View Full Version : String patterns and great second serves.

04-23-2004, 09:50 PM
Having seen many top players in action and also playing the game for quite while I am starting to come to a crossroads when it comes to string patterns. I have rarely seen a player with a great second serve use a frame with more than 16 mains. Sampras, Roddick, Krajicek, Larsson, Edberg, and many others who are notable for their second serve prowess all use 16 mains frames. The only exception is Mark Philippoussis. Safin, Ivanisevic, Tursunov, and a few others are well known for their first serves, but their kick serves are pretty much average by tour standard. Just think about the difference in the kick serves of the wodden era, and the difference now. Wood was very small and very dense, and when I played with a wood racquet a while ago the first thing I noticed was the lack of snap on the second serve. It was definitely a handicap for me in that area.

I know that other areas of the game benefit from a dense pattern, but I would rather just talk about the serve for now. Is it almost essential to use an open pattern to achieve a great kick serve, or can the kings of the kick serve do it with an 18/20 if they wanted to? I seriously doubt they can, but I am interested in hearing your opinions and experiences. Should players seeking overall serving greatness consider learning to use more open patterns regardless of how it affects other aspects of their game early on, and just learn to control the extra spin as they progress.

Matt H.
04-23-2004, 11:29 PM
the equipment does give an advantage and help it....but they are pros for a reason.

Also, you can counter-act the string pattern with string gauge. Like say, putting 17 or 18g string on a frame with a 18x20.

04-24-2004, 08:10 AM
My argument was not that the pros have better second serves than me because of the racquet. I was saying that at the higher levels the best kick serves come from players swinging racquets with open string patterns , and that many use 17 gauge in an open pattern as well. I am not saying that if I had Pete's racquet I could serve like him, but I believe that if pete used a prestige classic with 16g strings his kick serve would not be the best in the world. The same goes for Roddick.

04-24-2004, 08:32 AM
But think about it 16 mains on an 85 sq. in. head is more dense than 16 mains on a 100 sq. in. head.

Matt H.
04-24-2004, 09:26 AM
the biggest factor in a kick serve is the amount of rpm on the ball.

the biggest factor in creating rpm is going to be the angle of impact (of the racquet hitting the ball), and speed of the racquet.

I'd say that Sampras would have a killer kick serve no matter what what the density of the string pattern is.

04-24-2004, 10:54 AM
actually krajicek used an 18x20 pattern when we saw him using the rd ti 70.....and that was an 88 si head.....it really is all the player.
think about this, with 18x20, you have more strings contacting the ball thus more griping, but with 16x18 or 20 you have fewer strings, but they "bite" the ball well.
.....the rest.........upto the player and thats it. string pattern is pretty much irrelevant as far as im concerned. i can hit just as much spin with either pattern and have never really noticed a lacking in one or the other. what you WILL NOTICE however, is that a more open string pattern is a little more powerful overall because you have fewer strings that have to flex and thus, they give easier(same idea for stringing a racquet lower with a softer string). now at the same time, with that extra give you will see more spin produced, but this can be compensated for by stringing lower with a denser string pattern. generally with a more dense string pattern you have better feel on the ball as well since you have more strings transfering feedback.
whatever....its all personal preference really.

joe sch
04-24-2004, 11:37 AM
The biggest factor is the player, great servers would still be able to ace and hit the different spins with any racket and string pattern. Edberg could get an awesome amount of kick on a serve using a 24 x 20 pk. I have no trouble hitting well over 100mph & kicking/slicing serves with a max 200g 18 x 20 strung with 15g string. Open string patterns may help increase spin but the ability is all with the player. NOTE : on some of my 18 x 20 string beds, I have used double and triple main strings and still get about the same performance with lots more string endurance.

04-25-2004, 02:47 PM
I do not believe that string pattern is a big factor but rather the players' ability and technique. I have not read or heard of any substantuated evidence that string patterns have much effect on the 2nd serve or the first serve for that matter. String patterns for me perceptively effect feel and frame response. There are valid arguments for both!