Wilson Stamina 16 Tennis String Review

Reprinted with permission of the United States Racquet Stringer's Association

Stamina is Wilson's new longer-lasting synthetic gut. According to Wilson, it lasts 25% longer than other synthetic guts. They even have the results of their laboratory durability testing on their website at www.wilsonsports.com. Stamina is composed of a solid nylon center core with an outer wrap consisting of nylon and Tensilast. Wilson tells us that it is their new Tensilast fibers, used in the outer wrap, that make the string so much more durable. Available in sets and reels of 16 gauge in white, light green, metallic blue, and retro spiral. However, only the white and the light green are available in reels. Priced from $4.25 for sets of 40 feet and $55.00 for reels of 660 feet. For more information or to order, contact Wilson by phone at 800-272-6060 or www.wilsonsports.com. Wilson has generously inserted a free set of Stamina as well as a free sample of their new Pro Overgrip (introduced in the January 2002 issue) in this issue of Racquet Tech for every US and Canadian member.
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BENCH TESTING

The two coils both measured 42'1". The diameter ranged from 1.31 mm to 1.32 mm prior to stringing and 1.26 mm to 1.28 mm after stringing. A stringbed stiffness of 74 RDC units was recorded 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 8% 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% tension loss. Stamina 16 added 14.3 grams to the unstrung frame.

THE TESTERS

Tested for five weeks by 35 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 6.0. This is a blind test. The playtesters are sent unmarked strings in unmarked packages. This means they know nothing about the string before they string it and play with it. As a result, no preconceived ideas regarding manufacturers, type of construction, or materials used are able to effect their impressions of the string. Average number of hours playtested was 21.

STRINGING

Installing Stamina 16 couldn't be much easier. In fact all but one of our playtesters indicated it was easier to install than other strings. We figure the one playtester who rated ease of string not quite as good must have been the Russian figure skating judge from Salt Lake. None of our playtesters reported any problems with coil memory, which is good news coming from a more-durable string. The string has no excessive oily coating to make you feel like you need to wash your hands after working with it. However, we did not experience any problems with friction during the cross string installation. Knots cinched up nicely and the tips stayed crisp. The crisp sharp tip meant we didn't have any trouble getting the string through blocked or shared holes. The official string length (40') would be long enough to handle most racquets on the market today. But the actual length we measured (42' 1") is more than enough to handle pretty much any racquet out there.

PLAYTESTING

Apparently, a string doesn't have to be expensive for our playtesters to enjoy playing with it. That is why we do blind testing, so people won't assume a string is bad just because it is inexpensive. Our playtesters didn't make any negative assumptions with this string because they gave it scores well above average in playability, tension maintenance, control and durability.

Wilson said that this string was designed to be a more durable synthetic gut, and they were right. Only a few other non-kevlar and non-polyester strings have scored as high in the durability category, and none have matched its durability for such a low price. Only 8 playtesters broke Stamina, one each after 5, 5.5, 6, 9, 13, 16, 18, and 30 hours.

The strong tension maintenance and control probably have a lot to do with the solid center core. In fact, only a handful of strings have ever scored higher in either of these categories.

The 3.6 that Stamina received for playability would be impressive all by itself. But, when you combine it with the other high scores in so many other categories, this string really stands out. Stamina also received above average scores in power, touch/feel, comfort, and resistance to movement. So, you can see that this string really is an all-around performer. In fact the only average score that Stamina received was in spin potential.

CONCLUSION

Stamina 16 proves that good strings don't have to cost a lot. It's playability, durability, tension maintenance, and control are all well above average, while it's Price of $4.25 per set is well below average compared to most of the strings we get to playtest. At a time when manufacturers are pushing the $20 per set wholesale cost barrier, it is refreshing to see such an inexpensive string score so well with out playtest team. Wilson has included a set of Stamina with this issue for all US and Canadian members. So, don't waste any time. Put the set in one of your racquets and see if you are as impressed with this string as our playtesters were. While you're at it, give the Pro Overgrip sample a try as well.

COMMENTS

"String was very easy to string and handle. It offered excellent control and a crisp response. While power was only average, the control made up for any loss of power. I felt as if I could hit out and the ball would go where I intended." 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using a Pro Kennex Kinetic 7g 100 strung at 67 pounds CP (Prince Perfection 16).

"This is a player's string! I found the string to be a real performance string having an exceptionally solid feel with all the control you could want. It is a very comfortable string to be using when you are going for the big point in a game. The playtest string maintained tension as well as any string I have used in the last couple of years. I will definitely add this string to my inventory." 4.0 male baseliner with moderate or no spin using a Prince Triple Threat Stealth 100 strung at 57 pounds CP (Prince Sweet Perfection 17).

"This string played quite well in all aspects. It kept my volleys in and yet gave me great feel at the net. Plenty of power from the serve and it almost seemed to soak up the vibration from the hit. I couldn't generate much spin. But, overall this string is a winner." 4.5 male all court player using a Head i.S6 107 strung at 60 pounds CP (Gamma TNT Live Wire 16).

"I loved this string. It had such a solid feel. Very powerful and durable. Let me know when it goes on the market." 5.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using a Wilson Hammer 6.4 Power Holes 110 strung at 72 pounds LO (Wilson Synthetic Gut 16).

"I found this string to be an above-average all-purpose string. It will take anything you give it and holds tension very well." 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using a Head Classic MP strung at 60 pounds CP (Gosen Jim Courier 17).

"This string is an all around winner. It played extremely well on all shots. It was consistent from the start." 5.0 male all court player using a Head Pro Tour 280 97 strung at 58 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut 17).

"This is a fine, fine string. It lost a little tension toward the end, but provided really nice feel and touch, playing crisply and confidently. A good all-around choice. I would actually use this string if it was priced right." 5.0 male all court player using a Head Ti.Radical 95 strung at 49 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut Soft 16).

"A nice crisp-feeling string. It had nice bite on the ball while playing. It seemed to maintain tension well." 4.5 male all court player using a Prince Triple Threat Warrior MP strung at 58 pounds CP.

"Great String. It had nice feel with power." 5.0 male baseliner with moderate or no spin using a Prince Triple Threat Hornet 100 strung at 62 pounds CP (Prince Perfection 17).

"A good playing string. Static elongation at 60 pounds was 9.4%. Elastic memory was 87.5%. These are good traits as evidenced by the SPS readings. Untensioned diameter was very consistent, which is a quality feature." 4.0 male all court player using a Gamma Diamond Fiber C-3.0 116 strung at 63 pounds CP (Gamma TNT Pro Plus 17L).

"Played very nice. Good control with power from baseline." 4.5 male all court player using a Head i.S6 110 strung at 60 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut 16 or 17 with Duraflex).

"I liked this string a bit more after I hit with it for a good six hours or so. It seems fairly close to an average synthetic gut, but pretty soft. It's good for touch and comfort." 5.0 male all court player using a Wilson Pro Staff 7.5 95 strung at 68 pounds LO (Kevlar 17/ Babolat VS Tonic 16).

"This string held tension extremely well, and was very durable. It played stiffer, and the ball did not seem to sit on the stringbed for as long as my normal string. For players looking for a long-lasting string that will hold tension, this is a good choice." 4.0 male all court player using a Pro Kennex Kinetic Charged 110 strung at 66 pounds LO (Tecnifibre TrC 16).

"This is a pretty good string. It plays better once it loses tension (or gets broken-in a bit). After the initial string tension loss, it maintains its tension very well. Power is good as well as control and comfort." 5.5 male serve and volley player using a Babolat Pure Drive + 100 strung at 60 pounds CP.

"It played nicely with a good crisp feel." 4.5 female all court player using a Wilson Hyper Hammer 3.3 115 strung at 60 pounds (Wilson Sensation NXT 17).

"Average string with above average durability, tension holding and resistance to movement characteristics." 4.0 male all court player using a Cayman Strike-X 95 strung at 55 pounds LO (Cayman Synthetic Gut 18 DT).
"Played in two tournaments. String held up well, but had no outstanding areas." 5.0 male serve and volley player using a Volkl Catapult 3 110 strung at 48 pounds LO (Gamma Synthetic Gut 17).

"With all the new soft strings on the market, this one was just average to me." 4.5 male all court player using a Head i.Radical Oversize strung at 56 pounds LO (Tecnifibre NRG2 17).

"A nice string, but nothing special. There are better all-around strings out there than this one (unless these are very inexpensive)." 6.0 female all court player using a Volkl C10 Pro 98 strung at 60 pounds CP (IsoSpeed Professional).

"Nothing special about this one, although I did not have a lot of string movement, therefore it had better control." 3.5 male all court player using a Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 5.0 MP strung at 65 pounds LO (Tecnifibre TR Pro 17).

TESTER STATS

Results from 35 playtesters

EASE OF STRINGING

(Compared to string used most often)
much easier
1
somewhat better 8
about the same 20
not quite as good 1
not nearly as good 0


OVERALL PLAYABILITY

(Compared to string played most often)
much better 2
somewhat better 4
about the same 12
not quite as good 8
not nearly as good 1


OVERALL DURABILITY

(Compared to strings of similar gauge)
much better 1
somewhat better 9
about the same 18
not quite as good 1
not nearly as good 0


RATING AVERAGES

Playability 3.6
Durability 3.6
Power 3.4
Control 3.5
Touch/feel 3.3
Comfort 3.4
Spin Potential 3.0
Holding Tension 3.6
Resistance to Movement 3.4


KEY: Respondents ranked string from a possible low of 1 to a high of 5. Median value is 3. Values represent average overall ratings.

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