Without understanding a little about the OctaCurve Mach III one truly can't appreciate the Mach I. Well perhaps so, just for its pure and simplistic design.
One would assume the Mach I to be the predecessor of the Mach III when actually the Mach I left off where the Mach III ended.
More accurately, the Mach I came about because the outer two panels of the Mach III were left off. They were never included in the first 100 orders - some shipping error.
Hence, the OctaCurve label had to be dropped from its name, resulting in just Mach I. There are no panel edge curves, therefore not offering the design complexities and training benefits of the Mach III. In fact, its only-one-of-three-panel layout makes this darn backboard so small, there is no allowance for warping or curving.
And, this minimal surface area is exactly what led to it's popularity back in whatever decade they manufactured these things.
Club owners and tennis center managers were soon realizing the increase in shot accuracy of their members and patrons. League trophies were coming home, yet tournament attendance was dwindling along with their associated revenues. No one wanted to play against members of clubs owning a Mach I, which soon was nicknamed The Target by tennis communities across the nation.
The French were calling it La Cible, the Brits simply outlawed it, while the Aussies affectionately referred to it as Mad Max.
The amateur tennis ranking system went awry, setting the wheels in motion for what is now the computer ranking system.
Unfortunately for the Mach I, tournament paper revenues take precedence over plastic trophies and sales came to a halt. Clubs and tennis centers were removing them as fast as they could, while the well-to-do and collectors were scooping them up as soon as the plywood came off the fence.
It's rumored that several Grand Slammers have a few of these at their humble abodes - some in sheer appreciation of their innovative design, some to help hone their skills privately (secretively) between majors, while others simply want to keep them out of the hands of their competition.
You guessed it - no longer made. So if you can find a Mach I, snatch it up and don't tell your tennis friends, not even your family.
If you can tame this nearly four foot wide menace, then you're going places and will be moving up your local rankings in no time. But, be careful and manage your time wisely with the Mach I. You don't want to find yourself playing the lottery more often or digging into your savings for all the travel and lodging expenses you will incur making it to those distant tournaments.
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