By Matt Locke
When it comes to modern tennis gear, spin is in. What started with the advent of polyester string has branched out to super open string patterns and material advancements in racquet and string design. Gamma seeks to usher in the next wave of spin production with the launch of their Glide cross string. This patent pending hybrid cross is a clear string made from a proprietary super fluorinated polymer. The sole focus of the string is to reduce the sliding friction between strings, allowing the mains to “glide” further along the crosses, yielding improved spin, energy return and comfort. Gamma’s lab tests show that Glide increases the “snap back” capabilities of any type of main string (polyester, nylon, natural gut). But how does it perform in a real world setting? Read on for my take on how Glide performs on court.
|Spin: Glide lives up to its name in spin production. I used Gamma’s pre-packaged Glide hybrid, which comes with their Moto polyester for the mains. Moto is a spin friendly string to begin with but I felt Glide gave it a bit of a bump. I found it easy to play shots with lots of net clearance and it was easy to get the ball deep in the court and keep my opponents pushed back. There were also several shots that looked to be going long, only to dip in at the last second. Kick and slice serves had solid action on them, and I was especially successful at using my slice serve to push opponents wide and open up the court. The main strings were still snapping back into position after several hours of hitting, with some minor notching starting to set in. While it may not produce as dramatic of a spin increase as one of the new open pattern frames, Glide makes it easy to produce spin on demand with your racquet and main string of choice.
|Power: Now this was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Glide plays with noticeably more power than a polyester string. At times, this free power was very nice to have on serves and off the ground. However, I found the power a bit inconsistent and difficult to tame when trying to flatten balls out and finish points. These attempts were a mix of winners and balls that sailed long. Timing was crucial with the string bed rewarding good timing and pushing balls out if I was a slightly late on contact. I installed Glide at 10% higher tension than my mains (Gamma recommends a 5-10% increase) but I felt I could have gone a bit higher in an attempt to control some of the string’s inherent power.|
|Feel and Comfort: Glide created a comfortable string bed paired with polyester mains. There was still a firm feel but I didn’t find the string bed to be jarring on off center contact as can be the case with full poly. Glide should only enhance the comfort of a setup with a multifilament or gut main string as well. There was a good amount of feel as I was able to execute drop shots and angle volleys effectively. The string does have a little bit of a springy / trampoline sensation, so a late contact point tends to push or float the ball deeper than intended on touch shots. As long as you can make some adjustments, Glide should play comfortably at a wide array of tensions.|
|Another primary benefit Glide has over using one of the newer, super slick poly strings as a cross is longevity. The reduction in friction Glide provides is not the result of an outer coating that can wear off, but rather the proprietary material it is constructed with, giving it the ability to maintain spin production throughout the life of the string. It also plays with a good amount of tension stability, making it a strong candidate to replace multifilament or poly cross strings. If you are looking for a string that can up the spin potential of any type of main string while providing additional power and comfort, then Glide should be on your play list. It is available as a half set cross string pack or in a pre-packaged hybrid with Gamma Moto mains. Order yours from Tennis Express and take it for a “spin” today!|