Tennis Industry magazine

 

Industry News

Information to help you run your business

Study: Participation Takes Upward Turn in 2012

Tennis participation in the U.S. grew 4% in 2012, topping 28 million players for the first time since 2009, according to the annual survey by the USTA and TIA. It’s the second highest total number of players recorded since the survey began in 1988.

Importantly, the number of “frequent” tennis players, those who play at least 21 times a year, grew from 4.8 million in 2011 to 5.3 million in 2012. “Frequent players represent more than 70 percent of all consumer spending across the tennis industry,” said TIA President Jon Muir. “It’s heartening to see the total number of frequent players increase by 10 percent after all of our collective efforts the past few years to drive this most immediate and impactful consumer segment.”

The age demographic that saw the greatest percentage increase in 2012 was young players aged 6 to 11, which increased 13% from 2011. “We are very gratified that our efforts geared to young players are paying off,” said Jon Vegosen, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. For the past two years, the USTA has invested significantly in 10 and Under Tennis, along with long-term commitments from the tennis industry.

Several other key segments saw significant increases in 2012. The number of “rejoining” players, those who left the game then came back, increased 6 percent over the previous year to 7.3 million — the largest number in the last 10 years. Over the last six years, the number of rejoiners has increased by nearly 50 percent. “Continuing” players showed an 11 percent increase in 2012, to 14.7 million, halting two years of decline in this player segment.

“It’s encouraging that our collective efforts to drive awareness and advocacy for our sport are beginning to show more positive signs to strengthen the position of the tennis industry overall,” said Muir.

The USTA/TIA tennis participation survey, conducted by Taylor Research and Consulting, is one of the largest annual surveys in sports. It was conducted via telephone (both landline and cell phones) and includes observations from more than 7,500 individuals.

PHIT America’ Campaign to Launch in January

The new, year-round educational and advocacy campaign “PHIT America,” dedicated to creating “a movement for a fit and healthy America,” will launch to consumers in mid-January. The PHIT America alliance focuses on prevention as a way to reduce health issues and costs, and getting Americans active, fit and healthy.

Jim Baugh, a founder and key organizer for PHIT America, says that as of early December, there were 105 alliance sponsors, including the TIA, USTA and many tennis manufacturers.

According to the website phitamerica.org, “Our country needs to reduce health issues and costs before they happen. Prevention is a great way to control these costs and also the U.S. budget deficit. Getting active, fit and healthy is a real solution. PHIT America will help educate you on the issues and promote sport and fitness activities in local communities and schools. We will also ask for your help to support critical U.S. legislation that will create incentives for a more active, fit and healthy America.”

The heart of the PHIT America campaign is a social media strategy that involves raising awareness by pushing out “news flashes” to contacts regarding health issues. PHIT America is asking companies and individuals to get involved in one (or more) of three ways: donate, advocate, participate. Visit phitamerica.org for more information.

New Date For 2013 PTR Symposium

In 2013, the Professional Tennis Registry will hold its annual International Tennis Symposium from May 2 to 5 at the newly renovated Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.

The Symposium attracts tennis teachers and coaches from more than 50 countries. Many of the industry’s notable speakers, including Dr. Jim Loehr, Pat Etcheberry, Butch Staples, Leo Alonso, Lorenzo Beltrame, Oivind Sorvald, Doug Cash and Dr. Mark Kovacs, will be among the more than 50 presenters who will conduct classroom and on-court presentations. Subjects range from 10 and Under Tennis to tennis business to teaching tactics and techniques. There is also a special high school coaches’ track sponsored by the USTA that will be held over the weekend to accommodate scholastic schedules.

Teaching pros can show off their playing skills at the PTR International Championships, held in conjunction with the Symposium. The tournament starts April 30. The Symposium also offers a Tennis Trade Show. Professional Development Courses will be held May 1, 6 and 7.

Visit ptrtennis.org for information or to register.

Nova Sports Gives Home Court Advantage for Fed, Davis Cups

The 100th Davis Cup final in November marked a special occasion in tennis history as the Czech Republic defeated Spain, 3-2, to capture its first title as an independent nation. The win came just two weeks after the Czech women defeated Serbia to claim the 2012 Fed Cup Championship. The same nation had not won both ITF championship matches since the U.S. defeated Australia and the U.S.S.R. in 1990.

But the matches marked an interesting situation for Nova Sports USA, based in Milford, MA, which manufactured the acrylic surface put down in Prague’s O2 Arena, where both the Fed Cup and Davis Cup finals were held.

“A five-coat cushion system was installed on 3- by 3-foot panels with the color coating to be applied at the venue once the panels were set into place,” says Nova’s Jake Righter. “As the Fed Cup final approached, the Czech Tennis Federation decided on a category 3 color system (medium) looking to slow Serbian ‘power’ players such as Jelena Jankovic and Anna Ivanovic.”

Lucie Safarova and Petra Kvitova dominated on the court, defeating both Serbian players and helping the Czechs capture back-to-back Fed Cup titles. Shortly after their victory, the Czech men were drawn into play against defending champion Spain.

“As Spain’s David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal are almost unbeatable on clay, the Czech Federation was looking to make their home court’s pace as fast as possible,” Righter says. “So, with just two weeks between finals, Nova Sports’ non-textured Novacoat system was installed onto the panels.” The Spanish had difficulty using their finesse to slow the game and the Czech men became the nation’s first Davis Cup champion.

For more information on surfacing, contact info@novasports.com.

Todd Martin Acquires TGA Youth Tennis Franchise

Former ATP World Tour pro Todd Martin has acquired a TGA Premier Youth Tennis franchise. TGA and Todd Martin Tennis will develop school-based tennis programs for youngsters in the Jacksonville, FL area.

TGA Premier Youth Tennis is a new initiative to grow the sport of tennis in partnership with the USTA. The organizations have developed the infrastructure and specialized curriculum to bring the sport to the masses in schools nationwide. It is the only national after-school tennis program in the country.

“TGA really appealed to me because in order for tennis to be a viable competitor in U.S. sports, it needs to be in the schools with other sports,” Martin says. “The comprehensive curriculum, developed with the USTA, is also very exciting and proven to be effective.”

TGA began awarding franchises for its new tennis business in partnership with the USTA earlier in 2012. “The innovative TGA model stands to help 10 and Under Tennis establish itself as the best pathway for children to get through the early stages of tennis development,” he adds.

“TGA has an outstanding national reputation for delivering tennis and enrichment to young children. The youth of Jacksonville are very fortunate to have this after-school opportunity available to them,” said Scott Schultz, USTA’s Managing Director, Youth Tennis.

Joshua Jacobs, founder and CEO of TGA Premier Youth Tennis, appreciates the prestige that Martin brings to the program. “To have someone of Todd’s stature and disposition within the tennis community recognize our unique school-based model as a way to grow youth tennis is very gratifying for us,” Jacobs says. For more information on TGA, visit playtga.com.

Ashaway Introduces 17-Gauge MonoGut ZX Pro

Ashaway Racket Strings has introduced MonoGut ZX Pro, a companion string to its popular Zyex monofilament tennis string. The 17-gauge (1.22 mm) MonoGut ZX Pro is a thinner, lighter string, designed to provide better elongation, snap-back and playability for players who do not require the added durability of its 16-gauge (1.27 mm) counterpart, says Ashaway.

MonoGut ZX comes in red or a natural gut-like tan color and is available in 40-foot sets, and in both 360- and 720-foot reels. Recommended stringing tension is up to 60 pounds. Visit ashawayusa.com.

Vitalsox Launches Tennis Line, Seeks Sales Reps

Vitalsox, the Italian technical sock manufacturer, announced that it is launching a tennis specialty line and tennis-only sales team.

The sales force, headed by industry veteran Don Crusius, will be made up of independent multi-line reps who will call on pro shops and tennis specialty stores with their made-for-tennis socks that feature the company’s patented SilverDryStat fiber. For more information, contact Crusius at 214-460-7681 or don@csilogowear.com.

ASBA Elects New Officers and Directors

The American Sports Builders Association, the national organization for builders and suppliers of materials for athletic facilities, has announced the election and installation of its officers and directors for 2013. The new slate took its place at the conclusion of the ASBA’s Technical Meeting, held in December in Florida.

Officers continuing on the Board of Directors will be Chairman Mark Brogan (Pro-Sport Construction Inc., Devon, PA), Fields Division President Dan Wright, CFB (Sports Turf Company, Whitesburg, GA), Tennis Division President Pete Smith, CTCB (CourtSMITHs, Inc., Toledo, OH), Supplier Division President Robert Righter (Nova Sports USA, Milford, MA), and Secretary-Treasurer Jim Catella, CFB, CTB (Clark Companies, Delhi, NY). Randy Futty (SportCourt, Charlottesville, VA) will be the Secretary-Treasurer-Elect.

Individuals continuing on the board in their current director positions include Ben Brooks (Patriot Court Systems, Inc., Houston, TX), Mike Edgerton, CTCB (Copeland Coatings, Nassau, NY), Bruce Haroldson (Connor Sports Flooring, Arlington Heights, IL), Ed Norton, RLA, ASLA (Holcombe Norton Partners Inc., Birmingham, AL), Chris Rossi (Premier Concepts Inc., Baltimore, MD), and John Schedler, CTB, CFB (FieldTurf Tarkett, Tualatin, OR).

ASBA will hold its next Technical Meeting Dec. 6-10, 2013, at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio, TX.

Annual GSS Stringers Symposium ‘Sharpens Skills’

The sixth annual GSS Symposium took place at the end of September at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, FL, providing presentations and hands-on workshops for racquet technicians. Plus, the courts at the resort came in handy for both fun and education.

“Everyone came to learn and sharpen their skills as racquet technicians,” says Tim Strawn, organizer and owner of the five-day event. “But they also want to play tennis, and being at Saddlebrook opened up several opportunities to use the courts.”

An interactive on-court racquet customization class gave participants a chance to hit with several racquets of the same model, but all customized differently so they could see the effect customizing has on a racquet. There was also a Q & A session on court with Craig Boynton, John Isner’s current coach and Academy Director at Saddlebrook Resort.

Ron Rocchi, leader of the Wilson Tour Services Stringing Team, brought back the popular pro tour simulation stringing room seminar. Participants had their own Wilson Baiardo stringing machine and Rocchi, who leads Wilson’s stringing teams at the US Open and Australian Open, tested their skills to see if they had what it takes to service racquets at the very highest level of the game.

Steve Crandall of Ashaway, the only company that actually manufactures strings in the U.S., led a discussion on polyester strings. “Having Steve there was quite a treat for us this year,” says Strawn. “I have the utmost respect for his tremendous knowledge. He really opened up some eyes with his presentation.”

USRSA certification testing, with USRSA Executive Director Dave Bone, was also offered at this year’s event and for the first time. Also, the ERSA Pro Tour Stringer exam was provided by MRT Richard Parnell of Spain.

Symposium sponsors were Adidas, Alpha, Ashaway, Babolat, Dunlop, Gamma, Prince, TIA, USRSA, Wilson, Yonex, Gosen and Xuron. Once again Adidas provided logoed shirts. Babolat, Dunlop, Gamma, Prince, Wilson and Yonex participated in a promotion that saw everyone in attendance walk away with a triple racquet thermal bag, 12 sets of premium string, and one premium racquet. Plus, there was an additional gift bag with items from a variety of sponsors. Alpha, Babolat, Gamma, Prince and Wilson provided stringing machines for the event.

For more information about the annual, international event, held the last week of September, visit gssalliance.com or contact Strawn at 540-632-1148.

Gamma Offers New FTX String

Gamma Sports offers the new Gamma FTX, a performance processed string for players wanting a balance of playability and durability, says the company.

FTX construction features a Dynalon monofilament inner core surrounded by Nylon 6 outer wraps and Gamma’s new cross-woven Foil Wrap that increases resiliency and durability, the company says. Gamma processes FTX with its patented Gamma Irradiation Process to increase the number of intermolecular bonds in the materials, making FTX more resilient than similar construction strings for faster string return on impact resulting in more court-penetrating shots and faster serves.

Gamma FTX comes in black and silver, in 16 and 17 gauge. It’s available in 40-foot sets ($6.25) and 660-foot reels ($103). Visit gammasports.com.

Peoplewatch

Tecnifibre Restructures Business Model for 2013

Tecnifibre is restructuring its business model for Tecnifibre USA for 2013, the company announced recently.

Since 2003, Fromuth Tennis has been the U.S. importer of Tecnifibre products, but beginning Jan. 1, 2013, both companies agreed to change the existing business relationship, says Tecnifibre President Thierry Maissant.

“Tecnifibre has been very appreciative of Fromuth Tennis as our partner in the U.S. for the past nine years,” Maissant says. “While both parties agreed to discontinue our prior agreement, we look forward to having Fromuth Tennis as a distributor of Tecnifibre USA with our new organization.”

Maissant says Tecnifibre is “modifying” its current business model. “Our ambition is to rapidly accelerate the progression of the brand in the U.S. market, so the next logical step for our development of Tecnifibre USA is to establish a wholly owned corporation that will distribute Tecnifibre products exclusively,” he adds. For inquiries, contact (888) 838-3664 or info@tecnifibreusa.com.

Farmers Classic Tourney at UCLA Is No More

The Farmers Classic men’s tennis tournament at UCLA, a part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, is gone. The ATP sanction for the event, whose roots go back to 1927, has been sold to a group in Bogota, Colombia. The Southern California Tennis Association announced the decision Nov. 20 after extensive attempts to find new sponsors.

The tournament, which began at the Los Angeles Tennis Club, struggled economically in recent years as sponsors came and went, and as the U.S. struggled to find men tennis stars, according to tournament director Bob Kramer. Most recently, its two principal sponsors, Farmers Insurance and Mercedes-Benz, both failed to renew their sponsorships. Former champions of the event included Rod Laver, Arthur Ashe, Pancho Gonzales, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. American Sam Querrey has won three of the past four tournaments.

USRSA Names Strawn as New Certification Tester

Tim Strawn, a 22-year veteran of the racquet sports industry, has been named a Certification Tester for the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association. Strawn started his career as a USPTA and PTR teaching pro, which led to the opening of his tennis business in Roanoke, Va.

From 2000 to 2010 he worked as a racquet technician at various ATP/WTA events including Wimbledon, the US Open, the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, and the Memphis Regions Morgan Keegan. In 2002 he introduced the website at gssalliance.com, which eventually led to the development and introduction of the GSS Alliance website. He is the owner and founder of the GSS Racquet Stringers Symposium.

Strawn is a USRSA Master Racquet Technician and an original member of the Wilson Tour Services stringing team. He was voted RSI’s Stringer of the Year in 2007.

FLY Headties Offer Stylish Headband Alternative

Tired of selling the same old bandanas and headbands? Try FLY Headties, a functional, stylish and customizable accessory designed to wick away moisture with its 92% poly/8% spandex fabric blend.

“Flyties” were developed by two recreational players in Denver, Barbara Askenazi and Vikki Goldberg, and manufactured locally. They come in four colors — black, white, blue and red — and can easily be customized with embroidered club logos, team names or other messages. Each dry-wicking, unisex tie is 36 inches long and 3 inches wide and fits anyone.

For more information, visit flyheadties.com or contact 303-875-7735 or info@flyheadties.com.

By the numbers

Tennis Racquet Performance

Specialty Stores, January - September, 2012 vs. 2011

UNITS 2012 574,650
2011 558,662
% change vs. ‘11 3%
DOLLARS 2012 80,221,000
2011 79,563,000
% change vs. ‘11 1%
PRICE 2012 $139.60
2011 $142.42
% change vs. ‘11 -2%

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, Jan.-Sept. 2012

Best Sellers

  1. Babolat Aero Pro Drive GT (MP)
  2. Babolat Pure Drive GT 2012 (MP)
  3. Wilson BLX Juice (MP)
  4. Babolat Pure Drive GT (MP)
  5. Babolat Pure Drive Lite 2012 (MP)

“Hot New Racquets”

(introduced in the past 12 months)

  1. Babolat Pure Drive GT 2012 (MP)
  2. Wilson BLX Juice (MP)
  3. Babolat Pure Drive Lite 2012 (MP)
  4. Babolat Pure Drive 107 2012 (OS)
  5. Wilson BLX Juice (OS)

Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, Jan.-Sept. 2012

  1. Prince T22
  2. Adidas AdiPower Barricade 7
  3. Asics Gel Resolution 4
  4. Babolat Propulse 3
  5. Nike Zoom Breathe 2K11

Top-Selling Tennis Strings at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date units, Jan.-Sept. 2012

  1. Prince Synthetic Gut Duraflex
  2. Babolat RPM Blast
  3. Wilson NXT
  4. Wilson Sensation
  5. Luxilon Alu Power

Short sets

ASBA Announces New Certified Tennis Court Builders

The American Sports Builders Association has recognized two builders as Certified Tennis Court Builders: Todd Rudolph of Sunland Sports of Phoenix, and George Stahlin of Evergreen Tennis Courts Inc. of Loveland, CO. There are more than 60 CTCBs in the U.S.

The ASBA’s certification program was developed to help raise professional standards and improve the practice of sports facility construction. Certification is offered in three different disciplines; an individual may choose to pursue the Certified Tennis Court Builder (CTCB) designation, Certified Track Builder (CTB), or Certified Field Builder (CFB) designation.

To become a certified builder, an individual must meet specific criteria set forth by ASBA; he or she must complete an application that shows proof of a set amount of experience in the chosen type of sports facility, and then pass a comprehensive exam on construction and maintenance. In order to maintain the designation, an individual must recertify every three years. A full list of currently certified builders is at the ASBA website, sportsbuilders.org.

New MRTs

Naoufal Houmairy, Westwood, MA

Paul Boslet, Akron, OH

Danny Tran, Houston, TX

John Woo Ra, Colorado Springs, CO

Jason Wood, San Diego, CA

Michael Lau, Scarborough, ON CANADA

New CSs

JVyron (Byron) Sacharidis, Washington, DC

Will Carter, Lewisham, NSW AUSTRALIA

PTR to Host New 10 & Under Tennis Conference in Feb.

The Professional Tennis Registry will hold its inaugural 10 & Under Tennis Conference Feb. 15-17 on Hilton Head Island, SC. The event will provide skills and knowledge for tennis professionals and coaches who work with children, as well as offer strategies to increase lesson income and overall business.

Participants will learn from and interact with experts in the field, including Mike Barrell, Simon Gale, Rita Gladstone, Laramie Gavin, Anne Pankhurst and Butch Staples. In addition to teaching the physical skills, emotional and psychological issues pertaining to young children will be addressed. Working with parents, programming, competition and increasing bottom-line income opportunities are among the topics that will be covered. The conference will also feature vendor displays.

“PTR has been at the forefront of the 10 and Under Tennis movement,” said Dan Santorum, CEO of PTR. “We put a tremendous amount of resources into the development of our Junior Development pathways to certification, and PTR is uniquely qualified to offer an event that focuses on working with children 10 and under.” To register, call 843-785-7244.

PTR Holds Inaugural Directors of Tennis Conference

Professional Tennis Registry hosted its inaugural Directors of Tennis Conference in October on Hilton Head Island, SC. The three-day event brought together 50 attendees and 14 presenters and addressed the needs of tennis directors, including such topics as pricing, budgeting, hiring and compensation, software solutions, programming and management. Participants enjoyed morning Cardio Tennis and the new Cardio TRX workouts.

Yonkers Kids Play 10U in Madison Square Garden

The Yonkers Tennis Center outside of New York City showcased its 10 and Under Tennis program in Madison Square Garden during the Nov. 5 PowerShares Series event, which featured Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Patrick Rafter and Peter Sampras. Fifteen YTC players and their coaches put on a 45-minute on-court demonstration while fans poured into the arena and cheered them on.

2013 Cardio Tennis Training Schedule

TIA Cardio Tennis Manager Michele Krause has announced a robust schedule for Cardio Tennis and TRX Cardio Tennis Training Courses. The following are confirmed training courses (more are in the process of being firmed up for 2013). Most courses are offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit cardiotennis.com/ courses for more information and for the most updated schedule.

Mason Named TIA President; TIA Board Set for 2013-2014

Greg Mason, the vice president of sales and marketing for Head Penn, will be the president of the TIA for 2013-2014. He succeeds Wilson Racquet Sports’ Jon Muir, who was president for the last four years.

“I’m excited to assume this role and continue to build on the momentum this industry and the TIA has built over the past few years,” says Mason. “Our focus will remain on growing the base of frequent players and improving the economic vitality of this industry.”

Mason has spent over 25 years in the sporting goods industry in a variety of senior management roles, including the last 12 years at Head Penn Racquet Sports, where he is responsible for all marketing and promotions for the Head and Penn brands in the U.S. and directs the U.S. sales force and sales management team. His prior experience includes management roles in the outdoor industry while a vice president at Eastpak backpacks. He has also held sales management roles at both Reebok USA and Puma North America.

“We’ve had a great TIA President in Jon Muir over the past four years,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer, “and I’m looking forward to working alongside Greg as we continue to focus our efforts as the trade association for the sport to grow the economic vitality of the industry and the game of tennis.”

In addition to Mason, the following have been named to the 2013-2014 TIA Board of Directors:

David Malinowski - Adidas

Fred Stringfellow - ASBA

Linda Clark - ATP World Tour

Eric Babolat - Babolat

Kai Nitsche - Dunlop

Meredith Poppler - IHRSA

Kevin Callanan - IMG

Dave Miley - ITF

Mark Stenning - Int’l. Tennis Hall of Fame

Chris Circo - Prince Americas

Dan Santorum - PTR

Tom Cove - SFIA (formerly SGMA)

David Egdes - Tennis Channel

Jeff Williams - Tennis Magazine

John Embree - USPTA

Dave Bone - USRSA

Kurt Kamperman - USTA

Jon Muir - Wilson Sporting Goods

Ilana Kloss - World TeamTennis

Stacey Allaster - WTA Tour

TIA Launches New and Improved Website

TennisIndustry.org, the central information source for the tennis trade, has recently been redeveloped and relaunched by the Tennis Industry Association. The new website not only focuses on providing specified content for the various segments of the industry, but it also consolidates much of the information that previously resided on ancillary sites hosted by the TIA — making TennisIndustry.org a true “one-stop shop” for industry information.

In addition to a complete overhaul in website design, functionality, and user interface, the TIA also has integrated logins for both TIA members and for the GrowingTennis System directly into the new TennisIndustry.org.

“By integrating logins into one central location, we’ve eliminated the need to go to multiple sites and reduced the amount of clicks it takes to update tennis provider information in the industry’s largest database of facilities, retailers, courts, and programs,” says the TIA’s IT Manager, Matt Allen.

“Streamlining the process of obtaining and updating information played an important role in this redesign,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “We focused on how to make it more intuitive for tennis providers to find the information, resources, and research pertinent to their segment of the industry.”

For instance, facility owners/managers/directors, retailers, manufacturers, and media can visit TennisIndustry.org and click on the appropriate link to get instant access to resources, tools, services, member benefits, and research available to help their businesses.

The new site also makes it easier for visitors to keep current on the latest developments in the industry, get involved with initiatives, and stay up-to-date on some of the key research trends the TIA monitors on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis through the “Industry Dashboard.” In addition to the Dashboard, there are a variety of top-line research reports available for free download in the research section.

“The TIA continues to work to grow the game and the economic vitality of the tennis industry, and the new TennisIndustry.org furthers that mission by ensuring important and pertinent information is easily accessible to help tennis businesses grow,” de Boer adds. Visit TennisIndustry.org to see the new website. For comments and feedback, email the TIA at info@tennisindustry.org.

ITF, StarGames Announce ‘World Tennis Day’

The International Tennis Federation has entered into an agreement with StarGames to launch World Tennis Day to help promote tennis participation around the world. The inaugural World Tennis Day will be on Monday, March 4, as part of the ITF’s Centenary activities.

World Tennis Day will be centered around a series of high profile exhibition events around the world, including the BNP Paribas Showdown in New York’s Madison Square Garden. Each of the events, organized by the promoter StarGames, will feature current and former professionals together with demonstrations of the ITF’s Tennis10s program (called “10 and Under Tennis” in the U.S.) aimed at increasing participation among young players around the world.

“We look forward to World Tennis Day as a way to put a spotlight on tennis participation,” says ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “The very successful Tennis Night in America, staged by the USTA in association with StarGames, is an example of how special events and participation activities can be combined successfully.” The ITF will be encouraging its 210 national associations to support World Tennis Day with their own grassroots and club activities to attract new participants.

The USTA has already established Tennis Night in America in conjunction with the BNP Paribas Showdown in which clubs are asked to open their doors as part of a month-long drive to get children playing the sport. Over 2,200 clubs in the U.S. took part in 2012. “To be able to expand this to World Tennis Day in partnership with the ITF and its 210 member nations is a unique opportunity,” says Jerry Solomon, president and CEO of StarGames.

Several other National Associations have already pledged their support to join the USTA in World Tennis Day activities in 2013, including Davis Cup finalists Czech Republic and Spain, plus Argentina, Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, and South Africa.

Babolat Launches New Aeropro Frame, Propulse 4 Shoes

Ten years ago Babolat launched the Aeropro Drive racquet and now introduces the fifth generation of the frame. The latest Aeropro Drive uses Coretex Active Technology, which Babolat says give players more feel.

The racquet also features “Aero Modular Technology,” which the company says is an aerodynamic shape and modular frame to help the racquet move through the air; “Woofer,” a system that allows the frame and strings to interact for better feel and accuracy; and “GT Technology,” a graphite and tungsten composition that reduces torque on impact, according to Babolat.

Each racquet in the line is 100 square inches and includes:

The new Propulse 4 All Court shoe was developed in collaboration with Andy Roddick and features “Side 2 Side,” to improve lateral movements. It also has a new Michelin OCS2 outsole for all court surfaces and abrasion resistance. The new Lateral Stability System (LSS) combines support and stability, says Babolat. Available in men’s and women’s (suggested retail $119) and junior ($64) versions.

 

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