Sneak Peek…The New Prince String Line…(WOW!)

Disclaimer: it’s not every day that one of our great American tennis brands revamps its string line. So please forgive us in advance if we seem a little excited.

From comfortable and powerful multifilaments to crisp and spin-friendly co-polys, the 2014 Prince string line has something for everyone. Let’s take a brief tour of their offerings.

The Premier Series – Multifilaments

Prince Premier Series

Prince’s Premier line of strings features three very tendon-friendly multifilaments loaded with pop. Offering three distinct levels of firmness and playability, the Premier line gives the multifilament player the ability to select the one with just the right feel. Premier Touch, the softest of the bunch, features a very innovative ribbon core which is designed to have the responsiveness of natural gut. This new offering comes in three gauges, including 15L(!), which should please anyone who wants a side of durability and directional control with their comfort and power. As with the very unique Isospeed and Head ribbon technology strings, this one has an almost unbelievable level of vibration dampening (which makes it the perfect match for today’s lighter, stiffer frames). Coming in slightly firmer is Premier Power which updates Premier LT and continues to offer exceptional comfort. This update features an army of shock absorbing fibers wrapped in high density nylon filaments for improved durability. Finally, we have the firmest member of the Premier clan, Premier Control. Like the string it replaces, Premier Attack, this one features a stiff tri-core center wrapped in velvety soft nylon filaments. The result is a comfortably firm feel delivering near poly-like control without taxing the tendons like a traditional monofilament.
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An interview with Ashaway’s Steve Crandall on his latest creation: MonoGut ZX, the world’s softest monofilament

For years the monofilament string market has been dominated by polyester — a substance that can be too firm and underpowered for less advanced players. About a decade ago, Ashaway’s Steve Crandall began working on a new concept: a monofilament control string with genuine comfort and power, closer on the stiffness spectrum to natural gut. In the early part of 2012, after years of testing and tweaking, Crandall finally found what he was looking for. It’s called MonoGut ZX. The ZX stands for Zyex, which is a much softer and more responsive material than polyester. On his most recent visit to Tennis Warehouse, we had the chance to interview Steve about his impressive new string. Here is what he said.
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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

 

Beauty and the Beast XP

It is said that the eyes are the portals to the soul…

When you stare into the eye of the Beast XP, what do you see?

Let’s look into what’s behind these eyes….or in this case, “eye”.

Several months ago, there was some information floating around about a new green polyester string. Known at the time as 361 Nation, This neon-esque string was seen at some junior tournaments. Tennis enthusiasts could go to the 361 Nation website to request a free set to sample. Of course this created quite a stir because everyone was curious about who 361 Nation was. The website didn’t offer any information about where it was manufactured, or who was manufacturing it.

Tennis warehouse was sent a handful of samples as well. The return address was unfamiliar and not traceable, so we were also in the dark about who exactly was behind 361 Nation. Some of the super sleuths from the Talk Tennis message board had some ideas based on what they did find, but the findings weren’t necessarily concrete.

Shortly we (Tennis Warehouse) were asked to seed hundreds of sets to the tennis public around the world. Here is some of the feedback from our message board users that play tested the string:

“…the string proved to take my control to the next level.”
“Tension maintenance is best part of this string. After playing for 12 hours, string is not noticeably softer.”
“…it allowed me to create angles I didn’t know existed!”
“I am very impressed with this string. I would definitely be interested in stringing this again in all 3 of my sticks and switching to this string as my #1 favorite.”
“I have a very sensitive elbow, and these didn’t affect me, which is great.”
“…I can hit almost any shot from any spot on the court because of the spin I get.”
“I will definitely use these strings again in the future.”

That’s some pretty good feedback for a string that, at the time, was not associated with any of the big names in tennis.

Lo and behold, when the “cat” finally was out of the bag, it was revealed the string was a Prince string, named Prince Beast XP.

Touted by Prince as the first Thermo-poly string, Prince claims this polyester to offer extreme precision with improved trajectory control and feel, featuring a secret alloy additive. It is also claimed to offer improved tension maintenance compared to standard monofilament polyesters due to Prince’s special manufacturing process of sequential heating and stretching.

The Beast has arrived at Tennis Warehouse and is ready to strike. Click HERE to order your set and experience its ferocity!

String Review: Prince Poly EXP 16

polyexp16-1

A pleasant surprise awaited me when I was handed a set of the Prince Poly EXP 16 to try. I knew little about the Prince Poly EXP 16 string before I tried it. I have enjoyed the Prince strings I had used in the past (I enjoyed playing with the Prince Syn Gut w/ Duraflex as a junior, as well as the Prince Tour in my college career), but I had never heard of the Poly EXP. And after playing with it I had found another Prince string that I really liked playing with.

I strung up the Poly EXP in my Prince TT Warrior MP at my standard 56 lbs for a polyester (I typically do 56 lbs for polys and 58-60 for multifilaments). It was a relatively easy string compared to other polyesters because of its smooth texture and slightly softer feel.

After just the first shot in the warm up I immediately noticed the incredible feedback and “pop” I was getting off the string bed. At contact the ball seemed to explode of the racket, resulting in a lot more power than I was used to out of a full bed of polyester.

Off the ground the Poly EXP felt excellent. I was able to generate large amounts of pace on the groundstrokes and a decent amount of spin to bring the ball back down into the court. Precision and control was slightly less than normal than other polyesters, but since I enjoy a more explosive and responsive string I did not mind.

Volleys and serves were also nice with the Poly EXP. I would have liked to be able to generate a little more bite on the ball, especially for knifing the volleys, but the pace I was able to generate, especially on the serve, was awesome! I was definitely hitting the big flat serve up the tee with a little more juice than normal…

Tension maintenance was good, but not great. It maintained tension for most of the life in the string bed (a little over a week), but started to lose tension towards the end. Durability was about average for a polyester string.

Overall I was extremely pleased with the Prince Poly EXP 16 string! I had played the Prince Tour string for a while during my college career, and definitely felt that the Poly EXP was a significant upgrade from the Tour (even though I did like the Tour a lot). The power and “pop” I was able to generate would be extremely hard to match from any other polyester on the market. If you enjoy a lively polyester with lots of potential for power, like I do, then I definitely would recommend giving the Prince Poly EXP a try!