As the original inventor of tennis strings in 1875, it's no surprise that Babolat stays near the forefront of tennis string technology. Babolat's latest offering, Origin, is a monofilament made from a new, organic material that Babolat calls Pure Combo.
In the past, just about any reference to monofilament strings was really about the polyester strings that have gotten so popular over the past decade. But Babolat Origin isn't polyester. Instead, Origin is virtually the exact opposite—it's Babolat's newest power and comfort string, so it's designed to provide exceptional feel in a synthetic string.
I've actually had a chance to string a few racquets with Origin here at Holabird so I had some familiarity with it before I installed it in my own frame. It's not a particularly difficult string to work with, though its monofilament construction does make it stiffer than other playability and comfort strings. In truth, that's not always a bad thing, though, since some really soft strings can be tough to get through covered holes. Coil memory is fairly moderate, but Origin will tangle if you don't keep an eye on it. Oddly enough, while I was tightening one of the tie-off knots with my pliers, the tail just broke off. It really wasn't an issue since I'd already tied the knot, but it hadn't happened on any of the other racquets I'd strung with Origin so it took me a little bit by surprise.
In terms of playability, Babolat Origin string does feel pretty nice. It definitely has a livelier, more responsive feel than polyester or synthetic gut. Personally, I've always felt that some multifilament playability strings can end up feeling a little bit mushy—especially after a few hours of play—but Origin's monofilament construction creates a feeling of crispness instead.
Origin also seems to be fairly durable, which is a nice perk since playability strings are traditionally pretty soft and quick-wearing. I've hit with Origin for several hours total, and the strings are showing a little bit of wear, but it's nothing too drastic. The main strings are starting to get some small notches in the sweetspot, but I've definitely done more damage so soft, multifilament strings in the same amount of time on court. In fairness, the dense 18x20 string pattern of my Prince EXO3 Rebel 95 usually helps boost the longevity of strings, so players hitting frames with more open string patterns might wear Origin tennis string a bit faster.
Baltimore's seesaw spring weather has, unfortunately, forced me to space my hitting sessions with Origin out across about a week and a half. While I'd much rather be hitting several times a week on a regular schedule, the silver lining is that spacing my hitting sessions out gave me a chance to get a feel for how Origin holds tension. I've got to say, that Origin seems to do a pretty good job maintaining tension. It seems to hold tension much better than polyester strings—which can feel noticeably looser as soon as a day or two after stringing—but probably doesn't maintain tension quite as well natural gut. Without any scientific numbers to back me up, I'd say that Origin's tension maintenance is probably comparable to solid core synthetic gut strings.
Overall, Babolat Origin is a pretty nice string. It's lively and comfortable, but still has a nice, crisp feel at ball contact. Origin is a good string for players who are looking for a playable and comfortable string with good all-around performance. Tension maintenance and durability have both been good so far for me, but Origin is still probably best suited for players who aren't frequent string breakers. Origin is a good string in its own right and deserves some attention from consumers, but I'm also pretty curious to see what Babolat does with the technology moving forward. Is the stage being set for a mini string technology revolution where multifilament comfort strings are phased out in favor of soft monofilaments? Only time will tell… but in the meantime, give Babolat Origin a try and let us know what you think!