End Of Year Tennis Stringing Review 2020
2020 has certainly been the strangest year I can remember, having got to know my house better than ever due to the various lock downs and working from home! Fortunately, this year has also given me the opportunity to build my own stringing hut at home, called 'The Surgery' which houses all of my equipment as well as a a smart TV where I can watch Tennis, Squash and whatever I like whilst stringing! This year I am also proud to have become the stringer to the World Number 1 squash player, which is bucket list stuff for me!
For the last few years, I've published an end of year squash stringing review and this year I thought I would do the same for Tennis. From all of the tennis stringing I've done, I've used data from round 250 restrings where I have complete information.
The first thing I looked into was which brand of rackets are given to me to string most frequently. There's actually a fairly even split between Babolat, Head and Wilson as the top 3 brands, with Babolat just coming out on top. I'm expecting to see more Tecnifibre and Yonex rackets next year though as I really believe that they have some fantastic rackets, with a lot of development work having been put into them... not to mention the effect of having top players representing them on the ATP. The most popular racket amongst the players I string for is the Babolat Pure Strike, followed by Pro Staff and Radicals. Last year I would say that Babolat Pure Aero's were the most popular, but the latest Pure Strikes seem to have sold really well.
Prince..... although they make one of my favourite looking rackets, the Phantom 100x, sadly I can't see me stringing too many next year, as they have been overtaken in the last 10 years or so.
Babolat were also the most frequently used brand of string, with Yonex and Tecnifibre following closely behind. Babolat's RPM Blast was the second most popular model of string used. The big mover this year is Yonex, with 17% of restrings using their strings, mainly Poly Tour Pro, which I think pound for pound is one of the best strings on the market and was the most requested string for me to use in 2020. Solinco have really made a move this year too, with their Confidential string being a particular hit, in fact it was the 4th most popular model of string I've strung with this year and the Hyper G is getting a bit of a following too. I Discovered a really good spin string this year too, in the MSV Focus Hex. Not super premium in terms of price, but those using it get on really well with it and I've had several players ask for it because they tested their friends racket which I'd strung for them.
I also recorded the reasons for stringing rackets this year, with the majority being due to breakages in the middle of the string bed (good to see), but many players also choosing to have their rackets restrung due to the strings just being worn, or past their 'use by' date... this is also good to see, as often strings will lose their performance way before the strings actually snap, especially in poly/co-poly strings which have a tendency to lose all their feel very suddenly. I was expecting more new rackets to come in for restrings, but I think there will be a few waiting for me to string in the new year!
I thought it would also be useful to give you a snapshot of the type of strings that I've been using this year. almost a 5th of restrings are done as hybrids, with the most popular choices in hybrid set ups being Wilson NXT, Wilson Sensation, Tecnifibre Multifeel, Prince Duraflex and very occasionally natural gut, either Babolat Vs of Luxilon. I've also done some testing with the latest Tecnifibre TRIAX which is pretty much a blend of eveything, designed to take away the need to have a hybrid setup - it's a really good string, but takes a little getting used to. although 70% of restrings were with Polys, there area still quite a few players who prefer a softer and more arm friendly set up, with multifilament and synthetic guts being used in a full string bed, as opposed to just as part of a hybrid setup. Players just need to be aware that their synthetic gut and Multifil setups most likely won't last as long as poly strings, which are built mainly for durability.
Average for rackets is just under 51 lbs, which isn't surprising given that over 70% of rackets are strung with poly. Keep in mind that poly strings should generally be strung around 10% lower than other strings, mainly due to being less elastic than other compositions. I generally string polys at mid 40's to very early 50's. Average string width is 1.24mm's, which is pretty much where I thought it would be, but I think this will reduce next year given that there are several really good polys which are getting more durable even in the thinner gauges (1.15mm).
My tips for next year..... Solinco to rise through the ranks, Yonex to stay popular, especially given that their new string, Poly Tour Rev, which I was fortunate to string with recently, is due for release in 2021. I also see big things for Tecnifibre on the racket side. Their rackets are beautiful, very well made and Tecnifibre have got some great ambassadors on board, pushing the rackets. That said, Wilson, Head and Babolat will keep a huge share of the market and I fully expect Yonex to sell more rackets in 2021 too - given the amazing quality of their frames!
I hope you like my tennis stringing review for 2020. Feel free to get in touch with any queries.