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Tennis Channel Buys Scottsdale ATP Tour Stop

The Tennis Channel has bought the ATP tennis tournament based in Scottsdale, Ariz., for an undisclosed amount. The tournament, which this year was held Feb. 21 to 27, was renamed the “Tennis Channel Open.”

The Tennis Channel

TTC purchased the event from Scottsdale Tournament productions, whose managing partner is IMG, the world’s largest sports marketing and management agency. IMG managed and operated this year’s event for the TTC, but starting with the 2006 tournament, the network will assume all managerial and operational responsibilities.

“Owning the tournament will permit the network to continue its aggressive promotion of the sport by presenting it like no other,” says TTC President and Founder Steve Bellamy. The Tennis Channel has had programming rights to the tournament since 2002, and this year telecast more than 40 hours of play, including singles and doubles quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals.

Founded in 1986, the Scottsdale ATP tour stop takes place at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess hotel. The venue has played host to a series of Grand Slam champions and tennis household names during the past 18 years.

PTR Presents Annual Honors at Symposium

Professional Tennis Registry

The Professional Tennis Registry honored several of its members and two tennis facilities during the annual Awards Banquet in February at the Crowne Plaza Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The banquet was part of the annual PTR International Tennis Symposium and $25,000 Championships. Honorees were recognized for service, commitment, and dedication to the PTR, their communities, and the sport.

In addition, the following were honored as PTR state members of the year: Ken DeHart, California; Luis Maria Brest, Florida; Pete Collins, Georgia; Enrique R. Ninete, Hawaii Pacific; Doug Lintala, Illinois; Ajay Pant, Kansas; Alicia von Lossberg, Maryland; Wayne St. Peter, Maine; Henry Hostetler, North Carolina; Larry Dillon, New Jersey; Todd Miller, New York; Joey Eskridge, South Carolina; Curtis Holland, Tennessee; Dan Bonfigli, Vermont; John Raker, Virginia.

Sports InterActive Forms Online Tennis Mall

Sports InterActive LLC, a new venture headed by former Prince executive Herb Sweren, has established an internet “Tennis Shopping Mall” that consumers can access through participating tennis clubs, pro shops and specialty retailers.

“As part of the program, we will develop and implement a website for each club or retailer,” says Sweren. “The sites will be tailored for each client so that members/customers can schedule lessons, reserve court time, find matches, register for tennis camp and, of course, shop at the tennis mall.” Fromuth Tennis will provide inventory for the online tennis mall.

According to Pat Shields, owner of Fromuth, shops must have an existing storefront and a sales volume to justify the costs of going online. “An account needs to be actively marketing their retail business and pushing product sales,” says Shields. “The website gives them a powerful new tool to generate additional sales and profits and grow their business.”

Sweren says he saw the tennis site opportunity after years in the industry working with specialty retailers. “Members and customers want their pro shop or specialty store to be fully stocked with the latest merchandise, but small shop owners can’t assume that inventory risk,” says Sweren. “This takes care of both concerns. It also allows our clients to market through their website and to compete with big merchandisers while offering members a level of personal service the big boys can’t match.”

Launch is expected by April. For more information contact Herb Sweren at 410-484-3322 or hsweren@sports-interactive.net.

USRSA Announces Three New Certification Testers

Glenster Flint
Al Klieber
Geoffrey Jones

The U.S. Racquet Stringers Association has named three new certification testers:

Tail Collection Shines With Swarovski Crystal

Tail Inc. has developed a collection of warm-ups and tops beaded with Swarovski crystals. The company is offering two warm-ups, along with a tank top with “Love 30” in crystals, to celebrate Tail’s 30th anniversary.

“The response to the Swarovski crystal group has been incredible,” says Bill Evans, Tail’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Both golf and tennis shops are interested in offering them to their customers. We are re-introducing the dressy warm-up from the past with up-to-date fashion trends.”

For more information, contact Amy Bentley at 800-678-8245, ext 2309.

Prince Is Official Supplier At SAP; Plans New Ball Launch

Prince Sports was named the official racquet, footwear, apparel, and ball supplier to the SAP Open men’s pro tournament, which took place in Northern California in February.

Prince originally had planned to launch its entry into the premium tennis ball category at the SAP Open, but the company said that due to the development efforts of Prince’s new O3 racquet technology, the ball launch will be slightly delayed. Prince says that O3 technology increases a racquet’s sweetspot by 54 percent, enabling players to hit their best shots more often.

For the SAP Open, Prince collaborated with Wilson Sporting Goods to private-label Wilson’s US Open Extra Duty ball for exclusive use at the California event. Prince says it will launch its new premium Prince Tour ball later in 2005. For more information, visit www.princetennis.com.

SGMA Has New President, Location

Tom Cove is the new president and CEO of SGMA International, which owns The Super Show. Cove replaces retiring president John Riddle. The organization, which also will be moving its headquarters from Florida to Washington, D.C., by June, says Cove is expected to bring about a transformation of the 99-year old SGMA and its role as the voice of the sporting goods industry.

“SGMA is committed to our core missions of helping our member companies improve their business and promoting the interests of the sporting goods industry to the trade, media, government, and consumers,” says Cove. “Whether it be through a trade show, an education seminar, a research product or a lobbying event, SGMA needs to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas, with the goal of improving our members’ ability to succeed.”

SGMA International is the global business trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry.

Ferris State, HEAD Penn Form Partnership

Ferris State University’s Professional Tennis Management program has formed a three-year partnership with HEAD Penn. Head will be the official racquet and Penn the official ball of the PTM program.

Ferris State’s PTM program is the only four-year program that is fully accredited by the USPTA. Graduates earn a bachelor’s degree in business/marketing/professional tennis management and a USPTA professional certification.

USRSA Starts ‘Grommet Network’

The U.S. Racquet Stringers Association has started a “Grommets Networking Program” so that members can find out-of-production grommets for older frames.

U.S. Racquet Stringers Association

The free program is handled via e-mail. Members looking for a set of grommets send an e-mail to grommets@racquettech.com, then that e-mail is forwarded to all members on the “grommets list.” A USRSA member who has that particular grommet contacts the member directly to arrange payment and shipping.

“We will simply be trying to help put members who need grommets together with members who have the grommets,” writes USRSA Executive Director David Bone in an e-mail to the USRSA membership. The USRSA does not get involved in the transactions nor does it receive any portion of the sales.

K-Swiss Fortifies 7.0 Line

K-Swiss Defier RS

K-Swiss introduces the new Defier RS and the Mid version of the Ultrascendor in its 7.0 System footwear line.

The company says the Defier RS is engineered to stand up to intense play, with a TecTuff high-abrasion toe wrap to create a barrier between the court and the foot, and abrasion-resistant DragGuard in the toe and heel of the Aosta 7.0 rubber outsole.

The Ultrascendor Mid features Secure-Fit Lacing System to provide ankle support, says K-Swiss. The padded Achilles Support with Heel-Grip Lining grips the sock to minimize heel slippage. For more information visit k-swiss.com.

PTR $25K Championship Winners

Mirko Jovanovic of Hilton Head Island, S.C. won the men’s open singles title at the 2005 PTR $25,000 Championships in February during the PTR International Tennis Symposium. He beat Carlos Bracho, also of Hilton Head, 6-2, 6-1.

The women’s open singles event was won by Jolene Watanabe of Bluffton, S.C., who beat Christine Damas of Hilton Head, 6-0, 6-1. In men’s doubles play, Jovanovic and Bracho teamed to take the open crown.

The 2005 PTR event featured play in 23 different divisions.

USTA Pro Circuit Hits 91 Locations

The 2005 USTA Pro Circuit will include 91 events and nearly $3 million in prize money comprising the world’s largest developmental tennis tour. The USTA Pro Circuit brings world-class professional tennis to 26 different states in communities ranging in size from Troy, Ala., to The Bronx, N.Y. Sixteen tournaments will be held in the Top 10 markets across the country.

This is the fifth straight year that the USTA Pro Circuit calendar will feature more than 90 tournaments. The USTA increased the number of men’s Challengers and upgraded the prize money of three women’s events in order to provide young American players ranked in the No. 75 to 200 range the opportunity to earn more ATP and WTA Tour Ranking points.

“One of our goals this year, along with that of our High Performance group, is to increase the opportunities for players at the Challenger level to earn more ranking points,” said Brian Earley, Director, USTA Pro Circuit. “The USTA Pro Circuit also remains one of our most effective means of creating excitement for the sport. The local tennis communities rally around these events and they are a great vehicle for generating new fans and recreational players.” Wheelchair Tennis Documentary to Debut in April Champions on Wheels,” the first documentary on wheelchair tennis, will debut in April at the Palm Beach International Film Festival. The film, from director/producer/journalist Grace Shafir, tells the stories of world-class wheelchair tennis athletes and their determination, athleticism, zest for life, and desire to be seen for their abilities, not disabilities.

Shafir shot more than 130 hours of video, following such athletes as Sharon Clark, Beth Arnoult, Larry Quintero, Nick Taylor, and Steve Welch. The story opens at the Paralympic Games in Sydney and ends four years later at the Paralympic Games in Athens.

Footage also includes interviews and comments by such stars as Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Serena and Venus Williams, Jennifer Capriati, Chanda Rubin, and Bob and Mike Bryan. The film is narrated by actor Daryl Mitchell of TV’s “Veronica’s Closet” and “Ed.”

The documentary was made for PBS. For screenings in your area, visit wheelchairchampions.com.

Short Sets

Gullikson Foundation Unveils New Logo

Gullikson Foundation

The Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation to help brain tumor patients and their families deal with the social, emotional, and physical challenges of the disease has unveiled its 10-year anniversary “Tenacious Teamwork” logo. The organization was founded by former tennis pros Tim and Tom Gullikson and their families after Tim was diagnosed with brain tumors.

New Tennis Collectibles on Sale

Ace Authentic, a new sports marketing company in Tampa, Fla., is producing tennis trading cards, player posters, and signed framed photos, as well as selling game-worn apparel and merchandise.

The 2005 Ace Trading Card Debut Edition Set hit the market at the end of last year with 99 cards, including the first officially licensed rookie cards of Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Tim Henman, David Nalbandian, Nadia Petrova, Dinara Safina, Tatiana Golovin and Marat Safin. The set also included cards for Andy Roddick, Andre Agassi, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Paradorn Srichaphan and Anna Kournikova.

“There is currently a great demand for tennis trading cards as well as tennis memorabilia,” says Ace President Todd Goldman, who also is the publisher of Tennis Life Magazine. “With the increased interest in tennis and its personalities, these products will quickly find a niche.”

To order, call 800-600-4364.

Corrections

The suggested retail price for PowerAngle racquets is $179, and the website for more information is PowerAngle.net. Each was listed incorrectly on RSI’s Racquet Selection Map in the March issue. The toll-free number for PowerAngle is 877-769-3721.

Peoplewatch

Vantage Sport Offers Custom-Built Racquets

Vantage Sport International of England has launched a custom-build racquet brand. According to the company, players can order racquets built to their specifications at prices competitive with mass-market brands.

“Previously, if you wanted to have a racquet made to your requirements, you either had to be a highly ranked professional tennis player, or pay over $400 to a specialized racquet technician,” says Paul Angell, founder and CEO of Vantage Sports.

Through its website, vantagetennis.com, Vantage allows players to select options to define a racquet that best suits their playing style and physical ability. The options include technical specifications such as head size, string pattern, stiffness, racquet length, and weight/balance. Vantage also offers a selection of handle shapes, grip types, grip sizes and two cosmetic options. Once they are personally configured, the frames can be ordered directly from Vantage online.

In addition to custom racquets, Vantage also offers a range of “prebuilt” frames and a line of accessories including bags, strings, and grips. Purchasers also get their own code that can earn credits and discounts. For more information, or to find out how to add Vantage to your existing racquet shop offerings, visit the website or e-mail listings@vantagetennis.com.

PTR Names Anderson Master Professional

Kirk Anderson of New Fairfield, Conn., was named a PTR Master Professional at the annual awards banquet at the PTR International Tennis Symposium in February. Anderson joins an elite group of 21 others in the 11,000-member PTR to earn that designation. Also, Anderson, is one of only five in the world to hold Master Pro certifications from both the PTR and the USPTA.

Anderson is the department director for recreational coaches and programs at the USTA, which provides services and resources to coaches and tennis leaders throughout the U.S. who are involved with recruiting new players and retaining them in local programs.

Wilson Adds Five to Speaker’s Bureau

Patrick McEnroe, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Luke Jensen, and Murphy Jensen have joined the Wilson Speaker’s Bureau program, sharing their passion for the sport with the tennis community. The former touring pros currently use Wilson’s nCode racquet technology and are also part of Wilson’s Advisory Staff.

“The Wilson Speaker’s Bureau is focused on educating the community about the excitement, competitiveness, and history of tennis,” says Jon Muir, U.S. director of sales and marketing for Wilson Racquet Sports. “We are honored to have such a distinguished group of ambassadors helping to share this important message and shape future generations of leaders, players, and fans.”

Other members of the Speaker’s Bureau include Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Vic Braden, Peter Burwash, and Wayne Bryan.

In•Tenn Releases 2nd DVD Issue

In Tenn

In•Tenn, the DVD tennis magazine, recently released its second issue. This new edition contains more than two hours of tennis action, with 65 percent of the video devoted to improving the viewer’s tennis play.

The issue features Jim and Linda McIngvale and their tennis program for the Houston Independent School District, a feature on Andy Roddick’s Foundation, and a segment on two young players and their tennis development.

The DVD also features Computerized Tennis Lessons, Drills, Tips, Conditioning, guidance on when to restring your racquet, and what kinds of strings to use to improve your play. Former Davis Cup doctor George Fareed reports on preventing injuries, and sports psychologist Allen Fox reports on how to prepare for a match.

For more information about In-Tenn, visit intennn.com.

Letters

Bring Tennis to the PGA Show?

To The Editor:

I’m writing to you with the hope that you will disseminate the proposition outlined below. What prompts me to do this is the current sad state of affairs of the tennis industry.

I walked the 2005 Super Show in Orlando in January, and for the first time since the Super Show’s Atlanta inception in 1985, my company was not an exhibitor. There were only seven small companies representing tennis at this year’s Super Show.

The PGA has a golf show in Orlando, and this show likewise is not doing well. Quite a few facilities across the U.S. are golf and tennis. Wouldn’t it make sense to collaborate with the PGA and become part of their show? Maybe the USTA and the TIA can be the combined tennis body to represent tennis manufacturers at the PGA show.

This can be a win-win for all. They have an experienced show management group, a good Orlando location, and would probably welcome the infusion into their lackluster show attendance.

Gene Niksich
President, Unique Sports Products

We welcome your letters and comments. Please e-mail them to rsi@usrsa.com or fax them to 760-536-1171.

BYU-Hawaii Breaks Its Record

The top-ranked Brigham Young University–Hawaii women’s tennis team broke its own NCAA record in February by winning its 104th consecutive dual match, defeating University of Hawaii–Hilo, 8-1. The Seasiders, who began NCAA Division II play in the fall of 1998 and won their first 103 matches, now have a 207-1 record.

Prince Debuts New T10 Shoe

Prince T10

Prince says its newest tennis shoe, the T10, is as aggressive in appearance as it is in performance. The light gray performance shoe is part of Prince’s Agility Series, which the company says is designed to provide a tailored, comfortable fit by hugging the foot from heel to toe and supplying support and stability.

“The T10 provides unsurpassed support and comfort for serious players who are looking for fast-moving responsive foot-wear on a number of different playing surfaces,” says James Lin, Prince’s product development manager. “This shoe gives them better stability and gripping traction for quick starts and stops.”

The T10 shoe will be featured on Competitive Edge, a series running on ESPN2, Fox Sports Net, and The Tennis Channel. In addition, in-store POP and regional advertising will be a part of the launch campaign. For more information, visit princetennis.com.

Atlanta CTA Honored by USTA

The Atlanta Community Tennis Association (ACTA) has been selected as the 2004 National Community Tennis Association of the Year. ACTA was honored before more than 600 community tennis leaders at the annual USTA Community Tennis Development Workshop held at Sandestin Resort in Destin, Fla., Feb. 4 to 7.

ACTA was founded in 1980 as a non-profit, volunteer-run tennis league. Today it operates under the leadership of a board of directors, an executive committee, Executive Director Matt Olson, and a full-time staff of five people who facilitate a diverse breadth of tennis programs and services that extend to over 35,000 adult members and 45,000 participants.

“Through its exceptional tennis programs, dedicated corps of volunteers, strategic community partnerships, effective planning, and pervasive marketing and public relations, the Atlanta Community Tennis Association has become a thriving organization,” says Lee Hamilton, the USTA’s executive director.

 

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