Does tension have to drop drastically for strings to be dead?


New User
I think I read somewhere that strings lose elasticity and that's what makes strings "dead".

I strung my Radical IG MP 18x20 racquet with TF Red Code 17 strings at 48x50 lbs in January. Now, after 5 months and roughly 15-25 hours of play later, it shows less than 10% tension loss (according to racquettune), but I seem to think that I lost the spin a long time ago (I can't tell for sure, I'm not good enough to tell anything). It may very well be that my technique has deteriorated.

For comparison, I strung the second racquet with the same string on the same day, only 2lbs tighter. I used that stick very sparingly, maybe 3-4 hours total. That racquet has now lost 8% of tension and also seems to produce less spin as well. I am not a hard hitter, but not a pusher, either.

Can't tell any difference in terms of power. TF Red Code had pretty low power to begin with.

Are these strings dead? More generally, can strings be dead due to loss of elasticity while with minimal tension loss?


Bionic Poster
10% is a lot, and can happen in 4 days of hard play, or a month of little usage. It won't drop more.
As for if it's dead, only way to really find out is to string up a new job, same tension, then play it to see any differences.
I know, my racket's strung last year at 47lbs. are still might tigher string tension than my current racket's strung at 40, and just as resilient, if you account for the tighter strings.


Polys die in two ways.

The first is tension loss, resulting in too much power and lack of control.

The other way is from abrasion between the strings at the intersections and/or notching. This type of string death makes the string bed feel more stiff or solid and can be hazardous to your arm.

Poly loses its elasticity long after the above two things have killed it.

The string bed can stiffen up and die before the strings lose much tension, depending on which string. Some string brands are working on the art of matching tension loss to inter-string abrasion.

Five months is a long time to keep a poly in a racquet. Notching can occur even with minimal play, but Red Code is a very durable string. Like LeeD said, I'd try re-stringing and see how a fresh set of string compares.


I have never heard of a single poly that isn't dead within three weeks after stringing, if you play with it or not, so that is a good place to start.


Absolutely nothing happens to poly from just sitting on an unused frame, except some tension loss.
You'd have to leave it in UV exposure or extreme cold or heat for something else to happen.


Hall of Fame
Tension is irrelevant. A racket that isn't used with poly will only feel slightly softer and more powerful, as if you strung it lower. A poly is dead when the strings stop moving.