Babolat Teams Up with Roland Garros
Babolat and Roland Garros have signed a five-year deal in which the French equipment manufacturer will provide the official ball for the French Open, stringing services for the tournament and a line of Babolat-Roland Garros branded products.
“Part of our history is written on the clay courts of Roland Garros through our team of players,” says Babolat President and CEO Eric Babolat. “Now, a new chapter in French tennis history is opening. All the players in the tournament will play with a ball developed by Babolat and will benefit from our stringing service. For tennis fans, we will offer our first collection of Babolat and Roland Garros products.”
Babolat, which was started in 1875 and is based in Lyon, France, has developed the official ball for the French Open that it says is specially designed for playing on clay and meets the specifications of the French Tennis Federation. The company also will be responsible for stringing services, gathering top stringers to work at the French Open event.
This year, Babolat will launch its first line of Roland Garros branded products. The Babolat-Roland Garros line includes adult and junior racquets, balls, racquet bags, backpacks, strings, grips and dampeners. Products in the new line will be available starting in May.
“We are particularly proud of this partnership between Babolat and Roland-Garros, for whom excellence has been a trademark,” says Gilbert Ysern, general manager of the FTF and tournament director of Roland Garros.
Converse Brings Back Jack Purcell Tennis Shoe
Converse has launched the Jack Purcell Evo tennis shoe, the first modern performance Jack Purcell tennis shoe since the 1960s. The company says the shoe combines classic looks with state-of-the-art Nike technologies.
The upper sports a glen plaid mono-mesh woven with Nike Flywire technology, which Converse says is breathable and keeps feet cool. The trademark rubber toe sports the Jack Purcell smile, just as it did more than 75 years ago. The Evo is built with an ergonomic foot form and uses the lightweight Nike Lunarlon Foam. For increased support in extreme lateral movements, the shoe has lateral rubber wraps and a composite mid-foot shank, which Converse says adds torsional rigidity.
Tennis players have been wearing Jack Purcell shoes since 1935, when world famous badminton champion Purcell helped design a court shoe. In the 1930s and ’40s, Purcell gave tennis lessons to Hollywood actors, who helped to popularize the shoe. The new Evo is available in a crimson and white, with a suggested retail price of $110. Visit converse.com.
US Open National Playoffs Adds Mixed Doubles
The US Open National Playoffs returns this year, with the addition of mixed doubles to men’s and women’s singles. Last year, the USTA created the US Open National Playoffs to provide an opportunity for all players 14 years of age and older to earn a berth into the US Open.
The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles champions will receive a main draw wild card into the 2011 US Open. The US Open National Playoffs men’s and women’s singles champions again earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, held the week prior to the US Open.
The Playoffs will again operate as a series of sectional qualifying tournaments, held in 16 USTA Sections throughout the country. The 16 men’s, women’s and mixed doubles champions from each sectional qualifying tournament will advance to the US Open National Playoffs. All three tournaments will be held in conjunction with the New Haven Open at Yale, an Olympus US Open Series event. The men’s and women’s singles championship will be Aug. 18-21; the mixed will be Aug. 24-27.
Registration for the sectional qualifying tournaments begins March 15 at www.usta.com/tennislink. Entry fee for each qualifying event is $125 for singles and $150 for each mixed doubles team ($75 per player). All players must have a current USTA membership valid through Aug. 29, 2011.
Racquetball Champ Williams Retires
Top-ranked racquetball pro Mitch Williams has decided to retire from the professional game, after suffering a major shoulder injury in the quarterfinals of the US Open in October.
“Mitch has been a tremendous asset to the Wilson brand,” said Terri Graham, Business Director Indoor Racquet Sports. “Though it saddens me to hear this news, I am excited for his future in the pharmaceutical world.”
Williams is a two-time National Doubles Champion 2007 and 2010 and won the amateur National Championship in 2007. He will stay involved with Wilson racquetball by conducting clinics and playing a limited schedule of amateur and satellite events once his shoulder is healed.
Prince Strengthens Sales, Promotions, Product Teams
Prince says it has strengthened its sales, promotions and product teams through promotions and new hires, in line with its five-year plan for growth. Charlie Osborn has been promoted to national vice president of sales for the U.S. specialty channel. He is joined by Jay Simmons, who leaves his post as global business manager for recreational racquets and tennis balls, to become national v.p. of sales for key accounts. Both will report to Sam Cook, general manager of U.S. and Canada at Prince Sports Inc. On the promotions side, Ken Merritt joined Prince Sports as a fulltime employee, based out of the IMG/Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where Prince is the official racquet, string, grip and bag. The company also has added two new global product managers: Jennifer Allison has been hired for recreational racquets and bags, and Nathan Price has been hired for strings, accessories and machines.
Head Adds Race-Car Tech to YouTek Frames
Head’s new YouTek IG Speed Series, which world No. 2 player Novak Djokovic used to claim the 2011 Australian Open title in January, uses Head’s new Innegra fiber technology. Head says Innegra, used in Formula 1 racing, is extremely tough and light, and when combined with carbon fiber, forms an “ultra-tough, hybrid-composite structure” that results in improved stability and increased shock absorption. The company says racquet vibration from ball impact is reduced by up to 17 percent. For his Aussie Open win, Djokovic used the YouTek IG Speed MP 18/20, one of five YouTek IG Speed Series frames. The other models are the YouTek IG Speed MP 16/19, with a more open string pattern and slightly longer length; YouTek IG Speed 300, which the company says is slightly more powerful with added maneuverability; YouTek IG Speed Elite, a Tour Light version with a slightly wider beam; and the YouTek IG Speed Lite, a “tweener” frame for players with moderate swing styles. Visit www.head.com.
Prince Adds 3 Models to EXO3 Tour Line
rince has added three models to its EXO3 Tour family of racquets. The latest additions are the EXO3 Tour 100 with a 16 x 18 string pattern, the EXO3 Tour 100 with an 18 x 20 pattern and the EXO3 Tour Lite 100 (shown), all designed for more advanced players with faster swing speeds. The new frames join newly upgraded versions of the EXO3 Silver 115, Blue 110 and Red 105 models. All six new racquets feature distinct, visible ThermoCarbon String Suspension Inserts for enhanced feel and join the EXO3 Black, White and Rebel to complete the 2011 performance racquet collection, says Prince. EXO3 technology is a patented design utilizing large holes and String Suspension Inserts, allowing the strings to move more, which Prince says delivers a larger, more consistent hitting area. “The real benefit of EXO3 and the concept of eliminating restrictive grommets is to enhance string freedom to the edge of the frame, and this engineering advantage works and benefits all player types – from ATP and WTA pros, to the current No.1 ranked junior boy and junior girl, to collegiate players to recreational players,” says Roberto Gazzara, Prince’s chief engineer and vice president of R & D. For more info, visit princetennis.com.
USANA Extends WTA Partnership
USANA Health Sciences Inc., a nutritional supplements company based in Salt Lake City, is extending its sponsorship of the WTA. The partnership will include increased USANA branding and participation at WTA events over the next three years. USANA continues to be the Official Health Supplement Supplier of the WTA. “We are thrilled to be supporting such a great organization and working closely with elite female athletes,” says Dan Macuga, USANA’s VP of Marketing and Public Relations. “This will be our fifth year sponsoring the WTA.” In addition to endorsing USANA products, six new brand ambassadors will represent USANA to media, participate in USANA-sponsored meetand-greets and tennis clinics, and promote Children’s Hunger Fund, USANA’s designated charity, among many activities. The six are Kim Clijsters, Sam Stosur, Zheng Jie, Liezel Huber, Melanie Oudin, and Aleksandra Wozniak. For more information, visit usana.com.
USTA Serves Awards $1 Million+ in 2010
USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the USTA, has awarded 33 year-end grants totaling $420,650. The number of program grants awarded in 2010 was 59, totaling $855,150. Combined with scholarship awards, USTA Serves distributed more than $1 million in 2010. The bi-annual granting process was developed to provide people with disabilities and disadvantaged, at-risk children in underserved communities the opportunity to learn to play tennis and improve their academic skills in a structured format, and also to help combat obesity by promoting healthy lifestyles. To date, USTA Serves has disbursed more than $10 million to a variety of programs. These programs received 2010 year-end grants by USTA Serves:
- Abundant Waters Inc., New York, N.Y.
- A’s & Aces, New Orleans
- Azleway Inc., Tyler, Texas
- Boston Inner City Youth Tennis Program, Dorchester, Mass.
- Boys & Girls Club of Martin County Inc., Hobe Sound, Fla.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Camden County Inc., Camden, N.J.
- CREATE Tennis Inc., Washington, D.C.
- Ethel Walker School Inc., Simsbury, Conn.
- HERO Inc., Purchase, N.Y.
- Harlem Junior Tennis Program Inc., New York
- Harper for Kids, San Francisco
- Hebni Nutrition Consultants Inc., Orlando, Fla.
- I Have a Dream Foundation of Boulder County, Boulder, Colo.
- International Rescue Committee Inc., San Diego
- KIPP Endeavor Academy, Kansas City, Mo.
- Latin American Youth Center, Washington, D.C.
- MACH Academy Inc., Augusta, Ga.
- Mentoring USA Inc., New York
- New York Junior Tennis League, Woodside, N.Y.
- Orthotic and Prosthetic Assistance Fund, Waterloo, Iowa
- Our Military Kids Inc., McLean, Va.
- Portland After-School Tennis & Education Inc., Portland, Ore.
- Project Lovematch Inc., Saddle River, N.J.
- Reach for College Inc., Washington, D.C.
- Rodney Street Tennis & Tutoring Association, Wilmington, Del.
- Say Yes to Education Inc., Syracuse, N.Y.
- Sportsmens Tennis Club Inc., Dorchester, Mass.
- Tennis for Charity Inc., Cincinnati
- United Neighbors Inc., Davenport, Iowa
- University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
- Up A Break Inc., Marietta, Ga.
- Youth Tennis Advantage, Oakland, Calif.
- Zina Garrison All Court Tennis Academy, Houston
- Justine Henin is saying goodbye to the pro game for good, after aggravating an injury to her right elbow during the Australian Open. “The exams are clear and the doctors definitive,” the 28-year-old said. “My elbow is too damaged and too fragile for me to be able to continue to follow my passion and practice my profession at the highest level.” Henin has won seven Grand Slam titles.
- Ashaway Racket Strings has extended its long-term sponsorship agreement with two-time World Open squash champion David Palmer. Palmer, who recently started playing with the company’s new PowerNick 19, the world’s thinnest squash string, is currently ranked No. 15 in the world.
- Former world No. 1 player and seven time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander has joined the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., as the staff’s senior advisor. Wilander will provide guidance and mentoring to JTCC’s staff and youngsters, emphasizing mental toughness and commitment to high performance training on a quarterly basis. He will also provide top JTCC talent with tournament preparation, training sessions and coaching at major tournaments.
- Novak Djokovic won his second Grand Slam event at the Australian open, playing with the Head YouTek IG Speed MP. He beat fellow Head player Andy Murray, playing with a YouTek Radical Pro, in the final.
- Bill Oakes is leaving his position as the USTA Southern Section’s director of professional tennis, sales and marketing to become the tournament director of the Winston-Salem Open in North Carolina. Oakes will coordinate all tournament operations and will assist with construction oversight for the new tennis facility being built at Wake Forest University to house the tournament. The Winston-Salem Open, an ATP World Tour 250 event with a total purse of $625,000, will be Aug. 21-27 and is part of the US Open Series.
- Beatrice Capra, an 18-year-old from Ellicott City, Md., has signed a letter of intent to play at Duke University in the fall. Capra gained national media attention last summer when she won a USTA Wild Card Playoff to gain entry into the US Open, where she upset two Top-100 players en route to the third round, where she lost to former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova.
- Jim McManus, a driving force behind the ATP World Tour, died in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., in January at age 70. A world-class pro player, McManus was a member of the original ATP board of directors in 1972, and over the decades played a major role in developing the ranking system, entry system and more.
- Henrik Wiersholm, a 13-year-old from Kirkland, Wash., captured the boys’ singles title at Les Petits As in Tarbes, France, to become the first American boy to win the prestigious 14-and-under title since Chase Buchanan in 2005, and just the seventh U.S. boy to win the championship since the tournament’s inception in 1983.
- Bruce Flory will no longer be the tournament director for the Western & Southern Open event, but will remain a consultant for 2011. The USTA made the change as the event becomes a coed tourney starting this year. The new format will unfold Aug. 13-21 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio, as part of the US Open Series. Flory was named tourney director in 1999.
- Tennis legend Stan Smith is the newest addition to the advisory board of the online tennis club BoomerTennis.net. Smith will provide instructional advice to BoomerTennis.net members. Other advisory board members include Tony Trabert and Cliff Drysdale.
USPTA Creates New Member Credential
The USPTA has announced the launch of its Accredited Professional Coach classification, an opportunity to obtain an added credential to enhance current membership status. The new classification is effective now. The classification is open to USPTA Professional 1, 2 and 3 members and Master Professionals. USPTA Professional members are required to take continuing education in order to earn and maintain APC status. Continuing education credits can be earned in a variety of ways, including attending educational presentations and viewing DVD seminars. For more information on earning and verification of credits, visit uspta.com and click on “Become a USPTA Accredited Professional Coach” in the blue box.
Congratulations To the Following For Achieving MRT Status
Dunlop Adds 5 Frames to Biomimetic Line
Dunlop has added five new frames to its initial five racquets in the Biomimetic racquet line. The new Biomimetic 200 and 200 Lite (shown) were available in February, and the 500, 500 Tour and 500 Plus will be available March 15. Each frame incorporates the same three Biomimetic technologies of the initial five frames: Aeroskin, HM6 Carbon and Gecko Tac grip. The 200 is designed for advanced players with long, powerful swings. The frame has a 95-square-inch head an an 18 x 20 string pattern. The 95-square-inch 200 Lite is for intermediate to advanced players and has a 16 x 19 string pattern. The Biomimetic 500 Tour, at more than 11 ounces strung, is the heaviest in the 500 series and is for intermediate to advanced players looking for a powerful frame. It has a 100-square-inch head, tapered beam, and 16 x 18 pattern. The 500, also for intermediate to advanced players, is 10.3 ounces. The 500 Plus if for game-improvers or players with shorter swings, and features a 110-square-inch head at 9.2 ounces, with a 16 x 19 pattern. For more info, visit dunlopsport.com.
RMS Now Offers Online Sales
Rocky Mountain Sports of Boulder, Colo., Inc. has opened its new website store, RMSBoulder.com, for both retail customers as well as established RMS customers who may request a wholesale login. “As times change we want to offer the customer what they need to make shopping simple and convenient,” says RSM co-founder CD Bodam. The site lists all sorts of products for tennis retailers, including racquets, shoes, strings, stringing machines, apparel and other accessories and court equipment. RMS is the exclusive US distributor for Tretorn tennis balls and the official wholesale accessories distributor for Babolat in the US.
Belgium Dashes U.S. Fed Cup Hopes
Reigning US Open and Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters came from behind to defeat Bethanie Mattek-Sands in three sets and lead Belgium to a 4-1 win over the U.S. in the 2011 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinal on Feb. 6. It was the first time in 10 years and only the third time in the history of competition that the U.S. has lost in the first round. Belgium will face the Czech Republic in semifinals, April 16-17, the same weekend the U.S. will play in the World Group Playoffs, against an opponent and in a location to be determined. In the World Group Playoffs, the four World Group first-round losers — Australia, France, Slovak Republic and the U.S. — will be joined by the four World Group II first-round winners — Germany, Serbia, Spain and Ukraine.
NGI Surfaces May Help Toward LEED Certification
NGI Sports says that recent rulings from the U.S. Department of Agriculture qualify high-performance NGI tennis court surfaces — utilizing soy-based polyurethane — for federal purchasing preference as a designated bio-based item under the USDA’s BioPreferred program. NGI Sports, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., supplies eco-friendly surfaces for park, school, municipal, club, commercial and residential use. NGI says its Nova’ProTennis surfaces have a soy-based polyurethane backing and in many cases the materials also use recycled components. According to the company, the tennis systems may be utilized on projects in obtaining up to 18 points toward LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Falling under categories of “Water Efficient Landscaping,” “Recycled Content,” and “Innovation in Design,” NGI Sports’ court surfaces incorporate several green features. Both the surface content and its utilization for water conservation may qualify an installation for LEED points on new and existing construction projects. Visit ngisports.com and usgbc.org/LEED.
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USTA Awards $45,000 for Local Wheelchair Programs
The USTA has awarded $45,000 in USTA Grassroots Wheelchair Program Grants to 21 wheelchair tennis programs across the country for the third consecutive year. Grants were awarded to local organizations that promote and develop the growth of wheelchair tennis and use the sport of tennis to build stronger, healthier communities.
“These grants are just a part of the continued effort in implementing important programs that reach out to the wheelchair community through tennis,” says Dan James, USTA national manager of Wheelchair Tennis. Additional USTA Wheelchair Tennis Grant opportunities will be announced in 2011. Organizations interested in starting a wheelchair program or for more information should email email@example.com.
Clay Court Seminar Set for Baton Rouge
Har-Tru will be conducting a clay court maintenance certification seminar March 28-29 in Baton Rouge, La. The seminar will bring together leading experts on clay courts to discuss the construction and maintenance of clay. The event, co-sponsored by All Star Tennis Courts and held at the Bocage Racquet Club, 7600 Jefferson Highway, Baton Rouge, LA 70809, is designed for anyone managing, maintaining or considering installing clay tennis courts including Club Managers, Teaching Professionals, Court Builders and Maintenance Professionals. For more information contact Ed Montecalvo at 1-877-4HARTRU or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courier Switches to Donnay X-Series Frame
Tennis Hall-Of-Famer, Champions Series star and U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier will exclusively play and represent Donnay and its new ultra-thin-beamed X-Series Red 99. “I am proud to become a Donnay brand ambassador,” says the four-time Grand Slam Champion and former world No. 1. The X-Series Red 99 is one of 10 new Donnay X-Series models that have various string patterns, head sizes (94- and 99square-inches), stiffness levels and different weights and headlight balances, but all share the ultra-thin beam that measures 15 millimeters at the base. The racquets also have XeneCore, a high-tensile strength material that fills the inside of the frame to improve performance and comfort, says the company. The XSeries also features a customizing kit consisting of three differently weighted butt caps and optional weighted slides for the top and sides of the hoop. For more info, visit donnayusa.com.
Ashaway Introduces Thinnest Squash String
Ashaway Racket Strings says its new PowerNick 19 is the thinnest squash string ever. The new 1.05 mm string utilizes a monofilament core, based on a special formulation developed for Ashaway by Zyex Limited. Designed to provide improved power and performance for both amateur and professional players, PowerNick 19 provides excellent resilience and response, along with a dramatic increase in the ability to grip, cut, slice, and work the ball, says Ashaway. Visit ashawayusa.com.