In the midst of a renaissance that sees Dunlop releasing new, high quality racquet lines, the company now seems poised to update their lineup of string offerings. The new Dunlop NT Max Plus polyester aims to provide players with outstanding control and feel without sacrificing spin or durability. It utilizes a special string coating to reduce friction, resulting in better spin as well as improved tension maintenance. This low friction surface also serves to resist notching, providing greater durability and a more consistent response over the life of the string. I primarily play with polyester so I was excited to see what this new string from Dunlop could offer when I hit the court with it. For this playtest I used the Dunlop Srixon CX 200+ tennis racquet and strung it at 50 lbs.
Power, Spin and Control
The power level of NT Max Plus felt on the lower end for a co-poly string. It wasn’t the lowest powered string I’ve tested but it also did not pack a tremendous amount of pop. I played it in a lower power frame and the result was that I struggled to maintain quality depth/pace on my groundstrokes. The string felt like it would be better suited to enhancing the control of a more power oriented frame. Spin production was on par with other round, slick poly offerings. I was able to add enough spin to create a variety of net clearances, but the string didn’t produce the jump off the court that I have seen with other strings. Where NT Max Plus really shined was in the directional control it gave me. I felt confident that I could hit aggressive targets with minimal fear that the ball would sail out. Players with long, fast strokes would appreciate the control the string exerts over the ball. I was able to consistently take big aggressive cuts at the ball and it was rare to have the ensuing shot go long.
In the feel department, Dunlop NT Max Plus was a well balanced string. It played with a crisp yet comfortable feel on contact. The feedback was firm but I could still feel the string flex a bit more than other stiff polys on contact. This little bit of additional flex gave me confidence when going after touch and drop shots during points. I didn’t experience any comfort issues, despite the firm overall feel of the string. Sensitive players or players using stiffer frames would likely want to string it at lower tension to ensure adequate comfort. I also play tested the 16g version so the thinner 17g offering likely would trade some overall durability for a bit of additional comfort.
Durability was an impressive attribute of playing with NT Max Plus. The outer coating did an excellent job of lowering friction across the string bed, resulting in surprising resistance to notching. The string also held tension very well and I never hit a point where I felt the string gave out and became unmanageable. Even as the string wore down, it played consistently and had the same response and playability every time I stepped on court with it. Players who want to maximize value with longevity and consistent playability should reap plenty of reward with this string.
Having focused most of their attention on racquets the last few years, Dunlop looks ready to wade back into the hyper competitive string market. While this string didn’t have any one eye popping attribute, it was a well rounded, versatile string that should appeal to big swinging players. It offers solid spin, controlled power and above average feel for a poly. Aggressive players who need a string that is durable, consistently playable and will let them go for all their shots confidently, should take a test drive of Dunlop’s new NT Max Plus.
About the Author: Matt Locke formerly served for 3 years as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho. He is a PTR certified coach and is an active USTA 4.5+ League and Tournament player. He loves Nadal’s determination, but secretly wishes he had Federer’s effortless style.