Tennis Industry magazine


Industry News

Industry Veteran John Embree Named As New CEO/Executive Director for USPTA

Industry veteran John Embree is the new CEO/Executive Director of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association. Embree will take the administrative reigns from Tim Heckler, who will retire at the end of the year, after 30 years in the position (see page 30).

After interviewing several candidates in conjunction with the search firm GSI Executive Search Inc., the USPTA Search Committee offered the position to Embree. The contract was ratified by the USPTA Executive Committee in late August.

“I began my tennis odyssey during college as a teaching professional in Virginia. After more than three decades of working in the sport that I began playing at 6 years old, my career has come full circle, back to my foundation as a grassroots advocate. I am thrilled to have been chosen to help lead the USPTA in the years to come,” said Embree.

“We are pleased to welcome John into the USPTA family. His vast tennis industry expertise, contacts, and company management skills will serve the USPTA well,” said USPTA President Tom Daglis.

Embree has held a variety of tennis industry roles, including serving as president of Prince Sports, The Americas; president of Balle de Match; and vice president/general manager, Racquet Sports Division for Wilson Sporting Goods. Most recently, he launched a tennis consulting practice. His client list included the USTA, Intercollegiate Tennis Association, Peter Burwash International, Off the Grid Technologies, and Donnay USA.

Embree has served on many national USTA Committees, including the USTA Nominating Committee in 2005-2006 and currently as the vice chair of USTA Professional Circuits Committee. In addition, he recently served as presidential appointee of the Board of Directors of USTA Middle States section, is a past member of TIA Board of Directors and Executive Committee, member of the Board of Directors of American College of Sports Medicine Foundation, and past president of the Chicago Tennis Patrons Foundation.

He says one of his proudest achievements in tennis was the creation of the USTA Adult League Tennis program in 1980, when he served as the first USTA Adult League Tennis Administrator for two years. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA, and was inducted into the W&L Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.

USTA Announces Slate for 2013-2014 Board of Directors

The USTA nominating committee announced the following slate of officers and board members for the 2013-2014 term.

Officers — President: David A. Haggerty, USTA Middle States; First Vice President: Katrina M. Adams, USTA Eastern; Vice President: Thomas S. Ho, USTA Texas; Vice President: Donald L. Tisdel, USTA Pacific Northwest; Secretary-Treasurer: Patrick J. Galbraith, USTA Pacific Northwest.

Directors at Large: Alexander Boyd Andrews IV, USTA Southern; Joan E. Baker, USTA Northern; Raymond Benton, USTA Mid Atlantic; Mark D. Ein, USTA Mid-Atlantic; Andrew A. Valdez, USTA Intermountain; Jeff Williams, USTA Eastern; Todd Martin, Elite Athlete, USTA Florida; Chanda R. Rubin, Elite Athlete, USTA Southern; Brian Vahaly, Elite Athlete, USTA Mid-Atlantic

Task Force to Look Into Single Teaching Pro Group

TIA President Jon Muir said the TIA will work with the USPTA and PTR to form a task force that will look into the possibility of creating a single, unified tennis teaching professional organization.

Muir made the announcement to more than 300 tennis providers, teaching pros, coaches, facility managers, retailers, media and industry supporters at the TIA Tennis Forum in New York just before the US Open, which was part of The Tennis Show (see page 20).

“The goal with a single organization would be to strengthen the position, economic growth and industry impact overall for coaches and tennis pros,” Muir said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to initiate something that can be very positive for the industry and strengthen the delivery system.”

Muir acknowledged that talk of a unified tennis teaching pro group tends to be “politically charged,” but he said, “There’s no secret agenda here. It’s about having a stronger teaching pro segment. It’s a critical delivery system for our sport and consumers.”

Initial talks took place during the US Open. By the end of 2012, Muir said, he hopes a task force can “deliver a clear recommendation for next steps. We really want to lay out a simple process of engagement with both organizations. It’s purely exploratory to say, let’s sit and talk.”

Hingis, Stich Among Nominees for Hall of Fame

Martina Hingis, a former world No. 1 and the winner of five Grand Slam tournament singles titles; the 1991 Wimbledon champion and former world No. 2 Michael Stich; and the great Czech doubles player Helena Sukova, winner of 14 Grand Slam titles in doubles and mixed doubles, are among the Recent Player nominees for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

In the Master Player Category, Thelma Coyne Long of Australia, who captured 19 Grand Slam titles between the 1930s and 1950s, has been nominated. Additionally, three individuals have been nominated in the Contributor Category: ESPN’s longtime tennis broadcaster Cliff Drysdale, tennis promoter and industry leader Charlie Pasarell, and Ion Tiriac, the Romanian tennis player turned influential player manager and tournament promoter.

Voting for the 2013 ballot will take place over the next several months. The Induction Ceremony will be July 13, 2013, at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

ASBA Technical Meeting Nov. 30-Dec.4

The American Sports Builders Association Technical Meeting and Trade Show will be in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 30-Dec. 4, at the Doubletree Hotel at Universal Orlando.

The agenda includes presentations that relate to tennis, track, field and indoor construction. Tennis topics include fencing and custom fence design, asphalt installation practices, acrylic cushion systems, dealing with club committees, and a tennis roundtable. There also will be a preparation course for the Certified Tennis Court Builder exam. The keynote speaker will be Steve Gilliland.

For more information, visit

Novacrylic Ultracushion Selected for Fed Cup Final

The Novacrylic Ultracushion system manufactured by Nova Sports USA of Milford, Mass., has been selected for November’s 2012 Fed Cup final between the Czech Republic and Serbia. The Fed Cup defending champions Czech Republic will host the event at Prague’s 17,000-seat O2 Arena.

The championship match will be played on an ITF classified category 4 cushion system consisting of five blended EPDM/acrylic rubber coats followed by two coats of the Combination Surface color coating system. Prague’s O2 Arena is the third Davis/Fed Cup venue in 2012 to be played on a Novacrylic brand surfacing system. For more information, contact

Dynamite String ‘Family’ Allows Customized Play

Ashaway Racket Strings says the range of characteristics available in its Dynamite family of Zyex-based tennis strings allows players to customize the response of their racquets to maximize performance. The multifilament Zyex cores balance toughness, touch and tension holding, says the company, while the various core packages and gauges allow players to fine-tune power and durability.

At 1.15 mm (18-gauge), Dynamite 18 Soft is one of the thinnest strings on the market, and is designed to provide a softer feel yet still generate power and an optimum ability to spin the ball. Utilizing a special multi-stranded monofilament construction that increases power and toughness, the 16-gauge (1.30 mm) Dynamite 16 Tough is designed to provide power and ball control for players who hit the ball hard and tend to break strings. The middle member of the family, 1.25 mm (17-gauge) Dynamite 17 Natural, has been engineered to optimize power and resilience, while providing a softer, more natural gut-like string bed with a crisper feel and the power to hit deep fast shots.


High School Tennis Still a Top 10 Sport, Says NFHS

Tennis has long been popular among high school students, and this year looks to be no exception. According to a survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), which tracks sports participation at the high school level, tennis remains in the top 10 for both boys and girls.

Each year for more than two decades, the survey (which reflects the previous school year; in this case, the 2011-2012 academic period) has shown more kids overall playing sports than the previous year. This year is no different, with another all-time high of 7,692,520.

Tennis is the eighth most popular boys’ sport in terms of player numbers, with 159,800 players. Among girls, it is the seventh most popular sport, with 180,870 players.

Overall, tennis showed a decline over some previous years (in 2009-2010, for example, there were 162,755 boys playing, and 182,395 girls). Team tennis, however, grew; in 2011-2012, there were 36,160 boys, and 37,223 girls, as compared to the 2009-2010 totals of 28,904 boys and 30,818 girls.

The full survey, including interactive participation results, is available free of charge at (click on “Participation Data”).

USPTA to Offer PlayDev Workshop

The USPTA will hold its Player Development Conference in Naples, Fla., Dec. 7-9, with the theme, “The Spanish Way to Develop Players.” Featured speakers at the event will include Emilio Sanches Vicario, Luis Mediero and Derek Touchette.

Visit to view the complete course schedule. For more details and to regiser, visit, call 239-641-0010 or email florida@

Gamma Introduces New RZR Bubba Frame

Gamma Sports has introduced the new RZR Bubba super-oversize racquet, with a 137-square-inch head and featuring “RZR Advanced Aerodynamics.”

The company says the new frame has the largest sweetspot of any legal racquet in the game, providing outstanding power and fewer mis-hits. Gamma says RZR Advanced Aerodynamics is the set of unique design characteristics that allow the Bubba racquet to channel and displace air, allowing more acceleration and speed in the natural swing, minimizing drag, making the racquet easy to swing on any shot from any angle.

The RZR Bubba weighs 9.6 ounces unstrung and is 29 inches long. Suggested retail price is $219.99. Visit

US Open Reaches Millions of Fans Worldwide

Despite rain moving both the men’s and women’s US Open finals back a day, television viewership of the three-set women’s singles final featuring Serena Williams defeating Victoria Azarenka on CBS Sports was the highest since 2002, with 17.7 million viewers watching all or part of the match, says the USTA.

The men’s five-set match in which Andy Murray captured his first Grand Slam victory by defeating Novak Djokovic was seen by 16.2 million viewers on CBS Sports, the most viewers to watch a men’s singles final since 2007. The tournament was broadcast in 180 countries.

Also, total attendance at the Open was 710,803, the fifth time it’s been above 700,000 for the two weeks of the tournament. The official website,, generated more than 325 million page views and was accessed by more than 11.7 million visitors worldwide.

USTA Honors 7 Facilities With ‘Outstanding’ Awards

The USTA announced seven winners of its 31st annual USTA Facility Awards Program, which recognizes excellence in the construction and/or renovation of tennis facilities. Each facility was honored at the USTA Semi-Annual Meeting in New York City on Sept. 2. The 2012 winners are:

To be considered for an award, facilities must be under the jurisdiction of a parks and recreation department, an educational institution, a non-profit corporation, or private or commercially-owned and operated facilities that offer both USTA and public programming designed to grow tennis.

Facilities were judged on the following criteria: overall layout and adaptation to site; excellence of court surface and lights; ease of maintenance; accommodations for players, spectators and press/officials; aesthetics; graphics (including the use of signs and landscaping); amenities such as casual seating for spectators, food services and social areas; and the facilities’ participation in USTA programs.

USPTA Provides Logo Program for Members

The USPTA has a logo program for all professional-level members in good standing, which will provide access to the USPTA certified professional logo. The goal is to help members promote themselves as a USPTA professional, promote their events and build the USPTA brand.

Once the logo agreement is signed, members have access to the logo in various formats and sizes to use in many ways. Members are encouraged to use the logos on email signatures, promotional fliers for their club/facility, to promote their tennis programs, on social media platforms, such as their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages, etc.

To access the logo program for USPTA members, go to or the member login page, sign in and click on the My Membership tab and then on membership documents. The link to the certified member logos is at the bottom of the page. If a member is current on dues and is also a Master Professional or Tester, he/she will gain access to those logos as well.

PTR, Norwegian Federation Sign Partnership

During Wimbledon, representatives of PTR and the Norwegian Tennis Federation (NTF) signed a two-year partnership agreement in which PTR will provide educational services and all full-time tennis coaches in Norway will become members of PTR. “At the Norwegian Tennis Federation, we see our partnership with PTR as another indication of our resolve to improving tennis in Norway,” said Erik Solberg, NTF Vice President. A goal of PTR President Jorge Andrew is to expand PTR’s role internationally. In photo are, from left, Solberg; Oivind Sorvald, NTF Director of Sports; Andrew; and Dan Santorum, PTR CEO.

People Watch

Antigua Tennis Announces 2013 Apparel Line

The Antigua Group Inc., known in the golf apparel, sports licensing and casual wear business for over 30 years, has launched its 2013 line of men’s and women’s tennis apparel, in three collections: Performance, Essentials and Outerwear. Contemporary styling and high-tech performance feature prominently, with Antigua’s Desert Dry and Desert Dry Xtra Lite (D2XL) technical fabrics, the company says.

“Choosing stylish colors and designing contemporary pieces that match well is important with any women’s tennis line,” says Ron McPherson, president and CEO of Antigua Group. “But the apparel must also stand up to competitive use. Our new women’s line not only does that, but our proprietary fabrics can help your tennis game by keeping players dry and cool.”

The Performance collection for women consists of seven items, ranging from polos to skorts to jackets. Most come in at least five color options. The Essentials collection is made up of eight different tops, some available in as many as 22 colors. The Outerwear collection has four tops, including hoodies, half-zip fleeces and long-sleeve full-zip jackets. Some are available in as many as 26 colors.

Antigua, which was the official apparel of the 2012 Family Circle Cup, also offers a custom embroidered logo program. Visit for more information.

Hall of Fame Names New Board and Officers

Corporate leaders, a tennis industry veteran, and a former WTA star are among the eight individuals who have been elected to the Board of Directors of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. The new board members were announced at the Hall of Fame’s Annual Meeting in New York City in early September.

The newly elected board members are Jim Citrin, senior partner at the global executive search firm of Spencer Stuart; Marianne Gaige, president & CEO of Cathedral Corporation; Jim Goldman, president & CEO of Godiva Chocolatier; David A. Haggerty, current first vice president of the USTA, incoming president of the USTA, and former chairman of Head USA; Bob Jeffrey, chairman and CEO of JWT Worldwide; Stephen Lewinstein, owner of the real estate investment and development firm of Stephen R. Lewinstein Associates and part owner of the Boston Celtics; Betsy Nagelsen-McCormack, a former top-25 player on the WTA Tour, and wife of the late Mark McCormack; and Mark J. Panarese, managing director of Rockefeller Financial.

“Our new board members bring a variety of expertise and talents to the organization and their active participation will be very helpful in our efforts to preserve the history of tennis and to provide a premier landmark for tennis fans, while honoring the game’s greatest champions and most influential contributors to the game of tennis,” said Christopher E. Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.

In addition to the new members of the Board of Directors, the following officers were elected for two-year terms: Christopher E. Clouser as chairman, Mark L. Stenning as chief executive officer, Stan Smith as president, Donald L. Dell as vice chairman, Barbara A. Georgescu as vice chairman, Nancy von Auersperg as treasurer, and Peggy H. Woolard as secretary.

Racquet Art to Distribute Ardor Sports Strings in the U.S.

Racquet Art, which manufactures custom racquet stencils as well as premium stencil inks in both solvent- and water-based formulas, will be the exclusive distributor of Ardor Sports ( products in the U.S. Ardor Sports makes tennis strings.

“We are excited to now be in a position to provide the tennis industry in the U.S. with an exceptional product at a fair price,” says Michael Waroff, owner of Racquet Art. Ardor Sports offers strings ranging from synthetic gut in four colors to its “Twisted 5” co-poly. Racquet Art will market the strings to retailers, pro-shops, coaches and stringers.

In related news, Klip Europe will be the exclusive European distributor of Racquet Art products, which allow players to customize their racquets with creative stencils, ranging from their initials to various designs, and include 10 ink colors.

For more information, visit or email

Collegiate All-Star Team Members Picked

The 29th ITA Collegiate All-Star Team includes the nation’s top-ranked men’s and women’s players from the year-end Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings, as well as winners of the 2011 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships and 2012 NCAA Division I Championships.

Short Sets

Ashaway Calls New Tennis Strings ‘Manmade Natural Gut’

In a recent column on his company’s website, Ashaway Vice President Steve Crandall says newly developed tennis strings made from a polymer material called Polyketone, or PEEK, play more like natural gut than any other synthetic string yet devised.

According to Crandall, the key to the gut-like playability of these strings, which Ashaway markets under the brand names Dynamite and MonoGut ZX, is their “dynamic stiffness.”

Crandall’s tennis stringing tips columns, including “Ashaway’s Zyex-Based Tennis Strings: the New ‘Manmade Natural Gut,’” can be found at

Member Classified

FOR SALE: Babolat Sensor Expert with Cabinet: $2500 or best offer, Babolat Star 4 without stand: $1500 or best offer, Babolat Star 5: $2000 or best offer, Babolat RDC, new version with Blue Case: $2000 or best offer. For additional details, email:

Congratulations To the Following For Achieving MRT Status

Randy Houston, Palm Desert, CA

Christopher Kuehn, Champaign, IL

Dan Swanson, St. Paul, MN

Nathan Frank, Bryn Mawr, PA

Stockton Morris, Bryn Mawr, PA

Daniel Schank, Chesapeake, VA

Ricardo Rodrigues Dipold, BRAZIL

SGMA Launches New Strategic Plan and Rebranding

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) unveiled its new rebranding effort that will change its name to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). The move will also include a new website, national advocacy campaign, research initiative, supplier directory and thought leadership programs

The decision followed a two-year strategic review and planning process that led the organization to refine its mission statement, core services and communications platform to focus on promoting sports and fitness participation and industry vitality.

“Traditional concepts of ‘sporting goods’ and ‘manufacturers’ have evolved while our terminology has not,” says Tom Cove, SGMA president and CEO. “Thus, the change from ‘Sporting Goods’ to ‘Sports & Fitness’ is more definitive about our inclusion of brands connected to fitness and active lifestyle products. The change from ‘Manufacturers to ‘Industry’ embraces a broader community including suppliers, brands, major sports and fitness retailers and partners — a much clearer reflection of our current and future membership.

“This is not a change in philosophy for our organization as we already have many members in these categories. It is simply a more accurate and transparent indication of the industry segments that we serve,” Cove adds.

The rebranding process includes a new mission statement developed by the Board of Directors: To Promote Sports and Fitness Participation and Industry Vitality. This translates to focusing the new SFIA on four core product areas: Thought Leadership & Events, Public & Industry Affairs, Member Services and Research Insights.

Several new initiatives are planned including:

5 Teams Win Inaugural National Family Tennis Championships Tournament in Florida

The National Family Tennis Championships celebrated its pilot year of play as 18 husband/wife and parent/child teams from seven states competed in the national championship tournament at the Waldorf Astoria in Naples, Fla., in September.

After three days of fun and competitive tennis, teams in five divisions left Naples with the title “2012 National Family Tennis Champion.” These include:

“This was a phenomenal event,” said Brad Goodman, who teamed with his son Benjamin to capture the Father/Son title. “It was great to play tennis with my family and meet other families with a similar passion for tennis.”

The 18 teams earned an invitation to the national championships after participating in local competitions. For more information, visit

ITA Names Leadership & Sportsmanship Winners

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association recognized recipients of the 2012 Arthur Ashe Jr. National Leadership and Sportsmanship Awards at the ITA Awards Luncheon hosted by the USTA before the US Open. The award takes into account a player’s tennis accomplishments, scholastic achievements and extracurricular endeavors. The recipients are:

Dunlop Announces 2013 Racquet Range

Dunlop has brought out six new racquet models for 2013, including four entirely new frames. The racquets also feature three new Biomimetic technologies.

Each new racquet starts with either an “F,” “M,” or “S,” signifying a players’ swing speed and style. F stands for Fast/Full, M stands for Medium/Moderate, and S stands for Short/Slow. The numbers have been changed from hundreds to a decimal system to signify the new molds.

The new frames are the 3.0 racquets — F3.0 Tour (right), M3.0, S3.0 Lite — which Dunlop says enhances spin and power; the 6.0 frames — M.6.0 and S6.0 — which build on the inaugural 600 Biomimetic racquets played by tour players Dominika Cibulkova and Tommy Robredo; and the S8.0 Lite, designed for players with shorter or slower swings.

The new Biomimetic technologies are Aeroskin, which Dunlop says reduces drag; BioFibres, which are plant stem fibers woven in the throat and handle that the company says are stronger than steel and lighter than carbon and help to minimize shock; and Molybdenite (MoS2), in the new grommet system, which reduces string friction. Visit for more information.

Hinding Refurbishes Highland Park in Brooklyn

Just before the start of the US Open, newly refurbished tennis courts were unveiled in Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Highland Park, as part of the Fresh Courts program, which is a partnership between American Express and the USTA to support local tennis in communities across the U.S. Hinding Tennis of West Haven, Conn., renovated the 18 courts, which included eight courts for Youth Tennis. For information, visit

USPTA Recognizes Leaders in Tennis at World Conference

The USPTA honored tennis coaches, players and volunteers during its annual national awards breakfast at the USPTA World Conference on Tennis, held Sept. 16-21 in Monterey, Calif.

Other honorees are:

The following have been named Player of the Year in their respective divisions:

USPTA divisions receiving awards are:

Two Earn USPTA Master Professional Honor

Mark Centrella of Wilmington, Del., and Gary Trost of Nichols Hills, Okla., were recognized for achieving USPTA Master Professional status, the highest USPTA professional rating. Only about 1 percent of USPTA’s more than 15,000 members worldwide have achieved the Master Professional designation.

Centrella is the director of racquet sports at Greenville Country Club in Wilmington, Del. He has been a certified USPTA professional for 18 years. Trost is the director of tennis at Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club, in Nichols Hills, Okla. He has been a certified USPTA professional for 25 years.

Phillips Receives Top Education Credit Honors

The USPTA honored William Phillips from Lafayette, La., as the top credit earner in USPTA’s Career Development Program. Phillips, a USPTA-certified P-1 and member since 1986, earned 88 continuing education credits, the most in the 2011 program.

Other top education participants for 2011 include: Jeff Rothstein, Feisal Hassan, Ken DeHart, Alan Cutler, Craig Wells, Bill Mecca, Andrew Minnelli, Andrea Barnes, Zwelo Khupe, Kevin Jackson.



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