For those who have been following us for years, you may have made use of our “Racquety-Yak” Message Board. With the advent of the “Racquety-Yak” Blog, we have found discussion board participation declining, even though views have increased. In a decision designed to better serve the needs of our users by consolidating information and also to reduce our costs we have decided to close the message board and use the blog and our Facebook Fan Page (opening soon) to respond to customer questions.
We will begin answering questions with one posed yesterday.
Q: I’ve been looking around the web but haven’t found the answer to this: what exactly is a co-poly and how does it differ from a poly? I’ve been experimenting with polys (wilson enduro 16 and 17 and pro hurricane 15L) in my roddick+ and they’re bothering my arm a bit. I’m giving good consideration to switching to a hybrid, but I’m overseas and string selection isn’t great, though at times I can get people to bring me strings from US.
I’m trying to make it affordable and convenient. My first choice is finding a poly (or co-poly) I can use without arm problems, but I’m feeling like that’s unlikely. My second choice is a reel of poly/co-poly and a reel of something else for the crosses. Any recommendations on decent affordable options available in reels or non-pricey packages? Possible to keep the string costs below $10 per job?
A: Thank you for your excellent question! There is a great deal of confusion with the terms “poly” and “co-poly.” We will do our best to untangle some of this for you.
Many years ago string manufacturers found that POLYESTER was a material that offered a great deal of durability and control in tennis strings. Early POLYESTER strings were extremely stiff, lost tension rapidly and did not really develop much of a following. These strings were referred to as “POLY” strings. In the 1990’s manufactures began reducing the amount of actual polyester used in the string and began blending them with different chemicals and elements. The result was more comfortable playing strings that held playing properties longer. When the percentage of actual polyester decreased many, myself included, began referring to these strings as “Co-Polys.” The thought was to designate it as having more elements than just polyester so the customers would recognize that it was not the same as the old “Poly” strings.
While the thought made sense, it failed to take into account that synthetic gut string manufacturers sometimes used the term “co-poly” to describe the core and other parts of their strings. When used in the context of synthetic gut strings the term “co-poly” does not refer to polyester, but rather polymers which are generally not the same and may not consist of polyester. The use of the term “co-poly” in two entirely different contexts began to get confusing. Afterall when a synthetic gut string with copoly core was being described, what would consumers think? Would they believe the core was polyester based and thus stiffer and more durable, or would they know it was a term used to blanket the use of multiple polymers? Add to this confusion of manufacturers actually adding polyester blends into the synthetic and welcome to “Camp Confusion!”
To put and end to this confusion we have changed our terminology. We were the first to do so and are hoping our naming convention makes sense and catches on. We have noticed some in the tennis world using our terminology and we are proud to have made this contribution to clearing up some of the confusion.
The term we now use for strings that are composed of polyester blended with other elements is “POLY-BASED.” This serves to let the consumer know that the string does have a polyester base. We think it makes sense for these strings to have their own reference name, rather than sharing the term “co-poly” with polymers…that’s just too confusing.
Now, as far as your situation, the poly-based strings you are using in your Pure Drive Roddick are problematic. The racquet itself is not very arm friendly, being so stiff and light. Couple that with POLY-BASED strings with a high % of polyester and the arm pain is no surprise. Some of the new poly-based strings use a lower percentage of polyester and are indeed much more comfortable. There are a number of great options out there. Our favorites are described on our web site. The poly-based strings we carry are ALL softer and better playing than the ones you have been using.
You can try a softer poly-based string in a full set-up and see how your arm does. While they are softer than what you have used, they may not be soft enough in the context of Pure Drive Roddick. In that case we would strongly suggest a hybrid. Use one of the newer and more technologically advanced strings in your mains at a low tension and cross it with a soft synthetic gut (something like Forten Sweet or WeissCANNON SuperString) and you will likely find a combination that offers much better playability and performance at a cost of well under $10.00 per stringing.