Tennis Industry magazine


Industry News

Information to help you run your business.

Three Finalists in America’s ‘Best Tennis Town’ Contest

Independence, Kan., Midland, Mich., and Ojai, Calif., have been selected as the top three finalists, as determined by nationwide voting, in the USTA’s first-ever search to determine America’s “Best Tennis Town.”

The ultimate winner of the “Best Tennis Town” search will be announced during the 2009 US Open. In addition to the title, the winning town will receive a $100,000 grant from the USTA to be used for community-wide tennis programming or facility enhancements. The second- and third-prize winners will receive $50,000 and $25,000, respectively.

The search for America’s “Best Tennis Town” is the USTA’s first-ever nationwide search to identify the local area — from small, rural towns to large, urban metro areas and everywhere in between — that best exemplifies the passion, excitement, spirit and impact that tennis brings to the local level. From an initial group of 56 entrants, a panel of judges selected 10 communities as finalists. Tennis fans then voted online from that list of finalists.

In the nationwide voting, Independence, Midland and Ojai beat out Baton Rouge; Cary, N.C.; Grand Junction, Colo.; Hickory, N.C.; Las Vegas; Springfield, Mo.; and Tempe, Ariz. Those seven runners-up each will receive $2,000 worth of tennis equipment for community use. For more information, visit

Q2 Sales of Racquets, Balls Turn Slightly Upward

Sales of tennis racquets in tennis specialty stores, which slipped in the beginning of 2009, bounced back slightly in the second quarter. Year-to-date for the first six months, however, sales are still 14 percent below the same period last year in both units and dollars (see page 8), according to the latest data from the Tennis Industry Association.

tennis sales

“At this point, we’re cautiously optimistic, and waiting to see what July sales figures will bring,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “It was encouraging that unit sales for racquets for the month of June went into positive territory — up 1 percent — but we’re certainly not ready to say this industry, in terms of retail sales, is out of the woods.”

Second-quarter 2009 racquet sales figures are down 9 percent in both units and dollars from the same period a year ago. First-quarter racquet sales for 2009 were off by 20 percent from 2008.

Second-quarter tennis ball shipments also turned slightly upward, with an overall increase of .9 percent. “What’s really nice to see, however, is a nearly 91 percent jump in shipments of what we call ‘transition’ tennis balls — softer tennis balls used for beginner programs,” says de Boer. “This is evidence that the new QuickStart Tennis format, designed to bring kids into the game using these types of balls, is really taking hold in the U.S.”

“While it’s good to see that certain indicators for racquets and balls moved in a positive direction in the second quarter — supporting our strong participation results — we are still closely monitoring market trends for retailers in all other key product categories,” says TIA President Jon Muir. “We still need to be cautious when it comes to overall retail sales at specialty stores.

“We’re obviously pleased that participation has continued its upward trend,” adds Muir. Tennis participation is now at a 15-year high in the U.S., with nearly 27 million players, according to the latest research by the U.S. Tennis Association and the TIA.

USPTA World Conference Set for Marco Island

The USPTA World Conference on Tennis, held Sept. 21 to 26 at the Marco Island Marriott on Marco Island, Fla., will feature such speakers as Nick Bollettieri, Tom Gorman, Rick Macci, Brett Hobden, Emilio Sanches and more. Forty-five seminars and four-hour specialty courses will be offered during the conference. In the past, nearly 1,500 tennis pros and coaches, manufacturer representatives and media have attended the World Conference.

The event also includes a Tennis Buying Show on Sept. 24. Exhibitors include tennis equipment, apparel and footwear companies, marketers and wholesalers of hard and soft goods, video-analysis, Web-based programs and software, teaching aids, court surfacing and lighting, awards, educational materials, nutrition bars and vitamins, and more. In addition, the USPTA Silent Auction will be held during the buying show.

For information or to register, visit

Wilson’s ‘Baiardo’ Stringing Machine Hits the U.S.

Wilson dealers began receiving the first U.S. shipment of the innovative Baiardo stringing machines recently. The Baiardo is the first machine designed using multiple ergonomic features, which aid in user comfort. The machines, which are in stock and available for shipment, were used at the 2008 US Open.

Wilson Baiardo

Baiardo automatically adjusts the height and tilt three times during the stringing process (at mounting, when doing the mains, and when doing the crosses) putting the string bed in the proper biomechanic position to suit the stringer. Stringers who have used the Baiardo say they experience less stress on the lower back, shoulders, neck, and arms.

“It’s an outstanding piece of equipment,” says George Wrigley of Wrigley’s Tennis in Punta Gorda, Fla. “It looks like Wilson spent extra time to look at every aspect of the stringing process when making this machine.”

“One of the best features of our new Baiardo is that it offers the ability to customize the position for each of the stringers in our shop,” adds Lance Holm of Player’s Racquet Shop East in Portland, Ore.

About 30 dealers from across the country received machines in the intial shipment. Visit to find out more.

(See our review of the Wilson Baiardo here.)

Try Out the Baiardo

Wilson will be conducting demonstration events for the Baiardo stringing machine at numerous locations in New York City from Sept. 2 to 13, during the US Open. Stringers are invited to experience working on a Baiardo machine. Space is limited. Contact

Alan Schwartz Inducted Into Tennis Industry Hall of Fame

Alan Schwartz of Chicago is the 2009 inductee into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame, which recognizes key individuals who have made a significant impact on tennis, the Tennis Industry Association announced.

Schwartz has been involved in tennis throughout his life. As a player, he earned national rankings as a junior and senior. In the tennis industry, he founded Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago and Tennis Corporation of America, which now has 13 facilities under the Midtown Athletic Clubs name. A former USTA president and chairman of the board, Schwartz also has been an influential member of the International Tennis Federation and on the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Executive Committee, among many other positions in tennis.

Schwartz will be honored at the TIA Tennis Forum in New York City on Sept. 1, and a plaque will be on display at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., which donated space for the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame inductees. He joins Dennis Van der Meer and Howard Head, who were the inaugural inductees into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame last year.

Wilson Introduces New R-Ball Frames

Wilson has come out with four new racquetball racquets. The [K] RX 165 is designed for serious players looking for power; the [K] RX 175, at a popular weight for all player levels, combined with a larger head size for players seeking more power; the lightweight, maneuverable [K] RX 160 designed to improve feel; and the [K] RX 170, designed for control and feel. Visit

Wilson racquetball frames

By the numbers

Tennis Racquet Performance

Specialty Stores, January - June, 2009 vs. 2008

Units 2009 302,462
2008 350,237
% CHG v. 2008 -14%
Dollars 2009 41,718,000
2008 48,447,000
% CHG v. 2008 -14%
Price 2009 $137.93
2008 $138.33
% CHG v. 2008 0%

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January - June 2009

(average selling price)

  1. Babolat Aeropro Drive Cortex (MP)
  2. Babolat Pure Drive Cortex (MP)
  3. Prince EXO3 Red (OS)
  4. Wilson K Blade (MP)
  5. Prince O3 Speedport Black (MP)

‘Hot New Racquets’

(Introduced in the past 12 months)

  1. Prince EXO3 Red (OS)
  2. Babolat Pure Drive GT (MP)
  3. Prince EXO3 Silver (OS)
  4. Prince O3 SP Black Team (MP)
  5. Wilson KZen Team FX.Orange (MP)

Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January - June, 2009

(average selling price)

  1. Adidas Barricade V
  2. Nike Air Breathe Free 2
  3. Prince T 22
  4. Adidas Barricade II
  5. Nike Air Breathe Cage II

Top-Selling Tennis Strings at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January - June, 2009

  1. Prince Synthetic Gut Duraflex
  2. Wilson NXT
  3. Wilson Sensation
  4. Prince Lightning XX
  5. Luxilon Alu Power

BJK Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

Tennis champion, sports icon and social justice pioneer Billie Jean King received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in ceremonies at the White House on Aug. 12. Recognized for her efforts and accomplishments on and off the tennis court, King was one of 16 individuals honored by President Obama in a ceremony in the East Room.

Billy Jean King

“I am honored and humbled to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom and I share this recognition with my family, friends and those who have come before me, those who will follow and those who are committed to making a difference in the lives of others,” says King.

CTDW Set for San Diego

The USTA’s 2010 Community Tennis Development Workshop will be Jan. 22-24 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina in San Diego. The workshop is for community tennis leaders, tennis teachers, and many others involved in tennis.

Sessions will include the QuickStart Tennis play format and other programming, advocating for tennis in your community, energizing the volunteer base, marketing and communications, fund-raising, and more. There also will be a resource center, “courtside consultants” and other opportunities to network.

Registration information and a preliminary schedule will be available in October. For more information, visit

USTA Serves Awards $252,000

USTA Serves, the philanthropic and charitable entity of the USTA, has awarded 13 grants in its 2009 spring Aces for Kids funding cycle, totaling $252,000. USTA Serves awards grants to programs that successfully combine tennis and education and help children pursue their goals and highest dreams by succeeding in school and becoming responsible citizens.

Aces for Kids, a national initiative of USTA Serves, strives to promote healthy lifestyles by combating childhood/adult obesity by providing disadvantaged, at-risk children the opportunity to learn to play tennis and improve their academic skills in a structured format. Programs awarded 2009 spring Aces for Kids grants are:

Short Sets


Congratulations to the Following for Achieving CS Status

Jack Ford, The Villages, FL

Head-PTR Extend Contract to 2013

Head has renewed its sponsorship agreement as an approved racquet and bag of PTR to 2013, which will mark 30 years that the PTR and Head have been together.

Head’s sponsorship of the PTR, ongoing now for more than 27 years, is one of the longest sponsorships in tennis history. PTR members can receive discounted prices on Head racquets and bags, as well as apply for exclusive racquet contracts through PTR’s Team Head Program.

“We couldn’t be happier about extending our relationship with PTR,” says Head Senior Director of Sales Greg Mason. “Their members are on the front line helping grow the game of tennis at all levels and we’re proud to support their efforts.”



TI magazine search

TI magazine categories

TI magazine archives


Movable Type Development by PRO IT Service