How Weather and Environment Impact Tennis Strings

In tennis, the strings command the playability of the racket and understanding its importance and how you can use stringing to your advantage is smart. However, being an outdoor sport, there are factors that you can control and those that you can’t. And one important question that players and enthusiasts should answer to gain an advantage is, “how do weather and environment impact tennis strings?”

Back in the early days of outdoor lawn tennis, the first set of wooden rackets was strung with serosa – the outer intestine skin of sheep. Due to the shortage of sheep following the Second World War, sheep gut was later replaced with cow gut which luckily provided better tensile strength and more length. Though animal gut offers excellent levels of retention to tension, elasticity and flexibility; the material provides awful moisture resistance. Made of animal membrane, natural gut tennis strings absorb moisture in the air and this will have an adverse effect on the playability of the racquet.

This major drawback on natural gut strings resulted to new development in tennis string materials as well as technology in enhancing natural gut. But despite all these improvements, the weather and environment still affects the characteristics of tennis strings. In fact many pros use different strings or tensions based on the humidity and temperature of the place they are bound to play at.
When it comes to effects on composition, it’s not only natural gut that is impacted by weather and environmental conditions. To some degree, even synthetic types of tennis string materials like nylon and polyester display changes in performance and playability when exposed to extreme temperature changes.

When expecting to play under cold weather with dry air which is not uncommon in many places in North America and Northern Europe a lot of times in a year, expect the strings to be a bit stiffer. When surveyed, a good number of players agreed that an apparent stiffness in the strings is observed when temperature drops less than 10 degree Celsius (50 degree Fahrenheit). The tension is generally scaled up to 2 to 3 pounds so a reduction within this range is a good place to start. However, you have to keep in mind that individual players as well as conditions are different so if the tension feels too little or too much, feel free to experiment.

Too much heat can also adversely affect, if not immediately damage, your racquets’ tennis string set. When exposed to high temperatures, the strings tend to expand and at extremes, the expansion of the material can be irreversible. Avoid leaving your racket in the car or other hot places, and keep them out of the sun.

Other than tuning string tension according to the weather and playing environment, another way to preserve your strings and maximize performance is protection and care. When not in use or when in transport, keep your racquets in their protective bags. There are bags specially manufactured to insulate equipment and protect them from temperature changes and moisture. Remember, every measure of care invested in your equipment will help you maximize its playing life and performance, helping you power up in your game.

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