The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Tennis Strings and String Tension

by Norma Brockman
The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Tennis Strings and String Tension

Playability: Natural Gut and Multifilament Strings

When it comes to playability, natural gut strings and multifilaments are among the best options. Although natural gut strings are made from cow or sheep intestines, they offer an exceptional feel and connection with the racquet. They are also gentle on the arm, making them a suitable choice for players dealing with arm issues. However, natural gut strings are expensive and tend to break faster than other options. Consider using a hybrid setup with gut strings for either the crosses or mains to maintain the feel while reducing costs. Some popular playability strings include Babolat X-Cel, Tecnifibre NRG2, Tecnifibre X-One BiPhase, Wilson Sensation, and NXT.

Natural Gut vs Polyester | Tennis String Comparison - YouTube

Durability: Polyester and Kevlar Strings

Polyester strings, commonly known as poly, and Kevlar strings are renowned for their durability. These thicker strings are less prone to breaking and can last longer than gut strings. While they may not provide the same level of feel as natural gut, they offer excellent longevity. If you frequently break strings or are on a budget, poly or Kevlar strings are recommended. Keep in mind that these strings can lose tension over time, so consider restringing your racquet every two to three months if you play regularly. Kevlar, being the thickest material used in strings, is particularly difficult to break.

All-Round Strings: Synthetic Gut and Soft Polyester Strings

For a balance of feel and durability, synthetic gut and soft polyester strings are excellent choices. Prince Synthetic Gut is a popular string that has maintained its popularity over the years. Synthetic gut strings provide a vegan-friendly alternative to natural gut while offering a good all-round performance. Other quality synthetic gut options include Wilson Synthetic Gut Duramax, Babolat SG SpiralTek, and Pacific FTX.

See also  Tennis Court Dimensions and Layout and Tennis Net: Size, Areas, and Layout

Let’s watch the video How to choose your ideal string tension on your tennis racket

Tennis String Gauge Guide

Tennis strings come in various gauges, ranging from 15 (thickest) to 19 (thinnest), with half-gauges denoted by an L (15L, 16L, etc.). Thinner strings offer better spin and power, while thicker strings provide enhanced control and durability. However, thinner strings are more prone to breaking. Gauge 15 (1.35 mm) is the standard gauge for tennis, while gauge 16 (1.30 mm) is the most popular choice for its balance of durability and power. Gauge 17 (1.25 mm) is thinner than normal, and gauge 18 (1.20 mm) is the thinnest option available.

Stringing Tension Guidelines: Mains and Crosses

Each racket has a recommended tension range for optimal play. Generally, a tension of around 50-60 is recommended, with looser tension providing more power and tighter tension offering greater control. Higher tensions can have a more significant impact on your arm. If you opt for durable poly strings for both mains and crosses, it is advisable to use a lower tension as poly strings have minimal elasticity and may cause arm discomfort. While most players use the same string and tension for both mains and crosses, you can mix and match string types and tensions based on your preferences. For instance, Roger Federer uses Wilson Natural Gut for his main strings and Luxilon ALU Power Rough for his cross strings, while Andy Murray uses Luxilon ALU Power for his main strings and Babolat VS Touch for his cross strings.

See also  Tennis vs. Badminton: Exploring the Key Differences

Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of strings and tension, pair your chosen strings with high-quality tacky tennis grips for an optimal playing experience. What strings and tension are you currently using?

You may also like