The ultimate guide to tennis strings

The ultimate guide to tennis strings

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 you like is the first step in finding your setup. Each material varies in price and performance.

Synthetic Gut:
Made with a nylon core and typically wrapped in additional fibers. A great starting point for beginners or if you don’t know what you like yet. This is 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, these are constructed with a polyester monofilament. They provide excellent durability, control, and spin, but can be stiff and harsher on the arm. They also lose tension faster that synthetic and multifilament, requiring more frequent restringing.
Benefits: Excellent control, spin, durability.
Downsides: Tension loss, harsher on arm, lower power.

Multifilament:
Constructed with thousands of nylon fibers, 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, feel, tension maintenance.
Downsides: Less control, lower durability - not recommended for frequent string breakers.

Natural Gut:
The original tennis string. Originally made with sheep intestine, now made with the serous membrane of cow intestine, making these very elastic. They have incredible feel, power, and tension maintenance but come at a price.
Benefits: Incredible feel & comfort, lots of power, maintains tension, can be strung tight for added control and remain comfortable.
Downsides: Very expensive, breaks relatively easy.

Variable 2. String Tension.

So you’ve chosen a string material, let’s talk tension (how tight the string is strung). This is measured in lbs in the US 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 and less power you will have.
The lower the tension, the more power and 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. This is measured by a gauge number. The most common gauge is 16, but can range anywhere between 15 and 19.
The lower the gauge (thicker the string), the more durability and control.
The higher the gauge (thinner the string), the more power and 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 up 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 variability that can come from choosing your string settings. 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 manufacturers 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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