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.