Tennis Industry magazine


Industry News

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TOM Conference Eyes Future, Focuses on Business Growth

Key industry presenters will be on hand for the fourth annual Tennis Owners & Managers (TOM) Conference, March 27-29, in Orlando, Fla., which will focus on the future of the sport and how best to position tennis businesses for growth in today’s dynamic consumer market.

Tennis facility owners and managers will hear from Disney Institute executive Brent Centlivre on creating top-level customer service, business leader Tommy Ho on hiring and entrepreneur Mark Ein on business strategies, along with top tennis industry and sports experts Doug Cash, Greg Lappin, Virgin Active’s Gary Stewart and Simon Pearson, fitness marketing guru Casey Conrad, Mike Barrell, Feisal Hassan, Ajay Pant, Butch Staples, Mike Woody, Joe Wang, Whitney Kraft, among others. Dr. Jack Groppel, the Health & Wellness Advisor for the tennis industry, will lead a Health, Wellness & Tennis Panel that will include Dr. Brian Hainline, chief medical officer for the NCAA; Dr. Paul Roetert, CEO of SHAPE America; and Tom Richards of the American Council on Exercise.

The conference will include a Future of Tennis Forum on March 27, along with the “Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge” — a Shark Tank-like competition for new products, moderated by leadership and strategy executive Carlos Salum. There also will be a site visit to the new 100-court USTA National Campus that opened in January.

For additional information, and to register for this industry event, visit

‘Fix-A-Court’ Introduced By USPTA, SportMaster

The USPTA has announced a three-year agreement with SportMaster Sport
Surfaces that retains the surfacing supplier’s products as the official surface of the USPTA, and will introduce the SportMaster Fix-A-Court program as a benefit to USPTA members.

The Fix-A-Court program will allow USPTA members to pre-register for a potential tennis court (or other court) repair, resurfacing or construction project. If the project takes place, the member will benefit from their referral.

“This will be a great way for SportMaster to assist in the improvement of tennis and other sport surfaces, while sharing a portion with our valued USPTA partners,” says SportMaster Sport Surfaces Director Jeff Gearheart.

SportMaster Sport Surfaces is a division of ThorWorks Industries Inc.

PTR Honors Louie Cap, Presents Annual Awards

Dr. Ludovit “Louie” Cap of Hilton Head Island, S.C., was inducted into the PTR Hall of Fame in February during the PTR’s 2017 International Tennis Symposium. Other awards and honors during the Feb. 15-18 event on Hilton Head Island, S.C., included:

Pat Mac Joins Sportime, JMTA as Co-Director

Sportime and The John McEnroe Tennis Academy (JMTA) of New York have named Patrick McEnroe as co-director, alongside longtime JMTA Director Lawrence Kleger.

“I am very pleased that my brother Patrick has decided to join us at JMTA, as we continue to refine our model and expand our impact,” says academy founder John McEnroe. “There probably isn’t anybody who understands American tennis and New York tennis better than Patrick and nobody in the world who has better or more experience coaching talent at the highest levels of the game.”

A TV tennis commentator, Patrick McEnroe also led USTA Player Development for four years.

ASBA Inaugurates Regional Meetings

The American Sports Builders Association will present the first of its new Regional Meetings on March 8-9 at the Marriott New York LaGuardia Airport. The educational conference will include roundtable discussions and sessions on topics such as diagnosing and fixing asphalt and concrete problems, jobsite planning, athletic equipment and installation, and more.

In addition to educational presentations and discussions, the ASBA Regional Meeting is designed to offer networking opportunities, and will include a reception/dinner/tour of Citi Field (home to the New York Mets) and a tour of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. For more information, visit

USTA Hires Digital Media Director from MLB

The USTA has hired former Major League Baseball Advanced Media executive Kevin Mahoney to the newly created position of Managing Director, Digital. He will report to USTA Chief Marketing Officer Amy Choyne.

Mahoney will help lead the transformation of the USTA’s digital marketing efforts and social media strategy, and its integration across all USTA divisions. He most recently served as vice president, partner solutions for MLB Advanced Media, part of a 10-year career at the organization. Prior to MLB, he managed digital media for Sprint Nextel.

Ajay Pant Named Tennis Director at Life Time

Ajay Pant will be the new national tennis director for Life Time, based at the company’s national headquarters in Minneapolis. For the last five and half years, Pant has been the senior vice president of operations at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md.

“Ajay has made an invaluable contribution to our operations,” says JTCC CEO Ray Benton. “This is a wonderful opportunity for him to use his abilities on a national stage.”

John Borden, current assistant general manager at JTCC, has been named as the new general manager and will be assuming Pant’s responsibilities, including managing JTCC operations and overseeing JTCC’s satellite facilities at the Bethesda YMCA, Silver Spring YMCA and the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla.

ASBA Names New Officers and Directors

The American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) has elected officers and directors for the new membership year. The new slate took office at the conclusion of the ASBA’s Technical Meeting in December in Amelia Island, Fla., which featured a record attendance of more than 600.

Pete Smith of The CourtSmiths in Toledo, Ohio, will continue as the ASBA’s chairman throughout 2017. The chairman-elect is Kristoff Eldridge of Cape & Island Tennis & Track in Pocasset, Mass.

ASBA Division presidents are: Troy Rudolph of Elite Sports Builders in Phoenix (Track Division); Joe Covington of Covington Flooring in Birmingham, Ala. (Indoor Division); Megan Buczynski of Activitas in Dedham, Mass. (Professional Division); and David Moxley of Sportsfield Specialties in Delhi, N.Y. (Supplier Division).

Ed Norton of Holcombe Norton Partners in Birmingham, Ala., is the ASBA’s secretary-treasurer.

Lobster Releases App For Apple Watch

Lobster Sports has released an Apple Watch App for controlling its cutting-edge Elite Grand Series and Phenom Series ball machines. (Both series are also compatible with an iPhone Remote Control system, which can be purchased separately.) The downloadable Apple Watch App is available on the App Store or iTunes.

With the Apple Watch or iPhone remote control system installed, the user can operate any Elite Grand Series or Phenom Series machine from an Apple Watch, iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.

“In the future, this will allow for expansion into fitness-based tracking as well,” says Lobster Sales & Marketing Manager Curt Toney. “Soon, we can count ball throws, count steps, or maybe even count calories burned.”

Visit for more info.

Louis Armstrong Stadium Demolished

One of the most famous tennis stadiums in the world, Louis Armstrong Stadium, in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., was demolished late last year. It will be replaced with a state-of-the-art stadium with 15,000 seats and a retractable roof, as the transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center continues.

Louis Armstrong Stadium was originally built as the Singer Bowl for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and was pressed into service by the USTA in the 1970s, when the US Open moved from Forest Hills to Flushing Meadows.

A temporary stadium will replace Louis Armstrong for the 2017 US Open. The new stadium, estimated to cost $100 million, is expected to be completed in time for the 2018 Open.

Har-Tru’s Tracy Lynch Officiates at Rose Bowl

Har-Tru’s director of sales, Tracy Lynch, has a not-so-secret second job. For the past 20 years, he’s been a football official.

Lynch started officiating at high school games, then moved on to college football, and for the last six years he has officiated games for the Atlantic Coast Conference. On Jan. 2, he was on the field as an official at the Rose Bowl, which turned out to be the highest scoring game in Rose Bowl history, as USC defeated Penn State, 52-49.

“It was an honor to be a part of the game and a part of the history of the Rose Bowl,” says Lynch, who was Tennis Industry’s Sales Rep of the Year for 2009. “When all is said and done, I believe people will remember the game and not the officiating, and hopefully that means we did a pretty good job.”

“We’re all incredibly proud of Tracy’s accomplishments,” says Har-Tru President Pat Hanssen. “To work at the elite level in a sport like football is a huge commitment, and Tracy has worked hard to get there, balancing his career, his family and football.”

Head ‘Play Better’ Promo Uses IBM Watson Tool

Head is piloting a program with an IBM Watson-enabled web tool called the Head Tennis Racquet Finder. The tool’s artificial intelligence-powered interface relies on IBM Watson technology to guide consumers through personalized racquet recommendations.

As part of the pilot, Head launched a sweepstakes called “Play Better” that runs through 2017, with winners announced every Friday. Participants answer questions that leverage the Racquet Finder’s technology to identify the most suitable racquet for their game, and are eligible to win Head performance racquets or tennis balls. Sweepstakes players also are eligible for a free demo coupon at participating retail stores.

Head developed its own algorithm for matching players with its frames, and the Racquet Finder taps into IBM Watson to present the top three recommended racquets for each player, ranked according to Watson’s evaluations that include weight, head size and balance, as well as calculations of their suitability for a user. Visit

Ivanovic Joins PlaySight

PlaySight, the company behind the instant-feedback SmartCourt, has added recently retired WTA Grand Slam singles champion and former World No. 1 Ana Ivanovic as a partner and ambassador.

“All levels of tennis player can benefit from training smarter with PlaySight’s analytics, instant video, fair play line calling and gamified tennis training,” Ivanovic says.

Ivanovic joins a group of PlaySight partners that includes Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Pete Sampras, Novak Djokovic, Tommy Haas, Paul Annacone and Darren Cahill. PlaySight SmartCourts are installed at the USTA National Campus and at federations, academies, colleges, and clubs all over the world.

Head Debuts Four Instinct Series Frames

Head’s new Instinct racquet series features a new frame construction that introduces Graphene Touch technology, which the company says offers great touch and maneuverability, along with an ideal combination of power and control for all playing levels.

Head says advanced 3D carbon engineering provides more stability and a bigger sweet spot for added power and is the secret to the playability of the new frames. The racquets feature special grommets that dampen vibration, and the bumper and bridge sections are designed to integrate with the frame.

The new Instinct series is available in four models — MidPlus, Adaptive, S and Lite. Visit

JMTA to Hold Second College Recuiting Event

For the second straight year, the John McEnroe Tennis Academy (JMTA) will run a “College Recruiting Combine,” which is scheduled for the weekend of June 24-25 at Sportime Randall’s Island in New York City.

The Combine, which debuted last June, will give selected rising high-school sophomores, juniors and seniors from around the country the opportunity to showcase their technical and tactical tennis skills, as well as their athletic abilities and mental toughness, in front of coaches from top colleges and universities. Dozens of JMTA students currently compete at top colleges across the country.

K-Swiss Introduces Knitshot Tennis Shoe

K-Swiss’s newest high-performance tennis shoe, the Knitshot, combines innovative design and advanced technology, says the company, and is designed for intermediate to advanced players. The shoe features new “K-NIT” material to provide comfort and stability.

K-NIT has a unique high-abrasion thread that is used in vehicle armor, body armor and climbing equipment. The new GuideGlide construction places lower density foam under the foot to provide long-lasting cushioning while putting firmer foam around the outside of the shoe for stability and support.

The Knitshot suggested retail price is $155. Visit

Hinding Tennis Completes Rebuild of Cuban Facility

Hinding Tennis of West Haven, Conn., recently completed a set of extensive renovations at the National Tennis Center in Havana, marking the first bricks-and-mortar construction project by an American company in Cuba since the Dwight D. Eisenhower Administration.

“This has been the most challenging project I have completed in my 42 years in the tennis industry and, by far, the most gratifying project I have ever been involved with,” says Steven Hinding.

Hinding made his first trip to Havana nearly two years ago with Jake Agna, the founder of “Kids on the Ball,” a Burlington, Vt., non-profit promoting junior tennis. Since 2002, Agna has introduced thousands of kids in Burlington to the sport.

Agna had been to Cuba and wanted junior tennis to thrive there, but first the players in Cuba needed courts. He and Kids on the Ball set out to find donors and support to renovate the 10 courts at Havana’s National Tennis Center.

Construction started on Nov. 26 and was completed Dec. 19. The project was a collaboration among Hinding Tennis, Ace Tennis, Mid-Atlantic Tennis, AFSCO Fence, Gateway Fence & Guardrail and Riteway Crack Repair. The court surface is California Sports Surfaces’ Premier Court.

“To come out and help during the construction process then to see the players take so much pride in the new facility is life-changing,” says Hinding.

Short Sets

New Book Deals With Choking in Sports

Emotional Aptitude in Sports: Stop Choking in Competition is the latest book by coach, speaker and author Frank Giampaolo. “Emotional control supersedes athletic, mental and fundamental development during competition,” Giampaolo says. “Underdeveloped emotional skill sets debilitate an athlete’s developed strengths — just when they are needed the most.” The book is available on Amazon.

People Watch

Head Penn Partners With Cliff Drysdale Tennis

Head Penn Racquet Sports announced a multi-year agreement as the Official Worldwide Tennis Equipment and Tennis Ball Sponsor of Cliff Drysdale Tennis (CDT).

Head Penn Racquet Sports will become the exclusive equipment and ball sponsor at more than 400 CDT-managed tournaments, events and programs in the U.S., and each CDT-managed pro shop will exclusively feature Head racquets, strings, grips and bags, and Penn tennis balls. In addition, Hall of Famer Cliff Drysdale, all represented coaches, directors and staff members will endorse Head and Penn products. 

“This is a perfect match of people, culture and vision for the future,” says Kevin Kempin, Head North America CEO and president.

USRSA Announces New MRTs and CSs

Master Racquet Technicians

Certified Stringers

PTR Honors State Members

At the recent PTR International Tennis Symposium on Hilton Head Island, the PTR awarded its State Members of the Year:

AL – George Wilson, Birmingham

AR – Kelli Holmes, Maumelle

AZ – Melissa L. Tafoya, Mesa

CA - Todd Dissly, Los Gatos

CT – Mitchell Case, Torrington

DE – Gaby Brengle, Dover

FL – Pedro Estrada, Orlando

FL – Kelvin Rivera, Saint Cloud

HI – Shelby Baron, Honolulu

ID – Katie Wate, Meridian

IL – Zane Fulton, Westmont

IN – Brandon Currie, Indianapolis

IA – Kevin Nebergall, Cedar Rapids

KS – Mike Woody, Gardner

KY – Bruce Stone, Louisville

LA – Walker Sahag, Mandeville

MA – Avis Murray, Gloucester

MD – Ernest J. Quarles, Mitchellville

MI – Derek Ameel, Big Rapids

MN – Isaac McBroom, Excelsior

MS – Geoff Norton, Jackson

NY – Anthony Evrard, Brooklyn

NC – Carla McKenzie, Vass

OH – Philip Conley, Tiffin

PA – Aaron Grant, Philadelphia

SC – Mike Pollard, Bluffton

SD – Mark Vellek, Sioux Falls

TX – Tony Huber, Cypress

VA – Tim Bainton, Washington DC

WA – Karen Baebler, Seattle

WY – Kenneth Yamada, Cheyenne



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