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Industry News

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Tennis and Sports Experts To Present at TOM Conference

The fourth annual Tennis Owners & Managers (TOM) Conference will be held from March 27-29 at the Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla. Presented by the TIA, the TOM Conference brings together leading experts in facility management, development, programming and staffing to provide vital information that will address the needs of all types of tennis facilities — public, commercial, private, country clubs and resorts.

The conference will include a Future of Tennis Forum, along with the “Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge,” a “Shark Tank”-like competition for new products (see right). The TOM also will include a site visit to the 100-court USTA National Campus, which officially opens in January.

Among the speakers will be Dr. Jack Groppel, the Health & Wellness Advisor for the tennis industry, who will lead a Health, Wellness & Tennis Panel that will include Dr. Brian Hainline, chief medical officer for the NCAA and former longtime chief medical officer for the US Open, and Dr. Paul Roetert, CEO of SHAPE America (Society of Health and Physical Educators) and former managing director of USTA Player Development.

Tennis facility owners and managers also will hear from a top Disney Institute executive on customer service. Sports facility expert Casey Conrad will present a session on creating new revenue for clubs and facilities through innovative programming, and other sessions will dive into how to “re-think” various segments of the business.

The conference also will showcase a roundtable on the topic, “Is Your Facility as Tech Savvy as Your Members?” Other presentations will include critical legal issues facing facilities, how to attract millennials and families, and more. There also will be an exhibitor area with networking breaks.

Visit TheTomConference.com for details and to register.

‘Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge’ at 2017 TOM

The 2017 TOM Conference in Orlando will feature a unique “Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge,” a “Shark Tank”-like competition showcasing cutting-edge products designed to help grow tennis businesses.

From now until Feb. 15, companies and individuals can submit pitches for their innovative products, software and services at TheTOMConference.com. Finalists from the application process will have the opportunity to present their innovative product or service to a panel of judges — and in front of an audience of tennis industry leaders and top tennis facility owners/managers — at the 2017 TOM Conference on March 27.

Carlos Salum, president of the leadership, performance and strategy firm Salum International Resources, will emcee the Innovation Challenge at the TOM Conference and chair the judging panel, which will include Jeff Williams, the managing partner of the Tennis Media Co. (and publisher of Tennis Industry magazine), along with other industry executives and C-suite attendees.

The finalists will receive media exposure through the TIA in the lead-up to the TOM Conference, along with special recognition at the event itself. The winner of the Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge will receive a $1,000, a one-year membership in the TIA at the “Supporting Member” level, a national press release, coverage in Tennis Industry magazine, additional exposure through TIA marketing and social media channels, and a commemorative plaque.

Miringoff Named K-Swiss’ Global Tennis Director

K-Swiss has appointed Mike Miringoff as its global director of tennis, responsible for all aspects of the performance tennis business in North America, including sales, marketing and product. He joins K-Swiss from Wilson, where he spent the last five years in Shanghai, China, as Asia Pacific region commercial manager.

“Mike has a deep and comprehensive knowledge of the tennis world and will breathe new energy into our long-term tennis strategy and direction,” says K-Swiss brand President Barney Waters.

Previously, Miringoff was Wilson’s western regional sales manager, and was a key account manager for Nike in the west region. He also served as director of player development for the USTA Southern California section and played Division I tennis at the University of Kentucky.

Pierce Receives ASBA’s Industry Merit Award

The American Sports Builders Association awarded its highest honor, the Industry Merit Award, to Gordy Pierce, owner and president of Cape and Island Tennis & Track of Pocasset, Mass., for his contributions to the industry.

Pierce has been active in volunteering with the ASBA and USTA for many years, including as chairman of the USTA’s Technical Committee. He has contributed his expertise on everything from court surface testing to the creation of the key “Tennis Courts: Construction & Maintenance Manual.”

Pierce was honored at an awards dinner Dec. 5 at the ASBA’s annual Technical Meeting in Amelia Island, Fla.

Former Pro Kathy Rinaldi Named U.S. Fed Cup Captain

The USTA announced in December that Kathy Rinaldi will be the new U.S. Fed Cup captain, replacing Mary Joe Fernandez, who had held the job for the last eight years.

The USTA has also redefined and expanded the Fed Cup captain’s role. Rinaldi, 49, will work more closely with Team USA players throughout the WTA tour year, as well as support players in the offseason. Rinaldi will also work with all departments of the USTA, including Player Development.

Rinaldi was ranked as high as No. 7in the world in singles (May 1986) and No. 13 in doubles (February 1993). She reached the singles semifinals of Wimbledon in 1985 and the quarterfinals of the French Open in 1981 and ’87. She reached the doubles semis at the ’85 US Open, ’87 French Open, and ’91 and ’93 Australian Open. Rinaldi currently serves as Lead National Coach, Team USA–Pro Women for USTA Player Development, focused on helping U.S. pros achieve Top-100 rankings.

People Watch

New Study Says Racquet Sports May Protect against Early Death

A study released in early December suggests that regularly playing racquet sports such as tennis can help stave off death, while sports such as soccer and running may not help people live longer.

Oxford University researchers and scientists in Finland and Australia followed more than 80,000 people for an average of nine years to find out if certain sports helped protect them against early death. People who played racquet sports regularly were least likely to die over the study period, the report found, reducing their individual risk by 47 percent compared to people who did not exercise.

Swimmers reduced their chance of death by 28 percent, aerobics participants by 27 percent and cyclists by 15 percent, according to the study. Running, soccer and rugby appeared to have no impact at all on early death.

Scientists have speculated that one of the reasons racquet sports such as tennis may help prevent early death is the social aspect that goes with playing it, which often leads to organized activities beyond the court. Tennis participants, the study suggests, generally have larger social networks and keep up activities later in life — both of which tend to be good for health. People who play team sports when younger often do not move on to a new sport once they stop playing.

“We think racquet sports not only offer the usual physiological benefts, but also offer additional mental health and social benefits, perhaps unique to these sports,” Dr. Charlie Foster, associate professor of Physical Activity and Population Health at Oxford, told the British newspaper The Telegraph.

Har-Tru Acquires Treadblaster Shoe Cleaner

Har-Tru of Charlottesville, Va., has acquired Treadblaster, a shoe cleaner with a design that shoots pressurized jets of water into soles of shoes to clean out clay, dirt, and debris, all without allowing any over-splash.

“Our Har-Tru surface is immensely forgiving and superb for keeping tennis players healthy, but the material can wander off on the soles of tennis shoes,” says Tracy Lynch, director of sales for Har-Tru, which acquired Treadblaster from Medora Corp. “Treadblaster may be the best product we have for solving that problem.”

Treadblaster was developed by Joel Bleth, co-founder, president and CEO of Medora Corp. Har-Tru first brought the product to the tennis world in 2008.

Davis Cup Returns to Birmingham in February

Tickets are on sale now for the 2017 Davis Cup World Group First Round tie between the U.S. and Switzerland, which will be held Feb. 3-5 at the Legacy Arena at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) in Birmingham, Ala.

Davis Cup returns to Birmingham for the first time since 2009, when the city also hosted Switzerland in a World Group First Round match at the BJCC. In that tie, the U.S. team of Andy Roddick, James Blake and Bob and Mike Bryan defeated Switzerland, 4-1.

Industry Loses Pioneer Wade Herren of Alabama

Wade Herren of Birmingham, Ala., passed away on Dec. 7 at age 89. Herren, who won over 200 tennis titles, including an SEC championship, founded the Highland Racket Club in 1959 and Southern Tennis Magazine, also in 1959. He then turned to building award-winning courts and facilities throughout the South with the Herren Division of Welch Tennis.

In 1997, Herren was named one of the top 100 influential people in the sport by Tennis Industry magazine. He had been inducted into the Southern Tennis Association Hall of Fame, the Alabama Tennis Association Hall of Fame, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, and the Birmingham Southern Hall of Fame.

New Squash String from Ashaway

Ashaway has introduced SuperNick ZX Micro, a new 18-gauge (1.15 mm) squash string with a multifilament nylon core wrapped in a special wear layer of Zyex® filaments. Designed to provide precise touch while maintaining excellent tension control, SuperNick ZX Micro is intended for players who require superior durability, better control and increased power.

“What makes Zyex so good for racquet strings is its low dynamic stiffness,” says Ashaway’s Steve Crandall. “This allows the strings to stretch and recover more completely than other synthetic materials, thus generating more power with less impact shock.” For more information, visit ashawayusa.com.

Pickleball Championships Slated for April 23-30

The Minto US Open Pickleball Championships will be held from April 23-30 at East Naples Community Park in Naples, Fla. As of December, more than 1,200 players had registered for the international event. The event will receive two hours of coverage on the CBS Sports Network.

Official equipment of the Minto US Open Pickleball Championships include California Sports Surfaces as the court surface (DecoTurf), Gamma as the official grip, Paddletek as the paddle, and Dura as the ball. For more information, visit usopenpickleballchampionships.com.

GoFundMe Campaign Aids California Facility

A GoFundMe.com campaign, organized by community members in Costa Mesa, Calif., exceeded its $10,000 goal to help the Costa Mesa Tennis Center recover from damage and loss from three break-ins that occurred over two weeks in 2016.

The CMTC has been run by industry veterans Hank and Maureen Lloyd since 1999, and they had been hoping to purchase a new ice machine for the facility, but the repairs and loss from the break-ins set back their plans. The community rallied to help buy the new ice machine and replace stolen items, install security bars on windows and doors, and install a security system.

USPTA partners With U.S. Padel Association

The USPTA will partner with the U.S. Padel Association (USPA) to provide additional certification opportunities for both USPTA-certified professionals and padel pros.

The USPA will work with the USPTA to assist qualified USPTA members who are seeking to become certified as USPA professionals while giving USPA professionals affiliation under the USPTA umbrella. As part of this relationship, USPA members will have access to USPTA member benefits. Both juniors and adults compete every two years in the Padel World Championships. The USPA was created in 1993.

Zalinski to retire after 50 Years in Industry

Steve Zalinski, the USTA Southern tennis service representative for South Carolina, will retire after nine years with the section, bringing to a close a 50-year career in the tennis industry. Zalinski, of Daniel Island, S.C., has been a cornerstone in expanding tennis participation in his home state, particularly in promoting youth tennis.

“Steve is a people person who makes everyone feel comfortable,” says Bill Ozaki, USTA Southern director of programs and player development. “Thanks to his work, we’ve had great improvement in programs in South Carolina.”

A native of Chicago, Zalinski was a top junior player and played for DePaul University. Prior to joining USTA Southern, he was the vice president of sales for Dunlop/Slazenger in the Pro Shop/Specialty area for 18 years.

Tennis Champion Gardnar Mulloy passes away at 102

Tennis legend and Hall of Famer Gardnar Mulloy passed away on Nov. 14. He was 102 years old.

A three-time NCAA champion at the University of Miami, Mulloy was ranked in the U.S. Top 10 every year from 1939 through 1954, save for the two years he served in the Navy during World War II. He reached No. 1 in 1952. Mulloy won five Grand Slam men’s doubles crowns and was a singles finalist at Forest Hills in 1952. He won his last major title in 1957 at age 43, partnering with Budge Patty to claim the Wimbledon men’s doubles. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1972.

As a senior player, Mulloy won titles well into his 80s. Today, the ITF’s Super Senior World Team Championship’s Gardnar Mulloy Cup is for players 80-and-over.

“A feisty and fiery competitor and one of our sport’s most passionate proponents, Gardnar truly left an indelible mark on the sport that he so loved,” said USTA President Katrina Adams.

U.S. Kids Rank 47 Out of 50 in Overall Physical Fitness

According to a recent report, U.S. children rank 47th in the world in overall physical fitness, based on a series of 20-meter shuttle runs conducted with more than 1.1 million children from 50 countries. The five countries with the fittest children are Tanzania, Iceland, Estonia, Norway and Japan.

This new information confirms the reality of the current “Inactivity Pandemic,” where nearly 82 million Americans, including many children, are physically inactive, according to PHIT America and the Physical Activity Council. PHIT America offers “Go! Grants” for PE programs, which could also include tennis programs and equipment. In 2015, PHIT America distributed 156 Go! Grants to U.S. schools. Visit PHITAmerica.org.

Clawson Re-elected CEO of SFIA

Chris Clawson was re-elected as the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) chairman of the board in early December. Clawson is the president of Life Fitness.

New additions to the board this year include: Dan Arment (Riddell), Rawleigh Grove (PING Golf), Jason LaRose (Under Armour), Gene McCarthy (Asics America), Scott McDonald (Body Solid Inc.), and Marco Zambianchi (Technogym).

The following board members have been re-elected: Melissa Dawson (Molten USA Inc.) and Neil Morton (Everlast Worldwide).

Newly elected and re-elected directors will join existing SFIA board members Robert Puccini (Mizuno, USA), Jennifer Bendall (Nike), Michael Savage (Empower Fitness), Brian Anderson (2XU), Jim Baugh (Jim Baugh Consulting), Brian Jennings (NHL), Sal LaRocca (NBA), Nathan Pyles (Johnson Health Tech North America), Jonathan Ram (New Balance), Kurt Tandan (Adidas America), Jeff Padovan (Bite Tech Inc.), Jim Weber (Brooks Running Company) and Mike Zlaket (Rawlings Sporting Goods).

Landing the Big One

Mike Burke of NGI Sports and Jon Wright of Court One hold a 30-inch black drum that Burke landed on a fishing trip out of Fernandina (Fla.) Harbor City Marina prior to the start of the American Sports Builders Association annual Technical Meeting in Amelia Island in early December. NGI Sports of Chattanooga, Tenn., sponsored the trip, which included clients from Court One in Raleigh, N.C., and General Acrylics of Phoenix. The group caught more than 50 fish.

Short Sets

Miley, Van Faayenhoven to Present at PTR Symposium

Internationally acclaimed coaches Dave Miley and Frank van Fraayenhoven will present at the PTR International Tennis Symposium, from Feb. 15-18 on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Miley has played a key role in the global development of tennis. The former International Tennis Federation executive director of tennis development was responsible for overseeing juniors, veterans and wheelchair players, as well as the ITF/Grand Slam Development Program. In 1992, he started the ITF Coaching and Sports Science Review and remained its editor until 2015, and was instrumental in creating ITF’s online platform iCoach. He was also Irish Men’s Doubles Champion, and is a former captain of the Irish National Men’s Team.

Van Fraayenhoven worked in coach education for the Royal Dutch Lawn Tennis Association as a tutor and manager until October of this year. He has been involved in the education of coaches for 37 years, and has worked with coaches and players in more than 75 countries, including as a national coach for the Netherlands. A member of the ITF Coaches Commission for more than 15 years, he received the ITF Award for Service to the Game.

USRSA Announces New MRTs and CSs

Master Racquet Technicians

Jordan Boecker, Houston

Juan Bozo, Houston

Adam Friel, Roslyn, N.Y.

Lenno Lasn, Wheaton, Ill.

Dave Neagle, Cincinnati

Alex Tran, Houston

Sang Tran, Houston

Certified Stringer

Weidong Cai, China

 

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