Tennis Industry magazine

 

Industry News

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Tennis Participation Increases by 1.1 Million

The latest findings of the annual Tennis Participation Study show that 24.7 million Americans are playing tennis, the most since 1992 and an increase of 1.1 million players, or 4.1 percent, versus 2004. And possibly more important for tennis retailers and facilities, the study found that the number of frequent players is up 8.8 percent from a year ago, to 5.2 million.

high five

The boost in tennis participation is the latest in a string of good news for the sport that includes increases in racquet and ball sales and increases in viewership of tennis on TV.

Industry watchers were quick to praise the efforts of many groups involved in tennis for coming together to help boost participation in the U.S. “The collaborative efforts across the entire industry are growing the game and positioning tennis for further growth,” says Kurt Kamperman, the USTA’s chief executive of Community Tennis.

“With all of the tennis constituents—including manufacturers, retailers, teaching professionals, the TIA, and the USTA—focused on a single goal, the sport is growing,” adds Jim Baugh, president of the Tennis Industry Association.

This is the fourth year of the massive Tennis Participation Study, sponsored by both the TIA and the USTA. More than 25,500 American households were contacted for the study, which is designed to quantify tennis participation throughout the U.S. and to identify opportunities to increase participation. The study, conducted by two independent firms, The Taylor Research & Consulting Group and Sports Marketing Surveys, is the largest participation survey in sports.

For retailers and facility managers, the increase in frequent players is particularly good news, since frequent players—defined as those who play 21 or more times a year—are often described as the “heart of the tennis market.” These are the players, says Baugh, who spend the most on equipment, stringing, court time, lessons, etc.

Going hand-in-hand with the rise in frequent players is an increase in the frequency of play, called “total play occasions,” which is driven by the most avid tenins players. Total play occasions rose 14 percent in 2005 and was up 23 percent over the past two years.

And in other good news for the industry, player retention has improved over the last two years, with 80 percent of players continuing with the sport in 2005 versus 74 percent in 2004.

“We are seeing healthy indicators across the board in the sport as more people play tennis, more racquets are purchased, and more interest develops in the game,” says Baugh.

Many credit heavy investment by the USTA in both initiatives to grow the game and in exposure for the sport as keys to the increase in participation. The USTA has funded, and continues to fund, initiatives such as Tennis in the Parks, Tennis Welcome Centers, USTA League Tennis, and school and college tennis, along with major advertising campaigns for recreational and professional tennis, such as the US Open and US Open Series.

Key Findings of the 2005 Study

Racquets Sales Are Up

Wilson W6 Racquet Named ‘Editor’s Choice’ by Tennis

Wilson W6

Wilson’s new W6 racquet, designed specifically for women, was named an “Editor’s Choice” in the November/December 2005 issue of Tennis magazine. The W6 is part of the new W line and uses Wilson’s nCode technonogy.

Wilson says the nine racquets in its W line are engineered to enhance a woman’s game with a unique construction for increased power, strength, and control and added comfort features. W racquets have an oval head shape with longer main strings for a larger sweetspot and a new throat design offering greater strength and stability, the company says. The racquets also feature distinctive cosmetics.

The nCode technology uses nano-sized silicon dioxide crystals to permeate the voids between carbon fibers in the frame, resulting in added stability, strength, and power, says Wilson. For every purchase from the W line, Wilson makes a donation to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Dunlop Has New Management

Dunlop Sport

Dunlop Sports has combined the ownership of the Dunlop brand and the management of the Dunlop business. The new arrangement, under London-based Sports World Group Ltd., consolidates former licensing agreements into the new Dunlop structure.

Dunlop, now operating as a fully integrated business, will centralize its U.S. and Canadian racquet sports and golf units under new management in Greenville, S.C. The new structure will distribute product from its new Greenville and Ontario, Canada, warehouses.

Dunlop Sports in North America will be known as Dunlop Sports Group, Americas (DSGA) and will be led by Vice President and General Manager Robert Sameski and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Ken Daiss. Rounding out Dunlop’s leadership team are Steven Zalinski, Dunlop’s director of sales–racquet sports; Chuck Peebles, director of sales–Canada; Stephen Hall, director of marketing–racquet sports; and Paul Balfour, director of sales–national accounts and special markets.

New contact information for Dunlop Sports Group, Americas is: 116 South Pleasantburg Drive, Greenville, SC 29607; phone 800-768-4727, fax 800-766-8379.

TTC Open Moves to Las Vegas

The Tennis Channel

The 2006 Tennis Channel Open, a men’s ATP pro event that starts the week of Feb. 27, will move to Las Vegas. The tournament, founded in 1986, had been held in Scottsdale, Ariz. The move to Las Vegas marks the return of top-level pro tennis to the region after a two-decade absence. Andy Roddick has commtted to play the event.

The Tennis Channel Open will take place at the new Darling Memorial Tennis Center, which features a 40-acre complex with 23 courts, among them a 2,400-seat stadium court that will expand via bleachers to a 3,000-3,500 capacity during the event. The grounds also include space for two additional, smaller stadium courts, which are currently being planned.

“The vision is to create a sort of ‘tennispalooza,’ an annual tennis destination with tournament action and other tennis-related entertainment activities, and televise the heck out of it,” says TTC Founder and President Steve Bellamy. “Las Vegas is providing resources and efforts toward this end, and after an exhaustive selection process we’ve decided that the city presents the best opportunity to build something spectacular that people are going to travel to experience each year.”

The Tennis Channel, which purchased the tournament from IMG in February, says it plans to expand the event into a multifaceted gathering unique to the tennis and sports-venue calendars. Plans currently entail an annual, 10-day event with men’s, women’s, and juniors tournaments, surrounded by ancillary events that center on tennis and the lifestyle of its enthusiasts. This in turn would be supported by a number of entertainment offshoots, including other sports events, the TTC said in a statement.

PTR Members to Receive e-mail Publications Free

Bob Larson's Tennis News

Starting Jan. 1, full PTR members will receive Bob Larson’s Daily Tennis and Tennis Celebs for free. Regular subscriptions to the two publications would normally total $144.

Daily Tennis, covering tennis news with sections such as Tennis Business News, Pro Tour News, College News, and Classified Ads, is delivered every business day via e-mail. Tennis Celebs is a weekly e-publication that reports on all the big names in the game, including an Appearing Soon section that lets readers know where their favorite players can be spotted in exhibitions, clinics, or pro-ams.

“With Daily Tennis and Tennis Celebs, PTR members will have the most current information available in the industry,” says PTR CEO Dan Santorum. “I believe that these will help PTR members be better tennis teachers.”

For more information on the publications, visit Daily Tennis on the web.

Prince Introduces T9 Roadster Tennis Shoe

Prince T9 Roadster tennis shoe

The new Prince T9 Roadster tennis shoe features advanced moisture-wicking and quick-drying technologies to help keep players’ feet dry, says Prince Sports.

“The T9 combines an aggressive new look with advanced wick-away technology for a lightweight performance shoe that makes the player look as cool as their feet feel,” says James Lin, product manager at Prince. “The Roadster is available in adult and junior sizes for the player that appreciates a lightweight performance shoe that does not require a break-in period.”

The T9 Roadster is part of Prince’s T-Series designed with a combination of breathable synthetics and AIRmesh, featuring forefoot lock-down overlays to ensure stable footing, says the company. The T9 was constructed for players seeking speed and agility on the court, with the added benefit of a moisture-wicking, moisture-management system for comfort.

The shoe is available in men’s, women’s, and junior sizes and comes in two color-ways for each gender. The adult shoes feature the PRC 1000 outsole compound that provides a six-month outsole wear guarantee. Visit Prince Sports on the web for more information.

PTR Launches PTR on Campus

PTR / Professional Tennis Registry

The PTR has launched a new program to encourage college students to consider a career in tennis teaching and coaching. PTR on Campus makes PTR certification and membership available and affordable to full-time college students who are playing for their school, are competing in USA Team Tennis on Campus, are majoring in recreation, or who were high school tennis players with 4.0 NTRP.

A PTR on Campus Workshop was tested last year with the University of Washington women’s tennis team’s players, coaches, and former players and is now rolling out nationwide. PTR on Campus will run from September through June and be held at various universities around the country, including, Alcorn State, Brigham Young, Colorado, Furman, Harvard, Ouachita Baptist, South Alabama, and South Carolina State. More colleges and universities are being considered and added to the program every week.

“There is a big void in the number of younger people teaching tennis today,” says Dan Santorum, PTR’s CEO. “PTR on Campus addresses this issue and will help ensure a younger generation of tennis teaching professionals will continue to grow the game.”

In an effort to grow the game, college students are offered the opportunity to learn to teach tennis, obtain liability insurance, and maintain PTR membership at prices most students can afford. In exchange, students are asked to give back to their communities by providing 10 hours of free tennis lessons.

Through the education provided by the PTR on Campus program, students who teach tennis can help pay their tuition, supplement their income, or save for the future. In addition, they will be prepared for a full or part-time career in tennis if they choose.

For further information regarding specific places and dates, college student discounts, or to host a PTR on Campus Workshop, contact PTR Director of Development Geoff Norton at 800-421-6289 or 843-785-7244 or e-mail geoff@ptrtennis.org.

Sports InterActive Gives Retailers Web Store

Herb Sweren

Sports InterActive is helping dealers create “an effective website strategy, which will dramatically increase their business,” says founder Herb Sweren, a former Prince executive.

Sports InterActive is a web development and e-marketing company that, among other things, provides tennis clubs, pro shops, and specialty retailers with online sales capabilities through an “Online Tennis Mall.” Only dealers with a retail storefront qualify for the Online Mall component, and dealers receive a 20 percent net margin for every sale on the online mall. Order fulfillment is provided by Fromuth Tennis.

“Most people agree that online sales have become more of a traditional retail outlet, so retailers have to find a way to compete with that,” says Sweren. “With Sports InterActive, anyone with a serious tennis business now has everything needed to truly harness the commercial power of the internet.”

Sports InterActive sites are powered by the TIA’s TennisConnect.org software. A subscription to the Sports InterActive Premium SI Package for $89 a month or the Specialty Dealer package for $79 a month will also include TennisConnect.org, which allows facilities to create and manage their own websites, stay in touch with their members, schedule court time, match players online, and more.

Dealers purchasing a Sports InterActive website become members of the TIA and gain access to other benefits offered to TIA members. For more information on Sports InterActive, contact Sweren at 410-358-1304 or e-mail hsweren@sports-interactive.net, or visit Sports InterActive on the web.

HEAD Offers New Flexpoint Team Series

Head Flexpoint Team

HEAD’s new Flexpoint Team Series of frames are designed for players who demand a lot from their racquet, says the company. Designed for both medium and long swing styles, the Team Series offers slightly lighter weights, larger sweetspots, and a little extra power, says Head.

The Flexpoint Instinct Team has a more open string pattern for added spin. It weighs 9.3 ounces and has a 105-sq.-in. head size and an even balance. Suggested retail price is $170.

The Flexpoint Radical Team has a 102-sq.-in. head, weighs 9.9 ounces, and is slightly head light. It also has a more open string pattern. Suggested retail is $190.

Flexpoint technology, says HEAD, offers players of all levels control with no loss of power. Two small holes at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions are cradled within dimples to create a “flexpoint” when the ball makes contact with the strings, which cups the ball to make sure it leaves the strings at the angle intended, with no loss of power, says the company. Flexpoint frames also feature Liquidmetal technology.

For more information, visit HEAD on the web.

Considine Named New Wilson President

Chris Considine

Chris Considine is the new president of Wilson Sporting Goods, including the global Racquet Sports, Golf, and Team Divisions, parent company Amer Sports Corp. announced in November.

Amer Sports says it expects the appointment will consolidate the overall direction of the brand and “provide greater efficiencies to the business units,” enabling Wilson “to communicate a more consistent brand message to the consumer and trade channels.”

Considine has been with Wilson for over 24 years. He has led the Team Sports Division since 1994.

Ashaway Introduces New Technology For Badminton

Ashaway’s newest badminton strings feature a new “Power Filament Technology” design that the company says increases durability and reduces string movement.

Ashaway badminton strings

“This is a significant advance in string technology for badminton that will allow players to push their game to the limit,” says Ashaway Vice President of Marketing Steve Crandall of the new string technology. “What we’ve done with PFT is create an entirely new surface element in the jacket of the string by incorporating a proprietary power filament. This increases shuttle control and playability, and optimizes power.”

Ashaway is developing two new series of PFT strings which the company says will be announced in coming months. For more information, visit Ashaway on the web.

Mike Wilson to Lead Völkl Tennis

Mike Wilson is the new vice president of sales for Völkl Tennis, replacing Chris Pearson, who has left the company. Wilson has been the New England regional territory manager for Völkl Tennis for the past five years.

For more than 20 years, he was New England territory manager for such brands as Prince, Donnay, Pro Kennex, and Reebok. His new duties will include directing the sales force, product development, and inventory control. He also will work closely with Völkl Tennis’ Director of Promotions and Marketing Sarah Maynard.

“I look forward to working with our loyal customer base and appreciate their support,” says Wilson. “With the introduction of our new DNX technology in the DNX V1 Mid-plus and Oversize [in late summer 2005] and the launch of the Boris Becker by Völkl BB10 [introduced in the fall], Völkl Tennis continues to develop and produce the finest, high-quality German-engineered racquets in the marketplace today.”

Wilson can be reached at 800-264-4579, x7277, or at mwilson@voelkl-tennis.com.

Wilson is Official Stringer for US Open

Wilson

Wilson Racquet Sports will be the Official Stringer at the US Open beginning in 2006. Wilson will be the on-site stringer for all Open players, which equates to about 3,000 racquets strung during the week-long qualifying tournament and the two-week Open.

Wilson says the multi-year US Open deal represents a new strategic direction for the company to increase its stringing presence worldwide. The company says it will announce stringing agreements with other events at a later date.

“We identified key tournaments around the world to develop a mutual partnership to help grow our stringing business and add value to their event, and the US Open is an ideal fit for Wilson,” says Brian Dillman, vice president of Wilson Racquet Sports.

“Wilson is a valued partner of the US Open and has provided the Official Ball for more than two decades,” says Jim Curley, USTA managing director of tournament operations and US Open tournament director. “We expect Wilson to elevate the quality of service provided to the more than 800 athletes who compete in all aspects of the US Open.”

Andy Roddick Calendar Hits Shelves

For die-hard Andy Roddick fans, the new 2006 Andy Roddick Calendar is available, featuring the tennis star in full-color, glossy photos on courts throughout the world. The calendar, which retails for $13.99, will be distributed worldwide through major bookstores, office supply stores, and calendar and gift stores, as well as online at J. F. Turner and Andy Roddick on the web.

USPTA Installs New National Board of Directors

Ron Woods

Ron Woods, the former executive director of the USPTA Texas Division, is the new president of the USPTA’s national board of directors. Woods, along with other national board members, were installed during the 78th USPTA World Conference on Tennis, held in September in Marco Island, Fla.

The new board will serve until September 2007. In addition to Woods, the board is comprised of: First Vice President—Harry Gilbert; Vice Presidents—Tom Daglis, Randy Mattingley, Paula Scheb, and Mark Fairchilds; Secretary-Treasurer—Tom McGraw; Past President—David T. Porter.

The board manages the USPTA’s affairs between meetings of the larger USPTA executive committee, which includes the board, three past national presidents and elected leaders from each of USPTA’s 17 domestic divisions. Board members are nominated by a committee comprised of executive committee members, and may be individually opposed in a general membership election.

Peoplewatch

Classic Turf Offers ‘4 Days to Playability’

Classic Turf Co.’s recent court installation in Atlanta demonstrates what company Founder and President Tumer H. Eren says is his product’s “four days to playability.”

“The prefabricated Classic Turf surface can be put down in four days,” says Eren. “Weather permitting, if you start an installation on Monday, you’ll be applying the lines on Thursday afternoon, and the court will be ready for play on Friday morning.”

Classic Turf recently was used for the rooftop court at the Waverly luxury condominiums in Miami. For the Atlanta installation in September, Eren says that once the cracks in the original court were filled and the uneven spots were leveled, the cushioned Classic Turf rubber mat was glued to the base on Monday. Joints were scraped and leveled on Tuesday, and the first coat of acrylic was put down. Color coating was applied on Wednesday and Thursday, along with the playing lines.

“The Classic Turf technology allows the contractor to install the 3/8-inch prefabricated Classic Turf System over the new or prepared surface in four days, making the tennis court playable,” says Eren. “This technology saves a lot of time for the contractor and the owner.” Those interested in seeing a step-by-step installation should visit Classic Turf on the web.

The patented rubber cushion surface, which reduces joint stress for players, is waterproof and breathable, Eren says, and speed of play can easily be adjusted and customized to suit the customer. “We’ve installed more than 3.5 million square feet of Classic Turf worldwide,” says Eren. “And we guarantee that the surface won’t crack.”

For more information, contact Classic Turf at 800-246-7951 or sales@classicturf.org.

LaserFibre Offers New Line of Grips and Overgrips

Laserfibre grip

LaserFibre reports fast growth in sales of its new TourFit TwinTone grips. Tim Sullivan of LaserFibre says the TwinTone has been “outselling conventional grips at the rate of 4 to 1,” with customers even removing stock grips from newly purchased frames to install a matching TwinTone grip.

TwinTone is available in 16 color combinations, to match and accent the racquet cosmetics. Not only can teams and leagues match colors, the grip itself features a patented stitched, hidden hem that combines two grips, providing added strength and a new comfortable feel and texture than a conventional grip, says the company.

Also new in LaserFibre’s line of grips is the Pro Stock Series, a premium performance grip designed to provide comfort, moisture absorption, and extra shock absorption. And the TourFit Series of replacement grips and overgrips is designed to enhance feel for the contours of the racquet handle.

Both the TourFit and Pro Stock series feature LaserFibre’s Advanced HydroTac Technology, which the company says creates millions of micro pores in the polyurethane grip surface and utilizes moisture to increase the tackiness of the grip. “The more a person perspires, the more the grip grips back,” says the company, adding that the design also allows for quick evaporation of excess perspiration.

Suggested retail prices for Pro Stock grips is $8.99; for TourFit TwinTone grips, $9.99; for TourFit grips, $7.99; and for TourFit overgrips, $5.99. For more information call 888-895-2350 or visit Laserfibre on the web.

Wilson to Distribute Luxilon Strings

Wilson to distribute Luxilon strings

Starting in 2006, Wilson Racquet Sports will be the exclusive worldwide distributor of Luxilon products. Belgium-based Luxilon makes monofilament strings and other products. More than 800 tour pros use Luxilon, and it is the official string of the ATP and WTA tours. Luxilon also is the official stringer at several international events.

“Our partnership with Luxilon gives Wilson the opportunity to leverage the strength of both brands at retail,” says Brian Dillman, vice president of Wilson Racquet Sports. “Our extensive global distribution network through the Wilson and Amer Sports subsidiaries and distributors will play a major role in both companies’ future success.”

Luxilon products include strings for tennis, badminton, and squash. The company is the official stringer at the Nasdaq-100, China Open, Tennis Masters Cup, ATP Junior Gold, and Luxilon Junior Cup.

In a statement, Wilson says the Luxilon string designations fit with Wilson’s current strategic initiatives to increase its stringing presence at professional and amateur tennis tournaments worldwide. In November, Wilson announced it will be the official stringer at the US Open beginning in 2006.

The Luxilon portfolio includes high-tech string product lines such as Big Banger, which is used by more than 60 percent of the ATP Top 100 players and about 30 percent of the WTA Top 100 players. Luxilon will continue to manage the string business in brand strategy, promotions, and product development under the direction of Bob Daelmans.

For more information, visit Wilson on the web.

Tennis Service Reps Spread Across the U.S.

The new Tennis Service Representative program got off to a fast start in the fall. As of mid-November, nearly 50 TSRs had been hired by the USTA sections.

The Tennis Service Reps are under the direction of Mark McMahon, the USTA’s new national manager for TSRs, and will be a “national sales force for tennis.” The idea is for the TSRs to be well-versed in programs and resources available, so they can then assist local providers in growing the game at the grassroots level and increase tennis participation.

To reach a TSR in your area, contact your USTA section. The new TSRs, listed by section, are:

Caribbean: Carlos Torres, Cristina Cruz

Eastern: Wayne Martin

Florida: Trina Singian, Matt Graham, Rene Grifol, Kelly Tucker, Dede Allen, Jeff Davis, Shelly Licorish-Bynum, Janet Sprague, Susie Bessire, Cheryl Rivera, Cathy Nordlund

Hawaii-Pacific: Madeleine Dreith

Intermountain: Susan Burke, David Dunson, Chris Harris

Mid-Atlantic: Michelle Grover, Lynn Gertzog, Susan Cook, Joe Wills, Jamaane Jahi, Jamal Hicks

Middle States: Jeff Barger, Kelle Cunningham, Justin DePietropaolo

Midwest: Steve Kakavetsis, Sue Selke, Eric Nelson, Jim Amick

Missouri Valley: Jane Waterstradt, Jodi Gordon, Connie Robertson, Dan Bratetic, Laura Puryear

New England: Jeff Graham, Nakita Zaharov

Northern: Hayley Shibley

Northern California: TBD

Pacific Northwest: Gail Benzler, Adam Rogers, Al Thomerson

Southern: Kevin Theos, Karen Zuidema, Bill Dopp, Jason Miller, Bill Phillips, Patrick Tibbs, Julie Oshiro-Kenton

Southern California: Alison Roell, Diane Brooks

Southwest: Gary Druckman

Texas: Eric Clay, Amanda Shaw, Cindy Benzon, Laura Gilbert, Sal Castillo, Simon Menchaca

Squash Star Forms Initiative to Grow the Game

Canadian-born squash pro Jonathon Power has formed a new squash marketing and development initiative, SquashPower, to promote growth in youth and adult squash. The newly formed company’s mission is to educate, grow, and empower the squash community through educational programs, competitive growth, and player empowerment.

SquashPower

According to the World Squash Federation, the game is played in more than 140 countries by more than 20 million players. In the U.S., growth at the junior level has jumped 125 percent over the past two years. Forbes Magazine has rated the sport No. 1 for overall health and fitness. In Massachusetts, squash is one of the fastest growing college and high school sports of all time.

Jonathon Power has won 32 Professional Squash Association Tour titles and is ranked as the No. 2 player in the world. He is the most successful squash player in North America.

Osborn Heads Up Sales Division at Prince Sports

Charles Osborne is the new vice president and USA national sales manager for Prince Sports, the company announced in November.

Osborne will be responsible for the national sales organization, excluding key accounts. The regional vice presidents, with responsibility over the sales territories in the West, North Central, and Southeast regions, will report directly to him.

“Prince has had a great year, from a sales and growth standpoint, and Charlie has been an integral part of this since his arrival in May,” says Prince Sports USA President Doug Fonte. “We look forward to his continued success as he leads the company in 2006 and beyond.”

Osborne joined Prince in May as the regional vice president of the North Central region, after nearly 20 years at Wilson Sporting Goods.

Competitors Work Together to Solve Community’s Court Problems

The owners of the 100-condominium Gran Liden Community in Sunapee, N.H., needed help with their two hard courts. They were in bad shape, with cracks that kept coming back. Over the life of the 35-year-old courts, the condo owners and players had resorted to what turned out to be short-term fixes. Now, they wanted a permanent solution.

The community’s tennis players, all over the age of 40, wanted a softer, more forgiving surface than hard courts provided. Plus, they didn’t want to incur the costs and down time that might come from tearing up the old asphalt and preparing the site.

“Clay was their first choice, but community members felt they weren’t ready to invest in the equipment and annual maintenance costs that would be required,” says Rick Burke of NGI Sports. “Also, they felt they would need to add staff to continually work the clay to keep it playable.”

Gran Liden turned to Arch Weathers of New England Rec Surfaces for help. Weathers, who had worked on the community’s surfaces throughout the years, contacted Bill Rompf, the tennis director at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. A year earlier, the Hall of Fame had used a new product, Nova’ProClay, to overlay an old asphalt court and provide a clay surface for players.

Weathers thought Nova’ProClay was just what the Gran Liden players were looking for. Even though the area licensee for the product was a local competitor, John Lineberry of Lineberry Tennis, Weathers called him to discuss the Gran Liden project. Then they both met with the community’s board of directors.

Weathers and Lineberry

“We described the Nova’ProClay concept, which the board seemed to grasp quickly,” says Weathers (above, right, with Lineberry). It was determined that a thin, crushed-stone, pie-shaped overlay would be placed on top of the existing asphalt to decrease the slope and buffer the deteriorated surface. A light sprinkler system would be installed. Then the Nova’ProClay base with 10 tons of Har-Tru finish would be placed over the rock wedge.

“Now, they don’t need a roller, and there is no lengthy down time in wet weather,” says Burke. “The courts are usable virtually year-round, and best of all, they have a real clay court finish to play on.”

For more information, contact NGI Sports at 800-835-0033 or info@novagrass.com, or visit Novagrass Sports Systems on the web.

PTR Symposium Feb. 18-24

PTR / Professional Tennis Registry

The 2006 PTR International Tennis Symposium and $25,000 Championships will be Feb. 18-24 on Hilton Head, S.C. The Symposium schedule includes more than 40 presentations, a trade show, dinners, an awards banquet, and more.

Register by Feb. 10 for $325 for PTR members, $395 for nonmembers. After Feb. 10, it’s $375 and $425. Prices do not include Professional Development Courses or tournaments fees. The deadline for tournament entry is Feb. 3. For more information or to register, call 800-421-6289 or visit ptrtennis.org.

New Flare-It Reshapes Grommets

Flare-It

Flare-It LLC introduces a product for grommet maintenance and repair that is designed to “stop string damage before it happens,” says the company. Flare-It Grommet Wizard, which can be used on all types of racquets, flares and re-shapes grommets to remove pressure points that can damage string. It also will help keep newly installed grommet strips or individual repairs in place. For USRSA members, the introductory price is $19.95 per unit. Contact 502-329-7800 or visit Flare-It on the web.

Völkl Adds Two Frames to BB Line

Volkl Boris Becker frames

Völkl Sport America continues its newest product line of frames designed by former champion Boris Becker with the new BB1 and BB5 racquets, both available Feb. 1. The frames join the previously released BB10.

The BB1, weighing 9.0 ounces unstrung, is the lightest frame in the BB series. It also has the largest head size, at 112 sq. in., and the thickest beam width, at 29 mm., making it the most powerful racquet in the BB range, says Völkl. The company says the racquet is ideal for recreational players 3.0 NTRP and higher. Suggested retail is $160.

The new BB5 combines an oversize (105 sq. in.) with a maneuverable swing weight at a very affordable $130 suggested retail. The frame, which weighs 9.4 ounces, also is for players at the 3.0 or higher level.

For more information, call 603-298-0314, e-mail tennis@voelkl-tennis.com, or visit Volkl on the web.

Short Sets

Bälle de Mätch is Official Apparel of Copper Bowl

Southern California-based Bälle de Mätch is the official apparel of the Copper Bowl junior tournament. The event takes place in Tucson, Ariz., in January and attracts more than 1,000 juniors every year.

“We are proud to be associated with this event, which will give us tremendous visibility with the best kids of all age groups from all over the country,” says Bälle de Mätch co-owner and partner John Embree. The Copper Bowl is a USTA-sanctioned Level III tournament on the National Junior schedule and attracts ranked boys and girls 12’s to 18’s from around the world.

Bälle de Mätch apparel will be worn by the staff of the Copper Bowl and will be sold on-site. It is also the Official Team Uniform of the Texas Tennis Coaches Association, the Official Apparel Supplier for Orange County Tennis Association. For more information on Bälle de Mätch, call 800-356-1021.

Vegas to Host Cardio Tennis Feeding Shootout

USPTA

The USPTA will conduct a new, nationwide competition to find the best tennis ball feeders in the U.S. The competitions, to be held at each USPTA division convention during the coming year, will feature Cardio Tennis Feeding Shootouts among members of the USPTA. The winner from each division will be eligible to compete in the national Shootout at the USPTA World Conference in Las Vegas in September.

The competition will allow teaching pros to demonstrate the accuracy and speed of their feeds for 60 seconds. Pros will be asked to feed tennis balls in a specific pattern to three targets set up at a net. Each pro will feed balls from a teaching cart while standing behind the middle of the baseline, and the objective is to get as many balls as possible into the targets in one minute.

Cardio Tennis

The pro who feeds the most balls into the targets will be declared the Division Shootout Winner and will go on to compete in the National Shootout at the 2006 USPTA World Conference, which is set for Sept. 16 to 23 in Las Vegas. The Division Feeding Shootout winners will receive two cases of Pro Penn tennis balls and round-trip airfare to the World Conference.

USPTA President Ron Woods, is excited about the Feeding Shootout. “We see the Feeding Shootout as a great way to highlight the art of feeding and to continue to elevate USPTA’s focus on the growth of Cardio Tennis,” he says. “Competitors from all USPTA divisions will be competing to be named the best feeder in America.”

 

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