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Dillman Named GM For Volkl, Boris Becker
Former Wilson Sporting Goods executive Brian Dillman has been named general manager of the the Volkl and Boris Becker Divisions of Klip America. In this newly created position, Dillman will establish a Midwest office and be based in Chicago. Dillman will manage the growth and global distribution of the Volkl and Boris Becker brands. He’ll head the sales and marketing efforts for overseas markets including Europe and the Middle East and regions within the U.S. including the East Coast and Texas.
Prior to joining Klip, Dillman served as an executive for a private equity firm specializing in long-term investments in the consumer products industry and spent several years with Power Plate International, a fitness company. Before that, he spent 14 years at Wilson and its parent company, Amer Sports, holding executive director, vice president and general manager positions in the U.S. and Europe. Other achievements include a successful entry into the badminton market in China and signing Roger Federer to a lifetime playing contract.
“Brian brings an extraordinarily high level of international marketing, sales and tennis distribution experience to our team,” says Sean Frost, managing director of Klip America. Visit volkltennis.net, borisbecker.com, and klipstrings.net.
New Software Brings Brand Support to Retailers
The new TennisConnect Retailer software allows authorized retailers to take their operation online with their own branded website — all with manufacturer-approved images and content. With support from a growing list of manufacturers, such as Head, Prince, Wilson, Babolat and Dunlop, retailers also have access to marketing programs and other online material that will help them sell more product through their own store websites.
“With TennisConnect Retailer, manufacturers are stepping up and offering support that will boost traffic to the retailers’ own websites and help their sales,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “Dealers now have opportunities to display product online.”
Online purchases have increased dramatically over the last few years, according to research by the TIA and Sports Marketing Surveys. “Dealers who are doing well — either holding their own or growing — all have some kind of internet presence,” says Charlie Osborne, vice president and national sales manager of Prince. “TennisConnect Retailer not only gives retailers a unique, branded online presence, but it also lets them utilize all the marketing and other resources that the manufacturers have at hand to promote product.”
The newest components of TCR are the manufacturer-approved Online Catalog and Branded Website Pages. For each retailer, the Online Catalog showcases the brands they want to promote and drives sales directly to their pro shop or specialty store for fulfillment. The catalog is updated daily to include new products and styles, complete with high-quality, manufacturer-approved images, specifications and product descriptions. For the Branded Website Pages, manufacturers have the ability to provide product promotions and player images exclusively for all authorized dealers.
Marketing departments from the manufacturers have the opportunity to provide promotional materials such as product email blasts linked to a dealer’s own Online Catalog, targeted email messages, newsletters, separate product pages, and product and promotional images. Also, links will allow dealers to present website pages through an easy-to-use “pick and click” system. In addition, TCR implements all the current software for such features as Website Builder, Court Reservations, E-Calendar, Contact Manager/Group Email, String Center and Demo Racquet Center.
“What’s so important here is that, through TennisConnect Retailer, our sales representatives are partnering with their dealers to maximize all the features and benefits of their manufacturer-supported websites,” says Greg Mason, senior director of sales for Head/Penn.
NJTL Re-Brands With New Name and Logo
The USTA’s National Junior Tennis League will be re-branded as the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network. With the new name and logo, the network of Community Tennis Associations will continue its mission of developing the character of young people through tennis and education.
The re-brand comes in conjunction with NJTL’s 40th anniversary, and NJTL chapters across the country will take part in a number of regional rallies throughout this summer. The new brand identity is now being incorporated into all USTA materials, including newsletters, the USTA website, and other promotional mediums. Information on NJTL can be found at usta.com/NJTL.
Apparel Line Offers High-Perf, ‘Athlete-Owned’
Athletic DNA, a high-performance apparel line, is “designed specifically for competitive tennis players” using the latest in textile technology, says company CEO Dan Willman.
The company says its “Helix Tech” is a comfortable, lightweight, anti-odor, anti-bacterial technology that provides the maximum range of motion and offers UV protection and rapid-dry moisture management.
The company also offers an “athlete-owned” business model: Local coaches, academies and touring pros can own a part of the company they represent. Athletic DNA says it gives equity share to professional athletes and coaches. “We’re a grassroots company founded and owned by players and coaches,” says Evan Zeder, manager of sales and sponsorships.
Athletic DNA touring pros include Robert Kendrick, Peter Luczak and Ryler De Heart. On its board of advisors is Jim Baugh, former CEO of Wilson, and other tennis insiders, says the company.
Athletic DNA’s launch line includes performance T’s, training T’s, long-sleeve shirts, shorts, socks and hats. Visit athleticdna.com.
Unique Acquires Stringmeter
Unique Sports Products of Alpharetta, Ga., has acquired the patented racquet string tension measuring tool Stringmeter. Stringmeter is engineered and calibrated to accurately measure string-bed stiffness and monitor string tension loss.
“Stringmeter is manufactured in the USA to very precise specification,” says Gene Niksich, president of Unique Sports, which provides sports accessories for tennis, baseball and other sports. For more information, visit uniquesports.com.
Conn. Club Adds Cushion Extreme
Hinding Tennis of West Haven, Conn., recently converted two indoor clay courts at the Tennis Courts of Trumbull (Conn.) to Cushion Extreme Court, a cushioned product poured over the existing surface.
Court builder Tom Hinding put down a geo-textile fabric over the existing court surface, then poured the cushion system right onto the fabric. The job took 12 days to complete.
“This is cushion we can feel, and our members love it,” says Ed Pagano, owner of Tennis Courts of Trumbull. “We couldn’t be any happier.” For more information about Cushion Extreme, email Hinding at email@example.com, call 203-410-6090 or visit hindingtennis.com.
News from the PTR
Professional Development Weekend in September
The PTR will hold its annual Professional Development Weekend Sept. 17 to 20 at PTR Headquarters on Hilton Head Island, S.C. This year’s event includes new courses from prominent tennis coaches such as Anne Pankhurst, Butch Staples, Pete Collins, Craig Jones, Steve Keller, Troy Robinson, Heath Waters and Jorge Andrew.
On-court and classroom topics include The Millennium Forehand, Teaching & Practicing Motor Skills, 101 Drills & Games, Physical Skill Development, Coaching League Doubles, Programs & Lesson Plans, and more.
The event is open to PTR members for $275, and to non-members for $325. For the full schedule, accommodations and information or to register, visit Upcoming Events at ptrtennis.org or call 800-421-6289.
Midwest Conference Set for Aug. 21
The PTR will hold its Midwest Conference on Aug. 21 at the Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago. The event is open to all PTR and USPTA teaching pros, high school and college coaches, as well as team captains and club players.
The day begins at 9 a.m. with Dr. Neeru Jayanthi presenting Off-Court Training and Injury Prevention, followed by Lisa Duncan’s Motivating the Learner-Practical Strategies, after which Eric Alexon will conduct Cardio Tennis-Games, Games, Games!
Lunch will be provided, then PTR Master Pro Butch Staples will present PTR Kids Tennis/QuickStart-Making It Happen, followed by Ollie Stephens’ Beyond QuickStart-from Ages 10-14, then Lisa Duncan with Four Qualities Great Coaches Share. The day culminates with a PTR Drill Exchange.
Cost for the day (9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.) is $35 for PTR members and $50 for non-members. For more information or to register, call 800-421-6289, or visit ptrtennis.org.
Wheelchair Tennis Workshops Slated
Two Instructing Wheelchair Tennis Workshops, presented by the PTR, will be held this summer: Aug. 28 at Oak Creek Tennis Center in Dallas, and Sept. 13 at Chaplin Park Tennis Center on Hilton Head Island, S.C.
The workshop is open to all tennis teachers and recreation instructors who want to learn the nuances of teaching tennis to people in wheelchairs. Participants will actually use wheelchairs in order to understand the special skills required to maneuver the chair and to hit from a modified elevation. Mobility, stroke production, and general wheelchair tennis basics will be covered.
For information and to register, call 800-421-6289 or visit ptrtennis.org.
Town Finally Gets Usable Courts
High school players in Woodbury, Conn., finally have a place to play — without having to travel out of town. For years the only public courts in town — three hard courts at the high school and two at the middle school — were closed due to neglect. But in June, the two middle school courts were completely refurbished by Classic Turf of Woodbury (classicturf.org), using its patented cushioned surfacing system over a post-tensioned concrete base, and adding lights. Despite the inconvenience of traveling out of town to practice and play, the Nonnewaug High School boys’ team finished the spring season 16-0 and won the 2009 Berkshire League Boys’ Tennis Championships.
Total US Open Purse Tops Record $21.6 Million
The USTA announced that the 2009 US Open purse will top $21.6 million, marking the third consecutive year that the tournament’s prize money has increased by $1 million. In addition to the base purse of $21.6 million, the top three men’s and top three women’s finishers in the Olympus US Open Series may earn up to an additional $2.6 million in bonus prize money at the US Open, providing a potential total payout of $24.2 million.
Both the men’s and women’s US Open singles champions will earn a record $1.6 million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total $2.6 million potential payout) based on their performances in the Open Series. In addition, both US Open singles champions will receive a new 2010 Lexus IS Convertible.
Wilson R-Ball Players Win Honors
Wilson WTeam players Jimmy Lowe and Chris Evon were honored recently as the best male and female player to perform in their age group based on yearlong results. Lowe won the Bud Muehleisen Award (his fourth) and Evon the Peggy Steding Award (her first).
PowerAngle Debuts a New Diagonal Line of Frames
PowerAngle LLC, the only manufacturer of patented, diagonally strung tennis racquets, introduces a new Diagonal Line of frames: the PowerAngle Pro (Midsize), Centric (Super-Mid) and Grand (Oversize).
The company says its equal-length diagonals reduce vibration by 40 percent compared to conventionally strung frames, which have unequal-length horizontal and vertical strings. Consequently, PowerAngle players’ shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands are protected from harmful vibrations, says the company. Also, diagonal stringing grips a tennis ball better, PowerAngle says, resulting in the ball staying on the strings longer — providing controlled power and added spin. PowerAngle Rackets are tournament legal and conform to the ITF Rules of Tennis.
The PowerAngle Pro, at 98 square inches, has a suggested retail price of $199. The PowerAngle Centric is a spin-generating, super-mid frame, measuring 102 square inches, with a price of $209. The Grand is 115 square inches, at $219. Visit PowerAngle.net, email Dan@PowerAngle.net or call 914-472-7271.
- Babolat has extended its partnership with The John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas. Since 2002, Babolat has been an exclusive partner for tennis racquets and strings and sponsor of the John Newcombe Tennis Academy and adult tennis programs. With the new agreement, Babolat will continue as a marquee partner for another three years.
- Cleantech Solutions has joined the TIA, bringing its green-oriented products and services to the tennis industry. The Boston-based energy services company is involved in the field of facility energy usage maximization. Cleantech creates and implements custom, specific energy-management solutions and systems. The company works in a number of arenas, including athletic facilities, and says it typically saves an indoor facility 62 to 80 percent, while implementing systems that pay for themselves in 1.7 to 2.8 years. Visit cleantechsolutions.com.
- Plaques for Dennis Van der Meer and Howard Head, the inaugural inductees into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame, are now installed in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.
- USPTA and PTR professional Denny Schackter, the owner of Tennis Priorities, has expanded his business to tennis professional screening. Schackter, who retired in March 2008 as territory manager for Wilson Racquet Sports, is in the business of recruiting college graduates to the tennis teaching profession. His website is tennispriorities.com.
- The USPTA has announced a three-year partnership with Aer-Flo Inc. of Bradenton, Fla., as the official tennis windscreen of the teaching pro organization.
- BNP Paribas returns as title sponsor for the “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup” at Madison Square Garden. Four of the world’s top women tennis players will once again face off in the one-night-only single-elimination event scheduled for Monday, March 1, in New York City. The evening also will feature the winner of the industry’s “Racket Up, America!” promotion hitting a serve to potentially win $1 million.
- The top mixed doubles players in the Advanta World TeamTennis Pro League will have more on the line this season than team pride and bonus money. The mixed doubles team that finishes at the top of the WTT rankings will receive a wild card into the 2009 US Open Mixed Doubles tournament.
- The USTA announced that as a part of its overall Advocacy strategy, “The Big Serve,” it has launched an interactive portion of its website designed to help organize and mobilize people to use tennis to affect public policy. The website — usta.com/thebigserve — will feature a variety of tools for visitors to utilize and will also be used to highlight the opportunities, successes and challenges of generating public support for the growth of the game of tennis.
- The PTR has won two 2009 APEX Awards for Publishing Excellence for its magazine, TennisPro. One award, for the March/April 2008 issue, was in the Magazine & Journal Writing category, the other, for the May/June 2008 issue, was for How-to Writing. Peggy Edwards, PTR director of communications, is the editor of TennisPro.
- The Mark Weil Academy has opened summer junior tennis camps in Shanghai, China, for juniors ages 7 to 18. Weil, of Ojai, Calif., and his staff will conduct eight week-long camps, ending Aug. 21.
- For the second consecutive Grand Slam tournament, Tennis.com attracted more than 1 million unique visitors and over 11 million page views. The site’s increased traffic during Wimbledon represented a 34% increase in page impressions and 25% increase in unique visitors from last year.
- Tim McCool, who joined Babolat as managing director for the U.S. at the end of 2008, has left the company for personal reasons. Babolat is looking for a new managing director for the U.S.
- Wilson racquets played a major role at Wimbledon this year. Men’s champ Roger Federer won his record-breaking 15th Grand Slam tournament, and returned to the No. 1 world ranking, using a [K] Six.One Tour frame. On the women’s side, Serena and Venus Williams, both playing with Wilson [K] Blade Team racquets, reached the singles final, where Serena prevailed. Then the sisters won the doubles title. Wilson On the Rise player Andrey Kuznetsov used his [K] Blade 98 to win the Boys’ Singles title at Wimbledon.
- Andy Murray, using a Head MicroGel Radical MP, won the title at Queen’s Club in June. Head players Wesley Moodie and Mikhail Youzhny took the doubles title. At the Gerry Weber Open, new Head player Tommy Haas, with a MicroGel Prestige Mid, won the title over fellow Head team member Novak Djokovic, playing with a YouTek Speed Pro.
- Dunlop player Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand won the Ordina Open title in the Netherlands in June with her Aerogel 4D 500 racquet.
- Patrick O’Steen has joined the ProKennex sales group and will cover the states of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. O’Steen will focus on College and Junior Programs, Pro Shops and Specialty Retailers. In addition, O’Steen’s agency, Active Outdoor Sales, will represent Kirschbaum Strings and Grips throughout the Southeast.
Head Launches YouTek Radical Series
Head has launched the new YouTek Radical Series, featuring updated technologies on four frames. World No. 3 Andy Murray, who reached the Wimbledon semifinals, switched to the YouTek Radical Pro recently.
YouTek incorporates d3o, a “smart material” that changes its behavior under dynamic loading or impact, says Head. Located in the shaft of the racquet, d3o reacts to the needs of a player in nano seconds, providing a softer touch and better feel on slow speed impacts, like a slice or a drop shot, and increases stiffness necessary to create power on high speed impacts, such as serves and passing shots.
Another feature of YouTek is the introduction of Head Grommets with “Teflon friction reducing polymer,” which allow minimal string friction and creates a bigger “sweet spot” through the even distribution of tension across the entire string bed, says the company.
The YouTek Radical Series includes:
- YouTek Radical Pro: Andy Murray’s racquet of choice for extra power, it has an open string pattern for more spin and features a leather grip for ultimate tour performance.
- YouTek Radical MidPlus and Oversize: These racquets provide a combination of power and control. The midplus head size offers more control; the oversize offers a larger sweetspot.
- YouTek Radical Lite: A lighter, more powerful version of Murray’s frame, with excellent maneuverability and feel to appeal to a wide range of players. The open string pattern provides extra spin.
In addition, Head has a new Radical bag line, designed with extreme abrasion- and dirt-resistant material on the bottom; longer, padded shoulder straps; metal buckles; and a detachable, adjustable, convertible shoulder strap system.
For more information, visit head.com.
Kinesiology Tape for Consumers
KT Tape is the first consumer-ready kinesiology tape, and it comes in easy-to-use pre-cut strips in a variety of colors specifically designed for athletes to apply themselves. The tape will help athletes at any level deal with injuries, muscle aches and pains by giving them access to the same technology once available only through personal trainers or physical therapists.
By lifting the skin and relieving pressure on pain transmitters, KT Tape provides muscle-pain relief and support without restricting motion. It provides 24-hour relief for up to five days per application and is water resistant, so it stays on in the pool and shower.
Visit kttape.com for more information and videos demonstrating a wide variety of taping techniques.
ITA Realigns Into 12 Regions
The ITA announced that its membership will now be aligned into 12 new regions for all NCAA Division I men’s and women’s tennis programs. For almost 40 years, the Division I membership of the ITA has been divided into eight regions, based previously upon regional alignments created by the NCAA for the purpose of selection into NCAA championship events.
By increasing the number of regions and further minimizing the area per region, a larger percentage of institutions will be able to drive to these Regional Championship events, thus helping to reduce travel costs. And at the same time, since a fewer number of schools will comprise each region, student-athletes from those participating programs will have more opportunities to participate in these events.
For more information about the realignment, visit itatennis.com.
Congratulations To the Following For Achieving MRT & CS Status
Benjamin Williams Valencia, CA
Brett Becker Cincinatti, OH
Jeremy Speicher Charlottesville, VA
Andrew Martin Charlottesville, VA
Roger Gough Rockville, MD
Scott Joslin Hendersonville, TN
Erick Chall Clearwater, FL
Adam Talley Palm Harbor, FL
Hao Shi Jacksonville, FL
Leif Eliassen Boca Raton, FL
Peter Sakoulas Brisbane, Australia