Until I started working at Tennis Warehouse, I only knew the simple life of using synthetic gut. Yes, it was cheap, but as the saying goes, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” After years of working here I’ve experienced a lavish life of other strings. In exchange, I’ve become pickier than I ever thought I’d be with what goes in my racquet. Have you seen the Angel Soft Toilet Paper commercial? That’s how I feel about string. When will there be a string that meets the middle ground between a polyester and multifilament; something that’s not too rough, or not too soft?
This is where Tecnifibre comes in. They claim to have engineered a string that has filled the “missing link between multifilament premium string and monofilament polyester.” They call it, X-Code, a “full hybrid technology which integrates polyester and polyurethane.”
First off, there’s a certain solidity I get from polys that multis lack. I have the most appreciation for the softer polys. Nevertheless, even though the playability of a full bed of poly feels great, my arm and shoulder are pretty sensitive to them. To help minimize that harshness, I hybrid most of my string jobs with poly in the crosses and a multi in the mains, or just a full bed multi. Since Tecnifibre claimed that this should eliminate the need to hybrid, I wanted to see if this newly engineered string met up to its hype.
In comparison to other strings, there is no comparison to X-Code. The feel is unique. It seems like it has similar characteristics as X-One Biphase such as dwell time and ball pocketing, but the integrated poly makes it feel more crisp and with a little more pop. Groundstrokes is where the control felt the best. I felt extremely confident angling my shots, and could feel the elasticity of the string. As the point scale rates 1 the lowest and 10 the highest, I give this string an 8.5 for feel and 8 for control.
The string has a certain forgiveness I favor from multis. As I said before, I can feel that this has more dwell time than a lot of other polys I’ve hit with, in a sense that it hits closer to a multi than a poly. Even those with tendonitis issues won’t have to worry about pain as this is extremely comfortable. Keep in mind though I strung this up in a 102 sq. inch head size, 16×19 string pattern, and 2 pounds under mid. No shoulder pain always gets high points with me – 8.5 points for comfort.
POWER! It has its elasticity, but it’s not as springy which I believe is dwindled down by the integrated poly. I’m not much of a spin generator, but because I lack in this area, I asked my fellow spin-happy playtesters how they felt. Apparently, not as astounding as they had hoped for. In my opinion, it was average to other strings I’ve tried. I award 7.7 points for power and 7 points for spin.
This brings it to the final three categories: installation, durability, and tension maintenance. Installing it was more difficult than nylon or multis, but what poly isn’t? In comparison to other polys it unraveled relatively easy without the huge recoil factor. Because of its soft construction it was easy to manipulate while weaving. Pulling it across the mains wasn’t as smooth as it has a grippy outer layer to it. With this grippy outer layer, you have to watch that it doesn’t stick to itself when you’re pulling it through or it could end up a little jumbled. I give it 7.6 points for easy installation, 8.5 points if it was on the poly stringing only scale… we’ll average that to 8.
Now onto durability and tension maintenance. The picture below is approximately after five to six hours of hitting, which tension drops relatively quick and the outer layer is peeled away. After that point, I would want a fresh string job. These strings aren’t easy to break as it has to go through multiple layers. I give it 7.7 points for durability. As for tension, since I could start to feel the difference after the third-fourth hour, it lost some points. 7 points for tension maintenance.
Overall, despite its cons of tension maintenance and durability, Tecnifibre X-Code has become my go-to string as it met my expectations on what I was most looking for: comfort, feel, and control. I no longer have to look what string I should hybrid with what if I have this around. I wouldn’t necessarily say the X-Code is the “missing link,” but for now, it’s the closest thing out there on the market.