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View Full Version : Stringers for pro tournaments - give me your thoughts on this one


jamauss
02-17-2012, 08:55 PM
Wanted to ask for some opinion (and perhaps perspective) here...sorry for the long story/explanation.

So, I am doing some stringing this week for a challenger level event. Just me, I'm the only stringer on site for the 9 days the tournament plays out (qualies + main draw)

The player I am/was stringing for brought the racquets to me and asked me if I would be willing to help manually pre-stretch the half-set of gut they were using. I said sure, no problem. We wrapped the ends of the string around some wood pegs and we pulled against each other to the point where we could feel (and see) the string elongate a little, then contract back to it's original length. This took the coil memory out of the string and stretch it a little - the desired result. We repeated this 2 or 3 times each time we manually pre-stretched the length of gut.

Then the player gave me the desired tension for the gut (mains only) and also asked for 5% pre-stretch by the machine (Prince 5000). I carried out these instructions while stringing the gut, then installed the crosses (Bab RPM Blast at the same tension as the mains).

When the player picked up the racquet, they had one of these with them: (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpage-ERT300.html) which I have no problem with - if players are into understanding and measuring the dynamic tension of the stringbed, good for them. The problem for me was, if the dynamic tension didn't read within 2 (points? not sure what the unit of measurement is called) of what they wanted (which happened to be 41) - the player would take the racquet but refuse to pay for the stringing service.

The first racquet was fine (dead on at 41) but the 2nd racquet came in at 46 and the 3rd came in at 37, which was "not playable" - the players own words. The problem is - I repeated the exact same process every time with the machine (same tension, same installation, same pre-stretch at 5%) so I don't see what I could have done any differently.

Anyone else ever encounter this kind of situation before and how did you handle it?

I ended up having to have a talk with the player and told them that they needed to pay for the stringing service regardless, and that I wasn't going to just let them keep taking their racquets and paying only if the reading from the device was "acceptable" to them. Plus I didn't exactly enjoy feeling like I was stringing on egg shells each time I was doing their racquet.

drakulie
02-17-2012, 09:07 PM
1. Talk to the player as you did.
2. If he/she refuses to pay, report it to the tournament director/supervisor, and make sure they understand that you need to be paid out of their winnings.

There are a lot of variables that could lead a natural gut string to be incosistent off the machine, and pre-stretching makes it worse. There is no need need for you to take the responsibility of teaching someone all those variables. You don't have the time, nor were hired to do that.

Make sure you get paid. If the player doesn't like it, they are free to string it themselves at their hotel/car, or take it off site to have it strung elsewhere.

I effen hate stupid players like this.

drakulie
02-17-2012, 09:13 PM
one more thing....

being that strings begin to lose tension almost immediately after being taken off the machine, the first racquet completed would have a different reading than the last racquet completed.

damn I hate stupid, ignorant players like this. (did I already say this?)

dancraig
02-17-2012, 09:14 PM
Cut them loose.

jamauss
02-17-2012, 09:15 PM
Drak - thanks for taking the time to read and making your recommendations. I should have mentioned that I did also mention it to the tournament director (who I am buddies with) who had my back and said he would back me up with what I said to the player in question.

I also told the player that the biggest variable in the whole process was our pre-stretching of the gut by hand. The players response? That "Do you know who Nate Furgeson is? The P1 guy? He told me this is what I should do with all my gut before getting it strung." :lol: all I could think to say to the player was that Nate is a very experienced stringer but probably couldn't produce a string job that read the exact same dynamic tension off the machine every time. :-\

drakulie
02-17-2012, 09:15 PM
Cut them loose.


I was about to edit one of my posts and say this.

damn I hate these momos!

drakulie
02-17-2012, 09:16 PM
Drak - thanks for taking the time to read and making your recommendations. I should have mentioned that I did also mention it to the tournament director (who I am buddies with) who had my back and said he would back me up with what I said to the player in question.

I also told the player that the biggest variable in the whole process was our pre-stretching of the gut by hand. The players response? That "Do you know who Nate Furgeson is? The P1 guy? He told me this is what I should do with all my gut before getting it strung." :lol: all I could think to say to the player was that Nate is a very experienced stringer but probably couldn't produce a string job that read the exact same dynamic tension off the machine every time. :-\


did nate also tell him that strecthing the gut kills its liveliness/playability? :roll:

jamauss
02-17-2012, 09:17 PM
one more thing....

being that strings begin to lose tension almost immediately after being taken off the machine, the first racquet completed would have a different reading than the last racquet completed.

Well, to be clear - only one racquet was done per day - it's just that the player repeated this "measuring" process (with the dynamic tension device) each day when picking up the racquet. Yes, we are on day 5 of this behavior.

And the funny thing is...the player is still *IN* the tournament and has made the semi-finals from my string jobs. :shock:

drakulie
02-17-2012, 09:19 PM
Well, to be clear - only one racquet was done per day - it's just that the player repeated this "measuring" process (with the dynamic tension device) each day when picking up the racquet. Yes, we are on day 5 of this behavior.

And the funny thing is...the player is still *IN* the tournament and has made the semi-finals from my string jobs. :shock:


unless you string the frame at the exact same time every day, and he measures the strings at the EXACT SAME TIME EVERY DAY, he should not be getting the same reading. Add to that, that RPM is garbage and loses tension like crazy makes it even more complicacted when hybriding it with a gut that is already imprefect and different from one gut to another, and is being pre-strecthed.

and he is in the semis??? this guy is a ******. Make sure you get paid.

jamauss
02-17-2012, 09:20 PM
did nate also tell him that strecthing the gut kills its liveliness/playability? :roll:

haha - I actually did say to the player, "you know...I play gut in my mains also and I have never had the desire to pre-stretch it by hand. I always let the machine do it at 5% or not at all because I highly prefer the way it plays without pre-stretching. All the player replied was, "really?" as if I was just making up a story.

dancraig
02-17-2012, 09:26 PM
I was about to edit one of my posts and say this.

damn I hate these momos!

Off topic, excuse me.

Drakulie:
A while back, a year or more, some kid was posting and replying to something you had posted. He said something like "That's a lie".

I didn't like it.

I clicked on the "report post" icon and told Johnnie "diredesire" that someone had called Drakulie a liar. He removed the post immediately.

beernutz
02-17-2012, 09:27 PM
Are racquets ever held hostage in these situations until payment is made?

It seems pretty slimy for a player to play the "I'm not going to pay unless the DT is +/-2 lbs of 41" card when they are picking up the racquet. If they'd said this when dropping them off that would have at least given you a chance to decline their business.

jamauss
02-17-2012, 09:27 PM
unless you string the frame at the exact same time every day, and he measures the strings at the EXACT SAME TIME EVERY DAY, he should not be getting the same reading. Add to that, that RPM is garbage and loses tension like crazy makes it even more complicacted when hybriding it with a gut that is already imprefect and different from one gut to another, and is being pre-strecthed.

and he is in the semis??? this guy is a ******. Make sure you get paid.

Yeah, see....I feel like some people (who may or may not be stringers) fill a players head with all kinds of "ideas" about what should or should not be acceptable as far as tension goes (dynamic or otherwise) and it does a disservice to other stringers and the player when they think that it should be common (and even easy) to repeatedly accomplish a very specific measurement when there are so many variables at play - like you said, gut is an imperfect science and uses material from an animal that will have slightly different properties from one set to the next. Not to mention there is no real way to tell exactly how hard we're pulling on the gut when we do it by hand, as opposed to a machine that is calibrated and shown to produce much more accurate results from one use to the next.

jamauss
02-17-2012, 09:32 PM
Are racquets ever held hostage in these situations until payment is made?

It seems pretty slimy for a player to play the "I'm not going to pay unless the DT is +/-2 lbs of 41" card when they are picking up the racquet. If they'd said this when dropping them off that would have at least given you a chance to decline their business.

At the facility where the tournament is being held, some of the folks working the desk (and responsible for taking in/releasing racquets) are not entirely knowledgeable about what should or shouldn't be an acceptable reason for not paying for a string job - which is why the first time it happened I just chalked it up to someone being a goldilocks kind of player. But after it happened a second time (because of a different person being at the desk than the first occurrence) I decided it was time to bring it to the attention of the tournament director as well as talk to the player myself.

drakulie
02-17-2012, 09:44 PM
Off topic, excuse me.

Drakulie:
A while back, a year or more, some kid was posting and replying to something you had posted. He said something like "That's a lie".

I didn't like it.

I clicked on the "report post" icon and told Johnnie "diredesire" that someone had called Drakulie a liar. He removed the post immediately.

wow, I didn't know that. Thanks!!! Much appreciated. :)

Are racquets ever held hostage in these situations until payment is made?

It seems pretty slimy for a player to play the "I'm not going to pay unless the DT is +/-2 lbs of 41" card when they are picking up the racquet. If they'd said this when dropping them off that would have at least given you a chance to decline their business.

yes, racquets can be "held hostage". If a player refuses to pay, then they can't take their racquet. Typically, the TD or Tournament Supervisor side with the stringer, and are extremely strict with players about the stringing service getting paid. Even though stringers are rarely if ever thanked during an award ceremony, they are very respected behind the scenes. A lot of "***** kissing" could go on. Just imagine if Jamauss decided to pack it up and leave mid tournament. They would be screwed. Players and the powers that be typically don't want to pi$$ off stringers.


Yeah, see....I feel like some people (who may or may not be stringers) fill a players head with all kinds of "ideas" about what should or should not be acceptable as far as tension goes (dynamic or otherwise) and it does a disservice to other stringers and the player when they think that it should be common (and even easy) to repeatedly accomplish a very specific measurement when there are so many variables at play - like you said, gut is an imperfect science and uses material from an animal that will have slightly different properties from one set to the next. Not to mention there is no real way to tell exactly how hard we're pulling on the gut when we do it by hand, as opposed to a machine that is calibrated and shown to produce much more accurate results from one use to the next.


Bingo! Well put.

I rarely, if ever have problems like this, but it does happen. I just draw the hard line with them and make clear what the "rules are" and they could take it or leave it.

At the last futures I did, one guy wanted me to cut strings out of his reel before dropping off the racquet because he didn't trust leaving his reel. Mind you, I did 40 frames that day, and had about twenty lined up behind me at the time he approached me with about 30 reels rubber banned to the other frames. I told him if I stopped stringing to cut out strings for each player, I would spend all my time cutting out sets for players rather than string their frames. Being that he was being a jerk, I dropped the snips in front of him and told him to start cutting. If he didn't like it, he could go elswehere to have his frame strung.

He left the reel.

jamauss
02-17-2012, 09:53 PM
At the last futures I did, one guy wanted me to cut strings out of his reel before dropping off the racquet because he didn't trust leaving his reel. Mind you, I did 40 frames that day, and had about twenty lined up behind me at the time he approached me with about 30 reels rubber banned to the other frames. I told him if I stopped stringing to cut out strings for each player, I would spend all my time cutting out sets for players rather than string their frames. Being that he was being a jerk, I dropped the snips in front of him and told him to start cutting. If he didn't like it, he could go elswehere to have his frame strung.

He left the reel.

haha - I have had players do that to me this week too - leaving me rubber-banded sets (or two half-sets) of string. What really ****es me off is when what they bring me is about 6 inches short of making the tensioner on the machine for the last pull and I have to use some junk string and a starting clamp to be able to finish their racquet!! :evil:. The trust about leaving a reel is a funny thing. It's like they think I'm really interested in their reel of neon-yellow yonex poly or RPM. If they only knew I have about 15 of my own reels and 200 sets of other string at home...OF STUFF I LIKE - maybe they'd worry less. :lol:

equinox
02-17-2012, 10:21 PM
Even if a monkey strung the racquet at 15kg, the player must pay.

I'd cut string out soup **** style in front of everyone in the lounge.

Generally non payment agreement is struck to remove costs from the players winning, this should suffice. No payment before stringer leaves the event..No cheque/debit transfer for the player.

Ultimately blackbook him and share information with other stringers. If players know they'll be f'd over for doing a runner, in next events, they'll pay.

Irvin
02-17-2012, 11:47 PM
...The first racquet was fine (dead on at 41) but the 2nd racquet came in at 46 and the 3rd came in at 37, which was "not playable" - the players own words...

I think at first glance I would have to side with the player. If you have an iPhone (iPad or iPod) pick up a racquettune app (if you don't have one) and do some testing yourself immediately after stringing rackets. A difference of 9 DT (high of 46 and low of 37) is an big difference. If the tennis computer the player is using is accurate and the strings are being measured properly you have a big problem somewhere.

equinox
02-17-2012, 11:51 PM
http://www.tennisgear.com.au/shaw-park/?p=606

Some times stringer can never be in the right..

uk_skippy
02-18-2012, 12:28 AM
Hi Guys

just picked up this thread late but I'll add my bits in.

Sorry if I missed it, but OP, are you saying that you manual pre-stretched the gut and also pre-stretched on the machine? If so, then I'd expect some variation. It probably would have been better just to use the machine. Do 1 or the other, not both.

When did the play check the string bed with the ERT? If in front of you, I'd refuse to let the player take the racquet and restring it again for no (further) charge. Once they took it away, I'd say that they've accepted the service and should pay.

If players don't pay on the spot, then I tend to hold their reel as collateral until they do pay. But if it gets late into the draw and there's not too much string left then I tell the TD. Sometimes they will advise the player(s) that no prize money will be given until the stringer is paid. If you end up working a number of futures, you get to know the players and who you can trust. I've had to chase 1 or 2 players from tournament to tournament, but always got the money.

Regards

Paul

uk_skippy
02-18-2012, 12:32 AM
http://www.tennisgear.com.au/shaw-park/?p=606

Some times stringer can never be in the right..

Having just read thru the article in the link, I know who you're talking about, and we had the same problem at Wimbledon. We did what was asked, the coached moaned about the stringing, so he told us to string 1kg tighter, but he would tell the player it was the same tension.

The player then lost, and then in the press conference moaned about the stringing and said that the stringer must have come from the same country as his opponent did (he didn't as we didn't have any stringers from outside Europe!).

Sometimes, it just in the players head.

Regards

Paul

dancraig
02-18-2012, 02:42 AM
Seems like for the reading comparisons to have any significance, they would all have to be made as the racquet is coming off the machine.

jazar
02-18-2012, 02:44 AM
Having just read thru the article in the link, I know who you're talking about, and we had the same problem at Wimbledon. We did what was asked, the coached moaned about the stringing, so he told us to string 1kg tighter, but he would tell the player it was the same tension.


I had a player at Wimbledon last year who wanted a DT of 36, despite wanting a lower tension than they had previously got that DT with. First racket came out at 34, so the player's coach had a little moan. We checked the DT on several other ERTs and each would give a slightly different result. All the rackets were consistently around 34/35 the whole tournament and she made her first Grand Slam semi-final.

bigmatt
02-18-2012, 03:21 AM
I don't recall seeing what kind of gut was being used. If it was some kind of no-name string (Futures players don't necessarily get the best stuff, just whatever someone will give them), then all bets should be off. I've had some real crappy, cheap gut come my way at tournaments like this that can't be trusted to be consistent at all. Add in RPM along with a player who thinks he knows how to use an ert, and you've got a recipe for disaster.
My stance would be that I have no way to guarantee the consistency of someone else's string: you don't know how old it is, how or how long it's been stored, etc.
Make sure they take your money out of his check.

jamauss
02-18-2012, 06:54 AM
Just to answer some questions - the gut being used was Babolat (BT 17) and yes, we manually pre-stretched the gut by hand as well as on the machine.

Overheadsmash
02-18-2012, 07:49 AM
Of course, with your "incorrect" string job, it gives the player someone to blame when they miss shots.

I watched a top 20 player at Cinci last year have a total metldown in a three setter, and he was blaming his racquet, flash photography, etc. Someone from the crowd yelled really loud "just shut up and hit the ball!" - he heard it plain as day because it was a side court. I was in stiches...

Glad I just string for myself, and glad you made that guy pay you.

abllee2198
02-18-2012, 11:15 AM
Jamauss: The problem is the machine. The Prince 5000 overshoots reference. What I mean is for a 60 pound reference the machine misses the reference by 5-8 pounds before it stops pulling. It is such a short overshoot that you'll only notice it as a short pound of two difference in the actual displayed tension before 60 is displayed and held.

I use a Japanese Shimpo Laboratory grade Force gauge to measure peak pulled tension.

Just overshooting reference is just part of the problem. If the overshoot varies from pull to pull then this complicates the problem and leads to large variations in DT.

So, in my opinion, it's not the person doing the stringing.

Albert

jamauss
02-18-2012, 02:46 PM
Albert - on every pull with the Prince 5000 I look at the display and wait until I see the tension I entered in before I clamp the string - and yes, sometimes for a tension of say, 58, I will see it go to 60 before it goes back down to 58 and so I wait until I see 58 to clamp. Are you saying that even though it's showing 58, it is still tighter by a pound or two?

gotwheels
02-18-2012, 04:52 PM
uk_skippy & jazar, A curiosity question - at Grand Slams & significant tournaments, is there a finished stringbed measure (RDC, ERT, etc.) recorded in the stringing room log for a racquet/player history. The unfortunate thing with racquet stringing is you try for consistency, but cannot measure your performance until the job is complete.

As with any measure, for it to be meaningful, it has to be well defined as to how and when the measurement is done.

Thanks

abllee2198
02-19-2012, 03:03 AM
Jamauss: It is quite likely the machine overshoots reference way more than what is displayed. You see there is a lag between what is displayed and what is actually being pulled.

I have seen this on my Babolat Sensor and Star 5 machines. On my Yonex machine I can adjust pull speed so that it has near zero overshoot.

Perhaps if you lower the machine pull speed you can reduce the variations due to machine overshoot.

Good Luck,

Albert

dancraig
02-19-2012, 03:30 AM
Jamauss: It is quite likely the machine overshoots reference way more than what is displayed. You see there is a lag between what is displayed and what is actually being pulled.

I have seen this on my Babolat Sensor and Star 5 machines. On my Yonex machine I can adjust pull speed so that it has near zero overshoot.

Perhaps if you lower the machine pull speed you can reduce the variations due to machine overshoot.

Good Luck,

Albert

Could just get a Klippermate. :rolleyes:

000KFACTOR90000
02-19-2012, 04:30 AM
.......................

stringwalla
02-19-2012, 05:58 AM
I have seen this on my Babolat Sensor and Star 5 machines.


I can confirm this as well on the Babolats. Didn't know that about the Prince-

jazar
02-19-2012, 08:23 AM
uk_skippy & jazar, A curiosity question - at Grand Slams & significant tournaments, is there a finished stringbed measure (RDC, ERT, etc.) recorded in the stringing room log for a racquet/player history. The unfortunate thing with racquet stringing is you try for consistency, but cannot measure your performance until the job is complete.

As with any measure, for it to be meaningful, it has to be well defined as to how and when the measurement is done.

Thanks

Depends on the tournament. At Wimbledon we don't test every racket on an ERT. When I string multiple rackets for a player I always do the tap test. On the other hand, at the ATP Tour Finals last year I checked every racket I did on an ERT. It was easier to do it there as we were nowhere near as busy as at a Slam.

Irvin
02-19-2012, 09:33 AM
Just curious guys as I have just started using the Racquettune App. It seems to me this app is very easy to use and it really does not depend much on where you strike the racket you almost the exact same 'tune' every time. It depends a lot on the instrument you use to strike the string and I found a heavy spoon the best.

Anyway not only is it easy to use it takes less than a minute to setup the racket and string and test the racket. Why use an ERT over the Racquettune app?

uk_skippy
02-19-2012, 10:16 AM
Anyway not only is it easy to use it takes less than a minute to setup the racket and string and test the racket. Why use an ERT over the Racquettune app?

In response I feel that there are several reason why I'd use an ERT over the racquettune -

1. Not everyone has the right phone to use the said app,
2. There may not be enough space (on a desk) to use the phone,
3. We wouldn't want a queue of stringers lining up to use a single phone on a desk,
4. There wouldn't be enough space to have a desk or small table for every stringer to be able to set up a phone with the app
5. In my experience, I'm not totally convinced over the app, so I'd rather use the ERT
6. With the increasing number players/coaches using ERT's it's easy to refer to the said industry piece of equipment rather than an app not available on their phone
7. Even when a table is available at a tournament where there is a single stringer, time is precious especially at the beginning of it where the number of rqts will be high, even though this could the most important time to get readings either by ERT or racquettune
8. Time - A minute a rqt, 20 rqts a day, thats 20 mins or an extra rqt.

Just my thoughts

Regards

Paul

Irvin
02-19-2012, 12:07 PM
I take it you do not like the app. LOL

mikeler
02-19-2012, 12:08 PM
RacquetTune would not function in a noisy stringing room. I have trouble getting readings down at my club.

uk_skippy
02-19-2012, 12:33 PM
I take it you do not like the app. LOL

I think it's a good idea, but I'd prefer to use a specialist piece of equipment.

i3602u
02-19-2012, 12:35 PM
My biggest complain and reason not to use racquettune is it doesn't work with strung on dampeners so I just did 2 head liquid metal 4 that have strung on dampeners and the app does not work. My old racquet pure drive 110 doesn't work either

andtapes
02-20-2012, 12:19 PM
Wanted to ask for some opinion (and perhaps perspective) here...sorry for the long story/explanation.

So, I am doing some stringing this week for a challenger level event. Just me, I'm the only stringer on site for the 9 days the tournament plays out (qualies + main draw)

The player I am/was stringing for brought the racquets to me and asked me if I would be willing to help manually pre-stretch the half-set of gut they were using. I said sure, no problem. We wrapped the ends of the string around some wood pegs and we pulled against each other to the point where we could feel (and see) the string elongate a little, then contract back to it's original length. This took the coil memory out of the string and stretch it a little - the desired result. We repeated this 2 or 3 times each time we manually pre-stretched the length of gut.

Then the player gave me the desired tension for the gut (mains only) and also asked for 5% pre-stretch by the machine (Prince 5000). I carried out these instructions while stringing the gut, then installed the crosses (Bab RPM Blast at the same tension as the mains).

When the player picked up the racquet, they had one of these with them: (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpage-ERT300.html) which I have no problem with - if players are into understanding and measuring the dynamic tension of the stringbed, good for them. The problem for me was, if the dynamic tension didn't read within 2 (points? not sure what the unit of measurement is called) of what they wanted (which happened to be 41) - the player would take the racquet but refuse to pay for the stringing service.

The first racquet was fine (dead on at 41) but the 2nd racquet came in at 46 and the 3rd came in at 37, which was "not playable" - the players own words. The problem is - I repeated the exact same process every time with the machine (same tension, same installation, same pre-stretch at 5%) so I don't see what I could have done any differently.

Anyone else ever encounter this kind of situation before and how did you handle it?

I ended up having to have a talk with the player and told them that they needed to pay for the stringing service regardless, and that I wasn't going to just let them keep taking their racquets and paying only if the reading from the device was "acceptable" to them. Plus I didn't exactly enjoy feeling like I was stringing on egg shells each time I was doing their racquet.

I didn't read all the posts.

But the racquets will not read the same DT at all.
for example: You made the first racquet 30 (or less) minutes after the second that takes another 30 minutes to take ready and then the third racquet that takes another 30 min.

When the player used the beers ERT300 all three racquet took differents DT results, because they were made 30 minutes after the previous racquet.

Solutions: The players should read the DT right after the racquet left the machine or you should decrease the refence tension of the string machine racquet after racquet.

MattPrevidi
02-20-2012, 10:20 PM
My two cents - I string several large junior tournaments (the easter bowl being the biggest) and have just finished some pro work. I don't care WHO I am stringing for, one of two payment options ALWAYS happens:
1.) The player/coach pays upfront EVERY time they bring in a racquet
2.) The player/coach must leave a credit card on file

The best thing you could ever do is start to adopt this policy. I have never been stiffed on payment, and now I can actually run racquets out on court without worrying about tracking people down. My way or the highway baby!

donnygg
02-25-2012, 06:34 AM
Having just read thru the article in the link, I know who you're talking about, and we had the same problem at Wimbledon. We did what was asked, the coached moaned about the stringing, so he told us to string 1kg tighter, but he would tell the player it was the same tension.

The player then lost, and then in the press conference moaned about the stringing and said that the stringer must have come from the same country as his opponent did (he didn't as we didn't have any stringers from outside Europe!).

Sometimes, it just in the players head.

Regards

Paul

*off topic*
Did some cyber CSI. I know who you guys are talking about :wink: Bf of former no. 1?

EDIT: Hell, I think I've found out who the other stupid player is. No relations to a tennis legend?