Tennis Industry magazine

 

Industry News

Hall of Fame to Induct Doubles Stars, Wheelchair Leader

The International Tennis Hall of Fame class of 2010 will include two doubles teams, Todd Woodbridge-Mark Woodforde and Gigi Fernandez-Natasha Zvereva, former player Owen Davidson, wheelchair tennis pioneer Brad Parks, and, posthumously, former British Lawn Tennis Association Chairman Derek Hardwick.

The inductees for 2010 were announced on March 1, in Madison Square Garden in New York City, during the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup. The two doubles teams are in the Recent Player category, Davidson is in the Master Player category, and Parks and Hardwick are in the Contributor category.

“In recognition of their competitions and contributions, the Class of 2010 is a tribute to the game of doubles and to wheelchair tennis,” said Christopher Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. “The Recent Players and Master Player achieved an incredible record of doubles wins. In the Contributor Category, we are pleased to honor individuals who led two important evolutions of the game through the creation of wheelchair tennis and the initiation of the Open Era.”

The Hall of Fame’s 2010 Induction Ceremony will be July 10 in Newport, R.I., during the final weekend of the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (July 5-11). Visit www.tennisfame.com for info and tickets.

Head to Launch Star Series Frames

In early May, Head plans to introduce to consumers its new YouTek Star Series racquets, which the company says has revolutionary technologies that will help the game of players with shorter, more compact swing styles. The three frames are the YouTek Six Star, Five Star and Three Star.

Key technologies include “QuadFace,” which extends the stringbed at key points of the frame, providing longer strings and an enlarged sweetspot that results in more power, says Head. “Inner QuadFace” is an indentation on the inside of the frame that allows the strings to be more flexible before reaching the grommets for a more forgiving sweetspot. “Outer Quadface” exends the outside of the frame to allow the strings to be longer, providing more consistent power, says the company.

The “Control Ring” — either two-piece or four-piece, depending on the racquet model — is designed to reduce string deformation for added control and accuracy. The third new technology is the “MultiZone Grip,” a smooth, sweat-absorbing nonslip surface for greater comfort and control.

YouTek frames also use Head’s d3o “smart material,” which Head says changes its behavior under dynamic loading or impact. The material “senses” the needs of a player during different strokes. On aggressive shots, the molecules lock together to increase stiffness and provide power; on slower-speed shots the molecules absorb impact and provide a softer touch for better feel, says Head.

Head officials say champions Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi were an integral part of the development team for the Star Series of frames. Both legends will be featured in three online teaser videos to consumers, which will run from April 12 to 30, prior to the consumer launch in May.

Consumers can go to head.com/stars to learn about the frames and hear and see Agassi and Graf explain the technologies and features in a series of four videos. Each video will contain a clue that, when pieced together, will allow consumers to enter a contest to win an on-court session with Agassi and Graf in Las Vegas.

YouTek Six Star

Features: d3o, Inner QuadFace, Outer QuadFace, 4-Part Control Ring, MultiZone Grip

Head size: 107 sq. in.

Weight: 9 oz.

String pattern: 16/19

YouTek Five Star

Features: d3o, Inner QuadFace, Outer QuadFace, 2-Part Control Ring, MultiZone Grip

Head size: 107 sq. in.

Weight: 9 oz.

String pattern: 16/19

YouTek Three Star

Features: d3o, Inner QuadFace

Head size: 115 sq. in.

Weight: 8.3 oz.

String pattern: 16/19

PTR Presents Annual Awards

The PTR presented its annual awards in February during the 2010 PTR International Tennis Symposium at PTR Headquarters on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The event included 50-plus on-court and classroom presentations for tennis teachers and coaches, a tennis trade show and $25,000 Championships. PTR award winners are:

In addition, PTR recognized several State Members of the Year for their contributions to the organization in their respective states. They are:

AK — Colin Gillam

AZ — Larry Funk

CA — Paul Allam

CO — Rich Berman

CT — Jack Waite

FL — Devin Reddick

GA — Craig S. Jones

HI — Ron Romano

ID — Adam King

IL — Oliver Stephens

IN — Desmond Evans

KY — Federico Mas

LA — Richard Verzaal

MA — Lance Andersen

MD — Aaron Hutt

MI — David Brouwer

MO — Donna Austin

MS — Amy Williams

NY — John Curtis

OR — Anni Miller

PA — Lisa Duncan

SC — Graham Cox

TN — Orlando Lourenco

TX — Todd Carlson

VT — Scott Colebourne

PTR awards banquet

Back row, from left: PTR CEO Dan Santorum, Butch Staples, Dr. Mark Kovacs, Ron Manilla, Dan James, Frank Barnes, Herbert Schnaubelt; front row: David Altshuler, Jean Mills (The Polo Club), Jose Naranjo, Jorge Capestany (DeWitt Tennis Center). Photo by Clive Carrigan.

Babolat Updates Propulse, Team Shoes

Babolat has updated its Propulse and Team range high-performance tennis shoes. The Propulse range is the company’s highest performing line.

Andy Roddick wore the new Propulse 2 Titanium, the most popular in the range, at this year’s Australian Open. The Propulse 2 Titanium (suggested retail $109, junior version $60) is designed for players who move with speed and aggression on the court. The Propulse 2 White ($109) is a more classic all-white look, but features the same technology as the Propulse 2 Titanium.

Babolat Propulse Lady 2 Parma

Also in the line is the Propulse Lady 2 Parma ($104), an all-surface women’s shoe with new touches of purple for 2010, worn by pro Nadia Petrova. This shoe has Propulse 2 technologies with materials and fit specifically designed for the female foot.

Key Propulse features include “Foot Belt” technology for precise and adjustable foot support, Exact Pro for an extra strong spring and Michelin technology in the sole for grip and durability.

Babolat Team All Court

New in the Team range is the Team All Court Style Reverse ($89, junior model $50), an offbeat look for the Team All Court 4 because the left and right shoes are asymmetrical. Other Team Range models include Team Clay 4, Team All Court 4, Team All Court 4 White, Team Lady 3 and Team Junior 4.

College Tennis Roundup

Corona Extra Is Major ATP Partner

Corona Extra, the world’s No. 1 Mexican beer brand, is the new global premier partner of the ATP World Tour. As part of the 5½-year agreement, which begins later this year, Corona Extra becomes the official beer sponsor of the ATP World Tour and will have significant presence at tour events around the world, including net branding and other marketing rights.

“We have admired the success of the sport in recent years and view the ATP World Tour as a terrific platform for us globally,” said José Parés, chief sales and marketing officer for Grupo Modelo, maker of Corona Extra. Corona Extra has been a sponsor of ATP tournaments in Acapulco for 16 years and Toronto for four years.

Girls Night Out at Madison Square Garden

As part of Tennis Night in America and the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup at Madison Square Garden on March 1, USTA Eastern held a “Girls Night Out” panel discussion. A group of 100 of the top-ranked girls in the USTA Eastern section, ages 12 to 18, attended the forum. Panelists included (from left) Olympic skating champ Nancy Kerrigan; Ilana Kloss, chair of the Women’s Sports Foundation; tennis champ and commentator Mary Joe Fernandez; WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster; and Katrina Adams, executive director of Harlem Jr. Tennis and Education.

Girls night out

Short Sets

Roddick, Hingis, Davenport Top WTT Draft Picks

Andy Roddick, Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport were selected as the top three overall picks in the 2010 World TeamTennis Pro League Marquee Player Draft, held in February. The Philadelphia Freedoms picked Roddick with the overall No. 1 selection while the New York Buzz chose Hingis with the second pick and the St. Louis Aces took Lindsay Davenport with the third pick.

The WTT Pro League, co-founded by Billie Jean King, is a professional co-ed sports league featuring three generations of tennis stars playing in a team format in 10 U.S. markets. The 2010 WTT Pro League begins July 5, concluding with the WTT Championship Finals on July 25.

Prior to today’s Marquee Draft, two teams made big moves with last-minute trades. The 2009 WTT Champion Washington Kastles acquired the rights from Philadelphia for Venus Williams, who now joins her sister Serena on the Kastles lineup. The New York Sportimes picked up the rights for 2009 US Open Champion Kim Clijsters in a deal with the St. Louis Aces.

For more details and information, visit www.WTT.com.

U.S. Knocked Out Early in Davis Cup

Serbia dashed U.S. hopes in Davis Cup with a 3-2 win over the Americans in the first round in Belgrade. It’s the first time since 2005 that the U.S. was eliminated in the first round. John Isner and Sam Querrey lost their opening-day singles matches, but Bob and Mike Bryan kept the Americans in it by winning the doubles point. On the last day, Isner fell in five sets to Novak Djokovic to seal the win for Serbia. Querrey won the abbreviated fifth match.

Serbia advances to the quarterfinals, where it will meet Balkan rival Croatia in July. The U.S. will play in the World Group Playoffs Sept. 17-19, to compete for a spot in the 2011 Davis Cup World Group.

USPTA Pros Raise $4 Million for Charity

In 2009, USPTA teaching pros raised just over $4 million for charity through the association’s Lessons for Life program.

“Our members continue to stay committed to raising money for important charitable causes, while at the same time bringing their communities together through these efforts with tennis,” says Diane Selke, Lessons for Life chair, USPTA Master Professional and head tennis professional at Valley Country Club in Aurora, Colo.

A variety of charities benefit each year from the USPTA’s Lessons for Life program, including the American Cancer Society, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Scripps Stevens Cancer Center, and many other national and local charities.

Lessons for Life became USPTA’s national charitable program in 1999. The USPTA and its members have raised more than $40 million since the program’s inception.

Obama Names Solomon To Arts/Humanities Group

Cable industry veteran Ken Solomon, who is the CEO and chairman of Tennis Channel, was sworn in as a member of President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities recently in the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Stephen Breyer administered the oath to committee members, including Solomon, who also is chairman of Ovation, the only television network dedicated to art and contemporary culture.

As a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Solomon and his fellow committee members will work with federal cultural agencies and civic, corporate, foundation, and private funders to further the U.S.’s national investment in its cultural life.

Peoplewatch

Babolat Offers Promo to Support Roddick Foundation

Babolat has teamed up on a special promotion to raise money for the Andy Roddick Foundation. “Put Yourself in Roddick’s Shoes” gives tennis fans an opportunity to win prizes, receive added value on Babolat purchases and support the Andy Roddick Foundation.

Through May 18, participants may enter to win Babolat’s weekly giveaways of Roddick’s team bag, T-shirts, hats, tennis racquet accessories and more with the chance of winning the ultimate grand prize — hitting with Roddick at the 2010 US Open. Promotional efforts include a free club backpack with the purchase of any Babolat shoe and racquet at participating retailers. A portion of the proceeds from Babolat’s promotion will go to the Andy Roddick Foundation.

“Andy has been part of our Babolat family for the past 10 years. We are excited to be able to support him and his passion for his foundation with this promotion,” says Susan DiBiase, marketing director of Babolat USA.

To enter, consumers visit www.babolat.com/advantagebabolat and answer the Andy Roddick trivia questions correctly. All adult racquets, Pure Drive junior, Aeropro Drive Junior and adult and junior shoes are eligible for the promotion.

Ashaway Introduces Light Badminton String

Ashaway Racket Strings’ new ZyMax 62 is the lightest badminton string ever made, says the company, thanks to a new core construction technique called ZyWeaVe, which makes it 25 percent lighter than standard .70mm strings. Ashaway says ZyWeaVe prevents tension loss while its braided surface provides control.

Ashaway ZyMax 62

“ZyMax 62 is designed for very particular professional players who want the lightest string possible for more power on smashes and better feel and control on touch shots,” says Steve Crandall, vice president of Ashaway. “ZyWeaVe technology guarantees less elongation, so ZyMax 62 strings up tighter and plays crisper with maximum tension stability.”

Visit www.ashawayusa.com for more information.

Upcoming Industry Schedule

For the numerous certification workshops available, visit ptrtennis.org and uspta.org.

Manufacturer Responds to ‘Bill of Rights’

I’d like to respond to Tony Taverna’s Your Serve (“Retailer’s Bill of Rights”) in the March issue. In general, we agree on many of these topics. The local pro shop is a great source of support, information and of course products for local players. Well-run local shops can be among the biggest drivers of tennis growth in a region, which we see time and time again across the country. I know that HEAD/Penn recognizes this and am sure that other members of the Tennis Industry Association feel the same way.

HEAD/Penn has taken many steps to support this trade channel, including the first pro/specialty-only tennis racquet in 2002, an elite retailer program in 2003, the first racquet company to require a separate application to sell via the internet in 2001, etc. Some of these initiatives have been embraced by pro/specialty and been visible, while others have operated behind the scenes. However they have all been put in place to reward and support the local dealer.

We have been the only brand to keep a tennis ball exclusive to pro/specialty shops with Pro Penn, and we’ve held true to this promise for over 30 years. In addition, our support of USTA, PTR, USPTA, WTA, ATP, etc., are all meant to help build demand at the local level.

However in our most recent racquet launch we have taken this support to the next level, and based on our commitment would hope that support is shown at the local level with specialty retailers. In our new Stars series of power racquets, we will do some of the things suggested by Mr. Taverna in his article: guarantee MAP pricing for two years, limit distribution to the less than 10 percent of the total tennis retailers in the U.S., provide more demo’s at grassroots than ever before, make sure that only authorized Stars retailers are able to receive product from our authorized distributors, etc.

We agree that pro/specialty shops are critical, which is why we have decided to take this approach. The important thing for local retailers to realize is that taking these aggressive measures is not without risk to a manufacturer, and it is important for this to be a two-way street in which the product is supported and promoted at the pro shop based on the level of manufacturer’s commitment.

At the end of the day, it is critical that both retailers and manufacturers maintain a relationship that helps both parties build profitable business models. That requires a healthy amount of investment and support on both sides of the table.

Greg Mason
VP — Sales and Marketing,
HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports

We welcome your letters and comments. Please limit letters to 300 words maximum. Email them to rsi@racquetTECH.com or fax them to 760-536-1171.

Babolat Launches RPM Blast String

Babolat has launched a new string, RPM Blast, a black string with a white double line, which is now being used by pros Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. RPM Blast (RPM for “revolutions per minute”) is a monofilament designed to give players more spin, more power and a unique feel at ball impact. It will be in stores starting in April in 125 and 130 gauge, with a suggested retail price of $16.95.

“The advice and recommendations of tour players has been decisive in the development of the string,” says Cécile Gindre, string products manager at Babolat. “The tests have allowed us to identify their needs in order to develop the characteristics of the new RPM Blast. The combination of the high-density material and a specific coating gives it both power and spin.”

PTR to Host Second Tennis Club & Facility Conference

The PTR will host its second Tennis Club and Facility Conference May 19-21 at PTR Headquarters on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The three-day event is designed for tennis club owners, club managers and directors of tennis.

Presentations and breakout sessions will include topics such as Customer Service, Programming to Fill Courts, Innovative Ideas for New Clinics, Marketing Your Club & Programs, Forming a Club Owners Association, Controlling Energy Costs & Expenses, Managing Your Staff, Renovating Your Club, and Creating/Improving Your Website.

The program starts at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 19, and runs through 5 p.m. May 21. The cost, $349 before May 1, $399 after, includes all workshops, meals and social activities through Friday afternoon. Additional attendees from the same club are $299 each. For information or registration, call 800-421-6289 or visit www.ptrtennis.org.

GSS Sets 4th Annual Stringers Symposium

Grand Slam Stringers has finalized the time and place of the fourth annual GSS Racquet Stringers Symposium. It will be held Oct. 9 to 14 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Orlando, Fla.

“We’re excited about the 2010 symposium,” says GSS founder Tim Strawn. The core staff of GSS seminar leaders will return for 2010, along with some new presenters and material.

“For stringers and shop owners, this is a great event because it opens up face-to-face opportunities for direct dialogue, learning experiences through hands-on participation and networking never available to them before,” says Strawn. “Attendees tell me they like the laid-back atmosphere and the fact that seminar leaders are so approachable and eager to teach. That’s a testament to their professionalism and their dedication to the success of this event.”

For more details and to register, go to grandslamstringers.com and select the “Symposium” link.

 

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