Beating Tennis Elbow

The best options for players suffering from tennis elbow

Anyone who's suffered from tennis elbow knows that it's enormously frustrating and can keep you off the court for long periods of time. Obviously things like rest, stretching, physio and strengthening exercise are essential however a few changes to your racquet set-up can make a huge difference. 

While most of the racquet and string manufacturers claim to have a magic cure the truth is actually much more simple - the more flex in your racquet and elasticity in your strings, the better it is for your arm. In slightly more scientific terms the more flex in a racquet and more elastic a string, the more energy it can store and release into the ball.

So which racquets and strings are those?

As far as racquets are concerned be sure to take a look at the stiffness rating before making a decision - it's also important you don't get a racquet that is too heavy (for example the Wilson Pro Staff 90 comes in with a relatively low stifness rating and is a flexible frame, however at a strung weight of over 350 grams it's probably not going to do your arm too many favours...) or has a small headsize / sweetspot (which makes off-centre shots more common). As a guide we can take a look at Tennisgear's two best selling racquets of the past year - the Babolat Pure Drive and the Wilson Blade 98. Both racquets share similar specs as far as headsize and weight are concerned but will put very different levels of stress on players arms. The ever-popular Pure Drive is a much more powerful frame which can lead people to believe it will take the pressure off their elbow however this isn't the case, with a stifness rating of 72 (the higher, the stiffer) it is one of the stiffest frames on the market and will transfer a lot more of the impact onto the arm. The Blade 98 is more of a control-orientated frame however with it's stiffness rating of 65 is going to be a much better option for a player suffering from elbow trouble.

Which leads us to strings - as far as elasticity is concerned Natural Gut is at the top of the heap (but you will pay for it). Other factors such as differences in gauges, twist rates and raw materials will cause gut strings to have minor variances between brands however Natural Gut will always come out on top despite any claims from manufacturers. Next in the pecking order are Nylons and Synthetic Guts followed by Polyester and finally Kevlar which is, in my humble opinion, not only the worst string as far as looking after your arm is concerned but also the worst option for anyone who enjoys the feeling of hitting tennis balls.... As someone who has played with a full set of kevlar for a couple of months on a European tour due to being completely, utterly broke I beg of you - please never, ever use Kevlar.

Listed below is the Tennis Industry Magazine 2014 String Selector Guide (for this and more fantastic information on all things string-related please CLICK HERE and check out their site). 

2014 String Selector Guide - Tennis Industry Magazine

Article by Dave Bone

1. Start by finding the string you currently use in the list below (we’ve broken the market down into four categories: Nylon, Polyester, Natural Gut and Kevlar).

2. Note the string’s stiffness and tension loss numbers.

  • If you're completely satisfied with your current string and don’t want anything different from their next string, strings listed in the same neighbourhood (very close to their current string) will likely play similar.
  • If you're happy with how long their string plays well, but don’t love the feel of their string, try something with similar tension loss but with a different Stifness Rating. Strings with a higher number should feel stiffer (or more crisp), while strings with a lower number should feel softer (or more comfortable).
  • If your client is happy with how their string feels, but not with how long it feels that way, try something with a similar stiffness rating but a lower Tension Loss rating.

 

String Material Gauge Stiffness Tension loss
Babolat VS Team 17 (BT7) Natural Gut 1.25 90 7.74
Babolat Tonic + Ball Feel (BT7) Natural Gut 1.29 94 8.8
Babolat VS Touch 16 (BT7) Natural Gut 1.31 110 8.42
Ashaway MonoGut ZX Pro 17 Zyex 1.3 133 16.53
Ashaway MonoGut ZX Zyex 1.3 135 18.31
Ashaway Dynamite Natural 17 Nylon & Zyex 1.26 145 13.17
Prince Premier Touch 16 Nylon 1.32 145 17.57
Yonex Tour Super Solid × 125 Nylon 1.23 151 18.75
Prince Premier Touch 15L Nylon 1.34 152 16.8
Dunlop Pearl 17 Nylon 1.25 153 13.83
Victory Acelon Synthetic Gut TCF 17 Nylon 1.24 155 16.41
Victory Acelon Wildfire 17 Polyester 1.25 157 13.47
Volkl Classic Synthetic Gut 17 Nylon 1.25 157 16.21
Gosen TecFlex 17 Nylon & Polyurethane 1.23 158 9.95
Prince Premier Power 18 Nylon 1.19 158 15.17
Victory Acelon Wildfire 16 Polyester 1.31 158 16.64
Prince Premier Control 15L Nylon 1.35 159 16.4
Ytex MicroFiber-X 16 Nylon 1.29 161 14.49
Wilson Optimus 16 Nylon 1.28 161 15.13
Prince Premier Power 17 Nylon 1.22 162 13.21
Gosen Tecflex 16 Nylon 1.31 162 13.45
Dunlop Pearl 16 Nylon 1.28 163 13.61
Yonex Tour Super Solid × 130 Nylon 1.3 163 16.28
Asics Resolution 16 Nylon & Polyurethane 1.29 164 12.35
Boris Becker Pulse 17 Nylon 1.25 164 12.61
Prince Premier Power 16 Nylon 1.25 164 13.27
Asics Challenger 17 Nylon & Polyester 1.25 165 12.61
Prince Premier Control 17 Nylon 1.25 165 12.7
Prince Premier Control 15 Nylon 1.37 165 14.51
Head FXP Tour 16 Nylon & Polyester 1.33 165 14.93
Gosen Tecgut Remplir 17 Nylon & Polyurethane 1.23 165 16.96
Tourna Quasi Gut Armor 16 Nylon 1.29 166 12.37
Victory Acelon Supermax 17 Nylon & Polyurethane 1.25 167 12.99
Asics Resolution 17 Nylon & Polyurethane 1.25 168 9.59
Prince Premier Control 16 Nylon 1.32 168 14
Volkl Classic Synthetic Gut 16 Nylon 1.29 168 14.95
Babolat SG Spiraltek 16 Nylon 1.27 170 13.07
Asics Challenger 16 Nylon & Polyester 1.3 170 13.56
Victory Acelon Supermax 16 Nylon & Polyurethane 1.29 170 13.65
Victory Acelon Advanced 17 Polyester 1.23 172 23.11
Tourna Big Hitter Silver 17 Polyester 1.2 173 23.74
Tier One Sports Triumph 130 Nylon 1.32 174 12.13
Victory Acelon Synthetic Gut TCF 16 Nylon 1.31 175 14.4
Golden Set Dura Match 16 (Crosses) Nylon 1.29 177 14
Ytex Touch 16 Nylon 1.31 179 11.89
Tourna Synthetic Gut Armor 17 Nylon 1.24 179 13.63
Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 17 Polyester 1.2 179 21.79
Gamma FTX 17 Nylon 1.24 180 10.85
Yonex Poly Tour Pro 120 Polyester 1.19 181 21.08
Topspin Max ROTation 1.31 Polyester 1.27 182 19.54
Tourna Synthetic Gut Armor 16 Nylon 1.29 184 11.44
Golden Set Velvet 15L Nylon 1.34 184 12.65
Wilson Synthetic Gut Power 16 Nylon 1.29 186 13.03
Volkl Cyclone Tour 18 Polyester 1.19 186 22.18
Ytex Sintex 16 Nylon 1.28 189 11.45
Prince Tour XT 18 Polyester 1.22 189 21.39
Gamma FTX 16 Nylon 1.29 191 10.3
Pacific DuraTech Flex 15L Nylon 1.32 192 11.46
Volkl Cyclone Tour 17 Polyester 1.24 193 22.83
Tier One Sports T1 Firewire 120 Polyester 1.19 195 15.41
Gosen AK Pro Spin 15L Nylon 1.37 196 11.8
Volkl V Torque 18 Polyester 1.18 196 16.03
Topspin Max ROTation 1.27 Polyester 1.23 196 16.78
Tier One Sports DuraFluxx 118 Polyester 1.21 196 20.27
Volkl V Torque 16 Polyester 1.26 197 23.46
Prince Tour XP 15L Polyester 1.38 198 18.46
Gosen AK Power 16 Nylon 1.32 200 11.29
Ytex ProTour 1.20 Nylon 1.19 200 17.73
Prince Tour XS 1.25+ Polyester 1.37 200 18.9
Volkl Cyclone Tour 16 Polyester 1.32 200 23.26
Pro Supex Ultra Spin 1.23 Polyester 1.27 201 20.06
Wilson Synthetic Gut Power 15 Nylon 1.37 202 14.51
Wilson NXT Power 17 Nylon 1.27 203 12.46
Gamma RZR Rx 17 Thermoplastic Elastomer 1.28 204 17.11
Volkl V Torque 17 Polyester 1.21 204 22.03
Wilson Synthetic Gut Control 16 Nylon 1.28 205 10.3
Head Sonic Pro Edge 16 Polyester 1.31 205 19.53
Tier One Sports Tour Status 120 Polyester 1.2 206 15.86
Prince Tour XS 1.35+ Polyester 1.45 207 18.81
Golden Set Power Cord 17 Polyester 1.24 207 23.31
Volkl Cyclone 18 Polyester 1.2 208 15.94
Gosen Polylon ILD 16L Polyester 1.26 208 16.51
Wilson NXT Power 18 Nylon 1.24 209 9.53
Luxilon ALU Power Feel 120 Polyester 1.2 209 18.35
Signum Pro Thunderstorm 1.30 Polyester 1.32 209 20.04
Gamma Poly-Z 17 Polyester 1.22 209 22.91
Wilson Synthetic Gut Control 17 Nylon 1.25 210 10.39
Gamma iO 18 Polyester 1.17 210 16.78
Prince Tour XP 17 Polyester 1.28 210 19.25
Ytex Octo-Twist 1.28 Polyester 1.29 210 21.35
Wilson NXT Duramax 16 Nylon 1.34 211 9.71
Gosen Polylon ILD 16 Polyester 1.31 211 17.35
Signum Pro Firestorm 1.30 Polyester 1.3 213 21.21
Ytex Dynamic Black Power 1.18 Polyester 1.15 214 19.18
Victory Acelon Seven 16L Polyester 1.26 215 17.31
Pacific Poly Power Pro Black Series 16 Polyester 1.3 215 23.51
Prince Tour XP 16 Polyester 1.31 216 16.21
Golden Set Power Cord 16 Polyester 1.29 216 22.38
Tier One Sports Tour Status 125 Polyester 1.26 217 16.49
Head Hawk 17 Polyester 1.23 217 17.61
Boris Becker Bomber NYC 17 Polyester 1.25 218 15.15
Kirschbaum Super Smash Orange 1.23/17 Polyester 1.23 218 16.76
Victory Acelon Seven 17 Polyester 1.21 218 19.47
Wilson NXT Power 16 Nylon 1.31 219 8.98
Gamma RZR Rx 16 Thermoplastic Elastomer 1.3 220 15.92
Head Hawk 18 Polyester 1.22 220 16.78
Dunlop ICE 17 Polyester 1.2 220 18.28
Dunlop ICE 16 Polyester 1.29 220 22.44
Tier One Sports T1 Firewire 125 Polyester 1.29 221 13.85
Kirschbaum Black Shark 1.25/17 Polyester 1.23 222 19.49
Babolat RPM Team 17 Polyester 1.27 224 16.54
Head Hawk 16 Polyester 1.29 224 18.46
Gamma Poly-Z 16 Polyester 1.28 224 23.44
Kirschbaum Pro Line × 1.25/17 Polyester 1.23 225 15.61
Ytex Trivolution Black 1.25 Polyester 1.24 225 19.18
Genesis Typhoon 16 Polyester 1.3 225 21.94
Prince Tour XC 15 Polyester 1.4 226 22.36
Luxilon 4G Rough 125 Polyester 1.28 227 17.57
Gamma iO 17 Polyester 1.22 228 15.41
Boris Becker Bomber NYC 16 Polyester 1.25 228 15.61
Ytex ProTour 1.25 Nylon 1.25 230 15.92
Wilson Ripspin 17 Polyester 1.26 230 18.39
Gamma Moto 17 Polyester 1.24 231 15.35
Tier One Sports DuraFluxx 123 Polyester 1.3 231 15.67
Victory Acelon Advanced 16 Polyester 1.28 232 16.19
Prince Tour XC 17L Polyester 1.2 232 18.85
Wilson Shock Shield Mono 17 Polyester 1.24 232 20.66
Wilson Ripspin 15 Polyester 1.34 232 21.69
Kirschbaum Black Shark 1.30/16 Polyester 1.29 233 20.22
Yonex Poly Tour HS 130 16 Polyester 1.27 235 17.2
Wilson Ripspin 16 Polyester 1.28 235 20.18
Tier One Sports T1 Firewire 130 Polyester 1.35 236 14.18
Tier One Sports Tour Status 130 Polyester 1.27 236 14.66
Yonex Poly Tour Spin 125 16L Polyester 1.29 236 15.79
Ytex Dynamic Black Power 1.23 Polyester 1.23 236 16.83
Kirschbaum Pro Line × 1.30/16 Polyester 1.32 236 16.92
Kirschbaum Super Smash Orange 1.28/16L Polyester 1.28 237 17.86
Prince Tour XC 16L Polyester 1.26 238 19.09
Tecnifibre ATP Razor Code 18 Polyester 1.2 239 16.14
Gamma Moto 16 Polyester 1.29 240 13.83
Gamma Zo Dart 16 Polyester 1.29 242 15.1
Gamma iO 16 Polyester 1.27 242 15.51
Victory Acelon Seven 16 Polyester 1.29 243 16.09
Tier One Sports DuraFluxx 128 Polyester 1.27 244 16.87
Babolat RPM Dual 17 Polyester 1.26 245 14.37
Babolat RPM Dual 16 Polyester 1.29 245 16.03
Luxilon ALU Power 138 Polyester 1.37 247 19.94
Luxilon 4G 125 Polyester 1.24 249 13.3
Gamma Zo Dart 17 Polyester 1.24 250 15.06
Tecnifibre ATP Razor Code 17 Polyester 1.25 252 16.43
Gamma Zo Verve 16 Polyester 1.29 256 14.53
Genesis Black Magic 1.33 Polyester 1.37 266 18.7
Wilson Synthetic Gut Duramax 16L Polyester 1.27 267 19.16
Luxilon 4G 130 Polyester 1.29 269 13.74
Ytex Dynamic Black Power 1.28 Polyester 1.28 270 15.85
Tecnifibre ATP Razor Code 16 Polyester 1.29 278 18.59
Luxilon 4G S 141 Polyester 1.46 287 15.65
Golden Set Dura Match 16 (Kevlar Mains) Kevlar 1.27 336 10.81