Let’s have some clarity first!
Picking the correct strings is very important and that’s the bottom line. Of course, there’s a limit to the effect changing your strings will have, but customization and finding the right fit is a worthy endeavor. You are happy that you have your favorite racquet in your kit but you will need equally awesome strings to deliver your dream shots. We are here to help you to learn how to select the strings for tennis racquet of yours.
Strings are the most critical part of the racquet which makes contact with the ball and therefore has a significant impact on the performance. There is a variety of strings available in the market leaving everyone confused. To help your racquet perform to its maximum level of performance, we recommend investing your time and money to select a set of strings wisely.
This article will help you to learn about basics, material, dia. (diameter) or gauge, setting the tension, when to replace, mixing different strings and recommended products available in Tennis Universe.
Type of strings
When you are out in the market with your unstrung racquet looking for strings you will come across broadly two categories of strings – natural and synthetic. As the name goes, Naturalare made from natural or organic fibers whereas nylon and polyester are used for making synthetic strings.
Many new players wonder why tennis racquet strings are called guts. So let’s answer this first, in 1875 Pierre invented the first natural gut strings using sheep and then cow gut for tennis racquets (His full name is Pierre Babolat). Because of this history, tennis strings are still known as guts in the tennis world.
Natural Gut Tennis String
Natural gut is a premium product which comes with a high price tag. Though there are multiple benefits but there drawbacks as well lets deep dive in this topic and understand the both the sides:
Comfortable –Natural fabric is flexible and gives a plush sensation when you make the ball contact. It springs and returns to its original shape faster and better than synthetic strings.
Holding the Tension – Natural strings retains its tension and remain in good condition to play over the life time of the strings.
The punch – As these have excellent elasticity, they definitely adds power to your shots.
These strings are expensive and you won’t understand the difference till you have mastered the basic tennis skills. Though it will remain playable throughout its life but if you are an advanced player than it won’t as durable as synthetic gut. Companies like Wilson and Babolat have introduced coating on these guts however still they can’t match the life of multi filament strings. These coatings help the strings to survive the humidity and save them weather change impact.
Our conclusion if you are not planning to complete in grand slams in the near future then save your cash and invest in the synthetic strings. On the other hand, if you have sufficient bank balance and want to enjoy the tennis with best possible equipment in the tennis world than we have picked our favorite natural guts for you:
Babolat Tonic+ Ball Feel 15L Natural Gut Tennis String
Luxilon Natural Tennis String Set
Wilson Natural 16 Tennis String, 16-1.30mm
Synthetic Gut Tennis String
Now let’s understand more about the Synthetic strings which is an affordable string option that are popular among beginner, intermediate, and recreational players. If you opt for synthetic strings, you’ll have 4 basic material options available to you. They are listed below:
The most economical of the various string families, the synthetic gut is a nylon-based string, typically with a solid monofilament core surrounded by one or multiple layers of smaller filaments. This construction provides all-around performance by combining the tension maintenance of the solid core and improving the feel and playability by utilizing the outer wraps. This string’s performance has improved over the years, providing dynamic response and feel enjoyed by players of multiple levels.
- GOSEN OG-Sheep Micro Series (Synthetic Gut (Solid core Surrounded by Nylon filaments))
- Prince Synthetic Gut with Duraflex 16g White Tennis String
- Gamma TNT2 Tennis Racket String Premium Synthetic Series- Enhances Playability, Durability And Control For All Playing Styles – 15L, 16, 17 or 18 Gauge (Black, Blue, Natural, Orange, Pink, Yellow)
Monofilament strings are made of polyester only. These are the strings to provide resistance and control, can give you uncomfortable playing experience (muscular fatigue of the forearm). These strings should be avoided in case of pain in your arm andby the young players who train regularly as its increases risk injury. Always remember these percentages: because the polyester monofilament is 38% stiffer than polyurethane multifilament, it also generates 22% muscle fatigue more when you hit the ball!
- Babolat Origin 16G Tennis String
- Tecnifibre X-One BiPhase Tennis String – Natural Color
- Wilson NXT 40-Feet String
This is a type of string design where numerous individual string filaments, usually made of nylon, are wrapped or braided into a single length of string with a polyurethane binding agent. Multifilament strings tend to produce more power and comfort than solid-core or synthetic gut strings, and are a preferred choice for players with tender arms and elbows. Multifilament strings are designed to mimic to performance of natural gut but at a lower price. Multifilament offer excellent comfort and power, but will lose tension substantially quicker than natural gut.
These strings are ideal for intermediate to advanced players who can generate sufficient racquet head speed to take complete advantage of these strings. If you have a history of arm injuries, then beware of multifilament strings.
- RPM Blast Black 17g Strings
- Luxilion ALU Power 125 Tennis Racquet String Set (16L Gauge, 1.25 mm)
- HEAD Sonic Pro Edge Tennis Strings
Strings with Aramid fibers in their construction are Kelvar. These are the stiffest and the most durable option available. If you love breaking and want to stop this habit than Kelvar is a great option. However, they have a harsh feel and they bring the highest risk of causing arm injuries with them due to this these are the least popular.Nylon strings feature a larger solid core construction with smaller outer wraps.
The quality of nylon, exact construction, bonding agents, and coatings are some of the factors that result in a wide range of prices.If you’re a chronic string breaker that doesn’t have a history of arm injuries or discomfort, then you may want to experiment with Kevlar to increase the life of your strings. However, we’d recommend you combine them with a softer synthetic gut or multifilament as part of a hybrid string setup where you install one type in the mains and another in the crosses
- Gamma TNT2 Fusion Plus 16G Tennis String, Natural
- ASHAWAY Crossfire Plus 1.25/17G Tennis String (Yellow)
What string diameter or gauge or thickness has to do with my tennis skills?
We hope that you somehow understood which string is the perfect for you. Now let’s complicate the things again by introducing this parameter in to the discussion.
In tennis, the gauge of a string refers to its size, or more specifically, a measure of its thickness or diameter. USA considers a higher gauge as a thinner string and a lower gauge refers to a thicker string. However rest of the world or International gauges follow the normal terminology.The thinnest gauge in the United States is 22 or 2.5 international. On the other end of the spectrum, the thickest gauge in the United States is 13 or 12 if you’re going by international standards. Corresponding measurements range from 0.60 to 1.65 millimeters.
To simply your life, these ranges will not be available for all strings on the market, most of them are available with only one or two sizes.
Let’s understand the impact the string gauge will have on your tennis shots:
Thinner strings offer improved playability while thicker strings offer enhanced durability. Thinner strings also provide more spin potential by allowing the strings to embed into the ball more. With this in mind, our recommendation for beginners is to start with a string in the middle of the range, 16 (1.30 mm) gauge being a great option that is widely available for most strings. In the end, choosing a string gauge is a tradeoff based on preference as your tennis improves, you can move your selection way up or down in thickness to suit your needs for durability and spin.
Can I play with same strings forever?
We are learning how to select the strings for tennis racquet because if you are a regular and an aggressive player then you are bound to replace the strings every month. Your strings will lose tension immediately after installation. It will continue to lose the tension as you start to play with them. They will lose their resilience and won’t help improve your game, which simply means time has to come to replace as they are unable to perform.
It’s surprising but strings can lose up to 10% of their tension within the first 24 hours. Professional players get their racquets strung every time before they hit the court so it’s not much of a concern for them. However, for the rest of us we need to keep an eye on our strings to perform our best.
If you are taking lessons or playing once a month, and maybe even hitting a few times in between. To you, we recommend re-stringing every three months. Whether you break strings or not, the tension of your strings (how tight or loose they are) will change dramatically in that time. Re-stringing every three months will keep your string tension as consistent as possible, resulting in a much better learning experience.
Now you know how to select the strings for tennis racquet. We would recommend restringing the racquet if you feel a significant change in your racquet behavior. This will improve your game and your confidence to challenge more advanced players.