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Florida Approves Tennis License Plate

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed a license plate bill in May that allows for a “Florida Tennis” specialty plate, the first tennis license plate in the state. Revenue generated by the new plate will assist the USTA Florida Section Foundation, which is the section’s charitable arm, in its efforts “to improve the health and quality of life of Floridians through tennis.”

“Research indicates that 2 million people play tennis in Florida,” says Doug Booth, USTA Florida executive director. “It is great promotion for the sport of tennis and is exciting that players will now have the ability to show their love of the game by purchasing a Florida tennis license plate.”

Florida tennis license plate

The USTA Florida Section Foundation will use purchases from the new plate to provide financial assistance in the renovation and building of quality public tennis facilities. Ninety percent of proceeds from annual user fees will be used for grants back to the community, including funding to operate youth tennis programs and adaptive tennis programs for special populations of all ages and for building, renovating and maintaining public tennis courts.

The specialty plate will be available for statewide purchase by tennis fans and community supporters no later than May 28, 2009, as mandated by law; however, the foundation anticipates it will be available at the end of 2008 or early 2009.

Boris Becker/Volkl Add New Frames

The Boris Becker and Volkl racquet brands are launching four new racquets, two for each brand, both featuring new technology. For the Becker line, the new DeltaCore 1 and 3 frames move DNX to the next level, says Sean Frost, Volkl/BB managing director. “DeltaCore is now 40 times stronger than traditional carbon fiber used in other racquets,” he says. The graphite in the DeltaCore material is in a “delta” configuration that is more compact and solid. Frost says the new material, put in key areas to give more strength to the frame, provides more resiliency, a livelier feel, and won’t break down as easily as other racquets.

The company says the DeltaCore 1 is ideal for players looking for maximum support from their racquet. It has a 115-square-inch head, weighs 9 ounces, and carries a suggested retail price of $340. The DC 3 is designed for players of all levels, with a 110-square-inch head and 9.7-ounce weight, with a suggested retail of $300. Both will be available Aug. 25. The Grand Slam line of BB bags also are new, and available at the same time.

Volkl frames

New for the Volkl line are the Powerbridge 8 and 10. Powerbridge is a progression of Volkl’s DNX technology, says Frost. The new racquets mix DNX with a resin compound that allows the throat to be thinner and livelier, which helps to increase the size of the sweetspot.

The Powerbridge 8 has a 100-square-inch head size and weighs 10.4 ounces; the PB 10, a tournament-level frame, is 98 square inches and weighs 11.5 ounces. Both carry a $200 suggested retail and will be available Aug. 25. Also new for Volkl is the Challenger bag series, with 3-, 6- and 9-packs and a backpack.

“As the Volkl and Becker brands continue to grow, you will see more and more separation between the two, as we work toward making Becker a standalone brand,” says Frost. For more information, contact 866-554-7872.

USPTA Sets World Conference Schedule

Top speakers, educational seminars and courses, a tennis buying show, and more are on the schedule for the USPTA’s World Conference on Tennis, to be held Sept. 15-20 at the La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, Calif. The conference is expected to draw more than 1,500 tennis-teaching pros, industry leaders and representatives, media and manufacturer representatives.

Presenters this year will include Tracy Austin, Dr. Martin Baroch, Nick Bollettieri, Wayne Bryan, Jack Groppel, Tom Gullikson, Brett Hobden, Jim Loehr, Rick Macci, Anne Smith and John Yandell, discussing a variety of topics related to the tennis industry. Close to 40 seminars and four-hour specialty courses will be offered during the conference.

Exhibitors at the Buying Show, which will be Sept. 18, will include tennis equipment, apparel and footwear companies, marketers and wholesalers of hard and soft goods, video-analysis and software, teaching aids, court surfacing and lighting, awards, backboards, educational materials, nutrition bars and vitamins and more. Booth space is still available (visit uspta.com or call John Dettor at 713-978-7782).

USPTA members and nonmembers are welcome at the World Conference. Visit the website for more information.

Prince Extends O3 Speedport Black Line

Prince O3 Speedport Black

Prince has introduced two new versions of its popular O3 Speedport Black frame, the O3 Speedport Black Team and Black Longbody. The Black Team version is a slightly lighter, more maneuverable frame than its original counterpart, designed to be a perfect transitional racquet for a player — perhaps a younger competitive junior player, says Prince — who likes the feel of the O3 Speedport Black, but would benefit from a slightly lighter frame. In addition, for players who want a smaller grip size, the O3 Speedport Black Team is available in a grip size zero (0).

The O3 Speedport Black Longbody is designed for more advanced players who want a longer frame to generate faster racquet-head speed, as well as extended reach and court coverage.

With the O3 Speedport Black family, players can further customize their racquet in both feel and cosmetic. All three versions will continue to give players the chance to select either the String Hole or String Port Inserts, providing two options in terms of hitting feel off the string bed. And players can choose which color they want their inserts to come in, giving them the ability to design their O3 Speedport Black cosmetic in more than 2,400 color combinations.

Visit princetennis.com for more info, and to use the online customization tool to test out cosmetic combinations.

Pat Mac, Tracy Austin Earn USPTA Certification

Patrick McEnroe and Tracy Austin, former players on the ATP and WTA professional tours respectively, have become certified Professional 1 members of the USPTA. They were certified in May by the head tester of the California Division, Lee DeYoung.

McEnroe, who played on the ATP tour from 1988 to 1998, is currently based in New York, where he recently was named general manager of USTA Elite Player Development. He also recently coached the U.S. Davis Cup team to its first title in 12 years.

Austin, who played on the WTA tour from 1978 to 1994, is currently based in California. She was the youngest player to win the US Open at the age of 16 and was the youngest inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the age of 29. Now she works frequently as a tennis commentator for NBC and USA Network.

McEnroe and Austin USPTA certification

“We’re extremely proud to have Patrick and Tracy join the ranks of many of the famous players as members of USPTA,” says USPTA CEO Tim Heckler. “We’re honored to now call them professional tennis coaches.”

The USPTA certification process provides assurance that the tennis-teaching professional’s knowledge and abilities have been tested thoroughly. There are three rating classifications for each newly certified USPTA member, which are Professional 3, Professional 2, and Professional 1. Professional 1 represents the highest tested level in USPTA certification.

From left, Robin White, Tracy Austin, Patrick McEnroe, Kim Po Messerli, and Lee DeYoung.

Federer ‘Super Six’ Bag Released

Wilson has released a limited-edition Roger Federer Super Six racquet bag, which the World No. 1 will carry through this year’s US Open. The bag provides Thermoguard and Moistureguard compartments to protect racquets. This year’s bag includes several embroidered components including Federer’s signature as well as the Wilson script logo. For more information, visit wilson.com.

Wilson Federer bag

US Open Theme Art

The 2008 US Open theme art showcases the “It’s Showtime” tagline, with a Broadway-style marquee and the US Open’s flaming ball logo. The design also integrates the 40th anniversary of the Open Era in tennis, which will be celebrated at the 2008 Open. The Open will be Aug. 25 through Sept. 7 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess — a full-day tennis and music festival for children and families — will be Saturday, Aug. 23. Tickets for the 2008 US Open can be purchased via USOpen.org or by calling 1-866-OPEN-TIX.

U.S. Open theme art

Middle States to Induct Jane Brown Grimes

USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jane Brown Grimes of Chadds Ford, Pa., headlines the 2008 class of inductees into the USTA Middle States Hall of Fame on Oct. 24. In 1981, Brown Grimes became the executive director of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and served as tournament director for both ATP and WTA Tour events. In 1986, she was named the managing director of the Women’s Tennis Council and presided over an unprecedented period of growth in women’s professional tennis.

Jane Brown Grimes

Joining her in the Middle States Hall of Fame are Edward D. McQuillin, Rose Weinstein, George K. Wills, Ann Paley Hoffmann (posthumously) and Wallace F. Johnson (posthumously).

Wilson Names Apparel Director

Wilson has named Claire Ortiz as its new global business director for apparel in racquet sports. Ortiz previously spent six years with Nike, serving in various leadership positions including creative director for Brand Jordan apparel and accessories.

Prior to Nike, she worked at Eddie Bauer in the youth sport and fashion areas and helped lead their overall line development process and sourcing aspects. Most recently she was at Under Armour as creative director for their apparel efforts in multiple sports categories.

Ortiz is an avid tennis player. Her daughter is currently an ITF-ranked junior player and a Wilson nationally sponsored junior in the US.

TIA Names P.R. Coordinator

Amanda Becker has joined the TIA staff as Public Relations and Communications Coordinator. In this newly created position, Becker will oversee the organization’s public relations and communications campaign, distributing information to TIA member organizations and media outlets worldwide. She also will help in planning and managing TIA events, forums, and trade shows.

Amanda Becker

“Amanda will be a valuable asset to the TIA team,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “She is an avid tennis player and has a great love of the game, and she is committed to helping us grow our organization and the sport of tennis. In her new role, she’ll be a key player in spreading the news about the great programs and initiatives in this industry.”

Becker is a recent Media Studies graduate from the College of Charleston, where she captained the women’s tennis team.

Ektelon Launches O Series Racquetball Footwear

Ektelon has launched its new O Series performance racquetball footwear, after months of design and on-court playtesting. The new shoes feature O-Port ventilation in the upper for breathability.

O Series also builds on the original M Series line by delivering improved Precision Tube technology, which rounds the tubes for maximum energy return and greater shock absorption, says Ektelon. Coming in a mid profile, the OC-1 performance shoe is built to provide players with support and features a gum rubber outsole in an aggressive herringbone tread pattern for traction, quicker acceleration and improved lateral stability.

Ektelon O Series footwear

The OC-1 is available in black/red/sil-ver and white/black /silver. Suggested retail is $110. For information, visit ektelon.com.

Wise Announces Electronic Adapter For Drop-Weight Stringing Machines

Frustrated by your drop-weight stringing machine and the balancing procedure required to get an accurate string tension? With a simple angle bracket from Wise USA, you can take advantage of electronic stringing.

Wise says it’s easy to install the 2086 Professional Tension Head on most drop-weight machines by bolting the bracket to the base of the machine, then installing the 2086 onto the bracket.

The 2086 Professional features constant-pull on/off, digital readout in pounds or kilos, pre-stretch, speed control and two memory banks and other features only found on the newest high-priced electronic stringers. And the 2086 still fits easily on any crank (manual) machine.

For more information and a drawing of how it might work on your machine, email service@tennishead.com with the words “Drop Weight” in the subject.

Congratulations to the Following for Achieving MRT Status

New Master Racquet Technicians - MRTs

John Gillespie, Oakville, Ontario

Rob Horwood, Toronto, Ontario

Fisk Nery, Toronto, Ontario

Robert Thomas, Toronto, Ontario

Jason Lore, Toronto, Ontario

Kirby Mendes, Toronto, Ontario

Jan Pastoriza, Toronto, Ontario

Jay Vandermoer, Toronto, Ontario

Malinowski Joins Prince

David Malinowski has joined Prince Sports as its new global product manager for strings, grips and machines. A racquet technician with more than 20 years of experience in stringing and racquet customization, Malinowski comes to Prince from Wilson Sporting Goods, where he held various racquet sports roles for the past 11 years, most recently managing sales for the company’s mid-Atlantic region.

In his new position, he will be responsible for developing and managing the implementation of Prince’s global strategic plan for strings, grips, machines and accessories. With extensive experience on the sales side, his understanding of product development, and his time spent in retail and a USPTA-certified teaching pro, Malinowski brings a wealth of intimate knowledge and insights to these categories, says Prince.

“Having someone with Dave’s experience and expertise focused solely on managing these products, we have the opportunity to take these categories to the next level immediately,” says Howard Lay, Prince’s vice president of product management for tennis hardgoods. “Players should be very excited about what they are going to see from Prince.”

PTR Schedules Development Weekend

The PTR will hold its annual Professional Development Weekend Oct. 16-19 at PTR Headquarters, located at the Van der Meer Shipyard Racquet Club on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Presentations include Advanced Stroke Production; Growing Kids, Growing the Game — PTR Kids Tennis; Mental Coaching — The Confidence Factor; Team Coaching; Teaching and Marketing Cardio Tennis; Fast Track Your Tennis Business with Technology; and more. The event is open to PTR members and non-members.

For more information or to register, visit Upcoming Events at www.ptrtennis.org.

UCLA Champions Visit D.C.

Members of the UCLA women’s tennis team, the NCAA Division 1 team champions, visited the White House in June, where they presented President George Bush with a racquet and case that they each had signed. In May, the UCLA women won their first national title.

A Doubles Pairing Beyond the Court

Court 11 of the John Drew Smith Tennis Center in Macon, Ga., served as the venue for a doubles pairing when avid recreational players Tara Wasson and Rich Taylor of the nearby town of Warner Robins tied the knot on June 21. The ceremony was performed by Warner Robins Tennis Director Kerry Bacon, who taught Wasson to play tennis. The couple had been legally married on June 5, but they wanted a “tennis wedding” for all their tennis friends, so they rented the JDS facility for the evening wedding, providing a buffet dinner with Gatorade drinks. The bride wore an Adidas outfit she purchased from the pro shop at the JDS Tennis Center; the groom wore Nike. The bridesmaids all wore skirts designed for the event by Marion Wharton, owner of Sassy Gal Tennis Skirts (email sassygal@cox.net) of Macon. The 50 guests, who viewed the ceremony from the stadium seats, also received Wilson tennis balls and participated in tennis matches afterward. (Photo by Robin Bateman)

Coaching Youth Tennis Book Reissued

The fourth edition of “Coaching Youth Tennis” is now available. The book, written by the American Sport Education Program in conjunction with Kirk Anderson, director of recreational coaches and programs at the USTA, offers information every coach needs on coaching philosophy, communication, and safety. It also provides step-by-step instructions for executing and teaching the basic technical skills and the tactical aspects of singles and doubles tennis. To assist with team-management skills, the book includes practical content on coaching matches and developing season and practice plans that promotes tennis as a team sport. It is also the official handbook of USTA Jr. Team Tennis. For more information, contact 800-747-5698, email ASEP@hkusa.com, or visit ASEP.com.

Peoplewatch

2008 GSS Symposium: Experience Stringing at a Grand Slam

Attendees at the Grand Slam Stringers Symposium in Orlando, Fla., will have a unique opportunity to see and experience the pressure, satisfaction and pace of working for the top professional players in the world in a Grand Slam tournament environment. Wilson, the official stringing service at the US Open, will set up a simulated tournament stringing room at the Symposium.

Ron Rocchi, Global Tour Equipment Manager for Wilson, heads up the string operation at the Open and will operate the simulation room. “We want to make the experience as real as possible,” he says. “We are shipping our computerized tracking system, machines, and everything straight from the US Open. We want to give shop stringers a chance to see what it is like stringing in a major tournament environment.

“For those who sign up to participate, it will be a pressure-packed three or four hours of stringing,” he adds. “We’ll be using the same procedures and patterns that we use at the Open. Pace, of course, is important, but quality cannot be sacrificed.” Rocchi says he’s always on the lookout for qualified technicians. “We’ll be looking at participants as potential team members.” There are a limited number of spaces available for the Wilson Tour Simulation Stringing Room.

The GSS Symposium, presented by the USRSA, will be Oct. 11-14 at the Regal Sun Resort in Walt Disney World. Cost is $495 per person; group lodging rates start at $115 per night. For more information on other seminars and presentations, seminar leaders, and the trade show, or to register, visit www.gssalliance.com.

Trade Show at GSS Symposium

The trade show at the GSS Symposium will be Oct. 13, from noon to 6 p.m., and will feature these vendors: Alpha, Babolat, Gamma, Head, Luxilon, Prince, Pro Supex, Unique Sports, Wilson, Wise 2086 Professional Tennis Head, Yonex.

USTA Names Olympic Tennis Team Members

The USTA has named nine players to the U.S. Olympic team for tennis at the 2008 Olympic Games, Aug. 10-17 in Beijing, China.

U.S. women’s tennis coach Zina Garrison announced a four-woman team with three singles entries and two doubles teams. All three singles players — Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport — are former Olympic gold medal winners. The two doubles teams consist of world No. 1 Liezel Huber with Davenport and the Williams sisters.

U.S. men’s tennis coach Rodney Harmon announced a five-player men’s team, also with three singles entries and two doubles teams. James Blake, Sam Querrey and Robby Ginepri were named to the team in singles. Bob and Mike Bryan, the No. 1 doubles team in the world, and Blake and Querrey have been nominated as the two U.S. men’s doubles teams.

The 2008 Olympic tennis competition will be on the hard courts of the Olympic Green Tennis Center in Beijing. The U.S. has won 15 Olympic medals in men’s and women’s tennis since it returned as a full medal sport in 1988 — more than any other nation.

Peter Fleming to Open Florida Tennis Resort

Heritage Key, a new resort near Orlando, Fla., will have 20 hard and clay courts, a state-of-the-art Racquet Club & Spa, and tennis and lifestyle programming designed by tennis champion Peter Fleming.

Heritage Key will be the home of Peter Fleming’s Power Tennis, which will provide both competitive and recreational play along with peak performance, health and fitness resources. Fleming (who partnered John McEnroe to four Wimbledon and three US Open titles) says he will combine his tennis expertise with his years of study in the fields of movement, health/nutrition and peak performance to help players of all ages and abilities. “Heritage Key will have all the resources to make your stay first-class and your tennis experience unforgettable,” says Fleming.

The tennis complex and spa is slated to open by summer 2009. The completed resort, which is minutes from Orlando International Airport and Disney World, will offer more than 600 villas. Heritage Key is offering a three-night complimentary stay, based on availability. Contact PeterFlemingInfo@heritagekey.com, call 888-850-2494 or visit www.heritagekey .com.

Ektelon Team Holds Top Spots

Ektelon now has the world’s top-ranked male and female racquetball players, Rocky Carson and Rhonda Rajsich. And r-ball legend Ruben Gonzalez, also an Ektelon player, recently wrapped up one of his most successful years on the tour with two Grand Slam titles.

Ektelon team

“This has been a remarkable year and marks a very exciting time for Ektelon,” says Scott Winters, vice president of indoor sports at Ektelon. “We are proud of all of our players, but it’s only appropriate to recognize and celebrate having both the No. 1 players in the world on the men’s and women’s pro tour and one of the greatest players of all time in Ruben continuing to succeed at the highest levels.”

Carson and Rajsich both play with the O3 White. Gonzalez plays with the O3 RG. For more information, contact 800-283-2635 or visit ektelon.com.

TennisPuzzles.com is New Online Game Site

A new online game site provides tennis-themed crossword, wordoku and word search puzzles for tennis fans. TennisPuzzles.com debuted during the French Open. “Tennis is a lifestyle, and fans and players just can’t seem to get enough of this growing sport,” says TennisPuzzles.com Editor-in-Chief Liza Horan. “Our free puzzles will allow them to enjoy tennis off the court, and pick up a bit of history, too.”

Puzzles on the site during the French and Wimbledon were authored by Matt Gaffney exclusively for TennisPuzzles.com and the TennisWire Network. Gaffney’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Onion, among others.

USTA Tennis Teachers Conference Aug. 23-26

It’s not too late to make plans to attend the USTA Tennis Teachers Conference, which will take place Aug. 23-26 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City and at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. More than 600 teaching pros and coaches are expected to attend the event.

This year’s closing speaker will be Randy Snow, a Paralympic gold medalist, author and entrepreneur. In addition to seminars and presentations at the TTC there will be a special session on Monday, Aug. 25 — the TIA Tennis forum, presented by Tennis Magazine. Registration includes an audio recording of all TTC sessions. For more information or to register, visit usta.com/ttc or call 914-696-7004. (Early bird registration ends Aug. 4.)

Short Sets

Jeffett Honored by Hall of Fame

Nancy Jeffett, the president of the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation, received the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Golden Achievement Award in July at a ceremony at Wimbledon. USTA President Jane Brown Grimes, along with board members David Dinkins and Joe Grover, and past champion Virginia Wade, were on hand to honor Jeffett, shown with her daughter, Sissy Jeffett Smith. (Photo by Mark Winters)

Sissy Jeffett Smith and Nancy Jeffett

Hall of Fame Pros Teach Juniors in Jamaica

International Tennis Hall of Fame Vice President and Director of Tennis Bill Rompf and his wife Mary, the Hall’s head tennis pro, spent a week in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, working with junior tennis players from the region. Arriving with duffel bags filled with new and used racquets, T-shirts, shoes, tennis balls and other gifts, the Rompfs gave professional instruction and conducted practice drills and techniques to more than 20 Jamaican juniors.

The Ocho Rios Tennis Program is a special project developed 15 years ago by Pierre Battaglia, a tennis enthusiast and general manager of the Couples San Souci Resort in Ocho Rios. Battaglia has provided coaching, equipment, and monetary support for the juniors in the program, and his efforts have resulted in college tennis scholarships for several talented players.

Joining the Rompfs for the junior tennis camp was former World No. 1 doubles player and Olympic gold medalist Ken Flach. In past years, tennis aficionados including Zina Garrison, Stan Smith, Tony Trabert, Jim Loehr, Dick Gould, Raz and Kerry Reid, Roscoe Tanner and Dick Stockton have worked with the juniors in Jamaica.

12 Named to USTA Summer College Team

Twelve of the nation’s top men’s and women’s collegiate tennis players have been named to the 2008 USTA Summer Collegiate Team, administered by the USTA and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The USTA Summer Collegiate Team is an elite training program for the top American college players that began in 1996 and is funded by the USTA. It is designed to provide college players with exposure to the USTA Pro Circuit in a team-oriented environment during the summer months.

Selected to this year’s team are:

Kyle Spencer, assistant director of men’s tennis at Baylor University, and Rance Brown, assistant head coach of women’s tennis at UCLA, will be coaching the men’s and women’s teams, respectively.

 

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