201304 Racquet Sports Industry | Index (Economics) | Economic Growth

April 2013

Volume 41 Number 4 $5.00
Annual Racquet
Selection Guide
Two-Piece Stringing
Or One-Piece?
Soft-Court Award Winners
Annual Racquet
Selection Guide
Two-Piece Stringing
Or One-Piece?
Soft-Court Award Winners
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R S I A P R I L 2 0 1 3
7 Study: Tennis has positive
influence on students
7 PTR Symposium set
for May on HHI
7 IART schedules Stringers
8 Five programs named
USTA regional centers
9 Evans named Aer-Flo
sales manager
10 Wilson partners with TGA
Premier Youth Tennis
10 Peoplewatch
10 Indian Wells OKs Tennis
Garden expansion
11 Roddick, Stephens
top WTT player draft
12 Short Sets
12 Infographic shows
increase in 10U statistics
13 US Open Series events
coordinate ticket sales
4 Our Serve
7 Industry News
14 Tennis Coaching
15 Retail Sales
16 TIA News
18 Retailing Tip
32 Ask the Experts
34 String Playtest: Tecnifibre ATP Razor Code 16
36 Your Serve, by L. Jon Wertheim
2 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2013 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Cover photo by Bob Patterson
20 Is Two Better Than One?
A Master Racquet Technician considers
the advantages of using two-piece
22 Racquet Selection Map
Our exclusive guide enables you to find
the perfect frame for your customers
quickly and easily.
28 Soft Landing
These outdoor ASBA facility winners
are excellent examples of soft-court
Our Serve
(Incorporating Racquet Tech and Tennis Industry)
David Bone Jeff Williams
Editorial Director
Peter Francesconi
Associate Editor
Greg Raven
Design/Art Director
Kristine Thom
Contributing Editors
Robin Bateman
Cynthia Cantrell
Joe Dinoffer
Kent Oswald
Bob Patterson
Cynthia Sherman
Mary Helen Sprecher
Tim Strawn
Corporate Offices
PO Box 3392, Duluth, GA 30096
Phone: 760-536-1177 Fax: 760-536-1171
Email: RSI@racquetTECH.com
Website: www.racquetTECH.com
Office Hours: Mon.-Fri.,8 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific Time
Advertising Director
John Hanna
770-650-1102, x.125
Apparel Advertising
Cynthia Sherman
Racquet Sports Industry is published 10 times per
year: monthly January through August and combined
issues in September/October and November/
December by Tennis Industry and USRSA, PO Box 3392,
Duluth, GA 30096. Periodcal postage paid at
Duluth, GA and at additional mailing offices (USPS
#004-354). April 2013, Volume 41, Number 4 ©
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
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RSI is the official magazine of the USRSA, TIA,and ASBA
Take A Second Look at 10U Tennis
recently was talking with a very highly regarded teach-
ing pro in the USTA Southern Section who was telling
me about his first encounters with the 10 and Under
Tennis initiative. In short, he was not a fan.
He was skeptical of the rule change that mandated the use of lower
compression balls and shorter racquets on shorter courts. He was getting
complaints from parents of some of his talented 9- and 10-year-olds,
upset that they would be forced to either play events with lower compres-
sion balls, or play up to stay with the yellow ball.
The pro had other reservations, too. The initial cost of having to buy
baskets of red and orange balls, having to put down taped lines to create
36- and 60-foot courts—it all was a hassle. Then when the time came to
put permanent lines on 78-foot courts, how would adult club members
But then, it all just clicked. Suddenly, his junior programs were boom-
ing. And importantly, his 10 and under players were playing amazing ten-
nis, hitting strokes properly because the ball was no longer bouncing over
their heads—and having more fun than ever. Within a couple of weeks,
adult players didn’t even notice the lined courts. This pro did a complete
180—he’s now a huge proponent of 10U tennis because he can see the
positive results.
He admits that for some young players, and their parents, there was
a rough transition, as they fell in that range where they either had to play
with a ball they weren’t used to, or play with older kids to stay with the
yellow ball. But he says it was something that had to happen, there had
to be one group that would end up being more affected during the tran-
sition, in order to reach the point where now, all the kids are playing with
the racquets and balls that truly help them develop proper strokes and
What’s important is that this pro says “mandating” these changes, and
working through the rough patch to get to the other side, was the right
thing to do—if it hadn’t been required, then pros wouldn’t do it.
From my perspective, anything we can do to get more people playing
this game is a good thing, and 10U tennis gets more people into the
game. Kids have a lot of options when it comes to sports, and getting
them involved in tennis earlier, and actually playing the game and enjoy-
ing it, is a huge key in keeping them playing throughout their lives. It cre-
ates players, frequent players, and tennis consumers.
The bottom line about 10U tennis is the bottom line… it simply makes
good business sense. If you’re a tennis provider and you haven’t yet got-
ten involved in 10 and Under Tennis, you need to take a second look at
how it can help your business.
Peter Francesconi
Editorial Director
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PTR Symposium
Set for May
The 2013 PTR Interna-
tional Tennis Symposium
& Championships will be
April 30 to May 6 at the
newly renovated Sonesta
Resort on Hilton Head
Island, S.C.
The Symposium attracts
tennis teachers and
coaches from more than
50 countries. Many of
the industry’s notable
speakers, including Dr. Jim
Loehr, Pat Etcheberry,
Butch Staples, Leo Alonso,
Lorenzo Beltrame, Doug
Cash, Mike Barrell, Anne
Davis, Michele Krause,
Jorge Capestany and Dr.
Mark Kovacs, will be
among the more than 50
presenters who will con-
duct classroom and on-
court presentations.
Subjects range from 10
and Under Tennis to ten-
nis business to teaching
tactics and techniques.
There is also a special
high school coaches’
track sponsored by the
USTA that will be held
over the weekend to
accommodate scholastic
The PTR International
Championships, held in
conjunction with the
Symposium, will start on
April 30. The Symposium
also offers a Tennis Trade
Show. Professional Devel-
opment Courses will be
held May 1, 6 and 7.
Visit ptrtennis.org for
information or to register.
R S I A P R I L 2 0 1 3
USTA Study Shows Positive Influences of Tennis
STA Serves, the national charitable foundation of the USTA, recently released the results of the
USTA Serves Special Report, “More Than a Sport: Tennis, Education and Health.” The study, con-
ducted among high school students, is the first nationwide study to analyze the educational,
behavioral and health benefits to adolescents who participate in tennis.
Results from the study show that, when compared to non-athletes and participants in many other
sports, young people who participate in tennis get better grades, devote more hours to studying, think
more about their future, aspire to attend and graduate from college, and
have lower suspension and expulsion rates.
Key findings from the report include:
w Tennis is a unique catalyst for educational advantage. Tennis players
spent more time doing homework, and were more likely to report
receiving “A” grades. A full 48% of students in the report have an “A”
average and 81% say they will attend college.
w Tennis players had significantly lower rates of suspension from school
and other disciplinary measures than participants in other sports and
w Educational advantages among tennis players occurred across all
socioeconomic levels.
w Adolescent tennis players are well-rounded. Participation rates within
extracurricular activities and community involvement were higher
among adolescent tennis players. In fact, 82% volunteer in their com-
w Tennis contributes to adolescent health. Tennis players reported lower
rates of unhealthy behavior such as drinking and smoking, and are less
likely to be overweight or become obese.
w Adolescent participation in tennis varies by race/ethnicity and gender, as well as across geographic
regions. Among all adolescent tennis players in the U.S., whites constituted 77%, Hispanics 14%, and
African-Americans 9%.
“While most people may not be surprised to learn that the majority of adolescent tennis players score
better than most other athletes (and all non-athletes) on education and social behavior, what is less
known is that those benefits also cross all socioeconomics levels in varying degrees,” said Deborah Slan-
er Larkin, executive director of USTA Serves. “Hopefully, this evidence-based research will encourage
more educators, health policy makers and parents to promote tennis in physical education classes as well
as in school and community-based sports programs.”
For the full executive summary and report, visit www.ustaserves.com.
April 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 7 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
IART Schedules 2013 Stringers Symposium in Florida
he International Alliance of Racquet Technicians (formerly GSS) will hold its 2013 training sympo-
sium Sept. 21-25, again at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Fla. The event will offer a variety of semi-
nars covering all aspects of racquet service, including a four-hour specialty course on customization.
Other seminars include beginning, intermediate, and advanced stringing plus the Wilson speed-stringing
contest. Supplemental courses on business planning, marketing strategies through social media, USRSA
and ERSA certification testing, and 10 & Under Tennis are also planned.
For information, contact IART founder Tim Strawn at tim@gssalliance.com or 540-632-1148.
A P R I L 2 0 1 3
8 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2013 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
RSI’s ‘30 Under 30’ Presented by CareersInTennis.com
ominate now for Racquet Sports Industry’s “30 Under 30” honors, recognizing some
of the young movers and shakers in the tennis industry. The 30 individuals we pick
will be featured in an upcoming special section in the magazine.
RSI’s “30 Under 30” section is presented by CareersInTennis.com, the industry’s
largest database for connecting job seekers with tennis employers. The TIA’s free
Careers in Tennis initiative had over 40,000 website views in 2012 and has more than
1,000 tennis-specific job postings. Nearly 2,000 job seekers are registered on the site,
which also has 200 registered employers posting jobs—all for free.
Anyone can nominate potential “30 Under
30” honorees (you can even nominate yourself),
and nominees can come from any segment of
this industry. Nominees can even be volunteers
in tennis; they don’t have to be employed in this
industry. The only restriction is that the nominee
cannot have turned age 30 before June 1, 2013.
To nominate, send us a brief email by April 1
describing your choice for “30 Under 30” hon-
ors. Also include the nominee’s birthday (month
and year is fine) if you know it, and con-
tact information for both you and the
nominee. Put “30 Under 30” in the subject
line and email rsi@racquettech.com.
NY Knicks’ Chandler Praises
Allen Fox’s ‘The Winner’s Mind’
ew York Knicks center Tyson Chandler, in an article in
the New York Times in February, said that Dr. Allen
Fox’s book, “The Winner’s Mind: A Competitor’s Guide to
Sports and Business Success,” helps him collect his
thoughts and perform at his best.
“I recently read ‘The Winner’s Mind,’ by Allen Fox,” Chan-
dler was quoted as saying. “It calmed me because it put me in
a place where I had the satisfaction that I’m working towards
my goal. And then I could go on to the next day.”
“The Winner’s Mind” is published by Racquet Tech Publishing and available in the
online store at racquettech.com.
Top-Selling Tennis Strings
at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date units, Jan.-Dec. 2012
1. Prince Synthetic Gut Duraflex
2. Babolat RPM Blast
3. Wilson NXT
4. Wilson Sensation
5. Luxilon Alu Power
Top-Selling Racquets
at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, Jan.-Dec. 2012
Best Sellers
1. Babolat Aero Pro Drive GT (MP)
2. Babolat Pure Drive GT 2012 (MP)
3. Wilson BLX Juice (MP)
4. Babolat Pure Drive Lite 2012 (MP)
5. Babolat Pure Drive GT (MP
“Hot New Racquets”
(introduced in the past 12 months)
1. Babolat Pure Drive GT 2012 (MP)
2. Wilson BLX Juice (MP)
3. Babolat Pure Drive Lite 2012 (MP)
4. Babolat Pure Drive 107 2012 (OS)
5. Wilson BLX Juice (OS)
Tennis Racquet Performance
Specialty Stores
January - December, 2012 vs. 2011
UNITS 2012 731,346
2011 719,490
% change vs. '11 2%
DOLLARS 2012 102,432,000
2011 101,748,000
% change vs. ’11 1%
PRICE 2012 $140.06
2011 $141.42
% change vs. ’11 -1%
Top-Selling Tennis Shoes
at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, Jan.-Dec. 2012
1. Prince T22
2. Adidas Adipower Barricade 7
3. Asics Gel Resolution 4
4. Babolat Propulse 3
5. Nike Zoom Breathe 2K11
(Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)
Five Programs Named as USTA Certified Regional Centers
STA Player Development announced that five junior development programs have
started new, three-year agreements to serve as USTA Certified Regional Training
Centers (RTCs). The programs will train junior players in four USTA sections.
Eagle Fustar Tennis Academy in Santa Clara, Calif. (USTA Northern California), Dar-
ling Tennis Center in Las Vegas, Nev. (USTA Intermountain), and T Bar M Racquet Club
in Dallas (USTA Texas) each are renewing their partnerships as USTA Certified Regional
Training Centers,
Five Seasons Sports Club in Northbrook, Ill. (USTA Midwest) and The Smiths, LLC.,
in Indianapolis, Ind. (USTA Midwest), are joining the USTA Certified Regional Training
Center network, setting the total number of USTA Certified Regional Training Centers
across America to 17.
As USTA Certified RTCs, the programs will enhance the training and development
of junior players in their respective areas of the country. USTA Player Development will
use these partnerships as vehicles to educate and collaborate with junior tennis coach-
es in these four USTA sections to work toward developing the next generation of world-
class Americans.
April 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 9 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
USTA President
Dave Haggerty Sends
‘Chairman’s Update’
n late February, new USTA Chairman
of the Board and President Dave
Haggerty sent out his first “Chair-
man’s Update” to USTA volunteers
and staff. Here is part of what he had
to say:
“Since I assumed my new role in
January, you know that one of the top
priorities of my administration will be
communication. It is vitally important
to me that all of us within the USTA
commit ourselves to keeping all lines of
communication open among ourselves
and among our constituents and part-
ners in the sport. It is only through
open dialogue that we can learn from
each other and improve as an associa-
tion, as a sport, and individually. To
that end, I will be sending out these
“Chairman’s Updates” on a regular
basis, so that all of you will be aware of
our activities, priorities, and the vari-
ous important developments in the
sport that impact us as an association.
“In terms of priorities, I want to
stress that we have one set of five pri-
orities that are uniform and consistent
across all areas of the USTA. This is the
best and only way to maximize our
efforts and ensure that all staff and vol-
unteers are aligned with our mission.
These five priorities will be structured
upon the foundation of Leadership,
Management and Partnership, and
1) Listening and communicating effec-
2) Embracing and leading change.
3) Growing tennis participation.
4) Improving our financial perform-
5) Focusing on fewer things and doing
them better.
“These are the things that matter,
because these are the things that will
make our sport and the USTA stronger,
more robust and more vital. You’ll be
hearing more from me on each of these
areas, but this is an outline by which we
must shape all that we do going for-
ward. If we do, then we will have a
bright future.”
Keith Evans Named Aer-Flo Sales Manager
er-Flo Inc., manufacturer of the Tuffy windscreen, has named Keith Evans as its
national sales manager of its Tennis Division. A former NCAA All American at the
University of Mississippi, Evans played on the ATP Tour for six years and won 17 pro
satellite events. A USPTA-certified pro, Evans has served as tennis director at five private
clubs over the last 14 years, most recently at the University Club of Memphis.
“Keith understands the many demands on club professionals and college coaches,
which will be helpful as he manages Aer-Flo’s nationwide network of tennis equipment
dealers,” says Aer-Flo President Bill Henning. Aer-Flo is headquartered in Bradenton,
Fla., with a second production plant in Anniston, Ala.
A P R I L 2 0 1 3
• Dutch wheelchair tennis phenom Esther Vergeer, 31, has retired from the
game. She leaves pro tennis with an active win streak in singles of 470
matches, her last loss coming in January 2003. She lost only 18 sets during
that streak and won more than a third of her sets by a 6-0 score.
• After reaching a career-high ranking of No. 6 on the International Rac-
quetball Tour in early February, Head Penn’s Tony Carson of Denver, along
with his partner, won the 2013 Men’s Doubles National Championship and
captured his first USA Racquetball National Adult title. With the win, Carson
earned a one-year appointment to the USA Racquetball National Team Pool.
• Frenchman Brice Leverdez, playing his first tournament with the new Wil-
son Recon badminton racquet in February, won his sixth men’s singles title in
a row at the French National Badminton Championships.
• Head Penn racquetballer Paola Longoria of Mexico extended her match
winning streak to 665 straight days with a win at the 2013 Winter Classic in
Kansas in late February. She now has a record 17 straight titles on the Ladies
Professional Racquetball Tour.
• Head Penn junior racquetball sensation Jordan Cooperrider of Florida won
the Women’s State Open title at the Florida State Racquetball Champi-
onships recently. She plays with the Head Scorpion 170 frame.
• After their contracts with IMG expired at the end of last year, Rafael
Nadal and his longtime manager, Carlos Costa, started a new company that
will manage athletes, including tennis players, soccer players and golfers.
• Ashaway Racket Strings has announced the addition of New
Zealand's rising squash star, Joelle King, to its roster of spon-
sored players. King currently is ranked No. 7 on the Women's
Squash Association World Tour.
Wilson Partners With TGA
Premier Youth Tennis
ilson Tennis has formed an
exclusive partnership with
TGA Premier Youth Tennis (TGA)
in a deal that includes Wilson becoming the
official equipment and apparel provider for
TGA programs and providing funding to
TGA’s 501c3 Foundation. The deal includes
Wilson providing 10 and Under Tennis equip-
ment and apparel for TGA’s programming.
“The partnership is a great fit for Wilson
Racquet Sports and our shared vision to
attract more youth participation,” said Jon
Muir, general manager of Wilson Racquet
Sports. “TGA’s pathway programs have
proven to be successful in providing youth an
entry into sports and the tennis industry.”
The partnership will include Wilson con-
tributing funds over the next three years to
the 501c3 TGA Sports Foundation in an ongo-
ing effort provide all youngsters access to the
sport of tennis through school-based pro-
grams and beyond. The goals of the TGA
Foundation are to develop under-resourced
and special needs youth by making tennis
accessible in all communities while transi-
tioning students and families to local tennis
facilities and USTA programming.
“This is a partnership that will impact the
long-term growth of the tennis industry,”
said Joshua Jacobs, co-founder and CEO of
TGA Premier Youth Tennis. “We are already
working with Wilson to develop opportuni-
ties for our franchises to grow tennis in the
communities we serve.” For more informa-
tion on TGA, visit www.playtga.com.
Stringlet Expands to Canada
tringlet Brand magnetic tennis string bracelets has expanded to Canada via
its work with the Ontario Tennis Association and retail launch at Ontario’s
The Merchant of Tennis shops. The Stringlet (www.stringlet.net) is a durable
and feather light magnetic tennis string bracelet constructed of colorful synthet-
ic gut string and a powerful magnetic clasp and made for tennis players and
Stringlet comes in 27 varieties to represent team colors, player favorites,
country colors or tournament colors. Custom options are also available for qual-
ified partners. Contact info@stringlet.net.
Indian Wells OKs Tennis Garden Expansion
he Indian Wells City Council has OK’d a $70 million expansion of the Indian
Wells Tennis Garden, home of the BNP Paribas Open. The expansion is part
of a five-year plan aimed at boosting attendance to 500,000 people. The 2012
event drew about 370,000 fans.
The proposal includes an 8,000-seat stadium built 27 feet sunken into the
ground; an additional 2,000 parking spaces; three restaurants; and more than
700 palm trees to keep the garden feel.
BNP Paribas Open CEO Ray Moore said the project should be completed in
about 10 months, in time for the 2014 tournament.
✘ Correction
The phone number to order “Tennis Courts: A Construction and
Maintenance Manual” listed on page 28 of the March issue should be
866-501-2722. The manual also can be downloaded as a pdf at
Roddick, Stephens Top
WTT Player Draft
ormer world No. 1 Andy Roddick was
the top pick recently in the Mylan
World TeamTennis Marquee Draft. Rod-
dick will play for the Springfield Lasers.
Sloane Stephens, a young American
who is currently ranked No. 17 on the
WTA Tour, was selected by the Philadel-
phia Freedoms with its first-round pick.
The newest Mylan WTT franchise,
Texas Wild, will bring the world's best
doubles team to their new home court in
Irving, Texas. The Wild, who relocated to
Texas this year after 20 seasons in
Kansas City, protected the rights to Bob
and Mike Bryan who are back for their
11th season.
Venus Williams, who led the Wash-
ington Kastles to its second straight
undefeated season and championship
title in 2012, returns to the nation's cap-
ital for her 10th Mylan WTT season. The
three-time champion Kastles will be tak-
ing a 32-match win streak into its 2013
season opener.
Two of the top Americans on the ATP
Tour will once again play for the Sacra-
mento Capitals. The Caps protected their
rights to Sam Querrey and Mardy Fish.
The eight WTT teams will compete in
two conferences during the regular sea-
son, which concludes on Wednesday,
July 24. The 2013 Mylan WTT Finals will
be contested on the home court of the
Eastern Conference Champions. For
more information, visit www.WTT.com.
New CSs
Cameron Davitt San Diego, CA
Cole O'Neill Argyle, TX
Michael Vernon Sunnyvale, CA
Congratulations To the Following
For Achieving MRT Status
New MRTs
Matthew Bolin Concord, NC
A P R I L 2 0 1 3
Unique Sports has announced multi-year
Tourna Grip agreement with top-ranked ITF
junior Taylor Townsend of Georgia. Townsend,
who recently turned pro, joins fellow WTA
Tour Tourna Grip endorsees Christina McHale,
Yaroslava Shevedova, Genie Bouchard and
Alexa Glatch, among others.
The U.S. Fed Cup team will host Sweden in
the 2013 Fed Cup World Group Playoff April
20-21 in Delray Beach, Fla. Winning nations
in the World Group Playoff qualify for the
2014 World Group to compete for a Fed Cup
title. The U.S. fell to Italy, 3-2, in the 2013
World Group first round in Rimini Feb. 9-10.
The Sarasota Open, a USTA Pro Circuit
event, will now be called The Nick Bollettieri
Sarasota Women’s Open. It will be April 13-21
at the Longboat Key Club.
For the second consecutive year, the Fam-
ily Circle Cup has named Antigua Apparel as
its official apparel sponsor for the tournament. As
part of the agreement, Antigua will outfit the offi-
cials, staff, volunteers and ball kids in addition to
having a retail presence on site.
The Middlebury (Conn.) Racquet Club hosted
a fund-raising event, Serving Up for Sandy Hook,
in late January, after the elementary school
tragedy. "As a club that serves a number of sur-
rounding communities, we have many members
and several staff from Newtown," said Patricia
Decker, owner of the Middlebury Racquet Club.
"We are grateful that we have the opportunity to
support the healing process in these communities
by coming together through the sport of tennis."
More than 450 people attended the event that
raised more than $6,500.
Reports say that the sports management com-
pany IMG is up for sale, possibly worth more than
$2 billion. Among its tennis clients are Novak
Djokovic and Maria Sharapova; the company
recently lost management of Roger Federer and
Rafael Nadal. IMG also runs tournament sand
other events.
Rich Johns of Saratoga Springs, NY, RSI’s
2009 High School Coach of the Year, has
launched a new website, www.actwithrespectal-
ways.com. The Act With Respect Always cam-
paign he created has picked up the endorsement
of Duke University basketball coach Mike
Volkl has launched its new website at volkl-
Emirates Airlines is extending its sponsorship
of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA,
until 2015. Emirates has been the Official Airline
of the tournament since 2010.
Second-seeded Kenyon upset top-seed
Emory on Feb. 24 to win the ITA Division III
National Men's Team Indoor Championship, held
at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota.
Infographic Shows
Increases in
10U Statistics
n the most recent USTA/TIA ten-
nis participation study, the age
demographic that saw the greatest
percentage increase in 2012 was
young players 6 to 11, which
increased 13% from 2011. Clearly,
messages about 10 and Under Ten-
nis are reaching kids, their parents,
and tennis providers—and all of
that is having a positive influence
in other industry segments, too..
For instance, there are now
more than 10,000 courts in the
U.S. lined for youth tennis, includ-
ing standalone 36- and 60-foot
courts and blended lines on 78-
foot courts. Sales of red, orange
and green balls and graduated rac-
quets continue to increase, as does
the number of facilities offering 10
and Under Tennis programs and
the number of kids in youth tennis
The USTA recently produced the
infographic at left to showcase
some of the latest stats to tennis
US Open Series Events
Coordinate Ticket Sales
ickets for all nine of the 2013 Emi-
rates Airline US Open Series events
went on sale in March at www.emi-
ratesusopenseries.com—the first time
that US Open Series events are coor-
dinating their ticket sales. The USTA is
running a national marketing cam-
paign to push the Series, as well as a
satellite media tour with American
teenager Sloane Stephens, who is cur-
rently ranked No. 17 on the WTA Tour.
Now in its 10th season, the Series
consists of:
w July 22-28: Bank of the West Classic, Stanford, CA
w July 22-28: BB&T Atlanta Open, Atlanta, GA
w July 29-Aug. 4: Mercury Insurance Open, Carls-
bad, CA
w July 29-Aug. 4: Citi Open, Washington, DC
w Aug. 5-11: Rogers Cup, Toronto, CAN
w Aug. 5-11: Rogers Cup, Montreal, CAN
w Aug. 11-18: Western & Southern Open, Cincin-
nati, OH
w Aug. 18-24: New Haven Open at Yale, New Haven,
w Aug. 18-24: Winston-Salem Open, Winston-
Salem, NC
Tennis Coaching
players. Level C is intended for coaches
working with junior and Futures-level
GPTCA Courses
In April, GPTCA courses will be conduct-
ed in Morocco, Germany and Brazil,
while Italy, Germany and France will host
sessions in May. During the rest of 2013,
the U.S., Russia, Spain, Serbia, Taiwan,
Myanmar, Dubai, Colombia and Finland
will have courses. The GPTCA recently
finalized an agreement with Patrick
Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’
coach, to hold courses at his
famous tennis academy near
The GPTCA’s growing prestige
in the tennis-teaching world was
underscored when it and the Pro-
fessional Tennis Registry signed
an agreement to partner from
2013 through 2015. The PTR has
approximately 14,000 members
in 117 countries. PTR CEO Dan
Santorum says, “It’s a good com-
bination because they’re dealing
with information about how to
coach on the tour. And the perfor-
mance education we provide is
more detail- and technical-oriented. So
we felt we could help them and they
could help us.
“High-profile coaches Toni, Dirk, Rain-
er, Alberto and others will be affiliated
with PTR and also be speakers at our
conventions. That raises the profile of the
PTR, and we want our members to be as
educated as possible.” w
The GPTCA’s mission is “to unify all
world-class coaches in one association for
the first time in history and to foster high-
er standards of professionalism and
ethics,” says Castellani.
The association is already represented
in 40 countries by national presidents who
are well-known and respected in the ten-
nis coaching profession. A complete list of
the presidents and members, plus other
important information, appears on the
GPTCA website (gptcatennis.org) and on
their Facebook page.
According to Schuettler, GPTCA coach-
es are focusing on the three most impor-
tant areas in professional tennis:
technique, mental strength, and physical
skills. “In the next 10 years, every stroke
will become better because everyone will
work to make strokes even more sound
and efficient,” Schuettler predicts.
The GPTCA accredits three levels of
coaching proficiency. Level A certification
is attained solely on the basis of achieve-
ments, such as coaches of Grand Slam
winners or runners-up, coaches who
reached at least Grand Slam finals as ten-
nis players, and all former Top 10 players.
Levels B and C certification is gained
through successful completion of courses.
Level B is designated for coaches working
with Grand Slam, ATP and Challenger-level
ou may not have heard of the
Global Professional Tennis Coach
Association, but sooner or later this
new organization will come to an acade-
my, club or tournament near you. The
GPTCA grew out of an idea that Alberto
Castellani and Dirk Hordorff had bandied
around for years. Why not assemble a
group of world-class coaches to teach less
experienced coaches the finer points and
subtleties of the game? With their exper-
tise, a corps of local coaches could
improve aspiring pro players and help
take world-class tennis to a high-
er, even more exciting level.
Their ideas came to fruition
when the GPTCA was founded at
a meeting of renowned tennis
coaches during the US Open in
2011. “The meeting exploded
with ideas, proposals, and com-
mitments,” recalls Rainer
Schuettler. “The idea to go to the
ATP and ask for their certifica-
tion came straightaway, and that
was one of the many
brilliant ideas the meeting
Castellani, a 64-year-old Ital-
ian, became GPTCA’s first presi-
dent. He has coached the Moroccan
Davis Cup team, Janko Tipsarevic, Ivo
Karlovic, and 1992 Olympic gold medal-
ist Marc Rosset.
Hordorff, Toni Nadal, and Schuettler
were named to the GPTCA’s board. Hor-
dorff is No. 9-ranked Tipsarevic’s current
coach and guided Schuettler for many
years. Nadal is superstar Rafael Nadal’s
uncle and only coach. Schuettler is the
2003 Australian Open finalist and former
world No. 5.
Supplementing that leadership nucle-
us are knowledgeable and experienced
coaches Jose Perlas, Marcos Gorriz, Jean-
Philippe Fleurian, Claudio Pistolesi, Boris
Sobkin, Alexander Waske, and Larri Pas-
sos, who guided Gustavo Kuerten to three
French Open titles.
How the GPTCA Is Changing
Coaching and Pro Tennis BY PAUL F E I N
Paul Fein has received more than 30 writ-
ing awards and authored three books, Ten-
nis Confidential: Today’s Greatest Players,
Matches, and Controversies; You Can
Quote Me on That: Greatest Tennis Quips,
Insights, and Zingers; and Tennis Confiden-
tial II: More of Today’s Greatest Players,
Matches, and Controversies. Fein is also a
USPTA-certified teaching pro and coach
with a Pro-1 rating.
At the Australian Open, Dirk Hordorff (from left), PTR
board member Leo Alonso, Dan Santorum, and GPTCA's
Giorgio Di Palermo agreed to a two-year partnership.
Retail Sales
w 25% say they’ll delay the purchase of
luxury items.
w 46% indicate they will simply spend
less overall.
What does this mean for tennis
retailers? Chances are, your business is
likely to see some impact from the pay-
roll tax-cut holiday expiration in one
form or the other. But the key to reduc-
ing its impact is to plan ahead.
If you are planning to put products
on sale prices in 2013, consider extend-
ing how long those sales run. Also keep
in mind that ultimately, your shoppers
have less money to spend on discre-
tionary purchases, so they will be more
attentive to when sales are running.
You can also capitalize on this height-
ened attention to retail sales by effec-
tively communicating your sales to
your customers through various mar-
keting channels and media.
In addition, think about the compet-
itive advantages you may have over
other retailers. Keep in mind, a quarter
of all shoppers will comparison shop
more in 2013. You need to focus on
your competitive advantages during
these times and capitalize on them to
ensure that consumers complete the
sale at your store.
Another key factor to consider are
your inventory levels. Considering that
46% of consumers plan to spend less
overall in 2013 to help offset the
impact of the payroll tax-cut holiday
expiration, appropriately monitoring
your inventory levels will become
extremely important. w
ccording to a recent survey con-
ducted by the National Retail
Federation, over 70% of Ameri-
cans are planning to adjust their spend-
ing due to the recent expiration of the
payroll tax-cut holiday. In fact, 46% of
consumers indicated they will be spend-
ing less overall in 2013 because of the
bite out of their take home pay, while
others say they’ll delay purchases and
watch for sales more often. This may
clearly affect tennis retail, too.
The tax-cut holiday expiration will
impact consumers’ take-home pay by
roughly 2%. For the average household
income earning $50,000, that's a direct
impact of $1,000 a year, and even
more in households with higher annual
“A smaller paycheck due to the fis-
cal cliff deal early last month, higher gas
prices, low consumer confidence and
ongoing uncertainty about our nation’s
fiscal health is negatively impacting con-
sumers and businesses across the coun-
try,” said NRF President and CEO
Matthew Shay. “We cannot grow the
nation’s economy until consumers con-
sume. Every day we hear about building
the middle class. We can only do that if
we tear down barriers that prevent con-
sumers from investing their hard-earned
money back into our nation’s economy.
It’s really that simple.” (Visit nrf.com for
more details.)
Some key points from the NRF
report relative to retailers include:
w Of those who say they will spend less
in 2013, 25% say they’ll do so by
"comparison shopping" more.
w 36% say they’ll watch for sales more
w 24% say they’ll delay major
Expiration of Payroll
Tax-Cut Holiday May
Impact Your Business
Ryan Melton is the Operations Manager for
the Tennis Industry Association. Industry
research, and interpreting the data, are
among the areas he deals with at the TIA.
TIA State of
the Industry
Due in Spring
A spring release is planned for
the third edition of the TIA's
State of the Industry report.
The 2013 edition will
synthesize data from
the past year that the TIA
collects through its nearly
80 surveys and research
studies into an easy-to-read
The State of the Industry
takes a top-level view of a
variety of trends and segments
in the industry to tell a
comprehensive "story" of the
tennis industry. The report will
analyze the tennis industry via
four segments:
• The Economy and Tennis-
This section will include trends in
the Dow Jones Industrial Average
and the Consumer Confidence
Index and compare those to
overall trends in the tennis
economy with the TIA Economic
• Demand-Among other areas,
this section will highlight
participation trends as well as
playing habits of the industry's
key revenue driver, frequent
• Supply- The report will highlight
trends in wholesale shipments for
manufacturers, trends affecting
the retail market, tennis facility
performance, business trends
from court contractors, and the
current state of the industry
from the perspective of teaching
• Competitive Tennis-This section
will highlight competitive tennis
at the recreational, collegiate, and
professional levels.
The State of the Industry report is
an annual release made available
to TIA Industry Level members and
above. For information on how to
obtain a copy when it is released,
contact the TIA at research@
tennisindustry.org or 866-686-3036.
Total Tennis Economy Grows
3.1% in 2012 to $5.57 Billion
The total value of the U.S. tennis economy grew by just
over 3% last year, up to $5.57 billion. The data stems from
the Tennis Industry Association's annual "Economic
Index," created to evaluate the total worth of the U.S.
tennis industry to the overall economy. The 2012 index
value measured 101, meaning the industry is in a
slightly better position than it was in 2008 when the
first Economic Index value was released.
According to advanced estimates from the Bureau
of Economic Analysis, real GDP in the U.S. grew
2.2% in 2012, indicating the growth in the tennis
economy outpaced growth in the overall economy
by nearly 1%.
Helping drive growth in the 2012 Tennis
Economic Index value over 2011 (which was
$5.4 billion) was the 4% growth in total tennis
participation, 10% growth in frequent players,
and increases in lesson revenue from teaching
professionals and in sponsor revenue and
spectator spending at pro tournaments. The
increase in spectator spending was a large contributor to
the Economic Index's growth in 2012.
"2012 was a good 'rebounding' year for the tennis industry," says TIA
Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. "We saw growth in overall participation
and an increase in frequent players, the industry's key revenue generators,
which had been down or flat the previous few years."
Player spending on equipment in 2012 was up about 5% over 2011 and
wholesale dollars shipped into the market were up 7%. Although neither
of these values have reached the pre-recessionary levels seen in 2008,
they nonetheless helped contribute to the overall growth seen in the TIA
Economic Index.
"What we've seen in the overall economy is a normalization of consumer
and commercial spending," says Keith Storey, Vice President of Sports
Marketing Surveys USA. the TIA's research partner. "Consumers have
learned to cope with lower discretionary income and businesses have
adapted to become leaner and more efficient. These more sustainable
growth rates of 2% to 3% that we are seeing in tennis and overall U.S. GDP
are typical of what we have expected and are likely to continue into 2013."
A complete overview of the TIA Economic Index will be included in the
2013 TIA State of the Industry, which is slated for release in early spring.
For more information on TIA research, contact Ryan Melton, TIA Operations
Manager, at (843) 473-4490 or via email at research@tennisindustry.org.
TIA Cost of Doing Business Report Slated for Release
Every two years the TIA releases
its Cost of Doing Business Study
for Tennis Retailers, providing
key performance indicators and
other industry averages. Retailers
who utilize the report have the
opportunity to see how they are
performing against the rest of the
retail landscape, as well as identify
areas in which they may be able to
improve. This year's report should
be released by spring and will be
available to Associate TIA Members
and above. To reserve a copy ofthis
year's Cost of Doing Business Tennis
Retailer report, contact TIA Retail
Manager Marty Mohar at 843-473-
4505 or marty@tennisindustry.org.
Join t he TIA ... Increase Your Profits .. . Grow the Game . .. www.Tennislndustry.org
PlayTennis.com Relaunches
With New Look and Feel
Are you ready to move your business up a level? The relaunch of
PlayTennis.com this spring offers a new look and feel, and will help
to make it easy for consumers to get into the game and find playing
opportunities, partners, equipment, lessons, courts and more.
All the major tennis companies and organizations are supporting
PlayTennis.com, which is a free, "brand neutral" site that focuses on
increasing tennis play and business. Tennis providers-teaching pros,
retailers, facilities, court bui lders, etc.-need to make sure they' re a part
of PlayTennis.com, and they can easily do so by updating or creating
their free provider listing.
"One of the unique aspects of this industry is our unified effort to
promote this sport, which also helps to promote your business," says
TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. "One way the TIA does this is
by maintaining the free GrowingTennis System, the industry's largest
database of local tennis providers. The information in this database is
available to consumers through search engines and t ennis websites, so
when potential customers are looking for a place to play, buy equipment,
take lessons, or more, they can easi ly find your business."
To make sure your information in the GrowingTennis System is
accurate and up to date, the TIA recent ly sent out a Facility and Retail
Census to providers across the country, with easy to use links to update
information. If you missed the emai l, you can quickly and easily update
or create your free database listing by going to GrowingTennis.com.
"We want people to play tennis- that's the simple message of
PlayTennis.com," says TIA President Greg Mason. "It's a message that's
the core of this industry and something we all should get behind."
Retailers Consider romotions to Boost Business
At meetings in New York City in
early March, the TIA and a
group of tennis retailers
considered ways to help
boost the retai l business
in the U.S.
"We want to help
retailers bring more
customers into their stores
and generate more sales,"
says TIA Executive Director
Jolyn de Boer. "The ideas we
discussed in New York, and
many more, can help us on that
path. But we'd also like to hear
from other retailers and tennis
providers about what they think can
help promote tennis retai l." Contact
t he TIA at retailer@tennisindustry.org
with your retail ideas.
Among the ideas considered by the
retailers at the meeting were:
• Restring campaign: "Retailers have
told us getting players into their stores
more often for a racquet tune-up can
help their business," de Boer says.
"We discussed a 'restring campaign'
that would focus on changing the
thinking of consumers, so that they'll
restring more often to get the most out
of their racquets and play their best."
One possibility might be to promote
a "personalized racquet tune-up" that
would send consumers to PlayTennis.
com to find a local retailer or stringer.
Join the TIA ... Increase Your Profits ... Grow the Game ... www.Tennislndustry.org
• Try tennis for free: Also a topic
among retailers was a possible
"try tennis for free" promotion,
which would be designed to bring
people into stores and tennis
faci I ities.
• "Tennis event": A national "tennis
event" exclusively for pro/ specialty
retailers also was discussed, which
would involve presentations and
educational seminars for retailers
along with manufacturers displaying
products and services.
• Tennis fashion show: Another
consideration is a possible tennis
fashion show, to highlight apparel
designers and manufacturers, where
it could attract mainstream media
coverage and help drive customers to
tennis retai lers across the country.
• Tennis fan promotion: The retail
group also discussed a retai ler/tennis
fan promotion that would help connect
consumers to pro events, such as the
Emirates Airline US Open Series.
improvement in Ownership & Manage-
ment, he should commit to work on and
develop a passion for the retail business,
and project this passion to employees.
For instance, at store closing time
there are two shoppers still in the store.
The part-time employees have had a long
day and grumble that they wish the shop-
pers would leave so they can get to the
court and play some tennis. The owner
has a golden opportunity to tell them:
“We’re in the specialty retail business
first, and customers make it possible for
us to enjoy our sport. Our job is to deliver
an extraordinary retail shopping experi-
ence each and every time by making sure
they can enjoy the tennis lifestyle, too!”
In your annual store
business plan, you need to
spell out how you are going
to correct your store operat-
ing weaknesses, who is
going to do it, what the
expected results will be and
when you are going to
make the improvements
and what the anticipated
cost will be.
How do you measure improvements
to the assessment benchmarks you set?
Simple: Set up another online Retail Busi-
ness Assessment in six months or a year,
after you’ve implemented recommenda-
tions that can move up the weak and
neutral areas. w
After you have read the whole report, go
back and review your store’s weaknesses,
which are the immediate threats to your
retail business. This is where “benchmark-
ing” comes in. Benchmarking simply
means setting the standard for your retail
store performance and operations by which
you can measure or judge improvements.
In the example below, Store Operations
and Ownership & Management should be
benchmarked against the four neutral
areas, and improved to an assessment
score between 40% and 64%. The bench-
mark this owner should then establish in
the store’s business plan for the neutral
areas is improvement to an assessment
score of 65% or higher, into the strengths
Drilling into the detail of benchmarking,
in the assessment we are using as an exam-
ple, let’s say this store owner has several
part-time employees, but his answers on
the Retail Assessment indicate he does not
have a store operating manual. An operat-
ing manual would state how the owner
expects the business to be run and makes
sure there is consistency in the level of cus-
tomer service delivered whether the owner
is present in the store or not. In bench-
marking an assessment score between
40% and 64% for Store Operations, this
owner should commit to writing down how
the store is be run and the level of cus-
tomer service the owner expects part-time
employees to consistently deliver.
Also, in this example, the owner indicat-
ed on the assessment that he has a passion
for tennis, but not an equal passion for the
retail business. In benchmarking an
n January, we talked about the TIA
Retail Business Assessment, which is
a great way to get a check-up for
your specialty retail business and
receive valuable input for your business
planning process.
Taking the TIA Retail Assessment is
easy; it’s all done online and takes only
about 20 minutes. The assessment is
kept confidential—it’s evaluated and
scored by independent retail consultant
Gluskin Townley Group, which does not
share the results with anyone, including
the TIA itself. (To find out more about
the TIA Retail Assessment, contact
Marty Mohar at marty@tennisindus-
try.org or 866-686-3036 ext. 704.)
The Retail Assessment
investigates eight critical
areas of your specialty ten-
nis retail business, all of
which are important ele-
ments to your store opera-
tions and annual business
plan, including: Business
Technology & Reporting,
Financial Benchmarks,
Store Operations, Staff
Recruiting & Hiring, Ownership & Man-
agement, Store Environment, Marketing
& Promotions, and Customer Service.
After you take the Retail Assess-
ment, you will get back a complete
strengths and weaknesses analysis.
You’ll also get recommendations for
what aspects of your business to focus
on during the year so that you can elim-
inate the identified weaknesses that
threaten your business, and move up
the neutral operating areas.
Your store’s strengths and weak-
nesses analysis will include a chart simi-
lar to this example, which looks at each
of the eight critical areas of a retail busi-
ness. Strengths receive 65% or higher
marks; neutral areas are 40% to 64%;
and weaknesses in your business
receive marks of 39% or below.
This is part of a series
of retail tips presented
by the Tennis Industry
Association and written
by the Gluskin Townley Group
What’s Next?
The April TIA Webinar is “Merchan-
dising Your Specialty Tennis Store
for More Sales.” Visit TennisIndus-
try.org/webinars for details and to
Using ‘Benchmarks’ to Improve
Your Specialty Retail Business
Strengths & Weaknesses
Strengths Neutral Areas Weaknesses
(65% or higher) (40%-64%) (39% or lower)
Staff Recruiting & Hiring Financial Benchmarks Store Operations
Store Environment Business Technology Ownership &
& Reporting Management
Marketing & Promotions
Customer Service
For the next generation
of baseline players.
Power and spin.
A Master Racquet Technician considers the advantages of using
two-piece stringing.
IS Two BeTTer
Than one?
IS Two BeTTer
Than one?
ou and your customer have chosen a frame, using our
Racquet Selection Map (see page 22). Now, the frame
needs to be strung. For years the debate has raged on
among racquet technicians as to whether one-piece or two-piece
stringing is better.
This of course, is a personal decision that every technician is
faced with from the moment they decide to take up the challenge
of learning to string a racquet. They will, through personal expe-
riences and encounters along the way, decide for themselves
which method they prefer.
However, one point needs to be emphasized before we pro-
ceed: The technician’s primary goal is to see that the racquet
maintains its original shape after the stringing process is
We know that the racquet is going to “breathe” and the shape
is going to change during the stringing process. But, if you were
to take measurements of the racquet before and after stringing,
you want those two measurements to be as close to the same as
Some technicians reading this probably are already saying
that you can’t just do one method over the other all of the time.
For the record, they’re right. There are touring pros who prefer
patterns that are rarely, if ever, used in a typical tennis shop, like
a triple-box ATW (around the world) pattern. There are also some
racquets that can benefit from bottom-up installation of the cross
I’m making no attempt here to circumvent other available
patterns. The purpose is to point out that in the majority of cases,
two-piece stringing just makes good common sense. Let’s take a
closer look.
We know that on many racquets the main strings end at the
throat. If you were to use one piece of string and a standard
stringing pattern (not a version of an ATW), you would end up
stringing the cross strings from the bottom up to the top. Some
manufacturers, Yonex for instance, recommend two-piece string-
ing and their intent is to make sure that you install the cross
strings from top to bottom. The reasoning behind this is that the
yoke of the racquet (the Y-shaped piece just above the handle) is
the strongest part of the frame. Each time you install a cross
string the stress on the racquet builds in the direction you’re
weaving. The idea is to reduce the stress as much as possible, and
pointing it in the direction of the strongest part of the racquet is
a good place to start.
Through the years there have been enough arguments pre-
sented and some thoughtful insights from fellow technicians that
I decided to do a little digging on the subject. Here are some of
the things I’ve uncovered.
Tournament Stringing
1) No two tournament stringing teams do things the same
way. Wimbledon does it one way and the US Open does it anoth-
er way because they are two different teams. As a result, tourna-
ment stringers often have to learn something new about how
things are going to be done at each tournament they work at, and
this usually involves the stringing pattern.
My point here is simple: If two-piece stringing is the standard,
this problem is eliminated. An industry-wide change to two-piece
stringing would institute a new consistency from tournament to
2) Why is this good? Racquet technicians have enough to
worry about in high-pressure situations such as a Grand Slam
stringing room. With two-piece stringing, it simplifies things at
the front desk and it simplifies things for the technician. There’s
never any guesswork for the technician or worrying about
April 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 21 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
whether or not you read the label wrong. It’s two-piece all the time.
3) In addition, tournament players are notorious for picking up a racquet and
pulling on the two outside main strings to see if the tension is equal on both
sides. With standard ATW patterns (and no adjustments) one of those outside
mains is always going to be looser than the other because it’s a tie-off string. In
the player’s mind that’s just not acceptable. Yes we have ways to offset those
outer main tension differences when we do a one-piece ATW pattern, but with
two-piece stringing those work-arounds are not necessary. Both outside mains
are tie-off strings and therefore, the tension is the same.
4) With the popularity of hybrid stringing on the tour (and elsewhere) this
argument is almost a moot point. So many players are using hybrids that two-
piece stringing is more the norm than the exception today. It’s not a matter of
aesthetics or whether two-piece stringing affects overall play of the racquet.
Don’t believe me? Roger Federer uses a hybrid. Try convincing him that the rac-
quet plays poorly when it’s strung with four knots.
5) One last point with regard to tournament stringing and that’s the elimina-
tion of counting crosses. With most ATW patterns the technician has to be
aware of how to start the weave on the cross strings because there’s already one
cross installed at the bottom. Should I go under or over the first main with that
first cross at the top? In the heat of the moment, mistakes have been made and
the technician is not going to realize it until they get closer to the bottom and it
becomes obvious that they started the crosses wrong. With two-piece stringing
that problem is eliminated.
other advantages of Two-Piece
Now that we’ve talked about tournament stringing let’s talk about some other
significant points to consider concerning two-piece stringing:
w For any racquet technician, working with two shorter pieces of string is easier
than working with one longer piece of string.
w As mentioned above, the strongest point on a racquet is the yoke. Weaving
cross strings toward the yoke ensures the stress is directed toward the stronger
part of the frame.
w ATW patterns leave the most used/worn string in the hitting area, so this is a
concern, especially with natural gut. Think about that. The strings that are
going to be used to install the crosses have just been pulled along behind as
the main strings are installed. They’ve endured wear that can be completely
avoided prior to ever being woven into their final resting place!
w It is widely believed that two-piece stringing limits frame distortion. This, in
and of itself, can be a major discussion on its own.
w Certain racquets are more flexible than others and they benefit from top-down
cross-string installation.
w Higher tensions are more likely to cause frame distortion so top-down string-
ing lends an additional security of frame protection since you are weaving
toward the yoke.
w Installing cross strings from top to bottom on a machine with a sub-par
mounting system (yes, machines differ) is safer because there’s less chance of
damaging the racquet during the stringing process.
So … is two-piece stringing better than one-piece? Sure, in many situations.
Does it warrant becoming the de facto process we all use? We may not quite be
there yet, but we seem to be headed that way. w
Contributing Editor Tim Strawn is a USRSA Master Racquet Technician
and Certification Tester. He has worked for many years stringing for the
pro tour (including at Wimbledon and the US Open). He is the
Owner/Founder of the International Alliance of Racquet Technicians (IART)
and hosts the annual IART training symposium (formerly the GSS sympo-
sium). Strawn can be reached through his website at www.gssalliance.com
or via email at crazydiamond23@cox.net.
1. Power/Control (columns). (formula = length
index x headsize x flex x swingweight) ÷ 1000.
Length index calculation: 27" = 1.0, 27.5" = 1.05;
28" = 1.1, etc.
2. Maneuverability (rows). RDC (Babolat
Racquet Diagnostic Center) swingweight units.
3. Racquet ID. The number in the grid correlates
to the accompanying racquet list.
4. Headsize. Midsize and midplus (≤104 sq. in.)
have no indicator.
Oversize (105-117 sq. in.) = •. Superoversize (≥
118 sq. in.) = :.
5. Length. x = extended length. Standard length
(27") racquets have no indicator.
6. Flex (RDC). a = < 60; b = 60-64; c = 65-69; d
= 70-74; e = > 74. The higher the number, the
stiffer the racquet.
7. Company. Coded by number and color. See
accompanying racquet list on the following pages.
8. Racquet Quadrants and the Center of the
Racquet Universe. The center of the racquet universe
is located at the intersection of the two red lines.
Approximately half the racquets lie to the right and left,
and half above and below these lines. The lines divide
the racquet universe into four color-coded quadrants –
clockwise from top left: (1) quick power, (2) quick con-
trol, (3) stable control, (4) stable power. These charac-
terizations provide a general vocabulary for comparing
9. Racquet Finder List. The racquet list accompany-
ing the map identifies all the new racquets and gives
additional information. For a complete list of all current
frames on the map, go to RacquetSportsIndustry.com.
The map provides specific (very narrow ranges, anyway)
swingweight, flex and power statistics, and general size
and length characteristics. The racquet list specifies the
length and size and further specifies weight, balance,
and price.
How To Use It
1. Ask questions. What are you looking for
that your current racquet does not provide?
What do you like most and least about your cur-
rent racquet? What are the strengths and weak-
nesses of your game?
2. Locate current racquet on map. If the
racquet is not in the list, take measurements.
3. Locating potential racquets. Depending
on the answers to the above questions, draw an
imaginary arrow (a wide or skinny one) from
your present racquet in the desired direction for
power and maneuverability.
4. Narrowing the field. Shrink the choices
using the length, headsize, and flex codes to
match customer preferences.
5. Selecting racquet demos. Once the choic-
es are narrowed, locate the racquets by number
in the racquet list.
1 109 109 27.25 292 10.30 35.00 13.78 74 308 2546 $189
2 116 116 27.25 277 9.77 35.50 13.98 72 293 2508 $189
3 125 125 27.50 276 9.74 36.25 14.27 73 307 2941 $189
13 Drive Max 105 105 27.00 278 9.81 34.80 13.70 69 293 2123 $200
14 Drive Max 110 110 27.50 275 9.70 36.30 14.29 67 294 2275 $199
15 Drive Z Lite (Mostly Pink) 100 27.00 272 9.59 36.50 14.37 66 295 1947 $169
29 B 100 Light 100 27.13 286 10.09 32.80 12.91 62 293 1839 $215
30 B 98 Light 98 27.00 317 11.18 33.20 13.07 63 332 2050 $215
New Racquets from March 2012 to February 2013
Racquet Headsize Length Weight Weight Balance Balance Flex Swingweight Power Retail
) (in.) (gm) (oz) (cm) (in.) (RDC) kg x cm
Formula Price
BABOLAT 877-316-9435 • www.babolat.com
ur exclusive Racquet Selection Map enables you to
help your customers choose the perfect racquet for
them quickly and easily, with the features and per-
formance they want.
The map on the following page presents the entire perform-
ance racquet universe on one grid that instantly locates each
racquet compared to every other in terms of power, control,
and maneuverability. Simply locate the specs of your cus-
tomer’s current racquet on the map, then move outward in
large or small increments in the direction of the customer’s pri-
mary preference—relatively more or less power, control or
maneuverability. Once you’ve zoomed into an approximate
location on the grid, you can narrow down the racquet’s feel
attributes by choosing from length, size, and flex specs coded
into the racquet number.
Next, look up the racquet(s) by number in the accompany-
ing table. Note, though, that the table on these pages lists every
new performance racquet that came out in the last 12 months.
If the racquet you find on the grid is not in one of these charts,
you’ll find it online at www.racquetsportsindustry.com, where
we have the complete list of every racquet that is currently on
the market, both the newest and the older models.
Your customer will now have a handful of “choice-cus-
tomized” demos. And you’ll have a satisfied customer.
BOLT 877-430-2658 • www.boltadvance.com
ASICS 800-678-9435 • www.asicsamerica.com
April 2013 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 23 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Racquet Headsize Length Weight Weight Balance Balance Flex Swingweight Power Retail
) (in.) (gm) (oz) (cm) (in.) (RDC) kg x cm
Formula Price
35 Formula Lite 100 100 27.00 280 9.88 34.20 13.46 66 293 1934 $229
36 Formula OS EXT 110 27.25 279 9.84 36.00 14.17 71 313 2506 $249
37 Pro One 97 (16x19) 97 27.00 325 11.46 33.25 13.09 67 318 2067 $249
38 Pro One 97 (18x20) 97 27.00 328 11.57 32.60 12.83 67 323 2099 $249
39 Pro One OS EXT 105 27.50 296 10.44 34.00 13.39 64 317 2237 $249
45 X Dual Silver Lite (27.5 inch) 99 27.50 300 10.58 34.60 13.62 66 321 2202 $229
56 Biomimetic Black Widow 102 27.00 275 9.70 33.90 13.35 68 290 2011 $150
57 Biomimetic F 2.0 Tour 95 27.00 336 11.85 32.20 12.68 67 319 2030 $210
58 Biomimetic F 3.0 Tour 98 27.00 325 11.46 32.40 12.76 63 313 1932 $210
59 Biomimetic F 5.0 Tour 100 27.00 321 11.32 32.60 12.83 71 306 2173 $210
60 Biomimetic M 2.0 95 27.00 333 11.75 31.70 12.48 73 317 2198 $210
61 Biomimetic M 3.0 98 27.00 317 11.18 33.40 13.15 66 319 2063 $210
62 Biomimetic M 5.0 100 27.00 293 10.34 34.40 13.54 69 303 2091 $210
63 Biomimetic M 6.0 102 27.00 293 10.34 33.30 13.11 69 305 2147 $210
64 Biomimetic Max 200G 98 27.00 329 11.61 32.70 12.87 67 317 2081 $210
65 Biomimetic S 3.0 Lite 98 27.00 285 10.05 35.10 13.82 66 300 1940 $210
66 Biomimetic S 5.0 Lite 100 27.00 264 9.31 36.50 14.37 67 294 1970 $210
67 Biomimetic S 6.0 Lite 105 27.25 287 10.12 34.30 13.50 70 297 2238 $210
68 Biomimetic S 8.0 Lite 105 27.25 287 10.12 34.30 13.50 70 297 2238 $210
69 Evolution 2.2 100 27.00 327 11.53 31.00 12.20 60 302 1812 $150
70 Pro Class 1.9 110 27.00 347 12.24 32.00 12.60 60 323 2132 $140
71 SAR Plus 112 27.00 316 11.15 33.50 13.19 59 324 2141 $150
72 Target Plus 110 27.00 293 10.34 35.20 13.86 64 321 2260 $170
75 RZR 105 105 27.25 295 10.41 35.00 13.78 66 305 2166 $205
77 RZR 95 95 27.00 321 11.32 31.70 12.48 64 290 1763 $185
80 RZR Bubba 137 29.00 297 10.48 38.90 15.31 64 405 4261 $220
81 Thunder Power XL 100 27.50 319 11.25 32.70 12.87 68 328 2342 $190
82 Youtek Extreme MP (Clear Bumper & Grommets) 100 27.00 316 11.15 33.40 13.15 66 320 2112 $190
83 Youtek Extreme Pro (Clear Bumper & Grommets) 100 27.00 330 11.64 32.30 12.72 68 320 2176 $190
84 Youtek Extreme S 107 27.00 293 10.34 34.50 13.58 70 303 2269 $190
85 Youtek Graphene Instinct MP 100 27.00 309 10.90 33.30 13.11 69 306 2111 $200
86 Youtek Graphene Instinct PWR 115 27.70 241 8.50 38.80 15.28 70 301 2593 $190
87 Youtek Graphene Instinct Rev 100 27.00 256 9.03 36.20 14.25 59 291 1717 $190
88 Youtek Graphene Instinct S 102 27.00 284 10.02 35.50 13.98 71 298 2158 $190
89 Youtek Graphene Prestige PWR 107 27.30 275 9.70 35.30 13.90 70 303 2338 $225
90 Youtek Graphene Speed MP 100 27.00 311 10.97 33.30 13.11 65 318 2067 $225
91 Youtek Graphene Speed Pro 100 27.00 333 11.75 33.00 12.99 66 338 2231 $225
92 Youtek Graphene Speed PWR 115 27.40 267 9.42 36.50 14.37 67 314 2516 $210
93 Youtek Graphene Speed Rev 100 27.00 269 9.49 35.60 14.02 62 304 1885 $210
94 Youtek Graphene Speed S 100 27.00 292 10.30 34.80 13.70 68 314 2135 $210
106 285 100 27.00 304 10.72 32.80 12.91 68 295 2006 $169
107 300 100 27.00 312 11.01 32.80 12.91 68 306 2081 $169
108 Pro 295 98 27.00 306 10.79 33.10 13.03 62 297 1805 $189
109 Tour 305 95 27.00 316 11.15 32.40 12.76 65 301 1859 $169
110 Tour 315 95 27.00 326 11.50 31.60 12.44 66 301 1887 $169
140 EXO3 Warrior DB Team 100 100 27.00 286 10.09 35.00 13.78 64 310 1984 $169
DUNLOP 800-768-4727 • www.dunlopsport.com
GAMMA 800-333-0337 • www.gammasports.com
HEAD 800-289-7366 • www.head.com
FOX 800-PLAYFOX • www.playfox.com
New Racquets from March 2012 to February 2013 (Cont.)
DONNAY 800-264-0509 • www.donnayusa.com
PRINCE 800-2TENNIS • www.princetennis.com
MANTIS www.mantis-sports.com
Racquet Headsize Length Weight Weight Balance Balance Flex Swingweight Power Retail
) (in.) (gm) (oz) (cm) (in.) (RDC) kg x cm
Formula Price
150 Tour 10 xtend 98 27.50 338 11.92 32.00 12.60 66 340 2309 $180
153 T Fight 255 (Synergy Link) 100 27.00 275 9.70 34.25 13.48 66 281 1855 $169
154 T Fight 295 (16M Tour Prepared) 95 27.00 310 10.93 33.50 13.19 68 305 1970 $189
155 T Fight 295 MP (Synergy Link) 100 27.00 307 10.83 33.50 13.19 69 298 2056 $189
156 T Fight 305 (18M Tour Prepared) 95 27.00 317 11.18 33.40 13.15 69 310 2032 $189
157 T Fight 315 Limited (16M) 98 27.00 328 11.57 32.15 12.66 60 297 1746 $199
158 T Fight 315 Limited (18M) 98 27.00 332 11.71 32.50 12.80 59 305 1764 $199
159 T Fight 320 (16M Tour Prepared) 95 27.00 336 11.85 32.25 12.70 67 317 2018 $199
160 T Fight 325 (18M Tour Prepared) 95 27.00 338 11.92 32.25 12.70 66 317 1988 $199
163 T Rebound 265 Feel 105 27.00 284 10.02 34.25 13.48 70 295 2168 $169
164 T Rebound 295 Pro (Synergy Link) 100 27.00 313 11.04 33.75 13.29 68 309 2101 $189
168 Organix 1 115 27.80 271 9.56 36.40 14.33 72 304 2718 $300
171 Organix 10 Mid 93 27.00 334 11.78 32.50 12.80 59 318 1745 $240
172 Organix 2 115 27.60 293 10.34 36.00 14.17 70 324 2765 $260
173 Organix 3 110 27.80 286 10.09 36.00 14.17 69 322 2639 $250
175 Organix 5 100 27.13 274 9.67 34.50 13.58 68 291 2004 $190
177 Organix 7 (295g) 104 27.00 311 10.97 34.30 13.50 73 316 2399 $240
178 Organix 7 (310g) 104 27.25 316 11.15 34.00 13.39 72 318 2441 $240
181 Organix 9 98 27.00 324 11.43 32.50 12.80 66 309 1999 $230
182 Organix V1 MP 102 27.00 294 10.37 33.50 13.19 64 296 1932 $250
183 Organix V1 OS 110 27.50 302 10.65 34.00 13.39 67 317 2453 $250
195 Open 135 135 27.00 265 9.35 35.40 13.94 63 286 2432 $250
198 Blade Ninety Eight 16x19 (98 BLX) 98 27.00 319 11.25 33.50 13.19 67 322 2114 $230
199 Blade Ninety Eight 18x20 (98 BLX) 98 27.00 317 11.18 33.50 13.19 64 314 1969 $230
200 Blade Ninety Three (93 BLX) 93 27.00 339 11.96 32.25 12.70 67 325 2025 $230
201 Blade One Hundred Four (104 BLX) 104 27.50 307 10.83 33.75 13.29 56 309 1890 $230
205 BLX Juice 100L 100 27.00 292 10.30 36.10 14.21 74 327 2420 $220
217 BLX Steam 105 S 105 27.33 300 10.58 33.70 13.27 70 310 2354 $220
218 BLX Steam 96 96 27.25 307 10.83 34.70 13.66 67 322 2123 $220
219 BLX Steam 99 99 27.00 320 11.29 33.70 13.27 68 327 2201 $220
220 BLX Steam 99 S 99 27.00 320 11.29 33.30 13.11 70 321 2225 $220
223 Four BLX 105 27.00 258 9.10 37.00 14.57 71 297 2214 $210
224 Three BLX 117 27.50 277 9.77 37.50 14.76 41 313 1577 $260
225 Two BLX 110 27.25 239 8.43 39.50 15.55 67 305 2304 $230
231 V Core Tour 89 89 27.00 340 11.99 31.70 12.48 63 327 1833 $240
232 V Core Tour 97 97 27.00 351 12.38 32.00 12.60 66 336 2151 $240
233 V Core Xi 100 (280 Grams) 100 27.00 293 10.34 35.00 13.78 68 305 2074 $240
234 V Core Xi 100 (300 Grams) 100 27.00 312 11.01 32.90 12.95 70 297 2079 $240
235 V Core Xi 98 98 27.00 321 11.32 32.40 12.76 68 301 2006 $240
236 V Core Xi Team 98 26.88 287 10.12 34.10 13.43 65 289 1818 $190
237 V Core Xi Team + 98 27.38 295 10.41 33.90 13.35 65 305 2016 $190
TECNIFIBRE (888) TFTennis • www.TFTennis.com
VOLKL 866-554-7872 • www.volkl-tennis.com
WILSON 800-272-6060 • www.wilson.com
YONEX 800-44-YONEX • www.yonexusa.com
SOLINCO 310-922-7775 • www.solincosports.com
WEED 800-WEED RKT • www.weedusa.com
here were nine outdoor tennis facilities that
took honors in the Racquet Sports
Industry/American Sports Builders Associa-
tion Distinguished Facility-of-the-Year Awards for
2012, and four of those we’re classifying as soft-
court projects.
The lone non-Florida winner, in California,
involved building both a new clay court and a new
hard court. But we’re including it here to help offset
the stranglehold Florida seems to have on building
award-winning soft-court facilities. We certainly
applaud the number of amazing clay-court facilities
in the Sunshine State and the skill of the companies
building them, but we have to believe there are
award-winning soft-court projects in other states,
too, which we’d love to hear about (see box for
details on the 2013 Facility-of-the-Year Awards).
The Toscana Country Club in California is one
such example. The contractor built a new fast-dry
court and a new post-tensioned concrete court for
the club. The project included site grading, utilities,
walls, curbing, fencing, lighting, landscaping, stor-
age areas, walkways and tennis pavilions, and the
finished project provides players with all the ameni-
ties, including seating at the courts, shaded areas
and a spectator viewing area.
The Doral Park Country Club in Florida added
four new HydroGrid courts (in two two-court batter-
ies) to its existing facility. The new courts are adja-
cent to the existing courts, so fencing had to be
modified to provide the appearance that the whole
facility was constructed during a single build.
The centerpiece of the Sports Club at Mediterra
is the new, recessed “coliseum court.” The club’s
director of tennis, Tim Bauer, designed the court,
pergola and terraced viewing area, surrounded by a
stone wall and lush landscaping. The project had to
overcome a flood when severe weather struck the
site during construction.
The Timber Pines Community Association took
out asphalt courts and installed six new clay courts.
The facility was on two levels, with a retaining wall
dividing the north three courts from the south
courts, so there needed to be two points of access
for construction. —Peter Francesconi w
These outdoor facility winners are excellent
examples of soft-court construction.
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.
Timber Pines Community Association Inc.
Spring Hill, Fla.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.)
Specialty Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts Inc.
No. of Courts: 6
Surface: Har-Tru Sports Hydroblend
Subsurface Irrigation: Welch Tennis HydroGrid
Nets, Posts: Welch Tennis
28 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2013 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
These outdoor facility winners are excellent
examples of soft-court construction.
The Sports Club at Mediterra
Naples, Fla.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.)
Architect/Engineer: Global Design
Specialty Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts Inc.
No. of Courts: 1
Surface: Har-Tru Sports Hydroblend
Subsurface Irrigation: Welch Tennis HydroGrid
Windscreens, Nets, Posts: Welch Tennis Courts
Toscana Country Club
Indian Wells, Calif.
(Nominated by Zaino Tennis Courts Inc., Orange, Calif.)
Specialty Contractor: Zaino Tennis Courts Inc.
No. of Courts: 2 (1 soft, 1 hard)
Surface: Har-Tru Sports, Plexipave
Net Posts: Edwards
Lights, Poles: Visionaire
Fencing: Zaino Tennis Courts Inc.
Court Accessories: Har-Tru Sports
Doral Park Country Club
Doral, Fla.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.)
Specialty Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts Inc.
No. of Courts: 4
Surface: Har-Tru Sports Hydroblend
Subsurface Irrigation: Welch Tennis HydroGrid
Windscreens, Nets, Posts: Welch Tennis Courts
and showcase your programs by hosting a
Be one of the first 1 ,200 registered Tennis Festivals and receive
an event pack including a YouthTennis.com banner and items
for event attendees.
Registered Tennis Festival hosts will receive:
• Publicity! Tennis Festivals will be promoted within the YouthTennis.com
searchable database allowing parents to find local events
• Exclusive USTA Membership offer to increase program participation
• Downloadable, customizable flyers, posters and press release template
to promote upcoming Tennis Festival
For more information and to register youth events thr:oughout the year visit
YouthTennis.com : · :· :> ~
Get Active .... . ~ ..
·. ." :' .. . ' .....
Ask the Experts
need to go through to be proficient
stringing natural gut, and be prop-
erly prepared for CS certification? Any
advice you can give us would be most
actually stringing natural gut. Com-
pared to other strings, you have to work
more slowly and pay attention to what's
going on. Before you start, you should
review the information we provide in Rac-
quet Service Techniques. This and other
relevant materials for certification tests are
sent to applicants, so you'll receive them
when you apply.
You can also check the article back
issues at usrsa.com, searching for “natural
gut” (in quotes), as well as “Don’t Bust a
Gut,” which appeared in the March 2006
issue of Racquet Sports Industry magazine.
shop where a set of natural gut
snapped while tensioning, halfway
through the mains. Is that uncommon in
your experience? What could have
caused the breakage, and what could we
have done to avoid such incidents?
through the mains usually happens
for one of two reasons.
First, there is a sharp edge inside the
grommet barrel that is damaging the gut.
Depending on the condition of the grom-
mets, you may be able to burnish any
sharp edges using a large-diameter piece of
synthetic string that has a thin coating of
wax on it, running it through the grommet
several times to smooth the edges.
Second, there may be an issue with the
tension jaws on your machine. If the ten-
sion jaws are cutting too deeply into the
string at a point where that section later
hits the grommet, the string can break.
frame with 16 mains and 14
crosses, and a midsize frame
with 18 mains and 20 crosses, and they
"ping" the same when you hit the
strings, is the string bed stiffness the
same on both racquets, regardless of
head size and string density?
appmaker.se (the programmer
behind racquetTune and other great ten-
nis apps) for a technical explanation.
“No, they are not the same.
“Take one string with a certain ten-
sion, and check the sound and stiffness.
Then add a similar string in parallel. The
sound will be the same but the stiffness
will be twice as high.
“If you look at a racquet you can sim-
plify the tension T and the stiffness S to:
“A is racquet area, μ is string density,
f is the sound frequency, n is the number
of strings, and C1, C2, and C3 are con-
stants. The third equation comes from
substituting the T from the top equation
into the second equation and simplifying.
This is assuming small deformations, and
that all strings contribute equally to the
stiffness (which they don't, in real life).
“As you can see from the bottom
equation, two racquets with the same f
(ping) can have different stiffness
depending on n, μ, and A.
“The stiffness equation is very much a
simplification and only valid for small
deformations. For large deformations,
e.g. when playing, it gets much more
complicated. This doesn't alter the con-
clusion that you can't judge the stiffness
from the sound only, but rather it under-
lines it.”
that will improve my serve.
What attributes should I look for?
quet, you should schedule some
time with a serving coach. If the biome-
chanics of your serve are wrong, it does-
n't really matter what racquet you use.
Your grip, toss, rhythm, timing, shoulder
turn, shoulder load, arm vector, contact
point, and pronation are some of the key
aspects that you must master first.
Once your biomechanics are correct,
selecting a racquet to optimize your serve
is much like selecting a racquet in gener-
al. You typically want to use the heaviest
racquet you can without altering your
stroke timing, and for comfort and
maneuverability you’ll probably want it to
be head light (that is, with the balance
point of the racquet closer to the butt cap
than to the head).
Because the racquet rotates through
180 degrees in a split second between
the “scratch your back” phase and
impact, you will also have to pay atten-
tion to the racquet’s swing weight, in
addition to its overall weight. This is espe-
cially true if you try an extended length
racquet. You can easily alter the swing
weight of your existing racquet through
the application of temporary lead weights
inside the hoop at the 12 o’clock position.
The more weight you add, the higher the
swing weight.
There is one racquet characteristic,
though, that will show up in the serve
before it shows up in your groundstrokes
and volleys, and that is the twist weight
of the racquet. Twist weight is the rac-
quet’s resistance to rotation in the hand
when a ball impacts away from the rac-
quet’s centerline (that is, its stability).
Twist weight is created by any mass that
is not on the racquet centerline, times the
square of the distance between the cen-
terline and the mass. Because the mass is
multiplied by the square of the distance,
Your Equipment Hotline
even fairly light racquets can be sta-
ble (high twist weight) if they are
This is important on the serve
because a biomechanically correct
serve involves pronation, during
which the racquet rotates around its
axis. If the twist weight of your rac-
quet is too high for you, either you
won’t pronate properly on your
serve, or you will attempt to recruit
your “wrist muscles” to force prona-
tion (as opposed to allowing the rac-
quet to pronate naturally while you
keep your wrist loose). To experi-
ment with different twist weights on
your existing racquet, add your tem-
porary lead weights to the inside of
the hoop at the 3 o’clock and 9
o’clock positions. The more weight
you add, the higher the twist weight.
Building consistency often
means ensuring you get enough
height over the net to get the ball
into the other court, with enough
spin to bring it down in the service
box. To this end, you can experi-
ment with different string bed densi-
ties. USRSA testing shows that string
bed stiffness is one of the most
important characteristics in generat-
ing spin: The higher the stiffness
(whether through a dense string pat-
tern or stiff strings or high string
tension), the more spin potential,
generally speaking. However, your
particular string and tension prefer-
ences and stroke production may
mean you find you are more confi-
dent using a racquet with a less
dense string bed. The more confi-
dence you have in your equipment,
the looser your arm will be during
stroke production, and the more
racquet speed you’ll generate, so
you’ll get more spin.
—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:
String Playtest
(compared to other strings)
Number of testers who said it was:
much easier 0
somewhat easier 3
about as easy 20
not quite as easy 8
not nearly as easy 1
(compared to string played most often)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 2
somewhat better 8
about as playable 11
not quite as playable 8
not nearly as playable 3
(compared to other strings
of similar gauge)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 9
somewhat better 10
about as durable 10
not quite as durable 2
not nearly as durable 1
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability 3.4
Durability (15th overall) 4.4
Power (8th overal) 3.5
Control (4th overal) 3.9
Comfort 3.1
Touch/Feel 3.0
Spin Potential 3.5
Holding Tension (17th overall) 3.7
Resistance to Movement (2nd overall) 4.3

ecnifibre ATP® Razor Code is a co-
extruded polyester string. The
solid core utilitizes Thermocore
technology, a Tecnifibre process to
improve flexibility in polyester strings.
The Thermocore process involves using
temperature control during the manufac-
turing process to soften the string’s struc-
ture for shock absorption and vibration
Tecnifibre’s target for this string is the
advanced tournament-level player, and
as such is offered as one of its “Perfor-
mance Pro” strings alongside Black Code
(July 2009 RSI), Ruff Code (Apr. 2012
RSI), Pro Redcode (Sep. 2006 RSI), and
Polycode. ATP Razor Code was, however,
developed exclusively for the association
between Tecnifibre and the ATP — the
first such string from Tecnifibre — requir-
ing three years of R&D. Tecnifibre’s ATP
players such as Janko Tipsarevic are
already switching to ATP Razor Code.
ATP Razor Code is available in
16/1.30, 17/1.25 and 18/1.20 in carbon
and blue. It is priced from $16 for 40-
foot sets, $200 for 660-foot sets. For
more information or to order, contact
Tecnifibre at 888-TFTennis (888-838-
3664), or visit tftennis.com. Be sure to
read the conclusion for more information
about getting a free set to try for your-
We tested the 16-gauge ATP Razor Code.
The coil measured 40 feet. The diameter
measured 1.31-1.33 mm prior to string-
ing, and 1.24-1.27 mm after stringing.
We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 75
RDC units immediately after stringing at
60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95
(16 x 18 pattern) on a constant-pull
After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed
stiffness measured 69 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. ATP Razor Code
added 16 grams to the weight of our
unstrung frame.
The string was tested for five weeks
by 32 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP rat-
ings from 3.5 to 5.5. These are blind
tests, with playtesters receiving
unmarked strings in unmarked packages.
Average number of hours playtested was
ATP Razor Code installs much like
other poly-based strings. We noted no
difficulties or special considerations. Tec-
nifibre recommends a 5-10% reduction
from your typical nylon reference ten-
sion, and we passed this along to the
members of our playtest team.
One playtester broke the
sample during stringing, six reported
problems with coil memory, two report-
ed problems tying knots, and none
reported friction burn.
Our playtesters found a lot to like in ATP
Razor Code, but most of all they liked
the Resistance to Movement, rating it
2nd best in this category of the 170
strings we’ve playtest for publication.
They also gave it high marks in the Con-
trol category (rating it 4th highest), often
mentioning the great spin afforded them
by ATP Razor Code. The high-modulus
polyester sheath no doubt had some-
thing to do with ATP Razor Code’s 15th-
highest rating in the Durability category.
Tecnifibre also performs a high-tempera-
ture pre-stretch of ATP Razor Code dur-
ing manufacture, which may have
helped it garner a 17th-best rating in
Tension Retention. In addition, our
playtest team rated ATP Razor Code
excellent in the Power category, and
well above average for Spin Potential. As
a result, Tecnifibre ATP Razor Code
comes in as the 16th-highest-rated string
we’ve playtested.
Two playtesters broke the sample
during the playtest period, one at nine
hours and one at 18 hours.
With years of experience making poly-
ester strings, on top of its decades of
experience making other types of premi-
Tecnifibre ATP Razor Code 16
Tecnifibre will send a free set of Razor Code to USRSA
members who cut out (or copy) this coupon and send it to:
Offer expires 15 April 2013 • Offer only available to USRSA members in the US.
USRSA Member number:
If you print your email clearly, we will notify you when your sample will be sent.
USRSA, Attn: Tecnifibre String Offer
PO Box 3392, Duluth, GA 30096
or fax to 760-536-1171, or email the info below to stringsample@racquettech.com
(Strings normally used by testers are indicated in paren-
theses.) For the rest of the tester comments, visit
player using Head MicroGEL Prestige MP
strung at 48/50 pounds CP (Tourna Big Hitter
Blue 17)

This one not only has a crisp and pre-
dictable response, the feel is decidedly above
average. Control and spin are top notch. One
of the better polys I’ve hit with.

4.0 male
all-court player using Babolat AeroPro Drive +
strung at 47 pounds CP (Tourna Big Hitter
Blue 17)

I cannot detect anything special about this
string. It feels like a standard polyester.

male all-court player using Head Flexpoint Rad-
ical MP strung at 40 pounds CP (Polyester 16)

Playability is lacking. Tension does not
drop much but the strings do seem to lose pop
over time.

3.5 male all-court player using
Wilson K Blade strung at 52 pounds CP
(Gamma TNT2 16)

This is the best all-around poly I’ve hit
with! It is the ultimate topspin string, with
the perfect combination of spin, control, and
durability. It has incredible comfort for a
durability string.

4.0 male baseliner with
heavy spin using Dunlop Aerogel 4D 1 Hun-
dred strung at 40 pounds LO (Luxilon XP

Great option for string breakers. Recom-
mended to heavy hitters who want the con-
trol benefits of a poly. Big swings come
down inside the lines!

4.0 male baseliner
with heavy spin using Babolat Pure Drive
Roddick strung at 60 pounds LO (Solinco
Tour Bite 16)

For once a soft poly with exceptional
all-around playability. This control string
does everything well, including touch!

4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin
using Babolat AeroPro Drive GT strung at
50 pounds CP (MSV Focus Hex 17L)

Very comparable to the soft co-poly I
use. Extremely playable for monofilament
control string.

4.5 male all-court play-
er using Wilson K Blade strung at 57
pounds LO (Wilson Enduro Pro 17)

A pleasing and juicy feel for a co-poly,
like the kind experienced with Luxilon Alu
Power or Babolat RPM Blast. Very pleasur-
able hit!

5.0 male all-court player using
Babolat Pure Drive Cortex strung at 60
pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)

This string plays great after a short
break-in period. Comfort and power are
high for a poly.

4.0 male all-court
player using Volkl V1 Classic strung at 50
pounds CP (Wilson Hyperlast Spin 17)

Much easier to string than most polys.
The somewhat slippery exterior decreases
friction burn. This one has above average
power for a poly. The spin is excellent.

5.0 male all-court player using Prince
EXO3 Red strung at 55 pounds LO (Wilson
Reaction 16)

Very impressive feel and control at a
lower tension. Spin potential does not
waiver over time. After eight hours the
feels diminishes.

4.0 male all-court
—Greg Raven◗
um strings including its well-known
polyurethane offerings, Tecnifibre has
poly string manufacturing covered. And
although Tecnifibre isn’t afraid to think
outside the box (as shown in strings
such as Promix and X-Code), even a rel-
atively traditional offering such as ATP
Razor Code still incorporates plenty of
innovative thinking, with impressive
If you think that Tecnifibre ATP
Razor Code might be for you, fill out the
coupon to get a free set to try.
ennis’s Grand Slam champi-
onships are the four tent poles of
the sport, the highest peaks on
the landscape. Though the four business
models are slightly different, each Major
operates as a non-profit. The proceeds
from the events we’re told (and told and
told) are “reinvested in the game.”
At first blush, anyway, this model is
principled. Noble, even. At the pinnacle
of the sport there is an appreciation for
the grassroots effort and underpinnings
that make it all possible. This model is
socially responsible. This model makes
us more comfortable with the vast
streams of revenue coursing briskly and
conspicuously through Wimbledon and
the Australian, French and US Opens.
This model is also absurd.
Today more than ever, the best play-
ers are international celebrities, able to
command vast sums of money for one-
night-only exhibitions, chosen by corpo-
rations to endorse products and serve as
“brand ambassadors.” There’s little
debate that players are paid less than
market value at the Majors. But, we are
quickly reminded, the Majors reinvest
profits, so purse increases would come
at the expense of the little people.
Yet where else does this occur?
Where do we distort the labor market
and suppress wages in the name of phil-
anthropy? The fees paid to Hollywood
stars aren't stifled so that the movie prof-
its can be reinvested in the local play-
house. Authors’ book contracts aren’t
kept artificially low, so that part of the
savings can go to school literacy pro-
grams. We don't ask NFL players to take
less than fair market value in order to
fund Pop Warner leagues and pay for the
coaching of talented prospects.
For decades, players accepted this—
what should we call it?—quirk. Sure, the
Majors devoted much less of their gross
revenues to prize money than other
tournaments; but even so the payout
was much more. For the top players,
their endorsements deals often con-
tained bonuses based on their results at
the Big Four; so that provided an eco-
nomic incentive. Yes, the profits were
going to the federations of only four
countries; but those were also the coun-
tries that furnished most of the top play-
ers. So there was an element of
noblesse oblige.
But lately, players have been less
willing to accept the status quo. One
envisions, say, Rafael Nadal, taking
stock of the US Open prize money and
saying: “So let me get this straight:
you’re paying less than market rate so
you can resurface courts in Topeka or
subsidize Sloane Stephens’ travel? None
of it even goes to my federation? Huh?”
Or one imagines the 95 percent of the
non-native players at the Australian
Open scratching heads and wondering:
“The profits I’m helping to generate are
going toward racquets in Sydney and
flights juniors take from Perth to Bris-
bane? What?”
The players read about the terms of
the Majors’ TV deals. They see the rev-
enue generated by suites and hospitali-
ty tents and merchandising. They catch
wind of lavish salaries being paid to
executives. Catalyzed by their tours,
they have complained and even thrown
around the dreaded B-word, boycott.
They want a bigger slice of the pie, non-
profit be damned.
When the Majors’ make concessions
to the players and increase prize
money—as each did in 2013 and will like-
ly continue to do—it has consequences.
Funding gets reduced. The federations
may have to cut staff. Fat must be
trimmed. Sure, there is something dis-
tasteful about cutting funding so that mil-
lionaire pro tennis players can make still
more millions. But how much less dis-
tasteful is it to ask athletes to take a pay
cut so the host federation—not even the
players’ own federation in most cases—
can fill its coffers?
What happens now? Likely a cordial
game of chicken. The players will contin-
ue to gripe and threaten work stoppage.
The tournaments will make incremental
increases, hope to keep the barbarians at
the gate, but operate on the assumption
that as long as they still offer the highest
purses on the circuit, players aren't likely
to unify.
One would like to think—quixotically,
perhaps—that there’s a creative solution.
Perhaps the proceeds can be distributed
to federations in addition to those in Aus-
tralia, France, the U.K. and the U.S.
Maybe lavish federation salaries are
reconsidered and capped. And maybe
both sides devise a formula, so a certain
percent of revenues are devoted to the
purses and both sides have incentive to
“grow the pie.”
Whatever, the current arrangement is
flawed. Ask the NCAA. You distort the
market and you ask for trouble. w
Your Serve
Follow the Money
A veteran tennis journalist says while
money from Grand Slam tournaments are
‘reinvested in the game,’ the current prize
money arrangement is flawed.
L. Jon Wertheim is a senior writer for Sports
We welcome your opinions. Please email
comments to RSI@racquetTECH.com.
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