How to tell if tennis strings are dead?

No matter how much tread they have left, eventually, they will need to be replaced because all tennis strings lose their elasticity over time. When the strings start to lose this ability, the ball won’t bounce as high or travel as far when hit by a player.

Players may also notice that the ball seems to fall flat when they strike the ball in the center of the racket.

If you notice that the ball isn’t traveling as far when you hit it, and you’ve tried re-stringing your racket, chances are your strings have lost their oomph.

What are some basic signs that tennis strings are dead?

1. Movement of the Strings:

As the strings begin to lose their elasticity, they will start to move around more.

This can often be noticed when you are hitting your serve, especially if you are able to watch yourself on video. When the strings begin to move around more it usually means that the string has lost some of its tension.

2. Developing Some Shoulder or Wrist Problems:

If you are starting to notice some arm problems, it could be because your string tension has gotten too low which will put more strain on your arms and wrists. The strings should provide enough resistance for the impact of the ball without causing injury to any part of your body. If this is happening, it is a sure sign that your strings have lost elasticity and should be replaced.

3. Loss of Tension:

If you are noticing a loss of tension in your tennis string has occurred which makes the ball not travel as far when hit, you will need to replace them because this indicates that they have lost their elasticity.

4. “Tone” of shots:

As the strings lose their elasticity, you will notice that it is more difficult to “hit through” the ball. Instead of launching with topspin, hitting the ball will now produce a flat shot. This occurs because as you hit through the ball you are effectively compressing the string bed making it easier to hit through the ball.

If you have been noticing that this tone has been lost, your strings may be dead and need to be replaced.

5. Change in sound when hit the ball:

If you notice a change in how the ball sounds when you strike it or if you hear a metallic sound, this is an indicator that the strings have lost their oomph and should be replaced before a bodily injury occurs due to faulty equipment.

Types of tennis strings:


Polyester is one of the most commonly used materials for synthetic strings and has been providing players with consistent playability since its inception in the 1960s. It is still a popular choice, along with other synthetics such as Kevlar and poly-synthetic blends. This material provides good power and comfort in a durable string.

Natural Gut:

This traditional choice is made from cow intestines and is still a popular option for players that want a more natural feel as well as those looking for a slice-friendly string. Today, you can find strings with different coatings to provide added durability or extra spin.

Poly/Synthetic Blend:

These strings are a mixture of both synthetic and natural gut, providing a great balance between durability and control. The elasticity helps to provide good power along with enhanced playability.

String Construction:


This construction uses a natural gut wrapped in either nylon or polyester to provide the desired firmness for each string at a specific tension.

Low Tension:

This construction is usually reserved for monofilament strings and uses a thin gauge of the synthetic or natural gut to reduce the pace of the ball without sacrificing comfort, control, spin potential, or durability. This type of string is more elastic than traditional string types which makes it play softer with less shock on your arm. They also tend to move around more, resulting in a loss of tension.


This kind of string provides the best combination of power and durability with a high level of control, making it a favorite among top professionals. With this type of string, you can expect outstanding performance with an enhanced feel and response for maximum comfort. The trade-off is that due to the high tension, this kind of string can be difficult to play with and is more expensive than other types.


This structure uses one or two monofilament polyester strings wound together in a crisscross pattern at different tensions. The result is enhanced spin potential, yet still provides great feel and control for a soft, comfortable string. The tradeoff is that the strings tend to lose tension quickly and break easily.

How long do tennis strings last?

There will come a point when every set of tennis strings will lose elasticity due to age, weather conditions, and regular usage from playing tennis. Tennis strings last between 2 and 5 sets of playing depending on the type and brand of string that you use. Most polyester strings tend to last longer than other types.

Typically, a reel of synthetic monofilament will last for around 4-5 sets while a reel of multifilament lasts for about 3-4 sets. If your tennis strings have lost their elasticity they should be replaced immediately to avoid injury.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What causes tennis strings to lose elasticity?

Tennis strings naturally wear out over time, causing them to become less elastic.

What are the problems that may arise if tennis strings are dead?

If you have dead strings, you’re not going to get as much power and spin because the ball won’t bounce as high. If you don’t replace your string, you may start noticing a few problems like tennis elbow or shoulder problems, etc.

How do you know when the tennis strings would be changed?

When the ball bounces wrong they say. Wrong tennis string tension can cause problems to a player’s game especially if not detected early. In most cases, lower strings lose tension after an hour of non-stop play.

The surprise lies in when you have been playing for hours and suddenly your shots seem to have lost their sting, your ball suddenly went flying.

The following are the four common variables in tennis stringing problems:

  1. String is not tight enough causing it to lose tension.
  2. Player strings his racquet too tight causing the string to snap.
  3. Strings are broken internally.
  4. New strings take time to ‘bed’ into the racquet.

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