No one likes a failure but it does happen, especially, with tennis string.
This is the perfect fail if you are using natural gut string. You can see the natural fibers of the string have been unraveling and finally reached the point where the stranding could no longer handle the impact of a ball hitting that area.
Natural gut and some multi-filament synthetic strings will exhibit this failure mode. The great thing about natural gut is that it plays better longer than other string materials.
The problem is that it is quite difficult to quantify “better” but it is easy to quantify “broken”. I recommend, if you are using natural gut, play with it until it breaks or the “fraying” is so bad you know it won’t last another match.
The use of Sting Savers can extend the life of natural gut string and will not affect the “feel” of the racquet.
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!