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About tennis strings

STRING GAUGE

Tennis strings come in different gauges.  This is basically a measure of the thickness of the string.  The higher the gauge the thinner the string and the lower the gauge the thicker the string is.

Gauge is mostly used by Americans whereas "mm" is used elsewhere. The most common gauge you will find for strings are 16,16L, and 17.

Thinner strings will allow the player to apply more spin to the ball as it can embed deeper into the ball.  While thinner strings offer more spin, they are less durable.

Thicker strings, will offer less spin but have high durability.

Therefore it is advised for beginners to start with 16 gauge strings as they will last longer.

15 = 1.41-1.49 mm
15L = 1.34-1.40 mm
16 = 1.26-1.33 mm
16L = 1.22-1.26 mm
17 = 1.20-1.24 mm
17L = 1.16-1.20 mm
18 = 1.10-1.16 mm
19 = 1.00-1.10 mm

 

 THIN STRINGS THICK STRINGS

MORE SPIN

LESS DURABLE

LESS SPIN

MORE DURABLE

 

STRING COMPOSITION

Nylon - synthetic gut or nylon? Truth be told, synthetic gut is nylon. In fact, most of today’s “performance synthetics” are constructed of nylon, albeit a higher grade than basic nylon string. Today’s manufacturing processes produce nylon strings (or synthetic gut, if you insist) that provide a good combination of playability and durability. In the old days (wood racquet era), any self-respecting player used natural gut. Nylon was so bad that only beginners used the stuff. Today, 98% of non-professional players use nylon strings. It’s that much better. Other string materials include:

Natural Gut - the ultimate in playability and feel. Often overlooked due to it’s cost, natural gut is the best choice for players with arm problems or those who simply want the best. Formerly, the number one choice of ATP and WTA tour players. Now used more in hybrids, combining polyester mains with natural gut crosses. Natural gut gut offers maximum feel and control due to it’s low dynamic stiffness, which provides better ball “pocketing”, and a slight texture that provides more ball grab for enhanced spin.

Polyester - a very durable string designed for string breakers-not much power or feel. Polyester strings became very popular with ATP players, because it provides added durability, doesn't move and "deadens" the stringbed. While this isn't a desireable feature for most recreational players, it is for many of todays ATP and (some) WTA players. They're bigger, stronger, swing faster and use more powerful racquets than players from the past. Often used in hybrids, combining polyester mains with softer synthetic or natural gut mains. This offers the durability benefits of polyester, while reducing the stiff, dead feel. Also easier to string than 100% polyester. Not recommended for beginning players or players with arm injuries.

Kevlar - The most durable string available. Kevlar is very stiff and strings up very tight. Therefore, it is usually combined with nylon to reduce the string bed stiffness (Kevlar main strings, nylon cross strings). Still, Kevlar hybrids are the least powerful and least comfortable strings currently available. Players trying kevlar hybrids for the first time (from nylon strings) are recommended to reduce tension by 10% to compensate for the added stiffness. Not recommended for beginners or players with arm injuries.

 

STRING CONSTRUCTION

Solid Core with One Outer Wrap - Most popular nylon string construction - majority of “synthetic gut” strings are solid core/single wrap. Main benefits are tension maintenance and crisp feel. Quality of nylon center core, as well as size and orientation of outer wraps can influence feel and comfort.

Solid Core with Multi Wraps - Provides additional durability and cushioning.

Multifilament (no wraps) - Bundles of micro synthetic fibers are twisted together, similar to natural gut. Nylon multifilaments are typically more comfortable than solid core strings due to the cushioning effect of hundreds or even thousands of micro fibers. Resultant effect is a soft and comfortable string, recommended for players suffering from arm problems who don’t want to pay the high price for. natural gut. Normal use causes multifilament strings to fray, like gut, which can be alarming to players switching from solid core strings. With the exception of Kevlar and Zyex, multifilament strings are generally classified as “soft” strings.

Multicore with Wraps - Smaller multifilament core with one or more outer multifilament wraps. Offers similar comfort benefits to multifilament strings with added durability.

Textured - Designed to offer enhanced spin potential by wrapping an extra filament around the outer wraps or incorporating larger filaments into the outer wrap. 

Composites - A combination of different materials blended together in an attempt to bring out the best features of each material. For simplicity, strings combining different grades of nylon, which are theoretically also composite strings, aren’t included in our list.

Monofilament Polyester - Durability-oriented monofilament string. All currently available monofilament strings are polyester. Good alternative to Kevlar hybrids because it’s less stiff but it has a dead feel and high initial tension loss. Recommended for frequent string breakers who don’t want to resort to Kevlar hybrids. String 3-5 lbs. higher than nylon to compensate for tension loss.

Aramid Fiber Hybrids - Combines the strength and abrasion resistance of Kevlar mains with nylon (synthetic gut) crosses. Most durable of all string construction, but least “playable” due to Kevlar’s extremely stiff, dead feel. All current Kevlar string sets are hybrids, combining Kevlar mains and synthetic crosses.

 

STRING TENSION

Generally if is advised to start at a tension that is in the middle of the recommended tension on your racket.  For example, if the recommended tension is 22-27 kg (50-60 lbs) , you would start at 25 kg (55 lbs) and either increase or decrease it the next time according to your preferences.

If you feel you need more power, then try decreasing the tension by 0.5 - 1 kg (1 - 2 lbs).

If you feel you need more control, then try increasing the tension by 0.5 - 1 kg (1 - 2 lbs).

As a general rule:

High tension = more control, tighter string bed, harder feeling

Low Tension = more power, looser string bed, softer feeling

String tension should be adjusted depending on the type of string that you use.  If your normal string tension is 25 kg (55 lbs) using a soft natural gut, then you should lower the tension if you switch to a harder kevlar string and vice-versa.

 

Source: tennis-warehouse.com

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