Information to help you run your business.
Former Tour Pro Joins Wilson
Former professional player Tracy Almeda-Singian is the new grassroots promotions manager for Wilson Sporting Goods. Almeda-Singian was most recently the head pro at the Kiwi Tennis Club in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. She will be based in Chicago.
“I’m looking forward to being part of the Wilson team,” Almeda-Singian says. She has been at Kiwi since 2002. Almeda-Singian played professionally on the WTA Tour, and was ranked among the top 160 in the world.
While at Kiwi, Almeda-Singian created and ran two charity events: The MIMA Foundation USTA Pro Tennis Classic and the Rally With Roddick event. The last MIMA event raised $90,000, and the Roddick event raised more than $300,000, she said.
Olympus Is New Title Sponsor of US Open Series
The USTA and Olympus America Inc. signed a six-year deal in January that will make Olympus the first-time worldwide title sponsor of the US Open Series and a US Open Corporate Champion. The deal represents the most comprehensive sponsorship partnership in Olympus’ history, officials said.
Olympus is now the first title sponsor of the US Open Series — the eight-week North American summer season linking 10 tournaments to the US Open. The Series will now be renamed the “Olympus US Open Series.”
Under the deal, Olympus will be integrated into all television broadcasts of the Series and will receive prominent on-court presence at all Series events as well as at the US Open. The Series currently receives more than 75 hours of live national television on ESPN, CBS and NBC, with an additional 100 plus hours of coverage on Tennis Channel.
“This new partnership represents another milestone for the US Open Series and the sport of tennis in North America,” said Arlen Kantarian, the USTA’s CEO of Professional Tennis.
As part of the partnership, the US Open Series Bonus Challenge, which tracks the weekly standings of players in the race to qualify for bonus prize money at the US Open, will be renamed the “Olympus US Open Series Challenge.”
Bälle de Mätch Moves to Chicago, Names CFO
Tennis apparel brand Bälle de Mätch recently moved from Southern California to Chicago in order to better service its increasing customer base, says the company, adding that over the last three years, sales have nearly quadrupled.
The company has also named industry veteran Paul Zalatoris as its new CFO. Zalatoris, who’s been in the tennis business for nearly 20 years, spent most of his career at Wilson. Most recently, he was the general manager for Tecnifibre USA.
“Paul is a real asset to Bälle de Mätch because of his industry experience and his strong financial and operational background,” says Bälle de Mätch co-owner and partner John Embree. “I am delighted to have my former colleague on our team as we relocate our operations and implement our aggressive growth plans for the future.”
“This is a great opportunity to be a part of a young, progressive company that’s willing to make the investment in order to grow,” said Zalatoris, who will work from the new headquarters in downtown Chicago. The company’s distribution center is in Naperville, Ill. Visit balledematch.com for more information.
Join the TIA Retail Sales Tracking Panel
Each month a panel of key tennis retailers provides the TIA with important sales data to help manufacturers keep track of retail sales trends. Their data is confidential and is only used to build a national sample.
The members of this important panel receive reports that compare their sales to the national panel, plus other important and useful reports. There is also a financial incentive if you meet the criteria to be a panel member. To become a member of the panel, contact Maggie Lawliss at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 802-372-9994.
HEAD Delivers Performance Shoes
Head’s launch of its new performance footwear “has exceeded all of our expectations,” says Greg Mason, senior business manager for HEAD Penn.
“We planned on starting small, and in the first two months of pre-booking, we’ve already booked more than we originally planned for the entire year,” Mason adds. “The retailer response has been very positive about the product, and retailers are just as excited about the approach that fits their business needs.”
The line has three models: Prestige ($109.99 retail), Extreme ($99.99) and Tour ($79.99). All models are available to retailers at once.
Mason says the Head footwear program supports retailers in a number of ways, offering these key elements:
- 24-hour turn-around time on all fill-in orders.
- The shoes are only available at pro specialty retailers and authorized specialty retail sites.
- Second-day air shipping on fill-in orders.
- Guaranteed to be in-stock — free shipping on any back-ordered product.
- Guaranteed to be in-line for one full year.
- Strong point-of-sale support.
- A seeding program designed to drive sales through key influencers.
The new performance tennis shoes also include features like a Comfort Grid cushioning technology, a “Climate Control” cooling system, and a radial and hybrasion outsole with a six-month durability guarantee. For more information, contact 800-289-7366 or visit head.com.
Unique, Babolat Settle Grip Dispute
Unique Sports Products says the Tourna-Grip Light Blue Color is now an indisputable USA trademark. Babolat and Unique Sports recently settled a five-year legal dispute, and Babolat, along with all other racquet manufacturers, acknowledge the Tourna Grip Light Blue Color trademark, says Gene Niksich, president of Unique Sports Products.
The unique Light Blue Color for Tourna Grip has been used and recognized by consumers and professionals since 1977, Niksich adds. For more information, visit uniquesports.us or call 800-554-3707.
Prince Launches Online Promotions
Prince has launched two new online promotions designed to give players and fans the chance to win a host of free products and prizes, including the company’s newest O3 performance racquets, its Recoil string, and a Nintendo Wii gaming system complete with custom Prince Wii tennis racquets.
Prince is giving away prizes every week throughout the year. To enter either the “Click to Win” or “Show Us Your O Face” contest — or both — go to princetennis.com. (No purchase necessary to enter.) The “Show Us Your O Face” promotion, in which players send in photos of themselves for a chance to win, will showcase images of fist-pumping players from tennis courts around the world.
DTL Enters Apparel Market
Houston-based DTL Down The Line Sportswear Inc. has launched a line featuring coordinating separates in six styles of tops and three styles of skirts. DTL says its goal is to blend high-performance fabric and styles in tennis and fitness apparel for women and juniors, but without the high price tag, and without sacrificing individualized customer service.
Manufactured in the U.S., DTL’s “Performance Court Couture” will be sold through the website at dtlsport.com and through the company’s Courtside Representative program. DTL was founded by Carla Hilbig.
USPTA Sets Certification Exams
The USPTA has scheduled more than 140 teaching pro certification exam dates nationwide in 2008. The exam includes an on-court evaluation of tennis strokes and playing skills, stroke and grip analysis, private and group lesson instruction, and other skills needed in the tennis-teaching profession. The exam also includes a two-hour written test covering teaching, playing and business management skills, rules, club activity programming and other topics.
The exam process also offers a Certification Review Course that covers test topics. The course is also useful to current USPTA members who wish to review specific exam areas before upgrading their certification ratings. CRC topics include student psychology, developing student rapport, class organization, lesson progression and a review of teaching techniques.
To view the full schedule, visit uspta.org. Advanced registration is required. To register for an upcoming exam or for more details, contact 800-877-8248 or email@example.com. The total fee for the exam and CRC application is $175, plus prorated USPTA membership dues.
USPTA Pros Raise Nearly $7 Million for Charity
In 2007, USPTA teaching pros raised $6.8 million for charity through the association’s Lessons for Life program. “Our goal was $5 million, so our members really went above and beyond to raise money,” says Paula Scheb, Lessons for Life chairwoman and director of tennis and fitness at Bonita Bay Club in Bonita Springs, Fla. A variety of charities benefit each year from the USPTA’s Lessons for Life program, including the American Cancer Society, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Scripps Stevens Cancer Center, and many other national and local charities.
“Our members have truly demonstrated that giving to worthwhile charities is a high priority and something they take very seriously,” says Scheb, secretary/treasurer of the USPTA national board of directors.
Lessons for Life became USPTA’s national charitable program in 1999. The USPTA and its members have raised about $32 million since the program’s inception. Through this program, the USPTA encourages its members to use tennis as a vehicle to help others through fundraisers and other activities in their communities.
USTA Foundation Offers Online Giving
The USTA Tennis & Education Foundation, the philanthropic and charitable entity of the USTA, now offers an easy way to access information and support the Foundation’s mission to use tennis to help children pursue their goals and dreams. A new website, foundationgiving.usta.com, allows visitors to make donations and to find out more about the foundation.
“We are thrilled to be offering people a more convenient method of learning about and supporting our programs,” says Karen Martin Eliezer, executive director of the USTA T&EF. “We still welcome the traditional payment methods, but we also realize that online giving will help increase our donor base as well as donations for all of our programs.” All donations are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.
Established in 1994, the USTA Tennis & Education Foundation promotes — through tennis — educational excellence, good citizenship and self-improvement to at-risk and other special needs youth. The Foundation awards hundreds of scholarships and supports new initiatives that reach out to inner-city youth. It also supports community tennis programs that link tennis with education.
WANT TO BUY: 4-3/8 Wilson Hammer 6.2/110 (Dual Taper Beam) in good shape. Pay $30/$50 firstname.lastname@example.org H(956)-421-2886 C(956)-605-5300 (If other# busy.)
FOR SALE: Babolat Star 4 Stringing Machine. Excellent condition, $2000 plus shipping. Contact Chip @ 505-266-2572 or 505-299-8085
FOR SALE: Babolat Star V Stringing Machine, 6 months old with extended 5 year warranty. $2800 plus shipping. Contact Chip @ 505-266-2572 or 505-299-8085
FOR SALE: Brand New Four Court Tennis Structure “Bubble” — still in original packaging — Brand New 4 court Tennis Bubble. Manufactured by Membrane Structure Solutions. Zoning prohibited us from using this bubble. Our loss is your gain. 2008 bubble prices range from $375,000–$450,000. Our bubble is on sale for $345,000 obo, which includes free delivery and free installation. Price includes all doors, the blowers, lighting, cables, all hardware, and heating unit. Please call if you have any questions. I will be glad to discuss the particulars of this structure with you. Jim — 615-812-1590
Outback Champions Series Adds 2 Events
The Outback Champions Series has added events in Arizona and the Cayman Islands to its 2008 schedule. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Championships at Surprise, Ariz., joins The Residences At The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships as the newest events on the schedule, which now features eight tournaments.
The 2008 Outback Champions Series schedule is as follows:
- March 12-16, Naples, Fla.
- April 16-20, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
- April 30-May 4, Boston
- Aug. 13-17, Newport, R.I.
- Sept. 24-28, Charlotte, N.C.
- Oct. 22-26, Dallas
- Nov. 5-9, Surprise, Ariz.
- Nov. 18-22, Dubai, U.A.E.
2008 GSS Symposium
Starting a New Business?
Starting a new business can be intimidating. You have an idea. You have the knowledge. You have the desire. But how do you put things in motion? Maybe you’ve already started a business, but how do you to take it to the next level?
If you find yourself in either position, the “Garage to Store Front” seminar at the 2008 Grand Slam Stringers Symposium presented by USRSA will provide a good start. Industry veteran Bob Patterson will take you through the steps to plan and initiate starting a new business or growing an existing one.
“Many successful pro shops and tennis stores started out as home-based businesses, including my own,” says Patterson. “In the seminar, we concentrate on formulating a good plan and focus on how to properly implement the plan.”
Jeremy Plumley from Bethesda, Md., has seen an increase in stringing revenues since attending the 2007 event. “The event was very professionally organized and run,” says Plumley. “The ability to learn and network with the top stringers and vendors in the industry was invaluable. The information that I learned from the seminar leaders and fellow attendees has almost doubled the stringing revenue at my club in the first year!”
“If anyone is thinking of starting a new stringing business,” adds Charmagne Fraser of Virginia Beach, Va., who attended the 2007 event, “it would be crazy for them not to spend two or three days soaking up valuable knowledge from the best in the business. I will definitely attend again in 2008.”
The 2008 GSS Symposium will be Oct. 11-14 in Orlando, Fla. For more information and to register, visit gssalliance.com.
Babolat Introduces New Propulse Shoes
Babolat introduces two new high-performance tennis shoes — the 2008 Propulse for men and the Propulse Lady for women — which are available in March.
The Propulse, Andy Roddick’s signature shoe, has all the same innovative technological features as its predecessor, such as Exact Pro, which the company says aids in quick reaction for recovery and rebound, Michelin OCS for traction, and an improved Michelin Hi-Tech outsole to resist abrasion. Suggested retail is $120.
The new Propulse Lady features a women’s last, which Babolat says is thinner and better suited for the shape of a woman’s foot. Cosmetics are white with touches of turquoise blue. Suggested retail is $110. For more information, visit babolat.com or call 877-316-9435.
Imperial, ‘The Girls’ Renew License
Imperial Headwear has renewed its license with “The Girls,” a line of hats that features stylized characters depicting the leisure passions and hobbies of women and includes “Tennis Girl” and “Golf Girl,” among others. “The Girls continues to be an iconic symbol of self-expression,” says artist and creator Melissa Gitelman. “We find that women identify themselves through their passions, even if their particular hobby is a niche market — they like being able to announce what they love to do.” The Girls headwear is available for wholesale purchases at 800-950-1916, or purchase single units by visiting imperialforyou.com.
DecoTurf Used for Fed Cup Match
DecoTurf’s 100 percent acrylic tennis surface DecoColor was the surface of choice for the Fed Cup quarterfinal held Feb. 2-3 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in California. The U.S. defeated Germany 4-1 in the match.
The USTA constructed a temporary stadium for the match. DecoTurf teamed with tennis court contractor CH Court Tech of Spring Valley, Calif., to install the DecoColor surface. The USTA chose DecoColor US Open Blue for the inbounds playing area, and DecoColor US Open Green for the out of bounds surface, the same colors used at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, site of the US Open.
For more information about DecoTurf, visit decoturf.com or call 800-225-1141 or 978-623-9980.
Ektelon Frames Offer Custom Options
Ektelon’s three new O3 racquetball racquets — the O3 Copper, O3 White and O3 Ruben Gonzalez (RG) — were launched last spring, incorporating the company’s new Total Racquet Customization.
O3 Ruben Gonzalez
According to Roland Grassl, Ektelon’s product technology coordinator, each racquet includes a set of four Power Plug inserts for individual swing weight adjustments. Also, the O3 Copper comes with Power Ring Inserts.
In addition, each frame has multiple string pattern options for string-bed customization. The result is that players can “fine-tune” their racquets depending on power, stability, weight and balance preferences, says Grassl. USRSA members can find pattern instructions for all three frames at racquettech.com.
“Customization is a huge story,” says Ektelon General Manager Scott Winters. “We know each player has his own personal preference when it comes to how power, weight and balance are incorporated into the racquet.”
The small, thermoplastic Power Plugs can be inserted into the 12 o’clock O-ports to change the weight and balance of the frame. Every two plugs increases the racquet’s power level by 100 points and its weight by 3 grams. The O3 Copper comes with two interchangeable Power Ring Insert throat pieces to allow players the opportunity to string the racquet four ways.
When customizing the frames, Grassl says:
- Fewer strings in the racquet (a more open pattern) results in a more elastic string bed, which creates more power.
- More strings (a dense pattern) increases string durability and will increase control.
- Longer main strings are more elastic and produce more power than shorter main strings.
- Ektelon DPR Pattern (2 rings in the throat) produces the longest main strings possible on an Ektelon racquet and provides Ektelon’s most powerful string pattern.
- Power Ring 8 Pattern (8 rings in the throat) creates a more dense string pattern for greater control and string durability.
For questions about the technology, contact Grassl at email@example.com or through the teamektelon.com forum. For more on the racquets, call 800-283-2635 or visit ektelon.com.
- Michael Chang will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday, July 12 in Newport, R.I. Also elected for induction into the Class of 2008 in the Contributor category are Mark McCormack and Eugene L. Scott, both posthumously.
- Sports Business Journal reported in January that Nike was set to sign Roger Federer to a new deal that would be the most lucrative tennis endorsement ever. The 10-year contract extension, expected to be signed in February, could be worth as much as $13 million a year, sources told the publication, although it was unsure whether that money was fully guaranteed or in part depended on how well Federer performs on the court. If the contract indeed reaches that amount, the deal would make Federer one of the top-paid endorsers at Nike in any sport.
- David Kjeldsen, CEO of Viking Athletics, will be the 70th inductee into the American Platform Tennis Association Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies will take place at the APTA National Championships in Rochester in mid-March.
- Mary Joe Fernandez will become Fed Cup Captain in 2009.
- Top 20 WTA players Daniela Hantuchova and Agnes Szavay have signed with the management company Octagon. The company also recently signed U.S. player Donald Young.
- Michelle Wilson has been named USTA Chief Marketing Officer, Professional Tennis. She will be responsible for all marketing, advertising, branding and creative services for Professional Tennis, and will oversee all special events and entertainment programming surrounding the US Open, Olympus US Open Series and USTA pro tennis events. Wilson has previously served as the USTA Director of Marketing.
- Mark Kovacs, Ph.D., of Hoover, Ala., has joined the USTA Player Development staff as manager, USTA Sport Science. He’ll work primarily from the USTA Training Center and Player Development Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. Prior to joining the USTA, Kovacs was an assistant professor of Exercise Science and Wellness at Jacksonville State University.
- Top U.S. juniors Reo Asami and Joseph Di Giulio have switched to the Prince O3 Speedport Black racquet.
- Trilogy Central Coast, a resort community in Nipomo, Calif., has named USPTA pro Raudel Barba as its tennis professional. He toured professionally for seven years and has been a USTA junior development coach and a USPTA district president.
- Maria Sharapova, playing with a Prince O3 White racquet, won her first Australian Open title in January, knocking off the No. 1, 3 and 4 seeds in the process.
- Notre Dame senior Brook Buck received the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Sportsmanship Award recently at the ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships. Buck, a native of Yukon, Okla., was chosen for the annual award for displaying outstanding sportsmanship and exemplifying the spirit of college tennis during the course of the tournament and throughout her career.
- The U.S. Davis Cup team beat Austria, 4-1, in February in the first round of the 2008 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas. The U.S. will next host France in the quarterfinals, April 11-13, at Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C. For ticket information, call 888-484-8782 (USTA). In December, the U.S. won the Davis Cup championship over Russia in Portland, Ore.
- The U.S. defeated Germany 4-1 in the Fed Cup quarterfinals, held Feb. 2-3 at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club in California. Fed Cup rookie Ashley Harkleroad was the big hero, winning both of her singles matches, while Lindsay Davenport won a singles match and teamed with Lisa Raymond to win the doubles point. The U.S. team will face Russia in the semifinals April 26-27 in Moscow.
- Wilson will remain the Official Racquet Stringer of the US Open through 2009.
- The USPTA and Tennis Week magazine have extended and expanded their partnership, in which all USPTA domestic members receive the magazine with their USPTA membership. USPTA will maintain a presence in all eight issues of Tennis Week through a combination of ads and articles written by USPTA members. In addition, USPTA and Tennis Week will collaborate on a featured page on the website TennisWeek.com.
- In 2007, the USTA & Education Foundation awarded “Aces for Kids” grants to 41 programs across the country, for a total of $760,760. The “Aces for Kids” initiative strives to promote healthy lifestyles by combating childhood and adult obesity. For a list of 2007 grant recipients, visit USTA.com.
- Novak Djokovic switched to the new Wilson [K]Blade Tour model and won his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, and his opponent in the final, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, also switched recently to the [K]Blade 98 frame. Also Wilson players Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram went on to take the men’s doubles title, while Alona and Katheryne Bondarenko won the women’s doubles with their new [K]Blade and [K]Tour racquets. Other Wilson players switching to new [K]Factor racquets before the Australian Open include world No. 1 Justine Henin, Serena and Venus Williams, Paul Henri-Mathieu, Feliciano Lopez and Lindsay Davenport.
- Head says that as of early February, 33 percent of ATP players ranked in the Top 100 were playing with Head MicroGel racquets, including Richard Gasquet, Ivan Ljubicic, Mikhail Youzhny, Andy Murray, Sebastien Grosjean, and Marat Safin.
- Tennis Channel and Sony Pictures Television have entered into an exclusive ad sales partnership, in which SPT will sell Tennis Channel inventory to traditional national television advertisers while the sports and lifestyle network’s internal sales team will continue to develop non-traditional opportunities such as large, integrated business development-based sponsorships. Tennis Channel’s linear and satellite inventory, managed by SPT, includes national 30-second spots and direct response.
- Georgia Tech beat Northwestern 4-2 on Feb. 10 to claim the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Women’s Team Indoor Championships at the University of Wisconsin’s A.C. Nielsen Tennis Stadium. Fourth-seeded Georgia Tech won the doubles point in the final and got wins in singles from Kirsten Flower, Whitney McCray and Christie Striplin.
- “QuickTourney” is a new racquetball tournament software, designed to help in running small- to medium-size tournaments. A demo can be downloaded for free at justeware.com.
- The winner of the fifth annual Family Circle Cup official T-shirt design contest is Joanna Hall, 26, of Lexington, Ky. Hall is an avid player who participates in USTA League Tennis. The Family Circle Cup will celebrate its 35th anniversary April 12-20th at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.
- Smash Magazine renewed its sponsorship of the 2008 Smash State Open Clay Court Junior Cup presented by Chrysler. The event will was held Feb. 22-25 at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.
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TI magazine articles
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- Future of Tennis: Wish list for the New Year
- Comfort and Control: Technology evolves for new racquets
- Comfort and Control: Technology evolves for new strings
- Tennis Technology: Smarten up!