Open Vs Closed Tennis String Patterns [+Table]

Last updated on September 28th, 2022

The specifications of the racket determine a tennis racket’s stringing pattern. There are two numbers on the specifications: the first number is the density of the vertical strings, commonly called the mains. These strings receive the most wear throughout a string’s lifetime.  

In most cases, a stringing pattern will contain more cross strings than main strings, but in low-density patterns, you may find a greater number of mains. 

Open PatternClosed Pattern
Examples18×19,16×19, 16×1818×20, 18×19, 18×18
BenefitsSpin friendliness, more powerBetter control, more confidence in your shots
PopularityVery commonCommon
Suits ForPlayers looking for precision and ease in producing spinBetter focus and higher predictability of the trajectory of the ball
Tennis string pattern closed vs open comparison chart

1. Open string patterns provide greater spin and power to the player 

Tennis rackets come in different patterns depending on the number of strings on the face of the racket.  

  • Open string patterns provide more power and spin than closed string patterns, but at the expense of greater control and durability.  
  • Open string patterns are usually harder to break and give players greater power while hitting the ball.  
  • Open string patterns usually have fewer main strings and wider spacing between them. 

An open string pattern is useful for softer strings, but most players play with firmer polyester strings. Some models of the Head Speed Pro 2022 feature an 18×20 pattern, as do the Wilson Blade 98 and Tecnifibre TF40.  

A 16×18 pattern has fewer cross strings than the traditional 16×19 pattern. It allows more string movement and better ball pocketing while giving the player massive power and spin. 

2. Open string patterns are more common in power rackets 

  • Tennis rackets have different string patterns. There are open and closed patterns.  
  • Open patterns have larger string spaces, giving the ball more spin.  
  • Closed string patterns have less string space but give the player less spin.  
  • Beginners should use open string patterns, while advanced players should use dense/close string patterns. 

Both types of string patterns provide different benefits; some are better than others. For example, open string patterns tend to be more power-oriented, while closed string patterns are more control-oriented. Closed string patterns, on the other hand, favor a flatter ball. These characteristics can result in a more powerful and consistent game. 

3. They give the player a different feel for the ball 

  • An open string pattern is defined as having a larger area between strings than a closed one.  
  • This additional mass allows for a more connected feel to the ball.  
  • Open string patterns are forgiving and allow the player to produce more power and spin. 
  • Conversely, a closed string pattern can break more often but offer more control.  
  • Hence, choosing a pattern that gives you the best feel for the ball is best. 

A 16×20 string pattern is a mix of the two most common patterns. This pattern contains fewer cross strings and produces more spin than the 18×20 string pattern. In addition, this string pattern allows for a more stable shot. When the cross strings are close, it is also easier to hit the ball. This type of tennis racket offers more control than a 16×19 pattern. 

4. Open string patterns are more expensive 

Open string patterns are more expensive, and their string density is generally lower. On the other hand, open-string tennis rackets produce higher launch points and give more power.  

Tennis players have two options when choosing a tennis string pattern. Open and closed patterns offer different playing characteristics. Beginners should use an open pattern, and advanced players should choose a dense/closed pattern for optimum power and spin.  

When choosing your tennis string pattern, it’s important to understand what each pattern will do for your game. Open tennis string patterns give you more power and spin. Closed tennis string patterns provide maximum durability and control, but at the expense of power and spin. Open tennis string patterns are ideal for beginners and intermediate players alike. Advanced players should use a combination of close and open patterns to maximize power and spin. However, the open pattern has its drawbacks as well. 

5. A Closed String Is The Denser Pattern 

While most players choose an open or closed string pattern, each has pros and cons. For example, players who like to create spin with their shots choose an open pattern. While the open pattern creates fewer squares, this design allows the ball to spin and gives the player better control. Therefore, beginners should stick to the open pattern, while players who want maximum control should stick to the closed pattern.  

KevlarMonofilamentNatural GutPolyesterHybrid Setup
Level Of PlayBeginnersBeginnersMedium-HighBeginnersMedium+
OrientationCheap for beginnersControl gamePower gameControlBest for advanced players looking to maximize certain features of their game
Choosing the right tennis strings for your game

Types of strings 

1. Kevlar 

If you’re looking for a new string for your tennis racket, you’ve probably considered kevlar. This material provides an excellent ball bite and is very hard-wearing. As a result, particularly hard-hitting players will often use kevlar strings.  

Originally, kevlar strings were stiff and hard on the arm. However, manufacturers began developing softer polys in 2001 and 2005, introducing such names as Babolat’s RPM Blast and Luxilon’s ALU Power. In 2008, the third generation of softer polys was introduced by Luxilon and Babolat. 

2. Natural gut 

If you’ve ever wondered how to use natural gut in your tennis strings, there are a few things you need to know. First, although natural gut strings are more expensive than synthetic strings, they play better and last longer than any other string material. Natural gut is also better for the arm than most synthetics, making them a good choice for players who don’t want to risk injury.  

If you’re interested in purchasing a new tennis string, you’ll want to find out what makes open strings more expensive. You might think they are made from cheaper materials, but that’s not the case. Instead, the best strings are made from natural gut. Natural gut strings have high elasticity and offer superior power, feel, and comfort. They also tend to maintain their tension longer.  

A disadvantage to using natural gut is that it tends to kink when uncoiling. To minimize this, you can pre-stretch the string by looping it around a door handle and pulling it with your body weight. You may also need to do this before stringing your racket.  

The natural gut tennis string is the most expensive type of tennis string and is a popular choice for professional players due to its exceptional tension stability, elasticity, and liveliness. It is, however, not recommended for casual tennis players.  

While the natural gut may be the most expensive option for serious tennis players, it is also the most fragile and will break easily. Therefore, natural gut strings are not recommended for recreational use but are great for intermediate players. 

While natural gut tennis strings are the best option for players who prefer a supple, soft feel when making contact with the ball, they aren’t the most durable and don’t generate much spin. As a result, they are often paired with polyester strings to maximize playability and power.  

Nonetheless, the durability of natural gut tennis strings is questionable. Top spin-generating players can quickly burn through the gut tennis string if they use it in their aggressive style. 

3. Hybrid pattern 

Many players choose a hybrid pattern when stringing their tennis rackets. This setup combines two types of strings in one setup, with the main strings dominating the overall feel. However, some players find the hybrid setup uncomfortable. Players may combine the natural gut with a softer polyester to remedy this. For example, a player with sore wrists can combine softer polyester with their existing multifilament string setup. 

4. Multifilament 

  • A multifilament tennis string has hundreds of micro-filaments that form the core.  
  • These strings incorporate polyurethane to increase their elasticity and offer higher tensions.  
  • These strings are designed for big hitters and have a strong shock-absorbing capacity.  
  • However, they lose tension faster than a gut-based string.  
  • For these reasons, multifilament strings are typically used as cross strings for hybrid sets. 

The performance of multifilament tennis strings varies. For example, the nylon multifilament performs best at 60 pounds. But polyester multifilaments perform best at lower tensions.  

A natural gut string is the most expensive option, made from cow intestine. These offer excellent comfort and power and hold tension well. However, these strings can be extremely expensive, and some players use them to play and practice.  

A multifilament tennis string is not a good option for beginners or those with weak arm muscles. If you have the money, you should use low tension and a solid core. In addition to this, a solid core is more durable and gives you more control over the ball’s trajectory. Poly strings tend to drop in tension much faster than multifilament ones and are stiffer on your arm. 

A multifilament tennis string pattern also has many advantages over its traditional counterparts. Softer strings will produce a softer impact, giving you more power and a better feel for the ball. However, the softer impact will result in higher breakage rates, decreasing your control. A multifilament tennis string pattern will enhance your performance, giving you a better feeling on the ball. It can also make your game more comfortable and allow you to play longer. 

The power generated by a tennis string depends on its gauge and tension. The thinner the gauge, the more power it produces. A multifilament tennis string pattern also gives you good power when returning shots. Some examples of multifilament tennis strings include HEAD Hawk Touch, Solinco Hyper G, and Tecnifibre X-One. You should choose the right pattern to match your play style and preferences. 

5. Pre-Stretching 

There are various ways to pre-stretch your tennis strings, but some players do not recommend it. It can prematurely kill the polymer or release the coil memory, but it does not significantly change the tension maintenance of the strings.  

When pre-stretching, use a weight to hold the string tight for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat the process up to three times to ensure optimal results.  

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