Marc Kessler has been stringing racquets for more than two decades at The Tennis Professionals (Port Chester, NY), Sportech (Rye Brook, NY) and the US Open.
But this year, he will be taking his skills across the Atlantic, and joining stringers from around the world as part of Team Babolat at the French Open. The trip will be Kessler’s first-ever to Europe.
"It’s a tremendous honor and I’m extremely excited," said Kessler, 47. "It will be a new and wonderful experience."
Kessler, along with Chris Gaudreau of New Haven, Connecticut, were chosen by Babolat from among nine elite stringers invited to attend the inaugural Babolat VS String Team Academy in Boulder, CO in February. At the event, stringers got to share expertise with their industry peers and become certified to string on behalf of the Babolat VS String Team at Grand Slam and premier tennis events.
Kessler, who strung for Babolat at the US Open from 1993-1996, said he learned a lot at the Academy not just about stringing and technology, but also about ensuring that players have the right string for their skill levels.
"Some 2.5 players are told they need durable, polyester string, but they are generally not breaking their strings," said Kessler. "At the Academy, we learned how to reeducate customers, and help provide the best string for each individual’s game."
To become an official member of the Babolat VS String Team, stringers must have a comprehensive knowledge of string, stringing technique and the impact that the latest stringing technologies have on each specific player’s game. Gaudreau and Kessler were selected based on their stringing experience and participation in the Academy.
"Stringing in a tournament like the French Open adds a different level of pressure," said Mickey Maule, Babolat National Sales Manager. "Chris and Marc both bring a strong technical proficiency and previous experience stringing for Grand Slam tournaments. We’re honored to have these talented stringers represent our brand at the French Open."
Some major players in tennis use Babolat racquets, including 2011 French Open Champion Rafael Nadal. But Kessler is not nervous.
"You have to string with speed, but also make sure the rackets are consistent," said Kessler. "That is the most important thing."