Tennis Industry magazine

 

Playtest: Ytex Quadro Twist

By Greg Raven

Ytex Quadro Twist is a geometric monofilament polyester string that has a square profile, but is also — as the name suggests — twisted. The monofilament itself is a co-polymer with carbon and a special polyolefin, with Thermo Foil Cooling Process finish.

Ytex tells us that the combination of the material and the shape gives Quadro Twist exceptional power, spin, control, comfort, feel, and tension retention. Ytex highly recommends Quadro Twist in full and hybrid string sets. The target audience is high performance junior and adult players.

Quadro Twist is available in 16L gauge (1.26 mm) in black only. It is priced from $8.75 for sets of 40 feet, and $109.85 for reels of 660 feet. For more information or to order, contact Ytex at 786-280-2138, or visit ytexstrings.com. Be sure to read the conclusion for more information about getting a free set to try for yourself.

IN THE LAB

The coil measured 40 feet. The diameter measured 1.26-1.29 mm prior to stringing, and 1.22-1.23 mm after stringing.

We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 73 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 68 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 Ytex Quadro Twist has a stiffness of 269 and a tension loss of 21.36 pounds. Quadro Twist added 16 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.

The string was tested for five weeks by 39 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 33.9.

The four “corners” on Quadro Twist are rounded (as opposed to being “sharp”), which may explain why it installs so easily despite its geometric construction. Not only do the crosses glide across the mains, but also the corners don’t grab on the inside of grommets so Quadro Twist doesn’t wrap itself into a tangle as you install the crosses. The acid test to a geometric string such as this is, of course, how much extra wind-up there is in the final couple of crosses, and with Quadro Twist the last crosses looked the same as all the others, with no additional and/or unwanted wrapping. It’s stiff enough that you may have to fight it a bit when installing across a hard weave, but once you get the end through it still glides surprisingly well.

No one on the playtest team broke his sample during stringing, 15 reported problems with coil memory, six reported problems tying knots, and one reported friction burn.

ON THE COURT

We advised our playtest team members that Ytex recommends a 10 percent reduction in reference tension compared to a typical nylon string.

The resulting ratings could hardly be any better. Our playtest team ranked Ytex Quadro Twist to be the best string we’ve ever tested for Spin Potential. Our team also ranked Quadro Twist second overall in Tension Retention, fourth overall in Resistance to Movement, ninth overall in both Power and Control, and 13th overall in Durability. They also ranked it well above average in Playability. As a result, the cumulative score vaults Ytex Quadro Twist into second place overall of the 159 strings we’ve playtested to date for publication. You read that correctly: Ytex Quadro Twist is second only to an all-natural-gut product in overall score.

Two playtesters broke the string during the playtest period, one at six hours and one at 20 hours.

CONCLUSION

Players who are considering the switch to one of the strings in the “poly” family typically seem to want 1) to try the strings the commentators say all the pros are using, 2) to get more spin, and the word is that poly will do that for them, and 3) strings they don’t have to straighten between every shot. According to our playtester team, Ytex Quadro Twist covers each of these bases.

One other thing to keep in mind for players who are looking for more spin is that it seems as though a geometric string such as Ytex Quadro Twist automatically get credit for spin as soon as the player sees it. Given how much of tennis is mental, you don’t want to underrate the positive reinforcement the customer receives when the “spin” string you have installed actually looks as though it’s going to grab the ball like crazy.

Playtester comments

“This string is a topspin machine.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince Triple Threat Hornet strung at 60 pounds CP (Tecnifibre Black Code 17)

“Feels great right ‘out of the box.’ After eight hours, it plays even better. Control on serves and ground strokes, especially on big swings, is excellent. The extra bite is noticeable.” 4.5 male all-court player using Babolat Pure Drive strung at 52 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire XP 17)

“This string has an incredible combination of power, control, and spin. Big hitters will love the durability; finesse players will appreciate the comfort; and spin players will find plenty of extra bite.” 4.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Pure Drive + Cortex strung at 53 pounds LO (Tecnifibre NRG2 16)

“Maybe I’m a polyester guy after all. The combination of spin, power, control, comfort, and playability is hard to argue with. Even touch shots are easy to control. This string is ideal for players who prefer the feel of a nylon multifilament but want the durability, control, and spin of a polyester.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson BLX Six One Tour strung at 54 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)

“This string is comfortable without feeling mushy. The crisp response is very predictable. There is no need to tinker with head speed or hunt for the sweet spot.” 5.0 male all-court player using Dunlop Biomimetic 500 Tour strung at 50 pounds CP (Dunlop Black Widow 17)

“This is one of the best control strings I have ever used. No matter how hard I swing, the ball stays in. Serves and volleys feel crisp. The playability does not waiver over time.” 4.0 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Radical Pro strung at 55 pounds LO (Head Intellitour 17)

“Exceptional blend of playability and durability. Great tension maintenance. Big swings find the court. This is simply a great control string.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head Youtek Instinct strung at 57 pounds LO (Head Sonic Pro 16)

“This arm friendly polyester has the perfect blend of power and control. The spin is pronounced. After twenty hours it still feels fresh. Wow!” 3.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince Thunder Rip OS strung at 52 pounds LO (Tourna Big Hitter Blue Rough 17)

“The ball explodes off the strings. The spin is heavy and the comfort is endless. Baseline bashers looking for a softer response will enjoy the feel.” 5.0 male all-court player using Prince EXO3 Tour (16x18) strung at 55 pounds LO (Luxilon Adrenaline 16)

“Outstanding tension maintenance. Unlike some polys, playability doesn’t die after the first few sessions. Great response from the back court. Big swings are rewarded with great control.” 5.0 male all-court player using Gamma T Six strung at 59 pounds CP (Gamma Professional 17)

“Amazing pop on volleys. The extra action on serves is unmistakable.” 4.0 male all-court player using Wilson BLX Six One (16x18) strung at 55 pounds CP (Luxilon Savage 16L)

“This string has the bite of a polyester and the elasticity of a nylon multifilament. The tension maintenance is excellent. I can’t wait to recommend this to my polyester customers.” 4 male all-court player using Head CrossBow 4 strung at 55 pounds CP (Babolat RPM Blast 16)

“Great feel and power. Serves have extra spin and volleys are wonderfully crisp. Easy on the arm.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson BLX Khamsin Five FX strung at 62 pounds CP (Wilson Hollow Core Pro 17)

“My opponent noticed the extra spin on my serve and groundstrokes. I noticed the extra control, power, and playability.” 3.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince EXO3 Ignite Team strung at 54 pounds CP (Luxilon Adrenaline 16L)

“Great durability for a soft poly. Very arm friendly. Spin is outstanding. I would have no problem recommending this string to my customers.” 5.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Six One (16x18) strung at 53 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)

“Recommended to non string breakers in search of a tendon friendly polyester.” 4.0 male all-court player using Babolat Pure Drive strung at 56 pounds CP (Babolat RPM Blast 16)

“This is the perfect string for big hitters who play with heavy spin.” 5.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Aero Storm strung at 54 pounds CP (Luxilon TIMO/Babolat Xcel 18/17)

“The shaped construction helps with spin. Control is excellent.” 5.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Pure Storm Team strung at 58.5 pounds CP (Babolat RPM Blast 18)

“This string performs optimally after a short break-in period. It has tremendous bite. There is some shock on off-center hits. Players with sensitive tendons might consider a soft cross.” 4.0 male all-court player using Volkl Tour 10 MP strung at 55 pounds CP (Gamma TNT2 17)

“The textured design grabs the ball. The spin is fierce and the response is predictable. There is no ‘trampoline-effect.’ The comfort level is surprisingly high for an all poly set-up.” 5.5 male serve-and-volley player using Wilson K Blade Tour strung at 55 pounds CP (Luxilon M2 Plus/Wilson NXT 16/17)

“Big swings are rewarded with a fair amount of control and spin. The strings snap back powerfully on groundstrokes. Volleys and shorter strokes lack pop. After two weeks, despite 20% tension loss, the strings are still quite playable.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Youtek Speed MP (18x20) strung at 54 pounds CP (Head Sonic Pro 17)

“This poly feels and plays softer than its peers. The textured design does not offer additional bite. The major negative is tension loss. Given the string’s overall playabiltiy, I would consider using it.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Six One (18x20) strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson NXT/Babolat RPM Blast 16/17)

“This string plays great for the first six hours. It has comfort, touch, spin, and control. After that, however, the comfort and control go away.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson BLX Six One Tour strung at 60 pounds CP (Pro Supex Maxim Touch 17)

“This string has excellent playability, but power is lacking. The texture does not increase the spin noticeably.” 4.0 male all-court player using Head Youtek Five Star strung at 52 pounds CP (Gamma Zo Black Ice 17)

“This poly is easy on the wrist, arm, and shoulder. Despite the stiff response, the feel is adequate.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Tour strung at 50 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 16)

“Incredible durability. Control, tension maintenance, and spin are above average. Power, comfort, and feel are only average. String movement is very minimal.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 strung at 54 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“Power hitters will get a lot out of this string. After ten hours, the playability and comfort start to go down.” 4.0 male all-court player using Prince EXO3 Blue strung at 58 pounds CP (Gamma Zo Power/Natural Gut 16/16)

“The feel is great for a polyester. Strung at a low tension, the ball pockets quite well. The outstanding control enables high head speed from the baseline. Shorter swings and transition volleys lack pop.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson nSix One (16x18) strung at 59 pounds CP (Klip Legend 16)

“This string has a bit more feel than most polys. It is a little more forgiving on off-center hits. Durability and power also stand out.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Blade Team strung at 61 pounds CP (Prince Premier Lightning LT 17)

“Soft on the arm and shoulder. Power and control are decent. Spin is easy to generate. Touch is surprisingly good.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head Youtek Speed MP (16x19) strung at 58 pounds LO (Genesis Hexonic 17)

“Tremendous spin potential, but not as stiff as a typical polyester. While this string adds kick to my serve, tension recedes noticeably after two weeks.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson BLX Blade Tour strung at 47 pounds LO (Head FXP 16)

“The high coil memory makes installation very slow and frustrating. The playability is excellent. These strings snap back powerfully to create heavy spin.” 6.0 male serve-and-volley player using Prince O3 Speedport Black Team strung at 65 pounds CP (Prince Lightning XX 17)

“Great control and power. The liveliness does not quit. Big hitters in search of durability and comfort should give this a try.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head MicroGEL Extreme Team Oversize strung at 55 pounds LO (Luxilon Savage/Gamma Live Wire 16/16)

“Nylon players should definitely lower the tension a little. After the break-in period, this string feels fine.” 4.0 male serve-and-volley player using Wilson K Zero strung at 62 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire 17)

“This string is too stiff. While it has good spin potential, control, and tension maintenance, lower tensions are definitely advised for folks who prefer a generous sweetspot.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head Youtek Six Star strung at 55 pounds CP (Head Sonic Pro 17)

“This is a comfortable poly which lacks pop. Players with compact strokes might need to make adjustments to achieve depth.” 3.5 male all-court player using Wilson BLX Pro Tour strung at 55 pounds LO (Wilson Hollow Core 16)

“While power is surprisingly high, this string lacks feel and touch. Control and spin are below average for a polyester. The only upside is tension maintenance.” 4.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince Tour Graphite OS strung at 54 pounds CP (Kirschbaum Pro Line No.2 17)

“Decent control and spin, but power, comfort, and feel are decidedly absent. Tension maintenance is good for a poly.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head Youtek IG Speed Elite strung at 50 pounds CP (Gosen OG Sheep Micro 16)

“Excellent control and spin, but playability is lacking.” 4.0 male all-court player using Babolat Pure Storm GT strung at 54 pounds CP (Pacific ATP Hybrid 17)

(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 1
somewhat easier 0
about as easy 21
not quite as easy 15
not nearly as easy 2
OVERALL PLAYABILITY (compared to string played most often)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 2
somewhat better 11
about as playable 9
not quite as playable 15
not nearly as playable 2
OVERALL DURABILITY (compared to other strings of similar gauge)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 11
somewhat better 15
about as durable 12
not quite as durable 10
not nearly as durable 0
RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability 3.5
Durability (13th overall) 4.4
Power (9th overall) 3.7
Control (9th overall) 3.8
Comfort 3.2
Touch/Feel 3.0
Spin Potential (1st overall) 4.3
Holding Tension (2nd overall) 3.8
Resistance to Movement (4th overall) 4.2

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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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