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Every Thursday, Zengage brings you a classic correspondence from the Write The Company archives. (For more, see our interview with Write The Company.)
Tennis Lesson from Prince
After serving this letter to Prince Tennis, they sure schooled me with the return
Dear Princes of the Tennis Court:
Youve been making an incredible racket ever since I can remember and Im particularly impressed by the high quality strings Prince produces.
Speaking of strings, who figured out that catgut is a good ingredient for making them? It sounds like a gross idea to me! Why catgut? Why not goatgut or mountainliongut (for super strength strings)? Ive heard theres more than one way to skin a cat, but I cant imagine how youd go about extracting the gut. Too bad I could never work for Prince Tennis because Im highly allergic to cats.
I know there are a variety of quality strings to choose from, so how does that come into play? Do you use alley catgut for cheaper rackets and Siamese catgut for better quality strings? Another weird thing is how you get tennis balls to be so furry. Any of that cat hair blowing through the vents and into the tennis balls factory?
Dont string me along, I really want the answers!
A Global Business Director from Prince Sports responded with
Thank you so much for the letter! Here is an explanation on what the string can do for your racquet/game and what different adjustments you can make. It sounds like you are a tennis player yourself and that you are starting to realize what most players do when they get to a certain level of play which is the strings are the only part of the racquet that actually make contact with the ball (Unless you use the frame on mis-hits like I do very often!). Adjusting the type of string and the tension will provide you with very different playabilities. So lets answer some of your questions.
Question 1) Many people think string were made of cat gut, but that is not the case. We use many different materials and this is what we use now and how that effects tension.
There are four main materials used in tennis string:
Natural Gut (Cow Intestine)
Natural Gut: We no longer use Sheep intestines but currently use cow intestines to make this string. Natural gut is very expensive and is only made in France and England. It typically cost about $50 to string a racquet with Natural gut. The reason for using it is because of it being a natural fiber it will play and be the easiest on the arm since there are well over 6000 individual fibers in the string. Typically strung between 50 and 60 lbs.
Multifilaments: are strings designed to imitate how Natural Gut plays. These strings are very comfortable on the arm and typically have between 500 and 1500 fibers in them. These string cost about half as much as Natural gut so they are much more popular plus they last longer and are not affected by moisture like natural gut. String at regular recommended tensions that are listed on all tennis racquets.
Polyesters: This is a new group of strings that are stiffer, more durable and provide less power. Many tour players are using this type of string in their racquets to help them control the ball. Since it is harder on the arm many will use this type of string in ½ of their racquet and combine it with either Natural Gut or Multifilaments to make it more comfortable. This type of string is called a Hybrid because you can blend the Polyester which is very durable with a more comfortable string. This type of string need to be strung 10% looser due to their stiffness.
Nylons: This is the most popular string on the market and is made from Nylon which is like a soft plastic. You can combine many different materials and colors to make it fun, more durable and even add texture to improve spin. String at regular recommended tensions that are listed on all tennis racquets.
Question 2) What are some of Princes Recommended tensions and why?
Tension is very player specific! Here are some general rules to follow.
The lower the tension the more power.
The higher or tighter will provide less power and more control.
All tennis racquets will have a recommended tension range typically around 10 lbs. Example:
50 to 60 lbs on Mid Plus (95 to 100 square inch headsize)
55 to 65 lbs on Oversize (105+ in square inch headsize)
Most people will start in the middle of the tension range on their racquet and then go up or down depending upon their need for more power or control.
Keep up the good work and keep playing Tennis!
Prince Sports deserves a standing ovation for this incredibly informative response. The reply leaves a lasting impression that youre dealing with true professionals on and off the court with a passion for educating consumers and progressing the game for players. Whether you already play tennis, or are considering starting, make sure to check out Prince Tennis. Finally, when you purchase products, sometimes there are and sometimes there arent strings attached. One way to find out the real story is to Write The Company.
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