Types of Strings and Tension
Different types of tennis strings feature different materials and construction and, as a result, can exhibit dramatically different feel at the same tension. In other words, a tension that works for one string may be a poor choice for another.
For example, if you were to string your racquet at 60 pounds with a nylon multifilament, and then switch to a polyester string and use the same tension, you’d most likely be disappointed in performance because polyesters tend to work better at lower tensions.
Let’s do a quick review of the different types of strings along with our favorite picks in each category.
Some of the most expensive strings on the market, natural gut strings are made from cow intestine and feature excellent power, comfort, and feel. Due to their elasticity, they do a fantastic job of maintaining tension and perform exceptionally well at higher tensions.
Frequently, players that move to natural gut from synthetic materials will be inclined to string at slightly higher tensions for more control.
Typically made from nylon, synthetic gut strings are a cost-effective choice for a wide range of players and offer average all-around performance. Synthetic gut strings perform well at a variety of string tensions, depending on player preference.
Multifilament tennis strings seek to replicate the performance of natural gut by weaving thousands of fibers together. As a result, they feature similar characteristics, including power, comfort, and feel.
Multifilaments perform well at mid to upper range tensions, with many players stringing slightly higher due to their higher power.
A popular string in today’s modern game of tennis, polyester tennis strings are stiff, lower-powered strings that enhance topspin and, due to their monofilament construction, offer great durability.
Most players will reduce the tension of polyester strings to help increase the snapback effect and comfort while allowing themselves to swing faster to generate added topspin.
Although not as popular as they once were, Kevlar strings are highly durable yet offer a very stiff feel. As a result, if you experiment with one of the few Kevlar strings still available, you may want to lower the tension to help offset the stiffness.
Typically, when you find Kevlar strings, they’ll be paired with a softer string as part of a hybrid setup.
When you combine any two sets of tennis string, one set for the mains an another for the crosses, it’s called a hybrid. Popular hybrids include natural gut or multifilament combined with polyester.
It’s common for players to opt for varying tensions for each of the strings with the poly typically featuring a slightly lower tension of 2 to 3 kilograms or pounds.