Gauge: 17G or 16G
Length: 40' or 660' (reel)
Test Racquet / Tension
Head Graphene XT Speed MPA 16x19 @ 54lbs
While still most widely known for their overgrips, Tourna has risen in the last few years as a company that builds high quality strings at great price points. The latest offering from them is the new Tourna Big Red polyester. This co-poly is aimed at providing improved spin via a low friction surface while also creating additional comfort. Here’s a look at the on court performance of the newest string in Tourna’s lineup.
I classified Big Red as a medium power poly string. It produced greater power than another Tourna offering, Big Hitter Silver, while not quite rising to the level of Big Hitter Blue or Black 7. The string’s power level also felt a bit tension dependent. I strung it at my normal tension and it seemed a hair too lively at first. Over time it settled in and the power level was more consistent, but I think I could have gone with a slightly higher tension. The power level made the string more accessible to mid level players as it did provide some extra pop on shots. The spin production was average for a round, smooth poly. I felt the mains snapped back well on topspin shots but it lacked the heavy spin that shaped or ultra slick strings can produce. It also lacked a bite of bite on my slice and I would have liked it to have more of a grippy feel on contact. Control was a bit of an issue for me initially as I had some difficulty finding my range. As the string broke in, it became more consistent and within a couple hours I was able to play the ball deep and go after shots more aggressively.
Feel / Comfort
The feel on Big Red was above average for a poly. The co-poly construction gave it a good amount of flex, providing a solid amount of ball pocketing on contact. The extra feel also made it a bit easier to use at net as I had better feedback on volleys. The string struck a nice balance of being soft without crossing the line into getting mushy on contact. Players should be able to find a tension range that provides plenty of comfort for them. The string did pick up a bit more vibration over time but I never had any comfort issues over the life of it.
Big Red provided me with solid durability. The smooth surface seemed to reduce the string bed friction and boosted the durability a bit. The mains starting notching after about 3 hours and I broke the string after about 9-10 hours, which was a typically range for me with a 17 gauge polyester. From a playability perspective, the string seemed to require a bit of a break in period. My first couple hours with it I was a bit erratic and struggled to find my range from the back of the court, requiring me to serve and volley more to use the feel of the string. Once the string settled in a bit, the playability improved and I was able to play a more all court game with confidence. As the string lost tension over time, it stayed consistent and did not trampoline too heavily, which can be an issue with softer poly offerings.
The performance of Big Red should make it an appealing string for a variety of players. It provides just enough extra power without launching the ball and it has enough spin potential to create angles and improve control. The softer feel performs well in the front court and it has enough durability for players to get good bang for their buck. Once it breaks in, Tourna’s Big Red offers players consistent response and an excellent mix of spin, power and control that is perfect for a variety of play styles and levels.
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.