String is the “soul” of the racquet. String has the first direct contact with the ball or shuttlecock. String is responsible for the feeling, accuracy, power/depth and rotation of the ball or shuttlecock being played. Professional and advanced players are well aware that choosing the right string is as important as choosing the right racquet. Beginners often underestimate this, sometimes they do not even realize that the string is an element that naturally wears out, and its replacement from time to time is necessary. There are a lot of different types of string. Due to the multitude (and increasing) of materials from which strings are made, the common criterion for string separation is their construction.
We can categorise all strings into one of the 2 following types – Natural Gut and Synthetic.
Natural gut strings are manufactured from a process that transforms cow intestine into tennis strings. Natural gut is widely considered one of the best strings on the market and is a popular choice among professional players. Due to the high elastic properties, natural gut strings offer superior power, feel, comfort and tension stability which has been difficult to match even with advanced synthetic materials. However, they are susceptible to moisture, but modern coatings and treatments have decreased this risk. Even so, make sure to keep it out of the wet and damp conditions. It is by far the most expensive string due to the complex manufacturing cost.
You won’t find many club or recreational players using natural gut strings. However, there are a wide variety of less expensive synthetic gut strings on the market that offer similar characteristics.
Multifilament strings are designed to mimic natural gut without the price tag. These strings provide excellent elasticity when freshly strung but do lose tension quicker than natural gut. Multifilament strings consist of many fibres and different materials, whose shape, size, arrangement, etc., vary depending on the manufacturer. Multifilaments are usually made of nylon fibres. The multifilament construction is characterised by greater dynamics and lower rigidity, and what is more, greater comfort. The preferred choice for players with arm problems.
Monofilament strings tend to give greater durability than multifilament strings of the same material, but have less power, feel, and comfort. The most common monofilament string polyester have become softer as it has evolved. These strings are ideal for players searching for durability with control and spin. The lower elasticity of these strings requires full, fast swings to maximise their performance. Polyester strings are known for losing tension much faster than synthetic gut strings and need to be restrung more often to maintain your playing consistency.
The most economical of the various string families, synthetic gut is a nylon-based string, typically with a solid monofilament core surrounded by one or multiple layers of smaller filaments. This construction technique provides all-around performance by combining the improved tension maintenance of the solid core while improving the feel and playability by utilising the outer wraps. This string’s performance has improved over the years, providing dynamic response and feel enjoyed by players of various levels.
This is the mixing of two different types or gauges of string in the same racquet. Hybrid stringing has become popular in the last several years due to the rise of polyester-based strings. Since these polyester-based strings are so stiff, many players have mixed them with synthetic or natural gut strings to make for a more playable and comfortable string bed, while retaining much of the poly’s spin and durability characteristics.
To get the best out of your racquet you’ll have to do a little more than just use the best string. The choice of the right tension is as important as the choice of the racquet frame. As a general rule the higher the tension the less power or depth you get and the more control you have. With a lower tension you gain more power or depth but lose some control. You should try different tensions. If you play better – great, and if you don’t, you can go back to the old tension the next time.
To show you the effects different string tensions and diameters can have on your racquet’s performance see the following:
The middle of the recommended tension range is a good place for you to start on the quest for the perfect racquet tension. From the time the string is installed, it will begin to lose tension, often 10% or more within the first 24 hours before stabilizing for a time. As the tension continues to drop over time, elasticity also decreases, forcing you to swing harder and faster for the same results as a freshly strung racquet.
This is the diameter of the string, commonly expressed in millimetres and/or gauge numbers (the higher the gauge number, the thinner the string, and vice versa). Thinner strings tend to provide more power, feel, and spin potential than a larger diameter string of the same type, although the thicker string will provide more control and durability.
To increase the durability of your strings you should not expose your racquet to extreme heat, cold or humidity. Always keep your racquet in its bag and never in the boot or back window of your car
The following table lets you convert between Gauges and Millimetres.
Maximise your Performance
If you want to maximise your performance, be sure to regularly restring your racquet. A general rule for restringing is once the string has lost 20% of its original tension. How do you know when that happens? Ask us. We can check the dynamic tension and then advise you.