2008 Stringer of the Year: Nate Ferguson
After working in racquet customization for 12 years under Warren Bosworth, Nate Ferguson took what he learned and became Pete Sampras’ personal stringer. “I wanted to start my own company, Pete wanted someone who could both string his racquets on the road and customize them perfectly,” says Ferguson. And so the Tampa-based racquet customization company Priority One was born.
While he will occasionally do work for friends and local players, his business focuses on touring pros. His “Gold Service” clients — Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Mardy Fish, Marcos Baghdatis, Novak Djokovic, Marat Safin, Lleyton Hewitt and Fernando Gonzalez — receive customization, a personal stringer on the road and someone looking out for their most important piece of equipment at all times. In other words, Ferguson and his P1 colleagues, Ron Yu and Glynn Roberts, provide them with total racquet peace of mind. Each member of the P1 team travels with his own stringing machine to ensure consistency.
Because of the precision, says Ferguson, there is no margin for error. And because the business is so personal, the players have to know that they can rely on Ferguson and Priority One. “We go the extra mile, whatever it takes, to make sure our clients get exactly what they want,” he says.
Ferguson (shown with one of his “prized possessions,” a racquet given to him in 1998 by Pete Sampras after he broke it in anger during a match) built his business on consistency, trust, and reliability. And he knows he has to work as hard as the players do: “They barely get any time off; we barely get any time off,” he says. And with a roster that includes 2008 US Open champion Roger Federer and runner-up Andy Murray, working hard for his clients is his No. 1 priority.
— Sam Kissinger
- You have to sell yourself. Racquet stringing and customization is a service, not a product.
- Make each client, whether a top professional or a recreational player, feel like they are the most important client you have.
- Establish your credibility through trust and reliability.
See all articles by Sam Kissinger