What Do You Expect?
I see a lot of tennis racquets that come from any number of shops, online outlets, home stringers and others and I need to know what you, the customer, expect from the person you use for stringing and/or buy your racquets from.
I see racquets that are not correctly, professionally strung and I wonder “what are you thinking!” You, the customer simply doesn’t know what to expect, or you just don’t care. I am not picking on recreational players here because I see this from tournament players that are trying to make a living playing tennis!
I see racquets that are severely distorted due to improper setup, improper pattern, and stringer error. This, to me, is unacceptable and I need to know why it is acceptable to you.
If you see a problem such as distortion, mis-weave, crossovers, long knot tails, and other stuff, you should just not accept the racquet and demand that it be made right.
But, here is the problem…do you know what is right? If you don’t, please take the time to ask! You can ask me or some other professional stringers. Send a picture if you can, or, take a look at some images below to see what is unacceptable.
Not only is this a bad knot it is a bad knot usually called a “half hitch,” or “double half hitch.” You will notice a small scrape on the string which is caused by using a “starting clamp” on the outside of the racquet. You will see a picture of this unacceptable procedure a little later on.
The knot tail is much longer than necessary. This is just sloppy.
The “double half hitch” is a big and “loose” knot. The tail can be pushed back through the knot, but this may not cause the total knot to come loose. There are much better, and smaller knots.
A “cross over” is when a string actually goes over another string. This can cause premature breakage if this area is exposed to impact and/or abrasion.
A mis-weave is probably the worst error that sometimes goes unnoticed by the stringer and the customer. This is a total failure and should not be tolerated.
You can see the strings are not straight in the racquet head. Not only is this poor craftsmanship it can also contribute to low string bed stiffness. If the strings are not straightened as they are installed some tension will be lost. If the strings on your freshly strung racquet are not straight do not accept it.
Using a starting clamp in this manner is unacceptable for a couple of reasons. One major reason is the scrapping of the string where the clamp is placed. You can see this in the first picture. Another, depending on the string, can cause crushing right where the string is going to bend and be tied off. If you see your racquet being strung using a starting clamp in this manner be sure the string is not damaged, and suggest the stringer cease this procedure. There is a tool available that keeps the starting clamp far away from the critical bending area.
Some issues that are unacceptable to me may not be harmful to your playing but should not tolerated. It is your money! You should get the best product for your money. Of course, it is possible to get a “value” string job and if a few dollars are more important than a good job then keep on doing what you are doing!
If you think this issue is important to me, you are correct! It should be important to you!