Tennis Industry magazine

 

Industry News

Information to help you run your business.

Nitsche Named GM of Dunlop Racquet Sports

Dunlop Sports Group Americas has appointed Kai Nitsche as general manager of its racquet sports division. Nitsche had previously been with Dunlop for eight years, rising to director of marketing for both the Racquet Sports and Golf Divisions. Most recently, he was the southern regional manager for HEAD Penn Racquet Sports.

“Everyone in the racquet sports industry has the greatest respect for Kai and his abilities,” says Neil Morton, CEO of Dunlop Sports Group Americas. “His hiring is a strategic move that shows Dunlop’s commitment to the growth of the racquet sports brand.”

In addition to growing Dunlop’s national sales teams and customer services, Nitsche will oversee this winter’s launch of the Dunlop Aerogel line of racquets and the continued development of product lines. “Dunlop is committed to its dealers and partners in all racquet sports,” says Nitsche. “We have already taken a number of steps to ensure we are turning out the very best product in the market.”

New ‘String Center’ Software Helps Clubs, Retailers Manage String Business

A new web-based software program called “String Center” promises to help clubs, pro shops, and specialty dealers manage and grow their racquet stringing business.

String Center, which is part of Sports InterActive’s Tennis Commerce Suite, will simplify record-keeping, increase productivity, and increase customers service for what typically is a tennis business’s highest-margin category, according to Herb Sweren, the owner/president of Sports InterActive.

“This is the very first system built for the string business to manage orders and the overall operation,” says Sweren. “Most dealers have been running the stringing operation by keeping track of orders in a notebook. This product automates the process so they can generate more revenue more efficiently.”

With String Center, stringers and managers can create customer profiles to record preferences for string type and tension, print receipts and work orders, view and prioritize jobs, and automate the process of customer reminders, says Sweren.

“I’ve been able to expand my business and make my life easier,” says Ken DeHart, director of tennis at the San Jose Swim & Racquet Club in San Jose, Calif., who uses String Center along with the retail and playing facility components of Tennis Commerce Suite. “You can document things more easily, more professionally, and keep the human touch. String Center is a very efficient way to manage your string business in one place, and our online store carries more physical inventory than I could carry in my shop.”

String Center is a component of Tennis Commerce Suite, which is a full-service software package that creates an online store for tennis retailers and facilities and offers online solutions to increase revenue and customer service. For tennis pro shops signing up for the Tennis Commerce Suite, the “Our Store Online” feature allows customers 24/7 access through a secure shopping cart with tailored branding and messaging, along with a toll-free customer service phone. For clubs and facilities, the “Premium SI Package” provides tools to manage member communications and on-court activities, including online court scheduling, program enrollment, and player matching.

For more information and pricing, contact 410-358-1304 or visit sports-interactive.net.

PTR Schedules 2007 Symposium

The 2007 PTR International Tennis Symposium and $25,000 Championships will be Feb. 17 to 23 at Shipyard Plantation on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

This year’s speakers include Jim Loehr, Tim Mayotte, Pat Etcheberry, Rodney Harmon, Lisa Duncan, Kirk Anderson, Jorge Andrew, and more. Professional Development Courses also are offered during the symposium. There also is a trade show.

Registration starts at $325 and includes presentations, Awards Banquet, Flag Ceremony, Head Dinner Party, Gamma Dinner Party, Kaelin Dinner & Fashion Show, Trade Show admission, Silent Auction, USTA Recognition Breakfast, Closing Ceremony, and portfolio. For more information or to register, visit ptrtennis.org and click on “Upcoming Events.”

Atlanta to Host CTDW in February

One of the most useful industry events for helping to increase tennis participation takes place Feb. 9 to 11 in Atlanta — the USTA’s 2007 Community Tennis Development Workshop.

The educational weekend workshop, under the theme “Working Smart — Working Together,” will be at the Hilton Atlanta Hotel and will feature leading speakers and opportunities to network with peers across the country. Program sessions will consist of Development Area sessions, Professional Skill Development sessions, and On-Court Demonstrations.

Development Area sessions include programs on organizational planning and development, financial management for not-for-profit organizations, marketing/promotions/PR/communications, and participation and programming. Each session will be a combination of instruction from a topic expert as well as peer interaction and case study. The Professional Skill Development and On-Court Demonstration sessions include topics such as time management, project management, on-court drills, and teaching techniques.

In addition, “pre-workshop” sessions are offered on Friday, Feb. 9, at no additional charge. These sessions are designed for specific program areas, including NJTL chapters, Community Tennis Associations, and park and rec programs. The weekend also includes the 2007 Awards Banquet, and an exhibit area.

TDW conference registration starts at $251 for the weekend. The hotel rate for registered attendees is $145 per night. For more information, visit usta.com or email ctdw@usta.com or call 914-696-7205.

USPTA Provides Personal Websites

The USPTA is providing all of its members with personal websites to help them promote themselves and their services.

While personal websites have been available to all USPTA members since 1997, previously members had to request a site and provide all the content to the USPTA, which controlled the site. Now, however, the member will completely control the content, to add and update information as needed.

In this new program, an individual website has already been created for every USPTA member. Members just need to visit usptapro.com and log in, then they can start creating and personalizing their own site. Each site has a home page that can be personalized. There are also pages for a teaching pro biography and information on his or her facility. Other pages are available for events, lesson programs, news, tennis tips, and more. Members can also upload images and a company logo that can be placed on any page on the website.

To find a USPTA pro and visit one of their websites, go to usptafindapro.com.

HEAD Adds to Metallix, Airflow Racquet Lines

HEAD has added two new racquets to its Metallix power series line. Metallix consists of a specially designed matrix of carbon fibers and a crystalline metal alloy that has a grain size 1,000 times smaller than that of a typical metal, says HEAD, which translates into increased strength in a lighter, powerful racquet.

The new Metallix 4 blends power and control and is designed to appeal to players with a medium swing style. The 4 features a 107-square-inch head size, and unstrung weight of 9 ounces. The 115-square-inch, 8.8-ounce Metallix 6 is a power racquet designed for players with a medium to short swing style.

Also new from HEAD is an addition to its women’s Airflow line — the Airflow 1, which is designed for players with a medium to fast swing style. HEAD says the Airflow 1 offers the most control in the line and provides lightweight power, maneuverability, and comfort. The racquet is 99 square inches and weighs 9 ounces.

For more information, visit head.com.

Ashaway Renews Deal with R-Ball Champ Huczek

Ashaway Racket Strings has announced the renewal of its longstanding sponsorship agreement with World Champion racquetball player Jack Huczek. The deal will take Huczek, who has been using Ashaway string since early in his career, into his second decade as an Ashaway Racket Strings sponsored player. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Dunlop Introduces Aerogel Line of Frames

Dunlop has introduced its Aerogel line of racquets, which the company says is designed with “the lightest solid on earth, with a strength 4,000 times its own weight.”

“Dunlop has a reputation for producing some of the finest racquets played by professionals,” says Kai Nitsche, general manager of racquet sports. “Aerogel further enhances our position as a leader in performance technology.” Frames designed with Aerogel, says Dunlop, are strong and stable, allowing for touch and feel for control.

Aerogel, which is nicknamed “Frozen Smoke” because of its lightness and hologram-like transparency, is three times the weight of air, says Dunlop, and is used by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in space missions.

In Dunlop’s Aerogel line, the substance is combined with the company’s Multi Filament (M-Fil) technology to provide stiffening at the top of the frame — to minimize frame movement and create power — and to provide stabilization at the bottom of the racquet head — providing for more player control.

The Dunlop Aerogel 2Hundred is designed for high-performance players with long swings, and it allows for power and spin, says Dunlop. The Aerogel 3Hundred is a control-oriented racquet for high performance/club players.

The 5Hundred is for serious players looking for extra power and playability from a lightweight frame. And the 5Hundred Tour (right) is slightly heavier and stiffer than the 5Hundred.

The line will be in stores in February. A new website launches in January featuring the Aerogel line. Visit dunlopsports.com.

Southern Section Loses Marc Kaplan

Marc Kaplan, the USTA Southern Section’s director of communications and publications, died Oct. 17, after a five-year battle with a brain tumor. Kaplan, who joined the section in 1999, worked tirelessly to generate media publicity and coverage for USTA Southern events. In honor of his work and contributions to tennis journalism, the USTA Southern Section Media Excellence Award has been renamed in his honor, and Kaplan himself is the first recipient of the “Marc Kaplan USTA Southern Section Media Excellence” Award.

“Marc’s courage and fortitude in both his job and his personal battle with cancer has provided inspiration to all of us here at USTA Southern that is impossible to measure,” says Southern Section Executive Director John Callen. “We will miss Marc in so many ways.”

Kloss Elected Chair of Women’s Sports Foundation

Ilana Kloss, CEO of World TeamTennis, has been elected chair of the board of trustees of the Women’s Sports Foundation. In her new role, Kloss will preside over and provide guidance to the trustees and executive committee.

“It’s an honor to be named chair of the board of an organization so important to the lives of physically active girls and women,” says Kloss. “I started my career as a professional tennis player around the same time that the Women’s Sports Foundation was founded. During my career on and off the court, I have experienced firsthand the impact the Foundation has had on the lives of millions of athletic and active women over the past 30 years.”

California, Forida Teams Dominate WTT Rec League Championships

Teams from California and Florida dominated the national championships at the World TeamTennis Rec League National Finals in November, winning eight of 10 division titles. Missouri and New York teams each captured one title at the event, which was held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif.

Forty-eight recreational and corporate tennis teams representing 19 states battled during the three-day event. Teams advanced to the national finals by either qualifying from their respective divisions in six WTT Rec League national qualifying tournaments or by winning their local Corporate League. The weekend kicked off with a clinic hosted by WTT co-founder Billie Jean King. Division winners are:

For more information on World TeamTennis or the WTT Recreational League, visit WTT.com or call 866-PLAY-WTT.

PTR, Playmate Sign Agreement

The PTR and Playmate begin a two-year sponsorship agreement in January that will provide PTR members with 10 percent off the list price on all Playmate products, such as ball-throwing machines and ball mowers.

In addition, Playmate will conduct a new Professional Development Course for the PTR titled “Teaching Today’s Modern Game with a Ball Machine.” The course will be taught by Stan Oley, Playmate’s national sales manager, and will debut at the 2007 PTR International Tennis Symposium, held in February on Hilton Head Island. Playmate will give away a Playmate Smash Ball Machine, a $4,000 value, to one participant at the course.

For more information, visit playmatetennismachines.com or ptrtennis.org.

Centre Court Tennis Offers ‘The Tennis Court Hat’

Centre Court Tennis has introduced a line of hats that promotes the game of tennis. The Tennis Court Hat features an embroidered emerald green “centre court” that forms a vivid design on a brushed-cotton twill cap. The hat is available in a variety of colors. To order, or for more information, call 888-TENNHAT (836-6428) or email tenniscourthat@aol.com.

USTA staff tours Penn plant

USTA staff took a tour of the Penn ball plant in Phoenix in early November. USTA national and section staff were in Phoenix for five days for staff training.

TCA Re-Brands as Midtown Athletic Clubs

Chicago-based TCA Holdings, a leader in upscale athletic club and sports resort management, has renamed its largest division Midtown Athletic Clubs. The company currently operates 13 Midtown clubs throughout the U.S. and Canada, including the Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago, which recently won RSI’s “Private Facility of the Year” Award.

“As the health club industry matures, it will continue to divide into various segments based on price, facilities, and service,” says Steven Schwartz, president and CEO of TCA Holdings. “Our re-branding efforts reinforce our position as the leader of the upscale niche. Having one strong brand allows us to better communicate our special attributes to our members, as well as develop new product standards that continue to redefine upscale athletic clubs and sports resorts.”

As part of the re-branding effort, Midtown Athletic Club will invest tens of millions of dollars to expand and renovate its facilities, as well as develop innovative health, fitness, and sports programming designed to keep members “fit for life.” For more information, visit tcaclubs.com.

Delray Event to Test New ATP Round-Robin Format

The Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, held Jan. 28 to Feb. 4 at the Delray Beach (Fla.) Stadium and Tennis Center, will be the first of five U.S. ATP tournaments to test a new singles round-robin format for the 2007 season. The Delray event has been awarded a 32-player round-robin draw that the ATP says will be a new element of excitement to players and fans.

“It’s exciting for Delray Beach to open the 2007 tennis season in the U.S. by rolling out this new round-robin format,” says Mark Baron, the tournament director. “We’ve been discussing creative ways to make our sport even more exciting and this format delivers a chance to test some of those ideas.”

The new format will extend the tournament to eight days — and from 11 to 13 sessions. “This system will ensure each player gets at least two matches in a particular city, and will allow for more scheduling to be done in advance,” says Mark Young, ATP Americas CEO. “We’ve enjoyed success with this format at the Tennis Masters Cup, and we look forward to seeing it in practice at other ATP events during 2007.

PTR Announces New Director of Education

Myles Williams is the new director of education for the PTR. Previously, he was the PTR’s education advisor.

Williams, a psychology instructor at Central Carolina Technical College in Sumter, S.C., will oversee PTR’s education programs on a part-time basis from his home office. He will be responsible for the content of new workshops and courses, as well as for educational materials published by PTR.

Among other things, Williams will oversee PTR’s new web-based education, revise PTR educational materials, and serve as staff liaison between PTR and the Master Professional Committee. He is a PTR clinician and tester, and a former full-time staff member.

Luxilon Selected as Stringer For WTA Season-Ending Championships

Luxilon, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of specialty monofilaments, was selected as the Official Stringer of the Sony Ericsson Tour Championships in Madrid, Spain. At the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships held from Nov. 7 to 12, 2006, Luxilon offered on-site stringing services for all WTA Tour players.

“The selection of Luxilon to provide stringing services to this prestigious event underscores the dominance of Luxilon strings in professional tennis, and we feel this is a tremendous opportunity for both parties,” says John Lyons, Wilson’s Global Business Director of Accessories. Earlier in 2006, Luxilon and Wilson Sporting Goods announced an agreement making Wilson the exclusive worldwide distributor of Luxilon tennis strings.

ITA Names Small-College Winners

Embry-Riddle’s (Fla.) Mislav Hizak and Fresno Pacific’s (Calif.) Jelena Pandzic rolled to the singles titles at the 2006 Intercollegiate Tennis Association “Super Bowl” of Small College Tennis at the Florida Gulf Coast University Tennis Complex in Fort Myers, Fla.

In addition, men’s and women’s doubles champions were crowned in all four divisions at the 2006 ITA National Small College Championships:

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January-September 2006

Best-Sellers

1. Prince O3 White (MP) $187
2. Babolat Pure Drive Team (MP) $161
3. Wilson N Six-One 95 (16×18) (MS) $161
4. Prince O3 Blue (OS) $220
5. Prince O3 Silver (OS) $236

“Hot New Racquets” (Introduced in the past 12 months)

1. Prince O3 White (MP) $187
2. Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet (MP) $161
3. Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet (OS) $163
4. Wilson N Pro Open (MP) $167
5. Babolat Pure Drive Roddick (MP) $170

(Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

Tennis Racquet Performance

Specialty Stores, January-September, 2006 vs. 2005

Units 2006 613,684
2005 552,445
% Change vs. ‘05 11%
Dollars 2006 80,948
2005 76,643
% Change vs. ‘05 6%
Price 2006 $132
2005 $139
% Change vs. ‘05 -5%

(Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January-September 2006

1. Adidas Barricade IV $102
2. Nike Air Max Breathe 2 $93
3. Prince T 10 $82
4. Adidas Barricade II $82
5. Nike Air Max Breathe 3 $97

(Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

Top-Selling Tennis Strings at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January-September 2006

1. Prince Synthetic Gut Duraflex
2. Wilson NXT
3. Wilson Sensation
4. Prince Lightning XX
5. Luxilon Alu Power

(Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

College Coaches Honored by USTA, ITA

Wichita State University Director of Tennis Chris Young has been named the national winner of the USTA/ITA Community Service Award and Lehigh University men’s and women’s tennis coach Dave Shook is the national winner of the USTA/ITA Campus Recreation Award. They were honored in December at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Coaches Convention in Florida.

The Service Award honors an ITA coach for significant contributions in developing community-based tennis programs through community centers, schools, parks, community tennis associations, inner city, suburban or rural programs. The Campus Recreation Award honors an ITA coach who has done an outstanding job implementing recreational tennis programs on campus in an effort to grow tennis participation.

“Dave and Chris are great examples of coaches who give back to their communities and campuses and our hope is that their efforts continue to inspire other varsity coaches to emulate the great work they are doing,” says ITA Executive Director David A. Benjamin. The national winners were selected from a group of USTA sectional winners. Young is from the Missouri Valley Section and Shook is from Middle States.

Other sectional winners of the Community Service Award are: Eastern — Russell Crispell, Univ. at Buffalo; Florida — Dwayne Hultquist, Florida State; Intermountain — Nicole Kenneally, Univ. of Colorado; Mid-Atlantic — Cinda Rankin, Washington & Lee Univ.; Middle States — Jim Holt, Gwynedd-Mercy College; Midwest — Frank Barnes, Univ. of Wisconsin-Whitewater; Missouri Valley — Chris Young, Wichita State Univ.; Northern — Scott Larsen, St. Benedict; New England — Jeffrey T. Wyshner, Fairfield Univ./Univ. of Akron; Northern California — Marc Weinstein, Mills College; Pacific Northwest — Lisa Hart, Washington State Univ.; Southern — Billy Pate, Univ. of Alabama; Southern California — Paul Settles, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges; Southwest — Lancy Lan-Shi Carr, GateWay Community College; Texas — Cari Groce, Texas Tech.

Other sectional winners of the Campus Recreation Award are: Eastern — Ira Miller, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ.; Middle States — Lori Sabatose, Clarion Univ.; Midwest — Al Wermer, Univ. of Toledo; Missouri Valley — Chase Hodges, Drake Univ.; New England — Chuck Kinyon, Dartmouth College; Pacific Northwest — Gail Patton, Southern Oregon Univ.; Southern — James Cuthbertson, Johnson C. Smith Univ.; Southern California — Paul Settles, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges.

Classifieds

FOR SALE: Prince/Ektelon Neos 1000 with Wise USA 2086 tension head. Four years old, home use only, and as new condition. Includes tools, manuals, and shipping cartons. Available for inspection and pickup in Southern California $1,350. Please contact Carl (760) 727-7455 or crlwlms@netscape.com

FOR SALE: Babolat Star 3 Stringing Machine. Completely reconditioned by Tennis Machines Inc. Serial #10971/MFG. Date 8/9/89. Very Good Condition. $2800. Contact Russ Sheh 760-318-0580.

Texas Largest Tennis Store Seeking Additional Stringers – Large Daily Volume. We can keep you busy stringing full time or provide part-time sales with part-time stringing. We have 2 Babolat Star 5 machines and a Babolat RDC machine. Come grow with us. Join Our Team. Send resume to: Armen@TennisExpress.com or fax to 713-781-1237.

USPTA Names Winners of Hard Court Chps.

Oren Motevassel of Alpharetta, Ga., claimed the men’s open title and Julie Cass of Austin, Texas, won the women’s open title at the $8,000 USPTA Hard Court Championships recently. Cass, who beat Michelle King of Austin in the singles final, then joined with King to win the open doubles title.

The competition featured more than 30 of the top men and women tennis-teaching professionals in the country. Final-round results are:

The tournament was the last for the year in a series of four national tournaments on several court surfaces that the USPTA offered to its members as part of the USPTA National Surface Championship Series. USPTA members are eligible to participate in any of the competitions and the International Championships. For information, contact 800-USPTA-4U or visit uspta.com.

HEAD Brings Metallix to Squash

HEAD brings its Metallix technology of carbon fibers and new crystalline metal alloy to squash with the new Metallix 150 squash frame. Designed for power, the ultra-stiff racquet also features HEAD’s Flexpoint technology. For more info, visit www.head.com

USRSA Adds New Salesperson

Christina Kaus has joined the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association as the advertising and membership salesperson for both the association and for Racquet Sports Industry magazine. Kaus joins the sales team that includes John Hanna, advertising sales director, and Cynthia Sherman, apparel advertising sales.

Kaus’s sales responsibilities will include advertising in the Stringers Digest and the Industry Resource Guide in RSI. Kaus will also be responsible for selling USRSA memberships, Master Racquet Technician and Certified Stringer certification, instructional tools, and all of the other publications and supplies that the USRSA produces.

“We’re excited to add Christina to our team. Her extensive experience in sales and customer service as well as her passion for the game of tennis make her a perfect fit for this new position,” says David Bone, executive director of the USRSA and co-publisher of RSI.

Tecnifibre Adds Frames to Elite Series

New for January is Tecnifibre’s TFlash 310 and an upgraded TFeel305, both part of the company’s Elite Series of frames. The new racquets are offered in two string patterns, 18×20 and 16×19.

Current frames in the Elite Series are the TFight 335 and TFight 320, which both also are available in two string patterns. “We’re targeting the frequent/tournament player who has discerning criteria for the racquet’s performance,” says Paul Zalatoris, general manager of Tecnifibre USA. “We are providing ‘customized’ options with our line offering of racquets.”

For more information, visit tecnifibre.com, email sales@tecnifibreusa.com, or call 877-332-0825.

PE4life Announces Growth Plan

The new PE4life Board of Directors has announced its three-year plans for PE4life to expand its PE4life Academies to 25 locations. These state-of-the-art PE training facilities will educate and help establish almost 3,000 PE4life Programs or schools through the U.S., which is expected to teach a new, contemporary PE program to over 7 million children by 2009.

“Our PE4life Academies are training hundreds of PE instructors, teachers, and community administrators on how to implement quality PE programs,” says Chairman Tom Fox. “Research conducted at PE4life Programs has shown we are improving the fitness levels in children, reducing disciplinary actions in schools and, with new research, increasing academic results as well. It is time to expand and let our PE4life Academies reach their potential.”

PE4life Founder Jim Baugh, a longtime tennis industry veteran who served as TIA president and USTA board member, says PE4life will look both within the sports world and outside for future support and partnerships. “We will have almost 3,000 sites or schools to promote partner products,” says Baugh. “And, we can influence over 7 million children through these PE4life Programs.”

For more information, contact 816-472-7345 or email info@pe4life.org.

Short Sets

TSRs Visit 9,000 Facilities

Mark McMahon, the USTA’s manager of Tennis Service Representatives, reports that through the first nine months of 2006, the 90 TSRs made 9,302 facility visits, an average of more than 1,000 a month, and met more than 33,000 personnel. Each TSR averaged 16 visits per month, for about 143 per TSR for the nine months.

About 26 percent of all TSR visits were at tennis clubs, 22 percent at schools, 21 percent at park and rec facilities, 10 percent at Community Tennis Associations, 7 percent at program delivery or service organizations, 3 percent at NJTLs, and 12 percent to other tennis-related organizations.

The average customer service rating for the visits, says McMahon, is a 4.71 out of 5.00.

For a Good Cause

At the recent Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, about $40,000 was raised for ACE (Assisting Children Everywhere), the partnership between the ATP and UNICEF, through donations made for aces served on court, silent auctions, and sales of the Feder-bear Beanie Baby. Visit atptennis.com.

TennisTunes.com Launches with Federer, Roddick, Sharapova Songs

Singer and songwriter John Macom of the Hoboken, N.J.-based band “Binge” has launched tennistunes.com, a website devoted to his music inspired by the world of tennis. Macom — noted for his musical contributions to TV shows such as “Dawson’s Creek,” “Party of Five,” “Felicity,” and “American Embassy” — has original songs about Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, and other pros available for download for $1.30 each.

“International tennis is a fascinating and exciting sport full of personable and charismatic stars that have provided me with plenty of musical inspiration,” says Macom. “I’m excited that through the world-wide web, I’m able to share my music with all who find it entertaining.”

TTC Adds, Shifts Personnel

Recent personnel moves at The Tennis Channel include two new marketing executives and a number of promotions.

Neil Roberts is the new director of marketing and Lauren Leder is the director of on-air creative. In addition, Kate Varley was promoted to director of short-form content and special projects. All three will report to Faye Walker, the vice president of marketing.

Also, the TTC promoted four in its distribution and production departments: Eric Turpin is the new vice president of distribution, Eastern region; Laura Hockridge, executive producer, series and specials; Heath Woodlief, producer; and Michelle Hanchaikul, associate producer.

In other news, the TTC has partnered with Bellrock Media to market and distribute the mobile game Turbo Tennis, which is available for download on major cell-phone carriers for $5.99 by sending the text message “TURBO” to “TENIS” (83647).

Klip to Distribute Völkl Racquets

Effective Jan. 1, Völkl Tennis GmbH will use Klip America as its distributor in the U.S. Inquiries should go to Benny E. Neumann, Klip America’s marketing and sales coordinator, at 866-554-7872, fax 720-559-3253 or email benny@klipamerica.com.

Peoplewatch

Prince Adds New Strings, Grips

Prince Sports has come out with new strings and grips designed to satisfy all types of players, and with packaging that’s color-coded so customers find exactly what they’re looking for.

The new strings are the Synthetic Gut Multifilament 16 and 17 gauge, part of the “playability series”; Tournament Poly in 16 and 17 gauge, part of the “durability series”; and Synthetic Gut Poly Blend, with 17-gauge tournament poly mains and 16-gauge synthetic gut Duraflex crosses, in the “durability series.”

According to Prince’s Dave Holland, more than 10 million sets of Prince Synthetic Gut string has been sold since its introduction in 1991.

Prince has also segmented and color-coded its grips into four categories: tacky, absorbent, traction, and cushion. The new grips are the DuraPro+ (tacky), DuraPerf+ (absorbent), DuraTred+ (traction), and DuraRib+ (traction). Currently in the line is the Cushion Fit grip, which is in the “cushion” segment.

Packaging for the grips, which have photos of Prince pros Maria Sharapova and James Blake, includes information on the “triple-tier” construction, which Holland says will improve tack level and add life to the grips. There is also a sample of the actual grip for customers to feel. Suggested retail prices for the grips are $8.99.

Also, Prince offers a new, modular grip display that can be hung off a hook or attached to a slatwall, and it features the Dura grips, Cushion Fit grips, and No Sweat! overgrips.

For more information, visit princetennis.com.

ITA, USTA Honor College All-Stars

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association and the USTA honored the best from the 2006 collegiate season at the USTA National Tennis Center. The ITA Collegiate All-Star team recognized the nation’s top-ranked men’s and women’s tennis players from the season-ending Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings at the NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and NJCAA levels, as well as champions from the 2005 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships and 2006 NCAA Championships.

This year’s women’s All-Stars are Miami’s Audra Cohen, Florida’s Diana Srebovic and California’s Suzi Babos in D-I singles; Stanford’s Alice Barnes and Anne Yelsey, Miami’s Melissa Applebaum and Cohen, and Northwestern’s Cristelle Grier Fox and Alexis Prousis in D-I doubles; Armstrong Atlantic State’s Luisa Cowper in D-II; Washington & Lee’s Emily Applegate in D-III; Fresno Pacific’s Jelena Pandzic in the NAIA; and Broward’s Marta Simic in the NJCAA.

On the men’s side, the All-Stars are UCLA’s Benjamin Kohlloeffel, Georgia’s John Isner and Miami’s Luigi D’Agord in D-I singles; Illinois’ Kevin Anderson and Ryan Rowe, Pepperdine’s Scott Doerner and Andre Begemann, and Ohio State’s Scott Green and Ross Wilson in D-I doubles; Drury’s Mattias Oddone in D-II; Bates’ Will Boe-Wiegaard in D-III; Embry-Riddle’s Mislav Hizak in the NAIA; and Temple’s Damian Johnson in the NJCAA.

Also honored were Megan Moulton-Levy of William & Mary and Jonathan Stokke of Duke, who were recognized with the ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Awards.

Fischer Tennis Has U.S. Distributorship

Fischer Tennis is now distributing racquets from its Fischer Sports USA headquarters in New Hampshire.

Fischer, which is privately owned and based in Austria, produces “tournament-player” frames, says Brian Hunter, the U.S. national sales manager for Fischer Tennis, who’s been with the company for a year. Pros Marcos Baghdatis, Dominik Hrbaty, and Meghann Shaughnessy use Fischer frames, as does about 10 percent of ATP and WTA top 100 players, says Hunter. “It puts us on the map as a player’s racquet.”

The company introduced three frames at the end of the summer, the Magnetic Tour and the Magnetic Vision and GDS Vision, both designed for women players. “In 2007, we’re really looking to bring the Magnetic Speed series to the forefront in the U.S. market,” says Hunter.

Fischer Sports, whose U.S. division is headed by President Dave Auer, is one of the top ski manufacturers in the world. Its Fischer Advanced Composite Components division produces lightweight components for the automotive and aircraft industries. “It’s an innovation and technology company,” says Hunter.

Contact: Fischer Sports USA, 60 Dartmouth Drive, Auburn, NH 03032; 603-314-7110 or 800-844-7810; fax 603-314-7124; email info@fischertennisusa.com; fischertennisusa.com.

IBM, Heineken Renew US Open Sponsorships

IBM and Heineken have renewed their partnership agreements for the US Open.

IBM will continue as the “Official Information Technology Solution Provider” of the US Open and also will continue as one of six USTA Corporate Champions. The multi-year deal continues through 2009, and will make IBM a 16-year sponsor of the US Open.

Heineken USA, the nation’s largest beer importer, extended its agreement with the US Open through 2010. Heineken, the “Exclusive Beer Sponsor,” is in its 15th year of sponsorship.

 

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