Thursday, February 16, 2012

More on Strings- Before You String Your Racquet...

If you play the game and wish you had more of a clue about the strings you have in your racquet, or which strings might be the best for you, and like to do your own research, few websites will provide you as comprehensive a look at tennis strings as does.

In addition to strings (their composition, characteristics, ratings, etc.), the site provides a wealth of information on racquets, stringing machines, stringing instructions, discussion boards and more. When I am looking to try a string myself, or preparing to make a recommendation of a string for a client, I make sure I check out as a major component of my string research.

You might find Stringforum’s latest offering, the Results of the String of the Year 2011 Survey, interesting, if you are thinking of changing strings or just curious about what participants thought of the multitude of strings on the market. Essentially, 155 members of completed a survey seeking to discern their favorite string. Stringforum members are generally avid players, stringers and the like.

The results of the survey were dissected into Poly, Non-Poly, and Newcomer of the year for 2011. Simply put, Poly strings are polyester-based (Luxilon is among the most common), and non-poly strings are not (Babolat and Wilson are among the most common). There is more to it than that (monofilament, multifilament, and co-polyester strings for example), and if interested you can get additional info here. Newcomer strings included strings that were introduced in 2011.

The survey participants also rated the strings on a number of dimensions and characteristics, including durability, power, control, feel, comfort, spin and tension stability. 

The survey results indicated Solinco Tour Bite, Technifibre Black Code, and MSV Focus- Hex as the top three poly strings of 2011. Tour Bite just edged Black Code by a few points, but both were significantly ahead of the Focus-Hex. Rounding out the top five, several points behind the top three, were Signum Pro Tornado and Kirschbaum Pro Line II. 

              Still My Favorite- Kirschbaum Pro Line II
If you have read any of my comments on strings, you know that Pro Line II has been my favorite for some time, and lo and behold, it won the "feel" and "comfort" categories for poly strings. No wonder! 

The top three non-poly strings listed in survey results included Babolat VS Team, Technifibre X-One Biphase, and Babolat VS Touch. Babolat’s VS strings are natural gut, so it isn’t surprising that they made the top three. Technifibre’s multifilament (wound fibers) offering coming in at No.2, ahead of a natural gut string, is a significant accomplishment, especially when one considers a price tag that is less than half of the others in the top three. Rounding out the top five, well back of the leaders in points, were Wilson NXT and Head Rip Control. 

There is so much more than one can say when talking about strings and which was voted better than others, but the bottom line on strings, is that it comes down to personal preference. It depends on the racquet you use, the game you like to play, the condition of your arm, elbow, shoulder, etc. If you’re thinking about changing strings, consult your pro, do your research online, and try the string for a while before making a decision. Game, Set, Match…T A

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