Roger Federer’s String Setup

Roger Federer, arguably the best tennis player of all-time, plays with an interesting hybrid string setup in his Wilson KSix-One racquets.  Most other top pros who play with hybrid string setups use polyester-based strings in the mains and natural gut in the crosses.  Fed does the opposite.  He uses Wilson Natural Gut (actually produced in France by Babolat) in the mains and my personal string of choice, Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power Rough, in the crosses.

The natural gut mains give him power and touch/feel while the Alu Power Rough crosses temper the gut’s power – thus providing him a bit of extra control – and generate an incredible amount of spin.  Conventional wisdom states that a hybrid stringbed takes on more of the playing characteristics of the mains than the crosses.  If this is true (I’m still not sold on this belief.), Fed’s setup plays closer to a full gut stringjob as opposed to a fully poly stringjob.

This hybrid is certainly not the most durable setup in existence – as the stiff, textured Alu Power Rough crosses will saw through the soft natural gut rather quickly, but I don’t think Fed is too worried about durability.  He has the luxury of being a Priority One client and having Ron Yu as his personal stringer at all Grand Slams and Masters Events.

Thanks for checking in.


Filed Under: Pro Tour Stringing

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  1. Hey — great blog…

    One question about this post: Babolat makes the Wilson gut strings? Does Babolat make all the Wilson gut strings or just the particular strings that Fed uses?

    Thanks in advance — Chris Oddo

  2. David Henry says:

    Hey Chris. Thanks for the kind words about my blog.

    I’ve never been told by Wilson that their gut is made by Babolat, but it is a widely known fact among the stringing community. As you can imagine, there are not many factories in the world that produce tennis strings – and even fewer that produce natural gut. So… Wilson simply has Babolat private label it for them. Private labeling is very common in the tennis string industry. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some brands like Luxilon, Tecnifibre, Babolat, Pacific, and others that have their own factories, but there are also many brands that use contract manufacturing facilities for private labeling. For example, if you look at the back of some string sets for certain brands, it will read, “Manufactured in [Country Name] for [Tennis Company Name]” – with “for” being the key word, not “by”. Or… “Manufactured in [Country Name] according to [Tennis Company Name]’s standards.” Anyway…

    Wilson only sells three string sets that contain gut – 16 gauge, 17 gauge, and the Champion’s Choice hybrid (Fed’s setup). To my knowledge, all are Babolat-produced gut.

    Take care.


  3. Grant says:

    How would Wilson NXT or NXT Tour do as a hybrid? I find it plays close to natural gut and less than half the price.

  4. David Henry says:

    Hey Grant. NXT or NXT Tour would be excellent in a hybrid – with a co-polyester string. The most popular hybrids among my stringing clients are poly/multi or multi/poly. The idea is to get the outstanding spin and control from a poly and, at the same time, soften the overall stringbed a little and gain a little more touch/feel by adding the multi. Both NXT and NXT Tour are what I would consider higher-end multi’s, so yes… They would be great in a poly/multi or multi/poly hybrid.

    I don’t think there are any multis that play quite as good as natural good, but some higher-end multis come close. I’ve strung quite a bit of NXT and NXT Tour for clients, but I’ve never played with it. My favorite multi (that I’ve played) is Babolat Xcel Power.

    Thanks for the comment/question. Take care.


  5. Josepher Gondowijoyo says:

    What about the tension Federer sets?

  6. David Henry says:

    Don’t quote me on this because I do not have any first-hand knowledge, but I’ve read he strings the mains at 48.5 lbs and the crosses at 44 lbs. Now… He likely changes tensions slightly depending on opponent, court surface, and playing conditions.

    Take care.


  7. Dwayne says:

    I am playing with the Wilson Reflex Si Titanium. These racquets were given to me. What do you think about this racquet. I like the feel of the racquet. It is strung with a hybrid setup. I am looking for a setup with the same feel but I would like to have more power and control. thanks dwayne

  8. David Henry says:

    Hey Dwayne – Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, I am not much of a racquet expert – just a string expert. 🙂 Therefore, I can’t comment on the Wilson Reflex Si Titanium stick you have. As far as a string setup is concerned… You may be a candidate for a hybrid string job – with with co-poly mains and natural gut or multifilament synthetic gut crosses or vice versa. It really depends… If you have arm/elbow problems, then you’ll definitely want to stay away from co-poly strings. And… If you don’t already possess topspin-producing groundstrokes with fast racquet head speed, then you also probably want to stay away from co-poly strings. But… Assuming you don’t have arm problems AND already possess topspin-producing strokes, then you may want to playtest a hybrid of co-poly mains and gut (or multi) crosses. The co-poly mains will give you additional topspin and more control. The gut or multi crosses will give you a little bit of power and some additional touch/feel. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions. Take care. DH

  9. Erich says:

    What do you think about using Wilson NXT and Luxilon Big Banger Rough on a Babulat Airo Pro Storm at a low tension. But which way round, I like to have a bit more power but a lot of spin. I live out in Vietnam where it’s bloody hot and very humid so natural Gut would not be a good choice.
    Many thanks, Erich.

  10. David Henry says:

    Hey Erich – Welcome to Inspired Tennis. It’s awesome to make contact with tennis players from all over the world – from places like Vietnam. NXT and Rough would be a great hybrid. Assuming you already have topspin-producing groundstrokes with fast racquet head speed and want even more spin, then I suggest putting the Rough in the mains. If you’re willing to pay for gut, it would probably be ok – even in a hot and humid place like Vietnam. Top quality gut like Babolat VS or PACIFIC Prime is coated and thus isn’t negatively impacted by humidity like older versions of un-coated gut. Take care.


  11. Erich says:

    Thanks for your info, about my head racquet speed, it’s nothing like Nedal…I only wish…but I do hit everything with a side motion on the ball, no flat shots, especialy my back hand in which I get a lot of spin. I was hoping to get something to help to get more spin, and some more power. The string I am using at present is the PRO HURRICAN, to me it feels very flat but not too bad on the spin.
    Once again thanks, Erich.

  12. David Henry says:

    You’re welcome, Erich. Just experiment a little to find a string setup that suits your game. You main want to try co-poly in the mains and NXT in the crosses and then try the opposite. Sometimes it just takes some good, old-fashioned trial and error, but eventually, you’ll get dialed in on the perfect setup for your game. Take care Buddy. DH

  13. César Faria says:

    I´m from portugal, first of all, congratulations on these forum, it´s always usefull to share info about all the subjects. I´ve played in the national upper league, my stile use to be all around, but i was also ablle to hit with lots of spin both forehand and one hand backhand, big serve and nice volley skills.

    Now i win my life coaching tennis as well as a stringer(when the times allows me to), i´ve allready tryed a lot of hybrid combinations, and i bellieve that almost all the sticks perform better with the co-poly mains and multi(syn or natural)on the crosses, instead of opposite, but has compelled me to answer here was to sugest you guys to try the new solinco tour bite in a hybrid string job, i´m playing with it and i´ve never seen such a balanced string, top grade string, the most agressive spiner i´ve ever tried, incredilble tension stability, the strings as a very nice pop and gives a very crisp feedback, is also incredible solid, i´ve already used it in 16L and 17, in mid size rackets, in the prestige intelligence i´ve stringed with the 17(1,20mm) with 46lbs mains and a co-ploy very resillient in 18 gauge(1,14mm) with 42lbs, in the volkl dnx 10 mid, i´m using the 16(1,25mm) with the same crosses, but with 50\46, impressive spin, amazing control, enough power,next time I will try to use the babolat vs in the crosses, than i´ll pass by and let you me feed back about it.

    Best regards.

  14. David Henry says:

    Hey Cesar – Thanks for the comment. I was just exchanging message with a fellow stringer from Portugal the other day, so it is great to be in contact with another tennis player from that country. I tried Tour Bite a few years ago, shortly after it was introduced in the United States, and I liked it quite a bit. It played similarly to my go-to string, Luxilon Alu Power Rough but seemed a little bit more powerful to me. While I liked it a lot, I prefer less power that Alu provides. SOLINCO is a great company, and they have been very helpful and supportive of my efforts here at Inspired Tennis, and Tour Bite is a great co-poly string. I know SOLINCO has had much success in attracting some top universities to play with Tour Bite, so it is obviously a string that top players, like you, prefer. After you try it with VS, please let me (and others who visit this site) know your thoughts. Take care.


  15. César Faria says:

    So, here i am again, i´ve already stringed the iprestige mid with solinco 1,20 mains and vs 1,30 crosses, the crispy and agressive bite of the solinco plus the amazing feeling, dinamic and pocketing of the vs, top hybrid, the relation between power\feeling and bite is something unique, eaven in these 18×20 plan.

    A must try combination.

  16. David Henry says:

    Hey Cesar – Thanks for the input on this hybrid – much appreciated. I’m not much of a hybrid guy (prefer a full bed of Alu Power Rough), but I know MANY people love hybrids – and for good reason. I’m sure putting a great co-poly like Tour Bite together with a top tier gut like VS is pure magic! 🙂 Take care.


  17. César Faria says:

    I David, did you ever try the solinco vanquish? if yes what is your opinion about?

    I´m thinking about mix in my prestige mid microgel, the tour bite 18 with 1,20mm of vanquish, even know that the vanquish is a very fragile strig, but what means to me is playbility, i´d apreciate your opinion on these subject.

    Best regards.

  18. César Faria says:


    What i want to say was; what matters to me is playbility and the lively felling that thinner gauges usualy provides. i believe these combination will bring me all that i´m looking for, what you think?

  19. David Henry says:

    Hey Cesar! No… I have never played with SOLINCO Vanquish. Nevertheless, Tour Bite and Vanquish sounds like a good hybrid. Let me know how you like it. Take care.


  20. Brett says:

    Here’s a collection I made of the tennis gear Federer uses:

  21. Austin P. says:

    Hello, I am a freshman high school tennis player who has been playing for a few years now and I just recently purchased a stringer. I also just recently learned how to string a racket. I have a pretty powerful serve (pretty flat also), and my groundstrokes seem to generate their own spin(especially my forehand). I have no specific play style, i just like to try to pick people apart during the match. I have only tried a hybrid once and i believe it was called the sensation duo. I have tried the NXT control and am currently playing with a full bed of Wilson sensation strings. I am new to strings and am not sure what to try and what would work for me. Any suggestions?



  22. David Henry says:

    Austin – Thanks for the comment. Tell me a little bit more information… What are you seeking in a string? More power? More spin? More touch/feel? More durability? Or in other words… Is there something you want from your strings that you’re not getting from Sensation – or any of the other strings you’ve tried in the past? DH

  23. Austin P. says:

    As for the strings I’ve already used: all decent but nothing i loved. If i were looking for more power – not taking away from the overall feel of the strings (which is most important to me), what would you recommend? would there be a good hybrid that is powerful that doesn’t sacrifice feel? I am open to any and all suggestions, but please keep in mind when recommending thatIi am a junior player and most likely cannot afford super expensive strings like natural gut. Thanks a ton!

    p.s. not sure if it helps, but i normally string around 56-58 pounds.

  24. Austin P. says:

    forgot something – I don’t necessarily need anything super durable, but when High School season rolls around i will be playing 5/6 days a week most likely, and I don’t want to be paying for strings once a week. thanks (:

  25. David Henry says:

    Austin – I suggest trying a higher-end multifilament synthetic gut string like Babolat Xcel Power or Tecnifibre X-One BiPhase. These will give you more power while giving you exceptional touch/feel. Take care.


  26. S. V. says:

    Hey. Now I’m using Yonex Poly Tour Pro 125 on Yonex VCore 100s racket. What do you think about these strings? I really like a fast game. I practise 8 hours per day but I wanted to consult with someone (because I don’t know much about strings). Now I need to buy a new reel of strings and and I’m looking for something like Yonex. What brands would you offer for me?
    S. Valantiejute

  27. David Henry says:

    Hey S.V. – thanks for the comment. I am not familiar with Yonex Poly Tour Pro – as I have never strung it for my clients, and I have not played with it. If you play a primarily baseline game and have topspin-producing groundstrokes with fast racquet head speed AND don’t have any arm/elbow problems, then co-poly strings like Poly Tour Pro could be a great option for you. If you have flat strokes, have arm/elbow problems, or have a style of play that requires touch/feel from your strings (i.e. lots of volleying), then co-poly strings are probably not for you. As far a co-poly strings go, there are many great ones on the market. The most popular are probably Luxilon Alu Power and Babolat RPM Blast. I have always loved Luxilon Alu Power Rough. Take care. DH

  28. S. V. says:

    Hey, thanks for the answer. No, I don’t have any arm/elbow problems. These two brands are a little bit too expensive for now (maybe later). What do you think about Wilson Enduro Pro 1.27 strings?
    Thanks again,
    S. Valantiejute

  29. David Henry says:

    Wilson makes great strings. I say… Give it a try and see how it plays for you. Take care. DH

  30. Piyush Bhura says:

    I play flat strokes from baseline producing groundstrokes with fast racquet. Presently am using solinco tour bite. Please suggest which strings should I use as one of your reply stated that co-poly strings are for players who are good at top spin.

  31. David Henry says:

    If you have flat strokes, then co-poly strings will probably feel very dead and “board-like” to you. I suggest using a high-end multfilament synthetic gut string (like Babolat Xcel Power or Tecnifibre x-One BiPhase) or even natural gut. Take care. DH

  32. Dony says:

    Hey david. Im from Indonesia. I have wilson pro staff 90 and i want to string my racquet with wilson nxt power 17 on the main and luxilon alu power rough on the crosses. Im a groundstroke player with control and power. I need your suggestion. Tks

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