Being an official ATP World Tour stringer certainly has its perks, like traveling the world, spending days at the best tournaments in the world and getting up close to some of the biggest names in the game.
Stephane Chrzanovski has been working for Tecnifibre for 15 years (the French company produces the official racquet, string, bag and accessories of the ATP World Tour). He once got to spend quality time with the greatest of the greats, Roger Federer.
In 2013, Federer was playing with a blacked-out Wilson racquet, eight inches bigger than his previous 90-inch frame (not to be mistaken with the RF97 Autograph). He wanted to get the racquet strung in total privacy, away from what was a very public stringing area in front of a home audience in Gstaad, Switzerland.
"He didn't want anyone to see the racquet or the strings, so we had to go in a different room that was dark and private with only the stringer allowed in," Chrzanovski said. "The stringing service was in the commercial fan zone, so they asked to bring the machine somewhere else."
In doing so, fans couldn't get the racquet and string secrets out on social networks ahead of game time.
"Federer came in the room while I was stringing his racquet," Chrzanovski said. "We started talking about everything—not only tennis, but family and life in general—just the two of us together right before his match in a dark room."
Being in such close proximity to the now 19-time Grand Slam champion would be a nerve-wracking experience for almost anyone, let alone for someone working carefully on a player's most-important weapon.
"Near the end, I was getting nervous and started sweating as Federer was getting ready," Chrzanovski said. He was still in the room as Federer was putting on his signature bandana before walking on court.
The racquet turned out perfect, but Federer would drop the match. No matter though, as Federer is doing just fine these days, and Chrzanovski has the memory to cherish forever.