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.
About five years ago…
Gamma set out to create a hybrid cross string unlike any the tennis industry has ever seen. FYI: hybrid cross strings are, with some definite exceptions, the soft counterpart to the stiff poly main; their job is to supply the hybrid with comfort, power and touch whereas the polyester main is supposed to deliver control, durability and bite (for spin). The problem Gamma set for itself was this: how could they preserve the traditional properties of a cross string (e.g., comfort, power, feel) while also smuggling in a property that the majority of soft strings aren’t particularly known for, that being low friction or a surface that facilitates the sliding action of the main strings. It should also be noted that Gamma wasn’t looking for the kind of low friction that comes from a silicone application (like many co-polys); rather, they wanted the kind of legit slipperiness that is baked right into the molecular structure (so it doesn’t perish with play). Finding the right substance wasn’t easy, but after years of testing and tweaking, Gamma finally settled on a material from the fluoropolymer family. The name they chose for the string was Glide.
Wilson came to Tennis Warehouse last week to show off and share their Spin Effect technology with some of our staff. If you have been living under a rock, then it will be news to you that Wilson debuted two very spin-friendly frames this year — the Wilson Steam 99 S and Wilson Steam 105 S. The rest of you have probably already demoed one of these racquets or are anxious to get these racquets in your hands and are curious if this spin effect is too good to be true.
The Spin Effect technology from Wilson actually increases the RPMs of every shot hit when using these Steam S racquets by maximizing the spin-enhancing string “snapback” during ball contact. It is no secret that one of the biggest changes in the game has been spin. With the new shaped polys and racquet technologies, every player is looking for the best way to enhance their game. Wilson has created a doppler based device to track the ball, spin, speed, trajectory and more. They found that the traditional string pattern actually limits the spin potential in a racquet. With this information, Wilson was able to open up and optimize the string pattern on these Steam S racquets to provide more spin for the average player. Using the Steam 99S or 105S has actually been scientifically proven to automatically add more spin to your shots — up to as many as 200 more RPMs. With these stats, an average tennis player will find that this ends up lengthening the court by a foot and lowers the net by 2 inches. You can check out this technology in depth in this video: Wilson’s Spin Effect