Home GearStrings Do you break strings?

Do you break strings?

by Jonas Eriksson

Many club players use stiff polyester strings, while they would be better off with multifilament or gut. The key question is: do you break strings?

Most pro players use some form of a polyester string in their racquet. Either in a full bed or as a hybrid. They hit the ball hard and with a lot of spin and break strings every two hours.

Club players might put a poly string in their racquet and the string never breaks. They are playing with a dead string in their racquet for a long time, risking their arm health and not getting the best out of their equipment.

Do you break strings? If not, consider using a multifilament string or at least a hybrid instead of a full bed of polyester strings.

The pros and cons of multifilaments

The polyester string is a great innovation for the sport. When Guga Kuerten started using Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power in 1997 (the string was released in 1994), it inspired a huge change in the industry. Suddenly you could hit as hard as you wanted and the ball would land in! Andre Agassi said that the “new strings felt like cheating.”

There are obvious benefits to using a polyester string. You get better spin and control over gut or multifilament strings. But this difference is most notable when you “move the strings”. In other words, you hit the ball so hard, and at such an angle, that the strings move. Before pros were using polyester strings, you could see them spending their time in between points, moving the strings back in place.

If you are not moving the strings when you hit, you might be better off using a multifilament string.

Pros of multifilament strings

Better feel
Better comfort
More power

Cons of multifilament strings

Lower spin potential
Less control
Less durability

The current trend – in-betweeners

The current trend in the string market is that polyesters and multifilament strings are getting closer. The polys are going softer and the multifilaments are becoming more durable and controlled. There are more strings on the market and more choice for the consumer.

We see it with durable multifilaments like Tecnifibre HDMXHEAD Velocity MLT, and Wilson NXT. But we also see it with softer polys like Solinco Tour Bite Soft, Luxilon Smart, and String Project Magic.

You can now use a full bed of poly without it being stiff as barbed wire. Still, you might not need to. If you’re not breaking strings frequently, a more resistant multifilament might do the trick. You might even prefer natural gut (still holds tension the best) for the ultimate feel or a power string like Tecnifibre X-One Biphase, if you don’t care much about spin.

The options are endless. My advice, take a long hard look at your game and ask yourself what you need and like. Maybe it is time to let go of that stiff poly and try something else? The Tennisnerd consultation service is here if you need help.

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Joakim May 22, 2020 - 07:29

Great advice! Obviously the frame, the gauge and the tension are also factors for how the combined package behaves. One aspect I have noticed when trying a variety of strings is the difference in bite on the ball and the resulting launch angle. For example a full bed of multi like Head Veloctiy MLT doesn’t grab the ball so well with my technique so I will need to adjust my swing and increase my spin movement to obtain the trajectory I am looking for. But comfort and power increases so with such a string in the crosses and a poly in the mains results in a good combo. Point is that strings and string combos lead to different launch angles – that disturbs me quite a lot until I have re-calibrated my swing path. Sometimes I just can’t adapt even if I like the string – or the racket – due to this. Notice it mostly during time pressed shots.

Tennis Lion May 22, 2020 - 09:22

Would love to hear your findings from a comparison of hybrids strung in the two ways mains X crosses. I have only ever used poly in the mains and multi in the crosses, but am thinking of flipping like Fed. Does the multi stay in place ok and is it still prone to breaking, or will poly crosses protect it a bit? I typically use a soft combo like Element & NXT or RPM Team and Sensation.

Tennisnerd May 27, 2020 - 05:14

I am actually doing an experiment like that on Patreon right now. Two matched racquets, same strings, one with poly in the mains and one with it in the crosses. The multi stays okay but will have a slightly shorter lifespan in the mains, but the feel, power, and comfort with the softer string in the mains are better.

Anton May 22, 2020 - 09:54

I’m just following the rule “Never string one string twice. Always try new one.”.

Tennisnerd May 27, 2020 - 05:09

Haha! I know that rule well.

Dubo July 22, 2020 - 17:33

I have been experementing a lot with hybrids, i.e. only multis in the mains and polys in the crosses though with different strings. I have been focusing on mainly 1.25 mm gauges when doing this. I would not reccommend these as they break after around 3 hours of play. Go rather with 1.30 mm gauges for multis and 1.25 mm for polys. Also, not all polys are meant to be matched in a hybrid setup with multis, i.e. Volkl Cyclone. Make sure you do your homework here. One poly I can recommend in a hybrid setup is “Yonex Poly Tour Fire 1.25/16L”. Also, I have extensively tested HEAD Velocity MLT and would definitely not call it durable. Broke after 3 hours of play just like Head Reflex MLT 1.25″.

Ahmed February 15, 2021 - 04:41

Great discussion. I break strings too often, the shortest was 1 hour of play with 17ga NRG2 in Wilson Steam 105s main at 65lbs and crosses at 63lbs. I also play with Prostaff 95s and Prostaff 97 Countervail. For the 95s and 97, I’ve tried NRG2 with tension around 48 and 52lbs string breaks in 6 to 7 hours of play. Many years ago I used luxillon but hurt my elbow since then I’ve been gun shy and only want to use soft multis. I’ve tried NXT with not much luck. I tried the new NXT soft didn’t last much longer. 16 ga lasts a little longer for NRG2. I tried diadem in the 97s it made the racket dead. I’ve now strung the 105s with technifibre Black 16s main 65 lbs and NRG2 16 ga crosses 63 lbs and 95s with same setup but tension at 52lbs for both, haven’t tried it. I do have a heavy top spin but I’m just a club player. I haven’t yet tried RPM Blast for the mains. I’m also planning to try X-one Biphase. Any thoughts would be appreciated


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