Blog Archives

Congratulations Players!

Congratulations to Danielle, Mimi, Brigittte, Jack, and Santiago for their performances at the recent tournament held at Red Bug Park!

After a wet start on Saturday the tournament finished under the sun!

Danielle, Mimi, and Jack are using various configurations of Ashaway Monogut (PEEK) string while Brigitte and Santiago are using custom hybrids designed to fit their particular playing style.

Well done, all of you!

IART Symposium 2013!

I just returned from the 7th Annual IART Symposium held at Saddlebrook Resort near Tampa.  This was the best symposium yet with more attendees and more and better sessions presented by really qualified presenters.

I have presented a few sessions from Understanding String to a four (4) hour Customization session at every symposium since the beginning.  Each year the attendees are more engaged and are accomplishing more.  This is a good thing!

This year we had attendees from Brazil, Taiwan, Great Britain, France, Spain, Australia, and of course all over the United States.  These attendees are “racquet technicians” but I want to encourage all tennis/racquet enthusiasts to consider attending next year.  I want the consumer to become engaged in what we do and this symposium is a great opportunity to do that.

At the symposium I had the opportunity to see the new Prince racquets and I think you will be happy to know that some of the most popular models are coming back!  The Graphite, DB, and player styles are back!

I want to thank all the vendors that participated this year.  The vendor exposure this years was huge and really appreciated by the attendees, and especially me!

If you have any questions about the symposium please let me know.

How do YOU select a string?

At my last count there are over 350 different strings available from which to choose!  Add to that number the racquet size, string pattern, and racquet stiffness!

How in the world can you choose from all these variables?  Well, here is a clue.

Determine what is most important to you; cost or performance.  If performance is your top priority then you select a good natural gut.  Expect to pay over $65.00 for the top of the line and about $55.00 for other variations of natural gut. Babolat, for example, offers “VS” as the top end and “Tonic” as the value alternative.

If cost is your priority head for a nylon “synthetic gut” and expect to shell out at least $20.00.  The term “synthetic gut” has little or no bearing on the quality of the string.  These strings are primarily nylon, the most popular and important material for racquet string.  Do not reject a string because it says “nylon” on the package!

Smack in the middle of the offerings is “multi-filament” string.  This format consists of several strands of many materials designed to stretch and react to impact with a softer feel.  This category offers a great alternative to natural gut and may offer performance advantages over “synthetic gut”, and, expect to pay around $35.00.  Tecnifibre is one of many brands that offers several multi-filament strings.

This is a simple snapshot of the range but what if you want maximum “spin” without regards to anything else?  The first reaction to this desire is to opt for the popular “polyester” based string and those that refer to themselves as “co-poly” strings.  Polyester strings have been around for many years and have found a “home” within the professional ranks for the following reason:  the string slips (displaced) easily and since they are slippery they want to return to where they started so this quick movement can contribute to the ball rotation we call “spin”.

But, when the ball is spinning it is not going as far given the same force from you!  So, because most polyester strings are very stiff,  you must swing harder to get the ball to go as far as you want and a harder swing will in fact contribute to “spin”.  Many say “I can hit harder with polyester string”!  Not only can they hit harder, they must hit harder!

Before selecting a very stiff polyester based string consider your options very carefully.  A relatively new option is PEEK string.  Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) string is not new but the new monofilament products are recent.  The advantage of this material is that it has very high elongation meaning it is softer on impact which translates to “arm friendly”, it is very slippery meaning it will displace and snap back similar to polyester based string.  The premier manufacturer of PEEK string is a US company Ashaway Line & Twine Company in Ashaway, RI!

So, determine how much you want to pay for a given set of performance factors then contact a qualified racquet technician to discuss your options.

If you have any questions you can contact me or leave a comment on the site.

PEEK…take a look!

I am not talking about the “peeking” type of peek but instead the material PEEK.  For all of you chemists it is Polyether ether ketone and it is being used as a material for tennis racquet string, which, of course, is what we care about!

I have been working with Ashaway Line & Twine Company for several months to understand how this material can be a viable alternative to very stiff string, and, even a cost effective string for those needing a more “forgiving” gut like impact.  In fact the Ashaway MonoGut ZX Pro has a dynamic stiffness similar to natural gut!  As most players know natural gut is the very best string for those wanting arm protection but it is sort of expensive.

At first glance PEEK string looks exactly like many polyester based string.  But that is where the similarities end.  PEEK has elongations of 10% to 12 % at sixty (60) pounds whereas polyesters will be about 4% to 6% elongation.  Power Potential is directly related to elongation so the PEEK material should return more energy to the ball.

Player response to PEEK string has been very positive and I see it as a material that will increase durability, stability, and playability in tennis racquet strings.  MonoGut ZX  can be used as a 100% system, and, in fact, I would recommend using a PEEK material as 100% the first time.  I have clients using MonoGut ZX Pro in a hybrid format with natural gut and this may be the ultimate setup!

As with any engineering material some care is required to assure the string is installed in the racquet properly.  Through our long  association with PEEK material we have developed the techniques that are required to assure a winning result.

So, if you are looking for playability, durability, and stability (tension maintenance) you should consider taking a PEEK!

This is PEEK

This is PEEK!

Ashaway MonoGut String

I have been evaluating a new string from Ashaway, the only manufacturer of string in the US, going by the name of MonoGut.  Nothing unusual about that except this new string is a PEEK monofilament!  The trade name for this PEEK is Zyex™ and is unique in this construction.   MonoGut contains no polyester component.

MonoGut has many of the advantages of polyester based string, i.e. string movement for increased spin potential, plus a very low coefficient of friction which should make if last longer.  However, there is a more important characteristic and that is a very low dynamic stiffness.  That means the string is going to be very arm friendly.

I will publish more as I get closer to collecting all the data I want.  This could be a game changer!