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TIA Adds 3 Retailers to Board of Directors

In a move designed to bring more representation within the industry to tennis retailers, the Tennis Industry Association has added three new members from the retail world to its board of directors.

Named to the TIA board in June are Steve Dunlap, the vice president of golf and racquet sports for The Sports Authority; Chris Gaudreau, owner of the Racquet Koop in New Haven, Conn.; and Dale Queen, owner of Your Serve Tennis, which has six locations in the Atlanta area.

“The TIA must represent our sport, and the retailers from all parts of our industry must be heard,” says TIA President Jim Baugh (right). “We are excited to add retailers to our board.” Previous to the latest additions, the TIA board was made up of court builders, equipment manufacturers, media and representatives from various organizations in tennis, such as the PTR, USPTA, USTA and World TeamTennis.

“I feel it will be good for the industry to get a retailer perspective,” says Queen. “We’ll work with everyone to put our heads together to grow [the game] further. The more players we have out there playing, the better for us, too.”

“I’m looking forward to offering input from a perspective that [the TIA] didn’t have before,” says Gaudreau. “I’m happy to be a part of the organization.”

The next TIA board meeting will be during the U.S. Open in New York City, Sept. 3 from 9 a.m. to noon. Also new to the 26-member TIA board is Kai Nitsche of Dunlop, who replaces Gordon Boggis, who left the company.

Getting retailer representation on the TIA board has been a key for the organization for the last few months. “The main thing is to have a bigger voice for all those involved in the tennis industry,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer.

De Boer says that as the TIA gears up to push the TIA TennisExpo 2005, it was important to make sure tennis retailers were represented. The TennisExpo will be Jan. 17 to 19 in Orlando, Fla., running in conjunction with the 2005 Super Show. The event, designed to serve as a “rallying point” for the industry, will include meetings, forums, seminars, a buying show, entertainment opportunities, tennis industry awards, and more.

The retailer additions to the board also are in line with the TIA recently adding the new “Tennis Retailer” category of membership. For annual dues of $250, Tennis Retailer members of the TIA receive the latest research to help them with their businesses, in addition to taking advantage of other tools to help them best service their customers and members.

“We must help retailers be more successful,” says Baugh. “That is one of the reasons we’re running seminars at the TIA Expo in January to help the retailer. Every part of our sport must grow, and must help us to grow our sport, too.”

The TIA Board of Directors
Steve Bellamy, The Tennis Channel
Dave Bone, USRSA
Max Brownlee, Babolat
Sam Cook, Völkl
Rick Devereux, IHRSA
Brian Dillman, Wilson Sporting Goods
Steve Dunlap, The Sports Authority
Bill Foy, Prince Sports Group
Don Galliers, SealMaster Industries
Chris Gaudreau, Racquet Koop
Dave Haggerty, HEAD Penn Racquet Sports
Tim Heckler, USPTA
Bob Kain, IMG
Kurt Kamperman, USTA
Ilana Kloss, World TeamTennis
Debbie Mitchell, K-Swiss
Kai Nitsche, Dunlop Sports Group Americas
Dale Queen, Your Serve Tennis
Scott Rea, Yonex
J. Wayne Richmond, Sportwall
Dan Santorum, PTR
Bruce Schilling, Nike
Gene Scott, Tennis Week
Victor Taylor, ATP
John Welborn, Lee Tennis Products
Jeff Williams, Tennis Magazine

French to Build New Stadium With Retractable Roof

The French Tennis Federation announced in early June that Roland Garros is set to build a new stadium with a retractable roof. It will be built on one of two sites in the nearby Bois de Boulogne and will seat 16,000 spectators.

Tournament officials said that, despite this year’s tournament being virtually rain-free, they wanted to ensure play at all times on the main court. In 2003, the U.S. Open was plagued by days when no tennis took place due to rain.

“I think it would be a mistake not to cover ourselves, in every meaning of the word,” said French Tennis Federation President Christian Bimes. “I consider it the first priority, the top priority.” Bimes said it was vital to ensure that the tournament runs smoothly every year, regardless of the weather. “It’s been 25 years that we haven’t had a catastrophic day with rain the whole day,” he said. “If it happens once, we will understand how important a stadium with a retractable roof will be.”

The new stadium will be built whether or not Paris wins its bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, a decision to be announced in July 2005, said Bimes. “Even without Paris 2012, we will work on an extension program because President Chirac says he wants the stadium to extend. I believe it’s reasonable. We will do it.”

The Australian Open was the first of the four Grand Slam events to build a retractable roof, first used in January 1988. Earlier this year, Wimbledon announced its intention to build a retractable roof over Centre Court, which is schedule to be completed by 2009.

ATP Masters Cup To Move to China

The men’s season-ending Masters Cup championship will move to Shanghai, China, starting in 2005. Sources say the move could be worth about $20 million to the ATP, which runs the men’s tour. This November, the Masters Cup plays its last of two years in Houston, then decamps to Shanghai for three years. Houston promoter Jim McIngvale won the current two-year run with a $7 million annual sanction fee, and Shanghai will pay at least that much, sources say.

McIngvale had some harsh words for the ATP regarding the move away from his venue. Known as “Mattress Mack” for his Gallery Furniture business, McIngvale spent about $15 million on the Cup last year, including $4 million to build a new tennis stadium at his Westside Tennis Club.

The Houston businessman criticized the senior management at the ATP and said the ATP didn’t help him market the event. “The ATP is a terrible partner, absolutely terrible,” said McIngvale, who did not bid to extend the Cup in Houston.

McIngvale said he hopes to attract a new tennis event to Houston.

Wilson bag deal

Special Bag Deal

A special deal on bags from Wilson’s 2004 U.S. Open collection is being offered for USTA members only. The bags range from a water bottle pack for $24.99 up to a pro bag for $69.99, all with the U.S. Open “flaming ball” logo. In addition, free with every bag purchased is a 10-pack of Wilson’s H2Overgrips and U.S. Open double wristbands, normally a combined $28 value. For more on this exclusive USTA member offer, see the insert in the July/August 2004 issue of USTA Magazine.

Continental Replaces United As U.S. Open Airline Sponsor

Continental Airlines is the new sponsor of the U.S. Open, replacing the financially troubled United Air Lines, which left its contract with two years to go.

Sources say Continental’s three-year deal, which does not include the new U.S. Open Series of summer pro tournaments, is in the low seven figures. The Houston-based airline is adding to its sponsorship of New York-area teams and events, which include the Yankees, Rangers, Knicks, Nets, Devils, and the New York City Marathon.

Continental will integrate the Open into its frequent-flier program by offering tickets and unique experience in exchange for miles. On site at Flushing Meadows, the sponsorship will be leveraged with a pro-am prior to the headline event, which will feature New York celebrities and Continental customers.

During the Open, the airline will sponsor a “serve analysis station,” which will allow tennis-playing patrons to have their serves graded — although they’ll have to go to Continental’s website to complete the lesson.

United, an Open sponsor since 1998, has been reorganizing under Chapter 11 since late 2002 and has been forced to drop many of its sponsorships.

Hall of Fame Acquires Ritzenberg Collection

The International Tennis Hall of Fame announced in June that it had acquired the tennis-themed collection of Albert and Madeleine Ritzenberg, which it calls “one of the most significant privately held collections of tennis-themed objects.”

The collection ranges from the 15th century through the 1930s and represents the passion of well-known Washington, D.C., tennis pro “Allie” Ritzenberg and his wife. In half a century of travels around the world, the Ritzenbergs acquired more than 2,000 objects related to tennis.

“The Ritzenberg Collection is something of a museum of tennis in itself,” says International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum Committee Chair Jefferson T. Barnes. “It combines elements of art, history, decorative arts, and, of course, tennis.”

“Putting this collection together was a creative act,” says Allie Ritzenberg. “We are delighted that the International Tennis Hall of Fame has recognized that the collection was not just an assemblage of individual pieces, but a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

The items include two antique stained glass windows; a decorated case clock; paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and other works on paper; sculptures, China, porcelains, and other ceramics; books, magazines, and other serial publications, many quite rare; linens and other textiles; racquets and other tennis-related equipment; furniture; decorative arts pieces; jewelry; trophies and other silver pieces.

Select items of the Ritzenberg Collection will soon be on view in the International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum in Newport, R.I.

Jason Jamison

Jamison Named to New USTA Post

The USTA has named Jason Jamison to the newly created position of product manager for schools. He will report to Kirk Anderson, USTA director of community play.

In the new position, Jamison will create and administer the USA School Tennis program with the goal of introducing more young people to the sport through school physical education programs, USA Tennis 1-2-3 and USA Team Tennis. He will also oversee related USTA educational programs and manage on-court training programs including Development Coach Workshops and Teacher Training in-service.

Previously, Jamison was the senior community coordinator and manager of development coaching for the USTA Southwest Section and a USA Tennis national trainer of development coaches. He was named USPTA Southwest Professional of the Year in 1998 as well as Arizona PTR State Member of the Year in 2002.

Council on Active Aging Is USTA ‘Educational Partner’

The International Council on Active Aging has signed a new agreement to become an exercise and aging educational partner of the USTA, it was announced in June. The new partnership will work toward better understanding and being a resource for the rapidly expanding 50-plus demographic, which represents nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population.

One of the main elements of the agreement is the joint execution of Welcome Back to Tennis, a national promotion that provides free parties geared toward reintroducing the sport to the 50-plus population in a fun and friendly setting and connecting them to a series of four-week tennis programs to promote healthy lifestyles. The USTA and ICAA plan to host three-hour tennis events in more than 20 cities across the country in 2004.

“Partnering with the ICAA to welcome new and returning players reinforces our mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis,” says Kurt Kamperman, the USTA’s chief executive of Community Tennis. “This partnership underscores our message that people of all ages and abilities can have fun and stay fit playing tennis.”

“We are thrilled to offer our members and those over 50 the opportunity to participate in the lifelong game of tennis,” says Colin Milner, CEO of the ICAA.

There will be a variety of mini sessions offered at the parties on topics such as warm-up and cool-down, racquet and footwear selection, tennis demonstrations, and more. There will also be equipment giveaways, music, food and beverages, and most importantly, the opportunity to sign up for continuing tennis classes. ICAA board member Sandy Coffman, an industry leader in programming and fitness for adults, will help lead activities and share her secrets for having fun, staying healthy and keeping active in tennis.

The ICAA is the world’s largest association dedicated to changing the way Americans age by uniting and working with professionals in the retirement, assisted-living, recreation, fitness, rehabilitation and wellness fields.

New Books Tackle Connors, Gilbert’s Coaching Success

Brad Gilbert book

Among the new tennis publications coming out this summer are books on Jimmy Connors by veteran tennis journalist Joel Drucker and coaching winners by former pro player and longtime coach Brad Gilbert. Jimmy Connors Saved My Life combines a comprehensive biography of the tennis star with a memoir of author Drucker’s life as it intersected with and ultimately clashed with the tennis superstar. Drucker first met Connors in 1982. “Connors took me into his confidence, sucked my blood, and walked away,” says the author, who came to view the brilliantly talented tennis player as a “greedy, narcissistic, paranoid, and sensitive man-child.” $23.95 from SportClassicBooks, Toronto (on sale Sept. 1).

In I’ve Got Your Back, Gilbert reveals his strategy and philosophy for coaching winners: support your players 100 percent. Formerly No. 4 in the world, Gilbert is the coach who brought Andre Agassi back to No. 1 and who is now coaching Andy Roddick. In his book, he tells the intimate details of his life as a touring pro and coach. $23.95 from Portfolio/Penguin, New York (on sale Sept. 2).

Baylor Men, Stanford Women claim NCAA Div. I Team Titles

The Baylor University men and Stanford women won this year’s NCAA Division I team tennis championships. Both teams also finished ranked No. 1 in the 2003-04 Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.

Baylor beat UCLA in the team final in May to win the school’s first-ever national championship in any sport. Stanford won its 13th NCAA women’s title, also defeating UCLA.

In individual play, Baylor junior Benjamin Becker won the NCAA singles title, beating Tulane’s Michael Kogan in two sets. The men’s doubles crown went to Stanford’s KC Corkery and Sam Warburg.

Stanford sophomore Amber Liu became the fourth woman to repeat as NCAA singles champion, beating Fresno State feshman Jelena Pandzic in three sets. UCLA’s Daniela Bercek and Lauren Fisher won the doubles final.

Liu and Baylor’s Benedikt Dorsch were named the 2004 ITA National Players of the Year. They will be honored at the ITA All-Star Outing and Awards Luncheon on Aug. 27 at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y.

The ITA’s National Doubles Teams of the Year are Stanford’s Lauren Barnikow and Erin Burdette for the women and Rice’s Richard and William Barker for the men.

Other men’s Division I national award winners are:

ATP Launches New Ad Campaign: ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’

The supporting music makes you want to move your feet and the concept — showcasing the intensity and athleticism of the players — matches the driving beat.

The new ATP ad campaign “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” was recently tied into Roland Garros, and is now tying into the BNP Paribas Masters event, taking place in Paris from Nov. 1 to 7, with a special ticket price opportunity for those interested in attending.

The effort to call attention to tour standouts is the first advertising campaign since “New Balls Please” was launched in 2000. Colorful player images will feature a “performance and passion” theme.

— Mark Winters

Two Earn USRSA Certification Tester Status

Justin Canup Hill Lee

Justin Canup of Knoxville, Tenn., and Hill Lee of Hong Kong have been named new certification testers for the USRSA.

Canup (near right), who has been in the racquet service business since 1990, is the manager of Racquets and Jackets in Knoxville. He achieved MRT status while working at Nevada Bob’s Golf and Tennis, and he is the only MRT in the eastern Tennessee area. Canup also has strung at pro events, including this year’s Family Circle Cup.

Hill received his MRT certificate in 2002. He’s been a tennis coach for more than 15 years.

PTR Inks Deal With Sportwall

The PTR announced in June that it has signed a three-year agreement with Sportwall International to offer a 20 percent discount to PTR members for Sportwall’s interactive tennis backboards. And Sportwall officials say they are working with PTR teachers and coaches to develop customized programs and activities for Sportwall’s Sports-PC for Tennis.

The Sports-PC for Tennis features lighted targets, a scoreboard, time clock and net line that simulates match play and rewards players with scores for accuracy, speed, control, strategy and technique.

“Not only does Sports-PC develop tennis skills,” says Dennis Van der Meer, PTR founder and president, “it also improves reaction time, visual acuity, and physical fitness. Sports-PC is a tremendous teaching aid.”

Each Sports-PC includes two remote controls, indoor/outdoor speakers, up to 10 pre-programmed games, a 4-foot-high catch net to keep balls in play, a protective cover, two spare targets and a spare motherboard. The Sports-PC for Tennis is available in three sizes: 8 × 8 feet (10 targets), 12 × 8 feet (15 targets), and 16 × 8 feet (20 targets).

In addition to the 20 percent discount on the purchase of a Sportwall product, PTR members are also eligible for a $1,000 rebate with their demo program, or members can lease a Sportwall. For more information, visit sportwall.com, call 800-695-5056 or e-mail Tom West at tomw@sportwall.com.

Wheaties Serves Up Agassi

Andre Agassi Wheaties box

Andre Agassi, holder of eight Grand Slam titles and 58 career singles titles, is now being honored by Wheaties, the “Breakfast of Champions,” with his own cereal box. “I remember reading the stories of people like Bruce Jenner and Mary Lou Retton on the Wheaties box as I was growing up,” says Agassi, who is also known for his charitable work away from the game. “Appearing on my own Wheaties box is something I never dreamed of. It’s a great honor.” Other tennis greats honored on the cereal box, beginning in 1934, are Ellsworth Vines, Don Budge, Jack Kramer, Alice Marble, Chris Evert, Arthur Ashe, Althea Gibson, and Pete Sampras.

Sporting Goods Manufacturers Weather Tough Financial Market

U.S. sporting goods manufacturers maintained a healthy rate of sales growth, while controlling costs and managing assets well. However, a reduction in gross margin attributable to pricing pressure resulted in weaker bottom-line results in 2003 compared to 2002.

That’s the key finding of SGMA International’s 21st Annual Study of Financial Performance (2004 Edition). SGMA’s comprehensive report is based on actual results reported by 61 manufacturers (publicly and privately held) in the athletic footwear, sports apparel and sport equipment segments, having combined sales of $31.1 billion in wholesale value in 2003. Here are some of the results from the report:

The 55-page report is available either as a PDF immediate download or as a Kinko’s Doc Store printed copy. To obtain a report, visit http://www.sgma.com/reports.

Prince Launches ‘Shark Bites Tour’

Prince’s “Shark Bites Tour” will run through September and feature Prince grassroots teams appearing at high traffic junior and pro tournaments to promote the new Shark racquet (see page 32).

“The Shark signifies an important launch in our plans for our performance racquets,” says Bill Foy, president of Prince Sports USA. “With the research, testing and development that’s gone into this performance racquet, we’re supporting its launch with a number of marketing initiatives including a dedicated website [PrinceShark .com], promotional tour, and grassroots street team.” Prince stars Maria Sharapova and Jan-Michael Gambill have been involved in the development of the racquet in preparation for its official launch at the U.S. Open, according to Foy. Each pro will be playing an experimental version of the Shark leading up to the Open.

“The Shark provides a ton of added pop without compromising any control, and I know this racquet is going to add a huge lift to my game,” says Gambill.

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