Tennis Industry magazine

 

Playtest: Pacific Poly Power Pro

By Greg Raven

Poly Power Pro is a high modulus polyester string manufactured in Germany exclusively by Pacific. In construction, it is essentially a double-coated monofilament. Pacific tells us that the high modulus polymers combined with two layers of a special coating deliver focused ball-control, excellent elasticity for maximum energy return to the ball, and high durability. Pacific is the Official String of the ATP Tour.

Pacific Poly Power Pro is for players looking for a durable control with extra power, with comfort typically not associated with polyester string. It is available in 16 (1.30 mm), 16L (1.25 mm), and 17 (1.20 mm) gauges in yellow and black. It is priced from $7.25 for sets of 40 feet, and $110 for reels of 660 feet. For more information or to order, contact your local Pacific sales agent or Pacific at 941-795-1789 (e-mail info@pacific.com), or visit pacific.com.

In the lab

We tested the 16L gauge Poly Power Pro in yellow. The coil measured 43 feet. The diameter measured 1.24-1.26 mm before stringing, and 1.23-1.24 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 74 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 68 RDC units, representing an 8 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. In lab testing, Prince Synthetic Gut Original had a stiffness of 217 and a tension loss of 11.67 pounds. Pacific Poly Power Pro 16 had a stiffness of 222 and a tension loss of 21.65 pounds. Poly Power Pro 16 added 17 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.

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. We recommended our playtesters use a reference tension 10 percent lower than for a nylon string. Average number of hours playtested was 28.5.

Poly Power Pro feels very smooth out of the package, with a bit of coil memory. It also seems to have a bit of lubrication on it, which combined with the smoothness can make it more difficult to grab the string between your fingers while weaving the crosses. If you string more than one racquet in a row, you’ll probably want to wipe your hands off between racquets.

Two playtesters broke the sample during stringing, 12 reported problems with coil memory, three reported problems tying knots, and two reported friction burn.

On the court

We have a winner! Our playtest team gave Pacific Poly Power Pro 16 the highest rating for Resistance to Movement of any string we’ve tested to date for publication, which represents 139 strings. Coupled with Poly Power Pro’s 3rd-overall rating for Durability (tie), and 9th-overall rating for Tension Retention (tie), and you’ve got one durable string. Poly Power Pro also scored well above average for Control, Power, and (as you might guess from reading the comments) Spin Potential. This gives Pacific Poly Power Pro 16 an overall rating well above average, with ratings in the top 10 percent in four categories (Resistance to Movement, Durability, Tension Retention, and Control).

None of our playtesters broke the sample during the playtest period.

Conclusion

Whether it’s the German polyester core or the two layers of special coating, Pacific Poly Power Pro 16 definitely establishes its credentials as a durability string, but it doesn’t end there. As noted above, several of our playtesters liked the spin potential of Poly Power Pro, too. Plus, if you’re smacking the ball for hours on end (which you can do thanks to Poly Power Pro’s durability), your arm will be happy to know that our lab test shows that Poly Power Pro is only slightly stiffer than our reference nylon string.

If you have a stringing business and are thinking about carrying this string, give Pacific a call.

Playtester comments

“Very crisp string with great spin, power, and control. Holds tension very well.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Four strung at 50 pounds CP (Luxilon M2 Pro 16L)

“Very solid feel. I am amazed at how little head speed is required to create big spin.” 4.0 male all-court player using Dunlop Aerogel 2 Hundred strung at 56 pounds CP (Signum Pro Poly Plasma 17)

“This string has lots of pop and great feel. The extra power does not diminish control. This is an exceptionally soft polyester. It holds tension very well.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Wilson K Zen Team FX strung at 49 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation 30)

“This is a great string for big hitters in search of more control. The ball stays in no matter how big the swing. Retains tension admirably for a poly.” 6.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Blade strung at 54 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“Ground strokes are very crisp. It is easy to put heavy spin on the ball. While these strings feel stiff to the touch, they play with a smooth comfort. The feel is excellent for a poly. Volleys are extremely easy to place. A tension reduction of 10% is highly recommended. I am very impressed by the solid feel at impact and the overall playability.” 4.5 male all-court player using Volkl Boris Becker 10 strung at 54 pounds CP (Gamma Synthetic Gut 16)

“Medium firm poly with surprisingly good comfort and power. I can only imagine how fun a thinner gauge would be.” 4.0 male all-court player using Volkl DNX 9 strung at 53 pounds CP (MSV Focus Hex 18L)

“Outstanding bite and durability. Very high playability for a poly.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson Kobra Tour strung at 58/60 pounds LO (Gosen Polylon/Babolat Conquest 17)

“Wow! Every once in a while you install a string which has an absolutely positive effect on your strokes. Let’s just say that I’m going to be sad when these strings break.” 5.5 male all-court player using Prince EXO3 Rebel (hole inserts) strung at 54 pounds CP (Polyester/Wilson NXT 16)

“This is the most comfortable polyester I have ever used. Spin and slice are effortless. Still fresh after 18 hours.” 4.5 male serve-and-volley player using Wilson K Six One (68 holes) strung at 56 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 16)

“If a better poly exists, I have not tried it. Incredible spin and control. Remarkable comfort, even after 20 hours. I will carry this string.” 4.5 male all-court player using Babolat Aeropro Drive strung at 57 pounds CP (Gamma Professional 17)

“Outstanding feel. Abundant power and spin. Lower tensions work well with this string. Ball pocketing is excellent. The impact is refreshingly soft. I’m going to recommend this string to all my big hitters.” 4.0 male all-court player using Babolat Pure Storm Tour strung at 50 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 50)

“The low power leads to big, confident swings. This string definitely expands my range of shots. Tension maintenance is excellent.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head i.Radical OS strung at 62 pounds CP (Luxilon Ace 18)

“From the moment I took these strings out of the pack, I knew they would play great. The combination of power, comfort, and control makes this a unique polyester.” 5.0 male all-court player using Babolat Aero Storm Tour strung at 64 pounds LO (Babolat Hurricane 17)

“Amazing bite. Fairly soft for a poly. Volleys and overheads are crisp and clean.” 4.5 male serve-and-volley player using Wilson K Blade strung at 54 pounds LO (Gamma Asterisk 17)

“This is a very solid feeling, durable string. It is comparable to the top polyesters on the market. String breakers and baseline bombers will love it.” 5.5 female all-court player using Babolat Drive Z Lite strung at 57 pounds CP (Babolat Excel Premium 16)

“Installation is fast and smooth. This string is recommended to those who generate their own power. Decent control, durability, and tension maintenance.” 4.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Wilson nPro strung at 53 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“This is a great string for heavy hitters. It has superior control and durability. Very little string movement, and excellent tension maintenance. Recommended to 4.5+ players with heavy frames.” 3.5 male all-court player using Prince O3 Citron OS strung at 58 pounds CP (Luxilon TIMO/Tecnifibre NRG2 17)

“This is a comfortable polyester with massive bite and great control. Compares favorably to the better polyesters out there.” 5.0 male serve-and-volley player using Wilson K Blade strung at 52 pounds LO (Wilson Enduro Pro/Wilson Sensation 17/16)

“This polyester performs well in all areas. After 20 hours it looks and plays fresh.” 3.5 male all-court player using Prince EXO3 Silver strung at 58 pounds CP (Signum Pro Poly Plasma 17)

“Though I prefer using a softer cross, this fully poly setup is not as stiff as anticipated. The control is impressive.” 4.5 male all-court player using Prince EX03 Rebel (hole inserts) strung at 52/55 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 16)

“The stiffer polys tend to give my arm trouble. This one did not. Durability and tension maintenance are exceptional.” 4.5 male all-court player using Babolat Pure Drive Cortex GT strung at 56 pounds CP (Gosen Polylon 17)

“This string does not have enough power or feel. Tension maintenance is outstanding. It is a little tough on the tendons.” 4.5 male all-court player using Prince O3 Speedport Black (port inserts) strung at 52 pounds CP (Luxilon Ace/Pro Supex Maxim Touch 16/17)

“One of the better polyester strings I’ve tried. Great for taking full swings from the baseline. It feels extremely solid on all shots, especially serves. Volleys have surprising pop. Lacks feel on touch shots. With a soft cross, this string would make a good hybrid.” 4.0 male all-court player using Babolat Pure Drive Cortex GT strung at 54 pounds CP (Babolat Tonic+ Thermogut Longevity 15L)

“This string plays similar to my regular string, but with slightly less power and spin. The feel is decidedly softer. This might be a good alternative to some of the high end polys on the market.” 5.0 male all-court player using Prince Tour Diablo Mid strung at 62 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)

“The most notable positives are tension maintenance, durability, and resistance to movement. Playability, touch, and control, however, are only average. String breakers looking for a little extra pop will enjoy this string.” 4.5 male all-court player using Prince O3 Blue strung at 55 pounds LO (Gamma Live Wire 17)

“Wow! This string has a surprisingly comfortable response. I might become a poly convert.” 6.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Tour strung at 53 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 17)

“These strings handle very stiff out of the package. Playability is decent. Control stands out, but power is lacking.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Prestige Mid Plus strung at 57 pounds CP (Head FXP 16)

“This is a surprisingly comfortable poly. Great spin potential and control. Low power.” 4.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Six One Tour strung at 50 pounds LO (Natural Gut/Polyester 17/16)

“Durability is impressive. String movement is nonexistent. Chronic string breakers will enjoy this offering. The lack of touch and playability will make it hard for some players to use.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Instinct Mid Plus strung at 53 pounds CP (Polyester/Natural Gut 18/16)

“Very easy access to spin. Somewhat harsh response. Loses resilience after about 10 hours.” 4.5 male all-court player using Volkl C10 Pro strung at 50 pounds LO (Babolat VS Team 17)

“This is a stiff polyester with good control and great durability. Not the best option for seniors.” 4.5 male all-court player using Volkl DNX 1 w/Power Arm strung at 48 pounds CP (Forten Dynamix 16)

“This string is perfect for players who like to “swing away.” The power is very controllable. The absence of feel makes for tough drop shots and touch volleys. Long sessions lead to sore tendons.” 3.5 male all-court player using Volkl Power Bridge 4 strung at 56 pounds CP (Wilson K Gut Pro 16)

“This string has a nice combination of power and durability. The comfort and control, however, are “middle of the road.” The recommended tension reduction is a must.” 4.0 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Radical MP strung at 52 pounds LO (Gamma Live Wire XP 17)

“Durability and spin potential are good, not great. It loses tension after 40 hours.” 5.5 male all-court player using Tecnifibre T Fight 320 VO2 Max strung at 60 pounds LO (Tecnifibre Black Code 17)

“While feel and pop are lacking, bite is impressive. There is a little vibration, but nothing a dampener cannot cure. Shoulder and elbow soreness result from prolonged use.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Six One (76 holes) strung at 58 pounds LO (Wilson Ultimate Duo 16)

(Strings normally used by testers are indicated in parentheses.)

Playtester ratings

EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings)
much easier 0
somewhat easier 1
about as easy 24
not quite as easy 9
not nearly as easy 3
OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to the string played most often)
much better 0
somewhat better 4
about as playable 11
not quite as playable 17
not nearly as playable 3
OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge)
much better 9
somewhat better 13
about as durable 12
not quite as durable 1
not nearly as durable 0
RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability 3.3
Durability (tied for 3rd overall) 4.5
Power 3.4
Control 3.7
Comfort 2.9
Touch/Feel 2.7
Spin Potential 3.4
Holding Tension (9th overall) 3.7
Resistance to Movement (1st overall) 4.3

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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 greg@usrsa.com, or through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. He plays tennis five days a week, and is turning into an avid cyclist.

 

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