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DecoTurf Picked As Surface for Olympics

The 2004 Olympic tennis competition in Athens, Greece, this summer will take place on 16 courts with a DecoTurf acrylic surface by Andover, Mass.-based DecoSystems.

DecoSystems, a division of California Products Corp., announced the official decision in December. The courts will be at the Olympic Tennis Center of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex and will host 172 men and women in practice and competition in men’s and women’s singles and doubles. The women’s singles gold medal match will be Aug. 21 and the men’s gold medal match will be Aug. 22.

Since 1978, DecoTurf has been the court surface of the U.S. Open at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

TIA Membership Now Includes New Tennis Retailer Category

New Tennis Retailer category

The Tennis Industry Association has started a new “Tennis Retailer” membership category that will provide shop and facility owners with data that can help them with their business. TIA Tennis Retailer members will pay an annual fee of $250.

“We need to provide services for every part of our sport, and retailers are the direct connection to the tennis player,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “We hope to give dealers the tools needed to gain an edge and vision in today’s competitive market. Plus, this brings another valuable part of our sport into the TIA — working together to build participation and a healthy industry.”

Adds TIA President Jim Baugh, “We’ll be packaging research specifically for retailers to help them run their businesses.”

Key for retail members will be access to many new pieces of data, such as:

“We have the tools for anybody in this industry to learn more about the sport and how to improve their position,” says Baugh, who added that he’s hoping to sign on 500 pro/specialty retailer members.

For more information, contact the TIA at 843-686-3036 or visit www.tennisindustry.org.

New Tournament Management System Launched by USTA

The USTA is launching Tournament Data Manager (TDM), a new integrated software application designed to make tournament management easier and more efficient, the USTA says.

TDM will replace the Tournament Management System, which the USTA has leased and provided to tournament directors over the past several years. The USTA will issue the new software free of charge to all USTA Member Organizations.

The new system will allow tournament information such as events, entrants and fees to be downloaded easily from other on-line TennisLink software applications. Results can be easily distributed to newspapers in a pdf format.

“The many enhanced features of TDM allow tournament directors to be more efficient in managing their event and allows them to devote more time in providing a pleasant competitive experience for their tournament entrants,” says Becky Lenhart, the USTA’s director of the TennisLink Network Department. “Through TennisLink, the USTA has recognized the intrinsic value of using technology to provide player services for tennis programs.”

The Windows-based TDM has all the features that tournament directors are currently using, plus enhancements that the USTA says will facilitate setting up an event, creating draws and scheduling matches. It can be used on all USTA-sanctioned tournaments as well as club-level events, including round-robins and compass draws.

For more information or to request a copy of the program, e-mail linkteam@usta.com or contact your local USTA section office.

X-45 Hires Director Of Technical Ops

Former college tennis coach Tom Kosinski has joined Miami-based racquet company X-45 as the director of technical operations. Kosinski will handle a variety of duties, including technical sales and marketing, website development and player racquet services.A former high school and junior college coach, Kosinski most recently was the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Ocean County College in New Jersey. He also has held management and executive positions in the materials industry.

One service Kosinski will initiate will be the “Personal Racquet Shopper,” in which he’ll assist customers and players in finding the right frame in the line for their games. X-45 already offers a racquet comparison chart on its website.

The X-45 Pro Series frames use the company’s patented design in which each frame uses a unique elliptical offset head design, which the company says provides unparalleled power, control and vibration dampening.

For more information visit www.X-45.com.

Baugh Hired as Paid President of TIA

Jim Baugh

After nearly 10 months as the volunteer president of the Tennis Industry Association, Jim Baugh will now be in the position as a paid employee. Baugh says the new paid presidency represents a “long-term commitment to the TIA” on his part, and on the part of the organization.

“This will enable me to continue to do what I’m doing and make sure that initiatives are launched in the right way and that we follow up on them,” says Baugh, who added that he will continue to do consulting work for some companies in the sporting goods industry.

Some of the initiatives in the works include promoting the Tennis Welcome Centers, which as of December had more than 1,500 facilities signed up (to register as a TWC, free of charge, visit www.Partners.TennisWelcomeCenter.com); “aggressively promoting the research that the TIA has,” says Baugh; and launching www.TennisWire.org (see below), a website devoted to TIA member company news and information.

“I’ve been part of the process of getting things started,” says Baugh, “and now I’ll be part of the process of getting them done.”

USTA, PTR Promote ACE Program

The USTA and the PTR have joined forces to promote the PTR’s ACE program, an initiative designed to educate tennis teaching professionals in multicultural communities.

ACE, which stands for Advancing the Commitment to Education, “will ultimately have a profound effect on the number of multicultural people who play and continue to play tennis, as well as build a strong infrastructure of multicultural coaches,” says PTR CEO Dan Santorum.

The PTR will conduct 60 tennis-teacher workshops at public tennis facilities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The 10-hour weekend workshops will concentrate on the fundamentals of teaching tennis to groups. In addition, Instant Tennis, a quick introduction to teaching tennis, will also be presented in order to get people playing immediately.

To qualify for the ACE program, individuals must not be a current high school or college coach, or a tennis professional, but must be at least a 4.0 rated player. Each ACE participant must agree to give back a minimum of 10 hours of teaching tennis in the multicultural community without compensation.

“The PTR has unique expertise in the training of multicultural coaches,” says Alan Schwartz, the USTA’s president. “The USTA is delighted to partner with the PTR in this multicultural outreach effort.”

Short Sets

Hall of Fame Names New Board Members

The International Tennis Hall of Fame has announced new members elected to its board of directors at its annual meeting in November.

Beginning three-year terms on the board are: Letitia C. Biddle, Douglas R. Conant, Philip G. Geier Jr., Edward S. Hyman, Franklin R. Johnson, Patrick McEnroe, Bartlett H. McGuire, Richard J. Phelps, Carol W. Sahlman and Hardwick Simmons.

Simmons also was elected as vice chairman of the Hall of Fame. Current board member Stephen M. Lessing was named to the executive committee and Kay Koplovitz, also a current board member, was named to the committee as treasurer.

John G. Davis has been elected as an honorary director and Lawrence G. Scott has been elected as a tennis association director. Also announced were new members to the International Council. They are Ruurd E. deBoer and Hall of Famer Jan Kodes.

HEAD Penn Names 3 New District Sales Managers

HEAD Penn Racquet Sports announced that three new district sales managers will oversee markets in California, New York, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana.

Jerome Jones, former product manager of adult tennis for the USTA, will oversee portions of the Southern California market. Jones, a member of the USPTA and the PTR, played on the ATP Tour for five years after playing college tennis at Pepperdine, where he won the NCAA doubles championship.

Richard Farrington will be the new district sales manager for Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and southern Indiana, and Michael Mangini will be the new district manager for New York City and Long Island.

Tennis Mag Adds ‘Touring Camps’ To Demo Days Program

Tennis magazine has expanded its popular Demo Days program for 2004 with new partnerships and locations, creating a “2004 Touring Camps” program to run concurrent with 13 ATP tournaments, in addition to other sites across the country.

Each of the Touring Camps will consist of three days of clinics and will feature a new partner, the Cliff Drysdale Tennis Academy. The camps are for adults and juniors. Most camps will be held at multiple locations and dates in the ATP tournament areas (although not at the tournament sites themselves). In addition, Touring Camps will be held at other locations and dates throughout the country.

During each ATP event, however, Tennis magazine will hold its Demo Days on the grounds of each tournament, with Drysdale touring pros giving fans an opportunity to play with the latest gear from tennis equipment manufacturers. Also on hand at the pro tournament sites will be an ATP ambassador or former player. This is the third year that Tennis magazine has sponsored its Demo Days program Some of the 2004 locations are:

February: San Francisco Bay area; Tunica, Miss.; Scottsdale, Ariz. March: Palm Springs, Calif.; Miami April: Houston July: Newport, R.I.; Los Angeles; Indianapolis; Cincinnati August: Washington, D.C.; Long Island, N.Y.; New York City. November: Houston

For an updated list of sites and for more information, or to sign up, visit Tennis.com or call 305-365-4300.

Wilson, TCA Sign 3-Year Partnership Agreement

Wilson Racquet Sports and Tennis Corporation of America have signed a three-year contract that will make Wilson the official ball and official tennis company for TCA.

The contract states that TCA will sell only Wilson tennis balls and use only Wilson balls for all instruction and programs. Also, TCA will use Wilson racquets for its patented Tennis-In-No-Time beginner lesson programs, and Wilson will offer support to all TCA teaching staff with a promotional equipment program that includes racquets, footwear and string at preferred pricing.

“This new partnership is ideal and mutually beneficial for both our organizations,” says Jon Muir, Wilson’s director of U.S. marketing and promotions. “It combines our retail and sales focus with promotional efforts at each facility to directly reach the active tennis player.”

TCA owns and operates more than 40 clubs in North America. The company began in 1969 with the Mid-Town Tennis Club in Chicago, owned by Alan Schwartz, the current USTA president.

USTA Names 27 Teachers To All-American Team

The USTA recognized 27 tennis teachers from across the U.S. who have excelled in implementing the USTA’s local USA Tennis programs for people of all ages and abilities. The teachers, both volunteers and paid, represent tennis centers, athletic clubs, community parks, schools and tennis associations. They’ve been named to a USA Tennis All-American Team.

“The teachers … breathe life into local programs for current, returning and potential players and are the true champions of tennis,” says Kurt Kamperman, the USTA’s chief executive of Community Tennis. To be eligible for the national honor, nominees have to successfully implement USA Tennis programs; generate interest in those programs through local promotions; creatively and effectively use USTA funding; find additional sponsorship resources; increase CTA participation; and increase the number of participants in USA Tennis pathway programs.

The honorees are: Steve Abbondondelo, Hicksville, N.Y.; Dick Walther, Summit, N.J.; Vicky Chee, Honolulu; Darlene Joseph, Koloa, Hawaii; Kenneth Griffith, Indian Head, Md.; Harvey Robinson, Newport News, Va.; Jerry Escheck, Newport, Mich.; Mary Herrick, Amherst, Ohio; Dora Hubbard, Gary, Ind.; Jay Massart, Menomonee Falls, Wis.; Vicki Schmidgall, Morton, Ill.; Mike Kolendo, Northampton, Mass.; William Conway, Healdsburg, Calif.; Thomas Stenson, Prior Lake, Minn.; Gail Patton, Medford, Ore.; Cathy Tracy, Anchorage, Alaska; Jeff Urie, Spokane, Wash.; Geoff Griffin, San Diego; Yvette Marshall, Denham Springs, La.; Vicki M. Owen, Shreveport, La.; Dick Johnson, Albuquerque, N.M.; Keith Spelman, El Paso, Texas; Barb and Al Stones, Phoenix; Robert Tapia, El Paso, Texas; Kevin Clark, Austin, Texas; Annemarie Murillo, San Antonio, Texas; Darrell Thompson, Waco, Texas.

Tecnifibre Cranks Up U.S. Marketing and Distribution

Since ending its relationship with Pro-Kennex in June, Tecnifibre has quietly been making inroads on its own into the U.S. market with its line of strings, accessories and now a new series of squash racquets, says Paul Zalatoris, Tecnifibre USA’s general manager. In addition, the company recently signed a deal with Fromuth to distribute its products in the U.S.

Tecnifibre USA is a division of Major-Sports, which is based near Paris. Zalatoris says that Major-Sports’ strategy, as defined by its president, Thierry Massant, is to push the Tecnifibre brand in all categories on a global basis. “In Europe, the brand does very well,” says Zalatoris, noting Tecnifibre string has a nearly 50 percent market share in France, and there are 11 Tecnifibre racquets available overseas. “We’re bringing the successful items here into the U.S. and expanding.”

Tecnifibre USA

“Eventually, our goal is to form a corporation in the U.S.,” says Paul Kid, the brand manager for Tecnifibre USA, who joined the company in November. Kid had been with Pro-Kennex for many years as vice president of product development before resigning in January 2003. In line with the company’s worldwide push is the new tagline: “Tecnifibre — global thinking.”

One of the key components in building its brand in the U.S. is the distribution deal with Fromuth, says Zalatoris.

Fromuth will do the shipping, distribution, billing, accounting and administration. “We looked at doing it ourselves, but we realized that we’re not big enough to make it cost-effective,” he says.

Tecnifibre USA hired a promotions manager, former college tennis standout Marco Baron, who will focus on college players, says Zalatoris. Also, he says, the company is focusing on juniors. “Tecnifibre really wasn’t aggressive before,” he says, “but now we’re 100 percent focused in setting up this organization.”

Currently, the company is concentrating its U.S. efforts on marketing tennis strings and its new line of squash racquets and strings.

Kid says that the company hopes to introduce a tennis racquet into the U.S. market later this year, possibly at the U.S. Open. However, Kid notes that “there are a lot of growing pains that will need to be handled administratively and operationally.”

“Because our string and squash products are globally recognized already, we can learn from our experience,” Kid says.

For more information on Tecnifibre, its products and U.S. distribution, call 877-332-0825.

PTR Named Official Partner For Special Olympics North America

The PTR has been named an Official Special Olympics North America Tennis Training Partner, solidifying a longstanding relationship between the two organizations that has seen PTR pros host, participate in and volunteer for a variety of Special Olympics events.

For many years, the PTR has hosted the annual Special Olympics Southeast Region Tennis Championships at its international headquarters on Hilton Head Island, S.C. At the 2004 PTR International Tennis Symposium, more than 1,000 tennis teachers from around the world will be able to learn how to start a Special Olympics program in their area.

“The support of Dennis Van der Meer and the PTR staff has provided opportunities for athletes with mental disabilities to improve the quality of their lives through tennis,” says Gregg Epperson, sports director for Special Olympics North America.

TennisWire.org Is The New Site For TIA Member News

TIA member companies soon will be able to post press releases and other documents on a searchable database that may become the source for official news for those in the industry, the press and the public. The site, TennisWire.org, is expected to launch in the Spring.

The website will be “a collective place where all the lead stories in our sport can be housed and seen by anybody,” says TIA President Jim Baugh. “It will be a place where our key TIA partners will be able to list their news releases and other information.”

Liza Horan, the director of Tennis.com (Tennis magazine’s website) and the president of the U.S. Tennis Writers Association, originally presented the idea to the TIA, and she is developing and overseeing the website. The site would not only contain press releases, but also official documents such as investor reports, quarterly performance reports, company profiles or whatever each member company would wish to share.

Member companies will be able to post documents with password-protected access. The material would be searchable by industry category (such as apparel, racquets, court equipment, etc.), company and date.

RacquetTECH.com is bigger, better and includes RSI

Beginning in February, the USRSA website, usrsa.com, launches a gigantic amount of new information, tools, articles, data, and applets. It will also be the domicile of all RSI (Racquet Sports Industry) articles. The site will add USRSA articles from 1996 to present, over 40 tournament logs, machine reviews, playtests, interactive tools and educational applets, site search and enhanced navigation. There will be more or everything, with lots more to come.

New interactive tools! Proportional Stringing Calculator Lockout to Constant Pull Converter Constant Pull to Lockout Converter Fraction to Decimal Converter Points to Inches and Centimeter Converter ACOR Calculator Ball Speed Calculator Impact Energy Flow Calculator Impact Point Hitting Weight Calculator Power and Stringbed Stiffness Calculator Kinetic Racquet Energy into Elastic String Energy Calculator and new Swingweight, Balance, and Twistweight Calculators. Most of this information is in the “Member’s Only” portion of the website. For more information on the USRSA or to join, call 760-536-1177, FAX: 760-536-1171, e-mail: USRSA, or go to the online store at www.usrsa.com.

New Price For ‘The Physics And Technology Of Tennis’

The groundbreaking book, The Physics and Technology of Tennis, by Howard Brody, Rod Cross, and Crawford Lindsey is now only $29.95 ($26.95 for members). Find out why Vic Braden called this “… the most important tennis book in fifteen years.” Published by Racquet Tech Publishing, an imprint of the USRSA, the book is available at www.usrsa.com or by calling 760-536-1177.

Agassi Extends HEAD Penn Deal

Andre Agassi, Kevin Kemkin, Robert Marte

Andre Agassi (flanked by HEAD Penn Executive V.P. Robert Marte, left, and V.P. of Sales and Marketing Kevin Kempin) extended his contract with HEAD Penn Racquet Sports for the remainder of his career on the court as well as post-career activities. The announcement took place at a press conference during the 2003 Tennis Masters Cup.

Also HEAD Penn announced the extension of its licensing arrangement with the ATP and Penn balls through 2008.

Industry Loses Dick Squires

Richard C. “Dick” Squires, a former ad manager for Tennis magazine, founder and publisher of Tennis Buyers’ Guide, publisher of Tennis USTA and columnist for Tennis Week, died Nov. 12 of cardiac arrest. He was 72.

Squires, who grew up in Bronxville, N.Y., attended Williams College, where he was captain of the tennis and squash teams. In 1968, he captained the U.S. Olympic Fronton team at the Mexico City Games.

The author of three books on racquet sports, including How to Play Platform Tennis in 1968, Squires later wrote a column for Tennis Week for five years and a column for the Darien (Conn) News-Review. His most recent book was a memoir about his life, One Moment At a Time, A Love Story, published in 2002. In 2003, Squires was inducted into the American Platform Tennis Association’s Hall of Fame.

Donations in his name may be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 471 Mansfield, Ave., Darien, Conn. 06820.

Peoplewatch

California Products Distributes Classic Clay Court Surface

California Products Corp. of Andover, Mass., is now the North American distributor for the Classic Clay surface, which the company says is an “alternative to a fast-dry or clay court.” California Products says the surface replicates “the slide characteristics and feel of clay without the daily maintenance, high water requirement and mess.” Classic Clay, says the company, requires no watering and can be used indoors or outside. “The exclusive mineral infill will retain color and shape and will not break down and blow away,” according to a company statement. The surface is manufactured in Australia by Grass Manufacturers. For more information, contact 800-225-1141.

California Products Classic Clay

Volkl Intros New V-Engine Line

Volkl Tour 9 V-Engine Volkl Tour 10 Mid V-Engine

Two new frames from Volkl introduce a unique look to the company’s frames that Volkl says is designed to enhance performance, increase the sweetspot and add stability. The new technology debuts in the Tour 9 V-Engine and the Tour 10 Mid V-Engine.

The new V-Engine racquets utilize a “V”-shaped yoke-bridge. Volkl says the longer main strings and deeper string pocket created by the new design provide more power, control and feel, along with expanding the sweetspot along the main strings and allowing for more torsional stability.

The new Tour 9 V-Engine, designed for 4.5 player and higher, has a double throat bridge for torsional support and power. It’s 11.5 ounces strung and has a 98-square-inch head. Suggested retail is $180. The Tour 10 Mid V-Engine is designed for 5.0 players and higher and features a rounder frame geometry for added frame flex. The Tour 10 is 12.2 ounces strung, with a 93-square-inch head, and retails for $200.

Demos of both frames are available now, with regular supply availability slated for March 1. For more information, contact 800-264-4579 or visit www.voelkl-tennis.com.

Tennis Icon Wilander Joins Volkl Team

The newest member on Volkl’s “Legends Team” is former Swedish pro Mats Wilander. He joins Petr Korda, Pat Cash, Yannick Noah, Charlie Steeb and Boris Becker.

“Mats actually approached us after trying one of Boris’s racquets a few months ago when they were practicing together for an upcoming Seniors Tour event,” says Udo Munster, managing director of Volkl Tennis GmbH. “Mats is very involved with junior development programs in his home country of Sweden as well as his worldwide exposure on the ATP Seniors Tour.”

 

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