A couple of years ago the trend was for tennis racquet companies to produce very open spin-friendly string patterns, so called spin “patterns”. What happened to them?
The Wilson Steam 99S was one of the most popular racquets of the bunch and it took it as a far as it goes really with its 15×16 string pattern producing a massive spin on the ball but also breaking strings at a faster rate than ever before. This led to thicker gauge strings like Luxilon 4G S in (1.41) to be able to handle the wear and tear. What this leads to is however wear and tear on joints such as elbows, shoulders and wrists. Especially since most spin racquets are rather firm/stiff.
There were all kinds of attempts with different string patterns and I think Wilson was the company who went most aggressively in that direction. One of the most popular spin effect racquets today is the Wilson Pro Staff 97S, endorsed by Grigor Dimitrov (and later this year to be launched in a Countervail version) but the Wilson Blade 98S also has an ardent following.
Another successful racquet was the highly reviewed Wilson Six One 95S, that was a favorite of Tennis Warehouse reviewer Chris Edwards. It is actually a really nice racquet that you now can get for around 99 USD. A related trend to the spin effect racquets is the adaptive racquet tech that is now championed by Dunlop and HEAD. Dunlop had a highly customizable series called iDapt that didn’t sell well at all (makes you wonder about the future about Dunlop) and HEAD has recently released the HEAD Speed Graphene Touch Adaptive and the HEAD Instinct Graphene Touch Adaptive where you have 32 different tuning set-ups in the same racquet (extra length, more open string pattern – 16×16, weightier grommets).
Here’s a short clip of yours truly playing some practice points with the Wilson Six One 95S:
So the spin pattern is alive, but not kicking. What seems to be the most popular string pattern right now is 16×19, followed by 18×20, 16×18 and 18×19. Pretty standard patterns that give you control and a reliable ball trajectory.
What did you think about the spin effect racquets and so called spin patterns? Did you try them? Are you still using them? Please share in the comments below!