TENERGY 05 in topspin play, I found a lack of passive control in my game when returning shots over the table and my own topspins had less overall speed compared to TENERGY 64 – which is why I decided to play with 64.“

Jun’s method of analyzing his own game on forehand and backhand and setting priorities can serve as an example of finding a decision on a rubber that fits perfectly.

TENERGY 80 – tailored to everyone?

So far, our focus has been on the extremes: Spin vs. speed. Therefore, TENERGY 05 and 64 served as best-fitting examples.

Exit angle: Tenergy 80

Exit angle: Tenergy 80

Like all TENERGY rubbers, the model 80 features the same SpringSponge. But its pimples are in between TENERGY 64 and 05, in terms of height and distance. Also, the weight of the rubber and its hardness are right between the other two.

As a result, TENERGY 80 picks up the strong points of 05 and 64, providing balanced Spin and speed.

In short: It helps players achieving passive control with a softer rubber, but also enables heavy spin and precise active topspin play. This makes the rubber ideally suited to allround-oriented players such as Tie Yana, Seiya Kishikawa or Joao Monteiro.

TENERGY 25 – highest spin and precision over the table.

Tenergy 25: broader pimples

Tenergy 25: broader pimples

TENERGY 25 has so far been excluded by choice. It represents characteristics that are quite extreme and not easily compared to the other TENERGY rubbers.

Its characteristics surface in heavy-spin play over the table, but it also demands a high amount of technical expertise from players wishing to benefit from its strongpoints as they need to hit the ball perfectly tangential and “soft”  in topspins, flicks or serve.

Pimple diameter T05 (top) vs T25 (bottom)

Pimple diameter T05 (top) vs T25 (bottom)

TENERGY 25 uses broad and short pimples, as illustrated on the left. These pimples are aligned in a much smaller distance, compared to TENERGY 64 or 05. Therefore, the overall feel of this rubber is very hard. Passive control is reduced by the high exit angle of the ball, although the rubber’s speed is not the highest.

TENERGY 25 is suited for:

 

Short serves with heavy spin, a controlled short-short play, heavy spin shots and counter topspins over the table.

 

Trajectory: Tenergy 25

Trajectory: Tenergy 25

 

The characteristics of TENERGY 25 are rooted in the hard touch of the rubber’s surface. With the hard surface, the ball follows the movement of the racket even more precise than TENERGY 05 – but the trajectory is not only more curved, but also shorter as the speed of TENERGY 25 is the lowest.

 

 

 

 

Tenergy 25 - higher exit angle

Tenergy 25 – higher exit angle

Koki NIWA has in the past been an advocate user of TENERGY 25. As his game progressed farther away from the table, he has since switched to TENERGY 05 on Forehand and 80 on backhand to benefit from their additional power and speed for his game.

 

TENERGY FX – feel the difference

A conclusion on the softer FX sponge can be seen in the TENERGY video. watch the way TENERGY 05-FX, TENERGY 80-FX, TENERGY 64-FX and TENERGY 25-FX) differ from their counterparts in additional speed, reduced weight and a softer touch.

Video:

Adaptation from the japanese original by Frank Voeller. English translation by Sebastian Hallen

About The Author

Manabu

Manabu Nakagawa is a publisher of “table tennis report”, the magazine founded by Hikosuke Tamasu (founder of Tamasu Co.) with a long standing tradition of 60 years. Manabu has been editor for 25 years, traveling all over the globe to cover tournaments such as the Olympic Games or World Championships, taking care of various aspects, such as coverage, photography, comments on technique in addition to conducting interviews.

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