Due to the recent interest in performance of polys at low tensions, I thought I'd share the results of my experiments to date. I've played around with various polys and hybrids at low tension in the Wilson K90, Yonex RDS001 Mid, Yonex RDS001 Mid (2008 version), and Yonex RDiS 100 Mid. I've had time now to formulate more extensive impressions of each combination. Let me begin by defining "low tension". Normally, I string in the 55-60 lb range for everything, including poly. I might generally consider anything under 55 lbs to be low, but since my efforts are concentrated on poly strings and poly hybrids, I'm defining low tension here as anything under 50 lbs --- which also seems to be the range most touring pros have adopted. Although I normally play a Yonex RDiS 100 Mid, most of my trials have involved other sticks. Basically, I didn't want to take one of my main bats out of circulation for the duration of testing. Provided a setup is playable, one of my aims is to see whether the durability of poly improves at lower tensions. First up is the Wilson K-6.1 90. This racquet sports a 4-1/2 grip and is completely stock, save for a Yonex Supergrap overgrip and Gamma Shokbuster II dampener. The K90 was my initial venture into the realm of low tension. It is strung with a full bed of Gamma Zo Power. Tension is 50 lbs for the mains and 48 lbs for the crosses. Zo Power has a smooth texture and offers, IMO, a soft hit for a poly. I've used Gamma Zo Sweet before in a K90, strung at my usual 60 lbs. The Zo Sweet hybrid is essentially a combination of Zo Power and TNT2. This provides, for me, a comfortable but crisp hit with plenty of control. Initial Impressions: The low tension setup, admittedly a babystep, nevertheless provided a very different feel to the ball. Whether caused by the string, low tension, or combination thereof, I experienced very deep pocketing of the ball on the strings during contact. Both feel and sound of impact were slightly muted. The welcoming "thwack" was still there, but I'd stop short of calling it resounding. Groundstrokes: Although I have added more modern stroking techniques and topspin to my repertoire, my background is steeped in the classical methods, which still influence my play. My strokes are relatively flat unless I concentrate on adding spin. I have added a two-handed backhand following an injury some years ago, but can still hit a serviceable one-hander. In fact, with the K90, I seem to gravitate to the OHB for some reason. The low tension setup required a lot of adjustment on my part. The deep pocketing had a tendency to trampoline the ball when hitting flat. However, when going for topspin, that same cupping added considerable bite to the ball. I found it fairly easy to apply too much spin, causing the ball to land short. Over time, I found that a smoother stroke offered more control. The vicious cuts that I could get away with at higher tension proved unpredictable at lower tensions. Groundstrokes had a lot of action on the bounce. Topspin shots really took off; even short balls often went well past the baseline on the bounce. Slice, too, had a lot of bite and stayed low off the bounce, practically skidding away. Form had to be very good though. Add just a bit of upwards motion on the slice follow-through and the ball would float. The increased dwell time felt very odd and was something I never really got used to; it may be unique to this string and racquet, as I never experienced anything quite as exaggerated in other setups at even lower tensions. Volleys: Volleys at low tension were excellent. The cupping action of the string gave good directional control at net and outstanding touch. I had the sensation of being able to hold the ball on the strings for an obscene amount of time before committing myself. Drop volleys fell like a stone and didn't come back up. Again, good bite on the ball kept it nice and low, forcing my opponent to hit up on the return, if he got to the first volley at all. Power was impressive. Although the sensation of volleying with a low tension setup was different, the results were uniformly impressive. Serves: I thought overall pace on the serve picked up significantly with the low tension setup. As with the groundstrokes, I found good action on the ball off the bounce. Flat serves took off like a rocket. Spin was easily accessible, with the only downside being that --- like groundstrokes, again --- they had a tendency to land short in the service box at first. It took just a bit of an adjustment to find the range with the extra spin this setup produced. Kick serves had very good height and seemed to jump off the court. Being an old S&V player, I felt that this racquet, string, and tension combination would really suit that style of play. Return of Serve: This area, for me, required perhaps the biggest adjustment. My ideal return, if I get a good ball, is a hard, flat drive off either wing. There was just too much power with this setup to control a flat ball. Topspin would bring the ball down, but often short on the return. Okay if my opponent was a net rusher, but the short ball gave the baseliner too many options. I had a hard time trying to find a workable compromise that would permit me to be aggressive off the return, but with a high percentage play. Blocking, chipping, and directional bunting were effective, but overall, I was disappointed in my inability to harness the additional power of the low tension setup on the return. There were two unexpected bonuses on returning the serve out wide: the sharp-angled, short, topspin return was very effective, as was the squash player's choppy slice return. Transition Game: The mid-court approach game required good concentration and very compact strokes. It was easy to overhit on approach shots, half-volleys, and dropshots if I wasn't careful. I found the feel on shots in this area to be hard to gauge, resulting in a fair number of sitters or shots sailing long. This is probably the one category where the difference in feel really made its effect the most known. Technique and focus really had to be sharp here; no room for a let down. Durability: I've probably got about 20 hours play on this setup by now, although the string has been in the racquet for a couple of months. The string itself doesn't show much wear and is still a comfortable hit, in spite of its advanced age for a poly. It seems to play as well now as it did the day I strung it. I'm not a string breaker and usually hit a fairly clean ball, so I wouldn't normally expect the string to fail before it dies. I should have kept better track of usage. Still, I have the sense that playing life may have been slightly improved by stringing at a lower tension. Concluding Thoughts: The best single feature of this setup was comfort. I had no arm tenderness or soreness whatsoever following use. While there is a lot of added power found in this string/racquet combination at lower tension, there is a noticeable loss of control, as well. To some degree, it reminded me of a good multi strung around 50 lbs; too much uncontrollable power to suit my taste. Back in the S&V days, this may have been an excellent combo. However, in the modern game, a good baseliner will keep a net rusher at bay and make him bide his time in going forward. The uncertain ground game, along with difficulties on return and transition, make this an undesirable setup for my use. YMMV.