Sneak peak – Polyfibre TCS

 

Polyfibre TCS — Buy it here!!

The basic facts

  • Construction: co-polymer monofilament

  • Gauges: 16, 16L, 17

  • Color(s): Yellow

  • Available in: sets and reels

  • Maximum comfort and pocketing for a poly-based string.

  • Recommended to big hitters looking for the durability, spin and control of polyester with lower levels of impact shock and vibration.

How does it play?

Comfort meets spin and control!

Given the level of comfort it delivers, TCS should be allowed to defect from the polyester universe. In contrast to a crisp poly, this string is dampened and noticeably more forgiving off-center. One of the most distinctive features of TCS is the pocketing, which provides players with the pronounced sensation of grabbing hold of the ball. The result is a level of spin and control that matches some of the best shaped polys on the market. The main downside of TCS is poor tension maintenance, a very common problem with poly-based strings. All in all, TCS is a must try for big hitters who want maximum comfort, touch and pocketing from a firm control string.

 Playtester comments

  • “Probably the most comfortable string I’ve ever used! The ball pocketing and plush feel was refreshing.”

  • “It’s not textured, not shaped, but yet, I find this string to give me as much, if not more spin than any other strings out there. It’s amazing watching a ball that I thought I hit long drop in at the last nano-second and clip the baseline.”

  • “Even with all the spin potential and the great ball pocketing for power, I found the control to be excellent as well. There wasn’t a drop off in this department just because it excelled in the power and spin categories.”

  • “I never had any comfort issues with this one despite stringing it at 60 lbs in a very stiff racquet. Off center hits never felt excessively jarring and anything near the center felt plush.”

Growing up as a young tennis player in Africa

I was born into a sports crazed family in the sports crazed nation of South Africa. Sport has always been my passion. My father played professional tennis in the 70s, competing on some of the biggest stages in the game – Wimbledon, Queens, Rome, as well as Davis Cup (for Rhodesia, present-day Zimbabwe). He went on to become one of the top coaches in South Africa. My mother, a dental hygienist by profession, also spent most of her life around the game and was a great player in her own right, competing in the top tier of South African tennis as a junior. So I always knew tennis was going to be a part of my life.

My dad got me started young. As soon as I could hold a racquet I was out there swinging for the fences. At every possible opportunity, I was outside with a racquet in hand. More often than not this involved me relentlessly banging tennis balls against the garage door for hours on end, much to the neighbors, and the poor garage doors, dismay. Some of my earliest memories involve me travelling around Cape Town with my father, going to various schools and tennis clinics and putting on demonstrations. I loved the game, and thankfully I seemed to be fairly good at it. With all that said, what I am most thankful for is the fact that my parents never pushed me into the game. Sure, there was a slight nudge in the direction of tennis, but it was always my choice.

This is me

This is me sitting in my dad’s tennis bag, trying to get into Men’s League undetected.


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Tecnifibre ATP Tour Bags rundown

The Tecnifibre Pro ATP Tennis Bag Series is a new bag option from Tecnifibre offering four sizes of bags for any active player. The slick black cosmetics of these bags make them visually appealing, and the attention to detail that Tecnifibre used when making these ensures that they are durable and will stand up to any conditions. Made of Tarpaulin, the material is unbreakable, waterproof and has been designed to stand up to the heaviest of conditions that ATP Tour players face day in and day out.

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Strings for big hitters on a budget…

 

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the magic of Babolat RPM Blast …

….with its innovative cross-linked silicone coating, vicious snap back and otherworldly spin. I also appreciate the miracle that is Luxilon, especially on the professional tour, where strings like Alu Power have enabled the tornadic angular whip of the modern topspin game, allowing for exponentially higher levels of spin and control. Indeed, it only takes a few topspin forehands with either of these strings to realize why consumers shell out top dollar.

Does this mean you have to spend over $10 to get a good string?

If a polyester string costs less than $10 will it not snapback? Will it prevent me from reaching my personal best tennis? I humbly submit that the answer is “no”. Savvy consumers who are willing to poke around can find great performance for a low price.

For the love of Gosen

Of course, if you don’t feel like poking around, just go to the Gosen string page. There you will find the sorts of low cost/high performance strings that make home stringers giddy. More specifically, you will find the original Polylon, which prompted our resident polyester expert, Chris Edwards, to declare, “This string is legit. Sweet as a nut right off the stringer.” Needless to say, after a few sessions with Polylon, it’s easy to conclude that the $2.95 price tag is a typo.

For a softer feeling poly at a great price, there is the technology advanced Polybreak which provides the incredible spin and control of the original Polylon but with a slightly more flexible response. Finally, no mention of Gosen is complete without paying homage to OG Micro, an extremely responsive synthetic gut which has long been the standard-issue reel for stringers in need of reliable hybrid parts.

Gosen Polylon

Gosen Polybreak

And Tourna . . .

Poly players who have not experienced any of Tourna’s co-polys are hereby advised to make some room on their demo list for Big Hitter Silver and Big Hitter Blue (which both come in Rough versions for added grip). These innovative co-polys are not only loaded with control, spin and feel, they are steals at under $8. For players who like comfy (yet crisp) polys, Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 offers a combination of bite, comfort and control that is near impossible to beat for under $10. As someone who ran lab tests on the early prototypes of this string, I can safely say that the Tourna crew is extremely serious about meeting their design goals. They also have an ultra-comfortable multifilament called Quasi-Gut which is softer than NXT and NRG2 (at half the cost).

Tourna Big Hitter Silver

Tourna Big Hitter Blue Rough

MSV and Topspin

Big hitters on a budget do not have to sacrifice liveliness or comfort as long as Topspin keeps making Cyber Blue and Cyber Flash. The results from our TWU lab tests place these amongst the softest polys on the market. Another company with some impressively playable low cost polys is MSV. You can start by reading our string review of Focus Hex, a medium-firm co-poly with incredible control. After that, give both Co-Focus and Hepta-Twist a serious look. These meticulously engineered co-polys fit perfectly inside the growing ranks of elastic, user-friendly monofilaments, offering advanced players a friendlier response without sacrificing any spin or control.

Topspin Cyber Blue

MSV Co.-Focus

MSV Hepta-Twist

JW

 

Surging Slovenian into the top 50!

Juan Martin del Potro took down Greg Zemlja in the Vienna finals this week.

The biggest jump in the ATP top 50 rankings this week was 26-year-old Grega Zemlja. After making the finals at last week’s ATP event in Vienna, Austria, the surging Slovenian has vaulted himself 23 spots in the rankings to a career high ranking of #50. Grega had the best tournament of his career, gaining wins over Xavier Malisse, Tommy Haas and Janko Tipsarevic before losing in the finals to Juan Martin Del Potro.

However, even though this might be the first time you’ve heard of him, Zemlja’s recent success hasn’t come from out of the blue. His final’s appearance in Vienna has been a manifestation of the career year he’s been having in 2012. Going into the US Open, Grega won 10 of 11 matches and two ATP Challenger events (the equivalent of the “minor leagues” of the ATP). He followed that up by winning 5 matches at the US Open (three in the qualifying and two in the main draw), firmly placing him in the top 100 for the first time in his career. A little over a month later, he won 6 matches, two over players in the top 20, and has gotten himself into the top 50. Let’s keep an eye on the surging Slovenian in the weeks to come!

In other news…

Novak Djokovic stays hot, winning the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 event.

-Novak Djokovic saved 5 match points in the Shanghai Masters 1000 final against rival Andy Murray and won his 5th title of the year. Don’t look now, but Novak has only lost two matches since the Olympics and has a firm lead over Roger Federer to end the year as the world’s top ranked player for the second year in a row.

-Tomas Berdych has continued his strong play, winning the title in Stockholm last week over fellow top-10er Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. That’s the second time in as many weeks that the lanky Czech has beaten Tsonga, putting him in a great position to qualify for the year end championship in London in which the top 8 ranked players compete.

Tomas Berdych has had an excellent second half of 2012.

 

-Andreas Seppi won his second title of the year, taking the Kremlin Cup over Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci. The 28-year-old Italian has now won a title on every surface (hard, clay, and grass), and reaches a career high ranking this week of #22.

-This week, the ATP has two stops in Valencia, Spain and Basel, Switzerland before heading to Paris for the final Masters 1000 event of the year. Most of the top 20 will be in action jostling for the final positions in the ATP World Tour Finals in London in two weeks. With world #4 Rafael Nadal out, there are four spots up for grabs (with Djokovic, Murray, Federer, and Ferrer already in). Look for the action to heat up as the season comes to an end!

Thanks for reading!

AG

ATP Blog: September (and a wee bit of October) in review

Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese player ever to win the Japan Open last week. Look for the hard-hitting youngster to make a push for the top 10 next year.

The pro tour action is starting to pick back up again after the exciting conclusion to the US Open about a month ago. Let’s take a look at what’s happened on the pro tour over the last month…

-The United States Davis Cup team’s run was halted by Spain in the semifinals of the World Group. The pivotal match came in the second singles match, where Nicolas Almagro outlasted John Isner 6-4 4-6 6-4 3-6 7-5 to give the Spainards a 2-0 lead going into the doubles. Next month, Spain will look to repeat as champions as they take on the Czech Republic in the finals after the Czechs defeated Argentina 3-2 in the other semi.

-Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese player to win the Japan Open, taking down Milos Raonic 7-6 3-6 6-0. Nishikori used the energy from the hometown crowd to beat US Open semifinalist Tomas Berdych along the way, dictating play with his aggressive court positioning and thunderous groundstrokes off both wings.

Novak Djokovic won last week's China Open, dismantling Jo Wilfried Tsonga in the finals.

-Novak Djokovic won his third straight China Open title after defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final, 7-6 6-2. It was an even match until Novak just poked his head a bit in front in the first set tiebreak, and then it all began to unravel for the fiery Frenchman.

-The Shanghai Rolex Masters is underway, with 6 of the world’s top 10 players competing for $3.5 million in prize money and 1000 ATP ranking points on the line. Look for a Federer/Murray semifinal matchup if they can both make it through their respective sections of the draw. This will be the first time Roger Federer has played since his quarterfinal exit at the US Open.

Stay tuned for more ATP blogs…thanks for reading!

AG

ATP Blog: Has Murray joined the big boys?

Great Britain's Andy Murray has been in the zone in recent weeks!

It was “the biggest the win of my life,” Andy Murray said after completely dismantling Roger Federer to win the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics. With his recent Wimbledon run and Olympic gold, Murray has taken his game to new heights, and now has people wondering how much better can he get? Granted, he didn’t have to face any of the top 3 until the finals at Wimbledon, and Great Britain was riding a huge wave of success on their home turf during the Olympics. Has Andy simply been a recipient of some recent good fortune, or with his recent results is he establishing himself amongst the game’s elite? Has the “Top 3″ turned into the “Top 4″, and has he moved past Rafael Nadal, given his health, on the list of favorites for the US Open?

For the last four years, Andy Murray has definitively been the fourth best player in the world behind the top 3 of Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal. The top 3 have won 29 of the last 30 Grand Slam titles, with Murray yet to win one. However, in that time Murray has reached four Grand Slam finals, and has won 20 ATP titles since 2008. He’s consistently been better than the next tier of top players, like Tsonga, Ferrer, Berdych, Del Potro, who have all had great results but haven’t been able to sustain the high level like Murray has. So, what’s different now? After winning Olympic gold, why would people think that he’s finally over the hump and should be considered in the same echelon as the Big 3?

Andy's taking his game to another level and joining the big 3 at the top of the men's game!

When it’s crunch time in the big matches against the best players, Andy has buckled under the pressure. Along with some glimpses of excellence, he’s shown more bouts of immaturity and negativity on the court. He was even seen yelling at his mother in his player’s box during the 2011 Australian Open! With arguably some of the greatest players of all time playing right now, those mental lapses have cost him in big matches, when there is not very much margin for error. However, recently Murray is finally showing personal growth, and above anything else he’s been much more positive and mentally tough on court. For a guy with so much natural talent and athleticism, he’s now finally maturing and his mental game is improving as well. Who knows if it’s age, or his new coach Ivan Lendl, but he’s becoming a man on court and handling the pressure better than ever. “I’m able to deal with the situations better now. I felt much more comfortable on the court,” Murray said following the Olympic final.

Don’t be concerned about the early withdrawal from Rogers Cup this week. He’s being smart and managing his body so that he can make a run at the US Open title, and you better believe he’ll be in the running. Physically, Murray’s been fit enough and striking the ball well enough to win a major, but the mental game hasn’t been at the same level. Now, he’s mature, being more positive, and is handling the pressure. Watch out…with added confidence from his recent success, Murray’s best tennis is coming!

-AG