Outlook 2014: Talking a Good Game
Technology in strings continues to get better, while marketing is getting more focused.
By Kent Oswald
ashawayusa.com • 800-556-7260
The American string manufacturer is expanding its line of PEEK hybrids in the new year. Crossfire ZX (17 gauge Kevlar +Plus Mains with MonoGut ZX Pro Crosses) is the synthetic equivalent of Andre Agassi’s original hybrid on the pro tour and Crossfire ZX Tour (1.27 mm MonoGut Original co-polymer monofilament strings in the mains with 1.27 mm MonoGut ZX for the crosses) is the synthetic equivalent of the current tour hybrid Roger Federer popularized. Packaging was not available at press time.
babolat.com • 877-316-9435
The French string pioneer unveils Origin. The monofilament string is created with the naturally sourced polyamide “Pure Combo,” for a comfortable, but powerful, feel, the company says. Available in white and 125, 130 and 135 gauges, the string is also part of a flashy multimedia campaign promoted as the “Endless Revolution,” and at events similar to last year’s Faster to the Ball Festival and the Summer of Love cross category promotion.
dunlop.com • 800-768-472
Complementing the line that includes the well-received Silk and Black Widow strings, Dunlop rolls out its Pearl in both black and white, and in 16 and 17 gauge. Already on the racquets of some of their pros, the multifilament’s name is supposed to evoke something firm (powerful), but also luxurious (controlled). They will be reaching out to consumers via social media and television and have a promo running through the middle of February offering an $80 value mini-reel of Black Widow string (72m) free with the purchase of select Dunlop racquets.
genesis-tennis.com • 888-750-1011
Riding a wave of success that has seen same-store sales of their string increase year-over-year as much as 750 percent, Genesis is releasing the co-polyester True Grit. The 10-sided, metallic blue string is created for spin and power generation and will be offered in 16 and 17 gauge. Promotion will take place at individual retailer locations and through the Facebook page with its continual audience engagement through company news, product giveaways, contests and information about retail partners.
head.com • 800-289-7366
Getting a big push in stores and through social media in 2014 will be Head’s Hawk string. This monofilament, available in 16 or 17 gauge, and white or platinum, offers a string providing power, in addition to vibration dampening and an extra sense of touch, says Head.
princetennis.com • 800-2TENNIS
The company will continue to promote through its various channels the initiative begun in the fall linking racquets and strings in the categories of “Premier,” “Warrior” and “Tour,” with strings further defined as featuring extra “touch,” “power,” or “control.
uniquesports.us • 800-554-3707
Promoting its line to the increasingly educated string consumer through social media, seedings and on-site promotions, Tourna launches three new strings in 2014. Big Hitter Black Zone, available in 16 and 17 gauges, is a durable, smooth, big-playing co-poly that can also make for a nice pairing with softer strings. Quasi Gut Armor is a comfortable-playing multifilament, available in 16 and 17 gauges, whose blue spiral outside echoes the fiber wrappings within the string itself. The all-black Synthetic Gut Armor multifilament is available in 16 and 17 gauges and designed for exceptional touch.
ytexstrings.com • 786-280-2138
As part of its growth strategy, Y-Tex ended 2013 reaching out to juniors with an Orange Bowl Sponsorship. It begins the new year launching three new products. Touch is a 16 gauge, responsive nylon multifilament in natural. Sintex is a mint, 16 gauge synthetic gut offering touch and comfort. Finally, Microfiber-X is a 16 gauge, black, gut-like string featuring both durability and control.
wilson.com • 773-714-6400
New Year highlights from the Chicago sporting goods empire are two strings that are an integral part of the company’s push to dominate in any conversation about topspin. The co-poly RipSpin—available in both black and white, and 16 and 17 gauge—is coated to promote an ultra-low friction surface promoting easy movement and snapback. The latest from the Luxilon series is the gold 16L gauge 4G Rough, which combines the line’s signature feel with an increased ability to maintain tension.
See all articles by Kent Oswald
About the Author
Kent Oswald is a contributor to TennisNow.com, producer at the JockBookReview.com and a former editor of Tennis Week magazine.