Tennis: String Theory

Julian Finney / Getty

First served: French Open champ Kuerten recommended Luxilon strings to fellow pros

Professional tennis players call it "the Luxilon shot," and, apparently, you can hear it coming. The ball crosses the net hissing and spitting like some enraged tropical insect. Its most lethal element is its topspin, which can dip the ball crosscourt in short angles so extreme that "the game has gone from linear to parabolic," as ex-pro turned coach Scott McCain recently put it. "It's like ping-pong out there."

The Luxilon shot can be traced back to 1997, when Gustavo Kuerten, a gangly, low-ranked Brazilian player, decided to string his racket with a co-polymer monofilament designed by Luxilon...

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