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Industry News

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Walter Montenegro Turns 100!

Tennis and racquet sports industry veteran and innovator Walter Montenegro will celebrate his 100th birthday this summer. A celebration is planned for Aug. 15 in New Jersey.

Walter Montenegro

Montenegro was born Aug. 25, 1909, in San Jose, Costa Rica. He earned an accounting degree at the University of Buenos Aires, then arrived in New York in his early 20s. He learned to string tennis racquets and ultimately established a number of racquet companies, including Calhoun-Cragin and Cragin Simplex, where he also imported Babolat strings.

Among other endeavors, he developed a squash ball for summer play that changed the game to a year-round sport, and generated a Sports Illustrated article by George Plimpton. He also was instrumental in building up the USPTA, USRSA, TIA and U.S. Professional Squash Racquets Association. He was inducted into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame in 1985.

The family would love to have cards, greetings, testimonials, etc., to make his day truly special. Mail can be sent to: Walter Montenegro, c/o Barbara Montenegro, 7 Tall Pines Drive, Neptune, N.J. 07753.

Prince Adds to EXO3 Line of Frames

Prince is introducing three new EXO3 models: two advanced-player frames — the EXO3 Ignite 95 and Ignite Team 95 — and a classic oversize — the EXO3 Blue 110. “The EXO3 Ignite is built for a very particular high-level player and will help continue our assault on that growing segment of the market,” says Tyler Herring, Prince’s global business director for performance racquets. “The EXO3 Blue 110 is built with the millions of recreational club players in mind who look to Prince to help them have more fun on court and who seek the ultimate in comfort and power.”

The Ignite 95 joins the EXO3 Graphite and Rebel racquets in providing advanced-level players with control and feel, says Prince. The Ignite Team 95 is for competitive players who want a lighter weight, more maneuverable frame. The EXO3 Blue 110 will be positioned between the EXO3 Silver 118 and Red 105 for club players looking for a 110-square-inch head.

Prince EXO3

“With more players taking to tennis courts in the U.S., we need to ensure that our racquets deliver the core benefits each player type demands, and focus on making it easy for consumers to identify the right racquet for them at retail,” says Linda Glassel, VP of sports marketing and branding at Prince.

“The Graphite, Rebel and Ignite franchises signify racquets built for players typically looking for control-oriented frames in heavier weights and more traditional cross sections. In our recreational frames, we have continued with a color naming strategy (Red 105, Blue 110, Silver 118) so players can identity which racquet they should graduate to.”

The EXO3 Ignite 95 is for advanced players with faster swing speeds who are looking for a heavy, yet head-light, racquet. Suggested retail price is $210. The EXO3 Ignite Team 95 is designed for intermediate to advanced players who like a classic, mid-size frame in a slightly lighter weight for added maneuverability and more power from the baseline. Price is $200.

The EXO3 Blue 110 is for club players looking for the great feel in a classic oversize, with a larger sweetspot. Suggested retail is $280. For more information, visit princetennis.com.

USPTA World Conference Set for Florida

The USPTA’S World Conference on Tennis will be Sept. 21 to 26 at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club and Spa on Marco Island, Fla. The conference will feature more than 35 general sessions, seminars and specialty courses and is expected to draw 1,500 attendees, including tennis professionals, industry leaders and representatives, manufacturers, wholesalers and media. Also during the conference, USPTA hosts its International Tennis Championships, board and executive committee meetings, industry meetings, a tennis-only buying show, silent auction, nighttime parties, awards presentation and more.

USPTA members, their friends and family, nonmember tennis-teaching professionals, industry leaders and media are invited to attend the conference. Details, including registration information, are available at uspta.com or by calling 800-877-8248.

Register for the TTC

Register now for the USTA’s 2009 Tennis Teachers Conference, which will be held Aug. 29-Sept. 1 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, just as the US Open gets under way. Now in its 39th year, the TTC is a premier resource for teaching pros, organizers and coaches, offering the latest information, along with an opportunity to connect with colleagues from around the U.S. and the world. For information or to register, visit usta.com/ttc.

Wilson Contest for Open Trip

Wilson’s 2009 US Open Sweepstakes Contest offers consumers a chance to win a trip to the 2009 US Open and other Wilson equipment. The sweepstakes, which runs through July, with winners drawn on Aug. 7, is being promoted on specially marked three-packs of Wilson US Open tennis balls. For registration and more details, visit wilson.com/usopentrip.

Coaches Chosen for USTA Collegiate Teams

Four coaches have been chosen to lead the USTA Men’s and Women’s Summer Collegiate Teams, an elite training program for the top American collegiate tennis players that began in 1996 and is designed to provide players with exposure to the USTA Pro Circuit in a team-oriented environment.

Amanda Augustus from the University of California-Berkeley and Kathy Sell from Princeton University will coach the women’s team, while Chris Brandi from Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia’s Tony Bresky will lead the men’s team. Each team will have 12 participants, selected based on performance at national championship events and ITA rankings.

Zvonareva Signs with Tourna Grip

WTA Tour World No. 7 Vera Zvonareva has signed a multi-year deal with Unique Sports. Zvonareva, a 2009 Australian Open semifinalist who won her ninth singles title at Indian Wells this year, joins Victoria Azarenka as an official endorser of Pink Tourna Tac by Tourna Grip.

“Tourna Grip has been such an important part of my tennis success,” says Zvonareva. “Nothing else performs quite like it. I’m happy to now have an official agreement.” Visit www.uniquesports. com.

PTR Joins Forces With TennisLMS

The PTR has signed a two-year agreement with TennisLMS Corp. to be the Player Development Platform of PTR. TennisLMS is a new company with a platform for tracking players’ development and performances.

PTR members will receive exclusive discounted pricing for all components of TennisLMS web application: Video Analysis, Match Analysis, Fitness Analysis, Mental Game Development and High Performance Academy Editions.

The TennisLMS (Learning Management System) platform provides a range of unique features for club owners, directors, coaches and physical trainers that encourages participation, retention, and long-term player development and helps up-sell tennis memberships and lessons. The PTR says the system is easy to use and doesn’t require any software to be installed — PTR coaches will access all features and player development plans over the Internet.

“In this economic downturn, PTR is trying to help our coaches and clubs to become more profitable and TennisLMS has the platform and the vision at an affordable price,” says PTR CEO Dan Santorum. “It will maximize sharing of the knowledge of PTR coaches and extend value-added services they offer to their clients.”

“Most of the industry is talking about modern tennis, but it starts with modern tennis coaches,” says Kelly Jones, TennisLMS president and former No. 1 in ATP doubles. TennisLMS has carefully chosen partners (Tennis Europe Junior Tour, Croatian Tennis Association, Stanford University, University of Virginia, Prince Plugged In Academies, Etcheberry Certified Coaches, Little Mo Tournaments and Saddlebrook Academy) with whom we want to help build the next generation of modern tennis coaches.”

For more information, visit ptrtennis.org or tennislms.com.

Volkl Adds to Power Bridge Line

Volkl Tennis has come out with four new racquets in its Power Bridge line, along with new junior frames in the series. New frames include the Power Bridge 3, Power Bridge V1, Power Bridge 10 Mid, and Quantum Scorcher.

The Power Bridge 3, designed for players looking for performance and power, is 110 square inches and weighs 9.5 ounces, with a 16 × 19 string pattern.

The Power Bridge V1 comes in a midplus (102 square inches) and oversize (110). It weighs 10.1 ounces with a 16 × 19 string pattern, and is designed to provide comfort and performance.

For tournament players, the Power Bridge 10 Mid provides control and precision, permitting a hard, dominating play style, says Volkl. The frame is 93 square inches, weighs 11.6 ounces and has a 16 × 19 string pattern.

For control, feel and value, Volkl offers the Quantum Scorcher, at 102 square inches, 9.7 ounces and 16 × 19 pattern. The new junior frames include the Power Bridge 8 Jr., Power Bridge 9 Jr., and Power Bridge 10 Jr.

Volkl

For more information, and to find out about specials and promotions, call 866-554-7872 or email contact@volklbbtennis.com, or visit voelkl-tennis.com.

Ektelon Launches EXO3 R-Ball Frames

Ektelon has launched two EXO3 high-performance racquetball frames, the Black and Copper. EXO3 features “Energy Bridge” and “Energy Channel” designs that suspend the string bed, expand the sweetspot and deliver other playing benefits, says the company.

Ektelon frames

The Energy Channel is a frame design that creates elongated open channels at the 12, 3 and 9 o’clock positions of the frame which moves the mass to the outermost edges of the frame for stability. Energy Bridge are soft thermoplastic pieces inserted into the Energy Channel to create an exo-skeletal bridge structure that results in a string bed that is almost entirely suspended from the frame.

The EXO3 Black has a suggested retail price of $300, while the Copper is $280. For information, contact 800-283-2635 or visit ektelon.com.

WTT signs Turfer Athletic As Official Apparel Supplier

World TeamTennis and Turfer Athletic announced a multi-year agreement making Turfer Athletic the official apparel supplier of both the Advanta WTT Professional and Recreational Leagues. Turfer will develop a proprietary lifestyle brand of WTT apparel available online and at select Advanta WTT Pro and Rec League events.

Turfer has launched a website, featuring tennis-inspired lifestyle clothing suited for wearing both on and off the court. The website will offer discounts for WTT members on the WTT Collection of custom apparel and outerwear. WTT members will also receive special incentive buying offers throughout the year.

During the Pro League season, Turfer will outfit officials, ball kids and staff in the 10 franchise markets and will have merchandise onsite at many of the Advanta WTT Pro League matches in July.

Wilson Grand Slam Bag Debuts

In recognition of all Wilson’s great champions, Wilson has created the new Grand Slam Limited Edition Bag, which debuted at the French Open and will be exclusively carried on tour by all of Wilson’s Grand Slam Champions.

Wilson tennis bag

“There is no better feeling than winning a Grand Slam title,” says Roger Federer, who recently won the French Open for the first time, tying Pete Sampras’ all-time Grand Slam title record at 14. “This new Wilson Grand Slam bag is a very cool and unique way of celebrating my Grand Slam titles.” Wilson players have won a total of 467 Major titles.

Protect Your Group and Yourself With CTA and NJTL Insurance

We’ve all seen the Geico commercials with those two large eyeballs on a stack of cash, showing individuals that they’ve paid too much for insurance. It’s a simple concept that resonates in these times of economic uncertainty.

Eagle Risk Management

The USTA recognizes the need for low-cost solutions for community-based organizations — such as Community Tennis Associations and NJTL Chapters and Programs — that promote and develop the growth of tennis. And one solution, for eligible CTAs and NJTLs, is the USTA Master Liability Insurance Program and the Directors & Officers and Employment Practices Insurance Program. Each is a professional, high-quality program offering substantial liability coverage with a discounted enrollment contribution.

The Master Liability Insurance Program offers up to $2 million in coverage against allegations of negligence resulting from bodily injury or property damage. This program offers coverage for liability claims such as injury or death to a player or participant; accidental injury to a bystander or spectator; property damage; allegations of libel, slander, abuse or molestation; and more. The enrollee contribution is $165 a year for CTAs or NJTLs with an annual budget of $25,000 or less and $465 for organizations with a budget of more than $25,000. You can’t find this type of coverage at this cost anywhere on the market.

The Directors & Officers and Employment Practices Insurance Program offers coverage through an “A”-Rated carrier for CTAs and NJTLs. Policy features include providing defense counsel; no deductible; $1 million limit of liability with simple and inexpensive pricing; and loss prevention services from a national law firm specializing in employment, labor and benefits law risk-management assistance.

Both insurance programs have a toll-free number for dedicated support and assistance. Over 500 CTAs and NJTLs have enrolled so far this year. For additional information, contact the USTA’s insurance consultant, Eagle Risk Management, at 1-800-654-USTA (8782) or visit usta.com/cta. — David Slade

David Slade is the USTA National Manager of Community Tennis Associations and can be reached at slade@usta.com.

Short Sets

USPTA launches Tennisresources.com

The USPTA launched tennisresources.com, a tennis search engine that allows users to find all things tennis — from exclusive educational and instructional videos to articles and drill diagrams — all located at one site. Tennisresources.com, a subscription-based site, targets tennis-teaching professionals and coaches and tennis players of all levels.

The site provides teaching pros with the tools they need to enhance lessons and programs, whether they teach competitive juniors and adults or Little Tennis players. Tennis players will also find the site useful with access to numerous instructional videos, one-minute video tips and drills from top tennis-teaching pros to help improve their game.

Paid subscribers to tennisresources.com have unlimited access to high-quality educational tennis material. Other benefits include rating media, the opportunity to leave comments about media, sharing content with others by sending it via e-mail and saving media to a list of personal “Favorites” so that you may quickly find the content that is most useful to you. USPTA members will receive a complimentary basic subscription. There are several subscription rates available. Visit tennisresources.com for more information and to view sample clips.

French Open Tecnifibre Team Strings 3,060 Frames

Paul Kid of Tecnifibre reports that the company’s 11 stringers at the French Open this year strung a total of 3,060 racquets during the three weeks (including qualifying), which is 300 more frames than in 2008. The Tecnifibre stringers, using TF-8000 machines, came from France, Japan, United Kingdom, Argentina, Switzerland, Spain and Germany. Interesting stats from the Tecnifibre Stringing Service logs include:

Tensions and other stats for some popular players:

Gore Supplies Wimbledon Roof Fabric

W.L. Gore & Associates Inc., the company best known for its waterproof and breathable outerwear fabric, announced that the new retractable roof over Centre Court at Wimbledon is made of Gore Tenara Architectural Fabric, a product that will lessen the impact of wet weather at the tennis tournament. The fabric was chosen, in part, for its ability to let light pass through while offering protection from the elements.

Wimbledon roof

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