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PEEK Performance Center

PEEK-Based, "Zero Poly" Monofilament Tennis Strings Gain Market Share Among Performance Players

By Steve Crandall
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Ashaway Racket Strings


MonoGut ZX ProAshaway's Steve Crandall says the company's non-polyester, PEEK-based monofilament strings continue to gain market share as more and more performance players realize that "slip, not shock" generates spin, and that they can reduce injuries and improve performance using non-polyester alternatives.
String manufacturer claims "slip, not shock" generates spin, that players can reduce injuries and improve performance using non-polyester alternatives.

Likening his ongoing battle against high-impact polyester strings to a "tortoise versus the hare race," string manufacturer Ashaway's Steve Crandall says the company's non-polyester, PEEK based monofilament strings continue to gain market share as more and more performance players realize that "slip, not shock" generates spin, and that they can reduce injuries and improve performance using non-polyester alternatives.

Crandall said that since the introduction of Ashaway's PEEK-based MonoGut® ZX strings several years ago, not only have sales steadily grown but "not a week goes by without a call or email from a player or stringer who has just 'discovered' the string and wants to rave about it."

"These days everybody wants to improve their 'up and down' game," Crandall said, "and play like the top pros with heavy top spin that drops their shots like stones just inside the baseline. They think they need high-performance polyester strings to generate that spin, and pay the price in impact related injuries. But more and more performance players are finding that zero poly PEEK-based alternatives generate spin just as well, with better power and less related impact shock."

Crandall added that tests done by Tennis Warehouse University have shown that polyester strings do generate spin: about 25% more than nylon and 7% more than natural gut. They do it because their low coefficient of friction allows the strings to slip across each other laterally, then snap back, spinning the ball. However, because they are inherently very stiff, they also generate considerable impact shock that all too frequently causes arm and shoulder injuries.

"But," Crandall said, "PEEK-based monofilaments like MonoGut ZX also have a low coefficient of friction and can generate spin as well or better than polyester. In addition, PEEK monofilaments play much softer so they do not generate the same arm jarring, injury causing impact shock as the polyesters, and even help players recover from their impact related injuries."

This softer playing characteristic of PEEK monofilaments also provides two other benefits players are beginning to discover: 1) PEEK is very resilient. Its low dynamic stiffness, or soft power, adds energy to every shot. 2) the material's ability to hold tension increases the life span of the strings. Thus, the strings play longer, reducing wallet impact as well.

"We continue work with our PEEK monofilament supplier to make the material's playing characteristics in racquet string even better," Crandall said, "and hope to have additional announcements in this regard in the coming months."


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Zyex® is a registered trademark of Victrex, Ltd.