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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 besttennistown.com.
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.
“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 uspta.com.
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.
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 wilson.com/baiardo to find out more.
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 BaiardoUSA@wilson.com.
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.com.
By the numbers
Tennis Racquet Performance
Specialty Stores, January - June, 2009 vs. 2008
|% CHG v. 2008||-14%|
|% CHG v. 2008||-14%|
|% CHG v. 2008||0%|
Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, January - June 2009
(average selling price)
- Babolat Aeropro Drive Cortex (MP)
- Babolat Pure Drive Cortex (MP)
- Prince EXO3 Red (OS)
- Wilson K Blade (MP)
- Prince O3 Speedport Black (MP)
‘Hot New Racquets’
(Introduced in the past 12 months)
- Prince EXO3 Red (OS)
- Babolat Pure Drive GT (MP)
- Prince EXO3 Silver (OS)
- Prince O3 SP Black Team (MP)
- Wilson KZen Team FX.Orange (MP)
Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, January - June, 2009
(average selling price)
- Adidas Barricade V
- Nike Air Breathe Free 2
- Prince T 22
- Adidas Barricade II
- Nike Air Breathe Cage II
Top-Selling Tennis Strings at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, January - June, 2009
- Prince Synthetic Gut Duraflex
- Wilson NXT
- Wilson Sensation
- Prince Lightning XX
- 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.
“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.com/ctdw.
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:
- Apple Ridge Farm, Roanoke, Va.
- Dallas Tennis Association, Addison, Texas
- First Serve New Mexico, Santa Fe
- Greater Baltimore Tennis Patrons, Baltimore, Md.
- Holliday Park Kids, Topeka, Kan.
- King Street Youth Center, Burlington, Vt.
- NJTL of Indianapolis, Ind.
- Net Results Junior Tennis, Denver, Colo.
- Special Olympics Alaska, Anchorage
- University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
- University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, P.R.
- White Plains Youth Bureau/Memorial Methodist Church, White Plains, N.Y.
- Zina Garrison All-Court Tennis Academy, Houston, Texas
- Mike and Bob Bryan have signed a contract to use Luxilon strings. The top men’s doubles team, which has 53 career titles, uses Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power Rough 125 exclusively.
- Shelly Lewis of Metuchen, N.J., won a Prince contest to guess the number of tennis balls in a 7 x 2 x 2-foot Plexiglas container. Among the thousands of entries, she hit it on the nose with 2,953 balls and won a new Prince EX03 racquet signed by Maria Sharapova and a racquet bag.
- The American Sports Builders Association Technical Meeting will be Dec. 5-7 at the Hyatt Regency Savannah in Savannah, Ga. For information call 866-501-ASBA (2722) or visit sportsbuilders. org.
- Babolat has honored outstanding sales reps and retail partners. Monte Long was named sales rep of the year; Patty Walker received the In-House MVP award; and John Ainsworth and Mike McCormick were recognized for customer service. Tennis Express was named Dealer of the Year.
- Adidas has a new face for the fall-winter 2009 Adidas by Stella McCartney tennis line — Danish star Caroline Wozniacki. The 19-year-old, ranked ninth on the WTA Tour, starts her new role at the US Open.
- CRTS has partnered with tennis consultant Mark McMahon, president of McMahon & Associates, in the new CareerPath section, which includes tips and articles on maximizing and managing career opportunities. McMahon & Associates conducts Tennis Director Retained Search for clubs — positions are not advertised. If you are a Master Professional, or certified as “PTR tested” or “USPTA P1,” you are eligible to complete a confidential CareerPath profile with McMahon & Associates. Visit jobeasier.com.
- The U.S. was knocked out of the Davis Cup in July when Croatia won their quarterfinal tie, 3-2.
- Ektelon has redesigned and relaunched its website, ektelon.com. The site provides extensive player, product and program information. Among the features is an enhanced multimedia section, news ticker and upgraded Club Ektelon.
- The health benefits of tennis is the subject of an article in the June issue of “The Physician and Sportsmedicine” journal, written by Jack Groppel, Ph.D., co-chair of the USPTA’s “Tennis — for the health of it!” advisory council, and Nick DiNubile, M.D., an advisory council member,
- Leander Paes of the Washington Kastles, and the Springfield Lasers’ Vania King were named the 2009 Male and Female MVPs of the Advanta World TeamTennis Pro League. Mike Russell of the Kansas City Explorers and Liga Dekmeijere of the St. Louis Aces picked up the WTT Rookie of the Year honors and Springfield Lasers coach John-Laffnie de Jager was named the 2009 WTT Coach of the Year.
- USPTA First Vice President Tom Daglis lobbied Capitol Hill for key health promotion legislation with the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association in July. He met with several senators and congressmen.
- The Advanta World TeamTennis Pro League issued fines to the Washington Kastles and New York Sportimes for the unprofessional conduct of several players — Leander Paes, Rennae Stubbs and Olga Puchkova from the Kastles; and John McEnroe, Robert Kendrick and coach Chuck Adams for the Sportimes — during a match on July 16. Puchkova and Kendrick also received individual fines, Puchkova for leaving the bench and verbally confronting another player, Kendrick for unsportsmanlike conduct when he hit a serve at Paes as he stood at the net. Previously Sportimes Coach Chuck Adams had been fined and suspended for one match for violating the Coaches’ Code of Conduct.
- NBC Sports coverage of the five-set Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick was the most-viewed men’s final in 10 years. The average of 5.71 million viewers was the highest since the Pete Sampras-Andre Agassi final in 1999 (5.85 million). Last year’s final between Federer and Rafael Nadal attracted an average of 5.17 million.
- The U.S. girls’ team of Sachia Vickery of Miramar, Fla., Victoria Duval of Delray Beach, Fla., and Brooke Austin of Indianapolis, defeated the Czech Republic 2-1 in early August in Prostejov, Czech Republic, to win its third straight World Junior Tennis title. The World Junior Tennis Competition is an international team event featuring players ages 14-and-under. The U.S. is the first country to win three consecutive titles.
- The Youth Tennis San Diego Whalers edged the Westview Attackers 41-37 in overtime in early August to win a record fifth title at the Advanta WTT Junior Nationals at George E. Barnes Family Tennis Center in San Diego.
- The USTA has expanded its network of Regional Training Centers, hoping to develop future American tennis champions, to include three facilities in the Chicago area — Midtown Tennis Club, Score Fitness and Tennis Club, and the CARE Academy — and the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas.
- The Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas celebrated its first graduating class in June. All the graduates are going on to college studies. View the slide show at agassi.eroi.com/graduation.
- IBM has renewed its technology sponsorship of and business relationship with the US Open. IBM will continue as the “Official Information Technology Solution Provider” of the US Open and also will continue as one of six USTA Corporate Champions. The multi-year deal continues through 2012.
- Peter Burwash International will provide tennis management services for Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort, the only AAA Five-Diamond luxury property located in Los Cabos, Mexico.
- Wimbledon champion Roger Federer is the proud father of twin girls after his wife Mirka gave birth in Switzerland on July 23. The 15-time Grand Slam winner said the girls, who are the couple’s first children, have been named Charlene Riva and Myla Rose.
- Head racquetball player Jack Huczek won the men’s singles title at the 2009 World Games in July.
- Current USTA President Lucy Garvin and former president Franklin Johnson were elected to serve on the 2009-2011 board of directors of the International Tennis Federation.
- Former USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jane Brown Grimes and John Reese are the 2009 recipients of the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Chairman’s Award, which recognizes outstanding service by a Hall of Fame Board Member.
- Tim Mayotte has been hired as a USTA National Coach, facilitating coaching and training programs while working with players in the USTA Player Development program. He will be based at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., and will report to Jay Berger.
- Robert “Bob” Falkenburg, Robert Landsdorp, Robert “Bob” Lutz, Margaret “Peggy” Michel, Stan Smith and Patricia Yeomans were inducted into the Southern California Tennis Hall of Fame in July.
- USTA Chief Diversity Officer Kevin Clayton was elected to join the Board of Trustees for the Women’s Sports Foundation.
- WTA Tour No. 7 Vera Zvonareva appeared at the largest mall in Istanbul, Turkey, as a promotion for the Istanbul Cup in late July. She played some tennis on a mini tennis court with Turkish player Ipek Senoglu and then signed autographs.
- Patrick Wilson has been named senior vice president, distribution, of the Tennis Channel.
- Jordan Cox, 17, of Duluth, Ga., who reached the final of the 2009 Wimbledon Junior Championships, has signed with IMG.
- Robin Roberts, an anchor on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” will emcee the 29th annual “Legends Ball” to benefit the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum on Friday, Sept. 11, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.
- Kelani Bailey, a WTEAM player and one of the most promising junior racquetball players, won three gold medals at the Junior Racquetball National Championships held in Michigan in June. Kelani, age 15, won her age division in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles and now holds nine total gold medals.
- Jack Sock of Lincoln, Neb., and Krista Hardebeck of Santa Ana, Calif., captured the USTA Boys’ and Girls’ 18s National Clay Court Championship singles titles in July.
- Kayla Cyr, 20, of Westminster, Md., and Heather Welch, 20, of Columbia, S.C., have been named the 2009 National Novo Nordisk Donnelly Awards recipients, and received the award from WTT co-founder Billie Jean King in July. Cyr and Welch, who both have Type I diabetes, will each receive a $5,000 scholarship. Randall Haylock, 18, of Lindenhurst, Ill., and Jillian Tallarico, 21, of Lancaster, Pa., will also receive regional finalist scholarship awards of $2,500.
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.”