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View Full Version : For the pros the strings matter more than the racquet


JW10S
07-03-2007, 07:29 PM
I commented on this in another thread but it got buried amid all the replies. It is my belief that the strings have a far greater impact on a player's performance than does the racquet itself. The strings, after all, are what make contact with the ball. Finding the right string set up is what matters most to the pros. That is why top players so seldomly switch frames and use painted versions of the frame they've used forever. They could certainly play equally well with another model or another brand of racquet. Lets face it, none of the so called 'players' racquets are all that unique. But changing frames would mean experimenting to find the right string set up for that particular frame. Most do not wish to be bothered or have the time to go through all that so they keep playing with the same frame as all it is doing is holding their desired string set up. The playing characteristics of a racquet can vary greatly depending on how, with what, and how tightly it is strung. I know I will change the string, the gauge, the tension, in my racquets depending on when, where, on what, in what climate, and sometimes who I am playing. Simply put, the racquet holds the strings.

AJK1
07-03-2007, 07:47 PM
I tend to agree, far too much emphasis is placed on the racquet, and not enough on string and tension. A typical example of this is people spending hundreds of dollars on the best racquets, then putting cheap strings in it and expecting great results.

DNShade
07-03-2007, 07:56 PM
I commented on this in another thread but it got buried amid all the replies. It is my belief that the strings have a far greater impact on a player's performance than does the racquet itself. The strings, after all, are what make contact with the ball. Finding the right string set up is what matters most to the pros. That is why top players so seldomly switch frames and use painted versions of the frame they've used forever. They could certainly play equally well with another model or another brand of racquet. Lets face it, none of the so called 'players' racquets are that unique. But changing frames would mean experimenting to find the right string set up for that particular frame. Most do not wish to be bothered to go through all that so they keep playing with the same frame as all it is doing is holding their desired string set up. The playing characteristics of a racquet can vary greatly depending on how, with what, and how tightly it is strung. I know I will change the string, the gauge, the tension, in my racquets depending on when, where, on what, in what climate, and sometimes who I am playing. Simply put, the racquet holds the strings.

AMEN...Very well put.

BreakPoint
07-03-2007, 10:26 PM
I disagree. Yes, the string set-up is important to the pros but the mere fact that many pros stubbornly stick to their old racquets (sometimes very old) instead of switching to the latest and greatest is testament to how important the racquet is to them. This is why so many paintjobs exist on the tour. Sometimes a pro will even turn down millions so that they can continue to use their old racquet, as was the case with Sampras and his St. Vincent ProStaffs.

And if the racquet didn't matter, all the pros that are still using racquets like the 20 year old Prestige Classic with paintjobs would have switched to the i.Prestige then to the LM Prestige then to the FXP Prestige, but they didn't. And a pro like Hewitt is still using the SRD Tour 90 and never switched to the MP-1 Tour nor the RDX 500 nor the RDS 001, but instead chose to use paintjobs.

Meanwhile, many of these same pros have changed to different strings during their careers even though they've never changed their racquets during their careers. Many have switched away from mostly all gut or nylon and more towards Luxilon or the like (poly or co-poly), and have changed from using full string jobs to using hybrids. I think the pros experiment a lot more with different string set-ups (type, gauge, hybrids, tension, etc.) than they experiment with different racquets.

Steve Huff
07-03-2007, 10:31 PM
Agree with Breakpoint. Afterall, if the racket didn't make a difference, Blake would still be with Prince. They offered him a lifetime contract. He just never could get used to the racket they tried to make for him.

Luctator
07-04-2007, 02:57 AM
This is true, as many pros have said it.
The most insistent was Silvia Farina Elia, who always stated that any racquet with your preferred string pattern, weight and balance was ok for you, as long as you found the right string.

Rabbit
07-04-2007, 03:16 AM
Doesn't it depend on the pro? Aren't both statements valid depending on the pro? Becker once said that, to underline the importance of strings, that his racket merely "held" his strings. Now that he makes rackets, he's singing a different tune, of course.

Hewitt was used as an example. Problem is, Hewitt did change rackets from a Prince Original Graphite to a Yonex Tour 90 (and possibly other Yonex frames). I've owned both and they're quite different. Hewitt began his career as a pro using the Prince frame and was wooed away by Yonex. Yonex was, at the time, in search of male players. Yonex has had great success in getting lots of pros to change, Kraijcek, Rios, Bruguera, and Nalbandian come to mind.

Sharapova and a host of other pros (48?) have recently changed rackets to the O3. So, the premise that the racket is most important is really only true of certain pros.

Pros also change string. Some pros do and some pros don't. Again, it's dependent on the pro.

There are 3 important factors in any set up: racket, string, and tension. I feel like you're lucky to find a combination of the 3 that really works to enhance your game. I also think that this is why the pros are reluctant to change any side of this triangle. Club players like us are more willing to change because we blame the racket or the string more than our own ineptitude.

crosscourt
07-04-2007, 03:52 AM
There is a view that says that players can't win major tournaments with midsize (98sq inch) and above rackets without modern poly strings. I doubt that this is right, certainly on the women's side.

I would be interested to know for example what strings Muster used to win Roland garros.

KiNG
07-04-2007, 04:06 AM
Agree with the OP :)

saram
07-04-2007, 10:54 AM
Doesn't it depend on the pro? Aren't both statements valid depending on the pro? Becker once said that, to underline the importance of strings, that his racket merely "held" his strings. Now that he makes rackets, he's singing a different tune, of course.

Hewitt was used as an example. Problem is, Hewitt did change rackets from a Prince Original Graphite to a Yonex Tour 90 (and possibly other Yonex frames). I've owned both and they're quite different. Hewitt began his career as a pro using the Prince frame and was wooed away by Yonex. Yonex was, at the time, in search of male players. Yonex has had great success in getting lots of pros to change, Kraijcek, Rios, Bruguera, and Nalbandian come to mind.

Sharapova and a host of other pros (48?) have recently changed rackets to the O3. So, the premise that the racket is most important is really only true of certain pros.

Pros also change string. Some pros do and some pros don't. Again, it's dependent on the pro.

There are 3 important factors in any set up: racket, string, and tension. I feel like you're lucky to find a combination of the 3 that really works to enhance your game. I also think that this is why the pros are reluctant to change any side of this triangle. Club players like us are more willing to change because we blame the racket or the string more than our own ineptitude.

well said. you summed it up better than anything i could have written...

PBODY99
07-04-2007, 11:19 AM
There is a view that says that players can't win major tournaments with midsize (98sq inch) and above rackets without modern poly strings. I doubt that this is right, certainly on the women's side.

I would be interested to know for example what strings Muster used to win Roland garros.

Iso speed at a very high{ 75+ lbs} tension.

NoBadMojo
07-04-2007, 11:25 AM
I would be interested to know for example what strings Muster used to win Roland garros.

He used IsoSpeed pro for the most part and I understand he would instruct the stringer to peg his machine (string at the maximum tension)..dont know what that would be..perhaps 75 or so

I commented on this in another thread but it got buried amid all the replies. It is my belief that the strings have a far greater impact on a player's performance than does the racquet itself. The strings, after all, are what make contact with the ball. Finding the right string set up is what matters most to the pros. That is why top players so seldomly switch frames and use painted versions of the frame they've used forever. They could certainly play equally well with another model or another brand of racquet. Lets face it, none of the so called 'players' racquets are all that unique. But changing frames would mean experimenting to find the right string set up for that particular frame. Most do not wish to be bothered or have the time to go through all that so they keep playing with the same frame as all it is doing is holding their desired string set up. The playing characteristics of a racquet can vary greatly depending on how, with what, and how tightly it is strung. I know I will change the string, the gauge, the tension, in my racquets depending on when, where, on what, in what climate, and sometimes who I am playing. Simply put, the racquet holds the strings.

The racquet and string combine to form a 'system'. They are both important. Best to find something that works and stick with it

Azzurri
07-04-2007, 12:01 PM
Doesn't it depend on the pro? Aren't both statements valid depending on the pro? Becker once said that, to underline the importance of strings, that his racket merely "held" his strings. Now that he makes rackets, he's singing a different tune, of course.

Hewitt was used as an example. Problem is, Hewitt did change rackets from a Prince Original Graphite to a Yonex Tour 90 (and possibly other Yonex frames). I've owned both and they're quite different. Hewitt began his career as a pro using the Prince frame and was wooed away by Yonex. Yonex was, at the time, in search of male players. Yonex has had great success in getting lots of pros to change, Kraijcek, Rios, Bruguera, and Nalbandian come to mind.

Sharapova and a host of other pros (48?) have recently changed rackets to the O3. So, the premise that the racket is most important is really only true of certain pros.

Pros also change string. Some pros do and some pros don't. Again, it's dependent on the pro.

There are 3 important factors in any set up: racket, string, and tension. I feel like you're lucky to find a combination of the 3 that really works to enhance your game. I also think that this is why the pros are reluctant to change any side of this triangle. Club players like us are more willing to change because we blame the racket or the string more than our own ineptitude.

Well said Rabbit. Both arguements are certainly valid. It all depends on the individual. It made me think of what Sampras was saying. He noted he could hit better today (not sure to what extent he meant) because of the new technology in the RACQUETS and the STRINGS. So BP and the OP are probably both right...just depends on the individual. 20 years ago I would have said BP all the way, but strings are so important now. Good points none the less.:)

insiderman
07-04-2007, 12:03 PM
During the time frame in his career being talked about, Muster use Babolat VS 1.25mm @ 40-Kg. He used the Iso early in his carer, but for the better part, it was VS. Trust me...I strung a 'bundle' of frame for Thomas over those years - most interesting was when he was into the 'reverse-stencil' phase where he'd (always himself) stencil the entire string-bed with black, and only leaving the frame logo to be 'natural' of the strings.

Good guy, easy to work with, and always very professional regarding his equipment.

armand
07-04-2007, 12:19 PM
I'm gonna go ahead and play on the fence here.

Racquet is important but as long as you got similar specs(weight, balance, string pattern etc), I think you'll be ok.

And the strings are important too, as long as you're playing with the same type(gut, syn, poly, co-poly). If the strings happen to be a bit stiffer, you can drop the tension and vice versa.

If I had to give up either my favourite racquet or my favourite strings, I think I'd pick the strings because there seems to be many more choices to replace them.

babolat15
07-04-2007, 12:50 PM
agree with the OP

SFrazeur
07-04-2007, 02:01 PM
Even at the risk off putting too fine a point on this: Every pro is different.

-SF

fgs
07-04-2007, 02:05 PM
as rabbit and nbmj already mentioned, it's definitely the racquet/string/tension combo that matters. you could see some moving tensions a little bit up and down depending on the court surface, altitude and ballbrand to be played in specific tournaments.
it is not always easy to replicate the feel in a racquet a player is looking for (see blake), but sometimes a new racquet just clicks in and they use it (it's not all paintjobs!).

ubel
07-04-2007, 02:40 PM
As for as what matters more, that's a very hard question to answer.. but maybe if you look at a similar question, which one pros are more willing to experiment with, you might find the answer. To be honest, I think pros would be more willing to experiment with strings as even little increases in the amount of spin a string produces can be devastating at their level of play. Strings can also be tightened if they're too trampoline-like or loosened if they're too stiff, basically meaning you can make many different strings feel similar by loosening or tightening them.

Branching out from that idea, if strings deal the most with the amount of spin you put on a ball, then it may be safe to assume that racquets deal most with the amount of power you put into a ball (forward velocity). Thusly, you can think of the racquet as the tool for which a player uses to push, or place, balls around the court in groundstrokes, serves, and vollies.

Changing the weight distribution, changing how much the racquet flexes/gives on impact, and the length of a racquet can vastly alter its feel for a player, which is basically what using a different racquet does. All of this is input from the racquet to the player, and if a player isn't exactly sure what the racquet does as far as placement, then they can't be sure the ball will go where they want it to go.

There's so much moree, but I don't think I have enough knowledge on either racquets and strings, though, to make a fair assessment as far as which is more important. My gut, however, tells me its the racquet which is most important. It's the thing that lasts the longest and is the biggest constant for a player.. not the balls, not the type of court, not the strings, but the racquet.

babolat15
07-04-2007, 02:46 PM
it really does depend on the pro

jkonecne
07-04-2007, 09:53 PM
It does depend on the pro, but also to a certain extent with the rackets/strings as well.

Rabbit
07-05-2007, 03:36 AM
My gut, however, tells me its the racquet which is most important. It's the thing that lasts the longest and is the biggest constant for a player.. not the balls, not the type of court, not the strings, but the racquet.

That's not exactly true. Case in point...me. I think my adoration for the C10 is documented on these boards pretty well. It wasn't until I discovered poly and lower tensions that the racket really became a part of my arm.

Supernatural_Serve
07-05-2007, 03:45 AM
Assuming that you are playing with an appropriate racquet matched to your style and skill level, then the strings in my opinion matter most.

But, that's an important assumption. You can't say the strings matter more than the racquet when you are holding a touring pro control racquet versus some giant power racquet.

Pro_Tour_630
01-11-2008, 07:21 PM
I am bumping this thread up since I find it funny how the person who started this thread did not futher comment on such an important topic.


And BTW I agree with the OP only I agree that it matters and is not limited to ONLY PROS but also between two 6.0's two 5.5's two 5.0's two 4.5's. or between a 5.0 and a 4.5 or a 5.0 and a 5.5 especially if they are sensitive to string setups.

Having a wanna be pro kick the crap out of a 5.0 with anything means nothing and is a non issue:confused:

Hooooon
01-12-2008, 09:29 AM
racquet easily matters more than strings, although strings are crucial. disliking a frame cannot be compensated for, strings a player dislikes can be strung looser or tighter to compensate.