Tennis Industry magazine

 

Industry News

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Records Point to Momentum for 2008

The USTA says 2007 was one of the strongest years in nearly two decades, as tennis in the U.S. set records in event attendance, television viewership and recreational participation. “From the game’s grassroots to the professional level, we have tremendous momentum heading into 2008,” says Jane Brown Grimes, the USTA’s president and chairman of the board.

Luxilon Launches New Alu Power Spin String

The newest addition to the Luxilon Alu Power string line is the Alu Power 127 Spin, which is available now. Alu Power Spin is a pentagon-shaped version of Alu Power 125, which Luxilon says is the most used string on the pro tour.

Luxilon Alu Power Spin 127

Luxilon says the new string provides a lot of “bite,” which will help to add spin for players of all levels. Alu Power 127 Spin is made with the same poly-ether-ether material found in all Big Banger strings. The new string can be used either as a full set or in a hybrid.

Alu Power 127 Spin is the fourth version in the Alu Power family, which includes the original Alu Power 125, created for players who want a combination of power and control; Alu Power 125 Rough, for players who want a textured surface; and Alu Power 123 Fluoro, with fluorocarbon added for comfort and control.

Luxilon says its Alu Power family is used by more than 60 percent of players on the ATP Tour and 35 percent of players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. For more information, visit luxilon.com.

Prince Website Receives Two Awards

The Prince website, princetennis.com, which was redesigned in early 2007, won two website awards, a Gold W3 award in the sports category and a Sports Standard of Excellence WebAward. Prince partnered with Dallas-based EmediaEFX to redesign the site. The W3 Awards honor creative excellence online and recognize the creative and marketing professionals behind these award-winning websites, while the WebAwards name the best websites in 96 industries.

“At Prince, we are completely into tennis. It is not part of a larger business for us, it is our only business and our website reflects that,” says Linda Glassel, Prince’s vice president of marketing. “We are constantly engaged in conversations with players, coaches and dealers and created this site to meet their specific needs. As a tennis leader we are determined to deliver the best products available and our website, which is the online face of this resurging brand, is no exception.”

Wilson, USTA Extend Open Stringing Contract

The USTA has extended Wilson’s contract as the Official Racquet Stringer of the US Open. The contract extension has given Wilson the exclusive on-site stringing rights through the 2009 tournament.

The Wilson Stringing Team assembles every year in New York to string for the world’s best tennis players during the three-week event in Flushing Meadows. The stringing team is comprised of 14 world-class stringers who fly in from seven countries to string for the Wilson team. In 2007, Wilson had a 15 percent increase in racquets strung (2,726 racquets) over the previous year.

For more information, visit wilson.com.

Garrison, Fernandez Lead Fed Cup Campaign

Former pro doubles partners Zina Garrison and Mary Joe Fernandez will serve as captain and coach of the U.S. Fed Cup Team, respectively, for 2008. In addition, Fernandez will become the U.S. Fed Cup captain in 2009.

Fernandez will work closely with Garrison and the team for the 2008 Fed Cup campaign as she transitions from coach to captain. The La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in La Jolla, Calif., will host the 2008 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinal between the U.S. and Germany on Feb. 2 to 3. The U.S. team will include player Lindsay Davenport, making her first singles appearance in the U.S. since the 2006 US Open.

3 Tapped for Hall of Fame Board

The International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., recently elected Ron L. Fowler of San Diego, Peter Palandjian of Boston, and Mary Ann Saleski of Media, Penn., to serve on its board of directors. In addition, current Hall of Fame board members Constantine “Deno” Macricostas and Peter Hurley have been appointed to the Hall of Fame’s Executive Committee.

Returning to the Hall of Fame’s board to start new three-year terms are Bruce Schilling and William H. Webb. The Hall of Fame also extended honors to Billie Jean King, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987 and winner of 39 Grand Slam titles. King was appointed as a Life Trustee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Split Step Apparel Debuts

Billed as “Tennis Clothes for Every BODY,” newcomer Split Step Apparel was founded by Iris Newsome around her vision of having clothes for women who struggle with size and comfort while seeking high fashion. Newsome says Split Step clothes are “high-quality, fun, and sophisticated in high-performance, breathable Dry Flex fabric in great colors and prints.”

The apparel is designed to appeal to a wide age range and address the needs of an older demographic with accommodating fits grouped according to “Fresh and Flirty,” “Classics,” and “Sassy Seniors,” says Newsome. “The skirts get a half-inch longer with each size and arrange from XS to XL.” There are a number of go-with skirts (with pockets) and tops to choose from. For more information, visit splitstepapparel.com or contact Newsome at 720-200-0930 or iris@splitstepapparel.com.

Prince Pro Shop Opens at AAYTE

Doug Fonte (left), president of Prince Americas, explains the qualities of Prince’s latest tennis racquet to participants in Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis & Education in Philadelphia, at the opening of the AAYTE Prince Pro Shop.

AAYTE teenagers operate the new retail venture, with net profits going back to AAYTE for scholarships and programs. In addition to racquets, Prince accessories and tennis apparel are on sale.

“Thanks to Doug Fonte and Prince, our youngsters are adding entrepreneurship to our other programs of tennis instruction, academics and life skills,” says Tina Tharp, AAYTE executive director. AAYTE was recently named RSI’s 2007 Municipal Facility of the Year.

Longwood Chooses Hinding’s Cushion Extreme

Hinding Tennis Courts of Guilford, Conn., recently completed renovation of the indoor courts at the historic Longwood Cricket Club in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The Longwood covered courts are said to be the oldest indoor courts in the country.

The original surface was a cork floor and played extremely fast. Longwood members were looking to keep the fast surface, but they wanted to add some cushion to the courts. After extensive research and playtesting, Longwood board members chose Hinding’s Cushion Extreme, a poured-in-place rubber system that can be installed both indoors and out.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with our new surface,” says board member Dick Sabin. “Our membership is up and the players love the cushion and speed of play that this surface offers.” For more information about Cushion Extreme, contact Hinding Tennis at 203-453-4117 or visit hindingtennis.com.

Tennis Channel Opens New Operations Facility

Tennis Channel moved its production and operations activity to a new, state-of-the-art facility near its Los Angeles-area headquarters. The move comes in conjunction with the network’s high-definition launch on DIRECTV at the end of 2007.

The new building, located in Culver City, Calif., enables Tennis Channel to create original programming in its own studio environment and with a master control that will accommodate HD simulcast in 2008. The network has utilized the facilities and operations services of FOX Sports since its launch in 2003. The operations infrastructure at Tennis Channel’s new facility also allows for future media platform development and international broadcast growth.

NGI Sports Adds ‘Aussie Clay’ Surface

NGI Sports has introduced Nova’ProAussieClay as part of its Nova’Pro series of tennis court surfaces. The manufacturer says the new surface provides players with a high performance, cost-effective, low maintenance synthetic court surface with play similar to clay, and that it’s well-suited for areas that have severe water restrictions.

AussieClay is similar to a clay court in which sliding is possible, bounce is high, play is slow and it is easy on the player’s body, says NGI. It consists of a clay-type surface using a carpet base. The surface can be installed over concrete, asphalt, or a crushed rock base and is available in terracotta and green with a durable colored in-fill.

“The world’s top players are training for tennis on clay,” says Rick Burke, president of NGI Sports. “Since roughly half of the world’s ITF Futures and one third of the WTA and ATP tournaments are on clay today there is a definite need for more players to play and train on clay. Nova’ProAussieClay is a great option for tennis clubs to provide such a surface.”

Nova’ProAussieClay uses recycled and sustainable elements, and installation does not require the use of heavy construction equipment, says NGI. For more information, call 800-835-0033 or visit ngisports.com.

PBI, Prince Form Agreement

Peter Burwash International has announced that Prince will be the official equipment provider of PBI, to be carried at all international PBI locations and used exclusively by its global staff of teaching professionals.

“The decision to switch and make Prince the official equipment of PBI [after more than 20 years with its former equipment provider] is the result of what we have seen from the resurging Prince brand over the last couple of years,” says Peter Burwash, founder and president of PBI (at right, with Prince’s Doug Fonte). “Like Prince, PBI is tennis obsessed, focused on taking players’ games to the next level and we are most comfortable having our teaching professionals use and recommend Prince products.”

PBI, which was founded in 1975, has more than 85 teaching pros and manages the tennis at more than 50 elite resorts around the world.

Former Star O’Brien Opens Premium Steak Business

Alex O’Brien, former No.1-ranked doubles player and winner of the US Open men’s doubles title in 1999, has made the transition from the green grass of Wimbledon to the tall grasses of the Texas plains. His new company, Littlefield Ranch, offers USDA-Prime Texas steaks to individuals and corporations on the web at littlefieldranch.com.

In 1927, Will O’Brien, Alex’s great-grandfather brought 10,000 cattle to Amarillo, Texas, Alex’s hometown and headquarters for Littlefield Ranch. Alex’s father, Bill, continues the tradition, running Texas Beef, the family’s ranching, farming and cattle-feeding company, which raises more than 200,000 cattle a year.

Alex, a 37-year-old Stanford University graduate and president of Littlefield Ranch, is bringing some of Texas Beef’s quality prime steaks directly to the consumer. All cuts are aged for at least 14 days.

O’Brien’s customers include tennis legend Pete Sampras and sportscaster Rich Eisen. Sampras says that after eating at top restaurants around the globe, “Never have I had a tastier steak than Littlefield Ranch.”

New TennisWorks Offers Business Solutions for Clubs, Retailers

Sports InterActive has launched TennisWorks, a line of business solutions that helps tennis clubs, pro shops and specialty dealers increase their revenue and enhance customer service.

Solutions range from court reservation software and online program enrollment to browsable online product catalogs and string business management. The web-based software can be purchased a la carte or bundled in a package for even more savings.

“Club managers, store owners, and tennis professionals are looking for easy and affordable ways to promote all their products and services,” says Herb Sweren, owner and president of Sports InterActive LLC. “These applications are affordable, easy to use, and help managers accomplish more.”

The individual TennisWorks products include StringWorks, Nike Online Catalog, Online Store, Online Catalog, ContactWorks, PromoWorks, DesignWorks and more.

The all-in-one package for playing facilities, called ClubWorks, is $89 a month (plus a set-up fee). With ClubWorks, tennis directors can manage their facility and increase participation. The package also includes StringWorks, ContactWorks, PromoWorks, DesignWorks and a variety of ways to promote your pro shop.

The package for authorized dealers, called RetailWorks Suite, is $79 a month (plus a set-up fee) and is designed so shop managers can boost sales in-store and/or online. Browsing tools allow website visitors to compile a “Shopping List” for in-store or online purchase — whichever the dealer prefers. The package also includes StringWorks, ContactWorks, PromoWorks and DesignWorks.

Several of the products previously were marketed under the name Tennis Commerce Suite, which TennisWorks has replaced with a fuller product line and more flexible financing. For more information, visit Sports-InterActive.net.

Wilson Promotes 2, Hires 1

Wilson has promoted Cy Dofitas to promotions coordinator, where he will manage logistics for Wilson’s promotional projects. He most recently served as a service account specialist at Wilson.

Dan Davis has been promoted to marketing manager for Wilson tennis balls. Davis most recently served as territory sales manager in the Southwest region.

Adam Schaechterle is the new junior and college tennis manager at Wilson. He’s a recent graduate of Northwestern University, where he was a member of Northwestern’s varsity tennis team. He’ll be responsible for Wilson’s junior sponsored players and college partnerships, including the NCAA and ITA.

Ashaway Offers New AMPS Court Shoe

A new line of racquetball shoes from Ashaway will bear the signature of world champion Jack Huczek. The AMPS (Anatomic Multi-Performance System) line is anatomically molded to the natural shape of the human foot, says Ashaway, and supports the whole foot, not just the ball and heel, increasing comfort and stability, and reducing foot fatigue.

“The new Ashaway AMPS line is an evolutionary design,” says Huczek, who has been wearing Ashaway footwear for some time and was actively involved in the design of the new line. “After I played with them, I was totally convinced they are the right shoe for my aggressive style of play.”

Ashaway AMPS 311M shoes are designed for serious and recreational racquetball, squash and tennis players who want a dynamic look, ultra comfort, and enhanced performance. Built for speed and traction, the AMPS design incorporates wet-grip rubber outsoles, which provide durability and grip, even on wet surfaces, says the company.

The key to the new Ashaway AMPS Series whole foot support system is the combination of the anatomic mid-sole high rebound insert, the ASD (Anatomic Stability Device) inserted into the heel of the shoe, the specially designed dual layer inboard, and the triple layer removable insole, says Ashaway. For more information, contact 800-556-7260, email sales@ashawayusa.com, or visit ashawayusa.com.

Tennis Magazine Lauds Federer, Henin

Roger Federer and Justine Henin were named the 2007 Male and Female Players of the Year by Tennis Magazine in its January/February issue. Federer earned the honor from Tennis for the fifth consecutive year by capturing three more Grand Slams, including his record-tying fifth consecutive Wimbledon title. Despite starting the year with personal issues that forced her to withdraw from the Australian Open, Henin posted a 63-4 record and captured 10 titles, including her third consecutive French Open title, the US Open and the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championship. In the magazine, Pete Sampras wrote about Federer and Billie Jean King wrote about Henin.

The Tennis issue also wrapped up last year in tennis, with a look at memorable “Aces and Faults,” including:

Short sets

Martina Navratilova to Cover Grand Slams For Tennis Channel

Tennis Channel has signed tennis legend Martina Navratilova as primary commentator during all Grand Slam tournaments on the network in 2008. The Hall of Famer and winner of more singles titles than any other tennis player in history, male or female, was scheduled to cover the Australian Open in January and then the French and Wimbledon for the channel.

In May 2007, Navratilova (in photo, surrounded by Tennis Channel personnel Ken Solomon, David Egdes, Bill Macatee and John McEnroe) made her Tennis Channel debut during the channel’s French Open coverage.

“Our approach is what U.S. television audiences have wanted for so long: round-the-clock coverage and the best action from court to court as it happens,” says Navratilova. “I’m really proud of what we accomplished and to be associated with the advances we’re bringing to televised tennis.”

Sharapova Debuts Gold Collection In Australia

Maria Sharapova debuted a new line of on-court bags at the Australian Open, the Sharapova Gold Collection. The bags are designed by Sharapova and produced in partnership with Prince Sports.

“I had the best time taking this collection from initial drawings to final product,” says Sharapova. “They are supreme quality tennis bags and totes designed specifically to meet the needs of players.”

The bag line is available in a six-pack, triple, tote, mini tote and backpack. Made primarily of heavy-duty gold nylon, the outside of the bags also feature accents of black in the strap and quilted black patent leather for the Prince logo. Suggested retail prices range from $50 to $120. Visit princetennis.com.

2-Day Workshops Slated for Cardio Tennis

In 2008, there will be four National Cardio Tennis Workshops, scheduled for Atlanta, Houston, Southern California and the USTA Mid-Atlantic section. The workshops are designed for all Cardio Tennis sites, whether new or experienced in the program.

The two-day workshops cover all topics regarding Cardio, including the standard curriculum, music, heart-rate monitors, games, marketing and special segments such as kids, seniors and starter players. The Atlanta workshop will be April 13-14 at the Midtown Athletic Club at Windy Hill; the Houston event will be May 3-4 at the Houston Racquet Club. Schedules for the other two workshops have not yet been finalized. For more information or to register for these workshops, visit GrowingTennis.com and click on “training/workshops.”

Peoplewatch

2008 GSS Symposium String Symposium Features Natural Gut Seminar

Unless you string with natural gut regularly, the process can be intimidating, even for an experienced racquet technician. The 2008 Grand Slam Stringers Symposium, to be held in October in Orlando, Fla., will feature a natural gut seminar that promises to help stringers at every level of experience.

At the 2007 GSS Symposium, the “Art of Stringing with Natural Gut” seminar was led by Tim Strawn, Richard Parnell and Roger Dalton, each of whom have strung at several Wimbledon tournaments. The three provided interesting insights to working comfortably with natural gut. Dalton of Bow Brand provided an informative behind-the-scenes look at the labor-intensive manufacturing process.

For the 2008 Symposium, the three will be joined by Francis Davies, who has headed up the Bow Brand stringing team at Wimbledon for 13 years. The seminar will include tips, techniques and demonstrations on how to handle natural gut during the stringing process, including weaving techniques to maintain string integrity and tips to make installing gut easy.

This year, the USRSA joins the GSS Symposium as title sponsor. For more information about the Symposium, visit grandslamstringers.com.

 

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