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Crazy string patterns

by TN

I got an email from a fellow tennis nerd about Mark Woodforde’s racquet (12×16!) Let’s look at some crazy string patterns!

In the history of tennis racquets, there have been some crazy string patterns. One of the most famous is the Snauwaert Hi-Ten 30 racquets with a 12×13 string pattern. The only way to play with those frames and get control was to string them tight and use a thick string. If I’m not mistaken, the one I had came with a 1.50 or 1.60 gauge string.

Mark Woodforde played with the Snauwaert at first, and then Wilson made a custom racquet for him with a similar profile and a 12×16 string pattern.

12×13 is the most open pattern I’ve heard of, but Wilson did try to create something similar with their Spin Effect racquets some years back. Some racquets had 15×16, but my favorite was the 18×16 of the Wilson Six One 95S.

What happens if your string pattern is very open? Meaning: relatively few cross strings and main strings? Well, you increase string movement, and you’re going to get a more unpredictable launch angle from the string bed. The tighter the string bed (18×20 is the most common control string pattern), the better control you get generally. A tight string pattern is not only about the number of mains and cross strings, it’s also about how the drill pattern is placed. A 16×19 can be quite open, but also more closed with the string holes closer together for example.

Crazy string patterns

12×13 can be called crazy, but if we go in the other direction, the HEAD Radial had a 22×23 string pattern for maximum control. And Agassi used a 20×21 string pattern in his Radical Tour OS, while the retail version was 18×19. Why? To achieve a more controlled response.

Prince had a period where you could change the string pattern, going either 16×19, which is the most common string pattern these days or 16×16 for more spin potential and a higher launch angle.

Prince is the brand that has experimented quite a bit with string patterns. They recently launched the Prince Synergy 98 with an 18×18 string pattern or the Vortex 100 with a 14×21 string pattern! Some years back they launched the Phantom 93P with a 14×18 string pattern.

The most common string patterns

But in general, there are not many string patterns on the market.

18×20 is the most control-oriented string pattern, mainly targeted towards advanced players. Racquets such as the Prestige Pro 2021, Blade V8, Tecnifibre TF40.
16×19 is the most common pattern. Used in both control racquets (95-98 sq inches) and oversize racquets
18×19 is used more rarely, but you see it in Tecnifibre Tfight RS 305 and the HEAD Prestige MP 2021
16×20 is a bit more common. Used in racquets like: Yonex VCORE 95, Babolat Pure Aero VS, Toalson Forty-Love.
16×18 is a Prince favorite. Used in Prince Textreme Tour 100 310 and Twistpower 100X to name two.

The string pattern is a part of the overall racquet performance and not the most important one.

What string pattern do you like and did you ever try a “crazy” one?

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Nick January 26, 2022 - 17:23

I have a couple of Wilson Blade v4 BLX pro stocks with an 18×17 pattern. Absolutely love these frames… my shots never seem to go out with them!

António January 26, 2022 - 18:06

I have an Head Radial just like the one pictured in your post, played with it on my late teens, early 20’s, I remember it was a nightmare to have it restrung, some stringer even told me the racquet was strung like a badminton racquet
The only 16×20 I have is my Avery M3 control.
I usually like open string patterns on small head sized racquets (95 sq.i. or smaller), and 18×20 on 98 sq.i. head sized, or bigger – and I really don’t like anything bigger than 98 sq.i.

Hans January 26, 2022 - 20:52

RZR Bubba 18 X 21

Jonas H January 26, 2022 - 23:21

I grew up with a Spalding aluminum frame which has an 18×21 string pattern, and leather grip! In later years I have liked 18×20 patterns, but also 16×19. Tested a friend’s Extreme MPA (can have 16×19 or 16×16) in the more open pattern, but didn’t like it a single bit. The ball flew all over. Lately I am playing with a VCORE 95 (16×20), and really like the versatile nature of the racquet. It is fairly easy to chose flat or loopy shots on the fly.

Thurai January 27, 2022 - 20:53

Pro Kennex Micro Ace, I believe one model was 22×30. Remember seeing it as a kid but can’t recall I actually played with it. Must be a nightmare to string.

Jonas H January 31, 2022 - 22:33

Must feel like a board unless you string it very low?


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