Tennis Industry magazine

 

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Las Vegan Crowned Wilson World Stringing Champ at TTC Open

Scott Schneider, a tennis professional at the Canyon Gate Country Club in Las Vegas, is the inaugural winner of the Wilson World Stringing Championships, which was held March 3 to 5 in Las Vegas as part of The Tennis Channel Open.

Scott Schneider

Schneider recorded a winning time of 11 minutes, 14 seconds. The competition pits stringers against each other and against the clock and takes into account the full stringing process, which includes mounting the racquet, opening the string package, uncoiling and measuring the string, stringing the frame, then passing a quality-control check. The final round was shown live on The Tennis Channel and will be featured in a 30-minute special to air on TTC in July.

Schneider (inset) has been stringing racquets for more than 10 years. His prize package included $1,000 in cash, a large-screen Panasonic plasma TV, Fender guitar, Wilson tennis equipment, one-year supply of Wilson string, and the chance to qualify to string with Wilson at the 2006 US Open. All contestants strung Wilson’s nSix-One 95 frame with Wilson Reaction string.

Wilson World Stringing Championship 2006

“The stringing championship was a huge success and generated great interest among tournament fans that enjoyed watching all the stringers, as this has never been showcased before like this,” says Jon Muir, director of U.S. sales and marketing for Wilson. “We hope to make the Wilson World Stringing Championships an annual event at The Tennis Channel Open.”

Notable participants included French Open doubles champ and tennis analyst Luke Jensen and tennis star Thomas Blake, brother of Tennis Channel Open champion James Blake. USRSA Executive Director David Bone served as the referee of the event.

Tennis Year-End Shipments Are Up

The Tennis Industry Association reports that fourth-quarter shipment for balls, racquets, and strings all were up. Ball unit sales were up 4 percent, while racquet shipments increased 11 percent, and strings nearly 6 percent. Dollar sales to the trade increased in all categories as well: 5 percent for balls, 7.5 percent for racquets, and 10 percent for strings.

“This continues our strong momentum for the full year,” says TIA President Jim Baugh. “We see growth in both the premium and new player products.”

Youth racquets and frames selling for under $50 are up 13 percent. Premium racquets are up more than 40 percent. “It is obvious our new-player programs are working to increase play,” Baugh adds. “This is also verified in the TIA/USTA Participation Study. And, it is great to see the new-technology racquets selling well, too.”

Instant Replay Comes to Pro Tennis

The USTA, the ATP, and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour announced March 6 that electronic line-calling technology, along with a player challenge system, will become part of professional tennis in North America.

The NASDAQ-100 Open, played at the end of March, was to be the first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and ATP event to utilize the technology and on-court challenges. The 2006 US Open will be the first Grand Slam to introduce instant replay technology and player challenges. Officials said the move was taken to improve officiating for players, while increasing the interest and excitement for in-stadium fans and television viewers.

The on-court player challenge system for review of line calls will be as follows:

Once a player challenges, the official replay will be provided to the chair umpire. In addition, the official replay will be provided simultaneously to the TV broadcast and in-stadium video boards, allowing on-site fans and television viewers the opportunity to see the live results of a player challenge.

“With the speed and power of today’s game, the time has come for tennis to benefit from new technology — while adding to the fan experience,” says Arlen Kantarian of the USTA.

Tennis Magazine Picks ‘Editors’ Choice’

Two racquets and two shoes received the prestigious “Editors’ Choice” designation from Tennis magazine in its April 2006 issue. The Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet was praised for its blend of power and control at the baseline and net. “For the price and all-around playability,” the magazine said, “this racquet is as good as it gets.”

Also receiving honors from the magazine was the Völkl DNX 3. “It’s big and powerful, with plenty of bells and whistles to make playing tennis as easy as possible,” Tennis said.

In footwear, the Adidas Barricade IV was praised for its excellent stability, improved ventilation and cushioning. “The Barricade is still the standard in stability,” the magazine said.

Wilson’s new Wildcard shoe also came in for Editors’ Choice honors. “Appropriate for players who aren’t too aggressive on the court, this Wilson is hands-down the most comfortable shoe our female playtesters wore,” said the magazine.

USTA Unveils New Brand Identity

USTA

The USTA has unveiled a new brand identity that creates a consistent and unified branded platform for all USTA programs and events. For the first time, the iconic flaming ball of the US Open will be integrated into the USTA logo to better connect the US Open to all USTA programs.

“This new branding system creates a consistent identity linking all USTA professional and grassroots programs, while creating an aspirational brand to further grow the game,” says Michelle Wilson, the USTA’s managing director of marketing for Professional Tennis.

The new logo and brand identity is being incorporated into all USTA materials, including USTA professional and recreational programs, USTA.com, USTA Magazine, and all USTA events. In addition, the new branding system will be incorporated throughout the 17 USTA Sections. The new logo also will be prominently featured at the USTA National Tennis Center, home of the US Open.

June Cardio Tennis Promotion Offers Free Classes

Cardio tennis ad

A month-long, nationwide promotion will have people trying Cardio Tennis for free in an effort to get them into the program. The Tennis Industry Association’s promotion will offer one free class for new Cardio participants at select facilities.

“We’re extremely happy with the early results of Cardio Tennis,” says TIA President Jim Baugh. “But we want to ‘break through the clutter’ with a consumer promotion this spring to get more players and nonplayers to try Cardio Tennis.”

Publicity and promotion for “Try Cardio Tennis for Free” will start in May and run through the middle of June. Advertising is planned for national magazines and on FT TV and ESPN. There will also be support and promotion in various tennis publications. Consumers will be pushed toward CardioTennis.com, which will have information about the promotion and a list of all the sites in the U.S. offering free Cardio classes in June.

Cardio Tennis sites can be a part of this promotion by going to partners.cardiotennis.com and signing up through a link on the home page. “We are asking Cardio Tennis facilities to offer at least one hour of free classes per week throughout June,” says Baugh. “This promotion is for new participants and will be a great way to increase a facility’s everyday Cardio Tennis classes and income. We are now taking our No. 1 tool, the program itself, and making it available to everyone to try.”

In other Cardio Tennis news, the program was named one of the 50th Anniversary Partners to Get America Moving, a 2006 initiative of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. For more information, visit partners.cardiotennis.com, e-mail info@cardiotennis.com or call the TIA at 843-686-3036.

Babolat Launches New Roddick Signature Gear

Babolat Team All Court Roddick tennis shoe

Babolat has launched two new tennis products designed and developed in collaboration with Andy Roddick — the Pure Drive Roddick racquet and the Team All Court Roddick shoe. The gear will bear Roddick’s signature, which is a first for Babolat.

The Pure Drive Roddick racquet is designed for players with topspin who are looking for a balance of power and control, says Babolat. The frame has Babolat’s “Cortex System,” which the company says filters out vibrations and enhances the feel of the ball. The racquet, available in standard, extra-long, and junior sizes, retails for $189.

The Team All Court Roddick shoe was created for the tennis star and optimizes lateral movement, says Babolat. The shoe retails for $109. For more information, visit babolat.com or call 877-316-9435.

Welch Tennis Offers Clay Court Maintenance Seminars

Day-long clay court maintenance seminars, offered by Welch Tennis Courts, are designed to give club managers, tennis professionals, and maintenance personnel a working knowledge of Har-Tru clay courts, including explanations and demonstrations of the latest procedures in court maintenance.

Emphasis is on solving court maintenance problems and how recent innovations can be used to protect and enhance your tennis court investment. Each participant will be given a Certificate of Completion at the end of the day. The seminars are for all personnel, regardless of experience.

Cost is $159 per person ($125 for each additional person from the same facility) and includes a continental breakfast, lunch, court-side beverages and a happy hour. USPTA Members can earn 3 credits for continuing education for attending. Contact Deb Carlson at 800-282-4415. Upcoming seminars are:

Evolution Footwear Line New from Wilson

Wilson Evolution Open in navy
Wilson Evolution Wildcard

Wilson Racquet Sports debuts its Evolution footwear line, which the company says is the first line of tennis shoes designed to meet the specific needs of players as their game evolves. The Evolution line includes eight styles engineered to fit the body mechanics and court style of beginning, intermediate, and advanced players.

“The Evolution footwear concept is unprecedented in tennis because it 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 Wilson’s Todd Fisher, the global director of footwear.

Entry-level shoes are the Backdraw and Challenger, designed for recreational players. They feature added cushioning and stability in the rear of the shoe. The women’s Challenger includes interchangeable color inserts for added fashion flexibility.

For intermediate players, who require more centralized cushioning, support, and stability, there are the Wildcard and Qualifier. They feature a centrally positioned ventilated stable wrap and extended toe drag. The Qualifier also has Wilson’s DST 3x in the heel, a multi-layered cushioning system.

Advanced-player shoes are the Tour, CF2, and Open, designed with features such as floating stable wrap systems, three layers of independent cushioning, Duralast rubber outsoles and 180-degree toe-drag protection.

For light workouts and warm-ups, the Evolution line also includes the ETF (Eat the Fuzz) model, a shoe with an adjustable Velcro strap. Shoes in the line range from $30 to $130 and come in a variety of styles and colors for men, women, and juniors. Visit wilson.com/ for more information.

Sampras to Play World TeamTennis

Pete Sampras

Pete Sampras is returning to pro tennis. The 14-time Grand Slam champion will play in the World TeamTennis Pro League’s upcoming season this July, more than three years after he retired from the tour in 2002. Sampras’ team and match schedule will be determined at the WTT Player Draft held at the end of March.

“The timing is right,” Sampras says of his decision to play WTT. “I’ve been busy with my family and enjoying retirement, but this feels like the right time to get back on the court and play World TeamTennis.”

WTT co-founder Billie Jean King says Sampras’ participation has been high on her wish list. The WTT Pro League regular season runs from July 6 to 26.

Todd Miller honored as newest PTR master pro

Todd Miller

Todd Miller of Buffalo, N.Y., is the newest PTR Master Professional, joining a group of only 24 others who have earned that designation. Miller was honored in February during the PTR International Tennis Symposium and $25,000 Championships on Hilton Head Island, S.C. A record 429 people attended the annual awards banquet.

Miller (center left, with PTR CEO Dan Santorum at left and PTR Founder and President Dennis Van der Meer) has been executive director and head pro at Amherst Hills Tennis Club since 1980. He also is a USTA National Coach, a USA Tennis High Performance Coach, and a PTR Clinician and Tester. In 2004, Miller was named PTR Tester of the Year, PTR Member of the Year for New York, and Eastern Coach of the Year. While at Amherst Hills Tennis Club, he has introduced the sport to thousands.

Others honored by the PTR at its annual awards banquet are:

Lee Tennis Restructures Sales Force

Lee Tennis of Charlottesville, Va., has restructured its sales force to better serve each of its market segments — tennis court builders, clubs and facilities, and consulting.

Tracy Lynch, formerly the Southeast sales representative, will focus on supporting tennis court builders and wholesale distributors. Pat Hanssen, formerly the Northeast sales representative, will be focusing his efforts towards the tennis teaching and playing community in key markets to create playing opportunities for those interested in experiencing the difference of playing on a Har-Tru court.

Ed Montecalvo, formerly the Western region rep, and Roy Hey, formerly the new products manager, will be concentrating their efforts on Lee Tennis’ rapidly growing consulting and product service arm. In this role, they will be conducting Facility Analysis Surveys (FAS), developing a Har-Tru maintenance certification program and providing training and product support to clay court owners, maintainers, and club managers.

New Partnership Keeps Pacific Life Open in U.S.

The Pacific Life Open men’s and women’s pro tournament remains in the U.S. following a deal in which an investment group has bought out the 50 percent interest formerly held by IMG. Had the deal not gone through the tournament was in danger of being moved to Asia.

Charlie Pasarell and Raymond Moore, with the help of new partners George Mackin and Bob Miller of Tennis magazine and Patrick W.M. Imeson of Calim Private Equity LLC, brought together an investment group that includes the USTA and tennis legends Pete Sampras, Chris Evert, and Billie Jean King to complete the buyout.

The event is played in March at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif.

Gamma Sports Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Gamma

Gamma Sports of Pittsburgh was founded in 1976 when Dr. Harry Ferrari, an avid tennis player, broke the natural gut strings in his racquet. He borrowed an identical racquet that was strung with the best synthetic strings available at that time, but Ferrari was unimpressed with the quality and feel.

A materials science Ph.D. with 50 technical papers and more than 25 patents to his credit, Ferrari set out to develop the world’s finest synthetic tennis strings. The first strings, Gamma Gut, were manufactured by bombarding the finest available synthetics with millions of gamma rays.

“Gamma’s philosophy has always been to create better products with real technology,” says Ferrari, the company’s founder and chairman. “Research and development is still at the center of everything we do.”

Ferrari built upon his original string process to create several string treatments, leading to lines like TNT, Livewire, and Zo. Gamma Sports now provides more than 5,000 products including complete string, racquet, grip, ball, court equipment, teaching aids, and apparel lines.

For more information or to inquire about becoming a Gamma dealer, contact 800-333-0337, 412-323-0335, or e-mail tsr@gammasports.com.

Bellamy Honored by ‘Daily Tennis’

Steve Bellamy

Tennis Channel Founder and President Steve Bellamy is the inaugural winner of the Tennis News and Daily Tennis 2005 Person of the Year award.

The award, created by tennis publisher Bob Larson to celebrate the 30th year of publishing tennis news, recognizes the person who has made the most significant contribution to the betterment of tennis. Bellamy received the award, to be known in future years as “The Bellamy” in honor of the inaugural recipient, in March at The Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas.

“Steve Bellamy is a natural choice for this award for being able to dream of what could and should be done in tennis at any level and take on the responsibility of making it happen and getting it done,” says Larson. “He is creative, innovative, likeable and sometimes a maverick while developing a meeting of the minds of people at all levels, whether on the court or in the boardroom.”

“This award is really bringing it all home for me and will hopefully motivate other entrepreneurs to shoot for big things in the sport,” says Bellamy.

USTA Presents Community Service Awards

Thirteen Community Tennis awards were presented recently at the 2006 Community Tennis Development Workshop, held in early February in Hollywood, Calif. Receiving USTA Eve Kraft Community Service Awards were: Jake Agna of Burlington, Vt.; David Dantzer of Santa Maria, Calif.; Lena Elliott of Grand Junction, Colo.; Sam Hopkins of Jacksonville, Texas; Mary Moore of Wilmington, Del.; and Darrell Thompson of Waco, Texas.

USTA National Junior Tennis League of the Year Awards went to: Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education/NJTL of Philadelphia; MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation of Jacksonville, Fla.; Milwaukee Tennis and Education Foundation of Menomonee Falls, Wis.; Dallas Tennis Association of Dallas, Texas; and the NJTL of Cedar Isle Estates of Apple Valley, Minn.

In addition, the USTA Community Tennis Association of the Year Award was presented to the Summit Tennis Association of Summit, N.J., and the USTA Special Populations Community Service Award went to NYJTL Special Populations Program of Astoria, N.Y.

Partnership to Aid Wheelchair Tennis

wheelchair tennis

To increase the awareness and accessibility of wheelchair tennis across the country, the USTA is partnering with BlazeSports America, a program of the U.S. Disabled Athletes Fund (USDAF) that offers a comprehensive sports and fitness program for children and adults with physical disabilities.

The partnership will benefit from both organizations’ resources, including programming elements of the USTA and BlazeSports America’s vast connections to the disabled community.

“By teaming with BlazeSports America, we are gaining a partner with a strong identity and credibility in the disabled community,” says the USTA’s Kurt Kamperman, chief executive of Community Tennis. “The partnership will offer us the ability to reach more individuals throughout the U.S., and elevate the programming of wheelchair tennis on every level, from the grassroots to the highest levels of the sport, the Paralympics and World Team Cup.”

“Tennis has quickly become one of the more popular sports in BlazeSports offerings and this will help to increase the quality and reach of the programming,” says Andy Fleming, USDAF president.

Prince Breaks New ‘Übertwins’ Campaign for Young Players

Prince Ubertwins

Prince Tennis is targeting young players with its new “Übertwins” ad campaign, featuring the virtual adventures of Rolf and Rebekka, two fictional competitive juniors who use Prince equipment.

The company says the twins inhabit an online microsite (www.ubertwins.com) and “represent the epitome of young, aggressive tennis players who are fearless on the court and driven to win.” On the website, young visitors learn about the twins’ lives through a series of video interviews and more.

The ad campaign launched in late February with ads in Smash magazine and banner ads on juniortennis.com. Merchandise and postcards will be available online and in-store.

New Biomechanics Book from Racquet Tech Publishing

Biomechanical Principles of Tennis Technique

A new book by Racquet Tech Publishing, Biomechanical Principles of Tennis Technique: Using Science to Improve Your Strokes, by Duane Knudson, Ph.D., explains the science of tennis technique. The book applies the lessons learned from studying the forces and motions of tennis strokes. Through the implementation of six basic biomechanical principles, players can make subtle adjustments to their strokes, creating stroke variations that not only improve their game but also reduce their risk of injury. Detailed line drawings, stroke analysis and sequence photos of top touring pros, action photographs and high-speed video images, and an exploration of the benefits of video replay provide players with a variety of useful techniques. The book is $14.95. To order, visit RacquetTECH.com or call 760-536-1177.

Correction

An Industry News item in the March 2006 issue incorrectly listed specialty store sales rankings for two Prince racquets. The No. 1 and No. 2 rankings RSI reported for the Prince O3 Red and O3 Silver, respectively, should have been listed only among “new” racquets introduced during 2005. In the total category, the Babolat Pure Drive Team ranked No. 1 in 2005 dollar sales, followed by the Wilson nSix-One. The Prince O3 Red and O3 Silver were No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, in the total category. The rankings are taken from the Specialty Store Tennis Racquet Retail Audit jointly conducted by the TIA and Sports Marketing Surveys.

Jonathon Power, World Squash No. 1, Retires

World No. 1 squash player Jonathon Power is retiring from the professional squash tour and will assume the role of president of SquashPower LLC, an integrated squash marketing and development company. Power, the most successful North American player ever, has won 32 Professional Squash Association Tour titles since turning pro at age 16.

“Retiring has been a very difficult decision for me,” Power says, “but I recognize that with my health being strong, I can use this next phase of my life as an active ambassador and catalyst for the growth of squash. There are plans for an increase in exhibitions, club outreaches, educational sessions, clinics, and a farewell tour.”

Steve Hall, director of marketing for Dunlop Sports, says, “Jonathon has been the marketing force behind our brand and the building of squash around the world. We look forward to continued involvement well into the future with his new endeavor.”

Wilson Extends 20-Year Partnership with PBI

Wilson Racquet Sports recently renewed its partnership with the tennis management company Peter Burwash International, which provides resorts, clubs, and hotels with tennis professionals and teaching programs. With the renewal, Wilson celebrates its 20th year as the exclusive equipment provider for the organization.

Wilson supplies PBI teaching pros with Wilson nCode racquets, footwear, bags and string. PBI manages tennis programs at prestigious resorts and clubs in more than 20 countries. Programs can include private instruction, group lessons, tournaments, and clinics. Wilson equipment is also carried in PBI resorts and clubs that maintain a tennis pro shop on their grounds.

“Peter Burwash International sets the standard in professionalism and service in the industry,” says James Burda, manager of U.S. promotions for Wilson. “Wilson is proud to have this long-standing relationship with the industry leader to help grow the game of tennis.”

Short sets

Gilbert Endorses Slinghopper

Coach and former touring pro Brad Gilbert is the latest big name to endorse SlingHopper Drill Bags. “The SlingHopper is the greatest innovation in feeding and playing tennis. It allows the feeder to move around the court without interrupting the flow of drills,” says Gilbert, who has coached pros including Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick. Earlier this year, Nick Bollettieri announced his endorsement of SlingHopper Drill Bags. For more information or to become a dealer, call Gamma Sports at 800-333-0337, outside the U.S. call (412) 323-0335 or visit gammasports.com

PTR Names Tennis Championships Winners

The winners from the PTR’s annual $25,000 Tennis Championships held during the 2006 PTR International Tennis Symposium in Hilton Head, S.C., in February are:

USRSA member classifieds

FOR SALE: Tecnifibre TF5500 electronic stringing machine, excellent condition, with extra center clamps and cover; $3,800 INCLUDES SHIPPING within continental US. If you are looking for a durable and reliable machine, this is it. Contact Vince Chiarelli at 727-595-7068 or e-mail: stringalong@tampabay.rr.com

FOR SALE: Babolat RDC: $2,499/OBO: Alpha Saturn with Babolat Star 3 mounting system: $1,500. Contact Mark Campanile @ 847-480-7841 or e-mail: theracquetman@sbcglobal.net or mark@theracquetman.net

FOR SALE: Babolat Star 3: Completely Reconditioned by Tennis Machines Inc. $3,500 Firm + Shipping. Please Contact Russ Sheh @ 760-285-6320.

Peoplewatch

HEAD Launches Flexpoint Heat and Fire

HEAD Flexpoint Heat and Fire

HEAD has released two new frames in its Flexpoint line geared to intermediate and advanced players. The Flexpoint Heat is for aggressive players and is ideal for serve-and-volleyers, says HEAD, adding that the frame is a bit more forgiving than others in the series. It features a slightly larger, 102-square-inch head. Suggested retail price is $140.

The Flexpoint Fire (which replaces the Liquidmetal Fire) also has a 102-square-inch head, but it features a 16 × 19 string pattern, allowing for extra spin on the ball. The frame’s variable beam makes it more maneuverable and gives it a bit more stiffness, says HEAD. Suggested retail for the Fire is $150. For more information, call 800-289-7366 or visit head.com.

Letters

Wild Cards Should Go to Tour Pros

To the Editor:

I recently read the “Your Serve” article in RSI’s August 2005 issue regarding college tennis players’ quests for wild card spots on the US Open. I run a Men’s Challenger in Yuba City, Calif. I gave my most recent wildcards to two U.S. collegiate players: Sam Warburg of Stanford and Thomas Morton of Sacramento State. Sam made it to the second round of the tournament.

Being around both college players and those that travel the world during our event, I am torn about whom I should give these “golden gifts” to. To a tour player, a college player is taken care of in travel, meals, hotels, coaching, and above all an education. So, is it fair to “bestow” a wild card into the US Open to a college player who has all these benefits over a guy that beats the odds and fights his way around the world against the top players every other week? What if the college player has no desire to have a pro career in the first place? This would take away $10,000 from a player who really needs the money to chase his dream.

The college community has really shifted in the last few years. Look at almost every college team in America and you will find almost every one loaded with players from overseas, who have “snatched” scholarships from American kids. We are the only system in the world to combine athletics with higher education at this level.

I feel this is a direct result why the USTA evaluates wild cards for the US Open every year. They know the odds are that a foreign player will win the title because they out-number the American kids.

The USTA is right to evaluate the wild cards and to reward those spots to tour players over collegiate players. The Open is a pro event; wild cards should go to players who have a desire to become touring pros.

Jim King, Director of Tennis
Yuba City Racquet Club $50,000 Sunset Moulding/YCRC Challenger

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

 

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