Selecting the right string for your racquet is not an easy task. With so many types, brands, materials, thickness and all kind of prices players usually overlook how important they are. Most of the time a big chunk of the tennis players population forget that the bed of strings is the only part of your racquet that makes contact with the ball, therefore, generating power, giving you more control, adding spin to the ball plus playability and durability as well.
The purpose of this guide is for you to have a better understanding of how to choose the right tennis string and the kind of questions you should ask your local stringer.
Let’s begin with the main options to consider.
NATURAL GUT This is the original tennis string, made of cow intestines, this is the best strings in the market and tennis professional players strings of choice. Here you’ll find some pros and cons.
- The faculty to maintain the tension for a long period helping you with more consistency.
- Generate more power due to the natural elasticity.
- Great sense of control when hitting due to the feeling of the ball sitting on the bed of strings for a longer time.
- Less shock for players with arm injuries.
- Control is something that you trade for the power you obtain when using Natural Gut.
- Natural Gut is the most expensive of all tennis strings.
- Susceptible to moisture and very fragile.
.SYNTHETIC GUT This Synthetic Gut type of emulates the feel of Natural Gut for a fraction of the price with great playability and durability, In most cases made of nylon.
- Large selection to choose from.
- Competitive price.
- Middle of the road playability and performance.
POLYESTER. If you are a player who breaks string very often then polyester is for you, this type of string is good for heavy topspin and control. Many pro players combine Polyester with Natural Gut.
- Good for topspin and control
- Last longer.
- Players with arm injuries…..stay away. Polyester strings tend to be stiff.
NYLON. Due to their lower price these strings are very popular among recreational and club players and will offer something for any need from touch to topspin to power to durability.
- Great feel.
- Low cost
- Tend to lose tension.
KEVLAR. The most inflexible and hard to break of all strings and that is not necessarily a plus, recommended to combined with nylon ( hybrid ) to reduce stiffness and arm injuries.
- Perhaps the best string holding tension.
- Very strong string. Durable.
- Not recommendable for players with arm problems.
HYBRID TENNIS STRINGS. Is basically a combination of 2 types of strings, normally the mix works using the stronger as a main ( from the top to the bottom of the racquet ) since the main wear out faster due to topspin and another type of string as the cross for more comfort or control. Natural Gut across and Synthetic main is one of the combinations players use the most.
There are few more things you should know next time you purchase a string
GAUGES. Are basically the thickness of the string, so if you want more control and durability you should get a thicker string but if you want to improve your power and spin a thinner string is what you need. Here is how a gauge chart works the higher the number the thinner the string and the lower the number the thicker the strings.
19 1.00- 1.10 mm.
18 1.10- 1.16 mm.
17 L 1.16- 1.20 mm.
17 1.20- 1.24 mm.
16L 1.24- 1.26 mm.
16 1.26- 1.33 mm.
15L 1.34- 140 mm.
15 141- 149 mm.
TENSION. Another important thing to consider is how tight your strings should be strung and you should know a simple fact, higher tension equals more control and lower tension equals more power and you can always go from 53 to 55 pounds for power and from there up to 60 pounds for control. For most of the racquets brands, 60 pounds is the Max recommended.
The way you play, how often do you play and you play level should go into the whole equation as well. If you play from the backcourt hitting from both sides with heavy topspin then you should consider a lower gauge string for more bite to the ball to add much more spin but if you are a beginner/intermediate who plays a couple of times a week looking for power or control ( depends on the tension) then Synthetic gut is for you.
In conclusion, this guide will give you a better comprehension on how to choose the right string for you and boost your game in the process, so next time you go for a new set of strings you’ll know a bit more what to ask for.