What tension to choose for your tennis racket strings?

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24kg? 25kg? Or even 19 or 35?
Choosing tension, as choosing string, is sometimes a challenge for players. Our tips to help you make a (good) choice.

1/  Increase or decrease string tension: find a compromise between control and power

PHEW! You have chosen your racquet and your strings. You think everything’s fine, but then, suddenly, the stringer asks you the fateful question: "what tension do you want? ". Ouch.

A question that is sometimes difficult to answer, for amateur or professional, since it is not uncommon to see adjustments made during a match for the pros!

The tension truly has a significant impact on the sensations felt by the player.

Increase the tension:

  • Emphasizes control over power: by tightening the string more, the first soars and the second is limited. Might lead to fewer winners, but also fewer unforced errors
  • Reduces the durability of the string
  • Decreases comfort, and gives the impression of having to "force" more to get the ball out of the racquet and to find length

Reduce the tension:

  • Emphasizes power over control: the trampoline effect is more important, and the ball comes off the racquet stronger
  • Increases the durability of the string
  • Promotes the sensations and comfort of play: it seems that the ball comes off the racquet more easily, which is also a very interesting parameter for players with regular arm pain
Stephane Chrzanowski stringer

These elements can already allow you to understand which direction you must go to influence both your performance and your sensations. It is also important to keep in mind that if you cannot find the ideal setting, it may also be because you have not found the right string yet!

At an early stage of competition, it is often better to stretch your racquet "reasonably", between 23 and 27kg to maintain control and, most importantly, avoid injuries. "Extreme" tension, below 23kg or above 27kg, is often difficult to master and requires some dexterity. And can, moreover, quickly tire your arm.

2/ Three additional tips to adjust the tension of your string

Change the tension of the string according to the surface

As we mentioned in a previous article (link at the bottom of the page), the change to the clay season shows that professional players mostly adjust the tension of their string by decreasing it by 1 or 2kg. .

Thus, according to the surface on which one plays, the ball is more or less heavy and lively. On clay, the ball is ruffled by absorbing the dust and is heavier, while indoor hard for example, the felt disappears, the ball becomes smoother over time and is therefore lighter and faster.

So what to do with the tension of your string?

In this case it is advisable to reduce the tension of 1kg or more on clay to compensate for the heaviness of the ball, the slowdown of the game and the impression that it is necessary to make considerable efforts to make a winning shot on this surface. During the transition on fast surface or indoor, you could restore this kg removed on clay, to regain control.

Heavy playing conditions? Try to decrease the tension to gain power!
Racket

Take into account the climatic conditions to choose the tension of the string

Outdoor or indoor, arid or humid climate, it slows down or accelerates the game and it is therefore interesting to think about adjusting your tension.

If, at an amateur level, you do not change it each time it rains or shines, we can make changes depending on the season.

Outdoors, the wind, which increases the resistance of the air, and the sun, which creates heavier playing conditions, will incite to get a lower tension to adapt and gain power and comfort of play. We advise to decrease the tension by 1kg. In indoor, we will add this kg of tension.

Also know that the types of strings react differently to changes of weather and temperature. Gut, for example, suffers little from the bad weather, just like multifilament, while polyesters suffer more from cold temperatures. Rigid string + stiff ball when it is cold = difficulty to accelerate the ball.

Do not ignore the “static effect” on the string tension

Finally, you must know that the string loses tension ... all alone!

Many players in professional tournaments explicitly demand that their racquets be strung the very morning of their match, so that they do not have time to lose tension during the night.

The "static effect" has to be taken into account and in other words, when you reopen your tennis bag to hit the ball after a long break, your strings are naturally loosened. It is then necessary to tighten it again in order to get your good sensations back, and to avoid tiring your arm.

 

So go and test different tensions at the beginning of each season to find the perfect combination and keep on improving performance!