Are the strings more important than the racquet? This sounds like a silly question. But hear me out because there is a point to be made.
Well, the silly answer to: Are the strings more important than the racquet? Is: Yes! Because otherwise, it will be challenging to hit the ball!
Let’s get a bit more serious. The strings are essential. They are the ones that make contact with the ball. And the strings offer different variables to play around with like gauge, type, shape, and tension. You can ruin a great racquet with the wrong string/tension, but on the other hand, it’s difficult to save a terrible racquet with a good string. But we don’t need to get to extremes here. Both the racquet and the strings are important. I would say of equal importance because they need to work together. This is why we talk about a “racquet setup”, where the aim is to get things to work harmoniously for your game.
What is a racquet setup?
A racquet setup means everything that goes into your racquet. From grip, weight added, dampener (or power pads), strings and tension. This is highly personal from player to player. And once you get used to a setup, it becomes difficult to imagine playing with anything else. That is why professional players get matched racquets. Each racquet they have in the bag are supposed to play exactly the same. In my experience (and many pros would agree), even if you match your racquets, you will have a favorite racquet in the bunch that feels a bit better than the rest. No racquet is a hundred percent identical, so this personal bias will always be there. Case in point, I have six Six One 95 nCode racquets, but one that I play with almost every single time. It has the perfect spec for me and feels right.
That was a bit of a tangent, but back to the main point.
How important are the strings?
The string setup is important. Some racquets and players are highly string sensitive. They play great with one string setup but bad with another. Some racquets and players are not sensitive at all. You will be fine if you stick with a decent string in a similar category.
Some players can’t use anything other than polyester strings. They might play with a lot of top spin and enjoy the snapback and control they feel with a poly string. Other players can’t gel with the stiffness of a poly, but stay with multifilament or gut. And then we have a group that like the best of both worlds, a hybrid setup with for example, a natural gut and a poly string. There is a reason you see pros like Federer, Djokovic and Murray all use this kind of string setup.
So when you find your racquet (if you struggle, you can get a racquet/string consultation), you’re about halfway on your journey to a setup you like. Perhaps you already have a string you use for everything, but you might also need to investigate what’s best for your new racquet.
I tend to have a few go-to strings and setups that I like, depending on the type of racquet. Looking at my results, I play my best tennis with a natural gut hybrid in a control racquet. That’s where I feel most at home. But we’re all different, perhaps you like a spin string like Lynx Tour in a HEAD Extreme? Or you are perhaps sensitive with your arm and prefer multifilament strings? Like I always say, you must play with what works for you.