View Full Version : Question on Poly Strings

08-29-2010, 05:28 AM
I've heard many people point to poly strings being the chief culprit in the demise of serve and volley tennis (including Agassi).

I really don't understand this. I'm not much into equipments, but aren't poly strings just synthetic fibre strings that have been around for decades? Has there been some kind of revolution in synthetic fibre technology while I was in sleep?

I've started playing tennis in the early '80s, and I've always used synthetic strings because of their durability and affordability. But I always longed to play with natural gut, and loved that feel when somebody lent me one. Almost all the pros then used natural gut strings. No one thought otherwise.

Most of the years, I've played with Prostaff Orig. Mid (St. Vincent) and tried various synthetic strings (really cheapo to more high priced). No one string gave me particularly bigger power. It was all about the feel - whether I liked it or not - and the quality of my shots (not the power).

Then, with my coach's recommendation, since a few years ago, I've made the switch to 95 sq. in. racquet with Luxilon Alu-Power string. One tough and long-lasting string, I thought. And the new racquet gave me plenty of power. But I didn't like the feel of the deadness the string gave me, and I've switched to Wilson NXT (supposedly similar to natural gut) which I liked for volleying and continued to use for 3 years now. To me Alu-power and NXT do not have power differences. But to me different racquets gave me different powers.

I'm a 4.0 guy (very close to going up a notch in my estimation). All these talks of Luxilon uber alles sound like hype to me. Are my techniques not modern enough to fully appreciate the increased power potential of modern strings?

fuzz nation
08-29-2010, 10:15 AM
No, you're cool. And I agree that much of the performance equation when hitting a ball is about the racquet, while the string type/tension is a significant augmentation toward that result.

That deadness that you felt with the poly was no accident. Poly is typically more dead - less elastic and resilient - than synthetic gut, multifiber, and certainly natural gut. Many find that this diminished liveliness with poly can be most detrimental to the feel, touch, and zip from a string bed that can foster better volleys.

While it may not be helpful to have a slingshot for a racquet when venturing to the net, the relatively restricted response from poly can be better for controlling full ground strokes than producing snappy volleys. With less of a trampoline effect from the poly, a similar low to high stroke will yield the same spin, but less linear velocity on the ball. With a higher ratio of spin imparted on the ball, bigger swings can have enough spin to keep harder shots down on the court with poly.

With their higher swing speeds, serious players in the college and pro ranks can often benefit from this type of string, sometimes as a hybrid with maybe a softer cross string. The general recreational ranks don't really need this string though, at least in my opinion, and I don't recommend it when I string for anyone I know.

08-29-2010, 04:45 PM
Not sure what your asking but I too used NXT for a couple years and have since found two similar strings that you will appreciate more. One is Technifibre NRG and the other is Pro Supex Multi Touch. Both soft like NXT but are superior in string movement, tension retension, playability, and comfort. Give them a try and you will thank me later.

08-29-2010, 06:58 PM
Since I posted the question, I dug in a little more and found some answers on these pages. So I'm glad to learn that I'm not at odds with the current trend when not favoring the poly string (I was thinking of trying some real gut strings on my more modern frames but was a bit concerned whether I was going against the flow).

I only picked NXT from a shop guy's recommendation based on my input, so there is no special attachment. It's ok, but I am now willing to try some others. I'll try the recommended products and some natural stuff next time, thanks.

Hi I'm Ray
08-31-2010, 04:29 AM
I've always played with multi's and syn gut, occasionally kevlar but recently tried poly in full beds and hybrids. If the tension was too high it felt extremely harsh and I didn't want to play with it for more than a few minutes. At more personally suitable tensions I found a considerable increase in spin. Not everyone who uses poly really needs to be using it I think. Be aware that if you go with natural gut at the same tensions as syn gut, there will be a very noticeable increase in power, which may be difficult to control. So string it up higher or try it in a hybrid. The feel of gut to me is crisp yet springy, very lively and powerful. Tension maintenence of gut is excellent.