|Babolat Origin String Scores|
- Tension Maintenance
- May not have enough control for full-bed poly players
Babolat Origin resists easy classification. For starters, it is a monofilament, which is the construction most commonly associated with polyester. Unlike polyester, Origin is made from a "natural polyamide, " which is a very pliable material similar in structure to nylon. This pliability helps explain why our playtesters were so impressed by the comfort. Even more impressive was the feel, which our team found to be wonderfully crisp and precise, as opposed to mushy or overly muted. We also found this string to be quite powerful, but with no reports of an unruly "trampoline effect" or unpredictable launch angle, two common afflictions of soft strings. Perhaps the most outstanding quality was the tension maintenance, which bordered on unbelievably good. With the exception of natural gut, Origin holds its playability longer than strings with comparable comfort and power. Ultimately, Origin's comfortably crisp feel, superior tension maintenance and impressive all around playability makes it one of the better soft strings we've hit in a while.
Power - Score: 88, Control - Score: 77
For our playtest team, the power level of Origin was comparable to that of a lively multifilament, like Tecnifibre X-One Biphase or Wilson NXT. According to Tiffani, though, it also had great control. She explained, "I wasn't quite sure what to expect. As a fan of multifilament strings, I didn't want to give up power or comfort - the two factors that usually steer me toward multifilaments. With Origin, I didn't give up much, if any, power. Origin felt less elastic than a typical multifilament right from the stringer, but after the initial hit the string settled and offered plenty of power. I did find it to be on the more powerful side, but it wasn't at the sacrifice of control. I could feel the ball on the strings, so I could easily direct my shots where I wanted. I didn't feel precise, but I felt in control of my shots and game with Origin."
Andy also found an impressive level of control. He said, "This string offers a nice blend of power and control. It definitely has more pop than the polyester strings I'm used to, but I rarely felt like I couldn't control the ball. It had good feel, and whether I was trying to hit the ball deep to a corner or play a touch volley short, I felt like I could get the ball where I wanted it with confidence."
For Chris, the defining feature of Origin was power. He said, "I was able to get a lot of power on my shots when hitting with this string. Finding depth and pace took noticeably less effort, and I found better power than I do with Babolat Xcel. To up the level of control (and also to test the comfort to the extreme) I kept upping the tension. In the end I was at 68lbs in a Prestige Pro 600, and the string was still offering good power - remarkable! That this string can still offer good power in a low powered midsize racquet with a dense 18x20 string pattern at a stupidly high tension was very impressive, to say the least. I would definitely recommend this to anyone seeking lots of power from the stringbed. For me, control got better as the tension went up on each stringing. I never got close to the control of my favorite polys, but that's not what this string is about. If you want a plush and soft feel with effortless power, it's right here."
Spin - Score: 57
Origin doesn't have the tight grip of a polyester, nor is it likely to be listed in the spin section of anyone's string inventory, but this didn't stop Andy from generating some decent spin. He said, "I was surprised by the level of spin I was able to get with Origin. It certainly possesses very good spin potential when compared to other softer strings, but not as much as a polyester. I was able to accelerate the racquet and get the ball to dive into the court at the last moment."
For Tiffani, who admittedly has flatter mechanics, the spin potential was middle of the road. She said, "Here's where I think the string was about average. Although I'm not a big spin player, I do use moderate topspin and like to throw in the slice now and then. I also love a good topspin lob. As expected, there wasn't the kind of spin I would see with a co-poly, but the spin production was adequate for my flatter game."
For Chris, a little extra concentration on mechanics was required to bring the ball down with spin. He said, "This string was far from the best at biting the ball for spin in a full setup. In a hybrid with a poly, it seemed to allow the poly to snap back decently and the level of spin remained solid. On its own, I had to focus on adding some additional brush to my strokes to get the spin I needed to hit aggressively and still control the depth of my shots. I get much more spin out of natural gut. Natural gut offers more bite (grip on the ball), whereas the ball felt like it was sliding off Origin and leaving my racquet with less rotation."
Comfort - Score: 94
Origin received one of the highest comfort scores awarded by our playtest program. Chris was definitely impressed, saying, "The level of comfort from this string was simply exceptional. Even at the extremely high tensions I tried, the string remained very comfortable. Shanks never felt too jarring, and the level of comfort was very close to what I get from natural gut. No other synthetic strings come to mind as being this forgiving. The soft and plush feel also made Origin feel powerful when I hit outside the sweetspot."
Agreeing with Chris, Andy said, "This string was very comfortable! I had it in my already plush-feeling Pro Staff, and the combination made my arm and wrist very happy. Off-center shots were not jarring at all, and a ball hit inside the sweetspot had virtually no shock on the arm. This is a real strength of this string."