Welcome to tennis LOW TENSION Club
So as you already know strings play huge part in final performance. How about the tensions?
In general you should play with as low tension as possible until you loose too much control. Lower tensions give more power, more comfort, longer dwell time so in theory better spinpotential. In short – strings with lower tension are slightly more efficient.
Oldschool trend ?
You can see many pro players using a hybrid of a stiff poly with a very soft natural gut. The overall „stiffness” of the stringbed can be much lower than your „full poly” setup at the same or even lower tension. On top of that pro players have much higher racket head speed so it’s easier for them to crush the ball and really bend the string / bite into the ball.
You can slightly cheat and experience similar response by lowering your string tension. String industry is slightly changing. We see more and more pro players using full-poly setups. We see more and more players using lighter specs. So it makes sense to see also lower tensions in those racquets.
Lower tension = more comfort, more power, more spin potential, higher launch angle
Higher tension = stiffer feel, more control, less spin potential, lower launch angle
So who is already in the pro club of lower tensions?
The king of low tension setup is probably Mannarino with around 11 kg tension setup. That’s pretty crazy if you ask us but for sure he can make the ball fly with that setup.
But there are more players:
Ugo Humbert – 22kg
Bautista Agut – 22kg
Joe Salisbury – around 22/21kg
Cameron Norrie – 19kg
Lloyd Harris – 20 kg
Lorenzo Sonego - 19kg/18kg or 21kg/20kg
Frances Tiafoe – 20kg
Dominik Koepfer – 20.5 kg
Ugo Humber – 23kg
Alexander Bublik – 24kg/22kg (maybe not super low main but with 2kg drop on crosses itmakes quite interesting combo)
Fernando Verdasco – 23kg/22 kg or 24kg/22kg (he changes his tensions quite a lot)
And we promise that there are many more on the tour rocking with low tension setups. Additionaly if we look at up-coming young gen players they usually are used to lower tensions already.
Many string producers are already encouraging to string their strings 10-15% lower than usual. We think it’s a good advice. Especially for younger players. It’s never a good thing when we see young players copy the specs of players from tour.
For reminder – 300g racket isreally enough to play at level that is needed on tour. The usuall skipped spec is swing weight which is maybe the most important spec in tennis. It determines how fast you can swing, howheavy the swing „feels” and the potential of the performance. Timing is everything, feel is everything. Keep that in mind please 😊
But what strings are good in low tension setups ?
That’s maybe very personal but from our experience the string should already be quite stiffitself so you still have that sense of control. Additionally you will be getting slightly more durability with stiffer strings. Another reason why stiffer string might be better for lower tension is launch angle. From our very subjective experiences stiffer strings can perform a bit more „neutral” in low tension setups while those softer strings can be hard to control and the ball might be flying everywhere.
Another aspect to consider is energy return potential. For extreme low tensions we would suggest to pick the string that has low energy return %. This will also provide you with additional feel and control needed for a low tension combination.
Last but not least – string gauges. Thicker gauges are more durable, have better tension maintenance (usually) and have less energy return and lower launch angle. Everything together it makes perfect sense to try those at lower tensions.
You can really go lower in tension if you are using 18x20 or 18x19 string patterns. Additionally by changing from 16x19 to 18x20 pattern you can automatically drop tension by 1 or 2kg. For example Goffin used to experiment with 16x19 Blade and he increased tensionby 1 kg going from his 18x20 Blade. He was looking for a bit more comfort in 16x19 pattern but at the end returned to his trusty 18x20 pattern. It’s hard to change a setup that gave you somany wins on pro tour.
From Mayami strings the best option to experiment with low tensions would be Hit Pro or Tour Hex. Try them in your control oriented, low powered, lower specs (295-310g) racquets(SW between 310-323) at 20kg or 21kg and see how it feels.
We might be introducing a new game-changer string in a future that can suit low tension club philosophy 😊