Tennis Industry magazine


Industry news

PTR to Debut Spring TennisFest in March 2011

Starting in March 2011, PTR will host an annual event on Hilton Head Island, S.C., for college tennis teams on spring break.

“With more than 200 college coaches who are PTR members, and many varsity tennis players who teach or want to teach tennis, hosting Spring TennisFest is a natural fit,” says PTR CEO Dan Santorum. “It is a perfect complement to our PTR on Campus Program that offers full-time students certification training, membership and liability insurance that’s affordable even on a student’s budget.”

Bringing college tennis teams to Hilton Head was the brainchild of Dennis Malick, who is serving as an event consultant for the PTR. Santorum worked with Malick during the first two Spring Break Tennis events at the Van der Meer Tennis Center in 1985.

In 2011, Spring TennisFest matches will be played at Van der Meer Tennis Center and several other properties on Hilton Head. “We have several teams already lined up to play in the inaugural PTR Spring TennisFest,” says event director Julie Jilly.

For details, contact Julie Jilly or Rachael Cox at or 843-785-7244.

Babolat Celebrates 135th Year With Special Frame

To mark its 135th anniversary, Babolat debuted a new design for the Pure Drive racquet, in a unique “red clay” color. The anniversary Pure Drive 135 and matching bag were available in May. The French company said each member of Team Babolat will carry the anniversary bag during the French Open, which ends June 6.

Babolat Pure Drive 135
Babolat Racquet Holder

The PureDrive 135-Anniversary Racquet has a 100-square-inch head and weighs 10.6 ounces. It has a suggested retail price of $189. The Racquet Holder 135-Anniversary Bag is available in two sizes: six racquets ($55) or 12 ($75).

Clijsters, Henin Aim to Set Attendance Record

Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin are hoping to play to the largest tennis crowd ever assembled when they meet for an exhibition at the 40,000-seat Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on July 8.

If the 34,000 tickets are sold and all 6,000 invitees show up, it will easily beat the 30,472 fans who attended the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes II” between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome. The match will mark the opening of Belgium’s six-month presidency of the European Union.

Industry Loses Robert Lee, Founder of Lee Tennis

Robert Lee, founder of Lee Tennis Products in Charlottesville, Va., and one of the founders of the U.S. Tennis Court and Track Builders Association (which later became the American Sports Builders Association), died on April 5. He was 85 years old.

Bob Lee

Lee was born in Raleigh, N.C., in 1924, and served in World War II as a Navy pilot. He later studied engineering at N.C. State. His first job after college was working as an engineer for the quarry where Har-Tru material was mined.

“He migrated into the tennis business from there and built most of the early Har-Tru courts back in the 1950s and early ’60s,” says his son-in-law, John Welborn. In 1964, Lee left Har-Tru and started the Robert Lee Co., making the product in Charlottesville. “He eventually added many innovations in growing Lee Tennis to where it is today,” Welborn says.

In 1964, Lee and industry colleagues came up with the idea of organizing as a group to encourage others to pursue excellence in tennis court and running track construction. The idea, and the new organization, gained momentum and became the U.S. Tennis Court & Track Builders Association.

According to Welborn, Lee (who retired from the business in 1997) has left a lasting impression on the tennis industry. “Bob devised many of the construction techniques and principles still used today to build clay courts,” Welborn says. “Eventually the company he founded ended up with the Har-Tru name, which he had helped build up originally.”

Tennis sales

Tennis Racquet Performance

Specialty Stores, January-March, 2010 vs. 2009

Units 2010 126,090
2009 114,646
% chg vs. ‘09 10%
Dollars 2010 17,700,000
2009 15,890,000
% chg vs. ‘09 11%
Price 2010 $140.38
2009 $138.60
% chg vs. ‘09 1%

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January-March 2010

(average selling price)


  1. Babolat Pure Drive GT (MP)
  2. Babolat Aero Pro Drive GT (MP)
  3. Babolat Aero Pro Drive Cortex (MP)
  4. Wilson BLX Six.One Tour (MS)
  5. Wilson BLX Six.One 95 16 x 18 (MS)

“Hot New Racquets”

(Introduced in the past 12 months)

  1. Babolat Pure Drive GT (MP)
  2. Babolat Aero Pro Drive GT (MP)
  3. Wilson BLX Six.One Tour (MS)
  4. Wilson BLX Six.One 95 16 x 18 (MS)
  5. Head YouTek Radical (MP)

Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January-March 2010

(average selling price)

  1. Adidas Barricade V
  2. Prince T22
  3. Nike Air Breathe Free II
  4. Nike Court Ballistec 2.3
  5. Adidas Barricade II

Top-Selling Tennis Strings at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January-March 2010

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

(Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

UC-Berkeley Wins Tennis On Campus Championship

More than 600 college players from 64 schools participated in the 2010 USTA National Campus Championships in April at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex in Arizona. In the final, University of California-Berkeley beat University of Florida, 30-14, to win its first national title.

Tennis on Campus

Also at the 2010 ToC championships, Loyola University Chicago Club Tennis President Cameron Burnett received the USTA Tennis On Campus Leader of the Year award, and the University of Central Florida was named Tennis on Campus Club of the Year.

The USTA Tennis On Campus program is now offered on more than 500 college campuses servicing more than 30,000 students. The program provides students with an outlet to continue their tennis careers between junior and adult leagues, and to play for their school and interact with other students regionally and nationally. For more information, go to

Genesis Typhoon String Introduced

Genesis Tennis has launched a new string, the Typhoon, a co-poly available in two colors, battleship gray and twilight blue, in 1.26 mm. Genesis says Typhoon delivers outstanding spin along with pinpoint accuracy and unrivaled tension maintenance.

Genesis Typhoon is made from high-tech polyester resin combined with new performance enhancing chemical additives, then extruded with a pentagonal profile and twisted axially. An extra coating of teflon increases the liveliness and offers a crisp stringbed, says the maker. For more info, visit

Short Sets

An iPhone App to Test String Tension? says that racquetTune for iPhone and iPod touch is now available in Apple’s App Store. RacquetTune is a quick, inexpensive tool that allows any tennis player to check that his racquet is correctly strung. A couple of taps on the strings and racquetTune displays the tension.


“The motivation behind racquetTune was to give players an easy to use tool to check when its time to restring, or to find the optimal tension to play with,” says Sten Kaiser, developer of racquetTune.

RacquetTune uses the sound of the racquet to analyze the frequency of the strings. The frequency is then converted to the tension of the stringbed. More information and a demo video is at

New UltraNick 18 Squash String

Ashaway has introduced UltraNick® 18, the first string in a new line of Zyex-based squash strings. Built on a new multifilament core, UltraNick 18 is designed to provide increased power and resilience, and reduced tension loss over the life of the string. The ultra-thin 18-gauge construction softens impact and provides better feel, while the braided surface sharpens ball control, says Ashaway. For more info, visit

Ashaway Ultranick 18

ASBA Accepting Awards Entries

The American Sports Builders Association (ASBA), the national organization for builders, designers and suppliers of materials for tennis courts, running tracks, synthetic turf fields and indoor and outdoor synthetic sports surfaces, has announced the opening of its awards program for 2010. The program recognizes excellence in athletic facility design and construction. The application is available to members only, at Deadline for submissions is June 21.

New this year is a special “Green Facility Award.” ASBA will select one project from the winners in all categories in recognition of its ecologically sensitive design and construction, and its attention to earth-friendly details.


PTR Foundation Distributes Equipment

PTR Foundation, the charitable arm of Professional Tennis Registry, distributed more than $2,300 in new tennis equipment, as well as hundreds of gently used tennis racquets to in-need programs that participated in the 2010 Special Olympics Invitational Tennis Championships.

PTR Foundation

Nine states representing 17 individual area programs competed in the Championships. Each program is struggling for equipment and resources to service mentally challenged individuals to enjoy the sport of tennis. PTR Foundation provided training manuals; beginner drills DVDs; used racquets; foam, pressureless and regulation tennis balls; ball hoppers; ball pick-up tubes; and portable mini-nets. PTR Foundation also donated tennis shoes, warm-ups and shirts for players who are going to the National Games.

National Physical Activity Plan Gets Boost

The first national, comprehensive plan to support and encourage physical activity among all Americans was released May 3 at an event in Washington, D.C. The National Physical Activity Plan is a wide range of public policy recommendations and is the product of a 10-month, public/private collaboration of experts in diverse fields.

Leaders of USPTA joined a broad coalition of experts to support the plan. The USPTA is an implementation partner, and will be led by USPTA Vice President Jack Groppel, Ph.D.

“This is a national initiative that goes well beyond just telling people to exercise. We are recommending policies, programs and initiatives that will change our communities in ways that enable all Americans to be physically active,” said Russell Pate, Ph.D., chair of the National Physical Activity Plan.

“The primary mission of USPTA’s ‘Tennis — for the health of it!’ initiative is wellness and prevention, and the opportunity to tie tennis with key initiatives [like the National Physical Activity Plan] in order to improve the health of America is truly exciting,” said USPTA CEO Tim Heckler.

Also involved is Barry Ford, the USTA’s director of advocacy and outreach, who is also the president of the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity. Information is available at

USTA Partners With Tennis Skillastics

The USTA has joined with Tennis Skillastics to further combat childhood obesity and re-energize physical education in schools. Tennis Skillastics debuted recently at the AAHPERD (American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) Convention in Indianapolis.

Tennis Skillastics is the most recent addition to the USTA’s Youth Initiative, which includes the QuickStart Tennis play format, Jr. Team Tennis, No-Cut School Teams, and the Tennis On Campus program. The latest offering from Skillastics Inc., Tennis Skillastics produces popular fitness and sport-specific activities and games for varying ages and skill levels that are marketed worldwide to schools, youth service organizations and recreational agencies.

Tennis Skillastics is designed to be played with QuickStart Tennis equipment.

Prognosis Excellent for Navratilova

Martina Navratilova revealed in April that she was diagnosed with breast cancer, but that the disease was detected early and the prognosis is excellent. The 53-year-old tennis legend said a routine mammogram in January found a lump and that a biopsy in February determined it was a noninvasive cancer. She had a lumpectomy in March and began six weeks of radiation therapy in May.



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