Tennis Industry magazine

 

Playtest: Gamma TNT2 Touch

By Greg Raven

Gamma TNT2 Touch is the first multicore, multi-wrap string energized with the Gamma patented TNT (Thermo Nuclear Technology) process. TNT2 Touch is a premium string that according to Gamma offers amazing feel and power without sacrificing control. Gamma says that the ball stays on the string so long it feels as though the strings are “cupping” the ball, enabling pinpoint control for maximum accuracy.

Gamma TNT2 Touch

The TNT process greatly enhances the dynamic resiliency and the dynamic elasticity. Up to now, all Gamma multifilament strings have been in the “Live Wire” category. These are strings constructed of hundreds or thousands of micro fibers (depending on the construction) that are bundled and bonded together using specialized resin systems. These multifilament strings are processed using what Gamma refers to as a “High Energy Gamma Irradiation Process” to maximize the resiliency of a multifilament construction.

Up to now, the TNT treatment has only been applied to solid core, multi-wrap strings, which is to say strings with a relatively large diameter monofilament center core or a co-extrusion center core (as in the case of Asterisk, RX, or Prodigy) with single or multiple wraps of smaller monofilaments around the center core to provide the basic construction of the string. Gamma’s TNT treatment was developed to provide “super elasticity” to what would otherwise be a relatively stiff construction. (See additional images here.)

Gamma TNT2 Touch

TNT2 Touch uses a hybrid multicore, multi-wrap construction with bundles of micro fibers wrapped around a relatively small diameter Ultra High Modulus filament. According to Gamma, the combination of this special multifilament construction with the TNT treatment provides elasticity and flexibility that allow the string to flex and elongate locally at impact, and conform to the ball as opposed to elongating uniformly along the entire length of the strings, which creates more of a “trampoline” effect that can reduce control and touch.

Gamma TNT2 Touch is recommended for all types of players and playing styles.

TNT2 Touch is available in 16 (1.32 mm) and 17 (1.27 mm) gauges in natural only. It is priced from $17.50 per 40-foot set, $157.50 per 360-foot reel. For more information or to order, contact Gamma at 800-333-0337, or visit gammasports.com.

In the Lab

We tested the 16 gauge TNT2 Touch. The coil measured 40 feet. The diameter measured 1.29-1.31 mm before stringing, and 1.25-1.26 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 80 RDC units immediately after stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 x 18 pattern) on a constant-pull machine.

After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed stiffness measured 72 RDC units, representing a 10 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 has a stiffness of 217 and a tension loss of 11.67 pounds, while Gamma TNT2 Touch has a stiffness of 190 and a tension loss of 14.86 pounds. TNT2 Touch added 14 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.

The string was tested for five weeks by 36 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 28.2.

Gamma TNT2 Touch 16 presented no problems during stringing.

No playtester broke his sample during stringing, and none reported problems with coil memory, problems tying knots, or friction burn.

On the Court

Our playtest team gave Gamma TNT2 Touch some great ratings, including for Comfort (tied for 7th overall), Playability and Power (each tied for 10th overall), Touch/Feel (11th overall) and Spin Potential (17th overall). TNT2 Touch’s aggregate scores in Power, Control, and Comfort are within ten percent of the best in each category, with the well-above-average rating for Tension Retention nearly reaching that heading level as well.

Conclusion

Gamma TNT2 Touch 16’s ratings put it in the top echelon of strings. Not only did it come in 14th best overall, its average score ranks it in the top ten percent of the 142 strings we’ve playtested for publication. In addition, comments from our playtesters support Gamma’s claims, indicating that Gamma knew exactly what it was doing in creating TNT2 Touch.

Playtester Comments

“This is a very comfortable string with pronounced pocketing and great bite. The power is definitely noticeable. I would recommend this to someone who wants to try a soft, very playable multifilament nylon.” 4.0 male all-court player using Babolat Drive Z Lite strung at 52 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament 16)

“Very comfortable. Volleys have a remarkably solid and precise feel. Control is incredible.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Five strung at 57 pounds CP (Luxilon M2 Pro 17)

“This string has a crisp feel with a powerful response. The comfort is remarkable. Touch and feel are not in short supply. This is one of my favorite test strings.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“This is a spin friendly string with gut-like playability. The excellent control makes this a great string for people who like to hit out.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson K Zen Team strung at 57 pounds LO (Tecnifibre Spinfire 17)

“This is one of those strings that cries out to be used again. Excellent power and spin.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince Triple Threat Hornet strung at 62 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 17)

“This string provides the advantages of a good hybrid. Excellent control, spin, and comfort.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince O3 Speedport Blue strung at 58 pounds CP (Gamma Zo Power/Natural Gut 16/16)

“Great tension maintenance. This is a stiff nylon which errs on the side of control. Playability does not waver over time.” 4.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Head MicroGEL Prestige MP strung at 58 pounds CP (Head Sonic Pro 17)

“Excellent feel. Surprisingly crisp. Tension stays consistent for much longer than expected. This is a great transition string for players looking to move from a multifilament nylon to a stiffer material class.” 5.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Blade Tour strung at 58 pounds CP (Wilson NXT/Luxilon M2 Pro 17/17)

“The feel is a little stiff in the beginning. After a few sessions, the string settles in and plays much better. The bite is excellent. Hitting out is a pleasure. This is recommended to those who desire power and comfort in a crisp and controllable package.” 3.5 male all-court player using Volkl Tour 10 MP strung at 59 pounds CP (Gamma TNT2 17)

“This is a crisp and responsive string. Outstanding comfort and playability.” 6.0 male serve-and-volley player using Prince O3 Hybrid Comp MP strung at 65 pounds CP (Prince Lightning XX 16)

“This string adds some serious pop to my serve. Despite the high power level, control is never as issue. Opponents are quick to notice the extra depth on my groundstrokes. I would definitely stock this string.” 3.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince O3 Blue strung at 62 pounds LO (Gamma TNT2 17)

“This string is very crisp without being harsh. The depth and trajectory control are excellent. I feel like I can put the ball anywhere.” 5.0 male serve-and-volley player using Prince Exo3 Red strung at 61 pounds LO (Prince Premier LT 17)

“This string’s combination of feel, touch, and power transported me back to my pre-polyester days.” 4.0 male all-court player using Head Youtek Radical OS strung at 57 pounds LO (Luxilon M2 Plus 16)

“This string will attract a wide audience. It is a great all-around string. It does everything well. Significant tension loss occurs after about 16 hours.” 4.0 male all-court player using Babolat Pure Storm GT strung at 62 pounds CP (Head Sonic Pro 17)

“This string is comfortably crisp. The control is excellent. It would add a good mix of feel and power to any racquet, especially ones with dense patterns.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head MicroGEL Prestige MP strung at 62 pounds CP (Pro Supex Big Ace 17)

“This string has excellent bite and outstanding control. It forced me to dust off my old slice serve. While there is some tension loss after ten hours, control keeps on ticking.” 4.0 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Radical Pro MP strung at 52 pounds CP (Head Intellitour 17)

“Great feel. High dwell time. Great sense of control. Slight tension loss after a few sets.” 4.0 male all-court player using Babolat Pure Storm GT strung at 58 pounds CP (Kirschbaum Super Smash Spiky 17)

“This string has great durability and resistance to movement. It plays somewhat stiff for the breed. I find it to perform optimally at lower stroke speeds. Bigger swings are met with a slight loss of control. The combination of durability and power would make this a great hybrid cross.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Six One Tour strung at 55 pounds CP (Gosen Polylon/Wilson K Gut 17/17)

“After several hours of heavy topspin, I am impressed by how little wear this string displays. The comfort and spin are well above average. After a short break-in period, it plays great.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Monster strung at 63 pounds LO (Kirschbaum P2/Wilson NXT 16/16)

“Great tension maintenance, durability, and resistance to movement. This string has a solid feeling and predictable response.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Babolat Pure Drive Roddick strung at 62 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu Power Fluoro 17)

“This string is very comfortable. The combination of power and control is impressive. Tension loss becomes noticeable at the 12 hour mark. Big hitters looking for a spin friendly string in a comfortable package will love the string.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Six One Tour strung at 54 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu Power Fluoro 17)

“Great feel with high power. I would consider carrying this string, as I think it would compliment a number of playing styles.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Blade strung at 58 pounds CP (Tecnifibre Black Code/Wilson Stamina 17/16)

“Alas, the perfect compromise: stiff enough to provide great spin, soft enough to deliver great feel. It might be a little too powerful for some stroke styles. It is recommended to poly users who are looking for something easier on the arm.” 5.5 male all-court player using Babolat Aeropro Drive GT strung at 62 pounds LO (Luxilon Original Rough 16L)

“This a soft string with above average durability and spin.” 5.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince Exo3 White MP strung at 58 pounds CP (Prince Hybrid 3D Spin 16)

“Great control and touch. This string adds confidence to my serve and volley game. Decent power off the ground.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Six One (68 Holes) strung at 55 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire 16)

“Great feel and nice touch. The pronounced bite makes for some piercing slices. Serves have a little extra pop.” 4.5 female all-court player using Head CrossBow 4 strung at 58 pounds CP (Head Sonic Pro 17)

“This string has great feel. The comfort and control are not bad either.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Tour strung at 55 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 16)

“The comfort, elasticity, and power are decent, but not nearly as impressive as the control and spin.” 4.0 male all-court player using Head CrossBow 6 strung at 58 pounds CP (Gamma ESP 17)

“This does not have quite the feel and touch I would expect from a multifilament. It plays a tad stiff.” 5.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Head MicroGEL Radical Team MP strung at 54 pounds LO (Gosen OG-Sheep Micro 17)

“This string has average power, comfort, and spin. This is a good all-around offering for any inventory.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Volkl DNX 3 strung at 60 pounds CP (Babolat VS Touch 16)

“The low coil memory makes for easy installation. This string has the look and feel of a high end multifilament. Very crisp with remarkable control. It starts a little stiff and never quite resolves into a more comfortable response.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince Thunder Rip OS strung at 62 pounds LO (Unique Big Hitter Blue 17)

“While comfort and control are acceptable, this string is, on balance, unremarkable.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head CrossBow 4 strung at 60 pounds CP (Luxilon M2 Pro 17)

“This string plays great initially. Decent comfort, touch, and power. After four hours the tension drops and the strings start to move.” 4.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Four strung at 62 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire 17)

“Good durability and resistance to movement. Lacks the “wow” factor.” 4.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Head Liquidmetal Radical MP strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)

“This string provides a soft feel with decent touch. It plays like a high end multifilament. The increased power level and high string movement are the only downsides.” 5.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Aero Storm GT strung at 60 pounds LO (Luxilon Timo 18)

“Superior playability, comfort, and control. Durability is lacking. I would recommend this to all but my big string breakers.” 4.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet MP strung at 55 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament 16)

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

Playtester Ratings

EASE OF STRINGING (compared to other strings)
Number of testers who said it was:
much easier 2
somewhat easier 9
about as easy 24
not quite as easy 1
not nearly as easy 0
OVERALL PLAYABILITY (compared to string played most often)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 2
somewhat better 11
about as playable 14
not quite as playable 9
not nearly as playable 0
OVERALL DURABILITY (compared to other strings of similar gauge)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 0
somewhat better 10
about as durable 15
not quite as durable 11
not nearly as durable 0
RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability (tied for 10th) 3.8
Durability 3.5
Power (tied for 10th) 3.7
Control 3.7
Comfort 3.8
Touch/Feel (11th place) 3.6
Spin Potential (17th place) 3.5
Holding Tension 3.5
Resistance to Movement 3.2

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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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