This post is really testing the limits of what “technology” is but it is important to address the advantages and dis-advantages of this “technology”.
Spin is the most current buzzword whirling (buzzing) around the racquet business. This affects not only the manufacturers of the racquets but it has a big impact on string manufacturers and racquet technicians. There are many ways to produce “spin”. The most important is to stroke the ball from low to high! Another way is to let, or make, the strings move more in the low to high direction. For this discussion string material is going to be ignored.
Several racquet companies have opted to change the string pattern to allow for more movement, thus, more ball rotation. But, how? The easiest method is to “open” the spacing between strings. This can be understood by realizing that most racquets have string patterns of 16×18, 16×19, 16×20, 18×20, etc. That simply means there are 16 main strings (usually the long string) and 18, for example, cross strings.
Some new racquets now have string patterns of 16×15, 16×16, etc. This means some of the cross strings are removed. When these strings are removed it allows for more “pocketing” of the ball, increased dwell time and, perhaps, some “snap back” resulting in some spin. What else does removing strings from the hitting area do?
In almost every case it will cause the string to break more quickly! Why? Because the string is moving much more which causes friction, which causes notching which causes failure. Bang! So, most manufacturers of racquets and string recognize this and have introduced strings designed specifically for “open” patterns. Typically these strings will be thicker, (a lower gauge number). This increased diameter will obviously take more time to cut through. In addition to gauge the material and composition may be specific to this application. These strings are great for open pattern racquets but I would avoid them for standard string patterns.
As a matter of history, these open string patterns are not new! I have racquets in the shop that I have strung with similar patterns twenty + years ago. Most of these were for experimental reasons but the spin potential was there even though it was not a big deal at the time.
So, if you are interested in an “open” pattern racquet be sure to choose a string that will compliment that “openness”. I know Wilson and Prince have “open” pattern strings and I am certain others do also. Check with your racquet technician for the latest string offerings.
Now, go out and hit some spin!