Apollo Leisure in association with Babolat were again the stringing contractor of "The Wimbledon Championships" for 2013. Below is how they got on this year.
Apollo Leisure ran the racket stringing service at the Championships for the 5th successive year. The operation started at the Qualifying event at Roehampton on Saturday 15th June and this year we were working in partnership with Babolat UK and stringing on the Babolat Sensor. The machines had previously been used at this year’s Roland Garros which helped overcome many players’ questions and instilled confidence in their choice of tension. Six stringers were employed at Roehampton together with admin staff and runners. Saturday was a bit slower than previous years due to the wet weather but the rackets came flooding in on Sunday and Monday taking in 160 and 157 respectively. Sunday 16th June was also the start of our service at Wimbledon where players such as Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Maria Sharapova had already arrived and were getting used to the grass at Aorangi. Players were scanned in successfully at both sites and again player details were recorded in Stringer, details of this software can be found at www.JVCstringer.com. Fortunately we were served up with enough fine weather for the Qualifiers to be decided and to finish at the Bank of England Sports Ground on the Thursday evening. By close of play we had passed the 600 mark thanks to the team of Vaclav Smat, Jamie Pethick, Karen Goodman, Jose De-Meneses, Jim Warner and new recruits Rob Maessen and Geoff George.
Rob Maessen and Vaclav Smat prepared for showers at Roehampton.
Friday 21st June meant moving the 6 machines from Roehampton over to Wimbledon to be ready for the grass court Grand Slam and our full complement of 12 Sensor machines. The practice courts were getting busier by the day which resulted in a steady Friday and the booking in of 130 rackets. The day also brought us our Spanish connection with the arrival of Richard Parnell and debutant Gorka Alday to join the Apollo team. Saturday continued on a similar vein to the Friday and new arrivals continued to check in, today was the turn of Petr Krejci of the Czech Republic and Petros Biris of Greece. Paul Skipp, Mark Maslowski and Misel Milovanovic arrived on the Sunday meaning we were up to our full team of 12 stringers together with head stringer Roger Dalton. As predicted the rackets came piling in, with some players handing in as many as 8. Many of the top players had a stringer allocated to them but in those early days it’s just a case of dealing with that huge wave of frames as best you can, match order obviously taking priority. By the end of the day we had taken in 306 rackets meaning we were all ready for our traditional Sunday night pizza delivery. Weary but battle hardened we arrived in on the Monday to deal with the busiest day of the fortnight. The day passed by in a flash by taking in 369 rackets and the players and crowds enjoying a decent bit of weather.
Tuesday proved to be another busy day at Aorangi with many of Monday’s rackets having to be strung on the Tuesday morning. We were fortunate with the weather with just the Thursday spoilt by the rain after a very sunny start. Some players will alter their string tensions slightly depending on the weather conditions, but this didn’t happen much over the fortnight. The biggest changes were before the tournament started when the players were getting used to the grass court as well as the British climate. An early exit for Rafa Nadal at the hands of Steve Darcis of Belgium was a shock for the stringing cabin particularly for Paul Skipp who was his allocated stringer for the tournament. Wednesday 26th June 2013 is now dubbed Wimbledon’s Black Wednesday due to the large list of players withdrawing. From 2015 Wimbledon will be held a week later to allow players more time to get used to the grass court season which will benefit everyone. With Rafa out, Venus Williams not playing and Serena’s 4th round exit our final numbers were dented but it was nice to see different names progressing well into the 2nd week. Although we do struggle for room at the busy times we are incredibly privileged to be housed in the players’ practice area and to witness them go about their business without them being hassled by the public. As the numbers of rackets reduce the same applies to our team of stringers, being down to 7 on the middle Saturday and 129 rackets being booked in.
As well as the huge volume of stringing there are many other interesting events taking place in the cabin, the most memorable being an appearance on BBC Breakfast, daily museum tours and Matt Smith our head runner featuring in a BBC clip about the 10 Best Jobs at SW19. The juniors this year started playing on the middle Saturday which adds to the stringing numbers but there’s a notable decline in restrings as the second week progresses. Although we only strung the 1 racket for Andy Murray, you couldn’t fail to be affected by the buzz and excitement at Wimbledon and our chance of a Wimbledon champion. He didn’t disappoint and let’s hope the win triggers off our sport in the UK. By close of play on the Sunday evening the team had strung 2886 rackets. We were proud to say we strung for the Ladies singles winner, Mens Doubles winners, Ladies Doubles winners, Mixed Doubles winners, Boys Singles winner, Girls Singles winner, Boys Doubles winners and Girls Doubles winners.
So it was now time to close the doors on the Stringing cabin for another year and plan for 2014!
The highest string tension was for Patricia Mayr-Achleitner at 31/31kg in Isospeed Black Fire.
The lowest string tension was for Jack Sock at 16.5/16.5kg in Luxilon Alu Power Rough.
See below a log of selected players tensions and racquets strung from 2013: -
Now providing stringing service in Bournemouth, Dorset and Newbury, Berkshire. Contact either Lee or Andy to meet up and discuss your requirements.