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Todd Martin named CEO of Hall of Fame

Todd Martin, who was ranked world No. 4 on the ATP World Tour in the 1990s, has been named CEO-designate of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, R.I. He will succeed Mark L. Stenning, who is stepping down in September after 35 years with the organization and 14 years as CEO.

Martin will begin working at the Hall of Fame as CEO-designate on April 1, with Stenning remaining as CEO through Sept. 5. Stenning will then work on special projects for the Hall of Fame, namely, the completion of significant expansion and renovation to the facility.

“We are very pleased to welcome Todd Martin,” said ITHF Chairman of the Board Christopher E. Clouser. “When we began our search, Todd was one of the people we went to for suggestions on candidates. Through discussions with him it became apparent that he, in fact, should be on the short list.”

Stenning, Clouser said, “has been the heart and soul of the Hall of Fame for 35 years, during which time he has elevated the organization to outstanding levels within the tennis industry and the local community. We are indebted to him for his leadership and service.”

Martin, who retired from the pro tour in 2004, will assume the helm as the Hall of Fame in the midst of a $15.7 million capital campaign. In spring 2014, the organization is scheduled to break ground on a major construction project that will add three indoor/outdoor hard courts and a significant new building for locker rooms, fitness facilities, and office and retail space. Also on the schedule is a complete renovation of the museum.

406 Kids Set Record for Largest Tennis Lesson

The USTA set the official Guinness World Record for the ‘‘Largest Tennis Lesson” in celebration of World Tennis Day and the thousands of USTA Tennis Play Events in March. The historic occasion was held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows on March 3 and featured 406 children from local youth organizations in the New York area.

In addition, the USTA hosted special guest Judy Murray (right), mother of Andy Murray and the British Fed Cup captain, to inspire kids and families.

Bollettieri, Brown Grimes among 2014 Tennis Hall of Fame Inductees

Among the five people who this summer will receive the highest honor in the sport of tennis — induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame — are two key industry contributors from the U.S.: legendary coach Nick Bollettieri and industry leader Jane Brown Grimes. They join former world No. 1 player Lindsay Davenport, Paralympic champion Chantal Vandierendonck and British tennis broadcaster and author John Barrett.

Bollettieri, widely regarded as one of the most influential people in the world of tennis, has coached 10 world No. 1 players including Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles and Boris Becker. He was inducted into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame in 2012 and the USPTA Hall of Fame in 2013.

Brown Grimes has had a major impact on the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, the Women’s Tennis Association, and the USTA, having held leadership roles with all three, including USTA chairman and president from 2007 to 2008. She has been the longtime chairman of the Rodney Street Tennis & Tutoring Association, an inner-city program in Wilmington, Del.

Davenport, who won three Grand Slam singles titles and the Olympic gold medal, retired in 2010 and is a commentator for Tennis Channel. Vandierendonck, of the Netherlands, was an early star of wheelchair tennis. Barrett has been a tennis broadcaster for the BBC, former tournament director, and author and tennis historian. He’s married to Hall-of-Famer Angela Mortimer Barrett, and his induction will mark the second husband-wife team in the HoF, after Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf. The enshrinement will be July 12. Visit tennisfame.com.

Prince Global Sports to Relocate to Atlanta

Prince Global Sports is relocating its corporate headquarters to Atlanta, from its longtime location in Bordentown, N.J. At press time, Prince announced it was finalizing a lease agreement to move into commercial property in the Buckhead area north of downtown Atlanta.

CEO Mike Ballardie said Prince has been an iconic brand in the tennis industry more than 40 years and feels Atlanta is a natural location for Prince Tennis’ headquarters. “As we continue our growth as a global company, we see Atlanta and its vast resources as a perfect fit for our management, sales and marketing teams,” he said.

“Atlanta has a thriving tennis community with more men, women and children playing tennis than any other U.S. city, making it a great home base for Prince. As a global brand, we are involved at all levels of the sport from juniors to supporting key professionals in tennis and squash tournaments all over the world. Leveraging our assets with Atlanta’s location, talented workforce and the travel options offered by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will be a tremendous benefit to the company.”

“Atlanta is a natural home for Prince given the city’s love of tennis and our position as a leading distribution and logistics hub,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Atlanta’s ALTA tennis league, established in 1934, has more than 80,000 members, and the city also is home to the BB&T Atlanta Open pro event in July.

Ballardie said the company is relocating its product research, development and player servicing activities to the IMG Academy in Florida, alongside the recently opened Prince Innovation Center. Prince is owned by Waitt Company of Omaha.

‘Coach Youth Tennis’ Curriculum Launches

The USTA, along with the PTR, USPTA and USOC, officially launched the educational curriculum program “Coach Youth Tennis,” to improve the quality and standards of teaching tennis to kids and enhance the long-term development of children in the sport. The program consists of a series of online courses and a hands-on workshop introducing participants to the fundamentals required for success in working with children ages 10 and under.

The USTA worked in collaboration with the PTR, USPTA and U.S. Olympic Committee to develop the curriculum, which serves as a pathway to Tennis Professional Certification through the PTR and USPTA certification programs. Beginning this year, all individuals who want to become a certified teaching professional will need to complete the “Coach Youth Tennis” curriculum.

“This partnership is part of the USTA’s continuing effort to bring more children into the sport,” said Kurt Kamperman, USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis. “These educational resources will impact tennis teachers and coaches throughout the country, with information on how to best deliver the sport to kids, as well as on maximizing their business.” The educational curriculum establishes a set of standards for tennis teachers and coaches, ensuring that children will be taught the proper essentials of the game. Visit coachyouthtennis.com.

Bollettieri’s new autobiography available

Nick Bollettieri’s new autobiography, “Bollettieri: Changing the Game,” will be published April 2. Written with Bob Davis, with an introduction by Jim Courier, the hardcover is $26.95. The promotional material for the book says: “Mincing no words, he discusses his 10 world champions, 9 lives, 8 wives, 7 children, and all the successes and failures in between. His advice based on five decades of dominance in sports training is inspirational, motivational and reaches far beyond the tennis court.” To order, including signed and personalized copies, visit bollettierithebook.com or contact tim.westervelt@img.com or call (941) 752-2515.

Wristpect Sport! Introduces ‘Wristbands Unleashed!’

Sport accessory company Wristpect Sport! of Plano, Texas, infuses wristbands with fashion, color and function with its “Wristbands Unleashed!” Company founders Janelle Sideris and Aleece Schwalenberg develop individual patterns for each wristband. All products come packaged in their signature retro paper envelope. Visit wristpectsport.com.

Cardio Tennis Adds More Training Sessions

Interest in delivering Cardio Tennis to consumers continues to run high, as training sessions for Cardio Tennis and TRX Cardio Tennis have been added to the 2014 schedule. As of late February, the following training sessions have been scheduled, but check CardioTennis.com as the schedule is updated regularly. (CT means Cardio Tennis Training Course; TRX CT is the TRX CT course.)

Austin, Texas — May 17 (CT) & 18 (TRX CT)

Birmingham, Ala. — April 19 (CT)

Cleveland — April 27 (CT)

Cleveland — May 18 (TRX CT)

Darien, CT — April 17 (CT)

Denver — May 16 (CT) & 17 (TRX CT)

Fayetteville, N.C. — Oct. 9 (CT)

New York, N.Y. — June 14 (CT)

New York, N.Y. — Nov. 8 (CT) & 9 (TRX CT)

Philadelphia — May 5 (CT)

Wexford, Pa. — March 22 (CT)

TIA Quarterly Report on the Tennis Retail Market

Tennis Racquet Performance: Specialty Stores

January-December, 2013 vs. 2012

Units 2013 690,171
2012 731,346
% change vs. ‘12 -6%
Dollars 2013 $100,709,000
2012 $102,432,000
% change vs. ‘12 -2%
Price 2013 $145.92
2012 $140.06
% change vs. ‘12 4%

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, Jan.-Dec. 2013

Best Sellers

  1. Babolat Aero Pro Drive 2013 (MP)
  2. Babolat Pure Drive GT 2012 (MP)
  3. Wilson BLX Juice (MP)
  4. Wilson Steam 99S (MP)
  5. Babolat Aero Pro Team 2013 (MP)

“Hot New Racquets”

(introduced in the past 12 months)

  1. Wilson Steam 99S (MP)
  2. Wilson Steam 105S (OS)
  3. Head Graphene Speed MP (MP)
  4. Head Graphene Instinct MP (MP)
  5. Head Graphene Speed Pro (MP)

Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, Jan.-Dec. 2013

  1. Prince T22
  2. Asics Gel Resolution 5
  3. Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour
  4. Nike Air Max Cage 2013
  5. Adidas AdiPower Barricade 7

Top-Selling Tennis Strings at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date units, Jan.-Dec. 2013

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

(Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

Lights Out for WTT Vegas Team

Las Vegas was all set to be the new home of the Mylan World TeamTennis franchise relocated from Sacramento, but the league pulled the plug on the team after the owner, Deepal Wannakuwatte, was arrested for fraud charges and had the assets of his Sacramento-based medical supply company frozen by a federal judge.

The team, previously operating as the Sacramento Capitals, had moved to Las Vegas in February, signed Sam Querrey as its marquee player and was renamed the Las Vegas Neon. But with assets from the parent company frozen, it was unable to meet its financial obligations to the league. The WTT season, which takes place July 6 to 24, will consist of seven teams instead of eight this year.

USPTA Seeks Nominations for Annual Awards

The USPTA is accepting nominations for its 2014 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 June 17. All Professional-level members are eligible. Recipients will be recognized during the Tennis Teachers Conference Aug. 22-25 at the Grand Hyatt New York. Visit uspta.com for more information and to nominate.

T.O.M. Conference to Feature Facility Experts

The inaugural Tennis Owners & Managers Conference, to be held in Charleston, S.C., April 3-4 (during the Family Circle Cup women’s pro tournament) will feature some of the industry’s leading experts in club and facility management and programming.

Hall-of-Famer and ESPN tennis commentator Cliff Drysdale, who owns a tennis facility management company, will be the keynote speaker. He’ll be joined by experts such as Doug Cash of CashFlow Tennis, Kurt Kamperman and Virgil Christian of the USTA, Thomas Deere of Five Seasons Family Sports Club, Simon Gale of Yonkers T.C., Jeff Goecke of Fairfield Indoor Tennis, Greg Lappin of Life Time Fitness, Michael Mahoney of Midtown T.C., Ajay Pant of Tennis Center at College Park, John Embree of the USPTA, Dan Santorum of the PTR, and facility designer and consultant David Lasota, among others.

The conference agenda includes sessions on topics such as how to grow your membership base; making money through programming, including Cardio Tennis; dealing with employees and compensation; court design and renovation; teaching pro issues; the youth tennis market; retailing and a club pro shop; technology; research; and more. Visit TheTOMConference.com or call 843-473-4504.

Nominate Your Outstanding Facility

Do you know an outstanding tennis facility in your local area — one with great courts, a great design, impressive construction and excellent tennis programs? Nominate it for a USTA Outstanding Facility Award, which is a great way for a facility to receive local and national recognition, and to help in fund-raising goals.

The deadline to nominate is May 30. Winners will receive their award at the USTA SemiAnnual Meeting in September in New York. Last year, 19 facilities from around the country were honored as “outstanding” by the USTA, and one was chosen as a “featured” facility. Nomination forms for 2014 are available at USTA.com/facilityawards.

Ashaway Introduces Crossfire Hybrid

Ashaway Racket Strings has introduced the latest addition to its Crossfire line of tennis hybrids, Crossfire ZX. Combining Ashaway’s 17 gauge (1.25 mm) braided Aramid/PTFE Kevlar +Plus main strings with its 1.22 mm MonoGut ZX Pro cross strings, Crossfire ZX is designed for players looking for a hybrid combination of soft power with excellent durability and superior spin, says the company. Visit ashawayusa.com.

SoCal Acquires TGA Franchise

The USTA Southern California (SCTA) has acquired a TGA Premier Youth Tennis franchise and will implement TGA’s school-based model in the San Fernando Valley. SCTA, the first USTA section to invest in a TGA franchise, will use it to create jobs to oversee day-to-day operations, handle staff training and teach the programs. Revenue generated will help develop other youth initiatives.

Power Courts Partners with CourtTech

Atlanta-based squash court construction company Power Courts is the exclusive North American partner of squash court maker CourtTech in Germany, and is dedicated to growing the sport and making it more accessible in the U.S. and Canada.

Co-founded by former World No. 1 squash player Jonathon Power, Power Courts by CourtTech offers “system courts” that have been accredited by the World Squash Federation. The sand-filled panels are joined with a special tongue-and-groove connection. Power Court by CourtTech provides a 5-year warranty on wall construction.

Company President Andrew Bailey says Power Courts has already been asked to quote more than $3 million in business, and the company is looking to expand its team of advisors and builders. Call 1-844-4SQUASH, email info@powercourts.com, or visit powercourts.com.

Correction

Our playtest report of Victory Acelon Seven string in our March 2014 issue included erroneous information regarding the price and gauges. The correct prices are $16.99 per 40-foot set and $379.99 for Victory’s exclusive 600-meter mega-spool. Victory Acelon Seven is available in 17 (1.24 mm), 16L (1.27 mm), and 16 (1.31 mm). We apologize for any confusion. Read the corrected playtest report here.

USRSA Announces New MRTs/CSs

MRT - Eric Adams - Chicago, IL

CS - Robert Myers - Lexington, KY

People watch

Norway’s Sorvald Named PTR Pro of the Year

Oivind Sorvald of Lieskogen, Norway, was named PTR Professional of the Year at the PTR International Tennis Symposium, held in February in Hilton Head Island, S.C. A PTR member since 1980, Sorvald has been a PTR Tester since 1992. Currently, he is the Director of High Performance and Coach Education for the Norwegian Tennis Association (NTF), where he has conducted coach education courses for more than 20 years.

Dr. Jim Loehr and Jim Verdieck were inducted into the PTR Hall of Fame, joining Dennis Van der Meer. Loehr, a world-renowned performance psychologist, has been a PTR member since 1976 and is the co-founder of the Human Performance Institute. Verdieck, who passed away in 2001, coached the University of Redlands men’s tennis team for 38 years and was a charter member of the PTR.

The TIA/PTR Commitment to the Industry Award went to Butch Staples, co-owner of the TennisClub of the Low Country at Rose Hill in Bluffton, S.C. Staples is a PTR Master Professional and holds a B.A., a B.P.E. and an M.S. in Physical Education. Other PTR members honored during the Symposium include:

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