The Church of Polystringism-- Alidisperanza's PT Thread

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
String: Hyper-G
Frame(s): Graphene Prestige MP/ Vcore Pro 97
Tension: 48/50

Stringing:
No major issues at all. It's pretty easy to work with. Feels springy and softer off the reel yet stiff enough to weave effectively.

Groundies:
It's really not a bad string despite my earlier misgivings. I can't stand the feel of it fresh off the machine but it seemed like after a bit of break-in we were able to get along. Spin is likely above average but nothing quite wicked. I'd say that it's in the land of you get out what you put in...mostly. I noticed around the 4h mark that it hit a pretty lower ceiling critical limit. The string is screaming, "I'm givin' it all she's got cap'n". No matter how much more juice you're puttin' in, your'e getting that same ball. Topspin can effectively take the form of either big loops, or drive. From a power standpoint I think it's a lot higher than what people claim it to be but the fall-off is disappointing.

Serving:
High point for me. Great variation on the ball depending on what you can put in to it. Not wicked level, but very effective. Strangely enough, while I found poor diminishing returns on ground strokes, I loved the serves I was able to hit throughout the life of the string. Nice Thwap! sound on flat strokes. Consistency got better the dead-er the string was--very strange.

Volleys:
Snappy when fresh, kind of a dud with an ugly thwok when dead. You can cut fairly hard on the ball and it will respond predictably and appropriately. Afterwards it's like, why bother? It's very possible it was the new yonex playtest but I felt like I had a lot of touch while playing the HG. I started to attempt drop shots with more regularity (the previous regularity was null, nil). No favors generally in the power department. If you want a deep volley you're going to have to work for it.

Tension maintenance:
No major complaints in the tension department even in the 16x19. What was a definite issue was the break in and drop off periods. I wasn't a fan in either frame for the break in period. It was boardy and somewhat unpredictable. After 1-1.5h it was markedly better and I was able to groove with it and experiment with diff strokes/angles/etc. The fall-off is sudden and a tough sell. At around that 4h mark it's dudzo even if the strings aren't badly notched or worn.

Durability:
After 6h ish each in each frame I had to cut both. The Prestige had a bit more snap back but the yonex was cooked. Down lower there would be some snap back but through the hitting zone it was overcooked spaghetti. Moderate notching but there's still some meat left.

Groundstrokes: 4/5 for the sweet spot zone otherwise 3/5 for the start and dead-time
Serves: 4.5/5
Volleys: 3.5-4/5
Spin:3.5-4/5
Power: 3/5
Comfort: 4/5
Tension: 3.5/5 see notes
Durability:4/5
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
Requests? I may set up a poll

I'm playing a set of ALU Rough for Shnitzengigglez in my second Yonex but should have my first frame free next week-ish.
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
So after some deliberation, denial, and further moral struggles I decided to accept my sinful ways. I just plain like ALU. I know, I know, I'm a harlot straying from my budget German-low-cost-performance-value-string roots. But the difference is undeniable. Big Hitter Black 7 has been my go-to for years now. It's performed well in all categories and held up far beyond the price point. I've strung reels of it for other people who have all enjoyed it's play-characteristics...but it's not Alu.

With the new VCore Pro 97 310g frames that I bought, I'm learning a lot more about string sensitivity. In the 18x20 of my Prestige the BHB7 survived because it had the reinforcement and support of the dense pattern and the graphene goodness. In the blatant open pattern of the Radical Pro, it simply popped. Now in the Yonex with a solid hour of punishment, they're notched and devoid of life. The best way I can describe the feeling is dull. Sure, I can rally a ball with them but it's not enjoyable. Put anything less than a big cut and the ball just doesn't move, doesn't wobble, doesn't dip, duck , dive, or dodge. There are moments when you're left scratching your head saying, that wasn't a bad forehand, why did the ball hit the middle of the net?

Enter Alu Rough at the same tension.

There's no way I can express my play experience with it other than you can't hit a "polite" ball. It simply doesn't work. The string does nothing for your game and is even mildly frustrating unless you step into the ball. Yet, the difference is so blatantly obvious especially when your opponent demands that you play at a higher level or you're liable to be swept off the court. Someone's hitting looping topspin? Ok, cool, ALU grips and you're back in play. Need a little extra dive to get the ball at the net-person's feet? Flick of the wrist (cue music). Change the pace of the serve? Load up and let 'er rip. On a serve it's the difference between finding your spot with authority, or wondering how you hit a foot long with your go-to.

Why did I have to tempt myself again?! WHY
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
So after some deliberation, denial, and further moral struggles I decided to accept my sinful ways. I just plain like ALU. I know, I know, I'm a harlot straying from my budget German-low-cost-performance-value-string roots. But the difference is undeniable. Big Hitter Black 7 has been my go-to for years now. It's performed well in all categories and held up far beyond the price point. I've strung reels of it for other people who have all enjoyed it's play-characteristics...but it's not Alu.

With the new VCore Pro 97 310g frames that I bought, I'm learning a lot more about string sensitivity. In the 18x20 of my Prestige the BHB7 survived because it had the reinforcement and support of the dense pattern and the graphene goodness. In the blatant open pattern of the Radical Pro, it simply popped. Now in the Yonex with a solid hour of punishment, they're notched and devoid of life. The best way I can describe the feeling is dull. Sure, I can rally a ball with them but it's not enjoyable. Put anything less than a big cut and the ball just doesn't move, doesn't wobble, doesn't dip, duck , dive, or dodge. There are moments when you're left scratching your head saying, that wasn't a bad forehand, why did the ball hit the middle of the net?

Enter Alu Rough at the same tension.

There's no way I can express my play experience with it other than you can't hit a "polite" ball. It simply doesn't work. The string does nothing for your game and is even mildly frustrating unless you step into the ball. Yet, the difference is so blatantly obvious especially when your opponent demands that you play at a higher level or you're liable to be swept off the court. Someone's hitting looping topspin? Ok, cool, ALU grips and you're back in play. Need a little extra dive to get the ball at the net-person's feet? Flick of the wrist (cue music). Change the pace of the serve? Load up and let 'er rip. On a serve it's the difference between finding your spot with authority, or wondering how you hit a foot long with your go-to.

Why did I have to tempt myself again?! WHY
ALU generates a ball that goes through the air like a drunken bumblebee fired out of a Howitzer.

J
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
ALU generates a ball that goes through the air like a drunken bumblebee fired out of a Howitzer.

J
Maybe, I don't have your bat-speed. But it's very much the difference between, "let's saber the sht out of this second serve" or, "hmmm let's stand back and... should I swing harder?"
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
Upcoming playtests. Any preference for order?

Diadem Elite XT 17/18
Diadem Solstice Power 17/18
Tourna Poly Big Hitter Blue Rough 17 (re-test, technically)
Babolat Origin 17 Black
Babolat RPM Dual
 
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SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
Upcoming playtests. Any preference for order?

Diadem Elite XT 17/18
Diadem Solstice Power 17/18
Tourna Poly Big Hitter Blue Rough 17 (re-test, technically)
Babolat Origin 17 Black
Babolat RPM Dual
Feelin like an annoying broken record that should never be invited to a party, but any plans to try Tier One strings?
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
Sure, why not. But tbh I'm not familiar with them and didn't see anything on the TW site. Give me the skinny on their polys.
I get that, they appear to get good reviews and fair comments on customer support though - certainly in the US (so no Donnay 2.0).

I wanted to order two of their strings for demoing, but the European site is down for a while, so I got a few sets of Tour Bite for the meantime (as I’m sure @J011yroger will be devastated to hear lol).
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
I get that, they appear to get good reviews and fair comments on customer support though - certainly in the US (so no Donnay 2.0).

I wanted to order two of their strings for demoing, but the European site is down for a while, so I got a few sets of Tour Bite for the meantime (as I’m sure @J011yroger will be devastated to hear lol).
Shot them an e-mail, let's see what shakes out.
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
Firewire and Black Knight on their way.

Current order of testing per requests
Tourna Big Hitter Blue Rough
Tier One Black Knight
Tier One Firewire
Babolat Origin
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
Racquet: yonex v core pro 97 (310g)
String: Tourna Big Hitter Blue Rough 17ga
Tension: #48 crank

Stringing
Yep it’s still a pain in the ass to string. The twisted “rough” shape gets caught on everything and loves to nest and curl around itself. It’ll link if you give it the chance so be careful. Otherwise no major issues. Still a harder string to the touch but elastic.

Initial impressions:
This is the first string I’ve played in the yonex that I didn’t have an adjustment period with for the first hour. Off the bat it was ready to go. Generally speaking this is not a powerful string. I didn’t see any shots in about 2 hours of play, singles and doubles that made me go, Whoah that was unexpected. Alu has it, hyper g has it bhbr, nope.

Having said that, I do like what the string does. It’s a lower powered, control oriented string. I felt comfortable playing and varying my shots. At no point was I scratching my head at shots going, what did I do wrong, that was supposed to go in or have x effect. It was always easy to put the ball back on court and I can’t say I ever felt like I could have accomplished more with x string or y string.

What you put in is what you get out and I felt comfortable trying to vary my shots. The string is naturally very grippy on the ball in all situations. “Feel” overall isn’t necessarily the most precise but you can certainly feel or get the impression that the string is biting into the ball whether you’re flattening out your strokes or spinning it in.

Natural shot trajectory was very low for me but I was also able to loop the ball up more and still have it stay in. More experimentation needed on whether I can get a big jump on the ball.

Feel wise it’s on the board-y/ dull side especially in the dampened yonex. It’s not a forgiving string or a pocketing/touch string. Despite this, I didn’t have any real discomfort.

So far it’s 1/4 notched but still snapping back. That’s 2h in the books.

One thing I was happily able to realize tonight is that I need to “do less” and let my body do the work on my strokes instead of tightening up and trying to force a forehand or backhand down someone’s throat. I hit singles for about 20 mins and found myself trying so hard to hit a better ball that I was actually hurting my production and getting unnecessarily tired. It only occurred to me because I was comfortable swinging out or slowing down with the BhBR. Either way, the ball was still in play. But, when “forcing” my forehand I found diminishing returns and exhaustion waiting.
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
Outing 2 was, unfortunately cut short (more below) but I think I have enough to finalize my thoughts. The final review will come upon pop.

I played just under an hour tonight with a men’s singles group on har-crap. Solid guys in the range of 4.0-4.5 NY metric. I could definitely feel the slippage/decline of the blue rough string playability but still never felt out of control or like I should change stick in this situation. The players in this particular group vary from hitting a slow, deep spin ball that bounces up to shoulder height; to a fast flat ball about 2’ off the ground and is rounded out with a gentleman who has phenomenal placement and resilience but hits a rally-ball pace wise.

Overall, still great control and comfort playing, varying depth, and spin, although there definitely were a few outliers now where a fresh set would have yielded me the point instead of the ball drifting a foot or so out. About 15mins in when I finally started to play points and began really working the ball, I ran down a sure winner for a Sampras-esque forehand (ready to impress) when I caught a rogue mound of har-crap and hiccuped my slide, popping/ pulling a muscle. Game over. Back to the drawing board.

Now at around 3h it’s ready to go. The string is notched fairly deep, there’s no “rough”, and we have the shiftys. I estimate under 30 mins left of rally before it goes kaflooie.

Overall It’s a two thumbs up for “would play again/ string it up”. At this point though it’s relegated to a hitting frame. I most definitely would not trust it to play a match. Furthermore, I don’t see this string shining against someone who really lays into the ball consistently. It works, but it definitely loses that edge where you’re too busy hanging in the point. The diminishing returns just doen’t rise to that poly elite where you’re sitting there going, ok. Cowboy(girl), let’s duel.
 
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alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
String: Tier One Black Knight 128
Frame(s): Vcore Pro 97 330g
Tension: 48

Stringing:

Some unexpected findings for this one. T1BK is a shaped co-poly, black in color. I strung in 2 piece as is my usual custom. In the hands it feels downright hard and has a very strong coil memory. I'm usually fairly careful to avoid bird-nests but found myself untangling 3, one of which led to a tiny kink thanks to the cat getting in a good swat or two--- watch for kinks. Overall it did not feel like the string stretched much when pulling. Weaves were no problem, tie offs no problem. Granted, I typically play with 17ga string but 1.28 felt pretty thick; a plus for string breakers. One strange finding for poly is that this string "creaks" when you pull/ string it. Not sure how that will translate to hitting/the ping on contact.
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
Initial hit and thoughts:

Pros:
Hmmm something about this works. It seems like the heavier weight of the yonex v core pro 330g gels with T1bk. After an initial adjustment period I felt downright adventurous with my forehand on All type of pace balls. Spin and power are on tap with an increase in RHS and the right ball trajectory. Provided I kept the racket moving at a good clip, I had no problem hitting angles either. Two spots that I found this combination excelled were volleys and hard driven balls. I played a defensive game where you return an approach shot and play it out at net and I never felt intimidated. There was a beautiful sense of pocketing when returning something with a little more pace on it. Similarly, the “stick” and reactiveness of the string bed had me coming in to net with a little more authority.

Cons:
Overall I couldn’t really find a comfort zone or rhythm with my one hand backhand but I suspect that it has more to do with the extra weight of the 330g than the string. Off center hits blatantly notify you with a good amount of feedback and disappointment. I wonder how it’ll play in the 310g where I’m pretty confident in my frame control.

Overall, so far a thumbs up. More to come.
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
Figured I'd port this over from the Yonex thread since I haven't written too much on them here.

Finally got enough court time to make an accurate comparison between the 310 and 330g. Since I've shared my thoughts on the 310g throughout the posts, I'll just comment on the 330g

Pros of the 330g:
- Stability on off center hits: Even on off center hits, the ball is still making it over the net. It may not be pretty but it's not as tragic. The horrendous Zone of Death (ZoD) is not so horrendous anymore. Don't get me wrong, it's still jarring and you will know exactly when you catch that ZoD the feedback is terrible.
- Stability at net: Point and stick. It goes. I may have inadvertently found a great pairing with strings but I felt surprisingly adept at net. Prep and footwork are key here but the extra 20g solves that pesky problem with the 310g where I was feeling pushed around.
- POWER LEVEL OVER 9000!- Well, no, not really, but the frame begs for a deep knee bend and explosion forward. And you will be rewarded. While the upper hoop will give you a nice deep ball (and some healthy vibes right through your wrist), drop the hitting zone just a bit and you absolutely know that the ball is going to penetrate. That no-man's land short ball comes to mind counter-punch style. Drive it in the corner and close the net to volley. Great Success!

Cons of the 330g:
- Demanding: Holy hell I'm tired after an hour and a half. I hit a one hand backhand and actually switched it up to two hand for 30 balls or so just for some relief. I'm now sore as well. It's going to take some work and time in the weight room to get up to playing speed with this stick.
- Prep time: Due to the tighter sweet spot and generally low powered nature of the frame your prep time and footwork are absolutely necessary. You will hit a functionally adequate ball without proper strokes. If you don't bend your knees and torque your hips you'll notice it. Shoulder turn, shoulder turn, shoulder turn.
- Maneuverability: Extending on the above, you need to be very conscious of the balls coming in. I played on har-true the past two times and the unpredictability of the court was more difficult to adjust to than with the 310g. To this effect, you can literally feel the weight of the racquet through the length of your stroke whereas the 310g moves much quicker through the swing-arc. This was most noticeable on the one-hand backhand cross court. I wasn't able to whip and wrist-over the ball to draw in a sharper angle with the 330g the way I could with the 310g.
- Serve: While the extra mass gives great plow and some extra kick with the extra effort, I became very conscious of the way the racquet was moving through the air. This would probably go away with time and training but it's noticeable after playing the 310g.
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
String: Tier One Black Knight 128
Frame(s): Vcore Pro 97 330g
Tension: 48

Initial Thoughts Hitting: 2.5h in

So far I'm impressed with Tier One and their advanced-player string. It has a nice balance and seems to do everything pretty well without any major compromises. I think the biggest knock I can give it at this point is the feel of the strings; it's a little bit plasticky to me but it's nowhere near bothersome enough to deter me from playing with it. It says it right on the package, "Made for the High- Performance Player" and I think it's a fair advertisement

TLDR: Swing fast and hard with proper mechanics and you'll be rewarded with a paced, penetrating ball. Don't and it'll be a launchy mess of a day. Very well balanced with positive marks in all areas. Notable attributes: pop/ penetration of shots.

Ground Strokes:
Warming up with mini-tennis was a chore unless I was just playing the ball flat a-la-teaching-mode. There was no sense of that wicked bite/high arc spinny ball that dives into the service box... until you crank the knob on RHS and lay into it. (more on this later). Granted, this could have been affected by the fact that I was playing with the 330g instead of my normal 310g; but it's indicative of the characteristic of the string. It wants to play hard and fast, no fluff balls.

Extending this thought, the string performs best with a full, technical stroke. Shoulder turn, deep leg bend, and positive rotation of the hips; the reward is worth the effort. You can feel the strings pocket and produce. Lazy swings do nothing and you'll find yourself launching the ball without the extra top. Overall control for depth and targeting is excellent at first play and starts to lose the wow-factor as you knock the edges off the string. Don't get me wrong, it's still above average and I was able to play confidently. I get the impression that this string is somewhat racquet sensitive. A stick that is on the flexy side may suffer from a bit too much pocketing/launch but it works really well in the Vcore Pro 97. Launch angle is variable depending on your stroke but from a power point of view you're going to want to hedge your bets with a little extra top on the ball.

Volleys:
Here's where I felt this string/frame combination shined. The extra pocketing and snap on the ball is excellent. I never felt overwhelmed, or like my shot wasn't doing what I wanted it to do. There are some strings where you'll find unique characteristics or disappointment with the same volley; think Big Hitter Blue Rough-- even if it's low powered, when fresh the fuzz comes off the ball and sticks low. On the other hand, poly/multi feels like a black hole of disappointment to me. I can swing into a volley and still see the writing on the ball as it floats by and my opponent pulls out a howitzer for a winner. T1BK has a good amount of punch without being unwieldy. Even blocking back volleys will produce a ball with sufficient depth. I was also pleasantly surprised when the frame/string yanked me out of a jam and back into the point on a stretch half-volley or something similar. Plug and play, point and shoot. It works for me.

Serves:
This is a bit tricky for me. Serving with the 330g is an adjustment from the 310g. At this stage, I'm particularly aware of the extra weight of the frame and conscious of my (in)ability to just snap my wrist for extra spin/angle placement. Having said that, T1BK packs a good amount of punch behind it. If you're not careful and don't lace the serve with spin you'll find yourself with a beautiful serve that lands a foot long. Some adjustment and a cart of balls will likely fix this. My strongest serve with this setup was likely a hard topspin serve. Not quite kick, and not quite flat. More testing is needed.

Final thoughts to come when I put a set into the 310g. So far I like the string and am even tempted to purchase a reel but I need to be sure that it's the string and not the new frame.
 
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alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
FINAL THOUGHTS

String: Tier One Black Knight 128
Frame(s): Vcore Pro 97 330g
Tension: 48

I'll admit it, I don't have terribly high expectations for "new" strings on the market. The last non-major brand of strings that I was pleasantly surprised with was Black Mamba/Discho Iontec. Iontec was an every-day poly that fit a wide profile of needs. I'm happy to report, I think Black Knight fits the same category and then some. The marketing of a "well balanced string" for high level players fits the bill.

TLDR: Swing fast and hard with proper mechanics and you'll be rewarded with a paced, penetrating ball. Don't and you might just find some launchy results. Very well balanced with positive marks in all areas. Notable attributes: pop/ penetration of shot and durability.

Ground Strokes: Above average control all around and through the life of the string. Noticeable pocketing and good pop with increased RHS. Topspin is absolutely necessary for all shots to prevent "launch".

T1BK's strength comes from an all around balance that is focused on long, full strokes. Racquet head speed is essential to produce a penetrating ball. While I didn't find the "ultimate access to spin" as was advertised, control was premium provided I laced every stroke with some topspin. The key here is to maintain proper mechanics. Playing a "rally ball" kept the ball consistently within a foot or two of the service line. Extra knee bend, shoulder turn, and taking the ball on the rise and the ball consistently landed within a foot of the baseline. Angles are accessible as are slices that will penetrate deep in the court. What surprised me most about this string is the drastic discrepancy from stringing to stroke. I was expecting a much harsher play from the plasticky feel and seemingly "hard" construction. Yet, I found that there was a generous amount of pocketing and pop. While you're acutely aware of off-hits, I never found the string to be jarring or uncomfortable to play. What I most enjoyed about this string was that I was able to just play a stable, consistent game without giving up many "sitters". The combination of playing the 330g and T1BK allowed me to play a counter-puncher style game where I could move the ball around, set up points, and shift to offense when I had a court-position advantage, or a shorter ball. Keeping the ball deep in the court on those strokes allowed me to come in and finish at net if necessary.


Volleys: Pocketing and comfort are highlights. Even on blocked balls, there's enough pop and feedback that you'll remain in the point. Again, beware your mechanics. Open the frame too much or react late and it's easy to find yourself long on volleys.

Largely the same as first impressions--Here's where I felt this string/frame combination shined. The extra pocketing and snap on the ball is excellent. I never felt overwhelmed, or like my shot wasn't doing what I wanted it to do. T1BK has a good amount of punch without being unwieldy. The frame and string will return what you put in. Get lazy with your volleys and you'll find you're getting passed. Keep your footwork quick and your volleys crisp and the ball goes where you want it to. I have no sense of touch but a friend of mine was able to hit some beautiful angle and drop volleys with the frame. His feedback was that the noticeable pocketing allowed him to hedge his shots.

Serves and Overheads: Nice pace and punch to the ball. A 60% pace overhead was usually enough to put the ball away without concerns of it coming back.
T1BK packs a good amount of punch behind it. If you're not careful and don't lace a serve with spin you'll find yourself with a beautiful serve that lands a foot long. I found that on both overheads and serves, I didn't have to work as hard to get effective results. 65% power/pace/ swing, whatever you'd like to call it was the sweet spot to maintain enough pace and depth to be effective while still inspiring confidence to go after shots. Ramp up higher than that and there's a nice "BLAT!" as you smash the ball.

Feel/ Durability/ Play-life": Deceptively soft. The string feels hard in the hands similar to Hyper-G (definitely where the comparison ends!). It strings like it's tour-bite or Alu Rough but plays significantly softer. No durability concerns after 5.5h which is shocking.

The string plays on the soft side. It feels a bit plasticky without a full cut on the ball but once you're playing and truly bending the strings, you'll appreciate the difference. After 5+ hours there's still a decent amount of snap-back on the mains and they're not significantly notched as I'd come to expect. The strings are still sliding over each other and can get out of the notch-channels which is impressive. I know the string is thicker than my typical 17ga but at around 6h I expect poly to be boring, languid, and beaten up. No such thing here. There is definitely a difference from when the string was fresh and still had the shaped edges but I'm pretty confident in saying I'd have no qualms about playing a match with this stick. At 6h strings that are stubborn and won't pop are typically cut out for me or relegated to a hitting frame. I'd still go to war with this hammer.

Final thoughts: Thank you T1 for the playtest. Seriously, it's been a pleasure so far and I'm playing some of the most confident and comfortable tennis I have in months. In large part, I'd say it's because I found a great string/frame combo that's allowing me to elevate my base plateau and experiment with improvements in my game.

T1BK is not for you if you want to step on the court and play your weekly club match, have a couple cocktails and a steak, and discuss tomorrow's golf outing. It's not for you if you want to have the latest-flashy-$17.00-cutting edge-fancy-string on the market. It's not for you if you want instant, free, silly-spin string that's one dimensional. And you know what? I'm so happy that it isn't.

T1BK is the hard-working, no-frills, tournament player string. From my playtest it's an all around, gritty, get your hands dirty string where you want to log hours on court to make your game the best it can be; where you're going to focus on taking that explosive step in with a big cut and healthy knee bend to drive the ball into the corner, time after time. In @J011yroger fashion, if I had to pick a lady, we're talking Lara Croft--tomb-raider; hair in a long braid, dirt smeared on her face, let's do it.

Future: I'm looking forward to putting a set in the 310g despite my growing list of play-test strings that I need to get around to. I'm very curious to see if the 20g diff will impact the feel and play of the string. Also... there's a 123 version... need me some of that!
 
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alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
Tier 1 FireWire 1.30

String: T1 FireWire 1.30
Frame(s): Vcore Pro 97 330g
Tension: 48

Stringing: As advertised, this string is definitely triangular. The edges are not as sharp as let’s say isospeed pyramid or other triangular strings I’ve tried but it’s there. At first you may not even notice the shape of the string until you’re weaving. In the hands it feels fairly soft in the poly category and it stretched a fair amount when tensioning. No problems weaving although I’d hate to do 4-5 frames in a row. Ouch.
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
Tier 1 FireWire 1.30 Update

I've logged maybe 6-8 hours on this frame by now and I've tried to like it, I really have, but I simply don't see the accolades it's received reflected in my game. I don't feel the monster spin potential that's been advertised. Overall, it feels muted and very average. The pros are that it's played consistently for the life of my testing and hasn't changed much response wise depending on whom I'm playing with. Pretty comfortable overall but I'm thinking it's not my cup of tea.
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
Babolat Origin 17ga Black

String: Babolat Origin 17ga Black
Frame(s): Vcore Pro 97 310g
Tension: 49

Stringing: I opened the package, picked out the string and immediately thought, "Hm, they must have given me the wrong string". It literally feels like a synthetic gut in your hands. So much so that I snipped off a piece just to make sure. For stringing purposes, it's synthetic gut. Minorly annoying, but the string actually bled onto my fingers while stringing. (more on this later). Also minorly annoying, it's a pain to push through blocked holes since it's so soft.

Ground Strokes: If you actually read through this, you'll sense a common theme... Guess what? It plays a lot like synthetic gut. Like a really, really nice synthetic gut. It creaks, it shifts, and it collects all sort of ball-fuzz which made me realize just how high I hit in the string bed.

The string doesn't feel like a poly in that it doesn't bend and bite into the ball. The launch angle is much closer (lower) to syn but at the same time, it doesn't have the same neutral nature of syn. There's something more to it and that's a modicum of control. If you're careful with your strokes, it's tough to hit the ball out. At the same time, if I opened up my stroke and stayed low, I was able to drive the ball well. There's no free spin on this one. Frankly, I don't see where/why people are hailing this as a natural gut replacement. If you hit flat strokes at medium pace and don't pop strings, sure, I can see it as a syn+ replacement, or as a step down for those who aren't comfortable using poly. It's miles ahead of multifilament for me, but it's not what I'd expect from a poly.

Volleys: Definitely a high point, I'd say it's crisp with decent punch, decent control, and overall comfortable. I'd say there is a pretty direct feedback between what you're doing and where the ball goes. I liked the way the string handled in tight situations like reflex volleys/ half volleys/ angles.

Serves: I didn't get to test this out. I hit about 5 serves while waiting for people to get back on court and it seemed ok. I was a little surprised, the string had more zip than expected after hitting ground strokes but further testing is needed for a true opinion.

Durability: Oof. I have no clue where/what/how/why the TW testers found this to be a durable string and that they were able to play for "months". In 1.5h of "zone" which consists of doubles king of the court, live-ball play with 3 teams on a court, half of which was with minimum effort (read, exhaustion) after hitting with J011y, the string is cooked. It's shifting with every single stroke, the black paint/coating has come off in the hitting zone and the string is 3/4 notched. I don't pop strings anymore like I used to and yet I anticipate a light 10 min hit will fully pop them. For a $20.00 string + the cost of stringing, this is absolutely unacceptable to me. It may be the best tension maintenance string in the world but that doesn't help me if it can't last 2 hours of light play. It certainly wouldn't survive a singles match. Frankly, I kind-of liked this string as a poly alternative but I'd never play with it if I had to restring every match.

Also, what's with the paint/coating? About half way through my play session, I was picking ball fuzz off the strings and noticed the coating collecting at the edges of the string and/or completely worn off. At first I thought it was like that Kirschbaum multi-filament that literally has a tube/coating around the multi. It's not. Underneath the string is translucent and almost looks like dirty Gosen Polylon. Strange.

Overall: Origin is what I would call a Synthetic Gut+. It does everything a synthetic gut would do very well with a few extra perks. Ignoring the durability issues I had for a second, I can see it being a string that multifilament users who wanted to try poly (but can't play with poly) would enjoy. Control and comfort are highlights here but to to tout it as playing like natural gut is pure farce. I could see a strong market for this string if it were $9 a set but as is, the high price tag is egregiously prohibitive for sub 2 hours of play. Hard Pass.

Groundstrokes: 3.5-4/5
Serves: N/A
Volleys: 4/5
Spin:3/5
Power:3/5
Comfort:4.5/5
Tension: N/A
Durability:1.5/5
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
Diadem Solistice Power 18ga
String: Diadem Solstice Power 18ga
Frame(s): Vcore Pro 97 310g
Tension: 48

Stringing: It was on sale and I was curious to see how long an 18ga would last me. I have the 17ga as well. Overall strings up easily and feels about average for most of the modern polys. Not too soft, and not too stiff but it feels like it has a good energy return when bouncing it on the hand. It's firm enough to move through shared holes with a little bit of pliers-convincing. You can definitely feel the star/gear shaped texture of this string, especially when running through crosses. My biggest concern with the shape is that it's going to lock up and snap back will be hindered.
 

mikeler

Moderator
Tier 1 FireWire 1.30 Update

I've logged maybe 6-8 hours on this frame by now and I've tried to like it, I really have, but I simply don't see the accolades it's received reflected in my game. I don't feel the monster spin potential that's been advertised. Overall, it feels muted and very average. The pros are that it's played consistently for the life of my testing and hasn't changed much response wise depending on whom I'm playing with. Pretty comfortable overall but I'm thinking it's not my cup of tea.
How the heck have I missed your thread lately? Great stuff as always. Interesting that you didn't like FireWire but liked Black Knight. I just love both strings. My string of choice is FireWire Boost which has a smooth poly cross and FireWire main but if your experience is lackluster with full FireWire than it is probably not worth your time and money. Keep the reviews coming!
 

Hmgraphite1

Hall of Fame
Diadem Solistice Power 18ga
String: Diadem Solstice Power 18ga
Frame(s): Vcore Pro 97 310g
Tension: 48

Stringing: It was on sale and I was curious to see how long an 18ga would last me. I have the 17ga as well. Overall strings up easily and feels about average for most of the modern polys. Not too soft, and not too stiff but it feels like it has a good energy return when bouncing it on the hand. It's firm enough to move through shared holes with a little bit of pliers-convincing. You can definitely feel the star/gear shaped texture of this string, especially when running through crosses. My biggest concern with the shape is that it's going to lock up and snap back will be hindered.
Regarding lockup, Seems all my strings get grooves in the mains only so they just keep sliding, but the crosses only become locked. Not sure why this is.
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
How the heck have I missed your thread lately? Great stuff as always. Interesting that you didn't like FireWire but liked Black Knight. I just love both strings. My string of choice is FireWire Boost which has a smooth poly cross and FireWire main but if your experience is lackluster with full FireWire than it is probably not worth your time and money. Keep the reviews coming!
Thanks Mikeler! I've been out of the game for a while. Went through a series of injuries including a ruptured Achille's tendon and then smaller frustrating ones that added up over time. I'm actively playing again and tying to be as smart as I can about it so that I can stay on court.

I'm really not sure what it is with the FW. I'm going to give it a shot in the 310g to see if there's a major difference since I've logged more court time with that frame and have a better understanding of its limitations. Based on the reviews I've read (definitely browsed your thread!), it should be a spin monster in the open string pattern. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing that and I don't really see a change in my opponents' reactions if I try to ratchet it up. With the BK, if I juiced a ball, it was either directly noticeable, or I'd have a better chance of getting an unforced error from my opponent. It's entirely possible that my strokes have simply changed and I don't generate the same vertical jump I used to. I've held off on a verdict because I want to give it a fair shake. I can definitely see it working well with the smooth round poly of "boost".
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
Regarding lockup, Seems all my strings get grooves in the mains only so they just keep sliding, but the crosses only become locked. Not sure why this is.
Interesting. Thanks for the feeback. I remember playing with spiky shark years ago, all excited for the aggressive profile, and it would literally lock up in my 18x20 prestige mids. It was actually a challenge to shift the strings to just check on their life. For lack of better words, It played like the poly version of a multi. I know, that's an oxymoron but it's the only way I can describe it.

I have a similar feeling with FireWire. I'm getting the impression that the triangle profile isn't sliding and snapping back the way I'd expect poly to work, and it's not biting enough into the ball to give me the diving spin I'd expect from something aggressive
 

dnguyen

Hall of Fame
Watch those foot faults. :)

The serves were nice, though. It looked like your arm was hurting a bit though on some of those. Are you all right?
Just almost because he hit it before his feet landed onto inside of the baseline. I have seen players in division 1 serving across the baseline and no one called foot fault otherwise they could ruin their friendships! For social competition is ok but not real one because it's real tennis and respect the rules.
 

mikeler

Moderator
Thanks Mikeler! I've been out of the game for a while. Went through a series of injuries including a ruptured Achille's tendon and then smaller frustrating ones that added up over time. I'm actively playing again and tying to be as smart as I can about it so that I can stay on court.

I'm really not sure what it is with the FW. I'm going to give it a shot in the 310g to see if there's a major difference since I've logged more court time with that frame and have a better understanding of its limitations. Based on the reviews I've read (definitely browsed your thread!), it should be a spin monster in the open string pattern. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing that and I don't really see a change in my opponents' reactions if I try to ratchet it up. With the BK, if I juiced a ball, it was either directly noticeable, or I'd have a better chance of getting an unforced error from my opponent. It's entirely possible that my strokes have simply changed and I don't generate the same vertical jump I used to. I've held off on a verdict because I want to give it a fair shake. I can definitely see it working well with the smooth round poly of "boost".
We are in the same boat injury wise. I’m also slowly returning after a nasty meniscus tear and found out I’ve been playing the past 2 decades without an ACL in that knee!
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
Just almost because he hit it before his feet landed onto inside of the baseline. I have seen players in division 1 serving across the baseline and no one called foot fault otherwise they could ruin their friendships! For social competition is ok but not real one because it's real tennis and respect the rules.
It's a real problem. What's worse is that if you look at the positioning of my hips and feet, I'm divesting a TON of torque and power before even striking the ball. Imagine the possibilities?!!?!?
 

dnguyen

Hall of Fame
It's a real problem. What's worse is that if you look at the positioning of my hips and feet, I'm divesting a TON of torque and power before even striking the ball. Imagine the possibilities?!!?!?
Your serve stance is fine to me as long as your legs are bended to get some power on serve like I did. My only problem is the backswing which sometimes I forget to do it properly lol. Need to work on it.
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
Your serve stance is fine to me as long as your legs are bended to get some power on serve like I did. My only problem is the backswing which sometimes I forget to do it properly lol. Need to work on it.
I don't remember the exact video but in essence when I was serving, I was almost crossing my right foot past my left or even in line with it instead of keeping them in line. This would fundamentally turn my hips out too early and I'd lose a lot of the coiled power from my legs. I was still hitting pretty big serves back then but there's a sacrifice of torque, spin/drive, and even mph on the ball. Now that I'm retraining my body and trying to play smarter, I'm going to try to take some rear and side videos to help correct it.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I don't remember the exact video but in essence when I was serving, I was almost crossing my right foot past my left or even in line with it instead of keeping them in line. This would fundamentally turn my hips out too early and I'd lose a lot of the coiled power from my legs. I was still hitting pretty big serves back then but there's a sacrifice of torque, spin/drive, and even mph on the ball. Now that I'm retraining my body and trying to play smarter, I'm going to try to take some rear and side videos to help correct it.
You actually don't give up much MPH but it's harder to hit topspin and/or target the right side of the box.

J
 

alidisperanza

Hall of Fame
You actually don't give up much MPH but it's harder to hit topspin and/or target the right side of the box.

J
Years ago maybe, but it's getting a lot harder as the years are accumulating. 110 looks downright aggressive now.

Good point though. It took me years to figure out how to hit a slice out wide.
 

Hmgraphite1

Hall of Fame
I don't remember the exact video but in essence when I was serving, I was almost crossing my right foot past my left or even in line with it instead of keeping them in line. This would fundamentally turn my hips out too early and I'd lose a lot of the coiled power from my legs. I was still hitting pretty big serves back then but there's a sacrifice of torque, spin/drive, and even mph on the ball. Now that I'm retraining my body and trying to play smarter, I'm going to try to take some rear and side videos to help correct it.
I've seen alot of pros do that right foot walk where its past the left. I'm back to pointing right toe toward back fence like Venus helps in twisting torso , just need to maintain the flexibility
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
It's one of the main things I make pupils change when I'm coaching. It is possible to have the hip turned while pulling the right foot past the left (speaking of a righty), but it's harder to do, especially while staying balanced. At least that's my experience
I've seen alot of pros do that right foot walk where its past the left. I'm back to pointing right toe toward back fence like Venus helps in twisting torso , just need to maintain the flexibility
 
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