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Old 11-06-2012, 08:41 AM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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Hi 2nd serve,

Yeah, cool, I kind of get what you are envisioning here. Old concepts die hard. Mid 90's - 2009, there was a lot of debate on the topic of string to ball friction. Mark Woodforde was rocking his ultra thick string in his extreme open pattern frame. Circa 2005, Jay Schweid was making comments in tennis mags that thick string enhances spin, and raising a lot of collective eyebrows in the process. Good times. Today, we don't debate that issue with the passion that we used to. That's because the answer is old news. But still, questions about how to best increase ball to string friction keep rolling in here with the regularity of waves crashing into the beach.

Short Answer:

1. Not likely. Your quest to increase ball-string friction would be dubious at best, because thinner strings and open patterns promote ball-string friction, not thicker strings. In addition, you'd be increasing the angle of the weave, which increases string to string friction. So you've got a dubious maybe at best, on the part that matters only slightly (high string-ball friction) and a definitive no on the part that matters the most (low string-string friction)

Longer Answer :

1. Yes the "ridges" would be more pronounced with a thick/thin combo, but getting the string to grip, grab, or bite the ball is not a huge problem. It's going to happen no matter what strings you have. In the sport of Table Tennis, where the ball does not deform, there are strict regulations about the thickness of the rubbers for tournament play, and the contact angles are much greater, getting adequate surface friction on the ball is a very big deal. If you want to get in deep up to your eyeballs about spin generation and ball friction, hang out in those forums LOL. But in the sport of tennis, where the ball deforms quite a bit, and the string bed deflects, not only is the ball sufficiently "gripped" by the string bed, it is literally smashed into it, squashed down to half its original shape. If the forces are great enough, ultra high speed video reveals that the ball is squashed nearly flat.

2. So what this means is that there is limited room for improvement here. You cannot get any "more" bite or friction happening when the ball is already squashed into the string bed like a bug on a windshield. The only meaningful thing that can be said about ball bite, is that there is biting a tiny bit sooner, and there is biting a tiny bit later. By a "tiny bit", I mean a crazy small amount. The total duration of typical ball impacts is 3-5 milliseconds, or said another way 4/1000 of a second. Let's put that into perspective. The blink of of eye lasts 300-500 milliseconds. Ball impacts occur during a much shorter time frame than most players would guess, and the amazing number of posts discussing which string has the most or least dwell well time, stand as testimony to that misconception. (Mostly what you feel, for as long as you feel it, is post impact frame vibration that is occurring long after the ball has left the string bed, but that's another conversation altogether) Anywhoo... as the ball enters the string bed on a typical topspin ground stroke, the racquet face is tilted slightly. The tilt in the racquet face means that the ball slides a bit before taking hold, a textured, or thin string will bite the ball slightly sooner.

3. If the strings are slippery enough to create a slide and snap back scenario, a textured string will grip the ball slightly longer with that last little flick of additional spin as the ball exits the string bed. But that last little flick, (that creates the additional spin) isn't going to happen at all if the strings are not sliding amongst themselves.

4. Points 1-3, explain why it can said that low inter-string friction is much more important than high ball-string friction.

I'm not making this up, I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said a gazillion times before, it's just the basics. There is a mountain of published articles, and dozens of links around here to support what I'm saying.

PS Are you still playing with Kevlar at high tension? You might be feeling cocky and invulnerable now, but that stuff will get ya for sure. I know of no long term user that does not suffer serious consequences eventually.

9x Donnay Pro One 97, Custom Ordered 62ra | RPNY Leather | Gut/Zx | 12.7oz, 12hl, 340sw | Currently Mod Tinkering w Tec315Ltd., Blade98s, Steam105s

Last edited by ChicagoJack; 11-06-2012 at 11:27 AM.
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