barnstaple challenger

you are here: home > events > barnstaple challenger

This blog is from Jackie Vaughan, UKRSA LTA Tournament Stringer at most of the top tennis events in the UK. Just an example of the high level of stringing work being carried out by qualified UKRSA Racket Technicians throught the year.
Last week I was the stringer for the Men’s 25 euros Challenger in Barnstable at the Tarka Centre. I arrived at 3pm on the Saturday after a 3+ hour journey, driving most of the way with the sun in my eyes, so I was glad when I eventually arrived. I have to say what a great facility they have there. The centre is only 4 years old and is really set up for tennis events, except for one thing that the builders/architects did not include, and that was a kitchen large enough to handle event-catering . They had to bring in caterers, who worked from a portable kitchen.

There are 6 indoor courts and I was situated in the tournament office and working in the office I was working alongside, the control desk, the referee and Tournament Director. This is the first tournament that I had actually worked in the tournament office, and it was great as it can be very lonely when you are out in a corner of the players’ lounge or on a balcony somewhere away from the actions, but there is always a trade off, you have company when working in the office, but you don’t get any passing trade from members of the club asking you to string their rackets.

Rackets came in at a steady pace, I worked until 9.00pm on the Saturday, occasionally going to have a look at the TV in the next room to see the action in the Rugby. I left 5 rackets to do the next morning. I could not get into the Centre until 7.30 am and worked on rackets until the players came in. The first bus was at 8.30 and the player’s hotel was only 5 minutes walk away. The first 16 rackets that were handed in were all Wilson N Code or Head rackets either Flexpoint or Liquid metal. Most had the capped grommet system Ugh.... A few players were using a new string that I have not seen or used before. Head Sonic Pro, it is very similar to Babolat Pro Hurricane and softer to string than the Luxilon polyester handed in by most players. Not many players were using a hydrid, most were handing in Luxilon for a full restring in poly. Racket No 17, thank goodness a change of racket - a Babolat P/D and then a bit later a Fischer racket. There were only 5 players using a gut hybrid and a few using a synethic hybrid. I used about 12 inches of tubing as the rackets were showing wear and a lot of split grommets, the polyester is very hard on the grommets. A number of the rackets were showing sign of wearing through the bumper strip and into the frame of the racket.

I was arriving soon after 7.30am at the centre one to miss the traffic, and the other to get my rackets done, and not leaving until at around 10.00 pm at night the early part of the week. Rackets came in at a steady pace Head, Wilson, Wilson Head, with splattering of Babolat, and one Technifibre racket, great excitement, a couple of different rackets. Wednesday a Fischer racket and 2 Yonex rackets . This was the way things went all week, and then on Friday a Dunlop racket, strung with M-fil, heaven the best string all week. A number of players did not have any rackets done and the most rackets from any one player was 7 from Jeremy Chardy who won the tournament. Two young Brits did very well, they got a wild card into the doubles and had a good win over the Swedes and then had a walk-over into the quarters, but lost that match in 3 sets. The singles final was between Suisse Stephane Bolhi and Jeremy Chardy of France. Chardy winning in a very hard fought match. Aisam Qureshi and Frederik Nielsen won the doubles again in a tight 3 set match. They both only entered the doubles as they are coming back from injury.

Saturday 4.30pm I was packed up and starting my way home, after a long week. Calling in at Tiverton Rail Station to drop one of the Tournament Staff off to catch his train. It was not a large racket tally, so I was able to get the rackets done before the players needed them, especially as I chose to get in early and stay late.

My accommodation had been at a farm about 10 miles away from the centre, and was lovely although a little bit too far from the centre for my liking, in fact it was Thursday before I drove into the centre in the light and was able to look at the countryside. The accommodation rates I thought would be cheaper as we are out of the summer season, but I was proved wrong because it was half term week. The main topic of conversation during the week from everyone, tournament office to line officals was next year's tournament schedule, the number of tournaments has been reduced and everyone is wondering where they will get their days to keep badges. We had a brief visit from John Lloyd and Paul Hutchins who were looking at players for the next Davis Cup Tie.

Percentages of rackets brands used by players having their rackets restrung.
44.87% Head, 34.61% Wilson, 11.53% Babolat
7.68%Yonex, T/F Fischer and Dunlop.


what's on...


9th Oct 2018

17th Nov 2018
-18th Nov 2018

23rd Feb 2019
-24th Feb 2019

23rd Feb 2019

28th Feb 2019
-1st Mar 2019

11th Mar 2019
-12th Mar 2019

8th Apr 2019
-9th Apr 2019

27th Apr 2019
-28th Apr 2019

19th Jun 2019
-20th Jun 2019

17th Jul 2019
-18th Jul 2019

22nd Jul 2019
-26th Jul 2019

14th Aug 2019
-15th Aug 2019

16th Oct 2019
-17th Oct 2019

20th Nov 2019
-21st Nov 2019

11th Dec 2019
-12th Dec 2019