This is my second go around with the Dunlop Black Widow 17 tennis string. In my initial review, I liked the string just fine, it wasn’t out of the ordinary and it wasn’t my favorite. I got myself another set of the Dunlop Black Widow string and was told that I should string it a few pounds higher than what I normally do (my typical tension range the last 6 or so months is in the mid 40’s). So I decided to go with 48 pounds of tension in a once piece.
Since this was my second review of the string, I wanted to make absolutely sure that my previous experience was correct, because sometimes things change.
Dunlop Black Widow 17 tennis string review
To be 100% honest, the Dunlop Black Widow is not my favorite polyester tennis string. It does have plenty of characteristics that I very much like, though the aspects that I don’t like make it so it’s not my favorite tennis string. Now, the Dunlop Black Widow ranks very high in the spin capability, that’s for sure. The heptagonal (7 sides) shape of the string make the string idea for spin production. I was able to generate plenty of spin with the Dunlop Black Widow; however, it was not the heavy topspin that I have gotten with other strings. After getting some nice ball pocketing and bit, I could feel the ball snap off the strings with the spin, though the ball would sit up on the other side of the court, rather than go through the court (acceleration after contact with the ground). This bothered when I found myself in baseline exchanges. Though, with the spin the Dunlop Black Widow did provide me, I was able to hit some very nice cross court rollers as well as some pretty low skidding backhand slices.
The Dunlop Black Widow gave me plenty control. I enjoyed the easy I found when going for placement shots. I was able to move the ball around the court, not with a lot of power, though the control was enough to position me to either come to net or hit a cross court winner. Even when hitting at net, I was able to put the ball where I wanted with ease. Not to mention the drop volley was to drool for.
The dealbreaker for me with the Dunlop Black Widow was the lack of power. I really felt like I had to muscle the ball to hit a firm forehand or backhand. Dunlop describes the Black Widow as a low powered polyester, they hit the nail on the head. I struggled with generating the power I wanted to hit outright winners. I hadn’t strung the Dunlop Black Widow that much higher in tension than I normally do, so I could not imagine that was causing a major lack of power. Don’t get me wrong, I have a quick swing and can generate power, but the Black Widow frustrated me at times.
Another problem I had with the Dunlop Black Widow tennis string was the durability. I hit with the string for about four and half hours before the notching was so deep the string snapped. I partially blame the one-piece string job, as the Dunlop Black Widow quickly began to saw into itself (the sharp edges). The last few exchanges, the Dunlop Black Widow was all over the place, the strings were sliding around and not snapping back into place; I figure by the time they snapped, I was hitting with strings in the high 30’s of tension, perhaps a little lower.
Final thoughts on Dunlop Black Widow 17
In any event, I did like the string for the spin, comfort, and control. If I were to use this string again, for me, I would only use it in a hybrid with a mulitifilament string in the cross. Preferably a lively cross string to make up some the loss of power. The spin generation is quite nice, especially if you are looking to add a bit of kick to your groundstrokes. It’s certainly worth a playtest.