String Tensions

Updated : 22 June 2015

Tension is extremely important and contributes massively to the overall feel and performance.

Each string model and string type has an inherent elasticity range for which their elasticity is resilient and lively.

For string types

Just a rough estimate

Polyesters around 37 – 55 pounds
( Going too low will result in very bad trampoline effect and going too high will kill the string. )

( 55 pounds might seem low, but this depends on the type of polyester. If you need much more control, simply use a “Stiff” type polyester )

Multi-filamentsaround 47-60 pounds
( Going too low will result in mushiness and going too high will make it lose its elasticity drastically.)

Synthetic Guts/ Nylon around 45-57 pounds
( Going too low will result in mushiness and going too high will make it lose its elasticity drastically.)

Natural Guts around 52 – 67 pounds
( Going too low will result in mushiness and going too high will make it lose its elasticity. )

Picking the right tension.

The tension recommendation label on your racquet, refers to only Synthetic Guts/ Nylon strings. Its also not very accurate.

When choosing the right tension, just ask yourself, do you want the tension low, medium or high ? Then you can make the small adjustments later on when you have already tried it out.

Let use an Average Racquet with an average string pattern as the starting point.

Babolat Aeropro Drive – Head size 100 square inch , String pattern 16/19 ( Mains/Crosses )

For this racquet, the average tension –

Polyester – 52 pounds

Multi-filaments/Synthetic Guts/ Nylon – 54 pounds

Natural Guts – 56 pounds

Note : I am referring to the normal recreational players here. Newer players should go below average and big hard hitter could go higher if they want to. ( In my personal opinion , lower is always better, and one should go as low as you are comfortable with! )

Now lets vary the racquet.

If the string pattern is now tighter (e.g 18/20 ) you can drop 1-2 pounds

If the racquet head is 5 inches larger ( which would now be 105 square inches ) you can increase 2-3 pounds to get the average. Do the same for every 5 inch increase in head size.

If the racquet is 5 inches smaller (which would be 95 square inches ) you can drop 2 pounds to get the average. Do the same for every 5 inch decrease in head size.

Stringing polyesters at  very Low tensions.

Polyesters are low powered , poor playability , uncomfortable and lacks feel.

Well try a polyester at really low tension(40-45 pounds or lower) and your polyester will now have great feel, great comfort and awesome power and good playability. It is a world of difference!!

Polyesters at higher tensions will have lesser feel and playability. This set-up is mainly for harder hitters. Hard hitters will still be able to elicit enough response from the strings. Polyesters usually really becomes unplayable for hard hitters when the tension drops too low, as such, stringing at higher tension will increase the usability period of the string.

There are many different types of polyesters. Special polyesters like Luxilon Alu Power and Signum Pro Firestorm can be strung at much much lower tensions and still be very playable. Some polyesters though might start to exhibit ridiculously bad trampoline effects at lower tensions.
(Reason why polyesters can go really low tension and still perform is because of their low dynamic elasticity.)


Polyesters tend to lose tension faster than other string types. Stringing at higher tension is sometimes a good way to make room for the tension lost later on.
A better solution would be to use better quality polyesters that hold tension better and as such can be strung lower from the get go. ( Though Polyesters losses tension faster, the rate at which its performance level falls due to the lost of its tension is much better for polyesters then other string types. )

The pros actually use much lower tensions during their training, and would use higher tension during matches, but we know how often they would change their racquets, as the result of this.

Natural Gut strings might seem unreachable in terms of performance and its unique qualities compared to all other string types, however a good low tensioned polyester ( 35-44 pounds ) in my opinion is the next best thing to natural guts. If you consider the additional benefits of its price, durability and weather resistivity, I’d say its very clearly the best choice.


Now lets talk about Hybrid tensions. Click here – for Hybrid Tensions