Tennis strings - multifilament, monofilament: the ultimate fight

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Many tennis players think that a string only has a small impact on the game.
A little more comfort in multifilament, versus better durability in polyester, and that's it.
Well, no.

I. The key characteristics of the strings

Let's start by detailing the key features of a string. Strings have an impact on your performance and the health of your arm. If you feel recurring pain or have trouble keeping ball depth, a better choice of strings can help you sort it out. Here are different qualities of a string to have in mind:

  • Power:

The power of your shots is strongly impacted by the type of string you use. The speed of the ball is the result of what is called the trampoline effect: when the ball comes into contact with the racquet, it is deformed by penetrating the strings, then returns to its original shape. The ball will sink further into softer strings and, in return, the restored energy will be all the more important. There is a big difference between flexible strings (multifilament type) and stiff strings (polyester type), which will have different results in terms of energy restored.

In a similar logic, the lower the tension of the string, the greater the trampoline effect and the energy restored. On the other hand, the risk of loss of control increases.

  • Control:

What good is power without control? In order to choose your string, it is essential to find the right balance between the two. In contrast to the power, we will get more control with a more stiff string, limiting the trampoline effect. The ball stays in contact with the racquet longer, and the player masters his shot better  ... which leads to a loss of power.

It is the same effect for a string whose tension is high: the control is maximized.

  • Comfort

Besides power and control, it is also necessary to take into account the comfort of the string. The flexible ones, which generate a lot of power thanks to a larger trampoline effect, are also more comfortable. The comfort of the string is due to the reduced vibrations from the impact of the ball ... which is less traumatic for the forearm. Stiff strings, preferable for more control, are also more traumatic for the muscles.

  • Durability:

Another important element for tennis players when choosing strings is durability. The strings eventually break with time, but some break much faster than others. For example, natural gut, more expensive, certainly offers incomparable power but is also the least resistant. On the other hand, polyester monofilament strings are the most resistant.

  • Gauge:

Another key factor in the choice of the string: the gauge. The gauge is the diameter, in millimeters, of the string. The lower the gauge, the stronger the string, since the trampoline effect is maximized; we also associate with a weak gauge a better touch. However, with a larger gauge, the string is more control-oriented and, more importantly, is more resistant.

  • Tensions:

Let's finish with a capital element in tennis: the tension. As mentioned earlier, the higher the tension, the more control you get; the lower the tension, the greater the trampoline effect and the stronger the string. We will come back to this point later ... in the meantime, if you are advised to test several strings and several tensions, be careful not to go too far in extreme under penalty of playing with an uncontrollable racquet!

 

Janko Tipsarevic Razor Code

 

II. What are the advantages for the different types of strings?

Here is a comparative table simplifying the advantages of the three main types of strings:

Stringing differences

As discussed previously, we clearly see the marked differences between the types of strings and the advantages / disadvantages that each of them presents.

 

Racquet Razor Code

 

Muscular Fatigue when hitting the ball

When your opponent strikes a ball at 50 m/h (knowing that the average speed of a forehand in men aged 30 to 40 is about 100m/h), the impact of the ball at the moment it touches your racquet is 100G (G = acceleration unit, 100G is 15 times faster than Felix Baumgartner's acceleration when he passed the sound barrier for his 39,000-meter jump in 2012!).

 

Tecnifibre tested the muscle and energy fatigue of multifilament and polyester strings on a sample of competitive regular players. Arm fatigue is 22% higher with polyester. It is also observed that the shots made with the polyester are less and less lengthy during the session: the first 30 shots are on average 10 cm shorter, the next ones 30 to 60 cm shorter.

III. Monofilament, multifilament: same story? No!

We cannot say that the choice of the string is harmless: a wrong choice can really have bad consequences on your health and your game.

So how do you make a (good) decision? The best answer to this question is to refer to the inseparable material of the string: the racquet!

The first question to ask is therefore which racquet to use according to your level and how often you play:

  • For regular players, casual or leisure, which represent 80% of players (women, seniors, club players, juniors), we prefer a racquet of less than 300 grams. This type of racquet has the advantages of lightness and playability; the disadvantages are a lower power and bigger shocks of 18% (for a racquet of 297g vs 320g, tests in support) ... which is acceptable with a reasonable playing frequency.
  • For intensive players, playing at least once a week or even high level, we prefer a racquet over 300g, which will bring more power (the racket of 320g is 43% more powerful than that of 297g!) And will absorb shocks better, which is essential to avoid injuries when playing very regularly. In addition, to play with this type of racket, it requires a good technical level and good physical shape to avoid shoulder pain.


Did you find the racquet that suits you? Let's find the right string!

Tell me what is your racquet, I'll tell you what string you should have

=> For a racquet of less than 300 grams, very playable but not very powerful and which absorbs less the shocks, one will choose to compensate for a more powerful and more comfortable string like Tecnifibre’s premium multifilaments, X-One Biphase or HDX Tour.

=> For a racquet over 300 grams, powerful, we can focus on the control and durability of polyester such as Razor Code or Black Code (or more stiff multifilament like Duramix), especially for players in good physical shape who will compensate the stiffness of the string.

Data Vizualization Global Racquet