Tennis Warehouse has a string performance tool that allows players to evaluate strings based on their stiffness level, which is the key spec for determining how arm friendly a string is likely to feel. The tool’s data is culled from a machine constructed by the authors of “The Physics and the Technology of Tennis,” Crawford Lindsey (“TWU Professor”) and Rod Cross, physicist from the University of Australia. Using this tool, I have assembled the following lists for the player in search of a more arm friendly control string. I have limited my focus to poly-based monofilaments.
Jason: ”With so much string too choose from, it takes a really special one to stand out, and that is the Luxilon 4G. As to be expected with a poly, control and spin are great. But the ball pocketing was surprisingly good as well. It doesn’t play as soft as my favorite string, Polyfibre TCS, but not nearly as firm as other polyesters. The best thing about it is that it maintains tension well. Which is something polyesters are not known for. I usually have to cut out a poly string within 2-3 weeks, but with the 4G, I can leave it in for a month.”
Chris: ”I’m a big fan of Luxilon 4G. I get great spin and control with 4G in my racquets. I’ve hit the string in a ton of racquets and have found it to work great in all of them. I recently even hit 4G in a wood racquet and it still felt great, adding some control and spin to help tame the 13.5 ounces of wood fueled plow through.”
This week we are interviewing Siobhan. As we start nearing the beginning of 2013, we are getting the opportunity to hit with all the upcoming racquets. Siobhan not only is hitting with some Wilson and Babolat racquets but also is hitting the courts with some shoe and string playtests as well. Let’s check in with her.
Hours Spent Playtesting this week: 5
Playtesters you hit with: Carol, Britt, and Chris and Andy in doubles.
Type of Playtesting (singles, doubles, drills): Crosscourt drilling, point play, sets
Playtesting Court: Indoor Tennis Warehouse Court
What racquets are you playtesting?
Wilson Blade 104, Babolat AeroPro Drive and AeroPro Drive +, Wilson Steam 99 and 99 S
I just finished the Wilson BLX Blade 104 playtest, which holds a special place in my heart because I played through college with the Team (the previous model, that doesn’t have the new name, paint job and Amplifeel that the new 104 does). It’s a great racquet and although I feel like I have moved on as a player and it’s not my #1 racquet of choice anymore, I still really love playing with it. With my fast swings, it’s maneuverable and it whips through the air really quickly. It allows me to access great power and spin and as I’ve always previously been drawn to the bigger head size, the sweet spot is large and comfortable. May I also mention, the new paint job is sick. Sick, as in: This. Is. Boss. It’s black and silver and is so cool it doesn’t even need another color. The entire line is actually really slick. Trust me on this one.
I’m also playtesting both the new Babolat AeroPro Drive and AeroPro Drive+ which I am really enjoying. Both of these racquets have new technology called Active Cortex which adds a cleaner, less interfered response to your shots. I’ve played a bit with the older AeroPro Drive GT a little, and this is more comfortable too. I definitely prefer the new model over the old, as the improved feel, response, and comfort are top notch (skating over the original reason I love this racquet, such as the power, control and spin potential).
I’ve also had a little play around with the Wilson S racquets (I’m on the playtest for the 99, and the 99 S). I need to put a lot more court time in with these but the response from these racquets is really cool. The 15×16 string pattern really gives you that extra spin – I was able to really rip my baseline balls, and where some shots would normally fly out, this time they drop in. They really respond to my faster swing-speed and heavier spin style of play and I can’t wait to get out on the court more with them.
Editor’s note: Siobhan just gave you another sneak peek at the new Blades that will be available on our site for pre-sale Nov. 15. The Babolat AeroPro Drive and AeroPro Drive+ go on pre-sale November 23. The new Steams will pre-sale Jan. 1, 2013.
What strings are you playtesting?
Gosen Polylon 17
I haven’t been playtesting any strings recently, but I just got put on Gosen Polylon 17 string with Mr. Edwards himself. I’m really excited to give this poly a good run because the last couple strings I used were multifilaments (I am a hardcore poly fan. Hate me or love me. I can hit with as much pace as I like and my shots drop in the court.) Keep posted for any updates on this phenomenal control poly that offers an incredible price to value ratio. That’s right people, Chris and I are trying to save you dollars.
Are you playtesting any shoes?
Lacoste Repel 2
Right now I am in the long process of playtesting the Lacoste Repel 2s. They are a great looking shoe, and I love the color. I also really liked the lightweight aspect of the shoes and they provide me with adequate support. I’m struggling a little bit with the comfort. I think these shoes would benefit from an insole, because I feel like I’m playing so close to the ground I’m basically on it. The cushioning is lacking, and this is especially difficult when playing outside because the heat just sucks right up through the sole into my foot. I love the stability though, and like I said, they look sharp! Give me a little bit more time with them, and then wait for the playtest video.. Early next year is probably when it’s all going down.
Editor’s note: The Lacoste Repel 2s Women will be available at the beginning of 2013.
Anything else you are playtesting?
I am not playtesting anything else as such, but with Winter approaching I recently purchased the Nike Women’s Holiday Hyperply Knit Jacket. Ah ha, winter, I thought, I will be ready for you… Which I was. For a week. Either the California weather gods or global warming decided to punish me because, with today as a good example, it is currently 95 degrees and sweaty out. But, the nights (few and far between) that have been chilly this jacket has been great. The lining is soft, I can fit another long sleeve under it, it’s warm enough for a chilly night and it fits like a dream. Winter, bring it on!
I also bought the Nike Women’s Thunder Long Sleeve 1/2 Zip Top. You say, “styling”, I say, yes thanks, thank you, that’s me. It’s a really slick looking long sleeve, it’s got a great fit that I love, the hood makes it super cute, it’s warm, and it looks super sharp under the Hyperply Jacket I bought. I can wear it off court because it’s stylish, but I also like playing in it a lot. Both these tops come in great colors, and I really suggest checking them out: I totally recommend them and I have, dear friends, bought them myself so I practice what I preach.
Peace and love! Or as us Kiwis’ say, cheers mate.
Check back next week for more sneak peeks and playtesters’ comments for the newest member of our playtest team, Andy.