Why are Strings Important?
Like many competitive tennis players, I go through strings pretty regularly. I’m particular about what strings I have in my racket, Kirschbaum Pro Line II 17g, because strings affect everything in my game related to how I feel the ball every time I make contact. I used to follow the basic rule of thumb: the tighter the tension, the more control I would get with each shot, and the looser the tension, the more power I would get with each shot. That all changed when I started using polyester strings. I used to string my rackets with synthetic gut at tensions as high as 69 lbs and today with polyester, I’ve dropped my tension to a low of 40 lbs. Even Popular Mechanics covered this very topic because the physics of tennis changed drastically with the introduction of polyester.
Andre Agassi in his book Open, talked about how his game changed as a result of using polyester:
People talk about the game changing, about players growing more powerful, and rackets getting bigger, but the most dramatic change in recent years is the strings. The advent of a new elastic polyester string, which creates vicious topspin, has turned average players into greats, and greats into legends. [Coach Darren Cahill] puts the string on one of my rackets… In a practice session I don’t miss a ball for two hours. Then I don’t miss a ball for the rest of the tournament. I’ve never won the Italian Open before, but I win it now, because of Darren and his miracle string.
Testing String Tension with RacquetTune
Recently, I had two rackets strung that came back feeling much tighter than my usual 45 lbs, so I wanted a way to test my racket tension. I purchased the Tourna String Meter, but in my search for something cheap and effective, I found the iPhone and Android App RacquetTune. Here is a quick video that demonstrates RacquetTune’s features and functions along with how it’s used. Check it out!
I thought this was an interesting use of mobile technology. I can collect data on string tension and record tension loss over time. I’m going to compare it with the Tourna String Meter and keep you updated on the accuracy of the app!
Strings are everything and the tension of the string affects the way the ball feels and plays upon contact. You want to make sure that tension is accurate to help you be the best possible you, every time you step foot on the court.