Tennis Industry magazine


Industry News

10 and Under Tennis Promotions Hit Nationally

Now is the time to start promoting 10 and Under Tennis in your community, as the USTA’s advertising and promotional campaign to bring more kids into the game hits nationally, including a 15-city SmashZone Tour.

Full-page ads targeting parents and tennis providers have already been running in top tennis and consumer publications. In industry publications, informative advertorials have featured top coaches, such as Nick Bollettieri, endorsing 10 and Under Tennis. To date, stories have appeared in more than 200 consumer and trade publications, such as The New York Times, USA Today, Reader’s Digest, Southern Living, Sports Travel, Advertising Age and more.

In addition, nine leading consumer magazines, including Redbook and Family Fun, reaching over 6 million consumers nationwide will carry the 12-page “New Tennis for a New Generation” booklet. The booklet also will be in Tennis Magazine, in regional publications, and in local suburban publications.

On TV, you’ll see 10 and Under Tennis spots running throughout the Olympus US Open Series in July and August, and throughout the US Open broadcasts, too.

USPTA World Conference Sept. 19-24 in Florida

The USPTA’s World Conference on Tennis will be Sept. 19-24 at Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, Fla., and will feature more than 40 general sessions, seminars and specialty courses. The conference also offers the International Tennis Championships, a tennis-only buying show, industry meetings, awards presentation, parties and more.

Approximately 1,500 attendees are expected, including tennis professionals, industry leaders and representatives, manufacturers, wholesalers and media. USPTA members, their friends and family, nonmember tennis-teaching professionals, industry leaders and media are invited. Sign up early for special pricing and discounts. Details are at or 800-877-8248.

Pro Koellerer Banned for Match Fixing Attempts

Austria’s Daniel Koellerer, who once reached No. 55 in the world, became the first tennis player to be banned for life for attempting to fix matches. The Tennis Integrity Unit found the former Davis Cup player guilty of three violations of the sport’s anti-corruption rules, including “contriving or attempting to contrive the outcome of an event” and “soliciting or facilitating a player not to use his or her best efforts.”

The violations occurred between October 2009 and July 2010, although the Tennis Integrity Unit would not specify which matches Koellerer was found to have manipulated. Details of the hearing, which was held in London on April 27-28, will not be released, according to the Tennis Integrity Unit, which is an initiative of the ITF, ATP, WTA and Grand Slam Committee.

In addition to the lifetime ban, Koellerer also was fined $100,000. He has denied the charges and reportedly is considering appealing the ruling. Koellerer, currently ranked No. 385 in the world, climbed to a career-high No. 55 after reaching the third round of the 2009 US Open.

SGMA Study Shows Growth for Sporting Goods Biz

According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association’s 2011 State of the Industry Report, the sporting goods industry in 2010 showed its largest one-year revenue growth swing in the sporting goods industry in nearly 20 years. The sporting goods industry also outperformed GDP for the first time since 2007.

SportsOneSource Media reported that in 2010, U.S. wholesale sales of sporting goods equipment, sports apparel, licensed merchandise, athletic footwear and fitness equipment were $74.2 billion, a 3.5 percent increase over 2009. Athletic apparel is the biggest category in the sports products industry, and that increased 4.8 percent to $29.6 billion. The second largest category is sporting goods equipment at $20.4 billion. Athletic footwear sales were $12.6 billion. Sports licensed merchandise sales amounted to $7.3 billion.

“The sporting goods industry has strengthened in the last 12 to 16 months, despite challenges which have been presented by a number of issues such as the vagaries of the worldwide economy, federal and state legislation, sourcing and production concerns, regulations by sport governing bodies, and counterfeiting,” said SGMA President Tom Cove.

ERSA Honors Baiardo, Luxilon

The European Racquet Stringers Association (ERSA) has named the Wilson Baiardo stringing machine the “Stringing Machine of the Decade” for 2000-2010. The group also has named Luxilon the “String Manufacturer of the Decade.”

Baiardo was released for purchase in late 2008. “Given the intense competition in the marketplace, we are very proud that Baiardo was named the stringing machine of the decade considering how relatively new it still is,” said John Lyons, Wilson’s global business director for Accessories. “This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our engineers and design teams.”

Baiardo is the first stringing machine designed using the Wilson B.E.S.T. stringing system (Biomechanically Efficient Stringing Technology), with multiple ergonomic features providing user comfort.

Luxilon won its title due to its dominant use on the men’s and women’s pro tours. According to ERSA, Luxilon “is the string most companies are trying to copy.”

“This furthers our belief that strict quality control and continuous research has helped to produce strings that will improve every player’s game, regardless of ability,” said Luxilon President Nico Van Malderen.

Are Sporting Goods Prices Moving Upward?

It looks like prices for sporting goods, including footwear and apparel, may be increasing. According to a survey of private, independent vendors and retailers by Robert W. Baird & Co. and reported by Bloomberg news, more than 90 percent of manufacturers paid higher input costs for the first quarter, and 41 percent of those firms increased wholesale prices.

“This clearly demonstrates the emerging cost and price pressure across the sporting-good space,” Peter Benedict, a Baird retail analyst, told Bloomberg. “We’re hearing a consistent message from vendors and retailers that cotton, fuel and wage costs are starting to go up, and they’re slowly going to come through on the retail side later this year and certainly in 2012.”

SmashZone Mobile Tour Targets Family Audience in 15 US Cities

SmashZone, the USTA’s interactive fan attraction at the US Open, is hitting the road for a 15-city mobile tour. SmashZone Mobile includes a 53-foot trailer, which anchors four kid-sized tennis courts, complementing the USTA’s 10 and Under Tennis initiative.

The tour, which kicked off Memorial Day Weekend at the Atlanta Jazz Festival, will stop at fairs and festivals, along with some retail environments and downtown locations in markets across the country, including some of the Olympus US Open Series markets.

The trailer features interactive activities for visitors, including a Tennis Magazine Green Screen Cover Shoot, Wii Tennis and Touch Screen Kiosks. Among other things, the kiosks allow the public to find a facility in their area offering 10 and Under Tennis programming. In addition, SmashZone will allow participants to try their skills on any of the four 10 and Under courts, which are made of Sport Court’s PowerGame modular playing surface.

“To be able to get more racquets in kid’s hands at a young age, and to share with them the idea that tennis can be played anywhere from schools yards, to parks, to clubs, and even at home, underscores the fact that tennis is the sport of opportunity,” said USTA President and Chairman of the Board Jon Vegosen.

Other SmazhZone locations include Denver; San Diego; San Mateo, CA; Luling, TX; New Orleans; O’Fallon, MO; Austin; Dallas; Fort Wayne, IN; Washington, D.C.; Readington, NJ; Philadelphia; New Haven, CT; and Wilmington, DE; then on to the US Open in New York. Visit

Lacoste to Launch Roddick Apparel Line

Andy Roddick will debut a line of apparel in July created with Lacoste, his clothing sponsor for the last six years. The new line, which Roddick will wear on court, includes polo shirts, shorts, track pants and warm-up jackets.

The clothing, which Roddick reportedly helped to design, will range in price from $85 retail for a pair of shorts to $185 for a jacket. The new line will debut on July 1.


USPTA Members Host Tennis Across America Clinics

Hundreds of USPTA members across the nation hosted free Tennis Across America clinics with the theme of “Tennis – for the health of it!” on May 14, to celebrate the 22nd annual Tennis Across America Day. While the overall goal of Tennis Across America is to take the game of tennis to new, current and former players, this year the focus has been on promoting the health benefits of tennis to help support efforts to reduce obesity.

The USPTA encouraged every member to take part in the One-Clinic Challenge and 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.

Nominate for Community Tennis Awards

The USTA is looking to honor the best in community tennis and is seeking nominations two prestigious awards: the 2011 Eve Kraft Community Service Award and the 2011 Community Tennis Association of the Year Award. Deadline for nominations for both awards is July 15.

The Eve Kraft Award, originally established in 1974, is the highest volunteer honor in community tennis. It recognizes USTA volunteer tennis leaders for significant contributions in tennis development through CTAs, parks and recreation departments, schools, or community centers. Anyone — individuals, CTAs or USTA Sections or Districts — can nominate a dedicated volunteer for the Eve Kraft Award.

The CTA of the Year Award honors a registered CTA that provides programs that promote and develop the growth of tennis. Nominations for the CTA award come from each USTA Section. If your CTA is doing great things for recreational tennis, now is the time to let your Section know about it.

Both awards will be presented at the USTA Community Tennis Development Workshop, which will be held in New Orleans Jan. 13-15, 2012. Nomination forms are on — click on “About USTA” then “USTA Awards.”

Anna Kournikova Joins ‘Biggest Loser’

Cardio Tennis spokesperson Anna Kournikova is the newest trainer on “The Biggest Loser” reality show. The tennis star first came to the show in an episode that aired last October, when she put the contestants through a Cardio Tennis workout. Kournikova replaces Jillian Michaels, who left the NBC show after Season 11.

“As a former professional tennis player and certified trainer, this is a wonderful opportunity for me to share my enthusiasm for staying fit across America’s homes,” Kournikova says. “I’m honored to join a program that embraces the values of a healthy lifestyle and is committed to fighting obesity.”

PTR, USTA Texas Hold Wheelchair Workshop

The PTR, in conjunction with USTA Texas, held an Instructing Wheelchair Tennis Workshop at Circle C Tennis Center in Austin, Texas, at the end of April. The workshop gave tennis teachers the opportunity to learn from a wheelchair to better understand mobility and weight transfer issues.

The workshop was conducted by PTR Clinician and Tester Geoff Norton, former coach of the USA World Cup Team, and hosted by PTR Master Pro and Circle C Director of Tennis Fernando Velasco. It was organized by USTA Texas Wheelchair Coordinator Taylor Helfeldt. Several USTA Texas TSRs participated in the April 29 workshop, including Cindy Benzon, Sam Jones, Amanda Knight and Katy Rogers. Attendees enjoyed a special treat when surprise guest, International Tennis Hall of Famer Dennis Ralston, with his recent prosthetic, joined them for lunch and shared his story.

PTR’s next Instructing Wheelchair Tennis Workshop will be Sept. 18 on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Visit for info.

Gamma Adds EZ Basket 150 to Ballhopper Line

Gamma Sports is shipping the Ballhopper EZ Basket 150, a lightweight ball pick-up basket designed as a companion product to the Ballhopper EZ Travel Cart 150. The EZ Basket 150 integrates the functionality of a ball basket with a teaching cart, allowing a teaching pro, coach or player to quickly pick up tennis balls, set the EZ Basket 150 into the EZ Travel Cart 150 frame and start feeding balls immediately.

The basket design features a durable nylon bag over a lightweight steel frame and a padded handle. The bottom of the EZ Basket is constructed of powder-coated steel wires, similar to a traditional ball pick-up basket. The handle can be quickly removed for transport and storage.

“By integrating a ball-pickup with a teaching cart, we’ve eliminated one piece of equipment, making lessons more efficient and simplifying travel between locations,” said Tom Sullivan, Gamma product manager. For information, visit

2011 PEP Grants Approved, But Battle Looms

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) applauded the decision by the U.S. Department of Education to give the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) $78.84 million in funding for fiscal 2011 — just 0.2 percent less than the federal government approved in FY 2010.

However, just weeks later, PEP funding for fiscal 2012 came under attack on Capitol Hill, as the U.S. House Education & Workforce Committee, voting along party lines, approved legislation to eliminate 41 education programs from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including PEP. While the legislation is expected to pass in the U.S. House, the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate does not support the House bill.

“As our childhood and adult obesity rates continue to climb, programs like PEP need to be implemented to help reverse those trends,” says SGMA President Tom Cove. “Right now, it’s important that we promote a cultural change in America that encourages physically active lifestyles. PEP will inspire the younger generation to be active and more health conscious.”

Managed by the Department of Education, PEP grants are awarded to schools and community organizations that provide quality physical education/physical activity programs for youngsters. This funding is a top priority in SGMA’s commitment to provide quality physical education. Since the initial PEP grants in 2001, more than $600 million has been awarded.

Member classifieds

FOR SALE — Used ALPHA Axis Pro stringing machine. Includes tabletop base (ALPHA Revo). List price new $799, asking $500. Will also sell hand tools, instructional CD’s, and string sets. Send email to: or call Don 865-357-4830.

Short Sets

‘Photographing Tennis’ Book Available

If you’ve ever tried to photograph your students or tried to use your camera to capture the action at a tournament or other event, you know how frustrating photographing tennis can be. For some help, consider the new book Photographing Tennis: A Guide for Photographers, Parents, Coaches & Fans.

Authored by frequent RSI contributor Chris Nicholson, a longtime tennis writer and photographer, the book details techniques for making great tennis images. Topics include how to choose the right gear, how to pick positions to shoot from, strategies for composing photos, techniques for timing, how to capture the ball and freeze motion, and more. Visit

USTA to Give $50K to 25 Markets for 10U

The USTA has identified 21 target markets so far (of a possible 25 markets) for investment in 10 and Under Tennis. Each market will receive $50,000 in matching grants from the USTA to be used to grow the game, including building new and adapting current tennis courts to accommodate 10 and Under Tennis.

The target communities will also work with the USTA national office to make sure local providers are taught the proper techniques and skills to learn the game from national trainers. The $50,000 will be divided over a three-year period, so that after the three years, local communities will be self-sufficient in running 10 and Under Tennis programming.

The 21 USTA target markets to date are:



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