Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pat Markey

Grommet wear can cause strings to break prematurely

The last thing you want as a racquet stringer is to have that string break at the grommet. String damage can occur when you uncoil the string, clamp your strings, pull a string through a grommet with a sharp corner or cracked grommet, during tie off or multiple other times as well. You can see that this issue can cause you to look bad as a stringer, even if its not your fault!

The first think that I like to do is evaluate the tennis racquet for any cracked grommets or areas that might cause excessive wear. If cracked grommets than I will fit a piece of racket tubing in the hole (always look at the strings as you are removing them from the racket in case some holes were tubed). A sloppy tubing job looks unprofessional so try to cut the tubing so it doesnt extend past the grommet in the string bed and let the part extend on the headguard enough so it doesn't cause a sharp edge or gets in the way of any other strings. Another thing is to get a grommet repair kit, Gamma Sports or at their online retail outlet ATS SPORTS The grommet repair kits include an awl that can grind out the old grommet and a set of various size hard grommets that fit into place. This is a clean way of fixing the grommet strip without replacing the whole grommet strip. If you do notice that the grommet strip is brittle, cracking at numerous holes than by all means replace it, too much tubing or repair can take too much time and cause problems with the string.

NEW rackets also need to be handled carefully because if you pull that first string through and the grommet is not 'seeded' properly against the frame you could not only damage the string because it is rubbing up against the frame or the string damages the frame because the grommet is not wedged against the frame. Some rackets have 'flared' grommets, you will find some on the Babolat racquets and especially on rackets around the point where a string has to take a 90 degree angle turn (usually going from the last main to the first cross or tie off hole areas). You can purchase a tool that will flare the grommet for you and this might be a way to keep the racket from having issues at the grommets that might have extra stress areas.
LASTLY, be careful when tying off knots. This is an area that if you pull up on the string to much in the wrong direction, the string becomes cut and than might break prematurely.

Pat Markey

About Pat Markey -

Patrick Has been stringing rackets for over 25 years including at many professional events around the country including the US OPEN and AUSTRALIAN OPEN. He brings a depth of knowledge and love for the industry.

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