Has Spin Obsession Caused Tennis to Regress???

#1
This is a serious question.

It applies both to rec level tennis and to the pro game.

I am currently living far away from home, but still luckily playing tennis.
Last week, when my trusty kevlar/nylon stringjob frayed down to its last threads, I was forced due to limited string selection to restring my only racquet (my slightly shortened, leaded-up 18x20 G9) with 15g syn gut. I had it strung up nice and tight at 65 lbs.

This syn gut stringjob of course locked up after the first 15 minutes of hitting. It noticeable limited my apply topspin to my serve.

But interestingly, the serve is the only shot where I found myself missing the spin. Every other shot was better with the completely locked-up stringjob. Defensive lobs had more precise depth control than I’ve ever had. And groundstrokes also had remarkable depth control, even though my spin level was less than usual. Touch and confidence on volleys was better than ever.

I spent last weekend playing tennis against a 25-year-old former tournament player who was ranked in the 1100’s a couple of years ago. Using my syn gut stringjob, surprisingly I was able to be very competitive with him. I even had a set point in one our matches (but blew it). When I tried hitting with his racquet, it became clear that he was playing at a disadvantage. His Blade was strung with low tension full poly. It could spin the ball great, but the launch angle was so high in comparison to my locked syn gut that I had to really focus to control my shots. I honestly think his stringjob was holding him back. I should not have been able to hang on clay with someone who grew up training on clay at world class tennis academies in Europe, but I was clearly at an equipment advantage in baseline rallies due to my old school stringjob.

Then yesterday I was able to get my hands on some poly. I had my syn gut job replaced with full poly at mid tension. In my warm-up, my fresh poly could spin the bejeezus out of the ball, but I felt I was really struggling the tame the high launch angle. Luckily I had purchased a second frame last week (a 27.25” Juice Pro) and had it strung up tight at 65 lbs with 15g syn gut. I put away the fresh poly string frame and used my Juice. I played great. And with the extended length, I didn’t even miss the spin on the serve. The stringbed felt perfect and controlled. I felt like Sampras when I wanted to serve big. I and felt like Nalbandian with great control on my 2hb. Volleys were on point. I think I am going to have to cut out the poly and try something else ( maybe much tighter? Maybe poly/syn gut hybrid?).

Then this morning I was watching YouTube of old matches, and noticing that pro players’ returns and volleys in the 90s and early 2000’s look so much crisper and more confident than they did in the late 2000’s and especially better than they do now. It sure looks to my eyes that the level of the pro game has regressed due to the obsession with using more spin, at the cost of worse control.
 
#4
I wonder if talented players like Tsitsipas, or physically gifted player like Coric would be better if they switched to full natural gut strung tight?

Coric, zverev, and other nextgen guys look like they are just scooping up at the ball on the forehand. It’s embarrassing really.
 
#5
Roger Federer has made improvements to his game by hitting less spin and hitting through the court more. Have seen a great number of regional and national level juniors that have been trained to hit excessive spin and angles. While they are successful in the 12’s, 14’s, 16’s etc their game doesn’t translate to professional tennis and they can even struggle in division 1 collegiate tennis. Rather than being able to dictate play and capitalize on opportunities to finish points they simply spin another ball back deep. Training players to hit excessive spin without teaching them weapons such as flattening the ball out and hitting through the court limits there ability to move forward after juniors and collegiate tennis. There aren’t many Rafael Nadal’s out there.
Serena Williams was trained since early childhood with coaches like Rick Macci to play with weapons. It didn’t matter if she was hitting the fence every 5th ball. They taught her swing out and hit through the court.
 
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#7
Its not just the string assisted topspin, its the slowed surfaces and balls too.
But I would have thought a spin-negating string setup like tight syn gut would have put me at a disadvantage on clay. I’m finding it to be just the opposite - it gives me an advantage over my opponents who are using spin-friendly setups with high launch angle that make it difficult to play balls on the rise.
 
#8
Spin obsession has definitely caused a regression on this forum with respect to set ups.
Do you have much experience with poly/syn gut setups?

I’m looking for option to replace my kevlar setup because I can’t get it here. Looking for way to capture the locked stringbed secure low launch angle feel, but with a touch more spin to add margin on my serve.

I have a reel of pro xtreme, but absolutely hated it in full bed at mid tension due to launch angle. I want to maximize control, and would probably want to string on the tight side.
 
#9
Do you have much experience with poly/syn gut setups?

I’m looking for option to replace my kevlar setup because I can’t get it here. Looking for way to capture the locked stringbed secure low launch angle feel, but with a touch more spin to add margin on my serve.

I have a reel of pro xtreme, but absolutely hated it in full bed at mid tension due to launch angle. I want to maximize control, and would probably want to string on the tight side.
Have played a great deal with poly/syn gut but the only way to still achieve control and sufficient spin for me was to string really low tension. Like 44/48-48/52 in a RF97.
Someone who swings faster than me could go up on the tension. I played poly/syngut in a PS97 at 52/54-54/56 and it played ok but went through the strings fairly fast.
 
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#10
Have played a great deal with poly/syn gut but the only way to still achieve sufficient spin was to string really low tension. Like 44/48-48/52 in a RF97.
Hmm. I don’t think I would like it that low. I went with fully prestretched 55/50 (probably equivalent to 65/60 unstretched) on first stab with the full pro xtreme, but this string is so slippery that the mains slide in plane way too easily, so it feels too loose and springy even though the stringbed feels stiff with the thumb pressure test. It hit a huge heavy ball when I closed the face enough, but the high launch angle was a deal breaker for me.

I might try poly/nylon up around 65 lbs next. I guess the only way to know how it will work for me is to try it.
 
#11
Hmm. I don’t think I would like it that low. I went with fully prestretched 55/50 (probably equivalent to 65/60 unstretched) on first stab with the full pro xtreme, but this string is so slippery that the mains slide in plane way too easily, so it feels too loose and springy. It hit a huge heavy ball when I closed the face enough, but the high launch angle was a deal breaker for me.

I might try poly/nylon up around 65 lbs next. I guess the only way to know how it will work for me is to try it.
For sure, have seen players using it up there fairly high. Worth a shot. With the Wilson frames I use it tends to get a bit boardy going up on tension.
 
#12
Most recent that I used was poly/sensation in a 6.1 95 18x20 @ 48/48. Played fairly well but just lacked the dynamics that I was looking for in the long run.
 
#14
People talk about "launch angle," but I'm far from sure what that means, especially as applied to strings rather than stroke technique.
One of the simplest ways to see the difference in launch angle is to hit with a 16x19 frame then try a 18x20 with the same string set up. 18x20 has much lower launch angle.
The 18x20 will make you feel like you really need to hit the bottom of the ball and lift the ball over the net.
 
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#15
This is a serious question.

It applies both to rec level tennis and to the pro game.

I am currently living far away from home, but still luckily playing tennis.
Last week, when my trusty kevlar/nylon stringjob frayed down to its last threads, I was forced due to limited string selection to restring my only racquet (my slightly shortened, leaded-up 18x20 G9) with 15g syn gut. I had it strung up nice and tight at 65 lbs.

This syn gut stringjob of course locked up after the first 15 minutes of hitting. It noticeable limited my apply topspin to my serve.

But interestingly, the serve is the only shot where I found myself missing the spin. Every other shot was better with the completely locked-up stringjob. Defensive lobs had more precise depth control than I’ve ever had. And groundstrokes also had remarkable depth control, even though my spin level was less than usual. Touch and confidence on volleys was better than ever.

I spent last weekend playing tennis against a 25-year-old former tournament player who was ranked in the 1100’s a couple of years ago. Using my syn gut stringjob, surprisingly I was able to be very competitive with him. I even had a set point in one our matches (but blew it). When I tried hitting with his racquet, it became clear that he was playing at a disadvantage. His Blade was strung with low tension full poly. It could spin the ball great, but the launch angle was so high in comparison to my locked syn gut that I had to really focus to control my shots. I honestly think his stringjob was holding him back. I should not have been able to hang on clay with someone who grew up training on clay at world class tennis academies in Europe, but I was clearly at an equipment advantage in baseline rallies due to my old school stringjob.

Then yesterday I was able to get my hands on some poly. I had my syn gut job replaced with full poly at mid tension. In my warm-up, my fresh poly could spin the bejeezus out of the ball, but I felt I was really struggling the tame the high launch angle. Luckily I had purchased a second frame last week (a 27.25” Juice Pro) and had it strung up tight at 65 lbs with 15g syn gut. I put away the fresh poly string frame and used my Juice. I played great. And with the extended length, I didn’t even miss the spin on the serve. The stringbed felt perfect and controlled. I felt like Sampras when I wanted to serve big. I and felt like Nalbandian with great control on my 2hb. Volleys were on point. I think I am going to have to cut out the poly and try something else ( maybe much tighter? Maybe poly/syn gut hybrid?).

Then this morning I was watching YouTube of old matches, and noticing that pro players’ returns and volleys in the 90s and early 2000’s look so much crisper and more confident than they did in the late 2000’s and especially better than they do now. It sure looks to my eyes that the level of the pro game has regressed due to the obsession with using more spin, at the cost of worse control.
I get what you're saying. My take on the obsession with spin is that it's a symptom of a trend. Much of the focus in the game has been limited to bigger swings and more power. As this trend ramps up, we also need enough spin to keep the faster ball on the court, so the quest for spin becomes a huge priority. That trend is sort of a problem because it's made much of the game too one-dimensional and I think that younger developing players are learning incomplete skill sets.

Poly has really taken off because it's been a big-time enabler of the trend toward more power and spin. That can seem like a wonderful thing for baseliners who want to swing out of their shoes, but I was a serve and volleyer as a kid and I still go to the net all the time. My impression of playing with syn. gut or nylon sounds similar to yours in that as long as it's not really old, those strings offer a predictable response and they also give me enough zip that I can serve with decent pace and also volley with some authority (and touch).

There are a gajillion things to talk about related with your OP, but no need for me to ramble. I'll check back if I have another idea to dig into here.
 
#18
I have full bed 18 g OG Micro Sheep at 50 lbs in my Prestiges that is making all of my poly sets collect dust. (I have to credit a TT poster that I cannot recall for this rec.) Amazing everything. My recent go-to, hybrid Xperience 17 g with Spiraltek Black 16 g at 52/50 lbs comes close, but I like the full bed of the dirt cheap synthetic gut better. When it breaks, I know it's time to fork over another $4. My new attitude mirrors yours: hit through the court and skip the spin obsession.
 
#19
travelrajm i've been going back and forth between full gut and gut/poly for reference i play 4.5-5.0 level

i get more spin with gut/poly but that doesn't necessarily help me win more points, because more balls come back. With full gut I am able to play more aggressively and shorten points.

I'm a short guy, 5'6 and I mostly play guys taller than me, i rely on placement & finesse to win points, don't think the extra spin of gut/poly is beneficial.

Keep us posted on your experiments
 
#20
I think the untold story of the last 15 years of tennis is that the poly type stringbeds that increase spin potential inherently have worse control of the launch angle. And when it comes down to it, controlling the launch angle is the single most important element of every tennis shot. The value of a ‘low launch angle’ stringbed has been undervalued, while spin has been and still is overvalued.

I started using poly crosses back in 2006. My spin went up. My winning went down. Last year I ditched the spinny stringbeds, and my winning and confidence in my tennis game went up.
 
#22
Most of the WTA slam winners were full bed natural gut users until about 2012 or so even though poly was a thing long before that. Serena & Venus use natural gut mains still. Fed & Djok also.

I am a USTA referee and it's painful seeing juniors play with light rackets and stiff poly. Every rally is 20+ balls and they wonder why they're injured all the time. Just no put away power whatsoever.
 
#23
This is a serious question.

It applies both to rec level tennis and to the pro game.

I am currently living far away from home, but still luckily playing tennis.
Last week, when my trusty kevlar/nylon stringjob frayed down to its last threads, I was forced due to limited string selection to restring my only racquet (my slightly shortened, leaded-up 18x20 G9) with 15g syn gut. I had it strung up nice and tight at 65 lbs.

This syn gut stringjob of course locked up after the first 15 minutes of hitting. It noticeable limited my apply topspin to my serve.

But interestingly, the serve is the only shot where I found myself missing the spin. Every other shot was better with the completely locked-up stringjob. Defensive lobs had more precise depth control than I’ve ever had. And groundstrokes also had remarkable depth control, even though my spin level was less than usual. Touch and confidence on volleys was better than ever.

I spent last weekend playing tennis against a 25-year-old former tournament player who was ranked in the 1100’s a couple of years ago. Using my syn gut stringjob, surprisingly I was able to be very competitive with him. I even had a set point in one our matches (but blew it). When I tried hitting with his racquet, it became clear that he was playing at a disadvantage. His Blade was strung with low tension full poly. It could spin the ball great, but the launch angle was so high in comparison to my locked syn gut that I had to really focus to control my shots. I honestly think his stringjob was holding him back. I should not have been able to hang on clay with someone who grew up training on clay at world class tennis academies in Europe, but I was clearly at an equipment advantage in baseline rallies due to my old school stringjob.

Then yesterday I was able to get my hands on some poly. I had my syn gut job replaced with full poly at mid tension. In my warm-up, my fresh poly could spin the bejeezus out of the ball, but I felt I was really struggling the tame the high launch angle. Luckily I had purchased a second frame last week (a 27.25” Juice Pro) and had it strung up tight at 65 lbs with 15g syn gut. I put away the fresh poly string frame and used my Juice. I played great. And with the extended length, I didn’t even miss the spin on the serve. The stringbed felt perfect and controlled. I felt like Sampras when I wanted to serve big. I and felt like Nalbandian with great control on my 2hb. Volleys were on point. I think I am going to have to cut out the poly and try something else ( maybe much tighter? Maybe poly/syn gut hybrid?).

Then this morning I was watching YouTube of old matches, and noticing that pro players’ returns and volleys in the 90s and early 2000’s look so much crisper and more confident than they did in the late 2000’s and especially better than they do now. It sure looks to my eyes that the level of the pro game has regressed due to the obsession with using more spin, at the cost of worse control.
i'm sorry to say, but i thought you were better than this. millions of posts touting your innovative string setup (and your claims of scientific inquiry about racquets and strings) and you are telling me that you never tested it against synthetic gut, the most common and basic string setup? this is poor science. it also makes your ideas less credible because you obviously haven't done enough testing to believe in your "findings" in spite of the fact that you try to make your ideas sound "scientific." and then you draw the conclusion that pros have fallen into the same trap that you have? really?
 
#25
The funny thing is that if I was demo’ing a string, I would have rejected it after a few minutes of hitting normally when I notice that it doesn’t spin the ball very well.

But I was forced due to circumstances to compete using synthetic gut. I can’t spin the ball very well with it, but dang it - my results in competition seem to be better despite the limited spin. My conclusion is that I have been undervaluing the advantage of a low launch angle and overvaluing spinniness for all these years.
 
#26
Great post...I'm finding that unless I use spin to create angles or to push players deep, then all I end up doing is giving them more time to get to the ball than if I would have flattened out the shot. I make this mistake all the time...I've been so obsessed with creating topspin over the past few years that I no longer have a decent flat shot (I'm now trying to develop one).

I think that topspin is just another tool. It serves a specific purpose and sometimes it's not the best tool for the job.

As the saying goes - if all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.
 
#27
Good thread. Also worth noting in addition to string technology - or maybe because of it- that at all the academies and tennis symposiums over the past several years the magic word was “shape”. They’re quite focused on putting shape on the ball. Producing a lot of spinny rallying and such but to your point often less penetration.
 
#28
Great post...I'm finding that unless I use spin to create angles or to push players deep, then all I end up doing is giving them more time to get to the ball than if I would have flattened out the shot.
This brings up an interesting point for debate.

I mentioned that the serve was the only obvious shot where I was missing the spin potential. But the serve is unique in that it is the only shot in tennis where the ball is virtually stationary and spin-free before contact. This means that there is no downside to a high launch angle on the serve. only upside.

But groundstrokes are very different. I find that trying to hit sharp angles from the baseline that can only be landed with the assistance of high rpm is very high-risk tennis for the player hitting them. In addition to the high-rpm needed, you still need precise control of launch angle to execute these shots. And even if you land a sharp angle spin shot, your opponent gets to make contact on the next ball from short in the court, so you are giving your opponent an attack opportunity, thus creating more risk, with minimal reward. A flatter deep ball hit using a string setup that gives you precise control of launch angle may not be a winner, but it is relatively low risk, and relatively harder for your opponent to attack. I may not have been attempting sharp topspin angles with my tight syn gut, but maybe the lack of spin wasn’t hurting me because it was taking away an option of limited effectiveness?
 
#29
This brings up an interesting point for debate.

I mentioned that the serve was the only obvious shot where I was missing the spin potential. But the serve is unique in that it is the only shot in tennis where the ball is virtually stationary and spin-free before contact. This means that there is no downside to a high launch angle on the serve. only upside.

But groundstrokes are very different. I find that trying to hit sharp angles from the baseline that can only be landed with the assistance of high rpm is very high-risk tennis for the player hitting them. In addition to the high-rpm needed, you still need precise control of launch angle to execute these shots. And even if you land a sharp angle spin shot, your opponent gets to make contact on the next ball from short in the court, so you are giving your opponent an attack opportunity, thus creating more risk, with minimal reward. A flatter deep ball hit using a string setup that gives you precise control of launch angle may not be a winner, but it is relatively low risk, and relatively harder for your opponent to attack. I may not have been attempting sharp topspin angles with my tight syn gut, but maybe the lack of spin wasn’t hurting me because it was taking away an option of limited effectiveness?
I actually don't like high launch angle for serving, my first serve start's going long more often and i have to do more kick serves which equates to more balls coming back. I have a higher percentage of first serves with full natural gut compared to gut/poly and more aces/unreturned serves.

Second serve with full gut may have less kick but it penetrates the court better and doesn't sit up as much.

I only like high launch angle for kick serves and doing mindless rallying but once point play starts i like a tight string bed.

The good thing about a high launch angle/loose string bed is the sweetspot. I love the sweetspot of my gut/poly rackets which i assume is due to the poly losing tension. Full natural gut isn't as forgiving on off center hits. Low twistweight frames probably need such loose tensions
 

BlueB

Hall of Fame
#30
Most of the depth control issues come from the inability to precisely controll the angle of the racquet face. It is logical, the swing path and the speed are controlled by big levers and big muscles, controling a relatively big mass. Once initiated, the racquet head flies on a more or less desired path. The face angle is another story, though. It is a very small move controlled by a small joint and "twisting" of two bones over each other. This change can occur at any stage of the shot, making it even harder to control. Even a small deviation can result in 5-10° of difference, which in turn could mean few meters of depth...
The next culprit, very connected to the face angle, is obsession with a "modern ATP" FH, which is becoming more and more complicated, as far as the stringbed angle is concerned. The racquet face travels at a different angles right through the shot.
This in turn, has negative impact, combined with amateur players' lack of precise timing of where the ball is hit, depthwise in relation to the body.
Tighter, denser, or less stretchy string beds are slightly less sensitive to the face angle, giving impression of more control. However, with low hitting and no spin, the margin of error becomes smaller. Contrary to what we like to believe, the consistency wins, not the flashy winners, especially on amateur level. If you can put 5 semi-decent balls pretty deep, you are likely to win the point, up to 4.5ish level...

Sent from my SM-G965W using Tapatalk
 
#31
I just watched highlights from the Zverev-Brown match this week, and the contrast in stringbed types was striking.

Brown strings at almost 80 lbs and has arguably the best touch, best drop shot, and best depth control on lobs on the tour.

Zverev is clearly using a high-spin, high-launch-angle setup that hits a heavy ball and lets him crush spin serves, but he looks clumsy and struggled to control his shots, especially on forehand returns, when he doesn’t have time to line up a heavy spin shot.

I really think Zverev is using the wrong string setup for his skill set. He needs to string tighter like Soderling so that he can overpower people. He is playing with a string setup befitting a spinny grinder.
 
#32
This is why I'll always consider the mid 80's to early 90's as the golden era of tennis. You had a multitude of styles that could be successful, FH's were struck with authority, players had touch AND power, surfaces were less homogenized.

Once poly entered the equation, much of tennis lost its grace and beauty. Cookie Cutter teaching to emphasize spin over everything else. Servebots. Court homogenization. All a side effect of stiff frames and poly strings.
 
#33
I just watched highlights from the Zverev-Brown match this week, and the contrast in stringbed types was striking.

Brown strings at almost 80 lbs and has arguably the best touch, best drop shot, and best depth control on lobs on the tour.

Zverev is clearly using a high-spin, high-launch-angle setup that hits a heavy ball and lets him crush spin serves, but he looks clumsy and struggled to control his shots, especially on forehand returns, when he doesn’t have time to line up a heavy spin shot.

I really think Zverev is using the wrong string setup for his skill set. He needs to string tighter like Soderling so that he can overpower people. He is playing with a string setup befitting a spinny grinder.
Zverev uses poly mains and gut crosses. Not exactly the spiny grinder setup.
 
#35
This is why I'll always consider the mid 80's to early 90's as the golden era of tennis. You had a multitude of styles that could be successful, FH's were struck with authority, players had touch AND power, surfaces were less homogenized.

Once poly entered the equation, much of tennis lost its grace and beauty. Cookie Cutter teaching to emphasize spin over everything else. Servebots. Court homogenization. All a side effect of stiff frames and poly strings.
I agree 100%.
 
#36
This is why I'll always consider the mid 80's to early 90's as the golden era of tennis. You had a multitude of styles that could be successful, FH's were struck with authority, players had touch AND power, surfaces were less homogenized.

Once poly entered the equation, much of tennis lost its grace and beauty. Cookie Cutter teaching to emphasize spin over everything else. Servebots. Court homogenization. All a side effect of stiff frames and poly strings.
I’d mark 2002 Wimbledon as the official end of the golden age. Sampras flamed out looking old, slow and disinterested. The other decent serve-and-volley guys had either gotten old or injured.

Except for Hewitt and Henman, the top 17 seeds were all knocked out before the 4th round. We ended up with 20-year-old 5’11” counterpuncher Hewitt vs 20-year-old 5’11” consistent grinder Nalbandian in the final. No weapons. Tennis died that day. Very Sad.

Contrary to popular belief, the 2008 Wimbledon final was low-quality tennis. Federer of 2003-2006 was much, much better than what he showed in 2008, where he was pretty much afraid to go to the net because his spinny setup couldn’t let control a volley against Nadal’s spin. Even Sadder.
 
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#37
I just watched highlights from the Zverev-Brown match this week, and the contrast in stringbed types was striking.

Brown strings at almost 80 lbs and has arguably the best touch, best drop shot, and best depth control on lobs on the tour.

Zverev is clearly using a high-spin, high-launch-angle setup that hits a heavy ball and lets him crush spin serves, but he looks clumsy and struggled to control his shots, especially on forehand returns, when he doesn’t have time to line up a heavy spin shot.

I really think Zverev is using the wrong string setup for his skill set. He needs to string tighter like Soderling so that he can overpower people. He is playing with a string setup befitting a spinny grinder.
BUT ... Zverev is the massively more successful player, so I don't know what to make of that. I love old school play like Brown, I love watching Brown, and when he can put it all together, it's a joy. But, none of his touch and control using tightly strung natural gut has led to much. To be fair, we could probably just chalk that up to the fact that he's simply not as good as Zverev - no matter what string he uses.
 
#38
I just watched highlights from the Zverev-Brown match this week, and the contrast in stringbed types was striking.

Brown strings at almost 80 lbs and has arguably the best touch, best drop shot, and best depth control on lobs on the tour.

Zverev is clearly using a high-spin, high-launch-angle setup that hits a heavy ball and lets him crush spin serves, but he looks clumsy and struggled to control his shots, especially on forehand returns, when he doesn’t have time to line up a heavy spin shot.

I really think Zverev is using the wrong string setup for his skill set. He needs to string tighter like Soderling so that he can overpower people. He is playing with a string setup befitting a spinny grinder.
I cannot imagine playing with 80 lbs full poly, but whatever works. His racket must have massive recoil weight though.

This is why I'll always consider the mid 80's to early 90's as the golden era of tennis. You had a multitude of styles that could be successful, FH's were struck with authority, players had touch AND power, surfaces were less homogenized.

Once poly entered the equation, much of tennis lost its grace and beauty. Cookie Cutter teaching to emphasize spin over everything else. Servebots. Court homogenization. All a side effect of stiff frames and poly strings.
Agree.

I’d mark 2002 Wimbledon as the official end of the golden age. Sampras flamed out looking old, slow and disinterested. The other decent serve-and-volley guys had either gotten old or injured.

Except for Hewitt and Henman, the top 17 seeds were all knocked out before the 4th round. We ended up with 20-year-old 5’11” counterpuncher Hewitt vs 20-year-old 5’11” consistent grinder Nalbandian in the final. No weapons. Tennis died that day. Very Sad.

Contrary to popular belief, the 2008 Wimbledon final was low-quality tennis. Federer of 2003-2006 was much, much better than what he showed in 2008, where he was pretty much afraid to go to the net because his spinny setup couldn’t let control a volley against Nadal’s spin. Even Sadder.
Federer has been using a "spinny" set-up since 2003 or whenever he switched to gut/poly. He won all his slams with gut/poly. I like watching him play when he had full bed of natural gut though.

BUT ... Zverev is the massively more successful player, so I don't know what to make of that. I love old school play like Brown, I love watching Brown, and when he can put it all together, it's a joy. But, none of his touch and control using tightly strung natural gut has led to much. To be fair, we could probably just chalk that up to the fact that he's simply not as good as Zverev - no matter what string he uses.
No lies told here, i guess it just depends on the player what set-up works best. I know for myself I enjoy playing more with tight natural gut rather than loose poly. Every shot just feels great ;)
 
#39
Because of this thread, I think I want to string up one of my racquets with tight syn gut just to revisit the string that I used for most of my life. Though, my current frames (Pure Drive) are the type that are usually paired with poly or poly hybrids. It would also be interesting to try kevlar/syn gut hybrid again - which was a multi-year stop between full syn gut and full poly. I used to like a "boardy" string bed.
 
#43
I don't think so. Things go in cycles. Maybe some people are overly focused on spin or haven't learned to adjust so well when Plan A fails. Yesterday in my doubles match I had to give up on my usual spinny returns when I was returning agains the other big server in the group. Switched over to a no takeback flat drive and ended up doing much better with that than my usual return. Those work well against big servers if you can just send the ball right back where it came from. Takes all their time away and forces a lot of errors. And my racquet is a low tension spinny poly with a really high launch angle. This particular frame was my first stringing I did with Ultra Cable and it has a lower tension than the one I strung second which I just broke recently. It didn't really make that much difference. What makes more difference than anything for me is keeping my feet in motion so I can hit the shots I want. My feet tend to get a bit lazy at times since I'm more used to coaching and feeding than playing. I think some people are a little one dimensional and that makes it a bit easier for a smart player to pick on things and exacerbate what might be a minor problem into a major problem.
 
#44
I am skeptical that I will have positive results with a full bed of sun gut at high tension, but this thread is making me curious enough to try it. My game was built around full poly and I have never really experienced full nylon before.
 
#45
I am skeptical that I will have positive results with a full bed of sun gut at high tension, but this thread is making me curious enough to try it. My game was built around full poly and I have never really experienced full nylon before.
You may have to try it a couple times to get your right tension, I liked Syn Gut at 62 lbs, I like Natural Gut at 65-66 lbs. 1.25 or 1.30 gauge
 
#46
I am skeptical that I will have positive results with a full bed of sun gut at high tension, but this thread is making me curious enough to try it. My game was built around full poly and I have never really experienced full nylon before.
I think it would take some getting used to if you only know poly. With the lower launch angle, it’s likely that your first several groundstrokes will hit the bottom of the net. But once you get adjusted, the feeling of being able to target tighter windows on passing shots, approaches, defensive lobs, and low volleys gets addictive.
 
#47
I have full bed 18 g OG Micro Sheep at 50 lbs in my Prestiges that is making all of my poly sets collect dust. (I have to credit a TT poster that I cannot recall for this rec.) Amazing everything. My recent go-to, hybrid Xperience 17 g with Spiraltek Black 16 g at 52/50 lbs comes close, but I like the full bed of the dirt cheap synthetic gut better. When it breaks, I know it's time to fork over another $4. My new attitude mirrors yours: hit through the court and skip the spin obsession.
I have a few sets of that string on the way - should be a fun experiment. I've always preferred the feel and performance of 17 ga. syn. gut when I can handle it. I sometimes switch to a 16 ga. alternative when the heat in the middle of the summer can drastically soften a skinny syn. gut and my control just about disappears.
 
#48
Update:

I was too scared to commit to full nylon right away, so I'm starting with a hybrid: Black Bear 1.24/PPS 16 @ 49/54lbs. The SBS was very high, 59, compared to my usual 47ish. Hit with it briefly against a wall, it's a lot more crisp and boardy, but the pocketing in the sweetspot is nice. Will report back tonight with a more comprehensive hit.
 
#49
it really depends on the player. Tall guys like del potro are able to hit flat because they are so tall that they can basically do their version of a volleyball spike but for shorter players, spin allows they to hit a much safer ball to arc over the net and explode off the court. I would definitely say that using too much spin regresses many players’ game but when used correctly, it can be a deadly weapon. I would say the spin trend in tennis is similar to that of the step back/fadeaway 3 point shot in NBA...it is great when used effectively but a detriment when used too much


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#50
This is a serious question.

It applies both to rec level tennis and to the pro game.

I am currently living far away from home, but still luckily playing tennis.
Last week, when my trusty kevlar/nylon stringjob frayed down to its last threads, I was forced due to limited string selection to restring my only racquet (my slightly shortened, leaded-up 18x20 G9) with 15g syn gut. I had it strung up nice and tight at 65 lbs.

This syn gut stringjob of course locked up after the first 15 minutes of hitting. It noticeable limited my apply topspin to my serve.

But interestingly, the serve is the only shot where I found myself missing the spin. Every other shot was better with the completely locked-up stringjob. Defensive lobs had more precise depth control than I’ve ever had. And groundstrokes also had remarkable depth control, even though my spin level was less than usual. Touch and confidence on volleys was better than ever.

I spent last weekend playing tennis against a 25-year-old former tournament player who was ranked in the 1100’s a couple of years ago. Using my syn gut stringjob, surprisingly I was able to be very competitive with him. I even had a set point in one our matches (but blew it). When I tried hitting with his racquet, it became clear that he was playing at a disadvantage. His Blade was strung with low tension full poly. It could spin the ball great, but the launch angle was so high in comparison to my locked syn gut that I had to really focus to control my shots. I honestly think his stringjob was holding him back. I should not have been able to hang on clay with someone who grew up training on clay at world class tennis academies in Europe, but I was clearly at an equipment advantage in baseline rallies due to my old school stringjob.

Then yesterday I was able to get my hands on some poly. I had my syn gut job replaced with full poly at mid tension. In my warm-up, my fresh poly could spin the bejeezus out of the ball, but I felt I was really struggling the tame the high launch angle. Luckily I had purchased a second frame last week (a 27.25” Juice Pro) and had it strung up tight at 65 lbs with 15g syn gut. I put away the fresh poly string frame and used my Juice. I played great. And with the extended length, I didn’t even miss the spin on the serve. The stringbed felt perfect and controlled. I felt like Sampras when I wanted to serve big. I and felt like Nalbandian with great control on my 2hb. Volleys were on point. I think I am going to have to cut out the poly and try something else ( maybe much tighter? Maybe poly/syn gut hybrid?).

Then this morning I was watching YouTube of old matches, and noticing that pro players’ returns and volleys in the 90s and early 2000’s look so much crisper and more confident than they did in the late 2000’s and especially better than they do now. It sure looks to my eyes that the level of the pro game has regressed due to the obsession with using more spin, at the cost of worse control.
Heavier racquets back then too. That helps with volleys and blocking returns. Now we sacrifice those traits for faster racquet head speed to get more spin :)
 
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