Seven key performance features
The string is the soul of your racquet. Experts say it is as important as the right tennis racket.
However, not all strings (and string tensions) are right for all players. Every player has different needs and preferences. Here are a few guidelines to make your string and tension selection easier.
Durability, Feel, Power, Spin, Control, Comfort – these are the sven most important benefits which determine the performance of your play.
We would like to have a string that offers everything. Unfortunately, increased durability in tennis strings is usually at the expense of playability. Thicker gauges and abrasion resistant materials will be more durable, but they are less elastic and resilient than their thinner, nylon-based counterparts. If a player is breaking a 16 gauge nylon string, we might suggest they switch to a 15L version of that same string for more durability. Otherwise, the next step would be a nylon durability string, such as MSV SPIN PLUS. After that, we recommend trying a polyester string, such as MSV FOCUS-HEX® PLUS 38. Finally, for players who blow through all of the strings listed above, Aramid or Kevlar hybrids such as the MSV TECHNORA 100 NRT are the final alternative. The superior abrasion resistance of Aramid makes it the most durable string available.
Avoiding extreme heat, cold or humidity will help to extend the durability of your strings. Therefore it is recommended to keep the racquet in the bag.
Strings with greater elasticity typically provide a softer feel as the string bed will provide more pocketing for the incoming shot. Natural gut and Polyamid (Nylon) strings are known for their superior feel.
If a player is seeking more power from his racquet, he should try dropping tension a few pounds. The string bed will deflect more (and the ball less), returning greater energy to the ball. There is a point of diminishing returns where the string bed turns into a butterfly net, but it is well below any racquet’s recommended tension range. Elasticity - this is a term to describe a string's ability to deform and spring back to its original alignment. It is often discussed in terms of power, as a string with a higher elasticity is allowed to deform to a greater extent and then return to its original alignment, returning more energy back into the ball.
Elasticity – i.e. power - is a matter of material and construction. The German Tennis Magazin conducted a comprehensive test of strings with extra spin (published in issue Oct 2014). One of the key criteria was power. The MSV HEPTA-TWIST performed best in terms of power and tension maintenance amongst 11 other top brands in this test.
A tighter string bed deflects less and deforms the ball more, providing less energy than looser strings. This means the ball won’t fly as far when you hit it. Beginners who are hitting the ball in every direction won’t gain any advantage by increasing tension, but intermediate and advanced players who are hitting a lot of long balls will be able to reduce the depth of their shots without changing their swing.
Increasing racquet tension does not increase spin, but it does affect string movement, dwell time, and ball contact distance. These parameters all can affect the ball trajectory as well as the player’s feel of the impact.
The main advice is that high string tensions make your shot more consistent and make it easier to hit topspin shots. If you do not like the “boardy” feel of high tension strings, then use a lower tension but remember to restring regularly to minimize the effects of undesirable string motion.
There is one key driver of spin potential: It is the ability of the main strings to snap back as quickly as possible once the ball hit the string bed. Scientific research (of universities in Japan, and Switzerland among others) proofs that the snap back effect very much depends on a low friction between mains and crosses (besides the kind of co polyester material). A study of the University Aalborg (Denmark) tested several co polyester strings. The MSV Co Focus was the only string which achieved a signifcantly better spin potential than all other strings incl. the hexagonal variant of the MSV Co Focus (i.e. MSV Focus Hex). It seems that round shaped strings benefit from a reduced bearing surface compared to structured strings when it comes to lower friction. There is no scientific proof that a structured string provides a higher spin potential vs. round strings due to a better ball bite.
Lower tensions result in a softer string bed and a larger sweet spot reducing the amount of shock and vibration transmitted to the hand and elbow.
A soft feeling string will cushion the impact of the ball by absorbing more shock and vibration. Nylon strings like the MSV SOFT TOUCH or MSV SOFT CONTROL are softer and more arm friendly than co-polyester strings. The MSV FOCUS-HEX® PLUS 38 is the most arm friendly string of the MSV FOCUS-HEX® line.
7. Tension Maintenance
The above characteristics change as soon as the string loses its tension. And this happens immediately after the stringing is finished und then while playing the string. That is why tension maintenance is so important. Polyamid strings (.g. Nylon) are better than Co-Polyester strings. And strings with a higher diameter are better than those with a smaller diameter. Stiffer Co-Polyester strings maintain the tension better than the more elastic ones.