On The Line with Gunther Strahle: Racket stringer from Germany

Gunther Strahle.
Gunther Strahle.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Q&A

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