The ultimate guide to tennis strings

The ultimate guide to tennis strings

The engine of the tennis racket. Adjusting your string setup can have some of the biggest impacts on your game, and finding your optimal settings is key to performance. Below is our quick guide to all things tennis string.

Variable 1. Materials.

Strings come in 4 main materials. Synthetic gut, polyester, multifilament, and natural gut. Choosing a material is the first step in finding your setup. Each material varies in price and performance.

Synthetic Gut:

A great starting point for beginners or if you don’t know what you like yet. This is the most budget friendly option if you’re looking for value.

Benefits: All around playability, budget-friendly.
Downsides: Average performance, doesn’t excel in any one area.

Polyester / Co-Polyester / Monofilament:

The most popular type of string today & used by most professionals. They provide excellent durability, control, and spin, but can be stiff and harsher on the arm.

Benefits: Excellent control, spin, durability.
Downsides: Quicker tension loss, harsher on arm, lower power.

Multifilament: 

A great modern alternative to natural gut strings. Designed for power and comfort, these strings are very easy on the arm. 

Benefits: Arm comfort, power, plush feel, maintain tension well.
Downsides: Less control-oriented, lower durability (not recommended for frequent string breakers). 

Natural Gut:

The original tennis string, now made with the serous membrane of the cow intestine, making these very elastic. Renowned for their performance and feel, but are quite expensive.

Benefits: Incredible feel & comfort, lots of power, maintains tension, can be strung tight for added control while remaining comfortable.
Downsides: Very expensive, break relatively easy. 

 

Variable 2. String Tension.

So you’ve chosen a string material, let’s talk tension. This is measured in lbs in the U.S., and manufacturer recommendations typically fall somewhere between 48 and 60 lbs. Of course, you can string higher or lower, but your racket warranty could be voided.

  • The higher the tension, the more control, less power you will have. Please note that arm discomfort is more commonly reported at higher tensions.
  • The lower the tension, the more power and more spin you will have.
  • Our recommendation: If you don’t know what you like, start in the middle of the recommendation on your racket and adjust from there in increments of 2-3 lbs. 

Variable 3. String Gauge. 

String gauge is the thickness of the string. The most common gauge is 16, but can range anywhere between 15 and 19.

  • The lower the gauge (thicker), the more durability and more control.
  • The higher the gauge (thinner), the more power and more spin you will have.
  • Our recommendation: Start with a 16 gauge string, this is the most commonly used. If you want additional power and spin, go to a 17 gauge string. Keep in mind the thinner the string, the more frequently it will break. 

Final Thoughts:

The strings, once again, are considered the engine of the racket. There is a lot of variability in choosing your string setup. To get to your optimal point, make small adjustments every time you restring. The starting point should be a synthetic, 16 gauge string, strung in the middle of the manufacturer's recommendation. From there, adjust material, tension, and string gauge based on the feel you prefer and the performance you are receiving out of your current setup.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at support@carvesports.co.

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