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USTA Awards $500,000 in Grants
The USTA announced that it is awarding more than $500,000 in Recreational Tennis Grants to 54 organizations across the country.
The Recreational Tennis Division has pooled together financial resources to create a new series of grants to be distributed on a bi-annual basis to non-profits committed to increasing tennis participation, supporting tennis programming and fostering diversity among participants. In total, the USTA will award more than $1 million in Recreational Tennis Grants to qualified applicants in 2009.
Any non-profit organization was eligible to apply for these grants, regardless of affiliation with the USTA. Winning organizations include Parks and Recreation agencies, YMCA’s, USTA NJTL Chapters and school districts.
“We are thrilled to be able to invest over $500,000 to organizations all over the country that believe, as we do, that tennis can be the vehicle to improve the quality of life and education for both children and adults alike,” says Kurt Kamperman, chief executive of Community Tennis for the USTA.
Grant awards ranged from $2,500 up to $50,000. Organizations that weren’t awarded grants during this cycle can apply for funding during future cycles. Applications for the second 2009 cycle are due by May 15. For more information, visit USTA.com/grants.
Head’s New ‘YouTek’ Adapts Frame to Each Shot
Head says its new YouTek racquet technology, launched in April in four Tour Series frames and one junior racquet, is designed to “adapt to each shot you hit.” In Head’s Tour racquets, YouTek features something called “d3o,” described as a “smart material” in the shaft that changes its behavior under dynamic loading or impact. The molecules in d3o “react to the needs of a player in nano seconds,” says Head.
The material stays soft during slow hits, providing a softer touch and better feel on slow-speed impacts, like slices and drop shots. But on harder strokes, the molecules “lock together” and increase the frame’s stiffness, creating power on high-speed impacts, such as on serves and passing shots, according to Head.
“If your game is aggressive and adventurous or consistent and smooth, YouTek will adapt to your game,” says Kevin Kempin, Head’s v.p. of sales and marketing.
YouTek also features Head Grommets with Teflon friction-reducing polymer, which allows minimal string friction for less energy loss and more power, says the company. There are four YouTek racquets in the Tour Series:
- Speed Pro: Used by pro player Novak Djokovic, it has a thin, 18-mm beam, and is designed to provide touch and feel. It has a 98-square-inch head and weighs 11.8 ounces, with a 16/19 string pattern. (Suggested retail is $225.)
- Speed MP 16/19 and 18/20: For heavy hitters with long, fast swing styles, this frame ($225) is 100 square inches and 11.1 ounces, in two string patterns.
- Speed Elite: This Tour Light version ($210) provides more maneuverability, with a slightly wider 22 mm beam for more power. Head size is 100 square inches and weight is 10.1 ounces, in a 16/19 string pattern.
- Speed Lite: The lightest frame in the series at 9.2 ounces, the Lite ($210) provides power, maneuverability, control and feel for players with a moderate swing style. With a 24 mm beam, it has a 102-square-inch head size and 16/19 pattern.
For younger players, there’s the Speed Jr. ($120) with YouTek, at 102 square inches and 8.6 ounces, with a 24 mm beam. For more information, visit head.com.
Schedule Set for Tennis Club & Facilities Conference
The PTR has set the schedule for its inaugural Tennis Club & Facilities Conference May 13-15 at PTR Headquarters on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The three-day event has been designed for tennis club owners, facility managers, and directors of tennis.
Opening presentations on the afternoon of May 13 will include PTR CEO Dan Santorum and COO Pat Decker, as well as Jolyn de Boer, TIA executive director. Doug Cash will facilitate discussions Wednesday evening, Thursday and Friday, covering such topics as: Facility Management and Maintenance; Successful Practices Everyone Should Use; Managing Expenses; Payroll; Hiring and Launching Tennis Directors and Staff Pros; Programming; Additional Revenue Areas — Pro Shop, Food and Beverage, Spa; Software and Websites.
With opportunities to network with other club owners/managers, the event also features Beach Tennis, a round robin, yoga and dinner parties.
The $325 cost includes all workshops, meals and social activities. For more information or registration, contact 800-421-6289 or visit ptrtennis.org and click Upcoming Events.
Babolat and Michelin Launch New Shoe Line
Babolat launched its new spring/sum-mer footwear line in March during the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. The shoes, a product of the partnership between Babolat and Michelin, include new models in the Propulse and Team ranges and a new Drive range, designed to provide improved flexibility with reinforced padding for comfort.
Babolat says that since 2001, its arrangement with Michelin has keyed on the fact that car tires and shoe soles perform similar functions — ensuring contact with the ground and safe, efficient movement and traction.
Thomas Otton, Babolat product group marketing manager, says his team considered four designer trends for the spring/summer line: lower-to-the-ground soles, details in the layering, removal of material for better ventilation and lightness, and repetition of key graphic elements.
Two tour pros recently signed shoe endorsements with Babolat. Nadia Petrova, ranked No. 9 in the world, wears the Babolat Propulse Lady and Ivo Karlovic, No. 29 in the world, wears the Team All Court 4.
New shoes are the Propulse 2 (suggested retail $109), Propulse Lady ($104) and Propulse Junior ($59); Team All Court 4 ($89), Team All Court White 4 ($89), Team Lady 3 ($85) and Team All Court Junior 4 ($49); and the Drive ($70) and Drive Lady ($70).
The three Propulse shoes all feature Michelin “Optimized Cell System” technology, designed to increase grip and resistance to abrasion, and Babolat’s “Foot Belt” support technology for a secure fit. In addition, they come with “Exact Pro” technology, designed to improve a player’s acceleration when pushing off the forefoot. The Propulse 2 is worn by Andy Roddick.
Babolat says the Team range is for competitive players and that the new Team shoes have added comfort and are lighter in weight. The new Drive range was designed to improve flexibility with reinforced padding for comfort. For more information, visit babolat.com or call 877-316-9435.
Chat With Prince Racquet Experts
Want to try to stump the racquet development experts? Or find out why and how racquets find their way into production? Visit Prince’s new EXO3 blog site, to chat with Prince’s product development team. The site will have weekly blog entries from Prince Performance Racquet Director Tyler Herring. You also can start your own discussion topics, and find answers to all those racquet questions you’ve wondered about.
Lee Serves Up ‘Play the Clay’ Site
Lee Tennis Court Products recently launched a new website, “Play the Clay,” to link tennis players, coaches and teaching pros who have a shared interest and passion for clay courts and clay-court tennis. The interactive site, playtheclay.com, is dedicated to sharing information about the benefits of playing tennis on clay.
“The purpose of ‘Play the Clay’ is to teach site visitors about the clay court experience, and provide the information and, hopefully, the inspiration they need to go experience it for themselves,” says Lee Director of Sales Pat Hanssen.
Establishing connections with others who love tennis and sharing stories and experiences about clay court tennis is an important feature of the site. A “Join the Movement” section is dedicated to sharing information about clay’s pivotal role in developing the next wave of U.S. champions.
The site also highlights photos from various events, a blog, industry news, tips and tricks on playing tennis on clay, and a directory of facilities that offer clay courts.
Houston Club Chooses Classic Turf
Classic Turf of Woodbury, Conn., this summer will begin work on four indoor courts on top of a parking garage for the Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa in Houston, Texas, using Classic Turf’s exclusive cushioned court surface.
“The client played on one of our courts in Houston and loved it,” says John Eren of Classic Turf. “They decided to go with Classic Turf based on its soft, comfortable and consistent playability. For more information, visit classicturf.org, or contact 800-246-7951 or email@example.com.
Cardio Tennis Workshops Offered
Cardio Tennis workshops, which include both on-court and classroom training, are being offered around the country. The workshops are for teaching pros who both currently conduct Cardio Tennis or are looking to get started.
Attendees will learn about CT drills, how the CT program can generate revenue, how to use heart-rate monitors effectively to raise the fitness profile of CT participants, and more. To register visit growingtennis.com and click on “workshops and training.” The workshop schedule is:
May 8: Bluegrass Yacht and CC, Nashville, Tenn.
May 9: Fort Sanders Health & Fitness, Knoxville, Tenn.
May 15: Atlantic Coast Athletic Clubs, Midlothian, Va.
May 31: YMCA, Kalamazoo, Mich.
June 1: Bill Barber Park, Irvine, Calif.
June 12: Midtown Tennis Club, Chicago
June 19: Longfellow Tennis Club, Wayland, Mass.
USTA Seeks Outstanding Facility Nominations
The USTA is looking for nominations for the 2009 Outstanding Tennis Facility Awards. Deadline for the awards application to be submitted is June 12.
The awards, now in their 28th year, are given to outstanding public tennis facilities under the jurisdiction of a parks and recreation department, an educational institution, a non-profit corporation, or a private and commercially owned and operated facility with USTA and other growth programs open to the public. Award criteria include overall layout, court surface and lights, ease of maintenance, aesthetics, amenities and programming.
Awards will be announced in July and presented during the USTA Semi-Annual Meeting in New York in September, during the US Open. Visit usta.com/facilityawards for more information and the application. For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cookson, Harmon Honored by Hall of Fame
Elizabeth “Betty” Cookson of San Mateo, Calif., and Rodney Harmon of Miramar, Fla., were honored in March by the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Cookson received the prestigious Samuel Hardy Award, while Harmon received the Tennis Educational Merit Award. The awards were presented in California during the USTA’s Annual Meeting.
The Samuel Hardy Award is presented annually to a USTA volunteer in recognition of long and outstanding service to the sport. The Tennis Educational Merit Award is given to individuals who are U.S. citizens that have made notable contributions in the tennis education field at the national level.
TIA Adds Francesconi to Head Up Industry Communications
Peter Francesconi, editorial director for Racquet Sports Industry magazine, has joined the Tennis Industry Association’s support team to head up communications/public relations for the industry.
“I’m very excited about my role with the TIA,” Francesconi says. “I’ve always felt that my experience and relationships are well-suited to promoting the sport and contributing to that spirit of collaboration that has helped tennis to grow — exactly what the TIA is all about. I’m happy to be joining the TIA’s support team.”
Francesconi’s experience in the tennis publishing business spans 22 years. In addition to his current role with RSI, the world’s largest trade magazine for tennis, he recently was named editor of Tennis Life magazine, the second largest consumer tennis publication in the U.S.
“Pete’s experience and relationships really help round out our communications efforts,” says Jolyn de Boer, the TIA’s executive director. “The fact that he is involved in both the trade and consumer sides of the business is a great asset to what our mission is here at the TIA.”
“Peter has an excellent reputation in this business,” adds TIA President Jon Muir. “I’m excited that he’s joining us and expanding his role, both for the TIA and for tennis overall.”
PTR Loses Photographer Ken Mak
Dr. Kin-Yee “Ken” Mak, a fixture at all PTR events for the last decade, died suddenly in March at age 75. He practiced internal medicine for 30 years in Lima, Ohio, and had retired to the Hilton Head area in 1995, where he developed a passion for photography. It was that hobby that led to his association with the PTR, volunteering to serve as the official photographer for PTR events.
“I don’t think there has been an issue of TennisPro magazine without a Ken Mak photo in it for the last 10 years,” said Peggy Edwards, the PTR’s director of communications. “He was a true gentleman — thoughtful, kind and talented. His generosity to PTR was a great gift.” He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Kristine, four children and six grandchildren.
Tennis Across America Celebrates 20 Years
The USPTA’s 20th annual Tennis Across America Day will be May 9. Teaching pros will provide opportunities for people eager to play by offering free Tennis Across America clinics in more than 350 cities nationwide, and then provide follow-up programming.
The Tennis Across America program consists of three major elements. First, free clinics are held at public and private facilities around the nation. Second, multicultural clinics introduce the sport to various groups and give everyone the opportunity to experience tennis. Third, follow-up programs are created to provide players with an opportunity to pursue their new enthusiasm for tennis.
While Tennis Across America Day will officially be celebrated May 9, it is not limited to just that day. More than 1,500 USPTA professionals and recreational coaches, along with volunteers, offer free clinics to the public throughout the spring and summer months. Clinics can be directed toward adults, children or both, and may include new, current and former players returning to the game. Visit uspta.com for more information.
Former USTA President Les Snyder Dies
Les Snyder, who served as USTA president from 1995-‘96, died April 8 in Tempe, Ariz. Snyder was an instrumental figure in the planning and construction of Arthur Ashe Stadium and the expansion of the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
Formerly a professor of psychology at Arizona State University, Snyder advocated for the development of a strong national staff for the USTA, and advanced the notion that professional tennis ought to incorporate an element of entertainment, in order to increase its appeal. He was a longtime volunteer in the USTA Southwest Section, serving as its president from 1980 to 1982. In 1997, he was elected to the Southwest Hall of Fame.
Donations may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) “In Memory of Lester Snyder,” 5665 Oberlin Drive, Suite 106, San Diego, Calif. 92121, or by calling JDRF at 858-597-0240.
UC-Davis Club Team Honored by USTA
The University of California-Davis Club Tennis Team has won the inaugural Club of the Year Award for the USTA Tennis On Campus program for the 2008-09 season. In addition, the Lone Star College-Cy-Fair Club Tennis Team, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Club Tennis Team and UCLA Club Tennis Team received honorable mentions.
The USTA Tennis On Campus Club of the Year Award honors a club for significant improvements in their program and how it commits time and resources to benefit its community. UC-Davis is a close-knit, 90 percent self-financed, and diverse club of more than 250 recreational and competitive players whose goal is to spread the joys of tennis through volunteering and mentoring.
For its impact on the Davis community at large, the UC Davis Club holds a number of charitable events per year and has strong partnerships with local businesses. For example, the club partners with the USTA to provide a free clinic to over 400 underprivileged kids every year. In addition, the team offers a membership card that allows for discounts at local Davis merchandisers.
“It is remarkable to see how many of these student-led programs commit their time, energy and resources to improving their local communities,” says Glenn Arrington, USTA Tennis On Campus National Program Manager.
ITA/USTWA Writing Contest
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association and the U.S. Tennis Writers Association have formed a partnership and are sponsoring the ITA/USTWA Writing Contest this spring. Entries will be accepted in two categories: college students and sports information directors. The winners will be selected in early May, and the plan is to announce their names at the annual luncheon that is held during the NCAA Tennis Championships.
- Nova Sports USA of Milford, Mass., manufacturer of high-performance 100 percent acrylic sport surfaces, has launched its new website, novasports.com. The site contains tools to help create project specs and a design ideas section where visitors can choose and see more than 100 different color combinations.
- The International Tennis Hall of Fame will now honor wheelchair tennis athletes and administrators with induction into the Hall of Fame. This expansion of eligible individuals is in addition to the traditional Hall of Fame induction categories of Recent Players, Master Players and Contributors.
- Nicol David, the women’s squash World No.1 from Malaysia, will become an ambassador for Squash 2016, the sport’s campaign to be included in the Olympic Games for 2016. Other new ambassadors are Rebecca Chiu, Hong Kong’s top female player, Siyoli Lusaseni of South Africa, Indian No. 1 Saurav Ghosal, and Englishman Alister Walker, winner of two PSA World Tour titles.
- Players from 17 countries highlighted the recent Advanta WTT Roster Draft, but it’s a team of young Americans that will make World TeamTennis history during the July 2-22 season. The defending WTT champion New York Buzz selected World TeamTennis’ youngest team ever with a lineup of four up-and-coming American juniors: Alex Domijan, 17; Evan King, 17; Christina McHale, 16; and Sloane Stephens, 16.
- Tennis pro shop and retail store owners can register their store for free at FindTennisStore.com, a search website for tennis consumers. For a store to appear on the site, store owners need to visit the site and set up their contact information and then enter their products and brands. Stores must have a physical location that the public can visit and shop; the site is not for online-only tennis stores.
- The International Tennis Hall of Fame and First Serve hosted a special evening in Miami in March to honor 2005 Hall of Famer Butch Buchholz, while also celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Sony Ericsson Open. Buchholz has played key roles in the evolution of both professional and amateur tennis.
- Turning Stone Resort in Verona, N.Y., will celebrate the grand opening of its Tennis Dome at the Sportsplex by hosting its first professional event on May 2, a “Legendary Night” featuring John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Tracy Austin and Anna Kournikova.
- The International Tennis Hall of Fame has announced that the Angela Moore Fashion Show and Champagne Breakfast will be Thursday, July 9, during the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, in Newport, R.I.
- Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont will be the site of the first Drysdale Tennis School in New England. The Tennis School will offer intensive training for adults and juniors of all levels. For more information, visit cliffdrysdale.com.
- The Sports Authority held grand opening ceremonies for nine new locations across the country in April. The company now owns and operates 463 stores in 45 states.
Head Introduces ‘Perfect Match’ String Matrix
Head’s “Perfect Match” hybrid stringing program is designed to help players find the right main and cross strings using a simple matrix to recommend combinations of Head string to achieve specific performance benefits.
Players select two benefits — the primary benefit for the main strings and the secondary benefit for the crosses. Then the matrix shows the recommended Head strings for mains and crosses to achieve those specific benefits.
For instance, if a player primarily wants more control with the additional benefit of more touch, the matrix recommends Head FXP for the mains and Head Natural Gut for the crosses. Visit head.com for more information.
- Juan Martin Del Potro has signed a new long-term agreement with Wilson Racquet Sports that includes racquets, strings, bags, grips and tennis balls. He plays with the Wilson [K] Six.One 95.
- John Byron, Sheri Norris, and Chris Watase have joined Dunlop’s sales force, reporting to Western Regional Manager Steve Schultz. With the appointments, Dunlop bolsters its service and coverage to the pro and specialty shop channels in the Midwest, Southwest and West.
- HEAD player Andy Murray, playing with a MicroGel Radical MP, captured his third ATP title of the season with a win over fellow Head player Novak Djokovic to become the first British champion at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami in April. In the women’s competition, Victoria Azarenka (MicroGel Extreme Pro with Teflon polymer) bested top-ranked Serena Williams.
- IMG Academies, a division of global sports and entertainment company IMG and owner of the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, has entered into a relationship with tennis coach Brad Gilbert to be a guest coach.
- Larry Scott will step down as the WTA chief executive and chairman, to begin a job July 1 as commissioner of the NCAA’s Pacific-10 Conference.
- Kim Clijsters, who won the US Open in 2005, will return to professional tennis after two years in retirement. Clijster, who retired in May 2007 to get married and start a family, asked for wild cards for WTA hard-court tournaments in Cincinnati and Toronto in August and the U.S. Open. She also will play two World TeamTennis matches for the St. Louis Aces in July.
- USTA Serves, the philanthropic and charitable entity of the USTA, has appointed Jamshid Ehsani of Greenwich, Conn., and Benjamin Doller of New York City to its board of directors. Ehsani has served in senior leadership positions in a number of multinational corporations, including the World Bank, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, and UBS and Swiss Re Financial Services. Doller is a prominent art world expert and auctioneer at Sotheby’s.
- Dunlop has a new a multi-year partnership with Austrian tennis star Jurgen Melzer. Under the terms of his new agreement, Melzer will be playing the new Dunlop Aerogel 4D 300 Tour racquet and endorsing Dunlop tennis balls.
- Examiner.com has hired tennis writer Marcia Frost as its National College Tennis Examiner. Frost, who has contributed to RSI magazine, specializes in college and junior tennis.
- Kelly Gunterman, whose Gunterman Tennis Schools have taught thousands to play tennis, recently was named director of tennis at Amelia Island Plantation in Florida. In addition, Gunterman Tennis Schools runs the tennis program at Vermont’s Summit Lodge. For day rates or packages for Adult Tennis School and Junior Tennis Camp at both locations, visit GreatTennis.com.
- Hugo Armando has been hired as a USTA Coach and will facilitate coaching and training programs to assist players working with USTA Player Development. He will be based at the USTA Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla., and will report to Jay Berger, Head of Men’s Tennis, Player Development.
- The International Tennis Hall of Fame, in conjunction with the Copa Telmex Tournament in Buenos Aires, honored 2006 Hall of Famer Gabriela Sabatini in February. The special ceremony was hosted by Mark Stenning, CEO of the Hall of Fame, and 2005 Hall of Famer Butch Buchholz.
- Rising Japanese pro tennis player Kei Nishikori has a contract with Japanese TV station WOWOW to represent the station at Grand Slam events and other tournaments.
PTR $25,000 Championships Results
The PTR $25,000 Championships were held in conjunction with the PTR International Tennis Symposium in February. The big winners in the prize-money event for PTR teaching pros were Zbynek Mlynarik of Chatsworth, Calif., and Nicola Slater of Hilton Head Island, S.C., both capturing the Gamma Open Singles divisions.
Slater later teamed with Mia Bobrowski of Charlotte, N.C., to win the Gamma Women’s Open Doubles crown. Mlynarik and his partner, fellow California Julien Heine, the #1 seeded Gamma Open Doubles team, were taken down by Christophe Bonadona and Julio Cirimbelli, both of Hilton Head. For complete results, visit usta.com/tennislink Tournament #704102409.
USTA Presents Awards at Annual Meeting
Several individuals and an organization were recognized in March at the USTA’s Annual Meeting held in Desert Springs, Calif., for their contributions to tennis:
- The Bill Talbert Junior Sportsmanship Award honorees (in partnership with the International Tennis Hall of Fame): Jeremy I. Efferding of Lake Worth, Fla.; Ryan Lipman of Nashville, Tenn.; Ryan Thacher of Studio City, Calif.; Gary Wang of Chesterbrook, Pa.
- Seniors’ Service Award: Patricia Graham (posthumously) of Winter Park, Fla.
- Brad Parks Award: Dr. Bal Moore of Naples, Fla.
- Barbara Williams Leadership Award: Lise J. Frank of Danville, Calif.
- Member Organization of the Year Award: Baseline Tennis Center of Minneapolis
- Ralph W. Westcott USTA Family of the Year Award: Kline Family of Prospect, Ky.
Ratkovich Takes Over as HEAD/Penn Ball Manager
Jeff Ratkovich is the new senior business manager of Penn tennis balls, succeeding Jennifer Parker, who has held the position for the past five years. Parker is leaving to devote full time to her family.
Ratkovich has been involved in the tennis industry in various capacities for over 25 years. Since joining Head/Penn he has held the key positions of customer service manager, e-commerce manager, and Penn worldwide operations manager.
Neil Tjon Hing, Abilene, TX
Kevin Hu, San Diego, CA
Alejandro Vasquez, San Diego, CA
Chicago Teaching Pro Creates ‘Hop-A-Razzi’ Rolling Ball Basket
The new “Hop-A-Razzi” ball hopper rolls on built-in wheels, making ball pickup quick and easy. The baskets are sturdy, colorful and stackable, with an adjustable handle to allow players of all ages to retrieve balls quickly.
The design was created by USPTA-certified pro Christi Turdo of Chicago, whose more than 30 years in tennis include competing at the collegiate level and working as a club manager and owner.
“I was on the court teaching a lesson to a 7-year-old girl. It was a very hot day and she was picking up balls,” says Turdo. “I heard her scream, ‘The basket’s too heavy, I can’t pick it up!’ That night I took the basket home and started working on a design that would make it pleasurable for all ages to pick up tennis balls.”
The name is a play on “paparazzi,” the term for the photographers who follow celebrities around. The Hop-A-Razzi, says Turdo, “follows you wherever you go.” The 90-ball capacity basket may be purchased in a variety of bright colors at HopARazzi.com.