All About Tennis Strings and String Tension

All About Tennis Strings and String Tension

All About Tennis Strings and String Tension

There are many types of tennis strings out there and it may be hard for beginners to know what type of string they should choose.  For tennis strings, there are different aspects to consider.  The gauge (thickness), material, and tension.

String Gauge

Tennis strings come in different gauges.  This is basically a measure of the thickness of the string.  The higher the gauge the thinner the string and the lower the gauge the thicker the string is.  

 Gauge 19 18 17L 17 16L 16 15L 15
mm 1.00-1.10 1.10-1.16 1.16-1.20 1.20-1.24 1.22-1.26 1.26-1.33 1.34-1.40 1.41-1.49

  

Gauge is used more by Americans whereas "mm" is used elsewhere.

The most common gauge you will find for strings are 16,16L, and 17.

 

 THIN STRINGS THICK STRINGS

MORE SPIN

LESS DURABLE

LESS SPIN

MORE DURABLE

 

Thinner strings will allow the player to apply more spin to the ball as it can embed deeper into the ball.  While thinner strings offer more spin, they are less durable.

Thicker strings, will offer less spin but have high durability.

Therefore it is advised for beginners to start with 16 gauge strings as they will last longer.

 

String Composition

Tennis strings have different compositions but they fall into either natural gut or synthetic gut.

Natural Gut - These strings are made from cow guts.  Natural gut strings are known for their superior feel, touch, spin, and ability to maintain tension.  A downside is that they are not as durable as synthetic strings and are quite expensive.

Synthetic Gut - Most players opt for synthetic gut strings because they are cheaper than natural gut and nowadays offer good playability that is suited for non-professional players.  Synthetic gut strings are most commonly made out of nylon, but can also be made from polyester or kevlar.

 

-------Below are different types of synthetic gut strings:

 

Nylon - Nylon strings are quite all-rounded, offering good power, control, and is reasonably durable.

Polyester and Kevlar- Polyester strings give added durability but can be harder on the arm due to the more durable construction.  Not suitable for players with arm problems. Kevlar is the hardest string type available. They are super durable and also super stiff.  They are generally used by frequent string breakers and are often used in a hybrid setup with another string type.

Check out:  PolyTour PRO 125

Multifilament and Monofilament Multifilament strings are composed of thousand of microfibers and perform the closest to natural gut.  They offer great power, control, and soft feel making it easy on the arm.  Monofilament strings consist of a solid single core.  They are quite stiff compared to multifilament strings but are more durable.

Check out:  MultiSensa 130

Textured -  Textured strings have a raised pattern on the surface which generally functions to generate more spin on the ball.

Check out: PolyTour Spin 125 and PolyTour Spin G 125

 

 

String Tension

 

Generally if is advised to start at a tension that is in the middle of the recommended tension on your racket.  For example, if the recommended tension is 50-60lb, you would start at 55lb and either increase or decrease it the next time according to your preferences.

If you feel you need more power, then try decreasing the tension by 1-2lbs.

If you feel you need more control, then try increasing the tension by 1-2lbs.

As a general rule:

High tension = more control, tighter string bed, harder feeling

Low Tension = more power, looser string bed, softer feeling

String tension should be adjusted depending on the type of string that you use.  If your normal string tension is 55lb using a soft natural gut, then you should lower the tension if you switch to a harder kevlar string and vice-versa.

 

 A LITTLE TIP!

For players with arm injuries it is advised that they reduce the tension of their strings.  A lower tension will create a softer and more forgiving string bed that is better at absorbing vibration from the impact compared to a harder string bed.