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February 2013

Volume 41 Number 2 $5.00
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
OUTLOOK
2013
w Racquets
w Shoes
w Apparel
w Strings
Q&A With New
TIA Prez Greg Mason
Facility-of-the-Year
Award Winners
OUTLOOK
2013
w Racquets
w Shoes
w Apparel
w Strings
Q&A With New
TIA Prez Greg Mason
Facility-of-the-Year
Award Winners
2
DEPARTMENTS
R S I F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 3
INDUSTRY NEWS
7 Head, Djokovic introduce
new Graphene racquet
7 USTA ‘pauses’ proposed
junior comp changes
7 Nominate for RSI's
'30 Under 30'
8 US Open schedules rest
day before finals
8 Victory/Acelon releases
first tennis strings
8 PTR Spring TennisFest
on Hilton Head
9 USPTA announces
2013 certification exams
10 Peoplewatch
10 Host a kids’ Tennis
Festival in March
12 GSS changes name to IART
12 Cardio Tennis ‘Get Fit
Challenge’
12 Short Sets
15 Gamma debuts 3
RZR racquets
4 Our Serve
7 Industry News
17 TIA News
20 Resort Management
22 Pioneers in Tennis: Bud Collins
25 Retailing Tip
40 Ask the Experts
42 String Playtest: Head Sonic Pro Edge
44 Your Serve, by Greg Kleiner
2 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2013 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
OUTLOOK 2013
28 Over the Edge
Every year, it seems that racquet tech-
nology manages to take at least one
more leap forward.
30 Step Lively
Tennis companies are making shoes
increasingly innovate in both style and
technology.
32 Sources of Inspiration
Fashion professionals give insight into
how they create their looks for 2013.
34 Game-Changers
When it comes to string, manufactur-
ers, and pro players, are bringing atten-
tion to a frequently ignored part of a
player’s game.
Contents
Contents
FEATURES
17 Q&A: Greg Mason
At the start of his two-year term, the
new TIA president shares his thoughts
about the industry, the TIA and priorities
moving forward.
26 Flexible Benefits
Flex leagues stirred a huge interest in
tennis at New Jersey’s Mercer County
Park, and led to relationships that have
helped the facility thrive.
36 Level Best!
With the Outstanding Facility-of-the-
Year Awards, RSI and the ASBA bring
you the best in tennis court construc-
tion and design.
Our Serve
(Incorporating Racquet Tech and Tennis Industry)
Publishers
David Bone Jeff Williams
Editorial Director
Peter Francesconi
peter@racquettech.com
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
RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY
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
hanna@knowatlanta.com
Apparel Advertising
Cynthia Sherman
203-263-5243
cstennisindustry@earthlink.net
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). February 2013, Volume 41, Number 2 ©
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
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
New Year, New Start
4 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2013
W
e all make New Year’s resolutions in some
form or another. We may not make a big deal
about it, but in the back of our minds, when
January rolls around, we say things to ourselves such as,
it’s a new start, this is the year I’ll get organized. Or, this
time, I’m really going to eat right, exercise and lose weight.
Or, it’s time I played more tennis, or spent more time with
my family.
In your tennis business, I’m sure you also look at the beginning of the
year as a time to make a fresh start in some way, or at least to make
some changes in how you do things, or how you deal with others, or
your commitment to growing this sport, and therefore, to growing your
profits.
Whether we realize it or not, all of us in the tennis business have
made some sort of a commitment to this industry. Maybe this should be
the year that you step up that commitment in some way.
Maybe this is the year that you decide, one of the best ways to help
your business is to actually get more involved in this industry. Maybe this
is the year when you realize that, yes, I want my business to grow, but
if I can contribute in a way that helps this sport grow, that will also help
my own little slice of the pie, too.
In the January issue, we honored our Champions of Tennis Award
winners, and I’ve found that over the years, one of the defining charac-
teristics for our winners is their involvement in this industry. Sure, most
are in this to make money, but they feel it’s their responsibility to get
involved in this industry in other ways, too.
Many volunteer in tennis, especially at the local level. Others lend
their time and expertise to volunteer committees or boards, working to
grow this sport and to grow their particular segment of the industry.
There are countless ways you can get involved—whether you’re a teach-
ing pro, facility manager, school coach, retailer, stringer, court builder,
sales rep, tennis media member.
Start this new year with a new outlook—one that includes contribut-
ing more to this industry. Your involvement will help make this sport,
this industry, and your business grow.
Peter Francesconi
Editorial Director
I NDUSTRY NEWS
I NDUSTRY NEWS
I N F O R M A T I O N T O H E L P Y O U R U N Y O U R B U S I N E S S
Nominate for
RSI’s ‘30 Under 30’
Honors
We need your help. We want to
recognize some of the young
professionals in the tennis
industry who are knocking the
cover off the ball when it
comes to their job, this industry,
and growing this sport. Help us
by sending your picks for Rac-
quet Sports Industry’s “30
Under 30” honors. The 30 indi-
viduals we pick will be featured
in an upcoming special section.
Anyone can nominate potential
honorees (you can even nomi-
nate yourself), and nominees
can come from any segment of
this industry. Importantly, nomi-
nees can even be volunteers in
tennis; they don’t have to be
employed in this industry. The
only restriction is that the nomi-
nee cannot have turned age 30
before June 1, 2013.
To nominate, simply send us a
brief email describing your
choice for “30 Under 30” hon-
ors. Also include the nominee’s
birthday (month and year is
fine), and contact information
for both you and the nominee.
Put “30 Under 30” in the sub-
ject line and email rsi@racquet-
tech.com.
Thank you for helping us to rec-
ognize the young professionals
who are moving this industry,
and this sport, forward.
R S I F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 3
Head, Djokovic Introduce Graphene Speed Pro
H
ead has introduced the new YouTek
Graphene Speed Pro racquet, which world
No. 1 Novak Djokovic debuted at the Aus-
tralian Open in January. The new frame introduces
Head Graphene.
According to Head, the Graphene material con-
sists of a single two-dimensional layer of carbon
atoms that is extremely lightweight, yet 200 times
stronger than steel. The integration of Graphene in
the racquet shaft allowed Head engineers to
reduce weight in the middle part of the racquet
and shift it to functionally more relevant areas in
the grip and the head. More weight in the grip
makes the racquet more maneuverable and easier to swing; more weight in the racquet head
enables more powerful shots, says the company.
As part of a digital marketing campaign in December, 50 Head Tennis Facebook fans worldwide
had the chance to test a black prototype version of the new Speed racquet and leave their reviews
on head.com/g. The launch of the racquet also included Djokovic hitting a tennis ball that traveled
faster than an Audi race car driven by Australian GT driver Dean Grant at a Melbourne racetrack.
Djokovic’s Head YouTek Graphene Speed Pro is the top model of the newly developed Speed
tour racquet family, which also includes the MP, S, REV and PWR models, as well as the new Speed
Junior racquet. Head players Maria Sharapova, Tomas Berdych and Marin Cilic also debuted their
new Graphene Instinct MP racquets at the Australian Open.
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 7 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
USTA ‘Pauses’ Proposed Junior Competition Changes
A
fter taking heat from individuals and groups opposed to proposed changes to the 2013
national junior competitive structure, the USTA board of directors at its December meeting
voted to put the changes on hold for further consideration.
The USTA’s Junior Competition Committee, during its 2011-12 term, was charged with proposing a
revised national junior tournament competitive structure, which resulted in proposed amendments to
the USTA Regulations. Those amendments were passed by the USTA Executive Committee in March
last year.
Since that adoption, the USTA president at the time, Jon Vegosen, and then president-elect David
Haggerty (who started his two-year term as president in January 2012) agreed that it was in the best
interest of the USTA and the sport to “pause” until 2014 the reduction of the Boys’ and Girls’ 18 and
16 USTA National Clay Court Championships and the reduction of USTA National Championships
(hard courts) singles draw sizes from 192 to 128.
The other two amendments scheduled to take effect in 2013—the transition of the USTA National
Doubles Tournament into a Gold Ball National Championship and the introduction of the USTA
National Masters—are not included in the “pause,” and both will be included on the 2013 schedule. A
previously made decision by the Junior Competition Committee—the planned reduction of the July
2013 USTA Regional Tournaments singles draw size from 64 to 32—also will go forward.
Over the next several months, the USTA will continue Town Hall-style listening sessions concern-
ing the proposed changes. In addition, all comments, concerns, and perspectives can be sent to
LetUsKnow@usta.com.
F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 3
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US Open Schedule Provides Rest Day Before Finals
T
he USTA has changed the 2013 US Open schedule to include a day of rest
between the singles semifinals and finals. This year’s men’s final is now
scheduled to be played on Monday, Sept. 9. The move was in response to
players’ requests for the rest day, says the USTA.
The women’s singles semifinals will be played in a single day session on
Friday, Sept. 6, and the women’s final will take place on Sunday, Sept. 8 at
4:30 p.m. ET, in the time slot where the men’s singles final was traditionally
played.
The men’s singles semifinals will continue to be played in a single day ses-
sion on Saturday, Sept. 7. The Monday men’s singles final will start at 5 p.m.
ET. In the new schedule, no competition will be scheduled for the second Sat-
urday night of the tournament.
“I'm pleased that the USTA has modified the US Open schedule to include
a day of rest between the semifinals and final,” said Andy Murray, winner of
the 2012 US Open. "It’s good that they've taken on board the players’ con-
cerns.”
The final four days of the men’s and women’s singles competitions will be
broadcast by CBS Sports.
Oncourt Offcourt Releases
New, Colorful ‘MultiCart’
P
TR and USPTA Master Pro Joe Dinoffer
announces the release of a new 10 and
Under Tennis teaching cart called the Multi-
Cart, which features four color-coded baskets,
each with a 100-ball capacity. Coaches and
teaching pros can now easily organize their
red, orange, green, and yellow balls, Dinoffer
says.
The MultiCart also features the Oncourt
Offcourt standard 4-inch smooth-glide wheels,
and the units are stackable for easy and space-
saving storage. “This is the most versatile cart
in the industry,” says Dinoffer.
Oncourt Offcourt also plans to launch other
new products this year for 10 and Under Ten-
nis, including color-coded junior racquets, red
and orange boundary lines for red and orange
level courts, and a patented 18-foot net on
wheels. To see photos of these products go to
oncourtoffcourt.com or contact the company
for a free 80-page color catalog toll free in the
U.S. at 888-366-4711.
College Teams Hit HHI For PTR Spring TennisFest
T
he PTR announces its third annual Spring TennisFest, which will be on
Hilton Head Island, S.C., again this March. Spring TennisFest will bring
tennis teams from more than 70 colleges and universities to Hilton Head
Island to compete with schools they may not otherwise have the oppor-
tunity to play.
Matches will be played at various island facilities, including Van
der Meer Tennis Centers, Chaplin Park Tennis Center,
Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort, HHI High
School, and on the courts of several property
regimes. Participating schools range from NAIA to
Division I.
Spectators are welcome to watch matches and mingle with their alma
mater or favorite college team. The match schedule is available at
www.springtennisfest.com/schedule.htm. Match times and locations will
be added in February.
Victory/Acelon Releases First Tennis Strings
V
ictory Racquet Sports/Acelon has released its first two Acelon tennis
strings. The company, which has 30 years of experience in manufactur-
ing lines and leaders for sport fishing, brings its technology to
tennis with the Acelon Seven and Acelon Advanced, both
manufactured in Europe using copolyester for-
mulas.
Acelon Seven is for top-level players and fea-
tures a sharp seven-sided construction to help
players achieve maximum topspin with control.
It’s available in black, 1.24, 1.27 and 1.31 mm.
Acelon Advanced is softer than Seven and offers
control and topspin with a poly that the compa-
ny says is less jarring on the elbow. It’s available
in silver or pearl, 1.25 and 1.30 mm.
Visit www.victoryracquetsports.com or call
610-466-6100 for more information.
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 9 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
I N D U S T R Y N E W S
‘Best Sales Ever’ in 2012, Says Head Racquet Sports
H
ead Racquet Sports USA announced in early January that it had posted its best
ever sales results for a full year in company history, with double-digit percentage
increases for both the Head and Penn brands.
In addition, says the company, a year-end retailer survey placed Head and Penn at
the top of the industry for sales force and speed of shipment, as well as very high
marks in all marketing and operations categories.
“We are thrilled with our year-end results. We outpaced the market throughout the
year as a result of very hard work from our internal team combined with incredible
results from our athletes like Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova and Andy Murray,”
said Greg Mason, vice president of sales and marketing. “The combination of the two
made for the best year in our history. We are poised for further growth in 2013 with
aggressive marketing around Novak and Maria throughout the first half.”
USPTA Announces 2013
Certification Exams
T
he USPTA has announced it will offer
more than 150 USPTA Certification
Exams nationwide in 2013. Additional
exam dates are expected to be added
later.
USPTA’s Certification Exam includes
an on-court evaluation of tennis strokes
and playing skills, feeding and
grip analysis, private
and group lesson
instruction, and other
skills needed in the
tennis-teaching pro-
fession. The exam also
includes a two-hour writ-
ten test covering teaching, playing and
business management skills, 10 and
Under Tennis rules, club activity pro-
gramming and other topics. Applicants
can now opt to take the written and grip
exams online after completing the on-
court portions of the certification test.
The exam process also offers the
Professional Tennis Coaches Academy I
that covers test topics. The PTCA I can
be taken at Regional Testing Centers,
which offer tests every other month on
the same weekends, or it can be taken
online. The course is also useful to cur-
rent USPTA members who wish to
review specific exam areas before
upgrading their certification ratings.
Topics include sport psychology, devel-
oping student rapport, class organiza-
tion, lesson progression and a review of
teaching techniques.
Contact USPTA at 800-877-8248 or
membership@uspta.org to register for
an upcoming exam, or for further
details, or visit uspta.org. Advanced reg-
istration is required. The total fee for
the exam and application is $175, plus
prorated USPTA membership dues.
MEMBER CLASSIFIEDS
FOR SALE: Used Babolat Racket
Diagnostic Center, serial 412. Table
top. Has had light use. Excellent
condition with manuals and cover.
$1800 (obo) includes shipping.
Dave Heilig, rqtdocdave@aol.com
‘X Factor’ Is New Scoring System from Match Point
M
atch Point, which has specialized in tennis acces-
sories for 38 years, announces its new X Factor
portable tennis scoring system, which the company says
is easy to use, rugged and transports from court to court.
The X Factor slips over the net and can be positioned
to be seen from the spectator side or the player side of the
net. The red and black 4- by 8-inch game numbers go
from 0 to 9 and are made for long-term use.
The company headquarters are in Waukesha, Wis.
Visit www.match-point.biz.
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• Dave Mathews, district sales manager for Head Penn Racquet Sports cov-
ering North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin for 17 years,
has retired. Taking over for Mathews will be Ursula Shute, who joins Head
Penn from Prince Racquet Sports.
• Prince Global Sports has named Miguel Rosa as its business development
manager Latin America. A native of Brazil, Rosa spent the last seven years at
IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Fla., managing the Bollettieri
Tennis Program.
• Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic has become the first player to endorse
New Balance's new line of tennis shoes and apparel. The 22-year-old, who
ended the 2012 tennis season ranked 13 in the world, will use New Balance
sportswear from this season onwards after switching from French brand
Lacoste.
• American Mitchell Krueger, who recently turned professional, signed a
multiyear racquet and strings agreement with Tecnifibre. Krueger, who will
be training out of Boca Raton with the USTA, has used Tecnifibre products
since he was 15 years old. He plays with the Tecnifibre T-Fight 325 VO2 Max
tennis racquet and the Tecnifibre Black Code 16 string. Visit
tecnifibreusa.com.
• IMG Worldwide, the global sports, fashion and media company, has
signed ATP World No. 1 player Novak Djokovic for exclusive worldwide man-
agement and representation. Under the terms of the
multi-year agreement, IMG will represent Djokovic in
developing a brand building strategy through marketing,
endorsements, appearances and licensing along with select
global business initiatives.
• Deborah Slaner Larkin is stepping down as executive director of USTA
Serves, effective March 1.
• Bill Curry is the new chairman of the board for the Rodney Street Tennis
and Tutoring Association of Wilmington, Del., succeeding Jane Brown Grimes
who has held the position since 2008. Curry, an attorney and entrepreneur,
has been the board treasurer for the past three years. In related news, the
Comcast Family of Companies will continue as the charity’s principal sponsor
in 2013.
• John Isner, the top-ranked American player on the ATP World Tour, will be
the next brand ambassador for the Star Scientific’s Anatabloc dietary supple-
ment for anti-inflammatory support. Isner is the second brand ambassador
for Anatabloc, joining PGA Tour champion Fred Couples.
• American tennis champion, Hall of Famer and World War II veteran Art
"Tappy" Larsen passed away on December 7 in California, at the age of 87.
Larsen achieved the No. 1 ranking in the U.S. in 1950, and he was ranked in
the world top-10 several times in the 1950s.
PEOPLEWATCH
Gamma Sports Offers New Strings for 2013
G
amma Sports announces a new poly line-up for 2013,
which the company says will provide players with
more “bite, power and control.”
For more “bite,” Gamma offers the Moto, a heptag-
onal-shaped string developed for the high perform-
ance player. This seven-sided construction allows for
greater ball bite to generate more spin on ground
strokes and serves, says the company, adding that
the co-poly material is responsive and provides greater
feedback and excellent tension maintenance.
For “power,” Gamma introduces iO, a co-poly that
also generates spin and is designed for players
“seeking penetrating and punishing ground strokes
from anywhere on the court.” And for “control,”
Gamma’s new Poly-Z is for players with full, fast
swing speeds. The polyester string provides a firm,
responsive string bed for greater control and spin,
while maintaining tension and providing greater
durability, says the company.
Gamma also offers the new RZR Rx string, which is a co-
extruded monofilament constructed with a proprietary Thermo-
plastic Elastomer (TPE) material that is engineered to stretch
more upon impact for enhanced control and comfort. RZR Rx
has an oval shape that the company says provides for a more
aerodynamic string bed, to generate greater racquet head speed
and reduce the contact pressure at the string intersections.
For more information, visit gammasports.com.
Host a Kids ‘Tennis Festival’ in March
O
n March 4, the USTA will launch thousands of Tennis
Festivals that will continue throughout the month,
designed to get kids active and excited about tennis. The
launch of these Tennis Festivals coincides with the annual
“Tennis Night in America” celebration at New York’s Madi-
son Square Garden, which this year will feature
Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro, Serena
Williams and Victoria Azarenka.
These Tennis Festivals are a great way for
tennis facilities, parks, and municipalities to
introduce tennis to kids and provide a plat-
form to register children for spring and
summer programs, says the USTA. Tennis
Festivals showcase the fun and excitement
of playing tennis, as well as sharing with
parents the benefits of involving their
children in the game. The
events provide an oppor-
tunity for kids to experi-
ence a variety of tennis
activities and games designed for all ages and skill levels.
Tennis Festival hosts will receive an event pack that
includes special giveaways for their attendees. Organizers
will have access to customizable marketing materials and
be featured in the searchable database on
YouthTennis.com, the destination for consumers to find
local events.
To host or find a tennis festival, visit YouthTennis.com.
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY11
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>
Converse Inc., a subsidiary of Nike, Inc.,
announced plans to relocate its world head-
quarters from North Andover, MA, to Boston,
in April 2015. The move to downtown Boston
follows an extensive search for a new compa-
ny headquarters in the greater Boston metro-
politan area.
>
The USTA has selected DDB New York as
its agency of record. The agency will be
responsible for brand strategy and creative,
including digital campaigns. The new relation-
SHORT SETS
ship begins immediately with work hitting in Q2
2013.
>
The Pro Squash Tour (PST) announced a new
three-year relationship with Detroit, which
includes hosting the tour’s World Championship
tournament at the Detroit Athletic Club. This
year’s PST World Championships will be May 3-5,
and the tour has committed to returning in 2014
and 2015.
>
Julie Bliss has received the ITA Collegiate Var-
GSS Changes Name to IART,
Forms Partnership with Ashaway
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shaway Racket Strings has formed a strategic part-
nership with the International Alliance of Racquet
Technicians (IART), formerly known as Grand Slam
Stringers, to help develop educational and support pro-
grams to help build IART members' technical knowl-
edge of string materials, construction methods, and
performance metrics. The partnership also is designed
to build stronger member relationships with Ashaway
Racket Strings in terms of product developments, mar-
keting programs, and grassroots stringing industry
news.
"The IART has made great strides in building its
brand over the past few years," said Steve Crandall,
Ashaway Vice President, "and is quickly
emerging as the leading interactive online
forum for stringers and stringing worldwide.
Ashaway is delighted to partner with IART and
help them fulfill their mission."
"The IART is a global organization that spe-
cializes in hands-on training for racquet technicians of
all levels," said IART (and GSS) Founder Tim Strawn.
"As such, we are delighted to partner with a brand like
Ashaway, which has such a long-standing commitment
to the stringing community.”
IART has a membership of more than 125 top
stringers from 18 countries, who participate through
an interactive blog as well as informative discussions
on message forums. The membership shares an inter-
est in racquet service at the retail, club, and tour levels,
as well as in supporting a large contingent of home-
based racquet technicians.
Established to provide a "community" atmosphere
for stringers, IART hosts an annual training sympo-
sium at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Fla., (formerly
called the Grand Slam Stringers Symposium) that
offers seminars led by world-class technicians and
industry professionals. It also offers a line of profes-
sional stringing tools and accessories through their
online store at gssalliance.com.
sity Performer of the Year Award and Jennifer
Reinbold was named ITA Collegiate Varsity
Volunteer of the Year. The awards, by the ITA
and USTA, were presented at the 2012 ITA
Coaches Convention in Florida in December.
Bliss is the director of Competition & Player
Development for the USTA Eastern Section;
Reinbold, a USTA Midwest Collegiate Varsity
Sub-Committee member, has been a leader
in promoting tennis programs in the Mid-
west Section.
Upper St. Claire Wins Inaugural Cardio Tennis
‘Get Fit Challenge’
T
he Upper St. Claire (Pa.) Municipal Tennis
Center won the inaugural Cardio Tennis Get
Fit Challenge, in which tennis facilities from across country compet-
ed in a five-week challenge designed to help participants reach their
health and fitness goals.
"Cardio Tennis is the perfect way for people to get fit, stay
healthy, and have fun—all while on the tennis court,” says Marcy
Bruce, who captained the Upper St. Claire team and is a PTR certi-
fied tennis teaching professional. "The Get Fit Challenge brings an
online interactive component to Cardio Tennis that adds a lot of
value to the program. It’s a great way for us to engage players and
help them to reach their fitness goals, then to remain healthy.” Bruce
also is a member of the Tennis Industry Association’s National Car-
dio Tennis Speakers Team and is a licensed TRX Cardio Tennis
professional.
Throughout the Get Fit Challenge, which ended in late fall, partic-
ipants competed both against each other and against other tennis
facilities by tracking their own results, including the amount of time
and intensity of playing tennis, working out, and playing Cardio Ten-
nis (visit CardioTennis.com).
The Get Fit Challenge is a part of the Cardio Tennis Interactive
online experience and is designed to help participants get even bet-
ter results, stay engaged with the program for longer periods of time,
and increase the enjoyment of the health benefits associated with
Cardio Tennis via an online web portal that tracks calories burned,
participant activity, provides healthy eating guidance, and more.
Participants in the Cardio Tennis Get Fit Challenge received an
online health and wellness account that allowed them to:
w Track their exercise, nutrition, goals, and results.
w Download their Polar Heart Rate Monitor data directly into their
account to track results.
w Participate in Fitness Challenges specific to Cardio Tennis.
w Gain reward points for using the site, participating in challenges
and more that can be used in the Cardio Tennis Rewards Store.
To learn more about the Cardio Tennis Get Fit Challenge, which is
set to launch again in February, visit CardioTennis.com or contact
Brian O'Donnell at the Tennis Industry Association at 843-473-4504
or Brian@TennisIndustry.org.
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 13
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
I N D U S T R Y N E W S
Letters
14 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2013
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 3
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USTA Serves Awards $1.7 Million
In Grants and Scholarships
U
STA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the
USTA, has granted 34 community tennis and education
organizations in the U.S. more than $340,000. Combined
with scholarship awards, USTA Serves distributed $1.7 mil-
lion in 2012.
The bi-annual grant process was developed to provide dis-
advantaged, at-risk youth with the opportunity to participate
in tennis and strive for academic excellence, and to help
combat childhood obesity by promoting healthy lifestyles. To
date, USTA Serves has disbursed more than $11 million to
236 programs that support its mission.
Programs awarded 2012 year-end grants are:
• Aceing Autism Inc., Los Angeles
• Adaptive Tennis Association Of North Carolina, Raleigh,
N.C.
• Carl E. Sanders Family YMCA at Buckhead, Atlanta, Ga.
• Currey Ingram Academy, Brentwood, Tenn.
• Dallas Tennis Association, Addison, Tex.
• Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia, Penn.
• FDDOC Winners' Circle, Inc., Shreveport, La.
• Genesis School Inc., Kansas City, Mo.
• Harper for Kids, San Francisco
• HERO, Inc., Purchase, N.Y.
• I Have a Dream Foundation of Boulder County, Boulder,
Colo.
• Inter American University Of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puer-
to Rico
• International Rescue Committee, Inc., San Diego, Calif.
• MACH Academy, Inc., Augusta, Ga.
• Monterey County Police Activities League, Prunedale, Calif.
• New Haven Youth Tennis and Education, Inc., Guilford,
Conn.
• Our Military Kids Inc., McLean, Va.
• Panda Foundation Inc., Bradenton, Fla.
• Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA, Newport News, Va.
• Police Athletic League Of Parsippany Troy Hills, Parsippa-
ny, N.J.
• Prince Georges Tennis And Education Foundation Inc.,
Upper Marlboro, Md.
• Quickstart Tennis Of Central Virginia Inc., Ivy, Va.
• Reach For College Inc., Washington, D.C.
• Rehabilitation Hospital of the Cape and Islands, East Sand-
wich, Mass.
• Rodney Street Tennis and Tutoring Association, Wilming-
ton, Del.
• San Diego District Tennis Association, San Diego, Calif.
• Sportsmen’s Tennis Club, Dorchester, Mass.
• Tennis & Education Inc., St. Paul, Minn.
• Tennis for Charity Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio
• University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
• University Of La Verne, La Verne, Calif.
• Ventura Education Partnership, Ventura, Calif.
• YMCA of Greater Kansas City, Kansas City, Mo.
• Zina Garrison All Court Tennis Academy, Houston, Tex.
US Open Prize Money Continues to Grow
I
n the ever-escalating Grand Slam tournament prize money
wars, the USTA announced in December that prize money
for the 2013 US Open will be increased by $4 million, dou-
bling the record $2 million increase of 2012. Total US Open
prize money in 2013 will be $29.5 million.
Singles prize money at the US Open has now increased
by 34 percent since the 2011 US Open. Overall tournament
prize money has been increased by $6 million since the 2011
event. The USTA will solicit suggestions for distribution from
the men’s and women’s players and their respective tours.
Questions Wisdom of Single Teaching Group
I enjoy reading RSI. It fills a real void in providing inside industry infor-
mation. But I don’t agree with the thoughts expressed in Peter
Francesconi’s “Our Serve” column in the Nov./Dec. issue about unifying
the USPTA and the PTR.
Tennis according to John Muir and Kurt Kamperman has been
growing at a very healthy rate in the past six years. Both teaching pro
organizations also appear to be growing and both are healthy finan-
cially. It is great that teaching pros have a choice. The fact that they
compete with each other has spurred better and more creative services.
Encouraging a monopoly is not a good policy for a growing industry.
Any merger can be very disruptive, even when the cultures and
people align pretty well. In this case there are significant differences in
the governance structures as well as the cultures. The PTR is much
more of an international organization. There are numerous other subtle
differences.
So why is it that an industry composed of many small- to medium-
sized companies is suddenly looking seriously at consolidating into a
single organization one of its most important components, its delivery
system for teaching the game? Frankly, if this was coming from the
pros I would understand it better. - Skip Hartman
Mylan to Sponsor World TeamTennis
T
he pharmaceutical firm Mylan and World TeamTennis
announced a three-year agreement in which Mylan will
serve as the title sponsor of WTT, which will be renamed Mylan
World TeamTennis.
"Mylan and WTT share the same ideal of access and oppor-
tunity for everyone," says Ilana Kloss, WTT CEO/Commission-
er. "We are excited to partner with a global company like
Mylan, and we will work together to elevate our respective
brands and create greater opportunities for access both in the
U.S. and international markets."
Mylan will serve as the title sponsor of the WTT Pro
League's more than 50 matches per season through 2015 and
aims to extend the reach of WTT to new markets outside of the
U.S. Mylan WTT includes professional coed tennis teams in
eight U.S. markets. Under the agreement, Mylan also will be
the title sponsor of Mylan WTT Smash Hits through 2015,
which is the annual charity event co-hosted by Billie Jean King
and Sir Elton John to raise funds for the Elton John AIDS Foun-
dation (EJAF) and various local AIDS charities.
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 15
I N D U S T R Y N E W S
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Host a Family Tennis Championships Event
T
here’s a new tennis tournament that doubles as family time. The 2013 National Family Ten-
nis Championships offers thousands of amateur players across America the opportunity to
team up with a family member to earn the right to play for a national title in New York City
from Aug. 22 to 26. Tennis facilities interested in being one of the 300 host sites have until
February 28 to sign-up.
Each local host site receives a free tournament kit with everything they need to promote
and run the event, including counter cards, promotional posters, NFTC banners, player premi-
ums, tennis balls, plus winner and runner-up awards for each division. In addition, they
receive $10 from every team entry fee and the chance for their winners to advance to one of
four Super Regional Tournaments. For more information or to register as a local host site visit
familytennis.com.
“We encourage all tennis facilities to join our family and offer their families the chance to
compete on a national stage,” says Kathleen Francis of the 2013 National Family Tennis Cham-
pionships. “This program is a great way for facilities to excite and grow their customer base
by offering family members and non-club members the chance to join in on the fun.”
Tennis facilities have until June 30 to conduct their local tournaments for up to six divisions
of play: Husband/Wife, Brother/Sister, Father/Son, Father/Daughter, Mother/Son and
Mother/Daughter. Host sites are encouraged to offer at least three of the six divisions. Players
of all levels compete in the same division with the only limitations being a son or daughter
must be under the age of 18 and a father or mother is required to be the minor’s legal
guardian.
“We’re excited to support the National Family Tennis Championships as it promotes tennis to all family members and affords
players of all ages and abilities an opportunity to get on the court and play,” says Kurt Kamperman, USTA Chief Executive of Com-
munity Tennis.
During July and August, local winners in each division can advance to one of four Super Regional Tournaments. The top teams
at each regional advance to the National Championships in New York City. Teams will receive travel, meals and three nights of
hotel accommodations as well as tickets to see the best in the game play at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
3 New RZR Frames
Debut from Gamma
N
ew for 2013 are three RZR
frames from Gamma Sports—
the RZR 95 and RZR 105 adult
racquets, and the RZR 100 Junior
25—which feature RZR Advanced
Aerodynamics.
The RZR 95 is for all-court
players and the company says it
offers “tremendous potential for
spin” on ground strokes and
serves, high maneuverability and
touch at the net, and “pop” from
the baseline. The RZR 105 is for a
wide range of players, offering
feel without sacrificing control,
and is a great all-around racquet,
says Gamma.
The RZR 100 Junior 25 is a 25-
inch version of the RZR 100 adult
frame and is constructed of
“MCarbon,” a carbon fiber matrix
that Gamma says increases
strength, resulting in maximum
power transfer on all shots. Visit
gammasports.com for more.
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Greg Mason, the TIA's new president has been in the
sporting goods industry for more than 25 years in a
variety of senior management roles. Currently the
vice president of sales and marketing for Head Penn
Racquet Sports, where he's been for the last 12 years,
Mason recently shared his thoughts about the industry,
the TIA and priorities moving forward.
Q: do you feel is the 1op TIA priority?
GM: The TIA is all about the economy of the game.
Overall, our charge is to continue to offer opportunities
to grow revenue, and that means doing what we can
to support initiat ives to get more people playing more
often and to create more frequent players. That will
grow the tennis economy for everyone. The good news
is that frequent players increased by 10 percent in 2012,
and we know frequent players are responsible for over
70 percent of the economic impact and are a key focus
area ofthe TIA. So we have a bit of a tailwind going into
2013 in this area. The USTA is charged with growth of the
game-and they do that. We focus on the growth of the
tennis economy.
0. What is a 'key c'hallenge the TIA?
GM: I'm not sure if people t ruly understand all t he
components and all the pieces that are involved in this
industry, and al l the areas the TIA is involved with.
This is a chal lenge for us, but I think it's also one of the
opportunities we have moving forward, to let people
know what the TIA is doing so they are more willing
to support the ideas and initiatives t hat can help the
industry. Also, we're impacting virtually every segment
of this industry. We've often stayed under the radar. Now,
it's time we let people know we're there for them.
Different components of what we do are important for
different segments of this industry. There are so many
elements that cross so many areas- whether it's research
that manufact urers can use, or maintaining the largest
industry database so we can reach t ennis providers
effectively, or promoting Cardio Tennis as a way t o
·-
Joon t he TIA •.. Increase Your Prof1ts ... Grow the Ga
·''.....-;'\"
create frequent players and f or tennis provi ders to make
money, or providing tools and resources for retailers, or
the dozens of other areas the TIA affects- many peopl e
si mply aren't aware that t hey're impacted by the TIA.
n. H Dl,., does. the TllA lJo. that?
GM: We need to be more consist ent and more rel evant.
We need t o show every segment of t his industry t hat what
we're doing is relevant t o their business and t o the t ennis
industry as a whole. We need to make sure each segment
of the industry knows what's in it for them, what they're
getti ng through the TIA.
We also need to communicate succinctly with a
unified, simple message we can all ral ly behind. The
TIA is in a unique position to craft t hat message and
combi ne t he energies of al l the various groups in t his
industry-retailers, manufacturers, t eaching pros, the
pro tours, and more- al l under t he umbrella of growing
the revenue of the game. If we combine the energy and
the efforts of these multiple segments, then the whole
becomes much greater than the parts.
Unifying the Industry Under
One Brand -TENNIS
Manufacturers Associations
Retailers
Facilities
Court
Contractors
Teaching Pros
Tournaments
Media
0. lhe TIA is heavily into i research.
How important is th1s fol lennis?
GM: The industry research that the TIA spearheads is
unique in the sporting goods industry. Ask people at the
Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA-formerly the
Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association) and other
sports retailers t hat carry multiple categories,
and they'l l tell you that tennis is the gold
standard when it comes to
compiling and using research
to grow t he industry. It's
important that we conti nue
this, so that all industry
stakeholders can make
informed, timely decisions.
People who only have been
in the tennis industry may not
realize what a unique strength we
have with our research compared to other
sports categories.
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 17
. .
0: How can af11he ilifleron1 elements,
organizations andl in Uiis indu!Stty
work toge1her?
GM: For many years, we've said we need to unify
this industry under one brand- TENNIS, and that 's
still very true. And that's a major part of what the TIA
does. We all need to realize we're part of the same
goal, which is to grow tennis. It doesn't mean that we'll
always be in agreement on everything, but we all need
to look out for the greater good. When we get together in
the TIA, it's been said, "Check your logo at the door."
Each individual group in the sport, including the
USTA, can only touch a portion of the tennis-playing
community. The only group that touches every tennis
player is the TIA itself because you need a racquet, a ball
and a court to play the game. We're the best delivery
system in the industry.
Tennis in the U.S. a $5.4 billion industry, and obviously
there wi ll be times when we're not all going to agree,
and sometimes passions boi l over. But we need
to minimize and eliminate the
personal
challenges and
focus on constructive
criticism. While the
pieces have all been
coming together in
recent years, this
infrastructure is still
a work in progress.
0: What is the
TIA's relationship with the USTA?
GM: We're solid partners in growing the game, because
initiatives that get more people playing tennis more often
will impact the economics of this industry, and that's
right in our wheelhouse.
In many ways, we're a consultant to the USTA, helping
to measure and ant icipate the impact their decisions
have on the revenue of the game and on industry
stakeholders. And in some cases, we need to be a voice
of reason, especiall y when decisions that may make
sense from a governing body's point of view may not
make sense when taken to the next level within the
industry. That means we won't always be on the same
page and agree with everything they do, and they may
have the same opinion of our efforts at times. The goal
is to have common ground that works for both of us.
It's all about TENNIS, and in the long run, everyone is
better off if we can deliver messages that satisfy both the
economic side of the sport and the grow-the-game side.
0 ; In recent years, 10 and Under Tennis has been
pushed on afl fronts. What should be the TIA's role
m Youth Tennis?
GM: It's impossible to argue that bringing more kids
into tennis is a bad thing. The TIA is 100 percent behind
getting more kids into tennis. With the USTA's significant
10
UNDER
I
investment in the marketing and growth of
this area, we need to support this in every
way we can because it's good for the
economic vitality of the game, both short-
and long-term, and that's our mission. We
need to bring in young players and get
them involved so they become frequent
players, and to do that, we're supporting
manufacturers and retailers so the
18 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2013
consumer has the right
products to make the game
easier to play for kids.
To help consumers,
we're producing hang
tags that will appear
on graduated-length
racquets. We're also
labeling the different types of balls to
make it easier for parents to find what they need.
And, among other things, we're produci ng material for
retailers and facilities that they can use to bring kids into
the game. Importantly, 64 percent of retailers say they've
seen a significant spike in consumer interest in 10 and
Under Tennis in the last 10 months, and half say this
segment will continue to grow through the next year. So
retailers see the opportunity here.
Q: Whm otlhor stra1egi,&s is the TIA p_ursuing to
increase frequent 1111 ay?
GM: It's important to note that there's a real difference
between bringing new people into the game, versus
increasing play frequency. By getting players on
the court more often-whether it's kids involved
i in Youth Tennis, adults playing in leagues
A • and tournaments, players taking regular
clinics and lessons, consumers doing
Cardio Tennis twice a week to improve
their health, fitness and overall tennis
game-the better this sport's economy
will be.
Frequent players, who play at least 21
times a year, account for 70 percent of all consumer
tennis expenditures. While it was great to see overall
participation increase by 4 percent in 2012, the 10 percent
increase in frequent players, to 5.3 million, is truly good
news. Our goal is to have 10 million frequent players by
2020, which will add another $3.9 billion to the tennis
economy.
Not to oversimplify, but we can increase play frequency
by making it easier for people to find matches, find
partners, find programming and lessons, and find places
to play. Research says that finding a partner is the No.
1 reason people don't play more often. That's where
playtennis.com, along with other initiatives already in
place, come into play- they make it easier t o play tennis
more often.
Average 7%
growth per
year needed to
achieve goal
•• • Grow lhc Game ... www.Tcnmslndustry org
0: HllW does pJaytennis.·oom
help the tenms economy?
GM: Playtennis.com is a
consumer portal f or all things
tennis-it's designed to be a
single, unbranded gateway where
all industry stakeholders can
direct consumers so they can get involved in tennis, stay
involved in the game and play more often. This should
be the single message for the industry-everyone should
be saying "playtennis.com."
The USTA has invested a lot in playtennis.com, and
now the TIA will be taking more of a direct role in the
day-to-day operations of the site. We're looking into how
best to enhance functionality to improve the way people
communicate through the site, set up matches, and
interact. Execution and marketing will be key, and there
wi ll be a high-level focus on Youth Tennis, too.
But make no mistake: playtennis.com is a long-t erm
piece of the TIA's portfolio. It's a great example of
what we can do when we combine energies wi t h other
organizations to enhance frequent play-which is target
No. 1 for the TIA.
Q: There has been mu:ch discussion on
tennis retailing. What should the TIA be domg to
ho'p this segment of the industry? -
GM: Tennis retailers are facing more challenges today
than they ever have. But the important fact is they are
on the front lines of this industry. They talk to players
more often than any other group, and they have more
influence on their communities than any other segment
of the industry-engaging with influencers, sponsoring
events, and promoting tennis locally.
We've been committed to helping tennis retailers, and
we provide an increasing number of tools and resources
to do that. But also, retailers have a voice that should be
heard, and we need to make sure they're consistently
brought into the discussion. We're helping a tennis
retailer division grow and become a unifying force. A
retai l association in tennis is
important not just for retailers
themselves-it will help keep
the TIA current on what's
happening at the local level,
with consumers directly. So
it will help the industry as a
whole.
11: Whe.re does
1he
tardio Tennis program fit in
1erms of the economic growth of this inrlusb"y?
GMr: Cardio Tennis hits all the right notes for many
segments of this industry. It appeals to consumers and
offers them tangible benefits such as weight loss and
game improvement, it f ill s courts, it makes money for
teaching pros, it helps sell equipment and apparel-
basically, it creates frequent players and keeps them
active and healthy.
The latest survey shows that 1.3 million people
participate in Cardio Tennis-which is pretty amazing
since this program started just seven years ago. That
speaks to a real need among consumers for this type of
fun, healthy activity. And it's spreading internationally-
more than 30 countries are doing Cardio Tennis, and
we have partnership agreements with six of them. Plus,
we continue to expand our offerings, with TRX Cardio
Tennis, Cardio Tennis Interactive, coaching programs,
and more.
It's important to understand that Cardio Tennis was
developed because our research 10 years ago anticipated
the inroads that the fitness industry was making. To
ensure tennis' future, we needed to get a piece of that
market. So, with support from the USTA. we developed
Cardio Tennis, which can greatly expand the tennis
consumer market by reaching into the fitness arena. It
also shows that when something is a good idea, it has a
viral effect that becomes sustainable, as it has succeeded
without a great deal of financial support in the past few
years.
Ct Wha1 op:portunities is 1he TIA pursuing?
GM: If there is one thing I've heard industry folks
mention time and again, it's that, with the focus on 10
and Under Tennis, are we doing things for the adult
player? Adults by far make up most of our frequent
players. This is an area we continually need
to address and that may be through Cardio
Tennis, through partnerships outside the
industry, etc. But it is important that we
don't ignore this consumer. As we look at
ways to further engage them, we will make
this a priority.
Also, while clearly we're focused on growing the
economic vitality of tennis in the U.S., we can't ignore
that business is global, and we're pleased that we're able
to work more with other countries to grow this sport. It's
a_great testament to our efforts and initiatives in many
"areas that other countries are looking to the U.S. TIA as a
model to implement in their part of the world, too.
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 19
Resort Management
thought, despite all the time he has had
on the road to study the business from
the outside.
He acknowledges, ”When I checked
into a hotel the past 20 years, I never
knew how hard it is to run.” Off-court
complications can be daunting when it
is up to you to “know everything, from
light fixtures to how to get the right
[employees] in the right places. … I
have a new respect for anyone working
in the tennis business,” he admits.
“The dream is that people will think
tennis when they think Sea Island,” says
Jensen, and to that end he is hard at
work planning to fill the 16 Har-Tru
courts (eight lighted, including the show-
case stadium court) split between the
resort’s primary campus of guest and
member residences and the separate
golf facility and lodge. On tap is an
expansion of the Murphy Jensen Tennis
Academy Sea Island that has seen the
junior program grow from two to 50
players during the first six months and
the creation of specific adult-themed
weeks through the spring and sum-
mer—as well as a regular seasoning of
“Jensen Brothers Tennis Weekends.”
While planning to take advantage of
the Davis Cup tie between the U.S. and
Brazil to be played Feb. 1-3 in nearby
Jacksonville, Fla., to create interest and
buzz for the facility, he is also reaching
out to friends from the professional tour
as well as others he knows from his
days as a Tennis Channel personality,
hoping to have them participate in the
Friday Night Lights exhibitions through-
out the high season, or as featured visi-
tors who take advantage of the facilities
as part of their training.
“I didn’t realize I would enjoy teach-
ing this much,” says Jensen. But there is
courses to a nature camp for kids, a
65,000-square-foot spa and fitness cen-
ter, unique cuisine experiences and
extraordinary racquet-enthusiast experi-
ences.
Bringing aboard the Jensens and Hall
are part of the process, Reiss explains, of
“building a bridge that pays respect to
the past and that tradition, but also
makes it fun and attractive to a new
clientele.”
Not completely coincidentally, Mur-
phy Jensen claims that his personal
brand is “fun.” A major attribute as a
teacher is the enthusiasm he brings to
the court every day, every lesson.
As for what he and older brother Luke
(who will be spending about 120 days a
year on site) receive from their new gig,
he grows animated about the opportunity
to create a learning facility with an
emphasis on doubles that only they can
bring. He has hopes of creating a legacy
melding the traditions of the academies
of Dennis Van der Meer, John Newcombe
and even Harry Hopman, only in an
even more incredible environment. “This
place is different...[and] a chance to build
something from a blank canvas.”
Learning the Business
Jensen, who also coaches current World
TeamTennis champion Washington Kas-
tles and continues to work with a few
touring pros, has set himself the task of
heading up the “tennis vertical,” handling
budgets and payroll while leaving his
imprint on everything from what is
ordered in the pro shop, to how his dou-
bles expertise infuses lessons, to how the
courts get swept (even if he finds himself
doing it). But he’s also learning the hospi-
tality business from the inside. It turns
out to be more complicated than he
I
n a high energy bid for attention to
a previously softly-peddled vacation
destination, Sea Island, a resort on
the Georgia coast that prides itself on
offering a massive, private residence
sense-of-place, has stepped up the pro-
file and scope of its tennis and squash
programs.
In June it brought tennis star power
by hiring 1993 Roland Garros doubles
champions (and fanatically fan-friendly
personalities) Murphy Jensen as tennis
ambassador and director of tennis and
brother Luke as the resort’s touring
pro. It followed by three months the
hiring of Steve Hall, former Dunlop
director of marketing, as squash direc-
tor to run the nation’s only five-star
resort squash program.
The hires come as part of an
aggressive marketing push for the
haven of secluded opulence, since the
late 1920s a getaway for Southern
elites, politicians, celebrities and those
they let in on “their secret” that came
to the attention of the larger world as
host of the 2004 G-8 Summit.
Situated on a Georgia barrier island
amid marshlands, the facility caters to
a membership that owns (and rents)
residences, as well as to guests. After
years in family hands, Sea Island was
purchased by a group of partners first
bidding against each other over the
assets during 2010 bankruptcy pro-
ceedings.
The current vision is to expand visi-
torship and membership programming
as part of a transition from what was
prior to 1999 a real estate company,
according to General Manager Rick
Reiss, to a fully developed resort pro-
viding everything to its high-end clien-
tele from three championship golf
Stepping Up Their Game
Sea Island hires high-profile pros to revamp its tennis and squash
programs.
20 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2013 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Resort Management
Stepping Up Their Game
Sea Island hires high-profile pros to revamp its tennis and squash
programs.
BY KE NT OS WAL D
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 21
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
no getting away from the current prima-
cy of golf among the resorts’ attractions.
Since it can’t all be about the one game,
he is also considering the synergy to be
found in marketing to corporate groups
and others by introducing a “tennis for
golfers” series. “Who knows where this
leads?” he says.
Squash Master
Hall, master of two singles softball and
one doubles hardball squash courts,
echoes Jensen. While the tennis guru
may announce that, “anything’s possi-
ble,” and, “the ultimate goal is to pro-
vide a service you can’t get anywhere
else,” the squash maven claims that
whatever it takes to satisfy and excite
guests and members, “We’ll make it
happen.”
Regular squash programs include
adult clinics and junior programs. Hall,
who after 12 years at Dunlop remains
on the advisory board and offers only
the one company’s racquets—soon to
include a signature Sea Island model—in
his pro shop, is looking to add two tour-
nament events a year. The “Sea Island
Classic,” an amateur event, is already set
as part of the resort’s President’s Week-
end celebration, Feb. 15-17. He also plans
fantasy squash camps (the inaugural event
features World No. 2, Nick Matthew, the
resort’s touring professional and ambas-
sador, March 28-31); a college recruiting
weekend; skills-building summer camp ses-
sions; guest mixers; and parent-child pro-
grams. Also being considered as a way to
use squash as an outreach to new guests are
“squash and spa” and “squash and golf”
weekends.
Hall, a former board member of the U.S.
Squash Racquets Association and before
that a top Canadian player, sees this coun-
try’s emerging squash renaissance as help-
ing to fit his program very neatly into
marketing to the resorts present and goal
demographic. Recently married to a for-
mer top Princeton squashite, the transi-
tion from corporate to courtside is going
well for the former Dunlop exec who
says it “is massively satisfying [to redis-
cover] through others’ eyes” what a great
game he is teaching.w
Murphy Jensen (above left) heads the tennis
program at Sea Island and Steve Hall runs
the squash program.
22 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2013
Pìoneers ln Tennìs
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Bud Collins: An American Original
Who Helped Tennis Boom
Ali’s Rumble in the Jungle boxing bout
with George Foreman. Throughout his
illustrious career, Collins has produced
thousands of articles, as well as more
than a dozen books, including biogra-
phies of Rod Laver and Evonne
Goolagong, the “Bud Collins Tennis
Encyclopedia” and “Bud Collins His-
tory of Tennis,” a multi-edition set
that can best be described as the
Bible of the game. At major events,
Collins, joined by his wife, photogra-
pher Anita Klaussen, can be seen
hawking books around the grounds
and affectionately signing every one
for the bevy of friends and fans he
has coveted over the years.
lN +,6¡, COlllNS was
approached by PBS’s Greg Harney
to do his first network tennis broad-
cast. “We’re going to televise ten-
nis,” he was told. His reaction?
“Why?” “Because the people who
run the station are all preppies who
play tennis,” was the answer. That
was a good enough reason for
Collins, who realized early on that
getting tennis on TV would be a
boon to the sport. It was a disas-
trous TV start for Collins—with
equipment failures from an old
school bus that had been converted
into a TV truck, a disinterested
broadcast partner and skeptical play-
ers—and after his first show, his then-
wife advised him not to sell his
typewriter.
But Collins has continued to cover
the sport live now for some 50 years.
He’s broadcast tennis for every major
network and cable outlet, including for
35 years with NBC, where his colorful
trousers worn during interviews at Wim-
bledon caught the attention of everyone
from players to generations of British
Royalty. Once, the Duchess of Kent put
Ohio and served in the Army before
deciding to follow a friend to Boston for
grad school and a hopeful career. In
order to pay his way, Collins began
knocking on the doors of the then eight
daily newspapers in Boston. The Herald
hired him to cover high school football
for $5 every Saturday. If he came to the
office and also answered phones, the
pay would escalate to $10. It took
Collins exactly two Saturdays to know
what he would do with the rest of his
life.
Though a straight-A student at BU,
Collins never finished his graduation the-
sis; he was too busy traveling the world
covering breaking stories—first for the
Herald and then for the Boston Globe—
from the Vietnam War to Muhammad
t took Bud Collins only a few min-
utes after seeing a young teenager
named Steffi Graf swing a racquet
for him to dub her “Fraulein Forehand.”
He had a similar epiphany in re-naming
Spaniard Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, an
effervescent spitfire, the
“Barcelona Bumble Bee.” When
16-year-old Chris Evert captured
the nation’s collective heart, she
immediately became “Chris Ameri-
ca,” according to Collins, and
when Venus and Serena walloped
their way into the nation’s imagi-
nation, they earned the moniker
“The Sisters Sledgehammer.”
In 1985, when a tornado
spawned on the grounds of the
USTA National Tennis Center dur-
ing the US Open, shaking and
threatening to topple an overhead
press box filled with members of
the international media, Collins
simply looked up, chuckled and
shouted, “What a boon to the
Columbia School of Journalism.”
Collins may have been imply-
ing that if the press box collapsed
that day, plenty of sportswriters’
jobs would have to be replaced.
But the truth is, there is only one
truly irreplaceable member of the
tennis media corps, and that is the
colorful Collins himself.
lT vAS +,ç6 vHEN Collins,
then a first-year public relations gradu-
ate student at Boston University work-
ing as a copy boy at the Boston Herald,
was sent by his sports editor to cover
the U.S. Doubles Championships at the
Longwood Cricket Club.
“They didn’t have anyone else to do
it,” says the 83-year-old Collins of that
most fortuitous day in his now 57-year
career. Collins had already been to
Baldwin-Wallace College in his native
l
P
h
o
t
o

b
y

B
o
b

K
e
n
a
s
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 23
"Pioneers in Tennis," an occasional column in RSI, draws attention to trailblazers in the sport. Have someone to suggest?
E-mail rsi@racquettech.com.
her hand on Collins’ shoulder and wished
him a happy birthday on the air.
Collins can lucidly recount a gaggle of
favorite matches over the years, including
a 1976 match in Stockholm, Sweden,
between Arthur Ashe and Ilie Nastase
during which an argument arose between
the players. “Nasty was up to his usual
tricks,” says Collins, recalling the event as
if it were yesterday. “Arthur got peeved,
finally said ‘That’s enough,’ threw down
his racquet and headed to the locker
room. The referee tried to coax Arthur
back on the court but he wouldn’t come.
Nastase had already been defaulted but
now they had to default Arthur, too. It
was one tennis match with two losers.
The next day Nastase brought Ashe a
bouquet of roses.”
THROUGH HlS vRlTlNGand
his work on TV and radio over the
decades, Collins has helped to popularize
tennis in the U.S. and helped the sport
grow, inspiring untold legions to pick
up a racquet and play. And, despite
running for many years a fun amateur
event called the “Hacker’s Classic” at a
resort in Florida every December,
Collins himself was no slouch on the
court. He won the U.S. Indoor mixed
doubles championship in 1961 and
was a finalist with Jack Crawford in the
French Senior doubles in 1975. He also
was the tennis coach at Brandeis Uni-
versity from 1959 to 1963 (where one
of his players was the political and
social activist Abbie Hoffman).
Throughout his career, Collins has
been honored with countless awards,
including the prestigious Red Smith
Award in 1999 by the Associated Press
Sports Editors, and with his induction
into the Sportscasters and Sportswrit-
ers Hall of Fame in 2002. He also
received the tennis world’s highest
honor in 1994, when he was inducted
into the International Tennis Hall of
Fame.
But perhaps his greatest legacy is
the many friends he has acquired
through his goodness of heart and gen-
erosity of spirit. Virtually every young
journalist in every tennis press room
around the world can relate a time
that Collins, though writing on dead-
line, has stopped to answer a question
or do a quick interview.
As for how he would like to be
remembered, the ever-humble gentle-
man, dressed in pink and green
trousers and matching pink Crocs on
his feet, tips his straw hat off his bald
head and says with a sly grin, “I want
to be known as a good-humored guy
who made a lot of friends and who
loved tennis, but didn’t take it too
seriously.”
—Cindy Shmerler ◗
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 23
Retailing
with your clients. Your database of satisfied
customers is valuable only if you make prop-
er use of it to continually communicate with
customers that have already spent money
with you—by inviting them back to see what
is new or visit your website to find an ideal
tennis gift for family or friends.
w Increase the number of clients. Focus
your multichannel marketing budget on
reaching out to the demographics in your
neighborhood to invite young people,
women and the multicultural diversity of
your community into your store to discover
the enjoyment of the tennis lifestyle that you
offer.
RePlanning
This may be the most important aspect of
the planning process. Be aware that no plan
survives first engagement. All plans are
changed the minute they are executed, and
here is what separates the small business
owners who don’t get the importance of a
business plan from those that get it. You
need to adjust for the things that don’t work
and take advantage of the things that do.
You spend five days of your year devel-
oping an operational business plan … so that
you are prepared to re-plan, to adjust to the
changes that your real-time marketplace
throws at you every day.
The key to your retail operation is receiv-
ing weekly reports on your key performance
indicators so that you can quickly make
changes to any number of store operations
that will give you the best opportunity to
adjust for the things that don’t work and
take advantage of the things that do—all in
order to maintain your profit and growth
plan for the year. w
local stationary store, find an appropriate
software or computer application—or make
your own.
Meet with your supplier sales reps and
promotional partners in your local business
community and map out and write in the
promotional and advertising opportunities
for the coming year. Research the costs and
write them in—and ask your sales reps to
contribute and ask their employers (your
suppliers) to share in the costs.
w Write It Down: A defining trait of suc-
cessful independent retail businesses is they
write down their operational business plans
… and a defining trait of unsuccessful inde-
pendent retail businesses is they tend not to
write down their plans. So, build your plan-
ning calendar and then write down the
details of How, Who, Why (the expected
result), When, Where and how much it will
Cost for each and every item.
Here is where you need to create a finan-
cial and sales projection spreadsheet. If you
don’t like computers, do this manually, but
whatever you are comfortable with, write
down your financial projections and forecast
for the coming year for inventory, business
expenses, revenue, gross margin and profit.
w Retail Assessment: Get a check-up for
your business by taking a TIA Retail Busi-
ness Assessment. The whole process will
take about 20 minutes and you will get back
a complete analysis of strengths and weak-
nesses, along with recommendations for
what aspects to focus on during the coming
year to eliminate the weaknesses and build
on the strengths. Contact the TIA today
(843-473-4505 or marty@tennisindustry
.org) to arrange to take your retail business
check up.
Three Ways to Grow
There are only three ways to grow your
business, and you should build your opera-
tional business plan to:
w Increase the dollar value of transactions
(average ticket value per customer). Simple,
basic retailing like up-selling and add-on
sales can increase the value of individual
transactions and create happier customers
who appreciate consultative suggestions to
enhance their tennis lifestyles.
w Increase the frequency of transactions
lanning to grow your business
and make money…can actually
be fun! We are optimistic about
the future of specialty tennis retailers in
the U.S. This may seem odd consider-
ing we have pointed out in TIA Webina-
rs the fact that retailing in America is in
the midst of profound changes, and
some industry observers are predicting
that by 2020, half of all retail stores in
the U.S. today will be gone.
But what fuels our positive future
view for all specialty retailers is a
recent statement by the National Retail
Federation: “The fastest growing retail
model—small, independently owned
boutiques in neighborhoods, close to
their consumers.”
So, this tip is about planning—and
specifically planning for your specialty
tennis retail business today. Indepen-
dently owned boutiques, or specialty
retailers, may be the fastest growing
retail model, but they are still doing
business in the midst of profound
changes.
A Passion for Retailing
In this retail environment, having a pas-
sion for tennis, while important, simply
isn’t enough. It has to be matched by
an equal passion for all aspects of spe-
cialty retailing, including operational
planning.
You can actually make it enjoyable,
because it can be financially rewarding
… and who doesn’t like making more
money! There is no magic in a retail
operational business plan, but there is a
greater control of your business, its
expenses, product costs and profit
through planning and re-planning.
Make a commitment to work on
your business, and not in it for five
days—or just over 1 percent of your
whole year. The first months of the
New Year are ideal for you to make a
commitment to spend about five days
working on your operational business
plan.
w Planning Calendar: We are big
advocates of planning calendars. Pur-
chase a monthly planner from your
P
Build Your Operational Business Plan
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 25
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
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).
What’s Next?
The March TIA Webinar is “Using
Assessment Benchmarks to Improve
Your Specialty Tennis Retail Business.”
Visit TennisIndustry.org/webinars for
details and to register.
FACI LI TY PROGRAMMI NG
At New Jersey’s Mercer County
Park, flex leagues stirred a huge
interest in tennis, and led to
relationships that have helped
the public facility thrive.
BY ANN L OPRI NZ I
26 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2013
FLEXIBLE
BENEFITS
FLEXIBLE
BENEFITS
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
At New Jersey’s Mercer County
Park, flex leagues stirred a huge
interest in tennis, and led to
relationships that have helped
the public facility thrive.
W
hen New Jersey’s Mercer County built a large outdoor
tennis facility in 1981 in the middle of a 2,500-acre
park, who knew that the impetus for its growth and
popularity would be summer leagues? Mercer County Park, subse-
quently named the Richard J. Coffee Mercer County Park, lies in
West Windsor Township, just outside of Princeton, offers a pletho-
ra of recreational activities, and its
tennis leagues continue to draw
players from many miles around.
Soon after its grand opening,
then-director of tennis Judy Niederer
came up with the idea of filling the
courts with a flexible league. The
concept took a little time to grow,
and now players know that, if they
don’t sign up early, they may not get
in. Today, leagues span some 40
divisions and are limited to the first
725 people who sign up. There always ends up being a waiting
list.
“I don’t know if there’s been another flex league of this scale,”
says current Tennis Director Marc Vecchiolla. “The courts would
not have as great a usage without them. I feel that the league
draws everyone in, and they find other things going on here.
There are huge waiting lists for our lesson programs. Before
signups went online a few years back, the long lines to register for
programs looked more like lines for Springsteen tickets.”
League players used to receive a schedule in the mail; now
they access the schedule online. Then, they simply contact their
weekly opponent and schedule the match. Standings are updated
weekly, and there’s a post-season playoff system.
Generating Interest
With 22 outdoor courts, six indoor, and 16 lighted courts, it’s easy
to see why the facility became a central focus of area tennis
despite an abundance of other quality clubs and programs within
striking distance. And the hugely popular and long-running Cryan
Tournament (for which Vecchiolla was a ballboy in 1982) contin-
ues to draw and impress new people.
“Special events generate a lot of interest in our facility,” says
Vecchiolla. “It is the most well-known public tennis facility in the
state. We’ve won three national awards. We host a US Open Sec-
tional Qualifier, USTA League sectionals, state and county high
school championships, and college events. Every weekend in the
summer we offer a different county tournament. The cost for an
ID card is affordable.”
A key element of the facility’s success is the county’s commit-
ment to upkeep. Not only did Mercer County add a six-court fab-
ric-covered facility a few years ago to replace the crumbling
indoor structure on the other side of
the county, but they reconstruct one
or two bays of outdoor courts every
year and address cracks on an annu-
al basis on all courts. Last year they
added blended lines on four outdoor
courts for Youth Tennis play.
“We wouldn’t be able to do all
this without the support of the Coun-
ty Executive and the Park Commis-
sion Executive Director,” says
Vecchiolla. “All of our ideas came to
fruition. They recognized we had a following and an interest.
Every vision and dream is coming true as to how we wanted this
facility to evolve. And there’s a good return on its investment.”
Details and Organization
As nicely as things fell into place for the Mercer County Tennis
Center, it took some good leadership to make it all happen. Vec-
chiolla has this advice for anyone trying to emulate where they
are:
w Start on a smaller scale.
w Pay attention to the details.
w Be as organized as possible.
w Stay consistent.
“It takes organization to run a public facility, and if you want
people coming back, you have to be precise and detail-oriented,”
he says. “If you let some things slide, it will open up huge cans of
worms. You want everyone to be happy, but you want them to
stick to the guidelines, too. If you say there’s going to be a 6-1 stu-
dent-to-teacher lesson ratio, make sure it is. Some clubs will take
more kids, and then the quality diminishes.”
Vecchiolla also believes there’s another reason why the Mer-
cer County Park facility and other area clubs are all doing well.
“It’s a great sport and a great time for our sport. Some of the
best players ever are playing now,” he says. “Consistency in the
pro game gives us more visibility with the casual fan.” w
‘Before signups went online
a few years back, the long
lines to register for pro-
grams looked more like lines
for Springsteen tickets.’
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 27
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
OUTLOOK 2013: RACQUETS
Every year,
it seems that racquet
technology manages to take at least
one more leap forward.
28 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2013 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
H
ow much more techno-
logically advanced can
racquets get? Is it still
possible for individual sticks to
have their vibration dampened
more? Sweetspot enlarged
more? Have their “feel”
improved more? Generate more
power? Produce more spin?
With each passing year and
innovation, it seems as if manu-
facturers have taken technology
to the edge and that all that can
be left is a cosmetic tweak or
two.
But every year, doubters are
quieted as racquet technology
takes at least one more leap for-
ward. With each season another
swing style has a racquet that fits
its particular idiosyncrasies.
When reviewing what’s com-
ing up, it appears that once again
the biggest challenge for most
players is not having to take
lessons so they can change their
strokes to “what works,” but
choosing the racquet refined to
produce the optimum result
from what they are already
doing.
OVER THE
EDGE
OVER THE
EDGE
BABOLAT
babolat.com • 877-316-9435
The Aeropro Drive, in its fifth genera-
tion, continues as the racquet line of
choice for bold-faced tennis names like
Rafael Nadal, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Sam
Querry and Agnieszka Radwanska. It is
expected to be picked up,
too, by the host of
players who want to
hit with the same
power and spin.
Cosmetic tweaks
involve splashes of
bright yellow and
matte black. Tech-
nological highlights
include an evolving
aerodynamic shape, an
improved system for let-
ting frame and strings
interact more freely, and
use of a graphite and tung-
sten composition within the
frame to reduce torque.
Specific models include
the Aeropro Drive and
Drive+, the Aeropro
Lite and Aeropro Team.
Aeropro Drive +
GAMMA
gammasports.com • 800-333-0337
Continuing the development of its RZR line of
racquets introduced last year, Gamma will add
the RZR 95, a 95-square-inch frame for the
advanced player looking for additional control;
the RZR 105, a 105-square-inch frame for big hit-
ters looking to display power; and the RZR
Junior 25 for
young but
serious play-
ers. Addi-
tionally, as
the compa-
ny’s litera-
ture proudly
announces,
‘The Bubba is
back”—a 29-
inch-long, 137-
square-inch head
racquet offering a
mega-sweetspot. Each
of the sticks features
enhanced graphite
frames that minimize
drag and aid head
acceleration, says
Gamma.
RZR 95
RZR 105
BY KE NT OS WAL D
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 29 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
YONEX
yonexusa.com • 800-44-YONEX
The Japanese firm will add to its VCore line, which
features frame heads injected with higher density
foaming urethane to diminish vibra-
tion and add power. All featuring
expanded sweetspots, additions will
include the head-light VCore Xi 100
and VCore Xi 98, as well as the
head-heavy VCore Xi Lite. The
endorsement lineup includes Ana
Ivanovic, Bernard Tomic, Stan
Wawrinka and Caroline Wozniacki.
DUNLOP
dunlop.com • 800-768-4727
Continuing to push the extremes of biomimetic technology, Dunlop
had redesigned and re-engineered its line for different players at all lev-
els of game. There are rounded, more elliptical heads to enlarge
sweetspots, attention to the grip to aid control, and textured adapta-
tions to improve swing speed. The naming system has been tweaked
to make it more intuitive as to which
racquet is best for which player
based on swing style/speed. Key
endorsers are Fernando Verdasco,
Nicolas Almagro, Jurgen Melzer,
Tommy Robredo, Dominika
Cibulkova, and Heather Watson
and the marketing will include out-
reaches through video/TV, print, web,
and social media in order to expand the
customer base beyond its traditional
core. New, revised and tweaked racquets
include the F3.0 Tour, M3.0, S3.0 Lite,
M6.0, S6.0 Lite, S8.0 Lite, M3.0 (25 and
26 inch), Biomimetic 400 (and 400 Tour
and Lite), Biomimetic 600 Tour and Bio-
mimetic 700.
F3.0 Tour
M6.0
S8.0 Lite
WILSON
wilson.com • 773-714-6400
Hoping to continue building on the
successful Blade and Steam launches,
Wilson has adapted improved technol-
ogy and will also add new racquets to
both lines. In addition to adding sleek
black and silver touches to the look of
the Blade, the company has enhanced
the handle technology and strength-
ened the graphite construction, to add
feel and control. Additionally, there’s
now a 16x19 string pat-
tern for the Blade 98 as
an option for even
more robust spin.
Blade endorsers
include Gael Monfils,
Milos Raonic, and
Laura Robson. The
company has also
adopted technology for
the new Steam 99S and
Steam 105 in order to
ratchet up spin players
can achieve. The enhanced
handle technology has also
been added to the line,
which will feature endorse-
ments by Feliciano Lopez,
Philipp Kohlschreiber, and
Melanie Oudin, among oth-
ers.
VOLKL
vb-tennis.com • 858-626-2720
Continuing to promote Organix
technology, with its improved damp-
ening, response and stability, in
2013 Volkl will expand its line into
more swing segments. An improved
handle system and greater respon-
siveness when ball meets strings will
also be a notable feature of new rac-
quets, including the Organix 1,
Organix 7 295g, Organix 7 310g,
and Organix 10 Mid, says Volkl. The
company has also updated its Clas-
sic V1 and will be offering its transi-
tion Team Speed
in neon orange.
Organix 1
Organix 7 310g
Organix 10 MID
HEAD
head.com • 800-289-7366
Head has introduced Graphene—which the company
refers to as the world’s strongest and lightest material—
into its new racquets. The debut of the material began at
the highest levels of the game, with the unveiling of Novak
Djokovic’s new Speed racquet in
Melbourne, while Maria Sharapo-
va, Tomas Berdych and Marin
Cilic will be tied into promotion
of Graphene’s introduction into
the Instinct line beginning in
March. Benefits include the “opti-
mal redistribution of weight” in
the swing and additional racquet
speed and maneuverability with every
shot, says Head. Racquets receiving the
update include the YouTek Graphene
Speed MP, YouTek Graphene Speed Rev,
YouTek Graphene Speed Jr., YouTek
Graphene Instinct MP, YouTek Graphene
Instinct Rev, and YouTek Graphene
Instinct. Jr.
YouTek Graphene Speed REV
YouTek Graphene Instinct MP
VCore Xi 100
PACIFIC
pacific.com • 941-795-1789
While refining the cos-
metics on some rac-
quets for 2013, the
next big step for the
family-owned Ger-
man company’s rac-
quet line will come in
mid- to late 2013. The
introduction of the
BasaltX2TM will showcase
the benefits of a technologi-
cal breakthrough allowing the
addition of 30 percent more
basalt to the frame with fibers
lighter, stronger and offering
greater dampening, according
to the company.
XForce Pro
XFeel Pro.90 Vacuum
Blade 98
OUTLOOK 2013: FOOTWEAR
Tennis companies are making
shoes increasingly innovative in
both style and technology.
T
he major brands are celebrating the paradoxes of tennis
footwear. Across the board, shoes are becoming lighter,
while also increasingly durable—with 6-month and even
1-year outsole guarantees a norm. Fashion and function, rather
than co-existing as antagonists, are increasingly paired by
designers (and technicians) as key drivers for increased sales.
Manufacturers have responded to the difficult business climate
of the past few years with shoes increasingly innovative in style
and technology. It may not all be leading to a paradise where
players will be coordinating multiple pairs of shoes to their ten-
nis outfits, but it appears manufacturers have responded to the
changing demands of all player segments and are well posi-
tioned to take advantage of the needs of the 28-plus million pairs
of feet needing to be shod that the TIA recently reported are now
sprinting, sliding and planting themselves on court surfaces
across the land.
BY KE NT OS WAL D
BABOLAT
babolat.com • 877-316-9435
Having collaborated with Michelin experts for durability and
enhanced traction on all surfaces, and Andy Roddick for stylishness
and game effectiveness, Babolat will introduce its new Propulse 4
shoe in March. The latest iteration of its popular footwear (available
in black/yellow/white for men, women and juniors) will continue in
a low profile, but offer increased lateral movement support and heel
cushioning.
30 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2013 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
ADIDAS
adidas.com • 800-448-1796
The latest additions to Adidas footwear lineup are the
adizero Climacool Feather III (men) and Climacool
Temapaia II (women), very stable, lightweight shoes with
significant outsole durability and featuring the highly
breathable Climacool. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Ana
Ivanovic are the premier endorsers (for men in two ver-
sions of vivid yellow/black/running white; and for
women in running white/tech grey/vivid yellow).
STEP
LIVELY
Climacool Feather III
Climacool Temapaia II
STEP
LIVELY
Propulse 4
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 31
K-SWISS
kswiss.com • 800-714-4477
The flagship shoe of the K-Swiss line has been revised. The Big
Shot II, the most technical, performance shoe of the California
company, has been reworked into a lighter, more breathable ver-
sion. Enhancements for this version include improved support for
lateral movement and enhanced mid-foot and heel stability, trac-
tion and durability.
NEW BALANCE
newbalance.com • 800-253-7463
With plans to increase its marketing to the tennis audience as the
year unfolds, New Balance introduced its low-profile, high-stability
and durable 996 in January. The all-court, performance shoe for men
(white/silver, white/green and black/yellow) and women (white/silver
and white/pink/blue) features a lightweight cushioning material, a
herringbone outsole to improve traction and extra toe-box protec-
tion.
PRINCE
princetennis.com • 800-2TENNIS
Prince, carrying its head high with the T22 being the best-selling
shoe in U.S. specialty shops according to TIA/SMS data, updates the
line with new colors for men and juniors (white/black/energy) and
women (silver/berry). For marketing and promotion of the shoes
(and the remainder of the line as well), the compa-
ny will be relying heavily on social media
throughout the spring.
WILSON • wilson.com • 773-714-6400
Featured footwear in Wilson’s 2013 line will be the Rush Pro (for
both men and women) and Rush Pro Jr. The shoes are lightweight,
low profile and engineered to offer the aggressive player stability, feel
and responsiveness. The Rush, a lighter model also available for both
men and women, will be coming to market in May. The shoes are
available in a stylish range of color options and the most prominent
endorsers are Feliciano Lopez and Melanie Oudin.
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
996
HEAD
head.com • 800-289-7366
Featuring the endorsements of Andy Murray and Christina
McHale, Head will be introducing its new shoes prior to the pro-
fessional tours joining up in Miami in March. The new shoes to
be introduced for men will be the durable, stable and breathable
Speed Pro III, as well as the lightweight, comfort-oriented Motion
Pro. The women’s line will also add the Motion Pro, and the
Speed III, built on a special junior last, will be unveiled for
younger players.
Speed Pro III
Motion Pro
Rush Pro
T22
Big Shot II
OUTLOOK 2013: TENNI SWEAR
I
f you think the styles you see at the club or in vendor’s catalogs
are random acts of color, cut and fabrication, think again. The
research, man-hours and “science” that goes into the design
and execution of a line of tennis/fitness wear has never been more
comprehensive. Influences from the runway, nature, and one’s sur-
roundings all play a part in this ebb and flow of designs.
Two designers gave us insight into the new year of fashion.
Francine Candiotti, designer for Fila, takes her cue from high fash-
ion and adapts it to a sportier look. Fila’s 100-year heritage allows
Candiotti to combine classic tradition with updated youthful looks
by using trending colors, unique details, and textures, which, she
says, “will be a key” in the months ahead.
The intricate and detailed patterns that laser-cut fabrics
spawned several years ago in haute couture outfits have hit main-
stream fashion and Candiotti uses it to define a neutral colored top
layer of finely detailed cut-out designs, over bright yellow shorts
that really make the outfit pop in both its attention to detail and
color.
Talking to retailers, sales reps, club players and touring pros
gives Candiotti a real sense of what’s selling and what people are
looking for, she says, and it enables Fila to plan lines accordingly.
Shorts are in, says Candiotti, and people seem to feel more
comfortable in them. In creating Fila’s four yearly collections,
including a men’s and children’s line, Candiotti says, “It’s all about
balance. You have to accommodate different kinds of customers
with tops, dresses, shorts, warm-ups, and skirts in different
lengths.”
Aside from the retro Heritage look of red, white and blues, the
need for basics and white is still important to the sporting con-
sumer. But fashion colors for 2013 range from bold fluorescent
pinks, oranges, yellows and greens to more muted heather grays,
with dashes of metallic detail.
Updating a classic design using great fabrics, colors of the
moment and fashion twists seems to be the path for sporting fash-
ion. But as Candiotti notes, “Telling a story when you design is
important, but if the fit isn’t fabulous and comfortable, no one will
want to wear it.”
For 15 years, Carlos Perez has been at the forefront of Bolle’s
designs. He recently was in Barcelona, and he says the magnificent
architecture of that Spanish city “gave me this year’s focus.” Com-
bining that architectural geometry with an asymmetry, than adding
to that from high fashion trends, gives his current silhouettes added
panache, especially when combined with creative prints and
stripes.
Again, strong colors are abundant, combined with sueded fin-
ishes, soft neutral heathers, tone-on-tones, and textures and layers.
Bold blues, gold, violet, electric green, pinks and corals paired with
white, slate grays make 2013’s court wear from Bolle more fun and
sophisticated than ever.
This year, Perez notes, you’ll see more unusual color combina-
tions and fabrics. “The layering effect of shapes and colors to get
surface interest with raised jacquards, netting, mesh … while pro-
viding style and most importantly, comfort, are key components of
2013 fashion,” he says.
Paying attention to competitors, and constantly seeking feed-
back from players and retailers are all cues Perez takes to formulate
his fashion route for the year. Having all these components, plus
“hanger appeal,” price point and timely delivery, all go into the for-
mulation of a collection.
He also emphasizes “balance” in collections—having dresses,
skirts of varying lengths, shorts, separates and jackets; go-to basic
team colors; and an all-white line as an essential for doing business.
BY CYNT HI A S HE RMAN
32 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2012
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
SOURCES
OF
INSPIRATION
SOURCES
OF
INSPIRATION
Fashion pros give insight into how they create their
looks for 2013.
February 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 33
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
FILA
fila.com • 410-773-3000
New from Fila for 2013 is the Her-
itage line, which pros will wear at
this year’s US Open, and the Base-
line line.
BOLLE
bolletenniswear.com • 301-362-0360
Bolle’s new lines feature strong colors
and the layering effect of different
shapes.
ASHAWAY
ashawayusa.com • 800-556-7260
The Rhode Island company with 60-plus years of tennis
string manufacturing experience is highlighting its 17-
gauge MonoGut ZX Pro, a slightly thinner, lighter com-
plement to the previously released 16-gauge MonoGut.
Both offer stiffness and playability similar to natural
gut, with minimum tension loss and at a significant cost sav-
ings. Ashaway Vice President Steve Crandall describes the key
attraction of energy responsiveness and arm comfort as “soft
power.”
BABOLAT
babolat.com • 877-316-9435
One hundred thirty-seven years after first producing gut
strings, Babolat still keeps their R&D folks busy. The next
string to be added to the product line is a brand extension of
the co-poly, monofil RPM Blast. The RPM Dual, also featuring
a cross-linked silicone coating to reduce friction and increase
string positioning time and ball spin, is set for a February debut.
DUNLOP
dunlopsport.com • 800-768-4727
The latest addition to Dunlop’s revamped string line is Ice,
a monofilament polyester available in both 16- and 17-
gauge. The clear string is intended to offer significant bite
to aid with control and provide durability for players with the
fullest of swings.
GAMMA
gammasports.com • 800-333-0337
Pittsburgh-based Gamma will add to its lineup with four
new strings. The co-poly Gamma Moto is designed to
create a maximum amount of bite with its
seven-sided construction; generating spin that
lets big hitters keep the ball in the court through
exceptional “ball pocketing” is the story for the
co-poly Gamma iO; and durability, control and
tension maintenance in a responsive polyester
string are the selling points for the new Gamma Poly-
Z. The company will also be bringing to market the
Gamma RZR Rx, an oval shaped, co-extruded monofil-
ament offering a more aerodynamic string bed to
maximize racquet-head speed and spin potential
through a reduction of friction where the strings
cross.
GENESIS
genesis-tennis.com
888-750-1011
Not yet at the four-year anniversary of the launch of
its first two strings, and with thunder and lightning-
serving Ivo Karlovic as a key endorser, Genesis will
feature the 16-gauge, Typhoon. The pentagonal co-
poly is designed to boost player power and spin and is
offered in battleship gray and twilight blue. Current pro-
motion plans include reaching out to big hitters by work-
OUTLOOK 2013: STRI NG
A
ficionados and frequent players have long argued the bene-
fits of one string over another, but could it now be that
strings are poised on the brink of gaining respect from the
majority of players? Forced by a highly competitive market and need-
ing to define their particular niche in order to survive the difficult eco-
nomic climate, manufacturers have explored string technology and
brought attention to a frequently ignored part of a player’s kit.
No less than Roger Federer, in recent remarks as he prepared for
the Aussie Open, claimed that the biggest change to the game during
his career has been the development of string technology. Although
clearly a beneficiary, he also recognizes the need to adapt his own
game when opponents are enabled by their mains and crosses to hit
with “so much spin and so much angle” thanks to the work of so
many labs and manufacturers around the world. And that was before
the current crop of strings was launched, adding their targeted bene-
fits to players’ arsenals.
BY KE NT OS WAL D
34 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2013
GAME-
CHANGERS
GAME-
CHANGERS
Manufacturers, and pro players, are bringing atten-
tion to a frequently ignored part of a player’s game.
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
ing through online retail partners and increasing
brand awareness with cross promotions of racquets
and bags.
HEAD
head.com • 800-289-7366
The co-poly, pentagonal, 16-gauge Sonic Pro
Edge will be introduced in March. While not
stinting on letting players showcase their power,
the focus of Head’s research and development
for this string has been to help advanced hitters
maximize spin and touch in order to showcase
shot control.
PACIFIC
pacific.com • 941-795-1789
"The racquet is really just a string holder," says Pacif-
ic's Tom Parry, perhaps exaggerating slightly. Actu-
ally, if you look at the sheer comprehensiveness of
Pacific's offerings you realize that Parry, one of
the most accomplished stringers in the world, is not
kidding. Pacific’s natural gut line is, on the
whole, the softest tested at the USRSA.
Throw in “best of class” tension mainte-
nance and it proves just how much of a bur-
den Pacific believes the stringbed should
bear. As for polyester, like the recently added
Xcite, Parry stresses that, “Developing a poly
which not only performs better but holds ten-
sion longer is a tedious endeavor.” This proba-
bly explains why the company took over two
years to develop player favorites such as Poly Power
Pro.
SOLINCO
solincosports.com • 310-922-7775
Doing a bit of brand extension, Solinco will bring to mar-
ket the Tour Bite Soft, a newly designed co-polyester
monofilament string to be introduced in 16- and 17-
gauge versions. The goal was to maintain the tension
maintenance and performance of the well-received Tour
Bite, but offer an alternative for players looking
for a slightly softer relative that will offer the
same power generation and spin and bite pro-
motion.
TECNIFIBRE
tecnifibreusa.com • 888-838-3664
Rather than feature new strings in its spring market-
ing efforts, the French-made string company
Tecnifibre—featuring Janko Tipsarevic as
lead endorser—will highlight its full slate. The
line includes the vibration reducing, soft-play-
ing Black Code; firm Polycode; durable, pop-
providing Pro Red Code; flexible, durable Razor
Code; firm, co-poly cored Ruff Code; highly-elastic
NRG2; elastic, multifilament TGV; elastic X-One
Biphase in natural and red; durability and comfort combin-
ing Duramix; and multi-filament power and control blend-
ing X-Code.
TOURNA
uniquesports.us • 800-554-3707
The most recent strings include the German-engineered Big
Hitter Black 7 co-polyester, which garnered favorable ratings for
the sharp edges that promoted massive spin while not producing
too much arm wear and tear. The line also continues to feature
the powerful Big Hitter Blue Rough (with five sides) and the
similar, but slightly more control-oriented, Big Hitter Silver
Rough. Always careful about adding to the line, the company
will only admit to exploring plans for developing ultra-thin
versions of its Big Hitter Blue Rough and Silver Rough.
VICTORY RACQUET SPORTS/ACELON
victoryracquetsports.com • 610-466-6100
Longtime fishing-line manufacturer Acelon has released its
first two tennis strings—the Acelon Seven and Acelon
Advanced, two co-polys. The Seven features a sharp seven-
sided construction for spin and is available in black. The softer
Advanced is available in silver or pearl.
VOLKL
vb-tennis.com • 858-626-2720
Complementing Volkl’s Power-Fiber II multifilament strings in
natural and black, which are focused on power, the German
company introduces two new, control-focused strings. The
Cyclone Tour is a soft, co-poly in red and twisted to provide
greater spin. The V-Torque is a polyester available in mul-
tiple gauges as well as neon green and blue, and designed
to increase a ball’s rotation as it heads back across
the net.
WILSON/LUXILON
wilson.com • 773-714-6400
Wilson heads into the new year highlighting two well-
touted strings launched on the eve of the 2012 US
Open, the Luxilon 4G and Extreme Octane. The former
is a 16-gauge co-poly for aggressive hitters (also in a 15-
gauge version, the 4G S, for additional durability). The
Extreme Octane, a solid core synthetic gut available in
both 16- and 17-gauge versions, is economical, medi-
um-soft and highly durable.
Y-TEX
ytexstrings.com • 786-280-2138
Three strings stand out among Y-Tex’s 2013 lineup.
The Microfiber-X is a five-strand, gut-like string with high rat-
ings for power, durability and feel. The Sintex, a 16-gauge,
mint-green multifilament, provides solid comfort and con-
trol, while the Touch, with its multifilament core encased
in monofilament fibers, is, just as the name implies, a
highly responsive string that still offers a strong measure
of power and durability.
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 35
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
OUTSTANDI NG FACI LI TY- OF- THE- YEAR AWARDS
I
n 2012, there were 15 tennis winners in the RSI/Ameri-
can Sports Builders Association Facility-of-the-Year
Awards program. Ten of those winning projects were
multi-court outdoor facilities, possibly an indication that, as
tennis participation growth has improved in the U.S., both
municipal and private multi-court projects are again on the
rise, too.
Each year, based on entries submitted by an ASBA mem-
ber who designed or built the facility or court, the associa-
tion selects outstanding tennis facilities that meet the
standard of excellence in design and construction deter-
mined by the judging committee. For 2012, the panel of
judges deemed 15 courts or facilities to be worthy of special
recognition, but three of those winners were chosen for
“Outstanding” honors:
w Clay W. & Lynn B. Hamlin Tennis Center at Penn Park,
Philadelphia
w A residential court in Boca Raton, Fla.
w Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility at University
of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Award plaques to the three Outstanding winners and
recognition for the Distinguished winners were presented at
the ASBA Technical Meeting held in December in Orlando,
Fla. For more information, visit www.sportsbuilders.org.
RSI and ASBA bring you the best in tennis court
construction and design.
RSI and ASBA bring you the best in tennis court
construction and design.
For details on the 2013 Outstand-
ing Facility-of-the-Year Awards,
contact the ASBA at 866-501-
ASBA or info@sportsbuilders.org,
or visit www.sportsbuilders.org.
36 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2013
www.racquetsportsindustry.com www.racquetsportsindustry.com
LEVEL BEST!
LEVEL BEST!
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 37
Outdoor Tennis Facility-of-the-Year Award
Clay W. & Lynn B. Hamlin Tennis Center at Penn Park
Philadelphia, Pa.
The 24-acre Penn Park is on the campus of the University of Penn-
sylvania. Since the site is near the Schuylkill River, where existing
soils weren’t ideal, the area for the 12-court Hamlin Tennis Center
needed to be reinforced with concrete piers. The varsity courts are
depressed about 5 feet and the JV courts about 3 feet; pre-cast con-
crete retaining walls enclose the depressed courts. The lighted hard
courts are on post-tensioned concrete slabs and separated into four
batteries, with an elevated walkway between them that allows for
spectator viewing.
Nominated By: Stantec Sport
Architect/Engineer: Stantec Sport Group
Specialty Contractor: Sportsline Inc.
Suppliers: Aer-Flo, Riteway Crack Repair, DecoTurf, Edwards/Roldri, J.A. Cissel Corp.
Number of Courts: 12
Completed: September 2011
www.racquetsportsindustry.com www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Distinguished Facility Honors
In addition to the Clay W. & Lynn B. Hamlin Tennis Center at Penn Park, the residen-
tial court in Boca Raton, Fla., and the Roberta Alison Baumgardner indoor tennis
facility at the University of Alabama, these 12 locations were chosen by the 2012
panel of judges for the ASBA as excellent examples of court construction, receiving
Distinguished Facility-of-the-Year Awards. You’ll read more about them in upcoming
issues of RSI. (The nominating company is in parentheses.)
w Bernstein Residence, Delray Beach, Fla. (Welch Tennis Courts
Inc.)
w Doral Park Country Club, Doral, Fla. (Welch Tennis Courts Inc.)
w George S. Gibbs Tennis Center at Huntingdon College, Mont-
gomery, Ala. (Lower Bros Co. Inc.)
w Gulf Coast Tennis Club, Gulf Shores, Ala. (Fast-Dry Courts Inc.)
w Koch Tennis Center, Omaha, Neb. (L.E.R. Inc., dba Renner
Sports Surfaces)
w Randolph-Macon College Tennis Court Complex, Ashland, Va.
(Tennis Courts Inc.)
w Sevierville City Park, Sevierville, Tenn. (Baseline Sports Con-
struction LLC)
w The Sports Club at Mediterra, Naples, Fla. (Welch Tennis
Courts Inc.)
w Timber Pines Community Association Inc., Spring Hill, Fla.
(Welch Tennis Courts Inc.)
w Toscana Country Club, Indian Wells, Calif. (Zaino Tennis Courts
Inc.)
w Virginia Beach Tennis & Country Club, Virginia Beach, Va.
(Tennis Courts Inc.)
w Williams Bollettieri Tennis Center at the Robins Campus of The
Collegiate School, Goochland, Va. (Tennis Courts Inc.)
38 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2013 www.racquetsportsindustry.com www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Indoor Tennis Facility of the Year
Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility at University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The University of Alabama built a 12-court outdoor complex in 2004 and left an area near-
by for a potential future site. When funding was made available recently, a new six-court
indoor facility was built, and includes a mezzanine for spectator viewing, an entrance
lobby with restrooms, and plenty of storage. A large retaining wall was installed on one
side of the property, and berms were built on another side to minimize the visible portion
of the building. Spacing between courts was expanded to 18 feet to provide more room
for the players, and translucent panels are used in vertical walls, allowing for an abun-
dance of natural daylight.
Nominated By: Lower Bros. Co. Inc.
Specialty Contractor: Lower Bros. Co. Inc.
Suppliers: J.A. Cissel, DecoTurf, LSI Industries Inc.
Number of Courts: 6
Completed: January 2012
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 39 www.racquetsportsindustry.com www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Residential Tennis Facility of the Year
Boca Raton Residence
Boca Raton, Fla.
This new, lighted, sub-irrigated court, with American Red Har-Tru
Hydroblend surface, was built for an orthopedic surgeon who wants
his four children to learn tennis on a clay court, for reduced pres-
sure on the joints and back. Access to the site was from the back of
a neighbor’s property, and the proximity to the pool and deck
required measures for elevation changes, including integrating
steps into the perimeter curbing. Drainage is achieved with the
grass swale around the exterior.
Nominated By: Fast-Dry Courts Inc.
Architect/Engineer: Fast-Dry Courts Inc.
Contractor: Fast-Dry Courts Inc.
Suppliers: Har-Tru, Fast-Dry Courts & 10-S Tennis Supply, Techlight
Completed: June 2011
?
Ask the Experts
GUIDE TO STRINGS
I JUST PULLED OUT MY JANUARY
2012 issue and reread the extensive
“Guide to Strings: String Selector
2012” written by Dave Bone.
There's no doubt that those eight pages
were filled with comprehensive, detailed,
valuable, helpful information. I simply have
a problem with the graphs: Too complicat-
ed, too small. The data don't immediately
come through. I had to work too hard to uti-
lize it.
Is there any way to display this other-
wise helpful data in an alternative manner?
ALTHOUGH THE GRAPHS DO illus-
trate the mass of data represented by
the listing of strings, we never expected
them to be used for selecting a string. Rather
they are intended to give an idea of what the
universe of strings looks like in terms of stiff-
ness and tension loss, both overall and by
general string classification.
For selecting strings, the String Selector
tool on the USRSA website is a much more
useful tool. With the String Selector, you just
tell it which string you've been using and
what you want from your new string (thin-
ner, softer, etc.). It then gives you a list of all
the strings that meet your requests. This gen-
erally gives you a much shorter and more
manageable list from which to choose. It also
includes the specifications of the strings
found (as seen in the article), which you can
sort based on the different specs, to find like-
ly candidates for a new string.
MIND YOUR OWN BEESWAX
BACK IN THE DAY, I USED TO
string a lot of racquets with natural
gut. At that time I always kept a
block of white beeswax on my stringing
machine tool tray to rub on the mains. It
really made pulling the crosses much easier.
Today many of the strings I use have a
rough surface or are faceted. I believe the
use of beeswax on the main strings would
facilitate pulling the cross string and would
prevent damage in this type of string. Using
beeswax on the end of the string also
makes it easier to get it through the tie-off
hole or any other shared holes without hav-
ing to use an awl.
Is the use of beeswax common practice
these days? Also, do you know of any
string manufacturers or distributors who
sell beeswax in blocks?
IT IS DEFINITELY NOT COMMON
practice to lube poly strings, in part
because poly is typically perceived as being
a tough string. Tough or not, there are plen-
ty of polys that show friction burn on the
mains as you get toward the end of the
crosses if you are not careful.
As with any lube (even the factory lube
that coats some strings), once you apply it
to the strings, it gets everywhere, including
the friction surfaces of your clamps. At best,
this means you
have to clean your
clamps more
often. At worst, it
can coat the clamps to the point where slip-
page occurs.
Treating the end of the string to get it
through a blocked hole is a different matter,
of course, but one that would be more use-
ful with softer strings, as most polys are stiff
enough to get through just about any
blocked hole.
As for obtaining a block of beeswax, try
doing an Internet search for "bulk
beeswax." Your search engine should pro-
vide you with an overwhelming number of
results. The going rate seems to be around
$5 per pound, not including tax and ship-
ping.
HYBRID TENSIONS
CAN YOU GIVE ME YOUR thoughts
on tension for hybrid stringing
especially when combining nylon
and polyester? Can you also discuss differ-
ent tension for mains and crosses when
you use the same string type?
THE ONLY RULE GOVERNING THE
use of different tensions for the
mains and crosses, whether when stringing
a hybrid or the same string in the mains
and crosses, is to keep an eye on the frame
deformation. If the hoop isn’t holding its
shape with the tensions you’re using, you
need to 1) choose different reference ten-
sions, 2) swap the mains and crosses (in
case of hybrid stringing), or 3) inform the
customer that his tension choice is dramati-
cally reducing the life expectancy of his
frame.
In hybrid string beds using nylon with
polyester, the conventional approach has
been to reduce the tension on the poly. Our
lab tests show that although poly strings typi-
cally lose tension faster than nylon strings,
they are still much stiffer in play. Reducing
the reference tension doesn’t really compen-
sate for the difference in inherent stiffness,
but it does get the two strings closer to par.
The standard operating procedure for
hybrid stringing used to be to install the more
durable string in the mains. Normally, the
mains break first during play, so in your case
you would install the poly in the mains to
prolong the life of the string bed. Nowadays,
however, hybrids are sought for more than
simple durability. Because of the nearly infi-
nite possible combinations of strings and ten-
sions, any player with enough patience and
sensitivity to the differences among various
set-ups can really dial in a blend that is right
for him.
As for differential tensions using the same
string in the mains and crosses, some of the
pros have been doing this for years, and
there are even racquets where the manufac-
turer specifies differential tensions (this is
clearly marked in the Stringer’s Digest where
applicable).
Because of the differences in string
lengths between the mains and the crosses,
dropping the reference tension on the crosses
partially equalizes the installed tension of the
crosses compared to the mains. Dropping the
reference tension on the crosses also reduces
the tension increase on the mains due to the
weaving and tensioning of the crosses.
In all cases, though, the goal is to provide
a string bed that performs up to the personal
preference of the player in question. Because
there are more variables, it can take more
time to figure out what tensions deliver that
string bed. Keep good notes on each string
job so you can duplicate desirable combina-
tions and avoid repeating unsuccessful ones.
—Greg Raven w
We welcome your questions. Please send them to Racquet
Sports Industry, PO Box 3392, Duluth, GA 30096; fax: 760-
536-1171; email: greg@racquettech.com.
40 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2013
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Q
A
A
A
Q
Q
Your Equipment Hotline
January 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 41
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
42 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2013
String Playtest
EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings)
Number of testers who said it was:
much easier 1
somewhat easier 3
about as easy 21
not quite as easy 11
not nearly as easy 0
OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 0
somewhat better 11
about as playable 10
not quite as playable 12
not nearly as playable 3
OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings
of similar gauge)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 6
somewhat better 11
about as durable 18
not quite as durable 1
not nearly as durable 0
RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability 3.6
Durability (14th overall) 4.4
Power 3.6
Control (2nd tie) 4.0
Comfort 3.3
Touch/Feel 3.3
Spin Potential (4th overall) 4.1
Holding Tension 3.6
Resistance to Movement (20th overall) 4.0

S
onic Pro Edge is a new version of
the well-known Sonic Pro from
Head, the most obvious difference
being that Sonic Pro Edge is a five-sided
geometric monofilament, where Sonic
Pro is a more traditional cylindrical
monofilament.
In addition to its pentagonal cross-sec-
tion, Sonic Pro Edge features uniquely
processed co-polymer polyester, which is
a specially-formulated combination of
resins and fibers. According to Head,
Sonic Pro Edge offers maximum spin
and control, increased power for a poly-
ester string, exceptional touch and feel,
and increased durability.
Sonic Pro Edge is designed for players
looking to create extra spin and control
with polyester.
Sonic Pro Edge is available in 16-
gauge only in anthracite. It is priced from
$13 for sets of 40 feet, and $180 for 660-
foot reels. For more information or to
order, contact Head at 800-289-7366, or
visit head.com. Be sure to read the con-
clusion for more information about your
free set.
IN THE LAB
We tested the 16-gauge Sonic Pro Edge.
The coil measured 40 feet. The diameter
measured 1.28-1.33 mm prior to string-
ing, and 1.25-1.27 mm after stringing.
We recorded a string bed stiffness of 73
RDC units immediately after stringing at
60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95
(16 x 18 pattern) on a constant-pull
machine.
After 24 hours (no playing), string bed
stiffness measured 67 RDC units, repre-
senting an 8 percent tension loss. Our
control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Origi-
nal Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units
immediately after stringing and 71 RDC
units after 24 hours, representing a 9
percent tension loss. Sonic Pro Edge
added 16 grams to the weight of our
unstrung frame.
The string was tested for five weeks
by 36 USRSA play testers, with NTRP rat-
ings from 3.5 to 6.0. These are blind
tests, with play testers receiving
unmarked strings in unmarked
packages. Average number of
hours play tested was 24.6.
Installing Sonic Pro Edge is a
little different from installing
most other polyester strings.
We did note that some of the
edges on the mains became
worn during the installation
of the crosses, but this is nor-
mal for geometrics that have
well-defined apexes
between the facets.
One playtester broke his sample
during stringing, 10 reported problems
with coil memory, four reported prob-
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
lems tying knots, and
four reported friction burn.
ON THE COURT
Even before we had all the results to tab-
ulate, the positive comments by mem-
bers of the playtest team gave notice
that there was something special about
this string. Once all the results were in,
they echoed the other feedback we
received: Sonic Pro Edge is a winner.
Of the 168 strings we’ve playtested
to date for publication, Sonic Pro Edge
tied for second for Control, placed fourth
overall for Spin Potential, came in 14th
overall in Durability, and placed 20th
overall in Resistance to Movement.
That’s four top-20 finishes for a co-poly-
ester string.
“Tied for second for Control” is plen-
ty impressive, but wait until you hear
the details. The other string with the
same score is a premium multifilament,
and the number one string in this cate-
gory is a premium natural gut product.
Did we mention that Sonic Pro Edge is a
co-polyester string?
It seems almost anticlimactic to
mention that Sonic Pro Edge also gar-
nered excellent scores in Tension Reten-
tion and Power, and well-above-average
scores in Playability, Comfort, and
Touch/Feel.
Overall, Sonic Pro Edge is the third-
highest-scoring string we’ve ever
playtested.
Four of the playtesters broke the
Head Sonic Pro Edge
February 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 43 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
(Strings normally used by testers are indicated in paren-
theses.) For the rest of the tester comments, visit
www.racquetsportsindustry.com.
(Luxilon Alu Power/Wilson NXT Tour 16L/16)

Great spin. Not as stiff as most poly-
esters.

4.5 male all-court player using Babo-
lat Pure Drive GT strung at 56 pounds LO
(Babolat RPM Blast 17)

Great spin and control with above average
playability and power. Good stuff!

3.5 male
all-court player using Head Youtek Star Five
strung at 50 pounds CP (Solid Core Nylon 16)

Decent playability, power, and comfort for
a firm-handling string.

4.5 male all-court
player using Babolat Pure Drive Roddick GT
strung at 40 pounds LO (Babolat RPM Blast
16)
TESTERS
TALK

This is comfortable for a monofila-
ment, with excellent control. It might be
time to switch to polyester.

4.0 male all-court player using Prince
EXO3 Red strung at 48 pounds CP
(Gamma TNT2 Pro Plus 17L)

Solid all-around performance. Excels
in every area. This string is definitely
playable enough to be used as a full
set.

4.5 male all-court player using
Prince EXO3 Tour (18x20) strung at
54/57 pounds LO (Prince Lightning XX
16)

This is a soft co-poly with a very pre-
cise response. The sharp edges bite into
the ball and create great spin. This string
definitely goes in my ‘top ten’ list.

5.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using
Vortex ES 100 strung at 52 pounds CP
(Spintex Exclusive HD 16)

This should appeal to players who
favor the softer feel of nylon or synthetic
gut.

4.5 male all-court player using
Volkl Boris Becker 10 strung at 60
pounds CP (Gamma Synthetic Gut 16)

Very precise response. It holds up
quite well over time. High marks for
comfort.

4.5 male all-court player using Wilson
BLX Six One Tour strung at 45 pounds LO
—Greg Raven◗
sample during the playtest period, one
each at 6, 8, 14, and 25 hours.
CONCLUSION
As of now, three of the top-four strings
we have playtested are polyester-based.
While it may be comforting to tradition-
alists to see that natural gut is firmly
ensconced at the top of this short list, it
is clear that manufacturers such as Head
have made tremendous strides in the
design of polyester strings, with Sonic
Pro Edge being the most recent impres-
sive example.
Head is so confident the USRSA
members will like Sonic Pro Edge that it
is including a free sample set with this
magazine for all USRSA members in the
United States.
H
ere’s a problem that’s probably
all too familiar in today’s econ-
omy: a country club facing
bankruptcy. In my case, at the Continen-
tal Country Club in Flagstaff, Ariz.,
where I’m the director of tennis, our ten-
nis program was losing more than
$10,000 a year.
Game over? Not really. There’s a sim-
ple-sounding solution: Reduce spending
and increase revenue.
OK, so how can you do that? Well, I
began turning the tennis situation
around at my club by changing the
employment structure for the tennis pro,
then we increased our memberships
and got creative with our court time.
The Continental Country Club is a
seasonal tennis program, running from
May to October. We received virtually
no income from tennis, and the sport
was looked on as merely an amenity for
our club members. Our tennis pro
received a salary, plus 100 percent of his
lessons.
I started by reworking the pro’s posi-
tion, making him an independent con-
tractor and splitting his lesson and clinic
income: he kept 80 percent, and the
club took 20 percent. Naturally, he was
unhappy at first, but he accepted the
new arrangement because he under-
stood the fiscal state the club was in.
This was the start of the concept that
tennis could be revenue-generating for
our club.
The second phase was to increase
membership by selling tennis member-
ships to non-club members, which
increased usage of the courts. As some-
one who has been active in the tennis
community for over 30 years, I was also
aware that USTA Leagues had grown in
our area, and often they lacked the
courts for home matches. Since club
members used our courts almost exclu-
sively in the mornings, I rented courts to
the USTA for league play in the after-
noons.
The club also sponsored USTA teams
by creating a corporate rate. The busi-
ness model of having the tennis courts
used only by members meant the courts
were unused a majority of the time. I
maximized usage by renting the courts
to USTA teams and hosting three tourna-
ments.
Also, our local college, Northern Ari-
zona University (NAU), has men’s and
women’s tennis teams. To make room
for university expansion, the tennis
courts on the NAU campus had to be
removed. In addition, the local indoor
tennis facility closed its doors for finan-
cial reasons. This created a unique
opportunity to rent courts to the college.
Because NAU needed the courts from
September to April, this dovetailed nicely
with our season. I consulted with the
maintenance staff, and they agreed to
keep the courts clear of snow. This
44 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY February 2013
‘Reaching out and
integrating the courts’
usage with the
community’s needs is a
win-win formula for
both the club and the
community.’
enabled us to rent the courts in the winter
to the college and also to high school
teams.
The biggest factor behind our turn-
around was integrating the courts with
the community, understanding our com-
munity’s needs and matching it with
what our facility had to offer. I also hired
other pros who teach in the city’s tennis
program during the summer to work as
independent contractors here in the win-
ter, since we were maintaining the
courts.
In 11 months, we are now up
$19,686, a turnaround of more than
$30,000. And our future is bright. The
financial model of having a tennis club
used exclusively by members when there
is not sufficient membership to financial-
ly support the tennis program is a recipe
for failure. Reaching out and integrating
the courts’ usage with the community’s
needs is a win-win formula for both.
On the horizon for us is snow play,
cross-country skiing, and ice skating on
artificial ice, utilizing the club’s infrastruc-
ture to further enhance our economic for-
tunes. Our successful tennis turnaround
has given us a whole new outlook on
what we can do to generate revenue. w
Your Serve
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Turning It All Around
With some creative restructuring and reaching
out to the local community, a private club’s
tennis courts are generating revenue.
BY GRE G KL E I NE R
DI RE CT OR OF T E NNI S , CONT I NE NT AL COUNT RY CL UB
Continental Country Club Tennis Director Greg
Kleiner, with Georgie Mills, coauthored the
book “Strings,” which was due to be released in
January. “Strings,” a work of fiction, takes
readers behind-the scenes of a college’s
women’s tennis team and its journey through a
year of training, study, competition, relation-
ships, and the mysterious life balance required
of a female student athlete. The book is being
published by Xlibris.
We welcome your opinions. Please email
comments to RSI@racquetTECH.com.
.GVEYOUR
· ~ · GAME
1 ·
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