Just found this area!
I play tennis 1-2 times a week and matches last from 2-3.5 hrs. (3 sets) unless someone gets demoralized.
Since I'm new I think I should bring something, so below is a short story and a article I found that directly relates to it, lets go!
I researched about racquets, strings and tensions. The problem was I wanted more topspin to bring the ball down. After reading a ton of articles I determined that the type of string used would help me. So I went to a master stringer in Chicago, he told me the string or racquet has nothing to do with it, it's technique. This perturbed me because all of the talk about strings changing the game from people who should know!
Then I found this article later, the master stringer was apparently right. So now I have 2 good sources that say strings don't matter.
Glad to be here!
Here's the article from I believe the string forum:
Hi all, Sorry for this very long post .. I would like some views on an article I did for the GB Performance Squad last year, some of which is copied below. In essence, everything stated is wrapped around cold hard data from by lab testing in Sheffield, on behalf of the ITF - International Tennis Federation. I was also surprised to note that textured string, open pattern and thinner strings did not have any measurable effect on spin POTENTIAL. Here goes ..
b]HIGHER TENSIONS, SPIN & CONTROL
FACT AND FICTION[/b]
The aim of this article is to help players and coaches understand the ACTUAL effects of string tensions so that it will be much easier to select a tension best suited to achieving maximum performance on court.
Most players are familiar with the general principle that lower tensions tend to result in more power and higher tension in more control.
Incoming ball speed will always be greater than the return journey off the racket face as energy is lost on contact friction. However, lower tensioned strings stretch more during impact and so store a greater amount of energy. When the ball rebounds from the racket, this high level of energy is returned, so it leaves with a higher speed. Though the increased speed is typically less than 1%, that can translate to balls traveling 1 to 2 feet further on a baseline-to-baseline shot.
The claim that higher string tension gives more control is less easy to explain.
There is certainly plenty of evidence that players "feel" more control when using a high string tension. Serena Williams chooses around 70lbs as does Andy Roddick and I have personally strung Yonex rackets for Monica Seles at an incredible 92lbs. (15% of her frames would collapse and I had to wear goggles) Do they string this way to gain control? And if so, what is the link between high string tension and control?
We will assume that control means the ability to consistently place the ball at an intended location.
But there is more to it than that. Many players report that there is an associated "feel of control" when they are hitting their targets. So the question is - What is happening during impact at different string tensions to affect both the bounce location and the player's feel of that shot?
Let us look at three variables:
IMPACT DWELL TIME (amount of time the ball remains on stringbed)
BALL SPIN - It is often assumed that control is linked with the ability to apply spin to the ball. If that is so, then does spin depend on string tension?
Players often say "high tension strings bite into the ball giving more spin." "Biting" is used to mean several things - creating more friction by increasing the space between strings for the ball to sink into; using rougher, textured or shaped strings to "grab" the ball; using thinner strings to dig into the ball; or using higher tension to increase surface contact forces.
Fortunately, the spin generated for a typical ball/racket impact can easily be measured. The lab testing at Sheffield University showed that the spin on the ball is not dependent on string tension, string type or pattern.
This flies in the face of what we all believed for many years, so you may need to stop now and have a coffee before reading on!
In that lab testing it was concluded that all stringbeds are sufficiently "rough" to achieve maximum spin for the given shot. Therefore, even if thin, textured and tight strings were used in an attempt to increase stringbed "roughness," there would be no actual increase in rebound spin.
However, the fact remains that players feel that they can achieve more spin with high-tension strings. Three possibilities arise:
(1) the players are simply incorrect;
(2) players feel a difference in some other impact related event like more or less dwell time, string movement, or ball travel across the stringbed and incorrectly interpret that as more spin;
(3) the player, not the racket, does something differently when playing with higher tension strings that, indeed, produces more spin.
The Sheffield study compared two identical tennis rackets, one strung at 40 pounds and one strung at 70 pounds and used a high speed video camera operating at 240 frames/sec. It was found that the measured rebound spin for both rackets was identical.
So have the players' perceptions been proven wrong? Not necessarily.
Tighter strings produce less velocity, so the ball will land shorter in the court. To make up for this, the player might swing harder, generating more spin. So it is not tighter strings that produce more spin, but the player's response to tighter strings. In any case, the player is likely to notice the greater spin without realizing that he/she is swinging faster. Similarly, even if the player does not swing harder, he may think there is more spin with higher tensions. That is because, although the spin is not greater at higher tensions, the ball speed will be lower, so the ratio of spin to speed will be greater. The ball will then appear to land shorter in the court at slightly steeper angles and to bounce higher - in reality just consequences of less velocity. Time for your second coffee!
If string tension doesn't influence spin, it can't influence control through spin.
So we are forced to look elsewhere for our connection between string tension and control. We will look at the other two variables that are affected by string tension and which may affect control.
LATERAL STRING MOVEMENT
The lab testing was able to simulate a topspin ground stroke, where the racket is whipped upwards. At 40lbs tension, the main strings deform sideways quite a lot under ball impact, whilst at 70 lbs this movement is minimal.
Does this string movement affect control? In theory, if the strings deformed sideways but then recovered to their original position before the end of impact, then they would increase the amount of spin applied to the ball. However, it was found that the strings did not recover to their original place.
So this indicates spin is independent of tension.
The amount of movement of the strings will affect the impact because it influences the location at which the ball leaves the racket. Therefore this string movement will affect the speed and angle at which the ball leaves the racket and thus where the ball will land on the court. It was also found that the amount that the strings deform is very inconsistent. It depends on how hard the ball is hit, the position of the strings before impact, and also exactly where on the racket the ball - did the ball initially land on one string or on two strings? Lower tensions result in more lateral string movement, which, in turn, contributes to more unpredictable ball trajectories. The player may also be able to feel this string movement since it will result in a softer impact.
A low-tension string will give you less consistency in your strokes.
DWELL TIME OF BALL ON RACKET
The importance of the ball/string contact time can be illustrated by considering the action of a tennis player hitting a "heavy" topspin shot. The racket is moved forwards and whipped upwards. The probability that the shot is executed correctly will be increased if the distance that the ball travels across the stringbed is minimized. More time on the stringbed means more ball travel. This highlights that the contact time will have a direct link to the players ability to play a topspin shot.
Tighter strings will increase the probability of an accurate topspin shot.
How does this correspond to what the player feels? Well, players may be correctly identifying that the ball travels a shorter distance across the stringbed when they use a high string tension because the shot feels "clean" or "solid." A shorter travel distance at higher tensions may be interpreted as "biting" or "grabbing" the ball (i.e., less ball movement). In fact, this shorter contact time has nothing to due with "biting" but is simply due to the shorter length of time that the ball is in contact with the strings and so cannot travel as far.
The contact time will also influence your perception of control in another way. For any shot in which the ball does not land perfectly on the long axis of the racket, the head will rotate during impact. The longer the ball remains in contact with the racket, the greater this undesirable rotation will be, leading to large errors in your shot precision.
So, the longer the ball is on the strings, the farther it will travel on the stringbed, increasing both the racket twisting in your hand and the chance for hitting the frame or less responsive parts of the stringbed.
Higher tensions reduce all of these unwanted effects.
Changing racket tension does not affect spin, but it does affect string movement, ball dwell time/contact distance. They can all affect the ball trajectory (fact) as well as the player's feel of the impact. This player perception is very important as if something feels good, then it will probably end up good, regardless of scientific reasoning!
The main advice is that high string tensions make your shot more consistent and make it easier to hit topspin shots.