I was reviewing my latest issue of Tennis Magazine and wanted to give you all the highlights.
Something that we’ve known for some time, but it’s nice to read more details: Strings are responsible for much of the power and consistency now present in the pro game. Luxilon, a polymer (polyester) string dominates the upper echelons of the tennis world with the top 20 men composed of 70% Luxilon users and 40% of the top 20 women. Looking at the list, many players use Luxilon in the main strings (vertical) and gut or some other softer feeling string in the crosses (horizontal). The players who don’t use Luxilon, often use another brand of polymer or they have arm injuries.
My personal experience with Luxilon strings (the most popular are Big Banger Original and Big Banger Alu Power) is that they are very durable, but lack feel, something I’m big on, and feel very “hard.” The article confirmed that polymer strings can be hard on the arm and even suggested that Venus Williams avoid it because of her chronic wrist problems. That is how I’ve felt when using Luxilon in the past, but I crossed it, as many pros do, with gut and that helped. More help is on the way for this drawback. According to the report, Luxilon released Luxilon M2, a softer version last year. I for one plan to try it the next time I order new strings.
Doubles Formation: Ken DeHart, a Master Professional in my organization, the USPTR, suggests that club players can utilize a unique formation where the server’s partner stands behind her and then the players stay on the baseline, but shift to whichever side is their strength. I like it for playing up to the 4.5 level, but unless the serve is strong or the returner is weak, it could create movement problems and / or leave you open for confusion. Of course, someone with a very good angled return or drop shot could also create trouble, but so long as you know what your opponents are capable of, this formation sounds like a good idea at least part of the time.