Sorry for the long read, but jeezy creezy, you've opened a pretty big can of worms here! String matters a whole bunch. I have absolutely no doubt about that. It is the heart and soul of the racquet. But I think there's a bunch of overlapping and tangled up issues here. Let's unravel, then observe from there.
Argument/Position 1 : Strings don't matter much because : Really good players can beat you with anything.
- True, but that says more about ability level than it does equipment choice. This is, essentially, one version of the eternal Swordsman vs The Sword debate. I'd guesstimate there's somewhere between 1.67 and 2.22 Gazillion Jillion TW threads discussing some variant of this debate in some form or another. There is a YouTube video somewhere that shows Andy Roddick playing with a frying pan and beating (in a tie break) what looks to be a 3.0 tennis player. That video is often posted as the jewel in the crown of the pro-swordsman / anti racquet geek debaters. When I saw that video however, I didn't come to the conclusion that racquets don't matter. I did come to several other conclusions though. A - Andy Roddick is really good. B - That guy was really bad. C - I could probably beat Andy Roddick if he was using a frying pan.
- So.. there's a guy that consistently, and maddeningly beats you using Xyz string, or only strings once per year, or worse yet, seems not to care about equipment at all. Me thinks this has more to do with an obvious talent level gap than it does string choice, or re-string frequency.
Argument/Position 2 : Strings don't matter very much because : String material makes little difference.
- I don't know if that's part of this specific conversation here, but I think that anybody who insists there's no dif in playing characteristics btwn Gut, Zyex, Nylon, Poly, or Kevlar, is just plain wrong. The only way you'd say that is from lack of honest inquiry.
- The magic fairy dust to sprinkle on your racquet in order to beat your nemesis is matching the string characteristics to your game, your stroke, your tactics. I suspect most of us already understand this at some level, and if you don't already suspect this, then I've got to ask the question, what the heck are you doing hanging out in a string forum? Go outside, play. Have fun, enjoy your game.
- You can even see the Pros doing some magic fairy dust sprinkling of their own, there are clear trends. It's no accident that the current ATP doubles points leaders, ranked 1-7 all use Gut mains poly crosses. It's no accident that as the game has evolved from 65 sq in woodies to 100 sq in Babolat PD's, full beds of Poly have reigned supreme on the singles pro tour with something like 70 out of every 100 choosing that flavor of string bed. For those of us who understand string basics, these observable trends make perfect sense, and there is quite a bit of matching strokes to racquets to string characteristics going on out there.
- So the art is matching string material characteristics to the player, the racquet, the game, the stroke. It is hard work, and requires quite a bit of time, effort and money to figure out. Nothing good comes easy. The folks that claim there is no difference are most likely the folks who are poo poo - ing an arduous process, and have not done the work.
3. Argument/Position 3 : Strings make very little difference because: Frequency of re-stringing makes very little difference. That's actually a very interesting topic, which involves a pretty nuanced answer. I'll save that for another day. This post is already so long that nobody will read it LOL.
- Hope this helps, Jack
(9x) Donnay Pro One 16x19 | RPNY Leather | 12.6oz, -12Points, ~335sw | M:16g Wilson Nat Gut, X:16g MonoGut Zx Red, 60/58 | Benchmarked USTA 4.5
Last edited by ChicagoJack : 11-14-2012 at 06:51 PM.