With the help of a true string expert, we discover all the secrets that lie behind top-quality stringing.
At the beginning of our adventure in The Magic of Tennis, we published an entry entitled How can I know which strings are best suited to my game?, In which we fully x-ray all the characteristics that the strings could present and how they influence our game.
Today, we go one step further and interview Juan Manuel Ruiz León (Huelva, April 14, 1964), a bank employee, in love with tennis, who bought a machine for stringing tennis racquets five years ago (Pro’s Pro TX- 700). Today, he kindly explains the keys to its operation
Is it difficult to string a racket?
There is not much of a complication. You have to be patient, because it is a laborious job, and then have certain considerations,” explains Ruiz. The complication or, rather, the aspects to take into account are “the pattern of the racket, the number of bridges it has and the type of string that they have asked you.
The string pattern is very important; an 18×20 string will need more stringing than a 16×16 (open pattern). Above all, a lot of consideration has to be taken when doing the two-knot Around The World (ATW) string; if the number The horizontal string is even, the horizontal string starts differently from the top than from the bottom, and if it is odd, it starts the same , the interviewee details.
What types of stringing are there?
Strung at two knots ATW it may sound like Chinese to us. Asked about the different techniques of stringing a racket, Juanma explains the two that he mainly uses. “Four knots & two ATW knots (a single string segment). You can make the two knots without ATW, but the ATW protects the racket frame better. Four knots is easier, since there are two pieces of string; The verticals are strung with a string segment and then the horizontals with a different segment (it is used in hybrid strings). We always start with the verticals and then continue with the horizontals. The horizontals always begin to be strung from the top down , to maintain the sweet spot of the racket. In verticals, it depends on the number of bridges; racket with three bridges, we start from the bottom and four bridges we start from the top “.
At the beginning of his journey as a stringer, Juanma chose to tie the ropes making a double knot, but currently he uses the Parnell knot because it is much more aesthetic.
What precautions should the stringer take?
There are times when strings last less than they should, and not precisely because of their characteristics. “When we are stringing, we always have to be very careful. When pulling on the horizontal we cannot do it all at once because abrasion occurs in the string due to friction with the vertical strings. It has to be done smoothly and leaving spaces. Many times, when the string turns it over in the canutillo, the rope stays bent and then it must be untangled before pulling, before a fold is formed. This fold is an area that is damaged and therefore exposed to being easily broken “, clarifies Juanma.
The stringing time is not excessive either, although the Huelva native tells us that there are some factors that can delay the work. “Normally, 35 or 40 minutes from when you start to string it. Before, you have to cut the old string of the racket (if you have one) and then calibrate the machine with a dynamometer; this must be done periodically so that the machine always is ready. It also depends on the pattern and the string; there are very docile strings, whose stringing is very fluid and others, like hexagonal ones that rub against each other a lot “.
Prince Rackets with O Ports
Some Prince rackets, with those characteristic O Ports, are especially complex to string, according to Juanma. “They are more laborious to string because you will have to use the boomerang, a tool created specifically to channel the strings through those huge eyelets (O Ports). The O Ports were only used by the Prince brand.”
What savings does stringing by myself mean?
Asked about the profitability of a stringing machine, Ruiz has it clear. “It is profitable. The labor savings you have done and the string is bought in reels that are not very expensive; a coil of good value for money, 55-60 euros, 200 meters of rope, although you can also find reels of almost 200 euros. Normally we use 11.5 to 12 meters per string; 15 or 16 strings come out of each coil. The price of the string usually costs four or five euros per string, depending on the coil you use. At the beginning , My son used a Pro’s Pro reel, which cost about 35 or 40 euros. If you hang out in a shopping center, you pay for the displacement, the labor and also they don’t usually have as much variety of string. The machine can be amortized in less than 3 years, this cost me around 450 euros “.
After his brilliant explanation, Juanma tells us how the idea of buying the machine came about. “I started about five years ago, motivated by my great love of tennis. I once saw a racket string and I liked it. Javi, my youngest son, was already competing at that time; he broke strings from time to time and had to go somewhere a shopping center to be strung up, with the inconveniences that this entailed. Coincidentally, I also met a person related to tennis, I made friends with her and she was the one who motivated me to buy the machine “, Ruiz comments.
To this day, Javier Ruiz Conde, son of the interviewee, trains at the Real Club Recreativo de Tenis de Huelva and, at 16, is the fourth best player in the province.
In addition to stringing his son’s rackets, Juanma also strings those of his closest friends. “Generally, my friends at the club tell me to put the string that I think is convenient; there are few people in amateur tennis who define the exact model or ask for specific characteristics,” he explains.
According to Ruiz, what the amateur tennis player prefers is a string that provides comfort. “Comfort and sometimes power (one that fires). Durability generally not; club people don’t usually hit too hard and don’t play every day.”
Lastly, we asked him which strings he and his son prefer. “I don’t have any particular favorite string; I’m trying everything, although I like the thick gauge. The hitting is more pleasant than with a thin string. Javi, at first, used the Pro’s Pro Plus Power, then he used one called Dyreex, which was a pentagonal string, but he noticed it was barely firing and is now using a Yonex Polytour Pro. “