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Playing to the same string

They hail from different countries, have different surface preferences, body types as unique as one can get, and differ in points in the rankings charts. Yet, one factor binds the tennis players together - Luxilon strings. Sharmistha Chaudhuri reports. Luxilon string users

sports Updated: Jul 09, 2011 02:32 IST
Sharmistha Chaudhuri

They hail from different countries, have different surface preferences, body types as unique as one can get, and differ in points in the rankings charts. Yet, one factor binds the tennis players together - Luxilon strings.

With 72% of the men and 52% of the women players using strings from the Belgium-based company, one wonders what could be so special about them.

"Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray are playing with our strings. In all, eight of the top 10 ATP players are using our products. Our strings are popular because they have resilience and provide power and control. Every string is stable and each plays the same with almost no loss in tension," said Nico Van Malderen, president of the Luxilon Industries.

Just to make the point clear, statistically, almost every Grand Slam winner this season uses these strings (see box).

"I have been using Luxilon ALU power for about seven years now. The combination of power, spin and control is what I like most about the string," said India's number one singles player Somdev Devvarman.

"We never sponsor any player," said Van Malderen. "On the contrary, if Luxilon can't use the image of a player, he has to even pay for the strings!" Van Malderen confirmed that many players, a few even in the top-20, do not allow their images to be published by the company due to sponsorship problems.

While most of the top players don't pay for the strings because of sponsorship arrangements, almost all pay for stringing services. In fact, men restring racquets 40% more than women. There are various theories for it. Some say women play only best-of-three sets while men have to toil for five in major events. Others say that men hit the ball harder than women while some others attribute it to off-centre hits.