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USPTA and Wilson Reunite in Multiyear Agreement
The USPTA and Wilson Sporting Goods have entered into a three-year agreement in which Wilson will become the official equipment supplier of the USPTA, providing racquets, balls, strings, grips, bags, 10 and Under Tennis equipment and stringing machines, along with platform tennis paddles and balls for USPTA members and programs.
“We are excited to rejoin forces,” says Hans-Martin Reh, general manager of Wilson. “As a brand, our mission is to become the undisputed champion in tennis. We recognize a renewed focus on grassroots tennis and deeper partnership with teaching professionals are essential.”
“I was fortunate to be a part of the Wilson team 20-plus years ago when USPTA and Wilson were partners,” says USPTA CEO John Embree. “I feel like the USPTA has returned home. I am excited about what this endorsement will mean to our membership and to the tennis industry.”
Wilson equipment and signage will be showcased at all official USPTA events. Wilson will join seven other endorsees in contributing to the USPTA Retirement Gold+ program. •
‘Making Tennis Matter’ Released by USTA Southern
The USTA Southern Section has released a 28-page online publication called “Making Tennis Matter: A USTA Southern Facility Toolkit,” aimed at supporting Community Tennis Associations, facility owners and grassroots advocates as they work to build more tennis courts in local communities. The publication includes information on how to make a case for building more courts and includes case studies, tips and other important resources.
“We hope other sections will feel free to customize this compilation of best practices for their own use,” says USTA Southern Advocacy Subcommittee Chair Robin Jones. To link to the tool, visit southerntennis.com/makingtennismatter.pdf or southern.usta.com. •
Adams Nominated To Repeat as USTA President
After the US Open, USTA First Vice President Andy Andrews notified the USTA Nominating Committee that, for personal reasons, he was declining the nomination for USTA president for the 2017-2018 term.
The Nominating Committee “determined it to be in the best interest of the organization to nominate Katrina Adams to serve an unprecedented second consecutive term as USTA President,” according to Committee Chair Charlotte Johnson.
The full slate nominated for the 2017-2018 term is:
President: Katrina Adams (Eastern)
First VP: Patrick Galbraith (Pacific Northwest)
VP: Joan Baker (Northern)
VP: Mark Ein (Mid-Atlantic)
Sec-Treas: Thomas Ho (Texas)
Directors at Large: Fabrizio Alcobe-Fierro (Florida), Jeffrey Baill (Northern), Laura Canfield (Middle States), Dr. Brian Hainline (Midwest), Michael McNulty (Southern), Andrew Valdez (Intermountain)
Elite Athletes: Lauren Barnikow (Northern Calif.), Liezel Huber (Texas), Brian Vahaly (Mid-Atlantic)
Adidas, USTA Partner for Nat’l Campus, Leagues
In a new partnership, Adidas will become an official sponsor of the USTA National Campus, USTA Player Development and USTA League Tennis. In addition, Adidas will become the exclusive presenting sponsor of the USTA National Junior Rankings and newly named “USTA Adidas Junior Championship Series,” comprised of junior tournaments that will feature some of the top young players in the country.
At the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., the Adidas Performance Center will serve as home to the USTA’s Player Development division. Adidas will also become the official outfitter and apparel partner for USTA PD.
“The success of our sport depends on the success of the international tennis industry as a whole,” says USTA Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman. “We are fortunate that our game is supported by world-class brands that produce tennis racquets, tennis balls, apparel and footwear.”
ITA Unveils New Look
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association has rolled out a new logo and enhanced brand colors. The ITA worked with PlanIt Studios for the new design.
ITF Considers Changes To Davis, Fed Cup Formats
The International Tennis Federation is looking to change the Davis and Fed Cup formats “to make the appeal of tennis broad and wide,” says ITF President David Haggerty. The ITF wants to select cities to host the final in advance, rather than waiting until the two contenders for the championship emerge. The ITF hopes to have this new hosting system in place by 2018.
Other possible changes include reducing the length of matches from best of five sets to best of three, and expanding the top-tier Fed Cup from eight nations to a 16-nation field, similar to Davis Cup. The ITF membership will vote on the plans next August.
Seena Hamilton, Tennis Pioneer, Passes Away
Tennis pioneer and Easter Bowl founder Seena Hamilton (pictured above with Arthur Ashe) passed away on August 6 after a lengthy illness. She was 92. Hamilton’s commitment to junior tennis helped generations of top players make their initial mark in the sport. The roster of Easter Bowl participants reads as a “who’s who” of the sport, and includes a 15-year-old Jimmy Connors at the inaugural event in 1968.
Hamilton’s career included stints as a radio scriptwriter, record publicist, radio show host and magazine editor. She founded two marketing companies: Seena Hamilton & Associates and Creative Tennis Marketing. She is survived by her son, Bryan Fineberg.
Fromuth to Run Pro Shop at USTA National Campus
Fromuth Tennis will operate the tennis pro shop at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., scheduled to open in January.
“Operating the pro shop at the USTA National Campus is a great fit for us as we can help train interns and Professional Tennis Management students before they go out into the tennis world and run pro shops, stringing businesses and tennis clubs,” says Fromuth President Pat Shields. “For a company like ours that’s been committed to the tennis industry for over 40 years, this is a huge opportunity to be on the forefront of innovation.”
Since 1972, Fromuth has been supplying tennis pro shops, teams, coaches and stringers in all 50 states with a variety of tennis brands, servicing thousands of tennis retailers a year. — E.J. Crawford
Playmate Introduces iGenie Ball Machine
Playmate Ball Machines has introduced iGenie, which the company says is the easiest ball machine to use. Players can choose a “player level” (easy, medium, hard) then “select shots” — from rally balls, to short balls, lobs, spins and more. Or don’t select anything, and iGenie will start feeding an “easy rally ball” straight ahead.
For teaching pros and coaches, Playmate says it’s easy to create drills. The pro selects a “player level” based on the users’ skill and experience, then selects shots in order. For example, for a two-line group drill, the pro can hit Medium Player level, and then High Short Ball two times then Lob two times. On the picture of the court, set directions for a two-line drill by pressing the button left of center and then the button right of center.
The iGenie also includes iPlaymate Tennis for iPhone and iPad, so pros can create and save drills, track workouts, compare results with others and more. Pros can also control the ball machine on their iPhone and iPad.
Visit playmatetennis.com for more.
Industry Veteran Launches Tennis Court Consult
Tennis industry veteran David Meharg has launched a new company, Tennis Court Consult (TCC) of Cornwall Bridge, Conn., to provide an independent, comprehensive and cost-effective approach to tennis court and facility consulting. Meharg brings more than 30 years of tennis business experience in all segments of the industry to TCC.
All TCC services are also supported by a network of technical tennis experts across the country. Visit TennisCourtConsult.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org (phone: 860-484-9016).
USTA Presents Annual Awards
The USTA presented several annual awards at its Semiannual Meeting held in New York City during the US Open in September.
- Eve Kraft Community Service Award: Delaine Mast, Lancaster, Pa.
- CTA of the Year: Western Wake Tennis Association, Cary, N.C.
- Adaptive Tennis Community Service Award: Buddy Up Tennis Inc., New Albany, Ohio
- Faculty Member of the Year: Todd Dissly, Los Gatos, Calif.
- Janet Louer Junior Team Tennis Organizer of the Year: Oliver Summers, Fargo, N.D.
- NJTL Chapter of the Year: Gainesville Area Community Tennis Association Inc., Gainesville, Fla.
- Barbara Williams Service Award: Barbara Fackel, Rock Island, Ill.
- Bill Talbert Junior Sportsmanship Award: Lane Leschly, Atherton, Calif., and Tiffany Chen, Naperville, Ill.
- Featured Outstanding Facility Award: The Candy Erickson Tennis Center at the Park City Municipal Athletic Recreation Center, Park City, Utah.
- League Volunteer Award: Pat Devoto, Decatur, Ga.
- National Junior Scholar Athlete Award: Alexis Milunovich, Greenwich Academy, Conn., and David Horneffer, Brookfield East High School, Wis.
- President’s Award: Benjamin Woods Sr., Silver Spring, Md.
USRSA Adds Two New Certification Testers
Sharon Hall of Athens, Ga., and Mark Tarentino of Fayetteville, N.C., are the newest certification testers for the USRSA. Hall is the owner and operator of Red Racquet Tennis in Athens and has been a Master Racquet Technician for more than 12 years. Tarentino is the assistant director of the Professional Tennis Management program at Methodist University. An MRT, he is also a Level 2 USPTA pro, a PTR certified pro, a Cardio Tennis/TRX Cardio Tennis Authorized Pro and is PPTA certified.
Clijsters, Roddick, Braden, Flink Considered for HoF
Former world No. 1s Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick have been nominated for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Both are on the 2017 ballot in the Recent Player Category. Monique Kalkman, a Dutch wheelchair tennis player during the 1990s and winner of a Paralympic Gold Medal, is nominated in the Recent Player Category for Wheelchair Tennis.
In the Contributor Category, the late Vic Braden, who was among the first to apply sports science to his instructional tactics, has been nominated, along with Steve Flink, a distinguished tennis historian, broadcaster and journalist.
USTA Foundation Awards $408K in College Scholarships
USTA Foundation, the national charitable foundation of the USTA, awarded 49 high-school students a variety of college scholarships totaling $408,000.
Each year, the Foundation awards scholarships to deserving youth who have participated in USTA and other organized youth tennis programs, such as an NJTL chapter, have demonstrated high academic achievement and require financial assistance for college. The scholarships range from $1,000 to $15,000.
USRSA Announces New MRTs and CSs
Master Racquet Technicians
John Currie — London, England
Neil Dennis — London, England
David Hall — Clacton by the Sea, England
Gary Homer — Solihull, England
Rob Leahy — Cork, Ireland
Sorin Miller — Portland, Ore.
Justin Patt — San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Michael Thompson — Birmingham, England
William Wert — Charleston, S.C.
Ron Williamson — Melton, England
Brooke Fix — Kingman, Ariz.
Minchao Wu — Flushing, N.Y.
Rome Tennis Center Opens 60 Courts
The Rome Tennis Center at Berry College in Rome, Ga., the nation’s largest hard-court tennis facility, held its grand opening over the summer. It has a total of 60 lighted courts, including six NCAA regulation courts, three center courts for tournament and collegiate play, and one exhibition court. There are also eight permanent 36-foot courts, in addition to 10 courts with blended lines.
Wilson Creates Serena Autograph Racquet
Wilson announced during the US Open that it will honor 20-year advisory staff member Serena Williams with an Autograph racquet. The Blade Serena Williams (SW) 104 Autograph marks the 16th time in the brand’s 102-year history — and only the second time in the last 38 years — that it has celebrated an athlete with an Autograph model. Williams will play with the new frame at the start of the 2017 season in Australia.
The new Blade line of frames also includes new technologies from Wilson, including “Countervail,” which places carbon fiber in locations throughout the racquet to improve performance, and the X2 Ergo handle, to provide two-handed backhand players with power, versatility and feel.
Sockwise Introduces New Women’s Line
Sockwise Inc. has introduced U-Sox (u-sox.com), a new line of women’s lifestyle socks.
National Sales Manager Don Crusius says the new socks, which are made in Italy, had a sponsorship arrangement with the Connecticut Open in August. “All the players received socks, and they gave us great feedback,” he notes. “There are 10 models in the current line and our plan is to introduce a new style every two weeks until the end of the year.”
Crusius says he’s also looking to expand his network of national sales reps. For more information, contact him at 214-460-7681 or email@example.com.
- In September, Dr. Brian Hainline received the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s highest honor, the 2016 ITA David A. Benjamin Achievement Award.
- Har-Tru has announced four new hires. Andrew Frazier is the sales rep for the Mid-Atlantic and Canada; Kyle Utz is the sales rep for the Midwest and West; Chris Martin is now the company’s credit and collections manager; and Kita Ashurst is the company’s new senior purchasing agent.
- Kathy Woods has been named Director of Tennis at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., leading and overseeing all programming and activities. Also at the National Campus, Chris “Mick” Michalowski has been named director of Campus Laboratory, USTA University.
- Outgoing ATP Player Council president and former Top 20 doubles player Eric Butorac has been named to the new position of director of Professional Tennis Operations and Player Relations for the USTA.
- The Intercollegiate Tennis Association Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame will induct Alycia Moulton, Gretchen Rush, Jane Goodman and Virginia Brown in a Nov. 12 event in Williamsburg, Va.
- Daria Kasatkina, 19, has renewed her contract with Tecnifibre, building on their five-year partnership. The Russian-born Kasatkina is currently ranked 29th in the WTA world rankings.
- Americans Ryan Harrison of the San Diego Aviators and Nicole Gibbs of the Orange County Breakers won the 2016 Mylan World TeamTennis MVP awards.
Cibulkova, Tourna Grip Sign Multiyear Agreement
Tourna Grip has entered into a multiyear deal with WTA pro Dominika Cibulkova, who has used the grip for her entire career. Cibulkova, who has reached as high as No. 10 in the world, joins Tourna’s roster of pro players officially endorsing the brand and will be featured in advertisements, packaging and promotional material. Tourna Grip’s trademark light blue color can be seen on the racquets of hundreds of touring pros. Visit uniquesports.com for more.
Legacy Designs, Builds OKC Indoor Facility
When the USTA named the Oklahoma City Tennis Center at Will Rogers Park as an Outstanding Tennis Facility, part of the credit was due to the new six-court indoor tennis facility constructed by Legacy Building Solutions. The structure uses flame-retardant fabric that reflects the LED lighting system for a bright, even background. Designed for year-round use, the building’s roof and walls are fully insulated. After working with the tennis center staff, the custom-designed building was installed by Legacy in less than 30 days. For more information, visit legacybuildingsolutions.com.
- The U.S. will host Switzerland in the 2017 Davis Cup World Group First Round, which will be held Feb. 3-5.
- The Chicago Tribune reported in September that Wilson Sporting Goods will move its headquarters from Chicago’s far northwest side to the Prudential Plaza in the city’s Loop neighborhood. The move, which will affect about 400 employees, is set for December 2017. The company reportedly signed a 12-year lease for two floors of the 41-story building.
- Ashaway Racket Strings has renewed its sponsorship agreements with racquetball Hall-of-Famers Cliff Swain and Jacqueline Paraiso.
- Head Penn has partnered with Greater Midland (Mich.) Tennis Center. Head will be the official brand and Penn the official ball of the facility.
- Tecnifibre was the official stringer for the ATP 500/WTA International Tier Citi Open Tournament in Washington, D.C., in July — the company’s first ATP event inside the U.S. More than 900 racquets were strung during the 11-day event.
- OnCourt OffCourt has recently rebranded, with a new logo and new spelling.
- Legacy Building Solutions, a pioneer in the use of a rigid steel frame for fabric structures, is on the 2016 edition of the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. The rankings are determined by the rate of revenue growth over three years. Visit legacybuildingsolutions.com for more info.
- Golfsmith International, headquartered in Houston, filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 15 as part of a debt-restructuring plan. Golfsmith, which also sells tennis equipment, is the largest specialty golf retailer in the world and has 109 stores in the United States operating as Golfsmith Golf & Tennis, and 55 stores in Canada.
- Penn has been named the official ball of the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour. The multi-year deal includes an extension of Head as the official Tour Partner.
- Since its purchase by Sinclair Broadcast Group in March, Tennis Channel says it has added 10 million viewing households and is now reaching 47 million households as of this summer.
- Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center in Dorchester, Mass., has received a three-year, $150,000 grant from Tufts Medical Center for the Volley Against Violence Police/Community Engagement Initiative. Tufts has supported Volley Against Violence for the past six years.
- Peter Burwash International (PBI) will operate the tennis program at the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur hotel. Angel Gyorgievski (above) will head the new program. PBI will direct the tennis program at The Buccaneer resort on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- TGA Premier Youth Tennis recently launched its first international franchise in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada. In addition, TGA has new franchises in Nashville, Tenn., and Fairfield County, Conn.
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TI magazine articles
- Our Serve: Clarity and Simplicity
- Industry News
- Racquet Tech: Stringing Blind
- Grassroots Tennis: Play It Forward!
- Player Ratings: Leveling the Field
- Building Our Future
- 2017 Racquet Selector: Finding the Perfect Fit
- Distinguished Facility-of-the-Year Awards: Soft Serve
- Stringing Machine Review: Tourna 600-ES