Why Are Tennis Rackets Sold Unstrung? (Full String Guide)
Whether you are a total beginner just immersing yourself in the topic of tennis or a seasoned professional, you probably have seen rackets on the market that are sold without strings. What’s up with that?
In this article, I will explain why tennis rackets would ever be sold unstrung, what different possibilities open when you buy one, and more. But first, let’s learn why tennis rackets are sold without strings.
Tennis rackets are sold unstrung because it enables you to customize the frame with the strings of your choice. This means that you can choose the string type, density, and tension, allowing you to modify the racket best suited to your playstyle.
Often, unstrung rackets are bought by professional tennis players that fully know what they are doing and what strings, density, and tension are best suited for their particular playstyle. Oh, and the strings rarely are included because people who buy rackets without strings want to decide their own.
Now, let’s take a look at what kind of string types are there and what the density and tension of the strings will affect the game. Let’s begin with the 5 main string types.
- 5 Different Types of Tennis Strings
- How Does String Tension Affect Tennis Racket’s Features?
- How Does String Pattern Affect Tennis Racket’s Features?
- What Do Different Tennis String Gauges Do?
- How To Choose Tennis Strings?
- How Often Should You Restring a Tennis Racquet?
- My Favorite Tennis Equipment
5 Different Types of Tennis Strings
1. Natural Gut Strings
Natural gut strings are made from, well… cow’s intestines. Gut strings are the original ones and were also found in the first tennis racket when tennis became a thing.
Gut strings are often the most expensive choice; however, the price may be well worth it because the perks follow. Natural gut strings have the best tension maintenance so that they will last the longest. They are also well-balanced and provide comfort and confidence with each strike. Many world-class tennis players love natural gut strings, such as Björn Borg and Roger Federer.
Like most things, natural gut strings don’t come without cons either. Due to the reason that they are made from natural gut, they aren’t the most durable option at your disposal; they will get damaged from moisture and are expensive. This is why only professional players use natural gut strings because the one that plays tennis for fun doesn’t want to buy new strings, at least in most cases constantly. Also, for the vegans out there, you should look at the 4 other options because these strings aren’t the most ethical and moral ones either.
2. Synthetic Strings
Synthetic strings can be made from various materials such as nylon, polyurethane, composite fibers, among other things. These strings are no match in terms of performance for the natural gut strings. However, they have other pros to its name.
Synthetic strings are quite durable, really affordable, and a great string choice for an average tennis player. Synthetic strings will perform reasonably well and are really commonly found in mid-tier rackets.
3. Multifilament Strings
Multifilament strings are quite interesting if you ask me. They are made by waving thousands of thin microfibers together, so it becomes a tennis string. Multifilament strings have many perks, such as flexibility that is actually quite close to natural gut strings which is why these strings are a strong choice of strings for many tennis athletes. In fact, multifilament strings mimic natural gut strings, so they are comfortable strings with a great feel to them.
You can find cheap and expensive multifilament strings depending on the manufacturing process and quality of them. There are some cons as well, such as they aren’t the most durable strings for powerful strikers, or they aren’t the most control-focused ones either. However, these cons aren’t super noticeable, so overall I recommend these strings for many players.
4. Polyester Strings
Polyester strings are a great choice for a powerful player and appreciate a more defensive playstyle over pure power or have a habit of overhitting. This is because polyester strings have lower power than others; thus, your extremely powerful strikes have a lower chance of going over but still have great power.
The benefit of making powerful striking a bit harder is because polyester strings are great when it comes to spin and control. If you are a heavy hitter, you will obviously have the power but also control and spin, which is really the holy triplet of tennis and other racket games really. In addition, these strings won’t break easily either.
As expected, these strings aren’t spared of cons either. Besides the lack of power which is why weak hitters shouldn’t use these, polyester strings lose tension a little sooner than the others and aren’t as comfortable to the arm as the natural gut is.
5. Hybrid Strings
When the subject is hybrid strings, it means that you use one string type on the main and another type on the crosses. For example, you could use synthetic strigs on the mains and natural gut ones on the crosses. This way, you would get more durability because synthetic strings are more durable than gut ones. Also, it would be cheaper to string your racket this way. In my opinion, making a hybrid of this kind is far better than just plain synthetic strings if you have the extra money to invest. It’s a $20 difference at best, so it’s worthwhile.
Think about all string types on the list and the possibilities if you were to make hybrids of all of them. There are dozens of different combinations that you could technically make. This is a great way to really tune your racket and adapt it to your specific strengths and skills.
As you can see, it really matters what kind of strings you install to your racket. However, the string types aren’t the only factors that affect the racket’s performance. Density and tension are major factors as well.
Read also: Should You Have Two Tennis Rackets?
How Does String Tension Affect Tennis Racket’s Features?
In short, when the tension is lower on a tennis racket, it gives more power because the strings will allow the ball to go further. Think about it as a trampoline; the more it gives, the higher and faster you will be able to jump. In this case, the racket is a trampoline, and the ball is you.
Well, what if the string tension is high? In this case, you will have more accuracy and control because the ball will be on its way sooner; thus, the harder string surface will enable better control.
How Does String Pattern Affect Tennis Racket’s Features?
String pattern means how the strings are arranged on the frame and how many up, down, or cross strings are there.
There are open patterns that have fewer strings strung so that there is more space between the strings. This results in more power and easier spin generation. However, control isn’t as good as in a closed pattern string job, and the strings will break sooner as well.
When it comes to closed pattern string jobs, more strings are strung in a more dense way than open pattern rackets. This results in increased control and longer string life. On the con side, closed pattern rackets won’t generate as much power and sping as open pattern rackets. This is why closed pattern rackets are great for players that can deliver powerful strikes without the help of the racket.
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What Do Different Tennis String Gauges Do?
When talking about the gauges in a tennis string, it means the thickness of them. The higher the gauge number is, the thinner the string is. Tennis strings are often found between 15 gauge (1.43mm) and 18 gauge (1.1mm) gauges. Thin gauges are often best in terms of game properties but lack durability and vise versa.
That being said, most tennis strings are between 1.2mm and 1.3mm, so there are great perks such as elasticity, spin, feel, and comfort, but the durability isn’t totally overlooked either.
How To Choose Tennis Strings?
Generally, you need to think about the pros and cons, specs such as material, gauge, and pattern, and finally, your budget.
If you are a beginner, strings with control, restrained power, durability, and affordable price would be the best choice. For the pro players, quality strings with power and perhaps a hybrid stringing could be something to look into.
There are other things to think about as well. For example, if you are a vegan, you might want to stay away from natural gut strings or not; it’s really up to you. Anyways you get the point.
How Often Should You Restring a Tennis Racquet?
Generally, you should restring your tennis racquet as many times in a year that you play in a week. So if you play 3 times per week, you should change strings 3 times a year. This would mean that every 4 months. However, training time, string type, strike power, and other factors affect it as well.
So the real answer really lies behind all of the factors, not just how many times you play per week. Let’s take an example.
If you are a beginner who plays 2 hours per session 3 times a week with synthetic strings, the frequency of how often you should change the strings is far lower than that of professional players who play 6 hours per session with natural gut strings. Anyways, you get where I’m coming from, so monitor your strings and feel of the game, and you will know when to change the strings.
Learn more: Is It Worth It To Buy A Tennis Stringing Machine? (How-To Guide)
My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you’ll find my top tennis equipment recommendations would like.
- Racket: My preferred tennis racket is the Wilson Ultra 100 V3. This racket is made from graphite and carbon fiber, making it durable, firm, and easy to swing. The racket weighs 300g, making it lightweight yet not too lightweight to generate power. The racket’s main benefit is power. I like to add multifilament strings to the racket, such as Wilson NXT Soft 16 (recommended tension 52lb/23.5kg), because they are comfortable and soft on the arm with a great feel to the game.
- Tennis balls: Best tennis balls are always pressurized, and I like them having extra-duty felt, which is fit for hard court play. I like Penn Championship Tennis Balls, and so does the ITF because these balls are approved for competitive play. So yes, these are the real deal.
- Tennis shoes: I can’t stress enough the importance of comfortable and supporting shoes. ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes are unique because the balance between durability and support mixed with comfort is something out of the ordinary.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.
Depending on your skill level and preferences, it could be really beneficial to buy an unstrung racket because you can tune it precisely as you want with the strings, whether that is natural gut, polyester, hybrid, or anything between.
I highly recommend that you dive into the world of tennis strings because it really affects what kind you are using; therefore, it will directly make you a better or worse player in the process.