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USTA Teams With TGA for Youth Tennis Franchises

The USTA has teamed with the newly launched TGA Premier Youth Tennis (TGA), a youth sports franchise firm, to help introduce tennis to kindergarten through eighth-graders across the country. The partnership supports USTA’s 10 and Under Tennis initiative.

The USTA says it recognized the success TGA has had with its golf business, with thousands of schools nationwide participating in TGA’s after-school enrichment programs. Using its current business philosophy of enriching kids’ lives through physical fitness, health and nutrition, education, and character building, along with its scalable business model, the USTA and TGA have worked together to develop curriculum for K-3rd grade and 4th-8th grade.

“The partnership is a great fit and will build a pathway for elementary and middle school kids to enjoy tennis through after-school programs,” says Kurt Kamperman, the USTA’s chief executive of Community Tennis.

TGA is expected to introduce tennis to boys and girls in elementary and middle schools, child care centers and community-based organizations. Children who participate in the programs will have the opportunity to transition from at-school programs to junior camps, clinics, and USTA programs at facilities nationwide.

In addition, says the USTA, the franchise company will create jobs and business ownership opportunities within the industry. In March, TGA began selling tennis franchises to the public, which is expected to attract tennis professionals as well as business professionals.

10 And Under Tennis Has New ‘Icons’ for Providers

The USTA has unveiled a new "icon system" for its growing 10andUnderTennis.com website, allowing tennis facilities and providers to enhance their consumer search profiles. The new icon system makes it easier for parents and consumers to see what programs and services tennis providers are employing in their 10 and Under Tennis programming.

For facilities and providers, whether registering on the system for the first time or updating your existing listing, it’s easy to get the icons on your profile — just go to 10andundertennis.com/organizers and click on “Register your Facility.” Once you fill out the questionnaire, the proper icons will appear automatically on your profile for consumers to see. In addition, facilities and organizers with icons on their profiles will be included at the top of the list when parents search for programming.

For more details on the icon system or to get listed on the site, visit 10andunder-tennis.com/organizers or download the Icon System flier.

Garvin, Staples, Bender, Kovacs Honored by ITHOF

The International Tennis Hall of Fame presented the 2011 Samuel Hardy and Tennis Educational Merit Awards on March during its annual Awards Luncheon, held in conjunction with the USTA’s Annual Meeting in Carlsbad, Calif.

Longtime USTA and tennis industry leader Lucy S. Garvin (above) of Greer, S.C. received the Samuel Hardy Award, which is presented annually to a USTA volunteer in recognition of long and outstanding service to the sport.

The Tennis Educational Merit Award was presented to tennis coach, trainer and educator Butch Staples of Bluffton, S.C.; wheelchair tennis trainer and expert Lynn Bender of Zeeland, Mich.; and strength and conditioning expert Dr. Mark Kovacs of Atlanta. The award is given annually to individuals who have made notable contributions in the tennis education field at the national level. Award winners have repeatedly demonstrated leadership and creative skills in tennis instruction, writing, organization and promotion of the game.

"We are very pleased to recognize these individuals, and we are grateful for the tremendous contributions they have made to tennis over the years," said Christopher E. Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.

USTA Changes National Junior Tournament Schedule

The USTA has announced a series of reforms to the National Junior Tournament Schedule designed to make the system more efficient, effective and affordable for current players and those who will enter the pipeline through the10 and Under Tennis initiative. The new system also aims to foster more local and sectional competition as well as fortify two elite national championships in the summer — the USTA National Clay Court Championships and USTA National Championships. The majority of changes will take effect in two years.

The changes were proposed by the USTA National Junior Competition Committee after more than a year of research. The amendments received overwhelming support from the USTA Executive Committee at the USTA Annual Meeting in March.

Changes to the schedule include:

“The changes to the Junior Tournament Schedule were not taken lightly; they were heavily researched and well-vetted, ensuring we proceed down the right path to develop future world-class players as well as lifelong players and fans,” said Jon Vegosen, the USTA chairman of the board and president. “These changes are part of our overall long-term strategy to grow tennis in the United States. With more kids coming into the sport through 10 and Under tennis, this new calendar will make sure there are more opportunities for kids to compete locally.”

The USTA says the new structure aligns the Junior Tournament Schedule with the current USTA Player Development philosophy and goals for training and competition.

“Our goal is more competitive matches at the right levels along with more opportunities to train, and this new approach works well on both counts,” said Patrick McEnroe, general manager of USTA Player Development.

For more information about the changes, visit USTA.com/juniorcompetition.

Nominate by May 1 For Prestigious Awards

Don’t forget to submit nominations by May 1 for two important and prestigious community tennis awards. The CTA of the Year Award honors a Community Tennis Association for outstanding service in growing and developing the sport of tennis in its community, and the Eve Kraft Community Service Award is given to individuals who bring the game of tennis to everyone who wants to play.

“We want to see nominations for both awards from all USTA sections,” says Jane Morrill, leader of the Awards Project Team for the USTA’s CTA Committee. “We would especially encourage those who submitted strong nominations in the past that did not win to re-submit.”

While nominations for both awards are accepted year-round, May 1 is the deadline for applications to be considered for the current year’s awards, which will be presented early in 2013 at the USTA Community Tennis Development Workshop. To submit a nomination, visit usta.com/cta and click on “CTA of the Year” or “Eve Kraft Award.”

Kovacs to Lead PTR Sport Science Committee

Dr. Mark Kovacs has been chosen by PTR President Jorge Andrew to chair the organization’s new Sport Science Committee. Kovacs has been a presenter at the PTR International Tennis Symposium for five years, and in 2012 he was the highest rated speaker with his presentation, “Teaching the Serve–An 8 Stage Model to Improve Power, Spin and Placement.”

Kovacs was a collegiate All-American tennis player and NCAA doubles champion at Auburn University. After playing professionally, he earned a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Alabama. He’s a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, a certified specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and a tennis coach. This past March, Kovacs, who has published five books, received the Educational Merit Award from the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Teen Contest Winner Hits with Sharapova

In March, 16-year-old Nadia Hilton-Adams and two friends hit with Maria Sharapova at their local tennis club in Greenville, S.C. Hilton-Adams won the experience after writing the grand prize essay in Head’s “Use Your Instinct to Play with Maria Sharapova” contest. Hilton-Adams also surprised Sharapova by locally fundraising nearly $5,900 to support the Maria Sharapova Foundation. Head then matched Hilton-Adams’ donation.

GSS Sets 2012 Symposium at Saddlebrook

The Sixth Annual Grand Slam Stringers Symposium will be Sept. 22-26 at Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, Fla.

GSS Symposium founder Tim Strawn says this year’s event will bring back the Wilson tour simulation stringing room. “If anyone has a desire to string at the pro tour level, this is a must seminar to attend,” he says. The class will be conducted by Ron Rocchi, Wilson’s global tour equipment manager and RSI’s Stringer of the Year in 2009. “Ron pulls no punches and really puts the stringers to the test.”

New classes have been added to the lineup for 2012, says Strawn, plus, the event is “a great networking opportunity, where you get to reconnect with old friends from previous years and make new ones as well. We also hand out great gift bags at the ‘meet and greet’ on Sept. 22.”

Strawn says last year, each attendee received a triple racquet thermal bag, 12 sets of string, a premium racquet, and more. “All totaled, last year’s bags had an estimated retail value of over $500 — so essentially, our sponsors are covering the cost of registration through the value of the handouts,” says Strawn. For schedules and information, visit grandslamstringers.com or gsalliance.com and click the “training” link, or call Strawn at 540-632-1148.

Denver to Host Public Parks Championships

The 86th Annual National Public Parks Tennis Championships will be July 21-29 in Denver. The event — with competition for adult, junior, wheelchair and adaptive players — will be at the Gates Tennis Center and Denver City Park.

Competition will include singles and doubles events for all categories and NTRP divisions for 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5. There also will be family (husband/wife, father/son, father/daughter, mother/son, mother/daughter) competition.

For more information and to register, visit denvergov.org/recreation.

Head Introduces Speed Pro Lite Tennis Shoe

Head has come out with its lightest tennis shoe ever, the Speed Pro Lite at 14 ounces, which is 10 percent lighter than the original Speed Pro.

Head says the shoe features “Trinergy,” which unites three innovations so the shoe “absorbs the energy on impact, transfers it from the heel to the forefoot, and releases it again to maximize upward motion and provide full energy for the next step.” The company says the shoe’s half-sock construction gives it a “slipper-like” feeling.

The shoe, available in two color options (black/white/orange and white/black), has a six-month durability guarantee on the outsole and toe guard. For info, visit head.com/tennis.

Peoplewatch

Ashaway Introduces New Crossfire Plus And Dynamite 18 Soft Strings for Tennis

Ashaway Racket Strings has introduced a new member of the Crossfire family of hybrid strings for tennis players. New Crossfire Plus combines a 1.25 mm (17 gauge) blend of braided Aramid and PTFE fibers for the mains with Synthetic Gut with an abrasion-resistant wear layer for the crosses.

The result, says the company, is a tough, durable hybrid combination with a softer feel, superior resilience, and maximum ability to impart spin. Crossfire Plus is designed for chronic string breakers and top-spin players looking for a hybrid string combination that plays better than a heavier gauge Aramid, but wears just as well.

Bright yellow in color, Crossfire Plus is available in 7/6 meter sets (23/20 ft.). Ashaway recommends stringing the Aramid/PTFE mains with 10% to 15% less tension than the Synthetic Gut crosses, or up to 60 and 65 lbs. (27/30 kgs), respectively.

Ashway also has added Dynamite 18 Soft to its growing line of Zyex-based tennis strings. Built on a new multifilament core, Dynamite 18 Soft is 1.15 mm in diameter (18 gauge) and designed to provide a softer feel, and optimum ability to spin the ball, says the company.

The Zyex multifilament core in Dynamite 18 is designed to increase power and resilience, while reducing tension loss over the life of the string. The ultra-thin construction and braided surface softens impact to provide better feel, while improving ball control and the ability to impart spin.

Bright blue in color, Dynamite 18 Soft is available for all players in 40 ft. sets and 360 ft. reels. Recommended stringing tension is up to 55 lbs. (25 kgs). Ashaway suggests using 10% to15% less tension than normally used for standard tennis strings. For info, visit ashawayusa.com.

Average Shoe Price Increased 12% in 2011

In its first-ever Annual Footwear Sourcing Forecast, the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) found that the average price of shoes increased more than 12 percent in 2011.

“The combined volatility of consumer demand and raw material costs has created enormous challenges for footwear sourcing in recent years,” said the FDRA in a statement. “After nearly a decade of relying on a China-first, and often China-only, model, U.S. footwear companies are faced with a changing reality of higher prices, shortages in labor, increased compliance costs and unstable consumer demand.”

According to the Forecast, U.S. footwear imports from China accounted for 85.3 percent of all U.S. footwear imports in 2011, the lowest percentage in seven years. Vietnam, as the No.2 supplier of footwear to the U.S., provides just over 7 percent of footwear imports by volume, but it is anticipated that Vietnam will move closer to 13 percent of U.S. imports by volume. Also, the Forecast says Cambodia, Bangladesh and Nicaragua have the potential to increase market share in the U.S.

USTA Awards $900,000 in Grants for Youth Tennis

The USTA announced 18 communities across the country will receive $50,000 grants as part of its effort to get more kids playing tennis. The contribution will be distributed over a three-year period to build new and adapt current tennis courts to accommodate 10 and Under Tennis, as well as support new programs. In total, the USTA will disperse $900,000 in grants to support its youth initiative and fund tennis programs.

Community officials will work with the USTA to ensure that local organizers have the proper techniques and skills to implement this new method of teaching tennis to kids. The USTA and its USTA Sections will be working with partners such as schools, public parks, youth organizations, tennis facilities, and pros to incorporate tennis into physical education classes, after-school programs and other youth programs.

The 18 communities are: Atlanta, GA (east); Atlanta, GA (west); Birmingham, AL; Bayamon/San Juan, PR; Honolulu, HI; Jacksonville, FL; Jackson, MS; Lee County, FL; metro Phoenix East Valley, AZ; Mobile, AL; Northern Albany, NY; Northern Colorado; Pensacola, FL; Richmond, VA; San Francisco, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; Seattle, WA; and Springfield, MA.

Last year, the USTA awarded grants and provided support to 26 communities. To date, the USTA has invested over $2 million in grants to support its youth initiative.

Kuerten to Go Into International Tennis Hall of Fame

Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten of Brazil, who won the French Open in 1997, 2000 and 2001 and held the No. 1 ranking for 43 non-consecutive weeks, will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in July. He’s the second Brazilian to receive the honor; Maria Bueno was inducted in 1978.

Kuerten, 35, was elected in the Recent Player Category. Additional members of the Class of 2012 include Spanish tennis great Manuel Orantes, in the Master Player Category; tennis administrator and promoter Mike Davies in the Contributor Category; and Randy Snow, who has been elected posthumously in the Recent Player Category for his accomplishments as a wheelchair tennis player.

The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be July 14 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

Correction

In our Racquet Selector in April, we printed the incorrect contact information for Tecnifibre. The company’s toll-free number is 888-TFTennis, and the website is TFTennis.com.

USPTA Seeks Award Nominations

The USPTA is seeking nominations for its 2012 National Awards Program. The deadline for nominations is July 2. Recipients will be honored during the annual awards breakfast at the USPTA World Conference, Sept. 16-21 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa in Monterey, Calif.

All Professional-level USPTA members are eligible. Award nomination forms and guidelines are available at uspta.com, by calling 800-877-8248 or by sending a request to pr@uspta.org.

WTT Pro League Releases 2012 Season Schedule

The 37th season of the World TeamTennis Pro League kicks off on Monday, July 9, with the defending champion Washington Kastles vying to continue their 16-match winning streak that started last summer, as they face off against the Orange County Breakers in Irvine, Calif.

The 59-match WTT Pro League regular season schedule runs for three weeks. The WT Finals will be played in Charleston, S.C., Sept. 14-16.

The Kastles, who won their second WTT championship last summer with the first undefeated season in WTT history, open the 2012 season on the road against the newly rebranded Orange County Breakers led by former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport. Visit WTT.com.

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