WHY ARE STRINGS SO IMPORTANT?
Stringing can often change the way a racket plays. You can have two of the same rackets and have different strings in them and the two rackets will play quite differently. Remember, the ball hits the string bed, not the frame! And if you have more than one frame, when you are stringing your rackets it is so important to keep the frames and stringing consistent in order to keep them playing the same. The frequency of stringing also will depend on the amount of times you play per week. The more frequently you play, the more you should string your rackets. Playing one day a week, stringing once a year would be adequate. Two times a week of play and you should have it strung at least two times a year. We usually recommend restringing rackets if you don’t break strings as the indoor and outdoor seasons go. Restringing before every season would mean that you have a well-tuned racket.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT STRING FOR ME?
There are many different ideas and philosophies that people think about when putting strings into their rackets. Do I put in gut, polyester or a synthetic string? What is the difference, and what will make my game better. First of all one must understand the technology of strings. Then the right decision can be made as to what is the best choice for the player. Let us help you decide the best strings for your game.
Polyester strings “Luxilon, Babolat RPM, 4G, and Solinco Tour Bite” are strings that are made for players who break strings frequently and who hit with excessive spin. The strings have a slick coating to them which allows for quick ‘snap back’ to their original position. The strings can be made with different angles, not only round, to help enhance the movement of the strings to give more spin and to have less friction burn. Friction burn occurs when the main and crosses rub together which will inevitably make them break. The other issue with polyester is that tension doesn’t last long. Tension loss usually occurs between 10 to 15 hours of play.
A second group of strings would be ‘natural gut’. The characteristics of this natural fiber string is the incredible feel, the holding of tension, a longer ‘dwell time’ and the incredible ease on one’s arm. The drawback of the string is that it’s temperamental with the elements and the cost might deter people from purchasing it. The $75 restring is often recommended for the purist, tennis elbow sufferers and the player who does not break strings often. Brands of the gut string are Babolat and Wilson.
Multifilament strings are another type of string that has a similar feel to natural gut but are made of nylon fibers. The strings have hundreds of fibers that make for a soft feel and allows the string to maintain its tension for a longer period of time. Being softer, the strings also allow for more of a ‘cupping’ of the ball and trampoline effect that will give you more power on your shots. Wilson, Babolat and Gamma are a few companies that have come out with exceptional multifilament strings.
Synthetic gut strings are another type of string that offers feel and durability. Not as soft as a multifilament because it has a center core, this type of string is used mostly by players who want the string to last longer and be more cost effective. Often, players who use this type of string are not as particular with their choice. This type of string comes in many different colors and offers a larger variety of manufacturers that produce them such as Babolat, Dunlop, Head, Wilson and Prince.
“Hybriding” these different types of strings is also an option when stringing your racket. Most hybrids consist of two different types of strings. Most of the time, the preferred hybrid stringing would use a poly in either the mains or the crosses and then a synthetic or natural gut for the other string. Usually, when one puts polyester strings in the mains and synthetic or natural in the crosses, they are stringing for durability instead of having more feel. To have more feel, we would suggest stringing the synthetic or natural strings for the mains and the poly for the crosses
Marc Kessler, The Tennis Professionals and Sportech
Babolat VS string team, stringer at the French Open and 6 time US Open stringer