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Fonte Retires From Prince

Prince Americas President Doug Fonte has retired-for the second time. Fonte came out of retirement in 2005 to help rebuild the Prince brand in the U.S., then later added responsibility for Canada and Latin America.

Doug Fonte

“This time it’s permanent,” Fonte says. “Getting back in the tennis industry, contributing to the revival of Prince, working with [Prince Chairman and CEO] George Napier and the terrific Prince team over the past three years has been a lot of fun and very rewarding, but now is the right time to let a younger generation take the company to the next level.”

“Working with Doug the past three years has been really good for our team and a privilege for me,” says Napier. “Although Doug is leaving his management role, he will stay connected to Prince as a consultant-through 2009-and as a Prince ambassador to several organizations including the Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education Center in Philadelphia and the International Tennis Hall of Fame.”

As for the future, “I fully expect to fill Doug’s role when the time is right,” says Napier.

McEnroe to Head USTA Elite Player Development

Patrick McEnroe has been named general manager of USTA Elite Player Development, as part of a new strategic direction for the development of future American champions. The initiative will provide a greater focus on top American junior players and young pros.

The USTA also will create a “Champions Advisory Board” and “Coaches Commission” to bring together the best in American tennis to provide input into talent identification, program development, and coaching. In addition, the new direction will include the launch of “USTA Pro Track,” providing a pathway for top American juniors to achieve at the highest levels of the game.

Pat McEnroe

McEnroe, who led the U.S. Davis Cup team to its first title in 12 years last December, will remain in his role as Davis Cup captain. He will begin his new full-time position as general manager on May 12, and will report to Arlen Kantarian, CEO of Professional Tennis. McEnroe will oversee the USTA’s National Coaches and coaching program, as well as the USTA Training Centers in Boca Raton, Fla., and Carson, Calif.

“This is one of the sport’s highest callings and I am thrilled to unify and lead a team to keep America the home of champions,” says McEnroe. “The USTA has significantly stepped up its commitment to the development of elite champions, and I am honored to lead this effort. I look forward to working with our past champions, top coaches, academies, and other industry leaders.”

“Patrick McEnroe is one of the most respected and forward-thinking minds in tennis today, and has achieved success at every level of the sport,” says Kantarian. “With Patrick at the helm, we look forward to building a broad coalition of support toward one common goal: creating the next generation of American champions.”

“The USTA is clearly on the right track,” says coach Nick Bollettieri. “Patrick is a man who puts what is best for American tennis in front of everything else. We look forward to working with him and the USTA on this new effort to create American champions and inspire individuals to play the game.”

Nominations Sought for Tennis Industry Hall of Fame

The Tennis Industry Association is creating a “Tennis Industry Hall of Fame,” to recognize those individuals who have had a significant impact on the sport of tennis. Eligibility is open to anyone who has been or is currently in the tennis industry. TIA membership is not required for consideration in the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame.

To nominate someone, go to tennisindustry.org/cms/index.cfm?hof by Friday, May 30. Nominations, and those submitting nominations, will remain confidential. All nominations will be considered by the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee, then submitted to the TIA Board of Directors.

Inductees into the inaugural Tennis Industry Hall of Fame class will be announced in New York City in August, in conjunction with the TIA Tennis Forum and the US Open.

Rec Coach Workshop Leaders Recognized

The Southeast Michigan Tennis Association and Texas teaching professional Mike Carter have been honored by the USTA for providing an excellent experience for Recreational Coach Workshop attendees.

Mike Carter

The SMTA was named 2007 Host Site of the Year. It hosted two RCW events last year, catering to more than 100 participants interested in learning and improving their tennis teaching abilities. Carter (left), the director of Community Development for the Texas Section, is an RCW Master Trainer and has been involved in the program for six years.

“Recreational Coach Workshops are a great tool for the on-court training of coaches working with groups of new players,” says Kirk Anderson, director of Recreational Coaches & Programs at the USTA. “But nothing happens without a great leader and organizer to make a workshop happen.”

Carter and a representative of the SMTA will receive an all expense-paid trip to the USTA Tennis Teacher’s Conference in New York City in August.

Babolat, Unique Sports Settle Overgrip Lawsuit

Babolat VS and Unique Sports Products recently settled a long-standing dispute involving the blue colors of their overgrips for tennis racquets.

In 2002, Unique sued Babolat in Atlanta Federal Court alleging that the blue color of Babolat’s “ProTeam” overgrip infringed upon Unique’s claimed trademark in the blue color of its “TournaGrip” overgrip. The case settled in January 2008 after Unique surrendered its damages claim during the trial. The settlement allows Unique to retain its federal trademark registration for the blue color, but it does not require Babolat to change any of its overgrip colors, including the blue color of ProTeam.

“Because the settlement means that we can continue selling overgrips in the shades of blue we currently offer, we are very pleased with the result,” says Jean-Louis Boyre, Babolat USA’s chairman of the board.

Federer, Bryans Win Multiple ATP Awards

Roger Federer and Bob and Mike Bryan are the big winners in the 2007 ATP Awards, which were announced in Miami on the eve of the Sony Ericsson Open in March.

For the fourth consecutive year, Federer won both the Player of the Year Award and Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award Presented by Stanford. Additionally, fans gave Federer the ATPtennis.com Fans’ Favorite Award Presented by RICOH for the fifth consecutive year.

The Bryan brothers, who last year finished as the No. 1 doubles team for the fourth time in five years, won the Doubles Team of the Year Award Presented by Stanford for the third consecutive year. The Bryans also were voted ATPtennis.com Fans’ Favorite for the third consecutive year.

Other winners include Novak Djokovic of Serbia, the first player to clinch Most Improved Player of the Year honors in back-to-back years; Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, named Newcomer of the Year; Russian Igor Andreev, Comeback Player of the Year; and Bud Collins won the Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award.

Ivan Ljubicic was named Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year in recognition of his support of individual, smaller charities in his native Croatia and his sponsorship of the Monaco Special Olympics, donating his entire Davis Cup prize money to those charities as well as playing exhibitions to raise money.

Brownlee Joins Prince As Western Sales V.P.

Max Brownlee has joined Prince as the regional vice president of sales for the western U.S. Brownlee was named RSI’s “Person of the Year” in 2005 when he was the North American general manager for Babolat USA, a position he left at the end of last year.

Prior to Babolat, Brownlee served in different capacities for both Prince and Wilson for more than 20 years.

“We are extremely proud that Max is re-joining the Prince family at this exciting time,” says Charlie Osborn, vice president of national sales at Prince. “Max’s relationships and experience in the industry will help us build upon our recent successes, elevate the brand to the next level and introduce generations of players to the ground-breaking products we are bringing to market.”

Brownlee succeeds Ken Diller, who had been with Prince for 16 years as Midwest territory sales manager and West regional vice president.

Congratulations To the Following For Achieving MRT and CS Status

New Master Racquet Technicians — MRTs

Jon Anderson Worcester, MA
Daniel Bickett Whitewater, WI
Myong-Yong Koo Incheon, KOREA
Lynn Khaing Dallas, TX
Abdolreza Zarandi Houston, TX
Larry Haugness Springfield, MO
Peter Oman Norwalk, CT

New Certified Stringers — CSs

Justin Henderson Bowling Green, KY
Julie Farina Palm Beach Grdns, FL
Matthew Tarentino Somerville, NJ
Andrea Cescolini San Diego, CA
Tomas Hlavaty Needham, MA
Kelvin Aquino San Diego, CA
Chris Rothrock Bryn Mawr, PA
Elena Cornwell Hilo, HI

Players Get Extra Challenge at Open

The USTA has added one more player challenge to the electronic line-calling protocol used at the US Open and at all Olympus US Open Series events this summer. On courts where the electronic system is in use, players will now receive three challenges per set plus one for tie-breaks.

The additional challenge per set has been added to increase usage of the player challenge system, known as the “Chase Review” at the US Open, while helping to create a uniform protocol across the pro game. The “3 plus 1” system will now be in use at all professional tennis events where an electronic line-calling system is in place.

In 2006, the US Open became the first Grand Slam to use the electronic line-calling technology, creating a “2 plus 1” system. “Electronic line-calling, with its player challenge system, has been one of the most widely-acclaimed initiatives in tennis,” says Jim Curley, USTA managing director of tournament operations and the US Open tournament director. “With an additional challenge per set, we look forward to the Chase Review being used more frequently at this year’s US Open.”

During the 2007 US Open, 320 calls were challenged by players, and a total of 95 calls, or 30.6 percent, were overturned.

The Best Can Play on Water, Too

Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams exchanged shots on what may be the world’s most challenging surface: water. The custom-made floating court was installed in the rooftop pool of the new Gansevoort South Hotel in the South Beach section of Miami before the 2008 Sony Ericsson Open in March. A team of 12 took five days to build the water-covered court in the 110-foot swimming pool, using custom-built acrylic sheets supported by 130 acrylic tubes.

Gansevoort

Garrison, Harmon to Lead Olympic Teams

U.S. Fed Cup Captain Zina Garrison and USTA Director of Men’s Tennis Rodney Harmon have been named the women’s and men’s coaches for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Tennis Teams. In addition, Dan James, Head U.S. National Wheelchair Team Coach, has been named coach for the U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Team.

Zina Garrison

The 2008 Olympic Games tennis competition will be Aug. 10-17 in Beijing, China, at the Beijing Olympic Tennis Centre. The 2008 Paralympic Games tennis competition will be Sept. 8-15 in Beijing at the same venue. The Olympic competition will conclude eight days prior to the US Open and will be played on the same DecoTurf II hard court surface as the US Open.

Rodney Harmon

The 2008 U.S. Olympic tennis team will consist of up to six men and six women, with a maximum of four men and four women competing in the singles competition and a maximum of two men’s and two women’s teams competing in doubles. Olympic team selections will made by June 23. The U.S. Olympic Committee will approve all team and staff selections for the Olympic Games.

Oncourt Offcourt Offers QuickStart Package

USPTA and PTR Master Professional Joe Dinoffer, president of Oncourt Offcourt, has announced the launch of a QuickStart Tennis “36/60 Package” that sets up 6 courts for under $100. Weighted bases and vertical poles combine with Tennis Caution Tape to create 6 mini courts along the length of a tennis court.

QuickStart

The kit easily adapts to driveways, cul-de-sacs, parking lots, gymnasiums, or any other open area. It also includes a 1,000-foot roll of durable Tennis Caution Tape that can be reused or recycled after each use, plus a zippered nylon carry case.

Oncourt Offcourt also carries a full line of transition balls designed to help beginners improve faster and have more fun, including high-density foam Spinners as well as low-compression and slow-bouncing pressureless Champs.

QuickStart

For information and to receive a free color catalog, contact 1-88-TENNIS-11 or visit oncourtoffcourt.com.

ASBA Facility Awards Application Available Online

ASBA’s 2008 Awards Application is now available in the Members Only section of its website, sportsbuilders.org. Print out the form to fax or mail or save it to complete it on your computer. The application has been simplified and the number of photographs has been reduced. Completed applications and payments ($150 per application submitted) are due by July 1, 2008.

If you need assistance accessing the Members Only section or if you require any other information, contact Cynthia at 866-510-ASBA or cjordan@sportsbuilders.org.

Retail report

Tennis Racquet Performance

Specialty Stores, January-December, 2007 vs. 2006

Units 2007 822,556
2006 793,836
% Change vs. ‘06 4%
Dollars 2007 114,042,000
2006 105,225,000
% Change vs. ‘06 8%
Price 2007 $139
2006 $133
% Change vs. ‘06 5%

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January-December 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 (16x18) (MS) $174

  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 (16x18) (MS) $174

  2. Wilson K Six One Tour 90 (MS) $184

  3. Wilson K Six One Team 95 (MS) $176

  4. Babolat Aeropro Drive Cortex (MP) $175

  5. Prince O3 SpeedPort Blue (OS) $241

Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores

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

(average selling price)

  1. Adidas Barricade IV $99

  2. Nike Air Breathe Free 2 $95

  3. Adidas Barricade II $82

  4. Prince MV4 $93

  5. Prince T10 $77

Top-Selling Tennis Strings at Specialty Stores

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

  1. Prince Synthetic Gut Duraflex

  2. Wilson NXT

  3. Wilson Sensation

  4. Prince Lightning XX

  5. Luxilon Alu Power

Peoplewatch

Short sets

Dunlop Offers $1 Million Prize

In March, Dunlop launched its newest consumer promotion, the Million Dollar Slam, which gives recreational players a chance to win up to $1 million. Tennis players who demo a Dunlop Aerogel racquet at participating pro shops, tennis retailers or at events throughout North America will receive a contest Game Card with a unique PIN code. Participants enter the sweepstakes contest online at Dunlopsweepstakes.com.

Upon entering the PIN code, participants are assigned a Dunlop Tour Team player, and if that player is named the Dunlop Spotlight player and wins one of the final three Grand Slams in 2008, they will win up to $1 million. Dunlop Tour Team players are James Blake, Tomas Berdych, Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Almagro, Tommy Haas, and Thomas Johansson.

But the $1 million Grand Prize isn’t the only prize. An all-expenses-paid trip for two to Saddlebrook Tennis Resort in Tampa to meet James Blake, along with Dunlop Gear packages, can be won as well. Complete rules and details of the contest can be found at Dunlopsweepstakes.com.

2008 GSS Symposium Trade Show to Feature Top Companies

The Grand Slam Stringers Symposium presented by the USRSA, scheduled for Oct. 11-14 in Orlando, Fla., is shaping up to be a major player in the industry. After a successful inaugural launch in 2007, this year’s event will be bigger in both size and scope, with enhanced and expanded seminars and a trade show featuring many top manufacturers.

“The USRSA is excited to be involved in such a big way because, with enough support, this event could become the new Super Show for racquet sports,” says David Bone, USRSA executive director (and a co-publisher of RSI magazine).

Grand Slam Stringers

Bone and Tim Strawn, the founder and owner of GSS, have teamed up to make this gathering beneficial for anyone who sells or services racquets. “If we can train people to do what we do the right way, there are lots of benefits,” says Strawn.

“Players stay in the game longer when they’re using the right equipment and it’s properly serviced,” he adds. “Shop owners can open up new sources of revenue by using the information available at the Symposium-customizing, shop operations, working with gut, etc. If they can increase revenues, they can stay in business. The idea is to do our small part to keep the game healthy and continue the growth of the sport.”

Adds Bone: “As the technology and science of equipment and racquet service continue to become more complex, it is exciting to have a setting where racquet service professionals can get together to share ideas and help increase everyone’s knowledge.”

Several participants at last year’s GSS Symposium bought stringing machines and diagnostic equipment after seeing and using them at the event. The expanded trade show at this year’s event will provide an opportunity for participants to see the latest technology and equipment and talk to company reps.

“The trade show is an opportunity for vendors to communicate directly with retailers,” says Bone. “The fees generated by the vendors also help to keep the costs for the participants as low as possible.” Vendors can still sign up for the trade show. For a list of participating vendors to date, or for more information, visit gssalliance.com.

There also are several new additions to the Symposium, including the Simulated Tour Stringing Room sponsored by Wilson, the official string team of the US Open. If you hope to one day string on the pro tour, or if you’re just curious about what happens behind the scenes at a major tournament, this is a rare opportunity. Another new seminar is a presentation by Ameriprise designed to help small business owners evaluate their operations. To register for the 2008 GSS Symposium, visit gssalliance.com.

Cast in Cement

During their first-round Davis Cup win over Austria in February, the defending champion U.S. Davis Cup team of Bob and Mike Bryan, Andy Roddick, James Blake and Captain Patrick McEnroe took time out to make their mark on Vienna’s Avenue of Champions. Each team member laid a hand down in a cement casting, while McEnroe’s feet were immortalized. The team’s imprints and bronze plaque now join those of other superstar athletes such as Boris Becker, Steffi Graf, Ernie Els, Carl Lewis, George Foreman, Pele and Mark Spitz.

Avenue of Champions
Avenue of Champions

USTA Honors People, Organizations at 2008 CTDW

TThe 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. The following awards were presented:

PTR Offers New Benefit

The PTR and CoachingSchool.org have joined forces to provide PTR teachers and coaches with a resource for coaching kids tennis. PTR members receive a free email subscription to the CoachingMinute, a weekly 2½- to 5-minute audio-formatted file with world-class coaching concepts.

The CoachingMinute is designed for anyone working with kids at any level, from first-time instructors to seasoned veterans. The resource can help tennis teachers create an environment where young students enjoy their lessons at a fuller, deeper level, learn more and perform better. The concepts are grounded in play, coaching and behavioral success sciences.

King, Spadea Choose Prince’s Aerotech Line

At the start of the 2008 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami in March, nearly 30 tour players were wearing Prince’s new Aerotech apparel line, including Vania King, Vince Spadea, and Albert Montanes. The Aerotech line was officially launched this year.

“The fact that 27 world-class athletes have decided to wear our new performance apparel on tour is a great start,” says George Napier, CEO and chairman of Prince Sports. “Developing Aerotech apparel has been an intensive initiative and the response we’re getting from athletes and consumers is rewarding.”

The Aerotech Spring 2008 line is available in three collections:

Features of the apparel lines include AeroFit, allowing fabrics to move and stretch for comfort and mobility; AeroShield, for protection against UV rays and bacteria; and AeroVent, technical materials with cooling zones for ventilation and moisture management.

To see the Aerotech line, visit princetennis.com/VCAB.

New Orleans to Host Public Parks Tourney

The 82nd National Public Parks Tennis Championships will take place July 21-29 at the University Tennis Center in New Orleans. The tournament is open to all USTA members and features junior, adult, NTRP and family events in both singles and doubles. The junior events will take place on the opening four days, followed by the adult divisions.

The deadline to register for all events is July 11. For more information on registering for the Public Parks Tennis Championships, visit firstservetournaments.com.

Industry Cites TWCs

The “Top 50 Tennis Welcome Centers of 2007” have been recognized by the TIA, USTA and Racquet Sports Industry as leading the charge in the growth of the sport by providing well-rounded programs to new and current players of all ages and abilities.

The facilities honored exhibited excellent participation figures involving new and returning players, support of industry programs and community tennis development, and were active with TWC facility requirements, among other criteria. To see the winners, visit GrowingTennis.com.

The Tennis Welcome Center initiative is backed by all sectors of the industry. Popular pro player Maria Sharapova and James Blake are spokesmodels for the program, which is free to tennis facilities who wish to support industry efforts to grow participation through specific programming and marketing.

ITA, TennisRecruiting.net Announce Partnership

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association and the Tennis Recruiting Network have announced a partnership to help college coaches connect with future players. All ITA member coaches will be eligible to receive a special rate for the Coaching Advantage service at the TennisRecruiting.net website.

TennisRecruiting.net offers content and services for college-bound athletes, coaches and tennis enthusiasts. The website has player profile web pages for more than 60,000 high school and middle school tennis players.

“Our mission is to help college coaches connect with junior players, and working with the ITA should help us with that mission,” says Julie Wrege, editor of TennisRecruiting.net. “The ITA can help us expand our reach with college coaches, giving both colleges and players more options with respect to recruiting.”

The ITA is the governing body of collegiate tennis in the U.S., comprised of nearly 1,500 member coaches representing more than 1,200 institutions. It oversees activities involving over 25,000 college student-athletes. For more information, visit ITATennis.com and TennisRecruiting.net.

 

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