Head, Djokovic Introduce Graphene Speed Pro
Head has introduced the new YouTek Graphene Speed Pro racquet, which world No. 1 Novak Djokovic debuted at the Australian Open in January. The new frame introduces Head Graphene.
According to Head, the Graphene material consists of a single two-dimensional layer of carbon atoms that is extremely lightweight, yet 200 times stronger than steel. The integration of Graphene in the racquet shaft allowed Head engineers to reduce weight in the middle part of the racquet and shift it to functionally more relevant areas in the grip and the head. More weight in the grip makes the racquet more maneuverable and easier to swing; more weight in the racquet head enables more powerful shots, says the company.
As part of a digital marketing campaign in December, 50 Head Tennis Facebook fans worldwide had the chance to test a black prototype version of the new Speed racquet and leave their reviews on head.com/g. The launch of the racquet also included Djokovic hitting a tennis ball that traveled faster than an Audi race car driven by Australian GT driver Dean Grant at a Melbourne racetrack.
Djokovic’s Head YouTek Graphene Speed Pro is the top model of the newly developed Speed tour racquet family, which also includes the MP, S, REV and PWR models, as well as the new Speed Junior racquet. Head players Maria Sharapova, Tomas Berdych and Marin Cilic also debuted their new Graphene Instinct MP racquets at the Australian Open.
USTA ‘Pauses’ Proposed Junior Competition Changes
After taking heat from individuals and groups opposed to proposed changes to the 2013 national junior competitive structure, the USTA board of directors at its December meeting voted to put the changes on hold for further consideration.
The USTA’s Junior Competition Committee, during its 2011-12 term, was charged with proposing a revised national junior tournament competitive structure, which resulted in proposed amendments to the USTA Regulations. Those amendments were passed by the USTA Executive Committee in March last year.
Since that adoption, the USTA president at the time, Jon Vegosen, and then president-elect David Haggerty (who started his two-year term as president in January 2012) agreed that it was in the best interest of the USTA and the sport to “pause” until 2014 the reduction of the Boys’ and Girls’ 18 and 16 USTA National Clay Court Championships and the reduction of USTA National Championships (hard courts) singles draw sizes from 192 to 128.
The other two amendments scheduled to take effect in 2013 — the transition of the USTA National Doubles Tournament into a Gold Ball National Championship and the introduction of the USTA National Masters — are not included in the “pause,” and both will be included on the 2013 schedule. A previously made decision by the Junior Competition Committee — the planned reduction of the July 2013 USTA Regional Tournaments singles draw size from 64 to 32 — also will go forward.
Over the next several months, the USTA will continue Town Hall-style listening sessions concerning the proposed changes. In addition, all comments, concerns, and perspectives can be sent to LetUsKnow@usta.com.
Nominate for RSI’s ‘30 Under 30’ Honors
We need your help. We want to recognize some of the young professionals in the tennis industry who are knocking the cover off the ball when it comes to their job, this industry, and growing this sport. Help us by sending your picks for Racquet Sports Industry’s “30 Under 30” honors. The 30 individuals we pick will be featured in an upcoming special section.
Anyone can nominate potential honorees (you can even nominate yourself), and nominees can come from any segment of this industry. Importantly, nominees can even be volunteers in tennis; they don’t have to be employed in this industry. The only restriction is that the nominee cannot have turned age 30 before June 1, 2013.
To nominate, simply send us a brief email describing your choice for “30 Under 30” honors. Also include the nominee’s birthday (month and year is fine), and contact information for both you and the nominee. Put “30 Under 30” in the subject line and email email@example.com.
Thank you for helping us to recognize the young professionals who are moving this industry, and this sport, forward.
US Open Schedule Provides Rest Day Before Finals
The USTA has changed the 2013 US Open schedule to include a day of rest between the singles semifinals and finals. This year’s men’s final is now scheduled to be played on Monday, Sept. 9. The move was in response to players’ requests for the rest day, says the USTA.
The women’s singles semifinals will be played in a single day session on Friday, Sept. 6, and the women’s final will take place on Sunday, Sept. 8 at 4:30 p.m. ET, in the time slot where the men’s singles final was traditionally played.
The men’s singles semifinals will continue to be played in a single day session on Saturday, Sept. 7. The Monday men’s singles final will start at 5 p.m. ET. In the new schedule, no competition will be scheduled for the second Saturday night of the tournament.
“I’m pleased that the USTA has modified the US Open schedule to include a day of rest between the semifinals and final,” said Andy Murray, winner of the 2012 US Open. "It’s good that they’ve taken on board the players’ concerns.”
The final four days of the men’s and women’s singles competitions will be broadcast by CBS Sports.
Victory/Acelon Releases First Tennis Strings
Victory Racquet Sports/Acelon has released its first two Acelon tennis strings. The company, which has 30 years of experience in manufacturing lines and leaders for sport fishing, brings its technology to tennis with the Acelon Seven and Acelon Advanced, both manufactured in Europe using copolyester formulas.
Acelon Seven is for top-level players and features a sharp seven-sided construction to help players achieve maximum topspin with control. It’s available in black, 1.24, 1.27 and 1.31 mm. Acelon Advanced is softer than Seven and offers control and topspin with a poly that the company says is less jarring on the elbow. It’s available in silver or pearl, 1.25 and 1.30 mm.
Visit victoryracquetsports.com or call 610-466-6100 for more information.
College Teams Hit HHI For PTR Spring TennisFest
The PTR announces its third annual Spring TennisFest, which will be on Hilton Head Island, S.C., again this March. Spring TennisFest will bring tennis teams from more than 70 colleges and universities to Hilton Head Island to compete with schools they may not otherwise have the opportunity to play.
Matches will be played at various island facilities, including Van der Meer Tennis Centers, Chaplin Park Tennis Center, Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort, HHI High School, and on the courts of several property regimes. Participating schools range from NAIA to Division I.
Spectators are welcome to watch matches and mingle with their alma mater or favorite college team. The match schedule is available at springtennisfest.com/schedule.htm. Match times and locations will be added in February.
Oncourt Offcourt Releases New, Colorful ‘MultiCart’
PTR and USPTA Master Pro Joe Dinoffer announces the release of a new 10 and Under Tennis teaching cart called the MultiCart, which features four color-coded baskets, each with a 100-ball capacity. Coaches and teaching pros can now easily organize their red, orange, green, and yellow balls, Dinoffer says.
The MultiCart also features the Oncourt Offcourt standard 4-inch smooth-glide wheels, and the units are stackable for easy and space-saving storage. “This is the most versatile cart in the industry,” says Dinoffer.
Oncourt Offcourt also plans to launch other new products this year for 10 and Under Tennis, including color-coded junior racquets, red and orange boundary lines for red and orange level courts, and a patented 18-foot net on wheels. To see photos of these products go to oncourtoffcourt.com or contact the company for a free 80-page color catalog toll free in the U.S. at 888-366-4711.
USPTA Announces 2013 Certification Exams
The USPTA has announced it will offer more than 150 USPTA Certification Exams nationwide in 2013. Additional exam dates are expected to be added later.
USPTA’s Certification Exam includes an on-court evaluation of tennis strokes and playing skills, feeding and grip analysis, private and group lesson instruction, and other skills needed in the tennis-teaching profession. The exam also includes a two-hour written test covering teaching, playing and business management skills, 10 and Under Tennis rules, club activity programming and other topics. Applicants can now opt to take the written and grip exams online after completing the on-court portions of the certification test.
The exam process also offers the Professional Tennis Coaches Academy I that covers test topics. The PTCA I can be taken at Regional Testing Centers, which offer tests every other month on the same weekends, or it can be taken online. The course is also useful to current USPTA members who wish to review specific exam areas before upgrading their certification ratings. Topics include sport psychology, developing student rapport, class organization, lesson progression and a review of teaching techniques.
Contact USPTA at 800-877-8248 or firstname.lastname@example.org to register for an upcoming exam, or for further details, or visit uspta.org. Advanced registration is required. The total fee for the exam and application is $175, plus prorated USPTA membership dues.
FOR SALE: Used Babolat Racket Diagnostic Center, serial 412. Table top. Has had light use. Excellent condition with manuals and cover. $1800 (obo) includes shipping. Dave Heilig, email@example.com
‘Best Sales Ever’ in 2012, Says Head Racquet Sports
Head Racquet Sports USA announced in early January that it had posted its best ever sales results for a full year in company history, with double-digit percentage increases for both the Head and Penn brands.
In addition, says the company, a year-end retailer survey placed Head and Penn at the top of the industry for sales force and speed of shipment, as well as very high marks in all marketing and operations categories.
“We are thrilled with our year-end results. We outpaced the market throughout the year as a result of very hard work from our internal team combined with incredible results from our athletes like Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova and Andy Murray,” said Greg Mason, vice president of sales and marketing. “The combination of the two made for the best year in our history. We are poised for further growth in 2013 with aggressive marketing around Novak and Maria throughout the first half.”
‘X Factor’ Is New Scoring System from Match Point
Match Point, which has specialized in tennis accessories for 38 years, announces its new X Factor portable tennis scoring system, which the company says is easy to use, rugged and transports from court to court.
The X Factor slips over the net and can be positioned to be seen from the spectator side or the player side of the net. The red and black 4- by 8-inch game numbers go from 0 to 9 and are made for long-term use.
The company headquarters are in Waukesha, Wis. Visit match-point.biz.
- Dave Mathews, district sales manager for Head Penn Racquet Sports covering North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin for 17 years, has retired. Taking over for Mathews will be Ursula Shute, who joins Head Penn from Prince Racquet Sports.
- Prince Global Sports has named Miguel Rosa as its business development manager Latin America. A native of Brazil, Rosa spent the last seven years at IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Fla., managing the Bollettieri Tennis Program.
- Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic has become the first player to endorse New Balance’s new line of tennis shoes and apparel. The 22-year-old, who ended the 2012 tennis season ranked 13 in the world, will use New Balance sportswear from this season onwards after switching from French brand Lacoste.
- American Mitchell Krueger, who recently turned professional, signed a multiyear racquet and strings agreement with Tecnifibre. Krueger, who will be training out of Boca Raton with the USTA, has used Tecnifibre products since he was 15 years old. He plays with the Tecnifibre T-Fight 325 VO2 Max tennis racquet and the Tecnifibre Black Code 16 string. Visit tecnifibreusa.com.
- IMG Worldwide, the global sports, fashion and media company, has signed ATP World No. 1 player Novak Djokovic for exclusive worldwide management and representation. Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, IMG will represent Djokovic in developing a brand building strategy through marketing, endorsements, appearances and licensing along with select global business initiatives.
- Deborah Slaner Larkin is stepping down as executive director of USTA Serves, effective March 1.
- Bill Curry is the new chairman of the board for the Rodney Street Tennis and Tutoring Association of Wilmington, Del., succeeding Jane Brown Grimes who has held the position since 2008. Curry, an attorney and entrepreneur, has been the board treasurer for the past three years. In related news, the Comcast Family of Companies will continue as the charity’s principal sponsor in 2013.
- John Isner, the top-ranked American player on the ATP World Tour, will be the next brand ambassador for the Star Scientific’s Anatabloc dietary supplement for anti‐inflammatory support. Isner is the second brand ambassador for Anatabloc, joining PGA Tour champion Fred Couples.
- American tennis champion, Hall of Famer and World War II veteran Art "Tappy" Larsen passed away on December 7 in California, at the age of 87. Larsen achieved the No. 1 ranking in the U.S. in 1950, and he was ranked in the world top-10 several times in the 1950s.
Host a Kids ‘Tennis Festival’ in March
On March 4, the USTA will launch thousands of Tennis Festivals that will continue throughout the month, designed to get kids active and excited about tennis. The launch of these Tennis Festivals coincides with the annual “Tennis Night in America” celebration at New York’s Madison Square Garden, which this year will feature Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka.
These Tennis Festivals are a great way for tennis facilities, parks, and municipalities to introduce tennis to kids and provide a platform to register children for spring and summer programs, says the USTA. Tennis Festivals showcase the fun and excitement of playing tennis, as well as sharing with parents the benefits of involving their children in the game. The events provide an opportunity for kids to experience a variety of tennis activities and games designed for all ages and skill levels.
Tennis Festival hosts will receive an event pack that includes special giveaways for their attendees. Organizers will have access to customizable marketing materials and be featured in the searchable database on YouthTennis.com, the destination for consumers to find local events.
To host or find a tennis festival, visit YouthTennis.com.
Gamma Sports Offers New Strings for 2013
Gamma Sports announces a new poly line-up for 2013, which the company says will provide players with more “bite, power and control.”
For more “bite,” Gamma offers the Moto, a heptagonal-shaped string developed for the high performance player. This seven-sided construction allows for greater ball bite to generate more spin on ground strokes and serves, says the company, adding that the co-poly material is responsive and provides greater feedback and excellent tension maintenance.
For “power,” Gamma introduces iO, a co-poly that also generates spin and is designed for players “seeking penetrating and punishing ground strokes from anywhere on the court.” And for “control,” Gamma’s new Poly-Z is for players with full, fast swing speeds. The polyester string provides a firm, responsive string bed for greater control and spin, while maintaining tension and providing greater durability, says the company.
Gamma also offers the new RZR Rx string, which is a co-extruded monofilament constructed with a proprietary Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) material that is engineered to stretch more upon impact for enhanced control and comfort. RZR Rx has an oval shape that the company says provides for a more aerodynamic string bed, to generate greater racquet head speed and reduce the contact pressure at the string intersections.
For more information, visit gammasports.com.
- Converse Inc., a subsidiary of Nike, Inc., announced plans to relocate its world headquarters from North Andover, MA, to Boston, in April 2015. The move to downtown Boston follows an extensive search for a new company headquarters in the greater Boston metropolitan area.
- The USTA has selected DDB New York as its agency of record. The agency will be responsible for brand strategy and creative, including digital campaigns. The new relationship begins immediately with work hitting in Q2 2013.
- The Pro Squash Tour (PST) announced a new three-year relationship with Detroit, which includes hosting the tour’s World Championship tournament at the Detroit Athletic Club. This year’s PST World Championships will be May 3-5, and the tour has committed to returning in 2014 and 2015.
- Julie Bliss has received the ITA Collegiate Varsity Performer of the Year Award and Jennifer Reinbold was named ITA Collegiate Varsity Volunteer of the Year. The awards, by the ITA and USTA, were presented at the 2012 ITA Coaches Convention in Florida in December. Bliss is the director of Competition & Player Development for the USTA Eastern Section; Reinbold, a USTA Midwest Collegiate Varsity Sub-Committee member, has been a leader in promoting tennis programs in the Midwest Section.
GSS Changes Name to IART, Forms Partnership with Ashaway
Ashaway Racket Strings has formed a strategic partnership with the International Alliance of Racquet Technicians (IART), formerly known as Grand Slam Stringers, to help develop educational and support programs to help build IART members’ technical knowledge of string materials, construction methods, and performance metrics. The partnership also is designed to build stronger member relationships with Ashaway Racket Strings in terms of product developments, marketing programs, and grassroots stringing industry news.
"The IART has made great strides in building its brand over the past few years," said Steve Crandall, Ashaway Vice President, "and is quickly emerging as the leading interactive online forum for stringers and stringing worldwide. Ashaway is delighted to partner with IART and help them fulfill their mission."
"The IART is a global organization that specializes in hands-on training for racquet technicians of all levels," said IART (and GSS) Founder Tim Strawn. "As such, we are delighted to partner with a brand like Ashaway, which has such a long-standing commitment to the stringing community.”
IART has a membership of more than 125 top stringers from 18 countries, who participate through an interactive blog as well as informative discussions on message forums. The membership shares an interest in racquet service at the retail, club, and tour levels, as well as in supporting a large contingent of home-based racquet technicians.
Established to provide a "community" atmosphere for stringers, IART hosts an annual training symposium at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Fla., (formerly called the Grand Slam Stringers Symposium) that offers seminars led by world-class technicians and industry professionals. It also offers a line of professional stringing tools and accessories through their online store at gssalliance.com.
Upper St. Claire Wins Inaugural Cardio Tennis ‘Get Fit Challenge’
The Upper St. Claire (Pa.) Municipal Tennis Center won the inaugural Cardio Tennis Get Fit Challenge, in which tennis facilities from across country competed in a five-week challenge designed to help participants reach their health and fitness goals.
"Cardio Tennis is the perfect way for people to get fit, stay healthy, and have fun — all while on the tennis court,” says Marcy Bruce, who captained the Upper St. Claire team and is a PTR certified tennis teaching professional. "The Get Fit Challenge brings an online interactive component to Cardio Tennis that adds a lot of value to the program. It’s a great way for us to engage players and help them to reach their fitness goals, then to remain healthy.” Bruce also is a member of the Tennis Industry Association’s National Cardio Tennis Speakers Team and is a licensed TRX Cardio Tennis professional.
Throughout the Get Fit Challenge, which ended in late fall, participants competed both against each other and against other tennis facilities by tracking their own results, including the amount of time and intensity of playing tennis, working out, and playing Cardio Tennis (visit CardioTennis.com).
The Get Fit Challenge is a part of the Cardio Tennis Interactive online experience and is designed to help participants get even better results, stay engaged with the program for longer periods of time, and increase the enjoyment of the health benefits associated with Cardio Tennis via an online web portal that tracks calories burned, participant activity, provides healthy eating guidance, and more.
Participants in the Cardio Tennis Get Fit Challenge received an online health and wellness account that allowed them to:
- Track their exercise, nutrition, goals, and results.
- Download their Polar Heart Rate Monitor data directly into their account to track results.
- Participate in Fitness Challenges specific to Cardio Tennis.
- Gain reward points for using the site, participating in challenges and more that can be used in the Cardio Tennis Rewards Store.
To learn more about the Cardio Tennis Get Fit Challenge, which is set to launch again in February, visit CardioTennis.com or contact Brian O’Donnell at the Tennis Industry Association at 843-473-4504 or Brian@TennisIndustry.org.
USTA Serves Awards $1.7 Million in Grants and Scholarships
USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the USTA, has granted 34 community tennis and education organizations in the U.S. more than $340,000. Combined with scholarship awards, USTA Serves distributed $1.7 million in 2012.
The bi-annual grant process was developed to provide disadvantaged, at-risk youth with the opportunity to participate in tennis and strive for academic excellence, and to help combat childhood obesity by promoting healthy lifestyles. To date, USTA Serves has disbursed more than $11 million to 236 programs that support its mission.
Programs awarded 2012 year-end grants are:
- Aceing Autism Inc., Los Angeles
- Adaptive Tennis Association Of North Carolina, Raleigh, N.C.
- Carl E. Sanders Family YMCA at Buckhead, Atlanta, Ga.
- Currey Ingram Academy, Brentwood, Tenn.
- Dallas Tennis Association, Addison, Tex.
- Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia, Penn.
- FDDOC Winners’ Circle, Inc., Shreveport, La.
- Genesis School Inc., Kansas City, Mo.
- Harper for Kids, San Francisco
- HERO, Inc., Purchase, N.Y.
- I Have a Dream Foundation of Boulder County, Boulder, Colo.
- Inter American University Of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
- International Rescue Committee, Inc., San Diego, Calif.
- MACH Academy, Inc., Augusta, Ga.
- Monterey County Police Activities League, Prunedale, Calif.
- New Haven Youth Tennis and Education, Inc., Guilford, Conn.
- Our Military Kids Inc., McLean, Va.
- Panda Foundation Inc., Bradenton, Fla.
- Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA, Newport News, Va.
- Police Athletic League Of Parsippany Troy Hills, Parsippany, N.J.
- Prince Georges Tennis And Education Foundation Inc., Upper Marlboro, Md.
- Quickstart Tennis Of Central Virginia Inc., Ivy, Va.
- Reach For College Inc., Washington, D.C.
- Rehabilitation Hospital of the Cape and Islands, East Sandwich, Mass.
- Rodney Street Tennis and Tutoring Association, Wilmington, Del.
- San Diego District Tennis Association, San Diego, Calif.
- Sportsmen’s Tennis Club, Dorchester, Mass.
- Tennis & Education Inc., St. Paul, Minn.
- Tennis for Charity Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio
- University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
- University Of La Verne, La Verne, Calif.
- Ventura Education Partnership, Ventura, Calif.
- YMCA of Greater Kansas City, Kansas City, Mo.
- Zina Garrison All Court Tennis Academy, Houston, Tex.
Mylan to Sponsor World TeamTennis
The pharmaceutical firm Mylan and World TeamTennis announced a three-year agreement in which Mylan will serve as the title sponsor of WTT, which will be renamed Mylan World TeamTennis.
"Mylan and WTT share the same ideal of access and opportunity for everyone," says Ilana Kloss, WTT CEO/Commissioner. "We are excited to partner with a global company like Mylan, and we will work together to elevate our respective brands and create greater opportunities for access both in the U.S. and international markets."
Mylan will serve as the title sponsor of the WTT Pro League’s more than 50 matches per season through 2015 and aims to extend the reach of WTT to new markets outside of the U.S. Mylan WTT includes professional coed tennis teams in eight U.S. markets. Under the agreement, Mylan also will be the title sponsor of Mylan WTT Smash Hits through 2015, which is the annual charity event co-hosted by Billie Jean King and Sir Elton John to raise funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and various local AIDS charities.
US Open Prize Money Continues to Grow
In the ever-escalating Grand Slam tournament prize money wars, the USTA announced in December that prize money for the 2013 US Open will be increased by $4 million, doubling the record $2 million increase of 2012. Total US Open prize money in 2013 will be $29.5 million.
Singles prize money at the US Open has now increased by 34 percent since the 2011 US Open. Overall tournament prize money has been increased by $6 million since the 2011 event. The USTA will solicit suggestions for distribution from the men’s and women’s players and their respective tours.
Host a Family Tennis Championships Event
There’s a new tennis tournament that doubles as family time. The 2013 National Family Tennis Championships offers thousands of amateur players across America the opportunity to team up with a family member to earn the right to play for a national title in New York City from Aug. 22 to 26. Tennis facilities interested in being one of the 300 host sites have until February 28 to sign-up.
Each local host site receives a free tournament kit with everything they need to promote and run the event, including counter cards, promotional posters, NFTC banners, player premiums, tennis balls, plus winner and runner-up awards for each division. In addition, they receive $10 from every team entry fee and the chance for their winners to advance to one of four Super Regional Tournaments. For more information or to register as a local host site visit familytennis.com.
“We encourage all tennis facilities to join our family and offer their families the chance to compete on a national stage,” says Kathleen Francis of the 2013 National Family Tennis Championships. “This program is a great way for facilities to excite and grow their customer base by offering family members and non-club members the chance to join in on the fun.”
Tennis facilities have until June 30 to conduct their local tournaments for up to six divisions of play: Husband/Wife, Brother/Sister, Father/Son, Father/Daughter, Mother/Son and Mother/Daughter. Host sites are encouraged to offer at least three of the six divisions. Players of all levels compete in the same division with the only limitations being a son or daughter must be under the age of 18 and a father or mother is required to be the minor’s legal guardian.
“We’re excited to support the National Family Tennis Championships as it promotes tennis to all family members and affords players of all ages and abilities an opportunity to get on the court and play,” says Kurt Kamperman, USTA Chief Executive of Community Tennis.
During July and August, local winners in each division can advance to one of four Super Regional Tournaments. The top teams at each regional advance to the National Championships in New York City. Teams will receive travel, meals and three nights of hotel accommodations as well as tickets to see the best in the game play at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
3 New RZR Frames Debut from Gamma
New for 2013 are three RZR frames from Gamma Sports — the RZR 95 and RZR 105 adult racquets, and the RZR 100 Junior 25 — which feature RZR Advanced Aerodynamics.
The RZR 95 is for all-court players and the company says it offers “tremendous potential for spin” on ground strokes and serves, high maneuverability and touch at the net, and “pop” from the baseline. The RZR 105 is for a wide range of players, offering feel without sacrificing control, and is a great all-around racquet, says Gamma.
The RZR 100 Junior 25 is a 25-inch version of the RZR 100 adult frame and is constructed of “MCarbon,” a carbon fiber matrix that Gamma says increases strength, resulting in maximum power transfer on all shots. Visit gammasports.com for more.
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