Tennis String Tension Explained
Let’s start with the basics. A lower string tension will be characterised by more power and a higher string tension more control. A lower string tension will also be more forgiving on your body by absorbing more vibrations, as well as generating more effortless power and depth on your shots.
The recommended string tension for a modern tennis racket is typically around 50-60lbs (22.5kg – 27kg), this can also usually be found on the inside of the throat of the racket or somewhere on the frame.
We would suggest not to exceed the recommended string tension which your racket recommends but it would be fine to string it a lower tension than recommended as this is not going to put any additional stress on your frame, whereas stringing at a higher tension could damage the racket.
Now that some of the basics have been explained we will discuss in a little more depth the recommended string tension for different types of tennis string.
Recommended string tension for polyester tennis strings: As polyester strings are the toughest and most durable tennis string by nature it’s advised not to string these tighter than 55lbs / 25kgs. Firstly, polyester strings are characterised as having great control, so they do not need to be strung at a higher tension to achieve this. Secondly, polyester strings will have less playability and will generate more vibration at a higher tension which will not be good for your game or your body. The game has changed a lot in recent years and it’s not uncommon for professional players to play with polyester strings in the high 40s.
Recommended string tension for multifilament tennis strings: Unlike polyester, multifilament tennis strings are soft and forgiving meaning that they will play great across a wider range of tension options. We would suggest a higher tension for multifilament tennis strings of between 55lbs and 60lbs. Firstly, multifilament strings are powerful by nature so stringing them in the higher range will enable you to maintain control on your shots. Secondly, the tension retention on multifilament strings isn’t as good as polyester so these strings will naturally loose some tension when you play. Finally, multifilament strings generate less vibration, so injury is less of a risk with this string type.
There are some other variables to consider when deciding on a suitable string tension and what we are talking about here are your playing conditions such as the court surface and weather, particularly if you are playing your tennis in the UK.
Recommended string tension for slow playing conditions: Examples of slow playing conditions include slower court surfaces such as clay, outdoor synthetic courts, and slower outdoor hardcourts. Slow playing conditions also include playing outdoors during the winter months where damp and heavy tennis balls require more physical effort and exertion compared to warmer conditions. For conditions outlined above a lower string tension would be desirable to generate a decent amount of power, spin, and depth on your shots. Here in the UK the seasons play a big part in your string tension selection, particularly if playing outdoors during the winter. It’s therefore a good idea to adopt a winter and summer tension to play at your best no matter the weather.
Recommended string tension for fast playing conditions: Examples of fast playing conditions include grass courts, carpet courts, indoor courts, and faster outdoor hardcourts. Faster playing conditions can also be apparent if you are lucky enough to be able to play indoors during the winter months or when playing outdoors in warm, dry conditions. For conditions outlined above a higher tennis string tension would be recommended to help you gain control of your shots in the faster conditions. As mentioned above if you are playing on multiple surfaces with varying conditions it’s important to have a racket set up which can handle each condition to help give you the edge over your opponent.
In summary we really believe a custom string tension can be a massive benefit to your game. It’s important to assess the string type and playing conditions before making your decision. If you are still unsure of which string tension to opt for, we would suggest that you start in the middle of what your racket recommends, which will usually be around 55lbs. If you feel the racket has too much control reduce the tension by a few pounds the next time that it needs stringing. If you feel the racket is too powerful then increase the tension by a few pounds.