The Pro Shop

Question of the Day: Frame Seeks String

Wednesday, October 03, 2012 /by

TENNIS.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.

Hi Justin! I ordered the Wilson Juice 108 BLX racquet last week, and as it came unstrung, I was wondering if you might have any suggestions regarding the best string type and tension for delivering smooth spins, as well as nice control and power. Thank you very much for your help!—Claire

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Thanks for your question, Claire. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to recommend a product to you without intimations of your age, ability level, or playing style. If there’s one truth about strings, it’s that their performance is entirely player specific; what a string does for one player, it doesn’t necessarily do for another.   

Take for example monofilament strings, like Luxilon Alu Power or Babolat RPM Blast. These polyesters, as they’re commonly called, allow many advanced, fast-swinging players to hit with more power and spin. But put a monofilament in the racquet of a slow-swinging beginner-intermediate, and it’s very likely that power and spin will be reduced.
 
But in an attempt to dispense advice, let me recommend to you, in very broad strokes, two different directions to go in. One is to use a soft multifilament, like Wilson NXT; the other is to string with natural gut. Both are soft, powerful, and comfortable; in this sense, they’ll deliver those “smooth spins” you’ll looking for. Their difference is primarily one of degree. Natural gut is the most powerful and comfortable, but it’s also more expensive and slightly less durable. I’d say that, if you’re an average-level player, who doesn’t play with extreme grips and doesn’t break strings, you should go with gut.

As for tension, the recommended range for the Juice 108 is 53 to 63 lbs, according to Wilson.com. (Keep in mind that this tension range applies to multifilament strings and natural gut; if stringing a monofilament, string in the high 40s and low 50s  lbs.) If you’re unsure about where to be on that spectrum, the best approach is to start low. Lower tensions provide more power and forgiveness, and if you try one and like it, great; if, on the other hand, you don’t feel you have enough control over your shots, you can always increase your tension two to three pounds, and then continue to tweak the tension as necessary.

At the end of the day, of course, you’d be best served by talking to a qualified racquet technician. After assessing the specifics of your game and needs, they’ll be able to recommend a stringbed that’s best for you. To locate a technician, check out the USRSA’s (United States Racquet Stringers Association) stringer search here.

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