Playtest: Tecnifibre TGV
By Greg Raven
TGV is a multifilament string from Tecnifibre that is made of bundles of micro fibers, imbued with Polyurethane 400. According to Tecnifibre, the composite micro fiber bundles give TGV its dynamic properties and power. The Polyurethane 400, which makes up 45 percent of the string, can stretch up to 400 percent of its length, providing comfort by reducing shock and vibration. TGV is also coated with Silicone Pyrogene Lubritec (SPL) to improve durability by reducing abrasion that can lead to notching and wear. According to Tecnifibre, TGV is the softest string on the market, and in fact Tecnifibre recommends it for players who want a soft string with maximum comfort.
TGV is available in 16 (1.30 mm) and 17 (1.25) in natural only. It is priced from $13.50 per 40’ set. For more information or to order, contact Tecnifibre at 877-332-0825, or visit tecnifibre.com.
IN THE LAB
We tested the 16-gauge TGV (1.30 mm). The coil measured 40”. The diameter measured 130-1.33 mm prior to stringing, and 1.25-1.27 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 74 RDC units immediately after stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 × 18 pattern) on a constant pull machine.
After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed stiffness measured 65 RDC units, representing a 12 percent 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 percent tension loss. TGV added 15 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.
The string was tested for five weeks by 37 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 6.0. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. Average number of hours playtested was 29.2.
Out of the package, Tecnifibre TGV feels very smooth, with low coil memory. During stringing, it has a slight tendency toward kinking, and there can be some clamp bruising and minor burning of the mains while installing the crosses. The tip did get a little mushy, but it still managed to negotiate each of our blocked holes.
No playtester broke his sample during stringing, two reported problems with coil memory, one reported problems tying knots, and one reported friction burn.
ON THE COURT
Tecnifibre promises maximum comfort from TGV, and our playtest team agreed that it delivers, giving it a 3rd-place rating (out of the 122 strings we’ve playtested to date). The only two strings rated more highly than TGV for comfort are a natural gut string, and Tecnifibre’s X-One Biphase. (See our playtest report of X-One Biphase in the August 2004 issue of RSI.) In case you’re wondering, 4th place in the Comfort category is Tecnifibre Xr3, which you can read all about in the May 2008 RSI playtest report.
Our playtest team also rated TGV 6th overall for Control, 17th overall for Playability, and 19th overall for Touch/Feel, giving Tecnifibre TGV a remarkable four top-twenty placements.
At the same time, though, our playtesters rated TGV as well above average in Durability, Power, Spin Potential, and Tension Retention. As a result, Tecnifibre TGV’s overall average rating is good enough to place it 12th overall of the 122 strings we’ve playtested to date for publication.
Four playtesters broke the sample during the on-court evaluation period, one at five hours, one at nine hours, one at 10 hours, and one at 12 hours.
With top-twenty ratings in Comfort, Control, Playability, and Touch/Feel, and an overall average to match, it should not be difficult to identify those among your customers who are going to love TGV. This is especially true if your customers want a really soft string with pretty good Resistance to Movement.
“This is not an average nylon string. It has a great combination of control, comfort, and feel. My first stroke was dead accurate. This is one of those strings that invites you to ‘swing away.’ Trajectory and depth are very predictable. No adjustment needed.” 4.0 male all-court player using Völkl DNX 8 strung at 58 pounds CP (Wilson Reaction 17)
“This string has the unmistakable feel of a high quality multifilament. The comfort and playability are apparent from the first hit. It seems to hold tension and resist movement better than most strings in its class. This string will find a home in my inventory.” 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Flexpoint Instinct strung at 62 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)
“Installation is fast and easy. The usual multifilament clouding occurs with clamping, but nothing out of the ordinary. Seems to stretch less than its peers. Though this does not play as well as natural gut, it comes close. Comfort, spin, and durability are excellent. There is almost no wear after 23 hours.” 4.5 male serve-and-volleyer using Völkl DNX 10 Mid strung at 54 pounds CP (Natural Gut 17)
“The surface is a tad sticky, which slows weaving time. It also tends to kink. On the court, however, this string excels in nearly every category. The feel and control are amazing. Unlike some strings that have a dead response and require a bigger swing, power is very easy to achieve, especially on volleys. This string enables relaxed strokes to penetrate the back court. It could be very dangerous weapon for certain stoke styles.” 6.0 male serve-and-volleyer using Prince Shark MP strung at 65 pounds LO (Prince Sweet Perfection 17)
“Very easy to string. Feels good from the start. Virtually no break-in period. The most noticeable feature is the controllable power.” 4.0 male all-court player using Wilson Sledge Hammer 3.8 strung at 64 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire 16)
“Playability is quite impressive. Power and control stay remarkably consistent over time. This string also has great touch at net, which is impressive for a thicker gauge. The feel is another strong suit. There is virtually no vibration, yet the stringbed plays with a wonderfully crisp response. Topspin is easily generated on both groundstrokes and serve.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Flexpoint Radical MP strung at 56 pounds CP (Goson Polylon SP 17)
“This is the perfect string for those who prefer a softer impact. There is surprisingly little notching and string movement, making this a more durable multifilament. Given the overall power, comfort, and control, this is definitely one of the best strings I’ve playtested.” 5.0 male all-court player using Prince O3 Speedport Tour strung at 54 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)
“This feels and plays like natural gut. It has a soft resilience, with great touch and control.” 4.0 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Radical Pro MP strung at 59 pounds CP (Head Intellitour 16)
“There is a brief adjustment period, but after a few hours this string feels great. Tension maintenance is well above average. Heavy topspin and flat bombs come off with the same great control. Easily one of the best strings I’ve tested.” 5.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Pure Storm strung at 60 pounds CP (Babolat Attraction Power 17)
“This string has a truly nice feel and great spin. It provides easy access to power. This is one of the best strings I’ve ever tested. Even at high tensions, the comfort is excellent. I could easily switch to this string!” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson n5 Force strung at 63 pounds CP (Wilson Stamina 16)
“This string plays a lot like natural gut. It is extremely comfortable and does everything well.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Radical Pro MP strung at 58 pounds LO (Klip Legend 16)
“Three words: Control, touch, and feel. I would definitely carry this string and recommend it to my customers.” 3.5 male serve-and-volleyer using Wilson K4 strung at 56 pounds CP (Babolat VS Touch 16)
“I really like the feel of this string. Control is good and the touch is incredible. Tension stays remarkably consistent. This is a great string for doubles because reflex volleys have more than adequate power. Lobs, angels, and touch shots are extremely easy to place.” 5.0 male serve-and-volleyer using Wilson nSix One (68 Holes) strung at 60 pounds CP (Wilson NXT Tour 17)
“Interesting combination of comfort and durability. It’s hard to find these traits in the same string. Kick serves and topspin lobs are explosive. This string still feels fresh after 18 hours. Very impressive.” 4.0 male using Völkl Tour 9 strung at 59 pounds (Wilson Sensation 16)
“This is a very comfortable string with some serious power. I had to work a little extra to get spin, but, with proper timing, the result is an extremely heavy ball. Touch shots are easy to execute. Compact volleys produce penetrating results.” 5.5 male serve-and-volleyer using Wilson nSix One (68 Holes) strung at 62 pounds CP (Luxilon Original Rough 16L)
“Great feel! I have some wrist issues, so I prefer soft strings. This string absorbs shock as well as any I’ve tried.” 3.5 male serve-and-volleyer using Head i.Radical MP strung at 63 pounds LO (Wilson K-Gut 16)
“This is a truly solid feeling string. Very comfortable at impact.” 4.5 male all-court player using Tecnifibre T Fight 335 (16x20) strung at 17 pounds LO (Tecnifibre Synthetic Gut 17)
“After a few hours, the feel improves significantly. Hard hitting does cause some string movement. The control is excellent. Regardless of how short or long the stroke, I never feel the need to hold back or make troublesome adjustments.” 4.5 female all-court player using Head Airflow 1 strung at 17 pounds (Head FXP Power 16)
“This is a truly high quality multifilament. Great comfort and power. Touch shots, counter punches, and lobs all have good control. Durability is not very high, but that is to be expected with this type of string. It definitely offers some interesting hybrid possibilities.” 5.0 male all-court player using Prince Speedport Black strung at 60 pounds CP (Prince Premier w/Softflex 16)
“Good comfort and control. Surprisingly good durability for a soft string. I’m very interested in trying this in a thinner gauge.” 4.0 male all-court player using Babolat Pure Drive Roddick strung at 60 pounds LO (Babolat Xcel Premium 16)
“This string has a wonderful feel. It is crisp and arm friendly.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson KSix One (68 Holes) strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson NXT Tour 17)
“Good overall performance. Exceptional control, durability, feel, and power, but only average comfort. No real negatives.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson nSix One (68 Holes) strung at 62 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)
“This string sends very little shock to the arm. The response is fairly muted. Ground strokes and serves seem to have a little extra zip. Tension loss is minimal.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince Triple Threat Hornet strung at 53 pounds CP (Gamma Zo Pro 16)
“This string is very easy to work with. There is a little peeling at 15 hours, otherwise it is a fabulous string. The feel is great. It plays about as well as any high quality string on the market. Though soft, durability is excellent. The strings don’t move and there is very little tension loss.” 4.5 female all-court player using Head Liquidmetal 4 strung at 56 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu Power Fluoro 17)
“This string broke after 5 hours, but I enjoyed playing with it. If someone forced me to stop using natural gut, I would definitely consider using it. The comfort and feel are pretty impressive. It seems to have just the right feedback.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Extreme strung at 6.0 pounds CP (Wilson Natural Gut 16)
“Excellent overall playability and outstanding comfort, but very poor tension maintenance. Pre-stretching is advised. String breakers might consider this only as a cross.” 4.5 male all-court player using Prince O3 White strung at 62 pounds LO (Prince Lightning XX w/Powerfoil 17)
“This string’s comfort and feel will give it a broad appeal, especially at the club level. It did not have enough bite for my game. Topspin power players should crank-up the tension, otherwise it is likely to be too bouncy.” 5.0 male all-court player using Prince O3 White MP strung at 62 pounds CP (Babolat Attraction 16)
“Good tension maintenance. Decent spin and power from the baseline, but not enough feel on volleys and touch shots. The stringbed is too stiff during the first few hours, but relaxes thereafter.” 5.0 female serve-and-volleyer using Prince O3 White MP strung at 63 pounds CP (Gamma Professional 17)
“Stringing is quick and painless, but playability leaves something to be desired. Very little bite and not enough power. It is a comfortable all-around offering that lacks a ‘wow factor.’” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Pure Drive + strung at 53 pounds CP (Babolat VS Touch 16)
“Installation is a cinch. Coil memory and friction burn are non-existent. On court, there is nothing remarkable. The buzzing noise is a distraction.” 3.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince Thunder Rip OS strung at 62 pounds LO (Unique Big Hitter Blue 17)
“This string is comfortable, but it is not for every stroke style. As someone who typically uses a stiff, less powerful polyester, I have trouble with most nylon multifilaments, especially the soft and powerful ones. With this string, I cannot get enough bite to reliably control the ball with spin. I would advise hard swinging baseliners to use higher tensions.” 5.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Flexpoint Prestige MP strung at 61 pounds LO (Luxilon Original Rough 16L)
“The feel is initially very good. After 8 hours it gets mushy and control suffers. This is a good candidate for pre-stretching.” 4.0 male all-court player using Prince Precision Mono strung at 60 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 16)
“This string errs on the side of control. I feel like have to work too hard to create velocity and depth. It has no outstanding qualities.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince O3 Blue strung at 63 pounds LO (Gamma TNT2 16)
“At 64 lbs, this plays a little too dead. It retains its comfort, but I have trouble getting the ball deep. I also had a little trouble executing touch shots. I recommend lower tensions for those who prefer a little more juice.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head i.Prestige MP strung at 64 pounds LO (Pacific Tough Gut 16L)
“The strings move too much and the feel is dead. For such a comfortable string, I am surprised by the lifeless response.” 4.0 male all-court player using Head Flexpoint 6 MP strung at 56 pounds CP (Gamma ESP 17)
“This string lacks feel and the power is uneven. Without productive feedback, the ball comes off the stringbed too unpredictably. I can’t seem to get hold of the depth and trajectory.” 5.0 male all-court player using Yonex RQIS 1 Tour strung at 63 pounds CP (Nylon Multifilament 16)
“I’m not very impressed. The stringbed is quite stiff and touch shots are hard to gauge. Given that I have a fairly light and stiff frame, perhaps 61 lbs is too high for this string.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head Metallix 2 strung at 61 pounds CP (Gamma Synthetic Gut 17)
(Strings normally used by testers are indicated in parentheses.)
|EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings)
|about as easy||18|
|not quite as easy||1|
|not nearly as easy||0|
(compared to the string played most often)
|about as playable||10|
|not quite as playable||12|
|not nearly as playable||1|
(compared to other strings of similar gauge)
|about as durable||21|
|not quite as durable||3|
|not nearly as durable||0|
From 1 to 5 (best)
|Playability (17th overall)||3.7|
|Control (6th overall)||3.8|
|Comfort (3rd overall)||3.9|
|Touch/Feel (19th overall)||3.5|
|Resistance to Movement||3.3|
See all articles by Greg Raven
About the Author
Greg Raven is an associate editor for RSI magazine and technical writer. He is certified as a Master Racquet Technician by the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. He plays tennis five days a week, and is turning into an avid cyclist.
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