What strings for this 4.0 player?

Nikwho

New User
Hello all, I'm a 4.0 recreational player. Maybe could pass for a 4.5 on a better day. I play with a SHBH. 41 years old, pretty fit and like hitting with lots of spin. Been taking lots of lessons over the past year. Have a D1 college player that I take private lessons from. I take weekly "intermediate" group lessons from a tennis pro at local university tennis facility. Playing 4-5 hours of tennis per week. Hope to increase that this summer to 6-8 hours per week.

I own the following rackets:

Babolat Pure Aero (2019), currently strung with:
Mains: Head Lynx 17ga, 55.5 lbs
Crosses: X-Tourna Quasi Gut 17ga, 57.5
Babolat

Babolat Pure Aero La Decima (2017), currently strung with:
Mains: Head Lynx 17ga, 55.5 lbs
Crosses: X-Tourna Quasi Gut 17ga, 57.5
Babolat

2022 Head Graphene 360+ Extreme MP
Mains : Luxilon ALU Power Fluoro 123 17ga @ 55 lbs.
Crosses: Solinco Hyper-G 17 @ 57 lb (I kinda blindly selected this string when I bought the racket)

Prince Ripstick 100 (300g)
Mains: Babolat Blast Through 17, 56 lbs
Crosses: Tourna Quasi-Gut 17, 58 lbs.

I've kept kinda copying how my stringer strung one racket for me. Im not sure that this is the best setup for me. But, I struggle to identify and verbalize what I do or don't like, or what if anything, I would like different. My Babolats are what I play with primarily. Though I've been struggling with elbow pain as of late, so considering playing the Head or Prince racket, OR going to something like the Wilson Clash 100 Pro v2, or 98 v2.

I sometimes feel like my Babolat rackets lack a little power and feel a bit harsh.

I can attach a photo of my two Babolat rackets specs.

I really don't know if my current string setups are appropriate for my game, either the make/model/type of string, OR the tension!

Thoughts?
 

gold325

Hall of Fame
Tensions you use are really high - harshness, reduced power and reduced size of sweetspot are all normal when you do this. Obviously the stiff Babs will feel the worst.

You say you have elbow pain already which is kinda scary since you don't elaborate. Get that evaluated and make sure its not already full blown TE/GE.

Not only that you may have been playing the dead strings for long time since you dont mention restringing anywhere.

If its not TE/GE - then you can do one of two things - Drop tension to 48 or so lbs (as a 4.0-4.5 you should have no trouble with this tension) or go full 16g multi or syngut at 52-54 lbs

If it is TE/GE - heal up first.
 
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legcramp

Professional
How old are your stringjobs on your racquets? Maybe you're playing with dead poly even though your Babolat has a multifilament cross, they can still get notched up with the dead poly and give you arm pain. I'd string up your main racquet with Volkl Cyclone Tour 16g at 52-53lbs fullbed, it'll give you a little more pop and won't feel harsh while also being comfortable for your arm pain. Give it a try!
 

Trip

Hall of Fame
@Nikwho - Per @gold325's advice, the first thing I would do is stop playing for a few days if you can, rest the arm and try some gentle massage and very slow and gentle flex bar exercises. If you're still hurting after that, then I'd take an extended break and maybe get your elbow looked at by a medical pro, then follow directions from him/her from there on out. If you feel good enough to play after that initial break, though, then I'd try playing a shorter session, but if using your Aero's, only do so with new string jobs, strung at least 10-15% lower than before. If the Lynx / TQG combo still isn't comfy enough at noticeably lower tension, then I'd try a flipped hybrid with a multi in the mains and a very soft and slick poly on the crosses, such as TF Multifeel / IsoSpeed Cream, at a max of mid-upper 40's tension if you can get away with it. If that still doesn't suffice, then I'd drop the poly altogether in favor of full-bed synthetic in the low-mid 50's (like TF Multifeel), or natural gut / Multifeel in the low-mid 50's, or for the ultimate in comfort, full bed natural gut in the mid-upper 50's.

If after all of that your Aero's are still giving you pain, then I would throw them in the closet for the time being and dedicate some time to the Ripstick, which will give you power and spin on-par with an Aero, but with a lot more comfort, from the medium-low flex and O-Ports. It may even allow you to play a soft poly or a hybrid again.

You could also try a Clash, but it's going to be more erratic in its general playability, so I think a Ripstick would be a nice in-between, provided it plays well enough for you.

Hope some of that advice helps. Any questions, feel free.
 

Nikwho

New User
Tensions you use are really high - harshness, reduced power and reduced size of sweetspot are all normal when you do this. Obviously the stiff Babs will feel the worst.

You say you have elbow pain already which is kinda scary since you don't elaborate. Get that evaluated and make sure its not already full blown TE/GE.

Not only that you may have been playing the dead strings for long time since you dont mention restringing anywhere.

If its not TE/GE - then you can do one of two things - Drop tension to 48 or so lbs (as a 4.0-4.5 you should have no trouble with this tension) or go full 16g multi or syngut at 52-54 lbs

If it is TE/GE - heal up first.
Well, part of it is a fall when playing an exhibition ice hockey team against my sons hockey team this winter! The boys challenged the parents, and I was trying to make sure that we didn't lose. Being a fun little exhibition against 10 year old boys, I foolishly left my elbow pads in my gear bag and took a fall. I don't think that its anything too serious. But, the Babolats seem to be aggravating things.
 

Nikwho

New User
How old are your stringjobs on your racquets? Maybe you're playing with dead poly even though your Babolat has a multifilament cross, they can still get notched up with the dead poly and give you arm pain. I'd string up your main racquet with Volkl Cyclone Tour 16g at 52-53lbs fullbed, it'll give you a little more pop and won't feel harsh while also being comfortable for your arm pain. Give it a try!
Two rackets (Babolats) were re-strung last week. Barely broken in, and strung only 4 months prior to that. I'm kind of a gear "nerd", so I like looking at new rackets. I tried to shut down constantly buying new rackets. I've tried to be pretty religious about restringing. I just went with what was done to my racket initially. But, after playing with the two Babolats all of last week with fresh strings, and my elbow pain getting a bot worse, I was starting to think that the issue was my higher string tension. I was trying to go with what was reccomended to me, as I'm pretty bad at providing feedback, and making corrections from my feedback. At the end of the day, it's hard for me to put into words, what I'm feeling from my rackets. I need to get better, but I just struggle!

I'll definitely try stringing my Pure Aero with Volkl Cyclone Tour 16g fullbed, at 52-53lbs, and report back. I JUST paid to restring these two rackets last week, but it was clearly not "right", so I'll start playing with other stings and tensions.

I guess that with there being so many string types, then hybrids of all of those AND then the tension being a whole other issue, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, to be honest! When I've been in to my local shop to discuss, I quickly get into a discussion that's over my head. He always tries to steer me away from expensive strings, but they sound to be what I'd like to play. I honestly don't really care if I'm stringing more frequently than. The average guy, or if it costs a few bucks more. I'd like to just find a good "recipe", for lack of a better term, and have a "go-to" string and tension that works for me.

I bought the Prince Ripstick on a whim, but perhaps should give it a more serious try, as I read that it's "O Ports" help to relieve some strain on the elbow. I've noticed that when I play my Head racket consistently, my elbow feels better. I just don't want to write off my Babolats, if I'm simply having them strung too tight!

Perhaps I just need to go all in and nerd out on tennis strings until I fully unsterstand them all. It's just SO many options, and I feel like I'm having a hard time deciphering between expensive gimmicks, and more expensive strings, that are well worth the money invested.

I do really appreciate you folks taking time out to give me some advice and such! Hopefully I can get my brain wrapped around all of this string tech, and figure out the right recipe for my game!

Nik
 

AmericanTwist

Professional
Hi OP. No disrespect to you, but if you can't tell us your opinion on strings you are likely not a 4.5....and maybe not even a 4.0. But we will help you!

Since you have freshly strung frames rest a week and see if that pain goes away. Generally, stiff frames + stiff strings (poly) + suboptimal technique may result in sore elbows. Play with the Ripstick first since that is the softest and see if it gives you pain. If no pain continue with the Head and then Babolat frames and see which ones give you pain. The tensions seem to be on the high side for a 4.0 player. Can you feel pocketing when you hit? Some people like a firm, boardy feel, but I don't. I much prefer pocketing. Based on your results I would restring one of the babolats with regular 16 syn gut at the same tension or even a few pounds lower. See how you like it.

Tennis frames run the gamut from 55ra generally to the low 70ra's. A middling 64ra should be firm but comfortable. You seem to be athletic so you can play with a much softer frame too like the Clash. See how you like syn gut, but don't rule out natural gut too. A multi is also good but loses tension quickly like polys. String lower and see if you can keep balls in. Stiff frames require excellent technique. Frames 62-64RA are a nice compromise between control and power. Maybe you'll decide that the babolats are too stiff for you eventually. Demo before you buy and/or pick up some used frames for extended demos. Feel better!
 

Nikwho

New User
That's fair! I'm a hockey player, and couldn't much tell you the difference vlbetwen a 75 and 85 flex hockey stick, or 1/2" vs. 5/8" cut on skates. I'm not the best at discerning small differences in equipment, even when they are seemingly large differences to others. I cannot say why. I have no ego here. We can say that I'm a 3.0 or 3.5. I don't mind. I'm just trying to figure out a good string type and tension for my game as a starting point, and try to talk my way through what I feel to other folks, to try to help tweek it to be optimal for me. I do not particularly care for the feel of my rackets, as they are strung. They feel WAY too stiff. I hit with a lot of topspin, and currently have no issues keeping big ground strokes in play. I know that if I stick with the Babolat frames, that I need to drop tension. I just don't know if I'm playing the right types of string, or how much change I should make at a time, when trying to find my "sweet spot".

My play has been mostly with the same string types and tensions. I've never really played with it, as I didn't know what changes to make.

So, I've been playing with the 2017 Babolat since about 2019. I picked up the 2019 Babolat frame in 2021, and had my stringer "match" it to my other Babolat. He strung it the same, and matched swing weights. I even have sheets full of specs from him matching the two rackets. I've just been restringing the same strings over and over, because i never put much thought into it.

Last year I bought the new Head and new Prince rackets, knowing that I was after something a little different. Then, after buying them and playing with them a couple of times, I figured that I was goimg to hurt my game by switching rackets all the time, so I stuffed them back into my bag and stopped playing with them. While I have not played more than a few sets with the Prince Ripstick, I have played quite a bit with the Head racket. I stopped playing with anything but the two Babolats last fall, trying to stay consistent. When I play 4+ hours per week, my elbow starts to get and stay sore.

So, I'm thinking that I need to make a switch. Sounds like stringing the Babolats at a lower tension won't really make up for their stiffness. Ironically, the guy that I bought my La Decima from was moving away from it because it was too stiff for him.

So, I guess that I'll try introducing the Prince racket, and see how it does. Then, after playing just the Prince, I can compare to the Head racket. I've not noticed any pain when playing with only the Head frame. Never played the Prince frame enough to know one way or the other.

I do really appreciate the help!
 
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g4driver

Legend
So, I've been playing with the 2017 Babolat since about 2019. I picked up the 2019 Babolat frame in 2021, and had my stringer "match" it to my other Babolat. He strung it the same, and matched swing weights. I even have sheets full of specs from him matching the two rackets. I've just been restringing the same strings over and over, because i never put much thought into it.


So, I'm thinking that I need to make a switch. Sounds like stringing the Babolats at a lower tension won't really make up for their stiffness. Ironically, the guy that I bought my La Decima from was moving away from it because it was too stiff for him.

So, I guess that I'll try introducing the Prince racket, and see how it does. Then, after playing just the Prince, I can compare to the Head racket. I've not noticed any pain when playing with only the Head frame. Never played the Prince frame enough to know one way or the other.
@Nikwho

Sorry to read about your arm issues.

@1:14 in the video below you can see how to perform the one exercise known to help TE without actually using a Flexbar. I have Flexbars, but learned I don't need them if I do the movement shown in the video below.


FWIW, I can't hit with a Pure Drive and have had TE twice in my life, once in 1992 and again in 2009. Long story but I switched from the 2009 PD+ frames to another frame and used the same string in a different frame and the TE went away. Fast forward to 2016, I learned that many players can't use a Pure Drive, but we can use Pure Aeros. I still use 2016 Pure Aero+ frames and play TE free. Each player is unique in size and game, so what works for one may not work for all, but I have found multiple players who can't hit with a PD without getting TE, but those same players can use the same strings in 2016 and 2019 Pure Aeros pain-free. I have the 2016 PA+, which is the same frame as your Babolat Pure Aero La Decima (2017), minus the extra .5 inch of the PA+ frame.

I'm not sure if you know, and I don't mean to overeducate or speak down, but I just want to share how Babolat releases frames. Typically every three years. Correct me if I am incorrect but the 2017 LaDecima PA is actually a 2016 PA with a different paintjob celebrating Nadal's 10th FO Championship. The 2019 PA is more muted than the 2016 PA for certain.


My .02

1) Cut out the strings in both PA and the Head
2) Bench the PAs and rest up for a week or two
3) Option A or B below for your PAs

a) Have you considered trying one of the PA with Natural Gut 1.30mm / Yonex Poly Tour Air 1.25mm or Cream 1.28mm crosses before you banish the PAs to the Phantom Zone?
Gut will give you the increased power you seem to be missing, while the setup will outlast any poly setup by 3X. You're not going to have to cut out the NG/poly crosses in 15-20 hours like polys, and the setup can stay in your frame two months. The poly crosses aren't doing much for you except giving the gut string to slide across and YPTA is a rubber-infused poly just like Cream. Every 4.0C / 4.5A USTA rated male player will play with the strings until near breakage or break them.

b) If you don't want to use NG mains due to the cost, I would highly recommend trying RPX 1.35mm mains and 1.25mm YPTA crosses if you want to keep trying them.

Here is the deal with Pure Aeros and strings. The 16x19 string pattern on the 2016/17/18 and the 2019/20/21 Pure Aero are uber open and they are string eaters.

IMO, it's just not feasible to put some of the very soft multis like Tecnifibre Multifeel, X1, and NRG2 in the 2016-2022 PA frames and expect them to last very long in a Pure Aero. You can always move up a gauge to something like 1.35mm mains or to a multiester (like RPX, HDMX, Triax, NXT Control, Yonex Rexis Speed) with a soft poly round cross and give that a shot to increase durability. NG/YPTA is buttery soft in that frame and I put 1.35mm VS Gut mains / 1.27 mm Ghostwire in several high-level 4.0C / and 4.0A-rated guys frames including the 2019 PA for my teammate. Stringing his frame and six more frames in just a bit. GW is a bit stiffer than YPTA and Cream but it holds tension very well. MSV Swift is another cross that many on here speak highly of. I just haven't had a chance to try it in my frames as a cross vs Ghostwire, but will in July when I can take a break from work.

The 2013 Aero Pro Drive and the 2023 Pure Aero have tighter patterns. In fact, the 2003/04/05 PDs and the 06, 09, and 12 releases, until the new 2015 PD was released had the exact drill pattern of the Aero Pro Drives. The #90021 Babolat APD grommets fit the 2003-14 Pure Drive and Josh @Babolat Official has been very kind in his help to me for years regarding grommet sets. The 2015 Pure Drive and the 2016 Pure Aero brought changes to both these frames. The 2016 PA wasn't well received but then again it followed a phenomenal frame, the Aero Pro Drive. The 2023 PA has tightened the pattern and the jury is still out IMO, but the frame seems to be less stiff and that's great for many players.

Here are two threads you might find useful and hope you find the info above helpful.



Best wishes with the journey and your arm
 

Hansen

Professional
week. Barely broken in, and strung only 4 months prior to that.
i don’t know if it already has been adressed, but you shouldn‘t use poly strings longer than 10-15 hours. since you are not that good in determining the feel of the racquet and probably don‘t feel if the poly has to be replaced, i would say no longer than 10 hours.
 

Nikwho

New User
@Nikwho

Sorry to read about your arm issues.

@1:14 in the video below you can see how to perform the one exercise known to help TE without actually using a Flexbar. I have Flexbars, but learned I don't need them if I do the movement shown in the video below.


FWIW, I can't hit with a Pure Drive and have had TE twice in my life, once in 1992 and again in 2009. Long story but I switched from the 2009 PD+ frames to another frame and used the same string in a different frame and the TE went away. Fast forward to 2016, I learned that many players can't use a Pure Drive, but we can use Pure Aeros. I still use 2016 Pure Aero+ frames and play TE free. Each player is unique in size and game, so what works for one may not work for all, but I have found multiple players who can't hit with a PD without getting TE, but those same players can use the same strings in 2016 and 2019 Pure Aeros pain-free. I have the 2016 PA+, which is the same frame as your Babolat Pure Aero La Decima (2017), minus the extra .5 inch of the PA+ frame.

I'm not sure if you know, and I don't mean to overeducate or speak down, but I just want to share how Babolat releases frames. Typically every three years. Correct me if I am incorrect but the 2017 LaDecima PA is actually a 2016 PA with a different paintjob celebrating Nadal's 10th FO Championship. The 2019 PA is more muted than the 2016 PA for certain.


My .02

1) Cut out the strings in both PA and the Head
2) Bench the PAs and rest up for a week or two
3) Option A or B below for your PAs

a) Have you considered trying one of the PA with Natural Gut 1.30mm / Yonex Poly Tour Air 1.25mm or Cream 1.28mm crosses before you banish the PAs to the Phantom Zone?
Gut will give you the increased power you seem to be missing, while the setup will outlast any poly setup by 3X. You're not going to have to cut out the NG/poly crosses in 15-20 hours like polys, and the setup can stay in your frame two months. The poly crosses aren't doing much for you except giving the gut string to slide across and YPTA is a rubber-infused poly just like Cream. Every 4.0C / 4.5A USTA rated male player will play with the strings until near breakage or break them.

b) If you don't want to use NG mains due to the cost, I would highly recommend trying RPX 1.35mm mains and 1.25mm YPTA crosses if you want to keep trying them.

Here is the deal with Pure Aeros and strings. The 16x19 string pattern on the 2016/17/18 and the 2019/20/21 Pure Aero are uber open and they are string eaters.

IMO, it's just not feasible to put some of the very soft multis like Tecnifibre Multifeel, X1, and NRG2 in the 2016-2022 PA frames and expect them to last very long in a Pure Aero. You can always move up a gauge to something like 1.35mm mains or to a multiester (like RPX, HDMX, Triax, NXT Control, Yonex Rexis Speed) with a soft poly round cross and give that a shot to increase durability. NG/YPTA is buttery soft in that frame and I put 1.35mm VS Gut mains / 1.27 mm Ghostwire in several high-level 4.0C / and 4.0A-rated guys frames including the 2019 PA for my teammate. Stringing his frame and six more frames in just a bit. GW is a bit stiffer than YPTA and Cream but it holds tension very well. MSV Swift is another cross that many on here speak highly of. I just haven't had a chance to try it in my frames as a cross vs Ghostwire, but will in July when I can take a break from work.

The 2013 Aero Pro Drive and the 2023 Pure Aero have tighter patterns. In fact, the 2003/04/05 PDs and the 06, 09, and 12 releases, until the new 2015 PD was released had the exact drill pattern of the Aero Pro Drives. The #90021 Babolat APD grommets fit the 2003-14 Pure Drive and Josh @Babolat Official has been very kind in his help to me for years regarding grommet sets. The 2015 Pure Drive and the 2016 Pure Aero brought changes to both these frames. The 2016 PA wasn't well received but then again it followed a phenomenal frame, the Aero Pro Drive. The 2023 PA has tightened the pattern and the jury is still out IMO, but the frame seems to be less stiff and that's great for many players.

Here are two threads you might find useful and hope you find the info above helpful.



Best wishes with the journey and your arm
Thank you very much for such a thoughtful and time consuming response! I'll save this information, and try all of what you suggested!
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Two rackets (Babolats) were re-strung last week. Barely broken in, and strung only 4 months prior to that. I'm kind of a gear "nerd", so I like looking at new rackets. I tried to shut down constantly buying new rackets. I've tried to be pretty religious about restringing. I just went with what was done to my racket initially. But, after playing with the two Babolats all of last week with fresh strings, and my elbow pain getting a bot worse, I was starting to think that the issue was my higher string tension. I was trying to go with what was reccomended to me, as I'm pretty bad at providing feedback, and making corrections from my feedback. At the end of the day, it's hard for me to put into words, what I'm feeling from my rackets. I need to get better, but I just struggle!

I'll definitely try stringing my Pure Aero with Volkl Cyclone Tour 16g fullbed, at 52-53lbs, and report back. I JUST paid to restring these two rackets last week, but it was clearly not "right", so I'll start playing with other stings and tensions.

I guess that with there being so many string types, then hybrids of all of those AND then the tension being a whole other issue, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, to be honest! When I've been in to my local shop to discuss, I quickly get into a discussion that's over my head. He always tries to steer me away from expensive strings, but they sound to be what I'd like to play. I honestly don't really care if I'm stringing more frequently than. The average guy, or if it costs a few bucks more. I'd like to just find a good "recipe", for lack of a better term, and have a "go-to" string and tension that works for me.

I bought the Prince Ripstick on a whim, but perhaps should give it a more serious try, as I read that it's "O Ports" help to relieve some strain on the elbow. I've noticed that when I play my Head racket consistently, my elbow feels better. I just don't want to write off my Babolats, if I'm simply having them strung too tight!

Perhaps I just need to go all in and nerd out on tennis strings until I fully unsterstand them all. It's just SO many options, and I feel like I'm having a hard time deciphering between expensive gimmicks, and more expensive strings, that are well worth the money invested.

I do really appreciate you folks taking time out to give me some advice and such! Hopefully I can get my brain wrapped around all of this string tech, and figure out the right recipe for my game!

Nik
Very much agree with the thinking aimed toward a substantial string change. Don't be subtle when you've got persistent elbow pain. Poly - full beds or hybrids - will do you no good for the short term. You might as well cut those out of your racquets right now to save you from using them anymore (crosses first, then the mains).

Even a reputedly soft and arm-friendly racquet will be significantly more rough on your arm with poly installed, but a stiffer frame like some of the Babolat models can actually be rather comfortable if set up with a softer string (boosting comfort may bring a trade-off in performance, but that's a different layer of this onion).

Natural gut is still king of the hill among arm-friendly string, but it's also rather pricey. Of course that's relative when we're talking about steering your arm in a more healthy direction. At least natural gut is great right up until it physically snaps.

Multifiber also brings a higher degree of softness to the equipment recipe, but I only use this string on occasion. It costs a good deal more than syn. gut, but it generally degrades much more quickly than syn. gut in terms of both fraying and losing tension. Generally though, it's a little bit softer than most syn. guts. I prefer Prince Premier Control for its moderate price and its ability to hold tension better than many others in the multi family.

Syn. gut (SG) isn't terribly exotic, but it can be an ideal option for many of us. It's generally a good step softer than poly (I've experienced this through recent years myself), but its service life and performance are also better for me compared with multifibers. It's also more affordable than pretty much everything other than "tournament nylon", which is kinda-sorta the same string. If you get your elbow back into good working order, a string from this family could be something that takes care of you over the long term.

Gosen OG Sheep Micro and Prince SG w/Duraflex are rather stiff and durable SG's - I don't care for either one in my own racquets, but they might be easy to get along with at a lower tension. Many SG's are moderately soft; Baboalat, Head, Volkl Classic, Prince Original SG. I currently enjoy Kirschbaum SG - softer than average and very affordable by the reel. Forten Sweet 16 is a SG that's soft enough to actually work as an affordable substitute for some multifibers.
 

SlowTiger

Professional
Hi OP. No disrespect to you, but if you can't tell us your opinion on strings you are likely not a 4.5....and maybe not even a 4.0. But we will help you!
I don't agree with that. I know a few 4.0 that aren't really sensitive to strings. Some will use any poly/multi hybrid at this tension and some who can use most polys strung at their desired tension
 

AmericanTwist

Professional
You're missing my point slowtiger... My point is any player at the 4.5 level should be able to give an opinion about string tension, and maybe some or most 4.0s should be able to as well.

The fact that some 4.0s you know can discern tension doesn't disprove my statement. See the nuance? Btw, cute signature pic!
 

Nikwho

New User
A: Shouldn't have said I could pass as a 4.5 on a good day. I'm a 4.0 player.

2: I'm just not educated about string types. I need to read up on the nuances of the different types, it just is a lot of information. I have not made it a priority. I've been stringing my rackets the same, time and time again, because of this. My complaints are indicating to me that I need to come down in tension, I'm just not sure how much to change at a time. Also, I feel as if when I switch to a different string type, that different string type might also require a different string tension.
 

Nikwho

New User
When I first bought my Prince Ripstick, I had it strung with Yonex POLYTOUR REV 17 @ 53 lbs. It did feel a little hard to control at that time. Without knowing what to change, I had it restrung with Mains: Babolat Blast Through 17, 56 lbs
Crosses: Tourna Quasi-Gut 17, 58 lbs. You can probably see how I just defaulted to something that was reccomended to me once, without knowing much. I liked this racket more after having it restrung, because it played in a more familiar way. But, right after having it restrung I decided to stick to swinging my two Babolats. But, I am going to start playing with my Head and Prince rackets, and I will try some of the reccomendations above. I obviously need to increase my string knowledge, to figure out what works for me, and why.
 

jimmy8

Legend
Keep using the Babolat if you want serious arm issues to continue and you love visiting the doctor and getting surgery and going to months long physical therapies. Babolat are as stiff as diamonds. Babolat should be illegal to use. Every single person who I've encountered that uses a Babolat complains of arm pain.

For strings, I recommend hyper g 1.20 mains at 46 lbs and wilson nxt 1.30 at 50 lbs. Amazing control, power, spin, feel.
 

TennisJrDad

Professional
@Nikwho I think RPM Blast, which is a stiffer string, at 56 lbs is most likely asking for trouble. How often are you restringing?

When I first bought my Prince Ripstick, I had it strung with Yonex POLYTOUR REV 17 @ 53 lbs. It did feel a little hard to control at that time. Without knowing what to change, I had it restrung with Mains: Babolat Blast Through 17, 56 lbs
Crosses: Tourna Quasi-Gut 17, 58 lbs. You can probably see how I just defaulted to something that was reccomended to me once, without knowing much. I liked this racket more after having it restrung, because it played in a more familiar way. But, right after having it restrung I decided to stick to swinging my two Babolats. But, I am going to start playing with my Head and Prince rackets, and I will try some of the reccomendations above. I obviously need to increase my string knowledge, to figure out what works for me, and why.
 

billsedd

Rookie
@Nikwho

Sorry to read about your arm issues.

@1:14 in the video below you can see how to perform the one exercise known to help TE without actually using a Flexbar. I have Flexbars, but learned I don't need them if I do the movement shown in the video below.


FWIW, I can't hit with a Pure Drive and have had TE twice in my life, once in 1992 and again in 2009. Long story but I switched from the 2009 PD+ frames to another frame and used the same string in a different frame and the TE went away. Fast forward to 2016, I learned that many players can't use a Pure Drive, but we can use Pure Aeros. I still use 2016 Pure Aero+ frames and play TE free. Each player is unique in size and game, so what works for one may not work for all, but I have found multiple players who can't hit with a PD without getting TE, but those same players can use the same strings in 2016 and 2019 Pure Aeros pain-free. I have the 2016 PA+, which is the same frame as your Babolat Pure Aero La Decima (2017), minus the extra .5 inch of the PA+ frame.

I'm not sure if you know, and I don't mean to overeducate or speak down, but I just want to share how Babolat releases frames. Typically every three years. Correct me if I am incorrect but the 2017 LaDecima PA is actually a 2016 PA with a different paintjob celebrating Nadal's 10th FO Championship. The 2019 PA is more muted than the 2016 PA for certain.


My .02

1) Cut out the strings in both PA and the Head
2) Bench the PAs and rest up for a week or two
3) Option A or B below for your PAs

a) Have you considered trying one of the PA with Natural Gut 1.30mm / Yonex Poly Tour Air 1.25mm or Cream 1.28mm crosses before you banish the PAs to the Phantom Zone?
Gut will give you the increased power you seem to be missing, while the setup will outlast any poly setup by 3X. You're not going to have to cut out the NG/poly crosses in 15-20 hours like polys, and the setup can stay in your frame two months. The poly crosses aren't doing much for you except giving the gut string to slide across and YPTA is a rubber-infused poly just like Cream. Every 4.0C / 4.5A USTA rated male player will play with the strings until near breakage or break them.

b) If you don't want to use NG mains due to the cost, I would highly recommend trying RPX 1.35mm mains and 1.25mm YPTA crosses if you want to keep trying them.

Here is the deal with Pure Aeros and strings. The 16x19 string pattern on the 2016/17/18 and the 2019/20/21 Pure Aero are uber open and they are string eaters.

IMO, it's just not feasible to put some of the very soft multis like Tecnifibre Multifeel, X1, and NRG2 in the 2016-2022 PA frames and expect them to last very long in a Pure Aero. You can always move up a gauge to something like 1.35mm mains or to a multiester (like RPX, HDMX, Triax, NXT Control, Yonex Rexis Speed) with a soft poly round cross and give that a shot to increase durability. NG/YPTA is buttery soft in that frame and I put 1.35mm VS Gut mains / 1.27 mm Ghostwire in several high-level 4.0C / and 4.0A-rated guys frames including the 2019 PA for my teammate. Stringing his frame and six more frames in just a bit. GW is a bit stiffer than YPTA and Cream but it holds tension very well. MSV Swift is another cross that many on here speak highly of. I just haven't had a chance to try it in my frames as a cross vs Ghostwire, but will in July when I can take a break from work.

The 2013 Aero Pro Drive and the 2023 Pure Aero have tighter patterns. In fact, the 2003/04/05 PDs and the 06, 09, and 12 releases, until the new 2015 PD was released had the exact drill pattern of the Aero Pro Drives. The #90021 Babolat APD grommets fit the 2003-14 Pure Drive and Josh @Babolat Official has been very kind in his help to me for years regarding grommet sets. The 2015 Pure Drive and the 2016 Pure Aero brought changes to both these frames. The 2016 PA wasn't well received but then again it followed a phenomenal frame, the Aero Pro Drive. The 2023 PA has tightened the pattern and the jury is still out IMO, but the frame seems to be less stiff and that's great for many players.

Here are two threads you might find useful and hope you find the info above helpful.



Best wishes with the journey and your arm

@g4driver
great string recommendations.
in my opinion, Pure Aero feels the least stiff out of all 3 lines (pure drive, pure strike)
 

Nikwho

New User
@Nikwho I think RPM Blast, which is a stiffer string, at 56 lbs is most likely asking for trouble. How often are you restringing?

I've kinda stuck to stringing my rackets as many times per year, as I play per week. Then, adjust accordingly, taking into consideration if I'm playing two rackets equally as much. So when I play roughly 3x per week, and play one racket, I'll have it strung 3x/year, or every 4 months. If I'm playing two rackets equally as much, I'll have them strung at least every 6 months. But, I may need to up this frequency!
 

Nikwho

New User
Okay, being a total gear nerd, and realizing that I need to learn about tennis strings and try some different tensions, I bought a Klippermate stringing machine! Hopefully it wasn't a mistake. I'll put some energy into learning the process, and I'll be able to re-string more frequently, as well as try a lot of different strings and tensions. Now I REALLY have a lot of reading and research to do!

 

TennisCJC

Legend
I've kinda stuck to stringing my rackets as many times per year, as I play per week. Then, adjust accordingly, taking into consideration if I'm playing two rackets equally as much. So when I play roughly 3x per week, and play one racket, I'll have it strung 3x/year, or every 4 months. If I'm playing two rackets equally as much, I'll have them strung at least every 6 months. But, I may need to up this frequency!

I have been using multi/poly and a few gut/poly hybrids for most of last 15 years. I tend to play players frames but have just stopped using Yonex Ezone 98. I also tend to customize to 6 or more HL and SW 325-335. I have tried a few all poly setups too. I use a stiff poly Kirschbaum Max Power 17G in the crosses at 46-50lbs with a multi like TF Multifeel or TF NG2 16G in the mains strung 4 lbs higher than the poly cross so usually 50-54 lbs. Elbow has been pretty good for almost all of 15 years except for 1 minor episode of TE over a decade ago. I use stiff MP 17G because TW string tool shows it has very good tension retention as due the TF multis I use. I get very good performance for the first 10 hours and then I notice the poly is a bit too loose after that. I tend to break or cut and restring before 20 hours of use. I wouldn't use poly if you plan on playing it for more than 15-20 hours as most polys will have lost a ton of tension after 10 hours or so. I also think multi mains with a poly cross are good for comfort, control, power, spin and maintain quality of the stringbed longer than all poly setups. It's up to you. If you are a big spin basher and want to play all poly, I suggest stringing it between 44-52 lbs and changing strings around 15 hours or so. There usually is a trade off. Soft poly is more comfortable but they usually lose tension faster. Stiff poly is a little less comfortable but they retain tension longer. I use a stiff poly at moderate tensions and with my multi mains, it is still comfortable.
 

g4driver

Legend
I've kinda stuck to stringing my rackets as many times per year, as I play per week. Then, adjust accordingly, taking into consideration if I'm playing two rackets equally as much. So when I play roughly 3x per week, and play one racket, I'll have it strung 3x/year, or every 4 months. If I'm playing two rackets equally as much, I'll have them strung at least every 6 months. But, I may need to up this frequency!
@Nikwho

IMO the dead poly is the more likely the source of your TE, not the PAs. So please don't sell those PAs just yet.

Hitting with dead poly for 3.5 months after it died around the 15 hour mark will give anyone TE even if they used a Clash 100 or a ProKennex

Babolat has thousands of rec players who can play TE free with Pure Drives, and even more players play TE free with Pure Strikes and Pure Aeros.
 
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