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"Zero Poly" Monofilament Alternatives to Polyester Tennis Strings Gaining Momentum, Say Industry Leaders

MonoGut ZX Pro Family

Ashaway's popular MonoGut ZX family of tennis strings offers players versatility and a range of playing characteristics. Used alone or as part of a hybrid combination, MZX strings are of 100% Zyex® monofilament construction, which provides exceptional dynamic stiffness and arm-friendly gut-like playability. Black and natural in color, MonoGut ZX strings are available in 40-ft (12 m) sets, and now in both 360-ft (110 m) and 720-ft (220 m) reels. Recommended stringing tension is up to 60 lbs. (27 kgs).
Tournament and high-end players discovering "Zero Poly" monofilament alternatives

Ashaway, RI - "While it is certainly premature to proclaim the demise of polyester and co-polyester monofilament strings," said Ashaway Vice President Steve Crandall in a newly published column, "I think it is certainly fair to say that the tide is against them, and that a counter trend towards "Zero Poly" monofilament strings is gaining momentum among tournament and other high-end players."

In addition to growing complaints of arm pain and wrist pain and even injury, Crandall claims players are simply not reaping the benefits touted by the makers of these ultra-stiff high tech strings. "More and more high-end players are coming to realize they can get equal, if not better performance from newer zero poly monofilament alternatives, along with better feel, better playability, and reduced risk of injury," he said.

In terms of spin generation, polyester's main claim to fame, Crandall cited technical reports by Australian physicist Rod Cross and Tennis Warehouse University's Lindsay Crawford, which demonstrate that topspin is generated not by the stiffness of a string material, but its ability to move laterally and snap back when striking the ball, characteristics shared by non-poly alternatives.

This is the case with Ashaway's own MonoGut® ZX strings, Crandall claimed. "Here is a material that, 1) is nearly as slippery as polyester, and 2) has much better dynamic stiffness," he said. "This means it can generate almost as much spin as poly, but with more power. Not to mention that it plays softer and offers much better feel. This is a combination people are beginning to notice."

Crandall also cited comments by leading stringer John Gugel, who he quotes as saying, "To get the benefit of poly you have to hit the ball really hard. That's when the string bed becomes non-linear and much stiffer. You can see it with professional players. They hit the ball just about as hard as they can every single time. And there are unintended consequences to that."

Gugel said he, too, finds that players are increasingly looking for alternatives, and that they are very pleased with the performance of MonoGut ZX. "Most of the players that I introduce MZX to are a little bit skeptical of what it can do. However, after hitting with it, it is the consistency of string bed stiffness that they like. They find the spin as good as polyester and some find it better."

Gugel said he actively discourages junior players from using polyester and that he has "a lot of juniors using 100% MZX and playing at a very high level." Hybrid stringing is also a popular alternative, he added, with one of the best combinations being natural gut in the mains and MZX Pro in the cross strings.


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