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View Full Version : What caused Sampras' strings to break so often ?


rfedererfan
03-07-2012, 06:36 AM
I'm sitting here and watching Indian Wells final in 1995 when Sampras breaks 3 strings (resulting in 2 winners and Agassi getting mad) so i'm wondering why i havent seen Federer break a string for the last 10 years and Sampras breaks a couple every match !? Is it tension or something im not familiar with ?

SLD76
03-07-2012, 06:37 AM
Wimbledon Gravitas.

Rorsach
03-07-2012, 06:39 AM
Because Sampras strung at crazy tensions, as in above 70 lbs.

jxs653
03-07-2012, 06:40 AM
I heard he used thin natural gut strung at very high tension, like 70. Given his small racquet head, that tension seems extreme.

Limpinhitter
03-07-2012, 06:41 AM
17 gauge natural gut + 16 x 18 string pattern + nuclear bomb serve = lot'sa string breakage!

Cup8489
03-07-2012, 06:43 AM
Federer rotates frames every ball change and uses string savers. Sampras didn't rotate every ball change and used thin gut.

fundrazer
03-07-2012, 06:48 AM
No idea, but this thread reminded me of one match when he was playing Rafter. Returning a Rafter serve completely warped Pete's racquet. I thought it was cool :)

Limpinhitter
03-07-2012, 06:54 AM
Federer rotates frames every ball change and uses string savers. Sampras didn't rotate every ball change and used thin gut.

You've never seen Sampras installing string savers in between points?

Cup8489
03-07-2012, 07:09 AM
You've never seen Sampras installing string savers in between points?

i never said that, I was only saying Federer has them installed before even playing. I know sampras would install them as the string became worn.

Biscuitmcgriddleson
03-07-2012, 07:18 AM
Because Sampras strung at crazy tensions, as in above 70 lbs.

THIS in addition to people not having a schedule to change out their rackets like certain people do today.

Biscuitmcgriddleson
03-07-2012, 07:20 AM
You've never seen Sampras installing string savers in between points?

He only installed them when he thought it was necessary. Federer pre installs and some would say is over the top about his changing of rackets. I'd imagine that Federer's string bed would become sloppy before Sampras' due to much lower tension.

helloworld
03-07-2012, 07:45 AM
No idea, but this thread reminded me of one match when he was playing Rafter. Returning a Rafter serve completely warped Pete's racquet. I thought it was cool :)

Actually it was Rafter who was returning Pete's serve and the ball went right through Rafter's racquet.

fundrazer
03-07-2012, 08:33 AM
No, both happened. I'm browsing youtube for the video to prove it.

fundrazer
03-07-2012, 08:35 AM
I think it has happened more than once, but here's one instance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=AQxIEXFIkd4#t=69s

Magnetite
03-07-2012, 08:36 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNgCas4Pw1M

Sampras' serve goes through Rafter's racket lol.

dnj30
03-07-2012, 09:10 AM
I'm sitting here and watching Indian Wells final in 1995 when Sampras breaks 3 strings (resulting in 2 winners and Agassi getting mad) so i'm wondering why i havent seen Federer break a string for the last 10 years and Sampras breaks a couple every match !? Is it tension or something im not familiar with ?

Pete used full bed of gut. Roger has poly in his crosses. Wouldnt that be the biggest reason?

tennis_pro
03-07-2012, 09:16 AM
Mindless ballbashing?

scotus
03-07-2012, 09:22 AM
17 gauge natural gut + 16 x 18 string pattern + nuclear bomb serve = lot'sa string breakage!

Pete had 18 gauge Babolat gut made specially for him from what I hear.

He had it strung at above 70 lbs in that tiny 85 sq in racquet, which is roughly equivalent to above 85 lbs on a 100 sq inch racquet.

Roger, because of the Lux cross he uses, can control his shots at a much lower tension.

Laurie
03-07-2012, 09:54 AM
Pete had 18 gauge Babolat gut made specially for him from what I hear.

He had it strung at above 70 lbs in that tiny 85 sq in racquet, which is roughly equivalent to above 85 lbs on a 100 sq inch racquet.

Roger, because of the Lux cross he uses, can control his shots at a much lower tension.

The 2000 Miami final was a great example of two contrasting philosophies. Gustavo Kuerten was one of the firtst guys to play with a really low tension with I think was luxilon strings, Sampras with his natural gut, thin gauge and incredibly tight strings. I think the commentator Tim Ryan talked about the "thunder" coming off Sampras' recquet, the sound it made on contact with the ball. And yet with such tight tension he could still do feathery touch volleys.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29fQSwUmoVc

Moose Malloy
03-07-2012, 09:58 AM
from further down this page

In 2004, Federer was stringing his rackets at 55 pounds, which was considered ultra-loose for that time. While stringers say he already has the lowest tension of any of the men in the top 10, stringers say he's gone down even more.

Ferguson of Priority One said Federer uses vertical main strings, made of gut, strung at 49 pounds and a synthetic brand called Luxilon Alu Rough in the cross strings at only 46.2 pounds.


http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=416079

I think it has happened more than once, but here's one instance.



Yeah it did. Pretty sure you are right that it happened vs Rafter as well(think the GS Cup, there may have been a clip posted here before with it)

Also have seen that happen to Borg a few times. I would guess those 2 had the highest tensions of all #1's since the rankings started('73)

scotus
03-07-2012, 10:05 AM
I would guess those 2 had the highest tensions of all #1's since the rankings started('73)

Monica Seles definitely had higher tensions usually going over 90 lbs and sometimes over 100 lbs.

But she had a super-oversized racquet, so the stringbed stiffness was probably lower than those of Borg and Sampras.

stringertom
03-07-2012, 10:20 AM
I was given a surprise stringing assignment in the late 90's: Pete's local (Orlando FL) training coach delivered four of Sampras' sticks along with SIX sets of the prettiest, thin nattie I've ever seen. My mission, should I accept it: string those clubs @78# and drop 'em off the next AM. My first question: why the extra two sets? Answer: in case you need 'em...fragile at even lower tensions, this 1.20 gut is known to pop while installing.

I had no problem getting the four done that night but, sure enough, one set had begin "horsetailing" even before play and I didn't discover that until too late to redo it. I returned the unused sets and offered the redo but Pete's schedule was to fly out to Montreal later that day. He subsequently relocated his training to LA, as he had just started his relationship with Bridget, never returning to Orlando for training. End of need for my services, unfortunately.

Tubing at crown AND throat was used to protect the mains (IIRC) from 5LM to 5RM. I also remember leather power pads. Had to be used just to get a set out of that set-up. Fed doesn't wear his strings as quickly bcoz he is using thicker gut in the mains at almost 30# less tension. The ALU Rough texture would rip the mains more quickly at higher tensions...one Futures player I strung for last year was using ALU Spin in a nattie-main hybrid; he strung at a higher tension and cut through in a set or so on clay.

Hope this clears up questions anyone has.

bluetrain4
03-07-2012, 11:11 AM
Monica Seles definitely had higher tensions usually going over 90 lbs and sometimes over 100 lbs.

But she had a super-oversized racquet, so the stringbed stiffness was probably lower than those of Borg and Sampras.

Monica always used at least regular OS frame (110-115), starting with her POG before she switched to Yonex. But, does anyone remember whe she went to that comically large Yonex for a while (which is probably what Scotus is referencing), which was probably about 135 sq inches? She played okay, but I always laughed, thinking she was playing with one of those pro shop novelty display frames. I think before and after the 135, her regular Yonex OS was about 112-115, but I'm not sure.

She talked once about her frames (not strings) breaking after so much pressure was put on them during stringing. I would not have strung her frames without wearing a protective vest and goggles. Lol. Poly or poly hybrid probably would have been a nice option for her and other players who used incredibly high tensions.

Laurie
03-07-2012, 01:35 PM
Monica always used at least regular OS frame (110-115), starting with her POG before she switched to Yonex. But, does anyone remember whe she went to that comically large Yonex for a while (which is probably what Scotus is referencing), which was probably about 135 sq inches? She played okay, but I always laughed, thinking she was playing with one of those pro shop novelty display frames. I think before and after the 135, her regular Yonex OS was about 112-115, but I'm not sure.

She talked once about her frames (not strings) breaking after so much pressure was put on them during stringing. I would not have strung her frames without wearing a protective vest and goggles. Lol. Poly or poly hybrid probably would have been a nice option for her and other players who used incredibly high tensions.

Do you remember the 2010 US Open semi where Zvonareva busted 4 racquets in one set and was almost defaulted? Go straight to 4 min 50 sec

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1BxLLXjFX0

Russeljones
03-07-2012, 02:10 PM
I was given a surprise stringing assignment in the late 90's: Pete's local (Orlando FL) training coach delivered four of Sampras' sticks along with SIX sets of the prettiest, thin nattie I've ever seen. My mission, should I accept it: string those clubs @78# and drop 'em off the next AM. My first question: why the extra two sets? Answer: in case you need 'em...fragile at even lower tensions, this 1.20 gut is known to pop while installing.

I had no problem getting the four done that night but, sure enough, one set had begin "horsetailing" even before play and I didn't discover that until too late to redo it. I returned the unused sets and offered the redo but Pete's schedule was to fly out to Montreal later that day. He subsequently relocated his training to LA, as he had just started his relationship with Bridget, never returning to Orlando for training. End of need for my services, unfortunately.

Tubing at crown AND throat was used to protect the mains (IIRC) from 5LM to 5RM. I also remember leather power pads. Had to be used just to get a set out of that set-up. Fed doesn't wear his strings as quickly bcoz he is using thicker gut in the mains at almost 30# less tension. The ALU Rough texture would rip the mains more quickly at higher tensions...one Futures player I strung for last year was using ALU Spin in a nattie-main hybrid; he strung at a higher tension and cut through in a set or so on clay.

Hope this clears up questions anyone has.

Thank you for the insight. Must be a bit like defusing a bomb ;)

jackson vile
03-07-2012, 03:49 PM
String quality may not have been as good as it is now, his racket was super heavy, he hit a hell of a lot harder serve than pros of today. His spin was so insane that it broke the strings on Rafter's racket, and I remember someone claiming that Rafter said how that may have contributed to his shoulder problems.

SystemicAnomaly
03-07-2012, 03:58 PM
3000 rpm (at 120-130 mph) on first serves and sometimes exceeding 5000 rpm on 2nd serves could have been a factor.

http://wings.avkids.com/Tennis/Project/usspin-07.html

BevelDevil
03-07-2012, 07:05 PM
Wait, what is it about poly that makes topspin easier to generate? I heard two explanations:

1. they are stiffer (not quite sure how this increases spin)

2. they produce less friction when rubbing against each other, thus allowing the strings to move more on the bed (and this somehow puts more spin on the ball).


I ask this because if someone puts on stringlings, doesn't that reduce the movement of the strings? So I would presume if Fed uses them, explanation 2 can't me right.

?

Seth
03-07-2012, 07:37 PM
Sampras hits it like he lives.

Hard.

FedererUberAlles
03-07-2012, 08:24 PM
Wait, what is it about poly that makes topspin easier to generate? I heard two explanations:

1. they are stiffer (not quite sure how this increases spin)

2. they produce less friction when rubbing against each other, thus allowing the strings to move more on the bed (and this somehow puts more spin on the ball).


I ask this because if someone puts on stringlings, doesn't that reduce the movement of the strings? So I would presume if Fed uses them, explanation 2 can't me right.

?

Being stiffer means that they impart more force on the ball than flexible strings. Imagine you have a glove and you're going to punch someone with it. The glove can be made out of rubber or plastic. Which one do you think would do more damage? It's sort of like this (rubber is more flexible than plastic, in this case)

Polys make spin easier to generate because of this and because they often have coatings, such as ALU rough, that grip the ball when it is on the strings. This transfers more force in the direction of the plane of the racquet, causing spin.

sportsfan1
03-07-2012, 08:47 PM
^^ Interesting explanation, and even more interesting profile pic (animated gif of Fed's BH).

The Bawss
03-08-2012, 03:05 AM
I think a more appropriate explanation is that he wasn't good enough to hit a clean ball.

aphex
03-08-2012, 03:15 AM
Flawed serve technique is the biggest reason.

Laurie
03-08-2012, 04:22 AM
3000 rpm (at 120-130 mph) on first serves and sometimes exceeding 5000 rpm on 2nd serves could have been a factor.

http://wings.avkids.com/Tennis/Project/usspin-07.html

This is something I've talked about a lot over the years. A lot of people just go by the speedgun to determine effectiveness, but look at Henman's 120mph serve and Sampras' 120mph serve:

Player: No. of Serves: Avg MPH: RPM Range: Avg RPM:

Marcelo Rios 2 92mph 3000-3333rpm 3167rpm
Jim Courier 6 108mph 2500-4054rpm 2842rpm
Todd Martin 7 98mph 1667-3947rpm 2798rpm
Tomas Muster 8 105mph 1667-4284rpm 2754rpm
Pete Sampras 11 120mph 2100-4260rpm 2699rpm
Petr Korda 7 101mph 1579-3750rpm 2688rpm
Andre Agassi 9 102mph 1200-4284rpm 2449rpm
Mark Philippousis 3 123mph 1765-2830rpm 2198rpm
Michael Chang 7 112mph 1000-3750rpm 1677rpm
Tim Henman 2 120mph 1429-1667rpm 1548rpm

Look how much more spin Sampras puts on the ball, sometimes almost 4 times as much spin as Henman's. Also, it is conceivable that some of those could be 2nd serves because from 1998 onwards he was hitting 2nd serves in that range as he was coming to net more, pre 1998 he was staying back more on 2nd serve and didn't hit it as hard but still deep.

So basically, that's why the Sampras was serve was much harder to return than Henman's, and many other players who served faster than him during that period in tennis history. Not only did it have much more spin, but his serves were either sliding away from the opponent or swinging into the body. Sampras would have made a very interesting fast bowler in cricket because he gets so much movement, and movement translates as deception.

Just one other important thing to point out, Sampras was doing this with natural gut, not fancy luxillon strings - so technique and skill is just as important as technology in the right hands.

stringertom
03-08-2012, 12:38 PM
Wait, what is it about poly that makes topspin easier to generate? I heard two explanations:

1. they are stiffer (not quite sure how this increases spin)

2. they produce less friction when rubbing against each other, thus allowing the strings to move more on the bed (and this somehow puts more spin on the ball).


I ask this because if someone puts on stringlings, doesn't that reduce the movement of the strings? So I would presume if Fed uses them, explanation 2 can't me right.

?
Poly's advantage in imparting spin comes from stringbed stiffness at lower tensions than traditional nylon string formulas. At MOI (moment of inertia), the ball flattens out more, yielding more surface area to brush across...thus more spin. Some polys are also manufactured with a textured and/or geometric shape that increases the length of MOI...i.e "grabs" the ball longer.

Stringbed configuration also contributes to imparting more spin...an open 16x18 pattern lets the string move more than an 18x20.

Sampras took advantage of both of these physical phenomena. While he didn't play poly, he achieved a super stiff stringbed with 78# of tension on a 85sq.in. stringbed (like playing @ 80#plus on a MP). He also opened up the pattern by playing the 1.20 skinny nattie.

Re: Fed's stringsaver usage...he selectively places them near the higher portion of the sweetspot, supposedly for the benefit of "tipped" strokes (serve/OH) he might shear the nattie with on higher swing speeds.

agentaviles
03-08-2012, 12:47 PM
I think a more appropriate explanation is that he wasn't good enough to hit a clean ball.

Did you really just say that Pete FREAKING Sampras wasn't good enough to hit a clean ball? I'm speechless....

The Bawss
03-08-2012, 01:25 PM
Did you really just say that Pete FREAKING Sampras wasn't good enough to hit a clean ball? I'm speechless....

Relax, I was just trolling.

Cup8489
03-08-2012, 01:42 PM
Do you remember the 2010 US Open semi where Zvonareva busted 4 racquets in one set and was almost defaulted? Go straight to 4 min 50 sec

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1BxLLXjFX0

i remember that. Some issue with the throat piece of the princes she was using, IIRC. I was watching that match live and was really surprised when one of the frames came out with a string already busted in transit. lol.

Bhagi Katbamna
03-08-2012, 05:29 PM
I think a more appropriate explanation is that he wasn't good enough to hit a clean ball.

He paid for the whole racket, why not use all of it.

Sentinel
03-09-2012, 04:36 AM
Flawed serve technique is the biggest reason.
He should have taken lessons from Oscar Borras. Like Rafa did.

Sentinel
03-09-2012, 04:37 AM
He paid for the whole racket, why not use all of it.
And here I thought the top pros got stuff for free and were even paid to use/wear some of 'em.:)

fundrazer
03-09-2012, 05:21 AM
from further down this page



http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=416079



Yeah it did. Pretty sure you are right that it happened vs Rafter as well(think the GS Cup, there may have been a clip posted here before with it)

Also have seen that happen to Borg a few times. I would guess those 2 had the highest tensions of all #1's since the rankings started('73)

Ah, I thought it might have been to the high tension. Interesting that it happened to Borg as well. I do recall some stories about Borg's frames getting warped after stringing or playing.

In the clip I posted, it was Rafter vs Pete at Wimbledon. I thought it happened at Cinci the year after Sampras hit through Rafter's stringbed, but I don't remember. I've had trouble finding anything on youtube.

helloworld
03-09-2012, 05:41 AM
Flawed serve technique is the biggest reason.

Pete Sampras Serve is one of the most perfect shot in tennis history, and you consider it flawed??? :confused:

agentaviles
03-09-2012, 06:14 AM
Relax, I was just trolling.

My bad, I didn't mean to go off on anyone. Even though I'm currently a huge Federer fan, Sampras is still my favorite of all time. Sometimes I can be too sensitive :P

agentaviles
03-09-2012, 06:15 AM
Pete Sampras Serve is one of the most perfect shot in tennis history, and you consider it flawed??? :confused:

I would imagine that he's kidding, but you never know on these threads! LOL

stringertom
03-09-2012, 09:18 AM
He should have taken lessons from Oscar Borras. Like Rafa did.

Francoise Durr's serve is the paradigm! Too bad Dementieva never copied her...multiple majors lost due to this oversight.

Moose Malloy
03-09-2012, 09:59 AM
In the clip I posted, it was Rafter vs Pete at Wimbledon

the clip you posted was Henman vs Sampras, '98 Wimbledon SF(I have it on tape)