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Industry News

Patrick McEnroe to Leave USTA Player Development

After 6½ years as the USTA’s general manager of Player Development, Patrick McEnroe announced he is resigning from the position. The announcement came during a news conference at the US Open.

McEnroe said he was leaving for personal and professional reasons — among them, that the head of Player Development should be based at the $60 million tennis center being built at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla., and that he did not want to be based there full time. Finding his successor could take up to six months, said USTA Executive Director and COO Gordon Smith. McEnroe will stay on to help with the transition to a new head of Player Development.

“It’s very difficult to create top-level players,” said McEnroe, who also is a tennis analyst for ESPN. “I think I have a newfound respect for what my parents did to create two players, one who was really good and another who was pretty good.” Patrick, a former pro player and U.S. Davis Cup captain, is the younger brother of seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe.

McEnroe’s resignation comes when results from American men appear to have hit new lows, as no U.S. man made it into the second week of this year’s Open. A New York Post story, which said McEnroe sat down with a handful of reporters before the Open, reported that, “McEnroe called out the system that doesn’t allow the USTA to sanction coaches, saying America had ‘lost ground in the world of coaching.’”

Smith said McEnroe’s departure was not prompted by recent declining pro results. “If you look at where we are and where we have come from, we have a great foundation. Frankly, I think we are going to see results of that,” Smith said. “Patrick realized that the United States really needed a broad-based, organized regional and national program. Make no mistake, we’re going to continue the course. This is not a change in direction.”

NCAA Group Tables Changes To Division 1 Championships

The NCAA Division 1 Championships/Sports Management Cabinet tabled a proposal that recommended several changes aimed at reducing the length of matches in the D1 Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships. The cabinet referred the proposal back to the D1 Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee and asked them to gather feedback from the sport’s student-athletes. It’s the second time since 2012 the cabinet rejected changes to the D1 championships.

Committee members were also asked to try to reach more consensus and understanding in the coaching community, particularly among women’s coaches. Cabinet members also suggested another survey be sent to the membership and that it originate from the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee.

“We put a lot of time and effort into this, so we’re disappointed,” said D.J. Gurule, former chair of the D1 Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee and the head women’s coach at Gonzaga University. “But we know we’ve got to reengage with the entire tennis community of coaches and student-athletes to come up with a model that is in the best interests of the sport and is more broadly supported.”

PTR Hits 15,000 Members

In August, the PTR announced that it added its 15,000th member, Ellie Czura, who joined via the PTR on Campus program. Czura is a junior at Hilton Head Preparatory School, where she is a member of the state championship tennis team. Along with several other local high school tennis players, Czura will take part in a PTR on Campus Certification Workshop after the girls’ tennis season in October.

“With PTR’s effort to educate and certify younger tennis coaches, we are thrilled that Ellie is our 15,000th member,” says PTR CEO Dan Santorum. “Ellie is a very good competitive player who loves tennis and hopefully will choose to have a rewarding career coaching the game.”

Czura will receive a free PTR Symposium registration where she will be recognized during the Parade of Nations. She will also receive a complimentary 2016 PTR membership, plus a free PTR educational workshop of her choice.

“I’ve been fortunate to train at both the Van der Meer World Class Training Center and the Smith-Stearns Academy, so I know the important role that coaches play in the development of junior tennis players,” Czura says. “I hope to one day follow in their footsteps.”

Trenton NJTL Dedicates Haggerty Pavilion

The National Junior Tennis & Learning of Trenton (N.J.) has experienced many memorable moments in its 39-year history, but it will be difficult to top the dedication of the Daniel L. Haggerty Jr. Pavilion in August.

Numerous political and USTA dignitaries attended, and it signified the final piece of the Cadwalader Park tennis court renovation project. The Pavilion is the centerpiece of the Junior Champions Tennis Center, now one of the largest outdoor short-court facilities in the country, with 14 smaller courts and a stadium court. The complex is now used by the NJTL for its extensive tennis and educational programs that reach some 2,500 kids annually.

The project was co-chaired by Albert Stark, Amy Smith, and Dave Haggerty, the current USTA President and son of the Pavilion’s namesake. It was a unique partnership between the City of Trenton, which provided community development grant money and helped with the bidding process; the NJTL of Trenton, which managed the project; Friends of Cadwalader Park Tennis, who led the fundraising effort; and the USTA, which provided the design work.

Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson, Board President Beth Deitchman, Executive Director Rob Howland, and Haggerty were among those to make remarks. Jim Courier and Todd Martin (photo) played a singles exhibition and joined two star NJTL kids for some fun doubles play. — Ann LoPrinzi

USTA Foundation Receives $125K Grant from Coca-Cola

USTA Foundation, the USTA’s national charitable organization, has received a $125,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation, the philanthropic arm for The Coca-Cola Co. As part of the grant, the USTA Foundation will fund $10,000 to 10 National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) programs nationwide that utilize the ACE (Academic Creative Engagement) Curriculum.

The ACE curriculum provides hands-on academic lessons in literacy and math and includes additional lessons on nutrition, all designed to encourage academic achievement, health and wellness while developing social skills. In addition to the funds, the following NJTL programs will also receive professional development support and materials:

In January 2014, the USTA Foundation combined with USTA NJTL, a national network of 630 community-based tennis and education programs serving more than 330,000 youth, to become a fully operational foundation.

“We are extremely grateful to the Coca-Cola Foundation for supporting the ACE curriculum and our phenomenal NJTL chapters,” said Dan Faber, executive director of the USTA Foundation. “These funds provide us with an opportunity to not only support one of our greatest academic programs within the NJTL network, but to continue to grow and expand our outreach.”

ITA Names 2014 Collegiate All-Star Team

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association has named the best collegiate tennis players from the 2013-2014 season. The ITA Collegiate All-Star Team consists of:

In addition, the 2014 ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. National Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winners are:

Hall of Fame Announces Nominations for 2015

French tennis greats Amelie Mauresmo and Mary Pierce, both two-time singles champions at Grand Slam tournaments, have been nominated to receive the highest honor in tennis — enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Two-time Roland Garros champion Sergi Bruguera of Spain, and Russia’s Yevgeny Kafelnikov, winner of two singles titles and four doubles titles at Grand Slams, join Mauresmo and Pierce in the Recent Player Category of nominees.

David Hall of Australia, a six-time ITF World Champion has been nominated in the Recent Player Category for Wheelchair Tennis. Longtime tennis industry leader Nancy Jeffett has been nominated in the Contributor Category in recognition of her lifetime commitment to the growth of the sport, particularly in the areas of women’s professional tennis and junior tennis development.

Voting for the 2015 ballot will take place over the next several months, culminating with an announcement early next year to reveal the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2015. The 2015 Enshrinement Ceremony will be July 18 in Newport, R.I., in conjunction with the annual Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.

PTR, iTPA Announce Global Partnership Agreement

The PTR recently announced a global partnership agreement with the International Tennis Performance Association (iTPA).

“Continuing education is key to being a successful tennis coach, as well as to a thriving tennis industry,” says PTR CEO Dan Santorum. “By partnering with iTPA, PTR has joined forces with a first-class association that will provide excellent educational opportunities for our tennis coaches around the world. One of the benefits of this agreement is that members of both organizations can take advantage of special educational opportunities.”

“The iTPA is proud to partner with the PTR to continue to grow the quality and breadth of education offerings throughout the tennis industry,” adds Dr. Mark Kovacs, PTR, CTPS, MTPS and iTPA executive director. “The iTPA’s mission is closely aligned with that of PTR and this partnership will benefit members of both organizations with a focus on providing high-quality education.”

Tecnifibre, JTCC Announce Partnership

The Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC), at College Park Tennis Club in Maryland, has partnered with Tecnifibre to become the premier training center for Tecnifibre’s ATP World Tour “On the Road” program in the U.S.

“We at Tecnifibre are very pleased to be partnering with one of the premier tennis academies in the U.S.,” says Dave Dorsey, national sales manager of Tecnifibre USA. “As a premier brand of competition-level tennis products, Tecnifibre looks forward to working alongside the Junior Tennis Champions Center in the development of the next generation of professional players.” The “On the Road to the ATP World Tour” is an exclusive program led by Tecnifibre-sponsored ATP players, including Janko Tipsarevic and Denis Istomin. The program helps juniors discover what it takes to reach and excel on the pro tour.

“We are looking forward to a new era of innovation as we begin our partnership with Tecnifibre,” adds Ray Benton, CEO of the JTCC. “The JTCC was founded on the idea of preparing all our players to reach their full potential — as young adults and as athletes. Working alongside Tecnifibre will allow us to offer our students the best in technical equipment as they train.”

CareersInTennis.com Nears 50,000 Job Views

With more than 2,600 registered job-seekers and over 300 registered businesses, the free site CareersInTennis.com has taken off in 2014.

Ryan Melton, the operations manager for the Tennis Industry Association, which manages the site, reports that from January to September of this year, the website has received nearly 50,000 views, a 52 percent increase over all of 2013. “The site is one of the industry leading go-to sources to connect employers and employees to tennis career opportunities,” he adds.

CareersInTennis.com is free to use for both job-seekers and employers. Visit the site to sign up.

Ashaway Squash String Adds New Design

Ashaway Racket Strings has added new flare to its popular 18-gauge SuperNick XL Micro squash string by introducing a new black and white pattern. The distinctive new design adds variety and choice to what has become Ashaway’s fastest growing squash string category. Ashaway’s other 1.15 mm squash strings include UltraNick 18 and PowerNick 18. Visit ashawayusa.com.

"The new black and white cross pattern SuperNick XL Micro is very flashy and distinctive,” says Ashaway VP Steve Crandall. “It will go very well with some of the new racquet graphics, and will be very recognizable as a member of the Ashaway SNXL family of squash strings."

Giron, Loeb Win Inaugural American Collegiate Invitational

A little bit of rain didn’t stop UCLA’s Marcos Giron from winning the inaugural American Collegiate Invitational tournament, played at the US Open on Sept. 6 of the final weekend. The top-seeded Giron of Thousand Oaks, Calif., downed Ohio State’s Peter Kobelt, 6-1, 6-3, to win the men’s title, while North Carolina’s Jamie Loeb beat fellow New Yorker Julia Elbaba, 7-5, 6-1, of Virginia to capture the women’s championship in the eight-player event played at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

If Giron is ranked No. 250 or higher and Loeb No. 150 or higher in the world rankings next summer, the pair will receive a main draw wild card into next year’s US Open. Guaranteed at least a qualifying wild card, Giron and Loeb will also get wild cards into two USTA Pro Circuit events, while Kobelt and Elbaba will each get one wild-card spot.

Ken Merritt to Head New Team Gamma Program

Gamma has hired an experienced group of promotional scouts and recruiters headed up by tennis industry veteran and development expert Ken Merritt. Merritt and his team will be responsible for building Team Gamma, an elite group of tennis players, teaching pros, coaches and training centers.

“I am excited to start this new venture with Gamma,” Merritt says. “After meeting the Gamma team, I knew this was the perfect fit. These guys are really committed to tennis. The knowledge and experience that sits in Gamma headquarters blew me away.”

“We are very excited to be shaping Team Gamma with Ken, who recently built one of the most highly visible junior and academy programs in the tennis industry,” says Gamma President and CEO Matt Ferrari. “His team’s ability to create passion and a dedicated following for a brand coupled with our commitment to support players, teaching pros, coaches and academies are a natural fit.”

USPTA Pros Raise $22K For Military Families

Since May, members of the USPTA have donated more than $22,000 to ThanksUSA as part of the Tennis Thanks The Troops campaign, which included a $1,000 donation from the USPTA Foundation.

Through Tennis Thanks the Troops, USPTA and ThanksUSA have teamed up to encourage USPTA Professionals to raise money for scholarships given to the families of military men and women. USPTA Professionals held tournaments, festivals, auctions and lessons to help raise funds, and the pro who raised the most won a trip to the 2014 US Open.

This year’s winner was USPTA Elite Professional Todd Assini, tennis director of the Berkeley Hills Country Club in Duluth, Ga. He hosted a Memorial Day Tennis Mixer fundraiser, a Silent Auction fundraiser, a Wimbledon viewing party, and a happy hour on June 28, raising $6,335.25 for the charity.

Participation Increases For High School Sports

The number of participants in high school sports increased for the 25th consecutive year in 2013-14, with a record total of almost 7.8 million, according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). The one-year increase of more than 82,000 athletes was the highest since 2009-10.

Girls’ participation increased for the 25th consecutive year with an additional 44,941 participants from 2012-13 and set an all-time record of 3,267,664. Boys’ participation eclipsed 4.5 million for the first time (4,527,994), breaking the mark of 4,494,406 in 2010-11.

The top 10 boys sports remained unchanged from last year: football, outdoor track and field, basketball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, cross country, tennis, golf, and swimming and diving. Track and field remained the No. 1 sport for girls, followed by basketball, volleyball, soccer, fast-pitch softball, cross country, tennis, swimming and diving, competitive spirit squads, and lacrosse.

Worldwide Sponsorship Expected to Increase

Worldwide spending on amateur and professional tennis tournaments, leagues and sanctioning bodies is expected to total $739 million in 2014, up 4.4 percent from 2013, according to projections by sponsorship consulting company IEG. The increase exceeds the projected 4.3 percent increase in overall sponsorship spending, but lags behind the 4.9 percent increase in sports spending overall.

Some of the top deals in tennis this year included the ATP renewing FedEx Corp. while the WTA re-upped BNP Paribas as title of the season-ending WTA Finals Singapore. The WTA also secured SC Global as presenting sponsor of the WTA Finals, and the Connecticut Open landed United Technologies Corp. as presenting sponsor.

According to IEG, sports apparel and equipment companies are the most prolific sponsors of tennis — 8.4 times more likely to sponsor tennis than the average of all sponsors. Anheuser-Busch is the most active sponsor of tennis with 34 percent of properties with a sponsor in the malt beverage category reporting a partnership with the company.

Clarification

In the Sept./Oct. issue of Tennis Industry magazine, the State of the Industry article (page 30) conveyed a stat that tennis TV viewership was down 22 percent in 2013. Absent from this analysis was a reference to the fact that the 2012 London Olympics had a significant impact on the 2012 viewership figures, resulting in the majority of the comparative decline in tennis viewership for the 2013 year.

TIA & NSSA Offer 2nd Annual ‘Tennis Media Award’

The TIA and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) are again working together to bring to light the many great stories about tennis — those who play, teach, organize, sponsor and promote the game. The TIA will present the Second Annual “Tennis Media Award” to an NSSA member who produces a story (print, web or broadcast) judged to be the most informative, interesting, and compelling about the sport of tennis or those involved in the sport.

The story or broadcast can be about any aspect of recreational play, for instance Youth Tennis, Cardio Tennis, Adult Tennis, league play, school tennis, Tennis on Campus, the PlayTennis.com website, etc. The Tennis Media Award will be presented June 6-8 at the 56th annual NSSA Awards Weekend in Salisbury, N.C. The winner will receive travel to the event and $1,000. Runner-up and Honorable Mention winners also will receive prize money.

To be eligible, stories must be published or broadcast between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2014. The deadline for entries is March 1. Only NSSA members are eligible, and only one entry per member. (The NSSA consists of more than 1,000 leading sportscaster and sportswriters, the largest and oldest such professional organization in the U.S. To join the NSSA, visit nssafame.com.) For print entries, send a web link to the story or attach a low-res PDF. For web entries, send a link to the story. For broadcast entries, a web link is preferred. All entries must be emailed to contest@tennisindustry.org. For more information, visit tennisindustry.org/media.

By the numbers

Tennis Racquet Performance Specialty Stores

January-June, 2014 vs. 2013
Units 2014 299,767
2013 304,526
% change vs. ’13 -2%
Dollars 2014 $44,391,000
2013 $44,175,000
% change vs. ’13 0%
Price 2014 $148.08
2013 $145.06
% change vs. ’13 2%

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars

Jan.-June 2014 Best Sellers

  1. Babolat Aero Pro Drive 2013 (MP)
  2. Babolat Pure Drive GT 2012 (MP)
  3. Babolat Pur Drive Lite 2012 (MP)
  4. Head Graphene Radical MP (MP)
  5. Babolat Aero Pro Team 2013 (MP)

“Hot New Racquets”

(introduced in the past 12 months)

  1. Head Graphene Radical MP (MP)
  2. Wilson Juice 100 S (MP)
  3. Babolat Pure Strike 100 (MP)
  4. Head Graphene Radical Pro (MP)
  5. Babolat Pure Drive Play (MP)

Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, Jan.-June 2014

  1. Prince T22
  2. Asics Gel Resolution 5
  3. Nike Air Max Cage 2013
  4. Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour
  5. Babolat Propulse 4

Top-Selling Strings at Specialty

By year-to-date units, Jan.-June 2014

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

(Source: TIA)

USRSA Welcomes new MRT’s

David Dvorak - Dunwoody, GA

Terry Gratz - Stone Mountain, GA

Cody Hunter - Vero Beach, FL

Mark Lewis - Santa Clara, CA

Michael Na - Indonesia

Bill Vinh - Houston, TX

USTA Board, Officer Nominations Announced

The USTA Nominating Committee has announced the following people have been nominated to serve as Officers and Directors on the national USTA Board of Directors for the 2015-2016 term (section affiliation in parentheses):

Directors at Large: Fabrizio Alcobe-Fierro (Florida), Joan E. Baker (Northern), Mark D. Ein (Mid-Atlantic), Michael J. McNulty III (Southern), Andrew A. Valdez (Intermountain), Kathleen J. Wu (Texas), Lauren B. Barnikow (Elite Athlete – Northern California), Todd C. Martin (Elite Athlete – Florida), Chanda R. Rubin (Elite Athlete – Southern)

Immediate Past President: David A. Haggerty (Middle States)

In addition, the nominating committee has named its own successors for the 2015-2016 term: Charlotte S. Johnson (Chair – Southwest), Frank A. Adams (Intermountain), Kathleen T. Francis (Eastern), Eddie A. Gonzalez (Southern), Robert Kramer (Southern California), Greg R. Lappin (Northern), Greg J. Mason (Southwest), Rex A. Maynard (Southern), Roshan N. Rajkumar (Northern), Nancy C. Rasgado (Florida), Christopher J. Reynolds (Mid-Atlantic), Alfredo Trevino (Texas), Jill Craybas (Elite Athlete – Southern California), Jewel R. Peterson (Elite Athlete – Southern), Jim Thomas (Elite Athlete – Midwest)

Glass Receives Patent For Net Tension Device

In the same week that the TNT Gauge was being installed for the third consecutive year on net posts for all the courts at the 2014 US Open, U.S. Patent No. 8,806,952 “Measuring Sports Net Tension” was issued to the gauge’s inventor, David Glass of Knoxville, Tenn. The patent recognizes the uniqueness of the tennis and volleyball net tension gauges that have removed the last variable from those sports’ net setups, Glass says.

The TNT (“Tennis Net Tension”) Gauge was developed in 2011 with the cooperation of the University of Tennessee program, and is becoming the standard measuring device for equalizing the nets across a tennis facility. The gauges are in use at several pro events and two NCAA Championships. Beginning with the 2015 publication of Friend at Court, the USTA joins the ITF in recommending a tension of 400 to 450 pounds on all competition nets, with all nets across a facility within 25 pounds of each other.

“The TNT Gauge is the only instrument in production that is certified to be accurate enough meet that narrow tension range,” Glass says. “The new product is on hundreds of courts and has been used for thousands of matches at pro, college, and club levels, and has proven its durability without a single hardware failure to date.” The TNT Gauge has a two-year manufacturer’s warranty.

In 2013, volleyball adopted that sport’s version, called the Tight Right Gauge, and is working toward similar standardization of volleyball net tension. The Tight Right Gauge will be on the nets for the volleyball events at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

Manufactured in Knoxville, and available with club or team logos, the TNT Gauge is made in models that ensure compatibility with nearly all tennis net posts. Visit tightcable.net or contact Glass at 865-307-0474 or David@tightcable.net.

People Watch

Short Sets

Mattingley Named 2014 USPTA Professional of the Year

USPTA Master Pro Randy Mattingley (below) of Kingwood, Texas, was honored with the 2014 Alex Gordon Award for the Professional of the Year, the USPTA’s top annual member award. Mattingley and other industry leaders were recognized by the USPTA at its annual awards ceremony, held in New York at the Tennis Teachers Conference during the US Open. Other honorees are:

 

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