Category Archives: PEEK
Has this ever happened to you? The string just breaks! For no reason, it just breaks!
Well, a closer look will tell a different story. The failure is referred to as a “mis-hit”, or “shank”, and is caused by hitting the ball at the junction of the string bed and racquet frame.
If look closely you will see a little yellow ball fuzz on the first broken string. So, if you are going to try to “sell” your story that it “just broke” be sure to clean off the ball fuzz before taking it back to the racquet technician. Keep in mind, however, that most racquet technicians have seen this failure before. Don’t try to fool them! 😉
All string materials are subject to this failure but some stand out as potential easy breakers. Thin gauge natural gut, probably the best racquet string ever, will fail at a load like this. Thin gauge PEEK string is likely to fail, as is some thin polyester based string. The point is almost any string will give up when encountered with massive head speed and a “mis-hit”.
As always be certain the grommets are in good condition especially around this area of the racquet.
I don’t normally post about string failure in a positive way but today is special!
This is the date the racquet was strung…
Today is 3/24/2016! The string is broken! 229 days!
In the interest of full disclosure this player has three (3) racquets and plays about 2-4 days a week (yes, I think he does have a job)! So, even if you divide this number of days by 3 it is still 76 days. Pretty good, I would say!
The string is Ashaway Monogut ZX Pro, Black, 17 gauge (1.22mm) strung at 55 pounds (24.95kg)
Well, I made it to see 2016 arrive! I am not sure why I stayed up but it does commit me to pay attention to what may happen in the coming year.
I think the big story for 2016 is going to be more string related than racquet related. Why? Because manufacturers can “turn around” a string model much quicker than a racquet model, and, there are significant areas for improvement in selecting the correct string material for each player physicality and style.
String characteristics, materials, tensions, and applications are confusing to many and rightly so. This year I want to continue the “educational” effort and invite anyone with something to contribute to speak up.
My motto for 2016 is “Speak Up…Then String Up”
The “Eddie Herr” is the largest Junior international tennis tournament in the world, and Jack Anthrop is ready for the Eddie!
Jack is using a Head Graphene XT MPA (16×19 format) fitted with Ashaway Monogut ZX. Jack has been using this string for several years and is having really good results as evidenced by his main draw selection into this tournament!
Good luck to Jack, and Maya, (don’t have a picture) and all the participants from all over the world, in this very important tournament!
The Eddie Herr International Tournament is held at the IMG facility in Bradenton, FL beginning November 26 and continuing through December 6th. This tournament has been the “springboard” for players like Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova and many other professional players over the years.
I have a bunch of customers using Ashaway Monogut ZX and ZX Pro and it is time to give them credit for their performances!
Brittany Taglierini is the latest conversion and she likes the extra energy she gets especially on her serve. This can be contributed to the high elongation which is power potential.
Samantha had been using a custom hybrid with a fluorocarbon main string and Monogut ZX as the cross string. Recently she converted to 100% Monogut ZX Black and has continued to win, with the latest being a Super Series in Florida.
Plus, she has over thirty (30) hours of play on one of her racquet! Incredible! And good news, of course.
Ashaway, a US company, makes Monogut ZX and ZX Pro which are monofilament strings using 100% PEEK material, no polyester!
As most of you know I am a big fan of Ashaway Monogut ZX (16g) and ZX Pro (17G) string. These models are PEEK mono filament strings that resemble polyester strings but these contain no polyester!
Here is the latest PR from Ashaway for your review.
Please let me know if you have any questions, and of course if you want to try this string.
This has been an incredible year filled with challenges, great rewards, learning, and teaching!
One of the greatest challenges is making sure that tennis players of all ages can continue to play without injury. This is especially true of younger players that subject themselves to many hours of training and tournaments.
Along with all that hitting comes the risk of arm and shoulder injuries so this year has been filled with research, design, formatting, and experimenting with various string material combinations.
I would like to thank the folks at Acelon Racquet Sports for their tremendous support of our research, and, of course, continuing trial and error! There are many suppliers of tennis string that have contributed but Acelon has stepped up with an extraordinary array of string materials, and configurations. Thank you Dan!
Ashaway Line & Twine Manufacturing has also played a major role in our string research and our commitment to minimize injuries. The Ashaway Monogut ZX has proven to be an outstanding product in fulfilling our commitment. Thank you Steve!
Our commitment to “injury free” tennis will continue as long as I do this and I appreciate the contribution of many suppliers and players. Without the honest and clear feedback of the players it would be impossible to make as much progress as we did this year.
2015 is going to be a very good year! We will be challenged, rewarded, taught and will teach! I am looking forward to it!
Happy New Year!
Of all my clients a small percentage, maybe up to ten (10) percent, suffer from premature string failure.
If you are one of these ten (10) percent this post may shed some light on the reason(s) or at least offer some sympathy!
First, what is premature string failure?
In the case of the ten (10) percent it is “the string broke”. Period.
Players are experiencing failure in less than ten (10) hours and some in less than two (2) hours. Unless you are a touring professional this may be too often! I understand that so we try to accommodate your desired “cost per hour” threshold.
So, premature failure is less than ten (10) hours of playing time before breaking.
Here are some contributors to this failure…
String Gauge: the thinner (higher number) the more quickly it will break, typically.
String Tension: lower tensions, or SBS, String Bed Stiffness, the more the strings will move which creates friction which causes notching, which, well you know.
String Movement: See above. There is some belief that string moving will create more top spin.
String Pattern: the fewer number of strings the more open the pattern will be and allow more movement.
Racquet Stiffness: a very stiff racquet (RDC 70+) will put more of the impact load on the string, significantly, leading to decreased string life.
Spin: to generate spin you must swing from low to high with plenty of force (harder) causing the strings to move more.
Training: if you are hitting for two (2) hours in training it may be like playing several tournaments.
Mis-Hits: hitting the ball close to the racquet frame creates increased stress on the string and results in “shearing” the string.
As you know there are many more reasons a string may break prematurely and some of it has to do with the away the strings are installed in your racquet but that is another post.
What should you do about premature string breakage?
If your situation is chronic you should consider a more dense string pattern. A pattern of 18 x 20 is a good pattern for increased durability. The dense pattern does not allow the strings to move so freely.
Of course if you are currently using a very open pattern, typically fewer cross strings, in hopes of maximum top spin then you are in for frequent stringing! I hope you enjoy the “spin”!
You may consider a hybrid format with a monofilament main string and a different cross string. Monofilaments are typically polyester based and can be a contributor to arm pain. Monogut ZX by Ashaway is a monofilament made using PEEK (no polyester) and makes a really good hybrid format, and does not put extra stress on the arm.
Consider using a larger diameter (lower number) string. It makes sense that the thicker the string the longer it will take to “saw” through it. A sacrifice in “playability may occur!
Once you determine how much per hour you are willing to spend on string we can design a string setup for you that can contribute to your tennis enjoyment and still leave some money for other things!
Respond to this post with your “cost per hour” threshold and I will respond with a possible solution. How’s that?
At my last count there are over 350 different strings available from which to choose! Add to that number the racquet size, string pattern, and racquet stiffness!
How in the world can you choose from all these variables? Well, here is a clue.
Determine what is most important to you; cost or performance. If performance is your top priority then you select a good natural gut. Expect to pay over $65.00 for the top of the line and about $55.00 for other variations of natural gut. Babolat, for example, offers “VS” as the top end and “Tonic” as the value alternative.
If cost is your priority head for a nylon “synthetic gut” and expect to shell out at least $20.00. The term “synthetic gut” has little or no bearing on the quality of the string. These strings are primarily nylon, the most popular and important material for racquet string. Do not reject a string because it says “nylon” on the package!
Smack in the middle of the offerings is “multi-filament” string. This format consists of several strands of many materials designed to stretch and react to impact with a softer feel. This category offers a great alternative to natural gut and may offer performance advantages over “synthetic gut”, and, expect to pay around $35.00. Tecnifibre is one of many brands that offers several multi-filament strings.
This is a simple snapshot of the range but what if you want maximum “spin” without regards to anything else? The first reaction to this desire is to opt for the popular “polyester” based string and those that refer to themselves as “co-poly” strings. Polyester strings have been around for many years and have found a “home” within the professional ranks for the following reason: the string slips (displaced) easily and since they are slippery they want to return to where they started so this quick movement can contribute to the ball rotation we call “spin”.
But, when the ball is spinning it is not going as far given the same force from you! So, because most polyester strings are very stiff, you must swing harder to get the ball to go as far as you want and a harder swing will in fact contribute to “spin”. Many say “I can hit harder with polyester string”! Not only can they hit harder, they must hit harder!
Before selecting a very stiff polyester based string consider your options very carefully. A relatively new option is PEEK string. Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) string is not new but the new monofilament products are recent. The advantage of this material is that it has very high elongation meaning it is softer on impact which translates to “arm friendly”, it is very slippery meaning it will displace and snap back similar to polyester based string. The premier manufacturer of PEEK string is a US company Ashaway Line & Twine Company in Ashaway, RI!
So, determine how much you want to pay for a given set of performance factors then contact a qualified racquet technician to discuss your options.
If you have any questions you can contact me or leave a comment on the site.