'Stringer' carves a niche in tennis circuit

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/R/Rajkumar.jpg' class='caption'> A racquet is a complicated gadget and using it, is an equally complicated task.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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A racquet is a complicated gadget and using it, is an equally complicated task. But for Rajkumar, the professional stringer employed by the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association for over a decade, it is not such thing. Stringer as he's popularly called, Rajkumar is the most sought after person, especially during tournaments. "When I was a tennis coach, I used to string racquets for young children. After my accident, I could not play anymore and I have been stringing racquets for the past 11-12 years. I enjoy gutting, especially for great players and I consider this something great in itself," he said. Being accessible Rajkumar lives at the National Tennis Academy campus in Gurgaon, since he needs to be accessible to players even at odd hours. He feels a great sense of pride and even responsibility towards the players, who count on him to get their racquets gutted. "I have gutted for top players like Mahesh Bhupathi, Sania, Boris Becker, Ivanisevic, Wayne Ferrera, Martha Rios. In the future I want to string for Federer. And if they call me, I would be very happy to go," Rajkumar added. He is as passionate about the game as he is about his strings. He is watched Indian tennis closely for the last decade. And he likes to think that he has played a small part as well After all, no matter how expensive the racquet is, it isn't much use unless the strings are holding firm.

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