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String Playtest Comparison: Wilson NXT Tour vs Gamma Professional

About the play testerAbout the String

Tester: Aussie of the Talk Tennis message board

Playing Level: Pennant Club level in Australia

Regular playing equipment: Prince TT Scream OS strung with Wilson Enduro Mono (poly) 16L (1.28mm) strung 2 piece at 58lbs mains and crosses. Sometimes Prince O3 Red with same string at 54lbs.

Game Style: Play an all court game based around control and placement. Strong forehand as an attacking weapon combined with a controlled backhand to maneuver opponent. Use an eastern forehand with moderate topspin and an eastern one handed backhand which I hit mostly flat but can slice and topspin as the situation arises. Use continental for service, volleys and smashes.

Strings being tested: Wilson NXT Tour 16 (1.30mm) and Gamma Professional 16 (1.32mm). Both are multifilaments and both claim "gut-like" playability and performance.

Gauge: Wilson NXT Tour: 16, Gamma Professional: 16

Racquet(s) string is in: Prince TT Scream OS strung 2 piece with both strings and both at a tension of 62lbs for crosses and mains

Tension: 62 lbs.

Stringing

Both strings supplied in 40 foot sets in retail packaging. Strings removed from packaging and measured and strung immediately with no pre stretching. Strung 2 piece with crosses strung top down.

Wilson NXT Tour 16 String
Receiving Wilson's highest rating for playability and a strong rating for durability, NXT Tour is a recommended synthetic for players looking for a gut like feel.
Gamma Professional 16 String
Gamma's flagship multifilament string combines Iso-Elastic fibers, NCP fibers, Urethane resin and PEEK (Zyex) fibers "to produce a natural gut-like feel.

Wilson NXT Tour: String coated heavily with possibly silicone which quickly coated my hands. Needed to wash hands frequently to remove this coating as it made handling stringing tools difficult. Coating made threading crosses very easy but strong coil memory sometimes knotted strings. Generally easy to string and knots easy to tie. Moderate stretch as expected from multifilament. Clamping string caused natural color to go white.

Gamma Professional: No coating like the Wilson which made handling more pleasant. Easy to string especially crosses with only a little coil memory. Moderate stretch similar to Wilson. Knot tying very easy with softer string. Pleasant to string.

Power

Strung at 62lbs in a 110 sq inch control orientated racquet both strings exhibited only moderate power.

TheWilson NXT Tour seemed to offer a bit more punch but with less control and feel.

The Gamma Professional suits my game based on control but to achieve more power, stringing at 58lbs is recommended.

Control

I found the Wilson NXT Tour to be a more board like string than the Gamma Professional at 62lbs which gave a little feed back. It (Wilson NXT Tour) deflected the ball quickly and my feel for the ball and subsequent control suffered.

The Gamma Professional played a little softer with a slightly longer dwell time giving me more feel for the ball. I played with more control with this string which gave me added confidence in rallies.

Comfort

The Wilson NXT Tour being harsher and more boardy seemed to transmit more ball shock which may worry those with joint problems.

The Gamma Professional felt more comfortable because of the softer string with longer dwell time. I've never suffered from elbow or shoulder tendonitis and felt that the Gamma may be better for those that do.

Spin

I found good access to spin with both strings although as 16 gauge strings, the amount of spin was not pronounced.

The Wilson NXT Tour offered some spin, though not as easy as the Gamma Professional.

I felt I could control the spin better with the Gamma Professional because of a longer dwell time on the stringbed.

Feel

The Wilson NXT Tour had some feel but it took some playing time to discover it.

Once again, the softer Gamma Professional with the longer dwell time on the stringbed, gave me more feel than the Wilson. Feel is a big part of my game and my confidence levels were at an immediate high from ball one when I hit with the Gamma. My ability to feel the ball and hit sharp angles and touch volleys was far greater with the Gamma than with the Wilson.

String Movement

The Wilson NXT Tour barely moved at all in the racquet during about 10 hours of play. The mains stayed put even while imposing reasonably amounts of hard hit topspin, and virtually the only string movement I witnessed was in 2 or 3 of the center crosses.

The Gamma Professional moved around quite considerably in both mains and crosses even after an hour of play and I noticed quite a degree of string notching after about 5 hours. With both strings, I made a conscious effort not to straighten them.

Tension Maintenance

The Wilson NXT Tour, the string meter measured tension loss around 5% - 10% after 5 hours which actually improved the playability.

The Gamma Professional seemed to lose a little more tension than the Wilson after about 5 hours of play but not enough to affect playability.

Durability

I am not a string breaker and certainly did not test either of these strings for a long enough period to determine durability.

The Wilson NXT Tour had no noticeable notching probably because it is a harder string and the heavy coating mentioned earlier probably protects the strings as well.

I was alarmed with the amount of notching on the Gamma Professional mains caused by the string movement and feel that heavy topspinners will have issues with the Gamma even though it is 1.32mm. One further problem to detract from the durability of the Gamma was that some of the multifilament fibers in the hitting zone were unraveling - which is a pet hate of mine about multis!

Weather/Temperature: Tests done at night with temperatures ranging from 24 - 30 degrees Celsius. Humidity was generally high.

Court Surface: Synthetic grass court using Slazenger Hydroguard grass court tennis balls.

Final Thoughts and summary: I am generally not a fan of multifilaments and have been disappointed in the ones I have used previously. As I am a fan of polys I approached this play test with a degree of apprehension because of my previous experiences. I also have no particular leaning towards either Wilson or Gamma so I was able to remain unbiased in my testing.

My testing of the Wilson NXT Tour did nothing to allay my misgivings of multifilaments. The harshness of the string combined with a lack of feel for the ball disappointed me. Good string tension maintenance, minimal string movement and apparent durability would not be enough to sway me to part with my hard earned for this string. A slightly lower tension may help to overcome some of these issues however.

The Gamma Professional on the other hand was an eye opener for me. 62lbs in my racquet seemed the optimum tension as I had unflagging confidence in the production of my shots from the first ball I hit. Comfort, feel, control and adequate spin were all on display during my 10 hours of playing with this string. Ease of stringing and immediate and lasting playability are wonderful features to have and this string has all this in spades. The only word of warning I can give about the Gamma is that there may be durability issues for heavier hitters of topspin.

Comfort
Gamma Professional 75
Wilson NXT Tour 60
Control
Gamma Professional 80
Wilson NXT Tour 60
Feel
Gamma Professional 85
Wilson NXT Tour 65
Overall Playability
Gamma Professional 85
Wilson NXT Tour 65
Power
Wilson NXT Tour 65
Gamma Professional 60
Spin
Gamma Professional 75
Wilson NXT Tour 70
String Movement
Wilson NXT Tour 85
Gamma Professional 55
Tension Maintenance
Wilson NXT Tour 85
Gamma Professional 75


Playtest date: April, 2007.
All content copyright 2007 Tennis Warehouse.

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