So I think I'll return to T4U with this thread. Won't post as often, but will try and post now and then.
On this subject I think Babble is a bit off on the tech concept.
What we are seeing is the computerization of tennis. Basically, finding the absolute best way to win in a consistent way. The most effective swing for a forehand or a backhand. The most effective tactics, and the players who put them in practice the best. The homogenization of the surfaces so we didn't get the three shot rallys at Wimbledon in match after match.
Though perhaps some of the newest tech wasn't around in 1997, most of the most dramtic tech changes had already happened. One thing that was different was the players. Andre Agassi and Pat Rafter both started playing tennis with wooden frames. They were just not yet taking full advantage of the larger sweet spots these frames provided, and lack of torque from the perimeter weighting many racquets had, even at that time. The Federer/Nadal/Murray/Djokovic crowd are the first to truely grow up with these frames and take advantage of the full potential of them (though maybe Fed started with a wood frame for a couple of years).
The other thing that these players didn't have was poly strings. But the only thing poly strings give is an ability to swing harder to get more spin. Agassi at this time was using Prince Pro Blend which was kevlar in the main strings and synthetic cross stings. Keflar is basically high tech rope. It allowed Agassi to get pretty much the same feel as poly. The drawback to kevlar was that it didn't hold tension for that long. Not a problem for Agassi who probably had his racquets strung that day like most pros do now.
I agree with Babble in that this is a better quality of tennis. More variety, and quicker pace of play. But to me the tech was already there, it was just waiting for players to figure out how to take best advantage of it.
I would say; take away frames larger than 90, or even 85 sq inches, and perimeter weighting. Make the sweet spots smaller which will cut down on the more extreme low to high swings, which deliver the massive top spin players get today. Perhaps some string restrictions as well, but I'm not sure that's a great idea. As I said kevlar gives the same feel (in a sense) that poly does. Stringing a racquet at 80+ pounds also gives the same feel, but it's not good for the frame. But outlawing poly will just make the players find other ways to get a dead racquet feel so they can get the spin they want. Make the racquets smaller, and the sweet spot smaller and get rid of perimeter weighting will make the players flatten out their swings and loose some of the top spin. That may bring back some of the variety back to tennis.