Australian Open Stringing Room Day 17

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Australian Open 2012 – 24 Jan Tue

Day 17 – The Break-In

 

I wake up early and head over to the stringing room at 7.30 with Todd. When we get there the room is locked. Joel is not there to open up yet and we don’t have a key. I have 3 racquets due at 9 and I want to get started on them. At 7.50am I decide to break in. One of our windows has a dodgy latch so I climb up onto the ledge and push it open. I climb through the window without injuring myself.

A woman who is walking past comes over and asks me if I am a stringer. When I reply in the affirmative she to me “Well it’s not a good look”. I resist the urge to say something smart. Surprisingly she doesn’t call security. Joel turns up to unlock the doors soon after I break in.

I get through my morning racquets quickly. Todd has been speaking to the stringer who was doing Tsonga’s racquets. He was spraying the ball in his match with Nishikori. Apparently he changed strings for this tournament. He was using a full poly setup prior to this and changed to gut mains to soften the stringbed up. It looks like he has sacrificed a bit of control by doing this.

Radek Stepanek drops in a Donnay racquet for us to string. He has been playing with a Bosworth racquet for years but might be looking to change.

I find out some interesting information from the Wilson guys about Del Potro. He is still using an old Wilson K Factor racquet. He only has a few of them left. When a racquet has had a lot of use and a lot of restrings the graphite starts to break down and take on a different character. I am told that they have tried to make new frames for him with the same specs as his current frames but because the graphite is not worn he does not like the feel. James Blake had similar problems with his racquets as well I am told.

We have a camera crews through the room looking for action a number of times. Each time they turn up there are no racquets being strung. Bad timing.

I do an on-court racquet for Sania Mirza.

There is a mix up with an on-court racquet for Rafa during his match with Berdych. We see him hand off a racquet for an on-court and we get the call from the tournament desk. 20 minutes later we still have not received the racquet. The racquet had been left on Rafa’s chair behind his bag. We finally receive the racquet and it is back in the runner’s hand in 12 minutes.

I head to Cookie after I finish to have some drinks with Jim. He is leaving the next day. Alcoholic Japanese bubble drinks again. They are far too easy to drink. I am in no hurry to get home. I have the next day off. It is my first day off for 2 and a half weeks. We work around 90 hours a week so I am really looking forward to it.

Shane Mikic is the pro-shop manager for the Tennis Gear stores and their online store www.tennisgear.com.au in Brisbane.  He has over 17 years racquet stringing experience and is currently part of the Wilson Global Stringing Team at the 2012 US Open.  The following blog shares his experiences during his time in the Wilson Stringing room.

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