Wilson Blade V9

The string pattern of a tennis racquet

The number of horizontal strings and the number of vertical strings determine the string pattern of a tennis racquet.

It's an important characteristic that is often neglected when chosing a tennis racquet.

The string pattern will influence the power, the access to top spin and the comfort of the racquet.

In this article, I give you my advices to chose the string pattern that will fit you best.

How to choose the string pattern of a tennis racquet

One could think it does not matter to have 16 or 18 vertical strings on a tennis racquet.

Actually, it has a big influence on the feelings while playing tennis.

Simply put, here is what we can say about the string patterns :

16x19 string pattern for :

  • beginners, children,
  • players who don't have much power in their strokes and wishing their racquet to provide some easy power,
  • players suffering from arm, back, shoulder pains,
  • players seeking for a versatile string pattern, in terms of power, comfort, access to top spin
  • players who don't know what string pattern to choose,

Very opened string patterns (16x16, 18x16) :

  • players who use heavy top spin,
  • players who want easy power.

These string patterns help using top spin and provide some easy power when combined at least with midplus head sizes.

A tennis racquet with a small head size (mid tennis racquet) and an opened string pattern will remain control oriented because of the size of the head.

18x20 string pattern for :

  • advanced tennis players with a good technique, who need an important amount of control (flat, powerful strokes),
  • players who don't use a lot of top spin,
  • players who don't suffer from arm, shoulder or back pains.
    Indeed, these dense string patterns are less comfortable than more opened string patterns.

16x19 string pattern

Tennis racquets with a 16x19 string pattern have 16 vertical strings (main strings) and 19 horizontal strings (cross strings).

This string pattern is versatile, it allows to use top spin easely, it provides a good amount of power and at the same time a decent amount of control.

Having 16 main strings increases the space between the strings, enabling an easy access to top spin, easier than with a 18x20 string pattern.

If you use a tennis racquet with a 16x19 string pattern and you experience too much power, instead of changing for a 18x20 string pattern, you can start by trying to increase your string tension or the gauge of the string.

These two factors can help reducing the power and increasing the control.

More opened string patterns

The more there is some space between the strings, the more the string pattern is said to be opened.

Opened string patterns are for example : 18x16, 16x16, 14x18.

These string patterns allows a lot of string movement, particularly the main strings, hence a very easy access to top spin.

They are interesting for huge top spin but at the same time they give less control and more power than denser string patterns.

18x20 string pattern

Tennis racquets with a 18x20 string pattern have 18 main strings and 20 cross strings.

These string patterns are less powerful than opened string patterns, it also makes them less comfortable and less forgiving.

That's why they are generally intended to be used by advanced tennis players.

It's harder to use top spin with such a string pattern because there is less space between the strings than with opened string patterns.

Be careful when choosing a tennis racquet with such a string pattern because it might be very demanding.

It may also cause injuries if you don't have the level of play required.

Pay attention to the tension of your strings ; if you use high tensions with a dense string pattern, you'll have a racquet that might be really hard to use.

Tennis racquets with an adaptive string pattern

HEAD offers tennis racquets with an adaptive string pattern so that players can choose between a versatile 16x19 string pattern and a 16x16 string pattern really top spin oriented.

Here are some racquets with an adaptive string pattern :

It can be interesting for players who don't know what to choose and who want to be able to switch easely between two string patterns.

In order to change the string pattern, before changing the strings of the racquet, there's a plastic element to add or remove on the frame.

Here's a video presenting this technology :