Tennis Industry magazine


Industry News

Host a Free ‘Tennis Play Event’ To Boost Your Business

Looking for a way to bring in more business, and to spread the word about tennis? Host a USTA Free Tennis Play Event or Play Day in the month of September to connect with players, kids and parents.

In celebration of Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play, USTA Free Tennis Play Events will be held across the country throughout September. The events can be for any and all ages and skill levels. By registering your event on, parents can find your facility or program and connect to your event.

The site has new registration enhancements. Not only can parents and players register to attend your Play Day or Play Event on the website, but also you can track attendance and stay connected with players and parents leading up to your event. There’s even a mobile phone check-in feature so you can capture attendance instantly from your phone.

To register to host an event, and to have your event featured on the website, visit or call 800-990-8772.

“Our 10 and Under Tennis business has grown over 100 percent in the last five years since creating a specific program for the age bracket,” says Simon Gale, general manager of the Yonkers (N.Y.) Tennis Center. “We are registered online as a 10 and Under Tennis facility, which makes us easy for parents to find. We have teamed up with the USTA whenever possible to use their marketing tools and resources which have given us more exposure than we could ever generate on our own.”

There are many formats you can use to help get kids into the game, including:

When you register your events, you’ll also be able to download customizable marketing material to help you promote your programming and bring more kids into the game.

“The kids had a blast and were asking how they could play more tennis after school,” says Marcy Cohen of Bridgeport (Conn.) Community Tennis. “I know they’ll play with more confidence — and seek out more play opportunities — as a result of attending this event. It was a thrill to see them get active and enjoy tennis.”

“These events help support all of our other 10 and Under Tennis programming,” says Mike Woody of Midland (Mich.) Community Tennis Center. “The reason to offer 10 and Under Tennis is to get kids playing, and these events encourage them to bring their friends to just play. More kids become interested in tennis, and seek out ways to play through you.”

Tennis Teachers Conference Returns to US Open

The 2014 Tennis Teachers Conference will be Aug. 22 to 25 at the Grand Hyatt New York. The event brings together the leading tennis teaching professionals and coaches in the industry to share best practices, and will include a series of interactive on-court sessions and presentations. This year, the USPTA will join the USTA in hosting the TTC.

The TTC aims to provide educational resources, innovative teaching techniques and networking opportunities. Keynote speakers include Patrick McEnroe, general manager of USTA Player Development; Paul Annacone, former coach of Roger Federer and Pete Sampras; Judy Murray, mother of Andy Murray and British Fed Cup captain; and Admiral James Stavridis, U.S. Naval Institute (Ret.), dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Also included for TTC attendees is access to The Tennis Show ( on Sunday, Aug. 24, from 6 to 10 p.m., featuring products and services from companies, organizations and manufacturers. In addition, TTC attendees will receive access to the US Open and are invited to a special hospitality area at the Open’s opening day, Aug. 25.

For more TTC information and to register, visit

Sony out as title sponsor of Miami Tournament

Sports Business Journal says after eight years, Sony has decided not to renew its title sponsorship of the Miami ATP and WTA tournament, the third largest tennis event in the U.S., which takes place in March. Wendy Elkin, the tourney’s senior VP of marketing, says the tournament is close to finding a new title sponsor, and Sony may still be connected with the event, which now is being called the Miami Open. In addition, Fila is out as the official apparel and footwear of the tournament.

Futty Joins California Sports Surfaces

Randy Futty has been named vice president, business development, for California Sports Surfaces, which supplies DecoTurf, Plexipave, Plexitrac and Rebound Ace. Futty was previously a regional director for Connor Sport Court International, responsible for strategic tennis initiatives.

“We are excited to have Randy join our outstanding team,” said John Graham, managing director of California Sports Surfaces. “He brings extensive marketing, sales, customer relations, strategic planning, and construction experience. He will be responsible for increasing our brand value and market share.”

Prior to joining Connor in 2012, Futty was the general manager of Har-Tru Sports for six years. His background includes serving as chair of the USTA’s Technical Committee and treasurer/secretary of the American Sports Builders Association.

United Technologies to Sponsor Connecticut Open

United Technologies Corp. is the new presenting sponsor of the newly named Connecticut Open. The annual WTA event will be Aug. 15 to 23 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale University.

The tournament’s new official name is the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies and reflects the State of Connecticut’s investment in the event. Adding United Technologies as the presenting sponsor gives the tournament a Fortune 50 global partner and continues to build on the reputation the tournament established during the past 16 years.

“Our partnership with the tournament, the State of Connecticut, Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven and the other corporate sponsors will ensure a world-class event and build on UTC’s long history of supporting leading organizations in our community,” said UTC Chairman & CEO Louis Chênevert.

“With an economic impact of approximately $26 million annually, it goes without saying that this tournament is good for Connecticut,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. “UTC’s decision to become the corporate sponsor demonstrates the company’s commitment to being a good neighbor and sharing our vision for making this state a more attractive place to visit, live, work, invest and do business.”

Southwest Greens Distributes ‘Waterless’ Artificial Clay

Southwest Greens International, based in Calhoun, Ga., announced a partnership with Classic Clay, a synthetic clay-court manufacturer in Sydney, Australia. Classic Clay is a “waterless” artificial clay tennis court surface. Waterless courts allow for year-round playability, conserve water and require little maintenance, says the company.

“Southwest Greens has a strong list of clients who opt for premier tennis solutions as much as golf. We are able to provide golf greens to court service because of this partnership,” says Southwest Greens President Kyle Ehman.

Gary Waterford, CEO of Classic Clay, met with the Southwest Greens team at its annual dealer meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., to share the attributes and benefits of the surface. Waterford says Classic Clay’s synthetic surfacing allows courts to have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years with low maintenance. Classic Clay comes in French Clay or USA Green and is used around the world, he adds, including 500 courts in France alone.

Visit or call 877-260-7888.

Princeton Tennis Program Celebrates 60 Years

Eve Kraft has become an iconic representation of community tennis, and the late legend would be proud to know that the Princeton (N.J.) Community Tennis Program that she and John Conroy founded in 1954 has just celebrated its 60th anniversary, still maintaining its original mission of “offering high-quality group instruction and programs without regard to age, abilities, skill level, or financial means.”

Now known as Princeton Tennis Program and managed by Executive Director Gwen Guidice under a board of directors, the nonprofit has been the recipient of numerous regional and national awards. It has served as a model program for communities across the country and the USTA gives a prestigious annual award in Kraft’s name.

Kraft started teaching groups of students in her backyard. PTP continued to expand its outreach and, in 2008, purchased an indoor facility, renamed the Eve Kraft Community Tennis Center.

At the Princeton Tennis Classic in early June, PTP’s annual fundraiser, the anniversary was observed by recognizing individuals who played a part in the organization’s storied history.

— Ann LoPrinzi

USTA Close to Completing $450 Million Bond Sale

Media reports in mid-June said the USTA was close to completing a $450 million bond sale that will fund the renovation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, including a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium. According to Sports Business Journal, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the USTA’s bankers, recently met with financial institutions and “demand for the bonds outstripped the supply.”

For this year’s US Open, to begin Aug. 25, there will be a new viewing platform for the practice courts, and drilling has already begun to install the pillars to hold up the Ashe stadium roof, expected to be ready in 2016. Ultimately, Louis Armstrong Stadium will be torn down new second stadium erected, and the Grandstand will be relocated.

IART Announces New Symposium Speakers and Sponsors

Head and Tecnifibre are the most recent sponsors of the 8th Annual IART Symposium, which will be Sept. 20-24 at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Fla. “This is one of the premier training events for those in the racquet service industry,” says Dave Dorsey, Tecnifibre’s national sales manager. “Tecnifibre sees this partnership with the IART as the beginning of a long-standing relationship between two industry trendsetters.”

Head has sponsored IART in the past. “Head is excited to be a part of this year’s IART Symposium and to support the continuing education of racquet technicians,” says Head Senior Business Manager Ben Simons.

Babolat announced that Lucien Nogues from Lyon, France, will be joining the lineup of speakers this year. Nogues has a diverse background in racquet sports and a stellar career as a tournament stringer with the Babolat team. He will speak on Sept. 22.

Another sponsor, Viking, will be hosting seminars on platform tennis and pickleball by Viking General Manager Ben Porter. Viking will be launching a pickleball line in late summer. In addition, USRSA Executive Director Dave Bone will present a “Certification Review” class on Sept. 22 and then offer certification testing on Sept. 24. Visit or call 540-772-4418.

N.J. Volunteers Boost Special Olympics Tennis Event

New Jersey was only the third state to host the every-four-years Special Olympics USA Games, and the event, held June 14-21, brought an estimated 3,500 athletes, 1,000 coaches, 70,000 spectators, and 10,000 volunteers. Among the 16 sports, conducted at 11 sites in central New Jersey, was tennis, with 120 athletes and 150 volunteers needed each day.

Nancy Wilkins, director of tennis at RiverWinds Golf and Tennis Club and first VP of USTA N.J. District, was the tennis commissioner for the Games, responsible for every aspect of the competition. Tennis fans, groups and league players attended volunteer training sessions and served as court captains, ball retrievers, and escorts. Singles, doubles, and unified events were held in various levels, as well as short-court match play with red foam balls.

“My experience was absolutely a dream come true,” Wilkins said. “The weather was great, the facility was perfect and the athletes and coaches were the best. I believe we achieved our goal of providing athletes with a very memorable event.”

— Ann LoPrinzi

Ashaway Sponsors Junior National Racquetball Team

Ashaway will sponsor the 2014-15 U.S. Junior National Racquetball Team sanctioned by USA Racquetball. Team members were announced on June 28th at the Awards Dinner for the 2014 Junior Olympic Championships in Denver.

The Championship is racquetball’s premier junior event in which players from across the U.S. compete in more than 50 divisions. Finalists in the 18 and Under, 16 and Under, and 14 and Under singles divisions, and champions in the respective doubles divisions earn one-year appointments to the U.S. Junior National Team.

“As part of the program, Ashaway has provided each Junior Team Member with a complimentary reel of string to start off the year, and will provide an additional reel during the middle of the season,” said Ashaway Vice President Steve Crandall. Boys on the Junior National Team received Ashaway’s new PowerKill Pro, girls received the new PowerKill 17, and Esprit team members received Ashaway’s SuperKill XL.

Penn Launches ‘Gold Rush’

Penn has launched a “Gold Rush Promotion” through Dec. 31 that gives consumers the chance to win one of thousands of prizes, including a trip to the 2014 ATP World Tour Finals in London. Consumers can find a unique code inside specially marked 6-packs of Penn Championship tennis balls or can visit the website to play without a code.

Daily prizes include genuine gold bullion coins, a one-year supply of Penn tennis balls, Head performance racquets, backpacks, t-shirts, hats, and oversize souvenir balls. A drawing for the grand prize will be held Sept. 9.

80 Million Americans ‘Inactive’

The Physical Activity Council (PAC) says 80.2 million Americans age 6 and up, or 27.6%, were physically inactive in 2013. An “inactive” person is defined as one who does not participate in any of the more than 120 sports/activities covered by the PAC report, which includes everything from individual and team sports to walking and running.

The PAC report also reveals a disturbing trend in two vital age groups. Inactivity among 13- to 17-year-olds increased to 19.9% (from 19.2%), and among 25- to 34-year-olds increased to 25.4% (from 25.1%). “We believe 13- to 17-year-olds are specializing in a single sport as well as finding fewer opportunities to play sports at high school,” says Keith Storey, VP of Sports Marketing Surveys USA. “The 25- to 34-year-olds are perhaps the most time-crunched generation.”

The Physical Activity Council is made up of six leading sports, fitness, and activity associations, including the TIA and USTA.

Adidas Lifts Ban on Sales Via Online Marketplaces

Adidas has opened up its sales to all online channels, including sites such as Ebay and Amazon. In a statement on July 1, the company said, “We have decided to extend our e-commerce guidelines to also include open market places. If our retail partners adhere to our criteria, there will be no restriction for online sales in any channel.”

Adidas had previously said it wanted its products to be sold only via expert and specialist retailers rather than Ebay and Amazon to ensure they were presented “in the best possible way and in the right environment,” according a report by SportsOneSource Media. But Germany’s Federal Cartel Office opened up an investigation about the strict distribution conditions Adidas put in place. That investigation was dropped after the Adidas announcement. The Cartel Office also is investigating similar restrictions by sportswear maker Asics.

Tennis Show Has Attendee App

The new Tennis Show app gives you key information about this year’s event, including the schedule, floor map, and exhibitor information. You can create a “to-do” list of exhibitors to visit, connect with your Facebook and Twitter accounts, see who else is attending the show, and more. Download the “Guidebook” app on your phone, then within Guidebook, download the Tennis Show Guide.

USTA Serves Awards $429,000

USTA Serves, the national charitable foundation of the USTA, has awarded more than $429,000 in grants to 46 community tennis and education organizations during its 2014 spring funding cycle.

Grant recipients are chosen by a Grant Proposal Review Committee comprised of USTA Serves board members and USTA Serves national staff, with input from USTA sections. The bi-annual grants are awarded primarily to NJTL chapters that successfully combine tennis and education. To date, USTA Serves has awarded more than $13 million to programs that support its mission.

New Federer Book Available

Can’t get enough Roger Federer? A new book, compiled and written by veteran tennis journalist Randy Walker, has you covered. “The Days of Roger Federer” documents matches, life events and facts on the tennis legend with unique day-by-day summaries.

The book, published by New Chapter Press, is available in hard copy (19.95 retail) at bookstores and on It’s also available in electronic formats, including on Kindle for $7.99.

USRSA Announces New MRTs

Byron Cleary - San Rafael, CA

Terry Kuo - Warren, NJ

‘Green’ Solutions Can Save You Money

The Tennis Legacy Fund is a non-profit committed to increasing the awareness of sustainability within the tennis industry and community. To help tennis providers operate a more profitable and sustainable business, TI magazine will run occasional tips by the Tennis Legacy Fund in partnership with Greenlight Solutions and a sustainability initiative by students at Arizona State University.

“Eco-Friendly” Cleaning Products: Catering to the needs of your club members is the utmost priority, and with the growing list of toxic chemicals and allergies caused by cleaning products, every facility ought to consider what they are using to clean their facility.

Adopting “greener” cleaning products is a responsible change not only for the members but also for the facility’s staff. Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, a term coined by the EPA, is a smart and easy solution that can guide you toward protecting your facility and members from harmful chemicals with very little extra cost. To purchase safer products, visit the EPA website and search “environmentally preferable purchasing” for a list of products that are deemed safe and environmentally friendly.

— Ashley Guelian

Wilson, Federer Collaborate on New Pro Staff Racquets

After three years of development and dozens of prototypes, Roger Federer and Wilson announced the new Pro Staff line of racquets, which the company says was developed collaboratively with the tennis champion.

Wilson says the new Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph — the first Autograph frame from Wilson in 40 years — has a larger sweetspot and more power in comparison to Wilson racquets Federer has used throughout his career. The Wilson Pro Staff line will feature frames suited for a variety of attack-style players: from avid players to youth striving to improve their game. The final graphics will be unveiled closer to the projected October 1 in-store date.

“I love the feel a smaller head provides, and larger racquets couldn’t deliver the feedback I needed,” Federer says. “This new Wilson Pro Staff has been a long time coming, but I finally have the feel I need in a 97-inch head.” The re-engineered Pro Staff models feature a 26 percent wider beam. Compared to Federer’s previous racquet, the Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph is 7 percent larger, resulting in a 10 percent larger sweetspot, says the company.

“This racquet represents the most extensive collaboration between an elite player of Roger’s caliber and Wilson,” says Mike Dowse, president of Wilson Sports Goods. “The result is a groundbreaking racquet that will benefit tennis players worldwide.”

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TIA Presents ‘Media Award,’ Sponsors Cardio Tennis

The Tennis Industry Association presented the inaugural Tennis Media Award to Chuck McGill, the sports editor for the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail, during the 55th Annual Awards Weekend of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, held in Salisbury, N.C., June 7-9. The TIA also held a Cardio Tennis “Triples” Tournament for NSSA members led by Cardio Tennis Manager Michele Krause (above).

“Chuck’s inspirational story about a woman who had a double lung transplant and is now back to playing tournaments captured the best aspects of recreational tennis,” said TI Editor Peter Francesconi, who presented the award on behalf of the TIA. McGill, who is a recreational tennis player himself and a two-time NSSA West Virginia Sportswriter of the Year, received a cash award and travel expenses to the NSSA Awards Weekend.

The NSSA also brought back a tennis event this year on the clay courts of the Country Club of Salisbury. “We had a great turnout for Cardio Tennis Triples,” Krause said. “Participants had a lot of fun. We used heart monitors and they were amazed at the calories they burned in such a short time.”

The TIA plans to continue the Tennis Media Award in conjunction with NSSA members. The award focuses on recreational tennis stories, to continue to encourage more people to get out and play.



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