Gauge: 16 (1.30mm) or 16L (1.25mm)
Length: 40 feet
Test Racquet / Tension
Tecnifibre TFight 315 LTD 16M @ 56 lbs
Having conquered the world of polyester string, Luxilon is setting its sights on one of the oldest markets in tennis. That’s right folks, welcome to the era of Luxilon Natural Gut! Looking to give players options to play their Natural Gut as either a full set or a hybrid, Luxilon has added some player friendly details to this string. It has a low friction coating on the outside to help improve durability when paired with a polyester string in hybrid configurations. The string is also pre-marked at the halfway point, making it a breeze to split the set for hybrid stringing. Having played every Luxilon poly under the sun, I was eager to take the court with their spin on one of the oldest strings in the game.
The power level of Luxilon’s Natural Gut was all relative. It packed a bigger punch than any polyester or synthetic string. However, I found it to play with a bit less power than some of the other gut strings on the market. It reminded me most of another gut I have played extensively, Klip Legend. I didn’t mind the slightly reduced power level as I felt it offered greater control. I was able to keep more balls in the court with a full set of Luxilon gut than with other offerings I’ve used at similar tension. The power level was also consistent across the string bed with no drop off in power outside the sweet spot. This allowed me to play excellent defense and reset many points back to neutral. The excellent level of control allowed me to pick aggressive targets and hit for winners with confidence. The spin level of the string was another area that will depend on what you compare it to. The low friction coating helped it produce a very solid amount of spin (for gut) and easily more than I have found with synthetic or multifilament strings. Over time, the outer coating seemed to wear down and there was a noticeable reduction in spin as the string-to-string friction increased. While it may not produce as much knee buckling spin as a full set of polyester, I thought Luxilon Gut had enough for me to play with comfortable margins and use spin to push the ball into the court, especially early on in my play test.
Feel / Comfort
There is just nothing that compares to the feel of natural gut in your racquet. From the first ball, I felt at home with the impressive ball pocketing and crisp yet smooth response the Luxilon offered. It did have a slightly deader feel to it compared to Babolat’s VS gut, but the feel was still light years beyond any other type of string material out there. The solid feel and intoxicating sound on impact left me continuously wanting more. I felt like I could drop my shots on a dime and volleying with this string was simply lights out. The amount of touch present let me drop volleys short and create angles that left balls hopelessly out of reach for my opponents. Comfort was yet another highlight of using this string. No matter where I made contact, the response was consistently smooth and soft, like a warm stick of butter. Any player with a sensitive arm would be wise to make the move to this string and start reaping the comfort benefits.
Natural Gut strings are consistently heralded for their impressive durability and Luxilon’s entry was no different. It held up much longer than any synthetic I’ve used and outlasted most polyester I play with. I easily crossed the 20 hour mark for court time and the string was still performing well. There was a good amount of fraying at that point as the protective coating seemed to wear off fairly early. Unlike many other strings, the gut did an excellent job at maintaining its playability throughout its life. I never felt it drop a massive amount of tension and turn into a rocket launcher. It simply steadily wore down until it snapped but I felt like I was playing just as well at hour 20 with it as I had been in the first hour. It’s rare to find a string that maintains playability like Luxilon’s gut and I found it incredibly confidence inspiring. Each time I took the court, I knew exactly what I was going to get from the string and I was sad to see it go when it finally snapped after performing so impressively for so long.
Not content to dominate the world of polyester string, Luxilon is aiming high with its new Natural Gut string. By and large, it mostly reaches those lofty heights too. While not the most powerful or soft feeling gut on the market, it offers a truly impressive blend of power, response and comfort. Add its impressive durability and playability to the mix and you have a recipe for success with any play style and level. Luxilon Natural Gut is a shining example of a string that makes no sacrifices with its long list of attributes. Any player looking to raise their game should take a serious look at putting their old strings out to pasture and making the switch.
About the Reviewer: Matt Locke currently serves as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho and is an active USTA League and Tournament player.