When you start playing tennis, you want to find that perfect racket. As you play, you will also seek adjustments to the racket in order to gain performance with your growing skills. One aspect that affects performance is the string pattern, which is why every tennis racquet stringing service will ask you about your preferences. This overview will explain string patterns so you can experiment and see what you prefer.

String pattern options

There are two types of string patterns: open and dense. The patterns are formed with mains and crosses that are described by the number of strings. Mains refer to the vertical strings, and crosses to the horizontal ones.

These are described with numbers. An open pattern has 16 mains and 18 crosses, so it is designated as 16×18. The dense pattern has more strings—18 mains and 20 crosses, or 18×20. There are other, more customized options, too, like 16×19 or 16×20, but the most common combination is 18×20 or 16×18. Sometimes, a more unique pattern is adopted due to unique swing attributes or being right- or left-handed.
Your choice will affect the performance of your racquet. However, you will have to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each pattern and how they affect you uniquely as an athlete.

Why string pattern matters

Recreational players often overlook string pattern. It is a technicality that few wish to address, but in reality, it can make or break your game. Sometimes, athletes find that their skills have seemed to reach a plateau, but a new string pattern helps them improve once again.
When you choose a string pattern, it will depend on your goals. Some athletes want a strong ball rebound and the ability to affect spin, while others need a softer touch due to past injuries or joint vulnerability. You will have to make the same self-assessment when considering your ideal string pattern.
Generally, the open pattern with its fewer strings results in more power and creates larger squares, allowing for more ball grip and spin. When you choose the dense pattern, you will have less spin because the squares are smaller and do not offer the same grip.
Depending on your choice, you will experience a stronger ball rebound or a softer feel. Strong players who do not suffer joint issues often go for open string densities because that allows for better spin and trick shots that win sets. However, those who prefer to play and not face tennis elbow after every long set will frequently choose a dense pattern. It means less spin potential and rebound energy, but also more control—and a lower chance of injury.

Durability is another consideration. Open patterns allow for more string movement, which can lead to breakage. If you choose a dense pattern, you will be able to wait longer for your next racquet re-stringing.

Let us help you find the string pattern that matches your goals and needs. Lawler Sports, home of the “String King” here in Terre Haute, IN, offers premier tennis racket stringing service. Visit us today to improve your racket, and with it, your entire game!


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