luxilon is killing tennis

drakulie

Talk Tennis Guru
The same way polys generate topspin they generate backspin and sidespin, which are wonderfull for volleys, at least in my case. I dont agree polys are horrible for volleys.
Me neither. Poly is a very good string. For those who don't like it>>> then move on.
 

MasturB

Legend
Yep... I think that's the kind of dipper that the Luxilon clowns in this thread are talking about. The problem is, neither one of these players is actually using Luxilon or any other poly. In that match clip, Sampras is using a full gut job, and Agassi is using his pre-Lux hybrid of gut and kevlar.
So are you against luxilon?

I can't exactly tell by your post.

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Both big shots in that video look like "luxilon" shots. The midcourt forehand that Agassi rips that dips really fast, and the passing shot by Sampras.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
So are you against luxilon?

I can't exactly tell by your post.

---

Both big shots in that video look like "luxilon" shots. The midcourt forehand that Agassi rips that dips really fast, and the passing shot by Sampras.
I used a kevlar mains/synthetic gut cross hybrid for over 15 years, but have been experimenting with different polys over the past year or so. I've tried Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power Rough as a main in a hybrid with Babalot Tonic... and thought it played pretty good for a couple sets. However, they advertise Luxilon as a new style poly, but it seemed to me that it lost tension or playability as rapidly as the old poly strings that I experimented with in the early 90s. Personally, I've liked some of the softer co-polys like SPPP and Red Code better because they seem to retain tension and playability longer.

Anyway, my feeling is that poly isn't a massive upgrade over kevlar from a spin and control standpoint, but it is less shocking on the arm (than kevlar) overall and some of the co-polys feel pretty good. I don't think that this type of string is killing the game. Serve and volleyers are disappearing because the surfaces have slowed down and the academies that all the pros are growing up in do not teach that style of game. Federer could serve and volley, and win, if he needed to, but there is no point when he can beat most players from the baseline (where he is more comfortable). I believe that great serve and volley players from the past (McEnroe, Edberg, Becker) would be able to do well today, even with the poly. The fact that your video shows Agassi and Sampras hitting "luxilon" shots with gut and kevlar just goes to show that this type of spin has been around since before the poly craze... and is probably more a matter of great talent and conditioning.
 

fastdunn

Legend
The same way polys generate topspin they generate backspin and sidespin, which are wonderfull for volleys, at least in my case. I dont agree polys are horrible for volleys.
Well, I meant for soft volleys and touch shots.
Full benefits of polys play when there is a deep impct, IMHO.
 

beltsman

Legend
This guy is like a cross between becker and edberg, but every single first volley is below the level of the net.
I think people who can volley with this level of proficiency should be rewarded.
Luxilon is killing variety, only one playing style is effective nowadays, it doesn't matter how good you are at volleying, if every volley has to be scraped off your shoelaces you don't have a chance.
Hand on my heart I don't think McEnroe could have made a D2 college tennis team with his style of play against opponents weilding luxilon.

I never thought I'd read that Mahut is like a cross between Edberg and Becker. Wow, that's high praise!
 

mental midget

Hall of Fame
I used a kevlar mains/synthetic gut cross hybrid for over 15 years, but have been experimenting with different polys over the past year or so. I've tried Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power Rough as a main in a hybrid with Babalot Tonic... and thought it played pretty good for a couple sets. However, they advertise Luxilon as a new style poly, but it seemed to me that it lost tension or playability as rapidly as the old poly strings that I experimented with in the early 90s. Personally, I've liked some of the softer co-polys like SPPP and Red Code better because they seem to retain tension and playability longer.

Anyway, my feeling is that poly isn't a massive upgrade over kevlar from a spin and control standpoint, but it is less shocking on the arm (than kevlar) overall and some of the co-polys feel pretty good. I don't think that this type of string is killing the game. Serve and volleyers are disappearing because the surfaces have slowed down and the academies that all the pros are growing up in do not teach that style of game. Federer could serve and volley, and win, if he needed to, but there is no point when he can beat most players from the baseline (where he is more comfortable). I believe that great serve and volley players from the past (McEnroe, Edberg, Becker) would be able to do well today, even with the poly. The fact that your video shows Agassi and Sampras hitting "luxilon" shots with gut and kevlar just goes to show that this type of spin has been around since before the poly craze... and is probably more a matter of great talent and conditioning.
i played kevlar strings for years...not a pro player by any stretch so take this as a focus group of one 5.0 amateur BUT man the first time i hit with polys, it was nothing like what kevlar had ever done for me. it was truly amazing the violent dip you could put on the ball's trajectory. for sure you can hit ultra-spinny shots with anything but again in my experience luxilon is a whole new level.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
i played kevlar strings for years...not a pro player by any stretch so take this as a focus group of one 5.0 amateur BUT man the first time i hit with polys, it was nothing like what kevlar had ever done for me. it was truly amazing the violent dip you could put on the ball's trajectory. for sure you can hit ultra-spinny shots with anything but again in my experience luxilon is a whole new level.
Well, that quote was a blast from the past considering I made it almost 14 years ago!

I have a box of Wilson strings from when I was coaching college tennis in the mid-90s, which includes sets if the early polyester offerings from that time. I remember trying out those strings and hating them because they turned to mush pretty quickly. There's no doubt that poly strings have come a long, long way since then.

In the post you quoted, I was explaining how I was just starting to experiment with the "modern" polys from Lux, Technifibre, and Signum back in 2007. After using Kevlar blends for so long, I was not blown away by the feel or performance then. Part of that might have been the fact that I was still stringing at old school style high tensions in the 60s.

Nowadays, I've been using full beds of thinner gauge polys at tensions in the 40s for years now. In this kind of setup, there is no doubt that the feel, power, and control of poly is superior to Kevlar blends in every way. I wouldn't go back, and I can only think of one person in my area that still uses Kevlar. It's kinda' hard to find sets or reels of it.

To that end, in my collection, I have a few old racquets strung up with Kevlar, which I've hit with a couple times in the past year or so. Kevlar provides a solid, old familiar performance and I can hit plenty of spin with it (to the point where I can't really see a difference in the amount of rotation on the ball). However, the comfort and feel is nowhere near what I am used to now from polys. Volleying feels harsh with the old Kevlar, but plush with my current poly setups.

Speaking of which, I have been using black Volkl Cyclone 18g mains with red Volkl Cyclone Tour 17g crosses at 48lbs in my old 16x20 2014 Babolat Pure Strike Tours. Feels and looks great! Before that, I was using Solinco Hyper G 17g at 48 lbs in the same frames. That was really good also.

I haven't tried any of the new Lux offerings because that string tends to be a bit expensive, and I have a bunch of the Solinco and Volkl sets on hand.
 

RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
i played kevlar strings for years...not a pro player by any stretch so take this as a focus group of one 5.0 amateur BUT man the first time i hit with polys, it was nothing like what kevlar had ever done for me. it was truly amazing the violent dip you could put on the ball's trajectory. for sure you can hit ultra-spinny shots with anything but again in my experience luxilon is a whole new level.
After the first time I used poly, I very rarely lost to shorter players of similar skill level again. Was able to put second serves over their heads and groundstrokes up around their ears. It was wild, because it didn’t take any more effort and the results were starkly different. These days I don’t usually use full poly due to the stiffness and bc I’m a bitter nostalgiatard about serve and volley
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
Still shaking my head about the revival of a 14 year old thread...

Back when this was started, Daniil Medvedev was 11 and Jannik Sinner was 5. Sinner probably hadn't even touched a racquet yet!
 

beltsman

Legend
Well, that quote was a blast from the past considering I made it almost 14 years ago!

I have a box of Wilson strings from when I was coaching college tennis in the mid-90s, which includes sets if the early polyester offerings from that time. I remember trying out those strings and hating them because they turned to mush pretty quickly. There's no doubt that poly strings have come a long, long way since then.

In the post you quoted, I was explaining how I was just starting to experiment with the "modern" polys from Lux, Technifibre, and Signum back in 2007. After using Kevlar blends for so long, I was not blown away by the feel or performance then. Part of that might have been the fact that I was still stringing at old school style high tensions in the 60s.

Nowadays, I've been using full beds of thinner gauge polys at tensions in the 40s for years now. In this kind of setup, there is no doubt that the feel, power, and control of poly is superior to Kevlar blends in every way. I wouldn't go back, and I can only think of one person in my area that still uses Kevlar. It's kinda' hard to find sets or reels of it.

To that end, in my collection, I have a few old racquets strung up with Kevlar, which I've hit with a couple times in the past year or so. Kevlar provides a solid, old familiar performance and I can hit plenty of spin with it (to the point where I can't really see a difference in the amount of rotation on the ball). However, the comfort and feel is nowhere near what I am used to now from polys. Volleying feels harsh with the old Kevlar, but plush with my current poly setups.

Speaking of which, I have been using black Volkl Cyclone 18g mains with red Volkl Cyclone Tour 17g crosses at 48lbs in my old 16x20 2014 Babolat Pure Strike Tours. Feels and looks great! Before that, I was using Solinco Hyper G 17g at 48 lbs in the same frames. That was really good also.

I haven't tried any of the new Lux offerings because that string tends to be a bit expensive, and I have a bunch of the Solinco and Volkl sets on hand.
What are your general thoughts on racquet development through the years? I'm curious to hear the take of someone who has played through different eras of racquets and strings.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
What are your general thoughts on racquet development through the years? I'm curious to hear the take of someone who has played through different eras of racquets and strings.
When I was a kid, I started playing tennis right at the end of the wood racquet era (early 80s). My first racquets were wood and aluminum garage sale frames. I also had a couple cheap graphite and fiberglass racquets. All of this stuff was really flexible, not powerful, and had small head sizes, so you had to swing slower and be more precise to be consistant.

My first real racquets were the Wilson Pro Staff, which I chose because Stefan Edberg used them and because I couldn't get Mats Wilander's Rossignal frames at my local shop. The Pro Staff had great feel when you hit in the sweet spot, which is why a lot of pros used them, all the way from the mid-80s to Federer's first few years as a top player in the early 2000s. However, for my level at the time, I wish I had gone with the Prince Original Graphite Oversize, which was a lot more forgiving and powerful. I think I would have developed a better net game and serve earlier on with that racquet because of it's bigger sweet spot and open string pattern, plus it would have enhanced my regular game style. But I was young and stubborn, and couldn't afford to switch after I commited to the Pro Staff.

To note, late 80s is also when I started using kevlar strings. I was using cheap nylon and synthetic gut before that, but when I started getting good, I was breaking strings every other day, which my Mom couldn't afford to keep up financially. A neighbor suggested kevlar instead because it was super durable. What's crazy is I used to string my Pro Staffs with a full bed of 15g kevlar at 70 lbs! That reduced the sweet spot down to the size of a dime, but it lasted a long time and I had a ton of control as a moonballer. It's amazing my arm didn't fall off! It wasn't until I got to college that I discovered the idea of hybriding the kevlar with synthetic gut and lowering the tension a bit. The hybrid setup didn't last as long, but performed better and was easier on the arm.

The first widebody frames with thick beams that I can remember were the Wilson Profile and the Prince Thunderstick. I think those arrived in the late 80s. I only hit with them as demos back then, but those frames produced easy power that was unlike anything on the market, and created a whole bunch of imitators and changes. I recall that they were super expensive at the time - north of $200 when the average frame was about $150. Aside from the Pro Staff, I had a bunch of great frames in the 90s and early 2000s in different head sizes and beams from Wilson, Prince, Head, Dunlop, and Pro Kennex. I've been using Babolats for the past 10 years, first the Pure Drive Roddick and then Pure Strike Tour. None of the new models of either of these frames have felt better than what I already have, so I'm using frames that are from 2014.

Anyway, to answer your question, I think there have been a few leaps in racquet technology:

From wood to graphite, from small head sizes to mid-size and oversize, from thin flexible beams to stiff widebodies, and from heavier to lighter, but more balanced frames. However, by and large, all of this development occured between 1980 and 2000. I don't think a lot of what has happened with racquets since then is very revolutionary or game changing. That's why you often find out that some top players are using racquet molds and specs of classic frames from the 90s with paint jobs over them. Personally, I found out that the reason I think I liked the standard sized Babolat Pure Drive Roddick 10 years ago is because the specifications were almost identical to the Pro Kennix Asymetric 365 frame I used in college in the early 90s! They feel almost the same.

(I watched a recent video from Nic on the Intuitive Tennis channel on Youtube where he described using the Pro Kennex Asymetric in college as well, and now he's a Babolat Pure Drive guy. I'm telling you, the specs and feel are the same between that early 90s racquet and what is out today.)

Given this, in my opinion, the biggest leap in technology in the past 15 years in tennis (aside from fitness, nutrition, and sports medicine at the pro level) is with the strings. As I wrote previously, I was not a big believer in poly strings in the beginning, but I am sold now. Poly strings strung at the proper tension can give you a blend of feel, control, power, durability, and yes... spin that is unprecedented compared to anything you could get previous to the mid-2000s.
 
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beltsman

Legend
When I was a kid, I started playing tennis right at the end of the wood racquet era (early 80s). My first racquets were wood and aluminum garage sale frames. I also had a couple cheap graphite and fiberglass racquets. All of this stuff was really flexible, not powerful, and had small head sizes, so you had to swing slower and be more precise to be consistant.

My first real racquets were the Wilson Pro Staff, which I chose because Stefan Edberg used them and because I couldn't get Mats Wilander's Rossignal frames at my local shop. The Pro Staff had great feel when you hit in the sweet spot, which is why a lot of pros used them, all the way from the mid-80s to Federer's first few years as a top player in the early 2000s. However, for my level at the time, I wish I had gone with the Prince Original Graphite Oversize, which was a lot more forgiving and powerful. I think I would have developed a better net game and serve earlier on with that racquet because of it's bigger sweet spot and open string pattern, plus it would have enhanced my regular game style. But I was young and stubborn, and couldn't afford to switch after I commited to the Pro Staff.

To note, late 80s is also when I started using kevlar strings. I was using cheap nylon and synthetic gut before that, but when I started getting good, I was breaking strings every other day, which my Mom couldn't afford to keep up financially. A neighbor suggested kevlar instead because it was super durable. What's crazy is I used to string my Pro Staffs with a full bed of 15g kevlar at 70 lbs! That reduced the sweet spot down to the size of a dime, but it lasted a long time and I had a ton of control as a moonballer. It's amazing my arm didn't fall off! It wasn't until I got to college that I discovered the idea of hybriding the kevlar with synthetic gut and lowering the tension a bit. The hybrid setup didn't last as long, but performed better and was easier on the arm.

The first widebody frames with thick beams that I can remember were the Wilson Profile and the Prince Thunderstick. I think those arrived in the late 80s. I only hit with them as demos back then, but those frames produced easy power that was unlike anything on the market, and created a whole bunch of imitators and changes. I recall that they were super expensive at the time - north of $200 when the average frame was about $150. Aside from the Pro Staff, I had a bunch of great frames in the 90s and early 2000s in different head sizes and beams from Wilson, Prince, Head, Dunlop, and Pro Kennex. I've been using Babolats for the past 10 years, first the Pure Drive Roddick and then Pure Strike Tour. None of the new models of either of these frames have felt better than what I already have, so I'm using frames that are from 2014.

Anyway, to answer your question, I think there have been a few leaps in racquet technology:

From wood to graphite, from small head sizes to mid-size and oversize, from thin flexible beams to stiff widebodies, and from heavier to lighter, but more balanced frames. However, by and large, all of this development occured between 1980 and 2000. I don't think a lot of what has happened with racquets since then is very revolutionary or game changing. That's why you often find out that some top players are using racquet molds and specs of classic frames from the 90s with paint jobs over them. Personally, I found out that the reason I think I liked the standard sized Babolat Pure Drive Roddick 10 years ago is because the specifications were almost identical to the Pro Kennix Asymetric 365 frame I used in college in the early 90s! They feel almost the same.

(I watched a recent video from Nic on the Intuitive Tennis channel on Youtube where he described using the Pro Kennex Asymetric in college as well, and now he's a Babolat Pure Drive guy. I'm telling you, the specs and feel are the same between that early 90s racquet and what is out today.)

Given this, in my opinion, the biggest leap in technology in the past 15 years in tennis (aside from fitness, nutrition, and sports medicine at the pro level) is with the strings. As I wrote previously, I was not a big believer in poly strings in the beginning, but I am sold now. Poly strings strung at the proper tension can give you a blend of feel, control, power, durability, and yes... spin that is unprecedented compared to anything you could get previous to the mid-2000s.
Great post, thank you. You have a unique experience in the eras you lived through!
 
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