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Thin is in and Soft is Where its at

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Most good players will tend to agree that natural gut is the best playing string available. All manufacturers will agree with this statement. There is simply no other string like natural gut. And, because this is so, we are seeing a resurgence of demand for natural gut within the tennis industry. But because natural gut is quite costly (both to the stringer and the client), we are seeing many new strings on the market that fall into the 'soft' category that I spoke of before. These new strings are all multifilaments. They are coreless strings that have multiple synthetic fibers which are twisted in a similiar manner to that of natural gut. The main advantage is in playability and feel. But because there is no center core, this type of string may tend to stretch and lose tension more quickly. It should be noted, however, that there are also multifilament strings that have a multifilament core. These are also considered 'soft' strings and probably have a little better tension maintenance.

Players tend to like this string in widebody racquets. The soft string helps to counteract some of the stiffer qualities of the widebody frame. Thus, you get a better, overall feel with a coreless multifilament. As with the thinner gauge strings, durability is the trade-off for playability with the 'soft' strings. Virtually all of the string companies have introduced or are in the process of developing some sort of new 'soft' string. Some of the current ones out are Tecnifibre 515, Dunlop Max Comfort, Head Pro Fibre, Wilson Sensation, Winn Gutex, Yonex TW-570, Prince DNA Helix Soft Pro, Wilson Sensation NXT and Babolat VS FiberAce.

If you have never experienced this type of string, either as a stringer or a player, you are missing out on one of the biggest industry trends we have seen to date in racquet strings. Give one a try and feel what soft really is. But, beware! If you think one of these new multifilaments will play like natural gut, you are wrong. There is still no replacement for natural gut strings, and frankly, I don't see one coming in the future. But what we know for sure is that thin is in and soft is where its at.

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