On The Line with Gunther Strahle: Racket stringer from Germany

Gunther Strahle.


The Straits Times speaks to the people who work away from centre court and behind the scenes to find out the quirky details of their jobs.

Today: Gunther Strahle, a 51-year-old racket stringer from Germany.

Q How long have you been in this business?

A I've been doing this for 29 years.

Q How many rackets do you string on average over a tournament?

A I will string about 150-200 rackets this week. At a Grand Slam, maybe 400-500.

Q What are the tools needed?

A A stringing machine and basic tools like pliers, cutters, tweezers.

Q What's the fastest you can string a racket?

A About 20 minutes, although it depends on the string, racket and string pattern.

Q Strangest request?

A Sometimes players need rackets done at the last minute and they bring three to four rackets to us an hour before a match starts.

Q Which player on the women's Tour is most particular about how their racket is strung?

A Maria Sharapova. She feels everything. She is very sensitive. She feels when the tension is losing in a match and she changes racket very early.

Q Favourite tournament?

A Singapore.

Q How many tournaments do you do in a year?

A About 20. Mostly in Germany, including International Tennis Federation events, junior tournaments, Davis Cup. This is the biggest tournament I'm doing this year.

Q Most difficult part about your job?

A We are here all day. I was here at 8.30am on Sunday and left after midnight. We leave after the last point is played. It aches everywhere. You neck, your fingers, your legs.

Q Ever had any accidents stringing a racket?

A Sometimes. You cut your finger, the string goes inside your nail, the string burns your skin when you pull too fast.

Q What's the weirdest hour someone has asked you to string a racket?

A 1.30am, when a match was still going on.

Q Most interesting story you have from your job?

A I was part of the German Davis Cup team that won in 1993. It's good to work in a team, with the physio, doctor, coach. It feels good.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2015, with the headline 'On The Line with Gunther Strahle'. Print Edition | Subscribe