Wilson’s Spin Effect at TW

ST105S-6Wilson 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
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Tennis strings that produce the most spin

Rafael Nadal's "buggy-whip" forehand is being emulated by junior players all around the world trying to generate the most topspin that they can on their forehand.

Rafael Nadal’s “buggy-whip” forehand is being emulated by junior players all around the world in an attempt to generate as much topspin as they can with their forehands.  Photo courtesy of Cynthia Lum.

Tennis players of all levels have gone crazy for spin in recent years! With the latest racquet and string technology along with younger players trying to replicate the modern swings of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, players are trying to maximize the amount of spin in their games as best as they can.

Our TW University Professor Crawford Lindsey has done extensive testing on how spin is produced during a shot, and what factors apart from the stroke itself aid or hamper the production of spin. At contact, the ball hits the stringbed and moves the main strings (the strings that are horizontal at impact), sliding them out of position vertically against the cross strings. As the ball leaves the strings, the main strings snap back into their original position. A string’s ability to slide and snap back efficiently is what our TW Professor concluded to be the biggest difference between strings in terms of their spin potential. Therefore, the further the main strings can stretch during this process, the greater the snap back force is, and thus the more spin you can generate.
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How string patterns affect spin

Spin is in with the new super open string patterns by Wilson

Spin is in with the new super open string patterns by Wilson

With the release of the new Wilson Spin Effect racquets, the Steam 99 S and Steam 105 S, people are talking about the way that spin is produced and what effects a racquet can have on spin production. Wilson utilizes an open 16×15 string pattern that it claims helps to produce noticeably more spin than a traditional 16×18 or 18×20 string pattern. The difference lies in there being fewer cross strings than main strings, thus opening up the stringbed and creating more space in between the strings.

Interestingly enough, our TW University professor, Crawford Lindsey, was onto something very similar a few years ago when he started testing the effects that different string patterns had on spin. He conducted experiments (outlined in his “Spin and String Pattern” article in September of 2010) to test which string patterns were more effective in producing more spin.

This picture simulates the stretching of the main strings at contact, which is what helps produce topspin.

This picture simulates the stretching of the main strings at contact, which is what helps produce topspin.

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String Review: Prince Poly EXP 16


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!

Signum Pro Hyperion 17 String Review

sighyp170-1Signum Pro-Poly Plasma has been a popular polyester string, both with our play testers as well as with members of our Talk Tennis message boards (Editor’s note: It was at the request of our Talk Tennis members that we tried Signum strings and added them to stock). Signum Pro’s Hyperion 17 is one of Signum’s newest co-polyester strings, designed to provide the exceptional playability of Poly Plasma along with some added crispness and comfort.

When stringing Hyperion it felt fairly similar to the Poly Plasma, with a slightly firmer feel. It was relatively easy to string compared to others polys on the market, as it did not tangle much nor was it extremely stiff.

The first impression I had of Hyperion was it made for a lively stringbed and a crisp feel. With this string, the ball explodes off the stringbed, which was a nice surprise as co-polys tend to have more of a dead feel to them. There was also excellent control and the tension was maintained nicely throughout the string life.

The main characteristics that stood out to me while hitting with Hyperion was the crispness and liveliness of the stringbed and the great control I had on all my shots. It was extremely comfortable to hit. I could really feel the ball grab the strings, then be released off the stringbed nicely. Even with the lively feel, I did not lose control, as would normally be the case. I was able to place the ball extremely well, and not lose accuracy, which is what typically happens when I find such a lively feel.

I was not able to generate as much power and pop as I would normally with my regular hybrid string job of Luxilon ALU Power mains with Wilson NXT crosses, nor was I able to generate as much spin. The string still maintained a nice amount of control. However, I like to feel that I have the ability to crack a mid-court ball and put it away, or be able to generate ample spin on a defensive ball so I can take a full swing and still bring it back into the court and I lost a little of both with Hyperion 17.

Overall, I had a nice experience hitting with Hyperion 17. Though the life span was short (I broke it on my third day of hitting), it was a really nice feeling co-poly string. Signum places this string in its performance group of strings, and with its playability, tension maintenance, and control, Hyperion has a lot to offer.


String review: Topspin Cyberflash 1.25mm

Let me start off by saying that after this string test I believe the Topspin Cyberflash string is an excellent polyester string at a great value. It is a co-polyester monofilament, similar to a Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power or Signum Pro Poly-Plasma, which is designed to enhance the already durable polyester string with added playability.

Stringing with Cyberflash was relatively easy compared to other polyester strings. It is slightly softer and stretches slightly more than others, like Luxilon Big Banger for instance. The texture of it reminded me a lot of the Prince Tour string — another co-poly string with great value. I strung the Cyberflash at 56 lbs in my Prince TT Warrior MP, which is normal tension for me to string a full bed of polyester.

The first impression I had of the Topspin Cyberflash was a nice balance between having a crisp and a soft feel. The ball exploded off the string bed with nice velocity, and it was comfortably soft on the arm. There was a little less power than I would have preferred, but the added control from the string made up for it.

On the serve as well as off the ground the Cyberflash provided added control and had nice access to spin. The string bed also had an element of crispness to it due to a nice amount of ball pocketing from the strings. The string held the ball on the string bed for a nice duration of time; not too long where I feel there is a loss of control, but not too little where I could not feel the ball.

At net I felt a lot of control from the Cyberflash, and good feel from the ball pocketing. The string did not lend itself to much pop or power on the volleys, nor did it offer much spin potential when trying to really stick the volley with lots of under spin.

Durability was right on par with most other co-polyester strings. After hitting a couple hours a day with open level players, the string lasted me just under a week, which is about what I would normally get out of most polyesters. Throughout the week, there was great tension maintenance all the way through the life of the string, which is always a concern for polyesters.

When taking all elements into account, I enjoyed playing with the Cyberflash quite a bit. The crispness and control from the string felt really nice, along with the added softness from it being a co-poly. I would have liked a little more power and spin from the string bed, but all in all it had a very nice feel. The durability and tension maintenance was excellent from the string as well. And at $7.49 a set, the Topspin Cyberflash is an excellent string with great value!