String review: Wilson Hollow Core and Luxilon M2 Plus

First up is Wilson’s new Hollow Core string. Wilson has brought some new technology to the game with this one, as it is the first string to offer an air filled core.

Priced at $13, I expected this one to offer performance compared to a good multifilament. I have to admit, I was sorely disappointed. For me the string lacked feel in a big way. I felt very separated from my shots with none of the control or touch I’d expect from a synthetic gut in this price bracket.

Durability was about average for a synthetic gut string and it seemed to hold its tension ok. I wasn’t getting the spin I usually get as I had to temper my swing due to the power I was finding with Hollow Core.

All in all I was not a fan but did pull two pluses from testing this string: there’s an impressive amount of power from Hollow Core and secondly it offered a comfortable hit without feeling overly mushy. However, if I were looking for a performance synthetic gut I would go with Wilson Sensation. It’s almost half the price and just blows the doors off Hollow Core as far as I’m concerned.

Next up is the new Luxilon M2 Plus tennis string. At $19.50 a set, this is an expensive co-polyester string. While almost all co-poly strings are monofilaments, this one breaks the mold with its multifilament construction (Gosen Polylon Polybreak and Gamma Zo Tour share similar construction). With that multifilament construction comes a softer response.

On shots hit outside the sweetspot M2 Plus felt more forgiving compared to many co-poly strings — although still far from the comfort of most nylon multifilaments and obviously natural gut.

I liked the amount of spin I could generate with this string. I was able to take a really good cut at the ball without sacrificing control and could turn a lot of that racquet head speed into spin. It also felt like I was getting some good ball pocketing from M2 Plus. I was digging the amount of bite I was getting on the ball, especially on serves and approach shots.

As with most co-poly type strings, durability was very impressive. With better than average tension maintenance, I found I could keep M2 Plus in my racquet longer than most poly strings without fear of breakage or a massive loss in performance. With a string like this, though, I’m going to be cutting strings out before I break them unless I’m testing a really open patterned racquet.

All in all I was very impressed by this string. It’s expensive, but along with M2 Pro, it is the softest I’ve found in the Luxilon line. M2 Plus is well worth a hit if you like your co-polys soft and spin-friendly.

I hit both strings in a variety of racquets we have been testing here at TW — at least 9 different racquet models for Hollow Core and closer to 20 different racquets for M2 Plus.


Rack-et-ing the brain

I’ve hit a road block on this tennis journey of mine. (If you missed the first leg of my “journey,” check it out here.) I am being Ms. Indecisive. I’ve rekindled my fling with the Dunlop Aerogel 4D 300 Tour, and I’m still flirting with the ProKennex Black Ace 98. Every time the playtesters head out for the courts I look for these two racquets. Because we’re currently testing the Black Ace, I don’t always get my hands on this one. I have been leaning toward the Dunlop this past week, but perhaps that’s because I’ve been too slow to get to the ProKennex first! I really would like to hit them side by side, though.

The Dunlop offers me great control, but I like the added power I think I’m getting from the Black Ace. My shots just have more weight to them. On the other hand, I’m getting better topspin with the Dunlop; I suspect it’s because I can swing it so much faster. Then again, man, I love to hit slice with the Black Ace. However, the Dunlop is also much easier for me to use on quick pickups on those really deep baseline shots. Ack! See what I mean, Ms. Indecisive.

I’m going to settle this soon. I have to or I just might drive myself nuts. If it’s just a flirtation with these racquets, the honeymoon phase has to be over soon. Right?

Until next time, Happy Hitting (with any racquet)!

Pete vs Safin

What better way to spend a Monday than at the LA Open watching the exhibition between Pete Sampras and Marat Safin? We felt priviledged to visit the beautiful campus of UCLA to hear the “Ooos” and “Ahhhs” from those supporting Team USA or Team Mother Russia. Not only was it great tennis, but also truly an honor to watch two prestigious men playing the game we love.

Here are a few pictures from our trip. We also give a shout out to those of you who support Tennis Warehouse and recognized us at the event! I might be down there again Saturday and Sunday, so if you see me feel free to say Hi! =)

Peace Sign,