A client just sent me the following statement and I think it has reason to be distributed amongst tennis players searching for “direction” when it comes to string and their game!
“Hah. Trying out these different strings has been very interesting. Over the past week or so, trying the different strings has given me some insight into what my game should be. I think usually people do it in reverse. They try to find the string that tailors to their game. By experimenting with the strings, I realize the direction my game should be going.”
“I’ve been coming to realize that my game is better with control and feel rather than power. Experimenting with different strings have helped me recognize this.”
Do you think this applies to you?
For several months, as you know, we have been discussing “shaped” strings. Most of the current shaped strings are polyester based but now there is a new, or actually two (2), shaped strings that are primarily nylon material.
You all know the difference between polyester and nylon string so I am excited to have a “soft” option available. This option allows more serious players to experience what shaping can do (maybe contribute to spin) and the high elongation of a multi-filament string.
I have been using the standard round Acelon Wildfire for a long time and it is one of the best “value” oriented multi-filaments I have found. What is “value”? Of course it is different things to different players but I assign “value” to a string that will play well, protect wrist, arms and shoulders, and be reasonably priced. Most multi-filament strings are in the $35.00 range, so the Acelon Wildfire Hex at $31.00 does represent value.
To make this string even more valuable I am going to make it this periods “special” and offer either the 16 gauge or 17 gauge Acelon Wildfire Hex for $24.99 while this supply lasts.
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!
Polyester based tennis racquet strings have been around for many years and have proven a reasonable alternative for those needing, or wanting, more “spin” and, of course, durability. So, prodded by advertising, players gladly parted with their money for the “ultimate” string.
Are you one of those players? If so what has your experience been?
But wait! Is polyester the best possible string for you? That is for you to decide but let me lead the way toward your decision. Polyester strings are stiff! Polyester string typically has elongations of 3% to 5% at sixty (60) pounds. Compare this to about 10% for other materials. Polyester string becomes more stiff as the swing speed increases, that is, when the ball is hit harder. Most other materials do not. Polyester strings move a lot which can contribute to “spin” but also contributes to notching and breakage. And the list goes on.
I am not anti polyester by any means but it must be used in the proper application. We know that most tour professionals use some polyester, either in the main string or the cross string. So, you say, why shouldn’t I use it too? Probably because you are not as strong as a professional tennis player, and you probably do not have your racquet strung after nine (9) games, or two (2) hours whichever comes first!
Another serious consideration is how this material is used for junior players. In a word, no! Please think about the long term implications of constant, and frequent, impact on the racquet that is transferred to the arm. A small arm simply can not tolerate this abuse for very long. At some point this arm is going to speak out and it is going to hurt!
So, be clear about what you expect from your string. Understand what the string will and will not do. Understand the proper tension requirements for your string selection. If you are using polyester please reduce your tension request to fifty (50) pounds or less to start.
Polyester…are you still in love?
Please contact me if you need additional information about most polyester based string, and this includes the popular term “co-poly” string. I want you to play your best for the longest possible time.
Even if the heat isn’t on yet in your area it is still important to consider your racquet strings and what can happen to them in the heat.
We know that most string is “plastic” and will naturally loose tension over time, however, if we consider that “plastic” string is made up of “molecules” we can understand why high temperatures can contribute to tension loss.
As temperatures increase the molecules are able to move more freely. Think of it as one of your muscles. That muscle will stretch “easier” at higher temperatures than at “frigid” temperatures. Or at least mine do.
So, do not leave your racquet in the car for any length of time. Don’t leave your racquet laying on a table in the sun for any length of time and generally try to keep it from extreme heat. I believe a “thermal” bag can help but please handle your racquet with consideration during the “hot” season.