Hybrids are everywhere in 2019. Mattresses, automobiles, cocktails, bicycles, clothing, and even a growing number of tennis strings. But what exactly does this mean? A hybrid is defined as a combination of a couple elements. When it comes to string hybrids, we’re seeing more and more manufacturers combine various types of strings to give players their ideal combo in one set rather than multiple sets. This is mainly due to their increasing presence on the pro tour. Here are a few of our favorite pre-packaged hybrid sets, available at Tennis Express:
Roger Federer, ever heard of him? The greatest tennis player of all time started his remarkable career playing with Natural Gut. Though for most of his career, Federer has used Wilson’s Champion’s Choice. The string pairs Luxilon ALU Power Rough 1.25 with a set of Wilson’s famous, high-quality Natural Gut. The rough version of ALU Power uses Luxilon’s poly-ether-ether and aluminum formula for one of the most popular strings on the professional circuit. The surface of the string is dented to provide a softer feel than regular ALU Power. Federer plays with ALU Power Rough in the crosses, and Natural Gut in the mains. For more control and a slightly firmer feel, try ALU Power Rough in the mains and Natural Gut in the crosses.
2. Ashaway Crossfire ZX
Next up we have a polyester-free hybrid: Ashaway Crossfire ZX. This set offers somewhat of a throwback by featuring Kevlar woven main strings for a stiffer, controlled response. To soften the firm feel of the Kevlar, Ashaway uses Monogut ZX in the crosses. Monogut ZX offers dynamic tension to rival natural gut. It is a unique counter to Kevlar with explosive power and a smooth surface provided by Zyex, a polyester-free PEEK material that plays explosive and arm-friendly.
3. Wilson Duo Feel
Wilson and Luxilon offer a softer hybrid option called Duo Feel. Element is one of the softest polyester strings available, and is an excellent “first polyester” for players who aren’t used to firm poly strings. Wilson NXT is one of the most popular multifilament strings of all time, so this hybrid makes tons of sense for those seeking more power and comfort. Either string can be used as the main string, though for a softer and more powerful feel, try the NXT in the mains.
4. HEAD Intellitour
HEAD has a perfect hybrid option for folks that want to make a stiffer feeling racquet play more comfortably. Intellitour uses HEAD’s polyolefin ribbon technology (R.I.P.) to create a main string with a textured coating and a thin inner core. The cross string, R.I.P. Feel, uses the same technology, but with a hollow core, to vastly increase the shock absorption. This hybrid will not offer the same spin potential as some of the others on this list, but the comfort is off the charts, even at higher tensions.
5. HEAD Gravity
Another offering from HEAD is Gravity. This is not a typical poly / multi hybrid, and actually combines two thinner polyester strings together. The main string is a white polyester with a sharp triangular cross section that’s designed to grab the ball and deliver explosive spin potential on faster swings. The cross string is a silver, thin-gauge, round polyester designed to slide and snap back across the triangular main string.
6. Babolat RPM Blast and VS Gut
No list of hybrid sets would be complete without mentioning Babolat VS Gut. The most popular gut on the pro tour is paired with Nadal’s RPM Blast. RPM has a special coating that allows the natural gut to slide easily for outstanding spin. At lower tensions, this hybrid offers explosive power, particularly with the VS Gut in the main strings. For a little firmer feeling string bed, try VS Gut in the crosses.
Tecnifibre has been at the forefront of string technology for decades. Their new string, HDMX, incorporates hybrid 3D technology: Three fibers (polyester, Thermostabyl, and Elastyl) are blended together to create an “internal hybrid” of sorts. The string plays more controlled than super soft multi-filaments like X. One Biphase, but also offers plenty of power and spin potential for players who can generate their own pace.
As you can see, not all pre-packaged hybrids are the same, so you may have to experiment a little before finding the right combination. For those that want something different, also check out the following hybrid sets: Forten Aramid Gear, Gamma TNT2 Fusion Plus, and Volkl V-Blast. Please note that if you do decide on a Natural Gut hybrid set, you need to make sure you take care of your strings. Changes in temperature and humidity can alter their playing characteristics more easily than with polyester.