Question of the Day: When to Thwart Recommended Tensions

by: Justin diFeliciantonio | August 07, 2012

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DelpoTapTENNIS.com gear editor Justin diFeliciantonio and his technical advisers answer your equipment questions each day. Click here to send in a question of your own.

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I am a 4.5 player who plays with a Babolat Pure Drive. My stringbed consists of a hybrid combination of Babolat RPM Blast and Xcel strings. I know that you advise stringing in the range of the high 40s to low 50s, but my racquet recommends stringing within the range of 55 to 62 lbs. Can you explain why you recommend stringing outside of this range? Currently I’m at 54 lbs. Thanks.Richard Johnson

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It’s true, Richard, that I often advise players to lower their tensions to the high 40s or low 50s—but only when playing with monofilament strings. This is because, in contrast with natural gut and most multifilament strings, monofilaments are a much stiffer material; accordingly, polyesters like RPM Blast perform better when strung below most racquets’ recommended tension ranges. Otherwise, gut and multifilaments still do best when strung within that tension range.

(Note: The word “monofilament,” generally speaking, is synonymous with “polyester.”)

What does this mean for you? In practical terms, I’d recommend that you lower the tension of your RPM Blast—not your Xcel—strings to about 50 lbs. Your stringbed, then, will consist not just of hybrid materials, but hybrid tensions, too. If all goes well, you should feel an increase in comfort, power, and depth. If, however, you notice a loss of control after making these changes, consider increasing the tension a few pounds on the Excel. As always, pay attention to what you feel, and act accordingly.

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