Playtest: Gamma TNT2 Tour 16
By Greg Raven
Gamma TNT2 Tour is a wrapped multi-core multifilament string with a somewhat unusual construction. In the core, a solid high-tenacity polyamide (nylon) outer matrix surrounds six high-energy monofilaments. The outer matrix is stiffer than the individual core monofilaments. Around this composite core is a single layer wrap, which includes both monofilaments and multifilament bundles.
Gamma also uses its new Thermo Nuclear Technology (TNT2) process on Tour. This proprietary process alters the molecular structure of its co-polymer material. Before the TNT2 process, the string material is strong but stiff, due to the highly aligned long-chain molecules. The process breaks down the long-chain molecules, reconnecting them via millions of entangled and cross-linked intermolecular bonds. According to Gamma, this reconfiguration creates a stronger and tougher, and yet more flexible, material.
According to Gamma, the result is a premium string that offers a crisper feel for “tour-like” control and accuracy, with excellent resiliency and elasticity for greater ball pocketing, exceptional power, comfort, and playability.
TNT2 Tour is available in 16 (1.32 mm) and 17 (1.27 mm) in natural only. It is priced from $12 per set of 40 feet, and $108 per reel of 360 feet. For more information or to order, contact Gamma at 800-333-0337, or visit gammasports.com.
In the lab
We tested the 16-gauge (1.32 mm) TNT2 Tour. The coil measured 40 feet. The diameter measured 1.30-1.34 mm prior to stringing, and 1.27-1.28 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 77 RDC units immediately after stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 × 18 pattern) on a constant-pull machine.
After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed stiffness measured 70 RDC units, representing a 9 percent tension loss. Our control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Original Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units immediately after stringing and 71 RDC units after 24 hours, representing a 9 percent tension loss. TNT2 Tour added 16 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame. On our string-testing machine, Gamma TNT2 Tour 16 has a stiffness of 209 lbs/in. and a tension loss of 14.31 lbs.
The string was tested for five weeks by 37 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 6.0. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. Average number of hours playtested was 27.3.
Out of the package, TNT2 Tour has virtually no coil memory. It has a slight texture, which makes it feel tough and durable, without making it difficult to pull through grommets, or the crosses through the mains.
No playtester broke his sample during stringing, one reported problems with coil memory, one reported problems tying knots, and one reported friction burn. Additionally, one playtester’s sample broke after stringing, but before he had a chance to use the string.
On the court
It would be easy to say that Gamma TNT2 Tour 16 scored well above average and leave it at that, but doing so would slight the magnificent ratings it received from our playtest team. TNT2 Tour 16 did indeed score well above average, in every category, including the overall score, the first time any string has done this. And, because of its uniformly high scores, TNT2 Tour is the fifth most “balanced” string we’ve tested, meaning it doesn’t sacrifice in one category and make up for it in another. In fact, of our top ten most balanced strings, TNT2 Tour has the highest overall average score.
Three playtesters broke the sample during the playtest period, one each at three hours, 12 hours, and 15 hours.
In the 132 strings we have playtested for publication over the last 16 years, there have been a couple of strings that did so well across the board that we’ve characterized them as having something for just about everyone. Well, with Gamma TNT2 Tour 16, we’d have to say that it has more of everything for just about everyone.
“Incredible blend of comfort and control. Given the bite and power, this string makes for explosive topspin.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Blade Team strung at 62 pounds LO (Babolat Super Fine Play 17)
“Very easy installation. No friction burn or kinking. This is a great overall string, with excellent playability, comfort, and control. The solid durability is a huge bonus with this type of string.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Radical MP strung at 60 pounds LO (Babolat Xcel Premium 16)
“Resilient and explosive! This is a great string for big, flat hitters. Very comfortable and precise. Depth control is remarkable. Touch and spin are very easy to execute. Where do I sign?” 4.0 female touch player using Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet MP strung at 56 pounds CP (Pro Supex Matrix Hybrid 16L)
“Plenty of pop and control. Volleys are crisp and precise. The lively feel does not diminish over time. This string has no negatives. It’s a keeper.” 4.0 male all-court player using Prince O3 Red MP strung at 54 pounds CP (Gamma TNT2 Pro Plus 17L)
“Not only does this string have excellent touch around the net, it has remarkable feel, power, and spin from the baseline.” 5.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Six One (68 Holes) strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)
“Easy to string. Great touch around the net, and very solid on ground strokes. Very easy on the arm. This would make a great hybrid cross.” 4.0 male all-court player using Wilson nSix Two strung at 58 pounds CP (Gosen Polylon SP 17)
“This is a powerful string with great dwell time. It grips and holds the ball very noticeably on slice and topspin. There is virtually no vibration, even on off-center hits. The feel and playability are outstanding.” 5.5 male all-court player using Head Liquidmetal Radical OS strung at 65 pounds CP (Babolat VS Touch 16)
“This string has great feel and playability. It held tension through the entire playtest, with very little string movement.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Zen Team strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson Hyperlast Spin 19)
“Crisp and very responsive on serves. Solid feel on ground strokes. Great spin!” 4.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Aeropro Drive strung at 56 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 17)
“High marks for power, feel, and comfort. Plays like a high-end multifilament.” 4.0 male all-court player using Pro Kennex Core 1 No. 10 strung at 60 pounds LO (Tecnifibre TGV 16)
“This is a “confidence string” with a lot of bite and comfort. Big hitters with heavy spin might go through it quickly, but I really like it!” 4.5 female all-court player using Prince O3 Tour MP strung at 58 pounds CP (Tecnifibre NRG2 17)
“This string has terrific combination of power and tension maintenance. Control is excellent.” 4.0 male all-court player using Prince O3 Speedport Black (port inserts) strung at 56 pounds LO (Prince Premier w/Softflex 16)
“One of the best strings I’ve ever used. The crisp response is there from beginning to end. Very little tension loss. There is just the right balance of control and power. Given the somewhat stiff response, the level of playability and comfort is truly impressive.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head Liquidmetal 4 strung at 58 pounds LO (Luxilon Original Rough/Tecnifibre NRG2 16/16)
“The surface texture minimizes string movement. Good power and spin.” 3.5 male all-court player using Wilson Hyper Sledge Hammer 2.0 OS strung at 55 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation 17)
“This would make a great hybrid cross. It would add comfort and power to any setup.” 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson nSix One Team strung at 60 pounds LO (Luxilon Original Rough/Wilson Sensation 16/17)
“This string holds tension exceptionally well for a multifilament nylon.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Tour strung at 58 pounds LO (Wilson K Gut/Luxilon Original Rough 16/16)
“Great mix of comfort and durability. A rare breed.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Prestige Mid strung at 58 pounds CP (Prince Premier w/Softflex 16)
“Great control and spin. The extra bite is easy to detect. After hours of heavy topspin, the string broke. It might work better in a dense pattern.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Four FX strung at 58 pounds LO (Wilson Hollow Core 16)
“This string has the positive qualities of a playable nylon and a crisp poly. It has great spin. This would work well in a hybrid with natural gut.” 4.0 male all-court player using Pro Kennex Type S strung at 58 pounds LO (Gamma Professional 18)
“The comfort, spin, and playability make up for the low durability.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Dunlop 200G strung at 65 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut Original 17)
“The string starts on the stiff side. It becomes more playable and comfortable over time. It has a very dynamic combination of power and control. The response is quite crisp. I’m considering a switch.” 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Babolat Aeropro Drive strung at 56 pounds CP (Babolat Addiction 16)
“Great control and touch. Comfort is slightly above average. Spin is not a problem. I keep waiting for it to lose tension.” 5.0 male all-court player using Volkl Tour 10 MP strung at 55 pounds CP (Natural Gut/Polyester 16/17)
“This is a powerful string with excellent durability. Initially, there is plenty of pop on serves, but not enough control. Eventually, the string settles down and control increases.” 4.0 male all-court player using Gamma Diamond Fiber M 6.5 MP strung at 70 pounds LO (Gamma Professional 17)
“This string has a surprising amount of control. Even after some initial tension loss, the control is great.” 3.5 male all-court player using Pro Kennex Graphite Acclaim strung at 59 pounds CP (Gamma Synthetic Gut 16)
“This string moves quite easily. The control, comfort, and power, however, are right on the mark.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson nTour strung at 58 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 16)
“I love discovering nylon strings that have equal measures of comfort and durability. It is surprising how much of a beating this string can take. There is very little vibration. The sweet spot is large, but control does not suffer. Generating spin requires a little extra head speed. The ball does not come down as sharply with nylons, and this is string is no exception.” 6.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head MicroGEL Prestige Mid strung at 64 pounds LO (Polyester 16)
“Great for string breakers. The durability and tension maintenance are above average. Not recommended to those who prefer feel and touch.” 4.5 male serve-and-volley player using Prince O3 Hybrid Lite OS strung at 63 pounds LO (Prince Premier w/Softlex 16)
“This string is easy to install. It has a soft feel, but is somewhat lacking in bite.” 4.5 male all-court player using Prince O3 Speedport Black (hole inserts) strung at 52 pounds (Head Sonic Pro 17)
“Above average control. Tension loss is minimal. Power is on the low side.” 5.0 male serve-and-volley player using Dunlop Aerogel 2Hundred strung at 56 pounds CP (Natural Gut 17)
“This string has adequate durability, resistance to movement, and touch, but it lacks the “wow” factor.” 5.0 male serve-and-volley player using Wilson nSix Two strung at 62 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)
“Great teaching string. Easy on the arm. The feel is not as good for play, where a crisper response is better. Comfort and “quietness” are the most prominent features.” 5.0 male all-court player using Volkl C10 Pro strung at 42 pounds LO (Gamma Zo Tour 17)
“This is a good overall string. It is recommended to string breakers in search of a more comfortable option. It does, however, lose tension at a slightly higher rate than its peers. Plays best during the first ten hours.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson Kobra Team FX strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)
“Very easy to weave crosses and tie knots. Errs on the side of power rather than control. This would be a great tool for hitting heavy, powerful baseline strokes. Control at net is not a strong suit.” 3.5 male serve-and-volley player using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 Stretch strung at 57 pounds LO (Gamma TNT Fatcore 16)
“String movement is excessive and durability is low.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Radical OS strung at 60 pounds LO (Gamma Zo Tour 16)
“The control and power are decent, but touch, comfort, and spin are lacking.” 5.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Tour strung at 55 pounds CP (Wilson Extreme Synthetic Gut 16)
“Not very lively. Spin potential is on the low side.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Blade strung at 69 pounds LO (Polyester/Wilson NXT 17)
“Broke in racquet prior to playing with it.” 5.0 male all-court player using Prince EXO3 Red strung at 55 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut Original 16)
(Strings normally used by testers are indicated in parentheses.)
| EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings)
|Number of testers who said it was:|
|about as easy||23|
|not quite as easy||5|
|not nearly as easy||1|
| OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often)
|Number of testers who said it was:|
|about as playable||13|
|not quite as playable||16|
|not nearly as playable||0|
| OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge)
|Number of testers who said it was:|
|about as durable||17|
|not quite as durable||4|
|not nearly as durable||0|
|From 1 to 5 (best)|
|Resistance to Movement||3.4|
See all articles by Greg Raven
About the Author
Greg Raven is an associate editor for RSI magazine and technical writer. He is certified as a Master Racquet Technician by the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com, or through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. He plays tennis five days a week, and is turning into an avid cyclist.