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When playing tennis, a key piece of equipment used to help players improve their gaming and playabilities is the string they choose for their racquet.
Tennis strings come in a variety of materials broken down into natural gut materials or synthetic materials.
Of the three most popular synthetic materials chosen by players is polyester. This string offers many positive features which make it so popular for players to use.
Yet even a string with so many upsides to it performance still has negative features.
Understanding both the positive and negative aspects of polyester tennis strings will allow you as a player to better understand the purpose of your string choice.
Equipping your racquet with the right string matters
A player should make sure they are choosing the best string for their racquet and tennis game. Different strings will offer different features which change their abilities.
This includes things like the string’s durability, ability to hold high or low tensions, production of power, greater control and accuracy, elasticity of the string, and its overall strength to resist impact and other damages.
How long a string lasts depends on two factors. The first being how long until the string snaps or breaks due to extreme wear.
Once this occurs over time as strings are worn due to constant impact with the tennis ball.
The second way to measure a string’s lifespan is the amount of time needed before the string loses playability.
Both of these can occur quickly depending on the player’s ability, intensity, and the type of string being used.
The materials and design of your string’s construction will affect the durability of string and its elasticity and strength.
Synthetic strings like polyester are made in a similar fashion, but polyester does have some distinct differences from other materials.
The string you choose should also fit well with your own tennis skills.
The difference between a string’s ability to supply your tennis racquet with power or control is the key to matching a string to your personal playability.
Power or control
Power of a string helps produce power for a player without needing to exert their own energy.
Power increases the speed, force, and distance a tennis shot can travel.
This can not only speed up the pace of a match, but also make it more challenging for an opponent to compete with a player’s skills.
Power based strings help all playing types, whether it is a beginner still learning how to produce their own power or an advanced player looking to partner their own skills with that of their tennis string.
Control is offered by a strings ability to be set at higher tensions to encourage less movement from your strings and lower energy and power.
Control featured strings work well for beginners who are still learning to manage their own placement and accuracy to their shots.
Control can also be used by advanced players as well though. High amounts of control work to better increase your accuracy to best your opponent.
When using polyester strings, players will be utilizing a control string rather than a power-based string.
Materials used for strings
Beyond polyester, there are other materials used to create strings.
Knowing the features of the other string types will help you compare and contrast them with polyester strings in order to find the best string for you.
Unlike polyester strings, the natural gut is a non-synthetic string material. It is made from the intestines of cows and can be more expensive than synthetic strings.
But it is commonly used by professional players due to its extreme playability, strong feel, tension maintenance, and durability.
Natural gut string offers a strong feel and even stronger amounts of control. This control is caused by the string’s lowered stiffness.
Beyond polyester there are two others commonly used synthetic materials used to produce strings called nylon and Kevlar.
These materials can be mixed with each other and polyester.
Nylon strings, also known as polyamides, are the most popular used synthetic strings. They offer a good feel to their players.
Nylon’s best features are its playability and the durability of the string.
Kevlar is the most durable of strings though. Its durability makes it a great choice for those who often break their strings.
Kevlar is also incredibly stiff in nature and can be set to tightly strung tensions.
Construction of tennis strings
There are several different ways a string can be constructed. There is no set way for polyester to be made into a string, especially since the material can be patterned with other materials.
A string with a solid core that features a singular outer wrap is commonly used for string with nylon but is also a popular choice for string with synthetic guts.
These strings have strong tension maintenance. They also offer a strong feel for player’s comfort.
A solid core string can also feature a multi-wrap. This allows multiple string materials to be used in the making of the string’s wrap.
This increases the durability of the string and allows for a cushioning feel.
A string can also have a multicore with various outer wrap options.
These strings have mixed materials in both the core and for its outer wrapping to increase comfort and durability beyond a single material core.
A string with no core composed only of multiple string materials, known as a multifilament string, twists or braids the materials together similar to the design of a natural gut.
These are comfortable, more so than solid core strings, as they cushion the impact of your shots.
Using a synthetic material besides nylon, will make the string stiffer but it will still have a soft, comfortable feel.
No core strings can also be monofilament. This string type is commonly used for polyester.
Monofilament strings mean there will only be one material used to construct the string making a single strand.
Strings like this using only polyester material have a high stiffness and work best for more advanced tennis players.
These strings offer control and provide spin due to its texture. The texture allows it to better grip the tennis ball.
It is also a great option for intermediate players who need greater durability and control.
What is polyester?
Now that we have discussed the different construction and features of tennis strings, let’s talk about just what polyester is.
Polyester is a durable string that is made to produce high amounts of control. Its durability allows it to have a long lifespan as it is able to handle fast, strong strokes without damage.
Though control is often a feature of string encouragement for beginners who are still learning to manage their own skills and abilities, polyester is commonly used by intermediate and advanced players.
The control of the string allows these player types, who already understand how to manage their own control, to perform precise and aggressive movements to their shots.
This speeds up the pace of a tennis match and requires their opponents to think quickly.
The material is also able to produce a texture to your strings. Texture, as mentioned, allows you to more easily generate natural spin to your shots.
This spin will be faster and allow for a sharper trajectory with the tennis ball’s angular descent.
The spin offered by polyester is unrivaled by other materials used to make tennis strings. The string material is able to snap back to its intended place to further boost spin.
It does have a stiffer nature which encourages string manufacturers to partner the material with natural gut or other synthetic materials in order to be softer and more comfortable.
Polyester has a playability that works well with low tensions. Lower tensions for tennis strings allow for a greater production of power from the strings.
Downsides to using polyester strings
The main downside to polyester strings is their ability to enable players to access larger amounts of control, meaning there will be little power to assist the player.
Less power means it players must be able to produce their own power, through their swing speed, racquet features, and their own strength.
Not all players, like beginners, older players, and those dealing with injuries will therefore not be able to utilize the string’s best features.
These strings are also stiff which can make them uncomfortable as the firm feel can affect those who have had injuries in the past.
The stiffness is often canceled out by combining the polyester material with other, softer strings.
Though polyester works well with low tensions, it does struggle to maintain its set tension for long periods of time.
This causes the string to need replacing more frequently as you will lose tension faster and need to set it right.
Those strings that are not replaced in time will go dead, which will lead to a lack of control, comfort, and even power.
What players need polyester?
Polyester strings are able to reach their full potential when used by advanced tennis players.
These players, who often have faster swing speeds, are able to access all the benefits offered by polyester strings.
Their skills in power and control along with their understanding of tennis and strategy allow them to excel with the string, even despite its drawbacks.
Polyester tennis strings: Pros and Cons
Polyester is good for advanced players to use as the strong control works to allow for precise accuracy to severely challenge your opponent’s abilities to recover your strokes.
This control is a strong positive feature of the string along with its durability. The durability of the string prevents breakage and allows the string to handle
Another positive feature is the provided texture of the synthetic material which allows the string to grip the tennis ball and generate a natural spin.
The string can also manage to be set at a low tension, which allows for an increase in power and movement.
- Strong control
- Texture and grip for natural spin
- Increased durability
- Able to handle low tension
There are some negative traits of polyester though. The major issue is the lack of power offered by the string, which limits who is able to use the string as many players will want more power than control.
Another issue is the string’s stiff nature. Though the string has a good feel, the stiffness can make the string uncomfortable.
While this can be fixed by partnering the string with other materials to soften the string, it means the string is not completely polyester.
Though able to maintain low tension weights, the overall hold of tension fades more quickly and must be replaced more often in order to limit the strings ability to become dead which lowers control.
- Lack of power
- Low tension maintenance
- Stiff nature
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