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TSRs Gather for Development Meeting

Staff from seven USTA sections gathered in Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 18-20 for a TSR Regional Meeting designed to strengthen professional development in both sales and customer service.

The 67 attendees included section Tennis Service Representatives, marketing directors, and diversity and inclusion staff. The Midwest, Northern, Missouri Valley, Mid-Atlantic, Texas, Northern California and Southern California USTA sections were represented.

The keynote speaker was Craig Morris, USTA general manager of Community Tennis & Youth Tennis. Other speakers included Rob Cornilles, CEO of Game Face Inc., USTA Director of TSRs Glenn Arrington and Bob Pfaender of the USTA TSR program.

“A big goal was to improve communication and understanding between sales and marketing both at the sectional and national levels,” Pfaender says. “It was an outstanding learning and bonding experience. The TSRs are the face and voice of the USTA in the field; letting them know that USTA National is here to help really makes a difference.”

TGA Launches Its Own Youth Racquet Line

TGA Premier Youth Tennis, which delivers tennis programming to communities around the U.S., is launching its own line of custom tennis racquets for boys and girls. The racquets are availalable in five sizes — 19, 21, 23, 25 and 27 inches — and can be purchased at shop.playtga.com.

“Expanding to provide properly fit tennis equipment to our customers is only natural,” says TGA CEO Joshua Jacobs. “With access to tens of thousands of first-time tennis participants, we plan to directly introduce our customer base to the equipment line and progress them through the sizes.”

Babolat Names Ogle As National Sales Director

Babolat has named Bryan Ogle as its new national sales director. Ogle will be responsible for developing, leading and driving key growth sales strategies and action plans for the United States.

“Bryan’s extensive sales and marketing experience, both outside and inside the tennis industry, makes him the perfect candidate to lead our U.S. sales efforts,” says Babolat USA General Manager Susan DiBiase. “He shares our passion for the sport, and our commitment to strengthening our customer relationships by becoming better consultative business partners.”

Prior to joining Babolat this past fall, Ogle was with K-Swiss since 2009, first as director of business development and then as senior director of global sales and marketing.

USRSA Seeks 1975 Edition of Stringer’s Assistant

The U.S. Racquet Stringers Association is in the process of scanning and making available to its members “everything we’ve ever published,” says USRSA Executive Director Bob Patterson. This will include all issues of Racquet Tech magazine and Stringer’s Assistant, going back to the 1970s.

However, the organization is missing the very first Stringer’s Assistant newsletter, labeled Volume 1, Number 1, from 1975. If anyone has a copy available for the USRSA, please contact Patterson at bob@racquettech.com.

Antigua’s New Polo Line Features ‘Perfected Pique’

The Antigua Group’s 2017 collection of men’s performance tennis apparel is highlighted by its new “Perfected Pique” polo, which the company says uses fiber with a specific filament count and four-way stretch construction “to create a fabric that possesses the softest hand, drape and comfort while still providing moisture wicking.” The new line includes the Endure, Channel and Revive jerseys, available in a variety of colors and styles. The line also includes two new pairs of tennis shorts, the Rally Short and the Sport Short.

Antigua also specializes in custom embroidery to outfit tournament officials, teams, schools and tennis pro shops with bradned apparel. As an example, Antigua provides officials, umpires and ball kids with logoed apparel for the Volvo Cars Open pro event. For more information, visit Antigua.com.

Cardio Tennis Schedules 2017 Training Courses

The Cardio Tennis staff is in the process of setting its training courses for 2017. Currently on the calendar are Level 1 and Level 2 training courses, along with other training and appearances at national events. Go to CardioTennis.com to find the current schedule and sign up for a training course near you.

Ashaway Creates New Micro-Gauge Squash String

Ashaway has developed a new micro-gauge squash string using its Power Filament Technology. The new SuperNick ZX Micro is an 18- gauge (1.15 mm) string with a multifilament nylon core wrapped in a special PFT wear layer of Zyex filaments.

Designed to provide precise touch while maintaining excellent tension control, SuperNick ZX Micro is best for players who require superior durability and better tension control but still want the feel of a nylon core SuperNick string. Visit ashawayusa.com for more.

Grand Slam Tennis Tours Partners With PBI

Grand Slam Tennis Tours has partnered with Peter Burwash International, looking to expand upon PBI’s foundation as a leader in professional tennis management for fine clubs and resorts worldwide. Initially, the two groups will focus on increasing the volume of guests to PBI Tennis World Camps, which will increase from three in 2016 to more than 10 in 2017.

“As GSTT grows into a full-service tennis experience company,” says GSTT President Andrew Chmura, “it’s important to recognize friends in the industry who can add breadth and diversity to the opportunities we offer our guests.”

PlaySight Debuts System To Reduce Incorrect Line Calls

PlaySight has introduced its PlayFair Challenge system for its cutting-edge SmartCourts, giving players the ability to challenge line calls instantly through multi-angle, on-court videos.

“With the PlayFair Challenge system, we are enabling all levels of tennis — from recreational club players to college players to professionals — to have multi-angle video review available for any tournament or match they play on a SmartCourt,” says Yuval Bar Yosef, general manager of PlaySight’s North American Operations.

PlaySight piloted two PlayFair Challenge tournaments this past fall, at the SoCal Intercollegiate Tennis Championships at USC and at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md. For more info, visit playsight.com.

Rec Champ Powless Releases ‘A Life Well Played’ Memoir

At 84 years old, John Powless still travels the globe playing tennis tournaments. His new memoir, John Powless: A Life Well Played, written by Dan Smith, follows Powless from the farm fields of Illinois to the White House tennis court, and around the world.

In 2015 Powless, who owns the John Powless Tennis Center in Madison, Wis., was ranked the No. 1 senior tennis player in his age category by the International Tennis Federation. The book is $24.95 and can be purchased on Amazon.com; also visit johnpowless.com for more information.

Georgia County Looks to Demolish Olympic Tennis Venue

Gwinnett County in Georgia plans to acquire and demolish the former Olympic tennis stadium near Stone Mountain, which could clear the way for private development of the site.

The county board of governors recently approved a deal that would result in the county receiving the 24-acre stadium site. An official said the county would then likely seek proposals from private firms to redevelop the land.

The site was the tennis venue for the 1996 Summer Olympics, but after the Games, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association was unable to find ways for the 8,000-seat stadium to pay for itself. The stadium has been in disrepair and unusable for years.

Chrissie by Tail Offers Garnet Red Collection

Chris Evert and Chrissie by Tail have released the Garnet Red Collection, with its red gemstone hue color, advanced fabrications and contemporary design details. The collection has figure-flattering seam lines, athletic layered mesh textures and is paired with a metallic stripe print. The line is distributed by Tail Activewear.

For more photography and informaiton, visit chrissiebytail.com.

USTA Hires 4 Head Pros For National Campus

The USTA has hired four head tennis teaching pros for the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., set to open to the public in January. The team of head pros will report to Kathy Woods, director of tennis at the National Campus.

Chanelle “Chani” Anderson will focus on high-performance development programs for youth players. A former WTA professional, she most recently taught at the Interlachen Country Club in Winter Park, Fla.

Rita Gladstone will lead programming at the Nemours Family Zone for young players, adult beginners and senior adult players. She is a nationally recognized USTA trainer.

Tim Pleasant will provide program direction for players ages 11-18. He brings more than 20 years of experience as a teaching pro and college coach.

Ben Zaiser will focus on all areas of adult play and programming. He has more than a decade of experience at the Midlothian Atlantic Coast Athletic Club in Richmond, Va.

NCAA Pulls Events From North Carolina

The NCAA will relocate seven championship events from North Carolina during the 2016-1017 academic year, including the Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships, originally scheduled to be played in Cary May 22-27. The NCAA Board of Governors made the decision “because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.”

In its decision in early September, the Board said NCAA events must promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans, and that current North Carolina laws make it challenging to guarantee that host communities can help deliver on that commitment if NCAA events remained in the state.

The decision also means the opening rounds of the March Madness basketball tournament will move out of Greensboro.

LTA Partners With Universal Tennis

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the national governing body for tennis in the United Kingdom, has partnered with Universal Tennis Ratings (UTR). The LTA now sends weekly results to UTR from its sanctioned age-graded junior tournaments, as well as from the Open category of adult competition — adding approximately 5,000 new match results to UTR’s database every Friday.

As of September, UTR officials said the LTA alliance had produced 4,200 “rated” British players. In addition, there were 13,254 “active players” in the LTA who had at least one match result reported to UTR within the past 12 months.

Often described as tennis’s equivalent to a golf handicap, UTR features 16 levels that can track a player’s progression from introductory junior competition to the top level of professional tennis. UTR is also being utilized by Tennis Canada, six USTA Sections and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Visit universaltennis.com for more information.

Wilson Introduces New Blade Racquets

Wilson recently introduced four new high-performance racquets to its Blade line. The frames feature Countervail technology, a layered carbon fiber placed in specific areas of the frame designed to minimize vibration. According to the company, “racquets with Countervail technology help reduce fatigue, resulting in 40% greater accuracy and control.”

The newest members of the Blade family with Countervail (suggested retail $219) include the Blade 98 (18x20), Blade 98 (16x19) and Blade 98S (“S” stands for Spin Effect technology). Additional 2017 models without Countervail ($199) include the Blade 104, 101L, 98L, 98UL, which were specially developed for younger players.

Visit Wilson.com for more photographs and information.

OnCourt OffCourt Revamps Website

OnCourt OffCourt has updated its website, OnCourtOffCourt.com. The relaunch includes the addition of two free educational video blog series — the first, “Game Set Watch,” will share the latest creative marketing ideas for recreational tennis programs; the second, “Your Return,” is designed to educate the tennis coaching and playing community on the importance of effectively returning serves.

Fromuth Seeks Stringers For USTA National Campus

Fromuth Tennis is looking for stringers for the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. In addition to stringing, responsibilities include educating customers on different strings and guiding them to the best selection for their games, training and educating staff, and assisting customers with their shopping experience in stores.

Stringers who aren’t USRSA Master Racquet Technicians will be required to obtain MRT certification within three months of employment. Candidates must have a thorough understanding of string and racquet technologies, specs and benefits, and have excellent customer-service, time-management and organizational skills. Email applications@fromuthtennis.com for more information.

Judy Murray, Leon Smith Sign on With Rebo Wall

Former Great Britain Fed Cup Captain Judy Murray and Great Britain’s Davis Cup Captain Leon Smith are new ambassadors for Rebo, a pre-fabricated, free-standing rebound practice wall with an angled face that is manufactured in the U.K. As part of her partnership with Rebo, Murray will use the wall for two grassroots initiatives she is delivering.

“I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Rebo,” Murray says. “We share the same vision for growing the game by making tennis fun and taking it into areas where you might not normally find a court, a coach or a club.”

According to the manufacturer, a Rebo wall can be installed anywhere in a matter of hours. Visit rebowall.com.

USTA Partners in New Laver Cup

The USTA has become a partner in the Laver Cup, a new annual three-day men’s team tennis competition that will pit a team of six of the best players from Europe against six players from the rest of the world. For the first three years, starting in 2017, Bjorn Borg will captain Team Europe while John McEnroe will lead The World.

Both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have committed to compete in the inaugural event, which will take place Sept. 22-24 at the O2 arena in Prague, Czech Republic, which has previously hosted events such as the Davis Cup finals. Organizers announced their commitment to hold the second Laver Cup in 2018 in the United States at a site to be determined.

Hurricane Forces Reschedule Of PTR Tech Conference

The PTR has rescheduled its inaugural Tennis Technology Conference to May 4-5, at the Marriott Resort Hilton Head Island, S.C. The event was originally scheduled for this past November, but was postponed due to Hurricane Matthew. The conference will feature interactive sessions covering the latest developments in products and software to help tennis coaches and club directors and managers to run their businesses more effectively.

For more information on this year’s event, visit go to members.prtennis.org

USRSA Announces New Master Racquet Technicians

Scott Black — Brentwood, Tenn.

Nicholas Ionesco — Quebec, Canada

Carl Johnson — Rochester Hills, Mich.

Christian Kofod — Raleigh, N.C.

Melvin Tan — Singapore

Ryan Tracy — Woodbridge, Va.

Minchao Wu — Flushing, N.Y.

Dunlop Precision Frames Offer Thinner Beams, More Weight

Dunlop has introduced its Precision line of racquets aimed at intermediate to advanced players. The company says the four new frames “mark a return to some of the performance characteristics that defined Dunlop for many decades,” including thinner beams, slightly heavier weight and an emphasis on control.

In doing so, the racquets also take advantage of modern frame geometry and new Dunlop technologies, including the SR-X handle system and parallel stringing, giving players control, feel and forgiveness. The four new frames, each with a beam width of 22 mm and suggested retail of $170, are:

Visit DunlopTennis.us for more.

People Watch

USRSA Presents Workshop At Ferris State PTM Program

USRSA Executive Director Bob Patterson and former Executive Director David Bone visited Ferris State University’s renowned Professional Tennis Management program in Big Rapids, Mich., in October to present the organization’s annual Racquet Repair Workshop.

The two-day workshop, which students complete in their freshman year, has been presented by the USRSA at Ferris State for more than 25 years. It includes classroom presentations, hands-on demonstrations and applications. Upon completion of the workshop and testing, the students then string an additional 20 racquets to gain increased proficiency.

Ferris State has offered its PTM program since 1986.

By the numbers

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores

January-September, 2016 vs. 2015
Units 2016 483,373
2015 523,689
% change vs. ’15 -8%
Dollars 2016 $71,798,000
2015 $76,931,000
% change vs. ’15 -7%
Price 2016 $148.53
2015 $146.90
% change vs. ’15 1%

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, Jan.-Sept. 2016

  1. Babolat Pure Drive 2015 (MP)
  2. Babolat Pure Aero (100) 2016 (MP)
  3. Babolat Pure Aero Team 2016 (MP)
  4. Wilson Pro Staff 97 (MP)
  5. Babolat Pure Drive Lite 2015 (MP)

“Hot New Racquets”

(introduced in the past 12 months)

  1. Wilson Ultra 100 2016 (MP)
  2. Head XT Radical MP (MP)
  3. Wilson Ultra 103S 2016 (MP)
  4. Wilson Ultra 108 2016 (OS)
  5. Prince Warrior 100 Textreme (MP)

Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, Jan.-Sept. 2016

  1. Asics Gel Resolution 6
  2. Prince T22
  3. Nike Zoom Cage 2
  4. Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour 2015
  5. Asics Gel Solution Speed 3

Top-Selling Strings at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date units, Jan.-Sep. 2016

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

(Source: TIA)

New US Open Grandstand Gains LEED Certification

The new Grandstand at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is the first US Open stadium to be LEED certified. The Grandstand achieved LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. (The US Open transportation building was LEED certified in 2015.)

This year, the US Open received the 2016 Green Sports Alliance Innovator of the Year award in recognition of the event’s excellence in advancing the green sports movement. The US Open has been a member of the Green Sports Alliance since 2012, working closely with a network of sports teams, venues and leagues all focused on lessening their collective impact on the environment. The USTA also is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council.

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