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Frequently asked questions about stringing

Why does my racket need to be re-strung?

The strings are the engine of your racket and are estimated to contribute 50% of your performance along with the other 50% from your racket. The strings are therefore vital to how a racket plays and performs. Your strings lose tension with each passing second, where the strings can feel "dead" after already 10-15 hours of playing. Your strings may feel dead after they lose about 20% of their original tension. It is therefore important that you re-string your racks regularly.

1. Precision and control 

Newly strung and tight strings stretch much less at impact, giving the racket more control. Newer strings also produce less power, making the ball easier to control. Loose strings, on the other hand, stretch a lot and produce more force, so the ball can be harder to control. If a racket has not been strung for a long time, it can feel dead and lifeless. With each passing second, the strings lose tension causing it to lose precision and control.

 

2. Slammed strings

 

The more worn and the older your strings are, the more likely they are to snap when you play. Snapping strings isn't dangerous, but if you only have one racket and your strings break, you'll probably have to resort to a borrowed racket. It's more serious if your strings come off in the middle of an official match and you only have one racket. The more often you string, the less likely you are to snap your strings.

 

3. Arm friendliness

 

Whether you're a tennis player or not, you've probably heard of tennis elbow. Tennis elbow is a stress-induced forearm muscle problem that occurs in tennis players of all levels. The tennis ball is surprisingly heavy, and a tennis player's hand can be subjected to a lot of stress during each stroke. It is therefore recommended that you replace the strings of your tennis racket often enough, as new strings absorb the impact much more than old and worn strings. Thanks to improved absorption, the new strings are more comfortable to play with and prevent the development of tennis elbow and its symptoms.

 

4. Spin production

 

In a tennis stroke, spin is created when the strings of the racket brush through the ball in a quick motion. This causes the ball to spin upwards (topspin) or downwards (backspin). Especially when producing topspin, it is important that the strings have enough elasticity to be able to return to their original position after the hit. If the strings remain noticeably bent or displaced after the stroke, it means the strings are too loose or old. Strings that are too loose can no longer hold pressure against the ball and will adapt to the movement of the ball and move. Bent strings make it difficult to produce spin, as the ball does not hit as well with the strings.

 

5. Slower progress in your game

 

The last reason you should re-string your rack is that old and loose strings slow down your progress and development in your tennis. Tennis is very much a sport of "feel", where it is important to find a good ball hit. Every tennis racket has a "sweet spot" which is the most optimal hitting point. This “Sweet spo” is usually right in the middle of the racket, where the string pattern is the tightest. A dense string pattern provides the most solid and precise hit.

 

As the strings age and lose tension, the sweetspot area increases. It may sound good that the optimal hit point increases, but it is not that simple. If the optimal hit point area is too large, the racket will not provide enough feedback and feel, which can lead to inconsistent shots. Most people don't think about the importance of regularly stringing their tennis rackets, but it can make a big difference in your game.

When should I re-string my racket?

Strings wear with play and pegs begin to lose their tension from the second they are re-strung. If they are not re-stringed for a long time, they can negatively affect your performance. The first question is: what level are you playing at? If you are a beginner, you will tolerate a greater change in string tension than a professional player. This is because beginners rarely notice any change in string strength. However, if you have been playing for a while, it is highly recommended that you re-string your rack regularly. The strings on your tennis rack lose tension with each passing second, even when you're not playing. The strings can be experienced as "dead" after 10-15 hours of playing. They can be experienced as dead after losing about 20% of its original tension. That's when you're most likely to hit them and get arm and shoulder injuries. Since the strings are the engine of your racket and lose tension, it is recommended that you re-string your rackets after every 10-15 hours of play.

​What is meant by kilos of tension on my strings?

String tension is an important factor for all tennis players, as it can dramatically affect the performance of a rack. The string tension in a racket gives a player spin, power, control and feel, as well as allowing a player to adapt their racket to their own game.

 

One of the most important roles of tension is its ability to provide power and control in a player's stroke. Lower kilos allow the strings to store more energy and transfer it to the ball at impact. This can help players generate more power in their shots, especially when hitting a serve or groundstroke. However, it can also cause a loss of control, as the racket has less ability to absorb the energy from the ball, and the strings thus have less time to move and adjust to the direction of the ball. Higher kilos provide more control and precision, along with a sharper feel. Higher tension may feel stiffer and is more recommended for high level players.

A player can use this to his advantage, as he can adapt his rack to his own game. For example, a player who prefers a stiffer racket may increase the tension on their strings, while a player who prefers a softer feel may lower the tension. The manufacturer has a recommended tension range that is shown on each racket. If you don't have any special requirements (like more power or control), you should start with a medium tension and then make the appropriate adjustments up or down the next time you string. There are, of course, more complex options, but as a general rule, most players have all their rackets strung with the same weight. If you play on a slower surface such as clay, it is recommended to play with a lower weight because the ball moves more slowly. The opposite applies if you play on a faster surface such as hard court or grass, then it is recommended to increase your tension. There are tools made to measure the current tension on your strings, such as the ERT-300 Tension Controller and the Pro-T-One Chromatic String Tuner.

A beginner should play with a lower tension of about 20-23 kilos and with a soft string. Higher tensions of 24kg+ require the player to already be able to generate power from their technique. More experienced players tend to string higher and with harder strings, as they provide more control. For competitive players in particular, it is important that the strings retain their tension as long as possible and that is why they prefer polyester strings, as they stretch less than, for example, multifilament strings.

 

In conclusion, string tension is an important factor for all tennis players, as it can affect the power, spin, control and feel of a racket. You should take your time to experiment with different voltages and find what works best for you. This allows you to adapt your racket to your own game and get the most out of your performance.

Which strings should I choose?

It all depends on your play style. There are four different main string types. Read more about different string types and constructions below:

- Synthetic Gut: A good all-round string with ordinary performance and playability, perfect for beginners.

 

- Monofilament: (usually made of polymer and co-polymer) for experienced players looking for control, spin and durability.

- Natural Gut: Unsurpassed comfort, power, feel, and optimal playability and tension. Most often used by professional players and is the most expensive on the market.

 

- Multifilament: While it is impossible to replicate the incredible feel and amazing power of Natural Gut, multifilament strings are a more affordable option for many players. In addition to being kind to your muscles and joints, this string type will help you keep the ball deep and frustrate your opponent with higher levels of power and pace.

Different string types and constructions:

Although strings are made of a variety of materials, the three most common are nylon, polyester, and the serous membrane of cow intestines. These materials were spread across four construction types: Synthetic Gut (solid nylon core with one or more sheaths), multifilament (1,000+ nylon microfibers), polyester/copolyester (polyester-based monofilament) and Natural Gut (strings from serous membranes).

String Constructions.web

Synthetic Gut

If you're not sure which string you need, start with Synthetic Gut. Made from nylon, Synthetic Gut is a basic solid core string wrapped in one or more layers for improved performance. An obvious choice for bargain hunters and beginners alike, Synthetic Gut is easy to play with and also comes with a great price. Although this string is not recommended for advanced players and string breakers, it should be noted that Jim Courier won four Grand Slams with Synthetic Gut. Advantages of the string are that it is economically priced and a good all-round choice, as well as being perfect for beginners. Downsides are its ordinary overall performance and playability and not being extraordinary in any category.

Multifilament

While it is impossible to replicate the sublime feel and amazing power of Natural Gut, multifilament strings are a similar and more affordable option for many players. To mimic the stranded and flexible construction of Natural Gut, Multifilament uses highly flexible synthetic fibers to absorb impact and load the ball with power. As well as being kind to your muscles and joints, this string type will help you keep the ball deep and frustrate your opponent with higher levels of tempo. Not recommended for string breakers. Advantages of Multifilament are that it has good playability, there is a wide price range, it is arm-friendly, and has good tension maintenance. Disadvantages of the string are that it is less control-oriented, some multifilament strings can feel "mushy" (worse feel), and it does not last as long for players who hit harder.

 

Natural Gut

Made from the fibrous and stretchy membrane of cow intestines, Natural Gut is the game's most famous and iconic string type. Although it has been around since the 19th century, the tennis industry has yet to create an alternative that captures the magic of its elasticity, including the unmatched comfort, power and feel that flows from it. Natural Gut also maintains its tension and optimal playability longer than any other string type, something that should help with the fact that it comes with its premium price tag. In addition to being a popular choice for players with tennis elbow or sensitive joints, the Natural Gut is unique in that it can be strung tight for control and spin without compromising comfort and feel. Advantages are that it has optimal playability, it has the best tension maintenance, it is arm friendly, and it remains playable at very high tensions and kilos. Disadvantages are of course that it is the most expensive string type.

 

Polyester

Polyester strings, also in many cases called Monofilament strings, are for experienced players who require maximum control, spin and durability. The magic of polyester lies in its stiff monofilament construction, which gives strong players the necessary control to swing hard without fear of losing control. The result is thus more confidence when you play aggressive tennis. Although generally too stiff and underpowered for beginners, the construction has benefited from the increased use of a softening material, resulting in a more beginner-friendly ball hit.

There are also several monofilament strings available that are polyester-free. Some examples are Babolat Origin and Diadem Evolution. Both are monofilament polyamides and provide a firm and crisp response but not in the polyester realm. Another example is Zyex Monofilament Monogut ZX which again contains no polyester and offers outstanding dynamic stiffness. It is softer than polyester but not as comfortable as Natural Gut. The point is, not all monofilament is created equal.

There are also multifilament strands in the material co-polyester (co-poly). Co-poly is a term for poly strands with some additives in the polymer formation to modify the polyester's negative properties. It is usually stiffer and less elastic than any other type of tennis string. Advantages of the monofilament string are that it is durable, it has a lot of control and spin. Disadvantages are that it is not as arm-friendly, it has lower power, and loses tension faster.

Gauge

Gauge is essentially the thickness of a string. The higher the Gauge, the thinner the string. However, the problem with Gauge is that there is no standardized and universal chart. A 16 gauge for one company may be a 16L (L stands for "light", which basically means it's halfway between two gauges, think of a 16L as a 16.5) for another. This is why we recommend that you refer to the actual millimeter size. In general, thinner strings will provide more power and spin, while thicker strings will provide more control and durability.

 

Conversion of the American unit of measurement for string thickness to millimeters

 

15 = 1.41-1.49mm

15L = 1.34-1.40mm

16 = 1.26-1.33mm

16L = 1.22-1.26mm

17 = 1.20-1.24mm

17L = 1.16-1.20mm

18 = 1.10-1.16mm

19 = 1.00-1.10mm

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Important parameters to consider when choosing strings:

Each tennis string comes with specific benefits that help you optimize the performance of your rack. Below are the most important parameters you should consider when choosing strings.

Force

If your shots land short in the fairway and you struggle to generate the power needed to pressure your opponent or to hit a winner, a more powerful string can be good. A good rule of thumb for finding a more powerful string is to remember that softer is always better. For this reason, the most powerful strings come from the two softest string types, i.e. Natural Gut and Multifilament. For the hard-swinging polyester user and string breaker who wants extra power but also requires durability, we recommend going with a softer polyester string. These types of polyester strands, commonly referred to as "co-polys" or "co-polyesters" have excellent durability while using additives to increase strength. Not recommended for beginners.

 

Control

If you have trouble keeping the ball inside the lines or placing your shots effectively, a control string can help. The magic ingredient of control is a high level of stiffness, which is why the best control strings come from the polyester category. Stiff polyester strings not only produce more manageable ball speeds and trajectories, but they also help generate spin, enabling the player to play the ball with a high degree of precision. Not recommended for beginners. If you hit too many balls far and you are not ready for a stiff polyester control string, you can get extra control through higher string tensions and thicker Gauge.

Spin


If you've ever seen the sharp angle of a pass from Rafael Nadal or the way his high shots suddenly dive inside the lines and explode past his opponent, you've seen the magic of spin. However, Spin is not exclusive to the world's best players. Spin is necessary to control the trajectory of the ball and to create a safe margin. More spin will also help you get the ball to dive effectively when you swing with power. As with control, the best spin lines come from the polyester family. If you want to add some topspin to your game, you don't need a stiff polyester.

Comfort


Although tennis is not considered a brutal sport, every stroke is characterized by the repeated and violent collision between the ball and the strings, the results of which go straight to your arm in the form of vibrations and shocks. For this reason, the need for comfort is paramount for many players, especially beginners with lighter rackets and unpolished technique, but also all players who have experience with tennis elbow. The best comfort strings come from the natural gut and multifilament families because their flexibility is critical in absorbing shock.

Sustainability

Nothing lasts forever, including tennis strings. They will eventually break due to impact force and/or frictional wear caused by string movement. While these problems are a much bigger problem for experienced players with long, fast shots, no player is immune to hitting strings. As with the control and spin categories, the best durability strings come from the polyester family, which has long been the most popular refuge for chronic string breakers. If you are looking for more durability without having to switch to a stiff polyester, we recommend using a Synthetic Gut or Multifilament with a thicker Gauge (15, 15L or 16).

Hybrid

Tennis strings almost always come with trade-offs. If you want the soft comfort and raw power of Natural Gut, you usually have to give up some control and spin. On the other hand, if you want the precision and durability of a stiff polyester, you usually have to sacrifice some comfort and power. But if you want a string that delivers the best of both worlds, you should try a hybrid setup. A hybrid setup combines two different string types (one for the vertical strings, the other for the horizontal strings) to give you an extended range of playability.

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