My question, and hopefully discussion, is “How Do You Decide”?
Since the IART is dedicated to racquet preparation I will start there.
Who, or what, influences your string selection?
Pro Player on TV
Tennis Racquet Brand
I hope you rely on your racquet technician for this most important decision and I hope you will ask some questions to be certain you are getting what you expect.
Is your racquet technician a “technician” or stringer? There is a difference. A technician will understand the various string types, materials, applications, and best tensions to use for your style of play, racquet, and physical stature. Ask your technician if he/she is certified by the IART or other organization.
Your coach, on the other hand, may be “sponsored” by a brand and is obligated, somewhat, to promote that brand or even specific string for all players regardless of other considerations.
You may rely on your partner to cover that lob for you but don’t depend on them for technical advice. You can certainly consult their racquet technician if your partner recommends them.
Pro players typically use a string for a very few hours or less! They are normally not paying for the string and they are physically more prepared than most recreational players. So don’t assume you can use the same string.
Cost is a consideration but “value” is a better guide to string selection. Value is represented by the number of good playing hours you can expect from a string set. Natural gut plays better longer than almost any other material but “plays better” is difficult to quantify. So, if $70.00 for 15 to 20 hours of fabulous play is out of the question you may want to look elsewhere. Try to establish your “hourly cost to play” threshold and communicate that to your technician. This may help in making the best string selection. If, for example, you are comfortable with $2.00 per hour of play and your string cost is $40.00 that is twenty (20) hours. If you want to use natural gut you will need to get 35 hours of play or increase your comfort zone to $3.50 per hour.
I have clients getting over fifty (50) hours of outstanding playability from a $45.00 stringing! That is a very good “value”.
Please let me know how you decide, and, if you need help any IART member will be happy to assist!