Archive for the ‘The Tennis Depot Spotlight’ Category

And the Updates Unravel

May 28, 2010

Last week we mentioned that we are in the process of upgrading our website. More info in this blog. I would like to mention that while you do not see any visual differences in the look of our site (at least not yet), today was a major milestone for our project. We just moved to much more powerful servers. What does this mean? Our website is now much more faster and responds to requests rather well. We are all impressed here about the new servers and see a big difference when it comes to site speed.

Well that is really all that changed from last week to this. But this is a major step we needed to take. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will continue to explore other ways of optimizing our website for blazing fast performance.

Keep checking our blog for continued updates. And don’t forget to tune in on Sunday as our product spotlight of the week is presented!

– The Tennis Depot Web Development Team

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And The Journey Begins…

May 19, 2010

The Tennis Depot web development team has begun preparations for revamping our website. Whilst this by no means will be a major change like we had last year, there will definitely be changes. Many of the changes are directly reflected from the feedback we received from our customers in our March survey. We take feedback very seriously and many of you voiced your opinions on how we can approve.

So what changes can you expect? By far the biggest nuance most of you had pointed out was our site speed. We have already laid out a plan for optimizing our website. There is also a good chance that we will be moving to different servers that are more powerful than our current ones.

A message board system will be launched. Yes that’s right we are finally launching our forum! Not much more to say here but expect a zippy forum that will be a fun place to interact with other tennis enthusiasts.

Our checkout process will be carefully examined and improved on. Expect a more cleaner and faster shopping experience.

Perhaps our coolest new feature will be facebook integration. Detailed information cannot be provided- it is a secret!

A bunch of new products will be added. We cannot divulge all the new products that will be available in the near future. This phase has actually already begun. In the coming days and weeks you will see additions of some apparel lines being added as well as ball machines. We are also completely changing our line of sampler packs. All the current sampler packs will be scratched. Updates ones will be posted soon.

There will also be some minor layout changes to improve navigation.

We will continue to update the status of these new advancements through this blog. Be sure to subscribe and check back often.

Keeping String Tension in Mind

May 11, 2010



This week, the topic up for discussion is string tension.  String tension is something that, despite being extremely important, most people don’t understand.  So here’s to making this a little more… lucid.

To me, string tension is every bit as important, if not MORE important, than any other part of your equipment (excluding the user, that is). String tension is also something that is extremely subjective, and depends on a variety of factors. What works for me may not work for you. What works for me on December 10th may completely fail me on July 10th.

First of all, what does string tension do? String tension influences how comfortable your string bed is. The higher the tension, the harsher the string bed, and the more damage your arm is liable to incur. For example, Kirschbaum Competition at 70 pounds will be harsher on your arm than will the same string at 50 pounds. If you’re having arm problems, consider dropping the tension on your string by 5 pounds and see how that works out for you. Also, string tension influences power. The higher the tension, the lower the power and the lower the tension, the higher the power (or rather, the ball will travel a longer distance with the same swing). If your shots are consistently shooting out by a couple of inches, consider upping the tension by 2-3 pounds.

Now, you might be wondering… why did Dan say that “What works for me on December 10th may completely fail me on July 10th ?” Well, strings tend to perform differently under different conditions (aka weather). The warmer the day, the “looser” the strings will feel, and shots will be a little deeper. As such, if you normally string Pro Supex Big Ace at 55 pounds in the winter, then you should consider upping the tension by 2 pounds in the warmer months to get a similar result. Also, humidity plays a factor on certain strings. Gut (such as newly available Pacific Tough Gut– try that out!) especially is particularly susceptible to humidity. If you’ve strung up with gut, either full or in a hybrid, then you probably shouldn’t use that particular racket in humid conditions. The reason is that humidity ruins gut: the strings will absorb the moisture in the air, and prolonged exposure to excessively humid conditions will make the gut strings virtually unplayable (they’ll lose tension, become a lot softer, and become “floppy”). That’s not to say that gut is the only string that humidity effects though. The more moisture there is in the air, the softer your string bed will feel. However, most strings will not be greatly effected by humidity.

A final point to keep in mind: string tension is EXTREMELY subjective.  What feels great to me might feel absolutely terrible to you.  Some people string their rackets in the teens, others, in the 70’s.  Find what works for YOU, not what works for person XXX.

The next time you’re getting your racket restrung, consider playing around a little with string tension. Up it a bit for more control, lower it a bit more for more power… who knows, maybe you’ll finally find your perfect setup?!

Hybrids

April 6, 2010

In the past few years, hybrids have become increasingly popular. More often than not, we see people with two different strings in their rackets. Many of pros have also gravitated towards hybrids: Federer with Alu and VS gut, Roddick with Hurricane and VS gut, etc. So, the questions that should come to mind are: what are the advantages of hybrids, and should I hybrid? I’ll try to answer both of those questions for you.

As a baseline, the hybrids that are generally used are gut mains with poly crosses, poly mains with gut crosses, gut mains with synthetic gut/multi crosses, and kevlar mains with synthetic gut crosses. There are several advantages to these various hybrids. First, hybrids combine the characteristics of two strings, and depending on how you string, can create some very nice combinations. The main strings are mainly responsible for the power (and with that, control) of the string bed, and also mainly for how the string bed feels. Thus, if you want your hybrid to feel mostly like polyester, then put your polyester string in the mains. If you want ultimate comfort, then put your gut in the mains. Crosses on the other hand add a bit of comfort and influence how stiff the string bed is. They will also influence power/control, but this influence is relatively small when compared to the influence of the mains. Thus, you can add a gut or a multi in the crosses to a polyester main to add some comfort and decrease the battering that your elbow gets. Or, you can add a polyester cross to a natural gut main to add a bit of control to the setup and increase stiffness. The second advantage of hybrids is cost. Let’s face it: strings can get pretty darn expensive. A full set of VS gut will set you back $42, a full set of Alu Rough will set you back around $16, and a full bed of Pro Line II will set you back around $12. I don’t know about you, but my wallet doesn’t appreciate being emptied every week. Thus, hybrids are nice. A hybrid of my favorite natural gut or polyester with a synthetic gut cross will cut my cost per string bed by around half, and give me something very close to that original feeling. Third, hybrids are generally easier to string that the full bed of string (despite giving a feel very close to a full bed). A bed of natural gut and synthetic is a lot easier to string than a full bed of natural gut. To go along with this, if your stringer is charging you extra for labor when he strings a hybrid, somebody’s trying to rip you off.

So to answer whether or not you should use a hybrid, you generally should if you fall into one of these categories: you want something that feels close to what you use now, but want something cheaper; you want something that’s a little more comfortable than the full bed of polyester you’re using now; you want to add a bit more control to what you’re using now (although this can be also done by adding a pound or two of tension to what you use now); or if you’re a stringer and want to have an easier time with stringing.

Hopefully, this will clear up any questions or confusion that you might have had about hybrids. If you’re still doubtful, take one for a try. I recommend taking whatever you use right now and using that for your mains and for your crosses, I’d recommend starting with a synthetic gut (favorites of mine include Forten Sweet and Pro Supex Syn Gut Spiral Flex). This should give you something close to what you normally use.

PS (if such a thing exists in a blog?) There are such things as prepackaged hybrids.  Take for example the Pro Supex Matrix Hybrid.  Such hybrids are nothing special- they’re just 2 half sets of strings that the manufacturer believes play well together.  You can get the exact same hybrid by purchasing one set each of Big Ace and Maxim Touch, cutting them in half and combining them.  Viola!  You’ve just created your very own “Pro Supex Matrix Hybrid.”

The Tennis Depot Customer Satisfaction Survey- Our Responses

April 1, 2010

In February and March of 2010, we sent out to all of our customers a survey. We were out to find out what our customers think of our business. Answers were collected in several categories including customer service, website layout/speed, rewards program, products, and shipping prices.

We received overwhelmingly positive responses. However, we were after the critics and our customers provided excellent feedback that will help us to improve  our services and win over your business for years to come. In this blog, we will go over some of the feedback we received and what action we will be taking.

  • Slow website- Some of you have reported that our website is slow. This is a problem that we are aware of. We would like to point out that if you are on a fast connection, the site loads are relatively good. Nonetheless, we will be taking action and this summer our developers will be working on making our website at least 50% faster,
  • Stringers corner- Most of you would like a larger selection of stringing tools and diagnostic equipment. We will strive to improve our selection in our stringers corner over the course of the next few months.
  • Larger selection of strings- This is an area where we shine. We have the largest selection of tennis strings, specifically poly, in the world. We continue to expand our selection and have recently brought in Poly Star to our lineup.
  • Training Aids- We have already responded to this request. In case you missed it, we just launched Coaches Square several days ago. You will find a very nice selection of training aids such as balance boards, power ladders, z balls, hurdles, etc. We even offer Quick Start Tennis Balls.
  • Rewards Program- Unfortunately, many of you are not understanding how our rewards program works. We felt we did a good job explaining it on our website. We have come to realize that we are wrong. This issue will be addressed very soon.

In May/June, we will be rolling out version 3.5 of our website. There will be several improvements to our website however most of the work will be done internally. Our main focus will be speeding up our website and clearing up any confusion regarding our Rewards Program. Of course if you have any suggestions, please do let us know.

Finally, we will also be rolling out our message boards during our site upgrade.

We thank you all once again for completing our survey. Your feedback will help us improve our services.

Natural Gut

March 27, 2010

My post today will be about the elite strings of the tennis world: natural gut.

Natural gut has been in use for a very, very long time. Back in 1875, Babolat first introduced their natural gut. Since then, various other companies have adopted natural gut for their own uses, and has risen to own the top of the tennis strings pyramid. Natural gut, as the name implies, is made from natural fibers, namely serosa (part of the intestine). Most natural guts are made using cattle serosa, although natural gut made of sheep serosa does exist.  These strings have a LOT of benefits.  They have excellent feel, give great touch, are very powerful, are some of the world’s most arm friendly strings, just to name a few.

Being a natural product, natural gut varies all over the place. Babolat, then and now, is the elite. VS natural gut is the best string on this planet, and commands a $42 price tag. Other manufacturers, including Klip, Pacific, BDE, and Bow Brand also produce natural guts that are of very fine quality. Klip and Pacific natural guts are widely used today for their wonderful feel at a relatively low price.

In the past years however, lower quality guts have entered the market. These guts include Global, Gaucho, Unifiber, and others. These guts are cheap: cheaper than a good multi. Today, one can get individual sets of Global or Gaucho (the two most popular low end natural guts) for around $15, while one can generally get ten sets for around $100.

So, the question always comes up… is it worth it? After all, the cheapest higher end gut comes in at $26 (Klip Legend). Is Klip justified the extra $11?

My answer is a resounding… maybe. There’s no denying that Global/Gaucho is a decent string- it feels very nice, and definitely feels like gut. However, Global/Gaucho is VERY prone to snapping on the machine (greater than a 10-15% snap rate has been reported), doesn’t know what in the world gauge consistency means (my sets varied from can’t-get-the-string-through-the-grommets large to under 1.20mm), has an abysmal coating, is an absolute pain to string up, and frays like nothing I’ve seen. As soon as the gut touches water, the stuff drastically loses tension and the chance of snapping increases tenfold (if you do use decide to use Global/Gaucho, do NOT use it when it’s humid or raining). Stringing the stuff is downright dangerous, since the string isn’t well coated at all and unravels a ton.

This all being said though, the stuff feels great! You get the feel of natural gut for the price of a multi. That great feel that is so often talked about with natural gut is definitely there. Your arm will also definitely be thanking you for using this string (it’s very arm friendly). You can even reduce the fraying by sticking some string savers in the string bed, so that eliminates one of my complaints. Unfortunately, Global/Gaucho isn’t for everyone. The fact of the matter is, it IS a low end option. The stuff snaps, frays, and doesn’t have a coating like that of better guts. Unless you’re going to be stringing this stuff for yourself, I would not recommend this string. The chance of it snapping is too high, and in the end, your reputation is far more important than the ability to offer a cheaper gut. If your customer really wants a cheaper option that feels like gut, recommend that they go with a natural gut/synthetic gut hybrid. A hybrid of Klip Legend 16 and Forten Sweet 16 comes out to under $15 (what it costs for Global/Gaucho), feels great, and works very well.

Black Magic or Spin X?

March 12, 2010

A few days… weeks… alright, months ago, an unknown string company entered the tennis string market. It was a small company that decided to introduce just two strings for its debut into the highly competitive tennis string market. Now, most companies like a nice balance of synthetic guts, multis and polyesters. Not this company. Judging from its first offerings, Genesis seems to be choosing the all-one-type-of-string route. They introduced two polyesters. EXCELLENT polyesters.

You’ve probably realized by now that I’m talking about Genesis. In the 9 months or so since Genesis strings hit the market, many players have fallen deeply in love. These polyesters bite hard, maintain their tension extraordinarily well, and are extremely comfortable. For most of us mere mortals, this is EXACTLY what we’re looking for in a third generation polyester.

But the problem is… which one? Do I choose Black Magic or Spin X? These strings fall right into the ever-growing category of sub-$100 reel polyesters, making them both very wallet friendly as well. Deciding on these strings based on price… well, it’s hard.

Let’s start with the Spin X. Spin X is textured. What that means is that Genesis manufactured these strings with a non-round shape, causing the string to BITE into the ball and created increased spin. As with all polyesters, Spin X generates an amazing amount of spin. It differs from most other textured polys (specifically MSV Hex, Blue Gear, among others) in that it maintains an excellent feel and allows you to feel connected to the ball. There’s a noticeable ball pocketing effect that just gives you this added smidge of confidence. There are two colors of this string, and it’s been reported that there’s a bit of difference. The pink/red string is slightly softer than its silver-colored brother. Both maintain tension well, and both have a nice feel, but the silver is for those looking to more closely replicate the feel of Luxilon Alu Rough (albeit it lacks the price tag and the pesky couple-of-hours-before-it-dies factor). It should be noted that with Spin X, there is a relatively steep tension drop in the first 24 hours after stringing, but then settles in and maintains that post-drop tension practically until it breaks.

Black Magic, on the other hand, is a smooth poly. It’s similar to Spin X, but it doesn’t give quite as much spin. I suppose you could say that Black Magic is similar to Big Ace, albeit stiffer and has less of a plasticky feel. Compared to Spin X, Black Magic has better feel. It’s a little more full-bodied, and is really quite enjoyable. Can you say that Black Magic is a better string? That would be pretty hard. They’re both excellent strings, and it would really be difficult to say which one is better.

Now, I’m not too sure whether or not I actually shifted your opinion one way or another. At the end of the day, they’re both excellent strings that come under $6 a set in reel form. Compare that to higher priced polys that come in at $15, $20 a set, and I’m left wondering how long Genesis is going to keep their prices this low. These are really excellent polyesters that can hang with the “Big Boys”. I recommend you hope on over to The Tennis Depot to try out a set of each and see which one YOU prefer.

A Recap of The PTR Symposium

February 21, 2010

This past week, The Tennis Depot was in Hilton Head, SC representing Topspin in the U.S.A. We are happy to announce Topspin received a very warm welcome during the trade show. We were pleasantly surprised at the positive reaction from the coaches regarding the various training aids and coaching equipment. The Tennis Depot will soon be offering many Topspin training aids ideal for coaches and tennis academies.

In addition, there will be a new Topspin String. Cyber Max ROTation is the newest addition to the Topspin lineup. A heptagonal shape combined with a rough surface will make Topspin Cyber Max ROTation one of the best polys for spin on the market. Be on the lookout for this new string in the coming weeks.

Be sure to continue to follow our blog, facebook, and twitter, as we will make announcements as these new products arrive.

2009…. A Year In Review

December 24, 2009

As 2009 approaches an end, we would like to look back at many of our accomplishments and look forward towards a bright future and even a better year in 2010.

First and foremost, we thank you for supporting us and choosing to order through our company. Many of you continue to return to because of our great prices and our signature VIP class service. 2009 is a year where we saw many changes. Genesis was introduced to the world and awed thousands of players all across the globe. We had a complete redesign of our website and positioned our company as a leader and innovator in the tennis industry.

The Tennis Depot has a bright future ahead and as 2010 approaches we will continue to rollout many new features and enhancements. As promised, we will roll out the message board you have all been waiting for. There will also be many new strings and other products from many brands.

Be sure to continue to follow our blog on a daily basis. We will be sharing very exciting news with you in January.

At this time we would like to wish you and your family Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Until next time.

Your friends from The Tennis Depot.

2009 GSS Symposium Recap

October 13, 2009

The 2009 GSS Symposium has come to an end. First and foremost, we would like to applaud Tim Strawn for organizing such a wonderful event. The seminar leaders were all fantastic. Dave Bone, president of the USRSA was on site offering the insight scoop of all the latest information from his organization. We urge all stringers to make it a priority to attend this event next year. Not only do you meet fellow stringers from across the world, but the information received is so valuable that you are guaranteed to leave the symposium with a greater level of knowledge. From learning how to customize racquets to mastering customer service, the seminars are simply fantastic. Bob Patterson from Racquetmaxx was also one of the seminar leaders offering his knowledge to all attendants.

There was also a speed stringing contest. The winner was Vasiliy Guryonov. His best time came in the finals finishing in just 13 minutes, 57 seconds! All contestants were stringing on the Prince 6000. The racquet was the Prince EXO3 Rebel (18×20) using the poly Prince Twisted string. Considering the tight pattern and the string being used was a poly, Vasiliy managed to complete the racquet in just under 14 minutes. Born in Uzbekistan, Vasiliy is a 25 year old currently working in Midtown Athletic Club (Chicago). After meeting with him several times throughout the symposium, he has great ambitions and hopes to one day string on the pro tour. We think he has the potential.

In addition to all of the great seminars, the trade show was also a great success. The Tennis Depot was present representing Genesis, Pro Supex, and Topspin. What made us really happy is all the people who stopped by our booth looking at the products these brands offer and understanding that the quality and performance exceeds those of the major brands. From the Genesis side, we offered a preview of the new Genesis Spin X silver color. In addition, we offered white and silver stencil ink, perfect for all the black strings that are coming on to the market. While there were no new Pro Supex products, we did display the entire range of Pro Supex polys, synthetics, and accessories. The Pro Supex Leather Grips received lots of attention. After all the price/performance ratio is superior.

Without doubt the most exciting part of the trade show came from Topspin. The Tennis Depot together with Alpha Tennis previewed 3 new strings from the Topspin range! These new Topspin strings are: Cyber Twirl, Cyber  Whirl, and Cyber Black. The Cyber Twirl is a pentagonal shaped string that is twisted. It will be offered in both natural and black colors. Cyber Whirl is an octagonal shaped string that is available in orange color. Lastly, Cyber Black continues Topspin’s heritage of offering superior playing soft co-polys. Cyber Black is round shaped and as the name applies, it will come in a black color. All of these new strings will be available later this fall.

With all of this excitement, you are thinking can there possibly be anything else. Well yes there is! The Tennis Depot previewed the X series and Fusion series racquets. Soon enough, these racquets will be made widely available throughout the country. We also met with the owner and president of Topspin who came to Orlando for the symposium. There are many great plans for the future of Topspin Tennis in the USA. Besides bringing in new strings and the new racquets mentioned above, The Tennis Depot will soon be re-releasing the Pure series racquets to American consumers.

Last but certainly not least, Alpha will be launching a new electronic machine this November! The Alpha Odyssey, is a constant pull machine offering all the latest bells and whistles. Designed to compete directly with other electronic machines such as Prince 6000 and Babolat Star 5, the new Alpha Odyssey will be offered at a rock bottom price of just $2200. Certainly a great value, The Tennis Depot will be offering this wonderful machine very soon.

With all of this excitement stirring, we would like to thank all of our supporters. The Tennis Depot is looking at a great future and we will continue to introduce new products on a monthly basis.