Posts Tagged ‘Tennis Strings’

Best Valued Multifilament Tennis String

June 17, 2014

Multifilament strings are great for the players that are seeking a great combination of feel, comfort, power and playability. The biggest advantage of them is higher elasticity and superior playability in comparison to polyester strings which are very popular amongst players today. The disadvantage is string durability as they tend to break quicker. This article is not designed to dive into what multifilament strings are or how they are constructed but instead what are the best-valued multilament stirngs on the market today. We here at The Tennis Depot pride ourselves in offering the highest quality products in the marketplace that comes with the best value and bang for the buck to the consumer.

The ultimate #1 valued multifiament string is the Pro Supex Maxim Touch which many players compare to Wilson Sensation, Wilson NXT, Tecnifibre NRG, Babolat Xcel Premium among many others. We have even gotten some that compared it to the Babolat VS Natural Gut or Pacific and Klip natural gut strings.

Pro Supex Maxim Touch has a multifilament core and is reinforced by outside wrapped fibres. It has a polyurethane coating and increases your sweetspot by 30%. This string is arm friendly and can decrease tennis-elbow problems. Maxim Touch works great as a hybrid as well as a full job. We recommend the 16 gauge if you are seeking durability and playability at the same time. When taking price into equation, Pro Supex Maxim Touch is hands down the absolute best multi string on the market today for its price.

Two other multi’s that offer incredible value are both the Genesis Thunder Blast and Genesis XplosionGenesis Thunder Blast offers amazing repulsion power and controlled spin. Players who come in to the net a lot will appreciate the soft capabilities of this string with its impeccable touch and comfort. Thunder Blast has also some of the best tension retention from any multifilament string thanks to a very unique construction process. The center core utilizes a very elastic monofilament compressed and heated to stretch easily. The outer core is twisted by soft elastic multifilaments. A coating resembling a rough surface is added for increased spin.

Genesis Xplosion is a multifilament string compromised of over 2000 filaments that are bonded and twisted together. Genesis Xplosion offers gut like performance without the premium price of most natural gut strings. Xplosion provides superior resiliency and maximum power. Utilizing special heating and cooling treatments, Genesis has achieved a very arm friendly string that offers great feel and touch. A polyurethane elastometer resin coating provides easier stringing and increased durability.

These 3 strings are without a doubt the best bang for the buck amongst multifilament strings out on the market. Be sure to check them out and let us know your feedback once tested!

 

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A Guide to Less Arm Pain

August 23, 2010

So You Have Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow, commonly shorted to TE, has been a plague that has beset the tennis nation more and more. Increasing numbers of players complain of this pain that seems to come from around the elbow. “It hurts,” says one. “After I play tennis, I need copious amounts of ice,” complains another. What can you do?

First of all, if you’ve been having serious pain for any serious length of time (one week or more), stop and put away your rackets. Playing while injured in ANY sport is not a good thing. Tennis is no different. If you’ve been suffering from tennis elbow consistently, STOP. Let your arm heal. The only way to do that is to STOP HITTING. It’s not pleasant and you may miss the sport, but do your arm and your body a favor. Take a month long break.

Fact of the matter is, technique is the NUMBER ONE CONTRIBUTOR to tennis elbow. If you have shoddy technique, you are a very likely candidate for tennis elbow. Stopping the racket mid swing, not swinging out, hitting too close to the body, arming the ball, etc are all indicative of poor technique that can lead to arm pain. After taking a break, see the nearest pro and have them critique your technique.

So now you’ve been to your local pro and he tells you that your technique is fine. After giving you a pointer or two on how to better hit that pesky inside out forehand approach into the corner, you come onto the court the following day… and continue to have arm pain! The next things for you to look at are your strings. Are you using polyester strings? Are you using kevlar strings? If the answer is YES to either of these, get rid of them! Polyester and kevlar strings are stiff and a major contributor to tennis elbow. If you absolutely INSIST on keeping polyester in your frame (and you really shouldn’t), then switch to an arm friendly polyester. Something like Babolat Pro Hurricane, Pro Supex Big Ace, Genesis Black Magic, etc. A much better and more arm friendly option is to switch to either a synthetic gut (if your wallet has been taking a pounding), a multifilament, or a natural gut (if you care to splurge). These much softer options are far more arm friendly. The best string if you have tennis elbow is natural gut (a particularly soft and comfortable one is Pacific Prime, although even the cheapest/worst gut is better than any multi in terms of elbow friendliness). Natural gut is the most comfortable, the least stiff, the absolutely best string for anybody suffering from arm pain. If you can’t afford a full bed of natural gut, consider a hybrid of natural gut and synthetic gut. The natural gut in the mains will contribute most of the feel and softness and arm friendliness of the gut, while the synthetic in the crosses sharply decreases the overall cost of the string bed.  If this hybrid stuff confuses you, just remember this: natural is good.  The more natural, the better.

Next, what tension are you stringing your strings at? If you’re one of THOSE people that strings Luxilon Alu Rough at 75 pounds in your Pure Drive and wonders why your arm is in a sling… STOP! Unless you have arms of steel, do not string Luxilon in the 70’s! The lower the tension, the better off your arm is. Lower tensions absorb more of the impact from the ball hitting the strings, and less power/shock is transferred to your arm. A good starting point for anybody suffering from mild arm pain/discomfort is to lower your tension by 3 pounds. If that’s not enough, try lowering 2 more pounds. If that’s still not enough, then you need to switch strings.

Grip size is rarely mentioned as a contributor to tennis elbow, but it is a contributor nevertheless. Try to avoid playing with anything too small, as the twisting of the racket in your hands doesn’t make your arm happy. Playing with something too big may strain your hand too much and you may not be able to hold onto the racket properly, again damaging your elbow. Don’t be stupid and try to emulate the pros with their smaller grip sizes. They’re pros and they’re able to generate massive amounts of speed that makes the twisting of the racket much less of an issue. Unless you can generate headspeed like Nadal, don’t imitate him by using an overly small grip.

Next on the chopping block is your racket. There are some rackets that are simply menaces. That’s not to say that they’re not great rackets for some people. However, rackets that are overly stiff and overly light kill the arms. Light rackets aren’t good for the simple reason that the lighter the racket, the greater the impulse that is transmitted to your arm. Brining elementary physics into the picture, the momentum of the ball has to go somewhere. That “somewhere” is dependent upon mass. If you’ve got a feather for a racket, then virtually all of that momentum goes straight up your arm. Stiff rackets are likewise horrible for your arm. The stiffer a racket, the greater the shock that is transmitted through the racket into your arm. The more flexible, the less. Thus, rackets that extremely light and extremely stiff should be avoided at all costs. Other rackets that are often cited for causing arm problems include the Babolat Pure Drive, Babolat Aero Pro Drives, Head Extremes, Wilson 6.1 95’s, and others. If you’ve made sure your technique is good, your strings are soft, your tension is low and your grip size is right for you and you’re STILL having arm pain, it’s time to switch. Switch to something that’s flexible, and preferably somewhat hefty. Good advice with regards to weight is to use something that’s as heavy as you can handle. Prokennex makes excellent rackets that are extremely arm friendly. Find something that catches your eye and try it out! Another racket/family of rackets that is very arm friendly is the V1 line by Volkl/Becker. Both the MP and OS versions are excellent arm friendly rackets that provide some nice oomph.

Tennis elbow is something that’s extremely unpleasant. It’s also something that doesn’t necessarily reflect the immediate. If you used to play with something extremely stiff a few months ago but then switched, pain might not manifest for a few months. Keep this in mind when your arm starts to hurt. Take a while off, and then find what exactly it is that is causing you arm pain.

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.”

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.

The String’s the Thing

October 28, 2009

Big Ace string made me see red. No, it didn’t make me lose my cool, but after hitting with a full bed of Big Ace’s red string, I couldn’t see playing with anything else.

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For fellow travelers who have searched for a string with a wicked, dynamic blend of control and power, no further explanation is needed. For anyone who hasn’t set out on a rigorous journey and then found a string that translates directly to his/her bottom line, better match results, I’ll explain more.

But first I should say that I’m not a “Check with me first!” type of string expert.  I am not qualified to write highly technical reviews of strings. I also recognize that everyone’s experience with a particular string is different. This is merely to describe my search, and its impact on my family, friends, and me.

I was stuck in a Tecnifibre NRG2 rut for many years. No complaints, it’s a fine string. I was chiefly focused on its all-around performance, along with its comfort as I worked my way through an arm injury.

I finally gave in to the tidal wave of facts that polyester strings were changing the game. I had heard top ATP pros make this case for several years, but I didn’t really become sold until I hit with other 4.0-5.0-type players and saw them taking full, robust rips with a full bed of poly and hybrid setups and live to play another day with arms no worse for the wear.

I started by experimenting with various Luxilon mains and synthetic crosses. Of course, I was an instant convert, but I didn’t like the strings’ short lifespans. And being a victim of my mother’s thrifty Scottish genes, on a play-per-hour basis, I didn’t like the price per reel. I was also hoping to get 10 hours of play out of each of my family’s racquets before restringing, so I was eager to find a better alternative. There was, and I was on its trail.

A friend and I were talking about online tennis stores and customer service, and he raved about his great experiences with Strings Depot Plus (now The Tennis Depot), especially how quickly and thoroughly they responded to e-mail questions. So I called and peppered its staff with questions about Pro Supex and Signum Pro poly strings. I tried and liked some of them, but Big Ace came to be the runaway favorite for my family as we came to appreciate its unique combo of control and power, softness, and maintenance of tension. The only fair measure of anything is results, and those characteristics clearly translated to our being able to generate heavier, more penetrating shots while swinging freely.

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Other junior players began asking my 16-year son about the strings in his racquet, and at his USTA tournaments, other parents would ask about the bright red stuff in both of our sticks. One by one, a bunch of my son’s friends called The Tennis Depot and switched to Big Ace.

When I would see these teenagers and some adults playing on our local public courts, I was amazed to see how many had converted to Big Ace. When I asked them why they switched, they said some form of the following: performance and price. The symmetry of Big Ace appearing anew on a monthly basis among 4.0-5.0 junior and adult local players on our beloved, no-frills local courts wasn’t lost on me. Big Ace strings matched perfectly with the personality of our home away from home: high quality, durable, and smart value (okay, inexpensive…okay, unbelievably cheap! Ah, now my mom is really smiling).

I recently brought some Big Ace into an urban, award-winning tennis store and showed it to the manager, who is a big fan of Luxilon. His response: “You like this fishing line?” I asked him if he had tried it; of course, he had not. I handed him a sample, and told him I couldn’t demo a racquet anymore unless it was strung with Big Ace because otherwise I’d have no valid basis of evaluation or comparison. I don’t yet know if he has tried Big Ace, but I’ll be curious to see if this isn’t yet another example of this product selling itself.

Message Board Status

September 1, 2009

In the last couple of weeks, we have received numerous requests regarding the status of our message board. We understand the important of interaction between tennis players and are doing our best to get a message board working. However, as you may know, here at The Tennis Depot we prefer to do things right rather than rush through and then change certain aspects. Ideally, we would like to offer a solution where you can use the same login credentials both on our website and on the forum. What this provides is convenience and flexibility. Rather than creating two accounts (one for online store and one for message board), you can use one account for both. A solution like this is not available at the moment. Therefore, we have pushed back the development of the message board to a later date. We do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

At the moment, we urge customers to interact with each other through our Facebook page. You are free to create your very own discussion boards and post on our wall. We understand this does not provide the same user experience as a full blown message board, but this is a temporary solution.

As always, if you ever have any questions, feel free to let us know.