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Jack & Coke
12-24-2009, 08:02 AM
Strings of the Stars: The Lux Factor

By Bill Gray
December 23, 2009

http://www.tennis.com/articles/articlefiles/3035-2009_12_23_gasquet.jpg
Gasquet generates tremendous topspin with his Luxilon strings.
(Sebastian Derungs/AFP/Getty Images)

With 70 percent of today’s Top 20 ATP tour players stringing their racquets with its polyester-based string, Luxilon Industries is no longer best known for making fiber products such as medical sutures, climbing rope and bra straps.

Based in Antwerp, Belgium, Luxilon Industries turned its fiber manufacturing expertise into making tennis string 19 years ago, but it wasn’t until 1997 that it gained any ground in the string marketplace. That’s when Gustavo Kuerten, a gangly unknown Brazilian kid, came to the French Open with big dreams in his head and Lux in his racquet and stunned the other players at Roland Garros by winning the thing. They eyed his racquets in the locker room, and began telling their own stringers, “I’ll have what he’s having.”

The Lux word-of-mouth continued to spread as even dyed-in-the-wool traditionalists like Pete Sampras (gut) and Andre Agassi (http://www.tennis.com/players/player_info.aspx?player_name=Andre+Agassi) (Kevlar/nylon) gave Lux a brief whirl. Ivan Lendl flirted with Luxilon; because he was often breaking his gut strings with his over-the-top 75-pound tension, he liked Luxilon’s durability. But Lendl ultimately decided to pass, because he had little use for its spin-enhancement quality, says racquet-customizer-to-the-stars Nate Ferguson of Priority 1 (http://www.p1tennis.com/) in Tampa.

“Lendl hit flat and he loved the way [Luxilon] accentuated the topspin, but adding that high level of spin would be have been difficult because he would have had to adjust his entire game,” Ferguson said.

More recreational players are following suit and opting for Lux. But because it can be harsh on the arm, Luxilon (which means “luxury nylon”) is introducing a gentler and cheaper version, the Adrenalin string, this month.

Pro users often combine Lux with gut in either the mains or crosses to soften the blow and dial down their tensions into the mid and lower ranges for an additional measure of comfort as well as power. Filippo Volandri (http://www.tennis.com/players/player_info.aspx?player_name=Filippo+Volandri) strings at only 26 pounds, the polar opposite of Jurgen Melzer (http://www.tennis.com/players/player_info.aspx?player_name=Jurgen+Melzer), who strings his poly at an arm-numbing 75 pounds. The high tension enhances Lux’s dead feel, which helps the Austrian take better advantage of his favorite shot, the backhand drop.

Andy Roddick (http://www.tennis.com/players/player_info.aspx?player_name=Andy+Roddick) and Lleyton Hewitt (http://www.tennis.com/players/player_info.aspx?player_name=Lleyton+Hewitt) string their Pro Hurricane/gut combos at opposite ends—tight for Roddick, to harness his powerful Babolat Pure Drive Roddick GT Plus racquet, and loose for Hewitt, a retriever who lacks Roddick’s power and needs help from the strings.

With the exception of Mike and Bob Bryan (http://www.tennis.com/players/player_info.aspx?player_name=Bob+Bryan), no two players string their poly exactly alike. The Bryans reinforce the truism that twins do everything alike by outfitting their identical Prince Pro Ignite Team 95 racquets with the same poly/gut string at the exact same tension, 49 pounds in the mains and 53 in the crosses.

The January/February 2010 issue of TENNIS has a strings-of-the-stars chart; here are some more:

Player.................. Racquet........................ String.......................... Tension
Marcos Baghdatis........ Technibre T-Flash 315.......... Technifibre X-One............... 46/51
Tomas Berdych........... Dunlop 4D 200.................. Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power.... 55
David Ferrer............ Prince Vendetta DP MP.......... Luxilon Original................ 44
Mardy Fish.............. Wilson K Factor K-Six-One 95... Wilson Gut/Luxilon Big Banger... 55
Richard Gasquet......... Head Microgel Extreme Pro...... Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power.... 55
Robby Ginepri........... Babolat Pure Storm Team........ Pro Hurricane/Bab.VS............ 55
Tommy Haas.............. Head MicroGEL Prestige......... Bab. Natural Gut/Lux. Ace....... 59/53
Daniela Hantuchova...... Prince Ozone 7................. Babolat VS Touch................ 58
Philipp Kohlschreiber... Wilson K Factor K Blade 98..... Luxilon Big Banger Alu Rough.... 53/51
Na Li................... Babolat Pure Drive GT.......... Bab. Pro Hurr./Bab. Xcel........ 65/63
David Nalbandian........ Yonex RDiS 100................. Luxilon Big Banger Original..... 64
Tommy Robredo........... Dunlop 4D 300.................. Luxilon Original................ 52/50
Francesca Schiavone..... Babolat Aero Drive Cortex...... Babolat Revenge................. 46
Nicole Vaidisova........ Yonex RQiS 2 Tour.............. Luxilon Big Banger Ace.......... 57
Elena Vesnina........... Babolat Pure Drive GT.......... Bab. Pro Hurr./Bab.Powergy...... 57/55
Stanislas Wawrinka...... Head MicroGEL Prestige Pro..... Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power.... 66/62



Source: http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/gear.aspx?articleid=3035&zoneid=24

Deodorant
12-24-2009, 10:43 AM
very informative, thanks.

ClubHoUno
12-25-2009, 06:57 AM
Wonder shy some of the Babolat girls prefer Xcel and Powergy multis to Natty gut ?!?

I also use Xcel Power, but only when it rains or I sucK with my VS NATTY GUT........

THANKS FOR THE INFO BTW

Kot_Bigemot
12-25-2009, 08:07 AM
Source: http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/gear.aspx?articleid=3035&zoneid=24
Another interesting fact is - how low pros string their racquets these days. Mostly in low/mid 50s.
Looking back in to period of 70s- 90s, i remember pros stringing at much higher tensions. Starting with Connors, Lendl, Sampras, Agassi.
I wonder why? May be because today's game is mostly about top spin and baseline rallies? And back then they were hitting flat and it was mostly serve and volley?

THESEXPISTOL
12-25-2009, 08:28 AM
Another interesting fact is - how low pros string their racquets these days. Mostly in low/mid 50s.
Looking back in to period of 70s- 90s, i remember pros stringing at much higher tensions. Starting with Connors, Lendl, Sampras, Agassi.
I wonder why? May be because today's game is mostly about top spin and baseline rallies? And back then they were hitting flat and it was mostly serve and volley?

Todays racquets are way more powerful and back in 70s and 80s everyone was using natural gut that was way more powerful than today polyester strings. Today with mid tensions and polyesters you can still keep the ball in taking huge cuts, but with gut you would have to string around 30-32kgs like Pete Sampras did with his full Babolat gut job. Topspin is also a factor but not the main one.

kinsella
12-25-2009, 10:22 AM
Another way to measure how "tight" your frame is strung is to measure the stiffness of the entire racquet face as a whole, taking all the strings together. With Lux, the same stiffness of racquet face is achieved at a lower string tension. I believe this is why Lux recommends stringing at 10% lower than you normally would when switching to Lux. A 55# Lux string job is really equal to a 61# tension with synthetic guts. Both are considered pretty tight, although higher tensions are used by some.

Tour players are using more powerful racquets than they would have 10 years ago (if you average the top 100 for example), but they keep the ball in the court by hitting more topspin than we saw in a typical match 10 years ago. Hardly anyone today hits flat or with minimal topsping. The best players use a ton of topspin, much more so than 10 years ago. Ten years ago no one but Agassi hit with the kind of topspin seen from all the best players today.

Fedace
01-01-2010, 07:21 AM
BS,,,,i read the article and it saids Rafa is using the Pro hurr Tour. i don't think this list is accurate...

Meaghan
01-01-2010, 07:33 AM
Todays racquets are way more powerful and back in 70s and 80s everyone was using natural gut that was way more powerful than today polyester strings. Today with mid tensions and polyesters you can still keep the ball in taking huge cuts, but with gut you would have to string around 30-32kgs like Pete Sampras did with his full Babolat gut job. Topspin is also a factor but not the main one.

In another similar article http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1899876,00.html it also states that Philipousis serve only 2mph slower with a wooden racket. So I dont think the rackets are that much more powerful.

It also says that the Lux strings are in fact quite powerful yet players say that they are dead and stiff. It concludes that players have changed their strokes to accomodate poly and swing faster generating more spin and are much more inclined to hit aggressively than eras before them.

Kevo
01-01-2010, 07:48 AM
Wonder shy some of the Babolat girls prefer Xcel and Powergy multis to Natty gut ?!?

I also use Xcel Power, but only when it rains or I sucK with my VS NATTY GUT........

THANKS FOR THE INFO BTW

Those strings are both fairly unique in some of their qualities. They are both quite soft at a reasonable tension, with Xcel being softer after wear, and Powergy having the best tension holding characteristics of any soft string I've used.