Roy Barth Elected New PTR President
Roy Barth of Kiawah Island, S.C., has been elected as the new president of the PTR Board of Directors. Elected to serve as vice president is Karl Hale of Toronto, Canada. Ajay Pant of College Park, Md., will serve as secretary, and Oivind Sorvald of Oslo, Norway, will serve as treasurer.
Continuing to serve on the PTR board as at-large directors are Leo Alonso of Buenos Aires; Luciano Botti of Italy; Rodney Harmon of Atlanta; and Pat Van der Meer of Hilton Head Island, S.C. Jorge Andrew of Cayce, S.C., remains on the board as immediate past president.
Barth (at right in photo with Jorge Andrew) was ranked in the U.S. as high as No. 8 in men’s singles and No. 2 in men’s doubles, as well as being ranked in the Top 50 in the world on the pro tour. He also was a founding member of the ATP Tour. In 1976, he was named director of tennis at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, where he manages two tennis centers with 24 courts. He has served as chairman of the USTA Davis Cup Committee and is a member of the San Diego, South Carolina and Southern Tennis Halls of Fame. Barth, a PTR International Master Pro, was named PTR Professional of the Year in 1990 and 2007.
Vice President Hale is the tournament director for the ATP and WTA Rogers Cup in Toronto. He also is the head tennis pro at the Donalda Club in Toronto. Pant is the general manager for the Tennis Center at College Park, Md., and Sorvald is the director of High Performance and Coach Education for the Norwegian Tennis Association.
Austin Named Tennis Director at HoF Tennis Club
John Austin is the new director of tennis at the International Tennis Hall of Fame Tennis Club in Newport, R.I. Austin is a former ATP touring professional, ATP coach and tennis director at prestigious resorts in the West and Southwest.
“I have a deep passion for the game and a strong appreciation for the history of this great sport,” Austin says. “I’m looking forward to being part of the club’s future, especially with the renovations and programming that are sure to be an integral part of the club in the years to come.”
He joins the Hall of Fame Tennis Club as the facility undergoes a major renovation that will result in an all-new indoor facility with three hard courts and the addition of three new indoor/outdoor courts. The club also has 13 grass courts and one clay court. Austin will oversee all programming at the Hall of Fame Tennis Club, which is open to the public.
“John has built successful and engaging tennis programs at some of the most popular clubs in the country,” says HoF CEO Todd Martin. “We are eager to bring his expertise to our club to create a world-class experience for our members and guests.”
Austin competed on the ATP World Tour for six years, achieving a world ranking of No. 40. In 1980, he partnered with his sister, Hall of Famer Tracy Austin, to win the mixed doubles title at Wimbledon.
Babolat Offers French, Wimbledon Product
Babolat has come out with new product for both the French Open and Wimbledon.
For the French Open, the Racket Holder comes in 6-pack (suggested retail $75) or 12-pack ($95) models and includes a cooler compartment to help preserve string tension. The Backpack Team ($65) is an ultra compact model. In addition, the company offers a variety of strings, grips and dampeners designed in the spirit of the French Open.
Babolat is the official licensee for racquets, shoes, bags and accessories for Wimbledon and can use the official colors of the event. This year, the company offers the Babolat Pure Strike Wimbledon special edition racquet, with a 98-square-inch head size, 16/19 string pattern, and suggested retail of $199.
Footwear includes the all-surface Propulse BPM All Court, in black/green or white/green, with a suggested retail of $119. The Wimbledon models have the tournament’s official logo. The SFX All Court shoe ($105) also is available in green, white and purple. Among Wimbledon logoed equipment bags, Babolat also offers a Pure Strike Wimbledon bag in a new, larger size that can hold up to 15 racquets. Visit babolat.com.
Connor Sport Court Surface Chosen for Lake Nona
Connor Sport Court International has partnered with the USTA to provide 16 courts for the USTA’s new state-of-the-art tennis facility at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla., set to open in 2016.
As the “official and exclusive supplier” of the USTA for 36-foot and 60-foot courts, Connor Sport Court will provide eight 36- and eight 60-foot courts using its Sport Court PowerGame surface, for use by youngsters and adults.
“Connor Sport Court International is proud to partner with the USTA to provide Sport Court-branded tennis courts for the “new home for American tennis,” says CSCI President and CEO Ron Cerny. “This is a great opportunity for our Sport Court brand to be part of this transformational USTA initiative that will help grow the sport of tennis in the U.S. at both the youth and adult levels.”
To keep in line with the USTA’s goals, an advanced surface system was required that provided not only unparalleled safety but also met the green technology initiatives of USTA and Lake Nona. The Sport Court PowerGame surface will be built on SportBase, a recycled concrete replacement product that will provide additional cushion and safety.
“We are working with leaders in the tennis industry to build a game-changing facility and are excited that we are partnering with Sport Court,” says Virgil Christian, the USTA’s senior director of Market/Facility Development & Collegiate Tennis.
Boost Your Business With ‘Try Tennis Free’
Increase traffic to your courts and bring more people into tennis with the industry-supported “Try Tennis Free” (TTF) campaign, which will run throughout the month of May.
Tennis providers — facilities, certified teaching pros, Community Tennis Associations, park & recs and others — can choose the best introductory session or program they feel will encourage new and returning players to step onto the court. Free offers can include lessons, clinics, Cardio Tennis, Play Days, and more.
“You decide what will work best in your area to attract people to tennis,” says Jolyn de Boer, executive director of the TIA, which is spearheading Try Tennis Free, in conjunction with the USPTA, PTR and USTA. “Tennis providers who participated in the inaugural TTF campaign last May reported that on average, facilities saw 30 new and returning players hitting their courts.”
Providers can easily sign up at PlayTennis.com to participate in TTF and receive free customizable marketing material to download to promote the campaign locally.
Diadora Announces 2015 Tennis Shoe Lines
Diadora’s new line of performance tennis shoes for men and women includes the Star K and Speed Pro EVO models. Designed with an emphasis on performance, durability and style, each shoe features Diadora’s proprietary technologies. Dunlop Sports Group America is the U.S. distributor for Diadora.
The men’s Star K VI AG shoe is crafted with soft kangaroo leather, has a removable Ortholite insole, and uses Axeler 5 Technology for shock absorption and energy recovery, while the Power Flow system provides ventilation and air flow. The Duratech 5000 rubber outsole has a six-month guarantee. Star K models come in two colorways for both men and women. Suggested retail for the Star K VI and Star K III is $139.
The redesigned Speed Pro EVO AG is built for lightweight speed and comfort, says Diadora, with a lightweight Air Mesh/Supreltech upper and uni-tongue construction. The men’s Speed Pro Evo AG is available in three colorways: Blue Prugna/Flame Red, Lime/Fluo, and Black/Fluo. The women’s Speed Pro EVO is available in Blue Plum/Bright Rose. Suggested retail for both models is $119.
USPTA Offers Proposed Board of Directors Slate
The USPTA national Nominating Committee has submitted the following slate for the 2016-2017 national Board of Directors:
President: Chuck Gill
First Vice President: Gary Trost
Vice Presidents: Alan Cutler, Feisal Hassan, Jack Michalko, Diane Selke, R.J. Tessier
Immediate Past President: Tom McGraw
Additional nominations may be made by the general membership in accordance with the USPTA Bylaws. Procedures and information for running for a board position may be obtained from the national office (email@example.com). In order for a new candidate to be added to the ballot, he or she must be nominated by at least 120 members. Only one nominee per office will be added to the slate.
DiBiase Named GM for Babolat USA
Susan DiBiase has been named the new General Manager of Babolat USA and will lead the brand strategy and execution in the U.S., working out of the headquarters in Boulder, Colo. She’s served as the company’s marketing director since 2007.
DiBiase, named Tennis Industry magazine’s 2012 “Person of the Year,” has contributed to major growth in market share by implementing diverse strategies and programs for Babolat. Recently, she spearheaded the U.S. launch of the first “connected” tennis racquet, the Babolat Play.
“I’m honored and thrilled by the opportunity to build upon the great work that’s been accomplished, and to continue to cultivate relationships with our partners and look for innovative ways to grow the brand in the U.S.,” she says.
Officials Out, Hawk-Eye In at PowerShares Series
InsideOut Sports and Entertainment announced that the 2015 PowerShares Series tennis circuit will be the first pro tennis event series to exclusively use electronic line-calling systems in place of linespeople throughout its 12-city tour, which started March 24 in Salt Lake City.
The PowerShares Series, the North American tennis tour for champion tennis players over the age of 30, will now only employ a chair umpire for matches during its four-player nightly events and will have all line-calling responsibilities decided by the Hawk-Eye Officiating System. Players will be allowed unlimited challenges during a match.
Players competing on the 2015 PowerShares Series are defending points champion John McEnroe; Hall of Famers Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, and Michael Chang; and Andy Roddick, James Blake and Mark Philippoussis.
Mauresmo Leads 2015 HOF Induction Class
Former world No. 1 and two-time major champion Amelie Mauresmo has been elected to receive the highest honor in the sport of tennis — induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Joining Mauresmo in the Class of 2015 will be David Hall of Australia, a six-time Paralympic medalist. Longtime tennis industry leader Nancy Jeffett has been elected 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.
The 2015 Induction Ceremony will be July 18 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the annual Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event. Visit HallofFameTennisChampionships.com.
PTR ACE Program Set for 33 U.S. Cities
The PTR is reigniting its ACE Program aimed primarily at increasing the number of tennis coaches of color in the U.S. The ACE (Advancing the Commitment to Education) Program, which featured Arthur Ashe as its spokesperson when it started in 1991, will travel to 33 cities across the country.
ACE is an invitation-only program offering education and certification at a reduced rate as a result of scholarships from PTR, participating USTA sections, and in some cases, states and districts. The first three ACE workshops — in Houston, Milwaukee and Columbia, S.C. — have been sold out. Participants must be at least 4.0 players in order to qualify for certification.
“Our goal for the ACE Program is simple: Increase the number of certified coaches of color in the U.S.,” says PTR CEO Dan Santorum. “Our goal is 33 percent of PTR membership to be coaches of color in three years.”
Gamma Offers New Solace Multifilament String
Gamma’s newest string is Solace, a multifilament featuring a high-energy TNT2 Dual Core technology and high-tenacity multifilament outer wraps bonded together by a polyurethane matrix and coated with a soft abrasion resistant TPU for maximum comfort and exceptional playability, says Gamma.
In addition to a full set, Solace will be sold as a half set main string paired with Glide cross string — Glide Hybrid with Solace. The company says players with slow to moderate swing speeds will benefit from the power and vibration dampening of Solace, and players with faster swing speeds will benefit from the control, comfort and feel.
Solace is available in 16 and 17 gauges in “natural” color. Suggested retail is $16.95. Suggested retail for the Glide Hybrid with Solace is $27.95.
ITA Announces Partnership with Tennis Analytics
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) has a new partnership with Tennis Analytics LLC to provide video match tagging for collegiate teams. Raw match footage will be charted and posted to a private online team collection, allowing coaches and players to filter and view important match events. Detailed match reports and player season averages are also provided. The service can be used for home and away matches.
“Initially, Tennis Analytics was a service that we provided to a select few top touring pros and federations,” said Warren Pretorius, who founded the company. “A natural extension is the collegiate market, and we already have over 30 top teams as clients. In all major sports, there is a far greater awareness of the importance of analytics and having greater information that allows you to objectively track player and team progress.”
Head Takes Over Stringing at BNP Paribas Open
Head Professional Stringing took over as the official stringer for the 2015 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the first change in stringing teams at the March tournament in decades. The BNP Paribas Open is the largest professional two-week combined ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and WTA Premier tennis tournament in the world, with 96 players in the singles draws and 32 teams in the doubles draws.
Head used a new stringing machine at the BNP Paribas Open, however company officials said the Head-branded machine is still in development and not available yet for stringers. With the move to official stringer for the event, Head/Penn Racquet Sports expands its role with the tournament, as Penn has been the official ball since 1982.
Advantage Glove Helps Players Get a Grip
Advantage Tennis Gloves, which has primarily been available to players in the U.S. Southeast, has expanded to more national distribution, following its ownership change to INTENNIS Inc. — The Global Tennis Network.
“With the continued growth and popularity of the Advantage Tennis Glove and the growth of tennis, we believe it is the right time to transition from a regional to a national marketplace,” says Robert Gore, CEO of Advantage Tennis Gloves and publisher of INTENNIS. “Advantage Tennis Gloves offer players a better grip on their racquet and game, less stress and fatigue for their hands, and increased protection against blisters. It makes the game more enjoyable, and will keep your players playing more.”
Gore says the direct connection between a player and his piece of sports equipment is the key to success. “Baseball players hold a bat for just a few minutes every game, yet they use a batting glove every time. In golf, it takes only seconds to swing a club, yet golfers can’t do it without using a golf glove to improve their grip.
“But tennis players, who must hold their racquet continuously for an hour or more just to play the game, have traditionally avoided using a glove that can help them improve their grip — and therefore improve their game. We think it’s time tennis players got a better grip on their tennis games.”
Advantage’s patented design provides an improved grip with a seamless palm, minimizing blisters and calluses, Gore says. The mesh back provides greater hand comfort, and the attached sweatband keeps the hand and the racquet handle perspiration-free.
For more information or to order, visit advantagetennisgloves.com or call 707-888-3714.
US Open National Playoffs Adds Doubles
The US Open National Playoffs will be held for the sixth season this year, providing the opportunity for all players 14 years of age and older to earn a berth into the tournament. New this year, the National Playoffs will include men’s and women’s doubles competition. Also, players can continue to compete in both men’s and women’s singles, as well as mixed doubles.
The US Open National Playoffs 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 men’s, women’s and mixed doubles champions receive a wild card into the main doubles draws of the 2015 tournament.
“This year, by adding men’s and women’s doubles, the National Playoffs are giving competitors the opportunity to earn their way into the US Open in every possible way,” said Katrina Adams, USTA Chairman of the Board, CEO and President. “We look forward to watching top juniors, collegians, aspiring pros, and weekend warriors compete for the chance to play on tennis’ grandest stage.” Registration for sectional qualifying tournaments is at USOpen.org/NationalPlayoffs.
TIA Joins DC Lobbying Effort
Peg Connor, the grassroots program manager for the Tennis Industry Association, represented the industry at the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s 2015 National Health Through Fitness Day in Washington, D.C. on March 4.
Among the sports celebrities who joined more than 100 sports industry executives in lobbying Congress for key legislation to battle the “inactivity pandemic” in the U.S. were six Olympic gold medalists, one Heisman trophy winner, a Super Bowl champion, and athletes from Major League Baseball, NHL, NBA, USA Swimming and more.
Connor (above) spent time visiting lawmakers’ offices with former MLB pitcher Tommy John, who was honored with the SFIA Lifetime Achievement Award. The sports execs pushed lawmakers to support the PEP Bill (Carol M. White Physical Education Program) and the PHIT Act (Personal Health Investment Today). For info, visit sfia.org/nhtf.
USRSA Announces New MRTs
Anthony Heckle - Cincinnati, OH
Kristi Kelly - Glen Mills, PA
Steve Leane - Tucson, AZ
- Babolat USA has promoted Daniel Becker to senior marketing manager, from brand marketing manager. Becker will oversee communication, sports marketing and field marketing. In 2013, he was named one of Tennis Industry’s “30 Under 30.”
- Amer Sports, which owns Wilson Sporting Goods, appointed Vincent Wauters as president of Amer Sports apparel business and a member of the company’s executive board. He had been general manager of Amer’s Arc’teryx Inc. brand since 2012. He will report to Amer Sports’ President and CEO Heikki Takala.
- The USTA announced that Gold Badge Chief Umpire Bruce Littrell has been named Chief Umpire of the 2015 US Open. Littrell, who served as Deputy Chief Umpire of last year’s US Open, succeeds former Chief Umpire Phyllis “Woodie” Walker, who retired after succeeding longtime Chief Umpire Rich Kaufman for the 2014 US Open.
- Pro Heather Watson of the United Kingdom is the latest player to join the Babolat team. She is playing with Babolat’s Pure Strike racquet with RPM Blast string. At Wimbledon, she’ll use a special edition “Pure Strike Wimbledon” frame in the tournament’s signature green and purple. Babolat is the official licensee of Wimbledon.
- The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced the six 2015 inductees for the ITA Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame: coaches Fred Kniffen (University of Texas at Tyler & Tyler Junior College) and Jim Schwitters (University of Hawaii); players Jay Berger (Clemson University), Mark Merklein (University of Florida) and Jeff Morrison (University of Florida); and contributor Tim Russell (Northwestern University). The Enshrinement Banquet will be May 20 in Waco, Texas, during the NCAA Division I Men’s & Women’s Tennis Championships at Baylor University.
- Bill Kellogg is again the president of the USTA Southern California Section. Kellogg was president from 2009 to 2011, then was on the USTA national board of directors. He took the reins again at SoCal at the section’s annual meeting in March.
- Grace Cummings, a student-athlete at Madison (Conn.) Daniel Hand High School, has been selected the 2015 national recipient of the “National High School Spirit of Sport Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Cummings, who has a 3.98 grade-point average, is a highly accomplished three-sport student-athlete who plays field hockey in the fall, ice hockey in the winter, and tennis in the spring. She underwent a liver transplant in 2012.
- USPTA Elite Professional and former USPTA National President Harry Gilbert is the new executive director of tennis at the Albany resort community in the Bahamas. Gilbert will reside at Albany during November through April and will continue to spend the summer months as director of tennis at Waccabuc Country Club in Westchester County, N.Y.
- Steve Hinding and Vin Rapuano have joined Hinding Tennis LLC of West Haven, Conn., full time. Hinding, who is vice president and in the process of becoming a full partner, has been in the tennis surfacing industry for 40 years. Rapuano will promote and sell post-tensioned tennis courts in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
- Former pro player Jan-Michael Gambill is the new head coach for the Boston Lobsters of the Mylan World TeamTennis Pro League. Gambill was ranked as high as No. 14 in the world in singles and reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 2000. He played for WTT for eight seasons, including with the Lobsters from 2008 to 2012.
- The San Diego Aviators of Mylan World TeamTennis has signed tennis champion and BBC tennis commentator John Lloyd as its coach for the 2015 season. Lloyd is a former British No. 1 in singles, peaking at No. 21 in the ATP Rankings. He also won three Grand Slam mixed doubles championships. Lloyd captained the British Davis Cup team from 2006 to 2010.
- WTA player and former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki is the newest advocate for USANA Health Sciences, joining more than 700 elite athletes, including tennis players Eugenie Bouchard, Madison Keys, Samanth Stosur and Sloane Stephens.
- Five-time world racquetball champion Sudsy Monchik has been elected to the Racquetball Hall of Fame in the “professional” category. Monchik led the development of Dunlop’s global product line, in addition to handling promotions and sponsorships.
- Ashaway has signed rising Scottish international badminton player Paul Van Rietvelde. He plays with Ashaway ZyMax 66 Fire.
- Great Britain beat the U.S. in the Davis Cup World Group first round in early March, 3-2, and will host France in the quarterfinal in July. The U.S. will play in September’s World Group Playoff against an opponent to be determined.
- The USPTA is now accepting nominations for its 2015 awards. USPTA annually honors members who go above and beyond to support the industry and the game. Visit uspta.com/awards for nomination forms, rules and more information. Deadline is July 7.
- USTA New England and Babolat have formed a partnership in which the France-based company will serve as the section’s official partner for racquets, tennis bags, strings, accessories and 10 and Under Tennis. Babolat will work with USTA NE to promote the youth aspect of the sport with the goal of growing the game.
- Invesco PowerShares (PowerShares QQQ) has renewed its title sponsorship of the Champions Series tennis circuit though 2018. PowerShares QQQ has been the title sponsor since 2011. The PowerShares Series is the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30.
- Junior Tennis Champions Center of College Park, Md., will partner with Special Olympics Maryland for the third straight year. JTCC will provide athletes on Team Montgomery County access to its training facilities, as well as coaching from some of JTCC’s top junior champions and award-winning coaching staff.
- The USTA has renewed its agreement with IMG as the US Open media consultant outside of the U.S., Canadian and Latin American territories until 2025. IMG has been representing the USTA since 2013 and will continue to consult the USTA in media negotiations across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.
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