Thursday, April 12, 2007

Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power vs. Babolat Pro Hurricane.

I've been playing with Prince Polygut 17 for the last few years, but it's been discontinued, so I have to get new string, per my earlier post. The Polygut is an all-polyester string, hence it hits like a plank. To be more specific, poly string is hard, which allows it to last a long, long time; however, the hard properties take away a lot of the feel you get from softer string. It's also a monofilament and has no texture whatsoever. At the same time, when I swapped to poly, I came from Prince Topspin 15, a much thicker string, so I noticed an interesting dynamic - since the poly is so durable, I can play with a much thinner string than normal. This thin string allows me to get a lot of "pop" on the ball, although not a lot of "bite." In general, the thin string gives me a feeling of "pop" on the ball, whereas a string with more texture gives me "bite."

The Babolat is an all-poly and, unsurprisingly, plays very similarly to the Polygut - it hits like a plank. But a plank with a lot of "pop." You feel like you have a lot of control over the ball even though the actual ball-racket connection feels uncomfortable. If you miss the sweet spot, you are greeted with a nasty-feeling vibration.

The Luxilon is a poly-synthetic blend which is supposed to last almost as long as poly, but also give it the softer characteristics of a synthetic. The most shocking part of hitting with this string was that it had been so long since I'd hit with a "soft" main, it felt very strange to me. What is most strange is the power. When you are used to hitting with a plank, and you trade that plank for a piece of hard rubber, the ball rockets off the rubber with much greater ease than the plank. I at once don't like the feeling of that much power, but think I need to get used to it. My hitting partner was telling me yesterday "you're just trying to convince yourself to like the Luxilon" and he's absolutely right - the poly, over a long period of time, will not only put more wear and tear through my arm through it's harsh stiffness, but also force me to do more work over time, which puts muscular wear and tear on my arm. When I play tournaments, I almost never think people I lose to have more skill than me, or that they are in better shape than me; I simply get worn out faster because my game is more labor-intensive than theirs. Someone who charges the net every point, for example, doesn't expend much energy compared to someone like me that prefers to take the Agassi route of camping at the baseline and hitting rocket groundstrokes corner to corner.

The only characteristic of the Luxilon I haven't quite figured out yet, though, is the texture part. Since it's a blend, I expected to have more bite on the ball since it should have a more coarse texture than the poly. However, that hasn't seemed to be the case so far. It's very soft, and I feel tons of power, but I can't generate the spin I'm expecting to - yet. Luxilon also makes the string in a "rough" version that will probably be the ticket for me, assuming the longevity is in line with the regular version. An overriding theme in all this is that I refuse to go back to a string that breaks in two hours, which I why I swapped from Topspin to Polygut in the first place.

Thus ends my most boring post ever for those of you that don't play tennis.

11 Comments:

Blogger Sushi & Chocolate said...

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Blogger Radoslaw said...

Great post for me, playing tennis for over 10 years. If You could put point scale for some parameters (like power, control, spin, comfort, durability etc) for strings You played with, it would me even more interesting.

Best regards from Poland

5:52 AM  
Blogger Radoslaw said...

Great post for me, playing tennis for over 10 years. If You could put point scale for some parameters (like power, control, spin, comfort, durability etc) for strings You played with, it would me even more interesting.

Best regards from Poland

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