With so many different types of strings on the market, picking a string
can be confusing and overwhelming. There are hundreds of strings to
choose from. To further complicate things, you must next choose a
guage and a tension.
This article was made to help tennis
1. Learn more about the different types of tennis
strings and to understand their advantages and disavantages. With
this information, choosing a string will be less guess work and will
help you narrow your choices down to a few strings. Hopefully this
will save you time and money.
2. Understand the importance
of the guage (thickness) of a string and to help you choose one that
best fits your game.
3. Understand the difference tension
makes and to choose a tension that will help you improve your game.
To begin understanding the many types of strings, we must first classify
them into groups. All strings basically fit into two groups, Gut or
Gut strings made from
cows gut in a complex process. Because of this, gut is the most expensive
string on the market. Gut strings are very popular among professional
players because of its elasticity, tension stability and liveliness.
Because of the high price, gut is not recommended for the average
recreational player. Not to mention it is not very durable. Gut is
also very sensitive to moisture.
Synthetic Gut strings are strings are the many other strings produced
to give the user different charateristics such as durabiliy, spin,
feel, power etc.. Synthetic gut strings can be classified in the following
A good all-around string category. This is the basic, and most popular
string choice in tennis. It also happens to be one of the cheapest.
It has a crisper feel compared with Multifilaments, good, but not
as gentle on the arm as Multi or Gut. It's reasonably durable and
holds tension well. A good category of string when you're looking
for power and control. Examples: Gamma Synthetic Gut and Prince Tournament
Polyester & Kevlar
This is the durability category; the choice for hard hitters, string
breakers, and people without arm problems. Expect harsher hits (very
harsh with Kevlar) with above average control. Kevlar (aramid fiber)
is extremely durable and holds tension very good, but I would never
recommend it as the only string in your racquet - hybrid use only.
Poly has much more playability, it's use is not limited to hybrid
applications like Kevlar, and Poly holds tension fair. A good category
of string when you're looking for maximum durability and control.
Examples: Kirchbaum Super Smashy Honey (polyester) and Ashaway Kevlar.
The top category after natural gut. Best overall playability, gentle
on the arm, but punishing to your opponent. The fraying (as they wear)
may annoy some. Holds tension fair. Second most expensive string after
gut. A good category of string when you're looking for arm friendly,
power and control. Examples: Wilson NXT and Babolat Fibertour.
These are the strings that have an added raised band to give the string
tecture. The idea of the this tecture, is to produce more spin on
the tennis ball. Other strings such as Gamma Gut 2, have tiny groves
that give the string more texture. I have had customers clip off polyester
strings after having them only a few days because they couldn't get
any spin with them. Examples: Gamma Ruff and Prince Topspin Plus.
Tension has the most effect on "feel" and
control; and some effect on power. You're looking for ideal ball-pocket
and snap-back with a crisp feel in your tension choice. It's all dependent
on your swing speed, the speed of the balls you receive, and string
choice. Let's pick a reference number of 60 lbs. and Nylon string
- the ball pockets perfect and snaps back with power and control.
If you switch to Poly it'll feel stiff . You'll also probably wonder
where all your power went. (Yes, it is a stiffer string that returns
little power, but by adjusting the tension down you'll improve feel
and power somewhat.) Now you switch from Nylon to Multifilament. Where
did all that rebound come from? Why are my deep baseline shots now
going long? I've had customers mess up their game because they subconsciously
shorten their strokes trying to keep the ball in, and when they swing
with the proper stroke (long and full), criticize themselves for hitting
long. It's your string/tension choice... not you, I tell them!
Picking a Tension
The range stenciled on the side of your
racket is a rough starting point... it's for ALL players, men, women,
young, old, hard hitters, moonballers, college aces, flat balls and
spinners. My two cents? Start in the bottom third of the range. Need
more depth on your ground strokes and pop on your serve, or does a
hit feel stiff or harsh? Drop down 3 pounds. Shortening your ground
stroke follow-through to keep it in the court, or does it simply feel
mushy? Increase it 3 pounds. Did you know that some famous professionals
(John McEnroe for one) have strung 10 lbs. or more below the tension
The Science of Tension
When picking a
lower tension - or your strings lose tension - more energy (power)
is actually given back to the ball. Lower tension - or a loss of tension
- may result in a loss of control... the ball goes further than your
aim point. Speaking only of aging strings that have lost tension...
to keep control, you subconsciously back off stroke speed and length,
which lessens the "crisp feel at impact" (that oomph you got from
the new strings) even more... this feedback is why players call aging
strings "dead." The biggest problem - loss of control - is due to
two factors; 1) the trampoline effect of aging strings, and 2) a lower
tension results in longer ball dwell time on the racquet... the ball
stays on the strings and releases later in your stroke... when this
new angle of release (launch angle) is not tuned to your speed and
stroke style, you'll shoot that darn ball all over the place.
Gauge has the most effect on feel and spin.
Go thin! At least as thin as you can without breaking a string every
month. Thinner gauges play better, and deliver more power, more control
and/or spin (better bite on the ball). They simply feel better...
and are less stressful on your arm. Start with a 17 ga. Breaks too
soon? Try another brand. Breaks too soon again? Move up to a thicker
16 gauge. But if the 17 ga. lasts... you're in luck now... move down
to a thinner 18 gauge which will give you even more of a good thing!
My experience? Most recreational playing men should use a 16 ga.,
and most women a 17ga. Keep in mind that some racquets (widebody's)
are "string breakers" no matter what your style or power... start
with 16 ga.
Aproximate Guage diameters:
|| 1.43 mm
|| 1.38 mm
|| 1.32 mm
|| 1.28 mm
|| 1.25 mm
|| 1.20 mm
|| 1.10 mm
What is a Hybrid?
consists of using different strings in the main and cross strings
of a racquet. Hybrid stringing can be as simple as varying string
thickness between the main and cross string, to using completely different
Why Should I use a Hybrid String?
Hybrid stringing is gaining popularity as more players are looking
for a blend of string qualities. By selecting different hybrid combinations
of string, players can fine-tune the playability, comfort, durability,
liveliness and control offered by the stringbed. For instance, heavy
hitting players can find a good combination of durability and playability
with a polyester main string and natural gut or premium synthetic
cross string hybrid.
Selecting the Main String
When choosing a hybrid, note that the main string will dominate the
overall feel and playability of the two strings. For example, if you
are seeking durability, then the most durable of the two strings selected
should be chosen as the main string. If your overall goal is playability,
then the string with the most desirable playing characteristics should
be chosen as the main string. For playability, select a thinner gauge
as the main string such as 17 or 18 gauge. For durability, select
a thicker main string such 15L or 16 gauge. You can mix gauges between
mains and crosses.
Selecting the Cross String
Think of the cross string as having an influence on the main string.
While you will not get the full benefit of the string's playing characteristics,
the overall feel of the stringbed will be altered. For example, a
soft and forgiving cross string, such as natural gut or multifilament
synthetic, can soften-up a stiff and durable main string, such as
Selecting a Tenison
To further customize
your hybrid selection, you can vary the tension between strings. As
a general rule, main strings should be strung tighter than cross strings.
This is a popular set-up with professional players and is a good way
of increasing the size of the sweetspot. We recommend a tension variance
of 2-3lbs and have a maximum tension variance of 5lbs on hybrid stringing.
Popular Hybrid Combinations:
| Andy Roddick
|| Mara Safin
| Hurricane Mains
|| Ballistic 16 Mains
|| Rip Control Mains
| VS Gut Crosses
|| VS Gut 16 Crosses
|| Gamma TNT Crosses
|| Tour Blend
| VS Gut Mains
|| Banger Orginal Mains
|| Enduro Mains
| ALU Power Rough Crosses
|| VS Gut Crosses
|| NXT Max Crosses
|| Gut Durability
| Pro Hurricane 17 Mains
|| VS Gut 15L Mains
|| Hurricane Mains
| VS Gut 16 Crosses
|| VS Gut 17 Crosses
|| X-Cel Crosses
| VS Gut 16 Mains
|| VS Gut Mains
|| Zo Power Mains
| BB ALU Power Crosses
|| NRG/NXT/X-Cel Crosses
|| XP 17 Crosses
| Tim Henman
| BB Timo 17 Mains
|| Legend Gut Mains
|| Ashaway Kevlar Mains
| VS Gut 17 Crosses
|| Sensation Crosses
|| VS Gut Crosses
|| NXT Durability
| VS Gut 17 Mains
|| NXT Max Mains
|| Ashaway Kevlar Mains
| BB ALU Power Crosses
|| NXT (Orig) Crosses
|| Prince Original Cross
| Mara Safin
| Ballistic 16 Mains
|| X-One 17 Mains
| VS Gut 16 Crosses
|| NRG 18 Crosses