There’s no denying that polyester tennis strings are incredibly popular, but what makes them a highly sought after string? Let’s take a look at why professional to recreational players gravitate toward poly.
If there’s one professional tennis player in the past two decades that we can credit with the rise in popularity of polyester tennis strings, it would be Rafael Nadal. He has redefined what’s possible when it comes to topspin, and not surprisingly, he strings his racquet with a full bed of polyester.
Polyester strings are perfect for topspin because of two key factors:
First, polyester offers very little power. As a result, players can swing faster without the ball sailing long, which subsequently influences the amount of topspin a player can generate. Racquet head speed is the primary contributor to topspin.
Additionally, polyester strings are smooth, resilient, and quickly snap back into place. As a result, this snapback effect has the potential to increase spin, which is often a goal for players of all levels.
However, there’s one caveat. To benefit from the increased spin potential of poly strings, a player needs to have the appropriate technique and sufficient racquet head speed.
Assuming an appropriate grip is in use, higher racquet head speeds increase topspin and cause these strings to move out of place or deform and subsequently snap back into place. Unfortunately, if your racquet head speed isn’t high enough, you won’t see drastic increases in spin, which is worth considering as you evaluate polys.
Due to his immense racquet head speed, Nadal’s style of play is well suited for polyester tennis strings.
With that said, if you’re looking to amp up your spin, polyester tennis strings are an excellent option that comes with other benefits, too.
In many ways, spin and control go hand in hand. If you hit with more topspin, you can hit higher over the net and increase your margin for error while still having confidence that the ball will drop back down into the court. As a result, the added spin gives players a greater sense of control.
However, the main reason polyester tennis strings provide players with more control lies in the inherent stiffness of the string. This stiffness results in less power, but it also causes the ball to sit on the string bed for a shorter period – referred to as dwell time.
The shorter dwell time ultimately provides players with a more consistent response from their strings. That, in turn, gives players a greater sense of control.
Today, players are stronger than ever, and their style or approach to the game has become increasingly aggressive. This change has put a premium on control, so it’s no wonder that more players have turned to polyester to provide the control they desire.
When polyester tennis strings first emerged on the market, one of their top qualities was durability, or their ability to withstand breakage. Not surprisingly, polys have maintained this quality over the years.
At the time, this was a welcome attribute for big hitters and chronic string breakers. After all, breaking strings can become an expensive habit. Moreover, it can cost you a point, game, or match when it happens at the wrong time.
So, if you’re looking for a string that will stand up to your aggressive style of play, then polys might be a great option.
While we’re on the topic, it’s important to distinguish between durability and a string’s ability to keep their tension, which players often mistake as the same. The truth is, tension maintenance, or how long the string keeps its tension, is one of polyester strings’ biggest pitfalls.
We’ll cover this more in the disadvantages section of this article.
One of the lesser-praised qualities of polyester strings is that they virtually always snap right back into place.
You might be wondering, why should I care about string movement? If so, that’s a great question.
The first and most significant reason you might care about string movement goes back to control and your stringbed’s ability to provide a consistent hitting surface. Theoretically, the more consistent your hitting surface, the more control you’ll have.
Beyond control, some players simply can’t stand having to readjust their strings between every point. If this isn’t a problem for you, then perhaps you wouldn’t consider it an advantage, but it’s worth noting.