Industry Veteran Embree Joins Donnay USA
Tennis industry veteran John Embree has joined Donnay USA as a consultant to be its director of sales and lead marketing efforts in the U.S., the racquet brand announced. Embree has served in a variety of capacities in his 30-plus years in the industry as a brand executive, as well as compiling grassroots experience as a tennis director, teaching pro and USTA administrator.
“John has a tennis industry pedigree and reputation for honorable leadership that is second to none,” said Bobby Choe, CEO of Donnay USA, which re-launched the brand last year.
Among his accomplishments, Embree launched the USTA Adult League tennis program in 1980 and became its first national league administrator. Following a four-year stint as general manager and director of tennis at the New Orleans Hilton Rivercenter Tennis Club, he moved to the brand side of tennis.
He spent 17-1/2 years at Wilson Sporting Goods where he held numerous roles, including vice president and general manager for the global Racquet Sports Division for over six years. In 2004, he became managing member and president of Balle de Match tennis apparel, and most recently served as president of Prince Sports, the Americas.
For the past year, Embree has developed a consulting practice to help a variety of tennis enterprises, including the USTA, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), Peter Burwash International, and OTG Technologies.
“I am excited to join a brand that has such a rich heritage with icons such as Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg and Andre Agassi as part of its illustrious past,” Embree says. “Now, with its current XeneCore and with Dual Core technologies, Donnay is uniquely positioned to marry its legacy and its new technology to offer players racquets that are ‘new school’ and state of the art.”
The current Donnay line-up consists of the X-Series for players with long and fast swings launched in 2010, and the new X-P-Dual line for players with medium-to-long swings and the X-P and X-P Lite models for players with short-to-medium swing styles. Visit donnayusa.com.
USTA Says 10U Technical Requests Increase
More than a thousand 10 and Under Tennis courts have been built or lined so far, says the USTA’s Virgil Christian, who says the USTA’s goal is to hit 3,000 by the end of this year. “We’re averaging four requests a day for facilities that want to line or build courts and get our help with the technical and financial aspects,” he says. “That’s really ramped up in the past three or four months, and it’s very exciting.”
Christian, the USTA’s director of community tennis development, says “something’s just clicked” recently as more and more facilities, schools, parks & recs, Community Tennis Associations, etc., want information about 10 and Under Tennis, 36- and 60-foot courts, and blended lines. “We’re especially making sure new contractors have all the right information they need to build the shorter courts and paint the lines,” he adds.
Not only is technical assistance available, but also funding assistance is, too. For painting 10 and Under Tennis lines on courts, the USTA National office will pay 50 percent of the cost, and the USTA section will pay another 25 percent. Financial assistance up to $4,000 also is available for converting courts to 10 and Under Tennis courts.
Information on 10 and Under Tennis court technical aspects and financial assistance is at usta.com/facilities, including a link to a short “facility assistance” form. At the website, you’ll also find a link to a photo gallery showing blended lines and how they might look at your facility.
Wimbledon Leaving NBC, Heads to ESPN
After 43 years, Wimbledon is leaving NBC and will be covered by ESPN. ESPN’s new 12-year agreement with the All England Club will include complete live coverage of the Grand Slam tourney from start to finish — more than 140 hours.
In acquiring the U.S. television rights, ESPN will present the tournament across a variety of platforms — with all the coverage shown live. ESPN on ABC will broadcast a three-hour highlights show on the middle Sunday. Matches also will be available on ESPN3.com and the Watch ESPN mobile app. There also will be some taped coverage on ABC on weekend afternoons.
In a statement, NBC said, “While we would have liked to have continued our relationship, we were simply outbid.”
ESPN had owned the rights to televise early rounds of Wimbledon, with NBC picking up coverage as the tournament progressed, culminating with the "Breakfast at Wimbledon" broadcasts during the final weekend. With the new deal, live Wimbledon coverage will be on the cable network only.
ESPN’s current cable deal with the All England Club had two years remaining. The Tennis Channel’s share of Wimbledon cable rights have also expired, but it is looking to renew.
NGI Goes Green with Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park has 3.5 million visitors every year, many carrying around, and disposing of, plastic bottles. Now, through a new partnership, the recyclable plastic bottles Yellowstone collects each year are being purchased and converted into the non-woven fleece material used to manufacture the backing for NGI Sports surfaces such as the Nova’ProBounce and Nova’ProAdvantage tennis court systems, as well as the NovaBocce surfacing system.
“This new partnership not only diverts plastics from landfills, it dramatically decreases the fuel and other resources used to transport materials around the planet,” says Jim Evanoff, a nationally recognized speaker on the Yellowstone eco-system, and an environmental protection specialist with Yellowstone National Park.
All of NGI Sports surfacing system backings incorporate Celceram, a highly refined material recovered from coal combustion in electric utility power plants. These surfaces also assist in LEED certification. For more info, contact Rick Burke, 1-423-499-5546 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PTR to Host Tennis Owners Club & Facility Managers Conference
PTR will host its third Tennis Club and Facility Conference Oct. 5-7 at PTR Headquarters on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The three-day event has been designed specifically for tennis club owners, club managers and directors of tennis.
Presentations and breakout sessions will include relevant topics such as Digital Marketing, Customer Service, Hiring, Training and Evaluating Employees, Methods to Decrease Expenses, Tips to Survive a Difficult Economy, Court & Facility Maintenance, Effective Programming to Increase Revenue, Solar Panels — How & Why and many more.
Club consultant Doug Cash will be the conference facilitator. Other presenters include Kurt Kamperman, Lance Andersen, Colleen Cosgrove, Judy Vogt, Mark McMahon and Tim “Dr. Dirt” Wilkison. Vendor contributors include Michele Krause of Cardio Tennis, Tom Magner of DecoTurf, Ed MonteCalvo of HarTru and Dorian Adam of TRX.
The program starts at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 5. Cost is $395 before Sept. 1, then $445, and includes all sessions, workshops, vendor booths and social activities through Friday afternoon. Additional attendees from the same club are $349 each.
For more information or registration, contact PTR at 800-421-6289 or visit www.ptrtennis.org.
Federer Signature Bag Introduced
Wilson introduced the exclusive limited edition racquet bag Roger Federer carried during the 2011 Wimbledon tournament. Designed specifically for Federer and serious players of every level, the super six-pack was produced in limited quantities. It features the latest Wilson technology including Thermoguard and Moistureguard compartments to protect racquets and gear from the elements. It also contains a large pocket to hold shoes and apparel as well as an accessory pocket for cell phone and keys. There are backpack straps with plush padding and lined for added comfort. The bag is sized to hold up to 12 racquets and is PVC free for lower environmental impact. Visit wilson.com/tennis.
USPTA Conference, Buying Show at Saddlebrook in September
The USPTA’s Tennis Buying Show will be Sept. 22 at Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, Fla. The buying show is part of the larger World Conference on Tennis, which runs Sept. 19-24. More than 1,500 tennis-teaching pros, industry leaders and representatives, media and manufacturer representatives are expected to attend the conference.
Exhibitors at the Buying Show include tennis equipment, apparel and footwear companies, marketers and wholesalers of hard and soft goods, video analysis, Web-based programs and software, teaching aids, court surfacing and lighting, awards, educational materials, nutrition bars and vitamins, and more.
In addition, the USPTA Silent Auction will be held during the Buying Show. Attendees will have the opportunity to bid on a variety of exciting items. Past items have included video-analysis systems, autographed racquets by current and former ATP and WTA tour players, weekend getaways at resorts and more. The auction, a USPTA Lessons for Life event, benefits the USPTA Foundation. Anyone interested in donating an item for the auction can visit usptaworldconference.com and click on silent auction under the special events menu tab to obtain a donation form, or call John Dettor at 713-978-7782.
The speakers at this year’s World Conference on Tennis include Tracy Almeda-Singian, Dr. Martin Baroch, Lorenzo Beltrame, Martin Blackman, Jose Higueras, Page Love, Rick Macci, Patrick McEnroe, Luis Mediero, Emilio Sanchez Vicario and Kerri Whitehead. To see a complete lineup of speakers, seminars and activities visit usptaworldconference.com.
New Prince Website Focuses on ‘Who’s Next’
Prince has launched the website princewhosnext.com, which focuses on “the next generation of elite junior players” who choose to play with Prince EXO3 racquets. “‘Who’s Next’ reinforces the company’s commitment to supporting aspiring junior players,” says Zach Perles, Prince’s V.P. of global communications, “and showcases a portion of Prince’s worldwide elite junior team with the tagline, ‘The next generation of champions. Here right now.’”
More than 50 elite junior athletes from over 25 countries are featured on the website with their own personal “cards,” complete with a customized “crown” the players designed themselves. Users can sort and click on a card and see stats such as where the player is from, age, how they play, rankings, and racquet they play with, and in some cases watch a personal video made by the player. Links take the viewer to Prince equipment pages or allow users to share the athlete on their Facebook page.
Five featured athletes have longer “webisodes” that tell their stories: Frederico Silva (Portugal), Yifan Dang (China), Jordan Daigle (USA), Basil Khuma (India) and Usue Arconada (Argentina).
“It is exciting to know that more than 80 No. 1-ranked juniors in their respective age groups and countries, including the 2010 year-end world No. 1-ranked boy and girl — Juan Sebastian Gomez and Daria Gavrilova — choose to wield EXO3 racquet weaponry," Perles says. “These future champions know that as the sport evolves and as athletes get stronger, faster and push each other out of position more often, they need an advanced technology engineered for tomorrow’s game to give them every advantage.”
Ashaway Unveils New Website
Ashaway Racket Strings has unveiled a new corporate website at AshawayUSA.com. Totally redesigned and rebuilt to provide a better user feel and experience, AshawayUSA.com presents a new look for Ashaway racquet stringing products. Site navigation has been simplified and enhanced, product information has been reorganized and detail added, and more information has been included on product selection and use.
Ashaway’s racquet stringing products have been color-coded: Badminton in red; Racquetball in green; Squash in yellow; and Tennis in blue. A product overview page for each sport includes product names and gauges available, numerical playability ratings, string core types and outer surface designs, colors available, and special features.
SGMA Says PEP Funding in Jeopardy for 2012
The future of PEP — the Carol M. White Physical Education Program — “has never been in greater jeopardy,” says the SGMA. While funding for PEP for fiscal 2011 is in place, many members of Congress want to cut PEP from the fiscal 2012 federal budget.
On May 25, the U.S. House Education & Workforce Committee approved legislation to eliminate 41 education programs from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for fiscal 2012. The list of programs to be eliminated includes PEP — a competitive grant program that gives school districts and community based organizations the resources to provide students with quality, innovative physical education.
The SGMA pointed to results of a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control that indicate that nearly 90 percent of U.S. high school students fail to meet the minimum exercise requirements for healthy living. It also noted that the $80 million target for PEP in fiscal 2012 is less than 2/10th of 1 percent of the 2012 budget for the Department of Education.
Despite the recent setback in the House, SGMA will continue to work with PEP supporters in Congress and its PE partners to preserve future funding for PEP. "The feedback from the CDC on the fitness levels of our children is the reason why PEP is so important," said SGMA President Tom Cove. "The PEP program is working well in the communities where the funding has been received. The importance of PEP will continue to be a priority of SGMA’s day of advocacy next spring, National Health Through Fitness Day."
"I challenge the U.S. Congress to do right thing and support the PEP program," said football legend Herschel Walker, the honorary chairman of SGMA’s National Health Through Fitness Day, SGMA’s annual day of advocacy in Washington, D.C. "As a nation, we can’t afford to not fund physical education."
The PEP legislation has been funded every year since fiscal 2001. In all, more than $600 million in PEP grants have been distributed across the country by the U.S. Department of Education in the last 10 years. For more information, visit sgma.com.
- Petra Kvitova won the Wimbledon women’s singles crown with an ace on the final point. She plays with a Wilson Tour BLX racquet.
- Both men’s and women’s 2011 French Open champions — Rafael Nadal and Na Li — are Babolat players. Rafael Nadal plays with his Aeropro Drive GT and RPM Blast strings and Na Li plays with the Pure Drive racquet and Pro Hurricane Tour & Xcel strings.
- Dunlop has signed ATP World Tour player Michael Russell, who plays with the company’s Biomimetic 500 racquet.
- In a letter to the USPTA’s Executive Committee dated June 20, Mark Fairchilds announced his resignation from the USPTA National Board of Directors. His departure follows the USPTA board resignations in April of Jack Groppel and Jim Loehr.
- Maui Jim has added pro players Mardy Fish and Sabine Lisicki as its newest tennis “ambassadors” promoting the sunglasses brand.
- Todd Burkitt has joined the Dunlop sales team as the territory manager for North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Southern Virginia and coastal Georgia. Burkitt, a USRSA-certified Master Racquet Technician, has over 20 years of experience in the racquet sports industry. Kim Eppelsheimer, Dunlop’s promotions manager, will continue her sales role handling Charleston, S.C., area dealers, and also will have expanded promotions and sales role including the Dunlop D-Squad Junior Team, Tennis Academies, Senior Players as well as Team Sales for all racquet sports categories.
- ATP Executive Chairman and President Adam Helfant will not continue his position with the Tour beyond the completion of his three-year contract at the end of this year. Helfant joined the ATP in January 2009.
- Cameron I. Anderson, who helped develop the Foot Locker chain while an executive with the Kinney Shoe Corp., died June 11. He was 85. He spent 45 years with Kinney and was named president in 1979.
- Reebok’s top global marketer, Richard Prenderville, has left the sportswear business after five years in the job. Prenderville, head of global brand marketing, will be replaced by Viktoria Wallner, who previously headed Reebok’s digital marketing. Wallner will be responsible for global advertising, PR, digital, marketing, social media and creative services.
Fromuth, USTA Offer US Open ‘Shop in a Box’
Looking to create a US Open branded area of your retail shop? The USTA is offering retailers a US Open “Shop in a Box” designed to display a variety of merchandise, from T’s and sweatshirts to hats, novelties and even the popular Jumbo Ball. Also available are a US Open merchandising banner, a counter display, and a sunglass display.
Fromuth Tennis is the official distributor of US Open merchandise and will be stocking a large inventory of US Open products. You can view the complete program at fromuthtennis.com/usopen.
“This is an opportunity for specialty retailers to create a cool atmosphere in their shop during the Open and sell product at healthy margins,” says Pat Shields, owner of Fromuth Tennis. “The USTA is offering more products and more ways to sell them every year around the US Open.”
USTA Names Finalists for ‘Starfish’ Coach Award
The USTA has named nine national finalists for the 2011 Starfish Award, which honors exceptional high school coaches who have a profound impact on young people’s lives through a “No-Cut” policy for their high school tennis team.
More than 2,850 coaches nationwide have implemented the No-Cut initiative, with some high school programs having more than 100 team members. The two national winners will be recognized at the Community Tennis Development Workshop held in New Orleans, La., in January. (To register as a No-Cut coach or learn more about the program, visit usta.com/no-cut.) The nine finalists are:
- Terri Cunningham of Winter Park High School in Winter Park, FL
- Kenneth Griffith of Henry E. Lackey High School in Indian Head, MD
- Jim Neal of Niskayuna High School in Niskayuna, NY
- Jim Solomon of Hall High School in West Hartford, CT
- Donna Stauffer of Lafayette High School in Wildwood, MO
- Roger Sunderman of Hastings High School in Hastings, NE
- Don Tellefsen of Oak Creek High School in Oak Creek, WI
- Marceil Whitney of Redmond High School in Redmond, WA
- Matt Wiemers of McCook High School in McCook, NE
Hall of Fame Opens New Har-Tru Clay Court
The International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., and Har-Tru Sports have partnered to install a new Har-Tru HydroCourt Clay Court in the location of the site’s former red clay court. The court will provide a new playing surface, in addition to the grass and indoor courts, for members and guests to enjoy throughout the outdoor season.
“The Har-Tru HydroCourt offers a top of the line clay-court experience, and we are very pleased to partner with the Hall of Fame to bring this surface to one of the world’s premier tennis facilities,” says Pat Hanssen, director of sales & marketing for Har-Tru Sports. “Additionally, we’re pleased to support the Hall of Fame’s mission to grow the game by including the 10 and Under Tennis lines so children may enjoy the court as well.”
Dunlop Offers Seven New Biomimetic Squash Rackets
Dunlop has unveiled seven new squash racquets incorporating its design process known as Biomimetics. Biomimetics means to “imitate life,” and in this case, Dunlop has taken evolutionary design aspects from the shark, bee and gecko to design and develop its new line.
The new frames are: Biomimetic Ultimate (right), Biomimetic Evolution 130, Biomimetic Elite, Biomimetic Max, Biomimetic Pro GT-X 140, Biomimetic Evolution 120, and Biomimetic Pro GT-X 130.
"Each of the new squash racquets showcases the performance benefits Biomimetic design can provide,” says Steve Hall, director of marketing for Dunlop Racket Sports. “Not only do the technologies provide quantifiable improvements, but you can feel the difference on every shot."
RacquetArt Offers Custom Butt Kit
Looking for a unique racquet customization product to offer your customers? How about adding personalized images to the butt of racquet handles. RacquetArt (racquetart.com) is offering “The Original Racquet Butt Kit” for $8.95, which includes everything you need to start adding custom images to racquet handles.
The kit includes a racquet butt cap, two special adhesive discs, two clear dome stickers, and templates and design samples. “We include a few samples like a smiley face and a peace sign, but it’s as simple as printing any image you want from your home inkjet printer,” says Racquet Art’s Michael Waroff. “We include a crystal dome sticker that is applied over the image on the cap that creates a perfect finished product.”
Once the cap is installed on the racquet, the image can be changed as often as the customer desires. Shops and tennis facilities also can use the Racquet Butt Kit to put the word “Demo” on the butt of their demo racquets, so the frames don’t walk away so easily.
19 Named to USTA-ITA Collegiate Team
The USTA announced that 19 of the nation’s top men’s and women’s collegiate tennis players have been named to the 2011 USTA Collegiate Team, administered by the USTA and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The team is an elite training program for the top American collegiate players, designed to provide them with exposure to the USTA Pro Circuit in a team-oriented environment. The players are:
- Sekou Bangoura, Florida (SO, Bradenton, Fla.)
- Chase Buchanan, Ohio State (JR, New Albany, Ohio)
- Alex Domijan, Virginia (FR, Wesley Chapel, Fla.)
- Steve Johnson, USC (JR, Orange, Calif.)
- Evan King, Michigan (SO, Chicago)
- Bradley Klahn, Stanford (JR, Poway, Calif.)
- Austin Krajicek, Texas A&M (SR, Brandon, Fla.)
- Dennis Nevolo, Illinois (JR, Gurnee, Ill.)
- Eric Quigley, Kentucky (JR, Pewee Valley, Ky.)
- Tennys Sandgren, Tennessee (SO, Gallatin, Tenn.)
- Ray Sarmiento, USC (FR, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.)
- Michael Shabaz, Virginia (SR, Fairfax, Va.)
- Rhyne Williams, Tennessee (SO, Knoxville, Tenn.)
- Kristie Ahn, Stanford (FR, Upper Saddle River, N.J.)
- Hilary Barte, Stanford (SR, Chatsworth, Calif.)
- Lauren Embree, Florida (SO, Marco Island, Fla.)
- Nicole Gibbs, Stanford (FR, Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
- Maria Sanchez, Southern California (SR, Modesto, Calif.)
- Allie Will, Florida (SO, Boca Raton, Fla.)
- To honor the 100th anniversary of the Fila brand, the company is releasing several anniversary commemorative apparel and accessory collections. Also featured is an interactive micro-site at fila.com. As part of the year-long celebration, a Fila museum will open in the Province of Biella, Italy, the region where the Fila brand was born in 1911. The museum will tell the story of the brand and its involvement in the region’s rich textile history.
- Luxilon strings were the string choice for women’s Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova (ALU Power 125), men’s doubles champs Bob and Mike Bryan (Timo 110), and women’s doubles champ Katarina Srebotnik (ALU Power). In the men’s singles, 12 of the final 16 men in the tournament used Luxilon strings.
- The PTR’s official magazine, TennisPro, received two 2011 APEX Awards for publishing excellence, for the September/October 2010 issue for Design & Illustration in the category Covers, and for the November/December 2010 issue for Magazine & Journals in the category of Print Over 32 Pages. The magazine is under the direction of PTR Director of Communications and Editor Peggy Edwards.
- The Adidas Group announced plans to open its biggest distribution center in Niedersachsenpark, Germany, in the first half of 2013. The planned distribution center will consolidate all flows and services under one roof for all three sales channels of both the Adidas and Reebok brands: Wholesale, Own Retail and e-commerce.
- BNP Paribas and its Turkish partner Türk Ekonomi Bankasý (TEB) will become joint title sponsors of the year-end WTA Championships. The TEB-BNP Paribas WTA Championships will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
- Telvent has been selected by the ATP to provide weather forecasts and patented lightning alerting capabilities at all outdoor events on the ATP World Tour. The ATP chose Telvent’s MxVision WeatherSentry Online global edition technology to provide online displays of current and forecasted weather conditions. In addition, the ATP will have the ability to access custom daily forecasts for any of its events worldwide and access to a Telvent professional meteorologist 24 hours a day.
- PTR has signed two new corporate members, Choose-Health and Generation UCAN. Choose-Health is a wellness education firm specializing in medical evidence based nutrition, lifestyle and antioxidant supplementation. The UCAN Company creates energy products for health conscious consumers.
- An effort to put the brakes on reforms that would save retailers as much as $1 billion a year in debit card swipe fees fell short in the U.S. Senate in June, clearing the way for the Federal Reserve Board to implement the Durbin Amendment passed as part of last year’s financial service reform bill. Under its preliminary rules for the Durbin Amendment, the Fed would cap interchange fees banks could charge retailers every time they swipe a debit card at 7 to 12 cents per transaction, or 70 percent below current levels.
- NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2011 French Open men’s final earned the best overnight rating for the event in 12 years, and was up 63 percent from last year’s men’s final, according to data from The Nielsen Co.
- Nike spent $60,000 in the first quarter to lobby on trade, transportation, counterfeit issues and other business matters, according to a recent disclosure report. Besides Congress, Nike also lobbied the U.S. Trade Representative, the department of Health and Human Services and others during the January-through-March period.
- China has convicted three individuals for distributing counterfeit Columbia brand products in Shanghai. In December, Chinese authorities had seized nearly 7,000 counterfeit garments, including almost 2,000 counterfeit Columbia products, with a combined street value of approximately $2.7 million.
Lendl Opens Junior Academy on HHI
Former No. 1 player Ivan Lendl is opening the Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy on Hilton Head Island, S.C., to provide full-time tennis training and academics for players. Lendl will be the director of the tennis program and says he plans to be involved in developing each player in grades 5 to 12. “I wanted to be able to get out on the court with the kids and show them how to hit certain shots as opposed to just explaining the theory,” he said. “Getting back on the court has been a lot of fun and now I will be able to play with all of the students, which will also be fun.”
Lendl, also an avid golfer, has partnered with the Junior Golf Corporation, based on Hilton Head Island, for his tennis academy. Students attend the Heritage Academy for their class work. For more information, including programs beginning in the fall, call 888-983-6647 or 843-686-1529.