The Pro Shop

Question of the Day: Cooked Racquets

Thursday, April 18, 2013 /by
AP Photo
AP Photo

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.

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I tend to stow my racquet bag in the trunk or backseat of my car while I’m at work. But as it’s getting hotter down here in the South—and even hotter in parked cars—should I be worried about the heat affecting my racquets’ and strings’ playability? Or is this not too big of a deal?—Peter J.

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This is common but important question, Peter, to which the answer is pretty straightforward: For the health of your racquets and strings, you should never stow your racquets in a car on a scorching day. Nor should you, for the same reason, check your racquets with an airline when flying. As the authors of Technical Tennis explain, “Ten minutes in a really hot car will drop the string tension by at least a few pounds, permanently. The string tension will rise a fraction in winter, or in a fridge, but it won’t rise back to the tension before you cooked the strings. If you travel overseas with your racquet, take it on board the plane with you (if you are allowed). Ten minutes on the tarmac will ruin your string tension, and it might even soften the frame.”

“In some of these cars,” says Hunter Hines, Dunlop’s Director of Product Development, “it can get to be over 150 degrees in the summertime, sometimes even hotter. It depends on the material and so forth, but as it gets hotter, it’s going to change the tension maintenance and elasticity properties of a given string. The other thing is, when you’ve got a racquet in a hot trunk, and there are strings in it under tension, those strings may loosen differently at different times. As a result, the frame can bend out of shape, compromising its structural integrity."

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