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Industry News

Exec Team Named for USTA National Campus

Kurt Kamperman (right) has been named to oversee the operation of the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., adding to his responsibilities as chief executive of Commnity Tennis. In addition, Craig Morris has been hired as general manager, USTA Community Tennis and Youth Tennis, and Tim Cass has been hired as general manager, USTA National Campus. Morris and Cass will report to Kamperman, and all will be based in Orlando.

The USTA broke ground in April on the USTA National Campus, which will feature more than 100 tennis courts. Open to the public, it will be able to accommodate family outings, clinics, camps, leagues and every type of tennis competition and program, from youth tennis events to age-based national championships to collegiate tennis. The USTA’s Community Tennis and Player Development divisions will also be housed on the site.

“With the USTA National Campus, we are creating an unrivaled tennis facility that will serve as a resource and destination for tennis players of all ages and abilities, and most importantly a launching pad for the next generation of tennis players and providers,” says USTA Executive Director Gordon Smith.

Kamperman, who will continue to report to Smith, has served as chief executive of Community Tennis since 2003. He’ll continue to oversee the planning and strategy of the Community Tennis division while also being tasked with oversight of the development and operations of the USTA National Campus.

Craig Morris will oversee the day-to-day operations of Community Tennis and Youth Tennis. Prior to joining the USTA, Morris served as the Director of Participation for Tennis Australia since 2013, directing all aspects of strategy and delivery for growing the game in Australia.

Cass will manage the day-to-day operations of the USTA National Campus, developing and implementing operating policies, overseeing hiring and personnel development, and managing usage and scheduling. Cass previously served as COO/Deputy Athletics Director for the University of New Mexico since 2006.

PTR Symposium Set for Feb.

The PTR will hold its International Tennis Symposium Feb. 17-20 at Van der Meer Shipyard Racquet Club and Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. The Symposium attracts hundreds of teachers and coaches from around the world.

More than 40 tennis industry experts will conduct classroom and on-court presentations, with subjects ranging from tennis business to teaching tactics and techniques. Among the speakers are Grand Slam Champion Mary Pierce, Argentinian tour coach Leo Alonso, Australian Open analyst Craig O’Shannessy, Tennis Australia High Performance Coach Emma Doyle, Marcin Bieniek of the Polish Tennis Federation, Human Performance Institute co-founders Dr. Jim Loehr and Dr. Jack Groppel, and Kim Clijsters’ former coach, Carl Maes.

The event also includes a tournament beginning Feb. 16, a Tennis Trade Show on Feb. 18, and professional development courses. International Tennis Hall of Famer Billie Jean King will be inducted into the PTR Hall of Fame at the organization’s awards banquet on Feb. 17. Visit ptrtennis.org for more info and to register.

Rossetti Brothers Set World Record for Longest Volley

Twins Angelo and Ettore Rossetti of Connecticut are the new Guinness World Records record holders for the longest tennis volley, at 30,576 hits in 5 hours, 28 minutes, without bouncing on the court, which was set on Aug. 8.

The Rossetti’s, both tennis pros, were attempting to set a new record for longest tennis rally, but that attempt fell short. However, Guinness World Records recognized a new record category for longest volley, setting the initial benchmark at 10,000 consecutive volleys, which the Rossetti brothers easily eclipsed.

It’s the second Guinness World Records title the brothers have held. The first was for longest tennis rally set in 2008 at 25,944 consecutive strokes in 14 hours, 31 minutes, which they held for nearly five years. The most recent attempt raised funds and awareness for Save the Children.

Inaugural USTA Foundation Los Angeles Pro-Am Raises More Than $150,000

The USTA Foundation, the national charitable organization of the USTA, raised more than $150,000 on Nov. 8 at its inaugural USTA Foundation Los Angeles Pro-Am.

Co-hosts for the event were former world No. 4 and USTA Foundation Chairman James Blake and Hall of Famer Pam Shriver. They were joined by current world top 40 WTA stars Sloane Stephens (near right) and Coco Vandeweghe, former world No. 1 and two-time US Open champion Tracy Austin, USTA President Katrina Adams, and former ATP stars Hank Pfister and Derrick Rostagno.

Also playing were actors Elisabeth Shue (far right) and Boris Kodjoe. The day culminated with a reception and buffet dinner highlighted by an auction, which included racquets autographed by Hall of Famer Pete Sampras and five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova.

PTR Celebrates Support Of Special Olympics Tennis

The Special Olympics National Tennis Championship held on Hilton Head Island in October marked the 16th year the PTR has hosted the event, which has provided competition and camaraderie for more than 1,500 athletes from across the U.S., as well as trained hundreds of volunteer coaches to teach tennis to people with intellectual disabilities.

PTR is the Official Training Partner for Special Olympics Tennis, providing coach education during each tournament and training more than 600 coaches and volunteers. In addition, through its Foundation, PTR has given free tennis equipment to all programs in attendance.

To get involved with the 2016 Special Olympics Tennis Championships (Oct. 14-16), contact Julie Jilly at 843-785-7244.

Sports Attack Teams With Oncourt Offcourt

Oncourt Offcourt and Sports Attack Ball Machines have signed a long-term worldwide exclusive distribution agreement for Oncourt Offcourt to handle all marketing and sales of the Ace Attack Tennis Ball Machine.

“The Ace Attack Tennis Ball Machine has been available for 15 years but under-promoted in the tennis industry,” says Oncourt Offcourt founder Joe Dinoffer. “The time has come to re-launch this solid technology, with a handful of key improvements, including a flashing ball-feed indicator, improved control panel function, random ball-feed option, and easier access to the machine’s unique see-through polycarbonite ball basket. We are confident this machine will be recognized as an all-star in tennis as it is for other sports, such as pro football where every team in the NFL uses the Sports Attack machine.”

Contact heather@OncourtOffcourt.com or call 888-366-4711.

Lendl, Fish, Craybas To Coach With USTA

Eight-time Grand Slam singles champion Ivan Lendl, former world No. 7 Mardy Fish, and former American Olympian Jill Craybas will begin coaching with USTA Player Development as part of its strategy to involve former champions and top American players in the development of current American pros and juniors.

“We need to cultivate a culture that is characterized by a champion’s mindset, and when one of our young women or men spends time with a former champion, it creates a cultural connection that cannot be over-estimated,” says USTA Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman. “We are just in the beginning stages of our outreach, and there are American champions that we have not yet connected with, but so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Playsight Partners With ITA

PlaySight Interactive (playsight.com), a sport video and analytics technology platform, has partnered with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) to offer cutting-edge technology throughout all levels of college tennis, says ITA CEO Timothy Russell.

Playsight offers tennis clubs, colleges, and academies an all-in-one solution — from live streaming to real-time analytics to after-action video review capabilities to professional coaching tools. PlaySight already works very closely with many collegiate tennis programs, and the company’s U.S. General Manager, Yuval Bar Yosef, views the ITA partnership as a key next step to an even stronger relationship between PlaySight and the college tennis market.

“Our affordable product offering is bringing new dimensions to the college tennis market — SmartCourts with advanced video-based analytics on one hand, and the LiveCourt systems, tailored for the college market, for streaming matches to the alumni, fans, families, and storing video online,” he says.

PHIT America Teams with the Tennis Industry

The tennis industry and PHIT America are combining efforts to help promote the sport of tennis and increase physical activity throughout the country. Tennis facilities, tournaments, organizations, CTAs, teaching pros, etc. will soon be able to designate PHIT America as an official charity for their local tournaments and events. The funds raised by these local events will be used by PHIT America (a national non-profit campaign) to help overcome the “inactivity pandemic” in the U.S., which now affects 83 million Americans.

While specific details of the partnership with the tennis industry are still being finalized, “Local providers will be able to sign up online to designate PHIT America as an official charity and commit to donating a minimum amount to PHIT America from charity proceeds or other activities,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer.

Tennis providers who designate PHIT America as an official charity will receive benefits including event posters, special pricing from Staples for printing and copying, and more.

USTA Tests ‘Rally the Family’ Messaging

In November and December, the USTA spearheaded the testing of “Rally the Family” messaging in selected markets across the country. The nationwide campaign is scheduled to roll out to consumers in March. Rally the Family focuses on tennis for all ages, using lower compression Red, Orange and Green tennis balls, shorter courts, shorter racquets and modified scoring, along with a focus on family spending time together in fun and healthy activities.

All tennis providers — facilities, parks, clubs, teaching pros, etc. — are encouraged to sign-up for this initiative starting in January. Rally the Family is receiving the collaborative support of the TIA, PTR, USPTA, equipment manufacturers, retailers and many other organizations and industry partners. It’s also receiving unprecedented support and resources from the USTA, which has committed at least $2 million to the campaign.

“We believe we can make tennis grow by positioning it as an ‘activity’ that families can do together,” says Kurt Kamperman, the USTA’s chief executive of Community Tennis. “By using ROG balls, shorter courts and racquets, and modified scoring, we can bring more kids and adults into tennis.”

T.O.M. Conference Topics Focus on Growing Profits

The agenda for the 2016 Tennis Owners & Managers (T.O.M.) Conference, which will take place March 23-25 in Miami, includes topics focused on growing revenue for clubs and facilities. The third annual T.O.M. Conference, presented by the TIA, will bring together industry leaders and top experts in the field of facility operations and management. The event will include a separate session on the State of the Tennis Industry.

Among the topics will be the new “Rally the Family” campaign and how tennis facilities can take advantage of the initiative to help boost business while increasing participation. The conference also will include a Tennis Tech Fair & Resource Center, which will give club and facility owners, managers and staff an opportunity to learn more about and try out the latest products that can engage members and players.

T.O.M. attendees also will have a chance to attend the Miami Open pro tournament. Visit TheTomConference.com.

Steve Simon Named CEO of WTA

The WTA has named Steve Simon, former tournament director and COO of the BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells Tennis Tournament, as the new CEO of the women’s tour.

“Steve Simon, with his successful career leading one of tennis’ most prestigious tournaments, is the perfect person to run the WTA,” the WTA board of directors said in a statement. “Steve produced results, pursued excellence and he kept innovating, making the fan experience even better. He has a very clear vision for the sport and is held in high regard by all.”

Simon replaces Stacey Allaster, who left for personal reasons and to spend more time with her family.

Southern Hall of Fame To Induct Three

The USTA Southern Section will induct three into the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame at the section’s annual meeting in January. The 2016 inductees are Tommy Buford of Boise, Idaho, formerly of Memphis; Rex Maynard of Belton, S.C.; and Mel Purcell of Murray, Ky.

Among the many award winners to be honored at the Southern Annual Meeting will be:

Educational Merit Award – David Schumacher, A’s and Aces (New Orleans);
Gerrie Rothwell Award – Cheryl Thompson (Knoxville, TN); Marc Kaplan Media Excellence Award – Jay Spivey, Winston-Salem Journal (Winston-Salem, NC); Member Organization of the Year – BREC (Baton Rouge, LA); Mickey McNulty Family of the Year – The John & Lisa Scalise Family (Port Allen, LA); Southern Tennis Professional of the Year – David Poole (Bristol, TN); NJTL Chapter of the Year – A’s and Aces (New Orleans); No-Cut Coach Starfish Award – Paul Seegraves (Piggott, AR).

Krupp Scholarship Created in Midwest

The Midwest Youth Tennis & Education Foundation, charitable arm of the USTA Midwest Section, has created the Anne Krupp Memorial Scholarship in partnership with Krupp’s family and many of her friends. Krupp, who passed away in July, was a passionate tennis advocate, working as a teaching professional, while putting much of her energy into working with Special Olympics Tennis, Adaptive Tennis, and Wheelchair Tennis programs.

The first $2,500 scholarship will be awarded this spring. The scholarship will be presented to one or more USTA Midwest Section players of any age who need additional training or assistance with travel to participate in Adaptive Tennis, Special Olympics, or Wheelchair Tennis, displays excellent sportsmanship on and off the court, and exhibits the true spirit of Anne.

To apply for the Anne Krupp Memorial Scholarship, and to donate to the scholarship, visit midwesttennisfoundation.com.

USPTA Seeks Nominations For Annual Awards

The USPTA is accepting nominations for its 2016 National Awards Program, which honors members who are committed to excellence as tennis teachers and as ambassadors using tennis to impact people and communities. All Professional-level members are eligible.

This year the awards period has been changed to a calendar year, so for 2016 it is from Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2015. USPTA is accepting nominations until the Feb. 28 deadline. Recipients will be recognized during the USPTA World Conference, Sept. 25-29, in Indian Wells, Calif.

Award nomination forms and guidelines are available at www.uspta.com/awards or by sending a request to pr@uspta.org.

Attention Teaching Pros: Scam Alert!

In the November/December issue, we mentioned a scam directed toward racquet stringers that involved a new customer sending a supposed cashier’s check to a stringer, but then requesting the stringer send a portion of that money back, before the bank can notify the stringer that the original cashier’s check from the “customer” is fake.

USPTA CEO John Embree reports that the same type of scheme has been directed toward teaching pros and coaches, too. A supposed “customer” contacts a pro about lessons for a budding junior, agrees on an amount for a series of lessons, then sends a fake bank or cashier’s check, but “overpays.” Then the customer asks the pro to send back the difference, before the original check is found out to be a fake.

“This has been going on for some time,” Embree reports. “We’ve alerted our pros via email and eblasts to this scam.”

Hall of Fame Names 9 To Board of Governors

Nine individuals hailing from varied backgrounds in business, media, and technology have been elected to the Board of Governors of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

The new Governors are Lakshman Charanjiva, Vice President and CIO for NextEra Energy, Inc; Guy Forget, a French tennis star and former world No. 4 on the ATP World Tour; Tom Glocer, Founder and Managing Partner of Angelic Ventures, LP; Bob Jeffrey, Non-Executive Chairman of J. Walter Thompson; Hall of Famer Brad Parks, who pioneered the sport of wheelchair tennis; Lara Spencer, co-host of Good Morning America; Dana Tananbaum, a lifelong tennis player and philanthropist; Gary Tolman, an insurance executive, who served as President and CEO of Esurance from 2000-2015; and Kurt Wright, CEO of Quadrant Real Estate Advisors.

Each of the new members will serve the organization in various capacities ranging from work with the museum to development of the Hall of Fame’s enshrinement programs and annual ATP World Tour tennis tournament, as well as supporting vital functions including fundraising and marketing for the non-profit organization.

USTA Gives PTM a Boost With ‘USTA University’

The USTA announced a broad professional development initiative that will help prepare the next generation of tennis providers including tennis professionals, coaches, and administrators. Titled USTA University (USTAU), the program will offer curricula in tennis, management, hospitality and sport science, through online and in-classroom instruction as well as apprenticeships and experiential learning opportunities. The USTA has already developed relationships with five universities and colleges in the U.S. for the program’s launch. (See story on page 26.)

USTA executive Scott Schultz has been named to lead and oversee USTA University. Schultz’s new role will be based at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. Prior to joining the USTA in 2003, Schultz founded Ferris State University’s professional tennis management (PTM) program. Visit usta.com/ptm.

5 Earn PTR Master of Tennis Certification

Five PTR members recently completed requirements for the Master of Tennis certification. Earning certification for Performance are Raul Cossio of Palo Alto, Calif.; Sanjin Kunovac of Philadelphia; Michael Byrd of Arlington Heights, Ill.; and Michael D. Wright of Chicago. Jackei Esguerra of Naperville, Ill., received a Master of Tennis–Junior Development certification.

Emirates Airline is ATP Premier Partner

In a new five-year agreement, Emirates Airline is now the Premier Partner and Official Airline of the ATP World Tour, the biggest sponsorship deal in the history of the ATP. Emirates will have global marketing rights at approximately 60 tournaments worldwide to reach a cumulative broadcast audience in excess of 800 million. The partnership also will see extensive activation through ATPWorldTour.com.

SFIA Elects New President

The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) has elected Life Fitness President Chris Clawson as Chairman of the Board for a one-year term. SFIA’s Tom Cove will remain as President and CEO.

“As the association enters its 109th year, we have the responsibility to unite our members and use all of our resources to reverse the inactivity crisis and increase participation,” Clawson said.

New additions to the board this year are: Kevin Davis (CEO; Performance Sports Group), Jim Weber (CEO; Brooks Running Company), Mike Zlaket (President & CEO; Rawlings Sporting Goods), Simha Kumar (SVP & President for Sporting Goods, Fitness, and Children’s Entertainment, Sears), Adam Peake (Executive Vice President of Global Marketing; Under Armour, Inc.), and Jonathan Ram (Executive Vice President, North America; New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.).

Those re-elected to the board are: Jennifer Bendall (Sr. Director of Government Affairs; Nike, Inc.), Jim Gerson (President; Speedo USA), Jeff Padovan (CEO; Bite Tech Inc), and Michael Savage (CEO; Fitness EM, LLC.).

Head, PTR Extend Partnership

PTR and Head have announced an extension of their partnership, which goes back more than 30 years. The partnership means PTR members will gain access to the PTR Team Head Program, as well as discounted products.

“To see the growth PTR has had and the positive impact they continue to have on teaching professionals around the world is incredibly impressive,” says Greg Mason, president of Head USA Racquet Sports.

“PTR is proud of our decades-long sponsorship from Head, which is the longest standing relationship in the tennis industry,” adds PTR CEO Dan Santorum.

Tennis for the Blind in Florida

In Florida, the blind and visually impaired are playing tennis in the community of Rotonda West in Charlotte County, thanks to the efforts of Art Richards. Richards is an ambassador for USTA Florida’s successful Masters Tennis, and he led sessions in November at Rotonda Community Park for juniors and adults, who attended classes on court according to their visual classification. USTA Florida and the Cultural Guild of the Greater Cape Haze Peninsula, in cooperation with the county, provided rackets and special sound-emitting tennis balls. Players position themselves on court by feeling specially designed tactile lines with their feet.

Henin, Safin, Sukova Nominated for HOF

Justine Henin, a former WTA Tour world No. 1 and seven-time major champion; Marat Safin, a two-time major champion and former world No. 1 on the ATP World Tour; and Helena Sukova, who won 14 major titles in doubles and mixed doubles, have all been nominated for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in the Recent Player Category for induction in the Class of 2016.

In addition, Yvon Petra, a notable French tennis player of the 1940s, and Margaret Scriven, British tennis champion of the 1930s, have been nominated posthumously in the Master Player Category. There are no nominees in the Contributor Category for 2016.

USTA Announces 2015 No-Cut Coach All-Stars

The USTA recently recognized 12 middle- and high-school coaches for its 2015 No-Cut Coach All-Star Team for implementing a “no-cut” policy that welcomes all interested students to be a part of their school’s tennis team.

“These coaches play a critical role not only in the development of student-athletes throughout the year, but in the success of No-Cut Tennis and the sport of tennis as a whole,” said Glenn Arrington, director of USTA High School Tennis. Since 2006, more than 4,000 tennis coaches nationwide have made a commitment to offering a no-cut policy, with some programs including more than 100 team members on a high school team. Visit usta.com/no-cut.

The 2015 No-Cut Coach All-Star Team is: Don Ackerly, Valhalla High School, El Cajon, Calif.; Doug Chapman, Somerset-Berkley Regional High School, Somerset, Mass.; Teresa Cunningham, Winter Park High School, Winter Park, Fla.; Ted Dasler, Lakeland High School, Minocqua, Wis.; Jeanie Duncan, Lincoln High School, Lincoln, Calif.; Danny Espinosa , Rivera Early College High School, Brownsville, Texas; Debra Gable, Dallastown High School, Dallastown, Pa.; Suzie Heideman, East Ridge High School, Woodbury, Minn.; Lisa O’Hanahan, Carl Junction High School, Carl Junction, Mo.; Paul Seegraves, Piggott High School, Piggot, Ark.; Donna Swanson, Moapa Valley Empowerment High School, Overton, Nev.; and Wendy Thomas, La Cueva High School, Albuquerque.

Bouchard Sues USTA Over Locker-Room Fall

Tennis star Eugenie Bouchard filed a lawsuit in October against the USTA that alleges the sport’s national governing body was negligent in a slip and fall incident in a locker room during the US Open. In the federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, Bouchard, who was a runner-up at Wimbledon in 2014, says she has suffered severe pain and economic loss after the Sept. 4 incident and seeks unspecified monetary damages.

The suit says the fall on the tile floor of a physiotherapy room that is inside the locker room left the Canadian player with a concussion and “serious head injury.” Bouchard later withdrew from the Open and from tournaments in China and Japan.

Tennis Channel, ATP Renew Telecast Deal

Tennis Channel has renewed its telecast rights partnership with the ATP World Tour. The multiyear agreement includes 21 annual men’s Masters 1000 and 500-level events, among them March’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Miami Open, in addition to the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. As part of the agreement, Tennis Channel will add to its live coverage and have exclusive television and authenticated-digital rights for all but four of the Masters 1000 and 500-level events.

Wilson Launches Ultra Line

Wilson recently launched Ultra, a high-performance racquet collection designed for all-court players. The company says the frames are for players seeking a racquet that is easy to swing and provides power, maneuverability and comfort. Wilson Advisory Staff Member and World No. 16 player Feliciano Lopez will debut the Ultra on tour in 2016.

The Ultra features octagon geometry inside the frame and rounded geometry outside the frame, along with High Performance Carbon Fiber. There are four Ultra models — 97, 100, 103S and 108 — with a suggested retail price of $229. Visit wilson.com.

iTPA Holds Inaugural World Tennis Fitness Conference

The International Tennis Performance Association (iTPA) held the first annual World Tennis Fitness Conference in July. About 140 people attended. The conference focused on techniques and evidence-based information to help participants acquire additional techniques to more effectively train tennis players. Among the 26 speakers were Martin Blackman, general manager of USTA Player Development; renowned fitness professionals Loren Landow and Allistair McCaw; Dr. Nick DiNubile, well-known orthopaedic surgeon; and mental skills expert Dr. Larry Lauer.

“The tennis fitness industry is evolving, and the iTPA World Tennis Fitness Conference was established to ensure coaches and trainers receive the best and most up to date training,” said Dr. Mark Kovacs, the iTPA Executive Director.

USTA Honors Grassroots at TDW in San Diego

Carol G. Cohen of Rockville, Md., is the 2015 winner of the USTA’s Eve Kraft Community Service Award. Cohen, along with other award winners, were honored in November at the USTA’s Tennis Development Workshop in San Diego.

Innercity Tennis Foundation of Minneapolis received the 2015 Community Tennis Association of the Year Award, and Legacy Youth Tennis and Education of Philadelphia received the NJTL Chapter of the Year Award.

Also honored at the TDW were the San Diego District Tennis Association Wounded Warrior Tennis Program, with the Adaptive Tennis Community Service Award; Bill Dopp of Monroe, Ga., with the Faculty Member of the Year Award; and Jennifer Toomy of Chesapeake, Va., with the Janet Louer Junior Team Tennis Organizer of the Year Award.

USRSA Announces New MRTs and CSs

Master Racquet Technician

Kody Cassidy - Denver, CO

Clayton Emmerich - Evergreen, CO

Cole Heule - Big Rapids, MI

Ryan Leman - Austin, TX

William Reynolds - Cary, NC

David Scott - Littleton, CO

Laurence Sombito - Houston, TX

Thomas Wallis - Littleton, CO

David Williams - Denver, CO

Certified Stringers

Eric Smith - Golden, CO

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