August 23 2014 Latest news:
Friday, August 3, 2012
A Norwich tennis shop owner has spoken of how he strung hundreds of rackets at the Olympic Games - including those of Novak Djokovic.
Mark Goodman, who owns Top Spin Tennis at Virgin Active, near the Asda supermarket in Helledson, and at East Anglian Tennis and Squash Club in Lime Tree, was one of a team of racket stringers based at Wimbledon for the Olympic Games.
In less than two weeks, the 52-year-old, who has worked at Wimbledon tournaments, had strung 600 rackets - 150 of which were on one day.
Mr Goodman, who lives in Ely and owns the shops with his wife Karen, said: “The atmosphere was brilliant. I was there for one and a half weeks before it started and saw them transforming Wimbledon from the Wimbledon set up to an Olympic event, changing the green backdrop to purple. They had a huge army of people.
“It is a very different atmosphere to Wimbledon - there are a lot more families and the players use the outside courts to practice on so people can get closer to the top players than they do at Wimbledon.”
Mr Goodman, who also owns shops in Cambridge and Huntingdon, was part of a team made up of racket stringers from America, Australia, France, Spain and Japan.
He strung rackets for players including the world number two seed Djokovic, Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, who Great Britain’s Andy Murray beat in the first round, and Belgium’s David Goffin.
“There’s a bit of rivalry between the stringers,” said Mr Goodman. “We joke to each other that my racket is beating your racket.
“What’s worse is when the players have had a duff shot and they look at their rackets and you think they are looking at your stringing.
“All the players are very pleasant and say ‘thank you’ and appreciate the service. It’s been a brilliant experience.”