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Tennis String Friction Rankings

String-to-string friction is one of several equipment-related influences on spin production. The lower the friction (measured below by the coefficient of friction), the more the main strings will stretch, slide and snap back tangentially to the ball's motion across the stringbed, thereby creating spin-producing torque on the ball. Different materials and combinations of materials differ in inter-string slipperiness. String orientation also matters. The coefficient of friction can vary dramatically for any two strings in a hybrid setup depending on which string is the main and which the cross. The string stiffness and energy return (both measured at 62 lbs. tension and high impact speeds) are listed because they too have been speculated to influence spin (though we have not yet tested these relationships). See some Observations below the table. Also visit the following links for more extensive explanations of the role of inter-string friction, string movement, and string material in spin:

Instructions: Click control buttons and dropdowns to limit/expand data and to find combinations of strings and materials.

Setup Brand String
*Choose string to highlight*
Material
*Choose to highlight*
Stiffness
(lb/in)
Energy
Return
(%)
Coefficient
of
Friction

Observations:

  • Material combination: A string can go from a low COF combination to a high combinations depending on which string it is paired with (including itself).
  • Orientation: A string can go from a low to high COF combination depending on whether it is a cross or main.
  • Hybrids are slipperier: Strings tend to be slipperier in combination with other strings than with themselves.
  • Material rank: COF trends from low to high in the order of polyester, gut, nylon.
  • Best crosses Polyester is generally the slipperiest cross string.
  • Best mains Gut is generally the slipperiest main.

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