Tennis Industry magazine

 

Industry News

Tennis Participation Jumps 46% for 2000-2010

The latest data from the Physical Activity Council (PAC) shows participation in the sport grew 46% from 2000 through 2010, making tennis by far the fastest growing traditional participation sport in the U.S. for the past decade.

In PAC’s 2011 Sports, Fitness, and Recreation Participation Overview, tennis was one of only two sports to show an increase in overall participation in the past 10 years. Among traditional participation sports, the second fastest growing in the past decade was racquetball, up 3%, according to the study. All other traditional sports showed a decline or had no increase in participation over that same period. The annual PAC study examines sports trends and participation for 119 sports.

In addition, Cardio Tennis, a program started in 2005 by the TIA and USTA, has seen rapid growth. Cardio Tennis was added to the PAC study in 2008, and in the 2010 survey had 1.5 million players, an 81% increase in participation over the two years, and 28% more than in 2009. Cardio Tennis also has been expanding internationally and is now in more than 30 countries.

“We’re pleased that interest and participation in tennis has been able to withstand the challenges in this economy,” said Jolyn de Boer, executive director of the TIA. “This is also a credit to our joint effort with our partners, especially the USTA, in terms of launching programs designed to attract new players into the game, bring people back into tennis, and have current players playing more tennis, as well as the certified tennis teaching pros who deliver the programming.”

The Physical Activity Council is composed of seven of the major governing bodies and trade associations, including the TIA and USTA.

Djokovic is Flying High in Head Racquet Ad

It’s not just Novak Djokovic’s tennis play that has taken off in recent months. At the end of last year, Djokovic climbed out onto the wing of a biplane to promote Head’s YouTek IG Speed Racquet and “bring to life the concept of ‘Ultimate Speed,’” says Head.

The commercial, which was posted on head.com, YouTube and other sites in March, was filmed in Europe. It shows the world No. 2 “rallying” on the wing of a plane with another player, both dressed in headgear, goggles and flight suits.

Visible in the video is Djokovic apparently standing on the wing of the plane as it lifts from the runway. But did he really go 1,000 meters up to play tennis?

Adams, Others Honored by Hall of Fame

Jodie Adams, a parks and recreation professional from Springfield, Mo., received the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s 2010 Samuel Hardy award April 2, at an awards lunch held in conjunction with the USTA’s Annual Meeting in Naples, Fla. Adams, a former member of the USTA board of directors, has been active in growing tennis programs in parks nationally.

Adams has served on a number of USTA National Committees for more than 25 years and currently is on the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials Board of Directors. For her service to the sport she was awarded the 2009 USTA President’s Award and the 2007 USTA/NPPTA Hollis Smith Lifetime Achievement Award.

Also honored by the Hall of Fame with Tennis Educational Merit Awards were Leslie Allen of New York, N.Y., Dale Caldwell of New Brunswick, N.J., and Coach Dan Magill Jr. of Athens, Ga. Allen is a former top-20 WTA player who has stayed active in the sport and is the founder of a youth program that uses tennis as a platform for personal development. Caldwell is a business executive and tennis enthusiast who has been involved with USTA programming for tennis in schools. University of Georgia’s Magill has held the position of head tennis coach for 34 years and developed one of the finest collegiate tennis programs in the nation.

Gamma Launches String Performance Guarantee

Gamma Sports has introduced the Gamma String Performance Guarantee for U.S. consumers, in which the company will refund the purchase price if a consumer is not satisfied with the performance expectations of Gamma performance processed and co-polyester strings.

The guarantee covers strings such as TNT2, TNT2 Touch, Live Wire, Professional, Live Wire XP, Zo Black Ice, Zo Verve and more. For details on the guarantee and to see which strings are covered, visit GammaSports.com/guarantee.

If a consumer is not satisfied with the performance of their Gamma string, they download a claim form from the website, cut the string out of their racquet, and return the string to Gamma by trackable shipment within 14 days of purchase. Once all information is verified, Gamma will refund the purchase price of the string and string job up to $50.

USPTA Adds Co-Chairs for Tennis Across America

The USPTA, which announced the One-Clinic Challenge for its 2011 Tennis Across America events, has signed up former President George H.W. Bush and TV analysts Cliff Drysdale and Patrick McEnroe, among others, as honorary co-chairs and health and fitness industry partners.

Also on board are former touring professionals Todd Martin, Emilio Sanchez Vicario and Tony Trabert; Pam Shriver, TV analyst and former touring professional; world-renowned tennis coach and Master Professional Rick Macci; and author, speaker and Master Professional Peter Burwash.

Health and fitness companies supporting the USPTA’s efforts include:

May is National Physical Fitness Month and Mental Health Month, and the USPTA is encouraging every member to run at least one Tennis Across America event to help spread the word that obesity is now an epidemic, especially with today’s youth devoting more time to computers and other technology than to exercise. In addition, it provides the opportunity to focus on the long-range health benefits of developing a habit of being active through tennis from early childhood. Events can take many forms leading up to May 14 (Tennis Across America Day).

For tools and resources on ideas for TAA events, visit uspta.com.

USTA Grants Available to Help Facilities Grow 10U Tennis

Along with the USTA’s plans to invest $8 million to foster growth in 10 and Under Tennis in 100 markets across the country, the organization also has made available money to help public facilities install shorter courts and to paint blended lines on existing full-size tennis courts.

The USTA’s Facility Assistance program offers competitive grant applications to tennis facilities that are open to the public and that meet other guidelines. (For details, visit usta.com/facilities.) Categories for funding are:

The cost to line courts for 10 and Under Tennis is approximately $200 to $400 per 78-foot court. Converting an existing 78-foot court to four permanent 36-foot courts is estimated to be $8,000 to $10,000 per 78-foot court.

Other facility assistance services include offering facility concepts, design review, construction document review, RFP and bid document review, and concepts for 36-foot and 60-foot facilities.

To take advantage of the USTA’s Facility Assistance Program, complete and submit the online assistance form at usta.com/facilities. The form can be completed at any time during the year. A USTA representative will then contact you within 30 days to talk about your needs.

USRSA Introduces New Racquet Service Software

The U.S. Racquet Stringers Association has developed two new, innovative database applications designed to help racquet stringers and customizers keep track of their business. Both database applications are personalized to the user’s business, and both are available for PC or Mac users.

Stringers’ Companion and Stringer’s Companion Lite are stored and run on the user’s computer, alleviating the need for Internet access. Designed by racquet stringers for racquet stringers, both tools help manage all facets of the day-to-day stringing business and needs for those working in the racquet service field.

"After years of development, we’re excited about the combination of features, efficiency and flexibility that these tools offer,” says David Bone, executive director of the USRSA. “We believe they should help improve the professionalism of anyone offering racquet service."

For a list of features for each application, visit the online store at racquettech.com. Demo versions of the software are available at no cost by visiting the online store at racquettech.com.

Peoplewatch

Stolen Sampras Trophies Recovered

Dozens of Pete Sampras’s trophies stolen in December were found behind a hospital in the L.A. suburb of Marina Del Rey on March 19. Reports say a private investigator, working for Sampras, received a tip about the trophies then notified hospital security. It was unclear exactly how many trophies, or which ones, were recovered.

Most of the trophies from Sampras’s career, which included 64 tour titles and 14 Grand Slam singles wins, were taken from a West Los Angeles storage facility in December. Sampras said he had not insured the trophies since he was unsure of how to put a value on much of the collection.

New NYC Center Bubbles 12 Courts

The new, 16-court Stadium Tennis Center at Mill Pond Park in New York City, in the shadow of Yankee Stadium at East 152nd Street and the Harlem River, opened at the end of 2010 with a seasonal bubble covering 12 of its Decoturf tennis courts — one of the largest bubbles of its type in the world. The bubble covers an area of more than 75,000 square feet, with a volume of more than 4 million cubic feet.

An adjacent clubhouse will be completed in the coming months and will feature a pro shop, café, locker rooms and lounge areas, wi-fi computer access, workspace where children can do schoolwork and read, and a tennis library. The tennis center is part of Mill Pond Park and the Yankee Stadium Redevelopment Project. It formerly was a vacant and decaying industrial site. Visit stadiumtennisnyc.com.

NTC to Add Fourth Show Court

The USTA announced in March that the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York will get a new 3,000-seat stadium to complement its three existing stadiums. The new arena will be ready for the 2012 US Open, says the USTA, and could be ready for this summer’s Open.

The NTC is on leased public land, and the new stadium will need approval from the New York City Design Commission. It will not require public funds, and will not change the current borders of the tennis center site. The USTA pays the city about $1.5 million a year to rent the public park space. When the Open is not taking place, the NTC site is open to all for public play.

Ashaway Adds 17-Gauge Squash String

Ashaway Racket Strings has introduced a heavier gauge addition to its popular UltraNick series of squash strings. UltraNick 17 utilizes the same Zyex multifilament fiber core as its 18-gauge sibling to provide increased power and resilience, and reduced tension loss, says Ashaway. But the thicker 17-gauge with its braided surface maximizes durability while still providing better touch and ball control. Visit ashawayusa.com.

WTA, Sony Pick ‘Hot Shots’ for Web TV Show

Six women “Hot Shots” will star in a reality series airing online and on mobile handsets. The Experia Hot Shots show will follow the lives of six aspiring tennis stars as they strive to build their profile on and off the court and gain a support deal with WTA sponsor Sony Ericsson.

The six, announced in Miami at the Sony Ericsson Open, are Dominika Cibulkova, Sorana Cirstea, Alize Cornet, Sabine Lisicki, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Heather Watson. The show will air online for five months, and the winner will be chosen by fan voting online. Sony Ericsson will give the women exclusive access to the worlds of music, film, gaming and fashion, allowing them to grow their online fan base. Visit wtatennis.com for more information.

Organix Racquets Debut

Epic Sports International Inc., a global sports brand management firm and worldwide licensee for Völkl Tennis and Boris Becker Tennis, launched its Organix Racquet Technology, a product line featuring combinations of high-technology carbon nano tubes, organic materials and a cutting-edge handle system, designed to enhance power and feel. The Organix product line has a suggested retail price range of $230 to $250.

The new Organix line includes five racquets designed for all player levels and developed by Völkl in conjunction with the Fraunhofer Institute in Munich, Germany. The racquets feature three new technologies: 1) Bio Sensor Handle System to reduce vibration; 2) Organix, which is a fusion of DNX carbon nano tubes and organic cellulose materials to increase dynamic power; and 3) Optispot, which provides players with the ability to hit 40% more balls in the sweetspot, according to the company.

Descriptions of the new Organix racquets are at volkltennis.com.

Dunlop Adds 2 Strings to Biomimetic Line

Dunlop has expanded its redesigned string line with the introduction of two new strings: Juice and DNA. The new strings join five others (Black Widow, Silk, Hexy Fiber, Explosive and S-Gut) to make up the Biomimetic line.

The brightly colored Juice string draws its inspiration from one of nature’s most explosive forces — lightning. The premium polyester has two construction characteristics that Dunlop says deliver its power and spin: the high-tensile monofilament polyester construction gives Juice its power, while its twisted, pentagonal profile helps to grip the ball, imparting extra spin.

The DNA string is inspired by the shape of a DNA helix. Dunlop says the multi-filament offers a crisp, comfortable feel. It features a unique PBT (Polybutylene terephthalate) fiber coil that spirals around the multifilament core, giving the string extra power and durability.

Both strings are available in 16- and 17-gauge sets and 16- and 17-gauge 200m reels. For info, visit dunlopsport.com or call 800-768-4727.

Create an Online USTA Account

You and your players can now create an online USTA account that will provide access to new features, including a personalized “My Tennis Page” that displays your current player record for USTA programs and events and highlights upcoming play opportunities in your area.

With your USTA account, you can access TennisLink and USTA Membership with a single log-in; have a personalized “My Tennis Page”; get an NTRP rating (self-rate) without joining a USTA League team; and learn about additional relevant play opportunities.

Short Sets

Gamma Sports Adds 2 Strings to Zo Line

Gamma Sports has released two new co-polyester strings, Zo Verve and Zo Black Ice, that the company says are designed with a combination of materials that maintain tension and play more consistent than mono-polyester strings.

Zo Verve has a two-part construction consisting of a red high-energy co-polyester core and three diamond-shaped black filaments of high molecular weight polyester providing spin and durability. The result, says Gamma, is a string for hard-hitting players who want maximum power, greater spin and deeper, more penetrating shots. The three black polyester filaments protrude from the surface of the string to provide additional spin.

Zo Black Ice is a co-poly that offers tremendous ball bite for hard-hitting players looking for consistency, more spin and greater accuracy, says the company.

“Zo Verve is a blend of stiff and soft materials so it strings tight, maintains tension and plays like a poly but gives the player more power, exceptional spin and control for deeper shots,” said Chuck Vietmeier, product manager. “Zo Black Ice co-polyester construction maintains tension longer for more consistent play over the life of the string.” Visit gammasports.com.

Racquet Art Offers 8-Ounce Stencil Ink Bottles

Racquet Art (racquetart.com) has now bottled its racquet stencil inks in 8-ounce containers for the racquet industry. Under normal usage, a 1-ounce container of stencil ink will paint six to eight racquets. The larger bottles will reduce waste and save stringers’ money, says Michael Waroff of Racquet Art LLC. The bottles come with an applicator for applying the ink to the strings.

 

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