Category Archives: Polyester
Several years ago, when we were beginning to increase the use of Ashaway MonoGut ZX and ZX Pro, it was not unusual to get a call from a client saying, “my coach says I should not be using polyester!” We could not agree more, and you are not using polyester!
You are using PEEK polymer! This string material was, and still is, referred to as Zyex with polymer production capabilities of Victrex in England.
Given the appearance of MonoGut ZX, Babolat Origin, and a few other non-polyester monofilament strings, it is not easy to distinguish these from stiffer polyester material strings. So know your string!
Single strand (monofilament) strings will have a gleaming surface unless they have been through a “roughing” process. So will monofilament strings of different materials. It is hard to tell just by looking, and that is what can create some confusion on behalf of the coach and subsequently, the player. So know your string!
If your racquet technician does not put a label on the racquet that identifies the material (or string), then be sure to ask what material you are using. The material choices may be natural gut, Zyex (PEEK), Nylon, and Polyester. The string construction may be referred to as a monofilament, multi-filament, single wrap, etc. however, the material will probably be one of these four.
Know your string! If you are unsure, contact your racquet technician or “Ask John” on this site, and we will try to help.
2019 came and went in a blur! In a few days it will 2020 and with it will come some exciting new tennis stuff, for sure!
I am not so good at predicting things but I do it anyway! Here are a few predictions I will make for 2020:
- Tennis racquets will become more expensive, but only slightly.
- On-line sales of tennis racquets will increase. See this previous post.
- Customer satisfaction with on-line sales will decrease.
- Small specialty tennis shops will be the source of information, then #2, and then #3.
- Players will stick with a racquet longer, making customizations as needed.
- String and stringing will become a more important component of a racquet purchase. See below!
- Tennis related injuries will continue to be a problem for the sport going forward.
Thank you for thinking about the “long term” for all tennis players!
There are no bad strings just bad applications!
The right equipment is crucial to the long term enjoyment, and winning, of tennis!
The local representatives I deal with are committed to our “well being” even though some may feel like they are facing “extinction”!
An excellent example of what we are talking about just walked in! Two (2) new racquets so poorly strung it is shocking!
The customer is having serious arm issues with an excellent racquet, with a terrible string setup! But the string setup is probably considered by many to be the ultimate combination, that is RPM Blast in the main and VS Touch in the cross! That combination is coming out in a few minutes! No more polyester!
The quality of the stringing is what is so wrong! Had you or I received this racquet, we would have returned it at once! Why? Because it exemplifies the attitude of so many stringers that is “who cares”!
Happy New Year!
The essential function of string in your tennis racquet is to return energy to the ball as it collides with the racquet. It is evident that if there is no string or a broken one, the racquet can not do what it is intended to do, and your shot is going nowhere or worse, everywhere!
There are about thirty (30) string brands, and each brand has about ten (10) different models, and maybe three (3) different colors, so there are nine hundred (900) possible selections! Nine hundred is way too many strings!
You and we need to consolidate string data so we can make the right decision for you, your playing style, and your physical capabilities.
We test every string for elongation, creep, (stability), with a little bit of elasticity data observed. This testing returns our exclusive Power Potential© for each string, and that is the basis of our decision-making process. Naturally, the higher the elongation, the more power the string will return to the ball, and conversely, the lower the power potential, the less power that “can” be generated. You can observe this fundamental by dropping a tennis ball on a concrete floor and then on a strung tennis racquet from the same drop height and see which one bounces the highest.
I use “can” because power, to a great extent, comes from how hard you swing the racquet, which, of course, brings the prospect of overdoing it and subsequent injury! A low power string demands a more powerful swing that involves the entire arm, hips, and legs.
Low power, in the form of a stiff string, has been associated with control, therefore, the increased use of stiff strings. However, with stiffness comes another downside, and that is stability. Stiff strings typically lose tension quickly and need to be changed frequently. So here is the real problem; the string may not be broken, but it is not playing well at all. There is a difference between durability and performance! If your goal is long term performance, a stiff string is not the answer.
What, then, is the answer?
Choose a string with an elongation of 10% or higher! Oh, great! You say. How am I going to know that!
Well, beginning January 1, 2020, I will be posting the power potential of every string we have tested over the years! There are over 500 items on the current list sorted by brand. The color coding is RED if 5% or less, GREEN if 10% or higher, and BLUE for everything else. Note, however, that natural gut is included in this data and will probably not reach the 10% Power Potential© threshold, but is still the best performance string available. This is due to the dynamic properties of the natural fibers, so, until there is a separate classification gut will be included as is.
A previous post, “What is Soft?” goes into graphical detail.
As new strings are added, some older ones may be deleted because they are no longer manufactured. However, some very old ones may remain due to their “legacy” status. This chart is a preliminary format but will get us map toward the right decision!
If you read our recent post about “How to Demo a Racquet,” you may be incentivized to do it!
So while you are at it try one of our performance racquets setup with MonoGut ZX or ZX Pro (thinner) to get the maximum performance from the racquet.
Ashaway MonoGut ZX and ZX Pro have been one of our most popular strings for well over five (5) years!
Top players have been using it, but now the word is spreading that is not just for “the good player” but for everyone! We are very sensitive to injuries and injury prevention, so that is why we recommend MonoGut ZX to almost all players. The durability and feel of this string are unique, and, MonoGut ZX and ZX Pro is a monofilament but is PEEK and no polyester.
As with any string, some will not want to change, but if you are looking for a new racquet, why not demo a racquet setup with MonoGut ZX or ZX Pro?
Ashaway MonoGut ZX and ZX Pro come in Black and Natural and 16 (1.27mm) and 17 (1.24mm) gauge.
I started thinking about this as I made my way to a routine doctor’s appointment last week. Here is the scenario I formed while waiting:
The doctor has been seeing all sorts of patients already today and I suspect the first glance at each one elicited some sort of reaction, quielty probably, like this; “Good Greif, that guy is fat! Bad trousers, terrible shoes, nice shirt, whats with the hair, dude?” etc, etc.
So what do you think happens when a racquet shows up for a checkup?
“Good grief, that is an old racquet, who would ever buy one of those, this person is too good for that racquet,” etc, etc.
As humans we can communicate how we feel to the doctor but your racquet can not, so it has other ways to tell you if it is healthy or not. Here are a few signs of an unhealthy racquet:
- Grommet set, and specifically the protective head bumper is worn out. If this is not fixed quicky the racquet will die!
- Grommet set individual barrels are broken or missing. If this is not fixed the strings will die!
- Overgrip is disgustingly dirty requiring exam gloves to remove it! Doctors use exam gloves too and you know what that means!
- Under grip is essentially rendered to powder, requiring exam gloves to remove it.
What is not so obvious sometimes is that strings need to be replaced. Even before they break! What!
Yes, strings loose tension over time and in some case rather quickly! By knowing what the original string bed stiffness was we can determine how much “stiffness” has been lost. For most players a degradation of 20% is maximum.
Depending on the string material a loss of 8 to 9% overnight is not uncommon…so that leaves 11 to 12% for playing.
Take a look at our String Frequency Calculator to get a better idea of stringing frequency required to keep your racquet really working for you.
To keep you playing at your best you need to keep your racquet at it’s best!