Tennis Industry magazine

 

Playtest: Tourna Big Hitter Black 7

By Greg Raven

Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 is a seven-sided geometric monofilament polyester (in this case, a co-polyester). According to Tourna, Big Hitter Black 7 is an ultra-playable string that bridges the gap between co-polys and multi-filaments. Designed to be extremely elastic, Big Hitter Black 7’s sharp edges grab the ball while the heat-treated hyper-elastic materials hold it until ready for launch. The increased dwell time and spin allow advanced players to hit a “heavy” ball with accuracy, without sacrificing comfort or durability. Tourna rates Big Hitter Black 7 as having a midrange power response. Tourna says that tension will remain stable until it’s time to restring, after some initial loss immediately after stringing, a characteristic of its Big Hitter line.

Big Hitter Black 7 is aimed at advanced big hitters looking for a softer poly that can generate spin and control, yet is durable enough for hard training and tournament play.

Big Hitter Black is available in gauges 16 (1.25-1.27mm) and 17 (1.20mm-1.22mm) in black only. It is priced from $8.95 for sets of 40 feet, and $84 for 660-foot reels. For more information or to order, contact Tourna at 800-554-3707, or visit uniquesports.us. Be certain to read the conclusion for a special offer on Big Hitter Black from Tourna.

In the lab

We tested the 17-gauge Big Hitter Black. The coil measured 40 feet. The diameter measured 1.21-1.24 mm prior to stringing, and 1.16-1.18 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 x 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 has a stiffness of 217 and a tension loss of 11.67 pounds, while Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 has a stiffness of 196 and a tension loss of 21.66 pounds. Big Hitter Black added 16 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.

The string was tested for five weeks by 33 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 23.2.

Tourna recommends stringing 5% lower than with nylon, so that’s what we recommended to the members of our playtest team.

There is no doubt that Big Hitter Black 7 is a geometric string from the moment you take it out of the package. The edges feel to be the sharpest we’ve ever felt. Because of this, your fingers catch on the mains when weaving the crosses, and pulling the crosses actually shaves tiny parts of the edges off the mains.

No playtester broke his sample during stringing, six reported problems with coil memory, three reported problems tying knots, and six reported friction burn.

On the court

Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 certainly looks to be a “spin” string, considering its edges, its gauge, and its composition, and its performance impressed our playtest team. They rated Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 the best string for Spin Potential of the 163 strings we’ve playtested to date for publication. But that’s just the frosting on the cake: Our playtesters also rated Big Hitter Black 7 as having excellent Power and Resistance to Movement. Rounding things out, our playtest team members rated Big Hitter Black 7 well above average in Durability, Control, Playability, Tension Retention, and Touch/Feel.

Two members of the playtest team broke the sample during the playtest period, one each at five hours and 12 hours.

Conclusion

With our playtesters rating Big Hitter Black 7 well above average or better in eight out of nine categories, it’s fitting that Big Hitter Black 7’s overall average score is the tenth highest of all time. If you recommend Big Hitter Black 7 to customers looking for more spin, the combination of the geometric cross-section and the on-court performance will convince them that you know your stuff.

Playtester comments

“Who says you can’t have it all? This string has an incredible combination of spin, control, comfort, and power. It handles low tensions very well. If you haven’t tried a co-poly yet, this is where you should start.” 4.5 male all court player using Babolat Pure Drive Roddick strung at 47 pounds CP (Solinco Tour Bite 18)

“This is the best poly I’ve ever used. It has amazing feel. Slice backhands are absolutely piercing. Spin artists will enjoy it more than flat hitters.” 5.5 male all court player using Wilson K Six One (16x18) strung at 55 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut Original/Tecnifibre Black Code 17/17)

“This string ages nicely. After two hours, the ball starts to explode off the strings. This is recommended to players who want to know where the beef is.” 4.5 male serve-and-volley player using Head Youtek Prestige MP strung at 53 pounds CP (Wilson Hollow Core 16)

“Good feel, outstanding spin. This could be my new string.” 4.0 male all court player using Volkl V1 Classic strung at 56 pounds CP (Wilson Hyperlast Spin 19)

“This string has great bite, control, and feel. It allows you to put a ton of ‘action’ on the ball.” 6.0 male all court player using Wilson BLX Tour strung at 51 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 17)

“This is the best polyester I’ve tried. Tension maintenance is outstanding and comfort is excellent. Spin is magical. Two words: Fabrice Santoro.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson Kobra Tour strung at 50 pounds CP (Tecnifibre Red Code 18)

“Nasty bite! Hitting heavy spin is effortless.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson BLX Tour strung at 52 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)

“This sting’s sharp edges really bite into the ball. Topspin and slice shots are a joy to hit!” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson nPro strung at 55 pounds LO (Signum Pro Poly Plasma 18)

“Great combination of power and durability!” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson K Blade strung at 57 pounds LO (Luxilon Adrenaline 16L)

“Excellent spin potential. The sound on contact is great. Impressive touch and power.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Dunlop Biomimetic 500 Tour strung at 57 pounds LO (Solinco Tour Bite 17)

“The textured surface makes pulling crosses a bit of a challenge. Once installed, however, these strings have a perfect balance of power, control, spin, and touch. This string’s comfort and playability will win some converts from the nylon multifilament crowd.” 4.5 male all court player using Pro Kennex Kinetic Pro 7g strung at 59 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)

“Possibly the best string I have ever used. It has comfort, control, power, and amazing spin.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat AeroPro Drive strung at 57 pounds CP (Polyester 17)

“Spin on one handers is fierce. Depth is very easy to control. Slightly more comfortable than its peers.” 4.0 male all court player using Babolat Pure Storm GT strung at 55 pounds LO (Babolat RPM Blast 17)

“This string did not aggravate my sensitive tendons one bit. The ball takes a low trajectory off the stringbed. Power is high.” 4.5 male all court player using Prince EX03 Rebel (hole inserts) strung at 55 pounds LO (Solinco Tour Bite/Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament 18/17)

“This poly has a rare blend of spin and comfort.” 5.0 male serve-and-volley player using Babolat Pure Drive + Cortex GT strung at 60 pounds CP (Luxilon Savage 17)

“Great bite! Holds tension well. Definitely not as stiff as most polys.” 4.0 male serve-and-volley player using Wilson BLX Six One (16x18) strung at 52 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 16)

“Outstanding power and spin. The sharp edges create more spin. The rebound angle off the strings is not as predictable as with my typical set up. This leads to control problems. Notching and wear are minimal after twenty hours of play.” 4.5 male all court player using Head MicroGEL Prestige MP strung at 58 pounds CP (Gamma Zo Twist 16)

“This string makes a sharp knife seem dull. It’s a great baseline tool for heavy spin.” 5.0 male all court player using Head Youtek Prestige Pro strung at 57 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 16)

“This poly is neither too stiff, nor too soft. The bite remains impressive across a wide variety of shots and swing speeds.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson BLX Pro Tour strung at 52 pounds CP (Head RIP Control 17)

“Ample spin and power. The feel is a little spongy. Not as crisp as other members of the poly family. Kick serves definitely have more kick.” 4.0 male all court player using Wilson BLX Pro Open strung at 45 pounds CP (WeissCannon Black 5 Edge 16L)

“This string has unusually high coil memory. The coating of the string left deposits inside my grommets. Durability, spin, and control are all excellent. Above average playability for a poly.” 5.0 male all court player using Babolat Pure Drive Cortex strung at 60 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)

“The string allows you to crank-up the spin on serves. It has more comfort than most polys. If you hit a lot touch shots, you will need to add a friendly cross string.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson Kobra Team FX strung at 50 pounds LO (Prince Beast XP 16L)

“These stings definitely produce more spin than my typical string. My kick serve and backhand have noticeably more power. Feel is a little lacking, especially on shorter strokes like volleys and droppers.” 3.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Volkl Organix 8 (300g) strung at 56 pounds CP (WeissCannon Black 5 Edge 17)

“This is softer than many of the copolys I’ve tried. It has a nice combination of control and power. It’s a keeper!” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Babolat Pure Drive GT strung at 54 pounds CP (Isospeed Control/Isospeed Professional 16/17)

“This string has no shortage of bite. It is friendlier than other polys.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Babolat Pure Drive Roddick strung at 60 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu Fluoro 17)

“Excellent feel, spin, and control. Not enough power for serving. This is recommended to players looking for more spin.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson nSix One Tour strung at 50 pounds CP (Dunlop Black Widow 17)

“Kick serves and backhand slices have more action with this string. It errs on the side of control rather than power. The thinner gauge improves feel.” 4.0 male all court player using Head MicroGEL Radical Pro strung at 54 pounds LO (Mantis Comfort Polyester 16)

“This string will give hard hitting baseliners an extra dose of pop and spin. Comfort is on the low side.” 5.0 male all court player using Head Liquidmetal Radical MP strung at 52 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)

“The square cross-section enhances bite and control. This would be a keeper if the feel and power were better.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat AeroPro Drive strung at 50 pounds CP (Forten Pro Select 17L)

“During the first few sessions this string has amazing spin, control, and power. After that, the playability goes down.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson Kobra Tour strung at 59 pounds CP (Luxilon Savage 17)

“This is a very typical poly. It has decent control and spin.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson nTour strung at 51 pounds CP (Volkl Cyclone 18)

“The first two hours of play are marked by heavy spin and decent control. Unfortunately, it feels too stiff and lacks touch. After four hours, the spin and control remain high, but the feel is harsher. After eight hours, only the spin and control remain. The feel is much too harsh.” 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Yonex V Core 98D strung at 50/47 pounds CP (Tecnifibre X One Biphase 17)

“The sharp edges take their toll during installation. The shaped construction does not increase bite. Playability is decent.” 5.0 male all court player using Head Youtek IG Speed Lite strung at 40 pounds CP (Polyester 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 1
somewhat easier 2
about as easy 22
not quite as easy 8
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 4
about as playable 12
not quite as playable 13
not nearly as playable 2
OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 1
somewhat better 6
about as durable 19
not quite as durable 6
not nearly as durable 1
RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability 3.6
Durability 3.8
Power 3.6
Control 3.7
Comfort 3.2
Touch/Feel 3.2
Spin Potential (1st place) 4.4
Holding Tension 3.5
Resistance to Movement 4.0

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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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