Head Experimental 17g String
I received several sets of this champagne-colored, six-edged polyester string from Head at the US Open. Its reputation had preceded it as I had heard about a touring pro who serendipitously came across the string during a practice session in the spring, became a believer, and subsequently had a tremendous clay court season. I’ve had a few hitting sessions with it, and so far, I’d categorize it as a firmer option for players who like a deader feeling poly that rewards heavy hitting with plenty of spin and excellent control. Head expects it to be a member of an existing string family and will recommend it to be paired with an upcoming racquet release. Keep an eye out for a review and a possible reader participation string giveaway in the coming months.
Priori Tetra Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen
Summer may be over, but skin protection from the sun shouldn’t be a seasonal pursuit. Especially if you’re in a climate that affords year-round outdoor tennis and other sun-drenched endeavors. Priori’s Tetra is a mineral sunscreen that provides four levels of skin defense against UVA/B and infrared light, free radicals, pollutants, and even high energy (HEV) visible blue light from everyday electronics. Mineral sunscreens tend to be thicker and more visible on the skin than chemical varieties, but are generally made with purer, more productive ingredients. Tetra has antioxidants and enzymes—blue/green algae, mustard seed extracts—designed to also improve the skin while it protects, and actually doesn’t leave an overly obtrusive white footprint. That type of care does come at a price—namely $90 for a 50ml bottle. But if you’re serious about your skin maintenance beyond the standard sunscreens, Tetra has you covered.
Tourna Big Hitter Silver 7 Tour String
The first association players naturally have when it comes to Tourna is its revered blue overgrip. It will probably always be that way, and as brand connections go it’s a pretty favorable one. But the company puts out sneaky-good strings at incredibly reasonable prices. Made in Germany, Big Hitter Silver 7 Tour ($10/set; $100/reel) is their latest, and it’s aimed squarely at the advanced player crowd.
As the name indicates, the string is seven-sided to put a serious grip on the ball for big bounding topspin, and low, dirty slices. If you’re looking to break into polys, this one probably presents too demanding a starting point. It’s rather firm and crisp with limited power, and off-center contact can feel harsh. But the upshot is control and predictability are sky high, even when stringing at lower tensions. If you like a precise poly with better than average playability duration, give this one a shot.
Made in Italy, this premium tennis line offers performance fabrics with classic cuts and designs. The quick dry material promotes natural evaporation, with a honeycomb composition for circulation between the fibers for better ventilation and comfort. The clothes have a tailored fit that hugs the body, but the elasticity in certain spots and split hem construction result in unrestricted movement. I initially thought the Energia Shorts ($110) in particular were going to be too clingy in action, but they proved me wrong. One of the more unique features of that piece is a lightweight, moisture-absorbent fabric in the pocket bag to help dry your hands during play. A good addition for the sweat prone. Along with the shorts and the Mezzanote Crew Neck ($80) we tried, Uomo Sport produces polos, T-shirts, henleys, track suits and accessories.
Wilson Triniti Ball
The impetus behind Wilson’s new Triniti Ball is greater lifespan. By engineering a core with a lighter weight plastomer that affords thicker walls than a traditional core and a more flexible felt, Wilson says Triniti ($5.49/package) keeps its liveliness four times longer than their previous models. That means players can use the balls for multiple outings before opening a new can, which translates to fewer balls in landfills. Speaking of the can, Triniti doesn’t need one. Instead of pressurized plastic, Triniti’s composition allows it to reside in a recycled cardboard cylinder.
On the performance front, Triniti provides a solid feel that’s both comparable and slightly unique to the standard-bearers. Based purely on perception, it didn’t seem to start out quite as lively as some brands, but its strong playability duration allowed the gap to close. By the fourth set of singles, my playing partner and I noticed a distinctive hollowed-out sound at contact. It still performed well, and the felt stayed remarkably composed throughout, but it did become more challenging to put the ball away. If you’re environmentally conscious—and won’t miss the glorious sound of cracking open a fresh can each time you play—Triniti might be the ball for you.