Top 5 Arm Friendly Poly Strings!

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.

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Meet the Playtesters- Chris Edwards

Cheers!

Our next featured Tennis Warehouse Playtester is Chris. Chris has a record of over two hundred playtest reviews on racquets and shoes as well as his always informative weekly Vlogs. He is the Web Editor of Tennis Warehouse. Check out his interview below.

Click to view Video Footage of Chris

Racquet of Choice: Whatever I grab from the office
String of Choice: Kirschbaum Pro Line Evolution 17 and Volkl Cyclone 16
Shoe of Choice: Nike Zoom Breathe 2K11
Apparel of Choice: I’m a sucker for a stylish polo.

When/Why did you start playing tennis?

I played my first tournament when I was 15, made the semi-final and took my first lesson the week after. I played soccer mostly through high school.

Who inspires you to play tennis?

My dad. He used to play on the weekends and I started to tag along for a hit.

What is your favorite shot to hit and why?

My backhand slice is my favorite shot. The whys are many: It tends to go in more than my other shots, I like to hit drop shots with it, a lot of people don’t like to return slice and I’m equally comfortable going cross court or down the line.

What racquets have you used  (not tested) during your tennis career?

I can’t list them all, but here’s my best shot at it. Slazenger Club (wood), Head Graphite Master, Browning Aluminum, Browning VTP (Variable Taper Profile and back to graphite), Dunlop Max 400i (injection molded wonder stick and more buttery than butter itself), Wilson Pro Staff 85 St. Vincent (gave them away to a mate’s younger brother, hindsight has made that an obvious and painful mistake), Head Prestige Pro, Head Prestige Classic 600, Donnay Pro One Mid, Donnay Pro One Oversize (got shipped the wrong headsize so just switched from the mid, ha ha), Head Twintube Radical Oversize (that wrong shipment got me on an oversize kick), Rossignol F250 (back to mids, what flex, what feel! I was in love there for awhile), Wilson Pro Staff 6.0 95, Head Prestige Classic 600 (again!), Yonex MP Tour 1 Mid, Yonex RDX 500 Mid, Babolat Pure Drive Roddick, Volkl Power Bridge 10 Mid and that brings me to now. I know I’m missing some in there.

If you could compare your game style to a pro’s (past or present), who would it be and why?

Steffi Graf and it’s not just because we both have great legs! Steffi has a dynamite backhand slice and I can appreciate that.

What has been your favorite match you have ever watched (live or on TV)?

It was really a day of watching tennis seeing the men’s quarters at Wimbledon in 1993 on Centre Court. I was sitting right behind the baseline with my very good friend and doubles partner, and we saw Sampras vs. Agassi with Pete winning in 5 sets. Next match was Becker vs. Stich with Boris winning in 5 sets. It was an exhausting day of watching epic tennis. Several hours were spent in the pub to help us recover from that one.

Do you have pre-match meals you like to eat before a tournament?

I do not have a go-to meal but have made some seriously bad food mistakes before playing. The worst was after a first round doubles win and I went to a diner with my partner. I had the world’s largest portion of biscuits and gravy, and he had an equally large portion of eggs benedict. The food was superb and we tucked in. Needless to say, we couldn’t move afterward and lost to a team we had a good chance of beating. I later found out one of our opponents had told my partner it was a great place to eat. Fill in your own conspiracy theory here.

What has been your most memorable tennis match (win or lose)?

It was in the Santa Maria Open in the 5.0 singles semi-final. I was down something like 6-2, 4-2 and thought, what the hell, I’m going out swinging. I hit three return winners to get my first break of the match. Held off several match points at 5-6 and forced a tiebreak. I saved a total of 8 match points in the second set, finally winning the breaker 16-14. I got a great start in the third set going up 3-0. At that point my opponent mentally folded and I closed out the set 6-0. The next day I received a walk over in the final. A bit of an anti-climactic end, but that semi was my best comeback win.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened while you were playing tennis?

I was teaching tennis in England on one of the rare, rare occasions it actually gets foggy there. It was at night and the fog got so bad you couldn’t see the net from the baseline. There were three of us teaching and we sent all of the students home as the conditions were just unplayable. While picking up the loose tennis balls scattered around the courts, one of the other pros smacked a ball in my direction. Not knowing who had hit it at me, I fired off two shots guessing roughly where the other two pros were. That started a full on ball war and the three of us just started smacking balls into the fog trying to hit each other. I could hear the crack of a fiercely struck tennis ball and had know idea if it was heading my direction. We continued to try to take each other’s heads off for about 40 minutes, with two of us eventually pinning the third coach down inside the ball shed at the end of the three courts. Each time we got hit or heard another yell out in pain, it was hilarious. We could rarely see each other and used the sounds of each other’s laughter to zero in on our targets.

Have you had any injuries? For how long?  How did you deal with them?

My worst injury came when my triceps tendon pulled a piece of the bone off my elbow – an overuse injury. I played lefty for about six-months while I rehabbed my right arm. I still have issues with it till this day and switch to a two-handed backhand when it starts to get sore. I go right back to hitting one-handed backhands once my arm feels better.

What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?

We have the best jobs in the building, of that I have no doubt. We get to test products while they are still in development as well as test finished products before they hit the market. I’m pretty confident we have the world’s largest selection of racquets, shoes and string ready to hit at any given time — considering our stock, demo program and all of the racquets we have stockpiled in our private racquet room and strings in our string vault. There are times when we can barely walk across our office because of all of the products we are testing. I’m serious, hurdling boxes is an everyday occurrence for us. All in all, we work hard at what we do and we just have a great time doing it.

Who is your favorite TW playtester to hit/play with? How’s this for political correctness?

I like to hit with everyone as it gives me a chance to hit against many varied styles of play. I know, what a cop out!

Who is the TW playtester that gives you the most trouble?

Britt’s laser-like groundstrokes, Gran’s deft volleys, Mark’s ability to get everything back and Spennie’s continued improvement all push me to play well. It’s fun going in to a hit knowing I have to play well to come out ahead.

What has been your favorite review and why?

Not reviews per se, but being a part of the Gotta Want It series has been lots of fun. The fact that I’ve been able to run my mates into the ground all in the guise of getting them better has brought me hours of amusement.

Do you have any nicknames from the TW playtest squad?

Vlogman is the only one I’m aware of, but there are probably a few I’m not aware of. Ignorance is golden, so if you know of any, don’t tell me!

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Please check back next week when we feature another playtester in another installment of, “Meet the Playtesters.”

Ad out,

Brittany

Meet the Playtesters – Jason Huang

Hi!

Let’s take a second to introduce you to our newest weekly blog. Each week we will randomly select a Tennis Warehouse playtester and conduct an interview along with a short clip of his/her playing style. While we already have a Playtester page that tells about each playtester’s favorite racquets, strings, shoe, etc., this blog will go into a more detailed look at each playtester’s tennis career as well as give some insider info on being a TW playtester.

First up, we have Jason Huang.  Jason is the social media mastermind of our Facebook page and Twitter account.  You can see him on many racquet and shoe reviews in addition to a couple of surprise cameo appearances in a Liquidation Vlog.

Click to view Video Footage of Jason

Racquet of Choice: Boris Becker Delta Core London (customized)

String of Choice: Polyfibre TCS 16L

Shoe of Choice: Asics Gel Resolution 3

Apparel of Choice: Tennis Warehouse gear of course!

When/Why did you start playing tennis?

I started playing in junior high when my dad would take my sister and me to the courts. But I didn’t really get more serious about it until high school when I joined the tennis team. Made varsity doubles my freshman and sophomore years and varsity singles the last 2 years. Yea, we weren’t very good.

Who inspires you to play tennis?

Anyone better than me. Whether I’m watching tennis on TV or at the TW court, when I see players play and hit the shots that I can’t hit, it makes me want to play and practice more. What really inspires me is the idea of continuing to better myself on the court.

What is your favorite shot to hit and why?

High backhand down the line or reactionary volleys. Oh, sorry, it says “favorite,” not “despised.” My favorite shot to hit on a consistent basis would be my forehand down the line. But the shot that I love, but don’t hit often, is the drop shot. There’s something extremely satisfying about seeing your opponent running as hard as they can to a ball only to watch it double bounce before they can get to it. I think it’s probably due to the fact that it has happened to me so many times (thanks, Chris).

What racquets have you used  (not tested) during your tennis career?

I first started with a Wilson Sledge Hammer 2.3 or something like that. It had a fan sting pattern and a beam width of a 2×4. In high school I used a Wilson Hammer 5.0. Then I found the Radical family. I’ve owned the iRadical, Flexpoint Radical and Microgel Radical. Then I went onto the Wilson KFactor KBlade Tour for a year before I found the younger, sexier Head Youtek Speed Pro. After a 6 month stint, I then moved on to the Volkl Powerbridge 9 (customized) for another year. I was pretty happy with my relationship with the 9 ’til the Boris Becker Delta Core London came out. After one hit with it, I dropped the 9 like a bad habit. And here I am today. Sure, that might seem like a lot of racquets, but wait ’til you see Spencer’s list.

If you could compare your game style to a pro’s (past or present), who would it be and why?

Well, in my mind, I’d say my game is similar to Rafael Nadal, but slightly better and faster. But then reality kicks in, and I get sad. I think my game is probably most similar to James Blake. It was more apparent when I had a one-handed backhand, but I think the style is still the same. Try to hit big forehands, run around the backhand if possible, and only come up to net to shake hands. Yup, sounds about right.

What has been your favorite match you have ever watched (live or on TV)?

I have two. The first one was when I was in high school. Pete Sampras vs. Alex Corretja at the 1996 US Open Quarterfinals. All I really remember is Pete puking his guts out in the 5th set tie-break, stepping up to the line and dumping a slow first serve like he had nothing left then blasting a huge 2nd serve ace out of nowhere. And the other was much more recent. The 2008 Nadal vs Federer Wimbledon final. So much has already been said about it, just give it a quick Google search. That was the best tennis match I have ever watched. Ever.

Do you have any superstitions before playing a match?

No. Superstitions are for the weak.

What has been your most memorable tennis match (win or lose)?

This hurts me to recall, but it was my loss last year at the Santa Maria Open. It was the first round, and I was up against the #1 seed. Mind you, this was my first tournament in 9 years, so I was nervous. The match started, and we traded breaks back and forth, next thing I know, I won the first set 7-6. Second set starts, and I get a break early. Fast forward a bit, I’m serving at 5-4, 40-30. Yes, I had match point. I walked up to the baseline, bounced the ball three times and told myself to just get it in. It didn’t have to be a big serve, just spin it in. First serve, just long. OK, no biggie, got one more serve. Bottom of the net. It wasn’t even close. I just double faulted on match point! I ended up losing that game, and losing that set in another tie breaker. Then it was all downhill from there. My lower back was starting to hurt; actually, everything started to hurt. Third set started with me serving, I held serve, 1-0. 15 minutes later, I lost 6-1. It was a 3 and a half hour match that left me both mentally and physically exhausted. And to make matters worse, it was video taped for the world to see.

Have you had any injuries? For how long?  How did you deal with them?

Yea, it’s called my entire right arm. In high school it was tennis elbow. And since working at TW, I’ve had golfers elbow, wrist pain and shoulder pain. But nothing that was serious enough to keep me off the court for more than a week. I just need lots of ibuprofen, Kinesio Tape, compression sleeves, cold packs and Icy Hot.

What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?

Well, there are many perks of being a playtester. But my favorite part is, obviously, getting to try out all the tennis gear. But not only that, I generally get to try out all the new tennis gear BEFORE 99.9% of people even have a chance to look at it. Makes me feel special. I need to feel special from time to time.

Who is your favorite TW playtester to hit/play with?

For this particular question, I like to associate “favorite” along with “challenging.” Because I am a glutton for pain. Being one of the more, how you say, “suckier” testers on the team, almost everyone I hit with is fun and challenging. I love hitting with Brittany and Carol because they literally blow me off the court with their shots, so it’s fun just trying to keep up with them. I love playing against Mark Boone because that man is a wall! We’d rally and have 20-30 ball rallies where, at the end of it, we’re both gasping for air. Each playtester presents a unique set of challenges, and I like that. I know, I know, how very PC of me. Just call me Switzerland.

Who is the TW playtester that gives you the most trouble?

OK, well, this goes back to the question above. Most of the playtesters give me more than I can handle but if I had to choose just one, it’d have to be Brittany. Typically, my strength is hitting my heavy forehand deep and high to my opponent’s backhand. It usually results in a weak, short return where I can hit another forehand. Well, with Brittany, her favorite shot is a high backhand that she takes early, and pelts down the line. What a jerk.

What has been your favorite review and why?

Even though it was for Aprils Fools, it has got to be the Junior Racquet Review. It was hilarious watching us try to play out points with 19-25 inch racquets. Trust me, it’s much harder than we make it look. Remember, we’re professionals. That, and the power of editing.

Do you have any nicknames from the TW playtest squad?

Who made you ask this question? Chris? Spencer? I see what you’re trying to accomplish here. I have two. One is The Forehand, because I like to rip my forehand. Simple. The other is, no, was, Wheels. Let’s just say I wasn’t the fastest and quickest person getting to shots. But that was back in the day! I like to think that I’ve made strides (pun intended) in my footwork speed and anticipation.

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Please check back next week when we highlight another playtester in another installment of, “Meet the Playtesters.”

Brittany, TW