As an experienced tennis player and an ever-curious experimenter of gear that promises to enhance my game, I recently got my hands on the Head RIP Control tennis strings.
Head is no small name in the sports world; it carries the weight of a rich history, has an established reputation and is the racket + string choice for several top pros.
While RIP Control strings aren’t ones you’ll see any pros using, the string is immensely popular at the recreational level.
It gets a plethora of feedback in the tennis forums and discussions as a pro-worthy multifilament string that could bring comfort and high performance to the tennis game, and I was excited to see what all the fuss was about.
My aim was simple: test out Head RIP Control and see if it genuinely delivers on its promises. Many amateur players underestimate the power of a good string on a racket but ask any seasoned player or a tennis pro, and they will tell you the strings are the heart of your racket; they dictate the rhythm of your game.
Before I dive into the nitty-gritty of the string’s performance, let me tell you that my expectations were not unmet. This string has been engineered with precision and an understanding of what a player needs. But more on that later.
Whether you are a seasoned player, a newbie trying to understand the significance of gear, or simply a tennis aficionado, this review is a firsthand account that aims to shed some light on the efficacy of the Head RIP Control strings.
Head RIP Control Specification
String Used For This Review
- Composition: Multifilament
- Gauge: I used 1.25mm. It is also available in 1.30mm and 1.20mm.
- Shape: Round/Twisted
- Colour: Black / White
- Description: Power Control
- Tension: The recommended tension range for RIP Control is not above 24 kg.
Racket Setup For Testing
- Tension: Strung at 20 kg with two knots.
- Racket: Prestige S 295g unstrung, 317 complete kit, string pattern 16×19, length 68.6 cm, balance 325 mm.
- Grip Size: #2
- Head size: 99 square inches.
- Previous string on the frame: MSV Focus Hex Ultra strung at 20 kg
Head RIP Control Playest and Review
Head RIP Control strings offer a striking balance between traditional string design and innovative technology.
When I held my racket with these strings, I noticed they were beautifully crafted, their sleek design emanating a sense of reliability.
This multifilament string is popular among players (especially young players who aspire to become pros) for its superior comfort and excellent power delivery.
The central aspect that differentiates Head RIP Control from other strings is its unique construction. It uses a multifilament core surrounded by parallel fibres and an outer coating of textured, spin-enhancing filaments.
This intricate design means that the string offers the best of both worlds: the comfort and power of multifilament strings and the control and spin of textured strings.
The textured surface aids in gripping the ball, generating impressive topspin – a feature I found particularly useful during my playtests.
RIP Control string comes in 1.20, 1,25mm and 1.30 mm, with the latter providing a good balance of durability and playability.
A thinner string may offer more feel and power, but it compromises durability, a trade-off that Head seems to have considered carefully in their design.
Head also incorporates what they call Enhanced Durability Technology. I noticed less fraying than other multifilament strings I’ve used before, and the tension retention was exceptional, but I broke the first set very quickly.
Lastly, these strings come in two colour options: natural and black. While this may not affect the performance, it adds to the aesthetic appeal and allows players to match their string colour to their personal or racket style.
Upon hitting my first few balls, I quickly realised that the Head RIP Control strings were the type I wanted to play with.
The immediate feeling was one of controlled power, a harmonious blend that you feel right in your hands.
When it comes to power, the RIP Control strings were quite impressive. The multifilament construction shines here, creating a responsive, energetic feel upon impact.
I found that it amplified the natural power of my strokes without compromising the much-needed control.
The energy return was phenomenal. When I unleashed my aggressive forehand, the ball rocketed off the racket with surprising velocity, yet I felt immense control over where it was headed. This balanced power output sets it apart from many of its competitors.
The control provided by these strings is nothing short of exceptional. While testing, I played a variety of shots and was pleased with the precision and consistency with which I could place the ball.
Whether it was a cross-court backhand, a down-the-line forehand, or a tricky slice, the RIP Control strings ensured I had the reigns. Mainly, when I was attacking with my one-handed backhand, the precision was incredibly satisfactory. I could find sharp angles and hit depth when needed with relative ease.
The string shined when I was loading my shots with topspin. The textured outer surface of the string facilitates additional ball bite, giving the ball a nifty curve that can throw off opponents.
This was a standout feature for me as someone who enjoys playing heavy spin, especially on the forehand side. It felt like the strings were grabbing the ball and throwing it with added spin, allowing me to generate more topspin than I’ve experienced with other strings.
Whether I was whipping up heavy spin from the baseline or spinning a sharp-angled cross-court, the string response was reliable and consistent.
Touch Shots and Comfort
A considerable part of the playing experience is the ‘feel’ of the strings. Some strings can feel too hard, causing discomfort, while others can be too mushy, resulting in a lack of feedback.
The Head RIP Control strings offer a perfect middle ground. I experienced a distinct comfort while playing, and I think a lot of that can be attributed to the multifilament construction.
It has a soft, cushion-like feel on impact, reducing vibrations and making it easier on the arm. Yet, there’s a palpable solidity, giving you the confidence to take big swings at the ball.
This was particularly noticeable when I attacked with my forehand, feeling both a gentle cushioning and a reassuring firmness.
Durability & Tension Maintenance
One aspect that particularly impressed me about the Head RIP Control strings was their tension maintenance. I’ve always found that one of the key challenges with tennis strings is the inevitable drop in tension over time.
However, the tension held up remarkably well with the RIP Control strings. Even after an intense hitting session, the strings maintained a firm and responsive feel, an attribute that significantly impacts the consistency of play. I felt confident that the strings would deliver a reliable performance each time I stepped on the court.
On the flip side, the one area that left me wishing for more was the string durability. I knew that a softer multifilament string like the RIP Control wouldn’t necessarily have the longevity of a stiffer polyester string.
Yet, I was slightly disappointed when the first set of strings broke after just 45 minutes of intense rallying. While this doesn’t take away from the excellent performance and feel of the strings, it’s something to consider if you’re a heavy hitter or a string breaker. In hindsight, I may have been better using the thicker 1.30mm gauge.
So while I commend the RIP Control strings for their remarkable tension maintenance, I believe there is room for improvement in their breakage resistance, especially for players who play an aggressive, high-impact game.
Head RIP Control vs MSV Swift
Head RIP Control and the MSV Swift are both comfortable strings with unique strengths. While MSV Swift might score higher in durability, lasting longer even under intense play, the RIP Control truly shines in its overall performance.
It delivers a balanced blend of power, control, and spin, elevating its gameplay and making it a standout option.
So, while both strings have their merits and provide excellent comfort, I think Head RIP Control might edge out Swift and be the optimal choice for your racket for players seeking comfort and power without losing control.
Who is Head RIP Control For?
With their blend of control, power, and comfort, the Head RIP Control strings seem to be an ideal fit for young players or those in the amateur to intermediate skill range.
Its multifilament construction gives the string a softer feel, putting less strain on the arm and making it an excellent option for those who want high performance without the potential discomfort of monofilament strings. This can particularly benefit young players developing their technique and physical strength.
However, I would hesitate to recommend this string for advanced players with high-intensity, powerful hitting patterns.
The longevity under such conditions proved lacking, with the string breaking after an intense rallying session. Advanced players may find themselves restringing their rackets more frequently than desired.
All in all, for the budding young talent or amateur to intermediate players seeking a high-performing, arm-friendly string, Head RIP Control is a superb choice.
- Great comfort
- Good power but doesn’t lack control
- Excellent tension maintenance
- Durability can be an issue