A few more pics from RG2014.
Haven’t posted for a while. Here’s a few pics and a little retrospective on my long weekend in Stockholm.
Had a great time. Very picturesque city; found some great views looking out across the islands the city consists of. Most of the time it was very quiet, only came across a few areas with lots of tourists. Weather was great for walking around and exploring; never a cloud in the sky. Hit up some really interesting museums; the Moderna Museet, the Nobel Museum and a couple of museums on Swedish culture and history. Wasn’t too adventurous with the Swedish cuisine, though I did take in the traditional fika (coffee and cake) and tried a fair few local craft brews.
Had a great time in an awesome city. Definitely look to go back there at some point. Need to save up though, it’s an expensive place!
Probably some more updates coming up soon from Rome, Paris and Wimbledon. Good times ahead.
Here are the second 10 of my favourite photos of 2013:
11. Rackets for Sabine Lisicki and the Bryan brothers for the Wimbledon finals. Had a 50/50 success rate.
12. In action on one of the many rackets for the Bryan brothers this year. Think I did getting on for 150 for them over 3 tournaments.
13. Just a few rackets waiting for me one morning at Wimbledon.
14. Nadal and Djokovic practicing side by side.
15. So stoked when Lisicki took down Serena. Shame she didn’t turn up in the final.
16. The Bryans in action in Montreal.
17. Nice seats to watch a couple of locals have a knock.
18. A legendary sandwich.
19. Rackets for the Gasquet/Nishikori night match. Nishikori actually told me the wrong tension for his rackets, so had a desperate attempt to get hold of him to confirm what he actually wanted.
20. A nice weekend in Edinburgh and the view from Arthur’s Seat.
It’s been a while since I posted, but as we approach the last few hours of 2013, I thought I would share my 20 favourite photos of the past year. Looking through all my photos, there have been some real highlights, so it’s been hard to choose. I have managed to narrow it down, though, and here are the first 10:
1. The Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek during my holiday to the delightful Copenhagen.
2. The Bryan brothers in action on one of the most beautiful courts in the world at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome.
3. Roger Federer practicing in the Colosseum-like centre court in Rome.
4. Chilling courtside in Rome.
5. A little sightseeing at the always impressive Vatican.
6. Working hard in black and white at Roland Garros.
7. The Bryan brothers in the Roland Garros final. They won. Woo!
8. With my very good friends Toru Yusuki and Xavi Segura.
9. Just watching the Roland Garros men’s singles final.
10. Some rackets for Serena Williams and the Bryan brothers for the Roland Garros finals. Great day!
So, got back from Montreal yesterday. Had a blast. Here’s what went down.
Had a rather protracted journey over to Montreal. Had to take Eurostar to Paris, then the Metro to Orly airport, then fly to Montreal, as it was cheaper to do this than to fly direct from London! Crazy! Still, it was actually a pretty easy, smooth journey and I surprisingly wasn’t too jet-lagged and tired when I arrived.
Headed over to Stade Uniprix to start stringing the next day. Had a comfortable first couple of days for practice and qualifying. Surprisingly the day before the main draw started we were quiet enough to finish at a sensible enough time that we could go take our time over a nice meal.
The first few days of the main draw were pretty brutal. 15 hour days, doing over 30 rackets each time. One day I worked from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. non-stop; didn’t even sit down during that time! Needless to say I needed a beer and lie-down after that! Once it got to Wednesday, it had quietened down enough that we could get outside for a few minutes occasionally to finally watch a little tennis!
Had two players in the quarters of the singles, but then they came up against Djokovic and Nadal, so no singles champion for me. And unfortunately my beloved Bryan brothers lost in the quarter finals (to the dastardly Trevor Lindstedt!). Did string for one doubles finalist though: Colin Fleming, who manage to carry the dead-weight Andy Murray all the way to the final ;).
Took a couple of days sightseeing after the end of the tournament. Walked all around the eclectic streets of St-Denis and St-Laurent, down to the Europeaneqsue (what a delightfully made-up word!) old town and went to the thoroughly enjoyable Museum of Fine Arts. Montreal is pretty famous for three foods: bagels, poutine and smoked meats. I managed to try all three, and a couple of them at the most renowned places for them in the city. Importantly, I also managed to try a few locals brews. My hotel for the last night was pretty much right across the street from the place that (according to them) had the biggest selection in the city. Didn’t know that when I booked there; just a happy co-incidence!
So, like I said I had a great time. I strung a lot of rackets (211), I saw some great tennis. And I saw some sights. Definitely not a bad way to spend two weeks.
Back from Wimbledon. Had a blast like always. Here’s what went down.
Only had four and a half days rest between finishing at the French and starting at Roehampton for Wimbledon qualifying. Roehampton is always great fun and a slightly more relaxed atmosphere. Weather wasn’t great to start with and practice was curtailed. The rain got so bad it actually leaked through the roof in the stringing cabin. Had some very busy days, where I strung more rackets than on the busiest days of the main draw in Paris.
Moved over to the main site a little earlier than in previous years. Always so cool to be there when it’s just the players there practicing at Aorangi. Had some busy times during practice when I couldn’t finish stringing a racket without being interrupted by another racket coming in or going out.
Very busy during the first few days of the main draw. Managed to beat my previous record for rackets in a day by one, with 45 on Monday. Fortunately I was loaded up with easy rackets, mostly in hybrids! Some amazing results during the first few rounds; Nadal losing, Federer losing and Sharapova losing. Coincidentally I strung for all their opponents!
Was a very successful tournament for me. I had my first mens singles semi-finalist in Jerzy Janowicz (think I was the only person supporting him in that match!); I had three of the four ladies singles semi-finalists (though the one I didn’t have went and won); and I had the Bryan brothers who created history by winning, and now hold all four Slams plus the Olympics at the same time. Amazing! Smashed my previous record total for a Slam by stringing 533 rackets!
Now, it’s time to settle down and watch the mens singles final.
After a month away stringing, I have returned home for a few days rest before Wimbledon. Here is a little recap of my time away.
Started off with 10 days in Rome (1). Completely different to any other tournament I’ve strung before, as I was stringing off-site from a hotel. The great thing about this was that my stringing machine was 6 feet from my bed, so if I needed to get up early to string I could be at the machine in a matter of seconds. Was very pleasantly surprised by the breakfast at the hotel, as they did bacon, egg and sausage (2), not to mention a delicious pastry with chocolate and custard. Another good thing was that I was only stringing in the morning and the evening, which left me with time during the day to catch some tennis in the wonderful Roman sun (3). The Foro Italico is a great venue to watch tennis; with some of my favourite courts. The Campo Centrale is a huge, marble structure, with steep banked stands; I can really imagine the atmosphere on there for a big match is great. Stadio Pietrangeli is sunken into the ground and surrounded by statues. And the outside courts are shaded beneath a ring of trees. Was able to do a little sight-seeing. Went to a modern art museum, which was pretty terrible, with very little in it, but also went to the always impressive Vatican (4).
Instead of taking the easy way and flying from Rome to Paris, I took an overnight train, which took 15 hours. Annoyingly there were no proper plugs on the train for me to charge my phone, so I had to turn it off to conserve the battery, meaning that I had no idea what time it was during any point of the journey.
Once I reached Paris, I took a nice leisurely stroll from the Gare de Lyon to the hotel, a mere 13km away. It was actually a very nice walk, mostly along the Seine and it allowed me to take in a lot of the sights of Paris (5). The first week or so in Paris, the weather was pretty bad, with a lot of rain and a couple of times I got absolutely soaked on the way back from Roland Garros to the hotel. We always have a big stringing area in Paris (7) and the cool thing is that people can come and watch us string, though the constant questions in French can get a little annoying! Was a very successful tournament for me; I was consistently busy throughout. Ended up doing 416 rackets, with a daily maximum of 30 and a daily average of 20, and ended up with the champ in the women’s singles (Serena, with 61 rackets) and the champs in the men’s doubles (the Bryan brothers, with 66 rackets). Also got to take in some tennis on Court Phillipe Chatrier, which is quite possibly my favourite court in the world; saw a bit of Federer/Simon which had an absolutely incredible atmostphere, and also some of the final (9), which is always a treat, though for the second year in a row, the weather wasn’t the best.The French is a tournament I really love stringing at; it’s so different to Wimbledon and I always have a great time.
Now, it’s time for a little rest. Wimbledon starts for me on Saturday, over at Roehampton for a couple of days of practice before qualifying starts.
Two new additions to the collection today: a racket and a book.
The racket is a beautiful early 1980s Slazenger Vilas V24. It’s a wood racket, that is graphite reinforced, allowing it to overcome the structural limitations of using wood alone. Head size is approximately 85 square inches, and it weighs 402g! It really is a super looking frame and a fine example of English craftsmanship.
The book is a 1928 (!) first edition of “Lacoste on Tennis” by the legendary Rene Lacoste. It appears to be a technical instruction guide. Will definitely give it a read through at some point, though given it’s age, I’ll have to be a bit careful handling it!