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Industry News

Timothy Russell Named New CEO of ITA

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association board of directors has appointed Dr. Timothy Russell as the new CEO of the ITA. Russell will take over July 1 from longtime ITA CEO David Benjamin, who is retiring.

Russell has spent three decades as an educator at two major Division I schools, Ohio State University and most recently, Arizona State University, as well as at the University of Rochester, a leading Division III institution.

“While ASU is losing an extraordinary member of our faculty, the ITA and college tennis are gaining an incredibly creative person who will advance your cause, build your community and imaginatively address the most pressing challenges,” said Steven Tepper, dean of the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.

“I am humbled by this opportunity, and feel especially honored to succeed David Benjamin who has served the ITA and college tennis tirelessly throughout his career,” Russell said.

Russell is well known in tennis. He served as the USTA Collegiate Varsity Chair from 2007 to 2010, where he helped put together a strategic plan for the partnership of the USTA with the ITA and varsity collegiate tennis. From 2011 to 2012, he guided the USTA through major changes in the junior competitive tournament structure as USTA Junior Competition chair. He also served as a researcher and moderator for last year’s ITA Format Steering Committee.

“Tim knows and understands the ITA and the key issues facing college tennis, and will hit the ground running,” Benjamin said. “His work with boards of directors, strategic planning, fundraising and expertise in unifying large numbers of people around big causes will all be super assets for the ITA and college tennis.”

Tennis Mag Celebrates Golden Anniversary

Tennis Magazine turns 50 years old this year. The magazine, founded in Chicago in 1965 by Asher Birnbaum, is owned by the Tennis Media Co. and now is led by managing partner Jeff Williams (who also is co-publisher of Tennis Industry).

Tennis celebrates in May/June with a special anniversary issue, which includes “50th Anniversary Moments” — 50 essays that highlight “the moments that took us from the quiet lawns of the amateur era, to the glory years of the tennis boom, to the golden age of all-time great players that we’re witnessing today.” (The first 20 “Moments” are in Tennis’ May/June issue; the rest will appear in the next two issues.) Tennis’ editors also created a “Tournament of Champions” that puts the best players over the last 50 years against each other in a fantasy draw.

“To look through issues of Tennis is to see a snapshot of the evolution of the sport,” writes Chris Evert, the magazine’s general partner. “Here’s to another 50.”

Grand Canyon Univ. Adds Professional Tennis Management Program

Grand Canyon University in Phoenix is adding a Professional Tennis Management program, the first NCAA Division 1 school to do so. The program, which begins this fall, will offer a bachelor of science degree in business management with an emphasis on tennis management.

GCU’s program falls within the Colangelo College of Business, named after Phoenix sports icon Jerry Colangelo. The 120-credit program will be incorporated with the University’s growing Sports Business program as well as its new hospitality program, also being rolled out in the fall. It will cover the skills needed to manage tennis operations, including facility management, merchandising, event planning and introduction to food and beverage management.

The program, accredited by the USPTA, also will teach player development and the skills needed to become an effective instructor, and students will be required to get at least 100 hours of experience in the industry before they graduate. Students in the program also will have the opportunity to become USPTA certified by the time they graduate.

Sony Smart Tennis Sensor Launches Worldwide

After teasing the U.S. market for months, Sony has finally launched globally its Smart Tennis Sensor, which mounts on the butt of the handle of selected racquets from Head, Prince, Yonex and Wilson. The sensor uses vibration analysis and motion sensors to track and store data, either in the racquet, in the cloud or in the smartphone app.

It offers real-time shot visualizations on smartphones and tablets, as well as displaying recorded video and shot metrics. Players can collect data on ball and swing speed, spin, where you hit the ball, the type of shot you hit, etc. For more information, visit smarttennissensor.sony.net.

USPTA to Incorporate Platform Tennis Association

During the USPTA semiannual meeting in April, the Executive Committee voted to incorporate the Professional Platform Tennis Association (PPTA) into the USPTA. The PPTA has voted to dissolve and its assets, programs, certification process and mission will be borne by the USPTA. The USPTA will assist with administrative functions and handle certification and education responsibilities for platform tennis-teaching professionals.

Platform tennis professionals will become a separately tested and certified membership category under the USPTA umbrella. All professionals who become certified in platform tennis will receive all of the same benefits and pay the same annual dues as current USPTA-certified tennis professionals.

“With so many facilities where USPTA professionals teach offering platform tennis, there is an increasing need for professionals who are certified in the sport,” said USPTA CEO John Embree. “The steady growth in this game provides USPTA professionals who become certified in platform tennis more job and business opportunities.”

IART Symposium Set for Sept. 18-22

The ninth annual IART Training Symposium is set for Sept. 18-22 at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Fla. Tim Strawn, executive director of IART (International Alliance of Racquet Technicians), says the 2015 event has been revised with a new format, new speakers and more hands-on training sessions.

The IART Symposium includes on- and off-court activities, a three-hour trade show, and an evening meet-and-greet. Sunday will feature a full day of hands-on instruction on a wide variety of topics, led by seasoned professionals, Monday will showcase four seminars with new speakers and topics, and Tuesday will be a full day of racquet customization, led by Ron Rocchi, manager of the Wilson Team Room and Wilson Tour Services stringing team.

For details or to register, visit gssalliance.com or contact Strawn at tim@gssalliance.com.

Rome, Ga., Tennis Center Breaks Ground for 51 Courts

The design for the 51-court Rome Tennis Center of Georgia has been finalized and ground broken. The first phase of the construction is expected to be completed by June 2016. The plans include six NCAA regulation courts, three center courts, and one exhibition court that can accommodate seating for 2,000.

All courts are lighted and have shade cabanas for players, and 12 of the courts will be lined for Youth Tennis. The facility will have a 3,846-square-foot clubhouse with a viewing deck that overlooks the terraced courts. The design also allows for future development of six NCAA regulation indoor tennis courts.

“The Rome Tennis Center of Georgia is about increasing economic impact,” said Rome City Manager Sammy Rich. “The facility will allow us to not only keep our existing events, but make us more marketable and able to go after additional, larger tournaments as well.”

Hall of Fame Rebrands With New Logo, Campaign

The International Tennis Hall of Fame has introduced a new logo and brand identity, inspired by the global nature of tennis and reflecting the organization’s commitment to preserving and promoting tennis history to a worldwide audience.

The logo was rolled out in early May, a few weeks ahead of the re-opening of the renovated Hall of Fame Museum. The logo will be seen in a new advertising campaign this year that will highlight the stories for the 243 individuals who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“Our goal is to draw attention to the storied history of tennis and those who have built this history, as well as to engage fans with the International Tennis Hall of Fame, our outstanding new museum, and our programs,” said HoF CEO Todd Martin.

PBI Offers Unique Tennis Camp in Austria

In conjunction with Peter Burwash International’s ongoing 40th anniversary celebration year in 2015, the organization has announced the creation of the first PBI World Tennis Camp to take place Sept. 21-24 at the Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt in Tirol, Austria.

The camp will coincide with PBI’s annual conference, so more than 85 PBI professionals and directors from around the world will be on hand, offering a one-of-a-kind tennis camp experience. Participants will receive at least four hours of instruction and play each day, on Stanglwirt’s eight red clay courts at the base of the Austrian Alps. (There also are six indoor courts available.) Visit pbitennis.com or contact pbiworldcamp@pbitennis.com or 800-255-4707.

Bollettieri Opens Access to Extensive Coaching Archive

Legendary coach Nick Bollettieri has announced that he is giving fans around the world exclusive access to peruse his personal and formerly private library of plans, notes, photos, videos and published articles. The Hall of Famer’s new website, nickbollettieri.com, has personal stories, images and the secret training techniques he utilized to cultivate some of the sport’s biggest stars.



The content sat for years in Bollettieri’s personal storage units. The self-proclaimed “pack rat” admits that he has kept his training plans, notebooks, diagrams and photo and video library secret until now, carefully cataloging and archiving his approach and journey though the sport. “Once we opened the first box and saw its contents, the never-before-seen photos and documents, we knew we had to share it with the larger tennis world,” said Steve Shulla, content director for NickBollettieri.com.

Bollettieri has partnered with TEAM HQS (teamhqs.com) to launch the website, where fans can access his entire catalog through a $99 a year subscription. New content will be added to the site weekly.

PTR Adds Two Corporate Members

Sport Court International and The Pick Up Wall by Tennis Tech have joined the PTR as corporate members.

Sport Court has more than 100,000 backyard court and gymnasium floor installations worldwide and bills its tennis courts as “the safest courts in the world,” with its PowerGame tennis court designed for its safety and shock absorption. The USTA has chosen Sport Court as its “Official and Exclusive 36’ and 60’ Court Surface Supplier.” The Pick Up Wall by Tennis Tech is an automatic ball collection system that requires only 3 feet of space at the back of the court and will feed any top-loading ball machine or hopper.

Cancer Claims Stefano Capriati

Stefano Capriati, who groomed his daughter Jennifer to be a top tennis professional, died of cancer in Tampa, Florida, on April 18. He was 79 years old.

The Italian-born Capriati coached his daughter to the world’s top 10 when she was just 14 years old and helped her win a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Jennifer also won the Australian Open in 2001 and ‘02 and the French Open in 2001, becoming the No. 1-ranked player in the world later that year. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2012.

Capriati is survived by his daughter, as well as a son, Tampa lawyer Steven Capriati. Contributions in his memory can be made to the Children’s Cancer Center, 4901 West Cypress Street, Tampa, FL 33607. — Cindy Shmerler

Sun Protection for Players’ Hands

Are your members concerned about sun exposure on their hands? Consider the PalmFree SunGloves, made from UPF50 fabric to block 98 percent of UV radiation. The gloves were developed by avid tennis player Patricia Ferrer, a physician assistant specializing in dermatology who sees the long-term effects of chronic sun damage in her patients who have numerous precancers and skin cancers on the back of their hands. The palmless glove — available in two styles, four colors and five sizes — allows players to grip the racquet naturally while protecting the back of the hand. Visit palmfreesunwear.com.

Serena Williams Offers Online MasterClass

Serena Williams was one of the first experts to offer an online class at MasterClass (masterclass.com), a new online instruction site that launched in May and features experts in their fields. Others offering online classes at the site include Academy Award-winner Dustin Hoffman teaching acting and best-selling author James Patterson on writing. Future online classes will include sessions from performer Usher and photographer Annie Leibovitz.

Williams provides more than two hours of video lessons that cover core technique to pro-style fitness drills and the mental game. “I wanted to make my class feel as though you’re right there on the court with me. It’s like getting a private lesson,” Williams says. The cost for her lessons is $90. The video classes were directed by Jay Roach (“Austin Powers” and “Meet the Parents”) and Bill Guttentag, a two-time Academy Award-winning documentarian.

Roof Takes Shape at National Tennis Center

Construction is moving right along for the roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, the most visible and talked about part of the renovations at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. This photo was taken in late May by Melissa Schwartz of New York City, from a Delta Air Lines flight.

Bollettieri Partners for Exclusive Wimbledon Trip

For Wimbledon 2015, Nick Bollettieri has partnered with GR8 for a unique travel experience July 1-4. The exclusive trip, which costs $10,200 and up per person, features a personalized host, luxury transportation to the Savoy Hotel for a three-night stay, spa treatment, private welcome reception, private VIP Skyview Box seats, hospitality meet-and-greet with Bollettieri, and a private dinner or private clinic with him. (Purchase also includes a donation to a special charity.) Word is GR8 and Bollettieri are cooking up something for the 2015 US Open. Visit gr8-experience.com.

USRSA Announces New MRT’s and CS’s

MRTs

Scott Brashier - Laugna Beach, CA

Ian McCusker - Fort Collins, CO

Cherkeia Ryan - Lawrenceville, GA

Jason Pfannschmidt - Gaithersburg, MD

Stephanie Hunter - Fayetteville, NC

Pedro Palma - Fayetteville, NC

Jeffrey Yeh - Wattle PK AUSTRALIA

Andrei Hent - Toronto, ON CANADA

CSs

Fernando Santos - Mount Vernon, NY

ITA Announces 2015 National Award Winners

Division 1 — Men

Coach of the Year: David Roditi, Texas Christian Univ.

Assistant Coach of the Year: Howard Endelman, Columbia Univ.

Senior Player: Søren Hess-Olesen, Univ. of Texas

Rookie: Noah Rubin, Wake Forest Univ.

Player to Watch: Andrew Harris, Univ. of Oklahoma

Most Improved Senior: Jonny Wang, Univ. of Southern California

Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award: Mitchell Frank, Univ. of Virginia

Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sportsmanship & Leadership Award: Sebastian Stiefelmeyer, Univ. of Louisville

Division 1 — Women

Coach of the Year: Geoff Macdonald, Vanderbilt Univ.

Assistant Coach of the Year: Aleke Tsoubanos, Vanderbilt Univ.

Player to Watch: Stephanie Wagner, Univ.of Miami (FL)

Senior Player: Robin Anderson, UCLA

Rookie: Brooke Austin, Univ.of Florida

Most Improved Senior: Julia Jones, Univ.of Mississippi

Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship: Lindsey Kayati, Rutgers Univ.

Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sportsmanship & Leadership Award: Lorraine Guillermo, Pepperdine Univ.

Division 2 — Men

Coach of the Year: Hendrik Bode, Hawaii Pacific Univ.

Assistant Coach of the Year: Martin Parkes, Saint Leo Univ.

Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship: Mark Heimberger, Palm Beach Atlantic Univ.

Player to Watch: Ahmed Triki, Barry Univ.

Senior Player: Armand Levandi, Lewis Univ.

Rookie: Marko Lenz, Hawaii Pacific Univ.

Most Improved Senior: Kacper Boborykin, Midwestern State Univ.

Division 2 — Women

Coach of the Year: Dave Porter, Brigham Young Univ.-Hawaii

Assistant Coach of the Year: Nicolai Nonnenbroich, California Univ.of Pennsylvania


Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship: Lauren Howard, West Liberty Univ.

Player to Watch: Beatriz Leon, Columbus State Univ.

Senior Player: Marietta Tuionetoa, Brigham Young Univ.-Hawaii

Rookie: Kristyna Hancarova, Hawaii Pacific Univ.

Most Improved Senior: Jesse Burrell, California Univ.of Pennsylvania

Division 3 — Men

Coach of the Year: Steve Gachko, Stevens Institute of Technology

Assistant Coach of the Year: Pauri Pandian, Brandeis Univ.

Senior Player: Warren Wood, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges

Rookie: Nicholas Chua, Univ. of Chicago

Most Improved Player: Motasem Al-Houni, Gustavus Adolphus College

Player to Watch: Ari Smolyar, Middlebury College

Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sportsmanship & Leadership Award: Tyler Carey, Univ. of Mary Washington

Division 3 — Women

Coach of the Year: Kelly Stahlhuth, Washington Univ.–St. Louis

Assistant Coach of the Year: Andrew Cohn, Pomona-Pitzer Colleges

Player to Watch: Joulia Likhanskaia, Bowdoin College

Senior Player: Maria Pylypiv, Williams College

Rookie: Eudice Chong, Wesleyan College

Most Improved Player: Claire Marshall, Depauw Univ.

Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sportsmanship & Leadership Award: Rebecca Curran, Williams College

NAIA — Men

Coach of the Year: Chase Hodges, Georgia Gwinnett College

Assistant Coach of the Year: Johnny Thornton, Lindsey Wilson College

Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship: Wesley Ng, Missouri Valley College

Senior Player: Fabio Silva, Vanguard Univ.

Most Improved Senior Player: Miguel Grifol, Auburn Univ.at Montgomery

Player to Watch: Matias Hatem, Georgia Gwinnett College

Rookie: Kevin Konfederak, Georgia Gwinnett College

NAIA — Women

Coach of the Year: Mark Goldin, Cardinal Stritch Univ.

Assistant Coach of the Year: Sara Hawkins, Savannah College of Art & Design

Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship: Clara Ruegsegger, Olivet Nazarene Univ.

Senior Player: Maria Perdomo-Medina, Brenau Univ.

Most Improved Senior: Jessica Trink, Arizona Christian Univ.

Player to Watch: Valeria Podda, Georgia Gwinnett College

Rookie: Alice Baudeigne, Auburn Univ.at Montgomery

Junior and Community College — Men

Coach of the Year: Brian Slack, ASA College

Assistant Coach of the Year: Brent Krivokapich, Tyler Jr. College

Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship: Shane Trebisky, Meridian Comm. College

Sophomore Player: Joshua Page, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Most Improved Player: Jose Gonzalez-Torres, Modesto Jr. College

Player to Watch: Ismael Mzai, Seminole State College

Rookie: Guy Iradukunda, Seminole State College

Junior and Community College — Women

Coach of the Year: Deo Sy, Glendale Comm. College

Assistant Coach of the Year: Brent Krivokapich, Tyler Jr. College

Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship: Cassidy McWhorter, Eastern Arizona College

Sophomore Player: Joanna Savva, Tyler Jr. College

Most Improved Player: Taylor White, Meridian Comm. College

Player to Watch: Megane Bianco, ASA College

Rookie: Macarena Olivares, ASA College

ITA Partners With Oracle

In a new partnership, Oracle will serve as the title sponsor for three programs as part of the Oracle Collegiate Tennis Tour, administered by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). The three programs are the inaugural Oracle/ITA Masters, hosted by Malibu Racquet Club Sept. 18-20; the Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings; and the Oracle/ITA Outing & Awards Luncheon (this year Aug. 28).

“We are thrilled to be a part of the Oracle Collegiate Tennis Tour and to be supporting these rising tennis stars,” said Oracle CEO Mark Hurd. “Our partnership with the ITA gives us another opportunity to invest in college students who are key to Oracle’s future.”

With the Oracle/ITA Masters, the top 16 men’s and women’s singles players and eight men’s and women’s doubles teams can earn a trip to Malibu, Calif. The Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings will track singles and doubles players in NCAA Divisions I, II, III, NAIA, Junior Colleges and California Junior Colleges. The Oracle/ITA Outing & Awards Luncheon will honor members of the ITA Collegiate All-Star Team and ITA/Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship & Leadership National Award winners at the historic West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y.

“Partnering with Oracle will be transformative for the ITA and college tennis,” said ITA Executive Director David Benjamin. “Oracle already has a major presence in the tennis world and we are thrilled with its growing commitment to the college game.”

Monfils Stars in New Asics Tennis Campaign

Asics has launched a global tennis campaign with the tagline, “It’s a tough game. Go smash it,” and starring pro player Gael Monfils. The campaign was launched with an ad spot to coincide with the 2015 French Open. Other elements include print ads, in-store visuals and online banners.

The inspirational approach is aligned with Asics’ global advertising campaign, “It’s a big world. Go run it,” which launched in early 2015. In the tennis-specific TV commercial, Monfils is transported from the tennis court to a fast-paced, urban environment, where a group of opponents send tennis balls toward him at lightning-fast speeds and from all angles.

In the ad, Monfils wears Gel-Resolution 6 tennis shoes. The campaign also introduces apparel styles of its spring tennis collection. Visit asics.com.

People Watch

USTA NE Creates ‘Boston Social Tennis League’

In its inaugural season, dozens of young adults have signed up for the Boston Social Tennis League. Created by the USTA New England Section, the league targets 21- to 40-year-olds who want to play tennis in a fun, social environment with their friends, and want to make new friends.

The doubles-only league kicked off in May, for seven weeks, with play on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Players pick the night they prefer and can register as a team or as an individual, and then will be placed on a team. Teams are co-ed (any combination of men and women) and must have at least six players. After tennis each night, players head to a local restaurant/bar that has a reserved section for the league and offers food and drink specials crafted for them.

USTA New England reports the feedback has been terrific, with 84 players registered. “After the first night, almost every player came up to me to say how much fun they were having and that this league was exactly what they’ve been looking for in Boston,” said league organizer Sarah Rice, manager of Community Tennis for the section. “We knew this was a group we weren’t reaching with our current USTA adult programs, so it’s wonderful to bring tennis to all of these new players.”

The section’s goal is to partner with social sports organizations in Boston to expand to more seasons in multiple locations around the city. For more information, visit ustanewengland.com/bostonsocialtennisleague.

— Alexandra Troli

Short Sets

Tennis Resorts Online Names Top Resorts, Camps

Tennis Resorts Online (tennisresortsonline.com) has released its annual rankings of the Top 100 Tennis Resorts and Camps worldwide, compiled from evaluations submitted by tennis vacationers. Reviewers rated their experiences in 20 categories, including the overall tennis experience, quality of the teaching staff and instruction, dedication to game arranging, allure of the tennis complex, caliber of the pro shop, and a wide variety of amenities and services, such as lodging, cuisine, value for dollar, children’s programs, spa and fitness options, and other recreation.

The top 10 resorts, in order, are:

  1. Kiawah Island Golf Resort, S.C.
  2. Rancho Valencia, Calif.
  3. Wild Dunes Resort, S.C.
  4. JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, Calif.
  5. Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, Fla.
  6. Sea Island, Ga.
  7. La Quinta Resort & Club, Calif.
  8. Punta Mita, Nayarit, Mexico
  9. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Hawaii
  10. Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies

The top 10 camps are:

  1. Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks, Switzerland
  2. Cliff Drysdale Tennis at Amelia, Fla.
  3. Saddlebrook Tennis (Hopman), Fla.
  4. New England Tennis Holidays at Sugarbush, Vt.
  5. John Newcombe Tennis Ranch, Texas
  6. Reed Anderson Tennis School, Calif.
  7. Topnotch Tennis Academy, Vt.
  8. PBI Tennis Camp at Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt, Austria
  9. Sea Colony Tennis Camp, Del.
  10. Wintergreen Tennis Academy, Va.

 

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