Tennis EquipmentTennis Strings

Types of Tennis Strings – An In Depth Guide To Tennis Racquet Strings

Types of string, how they are made and the advantages + disadvantages of each

The string you use in your tennis racquet and its tension can change its playability significantly. So it goes without saying they're an extremely important part of your equipment to pay attention to.

In fact, just as much effort should go into the string you use as it does in choosing a tennis racquet. Why spend upwards of £100 or $150 on a new frame only to skimp on strings?

Spin, power, comfort, control and durability are all impacted by the type of string you use. However, strings are often overlooked with players stringing their frames with whatever the local stringer has cheap reels of or simply opting for a pre stung frame.

So what do you need to know about strings? What types of tennis string are there? What are tennis strings made of? Which strings should you choose? Let's take a look.

What are the Different Types of Tennis String?

types of strings

You can divide tennis strings into two main categories:

Natural Gut

Gut Mains

The oldest type of tennis string on the planet is natural gut and it's the string of choice for a lot of professional players including Roger Federer himself.

The Swiss Maestro strings with a hybrid setup of natural gut in his mains and luxilon in the crosses, which, much like his style of play, is a blend of old and new.

Natural gut strings are made of cows intestines and date back to 1875 when Pierre Babolat first used a sheep's intestine to produce them. Since then gut has become the benchmark for all other strings on the market for a number of reasons:

  • Natural gut is the most power string available
  • Gut holds tension the best compared to all other strings
  • It remains soft at high tensions
  • The arm friendliness of natural gut is superior to all synthetic strings.

I've personally used natural gut in a number of frames over the years and have to say if you've never used it, you really should give it a go.

I like it for all the reasons above and because you can string gut fairly tight to get more control but you don't lose power as you do with polyester strings. You also don't feel any increase in jarring impact shock which can flare up tennis elbow.

So are there any negatives? Why are synthetic strings even used if the natural gut is so good?

The downsides are that natural gut is expensive and it doesn't perform well in certain types of weather.

The reason it's expensive is due to the high cost of manufacturing; this is an organic matter so to be turned into tennis string it's a labour intensive process with multiple steps.

Another negative is that natural gut doesn't like wet or humid conditions. It can fray quickly once damp and degrades quickly. If you live in a wet or humid part of the world and play with natural gut, make sure you have a spare racquet with a synthetic string in case the weather gets bad. 

Natural gut can also be fragile on off centre hits. So if you're a known string breaker, then it might not be the type of string for you. It's also quite difficult to string due to its delicacy, 

The final negative is that gut can fall victim to variable quality control. This depends upon the brand, batch, age, how it's stored, and grade.

So what type of player is natural gut good for? Basically every type of player; no matter what your game. Very few people play it due to the cost and if you're an aggressive baseliner with heavy topspin, then it won't last you very long meaning the price/performance ratio isn't a good deal.

For players who hit flat shots as they'll find that high-quality gut is more durable than many other types of strings due to its tension retention. A dense string pattern will also improve the longevity of natural gut as there's less movement/friction in the string bed.

Top Tip: If you're using natural gut and want to increase it's longevity try using string savers. They're rarely seen on the tour nowadays but Roger Federer still uses them. More through habit than a necessity but they do work!

My Favourite Natural Gut String: Babolat VS Touch Natural Gut

Synthetic Tennis Strings

Synthetic Gut

Synthetic strings can be broken down into the following subtypes of string:

  • Tournament Nylon
  • Synthetic Gut
  • Multifilament
  • Polyester
  • Kevlar

Tournament Nylon

This is what most cheaper pre-strung racquets will come with. It's the cheapest string you can buy and is only really suited for complete beginners who play a handful of times a year and have no interest in strings or their tensions.

My Favourite Tournament Nylon String: None

Synthetic Gut

synthetic gut

The most commonly used type of string is synthetic gut which is made of nylon but not to be confused with tournament nylon.

As a ballpark estimate, I'd say 75% of all club players are using a synthetic gut string in their racquets as it's well priced and one club stringers will often bulk buy.

Nylon lends itself well to tennis as it has a number of dynamic properties and can be tweaked to produce different playing characteristics by the material it's wrapped in, and the angle it's wrapped at.

Generally speaking nylon strings with more than one wrap are higher quality than single wrap nylon strings. The number of wraps reduces the tension loss usually experienced with nylon strings.

If you are a player with a habit of breaking strings you won't find synthetic gut hugely durable and you might find it gets soft quickly too. But it's a solid string and for the typical weekend hacker, it's an ideal choice.

If you are new to tennis, then I recommend getting your racquet strung with Prince Synthetic gut and using that as the baseline to determine what you like and don't like, what you want more or less of. You can then try a natural gut or a multifilament to compare. You might find that synthetic gut works best for you.

My Favourite Synthetic Gut String: Prince Synthetic Gut

Multifilament

multifilament

Multifilaments were developed to try and bring synthetic strings closer to the playability of natural gut. They're manufactured by twisting together lots of microfibers and then wrapped in a resistant cover. They're usually made of nylon but some manufacturers choose to incorporate other materials such as polyurethane, Zyex, Vectran or Kevlar.

The advantages of multifilament strings, when compared to single filament synthetic gut, are that they hold tension better, have a higher elasticity, and are more powerful. They're also softer which makes them easier on the arm, so they're usually a good choice to use for senior players.

The disadvantage is that multifilaments are more expensive and they're not that durable. Once the outer wrapping is damaged, the string will start to fray and weaken.

My Favourite Multifilament String: Tecnifibre X-One Biphase

Polyester

polyester string

Polyester strings are the string type that most pros are using on the ATP and WTA tour. Rafael Nadal for example strings with a full bed of polyester but they're probably not the type of string that regular club players should be stringing with.

Unlike multifilaments, a polyester string is a simple structure of single polyester fibre with a thin layer of coating. This is classed as a “monofilament” string and they come in different gauges (1.10-1.35mm) which varies the elasticity and durability.

Generally speaking, polyester strings have low elasticity and feel stiffer when compared to synthetic gut and multifilament strings. As a result, they're significantly more durable and can be produced at much thinner gauges; so if you have the racquet head speed a poly string can help you produce wicked levels of topspin.

They do however tend to lose their tension quite quickly so your level of control decreases and the string will feel dead. Poly is not well suited for anyone with arm issues or injuries either. If your arm starts hurting with a poly, try a softer string.

Top Tip: When a polyester string is dead, it is arguably the worst string ever to play with. You should be able to feel this when you hit the ball, but for a visual check, if you see that your stringbed needs straightening often, the strings are dead. Fresh polys snap back into position easily.

With that in mind, polyester strings are only really well suited to players who string their racquets at a high frequency. For these players, polyester strings provide a great price/performance ratio.

In more recent times, polyester strings have had further development with the arrival of copolyester (co-poly) strings. This co-poly combination reduced the major weaknesses of polyester string: tension loss and lack of elasticity.

Luxilon is the main brand in the co-poly category and they have mixed a number of other materials like PEEK, carbon or metallic fibres to modify the playing characteristics. Almost every manufacturer carries co-poly strings in their product lineup today.

My Favourite Polyester String: Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power

Kevlar

kevlar strings

Kevlar is the stiffest and most durable string available so for a string breaker who doesn't want to fork out $$$ for restrings every week, it's a viable option.

Kevlar has excellent tension holding properties but it's one of the harshest strings on the body and will likely cause tennis elbow.

For that reason, Kevlar is often strung in a hybrid setup with another string type to combine both strings' qualities. I never use it and can only recommend it if you have no arm troubles, and other types of string are not lasting you long enough.

Example of a Kevlar String: Ashaway Crossfire 17 Kevlar String

Other Types of String

  • Vectran – rarely used, sometimes incorporated with Nylon strings. Ashway is the only brand I know of who uses it.
  • Zyex – used by ProKennex and Ashaway. One of the artificial strings that play most like natural gut. Poor durability
  • Polyolefin – one of the softest synthetic string materials so very arm friendly.

String Gauge

As well as the composition of string, most strings are available in different gauges from the manufacturers. The gauge is the thickness of the string.

A string with a high gauge number is a thinner string and vice versa. Thinner strings generally offer higher performance (more spin) but are not as durable thicker strings.

If you're shopping for strings online then you will see each string has a number with it, this is usually between 15 and 20 with the most common being 16, 17 and 18.

The vast majority of players use 16 or 17 gauge. You will also see the letter L used such as 16L. The L Signifies light which is basically half a gauge. So 15L is thinner than 15 but thicker than 16.

GaugeDiameter approx.
151.43 mm
15L1.38 mm
161.32 mm
16L1.28 mm
171.25 mm
17L1.20 mm
181.10 mm

The thinner the string, the more bite you can get on the ball to generate more topspin. Depending on your technique, this will allow you to swing harder and keep the ball in play, Or it may result in you hitting with too much topspin and not having enough depth or penetration on the ball.

For choosing a string gauge, I recommend choosing the thinnest string that gives you adequate durability based on how often you are willing to restring.

If you are not breaking 15, try 16 and so on. If you feel like your groundstrokes have lost depth due to a thinner gauge string, then try reducing tension before going to a thicker string.

String GaugeElasticityDurabilitySpinFeelComfort
thinnermorelessmoremoremore
thickerlessmorelesslessless

How Often Should You Restring a Tennis Racquet?

how often restring

The more you play, the more quickly your strings will lose their tension or break. If you’re competing at a high level or money is no object, then you can go for the highest quality strings and restring as often as you see fit.

However, most recreational players with less disposable income should go for a durable set of strings that play well for a long period and still providing good levels of feel and playability without breaking the bank.

If you are using synthetic gut, natural gut, or a multifilament. The general rule of thumb is to restring as many times per year as you play per week. So if you play three times a week, you should restring three times per year. Another rule you may have heard is for every 30 hours play you should restring. Neither of them are golden rules and I personally tend to restring based on what string I am using and when I feel like it needs it.

If you use polyester then as soon as the strings stop snapping back into place, and need to be straightened between points, you should restring.

What Tension Should You Restring Your Racquet At?

tension

To get the best performance out of your racquet then the tension you string at can make a big difference. The tighter you string, the less power you have and the more control you have.

The looser you string you gain more power but also lose control. The key here is to experiment so should try different tensions; if you play better with looser strings – great! If you spray it all over you can try a higher tension the next time.

String TensionPowerControlDurabilityFeelComfort
loosermorelessmoremoremore
tighterlessmorelesslessless

In terms of a starting point, if you look at your racquet you'll see a recommended tension range printed on the side. That is there for a reason, and I recommend starting in the middle of the range. For example, if your racquet says 50 – 60 lbs. String at 55 lbs to start with. Or just slightly higher at 56 or 57lbs seen as though tension is lost quickly.

Feel free to go higher or lower than the recommended range if that is what you feel you need. If you are using a Polyester, then string looser than you would with a synthetic gut for example, but as you will have gathered from the rest of this post, string choice is a process of experimentation.

When choosing tension, you are generally going after two things – depth and control. If you're moving forward and volleying, feel also comes into play.

You need to find a tension that allows your bread and butter groundstrokes to land deep in the court. It should not take huge effort to hit deep, you should be able to swing smoothly to achieve good depth. String tighter if you're hitting long, string looser if you are hitting short.

Feel, is hard to define and relies on a lot of anecdotal evidence. Some players prefer the way a firm stringbed feels, some people like the way a soft stringbed feels. Again, test out tensions and see which you prefer.

Other Factors That Influence String Tension

There are a number of other factors which influence tension:

  • Racket Head Size – Larger racquets need to be strung at a higher tension than smaller heads to produce the same string bed stiffness
  • Racket String Pattern – Fewer strings generate a lower string bed stiffness
  • Stringing machine type – Different types of machine will produce a different string bed stiffness – continuous pull machines will produce a firmer string bed than a manual crank machine
  • Selected tension – The tension you set on your stringing machine. Is it accurately calibrated and pulling at the tension it says?
  • The stringer – Different methods and skill levels will affect the string bed stiffness

Hybrid Tennis Stringing

Hybrid Stringing

A hybrid is when two different strings are combined into one bed of string. A lot of pros use this set up right now right by mixing a strong, endurance string like polyester or Luxilon in the main strings and natural gut or a soft multifilament in the crosses.

Some players like Federer reverse the pattern with soft strings in the mains, and tough strings in the crosses producing a softer feeling.  You have less durability with that combination but when you get a freshly strung racquet one game before each ball change that's not a factor.

Hybrids aren't exclusively for the pros either, they can lower the cost of an expensive string. If you love natural gut, but the price tag and the need for frequent restringing makes it hard to justify. Using cheaper, tougher nylon in the crosses will increase durability and lower the overall cost.

That's why you will see many string manufacturers prepackage hybrids with a length of natural gut and a length of nylon. 

Tennis String Recommendations

tennis string recommendations

It's impossible to just make a list of the best tennis strings as what works for one player, won't for another. So if you'd like me to recommend a string, answer the following questions when you leave a comment below and I'll be able to give you some:

  • How often do you break strings?
  • How much do you want to spend on strings?
  • What level do you play?
  • What type of strokes do you have? (flat, heavy spin, slices)
  • What type of game do you play? (all-court, serve-volley, baseliner, etc..)
  • How often do you play?

Final Thoughts

The final thing to remember is that choosing a type of tennis string is about experimentation, use this guide as a starting point and try different strings out.

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Federer and tennis in general.

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41 Comments

      1. perso en ce moment j’utilise le cordage L-TEC avec le paradox et le 4ST en hybrid, en full paradox c’est top et en hybrid 4ST/paradox c’est pas mal non plus, à essayer trés vite, cordage trés souple à corder en 4 noeuds obligatoirement et à basse tension, c’est un mono trés confortable pour les bras, à utiliser sans antivibrateur

  1. Nice article, Jon 🙂
    From my experience, since I first used hybrid setup, I could not another type of setup.
    I have started with some Kirschbaum strings, which was a combination of polyester and multifilament and it was first of all more comfortable than mono-setup.

    Then, after some testing I landed at reverse setup (like Federer ;)) and now I’m using Babolat VS+RPM Blast (like Thiem, but Thiem uses natural gut for crosses.

    I’m playing far longer with one set (playing now only 2 hours once ort twice a week), so I need to change the set before it breaks, because strings start to be too stiff.

  2. This is the best article I’ve read in a long time, excellent. ¿Can you explain me why Federer changes his racket one game before the new balls are played?

    1) ¿How often do you break strings? Depends on how much I play due to work/study. But normally I change it before it breaks, so very few times per year.
    2) ¿How much do you want to spend on strings? Not much.
    3) ¿What level do you play? Club level.
    4) ¿What type of strokes do you have? (flat, heavy spin, slices) Flat, slices.
    5) ¿What type of game do you play? (all-court, serve-volley, baseliner, etc..) All court, agressive play like Roger 😉
    6) ¿How often do you play? Luckily, one time per week.

    1. Sorry, you asked Jonathan and he will for sure reply. Maybe some addition to your question.
      I think, Roger does not change the racket before new balls coming, but when he needs to break and what really matters is not new strings, but some little distraction – the opponent is ready to serve and must wait until Fed comes (never running) with the new racket 😉

      If it’s really before new balls come, could have to do with the tension getting lower while you play. Then why not directly before new balls come? Maybe because you need to get the feeling of new strings before new (harder) balls come.

      I’m curious, what Jonathan tells 🙂

      1. Federer always gets a new frame from his bag the game before new balls are due. I thought this was common knowledge, you see it every match at games 6 and 8.

        As for why it’s the game before, it’s like you say, he doesn’t want to serve with a fresh string job and wants to feel the balls on the strings with a return game. If it’s a bad string job, then he can switch back.

    2. @Alex – see comment below for Fed’s choice of getting a new racquet before new balls are due.

      As for string – do you know what you are using now?

      Prince Synthetic Gut would be a good starting point tbh, playing once a week. It offers a good price/performance. That would be the cheapest option.

      Maybe a hybrid too as they can stay playable for a decent period. NXT 1.30/ Luxilon Alu Power
      or Technifibre X One Biphase 1.30 / Luxilon Alu Power for example.

      1. I really don’t know, never knew anything about strings rather than price (can you believe it). I leave my racket to a guy I know from the club, and normally choose one of his cheapest strings,
        So I figured it’s synthetic gut.

      2. Ye it prob will be a synthetic gut, most of them use that as their standard string.

        Before I strung myself, I used to buy different types and give them to the stringer to use on my frame.

  3. To use or not to use dampers on strings. Some say it’s only to produce different sound when hitting the ball. I’m not sure, but after years I can hardly imagine to not use a damper. Thiem never uses dampers. What about Federer? Not sure but cannot remind him replacing dampers when changing rackets during the game.

    1. It will absorb higher frequency vibrations. The impact is more silent and mechanically more muffled if the starting point is a combination of a hard frame with stiff strings. Only in these cases it will feel slight more comfortable but the horrid vibrations of lower frequency after a mis-hit will still be there in all its destroying splendor.

    2. I use one, they do take away some of the vibration for sure. You can feel it when you don’t have one in.

      Federer uses power pads. They used to be for saving natural gut in wooden frames, but they have a dampening effect too. I will do a post on these as I’ve used them. Got a set in now actually.

  4. Nice article!
    -Multifilament nylon can give too much trampoline effect, so please never string it below 25 kgf. I made the “mistake” of trying X One Biphase on a Pure Drive and had to play like handling eggs in orders not to sent the balls to the next district.
    -As for monofilament nylon with wraps (“synthetic gut” is a misnomer), it frays less and is crisper than multifilament. It does not give the same hit feedback but the pop sound is great.
    -I find polyester to be very intolerant to bad hits and some models have a very unpleasant plastic feel. I absolutely hated Volkl Cyclone. Dunlop Black Widow is better and much softer…until it starts notching and becomes dead. Luxilon Adrenaline lasts longer and is very very comfortable, unlike Alu power (ouch!) I also liked the first Tecnifibre Black Code a lot but the current Black Code 4S doesn’t feel nearly as responsive. 24 kgf is the absolute maximum tension for me with polyester.
    I like polyester because I can hit more freely without the trampoline. The control is better but if I have to get a difficult ball on defense it will die at the net often. And polyester makes an ugly ”twack”” at the hit…

    1. Cheers.

      You have tried a lot of strings. Are you stringing yourself?

      If you swing hard enough and can restring often, then polyester is a great string. I use RPM Blast full bed a bit, bit harsh on the arm but can produce a ton of spin on a fresh string job.

      1. No, I don’t string. On my club a complete string job is 12 € for almost all strings and 16 € for some more expensive ones (X-One, Alu Power). This is an invitation to trial and error!
        I don’t have the technique to put a lot of spin (I’m only on my 4th year as a trainee), so nylon would be theoretically more suitable and forgiving… The problem is that I don’t like too much elasticity, so I prefer a soft polyester, which is a drag because the softer, the faster it dies. On an older Head Graphene Speed S, which is not a stiff frame by any means, I still have a full bed of worn Black Widow and it’s like hitting the ball with a plastic chair. Making it go over the net is an accomplishment in itself.

  5. What about double stringing on Blackburn frames? I have tried it once, but i was only good for almost flat slicing.
    I have a friend, who never really learned tennis, he plays everything slice, even serving a kind of slice.
    Sweet spot is almost the whole racket head and these slices are fast and bouncing very low. And it’s good for dropshots (kind of slice too). But playing topspin with means, you lose the wrist in half a year 🙁

    Strings often break close to the frame if you never try to hit the center of the bed and why should you, if you can even hit with the frame, because it has still some strings on it 😉

    1. Ah I’d never heard of that racquet before. The Blackburne double strung. I can’t imagine what that is like to play with. What’s the idea behind it?

      I can’t imagine what it’s like to string either, must be tricky.

      1. The idea is to make the whole head a sweet spot. Especially good for slice and easy backwards rotation. You can let the ball to slide to the end of the racket’s head like it had no frame. Both on backhand and forehand. In fact there is no frame. Frame is covered on both sides by two string beds. And the air cushion between two string beds works like a trampoline. You would not like this effect (me too), but it ads power, you don’t need are would not be able to generate with your hands.

        Extreme tolerance (big sweet spot), so it lets people missing completely the genuine tennis skills, to bring the ball to the other side, play dropshots quite easily.
        Actually nothing for people wanting to play some real tennis.
        Hitting topspin you would get quickly tennis elbow.

  6. Great article Jonathan. I want some more ( !  ) – about string savers ( photos of them on strings of our FedEx ), etc. ! 
    What would be your recommendation for a club player ( Wilson 97 L CV pro staff, rather flat or chop strokes, baseliner with chronic wrist pain   ) concerning stringing ( strings, tension, etc. ). According to your opinion, is it better to use natural gut for mains or crosses by hybrid stringing ?

    1. Thanks. I will probably do a post on them at some point.

      Well if you have wrist pain then softer strings will be best. Gut or a multifilament. Another soft string I quite like is Ashaway Monogut for example. Play around with those and different tensions to see if they help.

      Also that Wilson 97 L CV Prostaff is quite a light racquet from what I read? What does it weigh strung? Lighter frames are a bit harder on the body too.

      Hybrids – I will do a post on this too. I don’t think one way is better than the other tbh, if you put natural gut in the mains you will get more feel, perhaps some more power. But you get less durability. For a club player, I think gut in the crosses makes more sense as they will last longer.

      1. Because of the long time wrist pain ( looking back the starter was the switch to W97 pro staff 315g + stiff LXN ALU PWR 1.25 despite very good feel by play, my wrists and elbows didn´t like it after several months 🙁 🙂 ) I had to switch to a lighter/compromise version of the W97 pro staff L CV ( unstrung weight 290g, strung about 306g ). Now there is the goal for me to find the right stringing to minimize the wrist stress. With heavier racquet the hand/wrist goes by hitting the ball more down that stresses the joints and tendons leading to inflammation, etc.. As a part of my rehab I try to play with the funny Stage3 balls for kids :-), that are lighter a very soft, so the pain especially by playing forehand is tolerable :-).

    1. I don’t think there is a ‘best’. I’ve used Wilson and Babolat’s Touch VS. Some of the cheaper stuff isn’t as good, but I don’t have an out and out favourite.

      I’ve never used Natural Gut Wholesale stuff, but it looks good. Obviously, I can’t recommend it as I’ve never tried it but they have good feedback on eBay. I might order some myself depending on the shipping/import fees scenario.

  7. Amazing post Jon!!!! Here are my answers so you can tell me your opinion on my stringing options. Currently I use a hybrid setup with Solinco on the Mains and Yonex on the Crosses (forgot which type)

    How often do you break strings? every three weeks at least, sometimes they last less than that
    How much do you want to spend on strings? I am not really on a budget since stringing here in Guatemala is cheaper than most places, but I am not looking to overspend my money since I dont make any money out of it 🙂
    What level do you play? I would say intermediate level with more power than most recreational players
    What type of strokes do you have? (flat, heavy spin, slices) heavy spin
    What type of game do you play? (all-court, serve-volley, baseliner, etc..) aggressive baseliner, but i like to come to the net once in a while
    How often do you play? 4 times per week or 6-8 hours per week

  8. Hi Jonathan, thank you for such a detailed article!
    I’ve been playing with polyester strings (Luxilon Alu Power, Luxilon Alu Power Rough, Volkl Cyclone) strung between 50-55lbs in the Babolat Pure Aero line of racquets for the past 10 years but notice that I rarely break the strings (often play 30+ hours without breaking the strings).
    Recently I’ve switched to a Head Graphene Touch Prestige Midplus racquet and wondering if I should stop using polyester strings since I rarely break them.
    Cost is not a big issue since I don’t re-string very often.
    I used to be a 4.5 level player but currently only play recreational doubles.
    I use a semi-western forehand, two-handed backhand and mostly hit with heavy spin.
    I’m a baseliner in singles but only playing doubles now.
    I play 4-6 hours per week.
    What string/tension would you recommend for my Head Graphene Touch Prestige Midplus racquet?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi,

      Thanks.

      How often are you restringing the poly? Is it full bed of poly? For me, they go dead after 10 hours of play…

      I have not used that racquet before but if the cost isn’t an issue, I’d just experiment a bit. Why not try natural gut or a multifilament? I like the Ashaway Monogut for example. Or Babolat for the natural gut. You’ll be hitting a lot more volleys up at net so those strings will give you more feel. If you miss the poly, you could always test them in a hybrid…

      Tension – I would go with what you usually roll with.

      1. Hi Jonathan, thanks for your reply.
        I usually play in a full bed of poly but it always goes dead before I break the string so I think your recommendation of natural gut or a multifilament might be a good idea. Head Graphene Touch Prestige Midplus is a relatively low-powered racquet so it will be interesting to see if it benefits from the extra power of natural gut or multifilament.
        Thanks again for your recommendations.

  9. Hello Jonathan!
    I am a 16 year old tennis player that has played tennis for over six months at my school and in the community. Surprisingly I have achieved a Regional Championship and had a 10-1 overall record during my first year! The reason I am writing is to have a professional opinion and or recommendation from you about what string and racquet I should use. I have done lots of research and narrowed down my results tremendously, to the point of which you can decide or acknowledge at what standpoint I am at. Here are some basics of where I am at: I swing Fast/Long and would like a racquet which optimizes upon power(most important) and control/feel. I am comfortable with all the strokes, but mostly hit flat strokes. I would say I play often, haven’t broken a string, and money isn’t much of an issue. I am a advanced/high intermediate player that is an all-courter and sometimes baseline. I am very coordinated and learn easily to the point of which l have learned all the basic stokes and advanced tricks. Seeing a lot of sites based on NTRP rankings on USTA.com I have reached this year the semi-finals in my state with my doubles partner (He needed much help of which I had taught him the basics to at least know something about the game) and I have proved that I can easily play in singles since it works out better for me than doubles. Thus the chart of UTSA has shown that I have a rating of 4.0 NTRP, which apparently isn’t bad for my first year. Yes I am a noob when it comes to tennis, but have done excellent research which proves to tell me I have reached the “advanced” level since I can do all the strokes consistently but need a racquet which can put the little push I need in the game. Enough about my background in tennis, here is the selection of racquets I have found and I need one of them to be selected. You can also recommend a different racquet on this list if you want, since you are the expert. Here is the list: Head Graphene 360 Speed MP, Head Graphene 360+ Gravity MP, Head Prestige S, and the Babolat Pure Strike 2019. I am leaning towards the Speed MP the most since it focuses on power a lot, but also includes a bit of control and feel. I decided to use string from Tecnifibre X-One Biphase 16 or 17 for more power and keep the tension a bit low. Should I use a hybrid and do a elastic string across and a durable string vertically? Of course you are the expert and I will let you decide which is the best. I know this is just a recommendation, but I will take it very seriously since my coach does tennis for a hobby at my school and doesn’t know very much. I took my NTRP rating very carefully and what level of skill I am cautiously. Thanks again for your time and sorry for the long paragraph.

    Thanks,
    Pete

    1. Hi,

      Apologies for the slow reply here. I have been away for a couple of weeks and less active on the comments.

      Congrats on the quick progress.

      Since you are in the US – I think you should demo some of the racquets you are considering. Tennis Warehouse is a good option.

      It’s really hard to say buy a specific frame as everybody’s game is different. I do like the 360 Speed MP and the Pure Strike 2019. Thiem uses the Babolat and from how you describe your game it’s similar to his with long strokes so maybe it works for you too. Yonex are worth looking at too as I like the quality of their products…

      String – test them out too. The Biphase is a good string. What are you using at the moment? I would say start with a synthetic gut and see what you like/don’t like then go from there…

    2. Hi Pete.,
      First think about this. We are all here NOT EXPERTS (sorry, Jonathan), but rather less or more advanced hobby players. Given your age, I don’t think you are going to start a professional career, right? But you want to have a racket, making the most of your specific features. Almost everything can be learned. Maybe the only thing you cannot change your inborn muscles structure (red or white muscle fibers prevailing decide if you will be fast or need rather to go for power).

      Compare Nadal and Thiem. Rafa is built for power and extreme spin. Thiem is very fast and generates power and spin with his very clean and perfect hitting technique. Rafa does the same with muscles. You may imagine lots of things about your technique, but only a professional coach can tell you, what kind of player you are going to be (depending of course on the quantity and quality of your training).

      My advice would be (given your coach cannot help you much) – visit a good tennis shop, take lots of rackets in the hand and make some hitting motions without the ball. You will eliminate most of the rackets at this stage (maybe you are just done with this, so you have filtered many rackets by how they feel in the hand, when you perform natural hitting movement (without the ball – you will need the ball to choose your strings).

      There are so many combinations of frames and strings. If you develop your game quickly, you will maybe need to change the racket frequently until you find the best one.

      The real experts are experienced professional coaches cooperating with manufacturers of frames of frames and strings.

      At your stage you need first of all a racket you like, you feel comfortable with, you feel, you can deliver the best of what is your natural ability. Nobody tells you, which racket is the best for you. After 6 months of hitting you are not experienced enough to choose the optimal racket yourself and probably nobody knows your game that deep, he/she could tell you this.

      I would recommend too, not to try out too many frame/string combinations. You will be lost and next day after having tested some rackets, you will hardly recall, which one felt to be the best one.

      Right now, go for feeling rather then technical specs.

      My experience is, sometimes you fill after first few shots, it’s not what you like. If the first choice racket feels well and you are happy, playing this one. take you time, before you try another one.

      Have this metaphor in mind. They say, not people are choosing their dogs but dogs choose their human friends. Let you be chosen by the racket, not the opposite. Some bonus of this solution – if after some time you are not happy with the racket (probably you made a progress or changed your style for any reason, you don’t have a guilty feeling – it’s the racket, which is guilty for having chosen you 😉

      And – you can probably play the game you like with lots of frame/strings/tension a.s.o. combinations. But you will never know, which racket would maybe fit better to you. Rackets are changing every year. You will be changing too 🙂

      Good luck
      PRF

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