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Volkl Introduces New DNX1 With ‘Power Arm’

Unlike a car or a computer, a tennis racquet is a comparatively simple device. So it’s hard to picture where the next radical design change will come. But now Volkl has come out with its newest frame, the DNX1, featuring a radical-looking “Power Arm” that sprouts from the handle and supports the stringbed. Volkl says the Power Arm creates a “pocket” for the ball on impact, then helps to “catapult” it back over the net.

Volkl DNX1 with Power Arm

The racquet design actually has been in the works for a number of years, says Sarah Maynard, Volkl’s director of marketing and promotions. “The problem was there was no material strong enough to make it work,” she says. That problem, though, has been solved with the introduction of the new DNX material, she adds.

“DNX is a new form of carbon,” Maynard says. “Carbon fibers normally are planar, but DNX molecules are tubular, which makes them stiffer and stronger in all directions, not just in one direction.”

Three new racquets use DNX technology: the DNX1 with Power Arm, and the more normal-looking DNX9 and DNX10 Mid. Maynard says the material is at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions for better stability and on the throat right above the grip, to help provide power. “On impact, the area above the grip normally tends to bend,” she says. “But DNX won’t allow it to give as much.

On the DNX1, the Power Arm extends out and is, essentially, the throat of the racquet, in line with the string bed. When a ball impacts the strings, the Power Arm goes back with the stringbed, creating a “pocket effect,” says Maynard, and causing less impact on the arm and more “grab” on the ball. “You get a lot of spin and a lot of control,” she says.

That’s the “backward phase.” In the “power phase,” the Power Arm acts as a catapult to help launch the ball, says Maynard. The Power Arm itself is made mostly of DNX, and that, combined with the fact that it is aligned with the stringbed, won’t allow the stringbed to bend or warp, she adds, so that shots stay true.

What’s been the reaction so far? “Dealers who have tried the frame love it,” Maynard says. “As of early July, when we released the DNX1, we sold out of the frame, and we’ve stepped up production for more.” Visit voelkl-tennis.com or call 800-264-4579.

Dunlop Announces ‘D-Squad’ For Top Juniors

Dunlop Tennis is launching a new program for the U.S.’s top junior players. The “D-Squad” initiative will provide Dunlop tennis equipment and program support to leading junior players (ages 10 to 18) who demonstrate excellence in every element of their game, says the company.

“Players selected for the Dunlop Tennis D-Squad represent the best of the best in their performance on and off the court,” says Fallon Koon, Dunlop’s Junior Tennis program manager. Juniors who want to apply for Dunlop’s D-Squad should email Teamdunlop@dunlopsports.com.

The program will reward juniors ranked in the top 50 nationally, based on quarterly rankings set by the USTA. Qualifying juniors, who must be USTA members, must play a minimum of five sanctioned national tournaments throughout the contract year.

For top-tier juniors, Dunlop says it will provide racquets, travel bags, tennis accessories, and more. Specific product packages will be tailored to individual players’ needs and levels of competitive performance. In addition, D-Squad members will be featured in national media activities and at key events.

“These players are the stars,” Koon says. “And we want to help them reach their full potential.”

PTR, Special Olympics Release Specialized Tennis Coaching Guide

Specialized tennis coaching guide

The PTR and Special Olympics Inc. have collaborated on the new Special Olympics Tennis Coaching Guide. The 40-page spiral-bound book, which includes a CD, is a step-by-step guide for beginner and volunteer Special Olympics coaches to grasp the basics of teaching tennis to the Special Olympics athlete.

“We hope this guide will encourage more PTR teaching professionals to become involved in Special Olympics tennis in their communities,” says Geoff Norton, PTR director of development. “And it will serve as a great resource for those who already are.”

The guide is available free through PTR Headquarters. It can be ordered online at ptrtennis.org or by calling 800-421-6289 or 843-785-7244. PTR is the Official Tennis Training Partner for Special Olympics.

Babolat Launches Ergonomic Grip

Babolat has launched the Smart Grip, which the company says is the first racquet handle shaped to fit the player’s hand. The ergonomic handle places the entire hand in contact with the grip, which Babolat says will provide more power, more control, and more comfort.

“Every part of the tennis racquet has evolved over time — the materials, the shape and size of the racquet head, and even the length of the handle — except the shape of the handle,” says Max Brownlee, general manager of Babolat USA. “This is surprising because all players, regardless of their skill level, consider the racquet as a natural extension of their arm, yet nothing had been done to improve the handle until now.”

Babolat introduced the Smart Grip on two racquets in June: the 112-square-inch Aero Blast and the 110-square-inch Drive Z OS. Both also feature Babolat’s Cortex System for vibration dampening. For more information, visit babolat.com or call 877-316-9435.

Midtown Tennis Club Hosts World’s Largest Cardio Tennis Class

On June 9, 186 players ranging in skill levels from NTRP 1.5 to 3.5 raised their racquets and their heart rates in the world’s largest Cardio Tennis class at Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago. The class was part of Midtown’s patented Tennis in No Time program, offered annually by the club. Twenty-three Midtown professionals hosted the event, led by Butch Staples and Michael Mahoney, Midtown’s head professional and general manager. The club reports that following the class, the players replaced the calories they burned with a buffet dinner and social served by the club.

Midtown Tennis cardio class

Letters

To the Editor:

I enjoyed the “Our Serve” editorial (“Grab Every Opportunity You Can”) in the July issue of RSI. I couldn’t agree with you more on the importance of education for teaching professionals and coaches. The USPTA has 17 divisions that offer educational activities and trade shows that are open to not only our members, but also nonmembers or anyone in the tennis industry, no matter what their affiliation.

As examples, the USPTA Midwest Division does a fantastic job of co-hosting a divisional conference with the high school coaches associations in the Midwest. Their events feature great seminars and speakers. And the USPTA Texas Division holds the Southwest Tennis Buying Show in February and August every year, in conjunction with the USPTA Texas Division annual conference and Mid-Year Meeting. This show, along with the educational offerings, was a great success this past February as there was record attendance at both the conference and Southwest Tennis Buying Show.

This is a great indicator that tennis is growing and with the entire tennis industry working together, hopefully we can continue our growth.

Ron Woods
President, USPTA

To the Editor:

I read “The Soft Sell” in the May issue about transition tennis balls, and the comments throughout the article were great. Tennis, like many things in life, has a difficult time accepting or adopting change.

In USTA Northern California, we believe in the transition balls so much we developed an all-volunteer-based Junior Team Tennis Leagues. The leagues would not be possible without the equipment. We call the program 6-TENNIS and it is being well received. We have 15 spring leagues (over 500 players) in progress or just completed and plan on many more in operation this fall.

Adopting scaled-down versions of tennis and using the games-based approach to teaching is allowing the kids to be successful, be part of a team, play the game almost immediately and create more interest in our sport.

Thanks again for spreading the word about transition balls.

Jim Coyne
Director of Junior Tennis
USTA Northern California

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

HEAD Offers New Cars In Airflow Promotion

One lucky consumer and one plucky retailer will each drive home with a new Chrysler Crossfire sports coupe, thanks to a promotion from Head for its new Airflow racquets.

Until Oct. 15, consumers who demo an Airflow racquet will receive a ticket from the retailer that enters them into the Airflow Demo Program Sweepstakes, making them eligible to win the Crossfire. But Head has two vehicles to give away, and the second one will go to the retailer who has the most consumers demoing the racquets.

Head Airflow Chrysler promotion

In related promotions, Head is also running demo days in 15 markets throughout the summer. The three Airflow frames, designed for women players, were introduced in May. For more information, visit www.head.com/usademoprogram.

Wilson Announces Stringing Partnership with RPNY Tennis

Wilson Racquet Sports has partnered with RPNY Tennis to provide stringing services for select ATP and WTA tournaments throughout 2006. The partnership, which began in March as the exclusive stringer at The Tennis Channel Open, continued through the 2006 Wimbledon Championships as the official stringer for all Wilson and Luxilon players at the tournament.

Wilson will also be the official stringer for the 2006 US Open. RPNY will assist Wilson in providing stringing services for all US Open players, which equates to approximately 3,000 racquets strung during the three weeks of the event.

RPNY Tennis, based in New York, specializes in stringing and customizing for both professional and recreational players.

Former ASBA Chairman Kevin Smith Dies

Kevin F. Smith, a former chairman of the U.S. Tennis Court and Track Builders Association (now the American Sports Builders Association) passed away in April. He was 80.

Smith was a principal in The CourtSmiths of Toledo, Ohio, and active in the tennis and track business. A Certified Tennis Court Builder, he also served as USTC&TBA Tennis division president and ethics chairman. In 2002, he was awarded the association’s Industry Merit Award. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Patricia, seven children, and 22 grandchildren.

Prince O3 Tech Wins Design Award

Prince O3 Engineered Technology has won a Bronze Industrial Design Excellence Award (IDEA) in the Consumer Products category, recognizing it as an outstanding consumer product design for 2006.

Prince O3 design award

“The IDEA Award is given to products that show exceptional design and engineering, and it is a privilege for our company to have been honored with this outstanding award,” says George Napier, chairman and CEO of Prince. “At Prince, we live an ongoing commitment to give consumers an exceptional tennis experience through advanced technology and engineering.”

Decisions for the 2006 IDEA Awards were based upon design innovation, benefit to the user, benefit to the business, ecological responsibility, and aesthetics and appeal. The IDEA competition, sponsored by BusinessWeek and the Industrial Designers Society of America, awarded a total of 499 entries this year. A complete list and analysis of each recipient ran in the June 30 edition of BusinessWeek.

The technology on Prince O3 racquets enlarges the string holes into giant “O-Ports,” which Prince says expands the sweetspot up to 54 percent, allowing for more consistent shots. Top pros Maria Sharapova, Nikolay Davydenko, and Guillermo Coria play with O3 racquets, and the O3 Silver and O3 Hybrid Hornet were named Editor’s Choice winners by Tennis magazine.

For more information, visit princetennis.com.

Bälle de Mätch Is Official Apparel Brand for WTT

Bälle de Mätch has become the official apparel for World TeamTennis. The multi-year agreement includes WTT recreational and junior leagues, and beginning in 2007, the 12-city WTT Professional League. The company will supply uniforms for tournament staffing, ball kids, league directors, and WTT staff.

“[WTT co-founder] Billie Jean King is one of the most dynamic leaders and true innovator for the sport,” says John Embree, Bälle de Mätch co-owner and partner. “I am so inspired by what she has done for tennis and what World TeamTennis has meant to the industry.”

“Bälle de Mätch is always on the leading edge of tennis apparel design and their edgy, non-traditional look fits in well with WTT’s unique brand of tennis,” says WTT CEO/Commissioner Ilana Kloss.

For more information on Bälle de Mätch, call 949-574-7300 or 800-356-1021.

Colorado Club Installs Two Red Clay Courts

Columbine Country Club clay courts

Columbine Country Club near Denver has installed Colorado’s first two American Fast Dry red clay courts. The new clay courts are the final phase of a renovation program involving five other post-tension hard surface courts. L.E. Renner Sports Surfaces of Denver was the general contractor for the project. The clay courts feature a sub-surface irrigation system, says CCC’s head tennis pro, Terry Boyle.

Quickie Donates Tennis Wheelchair to PTR

Sunrise Medical has donated a new Quickie Match Point tennis wheelchair to the PTR, which will use the wheelchair to help able-bodied tennis teaching professionals learn the nuances of the wheelchair game.

Quickie tennis wheelchair

“It is imperative that able-bodied participants in our wheelchair instructing workshops experience the chair firsthand,” says PTR Director of Development Geoff Norton. “Understanding chair mobility, as well as stroke production from a wheelchair player’s perspective, is just not the same without familiarity with the equipment. With this generous donation, PTR can now assure that a sport chair will be available no matter where we conduct these clinics.”

Kathryn McDougal, the Quickie ambassador program manager, and Scott Crosswhite, regional sales director for Quickie, helped organize the donation. Crosswhite and his Quickie team support the annual PTR/ROHO Wheelchair Tennis Championships by supplying a repair tent for the players’ athletic chairs.

Andrew Honored by USPTA Southern Division

Jorge Andrew

Jorge Andrew, the director of operations at the Lexington County Tennis Complex in Lexington, S.C., was named USPTA Southern Division “Alan Henry Tennis Professional of the Year” during the division’s convention at Tunica National Tennis Center and Grand Casino Veranda Hotel in Tunica, Miss., recently.

Andrew is a USPTA Master Professional, President of the USPTA South Carolina Chapter, and Vice President of USTA South Carolina. He also serves on two USTA National Committees and one USTA Southern Section Committee, is the chairman of the National Cardio Tennis Speakers Team, and is a member of the HEAD Penn National Speakers Bureau Team and National Advisory Staff.

Follow the Open at Home

Can’t make it to Flushing Meadows this year for the US Open? You can still get with the program — the 2006 US Open souvenir program, that is. The official tournament magazine contains 256 pages filled with action photos, player bios, inside stories, and more. To order your copy, visit USTAShop.org.

USPTA World Conference Hits Vegas Sept. 18-23

The 2006 USPTA World Conference on Tennis will be Sept. 18 to 23 at the Flamingo Las Vegas. The event also will include a Tennis Buying Show on Sept. 21.

Nearly 1,500 tennis pros, industry leaders, manufacturers, and others are expected to attend. The conference also will offer more than 35 seminars and courses, along with nighttime parties, a silent auction and the USPTA International Tennis Championships.

The agenda, speakers list, and registration information is available at uspta.org or by calling 800-877-8248.

12 Named to USTA Summer Collegiate Team

Twelve of the U.S.’s top college men and women players were named recently to the 2006 USTA Summer Collegiate Team, which is administered by the USTA and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

The team — an elite training program for the top American collegiate tennis players that began in 1996 and is funded by the USTA — is designed to expose players to the USTA Pro Circuit in a team-oriented environment during the summer. The team participated in events in July, coached by Bryan Shelton, women’s head coach at Georgia Tech, and Kent Kinnear, assistant men’s coach at Illinois.

This year’s team includes: Matt Bruch, Stanford; Travis Helgeson, University of Texas; John Isner, University of Georgia; Bryan Koniecko, Ohio State University; Sheeva Parbhu, Notre Dame; Todd Paul, Wake Forest; Audra Cohen, University of Miami; Amanda Fink, University of Southern California; Amber Liu, Stanford; Kristi Miller, Georgia Tech; Lindsey Nelson, University of Southern California; and Anne Yelsey, Stanford.

Lee Tennis to Host Indoor Clay Conference

Lee Tennis, the manufacturer of Har-Tru, will host its Third Annual Conference on Indoor Clay Courts Aug. 28-29, at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. The conference is designed to bring together leading experts to discuss construction and maintenance issues regarding indoor clay courts.

Topics will include the latest research on surface compaction, maintenance tools and techniques, irrigation, and structures. The conference will consist of classroom presentations, panel discussions, and on-court demonstrations. Additionally, attendees will tour several indoor facilities and participate in Q&A sessions with the facility managers and maintenance personnel.

The event is designed for anyone managing, maintaining or considering installing indoor clay courts. For more information, contact Pat Hanssen at 1-877-4HARTRU or phanssen@luckstone.com.

New DVD Series From Annacone, Tennis Mag

Hosted by Paul Annacone, coach of pro Tim Henman and former coach of Pete Sampras, Tennis Magazine’s Tactical Tennis DVD package focuses on identifying and maximizing key tactical situations on court. In each of the four DVDs — Know Your Own Game, Beat the Baseliner, Neutralize the Net-Rusher, and Attack the All-Court Player — Annacone explains tactics and counters for every situation. Also included are 43 drills and practice games for improving match-specific strategy. Individual DVDs are $22.92, or the four-DVD set is $86.95. Visit HumanKinetics.com.

Paul Annacone DVD set

Peoplewatch

Short Sets

Gentle Jaws Stringing Machine Accessory Eliminates String Crushing

Gentle Jaws

Gentle Jaws is a nosecone or “diablo” accessory that mounts easily on any stringing machine to minimize damage to strings caused by slippage through the tension jaws. As described in the Machine Selector Guide in this issue, a nosecone functions as follows: “The string is wrapped around the nosecone before it is put in the tension head, allowing the tension head to grip the string more gently and ensuring the string enters the tension jaws at the the same angle each time.” According to Gentle Jaws developer John Zednick, the accessory “will speed up your stringing and improve the quality of your work. This will lead to more satisfied customers and increased profits.” For more information, contact John Zednick, 919-859-6788.

Classifieds

TENNIS PROFESSIONALS Needed to take a Caribbean Vacation! You work 3 hours per day and receive 5-star all inclusive accommodations for yourself and 1 guest. Contact Denise Cox 678-778-4673; fitbodiesinc.com

FOR SALE: Czech Sports CT750 floor model racquet stringing machine. This machine has been modified with a Wise electronic 2086 linear string puller which never has to be calibrated as it’s self-calibrating. The CT750 has a six point mounting system for most racquets. It includes a foot pedal for the Wise 2086. Tools not included. The original price for the CT750 was $750, Wise electronic linear 2086 string puller was $700 and foot pedal $50. $700 + shipping. Please contact Tom Albert @ 410-757-4728.

FOR SALE: Babolat Star 3: Completely Reconditioned by Tennis Machines Inc. $2500 + Shipping. Please Contact Russ Sheh @ 760-641-3983.

USTA to House Top Juniors, Relocate Player Development

USTA

The USTA has joined with the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla., to provide year-round housing for top junior players for the first time, launching a new era in the program’s mission to develop the next generation of American tennis champions.

Working with the USTA, the Evert Academy will construct a new on-site facility that will serve as the national headquarters for USTA Player Development. The USTA is expected to move Player Developement from Key Biscayne, Fla., to the Evert Tennis Academy by September 2007.

As part of the new arrangement, the USTA will for the first time offer player housing for promising young players aged 14 to 18. The Evert Tennis Academy is run by Chris Evert and John Evert, and features 23 tennis courts, including 14 clay courts and nine hard courts, with 14 courts lighted for night play.

 

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