Jet lag is always an issue for the first 2 days after arriving. I beat my alarm clock by an hour and wake at 5.30am. This is not too bad. In past years I have woken up for the first day of stringing as early as 4am.
I hit the gym and get ready for work. Jim is thrilled by the early wake up call.
In past years we have had to take the train out to Arthur Ashe. But this year the tournament shuttle buses have started running early.The shuttle takes about 35min to get to the tennis centre.
I arrive at 8am. There are racquets waiting for me and due to be collected in an hour. I set up and calibrate my machine and get to work.
All machines are calibrated before we start work each day. We do not power down the machines while the tournament is on.
We are all stringing on brand new machines this year. Wilson upgrades the Baiardo each year. Every time I come back they have changed some component. This year is no exception. The new string gripper (which was upgraded last year and worked a treat) has been altered again. The new clamp bases which were introduced last year have remained. They are a bit stiff initially but after a spray of gun oil they are working smoothly.
I string non stop until 1pm. I have strung multiple frames for Mannarino, Sasnovic, Fabbiano, Gigounon, Fritz and Alize Lim. Having cleared the backlog I head up to the players cafe to quickly get some lunch.
By the time I finish stringing at 6.45pm I have done 31 racquets. The team strings a total of 227 racquets for the day.
I see the new Wilson Burn FST racquets for the first time. Looks like a Fischer Pro No 1. Don't know if it plays the same though. I also get my first look at the new Luxilon string - Element. It is a multimono. Similar to Luxilon M2 but different at the same time. I won't know how it goes until I get to play with a sample.
By the end of the first day my string bin is dominated by Alu Power. The are also 3 players using Luxilon Original, and 1 each using RPM Blast, Blackcode and Head Hawk.