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201301 Racquet Sports Industry

201301 Racquet Sports Industry

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Racquet Sports Industry magazine, January 2013

Racquet Sports Industry magazine, January 2013

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Published by: USRSA on Dec 21, 2012
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January 2013

Volume 41 Number 1 $5.00
Our annual awards
honor those who
continue to make
this sport a winner
Susan DiBiase • Life Time Fitness •
John Gugel • Baseline Sports
Construction • Joe Habenschuss •
Tennis Town • Nancy McGinley •
Todd Dissly • Danice Brown •
Southlake Tennis Center • Reston
Association • Curt & Lynn Bender •
Top-A-Court Tennis • Kiest Park •
Tri-County CTA • Roy Barth •
David Porter • Terry Valdez •
USTA Northern California
Our annual awards
honor those who
continue to make
this sport a winner
Susan DiBiase • Life Time Fitness •
John Gugel • Baseline Sports
Construction • Joe Habenschuss •
Tennis Town • Nancy McGinley •
Todd Dissly • Danice Brown •
Southlake Tennis Center • Reston
Association • Curt & Lynn Bender •
Top-A-Court Tennis • Kiest Park •
Tri-County CTA • Roy Barth •
David Porter • Terry Valdez •
USTA Northern California
. ~ .. ,.;-
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. ~ . t _,
All Novacrylic® Sport Surfaces Have Undergone Extensive QUV Testing {Accelerated Weathering)- Earning the Highest Ratings Available!
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UV resistance and flexibi lity.
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tain the highest concentration of
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colors. Our premium pigments
provide unmatched vibrancy
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the surfaces playability.
Unique Low Abrasive Texture
Novacrylic<!i) Sport Surfaces con-
tain a non-angular rounded silica
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surface will maintain a consistent
texture for the life of the coating.
Simply, The World's Best
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All of our Novacrylic® Sport
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R S I J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3
7 Participation grows
by 4% in 2012
7 2013 PTR Symposium
slated for May
8 Nova Sports tailors surface
for Fed, Davis Cups
8 Todd Martin acquires TGA
youth tennis franchise
8 Ashaway introduces
MonoGut ZX Pro
9 ASBA elects new officers
and directors
9 GSS Stringers Symposium
‘sharpens skills’
9 Gamma offers new
FTX string
11 Tecnifibre restructures
business model
12 Two gain Certified
Builder designation
13 2013 Cardio Tennis
training schedule
14 Greg Mason named
TIA president
4 Our Serve
7 Industry News
17 TIA News
21 Apparel
23 Retailing Tip
25 Social Media
26 Facility Management
40 Ask the Experts
42 Tips and Techniques
44 Your Serve, by Chris Nicholson
2 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2013 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
28 Person of the Year
Susan DiBiase
30 Private Facility of the Year
Life Time Fitness
30 Stringer of the Year
John Gugel
31 Builder/Contractor of the Year
Baseline Sports Construction
31 Sales Rep of the Year
Joe Habenschuss
32 Pro/Specialty Retailer
of the Year
Tennis Town
32 Tennis Advocate of the Year
Nancy McGinley
33 Junior Tennis Champion
of the Year
Todd Dissly
33 Grassroots Champion
of the Year
Danice Brown
34 Municipal Facility of the Year
Southlake Tennis Center
34 Park & Rec Agency of the Year
Reston Association
35 Wheelchair Tennis Champions
of the Year
Curt & Lynn Bender
35 10 & Under Tennis Facility
Developer of the Year
Top-A-Court Tennis
36 Public Park of the Year
Kiest Park
36 Community Tennis Association
of the Year
Tri-County CTA
37 PTR Member of the Year
Roy Barth
37 USPTA Member of the Year
David Porter
38 High School Coach of the Year
Terry Valdez
38 USTA Section of the Year
USTA Northern California
Our annual awards honor
the people, businesses
and organizations that
are making a difference
in the tennis industry.
:t' .!..lr .ffls ;J :.;
Our Serve
(Incorporating Racquet Tech and Tennis Industry)
David Bone Jeff Williams
Editorial Director
Peter Francesconi
Associate Editor
Greg Raven
Design/Art Director
Kristine Thom
Contributing Editors
Robin Bateman
Cynthia Cantrell
Joe Dinoffer
Kent Oswald
Bob Patterson
Cynthia Sherman
Mary Helen Sprecher
Tim Strawn
Corporate Offices
PO Box 3392, Duluth, GA 30096
Phone: 760-536-1177 Fax: 760-536-1171
Email: RSI@racquetTECH.com
Website: www.racquetTECH.com
Office Hours: Mon.-Fri.,8 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific Time
Advertising Director
John Hanna
770-650-1102, x.125
Apparel Advertising
Cynthia Sherman
Racquet Sports Industry is published 10 times per
year: monthly January through August and combined
issues in September/October and November/
December by Tennis Industry and USRSA, PO Box 3392,
Duluth, GA 30096. Periodcal postage paid at
Duluth, GA and at additional mailing offices (USPS
#004-354). January 2013, Volume 41, Number 1 ©
2013 by USRSA and Tennis Industry. All rights
reserved. Racquet Sports Industry, RSI and logo are
trademarks of USRSA. Printed in the U.S.A. Phone
advertising: 770-650-1102 x 125. Phone circulation
and editorial: 760-536-1177. Yearly subscriptions
$25 in the U.S., $40 elsewhere. POSTMASTER: Send
address changes to Racquet Sports Industry, PO Box
3392, Duluth, GA 3009.
RSI is the official magazine of the USRSA, TIA,and ASBA
Defying the Odds
his issue again highlights our annual “Champions of
Tennis” award winners, honoring the often unsung
heroes of the sport. These are incredible people
doing some incredible things in tennis. Yet in many ways,
these are stories of what hundreds, even thousands of peo-
ple do every day in this industry.
We started these awards in 2000, and it’s fair to say we’ve honored at
least a couple of hundred people over the years. The fact is, though, we’ll
never get to all of those who deserve to be recognized for their great work
in promoting and growing this sport—those who continue to defy the
odds, defy the economy, defy the naysayers, by driving forward with
their dreams and their passion.
As I write this, though—now that all the other pages of this issue are
finished, and I’m left trying to fill this final space—I can’t help but think
of my parents, and especially my 96-year-old father, “Red.” He lived a life
defying the odds. Yet through all of the hardships, the incredible change
he faced in the world, he always managed to push his dream forward. For
him, it was the dream of family, of providing a stable life for us, of mak-
ing our lives better than his.
My parents have had nothing to do with the tennis industry, except
that they did provide us with some old wood racquets when we were
growing up, and encouraged us to go hit on the school courts up the
street, probably to keep us from annoying them more than anything else.
But they also encouraged us to play sports and be active, something my
sisters and I continue to do in our lives. And they encouraged a sense of
responsibility, respect, dedication and always putting forward your best
effort—again, lifelong lessons that their kids learned well.
Very shortly, probably by the time you read this, my father will have
taken his last breath in the house, and home, he and my mother built
together 65 years ago. His story, like that of so many others, may seem
ordinary. But I assure you, he is a true champion, and the lessons he and
my mother taught us will always be with me.
We come across “champions” every day—we work with them, live
with them, play tennis with them, teach them and are taught by them.
And while we may publish our “Champions of Tennis” only once a year,
every time is the right time to recognize, appreciate and honor these
champions in our lives.
Peter Francesconi
Editorial Director
New Date For 2013
PTR Symposium
In 2013, the Professional Tennis
Registry will hold its annual
International Tennis Symposium
from May 2 to 5 at the newly
renovated Sonesta Resort
Hilton Head Island in South
The Symposium attracts tennis
teachers and coaches from
more than 50 countries. Many
of the industry’s notable speak-
ers, including Dr. Jim Loehr, Pat
Etcheberry, Butch Staples, Leo
Alonso, Lorenzo Beltrame,
Oivind Sorvald, Doug Cash and
Dr. Mark Kovacs, will be among
the more than 50 presenters
who will conduct classroom
and on-court presentations.
Subjects range from 10 and
Under Tennis to tennis business
to teaching tactics and tech-
niques. There is also a special
high school coaches’ track
sponsored by the USTA that will
be held over the weekend to
accommodate scholastic
Teaching pros can show off
their playing skills at the PTR
International Championships,
held in conjunction with the
Symposium. The tournament
starts April 30. The Symposium
also offers a Tennis Trade Show.
Professional Development
Courses will be held May 1, 6
and 7.
Visit ptrtennis.org for informa-
tion or to register.
R S I J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3
Study: Participation Takes Upward Turn in 2012
ennis participation in the U.S. grew 4% in 2012, topping 28 million players for the first time
since 2009, according to the annual survey by the USTA and TIA. It's the second highest
total number of players recorded since the survey began in 1988.
Importantly, the number of “frequent” tennis players, those who play at least 21 times a year,
grew from 4.8 million in 2011 to 5.3 million in 2012. “Frequent players represent more than 70
percent of all consumer spending across the tennis industry,” said TIA President Jon Muir. “It's
heartening to see the total number of frequent players increase by 10 percent after all of our col-
lective efforts the past few years to drive this most immediate and impactful consumer segment.”
The age demographic that saw the greatest percentage increase in 2012 was young players
aged 6 to 11, which increased 13% from 2011. "We are very gratified that our efforts geared to
young players are paying off," said Jon Vegosen, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. For
the past two years, the USTA has invested significantly in 10 and Under Tennis, along with long-
term commitments from the tennis industry.
Several other key segments saw significant increases in 2012. The number of "rejoining" play-
ers, those who left the game then came back, increased 6 percent over the previous year to 7.3
million—the largest number in the last 10 years. Over the last six years, the number of rejoiners
has increased by nearly 50 percent. "Continuing" players showed an 11 percent increase in 2012,
to 14.7 million, halting two years of decline in this player segment.
“It’s encouraging that our collective efforts to drive awareness and advocacy for our sport are
beginning to show more positive signs to strengthen the position of the tennis industry overall,”
said Muir.
The USTA/TIA tennis participation survey, conducted by Taylor Research and Consulting, is one
of the largest annual surveys in sports. It was conducted via telephone (both landline and cell
phones) and includes observations from more than 7,500 individuals.
January 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 7 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
‘PHIT America’ Campaign to Launch in January
he new, year-round educational and advocacy campaign “PHIT America,” dedicated to creat-
ing “a movement for a fit and healthy America,” will launch to consumers in mid-January.
The PHIT America alliance focuses on prevention as a way to reduce health issues and costs,
and getting Americans active, fit and healthy.
Jim Baugh, a founder and key organizer for PHIT America, says that as of early December,
there were 105 alliance sponsors, including the TIA, USTA and many tennis manufacturers.
According to the website phitamerica.org, “Our country needs to
reduce health issues and costs before they happen. Prevention is a
great way to control these costs and also the U.S. budget deficit. Get-
ting active, fit and healthy is a real solution. PHIT America will help
educate you on the issues and promote sport and fitness activities in
local communities and schools. We will also ask for your help to sup-
port critical U.S. legislation that will create incentives for a more active,
fit and healthy America.”
The heart of the PHIT America campaign is a social media strategy that involves raising aware-
ness by pushing out “news flashes” to contacts regarding health issues. PHIT America is asking
companies and individuals to get involved in one (or more) of three ways: donate, advocate, partic-
ipate. Visit phitamerica.org for more information.
J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3
8 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2013 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Nova Sports Gives Home Court Advantage for Fed, Davis Cups
he 100th Davis Cup final in November marked a special occasion in tennis history as the
Czech Republic defeated Spain, 3-2, to capture its first title as an independent nation. The
win came just two weeks after the Czech women defeated Serbia to claim the 2012 Fed Cup
Championship. The same nation had not won both ITF championship matches since the U.S.
defeated Australia and the U.S.S.R. in 1990.
But the matches marked an interesting situation for Nova Sports USA, based in Milford,
MA, which manufactured the acrylic surface put down in Prague’s O2 Arena, where both the
Fed Cup and Davis Cup finals were held.
“A five-coat cushion system was installed on 3- by 3-foot panels with the color coating to
be applied at the venue once the panels were set into place,” says Nova’s Jake Righter. “As
the Fed Cup final approached, the Czech
Tennis Federation decided on a category 3
color system (medium) looking to slow Ser-
bian ‘power’ players such as Jelena Jankovic
and Anna Ivanovic.”
Lucie Safarova and Petra Kvitova domi-
nated on the court, defeating both Serbian
players and helping the Czechs capture
back-to-back Fed Cup titles. Shortly after
their victory, the Czech men were drawn
into play against defending champion
“As Spain’s David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal are almost unbeatable on clay, the Czech Fed-
eration was looking to make their home court’s pace as fast as possible,” Righter says. “So,
with just two weeks between finals, Nova Sports’ non-textured Novacoat system was installed
onto the panels.” The Spanish had difficulty using their finesse to slow the game and the
Czech men became the nation’s first Davis Cup champion.
For more information on surfacing, contact info@novasports.com.
Vitalsox Launches
Tennis Line, Seeks
Sales Reps
italsox, the Italian technical
sock manufacturer,
announced that it is launching
a tennis specialty line and ten-
nis-only sales team.
The sales force, headed by
industry veteran Don Crusius,
will be made up of independent
multi-line reps who will call on
pro shops and tennis specialty
stores with their made-for-ten-
nis socks that feature the com-
pany’s patented SilverDryStat
fiber. For more information,
contact Crusius at 214-460-
7681 or don@csilogowear.com.
Ashaway Introduces
MonoGut ZX Pro
shaway Racket Strings has
introduced MonoGut ZX Pro,
a companion string to its popu-
lar Zyex monofilament tennis
string. The 17-gauge (1.22 mm)
MonoGut ZX Pro is a thinner,
lighter string, designed to pro-
vide better elongation, snap-
back and playability for players
who do not require the added
durability of its 16 gauge (1.27
mm) counterpart, says Ashaway.
MonoGut ZX comes in red or
a natural gut-like tan color and is
available in 40-foot sets, and in
both 360- and 720-foot reels.
Recommended stringing ten-
sion is up to 60 pounds. Visit
Todd Martin Acquires TGA Youth Tennis Franchise
ormer ATP World Tour pro Todd Martin has acquired a TGA Premier Youth Tennis fran-
chise. TGA and Todd Martin Tennis will develop school-based tennis programs for
youngsters in the Jacksonville, FL area.
TGA Premier Youth Tennis is a new initiative to grow the sport of tennis in partnership
with the USTA. The organizations have developed the infrastructure and specialized cur-
riculum to bring the sport to the masses in schools nationwide. It is the only national after-
school tennis program in the country.
"TGA really appealed to me because in order for tennis to be a viable competitor in U.S.
sports, it needs to be in the schools with other sports," Martin says. "The comprehensive
curriculum, developed with the USTA, is also very exciting and proven to be effective."
TGA began awarding franchises for its new tennis business in partnership with the
USTA earlier in 2012. "The innovative TGA model stands to help 10 and Under Tennis
establish itself as the best pathway for children to get through the
early stages of tennis development," he adds.
"TGA has an outstanding national reputation for delivering tennis
and enrichment to young children. The youth of Jacksonville are
very fortunate to have this after-school opportunity available to
them," said Scott Schultz, USTA's Managing Director, Youth Tennis.
Joshua Jacobs, founder and CEO of TGA Premier Youth Tennis,
appreciates the prestige that Martin brings to the program. "To have someone of Todd's
stature and disposition within the tennis community recognize our unique school-based
model as a way to grow youth tennis is very gratifying for us," Jacobs says. For more infor-
mation on TGA, visit www.playtga.com.
January 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 9 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Gamma Offers New FTX String
amma Sports offers the new Gamma FTX, a performance
processed string for players wanting a balance of playability
and durability, says the company.
FTX construction features a Dynalon monofilament inner
core surrounded by Nylon 6 outer wraps and Gamma’s new
cross-woven Foil Wrap that increases resiliency and durabil-
ity, the company says. Gamma processes FTX with its
patented Gamma Irradiation Process to increase the num-
ber of intermolecular bonds in the materials, making FTX more
resilient than similar construction strings for faster string return on impact result-
ing in more court-penetrating shots and faster serves.
Gamma FTX comes in black and silver, in 16 and 17 gauge. It’s available in 40-foot
sets ($6.25) and 660-foot reels ($103). Visit gammasports.com.
ASBA Elects New Officers
and Directors
he American Sports Builders Associa-
tion, the national organization for
builders and suppliers of materials for
athletic facilities, has announced the
election and installation of its officers
and directors for 2013. The new slate
took its place at the conclusion of the
ASBA's Technical Meeting, held in
December in Florida.
w Professional Division President: Chris
Sullivan (Verde Design, Inc., Santa
Clara, CA)
w Track Division President: Don Smith,
CTB (Don Smith, CTB, LLC, Denver,
w Indoor Division President: Randy
Niese (Robbins Sports Surfaces,
Cincinnati, OH)
w Board of Directors members, Builder
Division: Kristoff Eldridge, CTB (Cape
& Island Tennis & Track, Pocasset,
MA) and Linn Lower, CTCB (Lower
Bros. Co. Inc., Birmingham, AL)
Officers continuing on the Board of
Directors will be Chairman Mark Bro-
gan (Pro-Sport Construction Inc.,
Devon, PA), Fields Division President
Dan Wright, CFB (Sports Turf Company,
Whitesburg, GA), Tennis Division Presi-
dent Pete Smith, CTCB (CourtSMITHs,
Inc., Toledo, OH), Supplier Division
President Robert Righter (Nova
Sports USA, Milford,
MA), and Secretary-
Treasurer Jim Catella,
CFB, CTB (Clark Companies,
Delhi, NY). Randy Futty (SportCourt,
Charlottesville, VA) will be the Secre-
Individuals continuing on the board
in their current director positions
include Ben Brooks (Patriot Court Sys-
tems, Inc., Houston, TX), Mike Edger-
ton, CTCB (Copeland Coatings, Nassau,
NY), Bruce Haroldson (Connor Sports
Flooring, Arlington Heights, IL), Ed Nor-
ton, RLA, ASLA (Holcombe Norton Part-
ners Inc., Birmingham, AL), Chris Rossi
(Premier Concepts Inc., Baltimore, MD),
and John Schedler, CTB, CFB (FieldTurf
Tarkett, Tualatin, OR).
ASBA will hold its next Technical
Meeting Dec. 6-10, 2013, at the Grand
Hyatt in San Antonio, TX.
Annual GSS Stringers Symposium ‘Sharpens Skills’
he sixth annual GSS Symposium took place at the end of September
at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, FL, providing presentations and
hands-on workshops for racquet technicians. Plus, the courts at the
resort came in handy for both fun and education.
"Everyone came to learn and sharpen their skills as racquet technicians,” says
Tim Strawn, organizer and owner of the five-day event. “But they also want to play
tennis, and being at Saddlebrook opened up several opportunities to use the courts."
An interactive on-court racquet customization class gave participants a chance to
hit with several racquets of the same model, but all customized differently so they
could see the effect customizing has on a racquet. There was also a Q & A session
on court with Craig Boynton, John Isner's current coach and Academy Director at
Saddlebrook Resort.
Ron Rocchi, leader of the Wilson Tour Services
Stringing Team, brought back the popular pro
tour simulation stringing room seminar. Partici-
pants had their own Wilson Baiardo stringing
machine and Rocchi, who leads Wilson’s string-
ing teams at the US Open and Australian Open,
tested their skills to see if they had what it takes
to service racquets at the very highest level of the
Steve Crandall of Ashaway, the only company
that actually manufactures strings in the U.S., led a discussion on polyester strings.
"Having Steve there was quite a treat for us this year," says Strawn. "I have the
utmost respect for his tremendous knowledge. He really opened up some eyes with
his presentation."
USRSA certification testing, with USRSA Executive Director Dave Bone, was also
offered at this year's event and for the first time. Also, the ERSA Pro Tour Stringer
exam was provided by MRT Richard Parnell of Spain.
Symposium sponsors were Adidas, Alpha, Ashaway, Babolat, Dunlop, Gamma,
Prince, TIA, USRSA, Wilson, Yonex, Gosen and Xuron. Once again Adidas provided
logoed shirts. Babolat, Dunlop, Gamma, Prince, Wilson and Yonex participated in a
promotion that saw everyone in attendance walk away with a triple racquet thermal
bag, 12 sets of premium string, and one premium racquet. Plus, there was an addi-
tional gift bag with items from a variety of sponsors. Alpha, Babolat, Gamma, Prince
and Wilson provided stringing machines for the event.
For more information about the annual, international event, held the last week of
September, visit gssalliance.com or contact Strawn at 540-632-1148.
J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3
• Industry veteran Randy Futty has joined Connor
Sport Court International as its new director of tennis.
Futty, the former general manager of Har-Tru Sports,
will be based in Crozet, VA. He also is the chairman of
the USTA’s Technical Committee and the secretary-trea-
surer of the American Sports Builders Association.
• Novak Djokovic, who plays with a YouTek IG Speed
MP, achieved year-end world No. 1 status in the
South African Airways ATP World Tour Rankings for
the second year in a row.
• Roger Federer is the new brand ambassador for Moët &
Chandon champagne and will be featured in an advertising campaign start-
ing in March.
• PTR Director of Communications Peggy Edwards is the winner of the
USTA South Carolina Media Award, presented to those who make "an out-
standing contribution to reporting or promoting tennis in South Carolina.”
• Bob and Mike Bryan have been named The Tennis News Persons of the
Year in recognition of both their service to worthy tennis causes throughout
the year and for their career-setting record of tennis performance, says Daily
Tennis News Publisher Bob Larson. They will receive the award at the Indian
Wells tournament in March by Steve Bellamy, founder of The Tennis Channel
and the first winner of the award.
• Serena Williams has been named the WTA's Player of the Year after win-
ning major titles at Wimbledon and the US Open, and claiming gold at the
London Olympics. It is the fourth time Williams has won the award.
• Ivan Lendl recently was honored with the 2012 Davis
Cup Award of Excellence, presented by the Interna-
tional Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis
• Prince Global Sports has renewed a partnership with
Spanish player David Ferrer, who will continue to use
Prince’s EXO3 Tour 100 racquet.
• Head Penn’s Paola Longoria, the world’s No. 1
ranked female racquetball player, continued her domi-
nance on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour
(LPRT) in winning her third United Healthcare US Open
Racquetball Championship in October.
• Dunlop squash player Ramy Ashour won the Delaware Investments U.S.
Open title in Philadelphia. He uses a Biomimetic Max squash racquet.
• Four Americans—Serena Williams, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan and Taylor
Townsend—have been named 2012 ITF World Champions. For Williams, it is
the third time she’s been named Women’s World Champion; the Bryans were
named Men’s Doubles World Champions for the ninth time in 10 years; and
Townsend is the first American girl since Gretchen Rush in 1982 to be
named Junior World Champion. Current world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Ser-
bia was named the 2012 ITF Men’s World Champion.
• The Executive Committee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame has
voted in November to indefinitely suspend South African tennis player Bob
Hewitt from the Hall of Fame. Hewitt was inducted into the Hall of Fame in
1992. The suspension follows a comprehensive investigation into multiple
allegations concerning sexual misconduct involving minor students that he
• Adam Ford is the new head coach for the women’s tennis team at Hope
College in Holland, Mich., succeeding Nate Price. Ford has served as the
head pro of the college’s DeWitt Tennis Center since 2010, is certified by
both the PTR and USPTA and is a USTA high performance coach.
• John Austin has joined Bolt racquets as its first Executive Board Member.
He’ll also serve as the company’s professional-industry liaison, technical
advisor/playtester and Bolt brand ambassador.
• Former top 12 player Patrick DuPré of Savannah, Ga., and USTA Southern
Section Executive Director John Callen of Johns Creek, Ga., have been select-
ed for the USTA Southern Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony is scheduled
for Jan. 12.
• Robin Anderson of UCLA and Sebastian Fanselow of Pepperdine were
named the 2012 USTA/ITA Sportsmanship Award winners in November.
• Peter Wright, head coach at the University of California, Berkeley is the
winner of the 2012 USTA/ITA National Campus & Community Outreach
Award, while Johns Hopkins University head coach Chuck Willenborg is the
2012 USTA/ITA National Campus QuickStart Provider of the Year.
• Hans Hach of Abilene Christian and Chloe Murphy from the State College
of Florida were named the 2012 James O'Hara Sargent Sportsmanship
Award winners, presented by Rolex Watch, USA, at the USTA/ITA National
Small College Championships in October.
• Three players took titles at the 2012 USTA/ITA National Collegiate Wheel-
chair Championships, held at the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, AL,
in October. Mackenzie Soldan of the University of Alabama took home the
Tier I singles title and Kate Stuteville of the University of Arizona won the
Tier II singles crown. Stuteville then teamed with Tier I singles runner-up
Pedro Rocha to claim the doubles title.
• Six-time Grand Slam champion Margaret Osborne DuPont died on Oct. 24
in El Paso, Texas, at age 94. DuPont won the singles title at Wimbledon in
1947, the U.S. National Championship (now the US Open) singles title from
1948 to 1950 and the French singles title in 1946 and 1948. The tennis Hall-
of-Famer also won 31 doubles and mixed doubles titles between 1941 and
• International insurer Nationale Suisse and Roger Federer have extended
their six-year-long collaboration for a further four years.
• Adrians Zguns of Orlando, FL, and Ristine Olson of Austin, TX, won the
open titles at the USPTA’s Hard Court Championships.
Tecnifibre Restructures Business Model for 2013
ecnifibre is restructuring its business model for Tecnifibre USA for 2013, the company
announced recently.
Since 2003, Fromuth Tennis has been the U.S. importer of Tecnifibre products, but
beginning Jan. 1, 2013, both companies agreed to change the existing business relation-
ship, says Tecnifibre President Thierry Maissant.
“Tecnifibre has been very appreciative of Fromuth Tennis as our partner in the U.S. for
the past nine years,” Maissant says. “While both parties agreed to discontinue our prior
agreement, we look forward to having Fromuth Tennis as a distributor of Tecnifibre USA
with our new organization.”
Maissant says Tecnifibre is “modifying” its current busi-
ness model. “Our ambition is to rapidly accelerate the progression of the brand in the
U.S. market, so the next logical step for our development of Tecnifibre USA is to establish
a wholly owned corporation that will distribute Tecnifibre products exclusively,” he adds.
For inquiries, contact (888) 838-3664 or info@tecnifibreusa.com.
USRSA Names Strawn as New Certification Tester
im Strawn, a 22-year veteran of the racquet sports industry, has been
named a Certification Tester for the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association.
Strawn started his career as a USPTA and PTR teaching pro, which led to the
opening of his tennis business in Roanoke, Va.
From 2000 to 2010 he worked as a racquet technician at various
ATP/WTA events including Wimbledon, the US Open, the Sony Ericsson
Open in Key Biscayne, and the Memphis Regions Morgan Keegan. In 2002
he introduced the website at www.grandslamstringers.com, which eventual-
ly led to the development and introduction of the GSS Alliance website. He
is the owner and founder of the GSS Racquet Stringers Symposium.
Strawn is a USRSA Master Racquet Technician and an original member of the Wilson
Tour Services stringing team. He was voted RSI’s Stringer of the Year in 2007.
Top-Selling Tennis Strings
at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date units, Jan.-Sept. 2012
1. Prince Synthetic Gut Duraflex
2. Babolat RPM Blast
3. Wilson NXT
4. Wilson Sensation
5. Luxilon Alu Power
Top-Selling Racquets
at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, Jan.-Sept. 2012
Best Sellers
1. Babolat Aero Pro Drive GT (MP)
2. Babolat Pure Drive GT 2012 (MP)
3. Wilson BLX Juice (MP)
4. Babolat Pure Drive GT (MP)
5. Babolat Pure Drive Lite 2012 (MP)
“Hot New Racquets”
(introduced in the past 12 months)
1. Babolat Pure Drive GT 2012 (MP)
2. Wilson BLX Juice (MP)
3. Babolat Pure Drive Lite 2012 (MP)
4. Babolat Pure Drive 107 2012 (OS)
5. Wilson BLX Juice (OS)
Tennis Racquet Performance
Specialty Stores
January - September, 2012 vs. 2011
UNITS 2012 574,650
2011 558,662
% change vs. ‘11 3%
DOLLARS 2012 80,221,000
2011 79,563,000
% change vs. ’11 1%
PRICE 2012 $139.60
2011 $142.42
% change vs. ’11 -2%
Top-Selling Tennis Shoes
at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, Jan.-Sept. 2012
1. Prince T22
2. Adidas AdiPower Barricade 7
3. Asics Gel Resolution 4
4. Babolat Propulse 3
5. Nike Zoom Breathe 2K11
(Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)
FLY Headties Offer Stylish Headband Alternative
ired of selling the same old bandanas and headbands? Try FLY Headties, a functional,
stylish and customizable accessory designed to wick away moisture with its 92%
poly/8% spandex fabric blend.
“Flyties” were developed by two recreational players in Denver, Barbara Askenazi and
Vikki Goldberg, and manufactured locally. They come in four colors—
black, white, blue and red—and can easily be customized with
embroidered club logos, team names or other messages. Each
dry-wicking, unisex tie is 36 inches long and 3 inches wide and
fits anyone.
For more information, visit flyheadties.com or contact 303-
875-7735 or info@flyheadties.com.
Farmers Classic Tourney at UCLA Is No More
he Farmers Classic men's tennis tournament at UCLA, a part of the Emirates Airline
US Open Series, is gone. The ATP sanction for the event, whose roots go back to 1927,
has been sold to a group in Bogota, Colombia. The Southern California Tennis Associa-
tion announced the decision Nov. 20 after extensive attempts to find new sponsors.
The tournament, which began at the Los Angeles Tennis Club, struggled economically
in recent years as sponsors came and went, and as the U.S. struggled to find men tennis
stars, according to tournament director Bob Kramer. Most recently, its two principal
sponsors, Farmers Insurance and Mercedes-Benz, both failed to renew their sponsor-
ships. Former champions of the event included Rod Laver, Arthur Ashe, Pancho Gonza-
les, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. American Sam
Querrey has won three of the past four tournaments.
J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3
Chris Evert, Lindsay Davenport and Justin
Gimelstob will guest star as themselves on an
episode of the CBS drama “CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation” in January. The episode, about the
death of a professional female tennis player,
also stars actress Elizabeth Shue, who herself is
an avid tennis player.
The ATP and Head Penn announced a five-
year extension of their partnership. Under the
agreement, Head Penn will continue to be the
official tennis ball of the ATP World Tour, as well
as the official ball of the Barclays ATP World Tour
Finals, through 2017. The agreement marks an
extension to a partnership that started in 1994.
The USTA donated goods and money to Hur-
ricane Sandy relief efforts totaling more than
$400,000. Clothing, bottled water and other
beverages, and needed supplies such as sham-
poos and soap, were collected from the USTA
Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and the
USTA’s White Plains corporate headquarters and
loaded on 16 pallets for delivery to the hardest
hit areas in Queens, NY.
The U.S. Davis Cup team will meet Brazil in
the World Group First Round on Feb. 1-3 at the
Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jack-
sonville, FL.
Prince Global Sports has signed a multi-year
deal to become the official racquet of the Pow-
erShares Series. Formerly known as the Champi-
ons Series, the PowerShares Series will visit 12
U.S. cities during its seven-week 2012 season.
Adidas recently honored its top sales reps.
Bethany Atkinson, who covers Georgia, North
Carolina and South Carolina, was named 2012
Tennis Specialty Rep of the Year. She also
received the All In Adizero Award. The Golden
Barricade Award was presented to Paul Shlien
(New England) and Todd Granius (California, Ari-
zona, Nevada). In addition, Bradley Glen has
been promoted to tennis specialty sales
Nick Matthew has been named the squash
touring professional and ambassador for Sea
Island resort on the coast of Georgia. The resort
will host its inaugural Sea Island Fantasy Squash
Camp, currently scheduled for March 28-31.
More than 100 high school student-athletes
from across USTA Eastern showed off their talent
and learned about a wide range of opportunities
to play collegiate tennis on November 11 at USTA
Eastern’s 26th Annual College Showcase Day. The
event, which was held at Saw Mill Club in Mount
Kisco, NY, featured more than 60 college tennis
Asics America Group announced that first half
2012 net income was up 17.9 percent over the
same half in 2011. The first half saw double-digit
growth in all categories, which includes footwear,
apparel and accessories, said the company.
ATP player and Connecticut resident James
Blake helped raise money to benefit those affect-
ed by Hurricane Sandy by auctioning off three of
his match jerseys featuring his autograph along
with those of top American tennis stars Andy
Roddick, Mardy Fish and Sam Querrey. All pro-
ceeds went to the Red Cross.
Tennis Australia has a new partnership to pro-
mote tennis with the Australian Minister for Mul-
ticultural Affairs and Sport. Minister Kate Lundy is
launching a five-year, $250,000 pilot program
funded jointly by the government and Tennis Aus-
tralia that will begin on Australia Day (Jan. 26),
which falls during the 2013 Australian Open. The
program has the theme, “Do Something Aus-
tralian on Australia Day—Play Tennis.”
ASBA Announces New Certified Tennis Court Builders
he American Sports Builders Association has recognized two builders as Certified Tennis Court Builders: Todd Rudolph of Sun-
land Sports of Phoenix, and George Stahlin of Evergreen Tennis Courts Inc. of Loveland, CO. There are more than 60 CTCBs
in the U.S.
The ASBA’s certification program was developed to help raise professional standards and improve the practice of sports facility
construction. Certification is offered in three different disciplines; an individual may choose to pursue the Certified Tennis Court
Builder (CTCB) designation, Certified Track Builder (CTB), or Certified Field Builder (CFB) designation.
To become a certified builder, an individual must meet specific criteria set forth by ASBA; he or she must complete an appli-
cation that shows proof of a set amount of experience in the chosen type of sports facility, and then pass a comprehensive exam
on construction and maintenance. In order to maintain the designation, an individual must recertify every three years. A full list
of currently certified builders is at the ASBA website, www.sportsbuilders.org.
French sportswear company Lacoste has
been purchased by Swiss firm Maus Frères. The
move comes following a family feud that will
end an 80-year French history of the brand,
according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Lacoste family shareholders agreed recently to
sell their 30.3 percent stake in the firm to
Maus, which already owned 35 percent of the
apparel company through its licensing busi-
Björn Borg AB, based in Stockholm, Swe-
den, reported sales increased 4 percent in the
third quarter ended Sept 30. Excluding curren-
cy effects, sales increased by 2 percent.
The 20th anniversary edition of Mylan WTT
Smash Hits raised a record $1 million for the
Elton John AIDS Foundation, with a portion of
those proceeds benefitting the Pittsburgh AIDS
Task Force. The event is hosted annually by Sir
Elton John and Billie Jean King.
Maui Jim again provided eyewear for use
by line judges at November’s Valencia 500
Open 2012 tennis tournament in Spain.
Under Armour will open a new specialty
retail store in a prominent Baltimore, MD loca-
tion. The Under Armour Specialty Store at Har-
bor East is expected to open in February and
will occupy about 8,000 total square feet.
SRO Sports has released two Wimbledon
DVDs—“2012 Wimbledon: The Men's and
Women's Finals” and “2012 Wimbledon Offi-
cial Film”—and a US Open DVD—“2012 US
Open Men's Final: Murray vs. Djokovic.” Each
costs $24.99. Visit kultur.com.
A new $500,000 WTA International Series
tournament will take place in the southern Chi-
nese city of Shenzhen in January 2013.
Congratulations To the Following
For Achieving MRT Status
New MRTs
Naoufal Houmairy Westwood, MA
Paul Boslet Akron, OH
Danny Tran Houston, TX
John Woo Ra Colorado Springs, CO
Jason Wood San Diego, CA
Michael Lau Scarborough, ON CANADA
New CSs
JVyron (Byron) Sacharidis Washington, DC
Will Carter Lewisham , NSW AUSTRALIA
PTR to Host New 10 & Under
Tennis Conference in Feb.
he Professional Tennis Registry will hold its
inaugural 10 & Under Tennis Conference
Feb. 15-17 on Hilton Head Island, SC. The
event will provide skills and knowledge for
tennis professionals and coaches who work
with children, as well as offer strategies to
increase lesson income and overall business.
Participants will learn from and interact
with experts in the field, including Mike Bar-
rell, Simon Gale, Rita Gladstone, Laramie
Gavin, Anne Pankhurst and Butch Staples. In
addition to teaching the physical skills, emo-
tional and psychological issues pertaining to
young children will be addressed. Working
with parents, programming, competition and
increasing bottom-line income opportunities
are among the topics that will be covered.
The conference will also feature vendor
“PTR has been at the forefront of the 10
and Under Tennis movement,” said Dan San-
torum, CEO of PTR. “We put a tremendous
amount of resources into the development of
our Junior Development pathways to certifi-
cation, and PTR is uniquely qualified to offer
an event that focuses on working with chil-
dren 10 and under.” To register, call 843-
PTR Holds Inaugural Directors of Tennis Conference
rofessional Tennis Registry hosted its inaugural Directors of Tennis Confer-
ence in October on Hilton Head Island, SC. The three-day event brought
together 50 attendees and 14 presenters and addressed the needs of tennis
directors, including such topics as pricing, budgeting, hiring and compensa-
tion, software solutions, programming and management. Participants
enjoyed morning Cardio Tennis and the new Cardio TRX workouts.
Yonkers Kids Play 10U in Madison Square Garden
he Yonkers Tennis Center outside of New York City showcased its 10 and
Under Tennis program in Madison Square Garden during the Nov. 5 Pow-
erShares Series event, which featured Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Patrick
Rafter and Peter Sampras. Fifteen YTC players and their coaches put on a 45-
minute on-court demonstration while fans poured into the arena and cheered
them on.
2013 Cardio Tennis Training Schedule
IA Cardio Tennis Manager Michele Krause has announced a robust schedule
for Cardio Tennis and TRX Cardio Tennis Training Courses. The following are
confirmed training courses (more are in the process of being firmed up for
2013). Most courses are offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit cardiotennis.com/
courses for more information and for the most updated schedule.
w Jan. 9, Intensity Club, Norwalk, CT
w Jan. 12, The Club at Carlton Woods,
Houston, TX
w Jan. 25, Dorado Beach Resort, San Juan, PR
w Jan. 26, Dorado Beach Resort, San Juan, PR
(TRX Cardio Tennis)
w Jan. 27, Life Time Fitness–Fridley,
Fridley, MN
w Feb. 18, Brookhaven Country Club,
Dallas, TX
w Feb. 24, Wyndike CC, Memphis, TN
w April 13, Orlando Tennis Center, Orlando, FL
w April 18, Wee Burn CC, Darien, CT
w May 11, Forest Crest Athletic Club,
Mill Creek WA
w May 17, Valley CC, Aurora, CO
w June 15, Tennis Center at College Park,
College Park, MD
w June 16, Tennis Center at College Park,
College Park, MD (TRX Cardio Tennis)
w Sept. 29, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress,
Orlando, FL
w Sept. 30, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress,
Orlando, FL (TRX Cardio Tennis)
Mason Named TIA President;
TIA Board Set for 2013-2014
reg Mason, the vice president of sales and mar-
keting for Head Penn, will be the president of the
TIA for 2013-2014. He succeeds Wilson Racquet
Sports’ Jon Muir, who was pres-
ident for the last four years.
“I’m excited to assume this
role and continue to build on
the momentum this industry
and the TIA has built over the
past few years," says Mason.
"Our focus will remain on grow-
ing the base of frequent players
and improving the economic
vitality of this industry.”
Mason has spent over 25 years in the sporting
goods industry in a variety of senior management
roles, including the last 12 years at Head Penn Rac-
quet Sports, where he is responsible for all marketing
and promotions for the Head and Penn brands in the
U.S. and directs the U.S. sales force and sales man-
agement team. His prior experience includes man-
agement roles in the outdoor industry while a vice
president at Eastpak backpacks. He has also held
sales management roles at both Reebok USA and
Puma North America.
“We've had a great TIA President in Jon Muir over
the past four years," says TIA Executive Director
Jolyn de Boer, "and I'm looking forward to working
alongside Greg as we continue to focus our efforts as
the trade association for the sport to grow the eco-
nomic vitality of the industry and the game of
In addition to Mason, the following have been
named to the 2013-2014 TIA Board of Directors:
David Malinowski - Adidas
Fred Stringfellow - ASBA
Linda Clark - ATP World Tour
Eric Babolat - Babolat
Kai Nitsche - Dunlop
Meredith Poppler - IHRSA
Kevin Callanan - IMG
Dave Miley - ITF
Mark Stenning - Int'l. Tennis Hall of Fame
Chris Circo - Prince Americas
Dan Santorum - PTR
Tom Cove - SFIA (formerly SGMA)
David Egdes - Tennis Channel
Jeff Williams - Tennis Magazine
John Embree - USPTA
Dave Bone - USRSA
Kurt Kamperman - USTA
Jon Muir - Wilson Sporting Goods
Ilana Kloss - World TeamTennis
Stacey Allaster - WTA Tour
TIA Launches New and Improved Website
ennisIndustry.org, the central information source for the ten-
nis trade, has recently been redeveloped and relaunched by
the Tennis Industry Association. The new website not only focus-
es on providing specified content for the various segments of the
industry, but it also consolidates much of the information that
previously resided on ancillary sites hosted by the TIA—making
TennisIndustry.org a true "one-stop shop" for industry informa-
In addition to a complete overhaul in website design, func-
tionality, and user interface, the TIA also has integrated logins for
both TIA members and for the GrowingTennis System directly
into the new TennisIndustry.org.
“By integrating logins into one central location, we've elimi-
nated the need to go to multiple sites and reduced the amount
of clicks it takes to update tennis provider information in the
industry's largest database of facilities, retailers, courts, and pro-
grams,” says the TIA's IT Manager, Matt Allen.
“Streamlining the process of obtaining and updating informa-
tion played an important role in this redesign,” says TIA Execu-
tive Director Jolyn de Boer. “We focused on how to make it more
intuitive for tennis providers to find the information, resources,
and research pertinent to their segment of the industry.”
For instance, facility owners/managers/directors, retailers,
manufacturers, and media can visit TennisIndustry.org and click
on the appropriate link to get instant access to resources, tools,
services, member benefits, and research available to help their
The new site also makes it easier for visitors to keep current
on the latest developments in the industry, get involved with ini-
tiatives, and stay up-to-date on some of the key research trends
the TIA monitors on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis
through the “Industry Dashboard.” In addition to the Dashboard,
there are a variety of top-line research reports available for free
download in the research section.
“The TIA continues to work to grow the game and the eco-
nomic vitality of the tennis industry, and the new TennisIndus-
try.org furthers that mission by ensuring important and
pertinent information is easily accessible to help tennis busi-
nesses grow,” de Boer adds. Visit TennisIndustry.org to see the
new website. For comments and feedback, email the TIA at
Babolat Launches New Aeropro Frame, Propulse 4 Shoes
en years ago Babolat launched the Aeropro Drive racquet and now introduces the fifth
generation of the frame. The latest Aeropro Drive uses Coretex Active Technology,
which Babolat says give players more feel.
The racquet also features “Aero Modular Technology,” which the company says is an
aerodynamic shape and modular frame to help the racquet move through the air;
“Woofer,” a system that allows the frame and strings to interact for better feel and accu-
racy; and “GT Technology,” a graphite and tungsten composition that reduces torque on
impact, according to Babolat.
Each racquet in the line is 100 square inches and includes:
w Aeropro Drive/Aeropro Drive + (suggested retail $199), designed for baseliners look-
ing for power and spin.
w Aeropro Team ($195) for baseliners who like power and want more maneuverability.
w Aeropro Lite ($189), for women and high-level
juniors looking for a lightweight racquet with
The new Propulse 4 All Court shoe was devel-
oped in collaboration with Andy Roddick and fea-
tures “Side 2 Side,” to improve lateral movements.
It also has a new Michelin OCS2 outsole for all
court surfaces and abrasion resistance. The new
Lateral Stability System (LSS) combines support
and stability, says Babolat. Available in men’s and
women’s (suggested retail $119) and junior ($64)
ITF, StarGames Announce
‘World Tennis Day’
he International Tennis Federation
has entered into an agreement with
StarGames to launch World Tennis Day
to help promote tennis participation
around the world. The inaugural World
Tennis Day will be on Monday, March 4,
as part of the ITF's Centenary activities.
World Tennis Day will be centered
around a series of high profile exhibi-
tion events around the world, including
the BNP Paribas Showdown in New
York’s Madison Square Garden. Each of
the events, organized by the promoter
StarGames, will feature current and for-
mer professionals together with
demonstrations of the ITF’s Tennis10s
program (called “10 and Under Tennis”
in the U.S.) aimed at increasing partici-
pation among young players around the
“We look forward to World Tennis
Day as a way to put a spotlight on ten-
nis participation,” says ITF President
Francesco Ricci Bitti. “The very success-
ful Tennis Night in America, staged by
the USTA in association with
StarGames, is an example of how spe-
cial events and participation activities
can be combined successfully.” The ITF
will be encouraging its 210 national
associations to support World Tennis
Day with their own grassroots and club
activities to attract new participants.
The USTA has already established
Tennis Night in America in conjunction
with the BNP Paribas Showdown in
which clubs are asked to open their
doors as part of a month-long drive to
get children playing the sport. Over
2,200 clubs in the U.S. took part in
2012. “To be able to expand this to
World Tennis Day in partnership with
the ITF and its 210 member nations is a
unique opportunity,” says Jerry
Solomon, president and CEO of
Several other National Associations
have already pledged their support to
join the USTA in World Tennis Day activ-
ities in 2013, including Davis Cup final-
ists Czech Republic and Spain, plus
Argentina, Brazil, Hong Kong, India,
Mexico, Norway, Portugal and South
Until December 31, 2013, kids 10 and under, new to the United States Tennis
Association, can receive a FREE 1-Year Junior Membership- a $20 value!
Tennis has new rules. Kid-sized racquets. Slower, lower-bouncing bal ls. No courts
necessary. Kids can play tennis anywhere, anytime, at any level.
And now, for a limited-time, kids can join the USTA for FREE!
USTA Junior Membership Benefits Include:
• An annual subscription to Bounce* newsletter
• Access to play USTA Jr. Team Tennis·* *
• Access to play USTA Junior Tournaments¥·*
Go to www.tryusta.com/juniorfree
Or call1-800-990-8782 and mention source code FYFRSI13
Offer Expires: December 31,2013
FOR NEW tOANO UNDER MEMBERS ONLY. No necessary. Ofte<openonly to U.S. r9Sldentsandappliesonly to new 10 lind Under 1-'lear .AJnlof pnce: S201. 1ndMciJal must be aged 10or
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Bylow& and fUes erd Rego.jatims of the USTA (awilalle on www.usta.oornl. 0 2012 Uniled States Ternis Association in::JJt!:aated. AI rig>ts resenll!d.
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Over the last 12 months, the TIA has made meaningful
strides in aligning our key initiatives, creating a stronger
toolbox of resources, and strengtheni ng several ar eas
in order to provide sustainable growth platforms for our
industry and to further unite all of us under one brand-
Year in
TENNIS. Meanwhile, we have seen important increases in
participation, and positive signs in tennis equipment shipments/ sales, facility programming and on-court revenues-
y et we realize we still have many challenges in this industry, and we continue to work toward building long-term
growth for all industry stakeholders.
Free Retail Business Assessments are offered to
specialty tennis retai lers through the TIA's retail
consulting partner, Gluskin-Townley Group.
TIA's 2012 Webinar learning series kicks off with
"Annual Business Planni ng."
CardioTennis.com was redesigned and re-launched,
giving providers and players access to new technology
tools to fill Cardio Tennis classes and sign up easily.
TRX and Cardio Tennis begin a pilot partnership
program to incorporate the TAX Suspension Training
System into Cardio Tennis classes.
TIA launches a playtennis.
com "partners" website
f or the download of free
marketing material and
collateral to support the
industry-wide init iative.
The 2011 tennis
participation study is
released, showing a total
number of 27.8 million
tennis players.
- - ~ . - . - · ·
Tennis Australia announces at the Australian Open that
t he TIA/USTA- developed Cardio Tennis program will
be a key component of the country's efforts to increase
participation, showcasing the program on Margaret
Court Arena.
Year-end shipment data shows that shipments of red,
orange, and green tennis balls in 2011 were up 53%
versus 2010.
Year-end numbers show t hat t he TIA's job board,
Careers In Tennis, received more than 30,000 job views
in 2011.
lim Heckler, longtime CEO of US PTA, announces his
retirement at the end of 2012.
TIA travels to Orlando, FL. t o exhibit at the 2012 PTR
International Tennis Symposium where the new
playtennis.com kiosk is unveiled, allowing tennis pros
and coaches to i mmediatel y post t heir information on
the site.
Cardio Tennis Interactive- a new program to help
Cardio Tennis participants track their fitness and
participate in health challenges-is announced for a
spring 2012 launch.
TIA travels to New Orleans, LA, to present at the 2012
CMAA World Conference.
Michele Krause, Cardio Tennis Manager, receives the
2012 PTR/TIA Commitment to the Industry Award.
TIA holds its "Grow Globally Webi nar," with esteemed
author and international business consultant Mona Pearl.
TRX Cardio Tennis is a part of morning workouts at t he
2012 PTR International Tennis Symposium.
TIA introduces
GrowTennis.com to growtennis., ·nm
handle t he sign-
up process for teachi ng professionals t o get listed on
TIA announces a new Authorized Provider program for
Cardio Tennis, ensuring consistency and quality delivery
of the program at tennis sites across the country.
TIA travels to NYC for the BNP Pari bas Showdown and
Tennis Night in America event, and for meetings to
discuss the playtennis.com launch, industry efforts at
retail, and plans f or a national retail promot ion.
TIA attends the SGMA's National Health Through
Fitness Day in Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress to
support physical activity legislation.
TIA travels to the USTA Annual
Meeting in Carlsbad, CA.
TIA holds its semiannual board
meeti ng at the La Costa Resort
and Spa in Carl sbad, CA.
TRX Cardio Tennis begins its
rollout with the release of its
2012 training course schedule.
Playtennis.com is soft-launched
to consumers for beta testing.
TIA holds the retail-centric
webinar "Men vs. Women:
Different Shopping Habits."
Joi n the TIA ..• Increase Your Profits .•. Grow t he Game . .• www.Tennislndustry.org Janu<Jry 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 17
The 2012 Physical Activity Council releases its annual
Sports, Fitness and Recreation Participation Report,
showing tennis as the fastest growing traditional sport,
up 37% since 2000.
0 1 TIA Census data shows positive growth in racquet,
ball, and t ransition ball shi pments.
TIA announces that it will hold its f i rst Tennis Show
in NYC just before the start of the US Open (the 2011
Tennis Show was canceled due to Hurricane Irene).
Cardia Tennis is featured as a
morning workout opportunity
at the American Association
of Neurologists Conference in
New Orleans, LA.
The 2011 TIA Tennis
Consumer reports are
released, highlighting
frequent player buying habits, brand preferences, and
other key tennis consumer trends.
Former TIA President Jim Baugh is honored by RSI
Magazine as a HPioneer in Tennis."
The first TAX Cardio Tennis pilot training courses are
held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
in Flushing, NY.
01 2012 TIA research indicates that racquet sales in the
tennis specialty market were up 14% over 2011.
A new "Industry Dashboard" is developed and placed
on the TIA's homepage (Tennislndust ry.org) to provide
visitors with quick access to key top-line industry
performance indicators.
TIA research shows that Cardio Tennis participation is
up 56% since 2008, to 1.3 million.
r TIA releases its annual State of the
Industry report, which shows t he
value of t he U.S. tennis industry to
be $5.4 billion and highlights key
figures from the TIA's more than 70
annual research reports.
The US Open National Playoffs
begin and are presented by
playtennis.com, a websi te initially
developed by t he TIA in 2009.
A retail webinar, uusi ng Direct
Response Marketing," is held by
the TIA.
An updated version of t he NParent's Guide to 10 and
Under Tennis" is published and available for tennis
retailers through free 10 and Under Tennis Retail Kits
from t he TIA.
TIA begins plans to launch
a National Youth Tennis
Retail Initiative at retail
chain stores that educates
consumers on t he new
equipment developments in
youth tennis.
A new website for providers
to easily access youth tennis
marketing collateral and resources from the TIA is
added to Tennislndustry.org/Partners.
KeepTennisReal.com is re-launched to create awareness
about counterfeit tennis racquets and provide a
platform for retailers to sign up as " Verified Deal ers."
PEP Funding, a part of t he National Health Through
Fitness Day Platform, passes the Senate Appropriations
Mid-year wholesale shipment data from the TIA shows
positive dollar growth in the tennis ball and racquet
categories, both up 7% versus mid-year 2011.
~ Cardia Tennis Interactive, a new web-based health
t racking system to complement Cardia Tennis
programming, is launched by the TIA in partnership
with Total Health Interactive.
Cardia Tennis is featured as part of early morning
workouts at the annual meeting of the American
• College of Sports Medicine in San Francisco, CA.
TIA releases an update to its " Strategic Overview,"
highlighting the association's four key strategic
platforms: frequent player growth, industry research,
advocacy and awareness for the sport, and uniting t he
industry under one brand - TENNIS.
Playtennis.com, the new
consumer portal for all thi ngs
tennis, officially launches to
the public.
TIA's 2012 Cost of Doing
Business Facilities Report is
released; highlights include
that introductory programs for
beginners have a 64% retention rate.
The GrowingTennis System, managed by the TIA.
is revamped and re-released to make the data input
process for tennis providers easier and more intuitive to
get listed on the all-new playtennis.com website. A new
partners' page to download playtennis.com marketing
collateral is also set up at Tennislndustry.org/ playtennis.
IMG Tennis Academy in Bradenton, FL, hosts Cardia
Tennis and TAX Cardia Tennis Traini ng workshops,
where legendary coach Nick Bollettieri spoke to those in
TIA data shows there are over 2,700 Tennis Welcome
Centers; 1,800 Cardia Tennis sites, and more t han
300,000 registered tennis players i n TIA databases.
Former WTA players Gigi Fernandez, Lesl ie Allen,
Kyle Copeland Muse, and Roberta McCallum Russo
participate in Cardia Tennis Training courses.
The TIA develops the website and coordinates with
tennis manufacturers t o deliver the USTA External
Discount Tennis Equipment Program for USTA
Organization members that are a schooVcollege,
parks and rec, CTA, NJTL, or Community Service
TIA holds its first Tennis Show
at the Grand Hyatt in NYC with
nearly 40 exhibitors and over 400
attendees and gives away more
than $20,000 worth of prizes.
The 5th Annual TIA Tennis Forum is
held at New York City's Grand Hyatt.
Coaching legend Nick Boll ettieri
becomes the fifth inductee into
the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame
in a ceremony held during the TIA
Tennis Forum.
TIA hol ds its annual board meeting on opening day of
play at the US Open, outlining i ndustry plans for future
growth and sustainabi lity.
TIA President Jon Muir announces that the TIA is
working with t he USPTA and PTR to form a Task Force
to assess how to develop a more aligned pathway t o
strengthen the position, economic growth, and industry
impact overall for coaches and tennis professionals.
TIA coordinates meetings with tennis i ndustry
manufacturers and t he ITF to discuss developments
impacting their businesses wit h respect to ITF rule
A meeting is held with tennis retailers to discuss
development of the TIA Retail Division.
Final plans for the National Youth
Tennis Retail Initiative are made,
w1th more than 1 million youth
tennis equipment racquet hang-
cards set to hit retail channels
later in the year.
TIA representatives travel to
Monterey, CA. f or the annual
USPTA World Conference, where
the playtennis.com kiosk is on
display to register teaching pros
for the playtennis.com website.
Former TIA Board Member John
Embree is named new CEO/Executive Director of
the USPTA.
TIA develops and distributes a new Youth Tennis
Resources flier for retailers and other t ennis providers
to quickly review the tools and resources available from
the TIA.
The 10 and Under Tennis dashboard, provided by the
USTA, is added to the TIA's tennis industry dashboard
that is accessible at Tennislndustry.org.
Morning Cardia Tennis workouts are featured daily at
the USPTA World Conference in Monterey, CA.
A new website, YouthTennis.com, is launched by
t he USTA, with support and messaging delivered to
providers by the TIA, to drive tennis participation in
youth programs across the country.
TIA holds its first Tennis Faci lity Owners and Managers
Workshop at the Sonesta Resort on Hilton Head Island, SC.
TIA presents a State of t he Industry Update at the PTA's
inaugural Directors of Tennis Workshop on Hilton Head
Island, SC.
RSI Magazine features Cardia
Tennis as the cover story f or its
November/December issue.
CareerslnTennis.com surpasses
30,000 job views f or the second
consecutive year.
A new brochure to better i nform
t he industry about TIA efforts and
how industry constituents can get
involved in t he various efforts is
developed and distributed.
A new report on Tennis Consumer Retail Buying habits
of tennis racquets is developed and released by the TIA.
TIA travels to Washington, D.C., to meet with members
of the Physical Activity Council to discuss measuring
physical activity in America through the annual Sports,
Fitness, and Recreation Participati on Study.
The annual Tennis Consumer and Dealer Trends studies
are released.
Former TIA Board Member Dave Haggerty is nominated
to be the USTA Chairman of the Board and President for
Tennislndustry.org is
redesigned, providing
the industry w ith
a central resource
for all trade-based
i nformation, r esearch,
i nitiatives, and
Messaging continues
to industry providers
to get their information
and programs listed in the Growing Tennis System,
which supplies data to playtennis.com searches.
TIA travels to London for the ITF Play + Stay meeting
and Global Research meeting.
TIA travels to t he annual ASBA Technical Meeting in
Orlando, FL. to meet with court contractors and other
sports industry builders.
TIA messages to tennis retailers to take part in AMEX's
Small Business Saturday promotion.
TIA introduces Business Assessments benefit to
associate members to help facility ownerS/managers
and retailers improve their bottom line.
03 wholesale shipment data results show growth in all
categories measured.
The 2012 USTNTIA Participation study shows an
i ncrease in the total number of tennis players for the
first time since 2008- to over 28 million.
Jon Muir ends his tenure as two-term TIA President.
Representatives from the TIA travel to Naples, FL for the
annual ITA Coaches Convention.
TIA publishes its annual Consumer Research Reports on
racquet s, balls, footwear, strings, and apparel.
The Late Season Court Activit y
Monitor i ndicates positive net
increases in al l categories measured.
TIA ratifies its board of directors f or
2013-2014 with Greg Mason {right)
of HEAD Penn assuming the role of
TIA Presi dent in January 2013.
The 2013 industry event and
promotional calendar is publ ished
and distri buted by the TIA.
The TIA continues to evolve and is more focused than ever on our key initiat ives and platforms to support industry
growth. While we have begun to turn a corner in 2012, we know we still have much work to do as we enter 2013.
We look forward to your continued support, which will help put the TIA in an even stronger position to support
your efforts as we move forward together.
To help YOUR industry, visit Tennislndustry.org and become a member of t he TIA.

clothing’s debut that, "The tennis
line will closely resemble the look
and feel of the actual perfor-
mance wear that Mr. Djokovic
will wear.”
Echoing Djokovic’s relation-
ship to the clothing’s style, Naoki
Takizawa, Uniqlo’s creative direc-
tor, said inspiration for the
designs, the colors and even the
piping that runs down the sides
on both shirt and shorts, comes
from the Serbian flag. The shirts,
shorts, warm-ups, cap, sweat-
bands and socks, with items
priced from $9.90 to $89.90, will
be created with fabrics produced
by Uniqlo partner Toray Indus-
tries. The clothing is cut in a
more tapered, less baggy style
than is standard. The shirt fea-
tures the proprietary “Dry-Ex,”
which wicks away sweat and
doesn’t cling and has ultra-thin
meshing under the arms. The
shorts pockets have a pile fabric
to hold tennis balls and give play-
ers a quick way to wipe away
Uniqlo currently sponsors two
other male tennis players, current
No. 19 Kei Nishikori and Japan’s
premier singles wheelchair play-
er, Shingo Kunieda. There are no
current plans to sign an endorser
from the women’s tour, a deci-
sion echoing that Uniqlo is not
actually a sportswear manufactur-
er as well as what anyone can
observe with a walk down the
aisles of any of their stores: They
have no problem attracting fash-
ionista females, but can always
use a few more men aspiring to
hit like, or at least look like,
“Nole.” w
ast May, the world’s fourth
largest retailer, Uniqlo,
took over from Sergio Tac-
chini as clothing sponsor of the
world’s then No. 1 player, Ser-
bia’s Novak Djokovic. In August,
in conjunction with the 2012 US
Open, the Japanese chain
unveiled the Djokovic Perfor-
mance Wear Collection at its
90,000-square-foot New York
City Herald Square flagship
Credit the megabrand with
outside-the-box thinking. The
company was interested in
expanding the idea of its “Uniq-
lo Innovation Project” (UIP)
begun in 2011 to offer the com-
pany’s “Made for All” motto in a
more tangible form. A company
spokesperson explained how
Djokovic arrived at this junction
in brand building: “We believe
that tennis is a sport where the
individual’s performance is
combined with a personal sense
of style and fashion, both on
and off the court.”
They hired the winner of the
2012 Australian Open and run-
ner-up at Roland Garros and US
Open, not even midway
through his Tacchini deal, as a
global brand ambassador.
Rather than enter the perfor-
mance-wear market against the
established heavyweights, Uniq-
lo is limiting distribution to a
select number of its own 1,100-
plus stores. And in something of
a hat tip to the halcyon days in
the 1970s and ’80s, the compa-
ny markets the 10-piece collec-
tion as fashion, explaining in a
press release announcing the
With Djokovic, Uniqlo
Gains Tennis Inspiration
The Confidential Assessment Report you
receive will provide your score and the per-
formance level of your retail store. But the
most important feature of the report you
receive will be the Strengths, Neutral Areas
and Weaknesses of your retail store.
After you read through the complete
report, go back and take a harder look at the
weaknesses. Those are the immediate
threats to your specialty tennis retail busi-
ness, and you should address them as soon
However—and this is extremely impor-
tant—we don’t advocate attacking the weak-
nesses of your retail business without a plan.
You need to leverage the power of planning
by focusing on what you are going to do to
correct and turn around the weaknesses
uncovered by your assessment.
So, develop your business plan with an
immediate focus on your store’s weakness-
es, and when they are literally neutralized,
or better yet turned completely around into
strengths, you can turn your attention to the
neutral areas of your business and turn them
into strengths as well.
When you feel you’ve turned around or
greatly improved the identified weaknesses,
go back to the TIA and arrange to take
another TIA Retail Business Assessment so
you can track improvement and re-do and
renew your business plan.
You need to prepare your tennis retail
operation for what’s ahead. Make the TIA
Retail Business Assessment the first step in
planning your future. w
For upcoming TIA retail webinars, and
to view previous webinars, visit
ness to start the New Year off right.”
The entire TIA Retail Business Assess-
ment will take only 20 minutes or less to
complete online. The assessment is com-
pletely confidential; it is evaluated and
scored by independent retail consultant
Gluskin Townley Group, which does not
share the results with anyone, including the
TIA itself. (The Gluskin Townley Group will
only communicate with the person who
filled out and submitted the Retail Business
The assessment focuses on eight areas
important to your specialty retail tennis
1. Business Technology and Reporting
2. Financial Benchmarks
3. Store Operations
4. Staff Recruiting & Hiring
5. Ownership & Management
6. Store Environment
7. Marketing & Promotions
8. Customer Service
You don’t have to prepare or review your
books or financials before you take your
online Retail Business Assessment because
we are interested in what you know about
your business right now. Once the online
assessment is scored, a Confidential Assess-
ment Report is prepared and emailed to the
person who filled out and submitted the
n today’s highly competitive retail
environment, with consumers con-
trolling who stays in business and
who doesn’t, it’s crucial that you have
a firm understanding of the strengths
and weaknesses of your specialty ten-
nis retail business.
The authors of Nine Shift–Work,
Life and Education in the 21st Century
warn in their “Second Decade Predic-
tions for the 21st Century” that the
“number of retail stores declines by
50% (half) by 2020.” We clearly see
this already happening across many
different retail segments; just look at
the empty retail spaces you probably
have in your own communities. (You
can learn more about “Nine Shift” at
This is why it’s important—now—
that you take a close look at your busi-
ness. And the TIA can help with its TIA
Retail Business Assessment, which
provides specialty tennis store owners
with a 360-degree view of their busi-
nesses. After taking the Retail Business
Assessment, you’ll:
w Understand what you’re doing right
and where you need to improve.
w Build sustainable growth in profits
and not just revenue.
w Build sustainable value in your
And now through the month of
January, the TIA Retail Business
Assessment, normally $200, is FREE
for any TIA Retail Member (see box).
“With today’s challenging and con-
tinuously changing marketplace, it's
important for tennis retailers to under-
stand what they are doing right and
what areas of their business have
room for improvement,” says TIA
Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “And
now is the time for you and your busi-
First Step in
Planning Your Future
The TIA Retail Business Assessment—
offered free in January—can build sustainable growth for your store.
This is part of a series of
retail tips presented by the
Tennis Industry Association
and written by the Gluskin
Townley Group (www.gluskintownleygroup.com).
FREE Offer For TIA Retail Members
Now is the time to change up your
game and start off the new year head-
ing in the right direction. Through the
month of January, the TIA, in conjunc-
tion with retail consultant Gluskin
Townley Group, is offering the TIA
Retail Business Assessment (normally
$200) for FREE to any TIA Retail Mem-
ber. Contact Marty Mohar at
marty@tennisindustry.org or 866-686-
3036 ext. 704.
Social Media
are using Facebook, make sure you have
a great cover photo and profile image.
Also, include your phone number and
hours of operation if applicable. You
would be amazed how many businesses
forget that and don’t realize the business
they are losing.
Just like players test different strokes
and strings, the same goes for social
media. If you’re not seeing the results
you want, make some changes. Every
audience is different in relation to what
types of content they want socially and
you must meet them there.
Do not be afraid to change it up. On
Facebook, try pictures. And try videos.
And try text updates. Try different times
of the day and days of the week. The
key thing is to use moderation. Each
time you push out a message, no matter
if it is Facebook, Twitter or some other
platform, you are, in effect, interrupting
That said, own it. Be who you are.
That’s the ultimate beauty and simplicity
of social media for people and business-
es. If you are authentic, you can and will
be successful. w
e all know that for many
players, tennis is a social
experience, as well as an
athletic one. That’s where social
media comes in. Yes, as a tennis
provider, you still need to have a
website. But being on Facebook,
Twitter and other sites can be the
boom your business needs to take a
leap forward. But how do you get
Define Your Goals
Being on any social network takes a
commitment, but it doesn’t have to
become a hassle. What are your
goals? Some of the goals of being on
a social network for a business can
be brand recognition, experience
expansion, product launches and
sales. Of course there are many oth-
ers, but those are the main reasons.
No matter your motivation, you
have to know the reasons and goals
as that will dictate where you spend
the most time.
Once you decide which social plat-
forms are best for your goals, then it
is just a matter of doing it and not
quitting. Before launching any com-
munity publicly, make it look 100
percent complete and active. That
means all your images should be
quality and representative of your
Don’t launch a newsletter as just
text and full of misspellings. Now is
the time to build the templates so
that it is easy moving forward. If you
How to Launch Your
Social Business
Being on Facebook, Twitter and other
sites can be the boom your business
is looking for.
Richard Dedor, a former Tennis Service
Representative for the USTA Missouri Val-
ley Section, is a social media consultant,
speaker and personal coach. His work has
appeared in Sports ‘n Spokes Magazine,
The Community Manager and SocialFresh.
You can find him online at RichardDe-
dor.com and on Twitter @RichardDedor.
He has written one book, “Anything is
Which Social Network
is Right for You?
w Facebook: You don’t have to be
on Facebook. But if your target
audience is 13- to 35-year-olds,
you need to be. Once you know
that, set your goals and get cre-
ative. The more creative, the
better on the penultimate social
w Twitter: People still think Twitter
asks, “What are you doing?”
That is simply not the truth.
Twitter is much more about
sharing great content and engag-
ing around that content. Head to
Twitter.com and search “Ten-
w Google+: Even a year after its
launch, Google+ is slow to grow.
But if you have a website, a
physical location or a store, you
should at least be on Google+
and engaging in related conver-
sations. Why? It helps with
w Instagram: Tennis, and sport in
general, is visual. Use Instagram
to take photos of your events,
your space and the community.
It can start slowly, but it’s a fun
way to stay in front of your cus-
w Pinterest: If you goal is primarily
to sell, begin to use Pinterest. Be
sure to pin things from your
online store, but provide a cre-
ative context. You can’t just say,
“Buy me!” And be sure to spread
the love to others, too!
Now, we can reach a vastly
larger audience than ever before,
but that also means a lack of control over
what they ultimately decide to do.
oday, we have more influence over our customers than
we have ever had before. Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, e-
mail—the list is growing and becoming more diversified
by the minute, allowing us to pass on information to the gener-
al audience in the blink of an eye. You “Like” one person and
another 200 people become your new friends.
These are phenomenal tools that the modern tennis pro,
especially those involved in management and the organization
of events, can use to promote, inform and organize. But these
great new tools come with a new understanding.
Twenty years ago you would call someone on the phone to
promote an event or a program. You might hope they would
tell their friends, helping you to spread this information. As a
consequence of that call, you have influenced a few people. You
expect to have a degree of control over that information and
also over how many people will be impacted. Through the
course of the day you make a number of calls and interact with
people on a personal level. Little by little, your plans are being
put in motion and your influence remains mostly in your con-
trol. It takes a herculean effort, but your efforts pay off and the
program or event runs its course properly.
Today’s new technology has changed all that. Now you
send one e-mail blast, Tweet once and then post on Facebook
and you have reached an unknown number of people. Your
once controlled process is now lost, but you’ve been able to
reach hundreds of people in a few short steps. The question is,
can you deal with this loss of control, and maybe even more
important, do you understand how to take advantage of this
new world of instant communication?
Goals, Process, Results
The best way to understand this new world of communication
is to break it down into several steps—the goals, the process
and the expected results. The goal of any organizer, especially
a tennis director, head pro or manager, is to get the word out
and create interest, enthusiasm and attendance. From that
standpoint, having these new communication tools are fantas-
tic as long as there is also an understanding of the target audi-
ence and the limits you may have with the event.
It’s a tennis pro’s nightmare to have too many people
show up for an event and not have enough facility to host
them. It’s even a bigger nightmare to have people show up
that do not fit into the program.
As an example, you’re looking to host a 4.0 women’s
round robin that will include food and some competitive activ-
ities. You know that you have enough court time to take on 24
players. Before you know it, the sign-up sheet that you posted
to control the attendance is halfway filled with 3.5 players
looking for competition. Sure you can explain during the
recruiting that you were only going to allow 4.0 players, but
some wanted to bring their friends, others already play on a
USTA 4.0 team and feel it would be okay to join in, the reasons
are many. The bottom line is that you have influenced more peo-
ple than ever, created great enthusiasm and interest and now as a
result have lost some control. Telling a few people that they can’t
attend is manageable; telling half that have already planned to
attend and have signed up for the event is another story.
League play has really been impacted by this new technology,
and the task to inform and communicate has been greatly
enhanced, but the task to manage has become more compli-
cated. At the end of the day, the pro has to realize that
when they provide one person with information, they
are also providing another 500. Privacy is no longer
part of the equation—never forget that and take a
few seconds before pushing “Send.”
The Personal Touch
As for the process, many organizers make two fundamental
mistakes with this new technology. First, they put too much
trust in this new technology. There is an assumption that e-mails
are delivered and internet messages are received. Once again,
here we have all this ability to influence the public with our mes-
sages, but are never quite sure if these messages are getting
through. Net result? Less control. It’s an experienced organizer
that engineers into the messaging system a method to confirm
that any message is received. “Didn’t you get my e-mail?” is not
the best way to greet a lesson that has come at the wrong time or
a member who has appeared to attend a class that has been can-
Second, overly depending on technical communication can
result in a loss in personal contact. It is very easy to lose control
over your clientele if you begin to rely only on high-tech commu-
nication. Many facilities are learning this lesson the hard way,
watching their attrition rate increase and their retention rate
decrease. There is no substitute for personal contact, and there
never will be. It is only through direct communication that your
message is clear and understood.
A good example of watching communication spin out
of control is when your message is filtered through a
number of people. What starts off as being a sug-
gestion for Tom to play on a 2.5 team so that
he can participate and contribute becomes,
after weaving through several people,
“Tom is not good enough to play at the
3.0 level.”
Lastly, new technological ways
of communicating are impacting
the results of your work in ways
you never saw before. If you
ran a tournament, a party, or
any event, the success or fail-
ure would be reviewed by those
attending and maybe a few of their
friends the attendees might interact
with. Not anymore. Your performance
becomes public in numbers that are amaz-
ing. Remember the old adage, make one person happy and prob-
ably another person will hear about it, but make one person
unhappy and 10 will hear about it. These days, take those num-
bers and magnify them by the hundreds.
While that sounds threatening, it can also be promising,
because now if you run a successful event, you no longer have to
brag about it; your local tech world will announce it to everyone.
This is a perfect example of using your loss of control to your
advantage. No longer will you need to be the major push behind
your P.R. Now you can unleash the social media system on the
public and get far more mileage out of your positive results. If you
can master this process, you have successfully learned how to take
advantage of this loss of control.
Remember, this new world of communication also creates a
new world of rapid change and progress. Tradition, a mainstay
mindset of the tennis world for years, has taken a back seat. The
public seeks, maybe even demands, new events that are evolving
at all times. Tournaments, parties, events and activities must take
on this process of evolving with a passion.
Because we live in a more informed world, keeping up with
the “Joneses,” or the “Grass is always greener,” is no longer an
occasional desire, but has become the common thinking of most
people; part of how they perceive a normal lifestyle. If another
club is running a new program or event that is successful, you can
bet your clients will know about it and want it to happen at their
club right away. You cannot afford to watch any event die and lose
participation and interest. The tennis world provides too many
alternative choices and players will migrate to those choices as
rapidly as they receive Twitter or Facebook updates.
Simply put, with all this new technology, we currently have
more influence than ever over our customers—but along with
that, we have less control than ever. The question is, How will you
embrace the result of having less control? Will you stay with your
traditional methods, or opt to move into the new technology?
Maybe even more important, do you really have a
choice? w
t’s tough trying to find out information on Susan DiBiase.
The director of marketing for Babolat in the U.S. just
doesn’t like talking about herself or her accomplishments.
In fact, she’s very adept at deflecting the conversation away
from her and peppering an interview with words like “team,”
“partners” and “family” when talking about business.
But it’s that sense of shared purpose that DiBiase projects—
and which permeates the team at Babolat—that may well have
been the driving factor in putting the French brand on top in
the U.S. tennis market.
“At Babolat, all we do is tennis, and we’ve grown really
quickly the last few years,” DiBiase says. “We want to stay rel-
evant to players and give them products to improve their
games, and we want to grow the game of tennis, too.”
Babolat has definitely stayed relevant to players; so much
so, in fact, that in the U.S., it’s seen a remarkable increase in
market share in the last six years. While DiBiase downplays her
hand in this, the fact is she has had a major leadership role in
orchestrating Babolat’s surge. And for 2012, she is RSI’s Person
of the Year.
“Susan knows our brand perfectly—its strategy, its roots, its
values,” says Jerome Pin, managing director for Babolat North
America. “She is the ‘guardian of the temple’ for our brand in
the U.S., always looking for the right balance between actions
that favor sales and other activities. She aims to maintain and
improve the premium image of the brand.”
According to the most recent data available from Sports
Marketing Surveys USA (Q3 2012 Pro/Specialty Audit), Babolat
is the dollar leader for racquets at pro and specialty shops, in-
creasing its share from 9% in 2003 to 35% in 2012. It’s had
the No. 1-selling racquet at specialty stores every quarter since
Q2 of 2007.
Babolat entered the tennis shoe market in 2005, and since
then, its dollar share has increased to 14% in 2012 (Q3 2012
Pro/Specialty Audit). For racquets, the company saw a sharp in-
crease in dollar share starting in 2008; shoes took a nice jump
starting at the end of 2010.
In increasing its dollar share in both categories, Babolat ben-
efitted from many factors, including key introductions of new
Babolat products, other manufacturers’ product reaching the
end of their cycles, holding the line as far as the number of
SKUs Babolat offered to retailers, and strong support among
junior and college players. Of course, it didn’t hurt to also have
some of the most popular players on the pro tour, either, such
as Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters.
DiBiase, who lives in Golden, Colo., joined Babolat in 2007,
Person of the Year
Person of the Year
Susan DiBiase surrounded by the team at Babolat’s French Open party held in
Malibu, Calif., in May (from left): Jérôme Pin, Dave Dwelle, Rich Francey, pro
player Ryan Harrison, DiBiase, Eric Babolat, Mickey Maule and Steve Strecker.
www.racquetsportsindustry.com RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2013 29
after working for the Schwinn bicycle company and Nautilus
fitness. She grew up in western Pennsylvania playing tennis in
the summer and skiing in the winter.
Dibiase taught tennis for many years in Pittsburgh and
played two years on the team at Penn State. After she gradu-
ated with a degree in marketing, she moved to Colorado, where
she made the U.S. Ski Team as a mogul skier. She also was a
top mountain biker. “I was top 10 in the world in both freestyle
skiing and mountain bike racing,” she says.
DiBiase was on the professional mountain biking circuit for
10 years. In both skiing and biking, “I was never a world
champ; I never won the big races,” she says. “My value to the
teams was that I did all the festivals, clin-
ics, rides—I’d go anywhere where I could
be a brand ambassador. I knew that would
help me get a job when I was done.”
As it turned out, DiBiase was right on
target in her strategy to boost her experi-
ence dealing with the public and getting
to know consumer markets.
“I think a lot of people think of Babolat
as a high-performance premium brand,
only for super-competitive athletes,” DiB-
iase says. “But that’s changing. We have
more exposure now, with all the different
programs we’re doing now in the U.S.”
Five years ago, she says, Babolat’s
marketing efforts were mainly focused
on grassroots sponsorships, junior play-
ers and college players. “We have since
then really spread our roots out,” DiBiase
says. “We didn’t have a teaching pro pro-
gram before, certainly not to the level it
is now. Our communications efforts have
expanded broadly, including our social
media. We’re doing field marketing with
a team of marketing reps, and we’re
going to retailers and training the sales
force staff.”
“Susan has been doing great things at
Babolat,” says Brad Blume of retailer Ten-
nis Express. “She’s behind Babolat’s
strong MAP policy that helps retailers
maintain margin and profitability.”
Mark Mason, of New York City retailer
Mason’s Tennis Mart, agrees. “Susan un-
derstands what I’m trying to do as a re-
tailer to promote what’s new and exciting to my clientele,” he
says. “She truly understands the commonality of goals that a
brand like Babolat has with its key retailers. She’s very consis-
tent in making sure that we retailers have the tools to do our
“With our National Sales Manager Mickey Maule,” adds Pin,
“Susan’s been the architect of our selective distribution strat-
egy, building a consistent set of policies in order to protect our
brand and our dealers.”
“For me,” says retailer Steve Vorhaus of Rocky Mountain
Racquet Specialists in Boulder, Colo., “Babolat has become an
increasingly important partner, not just the No. 1 selling rac-
quet in our store. Since Susan joined, Babolat has really grown
as a company. I know a number of people who work there [the
U.S. headquarters is in Boulder], and they love the job. Susan
does a nice job of infusing energy and passion into the corpo-
rate subculture.
“The U.S. market is different,” Vorhaus continues. “What I
sense is the U.S. distributorship has a better voice, that’s heard
more in France. Many other foreign compa-
nies have struggled here, but when the parent
company understands how the U.S. works, it
makes it better for the company.”
And that ends up being a key job that DiB-
iase fulfills. “One of the biggest parts of my
job is being the liaison between the whole
team in France and what the U.S. market
needs in terms of product, marketing, etc.,”
says DiBiase, who makes about a dozen trips
a year to Babolat’s headquarters in Lyon,
France. “I think the time I spent competing in
those other sports in Europe really provided
me with a healthy respect for the culture.
But I know that often we need to change the
message to be more appropriate to the U.S.
market.” The U.S. market is about 25 per-
cent of Babolat’s global volume, she adds.
But it all goes back to that team feeling.
“It’s a culture that comes down from the
top, right from company President Eric
Babolat,” DiBiase says. “It’s such a refresh-
ing change being part of a family-run busi-
DiBiase praises the Babolat team in the
U.S.—National Sales Manager Mickey
Maule, National Key Accounts Manager Rich
Francey, Regional Sales Manager Dave
Dwelle and Marketing Manager Steve
Strecker. “Those guys are like my brothers,”
she says. “Everyone has a mutual respect
for everyone else.”
“In a lot of companies, sales and market-
ing tend to be in different silos,” says Maule.
“Susan and I are basically on the same page
with everything we do—her for marketing, me for sales. Right
now, we’re excited about the new Play and Connect, and we’re
working together on strategies to maximize this new product.”
“We always want to maintain that challenger spirit,” DiBiase
says. “That’s something Eric always says to us. And to have an
extremely healthy respect for all of our competitors.”
—Peter Francesconi
Tips for Success
w Strive for collaboration with
coworkers. “Always work together
and work as a team,” DiBiase says.
“That’s the path to success.”
w Care about your teammates.
“Susan wants everyone to succeed
and will help out anyone if they
need it,” says Regional Sales Man-
ager Dave Dwelle.
w DiBiase believes that “sales and
marketing go hand in hand,” says
Marketing Manager Steve Strecker.
w Never accept the status quo—
there are always areas to improve
or things that can be done differ-
ently, and better.
igger isn’t always better. But Life Time Fitness, this year’s
Private Facility of the Year, proves that better can be con-
tained within bigger. America’s largest manager of in-
door tennis facilities
counts among its current
roster 105 fitness clubs—
16 of which showcase
tennis across seven states
(the highest end operating
as Life Time Athletic
The company, focusing
on upscale properties and
service, opened its first health and exercise facility in Minnesota
in 1992. Since then it has grown into a publicly traded company
with $1 billion-plus in revenues and more than 20,000 employ-
ees. Earlier this year it acquired a tennis flagship and is currently
putting the USTA regional training center Racquet Club of the
South (to be rebranded as Life Time Tennis Atlanta) through a
months-long renovation, turning it into the company’s Southeast
hub for junior tennis champion training, coaching and develop-
ment, tournaments and recre-
ational play, and instruction.
According to Layne McCleary,
general manager of the new fa-
cility and the company’s senior
manager–national tennis opera-
tions, tennis has been part of a
developing vision the last five years and serves as a key to the
company’s future, “Because it’s a major differentiator for our
brand,” a statement to a particular demographic that Life Time
is “not just a gym.”
Having found that tennis is a key to attracting their target de-
mographic, clubs run programs for all ages and levels and focus
on helping new players, to providing social and competitive op-
portunities, to serving as a training academy for current and fu-
ture pros. Tightening the bond between the brand and tennis,
plans are to incorporate tennis into all new properties whenever
possible, with a minimum 10 indoor and outdoor courts.
Virgil Christain, USTA director–Community Development and
Facilities, notes, “Life Time is putting an emphasis on tennis, [en-
visioning] that tennis can drive their business.” —Kent Oswald
Tips for Success
w Intertwine a full comple-
ment of tennis programs
and services with your
w Spend the money to make
the money.
w Look to build a community
in person and online
(Life Time uses
bout 40 years ago, John Gugel designed a one-piece
molded tennis racquet with a foam core. “I wasn’t a ten-
nis player at the time,” he says. “I was working in the
plastics molding business. A friend was associated with Head ski
company in Colorado, so I designed a water ski and a racquet.
The ski ultimately failed; the racquet, we did make and sell some.
It wasn’t a piece of art, but it did win an award
from an industrial design magazine because it
was so unique.”
After designing that racquet “it dawned on
me that stringing is pretty doggone impor-
tant,” says Gugel, of Orlando, Fla. “So I’ve been
trying to communicate with racquet techni-
cians and generate a better understanding of
what takes place.” He became a Master Rac-
quet Technician and now strings or customizes
about 1,300 racquets a year. He’s strung for pros and at tourna-
ments, and he gives seminars and training sessions.
"John is the consummate professional,” says Tim Strawn,
who often collaborates with Gugel for Grand Slam Stringers.
“There's never any doubt
about his commitment to the
art of racquet service because
it's clearly his passion.” And
it’s this unyielding passion that
makes Gugel RSI’s 2012
Stringer of the Year.
“John is an amazing cross
between a world-class stringer,
a mad-scientist genius, a cut-
ting-edge racquet designer, a
profitable shop owner, and a
philanthropist who gives his
time freely to help improve the
racquet service industry,” adds
David Bone, executive director
of the USRSA.
“The fun of stringing to me, and what makes it important,”
Gugel says, “is having someone enjoy what I’ve done.”
—Peter Francesconi
Tips for Success
w Make sure you have good
w Know what your clients want,
keep them up to speed with
what you’re doing, and pro-
duce a consistent product.
w Understand the structure of a
tennis racquet the best you
can, and continue to learn all
the time.
w Take advantage of the people
who are willing to teach you.
As a new stringer, find some-
one or some place that’s will-
ing to help you and don’t
hesitate to ask. For seasoned
stringers, if you think you’re
doing something no one else
has, you’re kidding yourselves.
Share so everyone can have a
good result.
www.racquetsportsindustry.com RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2013 31
n 1982, Empire Recreational Surfaces, a small construction
company in Knoxville, Tenn., started resurfacing tennis
courts. Company personnel quickly recognized the need for
quality court construction from the ground up, and began per-
fecting the art of building and maintaining courts. They in-
creased their reach into
the industry, eventually
renaming themselves
Baseline Sports Con-
struction and becoming
a full-service recre-
ational contracting com-
pany whose high-quality
finished products in-
cluded not just tennis
courts, but tracks, indoor facilities and synthetic fields.
As the company grew, its leadership became increasingly in-
volved with the American Sports Builders Association. Com-
pany President Will Ferguson served on the board of directors
and as the ASBA’s chairman. Its vice president, David Clapp,
meanwhile, became both a Cer-
tified Tennis Court Builder and
a Certified Track Builder, and
most recently chaired the com-
mittee to rewrite the publica-
tion, Tennis Courts: A Construc-
tion and Maintenance Manual.
Baseline primarily serves the
private market, but is also in-
volved in municipal facilities. The
company, whose motto is "Bringing excellence to the surface," has
been honored in the ASBA's awards program many times. Now, it
joins a distinguished list of honorees as RSI’s 2012 Builder/Con-
tractor of the Year.
These days, the company serves the Southeastern region
and is a licensed contractor in eight states. And yet, to borrow
a cliché, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The company's philosophy remains unchanged, according to
Clapp: "Build quality projects, make customers happy, and be
truthful in representing ourselves." —Mary Helen Sprecher
Tips for Success
w “The growth of my business
is really on my shoulders,”
Clapp says. “I work at it every
w Get involved with your trade
association. The ASBA helps
give Baseline the tools to
keep its business healthy and
w “Our goal as a corporation is
to provide excellent services
and products to the construc-
tion industry. Reliability and
integrity are important in our
work,” Clapp says.
ver the 30 years that Joe Habenschuss has been in
sales (13 of those with Head), he’s seen trends come
and go. But when it comes to finding what’s most ef-
fective for moving product from manufacturer, to retailer, to
customer, he says there’s one constant that’s always at the top
of the list: providing great customer service.
“Making appointments, showing up on
time, responding to calls and emails
promptly, responding to and handling
complaints right away—it all separates
good reps from bad reps, and customers
appreciate that,” says Habenschuss, who
is the Head Penn rep in South Florida.
“Things like listening carefully and re-
spectfully to customer issues are funda-
mentals that go a long way. The selling
part is easy; it’s all the follow-up and
everything after that’s more difficult.”
“Joe is a great blend of professionalism and hard work, com-
bined with a personality that people gravitate to,” says Greg
Mason, VP of sales and market-
ing for Head Penn. “Besides the
great results, he’s just a pleasure
to work with and a rep I’m
proud to have on the team.” And
for 2012, Habenschuss is RSI’s
Sales Rep of the Year.
Habenschuss always keeps
his accounts top of mind. “Re-
tailers don’t like surprises,” he
says. For instance, when items
are discontinued, or new prod-
ucts come out, or there are price
changes, he gets that information to retailers quickly. He also
reminds accounts ahead of time when new product will ship,
because sometimes they forget what they ordered.
While online sales have changed the retail playing field,
Habenschuss believes specialty shops will survive. “They can
not only compete on price, but also with in-person customer
service that online vendors can’t provide.” —Cynthia Sherman
Tips for Success
w Retailers appreciate it if you
can help them move older
inventory to make room for
new product. Habenschuss
does what he can to help his
accounts, often trading older
merchandise with other ac-
counts that can use it.
w Top pros, like Head players
Novak Djokovic and Maria
Sharapova, help sell rac-
quets. Use all the tools.
w Take the time to listen to
what your accounts are
telling you—about their
shoppers, about your prod-
ucts, about marketing, etc.
aving grown up and played tennis in the Pittsburg
area, Kent Johnson was aware that there had never
been much of a tennis retail presence. As a teaching
pro, during lessons, people would ask him where they could
buy tennis equipment locally. So Johnson decided to open Ten-
nis Town, which occupies a 1,300-square-foot space in the Pitts-
burg suburbs.
Now, just three years
later, Tennis Town boasts a
huge wall of racquets and
carries all the major
brands of racquets, shoes
and clothing. He has three
staff members, who are also stringers (a requirement to work
there), and two stringing machines, which see a steady flow of
tennis, squash and racquetball racquets. Johnson says his staff
knows tennis and his inventory thoroughly and can help cus-
tomers navigate the barrage of brands and hype, which, he
adds, is something that online retailers can’t do.
His prices are competitive with online vendors and he has
an aggressive demo program where customers pay $20 a
month and demo as many rac-
quets as they like and at the end
of the month, the $20 gets ap-
plied to the purchase of the rac-
quet of their choice.
Johnson has noticed in-
creased sales each year and can
probably attribute some of that
success to the fact that he’s been
very involved in the tennis com-
munity, sponsoring and donat-
ing supplies to local
tournaments, including several
junior events throughout the
year. That, coupled with excel-
lent customer service, brand va-
riety, maintaining current inventory that’s fresh and
ever-changing and servicing team needs with uniform and
equipment sales, has helped put Tennis Town at the top of the
game, and made it RSI’s Pro/Specialty Retailer of the Year.
—Cynthia Sherman
Tips for Success
w Hire customer-service-ori-
ented people who have a
solid knowledge of the in-
ventory and good communi-
cations skills.
w Continue to expand the
brands and selection you
carry to provide more op-
tions for consumers.
w Keep a fresh face. Routinely
rearranging the store so dis-
plays look new and inviting
for shoppers.
ecently, Charleston County (S.C.) Public Schools Super-
intendent Nancy McGinley was visiting one of the dis-
trict’s schools and the principal proudly showed her
the big, new trophy case. “It had one trophy in it,” McGinley
says. “The whole school was so excited because their kids had
excelled in tennis. That’s what’s exciting to
me—to see the joy that playing tennis is
bringing to kids.”
A former player for Temple University,
McGinley is an avid league player and is the
driving force behind why so many kids of all
ages are now playing, and loving, tennis in
Charleston. And for 2012, she is RSI’s Tennis
Advocate of the Year.
“Dr. McGinley has been an amazing part-
ner,” says Barry Ford, the USTA’s director of Public Affairs and
Advocacy. “Her passion for the sport and her leadership has
galvanized the community around the goal of providing access
and opportunity so every kid in Charleston County Public
Schools can learn and grow through tennis.”
The district has 45,000
students and 80 schools.
Under McGinley’s leader-
ship, CCPS and the USTA
began a collaboration in
2010 that has led to the cre-
ation of after-school tennis
opportunities at 25 of the
neediest public schools in
the county; the development
of a play pathway from after-
school Kids’ Clubs to school-
and community-supported team tennis opportunities; and the
creation of 32 kid-sized courts.
“For me, it’s not just about tennis being physical fitness and
a game that teaches rules and sportsmanship and discipline,”
McGinley says. “It’s also about social access and opportunity.
My goal is to introduce tennis to all students at a young age so
they can grow up feeling very comfortable playing and net-
working and getting to know people.” —Peter Francesconi
Tips for Success
w Don’t hide your passion. McGin-
ley loves tennis, and she isn’t
shy about using that passion to
propel wellness initiatives.
w Get teachers involved. Four
years ago, McGinley started the
annual “Superintendent’s Cup”
tournament for teachers and
last spring nearly 400 partici-
pated in the fun day of tennis.
w Communicate the vision, and in-
vite others to help make it a re-
ality. “I didn’t do this alone. I
introduced an idea that I saw as
an opportunity,” McGinley says.
www.racquetsportsindustry.com RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2013 33
odd Dissly, who supervises 14 park and recreation ten-
nis programs for three Northern California cities for
thousands of kids and adults, has moved from a self-de-
scribed status as one of “the outcasts with funny tennis balls
doing stuff people didn’t
understand” to RSI’s 2012
Junior Tennis Champion
of the Year. As USTA direc-
tor of coach education
and development Kirk An-
derson notes, “Todd is one
of our best recreational
coaches, involved in 10
and Under Tennis and our
training workshops. [He
was] kind of a ringleader in getting things started in Northern
Dissly’s philosophy as a teaching pro is “to reinvent yourself
as a student of the game and take a step in a new direction.”
The former No. 1 Norcal junior is a PTR trainer, USPTA Pro 1
and former professional of the year, certified USTA clinician,
and QuickStart and RCW
trainer, among other profes-
sional certifications and
He started incorporating the
ideas of QuickStart Tennis into
his lessons about 10 years ago
and says early on he saw that
the shorter courts and foam
balls were bringing his younger
students greater engagement
with the game much earlier. “Most sports have a scaled-down
version … it just made sense,” he says.
He brings the game to students at schools with no courts,
setting up on four-square courts or wherever there is flat
ground. “I saw early on that having new players hit with foam
balls worked,” says Dissly. “It opened up my mind to a different
way of how lessons should be delivered. Tennis shouldn’t just
be for the most athletic kids. With this format, we’re seeing 80
percent return, and they’re bringing their friends.”
—Kent Oswald
Tips for Success
w Don’t wing it. Work on lesson
plans to make sure coaching
time is organized.
w Create and promote a learning
w If you focus on student in-
volvement, the achievement
will follow.
w Keep exploring new ideas.
ortland After School Tennis & Education is more than
a non-profit youth program. PAST&E is a year-round,
tuition-free program for at-risk and low-income stu-
dents in grades K through 12 that, in the words of its executive
director, Danice Brown, strives to be “life changing.”
Brown joined PAST&E in 2007, before the
“education” component was in full swing. At
the time, she was alarmed to discover that
only 54 percent of Portland, Ore., public
school students earn a diploma in four years.
As the new executive director, she went to
the board and had education added to the
program’s list of can-do’s. "Our goal is to cre-
ate ‘student-athletes’ who will develop a pas-
sion for being healthy, playing tennis, and excelling at school,”
she says.
Now, 60 percent of a PAST&E youngster’s time focuses on
education, and Brown sets high standards for both kids and
parents. “Danice is the heart and soul of the program,” says
Development Director Maureen “Moe” Dugan. “Her structure
and expectations make the pro-
gram a success.” And her dedi-
cation to improving lives has led
her to be named RSI’s Grassroots
Champion of the Year.
Prior to accepting the posi-
tion at PAST&E, Brown was the
general manager for West Hills
Racquet & Fitness Club. “Tennis
demands things (of you), like eti-
quette,” she says, “The biggest
hook for me is that tennis is non-
violent. You aren’t roughing
someone up to win a point.”
Every year, PAST&E touches
the lives of about 1,000 young-
sters and their families, and it currently serves 62 year-round
participants. “We believe our program will be the catalyst for
students staying in school until they graduate from high
school,” Brown says. —Robin Bateman
Tips for Success
w Get parents involved. Offer
discounted lessons to in-
crease interest and advocacy.
Require monthly meetings to
keep everyone informed.
“Family involvement is a key
to the program’s success,”
says Ruth Turner, director of
Community Tennis for USTA
Pacific Northwest.
w Empower the community.
Strengthen alliances through
off-court opportunities.
Brown rents land so the par-
ents of players can grow
food to feed 62 families all
summer long.
w Cultivate partnerships within
the community and USTA
f there is one word to describe the Southlake Tennis Center
in Southlake, Texas, it would be “active.” Between league
matches, 10 and Under Tennis, lessons, clinics and tourna-
ments, the joint is always jumping. In 2011, STC won a USTA
Outstanding Facility Award, and
this year, it is RSI’s Municipal
Facility of the Year.
“Since its opening in 1999,
STC has been a hub for local
and USTA tennis activity,” says
Virgil Christian, USTA director of
Community Development & Fa-
cilities. Importantly, “STC was one of the first in the area to line
its courts for Youth Tennis, contributing to the tremendous suc-
cess of the center’s youth program.”
“We’re really into Youth Tennis,” adds Director of Tennis
Stephen Poorman, who together with his wife and STC general
manager, Mia Gordon-Poorman, keep the activity going. “We
have a lot of kids and families in our community.”
STC has 19 lighted hard courts, with blended lines for six
60-foot and eight 36-foot courts. There are nine pros on staff,
including a Master Racquet
Technician, and the full-service
pro shop carries 10 clothing
lines, four shoe brands, four rac-
quet brands, and more than 30
“Three years ago, residents
said there weren’t enough
courts,” says Gordon-Poorman.
“We proposed adding six courts
to our original 13, got some
grants from the USTA and raised
$40,000 ourselves.” Now, be-
cause of increased usage, the
city is looking into remodeling
the building to add more space.
“Working with the city has been tremendous,” says Gordon-
Poorman. “Twenty years ago they added a half-cent sales tax
that goes toward parks and rec, which has enabled us to do
some really great things, including this tennis center.”
—Cynthia Sherman
t’s hard to pick just one word to describe tennis in Reston,
Va. “Unique” comes to mind. So does “impressive” and
Tennis in this Washington, D.C., suburb of 62,000 is through
the nonprofit Reston Association. “We are an NJTL, a CTA and
a Tennis in the Park, and my job is to grow tennis, providing it
as an amenity for the community and sharing our passion,”
says Tennis Manager Mary Conaway, who started teaching for
RA Parks, Recreation & Events in 1997.
There are 52 community courts in more than a dozen loca-
tions, including eight sub-irri-
gated clay courts, 26 lighted
courts and six Youth Tennis
courts. Programming reaches
about 2,500 adults and kids.
“We also have a large after-
school program where we teach
tennis in gyms,” says Conaway.
The Reston Association also offers scholarships, and there is “a
huge group of volunteers” to do fundraising.
Recently, the Reston Associ-
ation was named USTA Mid-At-
lantic Section Organization of
the Year, and now, it receives
honors from RSI as the 2012
Park & Rec Agency of the Year.
The hard courts stay open
year-round, but most of the
more than a dozen staff is sea-
sonal. “A lot of our pros are re-
ally community-oriented and
love to give back,” says Conaway, who herself is active at the
USTA section and national levels and currently chairs the USTA’s
Learning and Leadership Development Committee.
“Reston Association is a model agency that highlights tennis
as a great opportunity to increase physical activity for all resi-
dents,” says David Slade, USTA national manager for Commu-
nity Tennis. “The USTA couldn’t ask for a better partner.”
Maybe there is a word that best describes Reston tennis:
“outstanding.” —Peter Francesconi
Tips for Success
w If you love something, share
your passion, because it’s con-
w “We’ve always done the
‘games’ approach to teaching
tennis,” says Conaway, “be-
cause we want to make it
w Position tennis as a lifestyle,
not just a sport. “It’s a great
social connector.”
w “We really try to market to
the community and get the
word out there because we
are so unique,” she adds.
Tips for Success
w With the pro shop, “We try
to make it as much like a
private club pro shop as we
can,” says Gordon-Poorman.
“We try to be a full-comple-
ment pro shop.”
w Have a resurfacing and
maintenance plan. “The city
understands the need to
keep a tennis facility in great
condition,” she says.
w Get great people. “Our pros
do a wonderful job. Our
overriding principle is to en-
hance the self-esteem of
players, so they stay positive
and feel better about them-
www.racquetsportsindustry.com RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2013 35
ennis is what brought together Lynn and Curt Bender of
Grand Rapids, Mich. “About 12 years ago, Curt [who was
injured in an auto accident in 1989] was playing in a
local tournament and I was a therapist at the rehab hospital,
and was helping out at the event,” Lynn says.
A teaching pro and former collegiate player, Lynn says she
knew nothing about wheelchair tennis at the time, but was
asked to coach. “Once Curt and
I started hitting we became
friends, and our passion for
tennis grew together. It’s a ten-
nis love story.”
The Benders have been in-
volved with the Grand Rapids
Wheelchair Sports Association
for many years, and recently the GRWSA merged with a local
rehab hospital to form the Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and
Adaptive Sports program, of which Lynn is the wheelchair ten-
nis program director. Lynn also has been honored by the Inter-
national Tennis Hall of Fame with the 2011 Tennis Educational
Merit Award. Curt, still very active in playing the sport, chairs
Wheelchair Tennis committees
for both USTA National and USTA
Midwest and is on the ITF Wheel-
chair Committee. And now both
are RSI’s Wheelchair Tennis
Champions of the Year.
“Curt and Lynn have been
dedicated to wheelchair tennis at
every level,” says Dan James, the
USTA’s national manager for
Wheelchair Tennis. “They run
one of the best local programs in
the country and still have time to
volunteer at the national level
and help our programming.”
“We do it through the joy and
passion that we have together,”
Curt says. “It’s a testament to the
teamwork that says one plus one
is always more than two.”
—Peter Francesconi
roviding opportunities for children to learn tennis can
be a game-changer for a contractor, says John Coll,
president and owner of Top-A-Court Tennis of Hatfield,
Pa. The company, which has been in business since 1988, is
one of the most active proponents of youth tennis. And for its
support of the initiative and involvement in
the process, Top-A-Court is the 2012 winner
of RSI’s 10 and Under Tennis Facility Devel-
oper of the Year award.
According to Coll, it has been a great ride.
After setting up a meeting with the USTA,
Top-A-Court learned the techniques and the
new rules, and went to work. "To be able to
provide new courts for kids by working with
the USTA was just a terrific experience," he
says. But being a part of growing the next generation of tennis
players isn't the only reward. It has had the ancillary benefit of
helping Top-A-Court grow financially as well.
"It absolutely is a business opportunity," notes Coll. "If
someone is getting their courts lined, we are able to introduce
ourselves at the same time." He
estimates that approximately half
his new business is gained
through contacts made during
10U line installations.
Top-A-Court is a member of the
American Sports Builders Associ-
ation, and Coll is a Certified Ten-
nis Court Builder. He and his
company build tennis, basketball,
bocce and multi-use courts in
eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware
and southern New Jersey.
Not surprisingly, Coll is a strong
advocate for 10 and Under Tennis.
“If you asked me if I thought this
was a good thing for tennis, I'm
going to say yes, absolutely. It's
great for the kids—they enjoy it
now because it's so much easier." —Mary Helen Sprecher
Tips for Success
w “Take advantage of the
early opportunity. We did,
and it has been terrific,”
Coll says.
w 10 and Under Tennis is
something that works. It's
no different from baseball
or any other sport that has
been modified for kids.
w “Our mission statement has
always been: Build it right
with integrity and do busi-
ness honestly, and make
your work last as long as
possible, for the customer
as well as for our own
Tips for Success
w “We do a lot of things to-
gether, but also a lot of
things apart,” Curt says. Un-
derstand your similarities
and your differences, as
each others’ gifts.
w “One of the biggest rewards
is when a newly injured
player comes out to practice
for the first time,” Lynn says.
“It’s amazing to watch them
grow and find out, ‘Wow, I
can do this!’”
w “Integrating a wheelchair
sport into an able-bodied
sport is cool,” says Curt.
“But the important thing
is, everyone just calls it
n the spring of 2010, the Dallas Tennis Association teamed
up with Dallas Parks and Recreation, USTA National and
USTA Texas to convert the city’s eight courts in the 70-year-
old Kiest Park into a 10 and Under Tennis facility featuring 12
stand-alone 36-foot courts alongside four 78-foot courts with
60-foot blended lines.
The courts, which were in
disarray three years ago, are
now booming with activity. “We
have 350 to 425 juniors enrolled
in fall and spring programs,”
says Bert Cole, DTA’s Junior
Recreation Director.
Clint Laukhuf, DTA’s Junior Team Tennis coordinator, sees
firsthand the excitement kids feel. “Kids are in a rush to play
on [the blended-line] courts, but when you see their faces the
first time they set eyes on the stand-alone courts, it’s real tennis
[for] them.”
Laukhuf utilizes the courts for season-end tournaments,
where about 150 kids grab racquets and play matches. “It’s
such a great experience,” says Laukhuf, who feels the stand-
alone 36-foot courts generate re-
newed excitement while culti-
vating a stronger commitment,
which leads to continued play.
"We’re very fortunate,” says
Amanda Shaw, USTA Texas field
officer for 10 and Under Tennis,
“Kiest Park is the only area in
our state where we have 10 and
Under Tennis stand-alone
“The USTA is proud to have
played a part in the develop-
ment in Kiest Park,” says Kurt
Kamperman, the USTA’s chief
executive of Community Tennis.
“Our design and technical ad-
vice are part of our longstanding effort to support the growth
of tennis programming across the country, and the DTA’s vision
to implement Youth Tennis at Kiest Park should be com-
mended.” —Robin Bateman
Tips for Success
w Free, free, free! “Every Sun-
day afternoon for four hours,
we have a tennis pro teach-
ing beginning lessons to any
resident who shows up,”
Cole says. “Once we built
the new courts, suddenly
everyone wanted to play!”
w Partner with other organiza-
tions. When you offer tennis
to other groups, they bring
their own ideas to the table.
w Go for the stand-alone
courts. When budgets allow
it, stand-alone 36- and 60-
foot courts underscore the
excitement kids feel about
f you’re into tennis in the Jackson, Miss., area, you want to
get involved with the Tri-County CTA, which serves Hinds,
Madison and Rankin counties. Founded in 2006, Tri-County
is dedicated to promoting, developing, growing and supporting
tennis, and they’ve been—as USTA Community Tennis Devel-
opment Coordinator Jon Thompson says—“a model CTA.” And
for 2012, Tri-County is RSI’s
Community Tennis Association
of the Year.
“Tri-County offers quality
programming while growing
the game at all levels,” Thomp-
son says. “Providing everything
from 10 and Under Tennis to senior tennis, Tri-County has cre-
ated an outstanding tennis community where everyone is
Tri-County manages leagues for all types of players, says
Elizabeth Lyle, the CTA’s marketing coordinator. One key to
growing tennis, she says, is making sure league captains feel
“extra special. Sometimes we’ll have a wine and cheese gath-
ering for them. When the captains are happy and on board,
tennis grows.” The CTA also
works with community groups
such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters,
and with area schools.
Plus, “We try to do a lot with
area teaching pros,” says Lyle,
who herself is a USPTA pro.
“There are a lot of private clubs
and public facilities here, and
we want to make sure our pro-
grams and events jibe with
them. We even host a free
luncheon twice a year to tell
teaching pros what we have
coming up, and to get their
CTA President Gary Nowell
also praises the tennis volun-
teers in the Jackson area. “A lot of our activity and growth
comes from people giving back to the community and support-
ing tennis.” —Peter Francesconi
Tips for Success
w Maintain a positive partner-
ship with area teaching pros;
everyone stands to benefit.
w “For every event we help to
sponsor, we try to put our
logo on T-shirts, etc., so peo-
ple can get to know us,” Lyle
w League captains are a key to
local tennis participation.
Make sure captains always
feel special.
w When programming, involve
as many people or other or-
ganizations and companies
as you can. Get companies to
donate for goodie bags, too.
www.racquetsportsindustry.com RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2013 37
oy Barth’s tennis resume features extensive experience
and accomplishments as a player, teacher and admin-
istrator. A former top 50 pro and founding member of
the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), Barth is in his
37th year as tennis director at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in
South Carolina.
Barth attended his first PTR International
Symposium on Hilton Head Island, S.C. in
1984, when he and partner Jorge Andrew
began a 13-year undefeated run in the
men’s 35s and 45s doubles. “Playing got me
to the Symposium,” says Barth, who was
named PTR Pro of the Year in 1990 and a
PTR Master Pro in 2007, “but networking
got me involved.”
Networking opportunities led to his roles as president of
USTA South Carolina and the Southern Tennis Patrons Founda-
tion, and as current chairman of the USTA Davis Cup Commit-
tee. In fact, Barth has dedicated his distinguished career to
improving the sport for all of its constituents. For his tireless
efforts, he is RSI’s 2012 PTR Member of the Year.
Barth says he learns some-
thing new each year from the
tennis teachers and coaches at
the PTR Symposium from more
than 50 countries. He has served
as treasurer of the PTR board and
helped to develop the inaugural
PTR Directors of Tennis Confer-
ence, which took place this past
PTR Executive Director Dan
Santorum credits Barth’s
longevity with his dual strengths
administratively and on court,
where Barth advocates for resort
pros to enhance stroke funda-
mentals rather than a particular
style that contradicts a player’s
regular pro back home. “Roy is
an asset to the PTR board and our industry,” Santorum says.
“He’s the best in the business.” —Cindy Cantrell
Tips for Success
w Take the first step. Barth was
drawn to the PTR Sympo-
sium for the tournament
competition, then became
increasingly immersed in its
education and certification
w Keep an open mind. The
game is always changing,
and pros must change with
it to stay relevant.
w Give back. Barth was a
standout junior, college
player and pro whose lead-
ership as a tennis director
resulted in a tennis center at
Kiawah being named for
him. Barth continues his vol-
unteer efforts with the PTR
and USTA to improve the
sport for all.
ave Porter is one of the best educators—if not
the best—I’ve ever known,” says USPTA CEO
Tim Heckler. “He not only implements his own
methods of teaching, but has also spent many hours studying
those of other great teachers in the world. He is a person of im-
peccable ethics and is dedicated to the improvement of the ten-
nis-teaching profession.”
Porter of Laie,
Hawaii, has taught
tennis for more than
35 years and been a
USPTA member for
more than 25 years.
In September, Porter
was honored with
the association’s top
annual member
award, the Alex Gor-
don Award for the
USPTA Professional of the Year. And now, he adds RSI’s USPTA
Member of the Year honors to his resume.
A USPTA Master Professional,
Porter has been a USPTA Head
Tester since 1988 and has served
on the National Board from 1994
to 2007, including serving as the
national president from 2003 to
2005. In addition, he has served
as chairman of the education
committee and the chairman of
the testing and certification com-
mittee. He has also been a speaker at numerous USPTA divi-
sional conventions and national conferences.
Currently the head tennis coach at Brigham Young Univer-
sity–Hawaii, where he also teaches courses in the Exercise and
Sports Science Department, Porter has a record of 1,193 wins
and 145 losses over his college coaching career, and he has
never lost a conference match in women’s tennis during his ca-
reer. His BYU–Hawaii women’s team is the three-time Pacific
West Conference champions (2010, 2011, 2012). He has also
taught or worked with several nationally ranked tour players,
including Zheng Jie and Li Na. —Peter Francesconi
Tips for Success
w There are no menial tasks,
there are only menial
w Do It! Do It Right! Do It
Right Now!
w Remember that when play-
ing tennis, "Hard is good,
but in is better."
ith sports,” says Terry Valdez of Wenatchee,
Wash., “it’s about the memories. You re-
member the fun times.”
Valdez has been helping create fun memories for his tennis
players for 30 years. The coach of the Eastmont High School
boys’ and girls’ teams, he has always had a “no-cut” policy, al-
lowing any student who wanted to play to be a part of the
team. Last year, Valdez had a total of about 85
students on his teams. In his biggest year, he had
about 120 students.
“My mentor was my Little League baseball
coach,” Valdez says. “He was a real believer that
everyone should play an equal amount of time in
the game, whether we win or lose. It
was a great way of building us up.”
For his long-term commitment
and implementation of a no-cut pol-
icy, and for enriching the lives of his
players, Valdez was honored with the
2012 USTA Starfish Award for high school coaches. And he also
is RSI’s 2012 High School Coach
of the Year.
“Ensuring that all players re-
ceive real match playing time
and treating all of them as
equals is a sign of Terry’s devo-
tion to emphasize the one-team
concept,” says Kurt Kamerp-
man, USTA chief executive of
Community Tennis.
Valdez, who also was a recip-
ient of the Elliston President’s
Award for North Central Athletics
for positively impacting youth and high school tennis, recently
retired from teaching (he was an art teacher) and coaching the
high school team. However, he remains active with his local
community tennis association and still supports the high school
“For some coaches, it’s all about winning,” he says. “For me,
it’s about giving kids great memories.” —Peter Francesconi
he USTA Northern California Section boasts a strong
commitment to getting the tennis message to young-
sters. The section has about 7,500 players in 10 and
Under Tennis programming, and it continues to grow.
Executive Director Steve Leube praises both the Youth Ten-
nis initiative and the NorCal staff for moving the dial. “You take
an 8-year-old and put
him on a 36-foot court
with the right-sized rac-
quet and ball, and
they’re successful—and
they have fun,” he says.
Of course, Nor-
Cal, with about 37,500 adult, 12,500 junior and 400 organiza-
tional members, does much more than promote Youth Tennis.
But this initiative is so important to the industry—and it’s a
driving force behind RSI’s USTA Section of the Year winner.
Alison Vidal, NorCal’s Tennis Service Rep account manager,
and the section’s nine TSRs bring tennis to communities, in-
cluding to the Girls Scouts in Northern California, reaching
more than 100,000 scouts.
“Every time a scout participates
in one of the section’s events,
they earn a patch, which is a
huge deal,” Vidal notes.
NorCal also works with about
20 PAL organizations, training
and equipping police volunteers
and staff in Youth Tennis pro-
gramming. “Police welcome a
program like this that’s exciting
for kids and keeps them engaged,” Vidal says. Many of the
thousands of kids would never be exposed to tennis otherwise,
and are now maintaining regular physical activity. NorCal’s ul-
timate goal is to develop Play Days, then establish leagues.
Fred McCasland, the area director at the Boys & Girls Clubs
of Silicon Valley, couldn’t be happier. “If it weren’t for USTA Nor-
Cal, the kids would never have been exposed to tennis. It in-
creases their fitness and gives them lessons in teamwork.”
—Cynthia Sherman
Tips for Success
w Focus on collaboration and
great teamwork within the
w Be open-minded, creative
and think outside the box to
promote the idea that tennis
can be played anywhere.
w Stay focused on the mission
of promoting and develop-
ing the growth of tennis as
an inclusive and lifelong
Tips for Success
w Kids will remember the fun
times they have in sports.
“With our kids, we noticed
they really enjoyed the ca-
maraderie—and the bus
trips,” says Valdez.
w Get all the students on the
team; you’ll figure out a way
to handle it.
w Fun plus discipline means
the kids will improve their
Ask the Experts
(http://goo.gl/GzqPw) that pre-
stretching natural gut is no longer
required. Is this true? Is pre-stretching
natural gut still required on the MRT
really been a requirement in the
real world. It has always been a personal
preference issue, so there are still a few
players who ask for it to be done. There-
fore, it is still a requirement on the certifi-
cation tests. Just like stapling the
replacement grip, we know these are not
universal practices any longer, but we still
want Master Racquet Technicians and Cer-
tified Stringers to demonstrate they are
able to do them.
tor 2012” (Racquet Sports Indus-
try magazine, January 2012, page
35), you wrote, “All strings on the same
vertical line should feel about the same,
no matter what the tension.” How did
you arrive at this assumption? We have
been stringing racquets since 1929 and
advising customers that the feel of rac-
quet stiffness is primarily controlled by
the type of string and the string tension,
more so than the type of materials and
the frame.
the above graph, in which the X-
axis represents dynamic string stiffness.
According to Technical Tennis by Rod
Cross and Crawford Lindsey, “Dynamic
string stiffness refers to how much the
stringbed will deflect perpendicular to the
strings when it is impacted with an object
of given energy.”
The way the USRSA determines
dynamic stiffness is to tension a single
strand of each string sample to 62 pounds
and then allow it to sit for 200 seconds.
After that, the string is hit five times with a
force equivalent to hitting a 120 mph
The explanation attached to the graph
reads, in part:
“Test Procedure. […] The stiffness
value is a calculation derived from the
amount of force created at impact to
stretch the string. Lower values represent
softer strings and lower impact forces.
Higher values represent stiffer strings and
higher impact forces.”
Stiffer strings contribute to a stiffer
string bed, and softer strings contribute to
a softer string bed. In tests performed by
the USRSA, string bed stiffness was the
most important determining factor influ-
encing power and spin.
This is not to say that string stiffness
and string bed stiffness are one in the
same, but the purpose of the String Selec-
tor is to divorce inherent string stiffness
from the rest of the system. Once we do
this, we can state that if our lab test results
for two different strings are similar, then
the all-important string bed stiffness will be
similar for those two strings, regardless of
gauge, composition, cross-section, etc. By
extension, if you replace one string with
another string with similar lab test results,
at the same tension, then the feel of the
two strings should be similar.
You have to keep in mind, though, our
standard disclaimer, which is that although
this test is as comprehensive and scientific
as we can make it, it is still a lab test, one
that looks only at a small portion of the
racquet/string system. It is meant to help
guide you in your string selection, not to
make your string selection for you. As
always, we do not recommend you select
a string (or racquet, for
that matter) based on a
numerical value from a
lab test, but rather on
the basis of playtest-
Including the type
of string and string
tension in a discussion of
racquet stiffness can be helpful. As
pointed out in Technical Tennis, “every
string and racquet technology that affects
the stringbed does so by affecting its stiff-
ness.” Here, the phrase “the stringbed”
refers not only to the stiffness of one string
(the basis of the test results shown in the
String Selector), or the way multiple strings
interact with others on the face of the rac-
quet, but also the stringbed density, the
racquet head shape, racquet head size, rac-
quet stiffness, string tension, and other
However, racquet stiffness is a separate
factor from string stiffness. Usually, rac-
quet stiffness is also considered separately
from string bed stiffness as well, and even
recreational players can detect differences
in frame stiffness between two different
frames strung with the same string at the
same tension.
Furthermore, racquet stiffness can have
ramifications in terms of shock and vibra-
tion, both in the lab and on the court.
Head racquet with a 16 x 19 pat-
Your Equipment Hotline
Although there are some similarities,
such as the overall weight and flex, there
are many more differences between them
(chart above), such as head size, string bed
density, and swing weight, as well as head
shape and construction.
Your best bet will be to maintain the
same string and tension with the new rac-
quet that you have been using with your
old racquet, and go from there.
The Wall Street Journal (“Tennis
without all the Tension”) in the
“Ask the Experts” section of Racquet
Sports Industry magazine (June 2012,
page 41). In this article, it is stated that
some players are getting down to 30 and
40 pounds of tension. I presume that is
machine tension! In our shop we have
been collecting data from frames brought
in for re-stringing (with no broken strings).
The last 100 frames had an average ten-
sion of 37.75 pounds (the mains aver-
aged 44 pounds and the crosses
averaged 31 pounds).
the reference tension. Also keep
in mind that while recreational players
often leave strings in their racquets long
after they should have been replaced, a
professional player typically has his rac-
quet re-strung every day. Thus, not only
are these “low tension” professionals
starting with a much lower reference ten-
sion than most recreational players, they
are also getting the most “tension depre-
ciation,” as tension losses are highest
immediately after re-stringing.
—Greg Raven w
We welcome your questions. Please send them to Rac-
quet Sports Industry, PO Box 3392, Duluth, GA 30096;
fax: 760-536-1171; email: greg@racquettech.com.
tern. I normally use multifilament
strung at 55 pounds. The recommend-
ed tension is 52-62. I am buying a 95-
square-inch Dunlop racquet with an 18
x 20 string pattern. The recommended
tension is 55-65. It is a lower powered
frame and that's what I'm after.
I want the frame to lower the
power without accidentally stringing
too low and compensating for the
lower powered frame and vice versa
with stringing too high. That is, I want
to see the difference the frame makes
without the string tension having an
effect either way.
I was wondering if you could rec-
ommend a string tension given these
desires? Any assistance would be
much appreciated.
ble to compare these two rac-
quets head-to-head as you propose.
Racquet Len. Wt. Bal. SW Head Flex
16 x 19 27.2 331 32.1 310 100 63
18 x 20 27 339 32.5 330 95 62
skipped string just remove your marker
10 3-Packs of Head Xtremesoft Overgrip
to: James Mosley, Rio Rancho, NM
I recently
an Arrow
Stapler at
Depot for
$9.97. It
is perfect
for grips
and butt caps. It is lightweight and very
little muscle to use. Additionally, it has an
attachment that allows you to staple up to
25 sheets of paper. At this price, I pur-
chased several and keep them at home,
I’d like to share a tip I share with ”new”
stringers. When preparing to string, espe-
cially several racquets consecutively, I
take a minute to apply a thin layer of ath-
letic tape to my forefingers and pinky fin-
gers. I find these fingers often suffer
“string burn,” chafing, and callouses. This
seems to be especially true when work-
ing with stiffer, shaped, or textured co-
polys. Tape on these fingers absorbs the
damage and still allows me to “feel” the
10 3-Packs of Wilson X-tra Tack Overgrip
to: Ed Ramirez, North Haledon, NJ
One day while stringing a racquet and
constantly checking my Stringers Digest
for the locations of the skipped strings, I
had an idea. I found some bright scrap
string and placed 1-inch pieces into the
holes to be skipped. When you get to the
Tips & Techniques
the club, and my bag for "emergencies."
5 sets of Dunlop Explosive 16 to:
Ed Ramirez, North Haledon, NJ
Racquet manufacturers usually try to place
tie-off holes where the anchor string’s path
through the hole is such that it doesn’t
block the passage of the tie-off string.
Sometimes, though, you run across a tie-
off hole where the anchor string angles
across the grommet, making it difficult to
get the free end of the string through
unless you are using a stiff poly.
On tie-off holes such as this, I make a
little extra room for the tie-off string by
bracing the palm of my hand against the
frame, and using my index and middle fin-
ger to pull the anchor string up and away
from the centerline of the racquet. Have
the free end of the string already to go in
your needlenose pliers before you do this.
Readers’ Know-How in Action
The anchor string doesn’t deflect
that much inside the grommet barrel,
but you should be able to create just
enough of a gap to admit the end of the
tie-off string.
5 sets of Babolat Revenge 16 to:
L. Hodges, Lucerne Valley, CA
I realize that the trend in documentation
for tournament stringing at big events is
toward computerizing everything, but
there are still plenty of small events
where paper and a pencil do just fine.
I used to try to cram as many lines
on each sheet as possible, but the sav-
ings in paper weren’t worth the mess
and confusion. Now, I print up forms
for each stringer for each day of the
tournament. Twenty-five lines is usually
enough to hold all the entries for any
given stringer, and the taller rows offer
lots of room to enter the player name,
racquet name, string used, etc. Reduc-
ing the total number of lines
also allows me to
set a larg-
er top mar-
gin, which
makes it eas-
ier to use
these sheets in
a clip-
At the
bottom, I
leave a
space to
enter the
total number
of racquets
done that day.
Although the
lines are num-
bered, if anyone
has to line out an
entry, the line numbers won’t reflect
the actual number of racquets done, but
the bottom total will.
I also print up a Totals sheet for
each stringer. Each day, every stringer
transfers the total number of racquets
done on the previous day to the Totals
sheet, where there is also room to enter
the amount earned that day (number of
racquets multiplied by the amount
earned per racquet). There are also
blank lines below the one-a-day lines
for entering unusual items such as
bumperguard replacements and other
chargeable services rendered to the player.
One small but important column on the
Daily form has a check mark at the top.
This is for reconciling the stringers’ records
against the records at the check-in desk,
which we do for every day of the tourna-
ment. At some slow point of the day (usu-
ally after the morning rush), the person
running the check-in desk will go through
the book alphabetically, count up the num-
ber of racquets shown for each player the
day before, and call out that number for
that player’s stringer to verify. When the
check-in desk and the stringer’s records
agree, the stringer places a check mark
in this column for each racquet re-strung
for that player the previous day. Keeping
on top of the daily reconciliation makes
tournament-end calculations and pay-
outs a snap.
5 sets of Tourna Big Hitter Blue 17 to:
Doug Denton, San Diego, CA
—Greg Raven ◗
Tips and Techniques submitted since 1992 by USRSA members
and appearing in this column, have all been gathered into a
searchable database on www.racquettech.com, the official mem-
ber-only website of the USRSA. Submit tips to: Greg Raven,
USRSA, 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084; or email greg@racquet-
January 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 43 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
UGUST 25, 2001, TWO DAYS
Andy Roddick, 18, stands on the
court of Arthur Ashe Stadium, not yet a
year removed from winning the tourna-
ment’s junior championship. In the 11
months since, he accomplished a few eye-
catching results, but nothing that should
have predicated this moment: standing
center-stage at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, fac-
ing Andre Agassi in the event’s ultimate
expo match.
Roddick wears a body microphone, but
doesn’t talk much. He is playing at playing
in front of thousands of young fans, but he
doesn’t entertain much. If not for the pres-
ence of John McEnroe in the umpire’s
chair, one might wonder if the moment
would include any banter at all. Roddick
was put on this stage to match Agassi, one
of the most entertaining players in the
sport’s history, not just shot for shot, but
wit for wit and gag for gag. As Agassi quips
and jests, and as McEnroe jokingly bellows
that Roddick’s strong serves are “clearly
wide” and “clearly long,” the young pre-
star is clearly uncomfortable and unsure of
My intent is not to criticize Roddick’s
performance that day, but rather to ques-
tion the marketing machine that created
the spectacle in the first place. You can’t
fault the sentiment. The U.S.’s golden age
of men’s open tennis was waning; Jim
Courier and MaliVai Washington were
retired, and Pete Sampras, Michael Chang
and Todd Martin were no longer pre-
dictable forces on tour. American tennis
was in an anxious state. No one knew who
could possibly replace these players in the
marketing playbook.
Then this kid Roddick wins the US
Open junior title and a few impressive tour
matches, and suddenly the sport manufac-
tures a limelight that he never asked to
step into. To even the most casual
bystander, the impetus is obvious: U.S.
tennis wants to create a superstar to take
the reins from the horses of the 1990s. So
they put a kid front-and-center and asked
him to wear Andre Agassi’s shoes.
For a long time after, it seemed there
was a part of Roddick that felt obligated to
live up to that charge. He also seemed not
sure how to, because his personality was
not Agassi’s personality, his game was not
Sampras’ game, and he didn’t much
resemble his other predecessors, either.
He represented a new era, but was asked
to sustain the old.
The effects of this were clear for years.
Roddick was great at winning matches,
especially long ones, and at wowing
crowds with increasingly hard serves. He
earned a US Open title, won Davis Cup
matches, and represented the only credi-
ble threat to Roger Federer in his prime.
But he appeared uncomfortable as an
entertainer, and uneasy prolonging a
retired generation’s legacy.
Fortunately for Roddick, at some point
mid-career he decided to just be himself on
court—loud with the racquet, quiet with his
words (albeit not when barking at
umpires). And this was much more pleas-
ant to watch. He was just Andy. It’s some-
thing tennis should have let him be when
he was perhaps too young to know to
choose that on his own.
‘Too many times we see
a brand molded to fit a
successful marketing
strategy, rather than
the other way around.’
US OPEN: Roddick has just lost to Juan
Martin del Potro and is now retired from
tennis. At his final post-match press con-
ference as a pro player, a reporter asks
who the next big American player will
be—out of all the young talent on tour,
out of all the promising juniors rising
through the rankings, “Who can fill your
Roddick pauses, as if reflecting on
people relaying that responsibility on
him 11 years earlier, and the unneces-
sary pressure that created on his young
“Let’s not do ‘the next,’” Roddick
replies. “Let’s let them have their own
personality, and let’s let them do their
own thing and let them grow…. There is
no filling shoes. I think we’ve got to be
looking for individuals, not clones.”
He’s right. It's an important thing, let-
ting young players grow into their own
image, rather than someone else's. Too
many times we see a brand molded to fit
a successful marketing strategy, rather
than the other way around—and tennis
can be just as guilty of that as B-level
marketing agencies.
Just develop the kids as tennis play-
ers who can compete on a global court,
and let the other stuff ferment on its
own. Then we'll have genuine personali-
ties to market, which will be far more
beneficial for everyone involved. w
Your Serve
Rage Against the
(Marketing) Machine
A longtime tennis journalist says let’s not ‘create’ the next American star,
but let young pros develop their own personalities. BY CHRI S NI CHOL S ON
Chris Nicholson is a freelance
tennis writer and photographer
based in New York City. He is a
former editor for Tennis maga-
zine and author of the book
Photographing Tennis: A Guide
for Photographers, Parents, Coaches & Fans.
We welcome your opinions. Please email
comments to RSI@racquetTECH.com.

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