They are two patterns to consider when it comes to deciding how to string your racquet. “Open” patterns offer more comfort, power, and spin potential (the extra space between strings allows the ball to embed more). Most racquets requiring an open pattern have 16 Mains (vertical) strings and 19 Crosses (horizontal) strings. “Dense” patterns offer more control and durability, and are great for hard hitters. Most racquets requiring a dense pattern follow the 18×20 formula. Fun fact: it’s considered a frame until the strings are put on, then that’s when it becomes a racquet.
Each racquet manufacturer has done much testing, so each racquet comes with a recommended tension range. As a general rule of thumb, lower tension offers more power, while higher, tighter tension offers control. If you’re not sure, we recommend adding 1-2 pounds to the medium recommendation from of the manufacturer. If switching to a string with more stiffness, like polyester, we recommended dropping the tension 10%. It’s all an art and totally based on your preferences, so it will take a little trial and error before you dial in exactly what you want.
Measured in millimeters, string gauge reflects the measurement of string thickness. The higher the number, the thinner the string, which feels better, provides more power, and offers more spin potential. A majority of strings are in the 15-17 range, with some getting up to 19. If you see an “L,” that stands for “Light,” and represents a half gauge.
|15||=||1.41-1.49 mm||17||=||1.20-1.24 mm|
|15L||=||1.34-1.40 mm||17L||=||1.16-1.20 mm|
|16||=||1.26-1.33 mm||18||=||1.10-1.16 mm|
|16L||=||1.22-1.26 mm||19||=||1.00-1.10 mm|
For many tennis players, the main consideration when it comes to picking strings is playability (feel) verses durability. Other factors include comfort (shock to the arm), control, tension maintenance, and cost. Just like everything else in tennis, it comes down to the unique combination of each player’s skills, needs, and preferences, so try out different strings to match your game. Giving that there are hundreds, if not thousands of options, we are only going to focus on the types of string available on our website.
For most of the history of tennis, this was your only string option. Natural gut, woven from small strands of cow intestine, offer the most comfort, power, and tension maintenance, but also comes with the highest price tag (due to the intricate manufacturing process) and is not as durable.
Strings that are man-made fall into the synthetic category. There are a few different options of materials:
As the name indicates, it is constructed with a single (mono), solid filament. The most popular is polyester, and hard swingers who constantly break their strings love it because of the added durability. Monofilament strings also offer the most control. The trade-off is that what makes it more durable also translates to more shock to the arm.
Instead of a single core, the multifilament consists of tiny fibers woven together. Given the advancements in string technology in the last decade, these strings are the closest to natural gut in terms of playability and comfort. They are more durable than gut, but less durable than poly.
Increasing in popularity, more and more tennis players are using two different types of strings (specifically regarding the string bed, not the string’s materials). The idea is to blend the best characteristics of each type. The most common combo is to use a more stronger, more durable (stiffer) string for the Mains, and a more playable string for the Crosses.