Polyester Tennis Strings: The Choice of the Pros

Walk into any stringing room on the pro tour – especially on the men’s side, and you’ll see polyester tennis string…  tons of it.  Polyester tennis strings, commonly referred to as polys, have almost completely replaced natural gut as the string choice of the pros.  (Note:  Many pros still use natural gut as the cross strings in hybrid setups – with polys in the mains.)  Why is this?  Why are polys being used by an overwhelming amount of pros?  Allow me to explain…

In the modern era of tennis, players are physically strong, and racquet technology has evolved to create powerful frames.  In contrast to past decades, pro tennis players do not need power from their strings.  In fact, they need the exact opposite – they need low-powered strings that temper the power of their bodies and their frames and provide more control.  Polys meet these needs perfectly.

Polys are stiff, low-powered strings.  As such, polys allow players to take big, fast swings at the ball, and because of the fast racquet head speed, players are able to generate insane amounts of topspin – the kind of topspin that makes the ball dive out of the air and land just inside the lines.

And of all the various polyester string brands on the market, Luxilon is, by far and away, the most popular.  In fact, according to Luxilon’s website, 51% of all racquets strung at the 2008 Sony Ericsson Open contained Luxilon in the mains, crosses, or both.  (And of those players using Luxilon, the majority of them were using it in a full stringbed – both mains and crosses.)  While I do not have any hard data to support this, I believe Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power is the most popular type of Luxilon string on tour.

There is something incredibly special about freshly strung Luxilon (freshly being the key word – as it loses playability fairly quickly).  The pros know this, and they choose Luxilon – despite the fact that Luxilon does not pay anyone to use their strings.  (Sure, the elite of the elite get free string from Luxilon, but no one gets sponsorship money.)  According to Luxilon’s blog “Luxilon on Tour“…

Luxilon is one of the few companies – and maybe the onlycompany – in professional tennis that does not pay top players who use its products. It does provide free product to a number of players – but the majority of top players do, in fact, purchase Luxilon strings.

In an industry in which millions are paid to players to use manufacturers’ products, the fact that the majority of top players choose to purchase and play with Luxilon strings, in preference to receiving compensation for using other manufacturer’s products, says more about the quality and performance of Luxilon than any ad or marketing hype.

To me, this speaks volumes about the playability of Luxilon.

Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power Rough is my personal string of choice (full bed), and it has been for almost a year and a half now.  Like many players, I tried Alu Power Rough because the pros use it, but…  I continue to play with it because of its outstanding playability and the incredible spin/action I get on the ball with it.  Over the past year and a half, I’ve tried other strings – even several hybrid setups, but I always quickly return to Alu Power Rough.  Like J011yRoger, a fellow board member on Talk Tennis, wrote, “Alu Power Rough is like gray crack.” 

And I am addicted.

Thanks for checking in.


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  1. Clair says:

    What is the life or playability time for Luxilon? How frequently should it be changed to maintain playability? One rule of thumb I have heard for club players would be to change strings during the year based on how many times you play during the week, i.e. three times per week then change strings at least three times in a year. Would Luxilon require more frequent changing? Your thoughts?

  2. David Henry says:

    Hey Clair – thanks for the questions. I plan to create a video review of Luxilon Alu Power Rough soon, so please be on the lookout for it. In the meantime, I’ll try to answer your questions here… I usually play with Alu for about 8 hours worth of singles, and then I cut it out and re-string. When fresh, Alu is magical, IMO. However, it does tend to lose playability fairly quickly.

    You are correct in that there is a general rule-of-thumb that, if you’re not a string breaker, you should re-string as many times a year as you play in a week. I guess this rule is fine, but it is very general – as different strings lose tension/playability at different rates. But to answer your question… Yes, Luxilon (or any other co-polyester string) should be re-strung more frequently.

    Again, please be on the lookout for an upcoming video review of Luxilon Alu Power Rough where I’ll re-address these questions and also cover other aspects of the string.



  3. Sleekdj says:

    At what tension do you string Luxilon Alu Power Rough? Do you follow the “10% lower than synthetic gut” rule?

  4. David Henry says:

    Hey Sleekdj – thanks for the comment/questions. I currently string Alu Power Rough at 57 lbs. Let me share with you my story in order to give you some perspective on the “10% lower than synthetic gut” rule…

    Before I switched to a full bed of Alu Power Rough, I was using some of the higher-end multifilament synthetic gut strings at 65 lbs. When I first switched to Alu, I dropped the tension to 62 lbs. – a 4.6% decrease. Over time, I gradually kept tweaking the tension downward in 1 lb. increments until I finally settled in at 57 lbs. – a 12.3% decrease over my original synthetic tension of 65 lbs. I really like the way it plays for me at 57 lbs. I haven’t tried it yet, but I might be able to even take it down a couple of more pounds and still have it play well for my game.

    I hope this helps. Take care.


  5. LPShanet says:

    A good analysis of how poly strings work and why the pros use them. Nice to see correct info in the sea of misinformation out there about this type of string.

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