String tension and topspin

toth

Semi-Pro
Which tension help more to impart topspin, a (bit) lower or a (bit) tighter?

Thank you for your answer
Toth
 

toth

Semi-Pro
I guess you are after better shape for a shot, not topspin in vacuum?
I actually have a bit loose string tension, and i cope well with it.
I only would like to know , is it advantageous for topspin or not really.
I would not like to play with tighter string, even if it would be better to impart a lot of topspin.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
I actually have a bit loose string tension, and i cope well with it.
I only would like to know , is it advantageous for topspin or not really.
I would not like to play with tighter string, even if it would be better to impart a lot of topspin.
The thing is if you talk pure RPM, lower tension (at least within reasonable range) will give more spin. However, it will also increase trampoline effect, therefore “power”. And launch angle.
So if with your default setup, with decent topspin mechanics, you tend to hit short - loosening the stringbed will give higher trajectory, more pace and extra spin and kick.
Meanwhile, if you struggle to keep the ball within lines loosening stringbed will not likely help - topspin gains will be overwhelmed by extra launch angle and pace.
Tightening the stringbed is an approach for those swinging really fast - swing speed, it’s upward component, is more significant factor for spin amount than stringbed features.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tlm

toth

Semi-Pro
just shooting from the hip on this one, but Imo, with the tighter tensions you can swing much faster without loosing control, thus create more "usable", controllable topspin.
I do not want to have a tighter string becouse i am glad that recently i do not have injuries (i am 48).
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
I do not want to have a tighter string becouse i am glad that recently i do not have injuries (i am 48).
and that is why it is a balancing act to find how low you can keep tension without beginning to force yourself to slow your swing to maintain control......unless protecting the arm is such a big issue that slowing the swing is worth it to protect arm health. Imo in most cases arm health is about technique and timing, but I also realize that some may have issues other than technique as well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tlm

Chadalina

Legend
A stroke has two components. Spin and power. The more of one, the less of the other.

Technically id say lower tension because you would have more natural power, allows you to do the spin.
 

Curious

Legend
Does Higher String Tension Give More Control and Spin?
By Dr. Simon Goodwill
University of Sheffield, UK
Most players are familiar with the general principle that low tension gives more power and high tension gives more control. The lower tension strings stretch more during impact and thus store more energy. When the ball rebounds from the racquet, more energy is returned, so it leaves with a higher speed. (Though the increased speed is typically less than 1 percent, but that can translate to balls traveling 1 to 2 feet further on a baseline to baseline shot, depending on the speed.)
The claim that higher string tension gives more control is less easy to explain. There is certainly plenty of anecdotal evidence that players “feel” more control when using a high string tension. Furthermore, in the professional game, players like Andy Roddick and Serena Williams are reported to be using string tensions of over 70 lbs. Do they string this way to gain control? And if so, what is the link between high string tension and control?
We will assume that “control” means the ability to consistently make the ball land at an intended location. But there is more to it than that. Many players report that there is an associated “feel of control” when they are hitting their targets. So the question is what is happening during impact at different string tensions to affect both the bounce location and the player’s feel of that shot? We will examine four variables: spin, string movement, impact dwell time, and ball travel distance across the string face.
Spin
It is often assumed that control is linked with the ability to apply spin to the ball. If that is so, then does spin depend on string tension? Players often say “high tension strings bite into the ball giving more spin.” (“Biting” is used in common tennis parlance to mean creating more friction by increasing the space between strings for the ball to sink into; using rougher, stickier, textured, or shaped strings to “grab” the ball; using thinner strings to dig into the ball; or using higher tension to increase surface contact forces.)
Figure 1: View from behind the tennis racquet —
(left) ball just in contact with strings, and (right)
ball midway through impact.​
Fortunately, the spin generated for a typical ball-racquet impact can easily be measured. This has been done at the University of Sheffield in England, and the results showed that the spin on the ball is not dependent on string tension or string type. In that testing it was concluded that all stringbeds are sufficiently “rough” to achieve maximum spin for the given shot. Therefore, even if thin, sticky, and tight strings were used in an attempt to increase stringbed “roughness,” there would be no actual increase in rebound spin.
However, the fact remains that players feel that they can achieve more spin with high-tension strings. Three possibilities arise: (1) the players are simply incorrect; (2) players feel a difference in some other impact related event like more or less dwell time, string movement, or ball travel across the racquet and incorrectly interpret that as more spin; (3) the player, not the racquet, does something differently when playing with higher tension strings that, indeed, produces more spin. So, we did more tests to find the answer.
The study compared two identical tennis racquets, one strung at 40 pounds and one strung at 70 pounds (the same tensions as in our previously mentioned spin study). The impact apparatus can be set up to simulate a player hitting a topspin groundstroke, and we can measure the ball rebound spin using a high speed video camera operating at 240 frames/sec. As in previous testing, it was found that the measured rebound spin for both racquets was identical. So have the players’ perceptions been proven wrong?
Not necessarily. Because tighter strings produce less velocity, the ball will land shorter in the court. To make up for this, the player might swing harder generating more spin. In this case, it is not tighter strings that produce more spin, but the player’s response to tighter strings. In any case, the player is likely to notice the greater spin without realizing that he is swinging faster.
Similarly, even if the player does not swing harder, he may think there is more spin with higher tensions. That is because, although the spin is not greater at higher tensions, the ball speed will be lower, so the ratio of spin to speed will be greater. The ball will then appear to land shorter in the court at slightly steeper angles and to bounce higher — in reality just consequences of less velocity.
If string tension doesn’t influence spin, it can’t influence control through spin. So we are forced to look elsewhere for our connection between string tension and control. Fortunately, we find three variables that do vary with string tension — string movement, dwell time, and ball travel across the stringbed — that might influence control.
Lateral string movement
The impacts were also recorded from behind the racquet, using an ultra high-speed video operating at 3,700 frames/sec to see and measure what happens to the ball and strings during an impact. Figure 1 shows typical views from this camera; Figure 1(a) shows the ball just in contact with the strings, and Figure 1(b) shows the ball midway through the impact. We are simulating a topspin groundstroke, where the racquet is whipped upwards and, therefore, in these images, the ball travels downwards on the racquet during impact. The racquet shown in Figure 1 was strung at 40 pounds, and you can see that the mains strings deform downwards during the impact. However, this downward string motion was generally not seen in our tests for the racquet strung at 70 pounds.
Does this string movement affect control? In theory, if the strings deformed downwards but then recovered to their original position before the end of impact, then they would increase the amount of spin applied to the ball. However, we found that the strings did not recover during impact and were permanently deformed. (Hence, remaining consistent with our findings that spin is independent of tension.) You can tell if your strings do the same by having a look at them after you’ve hit a topspin groundstroke.
However, the amount of movement of the strings will affect the impact because it influences the location at which the ball leaves the racquet. Therefore this string movement will affect the speed and angle at which the ball leaves the racquet and thus where the ball will land on the court. Furthermore, we found that the amount that the strings deform is very inconsistent. It depends on how hard the ball is hit, the position of the strings before impact, and also exactly where on the racquet you hit the ball — i.e., did the ball initially land on one string or on two strings. The lesson is that a low-tension string will give you less consistency in your strokes.
In sum, lower tensions result in more lateral string movement, which, in turn, contributes to more unpredictable ball trajectories. The player may also be able to feel this string movement since it will result in a softer impact.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
All these lab tests and studies don’t mean much to me. It’s like 5263 stated the tighter string bed lets a player swing out more so with the added racket speed you will produce more spin. I know there is the snap back craze that says the lower tension lets the strings snap back more which produces more spin.

Which I don’t doubt there is some truth to this theory, however if you can’t control the low tension set up then you will slow down your swing and lose spin. The low tension snap back people claim that you just have to swing faster and you will get more spin which gives you the control. If you can time the ball just right and keep the trajectory down with the low tension then this is probably true.

But that high trajectory that the low tension produces is hard to control. Like these studies always say that the tighter tension doesn’t give more control they just give a lower trajectory. Well to me the lower trajectory definitely gives more control. I use the same set up on all my rackets and when my poly string starts getting old and I’m having trouble with control I switch to a new string job and instantly my control improves with the new set up.

I have done this test many times I’m just rallying and swinging out but too many balls are flying long with my old strings. I change to a new string job and the first few balls I hit will land shorter than I like. I then adjust to the new string job and swing out more and now I’m hitting the depth I like and missing very few if any long. This is with identical rackets, strings and tension. But of course the used strings are no longer as tight as the new strings and the newer higher tension strings definitely give better control, so I don’t care what these lab tests say I know what works for me.
 

Curious

Legend
All these lab tests and studies don’t mean much to me. It’s like 5263 stated the tighter string bed lets a player swing out more so with the added racket speed you will produce more spin. I know there is the snap back craze that says the lower tension lets the strings snap back more which produces more spin.

Which I don’t doubt there is some truth to this theory, however if you can’t control the low tension set up then you will slow down your swing and lose spin. The low tension snap back people claim that you just have to swing faster and you will get more spin which gives you the control. If you can time the ball just right and keep the trajectory down with the low tension then this is probably true.

But that high trajectory that the low tension produces is hard to control. Like these studies always say that the tighter tension doesn’t give more control they just give a lower trajectory. Well to me the lower trajectory definitely gives more control. I use the same set up on all my rackets and when my poly string starts getting old and I’m having trouble with control I switch to a new string job and instantly my control improves with the new set up.

I have done this test many times I’m just rallying and swinging out but too many balls are flying long with my old strings. I change to a new string job and the first few balls I hit will land shorter than I like. I then adjust to the new string job and swing out more and now I’m hitting the depth I like and missing very few if any long. This is with identical rackets, strings and tension. But of course the used strings are no longer as tight as the new strings and the newer higher tension strings definitely give better control, so I don’t care what these lab tests say I know what works for me.
I doubt the snap back does anything. However,
With low tension the ball stays more in the stringbed.
The surface area of the ball in contact with the stringbed is larger.
I suspect these two may have an impact on spin production.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
I doubt the snap back does anything. However,
With low tension the ball stays more in the stringbed.
The surface area of the ball in contact with the stringbed is larger.
I suspect these two may have an impact on spin production.
That could be but I get good spin out of a tight string bed, when I try lower tension I definitely get more power but not sure if the spin increases.
 

Curious

Legend
That could be but I get good spin out of a tight string bed, when I try lower tension I definitely get more power but not sure if the spin increases.
I guess you may need to close the racket angle a little at contact for the ball not to go long.
Anyway isn’t this supposed to be a very easy experiment for researchers?
You need a robot that will swing the racket at a constant speed and angles(racket face and swingpath) with the string tension being the only variable. And let it hit some balls.
Maybe they don’t want us to find out so that we keep talking about this stuff! Or no one really cares that much.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
I guess you may need to close the racket angle a little at contact for the ball not to go long.
Anyway isn’t this supposed to be a very easy experiment for researchers?
You need a robot that will swing the racket at a constant speed and angles(racket face and swingpath) with the string tension being the only variable. And let it hit some balls.
Maybe they don’t want us to find out so that we keep talking about this stuff! Or no one really cares that much.
Once you introduce a robot and rackets in vises and whatever it is not like real life. I’ve found the complete opposite of many of these lab tests.
 

Curious

Legend
Once you introduce a robot and rackets in vises and whatever it is not like real life. I’ve found the complete opposite of many of these lab tests.
But that’s the only objective way to tell which one creates more spin, with everything being the same.
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
I understand having the right strings/string setup is important, but (I promise I'm not trying to be the jerk) isn't topspin is created more so from the player? If you have the correct swing path/technique you can create topspin regardless of what your string tension is.
 

Chadalina

Legend
I understand having the right strings/string setup is important, but (I promise I'm not trying to be the jerk) isn't topspin is created more so from the player? If you have the correct swing path/technique you can create topspin regardless of what your string tension is.
Ya, brush more instead of hitting through, thus the loss of mph power.

Thats why in theory a lower tension is better, but like Tim said, it doesnt carry over in practice. Too much racket head speed (needed for spin) + a stringbed that holds the ball too long (looser) = shanks.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
I understand having the right strings/string setup is important, but (I promise I'm not trying to be the jerk) isn't topspin is created more so from the player? If you have the correct swing path/technique you can create topspin regardless of what your string tension is.
This is true.
 

Wise one

Hall of Fame
I played the other day with racquets that were very tightly strung, and kept hitting my serves into the net. I changed to looser racquets (same gauge and type of string, 17 gauge Bow Brand gut), and serves easily cleared the net. QED
 

chic

Rookie
To go against what others are saying a bit, I've found that with polys I tends to be able to hit more spin at low tension.

A little while ago I strung my racquets up at high and low (iirc 58x58 and 35x35) with the same poly hybrid that I normally hit in the mid-low 40s. The stiffer string bed was alright but my main complaint was inability to get my normal topspin shots because there wasn't enough power coming off the racquet for me to hit high topspin. So I had to adjust to flatter, lower clearance shots to keep the ball deep.

That being said, with syn gut I liked highish tensions around 58# much better than 50#. So I think the particular string and overall setup matters more, along with (most importantly) the players playstyle (I play mid-high topspin centered game with a fairly fast swingrate in a 100in² 16x18 racquet). Give me a dense stringbed an smaller head size I'm going to adjust to more control less topspin oriented shots, then I'd need to up the tension probably.
 

toth

Semi-Pro
Is it correct, that power players (for example Del Potro) usually have tighter string and touch players (for example Mc Enroe) usually use looser string?
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
The guy with really loose tension (13.5/13.5kg reportedly) is Adrian Mannarino. He’s not a touch player, more a defender/counterpuncher with rather compact techniques. Not producing big swings, big RHS, big spin, but hits back fast and with pace using that stringbed.
 

toth

Semi-Pro
The guy with really loose tension (13.5/13.5kg reportedly) is Adrian Mannarino. He’s not a touch player, more a defender/counterpuncher with rather compact techniques. Not producing big swings, big RHS, big spin, but hits back fast and with pace using that stringbed.
And what type of string tension does Mac Enroe use?
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
And what type of string tension does Mac Enroe use?
In what type of frame? With what string?

I think his setup is rather juicy and punchy. Not stiff dead poly stringbed of modern high-TS clay courters.
 

ProfessorC

New User
Tighter strings are better - or a low powered set up in general. Big spin only happens with big swings - and that only happens when you’re damn good and at that point you can handle a lower tension. For normal people, a slow swing will trampoline off of loose strings and a big swing will be inconsistent. Tight strings unless you’re really good. Even many pros use tight strings - Querry is at 68.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tlm

ProfessorC

New User
I do not want to have a tighter string becouse i am glad that recently i do not have injuries (i am 48).
Arm pain is from poor technique - using too much arm instead of letting the body do the work and hinging from the shoulder. Go heavy racket and force yourself to use the body. I have a friend who refuses to change - light racket, all arm, and constant arm pain.
 

chic

Rookie
Is it correct, that power players (for example Del Potro) usually have tighter string and touch players (for example Mc Enroe) usually use looser string?
It's definitely not a truism, given that Jack Sock plays with super low tensions. It's really just down to what setup the player ends up finding comfort and success with their form and racquet.

No clue what jm used or uses
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: tlm
Top