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Tec Talk With John Millman

Tec Talk

Millman© Getty ImagesJohn Millman strings his racquets at 55lbs.

As part of Tecnifibre's ‘Tec Talk’ series, rising Australian John Millman discusses stringing with

Will you have racquets strung freshly for practice?
Sometimes I will. If I feel as if I have lost tension and it feels significantly different, then I will use a freshly strung racquet.

How many racquets do you string before a match?
That depends on the surface. I would normally have at least two fresh racquets for every match.

How often during a match will you go for a fresh racquet?
Again that depends on whether or not I feel as if the tension has dropped. If I feel as if it hasn’t, then I will continue to play with the same racquet.

What’s the worst time in a match where you broke a string?
The worst time ended up being the best time. I broke a string at 5-2 in a third set tie-break in the final of a challenger in Kyoto. I won the point and then won my next point to give me the title.

During a match if you break a string, what is your strategy?
I definitely don’t throw away the point with a broken string. I will still try to play a quality shot, whether it be topspin or slice and look to come into the net.

When you break strings, do they normally break in the same place?
I tend to break all the strings in a similar place. I will always break a main string in a similar position.

Is it one or several strings?
Most times it’s only one string but it can also be several in one go.

Does winning a point with a broken string have any effect on the match?
Definitely. It can be a real boost to win a point with a broken string and gives your opponent something to complain about.

Can you estimate how much money you spend on stringing each year?
A lot. Probably around $7000 would be a conservative figure.

What tension do you typically string at?
I normally put my tension in at around 55lbs. Obviously that depends on the stringing machine and the stringer who is stringing it.

And for different surfaces, how do you alter it?
The different surfaces and conditions do affect my preferred tension. For me, on the surfaces where I feel like I’m most likely to lose tension, I make it tighter. For example, you lose tension on clay and therefore I make it tighter. Also in altitude where the balls fly, I will make it tighter. I’m from Brisbane where it tends to be very humid and so I will normally make my strings tighter. In the cold, however, I would make them looser.

Apart from adjustments for surface and conditions, when was the last time your normal stringing tension and setup changed? 
Over the course of my career, I have tended to only make significant tension changes if I have a new frame. For example, I play with a 16 x 19 T-Fight 320 frame, which is an open stringing pattern and gives me good power, so I will tighten the strings a little.

Were you nervous about the results of making such a significant change?
Actually, not at all. It’s part of the game. You find what works best for you.

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