Raj Kumar, stringing tennis racquets for years

When the Indian Davis Cup team was about to leave for the tie against Pakistan, captain Rohit Rajpal had called Raj Kumar for a day to the training base.

The pandemic shook the sports community, but life was normal for the competent Raj Kumar who runs a very small shop with tennis goods, in the market opposite to the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) Complex.

He is one man the entire tennis fraternity knows, especially in the Delhi NCR. Raj Kumar basically strings the racquets with remarkable accuracy and efficiency. Everyone trusts him.

When the Indian Davis Cup team was about to leave for the tie against Pakistan, captain Rohit Rajpal called Raj Kumar for a day to the training base to cater to the team’s needs.

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"I was lucky through lockdown as I kept working. Many people have tennis courts in their farm house. There are many other private courts. I worked from home for a few weeks and then had to come to the shop as people needed racquets, balls etc," said Raj Kumar, even as he kept himself busy, stringing the racquets with assurance.

It was an exceptional response, as the coaches had suffered the most, going without earnings for months. Raj Kumar himself was a coach and had trained some good players before a leg injury ended his coaching career.

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For more than three decades, Raj Kumar has been following Indian tennis and has his fingers on its pulse.

Even though all the coaches are his friends and come to him regularly, Raj Kumar is candid to say that most of the coaches needed to focus on grooming players rather than be occupied in merely earning money.

"Coaching is about guiding players to a good standard. That is the challenge. Making money is the easier option," he observed.

Apart from efficiency, Raj Kumar endears himself to all with his pleasant manners, marked by a complete lack of greed. He keeps a low margin on all the products, and charges only Rs. 80 for stringing a racquet. Even if you want him to take more money, he refuses point blank, saying that he was happy with what he earned.

Raj Kumar serves Indian tennis a lot more than many who aspire to serve the game in the country.

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