Low, low tensions. 30lbs feels great. 20lbs pretty good, too

Discussion in 'Strings' started by TW Staff, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    Over the last couple of days I've been experimenting with low tensions. Pro player Volandri is around 26lbs, so I started at 30lbs yesterday and then dropped to 20lbs today.

    Here's my blog on my hitting experiences if you'd like to check it out:

    http://blog.tenniswarehouse.com/?p=1154

    Chris, TW
     
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  2. Pwned

    Pwned Hall of Fame

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    Very interesting. I just tried 48 and thought it felt great. I may try SpinX at ~41-42 next.
     
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  3. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    I'm too nervous to drop any lower
     
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  4. Kick Serve 14

    Kick Serve 14 Professional

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    Wow... that is really low, I should try that the next time I string mine up...
     
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  5. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    maybe I'll go to 35 before 30 lol. I def wanna try this
     
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  6. Shangri La

    Shangri La Hall of Fame

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    The TW Professor is the root of all evil.

    That is all.
     
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  7. sandflea

    sandflea Rookie

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    Good stuff Chris, when I read the thread title I was guessing that you had used a kevlar string. It's even more interesting that you didn't.
     
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  8. Nanshiki

    Nanshiki Hall of Fame

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    I find that there is a sweet spot for string tensions, depending on the racquet.

    Too high, and you can't hit flat serves well and you have to swing too fast for consistent groundies; too low and your shots spray around too much, or bounce to deep when you hit volleys, blocks, and slice shots.
     
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  9. Ivan Lendl's Backhand

    Ivan Lendl's Backhand Banned

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    Interesting!

    What about your accuracy and precision play, Chris? Was that affected or were you still as pinpoint with your directional shots?
     
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  10. vincent_tennis

    vincent_tennis Professional

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    mm interesting..
     
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  11. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    Soon you will be able to string your racquet by hand!
     
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  12. Xenakis

    Xenakis Hall of Fame

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    A worthy experiment thanks Chris. What about the longevity of a full bed of poly at these much lower tensions?
     
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  13. Gaab

    Gaab Rookie

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    Most interesting, thanks for sharing your experience.
     
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  14. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Nice experiment but all depends on what type of player you are, if you hit with lots of topspin it's a lot easier to go very low then when you hit really flat just above the net. I can play with lower tensions but i have to adjust my game just as i can play with higher tensions, i have to adjust there too. So for me mid tension works out the best.
    The lowest i went is 15 kg but 20lbs is extremely low...
     
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  15. Lambsscroll

    Lambsscroll Professional

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    lol,

    I'm going to try 30 pounds today for the hell of it.
     
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  16. pingu

    pingu Semi-Pro

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    Chris, Thanks for sharing an interesting subject. Please let us know how it goes with you :)
     
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  17. ClubHoUno

    ClubHoUno Banned

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    I will try VS NAT GUT @ 48 lbs mains and Luxilon Alu Power @ 44 lbs crosses next time on my 2 Völk PB10 Mid - but 20 lbs and 10 lbs is a bit too low, when I use nat GUT in the mains.....

    For a full poly, I could see the benefits from it thoug....interesting reading.
     
    #17
  18. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    Chris-

    What about string movement? Do they move all over the place or do they tend to restore their initial position?

    Also, I'd be interested in how this affects the longevity of a co-poly...

    -jrod
     
    #18
  19. pingu

    pingu Semi-Pro

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    I think Chris mentioned in his blog that string was fine :)

    "...Another fact that surprised me was I did not have to adjust the strings at all. As usual for me with a poly, the strings returned to an aligned state after every shot..."
     
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  20. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I would think you can only do this with a poly or copoly, because of their low resiliency. A multi at 20 would launch rockets.
     
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  21. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    You are indeed correct....I should give up on the speed reading...missing way too much.
     
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  22. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    My experience is that the lower the poly tension - the longer the longevity of the poly. But I've never tried 30lbs before!
     
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  23. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Hall of Fame

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    Saw the string specs and tensions for players at the Australian Open the other day on the web. Just googled it. Seem to remember Serena Williams was really high. The lowest guys were Davydenko followed closely by Federer - 21/19.5 if I remember.

    I played the other day with an old aluminium frame strung in co poly at 40. It was artificial grass, heavy balls shooting through low. The other team thought I was a ringer that had been brought in especially for the match. Pretty unique playing conditions but low tensions worked a treat
     
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  24. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    Keep in mind that Serena (and Venus) plays full gut while just about everyone else uses full poly or poly hybrid.
     
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  25. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Hall of Fame

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    Hear you can get an instant gut restring just by sticking it down the throat of a line judge.
     
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  26. ryushen21

    ryushen21 Hall of Fame

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    Hmm...this intrigues me. I've been thinking of dropping my tension a little. But I'll take baby steps first. Myabe down the 55lb area.
     
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  27. UnforcedError

    UnforcedError Rookie

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    Very interesting thread, thanks for sharing the experience. I've been stringing my rackets with full poly at 50, I will try 40 in my next racket. I think I will string it up tonight so I can try it tomorrow.
     
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  28. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    Haven't had the chance to test how long the strings will last as I'm only on day three today. I don't think I'll have to worry about tension loss, though!

    With the 20lbs set up, I didn't feel as I was getting any advantage over the 30lbs set up and there was some adjustment needed on serve. I was living on 2nd serves at 20lbs as I was finding it hard to get my first serve out of the net.

    30lbs already feels very soft and even though 20lbs felt softer, I wasn't getting the same bite on slice. Topspin hops really well at both tensions. Flatter strokes have some effortless depth to them which is more controllable at 30lbs compared to 20lbs.

    Interestingly, the trampoline affect I was expecting simply wasn't there. At 30lbs, the ball goes into the stringbed, I could feel extreme pocketing, but then the ball just comes out as I would expect from a poly and didn't head into orbit at all.

    I was hitting with Gran yesterday and he told me it was like I was playing stealth tennis as he couldn't hear the difference between me cracking the ball, or taking pace off. I managed to flat foot him several times with slice backhand drop shots when he thought I was going to slice deep.

    My level of precision was spot on at 30lbs and pretty decent for me at 20lbs -- more so with topspin at 20lbs over slice. With both tensions the amount of feel I had was very high so touch shots, lobs, drop volleys etc were all working really well for me.

    Today is a 10lbs day. Yes, I could probably string it up in my lap and just hand pull the string, but I'll do it on the stringer. I will blog this afternoon on how it goes.

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
    #28
  29. SplitStepper

    SplitStepper Rookie

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    Glad to see the low tensions are catching on. I have a difficult time getting some students to drop but the ones that fully trust me have had great results. I can't imagine ever going back above 37lb.
     
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  30. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    wow..37lbs! I string at 62..haha. One day I may try it in my spare m-fil for fun and see what happens. I used to string at 50#s and while it was nice for a while, I got sick of using insane topspin to hit hard winners that would stay in.
     
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  31. SplitStepper

    SplitStepper Rookie

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    I used to string at 70. My big thing these days is keeping healthy. If I can't hit, I can't pay my bills. Taking a month off for tennis elbow is not an option. Sometimes I resent that I have to go this low because I'm sure certain shots suffer. Just another reason to love tennis, there are so many right answers.
     
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  32. Standupnfall

    Standupnfall Semi-Pro

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    How would a Soft Poly such as Black Magic or PolyStar Energy at 40-50lbs compare to a Super Soft Multi like Maxim Touch at 55-58lbs in terms of arm-friendliness.
    Or even a cheap first gen Poly at 40-50.

    I did like Polystar at 50 and wondering how arm friendly this is compared to a much softer string at a standard mid tension like 55lbs.

    Thanks
     
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  33. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    I read one of your posts a while back that you've had success with matchpower at 35lb. I still have a set of that which i've been holding onto for when i do try this ultra low poly tension. Maybe this weekend... but i'm still having too much fun with this low kevlar/gut setup. I'll just have to compare the two! Ever since i've dropped below 50 i haven't looked back.
     
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  34. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    Great question I wish I knew the answer to. Looks like I know what I'll be trying out the next few weeks! My only trial was BAM at 43lbs, compared to VS gut at 57lbs. The gut was still better for my arm, but once we get down into the 30s, this could change. I do know that kevlar/gut at 40-45 is quite comfy.

    Thanks for the blog Chris, keep it up, good luck with 10lbs, heh.
     
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  35. Dot

    Dot New User

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    Great news

    Really excited to hear this having some arm issues and getting old! but want to stay with a players frame (trying out blx 95 18X20) Wondering how low people have gone with multi's?? playing nxt or prince rip control will try low forties next string job (currently 52) May even be able to use a poly at low a tension
     
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  36. Standupnfall

    Standupnfall Semi-Pro

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    I dont know if Id like anything other than a smooth poly that low.
    Part of the charm is how easily the string slides back into place after each hit and I dont think that would happen with a gummy feeling Multi.
     
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  37. Hankenstein

    Hankenstein Professional

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    Chris, I dont know if this is to much to ask for, but it would be really nice if you guys could record some of the action with your nice playtest camera!!

    I think this will be pretty big here on the forum within a couple of weeks. Revolutionary things like this would well deserve a movie-shot :)
     
    #37
  38. rudester

    rudester Professional

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    I use multis at about 58-60 pounds, I also use Polystar energy at about 52 pounds and find it just as comfortable, in fact it is so comfortable i am thinking of stringing it with more tension because it is powerful as well. I have had shoulder issues which do not reappear when i use polystar energy, softest poly i know of.
     
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  39. Lambsscroll

    Lambsscroll Professional

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    I tried 30 pounds with Ashaway kevlar 16g on the mains and a synthetic 16g string on the cross. Its totally playable at this tension. I think a poly string is the way to go though for less string movement.
     
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  40. decades

    decades Guest

    I am using only 2 mains and 2 crosses strung at 9lbs. :twisted:
     
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  41. Nanshiki

    Nanshiki Hall of Fame

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    By the way, the reason your spin has improved is because low tensions allow the strings to slingshot the ball, because the mains move more freely with polys at low tension. But the stiffness of the poly allows you to string lower than a synthetic gut and still maintain reasonable control.

    I'd try stringing the mains four or five pounds higher than the crosses to see what happens.
     
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  42. brownbearfalling

    brownbearfalling Hall of Fame

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    Very interesting and unique thread.

    One important question for me: Is broken in string that was initially strung tighter, then played with for an extensive time (6 months) the same as initially string a racquet at low tension?

    I always figured that when I string at 54lbs I expect my strings to drop to 50lbs within a few hours. That is on my 16x19 pattern. But when I play with a 18x20 pattern, I string at the tension I want. I might try 40lbs but I can't see myself trying tension any lower.

    I am guessing that stringing at 30lbs goes by very quick. The tensioner must catch pretty quick and the clamps wouldn't have any draw back.
     
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  43. TW Staff

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    #43
  44. W Cats

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    Great thread thanks for the updates.
     
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  45. hescobal

    hescobal Rookie

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    so 10lbs on a lock out is actually 8-9lbs on a constant pull correct?
     
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  46. jk175d

    jk175d Semi-Pro

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    very intriguing! My question to you Chris, do you get the feeling that the novelty of the low tensions might be influencing your feelings about it at this point and once that aspect wears off you might think differently? Can you simply break down the pro's and cons of 30lbs vs your tried and true set-up? Thanks for sharing.
     
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  47. ttbrowne

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    This is downright fascinating.
     
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  48. Toad

    Toad Rookie

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    lol

    I've been wanting to try this with a full bed of Kevlar for a while...this thread pushed me over the edge...I'm doing that test next. Full Kevlar @ 26 lbs. (half my normal Kevlar tension).
     
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  49. TW Staff

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    I've been playing points while hitting so the novelty of the low tensions quickly went away as I had to get down to business. At first, when I realized how much spin I could get, I was trying to put maximum spin on everything -- fine for hitting, but not getting it done during points. I realized this very early on, so just played normally from then on.

    First few tiebreaks with the 20lbs set up was a little tough mentally and I had to keep telling myself to forget about the string and just play my game. Returning at 5-5 in a breaker, it was tough to trust the strings and just hit my shots, but I did it and it worked out great.

    Today, going to 10lbs was easier than going from 30lbs to 20lbs. The only issue I had at 10lbs was excessive vibration -- something I didn't have at 30lbs or 20lbs.

    As I mentioned in the blog, I'm going to play around between 25-35lbs to find the right tension for me. Volandri strings around 26lbs on the pro tour, so that might be my next test tension.

    Chris, TW
     
    #49
  50. Yaz

    Yaz Rookie

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    Chris, how did you adjust to balls with no pace vs. lots of pace with the low tension? I had some trouble at both extremes when trying sub-50lbs.
     
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