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Prince Launches New EXO3 Racquet Line

Prince EXO racquets

In early January, Prince Sports launched EXO3, its newest high-performance tennis racquet line. The new line, which includes four models and six frames, is available now and features “Energy Bridge,” which suspends the string bed to provide a larger sweetspot and other playing benefits, says Prince.

John Embree, president of Prince Sports Americas, says the revolutionary core technology “delivers benefits that will be appreciated by all levels of frequent players. We have carefully applied this technology to each model in the line in order to address all segments of the market.”

The EXO3 Silver 118 and EXO3 Red 105, which both have the patented Energy Bridge and Energy Channel technologies, are for players looking for comfort with power and feature a large sweetspot and up to 50 percent less frame vibration, says Prince.

The EXO3 Graphite (in 100 and 93) and EXO3 Rebel (in 95 and Team 95) are designed for more advanced-level players (the EXO3 Rebel is used by pro Gael Monfils). Prince says the frames use Energy Channel and provide increased spin and precision for players with faster swing speeds.

At the heart of EXO3 is the Energy Bridge, which suspends almost the entire string bed from the frame, so that 77 percent of the strings never come into contact with the frame, according to Prince, so they move more freely. Energy Channel is a sculpted groove within the frame that enhances the benefits of Energy Bridge to provide stability, boost ball control and increase spin, says Prince.

“We conducted long and extensive research and development trials and elaborate playtest initiatives,” says Tyler Herring, Prince’s global business director for performance racquets. “Players repeatedly said how much they were ‘feeling’ their shots with EXO3, and how this helped increase their confidence and raise their game.”

“When a racquet and ball collide, energy gets diffused, causing players to lose some of the important attributes that make a great shot: power, precision, comfort and feel,” says Roberto Gazzara, v.p. of technology at Prince. “EXO3 changes all that by capturing more energy — at impact — before it is wasted, and channeling it back into the ball on every shot. The result activates a blend of power, spin and comfort with exceptional feel.”

Prince says EXO3 delivers up to 26 percent more energy back into the ball, adds up to 83 percent more to the sweetspot, and provides up to 25 percent more control and 26 percent more spin.

Available now are the EXO3 Graphite 100 (suggested retail $200), Graphite 93 ($200), Rebel 95 ($200) and Rebel Team 95 ($180). The EXO3 Silver 118 ($300) and Red 105 ($260) will be available Feb. 15. EXO3 products also include string and grips. Prince has a website dedicated to the new line: princetennis.com.

From top to bottom, left to right:

EXO3 Graphite 93

EXO3 Graphite 100

EXO3 Rebel 95

EXO3 Rebel Team

EXO3 Red

EXO3 Silver

USTA Names Two Regional Training Centers

In its expanded efforts to develop future American tennis champions, the USTA has named the first two USTA Certified Regional Training Centers — The Junior Tennis Champions Center in Washington, D.C., and The Racquet Club of the South in Atlanta.

The Certified Regional Training Centers will partner with academies, clubs and tennis centers that have a proven record of identifying and developing tennis players. The USTA plans to name approximately a dozen regional training centers during the next five years.

In addition to continuing their existing programs, regional training centers will now also host USTA training camps for players in their region ages 10 to 14. These players will be selected in conjunction with the USTA national coaching staff and their respective USTA Section Coaches Commission. The centers also will help identify talent in players as young as 6 years old, run QuickStart Tennis programs and host QuickStart tournaments.

The camps will be staffed by top coaches at regional training centers with assistance from the USTA national coaching staff. Coaches at the USTA training centers also will serve as an extension of the USTA Coaching Education program by working with and training the top coaches in their region and respective USTA Section. Additionally, the coaches will attend training sessions at the USTA National Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla.

PTR Symposium to Offer High School Coaches Program

The PTR will offer a special program for high school tennis coaches over President’s Weekend, Feb. 14 to 16, during its annual International Tennis Symposium and $25,000 Championships, which will be held at PTR Headquarters on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

The program will begin on Saturday, Feb. 14, with a PTR Drill Exchange from 1-3 p.m., followed by a course by Pete Collins entitled Successful Doubles from 6:30-9:30 p.m. A Coaches Breakfast Reception, sponsored by the USTA, will be held Sunday morning followed by a special presentation.

Additional courses, including Coaching Today’s Youth with Bob Bigelow, Partner Practice Drills and Games, Pre-Season and Rainy Day Practice Activities, Effectively Coaching the Parents, So Your Student Wants to Play College Tennis?, Team Building - Warm-up & Practice Ending Games to Bond Your Team and Teaching Your Students How to Stretch Properly, are included and will be conducted on Sunday and Monday afternoons. Also included are Cardio Tennis and Yoga Stretch.

The registration price of $199 includes a PTR Scholastic Coach Membership. Existing PTR members pay $149. For complete information and registration, visit ptrtennis.org and click Upcoming Events. The full Symposium runs from Feb. 14 to 20.

Babolat Taps McCool

After a five-month intensive recruiting and interviewing process, Tim McCool has been hired as the new managing director of Babolat USA, overseeing the US sales and marketing operations.

Tim McCool

McCool has worked with many large brands in the sporting goods industry, including Nike and Adidas. Most recently, he served as CEO for Le Coq Sportif NA, creating a US sales force and integrated distribution and third-party channels focused in the fashion and tennis business.

U.S. Juniors Win at Int’l. Event

Alex Domijan of Wesley Chapel, Fla., and Lauren Embree of Marco Island, Fla., won the Boys’ and Girls’ 18-and-under singles titles at the Eddie Herr International Junior Championships in early December, capping off a strong showing by American players. It was the first time since the event began in 1987 that the U.S. won both 18s titles.

In addition, the U.S. won three of the six other singles titles. Raymond Sarmiento of Fontana, Calif., won the Boys’ 16s, Alexios Halebian of Glendale, Calif., won the Boys’ 14s and Simone Pratt of Deerfield Beach, Fla., won the Girls’ 12s.

USPTA Announces 2009 Certification Exams

The USPTA is offering more than 110 certification exams nationwide for teaching professionals in 2009, and will most likely add other dates, too. Visit uspta.com for the exam schedule.

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. It also includes a two-hour written test covering teaching, playing and business management skills, rules, club activity programming and other topics. Applicants can now opt to take the written exam and the grip exam online after completing the on-court portions.

The exam process also offers a Certification Review Course that covers test topics. The CRC can be taken at Regional Testing Centers, which offer tests every other month on the same weekends, or it can be taken online. 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 register for an upcoming exam (advanced registration required) or for more information, call 800-877-8248 or e-mail membership@uspta.org. The fee for the exam and CRC application is $175, plus prorated USPTA membership dues.

Hinding Tennis Completes Conn. Job

Hinding Tennis of West Haven, Conn., recently completed renovation of three courts in Darien, Conn. The courts, at the town’s Weed Beach property on Long Island Sound, originally were built in the 1980s. “We were repairing cracks every year, without any success,” says Jim Coughlin, the town’s park and rec director.

Hinding Tennis

Tom Hinding says his company overlayed the existing courts with a cushioned mat system, Nova’ProXtreme, manufactured by NGI Sports of Chattanooga, Tenn. “I was very happy with the results,” says Hinding. “The system is very user-friendly to install and the surface will allow players of all levels to enjoy the game. And the town won’t have to deal with the yearly cracking problem.”

For more information, visit hindingtennis.com or call 203-285-3055.

Outback Champions Series Announces 2009 Schedule

The 2009 Outback Champions Series will be comprised of eight tournaments, highlighted by two new events in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The series, now in it’s fourth full season, also announced new single-knockout tournament formats and increased prize money for tournament champions

The eight events each offer $150,000 in prize money — with six events as single-knockout, six-player events, while two events (Rio de Janeiro and Newport, R.I.) will be eight-player, round-robin format events. Tournament champions will also receive first-prize paychecks of $60,000 in each single-knockout event, while undefeated tournament champions in the eight-player round-robin events will continue to earn $54,000.

As in 2008, the player who finishes the year ranked No. 1 in the Stanford Champions Rankings will earn a $100,000 bonus, courtesy of the Stanford Financial Group. The final Stanford Champions Rankings in 2009 will be comprised of each player’s best-of-five tournament results.

The Outback Champions Series is a collection of global tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30, including former world No. 1 players Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier and Stefan Edberg. The 2009 schedule is:

Beach Tennis Schedules 2009 Events

Beach Tennis USA announces its 2009 National Tour. In addition to the dates below, other events are expected to be added.

Bob Bigelow to Kick Off PTR Symposium

The PTR says one of the country’s foremost speakers on coaching youth sports, Bob Bigelow, will kick off its International Tennis Symposium, which will be Feb. 15-19, 2009, on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

A former NBA first-round draft pick, Bigelow played four years for the Kansas City Kings, Boston Celtics and San Diego Clippers. He also played at the University of Pennsylvania for Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Daly.

Bigelow advocates fully meeting the needs of children as the top priority in youth sports programs, and provides new approaches for positive change in youth sports. He has devoted several thousand hours to researching and lecturing about organized youth sports and its impact on children — and adults — conducting more than 700 talks since 1993. He was selected as one of the 100 Most Influential Sports Educators by the Institute for International Sport at the University of Rhode Island. Bigelow also is the co-author of “Just Let Kids Play.”

For more information, go to ptrtennis.org.

Sanchez Keynotes USPTA Conference

Nearly 130 teaching pros attended the USPTA’s Competitive Player Development Conference, which took place in Naples, Fla., in December. The conference, which is traditionally held by the association in Houston, was shifted to the Academia Sanchez-Casal so that attendees got the added benefit of learning about some of the progressive coaching systems that have propelled Spain to its current tennis prominence.

Emilio Sanchez-Vicario was on hand as a featured speaker. Sanchez-Vicario led the effort to capture the Davis Cup for Spain as the team’s captain just weeks before the conference. He was ranked No. 7 in the world in men’s singles and No. 1 in doubles with Sergio Casal as his partner. Luis Mediero, a USPTA Master Professional and the president of Registro Profesional de Tenis (RPT) in Madrid, was also on hand to assist with the conference.

Velasco Honored in Texas

Fernando Velasco (left) received the “CATA Senior Player of the Year” from Capital Area Tennis Association incoming president Ray Delk during the Annual Meeting and Awards Night of the CATA in December. Velasco currently is co-ranked No. 1 in Texas and No. 20 in the National USTA 65 and Over Singles Division.

Fernando Velasco, Ray Delk

ATP Unveils ‘Feel It’ Ad Campaign

The ATP recently unveiled the latest evolution of its advertising campaign — ”Feel It.” Now in its second year, the multimillion-dollar campaign will again feature ATP World Tour stars including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Andy Murray and James Blake, showcasing the sport’s core values as a one-on-one gladiatorial battle of world-class athletes.

ATP ad campaign

Created as a flexible and adaptable central resource that can be utilized in any of the ATP’s 63 tournament markets, the campaign has been designed to include any player featured on the ATP World Tour and is part of a global marketing initiative in 2009.

The 2009 version of “Feel It” will focus on bringing to life the unique global aspect of the ATP World Tour. The evolution of the campaign will position ATP World Tour stars as titans of the sport. The new execution will bring to life many of the locations of the ATP World Tour and will focus on communicating the ultimate goal of the season, to become the 2009 ATP World Tour Champion.

USPTA Adds New DVD Titles

The USPTA recently released several new DVD titles, including “On Court” shows and several seminars. The instructional DVDs are produced in-house by the USPTA’s multimedia department.

The latest TV show titles released are “Think Shots, Not Strokes,” “Secrets’ of Today’s Serve” and “Ask the Professor” with Jack Groppel. Seminars released include Nick Bollettieri on the importance of developing a solid foundation, Dr. Anne Smith on the Mach 4 Mental Training System, Todd Martin on all-court player training, Nick Saviano on developing world-class fundamentals for young players, and more.

Visit usprotennisshop.com for specific pricing and special offers on DVDs and to view more than 100 other USPTA-produced DVD titles, or call 800-877-8248 for more information.

‘Are You Sure?’ Offers Witty T’s

Christelle Williams of Marietta, Ga., spent countless hours with her daughters at junior tennis tournaments. “One day, I heard the phrase, ‘Are you sure?’ being echoed from court to court,” she says. “It occurred to me that ‘Are you sure?’ is one of the most commonly used phrases in tennis.”

Are You Sure?

And an idea — and an apparel line — was born.

Looking to put a humorous angle on the situation, Williams launched the sportswear line this past fall, which features spunky tees with the “are you sure?” logo and witty taglines on the back, such as “What part of the line is out?” and “Just because you couldn’t get it doesn’t mean it was out.”

The shirts, available in T’s, hoodies and long-sleeved pullovers, are for men, women and children in a variety of colors. Prices range from $18 and up. For more information and to order, and to view the styles and taglines offered, visit areyousure.net, email info@areyousure.net or call 770-273-8787.

New Multi-Purpose Indoor Facility Opens at USTA BJK NTC

The USTA in December officially opened its new state-of-the-art indoor tennis facility. The $60 million, 245,000-square-foot facility, on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., features 12 indoor courts on two floors, along with a fitness center, classrooms, a year-round pro shop and more.

New USTA courts

Funded at no cost to taxpayers through USTA financing and tax-exempt bonds, the indoor facility will allow the USTA to expand its existing tennis programming at the NTC and provide an opportunity to add new programming for New York area tennis enthusiasts. And the world-class venue affords the USTA greater potential in its Player Development program.

New USTA courts

“This is a great investment in the sport of tennis,” said Jane Brown Grimes, USTA president and chairman of the board. “This new facility will provide the USTA flexibility to help grow the sport of tennis throughout the Northeast, provide much needed operational support for the US Open, and offer us greater potential to expand programming at all levels, including Player Development.”

The new facility is a significant expansion and upgrade of the previous indoor facility located at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Three years in construction, the new facility now contains:

Nominations Sought for Top 50 TWC Honors

The TIA, USTA and RSI are once again looking for the “Top 50 Tennis Welcome Centers” in the U.S. These are the tennis facilities — public and private — that are leading the charge in the growth of the sport by providing well-rounded programs to new and current players of all ages and abilities. As a Top 50 TWC, you can receive industry recognition for your facility and for all your efforts to keep this sport growing.

To nominate your facility for Top 50 TWC honors, visit GrowingTennis.com and take a few minutes to fill out a quick survey on or before Feb. 15. Among the Top 50 winners, special recognition will be given for the top-ranked park and recreation tennis facility, public facility, commercial facility, and private facility.

New MRTs

Casey Reynolds, Elsah, IL

Robin Doyle, Denver, CO

Ron Guse, Austin, TX

Elliott Evazkhani, San Luis Obispo, CA

Tiffani Yamamoto, San Luis Obispo, CA

Paige Cameron, San Luis Obispo, CA

Erin Cabral, San Luis Obispo, CA

Michael Bowling, San Luis Obispo, CA

Jarryd Guevara, San Luis Obispo, CA

William Rosenblatt, San Luis Obispo, CA

Jackson Lee, San Luis Obispo, CA

Soo Se Cho, San Luis Obispo, CA

Aaron Sunderland, San Luis Obispo, CA

Sara Aston, San Luis Obispo, CA

Mark Boone, San Luis Obispo, CA

Jennifer Salter, San Luis Obispo, CA

Peoplewatch

Reel Sticks Adds Singles Sticks to Doubles Net

Few players ever play on a true singles court; most people in the U.S. play singles on a doubles court. Now, the makers of a product called Reel Sticks hope that players will finally be playing singles on a court that meets the rules of tennis, which call for the net to be supported 3 feet outside of the singles sideline at 3.5 feet high. (On a doubles court, the net is supported 3 feet outside of the doubles sideline.)

Reel sticks

Reel Sticks provide a simple and foolproof way to add “singles sticks” to a doubles net. The Reel Sticks unit is permanently mounted onto the existing net post, without the use of tools, and stainless-steel cable reels out to the exact distance of the singles stick. A net band cradles the net at the proper elevation, and a wide base prevents damage to the court surface and stabilizes the stick during use and when stored for doubles. In addition, the Reel Sticks housing can be a platform for advertising.

Skip Scarpa of Tennis Ventures LLC invented and patented the product. “For over 100 years, the sport has all but ignored the first rules of tennis, and players have been playing singles on a doubles court,” says Scarpa, of Sullivans Island, S.C. “We aim to change this.” Scarpa says that if players don’t practice with singles sticks, then when they are confronted with them during a tournament, they become a practical and psychological performance barrier.

For information, visit reelsticks.com or contact Scarpa at 843-883-3938 or skip@scarpatennis.com.

Nominate for 2009 Tennis Industry Hall of Fame

The Tennis Industry Association is looking for nominations to the “Tennis Industry Hall of Fame,” which was started in 2008 to recognize those individuals who have had a significant impact on the sport of tennis. Last year, Dennis Van der Meer and Howard Head were the inaugural nominees into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame.

Eligibility is open to anyone who has been or is currently in the tennis industry. TIA membership is not required for consideration. To nominate someone, go to tennisindustry.org/hof by Friday, May 29. 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.

Short Sets

Ameel to Direct Ferris State PTM Program

Ferris State University has named Derek Ameel as the new director of the Professional Tennis Management program and the manager of the FSU Racquet & Fitness Center. Ameel comes to Ferris State from Bainbridge, Ga., where he most recently served as director of tennis for the City of Bainbridge, overseeing the city’s tennis programs on 26 courts.

Ameel is a USPTA P1 and a PTR professional; a Certified Speed, Agility and Quickness Instructor; and a Professional Tennis Training Consultant. He also has received USTA High Performance Certification as a specialist in Competitive Player Development and has been certified by USTA Level I and II Sport Science.

Ameel received a bachelor of science degree in Business/Professional Tennis Management from Ferris State in 1994.

Perry Named Prince Rep of Year

Dustin Perry, based in Kansas City, Mo., has been named Prince Sports Sales Representative of the Year for 2008. Perry services players, coaches, academies and clubs in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Southern Illinois. He was honored at the Prince International Sales Conference held in Florida at the end of November, which was attended by nearly 200 Prince representatives, distributors and employees from around the world.

Dustin Perry

Blackman Takes USTA Post; Ray Benton to Head JTCC

Martin Blackman has been hired as Senior Director for Talent Identification and Development for USTA Player Development. Blackman will be based at the USTA Training Facility in Boca Raton, Fla., and will report to Tom Jacobs, managing director of administration and business affairs for USTA Player Development.

In this new position, Blackman will interact with the USTA Player Development coaching and administrative staffs, as well as top coaches and tennis centers across the country to lead the USTA’s efforts in identifying and developing American talent.

Since 2004, Blackman has served as director of The Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., one of the recently announced USTA Certified Regional Training Centers. As Blackman leaves the JTCC, industry veteran Ray Benton enters as the new CEO of the JTCC and the Tennis Center at College Park, Md., which is the membership club operated at the same site.

Benton was a teaching pro, college coach, and the first national executive director of the NJTL. In addition, he was president of the sports management firm ProServe, and founder and operator of the Nuveen Tour, a worldwide senior tennis circuit featuring Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg.

 

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