Want the honest truth about the best tennis strings?
They doesn’t exist. Sorry to disappoint!
Keep reading though, as you’re about to discover that there are actually many, many “best tennis strings”, depending on the individual.
It’s all about finding the right setup for your personal game style, physical attributes, ability level and even choice of tennis racket.
That’s why it’s impossible to answer the title of this article in such a one-dimensional way.
There are just so many contributing factors, so it’s essential to consider all of these to make an informed decision regarding your choice of tennis string.
This article will help you to evaluate all aspects of your game and body in order for you to select that “magical string”.
Understanding String Types
Most amateur tennis players are shocked to discover that the world of tennis strings is something of an ocean of possibilities.
A quick browse online will reveal to you a monstrous range of materials, colors and even shapes!
It’s easy to get lost amongst all the jargon and endless products, so let me lay out the exact string categories for you and explain the performance benefits of each.
These are the most popular tennis strings amongst professional tour level players and good amateur players, alike.
They are a strong, durable monofilament string that supply a low power effect married with heavy topspin. That is assuming, they are paired with solid technique!
Polyester string, or “poly” strings (as they are also known) are only suitable for players who already have developed technique and can generate a lot of power through pure technique.
Beginning players who may struggle to produce power without an elastic type of string should avoid hard polyesters, as using them could create a “jarring” sensation in the body and ultimately lead to injury.
However, if you’re a solid player with well developed strokes and a lot of natural power, then a polyester string could work wonders for your game.
The reason these strings are revered amongst professionals is because it’s possible to take huge cuts at the ball and still get it to land inside the court.
This occurs due to the sliding effect of the string, imparting viscous amounts of topspin to the ball and greatly increasing a player’s margin for error.
It also makes the ball behave more aggressively as it bounces on the opponent’s side of the court.
All of the staff at TheTennisBros.com use polyester strings in their setups, and for good reason! We love them!
Some of the finest examples of popular polyester strings that we have personally reviewed would be:
Babolat RPM Blast – used by Rafael Nadal
Luxilon Alu Power – used by Novak Djokovic
Babolat RPM Blast Rough – used by Dominic Thiem
Natural Gut Strings
If there was an opposite to the above strings, this would be it!
Natural gut is the most powerful, most elastic string on the planet and is loved by professional and amateur players alike.
It’s created from cow intestine that is twisted into a string format in a factory, coated and then sold in a packet.
Its touch on the tennis court is heavenly and it feels like velvet on the arm.
Players who suffer from tennis elbow, wrist and joint pains should serious consider using natural gut as part of their setup.
Even many professionals, such as Andy Murray, who favor polyester strings in their main strings, also combine this with natural gut in their cross strings.
Many players don’t want the overpowering effect of natural gut in their main strings (the strongest contributing factor to a string setup’s performance), but want to experience some of the effects of what natural gut has to offer in terms of its mph capabilities and feel.
Almost all tennis players on tour avoid natural gut in a full bed setup as it’s just too powerful for them to control, but many use it in a hybrid setup, like Murray or even Dominic Thiem.
Thiem actually strings natural gut in the mains and a polyester in the crosses.
However, if you’re an amateur player with arm issues or don’t yet have fully developed strokes, playing with natural gut may be the best tennis string for you. We’d recommend checking out our review of Babolat VS Team.
Synthetic Gut/ Multifilament Strings
These are an artificial copy of the above strings, as indicated in the name, have “multi-filament” properties.
Synthetic gut strings aren’t quite as powerful as natural gut, but still provide plenty of pop! They also provide similar qualities to gut in terms of touch and feel, but again, just aren’t quite as good.
They’re popular amongst club, right up to national level players due to their cost effectiveness, although some of the more premium brands like Wilson NXT aren’t a million miles away from the price of natural gut.
They are, however, a little more durable and will last a little longer, especially during adverse weather conditions.
If you’re looking for a string with similar performance characteristics to natural gut, but you’re working with a budget for your tennis, then this could be the best string for your game, whether as part of a hybrid setup or in a full bed.
I can honestly say that none of us at TheTennisBros.com have ever used Kevlar strings as part of our setups during a match.
They’re a pretty old school string now, so unless you’re trying to conjure up some of the magic and evoke memories of Andre Agassi in his early days, I would suggest you look to the above options!
Kevlar is an extremely hard string which provides the ultimate durability experience, but unless you want to see an injury coming your way, we don’t feel comfortable recommending them. Quite simply, there are just better string options available these days.
Does Your Game Style Complement Your String?
Are you a baseline grinder like Novak Djokovic or are you a classic net rusher like Pat Rafter? Are you somewhere in the middle like Alexander Zverev?
Getting to the bottom of these questions will help you to discover the best tennis string for your game.
Players who tend to stay at the back of the court and dominate from there will generally prefer a harder, polyester string, as the properties of this string lend itself to control and topspin.
Of course, there are exceptions – in fact, Novak Djokovic, who I previously mentioned, does use natural gut in his main strings, but this isn’t the norm on tour and at club level for players of his style.
Nadal is a poly man through and through. It complements his viscious topspin, “grind it out” game style perfectly.
If he was to use a multifilament or gut string, I imagine he would feel like he was spaying balls all over the place!
By contrast, Roger Federer grew up playing with natural gut in a full bed.
However, in his late teens he switched, along with most other professionals, to a hybrid combination, with gut in the mains and poly in the crosses.
This setup IS Roger Federer.
Think about his game.
He has buttery levels of touch and loves to serve and volley.
The gut provides the tool he needs to work with, here.
On serve, he’s got access to plenty of power, but the polyester string helps to tame some of this and give him a little more access to spin on that crazy kick serve of his.
He strings the gut tight – around 57lbs, sometimes, to help maintain control of the ball, and when engaging in long rallies, as he often does, he still feels there’s enough control in his setup to stay on the gas and hit his balls inside the lines.
Roger is the biggest poster boy for gut, if there ever was one!
Where does your game sit between a more modern or classic style?
Which player do you look to emulate when you step out on court?
Of course, we’re all different and individual and there are infinite possibilities between every boundary, but sometimes breaking things down a little more black and white can be useful.
Do you want power or not much power from a string?
Do you value heavy spin or not much spin?
Do you serve and volley or stay at the back of the court?
You might do both, but which is more you?
I’m sure that you get the picture.
Are you Injury Prone?
I’ve touched on this previously in the article, but I will say it again as it’s important.
If you have any severe or recurring injury issues in your wrists or joints, do not go near a polyester string.
Polyester strings are hard strings, originally designed for professional players, but now also enjoyed and benefiting strong amateur players with quality strokes and in physically great shape.
If this is you – then, by all means, start playtesting those polys!
If it isn’t, I think you’ll want to take a look at a quality multifilament string, or if price is no problem, a natural gut string.
What is your Level of Ability?
More advanced players will naturally find themselves gravitating towards polyesters as they will appreciate the value of the fiery levels of topspin and relentless control that they allow you to tap into.
Players still developing their tennis should almost always start with a string that provides a lot of natural elasticity and power, to supplement any “missing” mph that their technique is not ready to supply them with.
If you’re hovering around the middle of these two categories, as I suspect a lot of you reading this article will be (most of our website visitors are medium club level players), then I would advise you to start with a softer polyester string, like RPM Blast, at a low tension in a full bed and carefully monitor your body for any niggles that you didn’t have previously.
If you already possess decent strokes, then I don’t think you will run into any problems.
The goal of this article is certainly not to scare you away from polys if you’re not a professional player!
These are truly wonderful strings that can be enjoyed by players of varying levels.
Your String Tension
For full advice on this, you’ll want to check out my article on selecting the correct string tension.
For general advice though, it’s not enough just to select the best string for your game, you also have to string it at the correct tension.
Much of this will depend on the actual string itself. For instance, you must string natural gut fairly high – ie. over 55lbs as it can literally become a rocket launcher, so to speak, in the 40lb territory!
By contrast, you’ll want to try a little lower with polyesters as they are already very stiff to begin with. For a string like Luxilon Alu Power, start at 50lbs and work your way up or down depending on whether you want a little more pop or control.
Increasing the tension will create a more control orientated feel, but will lessen the racket’s touch. Decreasing the tension will increase levels of feel and provide a noticeable boost in mph.
Also consider the racket you are using when selecting your tennis string.
Stringing an already powerful racket such as a Babolat Pure Drive Tour with a full bed of natural gut could be a recipe for disaster.
A racket like this would much prefer a polyester or hybrid setup (with a poly in the main) in order to balance the racket’s beefy swingweight with control.
It’s also really important to factor your string choice into the equation when deciding on your tennis racket purchase, as both the string and the racket work together to produce the overall performance on court.
Both are just as important as each other.
Optimizing for Max Performance
We hope this article has been useful to you in helping you make an informed decision in selecting your best tennis strings!
I know we’ve enjoyed sharing our knowledge with you.
If you’d like to take things to the next level, we recommend that you check out our best selling, Online Custom Fitting Service.
This is where we personally work with you to find the best possible racket and string combination to get you playing the best tennis of your life.
All you need to do is send us back a detailed questionnaire of your game and even some footage of you playing, if you wish, and we’ll take care of the rest!
We’ve helped many players across the world to unlock tennis they didn’t even know that they possessed and we absolutely love doing it!
Article by: Tom