Tennis String: What to Know and What to Choose?

Restringing, Tennis String -

Tennis String: What to Know and What to Choose?

According to Babolat, tennis strings account for 50% of the racquet performance, but understanding the various string materials, construction, and technology behind the strings can seem overwhelming.

ORC Pro Shop’s Manager and Head Stringer, Dan Kilberg, is happy to help explain the different tennis string options and characteristics and help you decide on which string will help you play your best!

Tennis strings differ in their material, their manufacturing and especially their playing characteristics.  There are 4 main types of tennis string: Natural Gut, Synthetic Gut (Nylon), Polyester and Multifilament. Each has different characteristics to consider depending on what a player is looking for such as: control, touch, power, vibration dampening, spin, and durability.

Natural Gut:  Manufactured from sheep or cow intestines, natural gut has great elasticity allowing for absorption of vibration making it very arm friendly. It also maintains its tension and power- offering both speed and control. It is, however, less durable, weather sensitive to damp or humid conditions, and more expensive due to its high manufacturing costs.

Target Player: Players who suffer from injuries (tennis elbow) and infrequently break strings will benefit the most.

Synthetic Gut or Nylon: The most used type of string, synthetic gut provides all round performance and value since they are weather resistant, softer than polyester, and more durable than multifilament. Synthetic gut is constructed with nylon but is not to be confused with tournament nylon- which is what cheaper pre-strung racquets will come strung with. The typical nylon string consists of a monochrome (monofilament) nylon core and a durable nylon sheath. The more layers this string has, the more elastic it is (the nylon core is in fact virtually inelastic). The number of wraps reduces the tension loss usually experienced with nylon strings.

Target Player: Ideal for recreational players, juniors who break multifilament strings frequently or those new to the game.

Polyester: Most high-level players use either a full bed of polyester string or hybrid mixes of polyester in the mains (long strings) and natural gut or nylon in the cross strings according to the desired characteristics. Polyester strings are constructed of a single strand (also called monofilament) of polyester offering the greatest level of durability and control. Polyester strings are durable and have great snap back. The disadvantage of polyester strings is that they lose tension quite easily, resulting in them being preferable for players who tend to break their strings quite often. Manufactures have tried to overcome this with the addition of additives (carbon fiber or metal). Polyester strings have low elasticity and feel stiffer when compared to synthetic gut and multifilament strings. They do however tend to lose their tension quite quickly decreasing control and the string will feel flat.

Target Player: High level, heavy spin players who often break strings. Polyester strings are well suited to players who string their racquets at a high frequency.

Multifilament String: Offers power, comfort, and durability. Engineered to mimic natural gut but with added durability. They are made of multiple fibers of nylon and wrapped in a durable coating. Multifilament strings are manufactured in various models, to use every playing and material characteristic. For example, they can be produced with a solid core, with more layers or with a structure that enhances the spin capacity.  

Target Player: Players who suffer from arm injuries (tennis elbow) and are looking for something more durable than a natural gut string.

Come into the ORC Pro Shop and see Dan or send him an email at dan@orcproshop.com. Dan loves talking tennis and helping players decide on what will work best for their game!