- The most common of these is mixing two different materials, where the most popular on the professional tour is Polyester and Natural Gut. Club players would generally mix Polyester and Multifilament, as this is a cheaper option to the expensive natural gut.
- It can also be a mixture of any two strings, such as Poly and Nylon or Nylon and Multifilament. Even mixing two polyester strings, where one is smooth and one textured for spin.
- Mixing two different gauges (thicknesses) of a string is also classed as a hybrid set up.
So you can see Hybrid stringing can be made up a variety of different ways.
For now, let's deal with the most common ones, the Polyester/Gut combination or the Polyester/Multifilament combination.
You will find some Coaches, Players, and Stringers who are not fans of a Hybrid Setup and feel polyester is the only way to go. They are entitled to that opinion, but if you are a Coach or a Stringer you have a responsibility to your player to explain all the options available to them.
Hybrid stringing has been referred to as 'The Best of Both Worlds'. You get control from the Polyester string and power and comfort from the Gut or Multifilament.
Your choice of string placement also has a big influence on how the racket will play. By putting the polyester in the main strings the emphasis is on control, as the main strings dictate the feel of the stringbed.
Alternatively, like Federer, by putting the Gut in the mains you increase the power level and comfort you feel.
There are many different reasons why Hybrid Stringing should be considered.
For me, I use a hybrid setup because of the climate I currently live in. I find it is a compromise of not been a big fan of the firm feel of a full poly bed, but understanding the need for control in the very hot conditions I play in.
I recommend hybrid stringing to players who are currently using polyester strings as a full bed but shouldn't be. I say this because they do not have enough power in their strokes to compensate for the loss of power that comes from polyester. Or they are using lightweight rackets that are stiff and with the addition of polyester strings, they increase the risk of injury through shock and vibration.
I find this is either a way to transition them to a full bed of Multifilament or Nylon or worst case a way to help them add some needed power to their game while still servicing their desire to play with polyester.
I also recommend a hybrid setup to developing juniors (those old enough to consider poly), as a way to add control to their games without jumping straight to polyester.
The downside to hybrid stringing is, generally, the softer string breaks off the firmer string. Although, unless it breaks in the first few games, I don't consider it a big problem to those who are serious about their games. These players should already know that for their rackets to perform at their best, regular stringing is required.
Due to the high number of injuries to some of the Top professional players this year, the stats have changed slightly, but for most of the last couple of years, a good majority of the Top male players were using hybrid setup (Murray, Djokovic, Federer, Thiem, Nishkori, Tsonga, Cilic).
For this reason alone, it makes sense to consider a Hybrid setup or at very least do a bit more research into it!