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USTA Teachers Conference ‘Sets the Stage for Success’

Jimmy Connors

More than 700 tennis coaches, instructors and professionals will gather in Manhattan Aug. 26-29 for the USTA’s annual Tennis Teachers Conference. The TTC will again be at the Grand Hyatt New York in Midtown with its full menu of sessions in the areas of coaching skills, strategy and tactics, tennis technique, health sciences and tennis business.

The conference kicks off on Saturday night with a USTA Welcome Reception honoring high school coaches for no-cut policies. It continues with two and a half days of networking opportunities and educational offerings, in addition to tennis events such as Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day and the US Open.

Five-time US Open champion Jimmy Connors (above) will head up a group of featured speakers that includes Jim Loehr, Peter Burwash, Rick Macci, Stan Smith, Vic Braden, Anne Pankhurst, Anita Bailey, Rodney Harmon, and Michele Krause.

This year’s theme, “Setting the Stage for Success,” encourages coaches to establish a platform for players to develop and grow in both skill and experience. The program covers all levels of play and development — youth, adult, senior, beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Events are held both at the Grand Hyatt New York and the USTA National Tennis Center. Sessions will be presented in full court, singles court, theater, and classroom formats. Anyone who has an interest in coaching or teaching tennis is welcome to attend.

For more information or to register, visit usta.com/coaches, call 914-696-7004, or e-mail ttc@usta.com.

Lever 2000 Signs as Lead Sponsor for US Open Series

Lever 2000
U.S. Open Series

The personal-care brand Lever 2000, in its first sports sponsorship, has signed on as the lead sponsor of the US Open Series, a group of 10 summer pro tournaments played throughout North America over six weeks in July and August.

Lever 2000 will become the presenting sponsor of all US Open Series telecasts on CBS and ESPN and an official sponsor of all 10 tournaments. Since its inception in 2004, the six-week US Open Series has doubled television viewership and increased attendance (see chart below), while generating new corporate partnerships for the sport, says the USTA.

As part of the partnership, the US Open Series Bonus Challenge, which tracks the weekly standings of players in the race to qualify for double prize money at the US Open, will be renamed the “US Open Series Lever 2000 Challenge.” Last year, Kim Clijsters, who won the US Open Series and the US Open, earned $2.2 million dollars at the US Open, the largest purse in women’s sports history.

Lever 2000 will be prominently featured on-site at each tournament and will be integrated into all US Open Series broadcasts. It will also sponsor a national US Open consumer sweepstakes supported through a national print advertising campaign in consumer magazines. Lever 2000 also becomes an official sponsor of USTA League Tennis, the world’s largest recreational tennis league, which last year had 585,000 participants nationwide.

“This new partnership with Unilever represents another milestone for the US Open Series and a new category of sponsorship for the sport,” says Arlen Kantarian, the USTA’s chief executive of Professional Tennis. Lever 2000 also will become a promotional partner of the US Open itself.

Impact of the US Open Series
2003 (pre-USOS) 2005 vs. Pre-USOS
Television Viewership 20 Million 41 Million +105%
Live TV Hours (National) 83 116 +40%
Attendance 923,000 973,000 +5%
National Marketing $0 $3.5 Million +3.5 MM

Adidas Wins First Set in Battle Over Logo

Adidas won the first set in a legal battle against several of the sport’s governing bodies over the size of its “three stripes” logo at this year’s Wimbledon. The Times of London reported that a High Court judge granted a temporary injunction against the UK’s Lawn Tennis Association, the All England Tennis and Croquet Club, the ITF, and the USTA requiring them to lift new dress restrictions limiting the size of manufacturer’s logos that players can wear during Grand Slam tournaments.

Adidas, which sponsors stars such as Martina Hingis, Tim Henman, and Justine Henin-Hardenne, took the authorities to court, claiming it had not been given sufficient time to adapt its manufacturing process for the start of Wimbledon on June 26. The High Court accepted the company’s bid for a temporary injunction, ruling that the stripes are a “manufacturer’s identification” and not simply a “design effect.”

The Adidas-sponsored players will be able to wear the three stripes logo at major tennis tournaments until October, when the full case will be heard.

Prince Introduces New M Series Foowear

Prince has introduced its new M Series footwear line. M Series shoes are built on a four-piece multi-layered midsole that position Prince’s “Precision Tubes” in the heel and forefoot. Prince says it designed the M Series around the idea that feet, treated carefully, can be a competitive advantage.

The three different M Series models offer variances in the density and placement of the tubes, which Prince says results in unique attributes for each model: maximum cushioning (MC4), maximum stability (MS4), or maximum ventilation (MV4).

Prince M MC4 Prince M MS4
M MC4 M MS4
Prince W MC4 Prince W MV4
W MC4 W MV4

“M Series is simply better tennis footwear,” says Doug Fonte, president of Prince Sports U.S. “Tennis requires a lot of forward and lateral movement and stop-and-start action. M Series provides an answer for proper treatment of all foot types and preferences.”

Developed by Gary Wakley and James Lin of Prince’s Footwear Team, M Series offers the consumer the flexibility to select a shoe to fit their unique needs. “Typically, other performance tennis shoes are designed to appeal to as many players as possible, and as a result, some ‘do-everything’ shoes do not do anything particularly well,” says Wakley. “With M Series, customers no longer have to compromise when it comes to this important piece of tennis equipment.”

The outsole of the M Series is made of Goodyear Max, a compound developed exclusively for Prince by Goodyear. The suggested retail price for all models is $110 with women’s sizes available in 6-10 (including half sizes) and 11; men’s sizes available in 6.5-12, 13 and 14.

Top Speakers Headline USPTA World Conference

USPTA

The USPTA’s World Conference to be Sept. 18-23 at the Flamingo Las Vegas, and will feature some of the industry’s best and brightest speakers on topics ranging from tennis teaching, to nutrition, to business, and more.

More than 35 seminars and four-hour specialty courses will be offered during the conference, which is attended by nearly 1,500 tennis professionals and coaches, manufacturer representatives and media. USPTA members and nonmembers are welcome.

This year’s speakers will include Jim Baugh, Nick Bollettieri, Peter Burwash, Allen Fox, Jack Groppel, Brett Hobden, Jim Loehr, Rick Macci, Robin White, and many more.

The World Conference also will include a Tennis Buying Show on Sept. 21. Exhibitors include marketers of hard and soft goods, video-analysis and pro shop software, teaching aids, court surfacing and lighting, awards, backboards, educational materials, nutrition bars and vitamins and more.

In addition, the USPTA Silent Auction will be held during the buying show, which benefits the USPTA Foundation and is a USPTA Lessons for Life event. (Any member interested in donating an item for the auction can visit uspta.com and click on the World Conference link to obtain a donation form, or call John Dettor at 713-978-7782.)

The agenda, complete list of speakers, and registration information is available at www.uspta.com, or call 800-877-8248. Audiotapes of previous World Conference seminar presentations are also available in the distance-learning center at uspta.com at no charge.

ROHO/PTR Wheelchair Tourney Increases Purse

PTR

The PTR and The ROHO Group will co-sponsor the ROHO/PTR $17,500 Wheelchair Tennis Championships at the Van der Meer Shipyard Racquet Club on Hilton Head Island, S.C., in September. The total purse has increased by $2,500 over last year.

Tournament play begins Sept. 20, and continues through Sept. 24, with men’s, women’s, quad, and junior divisions. The event draws some of the top wheelchair players in the world. It is part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour and is an ITF Series I event and a USTA Southern Championship.

A welcome reception and Opening Ceremony, sponsored by Quickie, will be held Sept. 21, with a one-up-one-down exhibition match to follow. Festivities include the annual awards banquet and a beach party with special matting to allow player access to the hard pack beach and ocean.

PTR will conduct an Instructing Wheelchair Tennis Workshop with Advanced Wheelchair Skills & Drills on Sept. 24. The course is open to tennis teachers and coaches who want to learn to teach wheelchair tennis. Quickie will provide chairs for able-bodied coaches to use during the workshop. The workshop fee is $50.

The deadline for tournament entry is Aug. 16. USTA membership is required for entry. Spectators are invited free of charge. The Jana Hunsaker Grant is available to assist in-need participants.

For more information or an entry form, contact PTR at 800-421-6289 or 843-785-7244, or email ptr@ptrtennis.org. To register online visit ptrtennis.org/.

USOS to Use Instant Replay

Instant replay technology, along with a player challenge system, will be used during all 10 US Open Series tournaments, which run for six weeks in July and August. The tourneys will use the Hawk-Eye line calling technology and a player challenge protocol that debuted at the Nasdaq-100 Open in March.

Once a player challenges a line call, an official replay will be provided simultaneously to the TV broadcast and in-stadium video boards. The line-calling technology will also be used at the 2006 US Open.

Penn Offers Free Music Downloads in Ball Packs

For a limited time this summer, specially marked 4-packs of Penn Championship and Pro Penn tennis balls will include 50 free MP3 downloads from eMusic, the second-largest digital music service in the world, with more than 1.3 million tracks in every musical genre. Special pack graphics and insert cards alert consumers to the promotion.

“Free music downloads allow us to provide our retail partners and consumers with a unique and sought-after value in these special packs of tennis balls,” says Jennifer Parker, business manager for Penn Tennis Balls. “Music downloads are an incredibly popular incentive and eMusic is a great partner as they offer a wide selection of independent music that will appeal to a variety of consumers.”

Letters

Pro Membership Issue Draws PTR Response

To the Editor:

Instead of devoting time to a detailed reply to the USPTA’s unfortunate position regarding dual membership in the PTR and USPTA, and to Tim Heckler’s rather off-the-mark comments directed at the PTR and at Master Professional Ken DeHart (RSI, June 2006, page 23), I simply would like to point out to RSI readers that PTR will continue to focus on what we do best: to educate, certify and service tennis teaching professionals and coaches in order to grow the game of tennis.

Dan Santorum
Executive Director and CEO, PTR

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

Gamma Adds Premium Natural Gut String

Gamma Natural Gut

The new Gamma Tour Plus Natural Gut features an all-weather protective coating to better preserve the string, while still providing an enhanced premium performance players expect from a natural gut, says the company. Gamma Tour Plus Natural Gut is vacuum-packaged in a Dri-Shield Moisture Barrier bag, preventing moisture from escaping or entering the package.

In addition, Gamma has also improved its Natural Gut Tour String, says the company. Both natural gut strings, which are manufactured in France, are available immediately. To inquire about becoming a Gamma dealer and distributing Gamma product, contact 800-333-0337 or 412-323-0335, or email tsr@gammasports.com.

ATP’s Deuce Mag Now Includes WTA

Deuce Magazine, which has been the official publication of the ATP, is joining with the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, highlighting both men and women pros. The summer issue, which will be available following Wimbledon, will feature the US Open Series of tournaments. The new, jointly produced publication is part of the ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour’s “One Game” initiative that brings the two circuits together for joint activities. Deuce will be distributed at all North American ATP and WTA events this summer, and a complimentary online version will be available.

Babolat Introduces the New Pure Drive

Babolat Pure Drive

Fans of the Babolat Pure Drive racquet now have a new version to fawn over. The latest Pure Drive incarnation has Babolat’s “Cortex System” technology to give players “a purer feel of the ball by filtering unnecessary vibrations,” says the company.

The Pure Drive, which has been the top-selling racquet in pro and specialty stores for three years, according to data from Sports Marketing Surveys, also has an updated design. Babolat says the new version has the same power and maneuverability as the original, which was launched in 1994.

“When the Pure Drive debuted, it got a lot of attention for having features unlike any other racquet in competition — it was lightweight, powerful, had the elliptic beam, and of course the blue color with the white ‘double line’ on the racquet frame,” says Max Brownlee, general manager of Babolat USA. “It has since been enhanced with the latest Babolat technologies including the ‘Woofer’ in 1999 and the Cortex System today.”

The Cortex System filters and dampens different vibrations, says Babolat, because the handle and the frame are linked by one interface in the Cortex Dampening System, which allows the filter to absorb unnecessary vibrations.

The new, 100-square-inch Pure Drive comes in two lengths: 27 and 27.5 inches. Suggested retail is $185. For more information, visit babolat.com or call 877-316-9435.

AAYTE Center Opens in Philly

AAYTE

The opening benefit for Philadelphia’s Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis & Education, called “Grandslam Open in the Park,” raised $2.2 million. The April 28 event was the official unveiling of the new AAYTE Center and drew 1,200 guests, including (from left) USTA First Vice President Jane Brown, AAYTE Executive Director Scott Tharp, USTA Chairman of the Board and President Franklin Johnson, AAYTE Operations Director Tina Tharp, and AAYTE Board Chairman Robert Swift. The new center features eight indoor and eight outdoor tennis courts, a computer lab, classrooms, fitness room, expanded library, and offices.

PTR Schedules Professional Development Weekend

The PTR will hold its annual Professional Development Weekend Sept. 21-24 at the PTR Headquarters on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The event is open to all tennis teachers and coaches.

Dan SantorumCharlie Ruddy

Courses offering specialized tennis training will be held during the weekend and will include Munchkin Games and Drills with PTR Executive Director and CEO Dan Santorum (left). Other PTR staff directing sessions include International Director Iñaki Balzola (Play Action Drills Workshop) and Director of Development Geoff Norton (Team Coaching-Singles & Doubles Strategy).

Also on hand will be Charlie Ruddy (right), who will conduct Using Technology to Grow and Manage Your Business and Customer Base, and Dr. Bryce Young on Mastering the Mental Side. There will also be sessions on becoming a Cardio Tennis and wheelchair tennis instructor.

For more information or to register, contact 800-421-6289 or 843-785-7244, or email ptr@ptrtennis.org. You can register online at ptrtennis.org.

Stanford, Pepperdine Claim NCAA Crowns

The Stanford women captured their 15th NCAA women’s tennis championship in May, beating Miami 4-1 in the final. The Pepperdine men won their first ever NCAA title, upsetting Georgia 4-2.

Six days after the team champs were determined, Pac-10 Conference players Benjamin Kohlloeffel of UCLA and Suzi Babos of California swept the NCAA singles titles. Big-10 duos Kevin Anderson and Ryan Rowe of Illinois and Cristelle Grier and Alexis Prousis of Northwestern won the doubles crowns.

Wilson Partners With Wynne Tourneys

Wilson W line

Wilson Racquet Sports has partnered with Wynne Tournaments to provide racquets from its women’s W line at ladies’ competitive tennis tournaments throughout the U.S. Wilson will also provide balls and prizes for the tournaments, which are part of a ladies’ weekend of 15 special events held at premier tennis resorts.

The W line of racquets features Wilson’s exclusive nCode technology. The frames are engineered to enhance a woman’s game with a unique construction for increased power, strength, and control, along with added comfort features, says the company. Wilson is also providing tennis balls and gifts from its HOPE line, which supports The Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s efforts in breast cancer prevention education and research.

“Wilson’s support of these events is instrumental in offering our participants an insider look at the latest in tennis equipment for women,” says Mary Wynne Cox, president of Wynne Tournaments.

Wynne Tournaments weekend packages include three nights/four days accommodations, tournament entry fee, snacks, and refreshments throughout play, celebration cocktail party, Wilson W demo clinic, gift bag, prizes and trophies. Upcoming events will be held in, Monterey, Calif., Horseshoe Bay, Texas, and Amelia Island, Fla.

WTT Pro League Season Starts July 6

WTT Pro League

The 31st World TeamTennis Professional League season kicks off on July 6. Over the next three weeks, 84 WTT matches will be held, with the regular season ending on July 26. The two top teams in both the Eastern and Western conferences advance to the WTT finals weekend, July 28 through 30, at the Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach, Calif., where they will compete for the King Trophy, named for WTT co-founder Billie Jean King.

Eastern Conference teams are the Boston Lobsters, Delaware Smash, Hartford FoxForce, New York Buzz, New York Sportimes and Philadelphia Freedoms. The Western Conference is made up of the Houston Wranglers, Kansas City Explorers, Newport Beach Breakers, Sacramento Capitals, St. Louis Aces and Springfield Lasers. For more information, including the season schedule and team rosters, visit WTT.com.

Peoplewatch

Hall of Fame Hosts Annual Fashion Show

The International Tennis Hall of Fame will host the Bowen’s Wharf Fashion Show and Champagne Breakfast on July 13 as part of the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships week of activities.

The event will be held on the Hall of Fame’s Horseshoe Piazza and showcase various Newport retailers. Featured collections include Ralph Lauren, Brighton, Patagonia, Michael Kors, Max Mara, Paul & Shark, and Samuel Dong.

The fashion show will take place from 9 to 11a.m. followed by the quarterfinal matches of the Campbell’s pro tennis tournament. Tickets, which include the matches, for the fashion show and champagne breakfast are $65 each, or a table seating eight for $500. For tickets, call 401-849-6053, or visit tennisfame.com.

Short Sets

Kiawah Island, N.E. Tennis Holidays Lead Rankings on Tennis Travel Website

Kiawah Island Golf Resort near Charleston, S.C., is the No. 1 tennis resort worldwide, according to rankings on Tennis Resorts Online (tennisresortsonline.com), which are based on evaluations submitted over the last year by vacationing tennis players. The No. 1 tennis camp, for the fifth year in a row, is New England Tennis Holidays in North Conway, N.H.

The rankings are on the annual list of Top 100 Tennis Resorts and Camps worldwide on the website. Vacationers critique each resort or camp by assessing its strengths and weaknesses in 16 different categories.

The eclectic mix of Top 100 Resorts and Camps includes properties in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe. “It ranges from grand hotels to small inns, and from posh hideaways to low-key, affordable resorts,” says tennis travel writer and TRO founder Roger Cox. “Some are better for families, others for romantic couples, still others for singles or even teams and group of friends. What they all have in common, however, is a passion for tennis and a proven ability to cater to the specific needs of avid tennis players.”

Since its debut in 2000, Tennis Resorts Online has become a leading source of tennis travel information, each month attracting more than 50,000 avid tennis players (who play on average 100 days a year). Visit the site for more information.

Ashaway Launches New Squash Shoe

Ashaway shoe

Ashaway Racket Strings has introduced a new model to its growing line of squash shoes. Available for the fall season, the new Ashaway AST 5500i shoe is higher cut at the ankle with high-top lace eyelets, and incorporates a greater composition of leather throughout the upper portion for increased support.

Like the other models in the Ashaway squash shoe line, the 5500i is built on Ashaway’s Anatomic System Technology (AST), which increases comfort and stability and reduces foot fatigue, says the company. Designed to mold to the shape of the foot, AST-engineered squash sneakers are built around a multi-layered comfort and shock support system, says Ashaway. These layers include a removable insole made from a natural latex vulcanized rubber, and a highly shock-absorbent insert and additional comfort-layer insert, both located at the heel.

For information, contact 800-556-7260 or visit ashawayusa.com.

Dillman Resigns as Wilson General Manager

Brian Dillman

Brian Dillman resigned in June as general manager of Wilson Racquet Sports to accept an equity partnership position as executive vice president of sales and marketing and chief marketing officer for Power Plate International.

Dillman began his career with Wilson 14 years ago as a territory manager and steadily rose through ranks, eventually holding the positions of director of marketing and global business director before being promoted to his current title of general manager in December 2005.

“Brian’s commitment to Wilson has been outstanding,” says Chris Considine, president of Wilson. “We appreciate all of his efforts and contributions he has made to our great brand and we wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors.”

Power Plate’s North American division is based in Northbrook, Ill., and sells a revolutionary fitness and rehabilitative device that utilizes “advanced vibration technology” to help users achieve a better state of health and well-being. The device is used by medical centers, sports teams, training facilities, and health clubs.

Tennis On Campus Grant Info

Are you affiliated with a college or university that is interested in creating recreationally based team tennis programs for students? If so, the USTA, in cooperation with the National Intramural-Recreation Sports Association and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, may have the support and resources you need.

Three grants are available through NIRSA and two are available through the ITA for qualifying schools. For more information, visit nirsa.net or itatennis.com.

TIA update

RACQUET SHIPMENTS

First-quarter census data shows that the tennis racquet market is off to a flying start. Shipments increased 10 percent in dollars and 6.6 percent in units. The strongest increase — 20 percent in dollars — came in youth racquets. In addition, the TIA’s Pro Specialty Retail Audit shows that racquet sales at pro/specialty stores increased by 13 percent in units and 12 percent in dollars compared to 2005.

CARDIO TENNIS

More than 500 sites offered free Cardio Tennis classes in June, as consumer marketing was in full swing with ads and articles in major tennis and fitness publications. TV spots appeared on The Tennis Channel, FitTV, ESPN, and PBS. Press coverage includes an article in Parade Magazine, which has a circulation of 40 million. Tracy Austin also is promoting Cardio Tennis in a Section Promotion Tour. Visit partners.cardiotennis.com for more information and new drills, video, and animations, plus a section on marketing materials, and more.

TENNIS WELCOME CENTERS

A targeted marketing effort in all 17 USTA sections is under way, as pro Maria Sharapova joins the TWC initiative. The TIA and the USTA recently organized and is presenting a series of Tennis Business Development Workshops in each section. Website enhancements give TWCs an opportunity to provide program information and receive feedback. Facilities now have the ability to manage their own site and program information. Visit Partners.TennisWelcomeCenter.com.

GROWING TENNIS 50/50

In 2006, the co-op funding program will promote only facilities that are TWCs. The website, www.GrowingTennis.com, features tools and programs available. Approved facilities can receive $250 to $2,500 in matching advertising/promotional dollars to reach new players.

TENNISWIRE.ORG

The website, which features industry news from TIA members and affiliates, expanded its frequency and is electronically distributed to more than 12,000 industry contacts, in addition to tennis writers and publications. A “job listing” category will be added in 2006 for newsmakers to post their job opportunities.

 

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