Rafael Nadal's tennis strings and what can we learn from it
The best player in the history (if we look at the Grand Slam record- 21). It makes perfect sense to study his game and gear.
His racquet is a Babolat Pure Aero - big headsize (100”), thick beam, obviously customized to his specs which are quitehefty. His grip size is L2 which is supposed to offer more spin potential. String pattern is 16x19 and the stiff design in general will offer a very powerful response. In general Babolat racquets are indeed focused on power and spin but is his framereally a power-monster?
In my opinion the response he „experiences” is not so far away from 98”, flexy frames with tighter 16x19 patterns (likeWilson Blade, Tecnifibre TF40 and Head Radical MP). Whereis his secret?
Obviously in the strings 😊
Nadal’s top strings would probably be RPM Blast 1.35 (with that he won most of his grand slams) and Luxilon Original(1.30) that he was playing with briefly. It was probably the most popular string in Spain and Nadal’s guru Carlos Moyáwas using it on the tour as well. On top of that you also had Juan Carlos Ferrero (currently coaching Carlos Alcaraz) and David Ferrer in Luxilon Original camp.
Even on Luxilon website you can read that Big Banger Original is „widely used by players who developed theirgames on clay courts”.
Let’s check out the numbers behind those two strings:
Stiffness: 213 Original and 237 RPM Blast 1.35 (15L)
Energy return: 85% Original and 86% RPM Blast 1.35 (15L)
Nadal is playing with a stiffer strings that can tame the "natural” power of his frame. Instead he can use his techniqueand pure energy from his body. We all know Nadal is one of the most explosive players on the tour. Of course big head size enables strings to move a bit more as they have more spacebut the very thick 1.35 gauge is very hard to „bend” which encourages to take bigger cuts on the ball.
Gauge pro tip reminder:
Thinner gauges = more comfort, more power, more spin potential, less control
Thicker gauges = more durability, more control, less power, less spin potential (bite)
On top of that Nadal’s string tension is 25kg/25kg. It’s quite high especially for that kind of string gauge and stiffness.
But during last Australian Open 2022 something has changed. Nadal despite his very super stitious nature decided to change his setup. He changed to a thinner 1.30 gauge. But of coursethe real quest is simple: can you get a bit more without making any sacrifices?
Possible reasons for the change:
- hard courts have lower bounce so the upward motion of the racquet-path is slightly less aggresive. It’s more effective to hit through instead of „up”. Of course Nadal is hitting through the ball every time but the intention is a bit different. If the racquet-path is slightly more linear then the strings are less overloaded. Strings can now last slightly longer and it’s easier to hit the ball clean. With the thinner gauge and small adjustments Nadal should get more penetration with his shots and as heavy ball as with his previous 1.35 gauge.
- easier to play – more power, more forgiveness, more comfort - game is changing. Young guns are coming up with their modern frames, modern strings or tensions. It makes sense that Nadal is looking for solutions to keep the advantage on his side
The real question - will he keep using thinner gauge for Roland Garros? Overall I think he will stick to 1.30 gauge and apply technical and tactical solutions to his game for the clay. It’s better to practice with same setup and maybe slightly adjust the tension.
Mayami team is now working on the perfect formula of the new string in the offer. We could say it’s Spain – inspired 😊Born on the clay courts, raised on the hard courts – next-gen performance without sacrificing comfort. Prototypes arealready flying around the world getting feedback from our Mayami Pro Team members and professional players on the tour.
We can’t wait to show you the finished product ! It will be amazing.