There are lots of parts to just a tennis racquet. From the type of overgrip that goes over the tennis racquet handle to the shape of your frame and the type of string, each part is fundamental to the overall performance of the tennis racquet. The fundamentals of a tennis racquet definitely plays a vital part to your performance on the tennis court. And with that in mind, tennis strings are more than just ‘strings’. Think about them as the engine to your tennis racquet.
Knowing a bit about tennis string gauge is important when choosing a string for your tennis racquet. When your stringer talks about gauge, he or she is referring to the thickness of the tennis string. You should know that most strings on the market are between 15 gauge (the thickest) and 18 (the thinnest).
Thinner strings offer more playability which gives power and more spin potential while thicker strings offer durability.
The gauges are also available in half-gauges that are identified with an ‘L’ such as 15L and 16L which is short for ‘light’.
Below is a graph that converts the gauge to millimeters for a better understanding.
You’ve got your tennis racquet. You’ve chosen the right tennis string. Now it’s time to marry the two together with a tennis string tension that’s suitable for the racquet and your game style. It’s not as complicated as you may think. We’re here to help you elevate your game and break down the technical details so you know what string tension to tell your stringer the next time you need a restring.
Long story short, you get more control with a higher tension but it also means you get less power. Vise versa, a lower tension provides more power but less control. String tension is the final piece in the racquet-string-tension triad.
Typically a racquet will feature a recommended tension range somewhere near the throat of the racquet. (This range has been determined by the manufacturer as a result of playtesting by real tennis players.)
A beginner tennis player may need more control but a tighter (higher) string tension is only part of the solution. This player also needs a soft stringbed that can absorb the weight of the ball from off-center hits. On the other hand, advanced players swing faster, hit harder and generally have better aim in terms of making contact with the center of their tennis racquet. Hence, the recommendation for advanced tennis players is a tighter string tension.
If you find the information about tennis racquet restring complicated, you can always choose a tension somewhere in the middle (a number) that’s on the throat of your tennis racquet then make any adjustments from there. An important rule of thumb to remember is lower tensions provide more power, tighter tensions provide more control.
We recommend picking a tension 1 or 2 pounds more than the middle of the recommended range on the throat of the racquet as racquet strings lose tension as soon as it’s finished being strung – around 10% or more within the first 24 hours before stabilising for a period of time. When the string tension drops, so does the elasticity of the strings. The player will then have to provide more of their own power for the same results of a freshly strung racquet as a result.
Tip: If you want to maximise your performance, be sure to regularly restring your racquet. The general rule for restringing is at least every 6 months, or as many times in a year as you play in a week. That means if you play 4 days a week, you should be restringing at a minimum of four times a year.
We’ve summarised a list of possible needs below for consideration when your racquet goes for a restring.
Tip: Decrease 1-2 pounds in tension.
Why: Stringbed will deflect more and the ball less which results in returning greater energy to the ball.
Note: The stringbed will eventually become too light, but it’s well below any racquet’s recommended tension range.
Tip: Increase 1-2 pounds in tension.
Why: Stringbed will deflect less and the ball more which results in giving less energy to the ball. The ball won’t fly as far when you hit it.
Note: This is for intermediate and advanced players who hit a lot of long balls and will help to reduce the depth of their shots. Not helpful for beginners who are shanking the ball in every direction.
Tip: Lower tension.
Why: Makes for a softer stringbed and a larger sweet spot to reduce the amount of shock and vibration transferred to the hand and elbow.
Note: No lower than the recommended range on the throat of your racquet. Also loses control for more topspin and slice shots.
Tip: Change tension according to the new racquet’s recommended range and start from the middle.
Why: Different tennis racquets will have slightly different head sizes and different brands will have slightly different head shapes. If using the same string, a player should still correspond to the new racquet’s tension range.
Note: If possible, stick to the same string so all the components of the racquet-string-tension triad so the change is not complete and not hurting your wallet too much.
Veteran player? No problem. Competitive junior? Okay. Social competitor? We’re listening. What about a beginner? Don’t sweat it. Every player’s style and level of tennis is different and so will have different tennis restringing needs.
Did you know that a tennis racquet’s frame will suit a particular type of tennis string? Let us break down the basics of tennis restringing and what’s available at Everything Tennis pro shop.
Types of Tennis Strings
Recommended for: light racquets (under 300 grams)
Benefits: power, durability, comfort and feel
Disadvantages: less control, loses tension quicker than natural gut strings, less durability for big hitters
If you’re looking for power and would like to have sharper and more aggressive shots, a multifilament string is ideal. Multifilament strings tend to produce more power and comfort than solid-core or synthetic gut strings. It’s usually a preferred choice for players with tender arms and elbows. Multifilament strings are designed to mimic the performance of natural gut strings but at a lower price. Not recommended for string breakers.
Recommended for: experienced players, heavy racquet (more than 300 grams)
Benefits: control, durability, spin
Disadvantages: less power, loses tension quicker, not for undeveloped forearm growth (juniors)
For those who want more control and need to channel their power, a monofilament string will work but is more demanding on the forearm. Monofilament strings tend to exhibit greater durability than synthetic gut or multifilament strings of the same material, but have less power and comfort. The most common type of monofilament, co-polyester strings are for players seeking durability, control, and spin. The lower elasticity of these strings requires full, fast swings to maximize their performance and is commonly used by intermediate and advanced players. A stiff string is usually not recommended for junior players who haven’t fully developed.
Recommended for: all ability and advanced players
Benefits: comfort, power, feel and tension longevity
Disadvantages: expensive, not as durable
The is the top-of-the-line tennis string, providing long tension maintenance and control. Natural Gut strings are used by both club players and pros as no other string produces the tension maintenance and power that natural gut can. As well as being very elastic (which provides power), natural gut string gives a plush feel at ball contact. The string itself stretches and returns to its original form better than synthetic strings.
Recommended for: beginners
Benefits: Holds tension well (durable), playability, affordable
Disadvantages: Not if you break your strings easily
Most synthetic guts are made with nylon (also referred to as polyamides). There are different grades of nylon with varying levels of feel. Synthetic gut strings deliver a good combination of playability and durability at a very reasonable price.
Recommended: Professional tennis players want to limit the power of the natural gut string in the mains and get more spin with control in the crosses.
Benefits: Cost effectiveness for recreational players who choose an expensive string (natural gut).
Disadvantages: Playability not the same as full use of natural gut.
When a racquet is strung with two different string materials (one vertical, one horizontal), it is hybrid stringing. It may seem as if the player is getting the best of both strings, but about 80% of the playability comes from the mains (the strings from top to bottom) and 20% of the durability comes from the crosses (the strings from left to right). Hybrid stringing is popular with professional players choosing a strong, endurance-type string in the mains, and pairing it with a softer string in the crosses such as a natural gut or a multifilament.
Knowing the nitty gritty details of the type of tennis string available is not vital but a rough understanding of what your needs are as a tennis player will help you navigate your way through the range of tennis strings available in the Australian tennis string market. We stock all four types of tennis strings in our Strathfield pro shop as well as online and we’re here to help when it comes to restringing your tennis racquet for the first time (and there will be, trust us) and the many times afterwards.
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