Tennis String Buyer’s Guide

When it comes to selecting the perfect set of strings for your racket, debate is still open on how important having a proper string in your racket actually is. Some say it might be right up to 50 percent of your ‘play’, which in of itself is a pretty vague description. I mean, you can’t really increase the level of play of somebody with a really bad technique with 50 percent, not even if you magically found the best string for that person out there. I think this ‘industry’ rule of thumb refers to the influence your string setup has on the overall performance of your racket setup, and this, in my view, is absolutely right.

You can have a great frame, but if your strings go dead, you can’t really properly hit with it. So if your physical shape and footwork would be an overall number one, your frame selection is spot on, meaning you’re happy and familiar with the frame you are playing with, then absolutely look for the best string for your frame and game style because all in all, I would guestimate that it can influence your performance on court somewhere around 25 percent.

That’s why I went on and started writing this Buyer’s Guide. In my shop I get asked this question a lot and therefore it makes sense to refer people to this page and lay down all my personal preferences, trial and errors (lot’s of error’s…) experiences with tennis strings. Of course, there goes a little bit more explanation in selecting a perfect string so let me elaborate a bit on that.

In short, my personal favourite brand of string is Signum Pro and my personal favourite string is the Signum Pro Megaforce 1.29mm (link to check it’s current price on Racquet Depot Co UK). To me, they are an absolute winner when it comes to value for money, they tend to be very durable across the board and give a great smooth feel on impact. For me, nothing beets the feel of having a fresh set of Signum Pro installed, knowing you have every bit of control over your shots and then still have the softer touch on hitting, as opposed to some really stiff poly’s out there which are just not for me.

First thing up is get your basic’s right. What I mean by that is that you select the type of string that ‘naturally’ fits your type of racket and game style. Let’s say you have an oversized racket with open string pattern like 16×19 and you like to swing away. You could try to install a 1.20mm synthetic gut, but you’ll notice soon enough you like tennis enough, but not enough to make you poor… because you’ll just break your strings too many times, too often. Now there’s no exact rule book of things to watch out for and there is a lot of trial and error involved. The other way around also applies, let’s say you have a Wilson Blade 98 with an 18×20 tight pattern. You could select a very stiff poly because you want to string for control and durability, but at 1.35mm and 28 kilogram’s, there is only so much your arm can absorb and playing without injuries goes a long way. You see, there are sometimes combinations that just do not fit with a certain frame or game style. Nothing to do much about it really, except for accepting that fact and try to make logical decisions on the way.

Second, would be for me to describe my playing style a bit. Without it, it would not really make sense to talk about the specifics I look for when selecting a new set of strings. I would describe myself as I powerful attacking player that use quite a lot of topspin but with a semi-western grip, so I like to play a flatter ball at times with more control. I’m a pretty tall player at 1.90m with longer arms and legs. Therefore I can generate quite some power by myself and I am always looking for a bit more control out of my shots. Therefore I’m looking for a powerful that provides plenty of control but does so by not stressing my arm too much.

2. Signum Pro Poly Plasma 1.28

My second personal favourite string is the Signum Pro Poly Plasma 1.28mm (check it’s current price at Amazon). Also a Signum Pro string, I sometimes vary between the Megaforce and this Poly Plasma as the Plasma gives me a bit crisper ball bite with a slightly stiffer feel. Again, this string is great value for money which even gets better when you order it on a 200 meter reel.

My next personal favourites are a bit trickier to place in the best order, but I think these strings are pretty close to each other anyway. I might choose the one over the other, depending on what I’m looking for in that particular moment. Maybe to test some new frames, or maybe to adjust some minor technique changes to my game.

3. Luxilon Big Banger Original 1.30

So my third personal favourite string is the Luxilon Big Banger Original (check it’s current price at Amazon). A true classic on tour that I used to see on television all the time, naturally I wanted to see for myself whether or not the string was worth the hype. In short, yes, it is a very good quality and durable string that can really benefit the hard hitting top spin players. I would say it is a bit stiffer than for example, Signum Pro, but only slight. I never strung it too high in the tension range (normally around 23 or 24 kilogram’s) and that would give me a great mix of control and power. However, the one part I think the Big Banger Original loses in comparison to the Signum Pro Megaforce, is tension loss.

4. Babolat RPM Blast 1.25

Last but not least, my fourth personal favourite string is the Babolat RPM Blast 1.25mm (link to check it’s current price at Amazon). It’s probably the stiffest string of all my favourites and I would select it sometimes for wanting absolute control during warm summer days and tournaments. Because balls fly easier through the air on those days I want absolute control over my shots. Also, during competition play or tournaments, a lot of our opponents make the call to open the pressurized cans just before starting a match, meaning the balls will bounce all over the place (especially on harder courts). A stiff poly can really make a difference here. Don’t expect it to be an easy match per definition because you’ll have to do a lot of the footwork and swing preparation to get the ball where you want it.

5 (Bonus): Toalson Thermaxe 1.30

One final bonus favourite, which I’m adding here because I had some good test runs with it in the past but haven’t used them in quite a while actually is the Toalson Thermaxe 1.30mm. This really was one of the stiffest poly’s out there I playtested and I’ll try to get my hands on a new set soon so I can provide a bit more information on it here.

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