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September/October 2005 Volume 33 Number 9 $5.


Our exclusive selector will help you customize the stringbed for every player

Wilson’s “W” line for women leads the new frame offerings New shoes your customers will be asking about The latest tenniswear for style and performance The newest frames for racquetball and squash
Q Telephone as Customer-Care Tool Q Wimbledon Player Equipment Log Q String Playtest Q Ask the Experts Q Tips and Techniques

Racquets, shoes, string, apparel—we’ve got the new stuff your customers want.


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INDUSTRY NEWS 7 Key racquet sales numbers are up 7 USTA debuts enhancements
to US Open, NTC

7 8 8 9 9 9 10 11 12 13 16

Wilson nCode wins industrial design award Head/Penn teams with Barbie for new junior products Color-coded teaching system introduced by Wilson Vantage USA formed for custom racquets Grand Slam Gut debuts 100% Natural Gut string Prince introduces new Shark DB frame Welch offers clay-court maintenance seminars ATP, Penn, Sports Authority distribute DVD Sportwall unveils its “Next Generation” North Carolina club chooses Classic Turf surface “Fast Lane Tennis” series on The Tennis Channel Court to parking deck

24 Gender Specific
Wilson’s new “W” line of frames is designed specifically for women players.

26 Frames for Fall
Line extensions and new technologies lead the way in new racquets for recreational players.

30 Foot Soldiers
From big-name endorsements to grassroots player appeal, tennis shoe manufacturers have the kicks for your customers.

32 String Selector Map, 2005
Our exclusive guide of all strings available will help you customize your stringbed for optimum performance and feel.

40 Clothes Encounters
The latest lines from tenniswear companies promise stylish performance for your customers.

44 Climbing the Walls
On the cover: Close-ups of string cross-sections.
For racquetball and squash, increases in participation may be slow, but they appear to be steady.

18 Florida club adds Premier

DEPARTMENTS 4 Our Serve 20 Customer Relations 48 Wimbledon Player Equipment Log

50 52 54 56

String Playtest: Gosen Polylon SP Ask the Experts Tips and Techniques Your Serve, by Paul Fein
September/October 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY


Our Serve
Honoring Our Commitment
(Incorporating Racquet Tech and Tennis Industry)

Publishers David Bone Jeff Williams Editor-in-Chief Crawford Lindsey Editorial Director Peter Francesconi Associate Editor Greg Raven Design/Art Director Kristine Thom Assistant to the Publisher Cari Feliciano Contributing Editors Cynthia Cantrell Rod Cross Kristen Daley Joe Dinoffer Liza Horan Andrew Lavallee James Martin Mark Mason Chris Nicholson Mitch Rustad Drew Sunderlin RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY Corporate Offices 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084 Phone: 760-536-1177 Fax: 760-536-1171 Email: Website: 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 203-263-5243


ell, we did this a year ago, and we’re going to do it again this year. We’re going to pat ourselves on the

We recently received word that Racquet Sports Industry magazine won a 2005 Apex Award for Publication Excellence. This is the second year in a row that RSI has been honored with an Apex Award, and this year, it was especially nice to be recognized for overall excellence in the category “Magazines & Journals—Printed Four-Color.” There were nearly 5,000 entries in 109 different categories, covering magazines, newspapers, special publications, video and electronic publications, annual reports, brochures, newsletters, and more. RSI was one of 757 entries in the Magazine & Journals category. The awards are given out based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content, and “the success of the entry—in the opinion of the judges— in achieving overall communications effectiveness and excellence.” That’s particularly gratifying to us because effective communication is everything in this business. It’s what we need to do for you, and it’s what you need to do for your customers and players. Our goal is to continue to communicate what you need to effectively run your business, and to help you make a profit at it. And we’re committed to communicating what it takes to make this sport grow at every level. And while RSI now has another award to hang on the wall to indicate that we seem to be on the right path, we know there’s still a lot of work we need to do. And, with your continued help and support, we look forward to doing it.

Dave Bone Co-Publisher

Jeff Williams Co-Publisher

Peter Francesconi Editorial Director

Crawford Lindsey Editor-in-Chief

Racquet Sports Industry (USPS 347-8300. ISSN 01915851) is published 10 times per year: monthly January through August and combined issues in September/October and November/December by Tennis Industry and USRSA, 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084. Periodicals postage paid at Hurley, NY 12443 and additional mailing offices. September/October 2005, Volume 33, Number 9 © 2005 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, 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084.


RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005


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USTA Debuts Enhancements To US Open, Tennis Center
The USTA continues to change and improve the US Open and its Flushing Meadows, N.Y., site. Some the innovations, attractions, and enhancements that fans will notice at this year’s Open, from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11, include: Blue courts: As reported in the July issue of RSI, the USTA came up with a new court color for the US Open and the run-up US Open Series of tournaments. The new color was designed to provide a “signature look” to the Open Series and provide an identifiable link to the Open itself. Also, it was designed to enhance visibility of the ball for players and spectators. Bellagio-style fountain: The vast South Plaza at the National Tennis Center will feature a new fountain created by WET Enterprises of California, the designers of the popular fountains at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Shooting water more than 20 feet high, the fountain’s animation controls can create water shows, movement, and sound. Polo Ralph Lauren: The apparel designer is stepping up to tennis in a big way, signing a four-year partnership with the USTA for the US Open sponsorship. PRL will design the official US Open shirt and will outfit all oncourt officials, line judges, and ballpersons. In addition, there will be a 3,500-sq.-ft. Polo store on-site. Avenue of Aces: Fans can purchase personalized pavers to support the USTA Tennis & Education Foundation and have a permanent link to the Open. The Avenue of Aces will be between the East Gate entrance and Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Sales Figures Strong for Second Straight Year


here’s good news for the tennis industry: For the second straight year, racquet sales for the 12 months through June 2005 are strong, up 29 percent in units and 18 percent in dollars, when compared to the same period that ended in June 2003. A year ago, in June 2004, sales had increased 16 percent in units and 8 percent in dollars. This two-year upswing is fueling speculation that a number of things are coming together for the sport, including recent new player programs, such as the Tennis Welcome Center initiative and the USTA’s Tennis in the Parks campaign, and positive consumer reaction to new technologies introduced by racquet companies. “Unit sales growth the past two years shows that some of our new player programs are starting to work,” says Jim Baugh, the president of the Tennis Industry Association. “Along with the USTA, we’ve promoted Tennis Welcome Centers for two straight years, and the USTA has greatly expanded its Tennis in the Parks campaign. “The growth in dollar sales, especially this year, shows that consumers are buying more premium, high-performance racquets as well,” Baugh adds. “In fact, the largest growth category this year is the super-premium category, up over 35 percent.” The TIA also says the increases tie in with what dealers expected for sales in 2005. Based on a survey at the beginning of the year, 57 percent of dealers said they expected consumer sales to increase, while 10 percent predicted a decrease. Ball sales, after growing in units in 2004, are down slightly in 2005, but the TIA says it’s been having some difficulty tracking sales because a number of top retailers are importing balls directly under their own brands, and they don’t report sales figures to the TIA. “We’re hoping to get these retailers to submit their sales to ball shipment census reports” in the future, says Baugh. But overall, Baugh’s happy with the direction things are taking. “We’re on the right track,” he says. “Industry sales are the most positive they’ve been in years, and the efforts to grow the game at the grassroots level have intensified. And we’re launching Cardio Tennis to consumers. We just need to keep our focus, work together, and keep pushing.”

Wilson nCode Wins Industrial Design Excellence Award


roduct design firm Design Concepts Inc. of Madison, Wis., and Wilson Sporting Goods have been recognized with a Bronze 2005 Industrial Design Excellence Award (IDEA) for Wilson’s new nCode racquets. Co-sponsored by the Industrial Designers Society of America and BusinessWeek, the international design competition is “a celebration of the best and hottest product designs of the year” and is “dedicated to fostering business and the public’s understanding of the importance of industrial design excellence to the quality of life and the economy,” according to IDEA officials. A jury of 17 world-renowned designers and critics considered more than 1,380 entries from 40 countries before selecting 148 winners. Wilson’s frames feature exclusive nano-technology nCode material combined with dramatic visual appeal, superior shock and vibration reduction, more power, a more active string bed and a larger sweetspot, says the company. Serena Williams uses the n3 model on the pro tour and Tennis magazine named the n5 model an “Editor’s Choice.” According to Brian Dillman, Wilson’s vice president of Global Marketing for Racket Sports, “The new nCode racquets make all other racquets look obsolete. But in the end, the racquets have to perform on the court.”
September/October 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY



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Head/Penn Teams With Barbie For New Junior Girls’ Line of Tennis Products
ead/Penn Racquet Sports and Mattel Inc. have developed a co-branded set of tennis products for young girls called the Head Barbie Junior Series. This new line combines Head’s racquet design expertise with the fashion and appeal of the Barbie brand, says Head officials. Designed for girls ages 4 to 9 (or 40- to 55-inches-tall), the new Head Barbie Junior Series will be in stores for the 2005 holiday season. “By aligning Head products with a brand as established and prestigious as Barbie, we will gain instant recognition and credibility among young girls at retail and on the courts,” says Greg Mason, director of sales and marketing for Head/Penn. “With fun, colorful tennis equipment in their hands, young girls will be inclined to play longer and more often.” The new series includes three junior racquets designed for a variety of heights and ages, a racquet sack, and a pro racquet bag that fits both racquets and equipment. Also available is the Head Barbie Junior Pack, which includes a 25-inch racquet, pink two-tone pressureless tennis balls, and a water bottle. “Barbie knows what girls of all ages like and is literally everywhere a girl is—now on the tennis court as well,” says Richard Dickson, senior v.p. of Mattel’s Worldwide Consumer Products division. “It is a strategic priority for us to partner with authentic brands outside the traditional toy world.”

Wilson Introduces Color-Coded Teaching System for Beginners
ilson Racquet Sports has developed a new line of tennis instructional equipment as part of its expanding commitment to tennis education programs throughout the country. The EZ Tennis line, designed for teaching pros running entry-level programs, is a color-coded racquet system for beginners that Wilson says will make the fundamentals of tennis easier to comprehend. Wilson’s EZ Tennis racquets and grips are colorcoded red and yellow to simplify hand positioning and indicate which side of the racquet should be used during forehand and backhand strokes. EZ Tennis racquets are available in 17-, 19-, 21-, 23and 25-inch lengths. The 17-inch frame, the first Wilson racquet made in that length, is ideal for children as young as ages 2 or 3, says the company. “EZ Tennis is a comprehensive training system that allows even the youngest beginners to grasp the fundamentals of tennis in an engaging way,” says James Burda, Wilson’s manager of U.S. promotions. In addition to the racquets, the line also includes Set-Up Targets, Dots, Court Lines, Multi-Use Cones, Tennis Nets, Foam Balls, and Transitional Play Balls. For more information, call 800-272-6060 or contact your local Wilson rep.




RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005


Vantage USA Formed for Custom Racquets
acquetMaxx of Birmingham, Ala., and Vantage Sport International of the United Kingdom have formed a new company, Vantage USA, which will specialize in building custom tennis racquets for the U.S. market. The new partnership will use the Custom Racquet System that Vantage International developed to deliver fast and cost-effective service to players “looking for something more unique than mass-produced fames,” according to a press release. And for Vantage USA customers, the wide range of services offered by RacquetMaxx will be available on all Vantage racquet configurations. All orders can me made via the website or by calling RacquetMaxx directly for any information and assistance in choosing specifications and building a frame. “Building racquets that perfectly suit the player is what we are all about” says Paul Angell, founder and head of Vantage Sport International. “Having an office in the USA will further increase our level of customer service, and with RacquetMaxx as a partner, we are delighted to be able to offer even more choice of specifications.” “Our company has been built on customizing mass-produced racquets to meet a player’s specific needs,” says Bob Patterson, founder and head of RacquetMaxx. “Vantage racquets are the ultimate customization, providing an avenue for the player to work with a Master Racquet Technician to build their dream racquet.” A Vantage USA website is under construction, but customers are still able to configure their ideal racquet at or by calling RacquetMaxx directly for further information and assistance at 800-824-4989.


Grand Slam Gut Debuts New 100% Natural Gut String
rand Slam Gut’s new 100 percent Natural Gut comes in a variety of sizes and textures for tennis, squash, racquetball, and badminton players. For tennis, the string is offered in 17, 16, and 15L gauges, and it comes in coated and uncoated versions. GSC says that its college and 5.0 playtesters consider the string to be one of the liveliest available. The company says it’s one of the roughest natural guts available, which adds more spin to the ball, and that it is long on durability. The company points to USRSA lab testing that measured GSG’s uncoated 17 gauge to be the second best natural gut string on the market in holding tension and its coated 15L as one of the top five softest natural gut strings on the market. Tests were done versus all the natural gut competitors. The natural-color GSG is available in 40-foot (12.2 m) sets and half-sets of 21 feet (6.5 m). Recommended tension for Grand Slam Gut is 50 to 60 lbs. For tennis, it is priced at $17 per set. For more information, contact 715-366-4333 or email:


Prince Sports Introduces Shark DB Frame
rince Sports launched the newest racquet in the Shark family, the Shark DB, this summer, designed for players looking for maximum comfort in a powerful frame, especially for players with shorter, more compact strokes, says the company. The Shark DB is the first ever power Double Bridge (DB) racquet by Prince and is offered in an Oversize and Midplus headsize. Prince says the racquet’s patented Double Bridge technology provides frame and string vibration reduction. Prices range from $190 to $200. For more information, contact 800-283-6647 or visit
September/October 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY




Welch Offers Clay-Court Maintenance Seminars
elch Tennis is again offering its popular clay-court maintenance seminars, designed for anyone who is involved in the business of maintaining clay (Har-Tru) tennis courts, whether traditional overhead-irrigated fast-drying courts or subsurface-irrigated HydroGrid or HydroCourt. The seminars give participants a working knowledge of Har-Tru courts, including an explanation and demonstration of the latest procedures in court maintenance. Participants receive a Certificate of Completion, and USPTA members can earn three credits for continuing education for attending. Cost is $159 per person ($125 for each additional person from the same facility) and includes a continental breakfast, lunch, refreshments, and a happy hour. Upcoming seminars are:
Q Oct. 7 at the Ocean Club in Daytona Beach, Fla. Q Oct. 14 at the Gulf Harbor Yacht and Tennis Club in Fort Myers, Fla.


Call Deb Carlson at 800-282-4415.

Wilson Sales Veteran Moves to Marketing Team


ilson Racquet Sports has promoted Cory Springer to the new role of marketing manager for the U.S. Springer has been with Wilson for nine years and has served as a territory manager in southern Florida for the past six years. Springer will manage marketing execution and sales programs in both the accessory and footwear categories for the U.S. market. He also will coordinate with Wilson’s Global Marketing Department for product development and serve as a marketing liaison to Wilson’s U.S. sales team. In other Wilson personnel news, the company hired Evan Garfinkle as a territory manager in the South Central region of the U.S. Garfinkle, an accomplished stringer and certified Master Racquet Technician, joins Wilson after working most recently as a sales rep for both Gamma/Fischer and Balle De Match.

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• David Kjeldsen, CEO of Viking Athletics in Lindenhurst, N.Y., announced that Brian Mills will assume responsibility for all inside sales of Viking's platform tennis line. Mills will work closely with Dave Ohlmuller at O2 Athletics of Lake Bluff, Ill., which represents Viking in the Midwest. • Longtime tennis coach Larry Easley has given much to the game of tennis over the years, but now he needs help from it. Easley is suffering from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and his friends are asking for help in providing support. A fund-raising golf event was held Aug. 12 in Nevada, and there are plans to do more. For details, contact Ron Drylie at 888-750-7587 or e-mail • Wayne Bryan, coach of the Sacramento Capitals, has been named 2005 World
TeamTennis Coach of the Year. The charismatic Bryan earned his second consecutive Coach of the Year award after leading Sacramento to a League best 11-3 record and a Western Conference Championship. The WTT Finals weekend will be Sept. 16-17 at Allstate Stadium at Sunrise MarketPlace, Citrus Heights, Calif.





• In other WTT news, Elena Likhovtseva and Mark Knowles, both of the Sacramento Capitals, were named 2005 Female and Male MVPs. Also, Katerina Bondarenko of the Newport Beach Breakers has been named 2005 Female Rookie of the Year, while the Springfield Lasers' Rik de Voest has earned Male Rookie of the Year honors.

• Eight college players and two coaches went to Izmire, Turkey, Aug. 11-21 to represent
the U.S. at the 2005 World University Games tennis competition. U.S. Men's Coach David Roditi selected John Isner (University of Georgia), Ryler DeHeart (University of Illinois), Scott Green (Ohio State), and Ross Wilson (Ohio State). U.S. Women's Coach Lori McNeil selected Amber Liu (Stanford), Jennifer Magley (University of Florida), and Catrina and Christian Thompson (Notre Dame).

• Longtime USTA marketing and communications specialist Randy Walker will
join Leverage Sports Agency after the 2005 US Open. Walker, who worked with the US Open, Olympics, and U.S. Davis Cup team and served as the USTA’s senior publicity manager, will work on publicity, sponsorship, and new business development for the Charlotte/New York-based agency and will focus on the tennis industry.

ATP, Penn, Sports Authority Team Up to Distribute DVD
ennis Masters Cup Uncovered II: Facing Federer, the ATP’s behind-the-scenes documentary of the most recent Tennis Masters Cup, will be distributed to tennis fans in coming months through a promotion between the ATP, Head/Penn Racquet Sports, and Sports Authority. Sports Authority stores nationwide will stock three-packs of Penn balls that also contain a complimentary copy of the DVD. Priced at $7.99, the three-pack of Penn ATP Tennis Balls will remain on sale through November. It is the first time that ATP partner Penn has featured a three-pack promotion with its ATP ball. Additionally, holiday packs—comprising an eight-pack of balls and complimentary copy of the DVD— will be sold at Sports Authority stores beginning in October for $19.99. “We’re certain recreational players using Penn balls also will enjoy getting an upclose look at the best professional players in the game through this beautiful and fun documentary,” says Kevin Kempin, vice president of Penn Racquet Sports Worldwide. The DVD includes the one-hour documentary and bonus footage featuring Roger Federer, Marat Safin, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Tim Henman, Guillermo Coria, Carlos Moya, and Gaston Gaudio. It continues to be sold online at via ATP partner Tennis Warehouse.
September/October 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY




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Sportwall Unveils Its “Next Generation”


The Need for News Coverage
Great “Your Serve” in the July 2005 issue of Racquet Sports Industry by Mark Winters (“Something to Write About”). He is right on the money! The declining coverage tennis receives in local media is a big problem, and we need to improve 1000 percent on it immediately. We in the Florida section of the USTA are putting more personnel and resources behind this and are having some luck and making some progress. The larger cities still have their challenges with regard to their sportswriters and tennis. But many smaller communities are eager for stories and coverage with a local flavor if you take the time to submit them. Bob Pfaender Florida
We welcome your letters and comments. Please email them to or fax them to 760-536-1171.

nteractive tennis and fitness pioneer Sportwall International will unveil its Next Generation platform at the USPTA World Conference in Marco Island, Fla., the week of Sept. 18. A leader in the emerging industry of “active interactive” products and programs for sports, fitness, and education, Sportwall uses computer-game technology to motivate and engage participation so that exercise and training become more fun, entertaining, and productive. Targets, scores, sounds, and time clocks stimulate the user’s eyes, ears, hands, feet, and balance systems to improve performance in a live-training environment. Programs include the world’s first internet-based tennis skills competition. Sportwall’s Next Generation upgrade includes MP3-quality threetrack sound, enhanced programs for group and cardio workouts, audio game instructions, interchangeable curriculum using smart cards, wireless headphone connection, pay for play option, and more. For info: visit or contact VP Sports Tom West at 800695-5056, ext 125.

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Bald Head Island Club Chooses Classic Turf Court Surface
he four courts at the Bald Head Island Club (below) along the North Carolina coast were recently resurfaced by the Classic Turf Co. of Woodbury, Conn., using the company’s 6 millimeter Classic Cushion, a cushioned sheet-goods product. “The original asphalt composite courts have many cracks in them,” says Classic Turf President Tumer H. Eren. “Since our product is breathable, it protects the subsurface from cracking, which is especially important in an environment where there is a lot of moisture, such as Bald Head Island’s ocean-side courts.” Bald Head Island Club General Manager Tom Golden says Classic Turf’s ability to allow moisture to evaporate through the surface was a big reason the club chose the product. The Classic Cushion, he says, “has done everything it’s purported to do. All in all, if you’re trying to cover a hard court that’s in a bad state of repair, it’s a very good option. We’ve been happy with it.” Contact 800-246-795 or 203-2630800, or visit


Squash Star Signs With Tourna-Grip Former world No. 1 squash star Lee Beachill has signed a three-year deal with overgrip supplier Tourna-Grip. The threetime British champion, and current world No. 2, has used Tourna-Grip throughout his career. “Lee Beachill, Pete Sampras and many other top players in the world have won, and continue to win, many championships using only Tourna-Grip,” says Mike Niksich of Unique Sports Products Inc., owner and manufacturer of Tourna-Grip. Contact 800-554-3707 or visit

September/October 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY



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dominated Wimbledon this year, > Wilsonhisathletesconsecutive single’s title and Venuswith Roger Federer lion, and willsays the 2005 US Open purse will top $17.7 mil> The USTA potentially exceed $20.6 million—representing winning third Williams defeating Lindsay Davenport in a dramatic all-Wilson women’s single final. Federer, Williams and Davenport all use racquets from Wilson’s nCode line. four boys event > Allwith Head in the singles semifinals of the Wimbledon JuniorTamira play racquets and are members of Team Elite, as is Paszek, playing with an FXP Instinct, who reached the girls’ singles final. For the boys, Jeremy Chardy, playing with a Liquid Metal Instinct, emerged with the title, defeating Head Team Elite members Robin Haase in the final and Donald Young in the semis. Earlier, Haase beat Head player Tim Smyczek in the other semi. de Mätch > Southern California-based apparel manufacturer Bälle brand saleshas hired veteran sales professional Ginna Foster to manage in Florida. She’s been a sales representative for Danskin in Florida for 13 years and will continue to cover the entire state for the brand. A competitive tennis player since the age of 10, Foster still plays in leagues at her home club of Lake Cane Tennis Center in Orlando. New or current accounts can contact Foster directly at 407-909-9091 or have switched to the new rac> Prince reports thatinpro players whoWimbledon doubles champO3Liezel quets have jumped the rankings. Huber switched to the O3 Tour at the beginning of the season and improved her doubles ranking from No. 45 to No. 4. Paul Goldstein moved up from 147 to 96 after switching to the O3 Tour and Davide Sanguinetti moved from 103 to 57. the highest annual purse in sports—as the top three men’s and women’s finishers in the US Open Series may earn up to an additional $2.8 million in bonus prize money at the US Open. Both the men’s and women’s US Open singles champions will earn $1.1 million with the ability to earn up to $2.2 million based on their performances in the US Open Series. for 30, > Head NV reports thatwerethe six months ended on Junemilnet revenues for 2005 down 2.7 percent to $169.6 lion, compared to the same period in 2004. Racquet Sports revenues for the first six months of 2005 decreased by $6.4 million, or 6.6 percent, to $90.0 million from $96.4 million in the comparable 2004 period. This decrease was mainly due to lower sales volumes in tennis racquets and balls as well as a change in product mix, the company says. picked Brian > Tennisofequipment distributortheATS Sports hastrip for two to Gallager Stratham, N.H., as winner of a the US Open. ATS carries a full line of tennis supplies. For more info, visit or call 800-866-7071. USTA Magazine, the magazine for USTA members, recently won three 2005 Apex Awards for Publication Excellence—one for special purpose writing, one for design and layout, and one for overall custom-published magazines.


14 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005


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Wilson Joins Effort to Host “World’s Largest Tennis Lesson”
n what was billed as the “Worlds’ Largest Tennis Lesson,” more than 300 kids showed up on July 22 in Chicago to drill and learn the game in a free lesson. Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods joined the effort, which was led by Chicago area teaching professional Mark Miller and designed to promote tennis among youth. “Wilson is committed to growing the game of tennis among youth and what better way to expose them to the sport then through Mark’s efforts to provide a free lesson for hundreds of kids,” says James Burda, manager of U.S. promotions for Wilson. “This reinforces the message that youth everywhere can embrace tennis as a fun sport that is both physically and socially rewarding.” Miller first dreamed up the idea of the world’s largest lesson when he hosted a similar event years ago and has since developed instructional programs at local park districts and day camps throughout Illinois. For more information, visit


“Fast Lane Tennis” Series On The Tennis Channel
new 10-show series on The Tennis Channel called “Fast Lane Tennis,” produced by USPTA and PTR Master Professional Joe Dinoffer, chronicles the tennis development of Dinoffer’s daughter Kalindi as she learns the sport over an 18-month period. The series, which is the first video project that has tracked a beginning junior through 18 months of learning tennis, also features footage with pro tour star Meghann Shaughnessey, as well as comic sequences from Bijou the tennis clown, played by teaching pro Henri Elkins. The instructional series contains quick tips, creative progressions, drills, and solutions to common problems that players of all ages face. For airing times, visit, and for info on the DVD version, contact Oncourt Offcourt at 88-TENNIS-11 or visit


Prince Sports has come out with a limited-edition O3 Pink frame, the fifth member of the O3-engineered family. Prince says the O3 line provides larger sweetspots (expanded by up to 54 percent) in maneuverable and aerodynamic frames. The O3 Pink, part of the Think Pink line of products from Prince, is designed for players looking for maximum power who have shorter, slower strokes. Five percent of the wholesale price will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation to aid in the fight against breast cancer. For more information, call 800-283-6647 or visit


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Boca Club Adds Premier Courts to Parking Deck
hen the Yacht and Racquet Club of Boca Raton, Fla., wanted to convert the roof of its parking garage into six tennis courts—to complement the six ground-level, subsurface irrigated clay courts it already had—it turned to Welch Tennis Courts Inc. of Sun City, Fla. Welch had built the original six two years ago, but the six on the roof presented a challenge. Club members insisted on playing on a soft surface, but the weight-bearing capacity of the deck was not sufficient to support clay courts. Welch President George Todd Jr. suggested Premier Court, which has a weight load of 2 pounds per square foot. The cushioned Premier Court also provides a maintenancefree surface, says Chris Rossi of Premier Concepts. The recently completed garage deck courts are receiving high praise from Yacht and Racquet Club management and members. “There are many facilities with similar situations,” says Todd. “Premier Court could be the perfect solution because it is a cushioned surface without the heavier weight loads.” Rossi says Premier offers warranties of up to 15 years. For more information, contact Welch at 800-282-4415 ( or Premier Concepts at 800-458-4675 (


Technical Tennis Dispels TimeHonored Myths
ave you ever wondered how much difference your equipment makes to your tennis game? Tennis physicist Rod Cross and technology expert (and RSI publisher and editor-in-chief) Crawford Lindsey answer all your questions and explode timehonored “truisms” in their new book, Technical Tennis: Racquets, Strings, Balls, Courts, Spin, and Bounce. The 152-page paperback is a reader-friendly follow-up to their widely acclaimed The Physics and Technology of Tennis, which they co-authored with Dr. Howard Brody (who wrote the foreword to the new book). The four chapters cover Racquets, Strings, Balls and Bounce, and Spin and Trajectory, and answer equipment- and performance-related questions that have perennially plagued hackers and experts alike, allowing players to turn practice into a focused application of principles affecting the impact, bounce, and flight of the ball. Technical Tennis is available from Racquet Tech Publishing for $12.95. To order visit: or call 760536-1177.



RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005

3 customer


Make Your Telephone the Ultimate Customer-Care Tool


he telephone just might represent the ultimate love/hate relationship. On one hand, it’s the lifeline of our business; on the other, it’s the scourge of our business day. (Can you say “telemarketer”?) Likewise as it relates to our customers, the telephone can cement the relationship or repel them forever. We communicate volumes to our customers in how the phone is answered, how their requests are handled, how their needs are met, and how their calls are ended. Consider the following: “Hello. This is Jeannie Anderson. May I speak with John, please?” “He’s not here.” “Oh, when do you expect him in?” “I have no idea.” “Well, I’m calling to see if my racquet’s ready. Can you help me with that?” “Nope. You have to speak with him.” “Would you please take my name and ask him to call me?” “Yup. What is it again?” “Jeannie Anderson.” “OK. Bye.” “Wait! Would you also please give him my phone number?” “Yup. What is it?” “555-1212” “OK. Bye.” It was the last straw. Jeannie never set foot in that shop again. John was a good stringer, and he was a nice enough guy. But some of the shop employees were obviously just marking time to collect their paychecks. They were not concerned with how they came across on the phone, and despite Jeannie’s longstanding relationship as a customer, she always felt that she was starting over with these people every time she called the shop. She didn’t feel acknowledged, let alone appreciated. How much better might Jeannie have

felt if her call had gone more like this: “Hello. This is Jeannie Anderson. May I speak with John please?” “I’m sorry Jeannie. John’s at lunch and probably won’t be back for a half hour or so. This is Paul. May I take a message or help you with something myself?” “I’m calling to see if my racquet’s ready. Can you help me with that?” “I don’t have your slip here at the counter, which leads me to believe that it’s not finished yet. But, how about if I take your number and ask John to call you as soon as he returns?” “OK. That would be great. It’s 5551212.” “OK, Jeannie. I’ll be sure John gets this message. Is there anything else I can help you with today?” “No, I don’t think so.” “OK, then. Thanks for calling.” “Thank you, Paul. See you later.” Many managers never think to teach proper telephone etiquette, but it can pay off handsomely in how a business is perceived. If you’ve not given it much thought and wouldn’t know where to begin, here are a few pointers that can make a big difference in how your employees convey customer care.

ees to write the caller’s name as soon as they hear it. Customers want to feel acknowledged and special. Using a customer’s name is a great way to connect with them and show them they’re not just another anonymous voice at the end of the line.

No customer wants to be told what he or she has to do. Instead, try using phrases like, “You might want to…” or “May I suggest that you….” They are gentler and much less directive.

You know how rude it feels to have your call slammed on hold. Let it be your customer’s choice whether to be placed on hold. “May I put you on hold while I transfer you to John?” is more polite and less directive than just saying, “Hold on.”

It’s amazing what a smile does for tone of voice. People who work in call centers (and therefore make their living on the telephone) often have signs or smiley face icons on their desks or telephones reminding them to “Smile!” This isn’t just an attitudinal pick-me-up. It’s a reminder for them to smile before answering the phone. Try it yourself to see what a difference a smile can make in your tone of voice.

Make sure all of the customer’s needs are met before the call is ended. This simple question can make your customer feel that you have all day for them and their concerns. Most often, they won’t need more of your time, but they’ll appreciate the offer.

Keep a pad of paper by all the phones in your facility and encourage your employ-

Make sure your customer knows where his call is going and with whom he is about to speak. “Gee, I’m sorry. I can’t answer that

20 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005

question. May I transfer you to Jim Smith, our food and beverage manager?”

“If Jim doesn’t answer and you want to get back to me, please press 0 and ask for extension 107.” This way, your customer doesn’t feel that his call has been dumped into a black hole. We’re seeing more and more voice mail, and we’ve all been frustrated by the voice-mail maze. We’ve all cried, “Can’t I just speak with a live person?!” Pay attention to how your customers are treated if they enter the voice-mail fray at your club.

Customers do not want to feel rushed off the phone. When you do get the occasional chatterbox who wants to bend your ear about string tension or ladies’ league or her rivalry with so and so, politely say, “I’m sorry. I’d love to talk more about this, but I must let you go. I have customers in the shop/I have another line ringing/the UPS man is here”….etc. The telephone can and should be a customer-care tool. Talk with your staff members Kr ist ine about how Th om you want the phones to be answered, how you want calls transferred and how you want the business portrayed over the phone. Being proactive in training your staff helps ensure that your customers will receive consistently high service from your shop or club, even on the phone.Q Jill Fonte is a speaker and trainer specializing in management and customer service. She is a frequent presenter at tennis conventions and workshops throughout the U.S. An avid, frequent tennis player, she is the current chair of the USTA's National Tennis Innovation Committee. She has also recently joined Dr. Jack Groppel and Dr. Jim Loehr as a performance coach and keynote speaker at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla.

September/October 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY


Introductory Courses

Racquets, shoes, string, apparel—we’ve got the new stuff your customers want.


emember when most major product introductions seemed

to happen at the Super Show in February, when manufacturers put on lavish shows to sell their wares to retailers, who in turn signed purchase agreements for upcoming shipments, and everyone went home happy and excited? Well, times certainly have changed. Product introductions essentially happen throughout the year, and no time is more packed with neat, new stuff than when the US Open rolls around in late August. From breakthrough racquets and shoes, to string for all types of players, to stylish new apparel, and even racquetball and squash frames, the following pages have the new products that your customers will be asking about.
22 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005

Gender Specific
hat do women want? Wilson hopes it has the answer. This fall, the company is releasing a group of racquets, called the W line, that are designed specifically for female players. Of course, you may be asking yourself, how do you make frames for women without patronizing them? “Women expect to be respected as athletes first,” says WilW2 Spicy Ruby W2 Black Whisper son’s Jon Muir, “but they also appreciate style.” Wilson will be putting the emphasis on the latW2 Blue Shadow ter. The W line is, on a certain level, a vanity product. It consists of three models (the 117 sq.-in. W2 117, the 107-sq.-in. W4, and the 97-sq.-in. W6) that are available in multiple colors and patterns. The super-oversize comes in three colors, the oversize in four, and the mid-plus in two, giving the consumer a total of nine different cosmetics from which to choose. They are racquets as objets d’art. But these aren’t the cliché colors of pink and powder blue, which racquet companies have used in the past to create the image of a lady’s stick. Rather, Wilson paints these frames with vibrant and distinctive colors and gives them names that W4 Savage Saphire sound like shades of lipstick: Blue Shadow, W4 Savage Lime Spicy Ruby, Savage Sapphire, and Wild CrimW4 Red Fury son, for example. W4 Cobalt Storm “We did extensive research—five focus groups around the world—and we learned that the cosmetics had to be bold and strong,” Muir says. “There has to be a sense that the racquet’s cosmetic is an extension of the player’s personality. That’s why we’re offering so many selections.” But to Muir’s other point, about respecting women as athletes first, W racquets aren’t just pretty frames. There’s substance behind the style. They feature Wilson’s nCode technology for stability and a solid feel. W6 Wild Crimson The heads of each frame are also unique—oval W6 Blue Steel instead of the traditional round shape, in order to

Wilson’s new “W” line of frames is designed for women players.


increase the length of the main strings for more power. Other features include shock-absorbing grommets and softer grips for comfort. And the racquets are all fairly light and maneuverable. The W racquets will carry a premium price, ranging from $199.99 to $269.99 suggested retail. Will women pony up? It’ll be interesting to see. The W line, which will feature a new “W” logo, is the first time a tennis manufacturer has marketed racquets with such an image-conscious strategy. In other industries, this type of marketing has worked wonders. Take Apple. It has successfully branched off its iPod with mini iPods, where the main appeal is that they come in different colors yet still deliver the solid performance of the original. Muir compares the W line to the Apple strategy. The thinking is that female players will identify with a particular W model as a way of expressing themselves on court. But you have to wonder whether the W line will cannibalize Wilson’s nCode racquets. The company’s top female players, Lindsay Davenport, Justine Henin-Hardenne, and Venus and Serena Williams, endorse different nCode models. Will the women’s-only frames simply siphon sales away from nCode, or will they generate new customers and expand the size of Wilson’s pie? And despite all the talk about technology and performance, will serious tennis players be turned off by racquets that put style ahead of substance? While Wilson awaits the answers to these questions, it’s putting marketing muscle behind its launch at this year’s US Open. The racquets will come with attractive head cards, with a picture of the line’s spokeswoman, ex-WTA touring pro Barbara Schett, on them, along with other point-ofpurchase materials. In addition to the frames, the W line will include accessories such as bags, overgrips, visors, caps, and trucker hats that correspond to the racquet cosmetics. And a portion of the proceeds from the sale of W merchandise will be donated to breast cancer research. Distribution will also play a key role in Wilson’s prospects. “We believe that the W line is not for every retailer,” Muir says. “This is a franchise product. We want accounts who believe in what we’re doing and can carry at least three to four SKUs. You need that many to tell the story.” 800-272-6060;

24 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005

Frames for Fall

Line extensions and new technologies lead the way for recreational players. Prince Fischer
This year Prince launched its O3 line, which includes the O3 Red, Silver, Blue, and Tour. The frames have large, grommet-less string holes, called O Ports, that allow the strings greater freedom of movement on impact. This, in turn, gives the stringbed a more forgiving, damp feel and a bigger sweetspot. One success story of the O3 line that’s probably gone unnoticed by most fans happened on the pro tour this spring. In the heart of the clay-court season, Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko was in a bit of a slump and decided a change was in order. He ditched his old racquet for the O3 Tour, and then went on a tear, winning St. Poelten and reaching the semifinals of Roland Garros. As of August, Davydenko was No. 6 in the world, and he credits a big part of his success to his new stick. “It has been and it is a real great experience working with Nikolay and noticing the huge improvement of his game with the new racquet,” says Prince’s tour manager, Fabrizio Caldarone. Building on its own success, Prince has introduced three O3 racquet bags (one that holds six, one that holds three, and a backpack). And it gives a subtle nod to the O3 line with the Quiktrac GT shoe, where the mesh vents are made to resemble the oval O Ports and the upper color-coordinates with the frames. 800-283-6647


Fischer has the most interesting new technology this fall—the Magnetic Speed racquets. They use the repelling power of equally aligned magnets in the head to help return the frame (which deforms on impact) to its original position quicker. This, in turn, transfers more power into your shot, says the company. Fischer will offer the M Pro No. One 98 and a more user-friendly version, the M Pro No. One 105, which has a bigger head, though both tip the scales at over 11 ounces. 800-333-0337

Völkl says it’s new technology, DNX, is about a “fourth dimension of carbon” and “high-strength micro-tube construction,” but what’s it really mean? It’s quite simple, really. The new Völkl DNX V1 features ultra-stiff carbon nanotubes in the head, at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions for stability on off-center hits, and in the throat to keep the frame from bending backward and therefore transfer more energy into the ball. The DNX V1 comes in 102- and 110-sq.-in. models, with a weight of 10.5 ounces strung. 800-264-4579

Head will continue to promote its new Flexpoint racquets. New to the family: the Flexpoint 4, which is a ’tweener frame that should have mass appeal for players rated NTRP 3.0 to 4.5, and the Flexpoint Instinct, an advanced player’s frame that offers excellent stability on off-center hits. 800-289-7366

26 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005

New Tennis Racquets for Summer/Fall 2005

Head size Length Weight (Sq. Inches) (Inches) (Grams) 95 107 98 98 105 98 121 107 100 100 110 110 100 110 100 100 105 105 110 117 100 100 100 105 98 100 100 90 95 100 102 110 117 117 117 107 107 107 107 97 97 105 100 110 110 26.875 27.000 27.000 27.000 27.000 346 270 307 323 335

Balance Balance (CMs) (Inches) 31.00 34.50 33.50 33.75 32.00 12.20 13.58 13.19 13.29 12.60

Flex Swing Wt. Pattern (RDC) (RDC) (M x C) 62 57 67 70 58 307 279 304 319 318 16x20 16x19 16x18 16x18 16x19 16x20 16x19 16x19 18x19 16x19 16x19 16x19 16x19 16x19 16x19 16x19 16x19 16x19 16x19 16x19 16x20 16x20 16x20 16x19 18x20 16x20 16x19 16x18 16x19 16x19 16x19 16x19 16x18 16x18 16x18 16x18 16x18 16x18 16x18 16x20 16x20 16x18 16x18 16x19 16x20

Power Price Level MSRP 1786 1702 1996 2188 1937 0 2770 2288 2002 2205 2369 2215 2094 2452 2074 1928 2408 2422 2463 2650 1947 2273 2522 2150 1836 1764 2328 1820 1872 2026 2118 2372 2643 2539 2547 2201 2256 2285 2241 1871 1874 2369 2100 2447 2675 $179 $195 $195 $195 $190 $190 $275 $225 $180 $150 $150 $280 $200 $200 $180 $180 $190 $190 $210 $250 $180 $180 $180 $150 $160 $160 $160 $221 $221 $221 $220 $220 $270 $270 $270 $230 $230 $230 $230 $200 $200 $219 $259 $259 $279

800-758-9467 • 800-779-0807 •

M3 (72 Holes) BANCROFT BANCROFT ACE Advantage ACE Tour ACE Tour + FISCHER FISCHER M Pro No. One 105 M Pro No. One 98 HEAD HEAD Flexpoint 10 Flexpoint 4 Flexpoint Instinct PRINCE PRINCE Air Vanquish Midplus Air Vanquish Oversize O3 Blue Shark DB Midplus Shark DB Oversize PRO KENNEX PRO KENNEX Ki (Kinetic Ionic) 10 Ki 10 PSE Ki 15 Ki 15 PSE Ki 20 Ki 30 Ki 5 Ki 5 PSE Ki 5x Kinetic Pro 15g Light Type C 98 Type R Type SX VANTAGE VANTAGE VT001 VT002 VT003 VOLKL VOLKL DNX V1 MP DNX V1 OS WILSON WILSON W2 Black Whisper W2 Blue Shadow W2 Spicy Ruby W4 Cobalt Storm W4 Red Fury W4 Savage Lime W4 Savage Sapphire W6 Blue Steel W6 Wild Crimson YONEX YONEX Nano Speed RQ 5 Nano Speed RQ 7 Nano Speed RQ 7 Nano Speed RQ 8

800-333-0337 •

800-289-7366 •

27.500 27.330 27.000 27.000 27.000 27.500 27.000 27.500 27.000 27.000 27.500 27.250 27.500 27.375 27.000 27.125 27.625 27.500 27.000 27.000 27.500 27.000 27.000 27.250 27.000 27.500 27.500 27.500 27.500 27.250 27.250 27.250 27.250 27.000 27.000 27.500 27.500 27.500 27.500

259 281 308 308 285 281 301 290 311 323 280 325 271 270 324 370 335 272 354 328 336 338 334 306 302 297 273 270 273 267 272 271 272 299 297 289 300 288 272

38.00 35.50 33.00 33.75 35.00 34.25 34.50 34.50 33.50 33.00 35.25 32.75 35.75 35.00 32.25 32.00 34.00 35.00 31.75 33.25 33.50 32.50 32.00 34.75 33.50 34.00 37.75 37.75 37.25 36.50 36.25 36.75 36.25 35.25 35.25 35.00 33.00 35.75 37.00

14.96 13.98 12.99 13.29 13.78 13.48 13.58 13.58 13.19 12.99 13.88 12.89 14.07 13.78 12.70 12.60 13.39 13.78 12.50 13.09 13.19 12.80 12.60 13.68 13.19 13.39 14.86 14.86 14.67 14.37 14.27 14.47 14.27 13.88 13.88 13.78 12.99 14.07 14.57

69 67 65 70 73 65 68 71 68 62 70 71 69 73 63 67 68 65 58 56 68 63 61 61 69 68 66 65 65 66 67 67 67 59 60 68 66 65 74

316 309 308 315 295 295 308 299 305 311 312 317 309 299 309 335 349 300 323 315 326 321 323 324 301 302 326 318 319 304 307 311 305 327 322 316 303 326 313

800-283-6647 •

760-804-8322 •

800-824-4989 •

800-264-4579 •

773-714-6400 •

310-793-3800 •

28 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005

Foot Soldiers

From big-name endorsements to grassroots player appeal, tennis shoe manufacturers have the kicks for your customers.

Babolat knows how to pick ’em. The company signed up Andy Roddick to endorse the Pure Drive Team, which has become the biggest success story in racquets in years. And it got Rafael Nadal to endorse the Aeropro Drive, and the kid goes and wins the French Open this year. Now Babolat is going back to Roddick, hoping he can do for its shoes what he did for its signature stick. This fall Babolat officially enters the U.S. footwear market with the Team All Court, a stability-oriented shoe that comes with Michelin soles. Roddick will start wearing these shoes in January. 877-316-9435

The new ClimaCool Ultimate II, for men and women, offers maximum ventilation for your feet, says Adidas. To help get the most out of its new shoes, the company also is encouraging consumers to purchase sportsspecific socks to wick moisture away. 800-448-1796

Another shoe that has a big-name player attached to it is the Nike Shox Glamour SW II. As you can tell by its initials, the Shox is endorsed by Serena Williams, and it’s designed for aggressive, serious players like her. It features highly resilient polyurethane columns in the heel for shock absorption. But unlike the Shox in Nike’s popular running shoes, these columns are much lower to give players more side-to-side stability. 800-344-6453

30 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005

Wilson puts its best foot forward with the Pro Staff Elite, which, like its other Pro Staff models, delivers a winning combination of comfort, support, and durability. It’s the kind of shoe that should be quite popular with teaching pros and anyone else who spends a lot of time on the court. 800-272-6060

A real “player’s” shoe, K-Swiss says its Defier RS, for men and women, is engineered to stand up to even the most intense on-court battles. The shoe features KSwiss’s Shock Spring cushioning in the heel and forefoot and a TecTuff toe wrap for durability. 800-714-4477

New Balance
New Balance has introduced the CT/WCT 653, a lightweight, comfortable shoe, with width sizes for men and women. The shoe probably will appeal most to entry-level players looking for a comfortable ride but who don’t need maximum stability. 800-343-1395

Are your competitive players looking for a stable, durable, and responsive performance shoe? Diadora says its new Attax DA 2, for both men and women, is just the ticket to help players get to the ball in style. 253-520-8868

September/October 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY


The String Selector Map 2005 performance and feel. Customize your stringbed for optimum
(Article adapted from the new book Technical Tennis: Racquets, Strings, Balls, Courts, Spin, and Bounce, by Rod Cross and Crawford Lindsey)



very choice concerning properties or features of string (except durability) comes down to how they will affect stringbed stiffness. Material, construction, gauge, and tension all influence string stiffness, which in turn affects stringbed stiffness, which affects power, control, and feel. The String Selector Map helps you navigate the quagmire of over 400 strings to choose what works and feels best for each player.

they will each feel stiffer than they did at the lower tension. The one exception is gut, which is stiffer at lower tensions compared to nylon, but the stiffness stays relatively constant at the ranges of higher tensions caused by ball impact, and it is less stiff than other strings at these tensions as a result. As the String Selector shows, there are only four different string materials in common use. In order from softest to stiffest they are: gut, nylon, polyester, and aramids, such as Kevlar. String Stiffness These groups have very little, if any, overlap in measured stiffString stiffness is a combination of material, gauge (i.e., string ness values from one group to another. There is beginning to be diameter and, thus, amount of material), length, and tension. a tiny bit of overlap between nylon and polyester (but only for But it is not a single number that is the same all of the time such a very few strings), as new manufacturing processes have allowed polyester to be softthat you can say, “This string ened. Within each category, has a stiffness of such and Table 1 such.” The stiffness of the there is a range of variance, Effect of Stringbed Features on Stringbed Stiffness string changes depending on but nothing as significant as what the tension is before the leap between separate catString Description Effect on Stringbed Stiffness you start stretching it. A egories. Long/short strings Softer/stiffer string at 50 pounds will Thin/thick gauge strings* Softer/stiffer Tension Loss stretch more for each pound Open/closed string pattern Softer/stiffer The Selector Map also plots of impact force compared to Loose/tight string tension Softer/stiffer tension loss. This is a property a string at 70 pounds. In Soft/stiff string material Softer/stiffer of the material and is related other words, the string is Big/small grommet/string holes (support system) Softer/stiffer to stiffness because it deterstiffer at higher tensions, not

mines the consistency over just because of the tension, * About half of all thin strings are stiffer than thick versions of the same string. The reason is time of the stringbed stiffness. but also because of a change that the stress (tension per square inch) on the thin string is larger and that the stiffness of most strings increases quickly when the stress increases above a certain value. A thin string Every string loses tension in the material property itself. will generally stretch further than a thick string when it is strung at 60 pounds, but it often from the second it is installed This is a property of all comstretches less than a thick string when the tension rises above 60 pounds during a shot. and with every hit of a tennis mon string materials. A steel ball. The rate of tension loss string would not act that way. It would stretch lengthwise the same amount for each pound of determines how much and how quickly the stiffness of your impact force whether it were strung at 40, 60, or 80 pounds, stringbed will change and, with it, the performance and feel. and you could say that the steel string has a definite value for The tension loss was measured by pulling the string to 62 lengthwise stiffness. Fortunately, in the normal stringing range pounds, waiting 200 seconds, and then impacting the string five times with a force comparable to of 50-70 pounds, different string hitting a 120 mph serve. The tenmaterials don’t change stiffness Table 2 sion loss is thus a combination of radically compared to each other static time tension loss and dynamas tension is altered. So, if one Effect of String Stiffness on Performance ic impact tension loss. Polyester string is stiffer than another at 50 loses the most tension and gut the pounds, it is, for all practical purStringbed Shock & Rebound least. poses, safe to say that it is stiffer Property Power Control Vibration Spin Angle The rate of loss slows to a mere by about the same proportion at creep after a couple of days and 70 pounds. Each string will feel Soft More Less Less Same Higher remains “perceptually” about the about the same relative to the Stiff Less More More Same Lower same for a few weeks. This means other at each tension. However,

32 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005

different things to different players. If you are a typical recreational player, the feel you are looking for is the stabilized feel that you experience after a couple of days and then for weeks after. If you are a pro, you need your racquets to feel exactly the same every day. That is why high level players restring so frequently.

String stiffness and tension loss are just two variables in overall stringbed stiffness. Table 1 summarizes the effect of additional variables that affect that stiffness, and Table 2 summarizes the resulting affect on performance. Q

The Geography of “Feel”
Q To find the string that goes with the dot, note the dot's coordinates and look them up in the table. Q Find your current string: • If you like it, dots in the neighborhood (i.e., close vertical axes to right or left) will likely play similar (perhaps with better durability and cost). • If you don't like it, move out of the neighborhood (i.e., vertical axes farther to right or left). • If you like the feel but it doesn't last, choose a string farther down on the same axis. Finding Your “Feel Good” Location Q Stiffness (horizontal axis) is the MOST important factor in string “feel.” Q The amount of tension loss affects the consistency of that feel. Q “Consistency” is relative and depends on player sensitivity, string durability, and amount and style of play. Q Hard hitters lose more tension than light hitters. Q Softer strings are to the left, stiffer strings to the right. Q Strings that lose more tension are at the top; those that lose less are at the bottom. Q All strings on the same vertical line should feel about the same, no matter the tension. Q All strings at different locations on the same horizontal line will feel different from each other. Q Stringbed power increases to the left. Q Player supplied power increases to the right. Q Stringbed control increases to the right. Q “Arm friendly” strings are to the left. Q “Feedback” intensity (shock) increases to right. Q Feel consistency over time tends to increase toward the bottom.

Hybrids: to look up a hybrid combination, you must look up each string separately. If it is a pre-packaged hybrid, most packaging indicates the name of each string.

All strings were tensioned to 62 pounds and allowed to sit for 200 seconds. Then the string was hit five times with a force equivalent to hitting a 120 mph serve. The tension loss represents the total amount of the relaxation over both time and impact. The stiffness value is a calculation derived from the amount of force created at impact to stretch the string. Lower values represent softer strings and lower impact forces. Higher values represent stiffer strings and higher impact forces.

Test Procedure.

September/October 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY


Nylon, Zyex, & Polyolefin (Sorted by Stiffness)
Company Head Pro Kennex Iso-Speed Head Pro Kennex Head Pro Kennex Power Angle Ashaway Isospeed Blue Star Pro Kennex Head Iso-Speed Wilson Ashaway Gamma Pro Kennex Gamma Gamma Prince Wilson Volkl Head Prince Head Head Head Pacific Iso-Speed Head Head Tecnifibre Tecnifibre Wilson Head Gamma Babolat Pacific Gamma Tecnifibre Prince Blue Star Head Forten Alpha Pacific Head Head Yonex Babolat Babolat Blue Star Volkl Gamma Wilson Blue Star Gamma Babolat Alpha Gamma Prince Babolat Prince Silent Partner Gamma Volkl Head String Material RIP Feel 17 Polyolefin IQ-Element Z 17 Zyex Platinum 16 Polyolefin RIP Comfort 16 Polyolefin IQ-Comfort 17 Polyolefin RIP Feel 16 Polyolefin IQ-Element 2 16 Zyex Duo-Color TNT Fat Core 17 Nylon Dynamite 17 Zyex/nylon Professional 17 Polyolefin Stargut 17 Nylon IQ-Element 2 15L Zyex RIP Protect 16 Polyolefine/Nylon Platinum 16 Polyolefin/Nylon Reaction 18 Nylon Dynamite WB 16 Zyex/nylon Live Wire Professional 17 Nylon/Zyex IQ-Comfort 16 Polyolefin Live Wire Professional Nylon/Zyex Prodigy 17 Nylon Premier w/softflex 17 Nylon Reaction 17 Nylon Fire Nylon Synthetic Gut PPS 18 Nylon Premier w/Softflex 16 Nylon RIP Tour 17 Nylon/Polyolefin RIP Control 17 Nylon/Polyolefin RIP Power 16L Nylon/Polyolefin PowerTwist Nylon Energetic Plus 16 Nylon/Polyolefin Perfect Power 16 Nylon FiberGel Power 17 Nylon X-One Biphase 18 Nylon/Polyurethane NRG2 18 Nylon/Polyurethane Reaction 16 Nylon RIP Tour 16 Nylon/Polyolefin Prodigy 16 Nylon Xcel Premium 17 Nylon FiberTwist 17 Nylon ESP 17 Nylon 515 17 Nylon/Polyurethane Sweet Perfection 17 Nylon Laser 130 16 Nylon RIP Control 16 Nylon/Polyolefin Tiegut 16 Nylon Firecable 16 Nylon/Polyester Graphite Braid TX 17 Nylon/graphite Perfect Control 16 Nylon RIP Ti.Fiber 16 Nylon Tough Brid 125 Nylon/Vectran Attraction Power 17 Nylon Syntronic Brio 17 Nylon Fibergut XL 15L Nylon Power-Fiber II 17 Nylon ESP 16 Nylon Stamina Spin 16 Nylon Stargut 16 Nylon Revelation 17 Nylon Xcel Premium 16 Nylon Gut 2000 Nylon Gut 2 Nylon Sweet Perfection 16 Nylon Pro Hurricane 18 Nylon Lightning XX w/ Powerfoil 16 Nylon/Polyester Filament Frenzy 16 Nylon Live Wire 17 Nylon/Zyex Power-Fiber II 18 Nylon RIP Ti.Fiber 17 Nylon/Polyolefin Stiff- Tension Gauge ness Loss (lb/in.) (lbs) 1.28 1.21 1.27 1.31 1.27 1.33 1.30 1.26 1.24 1.27 1.27 1.40 1.32 1.32 1.20 1.37 1.29 1.37 1.33 1.25 1.25 1.27 1.31 1.16 1.31 1.30 1.28 1.32 1.35 1.32 1.35 1.26 1.19 1.17 1.30 1.37 1.30 1.25 1.25 1.28 1.27 1.25 1.31 1.38 1.32 1.31 1.30 1.38 1.33 1.35 1.26 1.25 1.39 1.25 1.32 1.29 1.36 1.26 1.31 1.33 1.34 1.31 1.21 1.32 1.31 1.24 1.19 1.23 136 137 138 140 142 143 145 145 147 152 160 161 163 165 165 165 168 168 174 175 175 175 175 176 176 177 178 178 179 180 180 180 181 181 181 181 181 182 182 182 182 182 183 184 184 184 184 185 185 185 186 186 186 186 186 186 186 186 187 187 187 187 187 188 188 188 189 189 15.14 14.38 16.62 15.77 14.75 14.77 13.12 15.02 13.72 15.06 14.20 12.22 11.57 12.46 12.81 13.21 12.37 14.90 13.28 11.16 11.97 12.00 16.80 11.93 11.97 10.87 10.25 10.91 11.78 10.41 11.84 12.28 8.96 9.86 11.00 11.51 11.67 10.01 11.71 12.68 13.05 14.00 10.94 11.02 12.08 14.73 15.75 10.70 11.23 12.02 9.84 10.41 11.71 12.20 12.64 12.68 12.94 13.08 10.12 11.23 12.00 13.05 22.29 10.96 11.55 13.74 10.39 10.56 Company Alpha Wilson Pacific Head Tecnifibre Head Unique Klip Gamma Gamma Ashaway Gamma Gamma Gamma Tecnifibre Tecnifibre Prince Gamma Kirschbaum Tecnifibre Gosen Forten Wilson Babolat Head Prince Volkl Prince Silent Partner Forten Gamma Ashaway Alpha Tecnifibre Volkl Unique Klip Klip Gamma Gosen Gamma Head Alpha Prince Ashaway Tecnifibre Babolat Forten Gamma Wilson Wilson Head Ashaway Forten Blue Star Wilson Tecnifibre Pro Kennex Dunlop Yonex Gosen Prince Wilson Babolat Dunlop Bow Brand Blue Star Bow Brand String Material Element 16 Nylon Reaction 15L Nylon Futura TXT 16L Nylon FiberGel Power 16 Nylon NRG2 17 Nylon/Polyurethane Synthetic Gut PPS 17 Nylon Tournafiber Irradiated 17 Nylon Kicker 17 Nylon Live Wire XP 16 Nylon/Zyex Live Wire 16 Nylon/Zyex Synthetic Gut 17 Nylon TNT2 Rx 17 Nylon Live Wire XP 17 Nylon/Zyex TNT Fat Core 17 Nylon X-One Biphase 1.30 Nylon/Polyurethane X-One Biphase 1.24 Nylon/Polyurethane Lightning XX w/ Powerfoil 17 Nylon/Polyester TNT2 Pro Plus 17L Nylon Touch Multi-Fibre Nylon TRC 17 Nylon/Polyurethane OG-Sheep Micro Super 17 Nylon Omni Spin 15L Nylon NXT 17 Nylon FiberTour 16 Nylon FXP 17 Nylon/Polyester LightningXX 16 Nylon Power-Fiber II 16 Nylon Lightning Power w/ Powerfoil 17Nylon/Polyester Ultimatum 18 Nylon Sweet 17 Nylon TNT Fat Core 16 Nylon Liberty 16 Nylon Claycourt Plus 16 Nylon Synthetic Gut 17 Nylon Power-Fiber 18 Nylon Tournafiber SpinPlus 16 Nylon Excellerator 16 Nylon Excellerator 17 Nylon TNT2 Ruff 16 Nylon Super Tec AK Speed 17 Nylon TNT2 Pro Plus 16 Nylon Synthetic Gut PPS 16 Nylon Prodigy 16 Nylon Perfection 17 Nylon Liberty L15 Nylon NRG2 16 Nylon/Polyurethane Syntronic Brio 16 Nylon Spin Gear 15 Nylon Revelation 16 Nylon/Zyex Sensation 17 Nylon NXT 16 Nylon FiberGel 16 Nylon Synthetic Gut 16 Nylon Dynamix 18 Nylon Original 15L Nylon NXT OS 16L Nylon 515 16 Nylon/Polyurethane CS-Elite 16 Nylon/Polyurethane Max Comfort 17 Nylon Tough Brid 130 Nylon/Vectran OG-Sheep Micro 17 Nylon Tournament Nylon 15L Nylon Stamina 18 Nylon Xcel Premium 15L Nylon Max Comfort 16 Nylon Micro Tournament 17 Nylon Focus 130 16 Nylon t2000 15L Nylon Stiff- Tension Gauge ness Loss (lb/in.) (lbs) 1.32 1.35 1.29 1.31 1.24 1.22 1.27 1.24 1.32 1.31 1.26 1.26 1.25 1.27 1.31 1.28 1.24 1.25 1.31 1.25 1.24 1.37 1.24 1.32 1.25 1.29 1.30 1.25 1.19 1.27 1.31 1.33 1.32 1.27 1.19 1.32 1.30 1.30 1.52 1.24 1.32 1.31 1.32 1.25 1.41 1.31 1.34 1.43 1.32 1.25 1.30 1.34 1.34 1.21 1.43 1.32 1.35 1.29 1.23 1.40 1.24 1.40 1.22 1.39 1.32 1.24 1.33 1.37 189 189 189 189 190 190 190 190 190 190 190 191 191 191 192 192 192 192 192 193 193 193 193 194 194 194 194 194 194 194 194 194 194 194 195 195 195 195 195 196 196 196 196 196 196 197 197 197 197 197 198 198 198 198 198 199 199 199 199 199 199 199 200 200 200 200 201 201 10.89 10.94 11.16 11.62 9.55 11.38 11.62 11.68 12.04 12.87 14.93 10.96 12.35 13.36 10.08 10.12 10.94 12.74 14.07 11.20 11.51 12.44 12.99 10.45 10.59 10.76 11.20 11.40 12.04 12.62 12.77 12.90 13.80 13.96 9.57 11.14 11.44 11.66 11.95 10.87 11.16 11.69 11.95 12.42 16.25 8.05 10.52 11.22 11.88 11.91 10.69 11.97 12.12 13.01 13.92 10.43 10.58 11.42 11.78 11.90 12.35 13.19 9.81 10.17 11.07 12.50 10.76 11.38

34 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005

Nylon, Zyex, & Polyolefin (Sorted by Stiffness) Cont.
Company Forten Wilson Silent Partner Alpha Gamma Klip Pro Kennex Pacific Gamma Gamma Gamma Prince Prince Wilson Klip Gosen Prince Gamma Gamma Gosen Unique Unique Forten Pacific Klip Silent Partner Silent Partner Gamma Wilson Dunlop Wilson Forten Blue Star Head Pacific Tecnifibre Bow Brand Silent Partner Klip Prince Pacific Silent Partner Wilson Wilson Bow Brand Forten Babolat Klip Wilson Wilson Gamma Prince Head Prince Gamma Wilson Prince Klip Gamma Wilson Head Bow Brand Tecnifibre Babolat Wilson Gosen Forten Gamma String Material Dynamix 15L Nylon Staminia Spin 15L Nylon Ultimatum 17 Nylon Sensor Fibre 16 Nylon Challenger 17 Nylon Synthetic Gut 17 Nylon CS-Qualifier 16 Nylon PremiumPower X 16 Nylon Synthetic Gut 17 w/Wearguard Nylon Synthetic Gut w/Weargurard 18 Nylon TNT2 Rx 16 Nylon Lightning Power w/ Powerfoil 16Nylon/Polyester Synthetic Gut 18 w/Duraflex Nylon NXT Tour 17 Nylon Screamer Titanium Nylon/Titanium OG-Sheep Micro 16 Nylon Perfection 16 Nylon Dura Spin 15L Nylon Synthetic Gut 16 w/Wearguard Nylon OG Sheep Micro Super 16 Nylon Tournafiber Synthetic Gut 17 Nylon Tournafiber Irradiated 16 Nylon Sweet 15 Nylon Syntec 16L Nylon Excellerator 15L Nylon Head Spin 15L Nylon Titanium 16 Nylon Zo Plus 16L Nylon Extreme Synthetic Gut 16 Nylon Tour Performance 16 Nylon Supreme 17 Nylon Dynamix 17 Nylon Serve and Volley 16 Nylon Synthetic Gut 16 Nylon Power Spin 16 Nylon TRC 16 Nylon/Polyurethane Ballistic 15L Nylon Ultimatum 16 Nylon Scorcher 17 Nylon Lightning XX 17 Nylon Futura TXT 16 Nylon Original Syn 16 Nylon NXT Max 15L Nylon Supreme 16 Nylon Synthetic Gut XT 16 Nylon Dynamix 16 Nylon Superfine Play 17 Nylon Scorcher 16 Nylon NXT Tour 18 Nylon Stamina 17 Nylon TNT2 17 Nylon Topspin Plus 16 Nylon FXP 16 Nylon/Polyester Synthetic Gut 15L w/Duraflex Nylon Synthetic Gut 17 Nylon Sensation 16 Nylon Topspin 15L Nylon Kicker 16 Nylon TNT2 16 Nylon Extreme Synthetic Gut 17 Nylon Extreme Synthetic Gut 17 Nylon Tournament 16L Nylon Synthetic Gut 16 Nylon Superfine Play 16 Nylon NXT Max 16 Nylon Tecgut Super Tec AK Speed 16 Nylon Competition Nylon 15L Nylon Marathon DPC 16 Nylon Stiff- Tension Gauge ness Loss (lb/in.) (lbs) 1.33 1.38 1.28 1.35 1.27 1.25 1.31 1.33 1.26 1.21 1.36 1.31 1.20 1.27 1.30 1.29 1.31 1.37 1.31 1.30 1.22 1.33 1.36 1.32 1.34 1.38 1.32 1.32 1.28 1.34 1.29 1.26 1.31 1.29 1.38 1.31 1.35 1.33 1.27 1.26 1.39 1.33 1.35 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.25 1.31 1.24 1.25 1.27 1.29 1.34 1.35 1.26 1.32 1.30 1.32 1.31 1.25 1.24 1.32 1.34 1.32 1.34 1.32 1.41 1.32 201 201 201 202 202 202 202 202 203 203 203 203 203 203 203 203 203 204 204 204 204 204 204 204 204 204 204 204 205 205 205 205 205 205 205 206 206 206 206 207 207 207 208 208 208 208 208 208 209 209 209 209 209 209 209 209 209 209 210 210 210 210 210 210 211 211 211 211 11.82 12.15 12.66 11.02 11.33 12.87 12.96 13.67 9.15 9.68 9.81 9.95 11.51 12.46 12.54 12.96 14.24 9.63 10.03 11.29 11.31 11.44 11.55 12.37 12.68 13.18 13.19 13.56 10.30 10.85 11.07 11.14 11.20 11.27 12.48 10.50 10.59 12.81 13.51 9.68 11.51 13.89 9.88 10.34 10.85 10.95 11.49 12.83 9.53 9.68 9.85 10.06 10.83 11.13 11.51 11.55 11.92 12.55 10.34 10.39 11.27 11.97 12.70 12.76 9.71 10.45 10.89 11.51 Company Unique Babolat Prince Forten Gosen Gosen Alpha Prince Prince Klip Gamma Klip Babolat Gamma Gamma Unique Klip Dunlop Pacific Alpha Gamma Gosen Gamma Prince Babolat Gamma Wilson Gosen Bow Brand Bow Brand Babolat Babolat Wilson Dunlop Wilson Gamma Gamma Head Head Gamma Gosen Bow Brand Gamma Gamma Gamma Gamma Gamma String Tournafiber Synthetic Gut 16 Powergy 16 Synthetic Gut 17 w/Duraflex Sweet 16 OG-Sheep Micro Super JC 16 Tecgut Super Tec Ak Pro 16 Viper 16 Synthetic Gut 16 w/Duraflex Synthetic Gut Original 17 Synthetic Gut 16 TNT2 18 Synthetic Gut 15L Razor Spin 16 Synthetic Gut 15L w/Weargurad Ruff 16 Tournafiber Nylon 16 Twister 15L Synthetic Gut 16 Syntec 16 Sphere 16 Dura Spin w/ Wearguard 16 Nanocubic 16 Challenger 16 Synthetic Gut Original 16 Conquest 16 Synthetic Gut 16 Ultra Synthetic Gut 16 OG-Sheep Proform Tuff 15L Super Pro 15L Calibre 15L Conquest 17 Conquest Ti 16 NXT Tour 16 Synthetic Gut 17 Stamina 16 Marathon DPC 15L XL 16 Master 15L Master 16L Synthetic Gut 18 Tecgut Power 16 Superspin Dura Spin 16 Synthetic Gut 15L Advantage 15L Marathon DPC 17 Dura Spin 15L Material Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Nylon Stiff- Tension Gauge ness Loss (lb/in.) (lbs) 1.34 1.34 1.26 1.33 1.30 1.34 1.29 1.30 1.24 1.33 1.18 1.37 1.30 1.38 1.48 1.32 1.43 1.31 1.37 1.31 1.37 1.32 1.32 1.30 1.33 1.30 1.32 1.38 1.43 1.36 1.27 1.33 1.31 1.24 1.32 1.44 1.29 1.39 1.31 1.22 1.31 1.43 1.39 1.37 1.39 1.27 1.41 211 211 212 212 212 212 212 213 214 214 214 214 214 215 215 215 215 215 216 216 217 217 217 217 217 218 218 218 218 218 218 218 219 219 219 219 219 219 221 221 221 222 223 224 227 228 230 12.76 13.10 10.69 10.78 11.05 11.64 12.35 12.04 10.59 10.98 11.05 13.76 13.76 11.18 11.33 12.33 12.53 13.21 12.15 14.88 8.95 10.81 10.95 11.67 14.99 9.86 10.28 11.16 11.42 12.28 12.64 16.23 8.98 10.04 10.10 10.80 11.40 11.58 9.57 10.14 14.58 11.29 8.93 11.42 9.90 9.42 10.23

36 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005

Polyester (Sorted by Stiffness)
Company Tecnifibre Tecnifibre Gosen Kirschbaum Klip Wilson Gamma Babolat Toalson Silent Partner Kirschbaum Unique Pacific Luxilon Yonex Ashaway Klip Volkl Kirschbaum Kirschbaum Gosen Wilson Wilson Gamma Forten Wilson Gamma Luxilon Luxilon Wilson Babolat Luxilon Unique Luxilon Forten Luxilon Ashaway Klip Luxilon Luxilon Babolat Alpha Pacific Prince Prince Yonex Luxilon Tecnifibre Prince Luxilon Gamma Forten Gosen Klip String Promix 1.25 Promix 1.30 Polylon SP 17 Competition 1.20 K-Boom 18 Enduro Pro 18 Zo True 18 Pro Hurricane Thermaxe 123 Roly Poly 17 Turbo Touch 1.25 Tourna Poly Big Hitter 17 Poly Soft 16 Big Banger Ace 18 Tough Brid 1.25 MonoGut 17 K-Boom 17 V-Rex 16L Competition 1.25 Super Smash 1.20 Polylon SP 16 Enduro Tour 18 Enduro Tour 17 Zo Plus Pro Select 17 Enduro Pro 17 Zo Power 16L BB Alu Power Rough 16L Monotec Zolo Rough 16L Enduro Tour 16 Pro Hurricne 16 Big Banger TiMO 18 Tourna Poly Big Hitter 16 Monotec Zolo 18 Poly-Blast 17 Big Banger Alu Power 16L MonoGut 16L Hardcore 17 Monotec Zolo 16L Big Banger XP 16L Ballistic Polymono 17 Vengence 16L PolySpin 16 Polygut 16 Polygut 17 Tough Brid 130 Big Banger Original 16 Polyspin 1.275 Tour 17 Monotec Supersense 16L Zo Life 16 Flexion 16L Polylon 16 K-Boom 16 Material Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Stiff- Tension Gauge ness Loss (lb/in.) (lbs) 1.27 1.29 1.25 1.19 1.19 1.21 1.13 1.25 1.23 1.27 1.25 1.26 1.29 1.16 1.24 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.28 1.21 1.29 1.20 1.24 1.25 1.20 1.25 1.20 1.25 1.25 1.30 1.31 1.15 1.29 1.25 1.23 1.23 1.27 1.24 1.24 1.25 1.25 1.29 1.32 1.31 1.24 1.30 1.28 1.27 1.25 1.26 1.28 1.24 1.30 1.31 199 204 215 219 223 224 224 226 226 229 229 231 231 232 232 233 234 234 235 235 235 236 236 238 238 239 239 240 240 240 241 241 241 241 241 242 242 243 243 243 244 244 245 246 246 247 249 249 249 250 251 254 254 255 13.72 14.99 20.70 19.09 18.88 17.02 17.55 16.83 17.97 19.62 21.41 18.15 19.16 17.05 20.95 20.20 17.99 18.32 19.07 19.98 21.06 21.89 23.68 17.42 18.92 15.77 17.29 18.98 19.56 24.52 13.61 16.91 17.62 17.86 18.41 17.13 19.40 17.05 17.64 17.78 20.89 22.05 20.29 20.09 21.52 22.42 17.11 19.87 21.37 19.21 15.50 15.53 21.23 16.96 Company Head Forten Forten Gosen Prince Kirschbaum Kirschbaum Kirschbaum Babolat Alpha Wilson Klip Volkl Ashaway Luxilon Wilson Luxilon Luxilon Toalson Pacific Head Gamma Pro Kennex Luxilon Gamma Unique Ashaway Luxilon Luxilon Pacific Prince Gamma Pacific String UltraTour 17 Flexion 16 Intimidator 16 Polylon Comfort 16 Tour 16 Super Smash Spiky 1.25 P2 Super Smash 1.25 Ballistic Polymono 16 Polycable 16 Enduro Gold 16 Hardcore 16 Fire Monofire XL 17 Big Banger LTS 16 Enduro Pro 16 Big Banger TiMO 17 Poly-Blast 16 Thermaxe 127 Force 17 UltraTour 16L Dura Blast 17 CS-X 17 Big Banger Original Rough 16 Zo True 17 Tourna Poly Premium 18 Monofire XL 16 Monotec Super Poly 16 Big Banger 5-Star 15L Poly Force 17 Let R’ Rip 16 Dura Blast 16 Poly Force 16L Material Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester Stiff- Tension Gauge ness Loss (lb/in.) (lbs) 1.22 1.28 1.30 1.30 1.28 1.26 1.25 1.25 1.30 1.33 1.32 1.27 1.25 1.26 1.30 1.30 1.23 1.29 1.27 1.25 1.27 1.26 1.23 1.28 1.24 1.21 1.29 1.25 1.37 1.24 1.33 1.30 1.30 255 256 256 256 256 256 257 257 257 257 258 258 258 259 259 260 261 261 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 271 278 288 290 294 299 303 320 19.29 16.76 17.91 19.65 21.57 22.02 15.48 19.55 20.31 23.44 17.60 19.42 20.22 17.13 18.57 14.33 16.29 18.08 18.99 13.47 17.97 16.82 18.43 19.21 14.58 15.39 16.14 17.28 17.94 13.41 16.71 12.68 17.84

Company Pacific Pacific Pacific Pro Kennex Grand Slam Gut Wilson Babolat Wilson Pacific Grand Slam Gut Pacific Pacific Babolat

String Prime Gut Imperial 17 Classic Gut 17 Classic Gut 17 Heritage 16 Grand Slam Gut 15L (coated) Natural 16 VS Team 17 Natural 17 Tour Gut 17 Grand Slam Gut 17 (uncoated) Prime Gut 17 Classic Gut 16 VS Touch 16

Material Natural Gut Natural Gut Natural Gut Natural Gut Natural Gut Natural Gut Natural Gut Natural Gut Natural Gut Natural Gut Natural Gut Natural Gut Natural Gut

Stiff- Tension Gauge ness Loss (lb/in.) (lbs) 1.17 1.22 1.22 1.27 1.36 1.31 1.26 1.26 1.24 1.28 1.22 1.3 1.3 90 92 97 99 100 102 102 103 104 105 105 106 107 9.85 8.9 8.76 10.25 8.58 8.43 8.45 8.13 9.13 7.87 8.45 11.01 8.31

Gut (Sorted by Stiffness)
Company Wilson Pacific Bow Brand Klip Grand Slam Gut Klip Babolat Bow Brand Babolat Unique Babolat Grand Slam Gut String Material Natural 15L Natural Gut Prime Gut 17L Natural Gut Championship 16 Natural Gut Legend 1.30 Natural Gut Grand Slam Gut 16 (coated) Natural Gut Legend 17 Natural Gut Tonic+ Ball Feel Natural Gut Championship 15L Natural Gut VS Touch 15L Natural Gut Tourna Gut 16 Natural Gut Tonic+ Longevity Natural Gut Grand Slam Gut 15L (uncoated) Natural Gut

Stiff- Tension Gauge ness Loss (lb/in.) (lbs) 1.34 1.25 1.3 1.28 1.41 1.27 1.35 1.34 1.35 1.3 1.38 1.48 110 110 111 113 113 113 114 116 118 119 119 129 9.28 9.44 7.36 8.77 9.28 9.31 8.84 8.53 8.68 9.06 9.26 11.22

September/October 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY


Kevlar/Technora/Vectran (Sorted by Stiffness)
Company Ashaway Ashaway Forten Forten Prince Prince Forten Forten Wilson Head Dunlop Forten Forten Forten Silent Partner Forten String Composite XL Pro 15 Composite XT Pro New Age 18 Aramid Composite 18 Perfection Control 17 Perfection Control 16 Ultra Thin Blend 18 Thin Blend 18 Hyperlast Spin RIP Blend 17 Max Touch 17 Aramid Composite 17 Aramid Gear 16L Aramid Composite 16 Gutsy Aramid 17 Aramid Gear 15 Material Kevlar Vectran Kevlar/Nylon Kevlar/Nylon Nylon/Technora Nylon/Technora Kevlar Kevlar Technora Kevlar Kevlar Kevlar/Nylon Kevlar Kevlar/Nylon Kevlar Kevlar Stiff- Tension Gauge ness Loss (lb/in.) (lbs) 1.38 1.30 1.13 1.11 1.24 1.28 1.12 1.15 1.21 1.24 1.22 1.17 1.42 1.28 1.15 1.45 444 470 511 516 530 530 545 557 562 574 586 597 610 619 623 627 16.36 14.34 18.43 15.04 11.71 13.72 15.12 14.33 13.72 15.73 15.08 11.27 10.43 9.55 11.38 11.84 Company Pacific Forten Gamma Gamma Gamma Ashaway Gamma Gosen Wilson Prince Gamma Ashaway Klip Forten Ashaway Prince String Gear 16 Sweet Aramid 16L TNT2 Fusion Plus 19 Infinity 18 Infinity 17 Crossfire 18 TNT2 Fusion Plus 16 Arammix Pro 18 Hyperlast 15 Problend 17 Infinity 16 Crossfire 17 Atomic 16 Sweet Aramid 15L Crossfire II 16 Pro Blend 16 Material Kevlar Kevlar Kevlar Kevlar Kevlar Kevlar Kevlar Kevlar Technora Kevlar Kevlar Kevlar Kevlar Kevlar Kevlar Kevlar

Stiff- Tension Gauge ness Loss (lb/in.) (lbs) 1.43 1.27 1.23 1.17 1.24 1.08 1.28 1.09 1.41 1.24 1.30 1.22 1.29 1.36 1.29 1.30 629 632 640 641 641 671 674 697 709 720 736 757 758 761 764 981 11.73 11.60 17.33 17.00 20.57 27.21 16.36 17.03 13.15 16.39 17.90 28.37 28.36 13.01 26.68 15.88

New Strings for Fall 2005
String Babolat BABOLAT Attraction Attraction Power Conquest + FORTEN FORTEN Flexion Intimidator Pro Select GAMMA GAMMA Zo Pro GOSEN GOSEN Nanocubic GRAND SLAM GUT GUT GRAND SLAM Grand Slam Gut HEAD HEAD FXP KLIP KLIP Detonator Venom PACIFIC PACIFIC Force TECNIFIBRE TECNIFIBRE Multifeel WILSON WILSON Enduro Pro Natural Duo NXT Duo Sensation Duo YONEX YONEX Tough Brid 125 Tough Brid 130 16 17 16,17 16L, 16 16 17 16L/16 16 15L, 16, 17 16,17 18/17, 17/16 16,17 16L, 17 16 16,17,18 17/16 17/16 17/16 16L/16 16/16L-15 Multifilament Multifilament Solid Core single wrap Monofilament Monofilament Monofilament Hybrid Solid Core multi wrap Multifilament Solid Core multi wrap Hybrid Multifilament Solid core double wrap Multifilament Monofilament Hybrid Hybrid Hybrid Hybrid Hybrid Polyamide & Polyurethane Polyamide & Polyurethane Polyamide & Pearl Polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester/Nylon Fulleren Natural Gut Polyamide, Polyester & Dupont Polyester/Nylon Nylon Proprietary Proprietary Polyester Polyester/Natural Gut Polyester/Nylon & Polyurethane Polyester/Nylon Polyester/Nylon Polyester/Nylon & Vectran 40 40 20 44, 660 44, 660 44, 660 22/20 40 40 40 22/22 40 41 40, 660 40, 660 20/20 20/20 20/20 24/20 24/20 Gauges Construction Materials Length (Feet) Color Natural Natural White & Black Natural Yellow Silver Silver/Natural Bronze Natural Natural Silver/Natural Natl w/ Blk spiral Orange Natural Silver Silver/Natural Silver/Natural Silver/Natural Amber/White Amber/White Cost $9.00 $9.00 $2.50 $8.50 $4.75 $8.50 $18.50 $6.50
715-366-4333 877-316-9435 •

800-722-5588 •

800-333-0337 •

800-538-0026 •

$16.00 $11.00 $10.50 $14.00 $16.00 $9/$12 $8/$80 $25.00 $9.00 $12.00 $15.00 $15.00

800-289-7366 •

866-554-7872 •

888-566-8966 •

877-332-0825 •

773-714-6400 •

310-793-3800 •

38 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005

Clothes Encounters

The latest lines from tenniswear companies promise stylish performance for your customers.

Bolle 888-977-7272
40 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005

Polo 877-229-6341

Ellesse 561-491-9000

Diadora 253-520-8868 LBH 800-421-4474
September/October 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY


Tail 800-678-8245

Lejay 800-932-7535

K-Swiss 800-714-4477
42 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005

Climbing the Walls

For racquetball and squash, increases in participation may be slow, but they appear to be steady.
hile recreational participation for racquetball and squash isn’t monitored nearly as closely as it is for tennis, officials for both court sports say the number of players appears to be rising, along with construction of new facilities. That’s certainly welcome news in the racquet sports business, where savvy retailers and stringers may be able to expand their offerings to include servicing racquetball and squash players.



Racquetball: A Bid to Recapture ’80s Glory
Since the boom of the 1980s, racquetball has endured a steady decline in participation, directly reflected by the membership rolls of USA Racquetball (going from its peak of more than 30,000 members in the ’80s to its current total of approximately 17,000). Like tennis and squash, the sport has lost its market share partly due to increased competition; myriad health and fitness options flooded the country in the ’90s, prompting many fitness facilities to convert racquetball courts into space for more popular fitness trends like aerobics and yoga.

But this unhappy trend has provided USAR with its current marketing strategy as well, according to Executive Director Jim Hiser. “Racquetball players are loyal and renew their memberships over and over,” says Hiser, “so that’s what we now sell to club owners. Racquetball isn’t just a fitness fad, and it’s also a great cross-training sport.” USAR is already taking this message to the masses, with each local state association doing the majority of the legwork and outreach to area clubs, high schools and colleges, says Hiser. Their work appears to be paying off, as Hiser points to an 11 percent increase in membership in 2004, with about 4.5 million recreational (sporadic) players now in the U.S. “We’re trying to infiltrate this recreational player base,” says Hiser, “because we have all these players but a relative few are members of our association. They don’t play tournaments, they just play at a club. We’re trying to get that group more involved to help convince the club owners to maintain the courts.” Hiser says that USAR is placing a special focus on forming local youth clubs and teams in its promotional efforts.”

New Racquetball Racquets Fall 2005

Head size Length (Sq. Inches) (Inches) 107 107 108 108 107 108 107 106 106 107 107 107 107 107 106 106 106 108 108 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22

Weight (Grams) 186 196 203 194 197 203 208 186 213 192 197 204 181 190 179 189 195 190 197

Balance Balance Swing Wt. (CMs) (Inches) (RDC) 28.25 28.25 28.25 28.75 28.75 28.75 28.50 28.75 26.25 30.00 29.75 29.75 32.00 30.00 30.25 30.25 29.75 28.50 28.50 11.12 11.12 11.12 11.32 11.32 11.32 11.22 11.32 10.33 11.81 11.71 11.71 12.60 11.81 11.91 11.91 11.71 11.22 11.22 124 131 136 137 140 143 147 129 130 141 145 152 145 141 132 139 139 130 136

Pattern (M x C) 14x16 14x16 14x16 14x16 14x16 14x16 14x16 16x19 16x19 14x18 14x18 14x18 14x18 14x18 16x16 16x16 16x16 14x17 14x17

Price MSRP $180 $170 $160 $250 $220 $220 $200 $300 $280 $250 $225 $180 $150 $100 $275 $235 $200 $225 $220

800-4 E FORCE •

Bedlam Super-Mains 150 Bedlam Super-Mains 170 Bedlam Super-Mains 175 Super 30 DC 160 Super 30 DC 170 Super 30 DC 175 Super 30 DC 190 EKTELON Ektelon O3 Red O3 Silver WILSON Wilson n170 n180 n190 nPro nTour Head HEAD Liquidmetal IGS 165 Liquidmetal IGS 175 Liquidmetal IGS 185 Pro Kennex PRO KENNEX Core 1 Platinum 165 Core 1 Platinum 175

800-283-6647 •

773-714-6400 •

800-289-7366 •

760-804-8322 •

44 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005

Though his focus is on the future, Hiser admits he’d like to also take a page from the past. “We’d like to be back where we were in the ’80s, when racquetball was the ‘in’ sport to play,” says Hiser. “It’s a very similar issue for tennis and the other racquet sports.”

Squash: Pro Game, Inner City Programs
Though its bid to be included as an Olympic sport will have to wait, squash is flourishing in the U.S. and worldwide, according to Kevin Klipstein, CEO of the U.S. Squash Racquets Association. “Overall, I’m still excited, because it’s going to happen,” says Klipstein of the sport’s inclusion in the Olympic Games, which he fully expects to happen in 2016. For the 2012 Games, squash and karate were officially selected (out of five new sports being considered), but then failed to get the two-thirds majority to actually confirm the addition, says Klipstein. “We’re right on the cusp.” Though USSRA doesn’t keep formal participation numbers, the health of squash in the U.S. can be indirectly measured by the growth of the men’s and women’s pro tours. Though there are a whopping 125 member countries in the World Squash Federation, currently 50 percent of all prize money in the world is paid

out in the U.S., says Klipstein. “This is a real growth market for the pro game. We’ve shown we can sustain these pro events and gain sponsorships.” Recreationally, the sport is also enjoying a commercial clubbuilding boom, especially in Southampton and Westchester, N.Y., Philadelphia, San Diego, and other major markets where fitness clubs incorporating squash courts are on the rise. “There’s definitely court building going on,” says Klipstein. In Philadelphia, some 20 courts were built in 2004, a “significant” number that also reflects the success of the urban youth enrichment programs being started across the country. “We’re using squash as a tool to advance these kids intellectually and athletically,” says Klipstein, “It combines squash instruction with tutoring and mentoring.” Youth programs such as Squashbusters ( built an eight-court facility specifically for that program in Boston. In New York City, Streetsquash and Citysquash programs are also building new facilities. With the health of the pro game, burgeoning youth programs, and growth in the high school and college ranks, squash is looking towards a very bright future. “The sport is very healthy and showing real signs of growth,” says Klipstein. Q

New Squash Racquets Fall 2005

Head size Weight (Sq. Inches) (Grams) 76 77 77 74 78 73 73 73 82 82 75 75 74 73 70 164 161 161 157 149 150 140 144 152 151 153 167 160 172

Balance (CMs) 36.00 35.75 36.00 36.00 36.00 37.75 39.00 38.75 38.25 38.25 38.50 35.00 35.00 34.75

Balance (Inches) 14.17 14.07 14.17 14.17 14.17 14.86 15.35 15.26 15.06 15.06 15.16 13.78 13.78 13.68

Flex (RDC) 55 57 44 53 31 46 49 51 46 48 54 63 52 56 57

Swing Wt. (RDC) 190 185 189 183 173 188 183 185 194 192 194 188 183 195 191

Pattern (M x C) 14x19 14x19 14x19 14x19 12x18 16x19 14x19 14x19 16x19 16x19 14x16 12x17 12x17 14x18 16x16 12x17 12x17 14x21 14x21 14x21 12x18 12x18 12x18 12x18 14x18 14x18

Price MSRP $120 $100 $130 $150 $180 $195 $205 $205 $195 $195 $150 $135 $190 $180 $240 $275 $275 $150 $180 $165 $170 $200 $180 $150 $130 $140

800-556-7260 •

Destiny 490 Hornet 495 Liberty 495 Rad 475 BLACK KNIGHT Black Knight C2C Heat (60 Holes) Harrow HARROW M-140 Stealth Stealth The Prep Super Winner R Squared Super Winner True Blue HEAD Head i.X140G Pro i.x160 Liquidmetal 150 Liquidmetal 160 PRINCE Prince M+ Pro O3 All Court O3 Silver PRO KENNEX Pro Kennex C 160 Tour P 120 Ki Sling P 140 Ki Sling WILSON Wilson n120 n130 n140 n145 nRage nTour

800-535-3300 • 800-541-2905 •

800-289-7366 •

800-283-6647 •

151 38.00 14.96 not available at press time not available at press time 178 150 161 153 168 171 160 158 152 37.25 37.75 37.25 39.25 39.25 38.75 38.50 34.50 36.75 14.67 14.86 14.67 15.45 15.45 15.26 15.16 13.58 14.47

760-804-8322 •

80 80 80 76 77 77 76 73 73

47 25 33 57 25 30 58 45 26

216 189 198 203 211 212 205 175 180

773-714-6400 •

46 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005


B C on

Round Rank Reached
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 W S 2 F 3 DNP 2 DNP S Q 2 1 DNP 3 4 1 4 2 1 1 Roger Federer Lleyton Hewitt Rafael Nadal Andy Roddick Marat Safin Andre Agassi Nikolay Davydendo Guillermo Canas Thomas Johansson David Nalbandian Tim Henman Mariano Puerta Gaston Gaudio Joachim Johansson Guillermo Coria Tommy Robredo Richard Gasquet Radek Stepanek Ivan Ljubicic David Ferrer

Player Name

Racquet Country Brand

Wilson nSix-One Tour Yonex RDX-500 Babolat AeroPro Drive Babolat Pure Drive Team + Head Liquidmetal Prestige Mid DID NOT PLAY Prince O3 Tour DID NOT PLAY Dunlop M-Fil 200 Yonex RDX-500 MP Slazenger Pro X-1 Babolat AeroPro Drive DID NOT PLAY Yonex RDX-500 Prince O3 Tour Dunlop M-Fil 300 Head Liquidmetal Instinct Volkl Tour 10 Mid V-Engine Babolat Pure Drive Team + Prince Shark DB MP

Racquet Model

Racquet Headsize
90 90 100 100 93 100 95 98 95 100

String Brand


Luxilon/Wilson Babolat/Luxilon Babolat Babolat Luxilon

90 100 98 100 93 100 100

Luxilon/Babolat Luxilon Luxilon/Babolat Luxilon

Luxilon/Babolat Luxilon Luxilon Luxilon Pacific Luxilon/Babolat Luxilon

Round Rank Reached
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 F S S Q 4 3 1 W Q Q DNP 1 Q 4 2 4 DNP 4 3 3 Lindsay Davenport USA Maria Sharapova RUS Amelie Mauresmo FRA Svetlana KuznetsovaRUS Elena Dementieva RUS Serena Williams USA J Henin-Hardenne BEL Venus Williams USA Nadia Petrova RUS Anastasia Myskina RUS Alicia Molik AUS Patty Schnyder SUI Mary Pierce FRA Kim Clijsters BEL Vera Zvonareva RUS Elena Likhovtseva RUS Elena Bovina RUS Nathalie Dechy FRA Jelena Jankovic SCG Ana Ivanovic SCG

Player Name

Racquet Country Brand

Wilson nTour Prince Turbo Shark MP Dunlop 300G Head Flexpoint Instinct Yonex RDX-500 MP Wilson n3 Wilson nTour Wilson n4 Babolat Pure Storm MP Team Head Flexpoint Instinct DID NOT PLAY Head Liquidmetal Prestige MP Yonex Ultimum RD Ti-80 Babolat Pure Drive Team Fischer Pro No One FT Wilson nSix-One 95 DID NOT PLAY Head Liquidmetal Prestige MP Yonex Nano Speed RQ-5 Wilson nTour

Racquet Model

Racquet Headsize
95 100 98 100 98 110 95 110 103 100 98 98 100 98 95

String Brand

Wilson Babolat Babolat Luxilon Luxilon Wilson Wilson Wilson Luxilon Kirschbaum Kirschbaum Luxilon Babolat Kirschbaum Wilson Babolat Luxilon Luxilon

98 105 95

48 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005

oth Roger Federer and Venus Williams played brilliant tennis in claiming their third titles at the All England hampionships this year. Here’s a look at the equipment that these two champions, and their competitors, used n the lawns of Wimbledon. Post these pages in your shop, so your customers can check out their favorites.

BB Alu Power Rough/ Wilson Natural VS Team/Big Banger Alu Power Tour Duralast Pro Hurricane / VS Team Alu Power Rough

String Model

String Gauge
16L 16L 15L 16 16L 16

String Tension
55/50.5 56 53 73 55/53 59.5 64 51.6 59.5

Footwear Brand
Nike Nike Nike Reebok Adidas Adidas Yonex Adidas Babolat

Energy Alu Big Big Big

Big Banger Alu Power/VS Team Big Banger Original Big Banger Original Big Banger Alu Power Tough Gut Pro Hurricane / VS Team Big Banger Original

Power/VS Touch Banger Original Banger TIMO / VS Team Banger Original

16L/16 16 18 16 16L 16 16 16L 17 16 16


VAPOR S2 MAX Breathe FREE Air Max Breathe Free II Barricade II

Footwear Model

Clothing Brand
Nike Nike Nike Lacoste Adidas Diadora Adidas Yonex Adidas Babolat

52 51 61.5/57 57

Yonex Adidas Sergio Tacchini Diadora Diadora

SHT-304 Barricade II Speedzone DA2 Speedzone DA2

Barricade III SHT-304 Barricade II Team Clay


Yonex Adidas Sergio Tacchini Lacoste Diadora Diadora

Wilson Natural VS Team VS Touch Big Banger Alu Touch Big Banger Alu Power Wilson Natural Wilson Natural Wilson Natural Monotec Supersense Super Smash Spiky

String Model

String Gauge
15L 17 16 16L 16L 16 16 16 16L 17 17 18 16 16L 16 16 16L 16L

String Tension
63/64 64 57.2 53/50.5 51/48.5 67 57.5 65 61.5 56/52

Footwear Brand
Nike Nike Reebok Fila Yonex Nike Adidas Reebok Adidas Nike Adidas Fila Adidas Wilson ASICS Nike

Footwear Model

VS Touch Natural Gut Big Banger Alu Power Big Banger Alu Power

Touch Turbo Big Banger TIMO VS Touch Super Smash NXT

55/53 28 66 55/53 50.5/48.5 24/23 -

Gel Enqvist Air Zoom Vapor Speed

ClimaCool Feather W X-Point ClimaCool Feather W Crossfire SL

Air Zoom Thrive VAPOR S2 X-Point SHT-304 Barricade II W VESW DMX Barricade II W -

Clothing Brand
Nike Nike Reebok Fila Yonex Nike Adidas Reebok Adidas Nike Adidas LeJay Fila Adidas Wilson

Lacoste Nike

September/October 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY


string Gosen Polylon SP
Polylon SP (the SP stands for “supreme playability”) builds on the successes of Gosen’s Polylon and Polylon Comfort strings. (See our playtest report of Polylon Comfort in the June 2003 issue of Racquet Tech magazine.) Unlike the other two Polylon strings, however, Polylon SP is a monofilament of specially blended polyester.
According to Gosen, Polylon SP is for advanced players looking for more softness and resilience in a polyester string, who don’t want to give up power or durability. Polylon SP is available in 16 and 17 gauge (1.30 mm and 1.24 mm) in pearl white. It is priced from $4.50. For more information or to order, contact Gosen at 800-538-0026, or visit Be sure to read the conclusion for more information about getting a free set to try for yourself. after stringing and 71 RDC units after 24 hours, representing a 9 percent tension loss. The string was tested for five weeks by USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 6.0. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. Playtesters were advised to increase tension by 5 percent compared to normal for a nylon string. Despite the seemingly minor difference in thickness between the two, the 17-gauge Polylon SP was much easier to work with than the 16-gauge, especially when weaving the crosses. Polylon SP does not elongate much during tensioning, and crosses are easy to pull, due to the smooth string surface.


fluke, rating a second place overall for Tension Holding, and sixth place for Resistance to Movement. The difference between the two gauges is that Polylon SP 17 also scored well above average for Playability, Power, Control, and Spin Potential. As a result, each gauge’s overall score is well above average. EASE OF STRINGING 16 ga. 17 ga. (compared to other strings) Number of testers who said it was: much easier 0 2 somewhat easier 2 10 about as easy 10 16 not quite as easy 11 6 not nearly as easy 7 1 OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often) Number of testers who said it was: much better 1 3 somewhat better 6 3 about as playable 8 13 not quite as playable 10 13 not nearly as playable 4 3

Although our playtesters gave higher ratings to 17-gauge Polylon SP than to the 16gauge, each scored very well, especially in Durability, Tension Holding, and Resistance to Movement. Compared to other strings of similar gauge, Polylon SP’s durability placed very highly with our playtesters, and when compared to all strings, each gauge scored well above average of the 95 strings we’ve playtested to date in Durability. In addition, 16-gauge Polylon SP gathered first place in Tension Holding of all the strings we’ve tested thus far and second place in Resistance to Movement. The 17gauge Polylon SP’s scores show this was no
17 GAUGE 41’ 9” 1.24 mm 1.21 mm 71 66 5 lbs 7.04 13.95 gms 35 0 9 1 1 28.81 hrs. 4 2, 9, 12, 28

We tested both the 16- and 17-gauge Polylon SP. We recorded (see results below) stringbed stiffness immediately after stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 x 18 pattern) on a constant-pull machine, and then retested after 24 hours (no playing). Our control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Original Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units immediately
Coil measurements Diameter unstrung Diameter strung RDC stringbed stiffness new RDC stringbed stiffness after 24 hrs. Tension loss Tension loss % String Weight Number of playtesters Broke during stringing Excess coil memory Difficulty tying knots Friction burn Average playtest duration Broke during play Break hours

(compared to other strings of similar gauge) Number of testers who said it was: much better 7 somewhat better 13 about as durable 9 not quite as durable 1 not nearly as durable 0

16 GAUGE 42’ 5” 1.25 mm 1.22 mm 73 68 5 lbs 6.85 14.8 gms 30 0 14 4 3 21.6 hrs. 6 2, 8.5, 12, 12, 18, 37

7 17 9 0 1

From 1 to 5 (best) Playability Durability Power Control Comfort Touch/Feel Spin Potential Holding Tension Resistance to Movement 3.1 4.2 3.2 3.4 2.9 2.8 3.1 3.9 4.1 3.5 4.2 3.5 3.6 3.2 3.2 3.3 3.8 4.0

50 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005


Great string. I would recommend this to players needing durability without sacrificing feel. I was able to hit a harder ball with less effort, due to the tightened rebound. I had great response to spin, too. 5.0 female baseliner with heavy spin using Head Liquidmetal 4 strung at 58 pounds LO (Wilson Stamina 17)


This seems like a great overall string. Very easy to work with while stringing. Allows a nice “cinch” when tying knots. I was surprised by the fact that there was very little movement in the string during play. 3.5 female all-court player using Prince Air Launch B925 strung at 64 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 17)

I think this poly plays very well. I feel it outperforms most of the hybrids I have tried recently. I would recommend this string highly to better players. 5.5 male all-court player using Wilson nSix-One strung at 63 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation 16)

“I used to play with poly strings, but switched to a
multi for more feel on my strokes. This string really surprised me. It was easy to install, and although it did feel harsh to begin with, after the first hour of play it settled in for me and now plays as well as any string I’ve used. I have excellent control, durability is outstanding, and the feel is above average. Get this string on the market soon: I need to buy

An excellent soft synthetic string. Very comfortable on the arm. The ball seems to hold on the strings a tad longer due to their comfort. 4.5 male all-court player using Völkl Catapult 3 Gen 2 strung at 55/53 pounds CP (BDE Performance 17)

This is one of my favorite test strings. I am impressed by its overall versatility. While the string does not stand out as being excellent in any given category, the product is clearly above average in every category. As a result, I feel that this is an overall great string. I am most impressed by the power, comfort, and control. This string also offers a nice, solid, crisp feel. 3.5 male all-court player using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

Strong coil memory during unwinding, strong snap-back energy during stringing, some.” but there was no kinking. Crosses were easy to feed throughout except for the very last 4.0 male all-court player using Yonex RDX-500 crosses on an ATW pattern. The tips held up MP strung at 66 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation 16) during stringing and the knots were easy to cinch up. According to my StringMeter, there was little tension loss after 24 hours, and amazingly for such a softplaying string, there was only about 5 percent tension loss after 17 This is a stiff string with very little stretch, which is great for the conhours of play and 15 hours of teaching. This sample showed no trol/touch player. It maintains tension with very little string movement. notching, and I experienced no movement during play. Durable, with reliable and consistent stroke production. 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Flexpoint Radical MP 4.5 male all-court player using Fischer Twin Tech 950 FT strung at 62 strung at 63 pounds CP (Unique Tourna Poly Big Hitter 17) pounds CP (Gamma Synthetic 17)

(Strings normally used by testers are indicated in parentheses.)

For the rest of the tester comments, USRSA members can visit

Gosen’s Polylon SP is more proof—as if any is needed—that string manufacturers are making ever-better polyester strings. The thing to keep in mind is that multifilament nylon strings are getting better, too, and yet here again we see average players appreciating what a well-designed poly can do. Polylon SP also follows the trend toward better and better playing polys at more and more affordable prices. This combination should make it easier for stringers to keep the parents of hardhitting juniors happy. If you think that Gosen Polylon SP 17 might be for you, fill out the coupon to get a free set to try. —Greg Raven Q

Gosen has generously offered to send a free set of Polylon SP 17 to USRSA members who request it. To get your free set, just cut out (or copy) this coupon and mail it to: USRSA, Attn: Gosen Polylon SP17 String Offer, 330 Main Street, Vista, CA 92084 or fax to 760-536-1171 Offer expires October 15th, 2005 One set of free string per USRSA membership Offer only available to USRSA members in the US


FREE! Gosen Polylon SP 17! Offer expires October 15th 2005
Name: USRSA Member number: Phone: Email:
If you print your email clearly, we will notify you when your sample will be sent.
September/October 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY




Your Equipment Hotline
WHY DO PUBLISHED RACQUET measurements vary from source to source? THERE ARE SEVERAL ISSUES THAT affect the measurements you commonly see attributed to tennis racquets. First, the racquet can be measured strung or unstrung. Obviously, stringing adds about 15 grams to the weight of the bare frame, and dramatically increases the swingweight. Less obviously, a strung racquet will measure as being more flexible than an unstrung frame because the pull of the mains augment the bending of the hoop that occurs during the measuring procedure. Second, even though manufacturers strive to have each racquet of a given model be identical, there are "tolerances" for each racquet characteristic, which means that two visually identical racquets can vary in weight, balance, swingweight, and even length, and be considered "identical" as far as the manufacturer of that racquet is concerned. Also, when measuring flex, it is not unusual for a racquet to have a different flex rating on one side of the racquet compared to the other, although side-to-side differences are rarely more than one unit. Third, while manufacturers may not change the mold of a given racquet model, they can and do change the lay-up (an example of this is the Prince Graphite Classic, which has gone through at least four “generations,” each of which measures slightly differently than others, even though the racquet has remained basically the same). Granted, most racquets don't "live" long enough to go through these kinds of changes, but it can and does happen, especially if the company switches manufacturing locations during the production run of the racquet. Fourth, the racquets being measured may not have had the same grip size. Then, in addition to whatever weight differences there are from having a larger grip as compared to a smaller one, some racquet manufacturers sort frames by weight before attaching the grip “pallet,” assigning larger grip sizes to the heavier frames. Fifth, the method used for measuring racquet specs must be calibrated, so that measurements from different machines can be directly compared. Sixth, the machine used to measure racquet specs must be operated correctly, to ensure valid results, and the measurements must be accurately transcribed. Thus, while published racquet measurements may be indicative of the specifications of the typical retail version of that racquet, if you are serious about matching racquets, you should check the measurements for yourself, and play-test any racquet before buying it, rather than relying on specifications alone.




52 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005


USRSA REQUESTS THAT manufacturers send one production sample of each newly-introduced racquet. Typically, these arrive with a 4-3/8 inch grip size. If the racquet is unstrung, we string it on a constant-pull machine, using 16gauge string, to the middle of the tension range before we take any measurements. When taking measurements, USRSA uses calibrated instruments. Before weighing the racquet, we check the scale using a known 200-gram reference mass. For length we use a name-brand tape measure. For balance we use Alpha’s Viper Balance Beam, which we have checked to verify its accuracy. USRSA's Babolat RDC machine, which is used to measure flex and swingweight, is also calibrated: flex using Babolat-supplied calibration springs (which also allow calibration of the stringbed stiffness measurements), and swingweight with specially-weighted calibration racquets. Once properly set, the Babolat RDC doesn't normally lose calibration, but it can and does happen, so we check ours ocassionally. After testing, some racquets are returned to the manufacturer, but the

vast majority is stored in boxes, for easy reference should a question ever arise about a measurement or stringing instructions.



I READ THE TIP SUBMITTED BY T. Perry Widener about keeping gut from unraveling, which appeared in the June 2003 issue, but I don’t understand why it makes a difference which way you make the loop when you’re weaving the crosses. ONE WAY OF VISUALIZING WHY the loop makes the difference it does is to get a tie wrap. You could also use a leather belt, or anything else that is flexible enough to loop, yet has side-toside stiffness. Hold down one end of the tie wrap, and then loop the tie wrap and hold down the other end. You'll have something that looks like the loop of a roller coaster. Now, still holding down the ends, slide the ends away from each other. You'll see (because of the cross-section and side-to-side stiffness of the tie wrap), that there is actually a twist in the tie

wrap, which only appears as a loop when there is enough slack. The trick is to get this twist going in the same direction as the lay of the gut. If the twist is counterclockwise, it will tend to unravel the gut, which is what is happening when the strands separate. Even if the twist is clockwise, however, you don’t want to overdo it, because getting too much twist can cause kinking. USRSA members can refer to the original tip at: members/tips/tt2003_6_1.html —Greg Raven Q

We welcome your questions. Please send them to Racquet Sports Industry, 330 Main St., Vista, CA, 92084; fax: 760-536-1171; email:

September/October 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY


Readers’ Know-How in Action
Getting one of those grip-enlarging shrink tubes onto a racquet handle can be difficult, especially after it has shrunk a bit due to age. I use a strong plastic shoehorn to pry the end of the tube open and get it started over the butt cap. Forten Tournament Bag to: Bill Hughes, CS, The Colony, TX you begin to wrap the handle and won’t leave any residue. 5 sets of Tecnifibre X-One Biphase 1.30 to: Terry Boyle, Columbine Valley, CO




When you push on the clamp, however, there’s nothing holding it in place.

The floating clamp appears to be holding the two mains properly.

For those over-wraps that do not have starter tape, use a touch of glue from a glue stick. It will hold the grip in place as

Some people think it's okay to string all fanpatterned racquets with floating clamps, but it most definitely is not okay when there are shared holes in the throat (as there are on the Head i160 squash racquets, for example). Apart from the large gap that has to be clamped at 1H and 3H, the next clamping (3H

and 4H) looks normal but when held together with floating clamps there is actually nothing holding the clamp in position except for the friction of the string going around the outside of the frame. You can test this by pushing the clamp toward the throat. It will freely move even while gripping the strings. 5 sets of Wilson Stamina Spin 15L to: Kane Fasolo, Perth, Western Australia Editor’s note: This can also be a problem with any squash or racquetball frame that


September/October 2005

uses what they call “bypass” stringing, where adjacent mains are not sequentially installed. If your stringing machine has swivel clamps, you should never run into this problem, as it typically affects only stringers with glide-bar clamps, such as the Ektelon-type machines. Because the clamps on these machines don’t swivel to allow easy clamping of the fanned mains, it’s tempting to use floating clamps. As this tip illustrates, however, it is better even on Ektelon-type machines to use the machine clamps, even though it means tweaking the string to get it through the clamp.

remove them as I am threading the string through. 5 sets of Silent Partner Headspin 15L to: Kevin Murphy, Skokie, IL

Each year before the start of the high school tennis season, I make fliers promoting one of my special racquet stringing services—hybrid strings featuring each local high school’s school colors. With one color for the mains and another for the crosses, I can usually find passable string colors for just about any school. The big tip is to use string that has vivid and deep color, as some of the strings on the market do not show up well at all. Another tip is that white looks great with any other color. I usually try not to use two dark colors, although blue and red contrast beautifully. I use half the coil for one job and store the other half until needed. This does require some time to keep track and store half coils of string, but it’s well worth the trouble. 5 sets of Head FiberGEL Power 16 to: Doug Hofer, CS, Visalia, CA —Greg Raven Q
Tips and Techniques submitted since 2000 by USRSA members, and appearing in this column, have all been gathered into a single volume of the Stringer’s Digest—Racquet Service Techniques which is a benefit of USRSA membership. Submit tips to: Greg Raven, USRSA, 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92804; or email

I recently purchased a drop-weight machine, and became concerned regarding the subjectivity of when the weight rod was truly horizontal (and thus, pulling tension most accurately). It occurred to me that a line level attached to the end of the weight rod would remove all doubt. I picked up a cheap (and lightweight) plastic line level at the local hardware store and attached it using two tie-wraps. I then leveled the base to be accurate and checked the system with a calibrator: Same result every time. 5 sets of Klip K-Boom 18 to: Josh Gelman, New York, NY

When stringing a new racquet or one where the grommets and bumpers have been replaced, the outside mains have a tendency to pull the grommets out of the frame, especially near the throat. This often exposes the string to the frame and can cause damage to the frame as well as possible string breakage. In extreme situations, it can move the grommet so far that it has to be reseated. As a reminder that this can happen, I always put a couple of colored pieces of string in the problem grommet holes at the throat, and only

September/October 2005 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY


Your Serve
A Big Doubles Fault
An award-winning tennis writer says the ATP’s pro doubles BY “enhancements” are absurd, unethical, and unfair.


fter three decades of policy blunders, the ATP stands on the brink of delivering the coup de grace to the great event of doubles and its talented stars. To try to entice leading singles players to enter doubles events, ATP tournaments plan to use no-ad scoring and sets played to five games (instead of six) with a tiebreaker when games reach 4-4. This scoring system is not even approved by the International Tennis Federation, which governs the rules of tennis. These and other highly important rules changes were made without consulting the ITF and only a few present and past singles and doubles standouts whose expertise, experience, and ethics the ATP sorely needs. The reforms will go into effect after the US Open unless the ATP either accepts how misguided and damaging they are, or the ATP is pressured by the growing protest in the tennis world to rescind them. Let’s examine these radical changes from various angles. What Does the ATP Really Want?—Horst Klosterkemper, ATP President Europe and Player Relations, says, “Singles players said they would consider playing doubles on a more consistent basis if changes were made.” But that purported rationale isn’t the real reason. “The ATP’s doubles enhancements are not enhancements at all, just the tournament directors looking for cost savings,” rightly notes Bill Oakes, former director of the ATP’s tournament in Atlanta and now an analyst for the “MatchPoint America” show on The Tennis Channel. “They should just admit it. I have heard many tournament directors whine about having to pay for doubles players’ hotel and food and even prize money.” Put differently, the badly-intentioned goal is to drive doubles standouts out and replace them in doubles draws with singles specialists. What Do Top Singles Players Really Want?—Only two players ranked in the top 20—teenagers Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet—favor the reforms and say they intend to play doubles more often. Mark Knowles, former world No. 1 in doubles and current vice president of the ATP Players Council, says, “All of the 10 or so singles players ranked in

the top 20 that I’ve talked to have stressed that they won’t play any more doubles events throughout the year, regardless of any of these proposed rules changes. The guys in the top 10 earn such huge amounts of prize money and endorsements that it’s not worth it for them to risk injury and exhaustion to sacrifice their singles preparation for a minimal amount of prize money and prestige in doubles. Also, some singles players aren’t very good in doubles and others simply don’t enjoy doubles.” How Would Singles Players Fare in Doubles?—Based on past results, they’d fare mediocre to poorly. The top 10 singles players (none of whom serve and volley often) in the ATP Champions Race, as of June 12, 2005, compiled a dismal 180-196 doubles record with 10 titles and no Grand Slam titles during the previous 2-1/2 years. In stunning contrast, during the same period, the top 10 doubles players, as of June 12, 2005, racked up a 1,224-488 record with 97 titles and 14 Grand Slam titles. Thus, singles standouts would not only fail to revitalize doubles, but watching them flounder often in doubles would prove more of a letdown than a treat for their diehard fans. How About the New Scoring System?—No-ad simply does not offer a fair test of skill and will, a sine qua non of any athletic competition. Under the traditional scoring system, the odds are clearly greater that the more skillful player and team will eventually win a given game. Unquestionably, the no-ad method unfairly boosts the chances of the underdog who needs only one point to win a game from deuce, because at 3-all, the fluke shot, bad bounce, net cord or incorrect line call assumes an undue significance. No-ad also unfairly helps the Wild Slugger against the Skill Player. At 3-all, the inferior Wild Slugger knows that he needs only one point to win the game and thus one great shot. Paradoxically, that can tighten up and prolong—rather than shorten—matches.

How Flagrant Is the Discrimination Against Doubles Players?—In 2004 the ATP adopted an entry ranking system with acceptance in doubles draws based on a player’s ATP Entry Ranking either in singles or doubles, whichever is higher. Beginning in 2008, only a new combined doubles ranking will be used to determine entries in doubles, counting 50 percent of a player’s singles points and 50 percent of his doubles points. Also in 2008, only players in the main draw singles will be allowed to enter doubles— with two exceptions. Tournaments can still award wild cards, and in 2008 and 2009, spots will be reserved for players with the best combined ranking not playing in the singles draw: two entries in a 16-team draw, four in a 24-team draw, and six for 24- and 32-team ATP Masters Series draws. That the ATP fills doubles draws and ranks and seeds doubles players and teams based in part or virtually completely on their singles results is stupid, absurd, unethical, and unfair. The clear-cut discrimination— replacing doubles teams with legitimate, hard-earned and superior results with singles players with inferior doubles results—may also violate the Sherman Antitrust Act. The top doubles players, along with some singles stars and tourney directors, have mobilized to preserve and improve doubles. “Doubles is too great a game to destroy,” says Mike Bryan, who reached three Grand Slam finals this year with his twin brother Bob. “With the help of the players, fans, officials, media, sponsors, and the rest of the tennis world this summer, we’ll stop these rule changes. We’ll save doubles.” Doubles lovers of the world unite!Q
Paul Fein’s book, Tennis Confidential: Today’s Greatest Players, Matches, and Controversies, was listed No. 1 among tennis books by and For information or to order, visit His second book, You Can Quote Me on That: Greatest Tennis Quips, Insights, and Zingers, was published by Potomac Books Inc. in February 2005. Visit

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56 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2005