Player Reviews of Ashaway MonoGut® ZX Tennis String
By Steve Crandall
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Ashaway Racket Strings
As string manufacturers we take great pains to make sure our products meet certain performance criteria. And when we promote these products, we like to talk about how our strings do in fact meet those criteria. But in the end, it doesn't really matter what we say. What matters is what you say. So, in the spirit of, 'don't just take our word for it,' we asked a number of players - players of all different stripes, young and old, competitive and recreational, stringers and retailers - what they thought about the performance characteristics of our Zyex® based MonoGut® ZX string. Here's what they had to say:
"MonoGut ZX Pro is very soft and generates a lot of spin and pop. It feels the most like natural gut, but it lasts about three times as long..."
Clare McKee, junior player
At just 14, Clare McKee of Boca Raton, FL, has focused more on training than competing, though she has beaten top 10 Florida juniors as well as National Champions from other countries. Having grown 11 inches in two years, she is an aggressive baseliner with a strong serve. Clare likes soft strings, but finds that most break too quickly. She is able to get about one set out of gut and four sets out of MonoGut ZX Pro. "I hit with a lot of topspin, especially with my one-hand backhand," she said. "I hope to serve and volley when I get stronger."
Clare uses a Yonex RDis 100 MP racquet, and strings MonoGut ZX Pro at 54 pounds throughout, one strand per racquet. Said her father and stringer, Geoff McKee, "MonoGut ZX Pro strings well if handled with the same care as natural gut to avoid creases, especially when tying knots. The friction marks from fast pulls are no problem, and may even be beneficial in providing a little texture to generate more spin."
"MonoGut ZX is as close to the play of gut as I have experienced..."
Sherrie Pruitt Farris, veteran player / teacher
Sherrie Farris grew up in southern California and has been playing tennis for 55 years - since she was 8 - and teaching for 45. As a junior player, Sherrie was ranked # 1 in So. California for 3 years, and Nationally # 4 in singles and # 3 in doubles. As an adult player Sherrie was ranked # 1 in Colorado in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles for 5 years; and in over 35 doubles, # 1 in Colorado and Intermountain, and # 7 Nationally. As a teacher Sherrie has worked with top national and sectional ranked Juniors, including Junior Wimbledon winner Scott Humphries. In 2001 she was inducted into the Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame.
Sherrie currently uses an ASICS 125 racquet, and has played with natural gut in the past. MonoGut ZX, she said, "is the most playable non-gut string" she has ever used, and "is as close to the play of gut as I have experienced. I have found it has a nice feel and touch, and so far it appears to be very durable."
"As a business owner, it is imperative to have as many tennis players playing as much as possible. I want to provide my players with pain free playing... so I recommend MonoGut ZX either in a full or hybrid format."
John Gugel, veteran stringer, retailer, recreational player
Recently named Racquet Stringer of the Year by Racquet Sports Industry magazine, John Gugel has spent over forty years stringing, designing and even manufacturing racquets. Having started playing tennis in 1970 after designing his own racquet, John is now the owner of Racquet Quest, LLC, in Casselberry, FL, and describes himself as a recreational player who prefers placement over power. He uses a one-handed backhand and typically does not go to the net. "I would rate myself as a 3.5 NTRP player on a really good day," he said, "but that is not official."
John uses a Volkl Tour 10 "V" Engine racquet strung with MonoGut ZX Red. Having heard about MonoGut ZX at the 2012 GSS Alliance Symposium and having strung several sets to understand stringing considerations and best performance characteristics, John says the string, "exhibits very low dynamic stiffness as well as high tension elongation making it a suitable alternative for natural gut."
"Shockingly similar to gut but more durable and spin enhancing. Maybe the most impressive quality is how well ZX holds tension..."
Eric Burke, stringer, retailer, competitive senior player
Atlanta's Eric Burke started playing tennis at age 10 and competing at 13. But, he says, he "could tell you the name of every racquet, string, and shoe on the market!" Now 48 and the owner of Hardcore Tennis in Marietta, GA, he has been ranked #2 Men's Open Singles USTA Southern Section, and #3 Men's 35 Doubles USTA National Rankings. Eric describes himself as an "aggressive all courter, sort of," who likes "to end most points at the net."
Eric is a 24-year member of the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) and is its official stringer. The Bryan brothers, Venus and Serena Williams, Mardy Fish, and Andy Roddick are just a few of the top professionals Eric has strung for. He uses a Vantage Custom 95 now strung with Ashaway MonoGut ZX at 56-58 lbs. He says he was, "desperately looking for a string to use in place of natural gut for practice," when he received a test set from the USRSA last winter. Then he added, "I haven't used another string in competition since."
"I love MonoGut ZX. It provides great feel, power, and "bites" the ball as good as natural gut. It also seems to last as long as a polyester string, but is much easier on your arm, and has more "pop."
Aleks Popovic, top amateur competitor
A native Canadian who now lives in Orlando, FL, Aleks Popovic is currently 33 years old, has been playing since the age of two, and still plays 2-3 times per week. He is a former Canadian Junior Singles and Doubles Champion (1992-1996), and played college tennis at the University of South Florida (1997-2001). While he does not have an NTRP ranking, Aleks considers himself a 6.0-7.0 player, and often trains with local players Robert Kendrick and Vladimir Obradovic who are still on the ATP tour.
Aleks describes himself as a "solid baseliner who is comfortable at the net," and who hits "a fairly heavy, flatter ball." He plays with a Wilson BLX Blade 98 and has used a variety of synthetic gut and polyester strings over the years. He learned about MonoGut ZX from John Gugel, and now strings with Babolat VS Gut 17 in the mains (52lbs), and MonoGut ZX 17 in the crosses (52lbs). "I feel that this is one of the best high performance strings I have ever used," he said. "I would strongly suggest it to anyone, especially players who want the longevity of a polyester string, but with increased playability. I also feel MonoGut ZX may help alleviate any issues with players injuring their arms or shoulders caused by the harshness of using a polyester string."
Zyex® is a registered trademark of Zyex, Ltd.