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Industry News

Kempin Named CEO/President of Head USA

Kevin Kempin has been named the CEO and president of Head USA, with responsibility for the Racquet Sport and Winter Sport divisions. Kempin previously was president of HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports, a position he was promoted to in the fall.

Kevin Kempin

Kempin has been with Head USA for 17 years, in executive positions that included global marketing and sales management. He’s been in the racquet sports industry for more than 25 years.

“Kevin’s work ethic, enthusiasm and team-building skills along with his depth and breadth of experience will help ensure his success,” says Johan Eliasch, chairman and CEO of Head N.V. “I look forward to working with him closely.”

Kempin takes over from Jeremy Sherwood, who held the position briefly in the fall following Dave Haggerty’s shift to chairman of Head USA. Prior to that, Haggerty, who is on the Tennis Industry Association’s executive committee and the USTA’s board of directors, had held the CEO/president slot at Head USA for 11 years.

Atlanta Finally Has a Pro Tourney Again

The ATP has awarded a tournament sanction to Atlanta, for an ATP 250 event to be held July 17 to 25 and run by the USTA Southern Section. The tournament had been located in Indianapolis, but Indy tourney officials decided to sell the ATP sanction due to loss of sponsorship and waning TV dollars. It will be the first time in more than 80 years that Indy is without a pro event.

But Atlanta, one of the country’s hottest areas for recreational tennis, finally gets a pro tournament back, and it will kick off the 2010 Olympus US Open Series.

“This is a great win for the parties involved and is a wonderful example of cooperation and understanding between different authorities in tennis coming together to achieve the common goal of promoting and developing tennis in the U.S.,” said Mark Young, the ATP CEO for the Americas.

“USTA Southern is thrilled to be bringing professional tennis back to Atlanta,” said Rex Maynard, president of the USTA Southern Section. “When the sport works together in a collaborative fashion, great things happen. With our vibrant member base, and the overall appeal of tennis throughout this great region, we are convinced this event will be a great success.”

No decision had been made early in the year on the venue for the event. Tournament director for what is being called the Atlanta Tennis Championships will be Bill Oakes, the USTA Southern’s marketing director.

New Courses to Debut at PTR Symposium

The PTR will debut several new professional development workshops at its International Tennis Symposium held Feb. 13-18 at PTR Headquarters on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The workshops are designed to enhance the knowledge and skill levels of tennis teachers and coaches.

Nearly 1,000 tennis teachers and coaches from around the world are expected to attend the Symposium. Many of the industry’s most notable speakers will be among the more than 50 presenters. Subject matter ranges from tennis business to teaching tactics to injury prevention and treatments.

In addition to the on-court and classroom courses, PTR also offers 14 professional development workshops, five of which are new this year:

Also debuting at this year’s Symposium is Cardio Tennis for Kids, which emphasizes play, fun and fitness and will provide an option to help fight childhood obesity. Cardio Tennis for Kids complements QuickStart and PTR Kids Tennis and can be incorporated into a club’s current programming. The three-hour workshop will be conducted by Michele Krause, national Cardio Tennis program manager, and members of the National Cardio Tennis Speakers Team.

The Symposium also offers a tournament, tennis trade show, theme parties, and networking opportunities. For more info or to register, visit ptrtennis.org.

PTR Foundation Turns 30

The PTR Foundation is celebrating its 30th year of helping to bring tennis to everyone. In the past year, the Foundation has donated more than $26,000 to worthy causes throughout the country and the world, including to programs such as Special Olympics, NJTLs and many other programs.

To help support the Foundation and tennis, PTR founder Dennis Van der Meer is asking PTR pros to donate the equivalent of one lesson to the Foundation. For a printable donation form, visit ptrtennis.org.

USRSA Member Classifieds

Going out of business sale: Great Deals on tennis frames, shoes, bags, clothes, balls, grips and stringing machines. Please call 617-548-8558 and ask for Bob.

Indian Wells ATP-WTA Event Sold to Oracle Boss

Larry Ellison, founder and chief executive of computer firm Oracle, has bought the ATP and WTA hard-court event played at Indian Wells every March. The deal includes the stadium and grounds upon which the BNP Paribas Open is played, properties valued at $50 million to $100 million, according to Sports Business Journal.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I love the game of tennis,” says Ellison. “I play it regularly, watch it frequently, and now look forward to being in Indian Wells every March to host the greatest players in the world.”

The tournament, to be played next March 8-21, was previously owned by a group that included tennis legends Pete Sampras, Billie Jean King and Chris Evert, the USTA, officials of Tennis magazine and tournament manager Charlie Pasarell.

“The previous owners and I are thrilled to have Larry Ellison as the new owner,” Pasarell says. “He is as passionate as we are and desires to continue with the vision and the goals we have established.” The event first came to Indian Wells in 1976 and has been owned by the group headed by Pasarell and Ray Moore since 1981. Their PM Sports Management will continue to manage the event for Ellison.

In 2010, Kids Visit Free at Hall of Fame

For 2010, all kids under 16 will be admitted free to the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, R.I. All youth admissions for the year have been underwritten through funds raised specifically for that purpose at the Hall of Fame Legends Ball, an annual fundraising event held in New York City during the US Open.

ITHF

Through the Kids Free program, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum looks forward to encouraging youth interest in tennis and to welcoming families, schools and youth groups in 2010. In addition to free admission, the Hall of Fame has established a Field Trip Grant Program through which schools, camps and other kids groups may apply for funds to cover transportation costs.

“I hope that visiting the museum will inspire young people to see opportunities in tennis and the potential that exists when someone really commits oneself to following a dream,” says 2009 Hall of Famer and nine-time Grand Slam champion Monica Seles. At the Legends Ball, Seles and her fellow Hall of Famers as well as many others in the tennis industry contributed more than $30,000 for the purpose of providing children the opportunity to visit the Hall of Fame, with the goal of encouraging youth interest in the sport of tennis.

National Junior Tennis Conference at CARE Academy

The CARE Academy near Chicago, named an official USTA Certified Training Center in 2009, played host once again to the National Junior Tennis Conference in November. This yearly event, organized by CARE Academy founder Mark Bey, gives parents and players a three-day exposure to experts in junior and college tennis. The featured speaker was Wayne Bryan. Others who conducted seminars included sports psychologist Allen Fox and Austin Academy founder Jack Newman. A high performance junior tennis training camp was also held in conjunction with the 13th Annual National Junior Tennis Conference.

National Junior Tennis Conference

— Marcia Frost

Net Tension Topic of Study by USTA Tech Group

How tightly should you tension a tennis net? That’s been a research topic since the early 1990s, when the American Sports Builders Association examined the effects of varying tension relative to the flight of the ball after it hit the net headband. More recently, net tension has been studied by the USTA Technical Committee and the ITF Technical Laboratory.

The studies indicate that an appropriate range for net tension may be between 400 and 600 pounds. If tension is too low (under 400 pounds), the ball — when fired at a specified speed and trajectory — will likely “dribble” over the net and not be playable. If tension is too high (above 600 pounds), a ball hitting the headband will fly out of the service box on a serve or out of the court on other shots. These tension specs aren’t directed at mandating net tension, but simply to create an awareness of its possible effects on the game.

Net tension may be of great significance in collegiate matches, since college tennis no longer recognizes “let” serves. But all facilities, especially those holding tournaments, may want consistency among their courts, so players might have expectations of a predictable ball flight from court to court. And be aware that high tensions can result in damage to net posts, net-post footers and the surrounding court surface.

The USTA Technical Committee is continuing to research net tension, as well as develop a practical and user-friendly method of measuring the tension both at the time of initial installation and during regular court maintenance, especially prior to tournament play. Comments and concerns can be emailed to technicalcomm@usta.com.

— Peggy Beard

Short Sets

Upcoming Industry Schedule

Turn Your Cell Phone Into a Sports Radar

Now you can turn just about any mobile phone into a sports radar with a mobile app called Speedhero. The application measures speed based on the sound that the microphone picks up, not with the phone’s camera. To measure the speed of a tennis serve, you need to serve into a wall or fence — the app will “hear” the sound of the racquet striking the ball, then the sound of the ball hitting the wall or fence, and calculate the speed based on the distance to the wall. Visit speedhero.com for information and pricing.

Congratulations To the Following For Achieving MRT Status

From San Luis Obispo:

Kyle Murray

Ryan Panaro

Kana Ribultan

Alison Zikratch

Summer Williams

Scott Curry

Mitchell Simmons

Jordan Guevara

Sean Hemmer

Stephanie Young

Jose Angulo

GSS Plans 2010 Stringers Symposium

In October 2009, racquet service professionals from across the globe met once again in Orlando, Fla., for the Third Annual Grand Slam Stringers Symposium. Having participated in all three events, I can truly say that each year gets better. Tim Strawn, GSS Symposium founder, has put together a wide variety of seminars and a format that allows for interaction and networking among the participants. Where else can technicians of all levels meet to swap “war stories” and share their experiences?

Strawn had a vision that specifically targeted racquet technicians. “The idea was to provide an annual event that racquet technicians could call their own,” he says. “We’re already working on new material and a new format for 2010 and I think the changes and additions are going to surprise a lot of people.”

2009 GSS Symposium

“It was an honor to work with such an esteemed group of racquet service professionals,” says Dave Bone, executive director of the USRSA (and RSI’s co-publisher). “Everyone there soaked up every possible drop of knowledge to help make them better professionals. Many attendees have returned for a second or third Symposium, showing that they truly believe it’s time and money well spent.”

“Tim has created a racquet technician’s mecca with incredible instructors who are passionate about our craft,” says Larry Hackney of TennezSport in New Jersey. “There is no better place to go and improve yourself and meet other equally passionate participants.”

“The Symposium was the highlight of 2009 for me,” says J.C. Carpentier of Tennis Machines in St. Louis, who attended his first GSS Symposium last fall. “Tim has put together the crème de la crème in this profession and it certainly showed in everyone’s enthusiasm and effort. I’m already clearing my calendar for the next one.”

Adds John Elliot of Paris, France, “The GSS Symposium is a remarkable step forward in better recognition of the real values of our profession.”

The 2010 GSS Symposium is being planned now. Check at gssalliance.com for information as it becomes available.

— Bob Patterson

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