By Eric Burke
Summer is by far my favorite time of the year. But for tennis strings summer is the worst time of the year. The hotter it is the quicker strings lose tension. As your strings become looser you have less control. Eventually you feel like you're hitting with a trampoline. Many shots you believe you have hit perfectly are out. I've always raised my tension as the temperature rises. For higher level players 2-3 pounds make a noticeable difference. But like everything else, string tension is a very individual choice. You may have to experiment a little before you find what works best for you.
There are strings that hold tension better than others. Polyester strings have become very popular in the U.S.
For the most part, they are very durable, spin enhancing, and control oriented. But they are notorious for how quickly they lose tension. The stiffer playing ones can also be pretty hard on the arm. I haven't found a poly string that holds tension for what I consider a long time. Here are a few that do better than most:
Genesis Black Magic is a softer playing polyester string with nice feel and power.
Genesis Twisted Razor is a sharp, 3-sided, twisted tennis string. Great spin enhancement.
Kirschbaum Spiky Shark is an 8-sided string that has a nice combination of feel, control, and spin enhancement.
For those of us who prefer strings with more feel, power, and comfort, durability can be an issue. That is not an issue with these strings:
Ashaway Mono Gut ZX is the string I play with when I'm not using natural gut. Along with great power and feel, Mono Gut ZX is very durable. The spin enhancement is a great bonus. There is no similar string available from any tennis string company.
Ashaway Dynamite is a rough textured multifilament. Great control and spin enhancement.
Gamma Live Wire XP is what I previously used when not playing with natural gut. Yes it's lively and powerful but what makes XP great is the Zyex outer wraps. Zyex gives XP a crisper more "gut like" feel. It also adds durability and helps with tension maintenance. (P.S. Zyex is the material used in Ashaway Mono Gut ZX and Dynamite)
Pro Supex Spiral Flex is a firmer but not stiff playing, solid core synthetic string. Good control and durability. This is a very nice string at a good price.
So although you may be a string breaking beast, there are plenty of durable strings available that won't break your arm. And ironically we just happen to have many of them at your friendly Hardcore Tennis store!
Eric Burke is the owner of Hardcore Tennis in Atlanta. He is Atlanta's 'go-to' guy for string and racquet expertise. He has played since childhood, Division I collegiate and has continued to play Southern & National tournaments.