Tennis Industry magazine


Industry News

Marketplace Fairness Act Passes Senate

There may be good news soon for brick-and-mortar tennis pro and specialty shops. In March, the U.S. Senate, by a large bi-partisan majority, voted for an amendment to the budget bill that would require all retailers to collect and report sales tax, including online retailers who have been exempt from many state and local taxes.

Supporters of the Marketplace Fairness Act says it will level the retail playing field. Brick-and-mortar retailers have long argued that they are at a disadvantage, because they have to collect sales taxes while online competitors are exempt.

The Senate’s 75-24 vote was “a clear victory for Main Street retailers and those who believe in free and fair competition,” said Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association. Identical legislation has also been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, where it also appears to have bipartisan support.

“The overwhelming bipartisan vote in the Senate is proof positive that the federal government’s special treatment of online-only retailers will soon be a thing of the past,” Kennedy said. “While we take nothing for granted, today’s vote opens many pathways to making the Marketplace Fairness Act law this year.”

USTA Celebrates 10,000 Youth-Sized Courts

The USTA celebrated the refurbishment and creation of 10,000 youth-sized tennis courts in the U.S. as part of USTA’s commitment to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. A celebratory event, Court 10K, was held on March 19 at the Tamiami Tennis Center in Miami to commemorate the milestone.

The celebration featured U.S. Fed Cup captain, Olympic gold medalist and Miami native Mary Joe Fernandez (right). The host site, Tamiami Tennis Center, is emblematic of the 10,000 courts that have been installed throughout the country.

“We know that kids need 60 minutes of exercise a day to stay healthy and reach their full potential, so having access to fun opportunities to get moving could not be more important,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “The USTA has provided thousands of kids the chance to run and play, to learn a new game and perfect their skills, and to make new friends in a safe environment. I am incredibly proud of the USTA’s commitment to encouraging kids to lead healthy lifestyles and to opening new doors to explore a wonderful sport they can enjoy for the rest of their lives.”

“The USTA’s Youth Tennis initiative was designed to make it easier and more fun to get involved in the game, and our commitment to creating and refurbishing youth-sized tennis courts across the country has been another step toward making the sport more accessible to more kids,” said Dave Haggerty, USTA Chairman, CEO and President.

Through its facilities assistance arm, the USTA has built and renovated more than 4,500 youth-sized tennis courts in 371 markets in 44 states in 2012. In all, the USTA has constructed or refurbished 10,000 kid-sized courts since 2005. The courts were built in public parks, schoolyards, tennis facilities and at local community-based youth organizations.

Roof Over Ashe Now A Possibility?

The USTA has been cautious in recent years in not getting expectations too high about building a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium at the National Tennis Center. But statements by USTA Executive Director Gordon Smith seem to be raising hopes that raising a roof might be closer to a reality.

At the recent USTA Annual Meeting in Florida in mid-March, Smith told hundreds of volunteers and staff that the challenge is the existing foundations on Arthur Ashe Stadium are unable to support the additional weight of a roof structure. In fact, he showed proposals that included such things as “building a building” over the stadium that would have a separate foundation. All were determined to be either too costly or impractical.

But now with new materials, Smith says, it’s possible to save weight by “replacing the concrete in the upper deck with SPS.” SPS is a “Sandwich Plate System” comprised of two metal plates and an elastomer core. This new composite will reduce the weight of the upper bowl so a roof system can be supported on the existing Ashe foundations.

Cost, of course, remains an issue, but the USTA is studying the SPS option. However, it does seem one of the most visible “improvements” the USTA can make to the NTC did get a very public shot in the arm.

Ballardie is New CEO at Prince Global Sports

Mike Ballardie has been named CEO of Prince Global Sports. He has been responsible for operations in the eastern hemisphere for Prince for nearly 10 years.

Ballardie has played tennis since the age of 4, including seven years as a professional player and coach, and has held positions at Wilson Sporting Goods, VF Corp., and Benetton in Europe.

“I have been involved in the tennis world as a player, a coach and as a business career,” Ballardie said. “The opportunity to lead Prince as its CEO is a tremendous honor and privilege.”

Prince Global Sports was formed in 2012 by an affiliate of Waitt Co., which acquired select operating assets of Prince in the U.S. and Europe. “Mike has a deep knowledge and passionate commitment to the tennis and squash industries as well as a demonstrated ability to manage Prince,” said Dana Bradford, CEO of Waitt Co. “He will do an exceptional job preserving and expanding the brand and business enterprise of Prince.”

With the appointment, Ballardie also joins the Tennis Industry Association’s Board of Directors. Prince Global Sports is headquartered in Bordentown, N.J., with offices in London, France, Holland, Germany and Taiwan.

PTR Symposium Set for April 30-May 6

The 2013 PTR International Tennis Symposium & Championships will be April 30 to May 6 at the newly renovated Sonesta Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

The Symposium attracts tennis teachers and coaches from more than 50 countries and will include many of the industry’s notable speakers, who will conduct classroom and on-court presentations on a variety of subjects. There is also a special high school coaches’ track sponsored by the USTA that will be held over the weekend to accommodate scholastic schedules.

The PTR International Championships, held in conjunction with the Symposium, will start on April 30. The Symposium also offers a Tennis Trade Show. Professional Development Courses will be held May 1, 6 and 7.

Visit for information or to register.

TIA Honors Past Prez Muir on ‘Avenue of Aces’

At the March TIA board meeting in Florida, TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer and TIA President Greg Mason thanked Jon Muir for his four years of service as president of the organization (2009-2012) and announced that a bronze paver on the “Avenue of Aces” on the US Open Grounds has been purchased in his honor.

The “Avenue of Aces” is a stretch of engraved pavers at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center designed to connect individuals’ passion for tennis to the US Open. Buying a paver supports the work of USTA Serves, the charitable arm of the USTA.

Through donor support of the Avenue of Aces, USTA Serves has disbursed more than $2 million in grants and scholarships to thousands of at-risk youth from underserved communities, as well as to people with disabilities. The programs USTA Serves supports focus on homework, mentoring, college readiness, health, fitness and character-building through the integration of tennis and education. for more information.

TennisConnect Now Offers Professional Services

The TennisConnect software product for tennis facilities and providers now offers “professional services” that include software implementation consulting, instruction and web design.

“TennisConnect is rich in functionality and flexibility, but to date has been largely a ‘do-it-yourself’ software application,” says Charlie Ruddy, TennisConnect product manager and CEO of TCPS LLC (TennisConnect Professional Services). “Many TennisConnect customers reap huge business benefits from that functionality but have also requested that we offer additional services more like a traditional web development and support firm. TCPS, LLC is now available to provide you with those services directly.”

Tennis providers can sign up for online classes (instructor led, using GoToMeeting), request technical support services, learn about site design and site Theme Manager options, and learn about optional modules and capabilities such as TennisConnect Mobile, online payment processing, social network integration, search engine optimization (SEO) and complete webmaster management services. to learn more.

USPTA Accepting Nominations for Awards

The USPTA is accepting nominations for its 2013 National Awards Program, honoring members who are committed to excellence as tennis teachers and as ambassadors using tennis to impact people and communities. The deadline for nominations is July 2.

All Professional-level USPTA members are eligible. Recipients will be recognized during the USPTA World Conference Sept. 23-28 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Fla. Award nomination forms and guidelines are available, by calling 800-877-8248 or by sending a request to

Big Changes Ahead for US Open, Players, Prize Money

The US Open will increase prize money at the US Open to $50 million by 2017, nearly doubling what the tournament paid the pros to play at Flushing Meadows in 2012. For the 2013 event, the USTA says it will add an additional $8.1 million, bringing overall prize money to more than $33.1 million.

Other changes at the US Open include permanently scheduling the men’s semifinals on Friday and men’s final on Sunday starting in 2015. At that time, women’s semis will be on Thursday and the women’s final on Saturday. For the 2013 and 2014 US Opens, the women’s final will move to Sunday and the men’s final to Monday, to give the players a day of rest between the semis and final.

Also, provided municipal approvals are received, the USTA plans to move ahead with a long-term, $500 million improvement plan for the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center that will see renovated and new facilities. In a statement, the USTA says its goals are twofold: “to transform the NTC over the next several years into the most modern and fan- and player-friendly tennis center in the world and to continue to attract the world’s best tennis players.”

“The USTA has a long-term vision in place to ensure that tennis continues to thrive in the United States,” says David Haggerty, USTA Chairman, CEO and President. “This vision encompasses every level of the sport, from energizing existing fans, to attracting new players, to ensuring the US Open remains one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events. With this unprecedented commitment to long-term prize money and recognition of the value that players bring to the sport, we will gain stability for the sport so that we can focus our energy on growing the game and ensuring tennis’ vitality in the U.S. for years to come.”

“We welcome the commitment the USTA has made concerning player prize money at the US Open through 2017,” says Brad Drewett, ATP Executive Chairman & President. “These increases are the largest in the history of the sport, representing a significant step forward in truly recognizing the input the players have in the success of the US Open. We also welcome the decision from the USTA to adopt a schedule with the men’s semifinals completed by Friday and the final on Sunday, from 2015 onwards.”

The USTA says it does not plan to pay for the higher prize money by increasing ticket prices. “Frankly, we’ll take somewhat of a hit,” USTA Executive Director Gordon Smith told the Associated Press, “but it’s the right thing to do for the Open and for the players, so we’re doing it.”

Distribution of the new prize money hasn’t been decided. An announcement is expected closer to the start of the US Open, which runs from Aug. 26 to Sept. 9.

In related news, in late March it was reported that the USTA is in preliminary talks with CBS to renew its current broadcast agreement for the US Open, which runs through the 2014 event. CBS currently pays $20 million a year, and sources told Sports Business Daily that the USTA is looking for a “hefty increase” in that amount.

ITA Names Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame Inductees

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) announced the 2013 inductees for the ITA Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame.

The 2013 honorees will be inducted at the 2013 ITA Men’s Collegiate Hall of Fame Enshrinement Banquet, which will be held on May 22 during the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Ill.

People Watch

TIA Adds to ‘Facility Manager’s Manual’

In the coming months, the TIA and club manager/author Rod Heckelman will update the TIA “Facility Manager’s Manual” with at least six additional sections. The new material will be released monthly by the TIA, then will become part of the 2013 revised edition of the TIA Facility Manager’s Manual. Also, much of the new material will appear in future issues of RSI as separate articles on Facility Management.

Topics that the new material will cover include building a bridge between fitness and tennis at your facility, tools for janitorial and maintenance programs, understanding the “fine print” in contracts, event tracking, and more. All are geared to help tennis facilities gain members, cut costs and make more money. Heckelman is the longtime general manager of the Mount Tam Racquet Club in Marin County, Calif.

The entire manual is downloadable as a PDF at at the TIA Associate Member level and above.

Bolt, Mantis Join IART Sponsors

The 2013 IART racquet technician symposium has added sponsorships by Bolt and Mantis racquets. The two companies will join Babolat, Dunlop, Gamma, Prince, Wilson, and Yonex in sponsoring the IART symposium. Each attendee will receive a triple racquet thermal bag, 12 sets of premium string, and one premium racquet.

“We’re happy to have Bolt and Mantis joining what I feel is a stellar group of companies that help make this event very special,” says IART founder Tim Strawn. “That’s an impressive line-up of sponsors, and as in the past, the package we give to attendees will easily offset the registration fee.”

This year’s training includes one-on-one private stringing lessons from some of the seminar leaders, all MRT’s and some who are past RSI Magazine winners of the “Stringer of the Year” award. A full session on 10 & Under Tennis is planned along with many other new sessions.

To register and for more information, and click on the “Symposium” link, or call Strawn at 540-632-1148.

USPTA, ThanksUSA Continue Campaign to Thank the Troops

As part of “Tennis Thanks the Troops,” the USPTA and ThanksUSA will continue to team up to encourage USPTA professionals to fund scholarships for the families of military men and women. Spokespersons for the nationwide campaign, launched in 2012, are Bob and Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond.

USPTA members can help by donating a portion of their lessons or clinic fees taught during Memorial Day Weekend 2013 (or any other weekend/date). USPTA Professionals can provide the opportunity for their students and club members to donate $5 for the cause or they can run a simple round-robin or other event with all or a portion of the proceeds being donated to ThanksUSA. The club raising the most money for ThanksUSA will receive two tickets to the US Open and the opportunity to send their pro to New York, including airlines and hotel.

“ThanksUSA’s partnership with the USPTA is a profound example of how much Americans treasure our troops and recognize the sacrifices they and their families make to keep those of us here at home safe,” said ThanksUSA CEO and Chair Bob Okun. “Your help gives our returning soldiers and those still in danger zones the ability to ensure that the futures of their children and spouses are made equally secure through education.” For more information visit or

Racquet Art Introduces Cleansing Grip Spray

Racquet Art has introduced a Cleansing Grip Spray, designed to clean racquet handles of bacteria, fungus and germs. Available in an 8-ounce spray bottle, simply spray on the grip after playing and let it dry overnight. The all-natural ingredients are free of alcohol and bleach. The manufacturers says it’s safe for all grips and overgrips. Visit

Congratulations To the Following Certified Stringers

New MRTs

Dave Limke, Cincinnati, OH

Kevin Sandusky, Sharonville, OH

Jesse Schwartz, Winter Garden, FL

Thomas Smith, Batavia, OH

New CSs

Kevin Macias, San Diego, CA

Richard Marks, San Diego, CA


USTA Awards $75,000 in Multicultural Grants

The USTA has awarded $75,000 in Multicultural Excellence Tennis Grants to 10 community tennis organizations. Each will receive a $7,500 grant toward their competitive junior development programs that train youngsters who are aspiring to achieve national and/or international rankings.

The recipients were selected based on the number of players with sectional and national rankings in a specific program. Grants are awarded to organizations that operate year-round and provide a high level of on-court instruction and off-court training opportunities, with a history of developing tournament-level players. The 2013 grant recipients are:

Multicultural Individual Player Grants for National Competition & Training, ranging from $1,000 to $4,000, were also awarded to 68 student-athletes throughout the country. The grants, totaling $150,000, provide funding to competitive junior players.

USPTA Nominating Committee Proposes New Board

The USPTA’s nominating committee has put forth a proposed slate for the 2013-2015 USPTA National Board of Directors. The proposed slate is:

3 Recognized With Hall of Fame Awards

The International Tennis Hall of Fame presented the 2012 Samuel Hardy and Tennis Educational Merit Awards on March 16 during the Annual Awards Luncheon, which was held in conjunction with the USTA Annual Meeting in Weston, Fla. Hall of Famers Stan Smith and Monica Seles participated in the presentation of the awards, which are given annually to recognize great volunteers and leaders in the sport of tennis.

Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins received the prestigious Samuel Hardy Award. The Tennis Educational Merit Awards were presented to former WTA pro Kathy Rinaldi of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., who is now a national coach in USTA Player Development, and Ned Eames of Boston, Mass., one of the country’s most successful leaders of a National Junior Tennis & Learning organization.

Williams, Junior Players at Commercial Shoot

Serena Williams shares a lighthearted moment with four Junior Wilson players at the Biltmore Tennis Center in Coral Gables, Fla., in March prior to the Sony Open, during the filming of a commercial leading up to Wilson’s 100th anniversary.

ASBA Technical Meeting Set for San Antonio

The American Sports Builders Association (ASBA), the national organization for builders, designers and suppliers of materials for tennis courts, running tracks, synthetic turf fields and indoor and outdoor synthetic sports surfaces, will hold its annual Technical Meeting Dec. 6-10 at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio in Texas.

The meeting will include a trade show featuring some of the newest products and techniques available on the market. The program will have state-of-the-art sessions on advanced technique in sports facility design, construction and materials, as well as more rudimentary “how to” programs directed at those who want a more hands-on approach. In addition, there will be multiple social events to facilitate networking, golf and tennis tournaments, meetings of board and committees, presentations of industry awards, exams for those interested in the ASBA’s professional certification program, and more. For more information,

Serbia Knocks U.S. Out of 2013 Davis Cup

A match that featured early uncertainty for Serbia’s Novak Djokovic finished as another victory for the world’s No. 1 player and his country. Djokovic shook off an early ankle injury to defeat world No. 20 Sam Querrey, the top-ranked American, 7-5, 6-7, 6-1, 6-0, on April 7, and Serbia defeated the U.S. in the Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinal tie, 3-1, on an indoor hard court at Boise State University’s Taco Bell Arena.

Two days earlier, on the opening day of the tie between Serbia and the U.S., Querry beat Viktor Troicki in five sets, after fellow American John Isner lost in three sets to Djokovic. But it was the doubles match on the middle day that captured the attention of much of the Davis Cup world, when Serbia’s Nenand Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac outlasted Bob and Mike Brian, the world’s No. 1-ranked doubles team, 7-6, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 15-13, to put Serbia up 2-1.

The doubles match produced a number of superlatives:

Serbia improved to 2-0 against the U.S. in Davis Cup and, along with Croatia and Spain, are the only countries to have a winning record against the U.S. Davis Cup team. Jim Courier’s record in three years as U.S. Davis Cup captain is 4-3, 1-2 at home.

Serbia advances to host Canada in the World Group Semifinals in September. The U.S. is expected to be a seeded country in the 2014 Davis Cup World Group.

ITF Issues Supporting Material for ‘Tennis Xpress’

Last fall, the International Tennis Federation officially launched its “Tennis Xpress” program, which it says is an easy and active introduction to tennis for adults using slower balls to ensure players learn to play tennis fast.

The goal of Tennis Xpress is to help “starter adults” to serve, rally and score from the first session. By the end of the course, adults should know basic techniques, tactics and rules, and also they should be able to play competitive points using the green ball on a full court.

Now, the ITF, which is composed of 210 national tennis federations or organizations, including the USTA, has issued “supporting materials” in English, Spanish and French for the Tennis Xpress program. The material is available for all national associations and includes an implementation manual, advertisements, posters, consumer and trade leaflets, and video. The ITF has also produced an hour-by-hour schedule for coaches to follow.

Kleybanova is Top Pick in World TeamTennis Draft

Cancer survivor Alisa Kleybanova was selected by the Springfield Lasers with the first overall pick in the 2013 Mylan World TeamTennis Roster Draft at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif., in March. The former world No. 20 will make her Mylan WTT debut on July 8, when Springfield hosts the Boston Lobsters.

In other first round draft highlights, fans will have the opportunity to see 2013 International Tennis Hall Of Fame inductee Martina Hingis team up with Venus Williams in Washington. A trio of future American stars will be featured, too: Jessica Pegula and Steve Johnson were drafted fourth and fifth overall by the Philadelphia Freedoms and the Orange County Breakers, while Taylor Townsend was selected in the second round by last season’s runner-up Sacramento Capitals.

The Mylan WTT regular season runs July 7-24, with conference championships scheduled for July 25, and concludes with the Mylan WTT Finals on July 28.

New York Open to Bring Tennis Back to West Side T.C. Stadium in Forest Hills

The historic stadium at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills is getting a new lease on life with the arrival of the New York Open, which will take place July 4-7 this year. The New York Open’s organizers are looking to attract top amateur and professional talent for the inaugural event, which will consist of men’s and women’s open singles and doubles and mixed doubles and offer prize money.

“We are convinced that the New York Open will become one of the iconic sporting events in New York City,” says Dale Caldwell, founder of the nonprofit Tennis in New York Inc., the tournament’s organizer. “It is designed to be a fun, family-friendly event celebrating the tennis championships of New York City at historic Forest Hills on America’s birthday, the Fourth of July.” Caldwell, a USPTA teaching pro for more than 25 years, also is a former USTA board member.

The New York Open’s inaugural year also coincides with the 100th anniversary of the West Side Tennis Club’s move from Manhattan to Forest Hills. Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins will be honored at the event and will serve as the honorary chairman.

In addition to tournament play, the schedule for the four days includes 10 and Under Tennis Play Days and other family tennis events, a jazz fest, fashion show, book fest, food and merchandise concessions, and fundraiser/auction.

For more information, or to inquire about sponsorships, contact Caldwell at 732-208-9808 or

US Open National Playoffs Returns

The US Open National Playoffs returns for a fourth year, providing an opportunity for players 14 years of age and older to earn a berth into the US Open. The US Open National Playoffs will again include both men’s and women’s singles, as well as mixed doubles.

The US Open National Playoffs men’s and women’s singles champions earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, held the week prior to the US Open. The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles champions receive a wild card into the main draw of the 2013 US Open.

Registration and additional information for each of the 13 sectional qualifying tournaments is The entry fee for each of the sectional qualifying tournaments is $100 for singles and $120 for each mixed doubles team ($60 per player). All players competing must have a current USTA membership valid through August 26, 2013.

The 13 men’s, women’s and mixed doubles champions or top available finishers from each sectional qualifying tournament will advance to the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s and Women’s Singles Championship, held August 16-19, and the Mixed Doubles Championship, held August 21-24. All three tournaments will take place in conjunction with the New Haven Open at Yale in Connecticut.

Hingis, Drysdale Among 2013 Hall of Fame Inductees

Martina Hingis, a former world No. 1 and the winner of 15 Grand Slam tournament titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, has been elected to receive the highest honor in the sport of tennis, enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Joining Hingis in the Class of 2013 will be two co-founders of the ATP, longtime ESPN tennis broadcaster Cliff Drysdale and tennis promoter and industry leader Charlie Pasarell, both of whom have been elected in the Contributor Category. Also in that category, Romanian tennis great Ion Tiriac, has been elected in recognition of his work to grow the sport through roles as an influential player/manager and successful tournament promoter.

Rounding out the induction class of 2013 is Australian tennis legend Thelma Coyne Long, winner of 19 Grand Slam tournament titles between the 1930s and 1950s, elected in the Master Player Category.

The 2013 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony will be held on July 13 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., in conjunction with the annual Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event. Tickets for the ceremony and tournament are available on or by phone at 401-849-6053.

BNP Paribas Showdown in New York City

The Biggest Loser’s Bob Harper (center right) and Nickelodeon’s Jeff Sutphen join tennis champions Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro, Serena Williams, and Victoria Azarenka to honor youth tennis and to kick-off Tennis Night in America at Madison Square Garden on March 4.

Solar Array Saves Club $52,000 in Annual Costs

Depending on the type of building and location, indoor tennis clubs may well be sitting on a significant cost-saving solution: using the expanse of roof to hold a solar array that can help reduce energy costs.

Two years ago, Pro-Tech Energy Solutions of Branchburg, N.J., designed and managed the installation of a 281.06 kW photovoltaic solar array atop a 61,000-square-foot Galvalume roof on the New Shrewsbury Racquet Club in Tinton Falls, N.J. The standing seam roof and solar array replaced an aging fastened through metal roof that had been leaking on the pre-engineered metal building.

With the combination of the 1,200-solar panel array and other changes suggested by Pro-Tech and roofing consultant Englert Inc., including adding blanket insulation, the club is saving about $52,000 in annual energy costs. or call the company at 908-526-3322 for more information.

USTA Honors Six With Annual Awards

The USTA honored six winners of its annual awards at the USTA’s Annual Meeting and Conference in mid-March in Florida. The honorees were recognized for their dedication to growing the game.



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