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New Boris Becker Tennis Brand Debuts
The newest racquet brand is named for one of the game’s all-time great players. The Boris Becker Tennis brand debuted recently with three new racquets and an apparel line. Boris Becker has been a 50 percent owner of Völkl Tennis since 1999, and his new brand will co-exist with the Völkl Tennis brand, says Sean Frost, the managing director of Völkl/Boris Becker Tennis, based in San Diego, the North American distributor for both brands.
“Becker always wanted to have a brand,” says Frost. “As a player, he had a lot of interest and passion for brands and is very brand-conscious. When he became involved in Völkl, part of the collaboration was to be involved in product development and to develop a collection under his name.”
But the two-brand strategy is more than just Becker wanting his own name on a line of racquets, says Frost. “It really came down to activating the biggest asset we have,” he says. “We should be embracing Becker more. He has an incredibly marketable image in tennis.” Frost says the name recognition for Becker among tennis players is tremendous.
“We’ve spent 14 years building a great brand in Völkl, and we don’t want to let go of that,” Frost says. “Völkl will be the tried-and-true brand, and the Boris Becker brand will become the higher end, with more technology, be more fashion-driven and more edgy. That will come through on both the apparel side and the racquet side.”
BB Tennis products will have the “Serveman” logo — a silhouetted image of a man tossing the ball to serve, with knees bent — an image that’s clearly reminiscent of Becker himself during his 15 years on the pro tour.
The three Boris Becker racquets available now are the Becker V1 Midplus, Becker V1 Oversize, and Becker 11. A lighter version of the Becker 11 (295 grams vs. 325 grams) is also available. All racquets, according to Frost, have been co-designed and tested by Becker himself. All the frames have Völkl’s DNX material, which the company says provides stability, precision, and power.
The Becker V1 MP is 102 square inches and weighs 10.1 ounces, with a length of 27 inches. The V1 OS is 110 square inches and 27.6 inches long. Both version have a 16 × 19 string pattern.
The Becker 11 has a 98-square-inch head size and is 27 inches long. The 325-gram version has an 18 × 20 string pattern while the lighter version is 16 × 19. The Becker 11 carries a suggested retail price of $200 and the V1 is $240.
Top Speakers Headline USPTA’s World Conference
The USPTA’s World Conference on Tennis, held Sept. 17 to 22 at Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, Fla., will feature some of the world’s top tennis speakers. More than 35 seminars and four-hour specialty courses will be offered during the event.
Speakers scheduled to appear include Nick Bollettieri, Jack Groppel, Rick Macci, Todd Martin, Kirk Anderson, Emilio Sanchez Vicario, and Anne Smith, sharing their insights on topics from tennis teaching to nutrition to business. About 1,500 tennis professionals and coaches, manufacturer representatives, and media attend the World Conference each year. USPTA members and nonmembers are welcome.
The conference includes several other events, including the International Championships (Sept. 17-20), USPTA division parties (Sept. 18), welcome party (Sept. 19), awards breakfast, buying show and silent auction (Sept. 20), and the National Cardio Tennis Feeding Shootout finals (Sept. 21). Also, on Sept. 21, the USTA will sponsor a High School Coaches Workshop at the World Conference, which will consist of a full day of education that will include team practice information, drills, and more.
For more information, including registration information, visit uspta.com. Audio tapes of previous World Conference seminar presentations are also available in the distance learning center at uspta.com at no charge.
Nex-LvL Inc. Is New Licensee For Head Apparel
Nex-LvL Inc., based in Toronto, is the new North American licensee for Head Tennis and Golf sportswear. The company, which has U.S. sales offices in Traverse City, Mich., is headed by a team of sports apparel industry veterans.
The founder of Nex-LvL is Gidon Fisher, a 35-year textile veteran, inventor, and entrepreneur. Fisher is the inventor of GCool, a patent-pending proprietary fabrication and process that offers moisture-management/breathbility, and anti-microbial and UV protection without the use of chemical treatments. GCool’s “InFiber technology” means that performance attributes remain throughout the life of the garment and can never be washed out, says the company.
Nex-LvL President Robert “Bob” Fenton is the former North American vice president of sales for Prince Sports Group/Benetton Sportsystem. Fenton has more than 25 years of experience representing global brands including Prince, Ektelon, Rollerblade, Nordica, and Hedstrom.
Katie Curry, vice president of marketing and merchandising, was formerly with the LBH Group as vice president of marketing and merchandising and has more than 20 years in the sports apparel business, spanning sales, marketing/promotions, and merchandising.
“Head has been a global sporting-goods icon brand for decades,” says Fenton. “And now, Head Tennis and Golf apparel will reengage with tennis and golf pro/specialty shops in North America that cater to sports enthusiasts who demand cutting-edge fashion coupled with fabrication technology that ‘works and plays’ as hard as they do. Using GCool fabrication as our signature trademark, we will create dynamic fashion-forward sportswear for men, women, and children.”
For more information, or to inquire about distribution, contact Fenton at 231-223-8880 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bryan Brothers Switch to Prince
Top men’s doubles team Mike and Bob Bryan have switched to Prince, after nearly 25 years at Wilson. The 29-year-old twins are now playing with the new Prince O3 Speedport Black, which features customizable stringing options using “string port inserts.”
“Without question, O3 technology is turning a lot of heads on tour,” says Bob Bryan. “The aerodynamic benefits allow us to add some weight to the frame while still generating the racquet-head speed we need. The result is a feel that is just awesome.” At the Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles in late July, the Bryans won the doubles title without dropping a set. For more information, visit princetennis.com.
Bud Collins Moves to ESPN
Veteran tennis journalist and TV tennis commentator Bud Collins, who was dropped by NBC after the 2007 Wimbledon in July, will be on the air for ESPN. Starting this month at the US Open, Collins will report on tennis news for “SportsCenter,” ESPNews, and ESPN Radio. Then starting in 2008, he will appear on ESPN2’s coverage of the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon.
Collins, who also continues as a correspondent for the Boston Globe, was with NBC for 35 years. In his new role with ESPN, he will be reunited with longtime partner Dick Enberg, with whom he worked for 20 years at NBC. Enberg has been with ESPN since 2004. Collins will also be teamed with ESPN commentator Cliff Drysdale.
Babolat Offers New Racquets
Babolat has three new frames available now, the Drive Z 110, Drive Z 118, and Aero 112, designed for club players. The Drive Z 110 and 118 are for players looking for power and maneuverability. Both weigh a light 8.9 ounces and are 27.5 inches long. The 110-square-inch headsize carries a suggested retail price of $199, while the 118 sells for $229.
The Aero 112, with a 112-square-inch head size, weighs 9.1 ounces and is 27.5 inches long. It’s designed for club players looking for a faster swing, more topspin, and a greater balance of power with control, says Babolat. It has a recommended retail price of $219.
All three frames feature Babolat’s Cortex System, designed to filter and dampen vibration. The frames also have Smart Grip, an ergonomic grip that Babolat says offers “optimized contact between the grip and the hand,” resulting in more power, control, and comfort.
For information, visit babolat.com or call 877-316-9435.
Sacramento Captures WTT Title
The Sacramento Capitals defeated the New York Buzz 24-20 in overtime on July 29 to win a record sixth World TeamTennis Championship in Roseville, Calif. The Caps last won the WTT title in 2002. It was New York’s third appearance in the WTT Championship match, only to lose to Sacramento each time.
After opening the 2007 season with two losses, the Caps won 11 of their final 12 matches to advance to the WTT Championship on their home court in Roseville, where they received boisterous support from the more than 4,000 hometown fans who packed the stands for the final. The festive atmosphere even included a pre-match photo with an Elvis impersonator and WTT co-founder Billie Jean King.
Playing for the Capitals were Mark Knowles, Elena Likhovtseva, Sam Warburg and Michelle Larcher de Brito. The team is coached by Wayne Bryan. Rik de Voest of the Buzz won WTT Finals MVP honors.
USPTA Offers New Benefits
The USPTA has launched a new website — highschoolcoaches.uspta.com — to offer resources to high school tennis coaches and others who work with high school tennis teams and players. And, the association is offering free 18-month subscriptions for members to the resource site Tennisplayer.net.
The USPTA developed the High School Coaches Resource Center at www.highschoolcoaches.uspta.com to provide resources that enable coaches to organize effective team practices for large groups. The site supports the “no-cut” tennis team program that has been promoted by the USTA.
“We need to do all we can to provide high school coaches with the tools they need to run effective programs,” says USTA President Jane Brown Grimes. “We are particularly excited about how this can help develop more ‘no-cut’ high school teams.”
The information in the extensive Resource Center comes from many sources, including nearly four years’ worth of TV shows for “On Court With USPTA,” video recordings of both specialty courses and seminars from past USPTA World Conferences, audio seminars, DVD productions from special events, and more. The site is free to USPTA members and available through a subscription for non-members.
The Tennisplayer.net benefit will be found on USPTA members’ personal websites. Tennisplayer.net, founded by USPTA member John Yandell, offers extensive online information and visual resources and has hundreds of instructional articles illustrated with digital photography and video. Those appearing on the site include Nick Bollettieri, Jack Goppel, Jim Loehr, Pat Etcheberry, Robert Lansdorp, Rick Macci, and Allen Fox.
The stroke archives on the site contain more than 20,000 stroke clips that allow viewers to examine frame by frame the technical game of more than 60 top players, including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Justine Henin. Viewers can also discuss the resources in interactive forums.
For more information on these and other benefits, visit uspta.com or call 800-877-8248.
PTR Sets First Mini Symposium in Southern Cal
The PTR will hold its first Southern California Mini Symposium Sept. 9-10 at the SeaCliff Country Club in Huntington Beach. The event, with the theme “Excellence in Teaching,” is open to all PTR and USPTA teaching pros, high school and college coaches, and students who are or will be teaching tennis.
The Mini Symposium will feature presentations by Pam Austin, PTR Master Pro Ken DeHart (below), Dave Hagler, Don Henson, and more. The event opens Sunday afternoon when attendees will watch the US Open men’s final with a discussion afterward, and continues all day Monday with on-court presentations. Cost is $95 for PTR members, $125 for non-members. Discounts are available for high school and college coaches.
For more information or to register, call PTR at 800-421-6289.
Industry Veteran Wakley Joins Fila
Footwear and apparel industry veteran Gary Wakley is the new vice president of footwear for Fila. Wakley will manage a team that is responsible for product management, development, and sourcing, working closely with the Fila design and marketing groups.
Wakley, 58, joins Fila from Prince Sports, where he spent the past three years as senior director of footwear and apparel. In his more than 36 years of experience in the footwear and apparel industry, Wakley has held positions at Endicott Johnson, Bata Shoe Company, Romika, Lotto, and Adidas.
He will be based out of Fila’s New York office and will report to Y.C. Cho, Fila’s president of global operations. Wakley joins Fila USA President Jon Epstein, VP Footwear and Apparel Sales Bruce Fendell, and VP and COO Andrea Greco as the newest members of the company’s senior management team.
Classic Turf Courts Jobs in Aspen
Classic Turf Co. of Woodbury, Conn., will be spending time in the Aspen, Colo., area working on at least eight tennis courts. Two courts will be completely redone with the Classic Turf System, a cushioned sheet-goods surfacing system, while others are existing Classic Turf courts that will be recoated, including four courts installed nearly a dozen years ago.
The two new courts will be at the private Meadowood community. “The existing hard courts have been unusable and closed for two years,” says Classic Turf President Tumer Eren. “We’ll redo the courts with 8mm Classic Turf rubber.”
Four Classic Turf courts at the Aspen Institute, installed 11 years ago by Eren, will be recoated for the first time. “They are extremely pleased with the product, and it’s performed well for them all this time,” says Eren. Two other Classic Turf courts at the Aspen Alps community, installed five years ago, also will be recoated. For more information, visit Classicturf.org or call 800-246-7951.
Dee Henry a ‘Shining Example’
A big thank you to Kristen Daley for her “Your Serve” article “Going the Distance,” in the August issue. She highlighted Dee Henry, women’s tennis coach at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif., and as she so aptly understands, Dee’s willingness to invest in the lives of others is significant. Dee is a shining example of commitment to others that is characteristic of those who serve at Biola. Thank you for noting Dee’s accomplishments.
— Gary A. Miller
Provost & Senior Vice President, Biola University
We welcome your letters and comments. Please email them to rsi@racquetTECH.com or fax them to 760-536-1171.
Tennis Channel Adds Wimbledon to Lineup
Tennis Channel announced a wide-ranging, multi-year deal that in 2008 gives the network telecast rights to Wimbledon. Tennis Channel currently broadcasts the French Open and the Australian Open.
The deal with Wimbledon will bring more than 100 hours of programming to Tennis Channel during The Championships next year and in the weeks leading up to it. Coverage will include a four-hour, nightly prime-time program, “Wimbledon After Dark.”
Tennis Channel will produce all matches it covers at Wimbledon, utilizing the network’s own on-air talent at the tournament grounds.
US Open Prize Money Sets Records
The base purse at the 2007 US Open will top $19.6 million, with the potential to exceed $22.2 million — the largest ever increase to Open prize money. The base purse increased by a record $1 million over last year.
In addition to the $19.6 million, the top three men’s and top three women’s finishers in the US Open Series may earn up to an additional $2.6 million in bonus prize money at the US Open. Both the men’s and women’s Open singles champions will earn $1.4 million, with the ability to earn another $1 million each in bonus prize money based on their performance in the US Open Series. The 2007 Open will be from Aug. 27 to Sept. 9.
Ferris State Partners with Midtown Clubs
The Ferris State University Professional Tennis Management program and Midtown Clubs have announced a partnership in which the Midtown Clubs will identify talented and motivated students from their junior development programs interested in pursuing a career in the tennis industry.
The Ferris State PTM program will educate and train the students through their comprehensive bachelor of science degree program. Upon graduation, the students will enter the industry through Midtown Clubs and facilities across the nation.
Midtown is a leader in upscale athletic club and sports resort management. The company currently operates 13 clubs throughout the U.S. and Canada. Midtown Tennis and Athletic Clubs is one of four divisions of the Tennis Corporation of America. Ferris State University’s PTM program offers a four-year bachelor of science degree in Professional Tennis Management with a choice of a Marketing or Resort Management concentration.
- Fischer player Anna Chakvetadze kicked off the U.S. hard-court season in style by winning two consecutive WTA titles at the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open and Bank of the West Classic. As of early August, Chakvetadze, ranked No. 6 in the world, has won four titles in 2007. She plays with the new Fischer M Pro No. 1 98 racquet.
- USRSA Master Racquet Technicians Lindsay and Craig Willeford donated all the proceeds from the more than 100 racquets strung at TennisExpress during a three-day fundraiser for the Houston Tennis Association’s NJTL Chapter. The fundraiser, “Stringing for NJTL,” was held in conjunction with the HTA’s Championships Junior Major Zone Tournament. Brad Blume, owner of TennisExpress, matched the dollars raised and presented a $1,500 check to the Houston Parks and Recreation Department.
- Tommy Robredo of Spain, playing with a Dunlop Aerogel 3Hundred racquet, won his first ATP singles title of 2007 in early August at the Orange Prokom Open in Poland. It was the fifth career title for Robredo, who is ranked No. 7 in the world.
- Scott Schultz of Big Rapids, Mich., and Bob Love of Lexington, Ky., were inducted into the USPTA Midwest Division Hall of Fame at a ceremony held during the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters tournament in Cincinnati. Schultz is currently the managing director of Recreational Tennis for the USTA. Love, a longtime teaching pro, is a USPTA Master Professional.
- International Tennis Hall of Fame Executive Director Mark Stenning has been awarded Rhode Island College’s 2007 Charles B. Willard Achievement Award. Stenning is a 1978 graduate of the school.
- Construction continues on a new indoor, multi-purpose venue at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., home of the US Open. The new indoor building, scheduled to be completed in time for the 2008 US Open, will feature 12 tennis courts, an expanded fitness center, a full-service pro shop, a US Open superstore, space for the American Tennis Hall of Fame, and more.
- The 15th Annual Advanta World TeamTennis Smash Hits, held Oct. 10 at the Pavilion at Villanova University in Villanova, Pa., will feature music legend Elton John, along with Billie Jean King, Andy Roddick, Lindsay Davenport, and Anna Kournikova. The event will raise money for the fight against HIV and AIDS. More information is at www.wtt.com, and tickets are available by calling 215-981-3346 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com.
- The USTA and Continental Airlines have renewed their US Open partnership through 2009. Continental is the official airline of the US Open.
- The 11 home courts of the World TeamTennis Professional League season, which was played throughout July, were once again DecoTurf courts. The courts were a unique, WTT multicolored design that consisted of a calico pattern featuring blue, green, brown, and maroon.
- The 2008 U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships will move to the River Oaks Country Club in Houston. For the last seven years, the event was held at the Westside Tennis Club in Houston.
- The USTA Player Development group is scheduled to move into its new national headquarters located at the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla., in October. Player Development has been located in Key Biscayne, Fla. The USTA formed an alliance with the Evert Academy in July 2006 to build a world-class training facility for top junior players. The new facility will include a learning center, weight and fitness center, conference center, offices, and dorm-style living arrangements for two dozen players.
For Sale: Silent Partner Aria Electric Stringer. Base clamps upgraded. Also included: string clamps, manual and tools. Working in excellent condition. Please contact Ron Condio at 716-763-0106 or email@example.com - USRSA #31177
HELP WANTED: Full-time position (with benefits) in South Florida. Responsibilities include stringing and customizing: racquet, apparel, and footware sales. Must be computer literate and have clean drivers license. Salary commensurate with experience. Email resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org
New Website for Finding Pros
A new website — TennisLessons.com — launched in April is designed to make searching for local tennis lessons easier for consumers. According to website creator Tomer Grassiany, the site has information on more than 500 coaches or clubs, covering about 200 cities in 20 countries.
Grassiany says the site is receiving about 1,000 unique hits a week. Tennis teaching professionals can post their information for free. For more information, visit the site, or contact Grassiany at email@example.com or 212-995-0654.
Conditioning Guide for Tennis
In “Complete Conditioning for Tennis,” the USTA’s managing director of high performance, E. Paul Roetert, and chairman of national sport science committee, Todd Ellenbecker, share the proven exercises and practice drills that translate directly to optimal on-court performance. This comprehensive book and DVD package features exercises, sample programs, and footwork drills that develop speed, quickness, flexibility, and strength as they relate to tennis. The book ($23.95) covers every facet of conditioning from fitness testing and warming up to designing a program that meets a player’s individual needs and performance goals. The accompanying 90-minute DVD provides visual demonstrations of the most advanced tests and exercises used by the pros. For more information, contact 800-747-4457 or visit HumanKinetics.com.