Q: I broke a string the other day. Do I really need to have my whole racquet restrung, or can I just have that string repaired/replaced?
A: Technically it is sometimes possible to patch a broken string, but I would strongly recommend against it. Most likely you will be hard pressed to find a stringer or pro at reputable shop or club that will agree to just patch a broken string. Patching a broken string is impractical for several reasons:
Racquets are strung with either one very long piece of string or two shorter pieces of string, depending upon the racquet's string pattern, the stringer's preference, and—in many cases—manufacturer specifications. In either case, when you break a string, the strings around it will loosen up. So, just tying off the two ends of the broken string, and patching in one new piece, leaves you with multiple strings at varying tensions. Replacing multiple strings around the broken string will probably give you more consistent tension, but by the time you've spent the time and effort doing that, you could have just gotten the whole racquet restrung.
If you've worn a string enough to break it, the other strings around it are probably pretty worn too and aren't going to last much longer. So replacing the one broken string and leaving the others around probably just means you'll be making another trip to the stringer in a day or two. If you decide to replace multiple strings around the broken one, you will probably get a bit more durability, but again, by the time you've spent the time and effort doing that, you could have just gotten the whole racquet restrung.
In the end, you are much better off simply getting your racquet completely restrung. If you're worried about the cost of getting your racquet restrung, don't be! Stringing fees are usually pretty reasonable and there are tons of strings on the market, designed to fit virtually every playing style and every budget. All told, you should be able to get your racquet restrung for as little as $20-25, depending on your choice of strings.
Did you know that we employ two professional stringers, including a Master Racquet Technician? That’s the highest level of achievement that United States Racquet Stringers Association (U.S.R.S.A.) offers. Do you have a question for one of our stringers? Ask it in the comments below and we will provide with an answer as fast and accurate as our on-site stringing.