Maria Sharapova Switches from Prince to Head
Former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova has joined the Head stable of players and, according to the company, is working with Head to develop a new racquet for her game. The 23-year-old Russian, currently ranked No. 18 in the world, split with Prince Sports in December, after 10 years.
“I’m excited to be on the Head team and looking forward to this partnership,” says Sharapova. “With my new Head weapon, I am confident [I can] regain a spot among the Top 10 again soon.” She joins the Head team that includes Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Robin Soderling, Victoria Azarenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
“We’re proud to have Maria on board with so many other great tennis athletes,” says Head N.V. CEO Johan Eliasch. “She definitely helps us build a much stronger women’s team.”
In addition to the high-performance tour racquet line, Head’s sponsorship of Sharapova also includes a range of junior and kids’ racquets, accessories and tennis bags, to be launched at retail in the fall and supported by a marketing and communication campaign. Head says Sharapova will be “closely involved” in the development and design of these products.
In 2004, at age 17, Sharapova won her first Grand Slam title, at Wimbledon, then claimed titles at the 2006 US Open and 2008 Australian Open. She’s been ranked World No. 1 in singles four separate times before shoulder problems in October 2008 forced her out of the game for nearly 10 months. Off-court, Sharapova has been featured in a number of modelling assignments, including in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. In 2010, she was elected Favorite WTA Singles Player, as well as Most Fashionable On Court and Most Fashionable Off Court Player in the WTA Fan Favorite Voting Awards.
Sharapova’s former company, Prince, says it will continue to have the rights to market and sell Sharapova signature line products throughout 2011.
New USTA Board Takes Office
The 2011-2012 USTA Board of Directors officially began its term Jan. 1 and includes seven first-time board members. The Chairman of the Board and President is Jon Vegosen of Chicago. He takes over from Lucy S. Garvin, who will remain on the USTA board in her role as immediate past president.
David A. Haggerty of Pennington, N.J., is the USTA board’s first vice president. Traditionally, the first vice president has become the next president of the organization. Other vice presidents are Katrina M. Adams of White Plains, N.Y., and Carol J. Welder of Austin, Texas. Donald L. Tisdel of Lake Oswego, Ore., will serve his third consecutive term as secretary-treasurer.
Directors-at-large are Seth G. Abraham of New York, N.Y., Dale G. Caldwell of New Brunswick, N.J., William J. Kellogg of La Jolla, Calif., John N. Korff of Key Biscayne, Fla., Delaine B. Mast of Lancaster, Pa., Andrew A. Valdez of Salt Lake City, Patrick J. Galbraith of Bainbridge Island, Wash., Chanda Rubin of Lafayette, La., and Jeffrey G. Tarango of Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Pro-1 Sports and Putterman Join Forces
Putterman Athletics has joined with PRO-1 Sports. The partnership was announced in December in a joint letter by Scott Walker of Pro-1 Sports and Benjamin Belier of Putterman. “This joint venture brings together two leading companies with complementary strategic visions and product technologies and a commitment to customer satisfaction,” the letter said. “By working together, we will be able to reduce costs and improve our operations. This in turn will enable us to provide more valuable service and support to you.”
Currently, PRO-1 Sports, headquartered in Marietta, Ga., manufactures and sells various sporting equipment products. Putterman Athletics, with warehouses in Chicago, has a line of windscreen, padding and sports netting.
Putterman/Pro-1 Sports LLC can be reached at 770-590-0001 or email@example.com
USTA to Invest Millions for Kid’s Tennis
Over the next three years, the USTA plans to invest $5 million in 100 markets to foster the growth of 10-and-under tennis. The money will go toward marketing, training, courts, competition, schools and equipment — and it also will be matched by USTA sections, district and/or state associations, as well as local associations. The average investment per market has been estimated at $50,000.
“There is nothing we can think of that is more central or more important at this time to growing participation, developing players, creating fans, etc. than this 10-and-under initiative,” says Scott Schultz, the USTA’s managing director of Recreational Tennis. “If we are successful, every stakeholder in tennis wins — clubs, pros, manufacturers, events, tennis publications…everyone.”
The 10-and-under tennis initiative will allow for more kids on a practice court, translating into higher revenue for facilities, coaches and teaching pros. In the 5 to 8 age group, for instance, some programs are currently using six 36-foot courts positioned sideways on one 78-foot court, with six kids per court. With up to 36 kids on one practice court, that can mean higher revenue for court time, per hour.
Some organizations are already implementing this system in competition, setting up two to four courts on 36-foot courts. “For clubs and coaches that run these types of events, it is very beneficial,” says Schultz, who also leads the 45-person team at USTA for 10-and-under tennis. “You can get more kids per court competition, and the events don’t take as long.”
Because of the investment in the 100 markets, the USTA says it will phase out its Recreational Tennis Grants by the end of 2011. However, USTA Serves will continue to offer grants for tennis programs with an educational component servicing underserved youth and others.
Champions Series Circuit Reformats
InsideOut Sports + Entertainment announced an expanded and re-formatted Champions Series tennis circuit starting in 2011, with one-night events in 12 North American markets played this fall.
Each new Champions Series event will feature a field of four major champions competing in a one-night shootout tournament with two semifinal matches followed immediately by a championship match. Players will compete for ranking points and a prize money bonus pool for the top three finishers on the circuit. Information on venues, dates, player fields, sponsors, ticket information and television airings will be announced in the coming months.
The Champions Series is a New York-based tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30 run by InsideOut Sports + Entertainment, co-owned and operated by former SFX executive Jon Venison and former world No. 1 Jim Courier.
PTR Symposium Set for HHI
The PTR International Tennis Symposium will be Feb. 19-24 on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The Symposium offers education and networking opportunities and features more than 50 on-court and classroom presentations on a range of topics, such as drills, technique, doubles, marketing, coaching, programming and more.
Registration also includes the Awards Banquet Dinner, the Tennis Trade Show, USTA Recognition Breakfast, Head Dinner Dance and Gamma Casino Night Dinner. For more information, a schedule and to register, including information about Day Passes, visit ptrtennis.org.
ASBA Elects New Officers and Directors
The American Sports Builders Association has elected officers and directors for the coming year. The new slate took office at the conclusion of the ASBA’s Technical Meeting, held Dec. 4-6 in Florida and attended by a record 400-plus industry members.
New officers on the executive committee include David Nielsen of Leslie Coatings Inc., Indianapolis, who will serve as the ASBA’s new secretary-treasurer, and Randy Niese of Robbins Sports Surfaces, Cincinnati, elected to the position of Indoor Division President.
ASBA also elected several new members of its board of directors. John Schedler, CFB, CTB, of Atlas Track and Tennis in Tualatin, Ore., will serve as a representative of the Builder Division. Another new builder director is Mike Edgerton, CTCB, of Copeland Coatings in Nassau, N.Y.
Re-elected to their current board of director positions were Track Division President Kristoff Eldridge, CTB (Cape & Island Tennis & Track in Pocasset, Mass.), and Professional Division President Ed Norton, RLA, ASLA (Holcombe Norton Partners Inc., Birmingham, Ala.). Bruce Haroldson of Connor Sports Flooring in Arlington Heights, Ill., was re-elected to serve as a board of directors representative of the Supplier Division.
Several individuals will continue on the board of directors in their current office. Sam Fisher, CTB, of Fisher Tracks Inc. of Boone, Iowa, will remain chairman; Mark Brogan, CTCB, of Pro-Sport Construction Inc. of Devon, Pa., continues as Tennis Division president; Dan Wright of Sports Turf Co. in Whitesburg, Ga., remains in the office of Fields Division president; and Randy Futty of Lee Tennis Court Products in Charlottesville, Va., continues as Supplier Division president.
Other ASBA board members are: Rob Delmonico of RAD Sports in Rockland, Mass.; Ben Rennolds, CTCB, of Tennis Courts Inc. in Aylett, Va.; Pete Smith of The CourtSMITHs, Toledo, Ohio; Rob Righter of Nova Sports, USA in Milford, Mass.; and Chris Sullivan of Beals Alliance in Sacramento, Calif. George Todd, Jr., CTCB, of Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla., is the Immediate Past Chairman.
The next ASBA Technical Meeting will be Dec. 1-6, 2011, at the J.W. Marriott Resort and Spa in Palm Desert, Calif.
USRSA Loses Dot Hogen, a Beloved Family Member
Dorothy Hogen, age 84, died of heart failure Nov. 21, 2010, in Reno, Nev. “Dot” was part of the USRSA family longer than anyone else — initially hired for just two weeks 1984, she stayed with USRSA for 25 years, retiring in 2009.
For many years, Dot was “first up” for technical assistance calls from USRSA members needing help with stringing instructions, equipment decisions and just about anything else. She was a Certified Stringer (1986) and a Master Racquet Technician (1993). Dot’s genuine and friendly manner always made members feel at ease.
Upon retirement, Dot moved in with daughter Jerilyn and family in Reno. If Dot had one complaint, it was missing her on-court time with friends and competitors. In response, her family purchased Tennis Channel to help satisfy her addiction and love of tennis. She took an unofficial role as commentator so her family didn’t miss any important match details.
Born July 15, 1926, in San Jose, Dot is survived by her daughters, Terri and Jerilyn (and her husband, Michael) and sons, Rory (and his wife, Louise) and Randy, and granddaughters, Jena (and her husband, Peter) and Mallory.
A memorial will be held in February. Contact Jerilyn at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional details. In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family suggests donations to First American Heart Association Tribute and Memorial, 1710 Gilbreth, Burlingame, CA 94010.
The entire USRSA staff, along with her family and thousands of member/friends, will miss Dot and her independent, strong-willed, exceptionally kind manner. And we’ll always remember her constant smile. — David Bone
9 Earn ASBA Certified Court Builder Status
Nine builders have passed the test to earn the designation Certified Tennis Court Builder by the American Sports Builders Association. The new CTCBs are:
- John Coll, Top-A-Court Co., Hatfield, Pa.
- Albert Giamei Jr., Copeland Coating Co., Nassau, N.Y.
- Shawn Hollingsworth, Sportsline Inc., Exton, Pa.
- Michael McGrath, Talbot Tennis, Marietta, Ga.
- Carlos Navas, Sport Court Midwest, Bensenville, Ill.
- Larry Pitts, Court Surfaces Inc., Green Cove Springs, Fla.
- JR Rockenfield, McConnell & Associates, Kansas City, Mo.
- Fred Volpacchio, Hudson Design Build Group, Peekskill, N.Y.
- Pat Walker, Sport Court Midwest, Bensenville, Ill.
For more information on certification and the ASBA, visit sportsbuilders.org.
- >German pro Nicolas Kiefer retired from the pro tour in late December. He says he plans to continue working in tennis, and also playing soccer.
- Rafael Nadal and Kim Clijsters both won the 2010 International Tennis Writers Association’s Ambassador of the Year awards, recognizing a combination of achievements on the court, conduct that shows tennis in the best possible light and cooperation with the media. Nadal also was named BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year in December.
- World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark recently signed an endorsement contract with Yonex. She will play with the company’s VCore 100S racquet.
- Roger Federer was named to Forbes’ best-dressed athletes list, as was Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
- John Austin has been named the director of tennis at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Arizona. The tennis center at the Fairmont will also now bear his name.
- Tom Gruger has been promoted to vice president of global marketing at Wilson Sporting Goods, a newly created position
- The WTA named Kim Clijsters its 2010 Player of the Year, the second time she has won that honor. The Belgian also was recognized for her off-court achievements with the Player Service award. Her compatriot, Justine Henin, received the Comeback Player of the Year award. Other 2010 WTA awards included: Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, Newcomer of the Year; Maria Sharapova of Russia, Humanitarian of the Year; and Flavia Pennetta of Italy and Argentina’s Gisela Dulko, Doubles Team of the Year.
- Brad Gilbert will be the new traveling coach and mentor for top-100 Japanese player Kei Nishikori. Gilbert is currently a guest coach at the Bradenton, Fla.-based IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy, where Nishikori trains year-round under coach Nick Bollettieri and his staff.
- Martina Hingis has tied the knot with Frenchman Thibault Hutin, age 24, and six years her junior, in a mid-December private civil ceremony in Paris. The couple met in April at a horse show in St. Tropez.
- Slobodan Zivojinovic received the 2010 Davis Cup Award of Excellence, presented in December by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Federation.
- RSI 2010 Wheelchair Tennis Champion of the Year Harlon Matthews was slated to conduct an “Instructing Wheelchair Tennis Workshop” in January at the Midtown Athletic Club–Windy Hill in Atlanta. The workshop was presented by the PTR and Southern Tennis Association.
- Chris Myrold is the new tennis director for the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, managed by Peter Burwash International. After a two-year closure due to hurricane damage, the award-winning Caribbean resort re-opened in December.
- Daniel Nestor, Canada’s most decorated tennis player with six Grand Slam doubles titles and an Olympic gold medal, has been appointed to the Order of Canada, joining many other top Canadian athletes.
- Rafael Nadal will succeed soccer icons David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo as the male face of Emporio Armani Underwear and Armani jeans.
- Peter Bretherton is the new president of Britain’s oft-questioned Lawn Tennis Association, for a two-year term. Also, Philip Brook has been elected chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, site of the Wimbledon Championships. He replaces Tim Phillips, who retired after 11 years as chairman.
NGI Sports Uses Eco-Friendly Celceram
TNGI Sports of Chattanooga, Tenn., announces the use of Celceram with BioBalance polymers in its Nova’Pro Tennis and TitanTrax Shield products. This green technology complements the existing soybean-based technology utilized in the production of NGI’s sports surfacing systems.
Celceram is a highly-refined recovered mineral compound endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is carefully selected and processed for its component and performance characteristics. It is then combined with BioBalance polymers containing soybean oil, a 100-percent renewable resource, to replace a portion of the system used in the production of NGI Sports’ tennis-court surfacing systems. For more information visit ngisports.com.
New Tennis Training Device
The PowerBase Tennis Trainer is a tennis skills device that allows players to hit the ball and have it return at game speed. The manufacturer says it helps for all types of strokes, quickness, hand-eye coordination and stamina. Retail price is $39.95. Visit sklz.com.
TIA Offers PTR-Branded TennisConnect Edition
The TIA and PTR have produced an edition of TennisConnect with a PTR-branded theme, available for all PTR members to use — and customize — for their businesses. TennisConnect is the TIA’s premier business tool for tennis providers and is used by hundreds of facilities, retailers, teaching pros and tennis organizations.
PTR members will have access to branded content that includes TennisConnect features such as the court scheduler, String Center, Demo Racquet Program, eCalendar, contact management system and unlimited group email. The newest additions to TennisConnect include customized website “themes,” a mobile app and leagues/ladders — all designed to make it easier for tennis providers to reach players, and for players to find the information they need to play more tennis.
“This is an excellent benefit for our members,” says PTR CEO Dan Santorum. “TennisConnect is a great product that is constantly improving and expanding, with new features that help tennis providers service more players and attract more business. This also can enhance PTR sponsors, giving them the ability to put branded messages, promotions and templates on the PTR edition.”
“I’ve used TennisConnect for five years at both the John Drew Smith and Tattnall tennis centers, and it’s really helped me grow my business,” says Carl Hodge, a PTR member in Macon, GA.
“A PTR edition of TennisConnect will be an excellent tool for promoting, running and growing your business,” adds Jorge Capestany, a PTR Master Professional who also is the manager of the DeWitt Tennis Center at Hope College in Holland, MI. “I use many TennisConnect features on my website, plus I put up a number of tennis videos. TennisConnect is easy to use and works seamlessly.”
Visit TennisConnect.com or contact Marty Mohar at the TIA, 843-686-3036 ext. 227 or toll-free 866-686-3036, ext. 227, or email@example.com.
Tennis Night In America Is February 28
Feb. 28 is a big night for tennis in the U.S. In conjunction with the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the Monday night also is Youth Registration and the third annual Tennis Night in America.
The centerpiece of Tennis Night in America is the BNP Paribas Showdown, which this year will feature Andre Agassi vs. Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl vs. John McEnroe. But the goal is for hundreds of tennis facilities in the U.S. to register youngsters for local tennis programs, and to host viewing parties.
Tickets for the BNP Paribas are available at ticketmaster.com. To sign up to host a Youth Registration event, visit tennisnight.com.
Martina Falls Short in Kilimanjaro Climb
Martina Navratilova spent a short time in Nairobi Hospital after suffering from high-altitude pulmonary oedema, an accumulation of fluid on the lungs, which she developed while attempting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in December. The climb was to raise funds for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
Navratilova was leading the team of fundraisers but was forced to abandon the climb on day four and was assisted down the mountain. The climb began Dec. 6, in the face of blizzards and torrential rain. But 18 of the 27 Laureus fundraisers reached the summit of the 19,341-foot mountain.
Dads Brawl Down Under
Tennis Australia has warned it won’t tolerate anti-social behavior from players, parents, or anyone involved in tennis. The warning comes after a brawl erupted at a junior tournament at Melbourne Park, site of the Australian Open, in which one man was arrested for assault and emergency services were called in to end the fight between two men.
- Melanie Oudin, who plays with a Wilson Blade 98 BLX racquet, is now wearing Wilson apparel and footwear. Wilson’s global business director of apparel and footwear, Claire Ortiz, designed the line for high performance players. “Melanie’s energy on the court and winning personality are exactly what Wilson represents. We know her style and authenticity as a player is a perfect match for us.”
- The doubles duo of Rohan Bopanna of India and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan have launched their official “Stop War Start Tennis” apparel at the Chennai Open in India in January. At Wimbledon last year, the pair — from countries that have a long history of tension — wore the message on the back of their T-shirts. ”What started out as a simple statement has now become a world-wide campaign,” Bopanna says. Proceeds from the sales of the T-shirts go to the players’ respective charities.
- Andy Roddick has committed to play for the U.S. Davis Cup team in 2011. The U.S. team faces Chile in the first round on a red clay court in Santiago, March 4-6. The Americans will be led by their new captain, Jim Courier, who took over from Patrick McEnroe.
- Babolat has extended its partnership with the largest senior-level tournament in the world — the Babolat World Tennis Classic in a new three-year title sponsorship agreement for the USTA Super Category II event.
- Dunlop and the French Open are not renewing their tennis ball partnership agreement. “We have decided to concentrate on our sponsorship of the full clay court season prior to the French Open,” says Sunny Singh, Head of Sports Marketing for Dunlop. The company supplies the balls for the tournaments leading up to the French Open, including ATP Masters 1000 events in Rome, Madrid and Monte Carlo.
- The ATP has relocated its US Open Series men’s event from New Haven, Conn., to Winston-Salem, N.C., and a new outdoor tennis facility will be constructed at Wake Forest University for the tournament. The new Winston-Salem Open will be held Aug. 21-27 with a 48-player draw. Earlier in 2010, the Indianapolis US Open Series men’s event moved to Atlanta and in 2011 will be held at the Racquet Club of the South.
- In a three-year deal, Jaguar will be the official vehicle supplier of Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association.
- The USPTA has joined with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation to promote ways to help people achieve a healthy weight. The USPTA’s “Tennis – for the health of it!” initiative promotes the health benefits of playing tennis and fits with the goals of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation to provide resources to encourage energy balance and reduce obesity, especially childhood obesity.
- Among the 26 USTA Eastern award recipients honored at the section’s annual meeting in late January are: Lifetime Achievement Award: Arvelia Meyers, New York, NY; Tennis Woman of the Year: Katrina Adams, White Plains, NY; Leslie J. FitzGibbon Tennis Man of the Year: Jim Neal, Schenectady, NY; Tennis Family of the Year: Thyroff Family, Rochester, NY; Club Service Award: Sportime-Randall’s Island, New York, NY; Collegiate Award: Syracuse University; USTA Community Service Award: Charles DeNicola, Cranford, NJ; Virginia and Chuck Landis High School Coach of the Year: Rich Johns, Saratoga Springs, NY.
- The Essex Resort and Spa near Burlington, Vt., is the new title sponsor of USTA New England’s League Section Championships, which will take place in September. The Essex, a AAA Four Diamond resort, offers a new full-service spa, indoor and outdoor pools and a fitness center, plus tennis instruction with Vermont Tennis Vacations.
- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger presided over a ceremony in which Serena Williams was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in December. Fellow 2010 inductees included Barbra Streisand, Betty White, Levi Strauss, James Cameron and Mark Zuckerberg.
Head Star Series Winner Hits with Agassi, Graf
Tony Ly, 17, from Rockhill, S.C., experienced the match of his life with Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf in Las Vegas in December, after winning Head’s YouTek Star Series Promotion. The online promotion was featured on head.com in 2010 with four short videos of Agassi and Graf explaining the different technologies found in the new YouTek Stars Series Racquets.
Ly brought his 18-year-old brother Brian with him, and both met Graf and Agassi at the Amanda & Stacy Darling Memorial Tennis Center in Las Vegas. “Thankfully, they took it easy on us, and we even managed to play some good points and hit a few winners,” said Ly.
Sampras Trophies Stolen
In November, many of the awards and trophies Pete Sampras won during his illustrious tennis career were stolen from a public storage facility in Los Angeles. Sampras still has 13 of his 14 Grand Slam trophies, but most of his hardware from 64 tournament victories, two Davis cup trophies, his first Australian Open trophy, an Olympic ring and six year-end championship trophies were taken. The theft also included an autographed piano bench from Elton John and a signed guitar from Carlos Santana.
“Losing this stuff is like having the history of my tennis life taken away,” the former world No. 1 told the Los Angeles Times. “I’m not one to gloat about trophies or show them off. I just want them for my kids to see. They didn’t see me play, but I would like them to see these things.” Sampras said none of the items were insured because there was no way to place a value on them.
The president of the International Tennis Federation, Francesco Ricci Bitti, has offered to provide Sampras with replicas of the two Davis Cup trophies if they aren’t recovered.