Tennis Industry magazine

 

Industry News

USTA, Deloitte Announce Wide-Ranging Relationship

The USTA announced a long-term and comprehensive agreement with Deloitte, in which the leading professional services organization will sponsor both the U.S. Davis Cup and U.S. Fed Cup teams, as well as become an official sponsor of the US Open and the first-ever sponsor of the US Open Wheelchair Competition.

Deloitte’s logo will be featured on the U.S. Davis Cup and U.S. Fed Cup team jackets. Deloitte will also support U.S. Team Events in markets where the competitions are being held. The U.S. Davis Cup team began its 2017 campaign on Feb. 3 in Birmingham, Ala., against Switzerland; the U.S. Fed Cup team began its 2017 campaign against Germany in Maui, Hawaii, on Feb. 11. Both teams advanced.

Deloitte’s sponsorship of the US Open Wheelchair Competition, which is held annually (except in Paralympic years), is the first of its kind. This sponsorship is an extension of Deloitte’s commitment to Paralympic sports.

Deloitte also has been working with the USTA to revamp the association’s digital technology and build the USTA’s grassroots digital capabilities. A main initiative is the development of a suite of products to help the USTA deepen its connection to tennis players and encourage more people, especially younger athletes, to pick up the game.

“We share the USTA’s vision to promote and expand the game of tennis,” says Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert. “I have been playing the game since I was 6 years old, so I know firsthand how it teaches life lessons: integrity, dedication and competitiveness. It is also a lifelong sport that is important to the mental and physical well-being of so many people of different ages and backgrounds.”

Roddick, Clijsters Among 2017 HOF Inductees

Former world No. 1s Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick have been elected to receive the highest honor in tennis: induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Joining them in the Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch, a four-time Paralympic medalist in wheelchair tennis.

Additionally, two individuals will be inducted in the Contributor Category: Steve Flink, a distinguished tennis historian and journalist, and the late Vic Braden, a groundbreaking tennis instructor who was among the first to apply sports science to his instructional tactics.

“Kim, Andy and Monique compiled outstanding careers, winning the game’s biggest titles and ascending to the world No. 1 ranking,” said ITHOF President Stan Smith, a 1987 Hall of Famer.

“Steve’s lifelong dedication to chronicling the sport’s happenings and history has engaged and educated fans around the world. And we remember Vic Braden, who transformed how tennis is taught and how athletes are developed.”

The Class of 2017 will be officially inducted on July 22 in Newport, R.I., during Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

ITPA World Fitness Conference in July

The International Tennis Performance Association’s 2017 World Tennis Fitness Conference will be held July 22-23 at Life University in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Ga.

The conference aims to develop the athlete and tennis player by educating coaches on increasing performance and reducing injuries. Speakers include Gil Reyes, Dr. Mark Kovacs and Sue Falsone, along with other medical doctors, tennis coaches, physical therapists, chiropractors, athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches and nutrition professionals.

In 2016, the conference had attendees from more than 23 universities and six countries, representing multiple academies, clubs, coaches and healthcare professionals. Early registration is through June 1. Visit itpa-tennis.org for more information.

USPTA, TGA Renew Schools Partnership

In a three-year deal, TGA Premier Youth Tennis will remain the official schools program provider of the USPTA. TGA will continue its aim of growing tennis at the grassroots level and attracting new business for USPTA professionals.

TGA, which stands for Teach Grow Achieve, pioneered a school-based youth sports franchise model that has made tennis accessible to youth and families through a five-level, instruction-based program for elementary students, and a play-based program for middle school students. Its specialized curriculums were developed in partnership with the USTA.

USPTA members will receive continuing education credits for coaching with TGA and an exclusive 10 percent off franchise fees. For more, visit playtga.com.

Serena Williams Honored With Jesse Owens Award

The International Athletic Association announced that tennis star Serena Williams and legendary boxer Muhammad Ali are the recipients of the 2017 Jesse Owens Awards. The prestigious awards recognize sports legends who exemplify the ideals embodied by Olympian and humanitarian Jesse Owens: integrity, perseverance and service.

This year’s historic gala, on April 27, falls on the 81st anniversary of Jesse Owens’ incomparable triumph at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The event will take place in New York City at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Williams will be honored with the Jesse Owens International Athlete Trophy, presented annually to the world’s best athlete as voted by a group of electors consisting of sports writers and experts from around the world. Ali will posthumously receive the Jesse Owens Global Award for Peace. For more info, visit JesseOwensGala.com.

U.S. Fed Cup Team Advances to Semifinals

In February, the U.S. Fed Cup team advanced to the World Group semifinals for the first time since 2010 with a 4-0 win over Germany in a match played in Maui.

Coco Vandeweghe won both of her matches for the United States, including the clincher over Andrea Petkovic for her first-ever win over the German.

The U.S. will face the Czech Republic in the World Group semis at a home site to be announced. It will be played April 22-23. Germany will compete in the World Group Playoffs in April to remain in the World Group for 2018.

U.S. to Meet Aussies In Davis Cup Quarterfinals

The U.S. Davis Cup team swept Switzerland, 5-0, on Feb. 5 in a World Group first-round tie in Birmingham, Ala. It was the United States’ second consecutive sweep of the Swiss team in Davis Cup.

The U.S. will travel to Australia for a World Group quarterfinal match April 7-9 at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane. The U.S. is 26-20 all-time against Australia in a rivalry that dates back to 1905. The Americans won their last meeting, 3-1, in Kooyong, Australia, in the 2016 World Group first round.

Switzerland will compete in the World Group playoff, Sept. 15-17, for the right to remain in the World Group in 2018.

PlaySight Named Top 10 Most Innovative Company

PlaySight, the company behind the cutting-edge SmartCourt, has been named one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Sports by the magazine Fast Company in its March 2017 issue.

To produce the 2017 list, Fast Company reporters surveyed thousands of enterprises across the globe to identify the most notable innovations of the year and trace the impact of those innovations on business, industry and sports culture. PlaySight joins a prestigious list of leading innovative companies in sports this year, including Twitter, ESPN, Wasserman and The Players’ Tribune.

“Innovation has always been at the core of our company,” says PlaySight CEO Chen Shachar. “Working with incredible customers like the Golden State Warriors, the University of North Carolina, Wimbledon and the United States Tennis Association — some of the most forward-thinking organizations in all of sports — has pushed us to continue to innovate, as we see our technology being used by amateur and professional teams and athletes.”

PlaySight’s vision has been embraced throughout the tennis world. From its renowned investor and partner team, including Novak Djokovic, Billie Jean King, Pete Sampras, Chris Evert, Tommy Haas, Ana Ivanovic, Darren Cahill and Paul Annacone, to its partnerships with the USTA at its new National Campus, other top federations and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, SmartCourt technology is driving participation and engagement across all levels of the sport.

“We’re giving facilities, coaches, players and families access to cutting-edge sports technology that was previously inaccessible,” says PlaySight USA General Manager Yuval Bar Yosef. “We believe our cloud-based platform is unique and has something to offer all athletes.”

Short Sets

Emirates Takes Name Off US Open Series

Emirates Airline is removing its name from the US Open Series, the eight summer hard-court tournaments leading up to the US Open. The airline will end its seven-year deal for the US Open Series two years before it is set to expire.

Emirates, however, will not pay the USTA less for sponsorship; it will shift its resources to the US Open and will name the line-calling technology on ESPN’s US Open Series broadcasts. The airline reportedly is paying the USTA $90 million over a seven-year agreement period.

Stacey Allaster, the USTA CEO of Professional Tennis, says the USTA will use the extra commercial space during the USOS to promote Net Generation, a new youth initiative. “This is not just a platform to make money. We want to use pro tennis in the U.S. to get more kids on the court,” says Allaster.

The publication Sports Business Journal says the USTA will pay the eight US Open Series tournaments the same amount of money they would have received had Emirates stayed in, about $250,000 per event on average. However, the USTA will do away with the US Open Series bonus pool, the millions of dollars in prize money awarded to players who accumulated the most points at those tournaments based on how they performed.

One-On-One Doubles Returns to NTC

One-On-One Doubles Tennis, a half-court serve-and-volley singles game played crosscourt including the alley, returns to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center April 28-30 as a USTA National Category III Tournament. The Innovations Tennis Challenges will include both a singles tournament and One-On-One Doubles tournament for three divisions: Men’s 35 & Over, Men’s 45 & Over and Men’s 55 & Over.

Since the game’s inception in 2004, One-On-One Doubles has been played as part of ATP, USTA, USPTA and ITA national events. Whitney Kraft, tennis director at the NTC, will be the tournament director. Ed Krass, former Harvard women’s tennis coach and director of the 29th Annual College Tennis Exposure Camps, is the founder of One-On-One Doubles tournaments.

One-On-One Doubles is played on college campuses nationwide. In December, the ITA National Coaches Convention hosted its 12th Annual One-On-One Doubles prize money tournament in Naples, Fla. For more information, visit oneononedoubles.com.

PowerShares Series Announces 2017 Events

PowerShares Series Tennis, a circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30, announced its full 2017 circuit of events. PowerShares Series Tennis will again partner with ATP and WTA events in Charleston, S.C., Newport, R.I., Winston-Salem, N.C. and New Haven, Conn.

The 2017 PowerShares Series schedule, with player fields, is:

March 30: Toronto, Ont. — John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, Mark Philippoussis

April 1: Charleston, S.C. — McEnroe, Roddick, James Blake, Philippoussis

April 28: Birmingham, Ala. — McEnroe, Roddick, Jim Courier, Fish

May 17: Chicago, Ill. — McEnroe, Roddick, Courier, Philippoussis

July 23: Newport, R.I. — Roddick, Courier, Blake, Fish

Aug. 20: Winston-Salem, N.C. — Roddick, Blake, Michael Chang, Fish

Aug. 24, 25: New Haven, Conn. — McEnroe, Chang, Blake, Philippoussis

Lincoln, Neb. — TBA

Los Angeles, Calif. — TBA

Nashville, Tenn. — TBA

The tournaments, featuring two one-set semifinal matches and a one-set final-round match in a single evening, will feature the legendary players making their own line-calls (with the assistance of electronic line-calling) for the third straight year.

USTA Debuts Weekly Top 25 College Rankings

In February, the USTA debuted its College Tennis Top 25 team rankings, the organization’s latest initiative to promote the college game. The weekly rankings will rate the Top 25 men’s and women’s teams in NCAA Division I and will be released each Wednesday on USTA.com.

The ranking voters are Casey Angle (former ITA championships director), Virgil Christian (USTA College Tennis), Granger Huntress (Texas College Tennis), Bobby Knight (College Tennis Today), Dallas Oliver (Tennis Recruiting Network), Erica Perkins Jasper (Intercollegiate Tennis Association), Mike Patrick (former University of Tennessee women’s coach), Lisa Stone (Parenting Aces) and Bruce Walchuk (Universal Tennis Rating).

The ranking is the latest in a number of ways the USTA is supporting college tennis. The 2017 College MatchDay series — nine team matches streamed live on ESPN3 through WatchESPN and the ESPN app — debuted recently at the USTA National Campus in Orlando. USTA Player Development also began offering guaranteed wild-card entries into USTA Pro Circuit events for Americans who win or reach the final at several major collegiate singles tournaments this season.

Pickleball Championships Slated for April 23-30

More than 1,300 players have registered to play in the Minto US Open Pickleball Championships April 23-30 at East Naples Community Park in Naples, Fla. — a 50 percent increase over last year’s enrollment. The international event will receive two hours of television coverage on the CBS Sports Network.

Tournament officials expect a few thousand fans to fly into Naples for the event. This year, a permanent shade structure has been constructed over the championship court for players and spectators.

Official equipment of the Minto US Open Pickleball Championships includes 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.

Cliff Drysdale Management Partners with Tennis Smart

Cliff Drysdale Management, based in New Braunfels, Texas, and Tennis Smart of the United Kingdom have formed a strategic alliance to create a Tennis Professional Development Program for aspiring tennis pros from the United Kingdom who are attending college in the United States.

Tennis Smart (tennissmart.net) is a developmental pathway for U.K. tennis players aimed at maintaining education while progressing as young athletes. The 12- to 18-month traineeship will provide the hands-on education required for a career in club and tennis management.

“I am thrilled to link Tennis Smart with Cliff Drysdale Management,” says Tennis Smart CEO Sarah Borwell. “This is a great opportunity for British juniors who want to embark on a career in the tennis industry. CDM is the premier Tennis Professional Development Program and one of the best pathways into tennis management.”

Trainees will attend a four- to six-week introduction at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation in Fernandina Beach, Fla., under the guidance of CDM executives Scott Colebourne and Scott McCulloch, to learn about the fundamentals of club management. Trainees will then be assigned to a home club and director mentor.

Southern Illinois University Drops College Teams

Faced with declining enrollment and a difficult economic climate in the state of Illinois, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale announced it will cut both the men’s and women’s tennis programs from its athletic department.

SIU put the tennis teams on the chopping block last year as part of a potential budget plan for fiscal year 2017, but found the money to keep both of them afloat this season.

SIU athletic director Tommy Bell said it wasn’t possible to keep them going forward, even after cutting $1 million last year from a $22 million budget.

“In light of the severe budget environment, we simply ran out of options,” Bell said. “As budgets are cut across campus, athletics must do its part.”

USRSA Announces New MRTs

Master Racquet Technicians

Fedrico Desi, Italy

Gregory Moussette, Boca Raton, Fla.

USTA CEO Takes Part In Youth Sports Forum

USTA President and CEO Katrina Adams took part in the fifth annual Lake Nona Impact Forum in February, a three-day thought leadership symposium held in Orlando, Fla.

More than 250 of the nation’s top health care entrepreneurs and innovators, academics, government officials and other thought leaders discussed solutions to improve health, wellbeing and sustainable living throughout the world. The event featured a series of collaborative, action-oriented discussions about the impact of healthy community innovation; sports health and performance; progress and challenges in advancing mental health care; and promising health care technologies and start-ups, among other topics.

Adams participated in the forum “Youth Sports — A Model in Crisis,” with (from left) Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson, Heisman Trophy winner and ESPN analyst Charles Woodson, Hall of Fame pro golfer Annika Sorenstam, Adams, Andrews Institute founding partner and medical director Dr. James Andrews, and Tavistock Group vice president Andy Odenbach.

Steve Johnson Signs Deal to Endorse Tourna Grip

Steve Johnson has joined the Tourna Grip team as an official endorser of the company’s trademarked light blue grip.

Johnson, ranked No. 26 in the world with a career high of No. 21, joins fellow Americans John Isner, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan and Denis Kudla as official endorsers for “the light blue grip that does not slip.” Visit UniqueSports.us.

Kovacs Institute Opens for Business, Sport, Lifestyle

The new Kovacs Institute for Human and Sport Performance is open in Kennesaw, Ga., offering exclusive and custom services for elite individuals looking to optimize business, sport and lifestyle success through the latest performance sciences.

Launched last fall, the institute is located in a 20,000-square-foot medical facility that includes on-site physicians, chiropractors, physical therapy, full resort locker rooms, a hyperbaric recovery center and a full-service sports performance training center, as well as a research, testing and assessment lab.

Founder and CEO Dr. Mark Kovacs is a performance physiologist, researcher, professor, author, speaker, trainer and coach with an extensive background training and researching elite athletes and executives. “Elite individuals need experts to help them be the best they can be,” he says. “The Kovacs Institute was established to provide elite performance sciences to optimize success in business, sport and life.” For more, visit kovacsinstitute.com.

People Watch

PTR Honors Top Professionals at International Tennis Symposium

Frank A. Adams Named PTR Professional of the Year

Frank A. Adams of Aurora, Colo., is the 2017 PTR Professional of the Year. Adams has served PTR for more than two decades. As a clinician for 10 & Under and Adult Development, he’s hosted many PTR workshops at the Highlands Ranch Community Association in Colorado, where he is head professional.

Adams is also a member of the USTA faculty, and has coached ITA Zonal teams, Special Olympics and wheelchair tennis. He conducts wheelchair clinics for OPAF and the Colorado Wheelchair Tennis Foundation. He is a former president of both USTA Intermountain and the Colorado District, and has served on several national committees.

At the grassroots level, Adams is a past president of Denver City Park Racquet Club and serves on the board of directors of the Eastside Tennis Association. He was featured in “Breaking the Barriers,” a documentary film on the African-American experience and the community at Denver’s City Park, produced by the Colorado Tennis Association.

Jack Groppel Honored With PTR/TIA Industry Award

Dr. Jack Groppel of Algonquin, Ill., has been named the recipient of the PTR/TIA Commitment to the Industry Award. The award was presented at the 2017 PTR International Tennis Symposium on Hilton Head Island, S.C., in mid-February.

Dr. Groppel is an internationally recognized authority in the science of human performance, and serves as the Health & Wellness Advisor for the tennis industry. He is the co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute and has a long history in tennis, including 16 years as chair of the USTA National Sport Science Committee. He is also the co-chair of the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) Health, Performance & Productivity Study Committee.

Due to flight delays, Dr. Groppel was unable to attend the presentation ceremony, so TIA President Jeff Williams accepted on his behalf: “It is through your commitment for ongoing knowledge and continued self-improvement that gives me my drive. I encourage all of you to be ambassadors in your community, to help spread the health and wellness messages of tennis. We need to get outside of our sport, we need to tell people how wonderful tennis is for them.”

Seth Haynie Named PTR Wheelchair Professional of the Year

Seth Haynie of Phoenix has been named the PTR Wheelchair Professional of the Year. A 17-year member of PTR, he is certified in two of the organization’s education pathways, and serves as a wheelchair tennis clinician.

Haynie has trained thousands of students, both young and old, performance and recreational, with a focus on wheelchair tennis. He organized and conducted three PTR Instructing Wheelchair Tennis Workshops, two players’ training camps, presented on wheelchair tennis at the 2016 PTR International Tennis Symposium and directed a second annual USTA wheelchair tournament. Haynie offers several Wheelchair and Run/Roll Clinics, along with training programs for visiting players every week.

Haynie has created and managed three tennis businesses since 1999, and is currently working on creating a non-profit dedicated to integration of wheelchair tennis players into stand-up programs through education of industry professionals. In addition to teaching tennis, he is serving as the chair of the USTA Southwest Wheelchair Tennis Committee.

Izabella Edin Named PTR Newcomer of the Year

Izabella Edin of Staples, Minn., a 19-year-old student who joined the organization as a PTR on Campus member a year ago, received the PTR Newcomer of the Year Award. Edin is now certified in two PTR education pathways.

Edin, who started playing tennis at 6 years old, played No. 1 singles in high school. She was named Section 8A singles champion and took third place in the Minnesota State High School Championships.

At age 15, she was hired to work with the high-performance players. That led to teaching children, adults and seniors. Her mentor, PTR Professional Pat Colbert, encouraged Edin to join PTR and get certified.

Edin was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2014, and made it her mission to bring awareness about the disease. Since her diagnosis, she has excelled both on and off the court. She was named to the 2016 USTA Leadership team and inducted into the National Society of High School Scholars. In 2016, Billie Jean King presented Edin the National Novo Nordisk Donnelly Award, established by King in 1998, to encourage diabetic children to lead active lives and compete in tennis.

 

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