Tennis Industry magazine

 

Industry News

Information to help you build your business.

Anna Kournikova to Promote Cardio Tennis

Anna Kournikova is the new spokesperson for Cardio Tennis. The 29-year-old tennis star will appear in a p.r. and advertising campaign to promote the program.

“Thousands have already improved their health and fitness with Cardio Tennis,” says Jolyn de Boer, executive director of the TIA, which manages Cardio Tennis. “With Anna, we feel many, many more will realize the benefits — and the fun — of this program.”

“Tennis gives your whole body a workout, and Cardio Tennis takes it up another level,” says Kournikova. “It’s designed for players of all ages and levels from beginners to advanced. You get a great workout and burn tons of calories. Plus, it’s a lot of fun — certainly more interesting than working out in the gym. And you’ll improve your tennis, too.”

Kournikova’s interest in Cardio Tennis peaked when she was scheduled to appear on the popular NBC show “The Biggest Loser.” The tennis star suggested to the show’s producers that she run a Cardio Tennis workout. The episode aired on Oct. 5, with Kournikova putting the 15 contestants through a fat-burning Cardio Tennis workout as a key part of the show’s weight-loss program.

“Cardio Tennis has been expanding rapidly,” says Cardio Tennis National Program Manager Michele Krause. “I’m looking forward to working with Anna on promoting it worldwide.”

Kournikova joined the pro tour in 1995, reaching a career-high ranking of No. 8 in the world in singles and No. 1 in doubles. While she hasn’t played on the WTA Tour since 2003, she participates in exhibition matches and charitable events and will be entering her ninth season with the World TeamTennis Pro League. Kournikova is heavily involved in causes that promote health and fitness.

Cardio Tennis was developed in 2005 by the TIA in conjunction with the USTA as a fun and healthy exercise to get in shape and lose weight. There are now more than 1,700 Cardio Tennis sites in the U.S. Visit CardioTennis.com and partners.CardioTennis.com.

USTA Community Tennis Workshop Set for Virginia

Tennis providers, sign up now for the 2011 USTA Community Tennis Development Workshop, which will be Feb. 11 to 13 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Va. The CTDW is the largest annual gathering of CTA/NJTL leaders in the country, with opportunities to network with more than 500 grassroots community tennis leaders from across the country.

Sessions are led by specialists in their fields and include topics such as programming for 10-and-under and for adults, how to become a stronger tennis advocate in your community, how to market and communicate your message better, more effective fundraising, developing and involving volunteers, and much more. There also will be an “Open Space” session on community tennis, in which attendees will be asked to offer and lead discussions and presentations on topics of their choosing. The schedule also includes the annual Awards Dinner.

Conference registration is $329 for current USTA Organization Members/$359 for non-members until Dec. 30; after that, it’s $415. Rates at the hotel are $129 per night. Visit usta.com/ctdw.

New Eco-Friendly Flax Racquet Debuts

Groupe Origine recently launched a new tennis racquet made with flax and carbon fibers. “The use of flax enables the design of an eco-friendly product, while carbon fibers ensure strength and performance,” says Groupe Origine’s Benoit Balmana.

Flax fibers are less rigid than carbon fibers, says the company, and that softness helps absorb vibration in the racquet, improving comfort. Flax is an eco-friendly product, and it grows naturally without specific irrigation or requires no chemical products. Origine’s tagline is “powerful by nature.”

The Origine racquet weighs 10.2 ounces with a 100-square-inch head size, designed for intermediate to expert players. Retail price is $115. For more information, and to inquire about distribution opportunities, visit groupe-origine.com.

USTA Sues Olympus for $11.65 Million

The USTA is suing Olympus for $11.65 million for breach of contract, saying the camera company wants to get out of its sponsorship agreement for 2011. Olympus and the USTA have been partners since 2003.

In a 2007 agreement, they extended their partnership through 2013, including making Olympus the title sponsor of the US Open Series of hard-court events leading up to the US Open. The contract allowed Olympus to opt out of the last two years of the deal, which it recently sought to do. But the USTA complaint, filed in November, says Olympus also is trying to “prematurely” get out of its commitments for 2011.

According to the complaint, Olympus wants to avoid paying $11.65 million next year because it says the USTA allowed Panasonic to infringe on Olympus’ exclusive sponsorship rights — something the USTA says is “without merit.” The USTA says Olympus hopes to avoid fulfilling the contract because it is trying to reduce costs.

Dunlop Adds 5 New Strings

Dunlop has a revamped line of five tennis strings shipping alongside its new Biomimetic frames.

IMG Chief Told ‘Don’t Do That Again’

Ted Forstmann, the CEO of IMG, the agency that represents Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and dozens of other top pro players, was told by the men’s tennis tour not to violate its gambling rules after he acknowledged making a $40,000 wager on Federer to beat Nadal in the 2007 French Open final. Federer lost the final.

“The ATP has sent the message very clearly to Mr. Forstmann that we consider his behavior inappropriate and that he will be in violation of the rules if he engages in such activity in the future,” the ATP said.

Forstmann’s wager was made before the ITF’s anti-corruption program came into force in 2009. “Forstmann has confirmed that he understands and accepts this and advised that he has not gambled on tennis since the uniform tennis anti-corruption program came into effect,” says Mark Harrison, a spokesman for the ITF.

PTR Symposium Set for February

The PTR will hold its annual International Tennis Symposium Feb. 19-24 at PTR Headquarters on Hilton Head Island, S.C. For information and registration, visit ptrtennis.org.

The Symposium attracts nearly 1,000 tennis teachers and coaches from more than 50 countries. Many of the tennis industry’s most notable speakers will be among the more than 50 presenters who will conduct classroom and on court presentations. Presenters include Leo Alonso, Mike Barrell, Doug Cash, Pat Etcheberry, Don Henson, Anne Pankhurst and Dr. Bryce Young, speaking on topics ranging from tennis business to tactics to injury prevention and treatments.

There is also a special high school coaches’ sequence that will be held over President’s Weekend (Saturday to Monday), for coaches who may not be able to get away for the whole week.

Teaching pros show off their playing skills at a tournament held in conjunction with the Symposium. The Symposium also offers a Tennis Trade Show where 45-plus organizations and companies, such as, Gamma, Head/Penn and Playmate, exhibit their new product lines, latest technologies and services.

Courier Replaces Pat Mac as Davis Cup Captain

Four-time Grand Slam champ and former world No. 1 Jim Courier will replace Patrick McEnroe as the Davis Cup captain. McEnroe resigned in September after 10 years on the job. Courier’s 2011 debut as captain will be March 4-6, when the U.S. travels to Chile for the first round.

Courier, a TV tennis commentator, helped the U.S. win the Davis Cup in 1992 and 1995, and he finished with a 16-10 record in singles, 1-0 in doubles. He retired from the pro tour in 2000 and was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.

“I’m privileged to be able to step into the very worthy shoes of my predecessor, Patrick McEnroe, who did a terrific job for the team and laid a great groundwork for the way the team works together and the camaraderie they’ve shown,” Courier said. “That will be one of my main goals, to maintain that same energy that Patrick has created.” The Americans have won the Davis Cup a record 32 times, the last in 2007.

New Racquets From Pacific

New racquets from Pacific for 2011 include the X Feel Pro 95 and the X Feel Tour, both featuring Graphite BasaltX in their frames and taking advantage of Fischer technology. (Pacific acquired Fischer Tennis & Racquet Division in 2009.) Applied in “strategic areas” of the frame, Pacific says BasaltX provides enhanced feel, stability, comfort, and power.

BasaltX is a natural material that is 100 percent recyclable. Pacific says that unlike regular basalt fibers, which are inconsistent in quality, BasaltX fibers are consistent thanks to a production process developed by ASA.TEC.

The new X Feel racquets, part of Pacific’s Tournament/Player Series, have a constant beam (vs. the tapered beam of Pacific’s X Force line of frames) for consistent feel and feedback for skilled players, says the company. The X Feel Pro 95 has a 95-square-inch head and weighs 11.3 ounces, with a 16 x 19 string pattern. The X Feel Tour has a 100-square-inch head, is 10.4 ounces and also has a 16 x 19 pattern.

The “Junior Class” story in RSI’s November/December 2010 issue misidentified the technology used. Pacific uses Fischer technology in its frames. For more information about Pacific racquets and strings, visit Pacific.com.

PTR Creates 3 Certification Pathways

The PTR has created three basic certifications to fit the needs of tennis teaching pros worldwide. In 2011, PTR’s education and certification pathway will be geared toward three distinct areas: Junior Development, Adult Development and Performance. In addition, PTR has a Master of Tennis Program in these three areas for teaching pros who want to further their education.

“We have totally restructured our education and certification pathway to meet the needs of teaching professionals, their employers, their students and our sport,” says Dan Santorum, PTR CEO. “The pathway will initially be piloted in the United States, so, PTR board members/staff will be visiting USTA Sections and Districts to answer questions and explain how our new pathway can help facilitate the growth of the game.” The pathway takes into account the recent rule changes that promote 10-and-under tennis.

Peoplewatch

Wilson Unveils New BLX Frames

Wilson announced the introduction of 14 new BLX racquet models developed for players of all levels and playing styles. BLX racquets are engineered with Basalt fibers, a natural volcanic rock that delivers feedback for the perfect feel on every shot, according to Wilson.

The cornerstone of the new 2011 BLX line is the Blade Family of racquets. The Blade Series features five new frames, including the Blade Tour BLX, Blade 98 BLX, Blade Team BLX and Blade Lite BLX. The Blade 98 BLX is also available in a pink cosmetic. New is the Blade Lite BLX — a 100-square-inch, 10.2-ounce racquet geared toward a wide range of players.

Leading the Blade Team of players are 13-time Grand Slam champ Serena Williams and nine-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams. They will debut their new Blade Team BLX racquets at the start of the 2011 season.

Rounding out the Player frame offerings for 2011 is the Pro Lite BLX, part of the Pro Family of racquets lead by Juan Martin del Potro. This new frame, the Pro Lite BLX, is geared toward younger players and those seeking a lightweight competitive model, says Wilson.

In the All Around and Game Improvement categories, Wilson introduces eight new models including Justin Henin’s new Tour Limited BLX. Designed in cooperation with Henin, this frame is an extra half-inch in length (27.5-in.). The Coral Reef BLX, Tidal Force BLX and Bold BLX finish out the All Around category.

The Cierzo Two BLX marks the return of the sledge-hammer frame. And completing the Game Improvement category are the Stratus Three BLX and Tempest Four BLX. Visit Wilson.com.

New Haven Event No Longer Co-Ed

After Pilot Pen failed to renew its title sponsorship of the combined men’s and women’s US Open Series stop in New Haven, Conn., Tournament Director Anne Worcester announced that the event will now be a women’s-only tourney and will be called the New Haven Open.

The tournament had been one of only four events sanctioned by both the ATP and WTA tours, but now it will feature a field of 28 women. Worcester wasn’t able to find a replacement for the big bucks title sponsor, but she was able to secure four “cornerstone” sponsors, which combined will offset the tournament’s expected cost of $1.2 million. The four sponsors are Yale University, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Aetna and American Express.

It’s a “good news solution to ensure that this large-scale, international sporting event will stay in our region for a minimum of three years,” Worcester said. “While we really would have liked to keep the men’s event, the financial model for staging a combined tournament simply didn’t work.” The tournament will be held in August.

Wilson Introduces Four New Strings

Wilson Racquet Sports is introducing four new strings for 2011 designed to fit the needs of players at all levels.

The new Shock Shield string, developed for players with arm discomfort, has a gel-filled core that helps reduce shock and vibration. Red Alert provides increased bite and the high molecular weight nylon coating provides durability, says the company.

The newest member of the popular NXT family, NXT Control combines polyester and nylon fiber bundles with polyurethane, designed to create control and power, according to Wilson. And the new SGX 16 is composed of a high-energy core surrounded by bi-directional X-bands for a soft and comfortable feel.

Congratulations To the Following For Achieving MRT Status

New MRTs

Lisa Palcic, Sunriver, OR

Sabrina Fefferman, Sunriver, OR

David Clemans, Newberg, OR

Eric Ohlson, White Salmon, WA

Spencer Heflin, Memphis, TN

Dan Gaskell, Wichita, KS

David Kurvink, Fayetteville, NC

Sean Teeter, Fayetteville, NC

Mark Tarentino, Fayetteville, NC

Neal Crowell, Derby, KS

Classifieds

FOR SALE: Tecnifibre TF 8000 Stringing Machine. Excellent Condition. $5,000. Robert, 617-548-8558

Peoplewatch

Klip America Changes Name, Signs Partners

Epic Sports International Inc., a global sports brand management firm, announced the official renaming of Klip America Inc., the worldwide licensee for Volkl Tennis and Boris Becker Tennis. In addition, Epic has announced a new long-term, global logistics deal with Samsung C&T America Inc., a global trading and investment firm.

“Our new Samsung partnership provides us with the expertise and resources of a proven global business leader to efficiently service our growing number of distribution channels worldwide,” says Brian Dillman, vice president and general manager of Epic Sports International.

Epic also signed new global distribution partnerships across Europe and Asia for Volkl Tennis products. The new deals include Mint Apparel in the UK; Limited Sports in Germany, Switzerland and Austria; Zero To Zero in The Netherlands; and Kawasaki in China.

USPTA Starts China Division

The USPTA has announced a new China Division of the professional teaching pro organization. The announcement was made during last fall’s USPTA World Conference in California, with key staff members from the China Division on hand.

“We are very excited with the opportunity to learn and grow with the USPTA community,” said Yue Wang, president of USPTA China. “Our goal is to have a substantial membership within the next three years.”

“We are thrilled to welcome China to the USPTA family,” said USPTA President Tom Daglis. “We are looking forward to growing the USPTA in China under the direction of Yue Wang, one of the leaders in China’s tennis industry.”

David T. Porter, Ed.D., a USPTA Master Professional and former USPTA president, has been instrumental in helping forge the relationship with China and starting a USPTA division there.

Wilson Develops New Platform Tennis Ball

Wilson has spent hundreds of hours developing a state-of-the-art ball for platform tennis that features a new long-lasting “flocking” technology, resulting in a significant improvement in cover durability, says the company. Wilson says the new ball allows for longer play and more consistency and is appropriate for all levels of play.

Wilson is the official ball for 14 APTA clinics taking place at key paddle cities. “These clinics are events to introduce and promote platform tennis,” says Tim McAvoy, APTA president. “I am pleased that Wilson and the APTA have partnered to create such a great atmosphere to grow the game of platform tennis.”

PTR Holds Development Weekend in Florida

The PTR held a Professional Development Weekend in early October at the Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Fla. The event featured more than 20 presentations, and speakers included Pat Etcheberry, Rodney Harmon, Daniel Spatz, Doug Cash, Anne Davis, Anne Pankhurst, Michele Krause, Jorge Capestany, and others.

USTA to Begin National Tennis Center Overhaul

The USTA has approved a more than $300 million overhaul of the US Open’s home, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, that will include tearing down and replacing Louis Armstrong Stadium and building two smaller stadiums. But the plans do not call for a roof over the 22,500-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium.

So far, only $30 million has been formally budgeted, and construction will begin immediately on a 3,000-seat mini-stadium to be built adjacent to the hospitality building on the southeast corner of the property. The USTA could not say if the mini-stadium would be ready for the 2011 Open.

Demolition on Louis Armstrong Stadium and the adjacent Grandstand Court won’t begin for six to eight years, according to the USTA. Louis Armstrong, the No. 2 court at the NTC, will not have a roof built immediately but will be “roof-ready.” Armstrong currently holds 10,200 people; the new stadium will seat 12,000 to 14,000. The Grandstand, which currently seats 6,100 people, will be replaced by a mini-stadium for at least 7,000 fans.

Market Watch

Tennis Racquet Performance

Specialty Stores, January-September, 2010 vs. 2009

Units 2010 561,825
2009 555,148
% chg vs. 2009 1%
Dollars 2010 79,573,000
2009 77,270,000
% chg vs. 2009 3%
Price 2010 141.63
2009 139.19
% chg vs. 2009 2%

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January-September 2010 (average selling price)

Best-Sellers

  1. Babolat Aero Pro Drive GT (MP)
  2. Babolat Pure Drive GT (MP)
  3. Wilson BLX Six.One 95 16x18 (MS)
  4. Babolat Aero Pro Drive+ GT (MP)
  5. Prince EXO3 Black (MP)

“Hot New Racquets”

(Introduced in the past 12 months)

  1. Babolat Aero Pro Drive GT (MP)
  2. Wilson BLX Six.One 95 16x18 (MS)
  3. Babolat Aero Pro Drive+ GT (MP)
  4. Prince EXO3 Black (MP)
  5. Wilson BLX Pro Open (MP)

Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January-September 2010 (average selling price)

  1. Prince T22
  2. Adidas Barricade V
  3. Nike Court Ballistec 2.3
  4. Adidas Barricade 6.0
  5. Nike Air Breathe Free 2

Top-Selling Tennis Strings at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January-September 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)

PTR Redesigns Website

The PTR has redesigned its website, ptrtennis.org, for easier use, with streamlined navigation, “quick jump” immediate access to integral areas and other enhancements.

In addition, Facebook posts appear on the home page, and users can “Like” without having to leave the site. Other social media, like Twitter and YouTube, can be accessed directly from the home page. A Media Gallery of large format images has been added.

The site is integrated with PTR’s database, so members can update their contact information, pay dues or make purchases directly from the site. Any member or visitor can use Find a Coach/Pro that searches the database for PTR Certified members in their area or by name.

 

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