Playtest: Genesis Black Magic 17
By Greg Raven
Genesis Black Magic is a monofilament polyester string. Genesis tells us that Black Magic utilizes the latest innovation in co-polyester technology, with chemicals added during the heating process to increase power, control, and spin. Tension maintenance is also one of the highlights of Black Magic.
Genesis tells us that Black Magic offers superb feel and power, making it the best string for the competitive player seeking the benefits of an all around string. Black Magic is being used by 3-time defending NCAA D1 Champion USC, numerous ATP/WTA players, and ITF World Champions Mario Tabares (#1 M45) and Andy Lake (#1 M35). It is designed for the aggressive baseline player who seeks the ultimate combination in power, control, and feel.
Black Magic is available in 16 (1.29 mm) and 17 (1.23 mm) in black only. It is priced from $7.90 for 40-foot sets, $84.90 for 660-foot reels. For more information or to order, contact Genesis at 888-750-1011, or visit genesis-tennis.com.
IN THE LAB
We tested the 17-gauge (1.23 mm) Black Magic. The coil measured 40 feet. The diameter measured 1.24-1.26 mm before stringing, and 1.21-1.23 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 75 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 70 RDC units, representing a 7 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 Genesis Black Magic 17 has a stiffness of 252 and a tension loss of 19.16 pounds. Black Magic added 16 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.
The string was tested for five weeks by 38 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 33.5
Out of the package, Black Magic feels smooth and dry. The crosses glide across the mains, while the knots cinch down really nicely, feeling locked-in when you’re done.
Genesis recommends reducing tension by 5-10 percent compared to a typical nylon reference tension, and that’s what we recommended to our playtest team.
No playtester broke his sample during stringing, reported problems with coil memory, reported problems tying knots, or reported friction burn.
ON THE COURT
Our playtest team rated Genesis Black Magic 17’s Spin Potential highly, giving it the fourth highest rating of the 155 strings we’ve playtested to date. Our playtest team loved Black Magic 17’s Resistance to Movement, giving it the ninth highest score to date, along with its Durability (tenth highest score to date), and Control (19th highest score to date). Our playtesters also scored Black Magic 17 well above average in Playability, Power, and Tension Retention. Cumulatively, these scores make Black Magic 17 the fifth best string overall to date. And just in case you missed it, we’re talking about a polyester string.
One player broke the sample during the playtest period at six hours, although his comment on the string was “Durability is incredible.”
Four top-twenty scores (with three of those being in the top ten) are great for any string. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, even in the Durability category where Black Magic 17 came in only fourth overall. But if you need more durability, there’s Black Magic 16.
With scores as good as these, Black Magic hardly needs another selling feature, but even here it doesn’t disappoint. If your stringing customers are at all aware of what the pros are using, no doubt some of them have dropped off racquets asking that you put in “some of that black string.” With Genesis Black Magic, you have that base covered, too.
“Recommended to those who like to ‘rip it’ from the baseline. The extra spin and power makes for a heavy ball.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson K Six One (16x18) strung at 57 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 16)
“This arm friendly poly packs some serious playability. Spin is outstanding. Touch is no slouch either. The 10 percent tension reduction really hits the spot.” 5.5 male all court player using Wilson K Blade Tour strung at 52 pounds CP (Luxilon M2 Plus/Wilson NXT 16/17)
“Remarkable spin and control. No string movement. Great touch.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince Triple Threat Hornet strung at 57 pounds CP (Tecnifibre Black Code 17)
“This is more comfortable than many of the top polyesters on the market. It has great touch and playability.” 4.0 male all court player using Wilson BLX Six One (16x18) strung at 58 pounds CP (Polyester 17)
“This is the most complete poly I have tested. The power and control never die, even after many hours or hard hitting.” 4.0 female all court player using Wilson BLX Six One (16x18) strung at 55 pounds CP (Head Sonic Pro 17)
“Reducing the tension provides outstanding power without any loss of control. The pronounced bite keeps the ball inside the lines. Durability is incredible.” 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 strung at 52 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)
“With a 10% tension reduction, this string is powerful and surprisingly comfortable. It adds considerable pace and spin to my serve. No need to hybrid. This string has made me a poly fan.” 3.5 male all court player using Volkl Tour 10 MP strung at 52 pounds CP (Gamma TNT2 17)
“Big spin on serves and slice shots. Tons of power on groundstrokes.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson BLX Khamsin Five FX strung at 62 pounds CP (Wilson Hollow Core Pro 17)
“This is a poly without pain. It gets better with age. Spin is excellent, power sufficient. After twenty hours, it still feels good.” 5.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Head Youtek Speed Elite strung at pounds CP (Gosen OG Sheep Micro 16)
“This is a comfortable, high-end polyester with exceptional playability.” 4.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince Graphite Classic OS strung at 55 pounds CP (Kirschbaum Pro Line No.2 17)
“Big hitters and string breakers will enjoy this comfortable polyester.” 5.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince EXO3 Rebel Team strung at 58 pounds CP (Polyester/Natural Gut 17/17)
“Excellent control and power. A little tough on the arm, especially in cold weather.” 4.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Head Youtek Prestige MP strung at 55 pounds CP (Head Sonic Pro 17)
“Excellent playability for a durability string. Great balance of power and control. While I prefer a softer feel, I am impressed by the playability on off center hits.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson BLX Six One Tour strung at 52 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)
“Impressive spin. Low elasticity. This string rewards high head speed and compliments the advanced topspin game.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson K Tour strung at 50 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 16)
“With a slight tension reduction, the response is comfortable and crisp. The absence of a ‘trampoline effect’ enables pinpoint accuracy. Even with heavy topspin, there is no string movement.” 4.0 male all court player using Head MicroGEL Radical Pro strung at 56 pounds LO (Head Intellitour 17)
“Good blend of power, control, comfort, and feel. Holds tension well.” 5.0 male all court player using Head MicroGEL Prestige Pro MP strung at 62 pounds LO (Head Sonic Pro 16)
“This is a durable, solid feeling string with a predictable response. Players will need to cut it out of their racquets because it does not break.” 4.5 male touch player using Head Youtek Speed MP (16x19) strung at 58 pounds CP (Genesis Hexonic 17)
“Poly players will like the control, spin, and durability. This is recommended to all but the soft string crowd.” 4.0 male all court player using Wilson K Four strung at 62 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire 17)
“Excellent spin and very little string movement. As is typical of most polys, the tension drops quickly. I would definitely stock this string for my customers.” 4.0 male all court player using Head CrossBow 4 strung at 57 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)
“While this string does everything well, it is not extraordinary in any one category. It definitely adds more spin to my groundstrokes.” 4.5 male all court player using Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet MP strung at 58 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut Original 18)
“This is recommended to hard hitters and string breakers who are looking for a little more feel.” 5.0 male serve-and-volley player using Prince EXO3 Red strung at 58 pounds LO (Prince Premier Lightning LT 17)
“This string offers the performance benefits of polyester without the harsh response. The playability improves after a short break-in period. This is one of the better polyesters I have used.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 strung at 57 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)
“This is an arm friendly polyester with good durability. Players with control issues are advised to increase the tension.” 5.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Aero Storm strung at 58 pounds CP (Luxilon Timo/Babolat Xcel 18/17)
“What this string lacks in pop, it makes up for in spin and control.” 5.0 male all court player using Dunlop 4D Aerogel 5 Hundred Tour strung at 54 pounds CP (Dunlop Silk 17)
“While polyester strings are not my first choice, this string’s comfortable feel is hard to resist. This is not just a baseline string for big hitters. It also compliments the serve and volley game.” 6.0 male serve-and-volley player using Prince EXO3 Tour Lite strung at 65 pounds CP (Prince Lightning XX 17)
“Coil memory adds some time to installation. This poly is on the soft end of the spectrum. It has nice pocketing and good spin.” 4.0 male all court player using Head Youtek Radical OS strung at 52 pounds CP (Pacific ATP Hybrid 17)
“Excellent spin. As a full setup, it’s a little rough on the arm. I will drop tension another 10% on my next try. This string definitely has some hybrid potential.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Ti.Radical MP strung at 63 pounds LO (Head Sonic Pro/Head FXP Power 17/17)
“Low coil memory makes for easy installation. This string is softer and more powerful than one would expect, but it does not quite qualify as a ‘comfort string.’” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Pure Drive strung at 48 pounds CP (Babolat VS Touch 16)
“This string has a nice balance of power, control, and touch.” 4.5 male all court player using Head MicroGEL Monster strung at 58 pounds LO (Kirschbaum Super Smash Spiky/Wilson NXT Tour 17/16)
“This comfortable string adds bite and control to my serve and groundstrokes.” 3.5 male touch player using Prince EXO3 Ignite Team strung at 55 pounds CP (Luxilon Adrenaline 16L)
“While control, durability, and tension maintenance are excellent, there is not enough feel on touch shots.” 4.5 female using Head Youtek Six Star strung at 58 pounds CP (Head Sonic Pro 17)
“Control and comfort are above average. Feel and touch are little lacking.” 4.0 female all court player using Prince EXO3 Blue strung at 58 pounds CP (Gamma TNT2 Touch 16)
“While the ball explodes off the string bed on serves, there is not enough feel to gauge depth on shorter strokes, like volleys. At the right price, this would be worth stocking for string breakers.” 4.5 male serve-and-volley player using Wilson K Six One (18x20) strung at 63 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)
“Outstanding durability and resistance to movement. Touch, playability, and tension maintenance leave something to be desired. Perhaps this string would be most suitable as a main string in a hybrid.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson K Six One Tour strung at 55 pounds CP (Pro Supex Maxim Touch 17)
“Even at 52 pounds in an oversize frame, this string feels stiff. Durability and control are impressive. This string would work best in a hybrid with a friendly cross.” 3.5 male all court player using Prince Thunder Rip OS strung at 52 pounds LO (Tourna Big Hitter Rough 17)
“This is an underpowered poly with a stiff response. Touch and feel at net are good. Ultimately, though, this string lacks outstanding features.” 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Youtek Radical MP strung at 56 pounds CP (Gosen Polylon Polyquest 17)
“Power, control, and touch are average. Tension maintenance is on the low side. This string lacks the ‘wow’ factor.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson K Blade strung at 59 pounds CP (Tecnifibre Black Code 16)
“Although these strings look good in my racquet, the feel is inconsistent. I expect more spin and control from this type of string.” 4.0 male all court player using Head Youtek Radical Lite OS strung at 56 pounds CP (Gamma Zo Tour 17)
(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||20|
|not quite as easy||14|
|not nearly as easy||0|
| OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often)
|Number of testers who said it was:|
|about as playable||9|
|not quite as playable||14|
|not nearly as playable||2|
| OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge)
|Number of testers who said it was:|
|about as durable||14|
|not quite as durable||0|
|not nearly as durable||0|
|From 1 to 5 (best)|
|Durability (4th overall)||4.4|
|Control (19th overall)||3.8|
|Spin Potential (4th overall)||3.9|
|Resistance to Movement (9th overall)||4.1|
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. He plays tennis five days a week, and is turning into an avid cyclist.
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