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PEEK Performance Center

Users Praise the Playability, Spin Generation, and 'Healing Power'
of MonoGut® ZX Strings

By Steve Crandall
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Ashaway Racket Strings

MonoGut ZX Pro FamilyPlayers initially switch to MonoGut ZX (or ZX Pro) for its ability to eliminate their arm pain - its 'healing power' if you will - but stay with it because it provides other playing benefits as well. They love the power and control, the "softness," comfort and overall feel of the string; and they love the remarkable tension holding abilities of the true 'high-tech' Zyex® polymer from which it's made.
It's been over three years now since we introduced the MonoGut® ZX family, and still not a week goes by without a call or email - usually more than one - from a player or stringer who has just 'discovered' the string and wants to rave about it. I am also happy to report that sales for the product have also increased steadily over that time, and even more rapidly with our recent introduction of MonoGut ZX Black. Black, it seems, is very hot.

As a manufacturer, it is of course gratifying to see a product grow and succeed in the marketplace. But based on the nature of the comments we receive, it seems that with MonoGut ZX (and Pro) we've done something more than simply make a successful product. In our introductory announcement, we noted that many playtesters had predicted that, "the long sought goal of producing a synthetic string to rival the performance of natural gut has been reached."

In that same announcement, I said, "Like natural gut, MonoGut ZX string provides exceptional energy return, better than any other synthetic material. This means more power. Also like gut, MonoGut ZX remains soft at higher tensions, reducing impact shock. This results in more comfortable performance-what we call 'soft power.'" I also noted that MonoGut ZX contains no polyester, and that "its 100% Zyex monofilament construction maximizes abrasion resistance and enhances string life."

Subsequent testing has shown that MonoGut ZX is indeed closer to natural gut in dynamic stiffness than any other synthetic string material. But it's in the context of the current craze for polyester, and the need for more and more spin, that MonoGut ZX has made the greatest mark. These days everybody wants to improve their "up and down" game, and play like the top pros with "heavy balls" that drop like stones just inside the baseline. To generate that spin they think they need to use those so-called "high-tech," high-performance polyester strings, and many are paying a high price in impact related injuries.

Not only do MonoGut ZX and ZX Pro strings generate spin as well as polyester, they do so without generating the same arm jarring, injury causing impact shock as polyester, and even help players recover from their impact related injuries.

From the comments we receive, it seems that MonoGut ZX is proving: 1) that you don't need to suffer injuries to generate spin, much less be sidelined by them; 2) that you can improve your overall performance without polyester; and 3) that you can get additional benefits from your string, like better tension holding, more durability, and more power as well.

Most comments are brief, such as, "Great tension maintenance. Phenomenal control for such a comfortable string." But a number of people provided much greater detail as to why they switched and how the string performs for them. While we can't include all these comments, I've reproduced several below - in slightly edited fashion - from people whose names you might recognize:

1) From Geoff McKee, coach, stringer and father of rising junior star Clare McKee, who will be playing for Princeton next year:
"I first purchased Ashaway Monogut ZX Pro for my 12-year-old daughter because she was sidelined with wrist and elbow problems and the MZX Pro tested as the softest non-gut string on the market. Since the switch, my daughter has had no elbow or wrist problems for four years. Also, the durability, power, and control of MZX Pro have been fabulous. My daughter was the team champion in the #1 spot for Florida and she reached a super national final with MZX Pro. Several of her coaches and training partners have switched to MZX Pro, as well. For comfort, control, and durability, there is no better string on the market."
Clare herself said, "Ashaway MonoGut ZX Pro gives me really nice feel and a lot of variety. I get good pop with these strings and good control. It helps me get more spin, especially on my serve and forehand."

2) Well-known stringer Geoffrey Jones also has a top-notch junior among his clientele. Geoff has been Certified as a Master Racquet Technician (MRT) with USRSA for 12 years, and as a USRSA Certification Tester for 11 years. Retired and stringing part-time, Geoff strings 300-400 racquets a year. His young client, Aditya Srinivasan, recently ranked 21st in the East Boys 12-year-old division. Said Geoff:
"Aditya was breaking a popular multifilament string weekly; now with Ashaway Monogut ZX Pro he is getting a month or more before restringing. Aditya's parents wanted a string that was durable but not a polyester that might injure him. With Ashaway Monogut ZX Pro they found a soft durable string that almost has the same resilience, softness and safety as natural gut. Search over! Aditya is a Big Topspin Hitter, loves the Spin, Power and the Durability of Ashaway Monogut ZX Pro."
Says Aditya, "I like the MonoGut ZX Pro because it gives me a lot of power; I put a lot of spin on the ball and this allows me to hit my shots deep."

3) From expert technician and recent Tennis Industry Racquet Stringer of the Year, John Gugel. John strings about 200 racquets a month at his business, Racquet Quest ( in Casselberry, (Orlando) Florida. He has spent many years studying the mechanics of "string bed stiffness linearity" to see if he could discover why so many players using polyester strings were suffering arm pain. His conclusion was that, "the forces required to take advantage of polyester string were about the force where stiffness increased." In other words, in order to take advantage of polyester strings, you had to hit really hard, and the harder you hit, the stiffer it gets. Thus, he says:
"Monogut ZX and Monogut ZX Pro have become my primary string(s) for many reasons, the most important, however, is arm protection. I started using Monogut ZX and ZX Pro for customers that even mentioned polyester!

The high elongation of the Monogut ZX series almost guarantees no arm issues. Even at higher tensions than would be possible with polyester! It is well known that natural gut is the string to use if there is an arm issue, but now Monogut ZX is an option. Recently I moved a previous polyester player into Monogut ZX just so he could play! His arm was really bad but he simply had to play the league finals. He won all his matches, by the way. I know players will say just reduce tension when using polyester and all is well... but that is not realistic at the recreational level.

Monogut ZX also exhibits unusual durability unless miss-hit. I am always amazed at the condition of Monogut ZX when used as a cross string in a hybrid format. There is virtually no wear on the Monogut ZX.

I have many junior tournament players who are constantly being "marketed" polyester string. It is my practice to not put polyester in any junior's racquet. This is when I recommend Monogut ZX Black as an alternative. I know it works and it looks like the "other" black string. Monogut ZX is easy to string and is a perfect string for the player looking forward to comfort, spin, power, and durability."
4) Player/stringer Eric Burke summarized the comments of many when he said:
"Ashaway MonoGut ZX is the ONLY string that provides durability, feel, power, comfort, and tension maintenance. It is by far the best string to use as the crosses for hybrid stringing in those popular new 'spin-enhancing' racquets."
Eric has played on a national level, strung racquets for tour players, and has coached thousands of tennis enthusiasts over the years. Eric is the Official Racquet Technician of Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) (of which Ashaway is also the Official String) and has strung for many top professionals at men's and women's events. As a player, he has ranked #2 in the South Men's Open Singles, #3 in the US Men's 35's Doubles, and in 2014, #30 in the US Men's 45. Eric has operated Hardcore Tennis in Marietta, GA since 2000 (, where he strings about 3000 racquets a year. "MonoGut ZX continues to be our most popular string," he added. "It is the best overall string ever!"

What these and other comments have in common is that players initially switch to MonoGut ZX (or ZX Pro) for its ability to eliminate their arm pain - its 'healing power' if you will - but stay with it because it provides other playing benefits as well. They love the power and control, the "softness," comfort and overall feel of the string; and they love the remarkable tension holding abilities of the true 'high-tech' Zyex® polymer from which it's made. That tension holding not only means they can keep the string in their racquets longer - a considerable saving - but they can count on more consistent play, game after game, match after match, throughout the life of the string.

So the MonoGut ZX bottom line for us is more than the business bottom line (which is OK, too!): it's the satisfaction of knowing that we've been able to develop a string that is not only fundamentally healthier than the current injury causing polyester offerings, but one that disproves the conventional wisdom and beats those strings at their own game.

But the comments also have one other familiar refrain: many say, "More please!" As much as people like the MonoGut ZX family as is, they still want more Zyex-based designs and constructions. Specifically, they want the same "healing" properties as MonoGut ZX for players who prefer a soft multifilament string bed to a stiffer monofilament string bed. So, being the dutiful manufacturer that we are, that's what we're working on! Stand by for some MonoGut ZX Multifilament news in early 2016.

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