Tennis Industry magazine

 

Industry News

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Top Stars to Play 2006 Tennis Channel Open in Vegas

The U.S.’s top player, Andy Roddick, joins other top Americans Robby Ginepri, James Blake, and Bob and Mike Bryan in playing The Tennis Channel Open, to be held Feb. 27 to March 5 in Las Vegas, the Tennis Channel announced in December.

Also committed to play the event are Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez, Spain’s Tommy Robredo, Belarus’ Max Mirnyi, Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, Britain’s Andy Murray, Australia’s Mark Philippoussis, and American’s Mardy Fish and Vince Spadea. The 2006 Tennis Channel Open will take place at the new Amanda & Stacy Darling Memorial Tennis Center.

“I’m looking forward to playing,” says Roddick. “The excitement of the city should be a tremendous draw for guys on the tour, and The Tennis Channel’s plan to build a tennis-festival atmosphere is a great idea that’s going to be a lot of fun to visit each year.”

The Darling Memorial Tennis Center opened in the fall with 23 courts, including a 2,400-seat stadium court that will expand to 3,300 seats during the event. In the future, the 40-acre complex will eventually include two smaller stadium courts.

Tennis Channel Founder and President Steve Bellamy plans to build a “Tennispalooza” around the men’s pro event. Plans include men’s, women’s, and juniors’ tournaments, surrounded by other events that feature both amateurs and professionals. Founded in 1986, the ATP tournament was previously held in Scottsdale, Ariz. The network held programming rights for three years prior to its acquisition of the event in 2005.

Tennis Channel Open tickets can be purchased by calling 888-826-8497 or visiting The Tennis Channel Open on the web.

Builders Upbeat on U.S. Court Construction

Attendees and exhibitors alike were upbeat about the tennis business at the American Sports Builders Association’s 2005 Technical Meeting and Trade Show, held Dec. 4 to 6, in Tampa. About 350 tennis court and track builders, designers, and product suppliers registered for the meeting, the largest attendance in decades, according to meeting organizers.

Gerry Wright and David Marsden

Generally, court builders report increased business in 2005 and are optimistic about 2006 (see page 42). “We’ve seen a gradual resurgence of interest in tennis,” says Mark Brogan of Pro Sport Construction of Devon, Pa., “and I expect it to continue.”

“In 2005, we had our highest volume in resurfacing and repair,” adds Richard Zaino of Zaino Tennis Courts of Orange, Calif. “The economy is still pretty good here and interest rates are low. If 2006 is like 2005, I’ll be happy.”

The annual meeting brought together court builders, court surfacing manufacturers, court products companies, and others for seminars on court construction and maintenance and related issues, such as marketing, billing customers and getting paid, and more. Court contractors also could take the test to become a Certified Tennis Court Builder. And a trade show attracted more than 40 exhibitors.

The ASBA also installed new officers and directors. Gerry Wright (above, left) of Court One, Raleigh, N.C., is the new ASBA chairman, replacing David Marsden (above, right) of Hanover, Mass.

Gordon Pierce of Cape & Island Tennis & Track, Pocasset, Mass., is the new Tennis Division president; Ron Nemeth of Hillsdale, Mich., was elected president of the Associate/Affiliate Division; and John Schedler is the president of the newly formed Turf Division. Re-elected as secretary-treasurer is George Todd Jr. of Welch Tennis Courts, Sun City, Fla.

Newly elected members of the board of directors are: Pete Smith of the CourtSmiths, Toledo, Ohio; John Graham of DecoTurf, Andover, Mass.; Aaron McWhorter of Sports Turf Co., Whitesburg, Ga.; and Steve Wright of Trans Texas Tennis, Houston.

Remaining on the board are: Sam Fisher, Fisher Tracks, Boone, Iowa; Alex Levitsky, Global Sports & Tennis Design Group, Fair Haven, N.J.; Brion Rittenberry, Kiefer Specialty Flooring, Lindenhurst, Ill.; Mike Vinton, The Vasco Group, Massillon, Ohio; David Nielsen, Leslie Coatings, Indianapolis; Randy Futty, Lee Tennis, Charlottesville, Va.; and Marsden, as past chairman.

For more information, visit ASBA on the web, or call 800-501-ASBA.

Wilson Launches Evolution Footwear Line

Wilson is launching the Evolution shoe line, which the company says is the first line “designed to meet the specific needs of players as their game evolves.” The line includes eight styles engineered to fit the body mechanics and court style of beginning, intermediate, and advanced players, the company says.

Wilson shoes

“The Evolution footwear concept utilizes Wilson’s revolutionary shoe technology to offer incredible performance on the court in a system that complements your game and style of play,” says Todd Fisher, Wilson’s global director of footwear. “The Evolution line makes it easy for a consumer to find footwear that matches their specific needs to whatever level of tennis player they are.”

In a statement, Wilson says it developed the line taking into account six principles: cushioning, stability, breathability, light weight, toe drag, and outsole radius.

The Backdraw and Challenger, the entry-level shoes in the line designed for recreational players, feature added cushioning and stability in the rear of the shoe, since most beginners typically hit the ball standing upright, with most of their weight shifted to the back of their heels. The women’s Challenger includes interchangeable color inserts.

The Wildcard and Qualifier (above, blue), for intermediate players, feature a centrally positioned ventilated stable wrap and extended toe drag for aggressive play. The centralized cushioning, support, and stability compensate for improved footwork and development of an all-around game, says Wilson.

Advanced players who have an explosive game look for superior cushioning, stability, toe drag, and breathability, says the company. The Tour, CF2, and Open (above, red) are the high-performance shoes in the Evolution line, designed for serious players. Features include stable wrap systems, three layers of cushioning that work independently of each other, Duralast rubber outsoles, and 180-degree toe-drag protection.

For light workouts and warm-ups, the line includes the ETF (Eat the Fuzz) model, a shoe with an adjustable Velcro strap.

Prices range from $30 to $130. Visit Wilson Tennis on the web for more information.

Chang Joins Champions Cup Series

Former champion Michael Chang will play in the new Champions Cup Series event in Boston to be held April 27 to 30. Boston will be the second event on the 2006 Champions Cup Series, a collection of tennis events in the U.S. featuring some of the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30.

Chang joins Jim Courier, John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, and Pat Cash for the Boston event, with three other players to be named later. Each event in the series will feature an eight-man, round-robin match format.

The Champions Cup Series is presented by InsideOut Sports and Entertainment, a company started by Courier. Other Champions Cup Series events will be in Naples, Fla., March 10-13; Memphis, Oct. 5-8; and Houston, Nov. 9-12. To compete in the series, players must have reached at least a Grand Slam singles final, been ranked in the Top 5 in the world, or played singles on a winning Davis Cup team.

For tickets to Champions Cup Series events, call 978-443-9006, or visit Champions Cup or Ticket Master on the web. Prices start at $15.

James Blake Inks 7-Year Deal With Prince Sports

James Blake, whose personal and professional comeback in 2005 made headlines beyond the tennis world, has joined Prince Tennis’s Touring Professional Team with a global, multi-faceted seven-year deal.

The partnership involves Blake’s collaboration with Prince’s research and development experts to develop a racquet featuring O Technology, which Blake will use on the pro tour. The new racquet will launch in 2006 as part of Prince’s line of O3 racquets, according to the company.

“We are privileged and proud that James chose Prince to be his brand of equipment,” says Prince Sports CEO George Napier. “He embodies the values our Team believes in.”

“The deal is more than just a racquet endorsement,” says Blake. “Prince is tapping my knowledge to help with product design, as well as some cool marketing initiatives focused on junior development. They are also enthusiastically supporting various charitable organizations that are important to me.”

2006 CTDW in Hollywood

The 2006 USTA Community Tennis Development Workshop will take place at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel in Hollywood, Calif., Feb. 3 to 5. The workshops and seminars are designed to educate, encourage, and inspire tennis leaders and coordinators, who deliver tennis at the grassroots level.

For more information on the CTDW and to register, visit USTA’s community tennis website. For hotel reservations, contact 800-HOTELS-1.

TIA In New Digs

The Tennis Industry Association has moved offices. The new address, for deliveries only, is 117 Executive Center, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928. Correspondence should still be sent to P.O. Box 7845, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928. Phone remains 843-686-3036.

Tecnifibre Introduces Tflash 290

Tecnifibre’s newest frame, the Tflash 290, is designed for “net zone” players looking for a maneuverable racquet with which to attack the net. “Texalium Reinforcements” in the graphite frame provide torsion stability to improve accuracy, says the company, while enhancing feel for more control and dampening vibration. The racquet has a 100-square-inch, open-string-pattern head and weighs 10.2 ounces. For more information, contact Tecnifibre at 877-332-0825 or visit Tecnifibre on the web.

Tecnifibre Tflash 290

Travel to See the Pros

If your members are looking for a getaway to see the pros in action, Grand Slam Tennis Tours offers travel packages to the upcoming Davis Cup match in California in February, the Pacific Life Open in Palm Springs and the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami in March.

The three-night Davis Cup package (Feb. 9 to 12) at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club includes courtside tickets to all three days of matches for the U.S. vs. Romania tie. Price is $1,595 per person, double occupancy.

Package prices for the Pacific Life Open (March 9-19) start at $1,395 per person. Packages for the Nasdaq-100 start at $1,495. Call 800-289-3333 or visit Grand Slam Tennis Tours on the web.

Bollettieri To Use SlingHopper

SlingHopper Inc. announces that Nick Bollettieri is using the SlingHopper Drill Bag to help feed tennis balls to his students. “SlingHopper Drills Bags are a genuine teaching tool,” Bollettieri says. “It enables the coach to move to any position for feeding or rallying without any delay.” SlingHopper products are distributed through Gamma Sports and Gamma distributors. For information, call Gamma at 800-333-0337 or visit Gamma Sports on the web.

TIA Plans Major Cardio Promotion

Plans are being finalized for a major national consumer promotion for Cardio Tennis in 2006, according to TIA President Jim Baugh. “We need to ‘break through the clutter’ with the consumer, which is what our national promotion will do,” Baugh says. “Our early progress has been fantastic, but I’m confident that we can add more quality sites and more consumers. We want Cardio Tennis to be a major part of our sport and help grow participation and revenues for pros and facilities.”

Baugh also says a recent TIA survey of more than 250 Cardio Tennis sites will help “shape future plans” for the program. “We received some great input from our sites,” he says. “We know we will grow even more in 2006 with some of the plans we have.” An executive summary of the site research is available at Cardio Tennis on the web.

Sportwall Survives Hurricane Wilma

Despite the large tree limb that Hurricane Wilma deposited on the Sportwall 1200 installed at the Mariner Sands Country Club in Stewart, Fla., the Sportwall was fully operational after the October storm. Another Sportwall, installed at the Marco Island YMCA, also escaped unscathed and in working order. For more information on Sportwall, visit Sportwall on the web or call 800-695-5056, x. 125.

Sportwall

PTR Sets Symposium

The 2006 PTR International Tennis Symposium and $25,000 Championships will be Feb. 18-24 on Hilton Head, S.C. Register by Feb. 10 for $325 for PTR members, $395 for nonmembers. After Feb. 10, it’s $375 and $425. The deadline for tournament entry is Feb. 3.

For more information or to register, call 800-421-6289 or visit PTR Tennis on the web.

Bollettieri’s ‘Random Act of Kindness’ Makes Dreams Come True for 4 Juniors

Legendary coach Nick Bollettieri made the dreams of four young New York tennis players come true during the holidays when they each were granted scholarships to the IMG/Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida.

Bill Mountford, the director of tennis at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., says it all came as a complete surprise. “Back in June, Nick was at the NTC to run a corporate tennis clinic for a Wall Street firm,” says Mountford. “Before the event, he was walking around the field courts and saw students in our six-week junior summer tennis camp, which was just beginning. Completely unsolicited, Nick stopped at several courts to lecture and encourage the young players.”

Afterward, Bollettieri approached Mountford and offered the scholarships for four young students and challenged the USTA NTC coaching staff to “find” the most deserving players. “One selection criteria that Bollettieri suggested was to choose players who might not otherwise be exposed to such an opportunity,” says Mountford. Nearly six months later, on Christmas Day, Jillian Santos, Willie Griffin, Carolina Koladzyn, and Wie Cheng Lin were on their way to the Academy.

“I feel indebted to Nick for this random act of kindness,” says Mountford. “Nick Bollettieri’s ripple effect on the tennis community has touched everyone involved in our sport. He has provided four young players from New York with a gift they will always cherish. His kindness has truly inspired.”

Letters

A Heartfelt Thanks

Having written about the game of tennis for more than 30 years, it wasn’t clear — until a recent experience — how close and caring this community is.

Because of a pre-existing situation (I became a diabetic when I was 7), I am unable to acquire individual health insurance. For the past decade (or more), my right hip, due to years of tennis competition, coaching, and running, had deteriorated to the point where I was unable to take a normal step. Pain was a constant companion.

During Roland Garros in 2005, writer Michael Mewshaw, noticing my distinctive stride, asked about the situation. When I explained the “no insurance, no surgery” problem, he said he would get something done. After discussing the issue with Bud Collins, (who had his hip surgeon contact a doctor in my home of Southern California to see if he could help me), and U.S. Tennis Writers Association President Liza Horan, along with USTWA board members Peter Francesconi, Jim Martz, Andre Christopher and Bob Larson, a solution appeared.

On Dec. 13, I had my right hip replaced in Brawley, Calif. George Fareed, the former US Davis Cup team doctor and a close friend, arranged to have Dr. Christopher Lai, an associate, do the surgery.

Thanks to the assistance provided by the Kirby Family Foundation run by Michael and Linda Mewshaw, along with the support of the USTWA board, as well as Drs. Fareed and Lai, I will be up and walking better than ever in 2006.

My deep, heartfelt appreciation goes out to all of you.

— Mark Winters

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

Peoplewatch

Short Sets

Campus Championships Expands To All Sections

The 2005-2006 year marks the first time all 17 USTA sections will host USA Tennis on Campus Championship events.

Interest generated by the annual National Championship has led more tennis-playing college students to create sports clubs on campuses across the country over the past few years, says Glenn Arrington, the USTA’s product manager for College Tennis. And the competition and camaraderie witnessed by campus coordinators at the national event led to the growth in the number of sectional championships.

The Tennis on Campus program features co-ed recreational and intramural play in World TeamTennis format. Through the USTA’s partnership with the WTT, section coordinators will receive help from WTT Director of Competition Elaine Wingfield, who will attend and help run the inaugural tournaments of some of the USTA sections.

The 2006 USA Team Tennis National Campus Championships will be held April 20-22 at the University of Texas in Austin. The 2005 national event attracted a record 47 schools and was won by Texas A&M, for its third title in four years. For more information about the 2006 competition, visit USTA on the web. Upcoming USA Team Tennis Section Campus Championships are:

 

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