As the ball spins

If you like to hit with a lot of spin, this is a good time to be a tennis player. Today’s racquets are so fast, and today’s strings offer so much grip, at times the amount of spin that can be generated just seems wrong (but so much fun).

Of course, as players we still have to provide the angle of attack at the ball to generate spin, but with any of the thousands of racquet/string set-ups currently available, we can now swing incredibly fast and hard at the ball and keep it well within the lines.

There’s no secret to the spin formula. The best first step is to choose a monofilament, polyester based string. This type of string plays pretty dead compared with the power of natural gut or a multifilament. With less depth and pace coming from the stringbed, we have to increase racquet head speed to counter the dead stringbed. Racquet head speed is king when it comes to spin. The more the better, it’s as simple as that. So with a fast swing, more spin becomes accessible.

On a recent playtest of the Babolat Pure Drive GT Plus, our entire test squad was amazed at the spin potential of that racquet. We had it strung up with Kirschbaum’s Spiky Shark, and that string was really gripping the ball. Add that to the maneuverable feel, plus the added length of the racquet, and the ball was really kicking.

My current favorite string for getting maximum spin is Polyfibre TCS 16. I’m not sure what it is about that string, but it just spits out the ball with some nasty spin. I’ve tried different gauges, but nothing spins the ball like the 16 gauge. It doesn’t matter if I’m looking for some nasty topspin or wanting to find some dirty slice, TCS 16 delivers.

If you read my blog “Taken by surprise,” you know I recently switched racquets. I haven’t tried TCS 16 in my new racquet yet, as I’ve been testing a bunch of new strings, but man, am I looking forward to my first hit.

If you also love to hit with spin, let me know your favorite spin set-up. If you haven’t tried TCS 16 yet, you should take it for a spin.



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4 thoughts on “As the ball spins

  1. Chris,

    How does spiky shark compare to the TCS? I really like the feel of TCS when freshly strung however in my experience it loses tension quickly. I have heard the Kirschbaum strings are very similar in spin production with the added bonus that they hold tension very well. I just ordered a the 3 trial pack from TW.


  2. Spiky Shark is quite a bit firmer feeling. Tension maintenance is good for a co-poly as Kirschbaum pre-stretch their strings. The main drawback with TCS is that it doesn’t hold tension well. You should find you’ll get much more life out of the Spiky Shark. Hope you enjoy it.
    Cheers, C.

  3. If i was going to put Spiky Shark in my mains what would be a good hybrid string to go with it? and the same with the polyfibre tcs

  4. Adam,
    That depends on what other properties you’d like from the stringbed. If you wanted comfort, feel and power, go with natural gut or a multifilament like NRG2, NXT or X-One Biphase. A softer string like those can also help open up the sweetspot for a more forgiving feel. Most of the playability will still come from the co-poly in the mains, but the performance will be slightly enhanced by the cross string. On the other hand, if you are simply looking for maximum spin and control, going full co-poly is tough to beat.


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