Tennis Industry magazine

 

Industry News

Information to help you run your business.

Wilson, ITA Develop Intern Program

Wilson and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) are expanding their partnership to help support those with a passion for tennis and an interest in developing a career in the racquet sports industry.

Through a new Wilson/ITA Intern Program, both Wilson and the ITA will recognize outstanding varsity tennis team student-athletes and team managers, of which a select few will be awarded a Wilson internship at the company’s Chicago headquarters. The intern program will recognize individuals who promote the sport at the college tennis level by devoting consistent time and effort to promotional activities to support and bring awareness to either their school program or tennis overall.

Two categories of collegiate promoters have been established, Varsity Team Managers and Varsity Student-Athletes. Three individuals will be nominated by the ITA from each category and receive a certificate of recognition from the ITA and a special award from Wilson. One individual from each category will then be selected to receive a paid summer internship at Wilson’s global headquarters.

“We are very pleased that Wilson is expanding its leadership role as a major industry partner of the ITA and such a great supporter of college tennis,” says David Benjamin, executive director of the ITA. “The Wilson/ITA Intern Program presents a wonderful opportunity for student-athletes to be recognized for their promotional efforts for their school programs and for tennis in general, and also provides them a unique opportunity to work (through the intern program) at the leading company in the tennis industry.”

Prince Set to Acquire Viking Athletics

Prince Sports Inc. announced in February that it is set to acquire the platform tennis brand Viking Athletics. The partnership would add paddle sports to Prince’s portfolio of racquet sports, which includes tennis, squash, and racquetball. As of early March, details of the deal had yet to be finalized.

Prince

Viking Athletics was founded in 1984 in Lindenhurst, N.Y., by David Kjeldsen, an avid platform player who is widely accepted as the “guru” of the sport and who will be inducted into the ATPA Hall of Fame in March. “Prince is a complete racquet and court sports company and as specialists we want, and need, to be involved in every aspect of the industry,” says Prince CEO George Napier. “Viking is the clear leader in platform tennis so it makes perfect sense to partner with David.”

Viking Athletics

Viking Athletics will retain its name and will continue to conduct business in the same fashion. The Viking brand will be managed by Scott Winters, vice president of Small Court Sports at Prince who is responsible for both the Prince Squash and Ektelon brands. Kjeldsen will join the Prince team. Charlie Osborn, vice president of National Sales for Prince, will manage the sales initiatives for the new brand.

Two Named PTR Master Professionals

Fernando Velasco of Austin, Texas, and Shinichi Suzuki of Chiba, Japan, were named PTR Master Professionals at the annual PTR International Tennis Symposium, which took place Feb. 16-21 at the Van der Meer Shipyard Racquet Club on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

The Master Professional level of certification recognizes those individuals who have made significant contributions to the game of tennis throughout their careers. The designation is an important distinction in which PTR_members must demonstrate their broad involvement in tennis over many years, showing growth in their knowledge of the game, a strong involvement in introducing tennis to their community, expertise in teaching and coaching, and a commitment to developing professionally.

Fernando Velasco and Pete Collins

Velasco (left, with Master Pro Committee Chairman Pete Collins) is the manager and director of tennis at Circle C Tennis Club in Austin. He has been a guest speaker at PTR symposia for 15 years, with presentations on management and on-court teaching in both Spanish and English. In 1999, Velasco was named PTR Professional of the Year.

In 1976, Suzuki became one of the first PTR members in Japan. He mentors other coaches in Japan, is a PTR National Tester, and has conducted numerous PTR clinics over the years.

Wayne Bryan Named PTR Pro of the Year

Wayne Bryan of Camarillo, Calif., was named PTR Professional of the Year during the 2008 PTR International Tennis Symposium, held Feb. 16-21 on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

The Symposium, which included 60-plus on-court and classroom presentations, a tennis trade show and $25,000 Championships, was held at the Van der Meer Shipyard Racquet Club. The PTR has more than 13,000 members in 122 countries.

Other annual PTR award recipients include:

In addition, PTR recognized several State Members of the Year for their contributions to the organization in their respective states.

Spring Scholarship Seminars Offered

Parents, coaches and high school students in the Southern California area interested in finding out more about college scholarships for tennis players should try to attend a free College and University Scholarship Seminar. The seminars, put on by longtime tennis industry expert and coach Mark Winters, offer useful tips about searching for a scholarship, among other things.

No reservations are needed for these free seminars. For more information about the College & University Scholarship Program, call Winters at 310-208-3838, Ext. 231. For directions to a facility, contact the individuals listed at each location.

GrowingTennis, TennisConnect Offer ‘Open Houses’

Expand your tennis business and increase your profits through a series of free, public, online “Open Houses” that make it easy to understand two key systems-GrowingTennis and TennisConnect.

The GrowingTennis System allows you to post your tennis program information for free on key consumer websites (such as USTA.com, Tennis.com, TennisWeek.com, TennisChannel.com, TennisWelcomeCenter.com and CardioTennis.com) so players can easily find you and your facility. Every month, there are more than 1 million consumer queries on the GrowingTennis System. Online sign-up and payment features are also available.

The half-hour Open House will take you through the steps to getting the most out of the GrowingTennis System. The online training gives you the chance to ask the experts, as technology professionals guide you through the informational tutorial. You will need a computer with high-speed internet access and a separate phone line to call in.

The GrowingTennis Open House is offered three times a week: Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 1-1:30 p.m (Eastern time). Immediately following each of the GrowingTennis Open Houses will be a half-hour, free Open House on TennisConnect (M, W, Th, 1:30-2 p.m.), allowing users to evaluate this online communications and marketing tool for tennis facilities.

The TennisConnect Open House will introduce you to features such as the website builder, eCalendar, contact manager, court reservations, group email and more. The Open House is ideal managers, decision makers and others looking for a “quick tour” of the software and for those who will be deeply involved in the use of TennisConnect.

To find out more visit GrowingTennis.com and TennisConnect.org, or call 843-686-3036.

Bryans Use Custom Inserts for Prince Frame

Top doubles players Bob and Mike Bryan are customizing their Prince O3 Speedport Black frames with colored inserts. Prince says that with the colored inserts for the O3 Speedport Black, which are available now, players can customize their frames with more than 2,400 combinations. For more information, visit princetennis.com.

Prince O3 Speedport Black inserts

USTA Launches New No-Cut Coach Website

The USTA has launched a new website designed to serve as a resource for its nearly 1,800 high school coaches who have adopted a no-cut philosophy for their tennis teams. The website, usta.com/no-cut, provides access to an interactive community where all high school coaches registered in the USTA’s No-Cut program can share tips, success stories and challenges as they offer all high school kids the opportunity to play tennis.

The No-Cut program was launched in 2006 by the USTA as a way to encourage and recognize high school coaches who make a commitment to their students by not cutting any student who tries out for the team. Since its inception, the USTA’s No-Cut program has nearly doubled each year. Thousands of students who may have otherwise dropped the sport are now part of a team and competing for their school. High school coaches can register as a no-cut coach through usta.com/no-cut.

Registered coaches receive updates and tips from the No-Cut Coaches Advisory Team. Comprised of seasoned and successful no-cut coaches, the Advisory Team offers guidance and resources to coaches who are challenged by the obstacles of working with such large teams.

The website also allows coaches to connect easily with their peers, both locally and nationally. Through an interactive forum, coaches can share tips and strategies, as well as connect with other no-cut coaches in their area to schedule matches.

“We are very excited to launch of our new website and offer no-cut coaches the opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences,” says Kurt Kamperman, USTA chief executive of Community Tennis. “Our goal is to provide all kids, regardless of ability, the opportunity and resources to play tennis, and our first step is to build a strong base with the no-cut coaches.”

Every registered no-cut coach is recognized for their efforts with a certificate from the USTA. In addition, the USTA sends a letter to the coach’s principal and athletic director acknowledging the coach’s dedication to their students. Each year, two coaches are selected to receive the National No-Cut Starfish Award at the USTA Tennis Teachers Conference held during the US Open in New York.

Hall of Fame Calls for Nominations

The International Tennis Hall of Fame has announced an open call for nominations for the induction class of 2009. Nominations must be received by April 1. The International Tennis Hall of Fame recognizes and honors both athletes and contributors connected to the sport of tennis.

Nominations can be submitted online at tennisfame.com. Printable nomination forms are also available online, while nomination forms may also be obtained by contacting the International Tennis Hall of Fame, 194 Bellevue Ave., Newport, R.I. 02840; phone 401-849-3990; fax 401-849-8780; email: newport@tennisfame.com.

Babolat Creates New ‘Armani’ Racquet

Babolat has entered the world of sport fashion with the launch of the EA7 Emporio Armani tennis racquet. Babolat developed the exclusive racquet for Emporio Armani 7, the sports technology brand of Giorgio Armani.

Babolat says high-tech materials and key technologies make the EA7 a high performance, lightweight, aerodynamic racquet that is maneuverable and appropriate for competitive players as well as club players. The cosmetic, by Emporio Armani, is a white, silver and black color combination.

The 9.7-ounce, 100-square-inch racquet is now available exclusively at Emporio Armani shops.

Babolat Armani EA7

Imperial Introduces ‘Green’ Headwear

Imperial Headwear has introduced its new “Green” headwear collection, made with 65 percent organic cotton and 35 percent bamboo charcoal. Imperial says the headwear is hypoallergenic, breathable and dries quickly, and is odor absorbent, machine-washable, thermal regulating and environmentally friendly. For more information, visit ImperialHeadwear.com or call 800-950-1916.

Green Imperial headwear

Gamma Introduces Asterisk Tour String

Gamma Sports has introduced Asterisk Tour, a new high performance synthetic string that contains polyester microfilament, creating a crisp, powerful string that offers precise control, says the company. The polyester fibers also increase durability, says Gamma.

Gamma Asterisk Tour

“Asterisk Tour perfectly combines polyester material with multifilament design to create a superb string,” says Chuck Vietmeier, Gamma string product manager. “Its unique design will give players of all levels the benefits of a multifilament without surrendering control.”

Asterisk Tour is available in 40-foot sets and 360-foot reels in 16 and 17 gauge. For more information contact Gamma at 800-333-0337 or visit gammasports.com.

USPTA Launches Online Certification Review Course

The USPTA is providing its Certification Review Course online, making it easier for tennis pros to earn USPTA certification, the organization says. In addition, applicants will be able to take the written and grip portions of the exam online as well.

The USPTA says this will be a boost for busy teaching pros who may not have the time to attend a six-hour review course at a particular testing location. The online review course can be done at home, reviewing all the critical material for the certification exam. Also, online videos will give applicants a taste of what to expect during the on-court part of the exam. The online review will combine audio, visual and text formats, as well as short quizzes at the end of each section.

The 100-question written exam and grip exam will be accessible once applicants have completed the on-court portion and the stroke-analysis exam. Applicants will be tested against a time limit.

The online CRC will completely replace the six-hour classroom review session after May 18, except for exams held at the Regional Testing Centers, USPTA World Conference and divisional conventions. Previously, the classroom review went over the material presented in the 522-page “The Complete Guide to USPTA Membership” the day prior to the exam at each testing location. For more information visit uspta.com or call 800-USPTA-4U.

HEAD Renews Deal With Beach Tennis

HEAD Penn Racquet Sports and Beach Tennis USA have renewed their partnership for 2008, so all matches at all events will use HEAD Penn equipment.

Head will serve as the official racquet and Penn the official ball for all events on the Beach Tennis USA 2008 National Tour. Beach tennis is played on a 30- by 60-foot beach volleyball court using Pro Penn low-compression tennis balls.

“HEAD Penn is proud to continue as the official sponsor of Beach Tennis USA, bringing tennis to a new audience in a unique and fun way,” says Amy Wishingrad, Head’s national promotions manager.

Beach Tennis USA events will be televised on Tennis Channel, Comcast SportsNet and SportsNet New York (SNY). For more information, visit beachtennisusa.com.

Tennis Market Survey

Tennis Racquet Performance

Specialty Stores, January-September, 2007 vs. 2006

Units 2007 634,317
2006 613,684
% Change vs. ‘06 3%
Dollars 2007 $87,842,000
2006 $80,948,000
% Change vs. ‘06 9%
Price 2007 $138
2006 $132
% Change vs. ‘06 5%

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January-September 2007 (average selling price)

Best-Sellers

  1. Babolat Pure Drive Cortex (MP) $172
  2. Prince O3 White (MP) $185
  3. Wilson K Six One 95 (16 x 18) (MS) $175
  4. Wilson K Six One Tour 90 (MS) $184
  5. Wilson K Six One Team 95 (MS) $176

“Hot New Racquets”

(Introduced in the past 12 months)

  1. Wilson K Six One 95 (16 x 18) (MS) $175
  2. Wilson K Six One Tour 90 (MS) $184
  3. Wilson K Six One Team 95 (MS) $176
  4. Prince O3 Speedport Red (OS) $227
  5. Prince O3 Speedport Blue (OS) $244

Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January-September 2007

(average selling price)

  1. Adidas Barricade IV $100
  2. Nike Air Breathe Free 2 $95
  3. Adidas Barricade II $83
  4. Prince MV4 $94
  5. Prince T10 $77

Top-Selling Tennis Strings at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January-September 2007

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

Bälle de Mätch to Distribute Kaelin

Bälle de Mätch will distribute Kaelin apparel starting July 1. Kaelin, which was founded in 1982 by former Head Sportswear executives as a women’s fashion brand, was previously distributed by Diadora.

“The classic style is a nice addition to our youthful look and allows us to reach a broader range of players,” says Bälle de Mätch founder and designer Chris Deverian.

“Kaelin was struggling with customer service and delivery, which is our forte,” says Bälle de Mätch co-owner and partner John Embree. “But Kaelin is strong in sourcing and we believe we can tap into their sourcing expertise.”

Kaelin will continue to be led by industry veteran Stu Keiller, who will keep his design team in New York City and work from his office in Baltimore.

LBH Group Debuts New Look for Summer

The LBH Group Ltd. has launched its summer ‘08 collections for its two tennis lines: LBH and Wimbledon. Under the new direction of Vice President and Creative Director James Sowins, the company says it has revitalized the look of LBH and Wimbledon and re-branded The LBH Group’s golf line, Lily’s of Beverly Hills, to bring a new perspective to the 35-year-old company.

“We feel we have struck the right balance between athletic excellence and the needs of contemporary women,” says Sowins, who joined LBH Group in February 2007. “We are trying to deliver this with a range of looks and fabrics that strike a balance between style and performance.”

LBH Group

The newly re-branded LBH collection includes a new logo and apparel that “features luxurious yet athletic performance fabrics for a perfect synthesis of sport and fashion,” says the company. The summer Wimbledon collection has been re-designed and expanded by 40 percent to feature athletic performance fabrics in expressive colors and vivid prints. The LBH Group has held the license to design, manufacturer and sell women’s and men’s tennis apparel under the Wimbledon name in the U.S., Canada and Caribbean since 1996.

The LBH and Wimbledon summer ‘08 collections will be available in April and deliver through August. For more information, visit lbhgroup.com.

2008 Cardio Tennis Workshops

In 2008 there will be four National Cardio Tennis workshops, scheduled for Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles and the Mid-Atlantic section. These two-day workshops cover all topics regarding Cardio Tennis, including the standard curriculum, music, heart rate monitors, games, marketing and special segments such as kids, seniors and starter players.

Cardio Tennis

The workshops, which have been updated this year, are suitable for pros at all facilities, whether at an experienced Cardio Tennis site or new to the program. For more information or to register, visit growingtennis.com and click on training/workshops.

Peoplewatch

Classifieds

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: Prince Sports is looking for an experienced product manager for their strings, grips, machines and accessories division. Full job description is available on on-line here. Candidates can email their resume directly to Prince Human Resources at HR@princesports.com.

Short sets

Tennis Confidential II

Available in April is a new book by award-winning tennis journalist and author Paul Fein, Tennis Confidential II: More of Today’s Greatest Players, Matches, and Controversies. With a foreword by Mary Carillo, Fein covers some of the greatest storylines in tennis, and includes interview with former champions.

Tennis Confidential II, by Paul Fein

Price is $27.50, available at potomacbooksinc.com.

2008 GSS Symposium

Beginner, Veteran Stringers to Benefit from Seminars

Whether you’re an experienced stringer or just starting out, you’ll find useful and practical information to help your business at the 2008 Grand Slam Stringers Symposium, which will be Oct. 11-14 in Orlando, Fla.

For the beginner to intermediate technician, U.S. Racquet Stringers Association Executive Director Dave Bone (who is also a co-publisher of RSI magazine) and 2006 RSI Stringer of the Year and MRT Grant Morgan will lead the Basics of Stringing seminar. Topics will include machine preparation, racquet preparation, racquet mounting, string & tension selection, basic stringing patterns and techniques (including one- and two-piece stringing), using the starting clamp, and various knots used to complete the job.

Grand Slam Stringers

Beginning stringers won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn the fundamentals from industry veterans, and experienced stringers will find many things that can elevate their business to the next level.

For those ready to become Certified Stringers or Master Racquet Technicians, there are a limited number of spots available for testing at the Symposium, so sign up now. If you want to make sure you are ready for the test, sign up for the Advanced Stringing and Service Review seminar presented by 2005 RSI Stringer of the Year and MRT Bob Patterson. He’ll review important topics and the “hands on” portion of the test with demonstrations including knot tying and stringing techniques. Patterson also will demonstrate handle build-up and grommet/bumper installation. Whether you’re planning to take the test at the Symposium or at some time in the future, this will be a useful seminar for you.

To register for the 2008 GSS Symposium, visit grandslamstringers.com.

Dunlop Adds 3 Aerogel Frames

Dunlop has added to its Aerogel line of racquets with the new (from top to bottom) 6Hundred, 8Hundred and 1Thousand frames. The company says the technologies in these three frames are suited to help players maximize the power of their ground strokes while maintaining comfort and touch at the net.

Dunlop Aerogel 1Thousand

Dunlop says Aerogel is the world’s lightest solid, made up of 99 percent air. The material is used throughout each frame, adding power and strength to the racquets, says the company. Also, all three frames have Dunlop’s Aerobridge technology, a dampening system that cancels string vibration by using an injection-molded polymer sleeve to enclose the throat of the racquet.

The Aerogel 8Hundred also has Vibrocore, an additional layer of protection against frame vibration and shock, made up of a thermal-plastic resin with a silicone core inserted into the throat.

“Game improvers across America will appreciate the benefits these racquets deliver to their games,” says Kai Nitsche, Dunlop’s general manager of Racquet Sports. For more information, call 800-768-4727.

Electronic Stringing Unit Offers USRSA Discount

USRSA members can receive a 10 percent discount on the 2086 Professional Tension Head, which quickly and easily converts a lockout stringing machine to an electronic constant-pull machine.

“The Tension Head is accurate, consistent and does all the things that more expensive machines do,” says Herb Wise, president of Wise USA and the developer of the electronic unit. “And it’s simple to install, in three minutes.”

The compact, 12-pound unit uses a linear gripper and is factory-calibrated, although it can be recalibrated easily without opening the machine. It sets up in minutes, says Wise, and has easy to read digital read-outs. There are three pulling speeds, multiple memory settings, and an optional foot pedal to simplify operation. Also, pre-stretch is built into the machine and can be set to different percentages, says Wise.

The unit fits most stringing machine models. For more information, and to see a short video on setting up and using the 2086 Professional Tension Head, visit tennishead.com, or call 888-836-7466.

WTT Adds New Pro League Team

The World TeamTennis Professional league has added a franchise in Washington, D.C., called the Washington Kastles. The new team is owned by a group led by venture capitalist and entrepreneur Mark Ein. This is the first D.C.-based team in the WTT’s 33-year history.

“Area fans have supported tennis for many years and we think they will really embrace our unique brand of tennis,” says WTT CEO/Commissioner Ilana Kloss. “We’ve looked at this market for several years as a great location for expansion.”

There are now 11 WTT Pro League teams. The Kastles team is currently looking at several potential locations to build a temporary stadium for the WTT regular season, which runs from July 3 to 23.

In other WTT news, the Pro League recently finalized its 2008 schedule and announced the addition of pro Anna Kournikova to the League’s lineup of players. Other marquee players include Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, Martina Navratilova, and Bob and Mike Bryan. For information and schedules, visit WTT.com.

ASBA, USTA Release 5th Edition ‘Tennis Courts’

The American Sports Builders Association and the USTA recently published the fifth edition of Tennis Courts: A Construction & Maintenance Manual. The 228-page book includes updated information on all facets of tennis courts-planning and design (including design for different playing populations), construction guidelines, surfacing systems, and accessories and amenities. The book contains more than 50 diagrams and charts, many which have been revised, and many color photos. The new edition also includes an expanded section on the maintenance of tennis courts, as well as court accessories, fencing, landscaping, etc.

Tennis Courts manual

The manual is the ultimate resource for those in the design and/or construction field, such as architects, engineers, contractors and specifiers, as well as for owners and end-users, such as tennis professionals, club owners and managers, coaches, and park and rec directors.

It’s available through either the ASBA or USTA for $44.95, plus shipping and handling. To order online at sportsbuilders.org, click on “publications” on the left side of the home page.

USPTA Offers National Tourneys

In 2008 the USPTA will again present the USPTA National Surface Championship Series and offer members the chance to earn prize money and ranking points.

USPTA members can begin competing and test their playing skills starting with the USPTA Indoor Championships set for April 25-27 in Minneapolis. Total prize money for this tournament is $5,000. The tournament will feature events in the following categories: men’s and women’s open and 45s singles and doubles competition, and mixed competition in open and 45s.

The tournaments are open to Professional-level USPTA members in good standing. For information, contact 800-USPTA-4U. USPTA Professionals may log in to the “members only” section of uspta.com for more information and an application.

The 2008 schedule is:

New Business & Tech Workshops

Looking to improve customer service through the use of online tennis technology? Then attend a Tennis Welcome Center Business & Technology Workshop-“How to Fast Track Your Business with Technology”-offered at five locations.

These interactive, full-day workshops are for service providers, marketing staff, directors, managers and owners. They’re led by facilitators with expert training and background in technology and online business, marketing and customer service solutions.

Attendees receive training on the Growing Tennis System; become familiar with the Tennis Welcome Center, Cardio Tennis and No-Cut Coach programs and QuickStart Tennis; learn about online enrollment; find out how to use TennisConnect to increase profits; and much more.

The workshops run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be: April 8 in Tampa, Fla.; April 28 in Atlanta; May 5 in Philadelphia; May 19 in Los Angeles; and June 16 in Chicago. Cost is $50 and includes lunch. Registration is limited to 20. Registration and payment is online at GrowingTennisTraining.com.

USTA Honors People, Organizations

The USTA presented honors to various tennis organizations and people from around the nation at the annual Community Tennis Development Workshop, which was held at the Flamingo Las Vegas Feb. 22-24.

The CTDW is one of the premier gatherings in the U.S. for community tennis leaders. This year’s workshop offered a variety of seminars and presentations, from helping to establish and manage a CTA or NJTL, to running programs and events, to securing sponsors and raising funds. The CTDW also offered several sessions about the new QuickStart Tennis format.

Leadership trainer Paul Wesselmann led opening and closing sessions, the awards banquet was emceed by tennis-pro-turned-broadcaster Justin Gimelstob, and Christy Haubegger, the founder of Latina Magazine, was the closing keynote speaker.

The following awards were presented at the CTDW:

 

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