get asked alot of questions about racquets and strings.
My friends and students know I have been involved in tennis
for over 30 years and have been a stringer for a good many
of those years. I have also been an avid collector of tennis
racquets and tennis memorabilia. This is just some of the
fun we can have off the court with tennis. As a stringer
and a racquet tech I have learned an awful lot about frames
and how to customize them. I have done everything but cut
down racquets. I just don't like this practice. I always
suggest a different frame if the length doesn't suit you.
Question Number One:
Which strings are best?
is no such thing as the best string or all the pros would
be using it. First the basics. Lower string tensions generate
more power provided that excessive string movement doesn't
occur. Higher tensions give you more control and less power.
A longer string, or string area, gives you more power. Decreased
string density (string pattern) generates more power. Thinner
strings generate more power and spin. More elastic strings
generate more power and absorb more shock. Softer strings
or strings with a softer coating tend to vibrate less. The
more elastic the more tension loss in the racquet.
string types to the player is essential. If you are a big
hitter who needs more power you might try natural gut or
a multifilament string like Sensation or even a thinner
gauge. If you need control use gut or a solid core string
like Strong Play or Polyon. If you need more touch try natural
gut or a multifilament string with thinner gauge. For less
shock and vibration try natural gut and multifilament. For
durability I recommend Polyester or Kevlar.
reading this you may wonder, well isn't natural gut the
best? Well it is for most pros. BUT not every pro plays
with natural gut and some use combinations. Agassi uses
two different types of string in the same racquet. Pete
uses, and has forever, natural gut 17g strung very tight.
There as many different combinations of strings and tensions
as there are pros. The ONLY drawback in using real gut is
the price. You may pay as much as $50 a set for the Babolat
natural gut. There are now other companies trying to produce
cheaper gut strings, but I have not used them and can't
say anyhing great about them.
I've been playing with this racquet for years and it just
doesn't feel the way it used to. Do racquets die like strings
This I can answer from my direct experience with the frames
I play with. I have used the Prince Ripstick for as many
years as it has been around, about 10. I have broken more
then 7 during that time and I am always trying to find more.
But some of them haven't broken and have been in my bag
for years. Do these play the same as the newer models I
now have? Absolutely not. In time they, and all racquets,
lose their structural integrity. Have you ever seen, in
slow motion, what happens when we strike the ball? I have.
The racquet flexes, or bends. In time the frame just wears
out and the racquet just becomes more "whippy". I love getting
a new frame because they are still relatively rigid and
my serve and my game just have more "pop". This flexing
also weakens the frame to the point where I have just shattered
them on a hard hit return.
ask questions of your racquet technician and expect real
answers. Your tennis professional should know you and your
game and have all the answers you need to fine tune your
game. The racquet and string combination I use may not be
suitable for your game. It may even surprise you to know
that not all pros use natural gut strings. They have their
reasons and so have you. I am happy with the racquet and
strings I use, but you may find it unplayable. Know yourself
and trust your tennis professional to find the right combination
that works for you.
Scott would say "Good Luck on the Court!!!"
Maranatha Tennis 2000