An Interview with Andy Gerst
Gosen Sidewinder is a shaped co-poly with impressive comfort and pop for a monofilament. It gets its name from how it's produced: Gosen extrudes it in a rectangular shape and then twists it for maximum bite. Let's check in with playtester Andy Gerst to hear his thoughts on this interesting new co-poly from Gosen!
What kind of string do you hit with most?
I typically play with a stiffer polyester string, like Volkl Cyclone or Babolat RPM Blast. I will typically string them between 50 and 52 lbs.
How did Gosen Sidewinder compare?
I found Gosen Sidewinder to be a very friendly co-poly. It reminded me of Dunlop Black Widow in that it almost felt like a 'tweener - stiffer than most nylons but softer than most polys. It's definitely easier on the arm than the majority of polys I've hit. With the added comfort came increased power; the ball really jumped off the stringbed.
In addition to the comfort, what makes Gosen Sidewinder unique is that it is not only shaped but also twisted during production. This makes it super spin-friendly, as the ball gets nicely gripped before exploding off the racquet with tons of action. A hard slice really bites the court, and a big heavy topspin groundstroke jumps high off the court.
Did you have to make any adjustments to get the most out of this string?
I first strung up the Sidewinder at my typical tension (50-52 lbs), but I had trouble controlling my shots. The ball jumped off the stringbed with so much action that the ball would fly on me if I didn't catch it just right. I increased the tension to 56 lbs and it definitely helped with control. Factor in the incredible spin and you have a recipe for accuracy.
Did you have a favorite stroke with Gosen Sidewinder?
My topspin forehand was my favorite shot with this string. I take a big cut at the ball with my western grip, and once I increased the tension and let 'er rip the ball exploded off the court with tons of action and heaviness. The extra spin and power I got from this string allowed me to dictate points with heavy forehands.
What stoke style or type of player would you recommend this to?
Like Dunlop Black Widow, Sidewinder's soft feel makes it more accessible than many of the firmer polys. It's not as jarring on the arm, which makes it a better choice for the player who is ready to give polyester a try. Also, if you typically play with shaped polyester but are looking for a little more playability and comfort, Sidewinder would be a great option. With that said, Sidewinder is still a poly, which makes it best suited to players with longer, faster strokes. If your strokes are too short it's likely to feel a little stiff and dead.
What are your likes and dislikes of Sidewinder?
Overall, I really enjoyed playing with it. It's a very soft and comfortable polyester string that really bites the ball and enabled me to generate lots of power and spin. Since it is so soft the stringbed gets manipulated and transformed at impact more, which diminishes precision on shots a bit. This is usually the trade-off in polyesters; if you want added comfort and power you are going to lose a bit of control. I also found Sidewinder to feel a bit "mushy" compared to the stiffer polys I typically use. Sometimes I lost a bit of feel when I felt this "mushiness." However, I'm being picky. I enjoyed this string, and would give it a 7.5/10 overall.