Part 4: ATP World Tour and WTA Tour Citi Open Stringing Reflections

Reflections from days 8-10 of tournament:

When matches get underway, the possibility of a player sending off an “on court” racket – a racket that a player is requesting be restrung during their match – grows. The player could have broken a string, or sometimes they want to make a tension adjustment, or sometimes they want to have a fresh racket in the event they split sets.

When the racket comes into the stringing room, usually brought by a ball kid or sometimes a coach, the intensity in the room kicks up just a little bit. You want to get the racket re-strung and back out on court as quickly as possible. You can only return the racket to a player on a changeover, so if you don’t get the racket out before the players change sides, it will delay the process for two more games.

15-18 minutes is a good aspirational time to get the racket strung and back to court. In that time we need to cut out the string, pull new string, mount the frame, string the racket, and straighten the strings, then stencil, label, and bag the racket before running it back out to court.

Jay and Dustin are much faster stringers than me, so if an “on court” racket comes in when their machine is open, they do it.  One time this tournament a racket came in from one of the players I had been stringing – Paul-Henri Mathieu – and I had to jump on it. A Wilson frame with an 18×20 string pattern and all poly string. I went as fast as I could comfortably go and got the racket back in a good time. A little adrenaline rush in the middle of the day and I got to see a few points of tennis while I was waiting to hand the racket to a ball boy!

We are now over the peak of stringing, and my numbers will go down every day from here to until the end of the tourney. Specifically:

Day 8: 15 rackets

Day 9: 15

Day 10: 8

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