I can’t find a racquet or setup that I like that also suits my arm

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
CX200 is not the most arm friendly racquet. The clash is pretty soft so if your arm hurts from that, it’s quite concerning. Give the v7 blade 98 16x19 a try…it is quite soft. Also, black widow is quite soft but if you’re using thick 16g, it may not be as arm friendly as HGS 16L/17g. Also, using a soft round copoly cross with shaped mains could also help to soften up the string bed (ghostwire, polaris). String low 40s and utilize brushing technique to provide adequate spin to keep the ball in.
Honestly might be worth a try. I’ve just based it on reviews that the cx200 is a soft racket and just accepted it but it might not suit me. HGS 17 gauge? I assume it’ll be a cannon but I’ll get increased spin too so I guess hopefully this might work.
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
To me, all signs point to a rotator cuff tear in your shoulder as I posted three months ago. You should stop playing tennis till you get it checked out with a MRI as you might be damaging it further.
I asked her, the physio, about rotator cuff but she said it’s doesn’t look like one. Got the appointment with the specialist coming up so hopefully he’ll with either confirm or deny this.
This is where the pain is btw. Like right between the muscles close to the bone.
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
@MasterZeb , Your answer lies with the Prince Twistpower X97 Tour. A high level fogy recommended it to me and I got one. At 67 it is my "excalibur," "thor's hammer," McEnroe's Maxply:)

Seriously though, give it a shot and string it with Prince Diablo 17 at 58lbs.
Isn’t it quite stiff at 67? That number scares me. As does the 58lbs poly
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
Where did he describe his rotator cuff symptoms?

OP is obsessed with strings and rackets, and is likely a lost cause.
Most people here are fools who think equipment is the solution to every problem.
Has the OP stated that he has visited a real MD even once?
Why are you so angry at the world?
If you bothered to read, then you’d know the answer to your question. If you don’t want to, it’s best not to give advice then.
 

socallefty

Legend
I asked her, the physio, about rotator cuff but she said it’s doesn’t look like one. Got the appointment with the specialist coming up so hopefully he’ll with either confirm or deny this.
This is where the pain is btw. Like right between the muscles close to the bone.
Maybe this article will help to understand biceps tendinitis that accompanies RC tears.


However, if your painful spot is that low, it might just be a biceps tendon injury (tear or inflammation) and not a RC injury. Check this out also.


Incidentally, people are recommending flexible racquets because they are used to doing that for tennis elbow issues. In your case, you might be putting more strain on your shoulder/bicep by swinging harder when you serve with a limp-noodle flexible racquet especially if it has low-power poly strings. I’m not surprised you have more pain with the flexible Clash. Maybe what you need is a racquet with more power and soft strings temporarily that does the work for you so that you can swing slower on your serve. If you insist on playing before you see the specialist, you might also want to attempt only 2nd serves.
 
Last edited:

BumElbow

Semi-Pro
I have a technique question for you. Do you hit your forehand with an open stance where your weight is mostly on your back foot? I ask because it seems that you are arming the ball rather than using the trunk of your body and strength in your legs to drive the ball. If your forehand stance is too open, it can lead to arm strain and injuries. Try changing your footwork and use a neutral stance where your feet are about even with each other when you make contact with the ball instead of leading with your back foot. Or, even better until the arm heals, hit with a closed forehand stance where you lead with your front foot. Also, you might be trying to hit with a lot of topspin on your forehand and "arming" the shot too much. Often, hitting flatter shots is easier on the body because the swing motion is less extreme. Also, do not lead with your elbow when hitting forehands. Keep your elbow tucked in so that it is positioned slightly behind your hip to protect it from arm strain. Turn the trunk of your body instead of swinging out with your arm on the forehand side.

Very headlight racquets are good for fast swing speeds and topspin but are not so arm friendly because a racquet with more weight in the head absorbs shock better. And, if you have arm problems - I know from experience - a flexible racquet with a higher swing weight is easier on the arm. I have found arm friendliness in frames that are flexible in the hoop rather than in the throat because they are more forgiving on mishits and the increased swing weight helps drive the ball. Recently, I switched to the Head MicroGel mid - it has a 62 RA, a 98 sq. inch head size and a straight beam that flexes in the hoop as well as a dense 18 x 19 string pattern. I get good spin with it though it does take time to get used to the dense string pattern. It absorbs shock well. And, though I hit flatter, my shots have good pace and depth though not excessive spin. My arm feels great. For more spin, I will probably get it restrung with 17 gauge string.

Most players wound not think to change their footwork to help with arm injury issues. Try closing up that forehand stance and put more hip and shoulder turn and spring from your legs into your shots. Avoid hitting the ball entirely with your arm and use more of your body weight behind - especially when hitting your forehand. If you have bad technique, it will not be fixed by changing racquets and strings.
 

FiddlerDog

Professional
Rotator cuff injuries with impinged biceps tendon is the #1 injury amongst juniors who train a lot and are thin/scrawny as the OP described himself. The pain usually comes with overhead motions like serves only as the OP is experiencing - juniors who are not well-built often don’t have strong enough shoulders to withstand the repetitive motion of serving if they are in a tennis academy and the OP also used to play with a heavy RF97. He went to a NHS general doctor, but hasn’t seen a sports doctor or done a MRI yet which is needed to show rotator cuff tears.

The OP is just trying to minimize the healthcare costs and be conservative in terms of medical diagnosis/treatment as happens with the NHS medical system, but it might cause a more serious tear if he keeps playing tennis. Unfortunately his coaches don’t seem to care enough to stop him from playing till he gets diagnosed.
A distal bicep tendon is different than rotator cuff, no?
I thought only proximal bicep tear involves the shoulder
 

socallefty

Legend
A distal bicep tendon is different than rotator cuff, no?
I thought only proximal bicep tear involves the shoulder
Yes, he described where the painful spot is on his bicep for the first time yesterday. I now think it is not a RC injury, but more likely just a bicep tendon issue - either inflammation or tear.
 

blai212

Hall of Fame
@socallefty I do not believe it is a tear…the muscle could be extremely tight/swollen with inflammation causing pain. I have similar ailments and had a friend’s wife who is a sports doctor diagnose me. She said nothing major, just a nerve impingement and tightness in my forearm tugging on my biceps tendon causing tightness and pain but nothing stretching/strengthening cant fix.
 

blai212

Hall of Fame
full bed soft copoly strung at appropriate low tension feels way more comfortable than syn gut or multi strung 10% higher while also providing good spin/control and durability. Not sure what the problem with full bed copoly is…modern copoly technology is actually quite good
 

socallefty

Legend
full bed soft copoly strung at appropriate low tension feels way more comfortable than syn gut or multi strung 10% higher while also providing good spin/control and durability. Not sure what the problem with full bed copoly is…modern copoly technology is actually quite good
Agree. The key is to restring stiff polys within 10 hours and soft polys within 15 hours (or closer to 20 if mostly doubles). Most players play with poly way too long after it is dead and starts causing arm discomfort. If you string below 50 lbs and cut it out early (if you don’t break it first) at a set hour limit or as soon as you feel the slightest tightness in your wrist/arm (even before pain), poly should be fun to play with. I don’t know players who get injured from poly following this routine.
 

blai212

Hall of Fame
Agree. The key is to restring stiff polys within 10 hours and soft polys within 15 hours (or closer to 20 if mostly doubles). Most players play with poly way too long after it is dead and starts causing arm discomfort. If you string below 50 lbs and cut it out early (if you don’t break it first) at a set hour limit or as soon as you feel the slightest tightness in your wrist/arm (even before pain), poly should be fun to play with. I don’t know players who get injured from poly following this routine.
I would actually advise soft poly to get restrung sooner than stiff poly. Soft poly tends to die faster (lynx, VCT) than stiff poly which usually stays playable for a long time (4G, max power) not to mention that soft poly would become too springy/trampoline/rocket launcher much faster than stiff poly which would retain control much longer
 

socallefty

Legend
I would actually advise soft poly to get restrung sooner than stiff poly. Soft poly tends to die faster (lynx, VCT) than stiff poly which usually stays playable for a long time (4G, max power) not to mention that soft poly would become too springy/trampoline/rocket launcher much faster than stiff poly which would retain control much longer
That is counter to my experience with ALU Power and RPM Blast where they start feeling uncomfortable for my wrist after 7-8 hours strung in the mid-forties. I love how they play for about 3-5 hours of singles and then I feel like their control/feel falls off a cliff also. With HyperG/HyperG Soft, I can play well for more than 15-17 hours (mix of singles/doubles), Cyclone Tour/Tour Bite last well for about 12 hours. I mostly play gut/poly hybrids with HG Soft crosses at 47/44 and break or cut them out around 15 hours on a Pure Strike Tour. YMMV
 

Antónis

Professional
there's no miracles here: go soft mid/low RA racquets (lower than, lets say, 65), foam filled sticks, some weight but with head-light balance, soft strings combo (you should not use aggressive poly strings, specially strung high).

Try soft poly, or a combo with soft poly/gut or synthetic gut, or multi. Avoid hollow stiff racquets, stiff polys, high tension etc

Proper technic is also a factor, get some lessons if the pain comes from a single shot.

Try to not muscle the ball, play with a loose arm/wrist.

Do some arm therapy, if possible
 

xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
You’re right. It’s on my technique of course. But I wouldn’t say I have bad technique. And I just don’t think that setup with the clash works with my technique and how I want to hit the ball. Isn’t that the whole point of trying to find a racquet and string combo that works for your game? That’s why every single people prefers different strings and tensions and racquets.
The point of finding a racket and string combo that works for you is to give money to racket companies.

Pro players, if given the choice, will stick to what they're used to, which is what they grew up with (or something very similar). Sometimes, they are forced to change (when they switch sponsors). They'll tend to gravitate towards something closer to what they are used to. If there exists a racket that wows them, they need to commit to an adaptation period, which some are willing to go through. Federer noticeably went through such a period in 2014 where his strokes visibly looked uncomfortable with regard to ball control, but most of that discomfort seemed to go away within a year. Not many people are willing to relearn their strokes with the uncertain possibility of getting better or worse overall when they can simply look to stick with the same racket and simply improve themselves.

People that over-obsess on technique and equipment tend to go in circles. X improved with A change, but Y got worse, but I prefer X being better, so I'll stick with it. B improves Y at the cost of Z, new switch made. C improves Z at the cost of X, ah damn right back to the start. I could've just spent my time and focus improving X, Y, and Z independent of my equipment and technique.

tl;dr it's not the racket, or the strings, it's you. Changing the racket and strings are a temporary solution. In the end, you're going to have to choose between playing tennis for the rest of your life, even if it's not how you want to play, or playing the tennis you want for a VERY short amount of time before quitting the sport indefinitely.

However, the lucky bit for you is it seems the issue is your first serve? You can just use your second serve twice!
 

blai212

Hall of Fame
That is counter to my experience with ALU Power and RPM Blast where they start feeling uncomfortable for my wrist after 7-8 hours strung in the mid-forties. I love how they play for about 3-5 hours of singles and then I feel like their control/feel falls off a cliff also. With HyperG/HyperG Soft, I can play well for more than 15-17 hours (mix of singles/doubles), Cyclone Tour/Tour Bite last well for about 12 hours. I mostly play gut/poly hybrids with HG Soft crosses at 47/44 and break or cut them out around 15 hours on a Pure Strike Tour. YMMV
Alu and RPM blast just have terrible playability duration which is a whole nother discussion. Normally pre stretched strings such as kirschbaum or 4G feel stiffer but exhibit great tension maintenance and playability duration. HG is by no means ’soft’ unless using using very thin gauge. I would categorize it on thr slightly stiffer end of the spectrum that exhibits good tension maintenance and playability duration but low powered and not that soft (for me).
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
Maybe this article will help to underst biceps tendinitis that accompanies RC tears.


However, if your painful spot is that low, it might just be a biceps tendon tear and not a RC injury. Check this out also.


Incidentally, people are recommending flexible racquets because they are used to doing that for tennis elbow issues. In your case, you might be putting more strain on your shoulder/bicep by swinging harder when you serve with a limp-noodle flexible racquet especially if it has low-power poly strings. I’m not surprised you have more pain with the flexible Clash. Maybe what you need is a racquet with more power and soft strings temporarily that does the work for you so that you can swing slower on your serve. If you insist on playing before you see the specialist, you might also want to attempt only 2nd serves.
I dont get any pain at all in moving my arm in an overhead motion or doing like windmill motions so i dont think its tendinitis. Tear may be a possibility but surely a tear would be so much more painful than what i have and would be rendered useless wouldnt it? I sprained my ankle pretty badly and i couldnt move for normally for 3 months. Thats ligaments though so not sure about similariies or differences. Theres my limited medical knowledge speaking though.
You reckon? What racket would you suggest i try? With full bed multi, or at least a hybrid with multi mains i assume?
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
I have a technique question for you. Do you hit your forehand with an open stance where your weight is mostly on your back foot? I ask because it seems that you are arming the ball rather than using the trunk of your body and strength in your legs to drive the ball. If your forehand stance is too open, it can lead to arm strain and injuries. Try changing your footwork and use a neutral stance where your feet are about even with each other when you make contact with the ball instead of leading with your back foot. Or, even better until the arm heals, hit with a closed forehand stance where you lead with your front foot. Also, you might be trying to hit with a lot of topspin on your forehand and "arming" the shot too much. Often, hitting flatter shots is easier on the body because the swing motion is less extreme. Also, do not lead with your elbow when hitting forehands. Keep your elbow tucked in so that it is positioned slightly behind your hip to protect it from arm strain. Turn the trunk of your body instead of swinging out with your arm on the forehand side.

Very headlight racquets are good for fast swing speeds and topspin but are not so arm friendly because a racquet with more weight in the head absorbs shock better. And, if you have arm problems - I know from experience - a flexible racquet with a higher swing weight is easier on the arm. I have found arm friendliness in frames that are flexible in the hoop rather than in the throat because they are more forgiving on mishits and the increased swing weight helps drive the ball. Recently, I switched to the Head MicroGel mid - it has a 62 RA, a 98 sq. inch head size and a straight beam that flexes in the hoop as well as a dense 18 x 19 string pattern. I get good spin with it though it does take time to get used to the dense string pattern. It absorbs shock well. And, though I hit flatter, my shots have good pace and depth though not excessive spin. My arm feels great. For more spin, I will probably get it restrung with 17 gauge string.

Most players wound not think to change their footwork to help with arm injury issues. Try closing up that forehand stance and put more hip and shoulder turn and spring from your legs into your shots. Avoid hitting the ball entirely with your arm and use more of your body weight behind - especially when hitting your forehand. If you have bad technique, it will not be fixed by changing racquets and strings.
Mostly neutral actually. Too much spin could be a possibility. Forehand is similar to kyrgios for reference. But this issue initially started on and really gets worse when i serve. Groundstrokes aren't really an issue i dont think. I feel like i would have been told by my coaches if my technique was bad, which ive asked them multiple times. I do think its probably down to lack of strength now though. Hopefully these excercises do help. Weight would probably help a lot. But i dont have the strength to swing a racket that heavy with my racket head speed for a full match, which then probably comes with the strength aspect again that im working on.
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
Agree. The key is to restring stiff polys within 10 hours and soft polys within 15 hours (or closer to 20 if mostly doubles). Most players play with poly way too long after it is dead and starts causing arm discomfort. If you string below 50 lbs and cut it out early (if you don’t break it first) at a set hour limit or as soon as you feel the slightest tightness in your wrist/arm (even before pain), poly should be fun to play with. I don’t know players who get injured from poly following this routine.
ive been restringing them every week, so about 5 hour play per racket? But of course i had this issue before and it wasn't necessarily caused by the polys. I've now ordered 3 sets of Hyper G Spft in 18 gauge hoping it may help as ive not really been breaking the 16 gauge black widow alot, and i dont mind having to restring more if it means no pain.!
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
there's no miracles here: go soft mid/low RA racquets (lower than, lets say, 65), foam filled sticks, some weight but with head-light balance, soft strings combo (you should not use aggressive poly strings, specially strung high).

Try soft poly, or a combo with soft poly/gut or synthetic gut, or multi. Avoid hollow stiff racquets, stiff polys, high tension etc

Proper technic is also a factor, get some lessons if the pain comes from a single shot.

Try to not muscle the ball, play with a loose arm/wrist.

Do some arm therapy, if possible
foam might be a good shout. When you say aggressive poly strings, you mean low powered? or like aggressively shaped? would you classify the cx200 tour as a hollow racket? What are some recommendations you might be able to give? Ive ordered 3 sets of hyper g soft 18 gauge so hopefully that will play softer.
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
The point of finding a racket and string combo that works for you is to give money to racket companies.

Pro players, if given the choice, will stick to what they're used to, which is what they grew up with (or something very similar). Sometimes, they are forced to change (when they switch sponsors). They'll tend to gravitate towards something closer to what they are used to. If there exists a racket that wows them, they need to commit to an adaptation period, which some are willing to go through. Federer noticeably went through such a period in 2014 where his strokes visibly looked uncomfortable with regard to ball control, but most of that discomfort seemed to go away within a year. Not many people are willing to relearn their strokes with the uncertain possibility of getting better or worse overall when they can simply look to stick with the same racket and simply improve themselves.

People that over-obsess on technique and equipment tend to go in circles. X improved with A change, but Y got worse, but I prefer X being better, so I'll stick with it. B improves Y at the cost of Z, new switch made. C improves Z at the cost of X, ah damn right back to the start. I could've just spent my time and focus improving X, Y, and Z independent of my equipment and technique.

tl;dr it's not the racket, or the strings, it's you. Changing the racket and strings are a temporary solution. In the end, you're going to have to choose between playing tennis for the rest of your life, even if it's not how you want to play, or playing the tennis you want for a VERY short amount of time before quitting the sport indefinitely.

However, the lucky bit for you is it seems the issue is your first serve? You can just use your second serve twice!
fair point. But then id also argue with roger, he didnt just pick a racket willy nilly. He didnt like the 2013 iteration and scrapped it until he found one he felt was the best of the bunch.
But yes you might be correct in the sense that i have to look in terms of my long terms health and have to be smart. Im hoping the strenght and conditioning excercises that focus on the arm, as well as the gym work i will do will work fingers crossed. If not i dont know what the next step would be
 

socallefty

Legend
What racket would you suggest i try? With full bed multi, or at least a hybrid with multi mains i assume?
Try the different racquets you already have with fullbed soft strings (multi or natural gut) around 55 lbs. Keep playing with the one that causes you the least pain. You need a doctor to diagnose you with the proper tests. All the best!
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
Try the different racquets you already have with fullbed soft strings (multi or natural gut) around 55 lbs. Keep playing with the one that causes you the least pain. You need a doctor to diagnose you with the proper tests. All the best!
with the x1 bipahse 15L they all just seem so hollow and boardy for some reason. Would matbe going for a 16 gauge make them feel better or is that something i would have to force myself to get used to?
 

socallefty

Legend
with the x1 bipahse 15L they all just seem so hollow and boardy for some reason. Would matbe going for a 16 gauge make them feel better or is that something i would have to force myself to get used to?
Thinner gauge will have more feel. I’ve never been a fan of Multis. I’ve always preferred fullbed gut or gut/poly hybrids myself. If you don’t mind paying a bit more while you recover, try gut at 55 lbs or a gut/soft poly hybrid at 48/46.
 
If you're in the UK and worried about the weather, you might still be able to try Luxilon gut, that's more heavily coated than some others and might survive the dampness better.

Otherwise, if that isn't practical (I usually save that for the summer) I'd try a softer multi like Head Reflex or Prince Premier Touch in 17ga (I found the PPT really soft), or maybe RIP control in 17ga if you want something more muted?
 

BumElbow

Semi-Pro
Mostly neutral actually. Too much spin could be a possibility. Forehand is similar to kyrgios for reference. But this issue initially started on and really gets worse when i serve. Groundstrokes aren't really an issue i dont think. I feel like i would have been told by my coaches if my technique was bad, which ive asked them multiple times. I do think its probably down to lack of strength now though. Hopefully these excercises do help. Weight would probably help a lot. But i dont have the strength to swing a racket that heavy with my racket head speed for a full match, which then probably comes with the strength aspect again that im working on.
Could you be over-pronating when serving? Just a thought. Can you hit a slice serve? Coming under the ball always seems to be easier on the arm. Maybe play a few matches hitting slice serves and see how the arm feels afterwards? Is your elbow straight or bent when you make contact with the ball on your serve? Where do you make contact with the ball when serving? Out in front of you or above your head? Is your toss so much out in front that you are straining to reach the ball when making contact?
 
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