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August 2006 Volume 34 Number 8 $5.

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STRING IT UP!
Our Guide Will Help You Find The Right Stringing Machine

Software to Keep Your Facility Humming Apparel: Tennis Fashions That “Fit”

Contents
2006 GUIDE TO STRINGING MACHINES 23 First-String Players
Our tips and exclusive guide will help you generate more revenue from your stringing business.

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INDUSTRY NEWS 7 Volkl introduces DNX1 with
“Power Arm”

7 8 8 9 10 10 10 11 11 FEATURES 20 Tennis Fashions That “Fit”
Apparel manufacturers continue to stretch the boundaries between court time and off-court/fitness/cardio activities.

Dunlop forms “D-Squad” for top juniors Babolat launches ergonomic racquet grip PTR, Special Olympics release coaching guide Head offers new cars in Airflow promotion Wilson announces stringing partnership Prince O3 technology wins design award Balle de Match is official apparel brand for WTT Jorge Andrew honored by USPTA Southern Quickie donates tennis wheelchair to PTR USPTA World Conference in September Lee Tennis to host Indoor Clay Conference Stringing machine accessory eliminates crushing

27 Stringing Machine Selection Guide
Use our comprehensive chart to help you choose the right stringing machine for you and your customers.

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35 Connect With Your Customers
For a facility in Georgia, TennisConnect software is helping out all aspects of their business.
Cover photo: Stephen Whalen Photography

DEPARTMENTS 4 40
Our Serve French Open Equipment Log

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String Playtest: Pacific X-Force 18 Tips & Techniques Your Serve, by Bob Heller

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Our Serve
Carrying On
(Incorporating Racquet Tech and Tennis Industry)

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Publishers David Bone Jeff Williams Editor-in-Chief Crawford Lindsey Editorial Director Peter Francesconi Associate Editor Greg Raven Design/Art Director Kristine Thom Contributing Editors Cynthia Cantrell Rod Cross Kristen Daley Joe Dinoffer Liza Horan Andrew Lavallee James Martin Chris Nicholson Bob Patterson RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY Corporate Offices 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084 Phone: 760-536-1177 Fax: 760-536-1171 Email: RSI@racquetTECH.com Website: www.racquetTECH.com Office Hours: Mon.-Fri.,8 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific Time Advertising Director John Hanna 770-650-1102, x.125 hanna@knowatlanta.com Apparel Advertising Cynthia Sherman 203-263-5243 cstennisindustry@earthlink.net
Racquet Sports Industry (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. August 2006, Volume 34, Number 8 © 2006 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.

fter more than 20 years in the tennis spotlight, Andre Agassi, now the U.S.’s grand ambassador for the sport,

has announced that he will retire after this year’s US Open. The New York stage is a fitting place for Agassi to take his final professional bow; the Open is America’s—and the world’s—biggest tournament, and Agassi was twice a winner on the hard courts at Flushing Meadows.
But it’s about more than just winning. Agassi has come to define grace, hard work, class, and the spirit of giving back. (Since 1994, his Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation has raised more than $60 million to provide recreational and educational opportunities for at-risk children.) Sure, in his early years, as a big-haired teenager, Agassi cared little for convention or for the sport’s governing structures. But we all watched him grow, and not only transform himself, but also the game as a whole. And while it’s hard to quantify how the presence of big-name pros influence the recreational game, we somehow know that Agassi’s giant impact has helped make more people aware of the sport, and brought more players to the courts. This past May, I was fortunate to meet Agassi at a Head/Penn event in Las Vegas, where he and his wife, Steffi Graf, introduced the new Metallix and Airflow racquets. I asked him if, after he retires from the pro game, he will somehow stay involved in the sport, whether through any of the tennis organizations or other means. His response: “I certainly hope to. This game has given me so many opportunities.” It was encouraging to hear. There are plenty of great people involved in this sport, but there’s always room for more. And who could be better at promoting tennis, spreading its benefits, and getting more people to play, than someone of Agassi’s stature. And it’s all for the right reasons, too.

Peter Francesconi Editorial Director P.S.: RSI has done it again! For the third year in a row, we’ve won an Apex Award for Publication Excellence, in the category “Magazines & Journals— Printed Four-Color.” Thanks especially to the staff and contributors listed on our masthead (right), and to all those who help and support this publication.

RSI is the “official magazine” of the USRSA, TIA, and ASBA

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INDUSTRY NEWS
INFORMATION TO HELP YOU Dunlop Announces “DSquad” For Top Juniors
Dunlop Tennis is launching a new program for the U.S.’s top junior players. The “D-Squad” initiative will provide Dunlop tennis equipment and program support to leading junior players (ages 10 to 18) who demonstrate excellence in every element of their game, says the company. “Players selected for the Dunlop Tennis D-Squad represent the best of the best in their performance on and off the court,” says Fallon Koon, Dunlop’s Junior Tennis program manager. Juniors who want to apply for Dunlop’s D-Squad should email Teamdunlop@dunlopsports.com. The program will reward juniors ranked in the top 50 nationally, based on quarterly rankings set by the USTA. Qualifying juniors, who must be USTA members, must play a minimum of five sanctioned national tournaments throughout the contract year. For top-tier juniors, Dunlop says it will provide racquets, travel bags, tennis accessories, and more. Specific product packages will be tailored to individual players’ needs and levels of competitive performance. In addition, D-Squad members will be featured in national media activities and at key events. “These players are the stars,” Koon says. “And we want to help them reach their full potential.”

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BUSINESS

Volkl Introduces New DNX1 With “Power Arm”
nlike a car or a computer, a tennis racquet is a comparatively simple device. So it’s hard to picture where the next radical design change will come. But now Volkl has come out with its newest frame, the DNX1, featuring a rad-looking “Power Arm” that sprouts from the handle and supports the stringbed. Volkl says the Power Arm creates a “pocket” for the ball on impact, then helps to “catapult” it back over the net. The racquet design actually has been in the works for a number of years, says Sarah Maynard, Volkl’s director of marketing and promotions. “The problem was there was no material strong enough to make it work,” she says. That problem, though, has been solved with the introduction of the new DNX material, she adds. “DNX is a new form of carbon,” Maynard says. “Carbon fibers normally are planar, but DNX molecules are tubular, which makes DNX10 Mid them stiffer and stronger in all Head size: 93 sq. in. directions, not just in one direcWeight (unstrung): 11.6 oz. Length: 27 in. tion.” String Pattern: 16 x 19 Suggested Retail: $190 Three new racquets use DNX Recommended for: 4.5 players and higher technology: the DNX1 with Power Arm, and the more normal-looking DNX9 and DNX10 Mid. Maynard says the material is at the 3 DNX9 and 9 o’clock positions for better Head size: 98 sq. in. stability and on the throat right Weight (unstrung): 10.9 oz. Length: 27 in. above the grip, to help provide String Pattern: 16 x 19 Suggested Retail: $180 power. “On impact, the area Recommended for: 4.5 players and higher above the grip normally tends to bend,” she says. “But DNX won’t allow it to give as much. On the DNX1, the Power Arm extends out and is, essentially, the DNX1 with Power Arm throat of the racquet, in line with Head size: 115 sq. in. the string bed. When a ball impacts Weight (unstrung): 8.8 oz. Length: 27.8 in. the strings, the Power Arm goes back String Pattern: 16 x 17 Suggested Retail: $290 with the stringbed, creating a “pocket Recommended for: 2.0 players and higher effect,” says Maynard, and causing less impact on the arm and more “grab” on the ball. “You get a lot of spin and a lot of control,” she says. That’s the “backward phase.” In the “power phase,” the Power Arm acts as a catapult to help launch the ball, says Maynard. The Power Arm itself is made mostly of DNX, and that, combined with the fact that it is aligned with the stringbed, won’t allow the stringbed to bend or warp, she adds, so that shots stay true. What’s been the reaction so far? “Dealers who have tried the frame love it,” Maynard says. “As of early July, when we released the DNX1, we sold out of the frame, and we’ve stepped up production for more.” Visit www.volkl.com or call 800-264-4579.

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PTR, Special Olympics Release Specialized Tennis Coaching Guide
he PTR and Special Olympics Inc. have collaborated on the new Special Olympics Tennis Coaching Guide. The 40-page spiral-bound book, which includes a CD, is a step-by-step guide for beginner and volunteer Special Olympics coaches to grasp the basics of teaching tennis to the Special Olympics athlete. “We hope this guide will encourage more PTR teaching professionals to become involved in Special Olympics tennis in their communities,” says Geoff Norton, PTR director of development. “And it will serve as a great resource for those who already are.” The guide is available free through PTR Headquarters. It can be ordered online at www. ptrtennis.org or by calling 800-421-6289 or 843785-7244. PTR is the Official Tennis Training Partner for Special Olympics.

Babolat Launches Ergonomic Grip
abolat has launched the Smart Grip, which the company says is the first racquet handle shaped to fit the player’s hand. The ergonomic handle places the entire hand in contact with the grip, which Babolat says will provide more power, more control, and more comfort. “Every part of the tennis racquet has evolved over time—the materials, the shape and size of the racquet head, and even the length of the handle—except the shape of the handle,” says Max Brownlee, general manager of Babolat USA. “This is surprising because all players, regardless of their skill level, consider the racquet as a natural extension of their arm, yet nothing had been done to improve the handle until now.” Babolat introduced the Smart Grip on two racquets in June: the 112-square-inch Aero Blast and the 110-square-inch Drive Z OS. Both also feature Babolat’s Cortex System for vibration dampening. For more information, visit www.babolat.com or call 877-316-9435.

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Midtown Tennis Club Hosts World’s Largest Cardio Tennis Class
On June 9, 186 players ranging in skill levels from NTRP 1.5 to 3.5 raised their racquets and their heart rates in the world’s largest Cardio Tennis class at Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago. The class was part of Midtown’s patented Tennis in No Time program, offered annually by the club. Twenty-three Midtown professionals hosted the event, led by Butch Staples and Michael Mahoney, Midtown’s head professional and general manager. The club reports that following the class, the players replaced the calories they burned with a buffet dinner and social served by the club.

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To the Editor: I enjoyed the “Our Serve” editorial (“Grab Every Opportunity You Can”) in the July issue of RSI. I couldn't agree with you more on the importance of education for teaching professionals and coaches. The USPTA has 17 divisions that offer educational activities and trade shows that are open to not only our members, but also nonmembers or anyone in the tennis industry, no matter what their affiliation. As examples, the USPTA Midwest Division does a fantastic job of co-hosting a divisional conference with the high school coaches associations in the Midwest. Their events feature great seminars and speakers. And the USPTA Texas Division holds the Southwest Tennis Buying Show in February and August every year, in conjunction with the USPTA Texas Division annual conference and Mid-Year Meeting. This show, along with the educational offerings, was a great success this past February as there was record attendance at both the conference and Southwest Tennis Buying Show. This is a great indicator that tennis is growing and with the entire tennis industry working together, hopefully we can continue our growth. Ron Woods President, USPTA

To the Editor: I read “The Soft Sell” in the May issue about transition tennis balls, and the comments throughout the article were great. Tennis, like many things in life, has a difficult time accepting or adopting change. In USTA Northern California, we believe in the transition balls so much we developed an all-volunteer-based Junior Team Tennis Leagues. The leagues would not be possible without the equipment. We call the program 6-TENNIS and it is being well received. We have 15 spring leagues (over 500 players) in progress or just completed and plan on many more in operation this fall. Adopting scaled-down versions of tennis and using the games-based approach to teaching is allowing the kids to be successful, be part of a team, play the game almost immediately and create more interest in our sport. Thanks again for spreading the word about transition balls. Jim Coyne Director of Junior Tennis USTA Northern California

Head Offers New Cars In Airflow Promotion
ne lucky consumer and one plucky retailer will each drive home with a new Chrysler Crossfire sports coupe, thanks to a promotion from Head for its new Airflow racquets. Until Oct. 15, consumers who demo an Airflow racquet will receive a ticket from the retailer that enters them into the Airflow Demo Program Sweepstakes, making them eligible to win the Crossfire. But Head has two vehicles to give away, and the second one will go to the retailer who has the most consumers demoing the racquets. In related promotions, Head is also running demo days in 15 markets throughout the summer. The three Airflow frames, designed for women players, were introduced in May. For more information, visit www.head.com/ usademoprogram.

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We welcome your letters and comments. Please email them to rsi@racquetTECH.com or fax them to 760-536-1171.

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Wilson Announces Stringing Partnership with RPNY Tennis
ilson Racquet Sports has partnered with RPNY Tennis to provide stringing services for select ATP and WTA tournaments throughout 2006. The partnership, which began in March as the exclusive stringer at The Tennis Channel Open, continued through the 2006 Wimbledon Championships as the official stringer for all Wilson and Luxilon players at the tournament. Wilson will also be the official stringer for the 2006 US Open. RPNY will assist Wilson in providing stringing services for all US Open players, which equates to approximately 3,000 racquets strung during the three weeks of the event. RPNY Tennis, based in New York, specializes in stringing and customizing for both professional and recreational players.

Former ASBA Chairman Kevin Smith Dies
evin F. Smith, a former chairman of the U.S. Tennis Court and Track Builders Association (now the American Sports Builders Association) passed away in April. He was 80. Smith was a principal in The CourtSmiths of Toledo, Ohio, and active in the tennis and track business. A Certified Tennis Court Builder, he also served as USTC&TBA Tennis division president and ethics chairman. In 2002, he was awarded the association’s Industry Merit Award. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Patricia, seven children, and 22 grandchildren.

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Prince O3 Tech Wins Design Award
rince O3 Engineered Technology has won a Bronze Industrial Design Excellence Award (IDEA) in the Consumer Products category, recognizing it as an outstanding consumer product design for 2006. “The IDEA Award is given to products that show exceptional design and engineering, and it is a privilege for our company to have been honored with this outstanding award,” says George Napier, chairman and CEO of Prince. “At Prince, we live an ongoing commitment to give consumers an exceptional tennis experience through advanced technology and engineering.” Decisions for the 2006 IDEA Awards were based upon design innovation, benefit to the user, benefit to the business, ecological responsibility, and aesthetics and appeal. The IDEA competition, sponsored by BusinessWeek and the Industrial Designers Society of America, awarded a total of 499 entries this year. A complete list and analysis of each recipient ran in the June 30 edition of BusinessWeek. The technology on Prince O3 racquets enlarges the string holes into giant “O-Ports,” which Prince says expands the sweetspot up to 54 percent, allowing for more consistent shots. Top pros Maria Sharapova, Nikolay Davydenko, and Guillermo Coria play with O3 racquets, and the O3 Silver and O3 Hybrid Hornet were named Editor’s Choice winners by Tennis magazine. For more information, visit www.princetennis.com.

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Bälle de Mätch Is Official Apparel Brand for WTT

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älle de Mätch has become the official apparel for World TeamTennis. The multiyear agreement includes WTT recreational and junior leagues, and beginning in 2007, the 12-city WTT Professional League. The company will supply uniforms for tournament staffing, ball kids, league directors, and WTT staff. “[WTT co-founder] Billie Jean King is one of the most dynamic leaders and true innovator for the sport,” says John Embree, Bälle de Mätch co-owner and partner. “I am so inspired by what she has done for tennis and what World TeamTennis has meant to the industry.” “Bälle de Mätch is always on the leading edge of tennis apparel design and their edgy, non-traditional look fits in well with WTT’s unique brand of tennis,” says WTT CEO/Commissioner Ilana Kloss. For more information on Bälle de Mätch, call 949-574-7300 or 800-356-1021.

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Colorado Club Installs Two Red Clay Courts

Quickie Donates Tennis Wheelchair to PTR
unrise Medical has donated a new Quickie Match Point tennis wheelchair to the PTR, which will use the wheelchair to help ablebodied tennis teaching professionals learn the nuances of the wheelchair game. “It is imperative that able-bodied participants in our wheelchair instructing workshops experience the chair firsthand,” says PTR Director of Development Geoff Norton. “Understanding chair mobility, as well as stroke production from a wheelchair player’s perspective, is just not the same without familiarity with the equipment. With this generous donation, PTR can now assure that a sport chair will be available no matter where we conduct these clinics.” Kathryn McDougal, the Quickie ambassador program manager, and Scott Crosswhite, regional sales director for Quickie, helped organize the donation. Crosswhite and his Quickie team support the annual PTR/ROHO Wheelchair Tennis Championships by supplying a repair tent for the players’ athletic chairs.

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olumbine Country Club near Denver has installed Colorado’s first two American Fast Dry red clay courts. The new clay courts are the final phase of a renovation program involving five other post-tension hard surface courts. L.E. Renner Sports Surfaces of Denver was the general contractor for the project. The clay courts feature a sub-surface irrigation system, says CCC’s head tennis pro, Terry Boyle.

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Andrew Honored by USPTA Southern Division
orge Andrew, the director of operations at the Lexington County Tennis Complex in Lexington, S.C., was named USPTA Southern Division “Alan Henry Tennis Professional of the Year” during the division’s convention at Tunica National Tennis Center and Grand Casino Veranda Hotel in Tunica, Miss., recently. Andrew is a USPTA Master Professional, President of the USPTA South Carolina Chapter, and Vice President of USTA South Carolina. He also serves on two USTA National Committees and one USTA Southern Section Committee, is the chairman of the National Cardio Tennis Speakers Team, and is a member of the HEAD/Penn National Speakers Bureau Team and National Advisory Staff.

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Follow the Open at Home
an’t make it to Flushing Meadows this year for the US Open? You can still get with the program—the 2006 US Open souvenir program, that is. The official tournament magazine contains 256 pages filled with action photos, player bios, inside stories, and more. To order your copy, visit USOpenShop.org.

12 Named to USTA Summer Collegiate Team
welve of the U.S.’s top college men and women players were named recently to the 2006 USTA Summer Collegiate Team, which is administered by the USTA and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The team—an elite training program for the top American collegiate tennis players that began in 1996 and is funded by the USTA—is designed to expose players to the USTA Pro Circuit in a team-oriented environment during the summer. The team participated in events in July, coached by Bryan Shelton, women’s head coach at Georgia Tech, and Kent Kinnear, assistant men’s coach at Illinois. This year’s team includes: Matt Bruch, Stanford; Travis Helgeson, University of Texas; John Isner, University of Georgia; Bryan Koniecko, Ohio State University; Sheeva Parbhu, Notre Dame; Todd Paul, Wake Forest; Audra Cohen, University of Miami; Amanda Fink, University of Southern California; Amber Liu, Stanford; Kristi Miller, Georgia Tech; Lindsey Nelson, University of Southern California; and Anne Yelsey, Stanford.

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USPTA World Conference Hits Vegas Sept. 18-23
he 2006 USPTA World Conference on Tennis will be Sept. 18 to 23 at the Flamingo Las Vegas. The event also will include a Tennis Buying Show on Sept. 21. Nearly 1,500 tennis pros, industry leaders, manufacturers, and others are expected to attend. The conference also will offer more than 35 seminars and courses, along with nighttime parties, a silent auction and the USPTA International Tennis Championships. The agenda, speakers list, and registration information is available at www. uspta.org or by calling 800-877-8248.

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Lee Tennis to Host Indoor Clay Conference
ee Tennis, the manufacturer of Har-Tru, will host its Third Annual Conference on Indoor Clay Courts Aug. 28-29, at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. The conference is designed to bring together leading experts to discuss construction and maintenance issues regarding indoor clay courts. Topics will include the latest research on surface compaction, maintenance tools and techniques, irrigation, and structures. The conference will consist of classroom presentations, panel discussions, and on-court demonstrations. Additionally, attendees will tour several indoor facilities and participate in Q&A sessions with the facility managers and maintenance personnel. The event is designed for anyone managing, maintaining or considering installing indoor clay courts. For more information, contact Pat Hanssen at 1-8774HARTRU or phanssen@luckstone.com.

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New DVD Series From Annacone, Tennis Mag
osted by Paul Annacone, coach of pro Tim Henman and former coach of Pete Sampras, Tennis Magazine’s Tactical Tennis DVD package focuses on identifying and maximizing key tactical situations on court. In each of the four DVDs— Know Your Own Game, Beat the Baseliner, Neutralize the Net-Rusher, and Attack the All-Court Player—Annacone explains tactics and counters for every situation. Also included are 43 drills and practice games for improving match-specific strategy. Individual DVDs are $22.92, or the four-DVD set is $86.95. Visit

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• Charles C. Mulcahy,

the founder of the Milwaukee Tennis & Education Foundation, has stepped down after 31 years as president of the award-winning organization. The new president will be MTEF board member David Pelisek.

• Six people were inducted recently into
the USTA New England Section Tennis Hall of Fame: Russ Adams of Reading, Mass., Alan Chandronnait of Bow, N.H., Andrea Voikos Door of Scituate, R.I., Dr. Robert Leach of Weston, Mass., Kay Ruel of Portsmouth, N.H., and the late Ann Rogan of Needham, Mass. In addition, Art Goldblatt of Norwalk, Conn., received the Gardner Ward Chase Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to tennis in New England.

• Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were
honored recently with 2006 Laureus World Sports Awards. Federer collected Sportsman of the Year honors for the second year in a row, while Nadal claimed the Newcomer of the Year award.

• Martina Navratilova and Don Budge will
be inducted into the “Court of Champions” at the 2006 US Open. The Court of Champions celebrates the legacies of the greatest singles champions in the history of the US Open and US Championships.

• Jacco Eltingh, a former No. 1 doubles
player, has been re-elected to the ATP Board for a three-year term. In addition, the ATP has appointed a new player council, with members Ivan Ljubicic, James Blake, Olivier Rochus, Thomas Johansson, Paul Goldstein, Davide Sanguinetti, Bob Bryan, Kevin Ullyett, Younes El Aynaoui, Martin Garcia, David Adams and Ricardo Piatti.

• James R. Cochrane of Great Britain is
the 2006 recipient of the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Golden Achievement Award, presented annually on a worldwide basis to individuals who have made important contributions to tennis in the fields of administration, promotion, or education and have devoted long and outstanding service to the sport.

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SHORT SETS
American Sports Builders Associ> TheTechnical Meeting will be Dec. 1-4 ation at the Plaza Hotel and Spa in Daytona Beach, Fla. For more information, visit www.sportsbuilders.org, call 866-501ASBA, or email info@sportsbuilders.org. Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in > The Notch, N.H., has joined the list of Dixville resorts offering exclusive benefits for USTA members. Contact the resort directly at 800-255-0600 or visit www.thebalsams.com. For more information about the USTA Resort & Camp program, login at www.usta.com/membership. the > Hawk-Eye Innovations Limited,techcompany behind the line-calling nology that will be used in this year’s US Open and US Open Series tournaments, has been acquired by the British cricket publisher Wisden. Stan Smith and 2006 > Tennis legendFame inductee Patrick Tennis Hall of Rafter will take part in a doubles exhibition on July 16 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., in conjunction with the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships and Induction Weekend. Visit www.tennis fame.com for more information. re-launched > The Tennis Channel has with a new and upgraded its website look and enhanced features, including tennis travel, broadband video and expanded advertising space. The new www.TennisChannel.com introduces lifestyle content that complements similar programming found on TTC, says the network. Visitors can find local hitting partners, select instructors, and search for tennis courts, among other choices. ATPtennis.com, the official website > the men’s pro tour, has launched a of new “Doubles Revolution.” The redesigned web section is dedicated to ATP doubles.

> Klip has revamped its website, www.klipstrings.com. The site includes
the latest news from Team Klip, the latest products, and a chance to enter monthly Web contests.

> The Eastside Racquet Club in Man14
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lius, N.Y., won an Excellence Award at the Eighth Annual Small Business Excellence Awards, held in late June in Syracuse, N.Y. The family-owned club was nominated by Adirondack Bank and used SBA financing in 2005 to renovate both the facility and the tennis program. The PTR’s TennisPro magazine recently won two national APEX Excellence Awards. Editor and PTR Director of Communications Peggy Edwards received the Magazine & Journal Writing APEX Award for the September/October 2005 issue, and Art Director Angie van Zuylen earned a Design & Layout award for the November/December 2005 issue. Head/Penn has won Mattel’s “Rookie of the Year” award as the top new licensee for the Barbie brand. Mattel, which has more than 100 licensees, lauded Head for its Barbie co-branded racquet. “We’ve had so much fun with this Barbie brand,” says Greg Mason of Head/Penn. “It’s one of those things that girls identify with.” led by > The U.S. Davis Cup team,take on Captain Patrick McEnroe, will Russia on red clay Sept. 22-24 at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow. of > Proceeds from the sale by J-Block merchandise, developed James Blake and Nike, during the US Open Series and the US Open will go to the USTA Tennis & Education Foundation. Merchandise will be available at the events as well as in tennis specialty shops, and on TennisWarehouse.com and JamesBlakeTennis.com. The USTA Tennis & Education Foundation will hold its fourth annual ProAm fundraiser Sept. 8, during the US Open. Eight amateur participants will be paired with eight tennis champions for the tennis experience of a lifetime. Fee to participate is $7,500, and all proceeds go to support the USTA T&EF. For information or to register, contact the Foundation at 914-6967223 or foundation @usta.com.

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Gentle Jaws Stringing Machine Accessory Eliminates String Crushing
entle Jaws is a nosecone or "diablo" accessory that mounts easily on any stringing machine to minimize damage to strings caused by slippage through the tension jaws. As described in the Machine Selector Guide on page 26, a nosecone functions as follows: "The string is wrapped around the nosecone before it is put in the tension head, allowing the tension head to grip the string more gently and ensuring the string enters the tension jaws at the the same angle each time." According to Gentle Jaws developer John Zednick, the accessory "will speed up your stringing and improve the quality of your work. This will lead to more satisfied customers and increased profits." For more information, contact John Zednick, 919-859-6788.

USRSA MEMBER CLASSIFIEDS
TENNIS PROFESSIONALS NEEDED to take a Caribbean Vacation! You work 3 hours per day and receive 5-star all inclusive accommodations for yourself and 1 guest. Contact Denise Cox 678-778-4673; www.fitbodiesinc.com FOR SALE: Czech Sports CT750 floor model racquet stringing machine. This machine has been modified with a Wise electronic 2086 linear string puller which never has to be calibrated as it’s self calibrating. The CT750 has a six point mounting system for most racquets. It includes a foot pedal for the Wise 2086. Tools not included. The original price for the CT750 was $750, Wise electronic linear 2086 string puller was $700 and foot pedal $50. $700 + shipping. Please contact Tom Albert @ 410-757-4728. FOR SALE: Babolat Star 3: Completely Reconditioned by Tennis Machines Inc. $2500 + Shipping. Please Contact Russ Sheh @ 760641-3983.

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USTA to House Top Juniors, Relocate Player Development

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he USTA has joined with the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla., to provide year-round housing for top junior players for the first time, launching a new era in the program's mission to develop the next generation of American tennis champions. Working with the USTA, the Evert Academy will construct a new on-site facility that will serve as the national headquarters for USTA Player Development. The USTA is expected to move Player Developement from Key Biscayne, Fla., to the Evert Tennis Academy by September 2007. As part of the new arrangement, the USTA will for the first time offer player housing for promising young players aged 14 to 18. The Evert Tennis Academy is run by Chris Evert and John Evert, and features 23 tennis courts, including 14 clay courts and nine hard courts, with 14 courts lighted for night play.

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TENNIS FASHIONS THAT “FIT”
APPAREL TAIL
Tennis and fitness play nicely together in Tail’s newest multi-use apparel. Bright sparks of color—“just short of neon,” says Tail’s Brad Singer—are coming through, and new lines feature such colors as copper and pink, midnight blue, and “hot lava” (pink, black, and white). Tail, which is producing Cardio Tennis-specific clothing, has also introduced a cardio skort for the “hard-body girl.” For clothes that move easily between on- and off-court wear, the company also has “power capris” and a novelty “i” jacket with a place to hold an iPod. www.tailinc.com; 800-678-8245

F

or the coming seasons, apparel manufacturers will continue to stretch the boundaries between court time and offcourt/fitness/cardio activities with pieces that have crossover appeal while using technical fabrics to help athletes perform better. The newest pieces reflect the growing trend in both fitness and fashion, combining the latest moisture- wicking performance fabrics and high-fashion patterns and colors. —Cynthia Sherman

LE COQ SPORTIF
Le Coq Sportif is back in the game with innovative, functional fashion-plus designs. Hot sellers for fall and winter are the men's Polo in electric blue, black and “glow” coupled with black shorts in an absorbent pique 100 percent Poly QuickDry fabric. For the women, le Coq plays up the active theme in pink-lavender and “Dusk” (blue) shades with a color-block tank paired with a Dusk skirt in a moisture-wicking polylycra blend. Available through Polo at 877-229-6341.

DIADORA
Diadora employs Meryl microfiber DiaDry in its "EVS" (engineered venting system) fabrics, which is mesh located where the body produces the most heat. Colorways include pairing up yellows, blacks, oranges and grays, as well as updating traditional navy, red, and white hues. www.diadoraamerica.com; 800-252-5415.

POLO
For fall, Polo brings out its RLX line featuring more technical poly-hybrid moisture-management fabrics and the Heritage line sporting the trademark polo pony. The fabrications are a rich, mercerized moisture-wicking cotton of navy, deep greens, white, and charcoal on the men's side. 877-229-6341.

20 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY August 2006

LBH, LILY’S, AND WIMBLEDON
For LBH, Lily’s, and Wimbledon, spring is all about color and texture balanced with traditional whites. The LBH line plays up dynamic strong, highcontrast colors. The Lily's line is more playful and feminine, emphasizing prints. And crisp, classic looks embody the Wimbledon collection. For men’s apparel, Wimbledon introduces an expanded line featuring knit polos, tees, woven shorts, and jackets in “G-Cool” performance fabrics, which LBH says puts the performance “at the fiber level.” www.lbhgroup.com; 800-421-4474

BOLLE
Bolle, whose apparel generally features a more “traditional” fit, introduces bright, active colors in more prints than ever before. Made of a poly/spandex, these outfits are moisturewicking and feature fashion details such as mesh, unique trims, embroidery, and hardware. www.bolle.com; 800-222-6553

LEJAY
Lejay’s new Cardio Tennis Heartbeat line for fitness/tennis features high-performance nylon lycra fabrics that are lightweight, quick-drying and designed to conform (without constricting) and move with the body. Available in Pink Synergy and Blue Synergy color combinations, pieces feature mesh and metallic details for the tank and Ace Border skirt with built-in shorts. www.lejay.com; 800-932-7535

KAELIN
Kaelin does chic with its new Bijou and Stargazer collections, offering dazzling hues of blues and yellows and unique color blocking patterns. The garments are made from Meryl microfiber nylon, offering performance and moisture management. www.diadoraamerica.com; 800-252-5415.

August 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

21

FIRST-STRING PLAYERS
GUIDE TO STRINGING MACHINES

Our tips and exclusive guide will help you generate more revenue from your stringing business.
y father used to tell me, “You only get one chance to make a first impression. Make sure it is a good one.” While my dad was sharing this pearl of wisdom about life in general, the old adage is very applicable to your racquet service business. Whether you are a home stringer with only a few clients, a large retail store with thousands of customers, or something in between, you have to make a good impression to attract and retain customers. Competition in today’s marketplace is abundant and diverse, regardless of the size or scope of your operation. So how do you compete? What can you do to separate yourself from your competitors? How do you make that good first impression? The answer to all three questions can be summed up with one word: “professionalism.” If everything you do exudes professionalism, your customers will take notice and you will reap the rewards of a loyal customer base that will not only continue to do business with you, but also will sing your praises to everyone they know.

BY BOB PATTERSON, MRT

M

and other equipment is in good shape and has a ‘wow’ factor,” he says. “I have a Babolat Sensor in my store, front and center. It is big, modern-looking, and quite attractive. I have a regular customer who calls it the ‘Starship Enterprise’!”

Make an Investment
If your machine doesn’t have the “wow” factor or looks a bit worn and dated, you may want to consider investing in a new one. I use the word “investment” simply because that is what a machine purchase is—it should pay you dividends for many years to come. Regardless of the size of your racquet service operation, your stringing machine is vital to the success of the business. Like any investment, you should analyze your needs and do as much research as possible and then make your decision based on what makes good business sense for you. There are about as many options in stringing machines as there are stringers in the world, and choosing the right one can be a daunting task. Once you look at your particular needs, then you can utilize the information in this issue as well as the machine reviews and comparison charts available from the USRSA website, www.racquettech.com. You can evaluate and compare the various functions, designs, and workability of many of the machines available in today’s market and decide what would best serve your business.

The First Impression
When a potential customer walks into your business, what is their first impression of your racquet service operation? Is there even any evidence of its existence? Often, racquet service is tucked into a back room or a desolate corner away from the traffic flow. The stringing machine and other tools of the trade should be proudly displayed front and center so that there is no doubt that professional racquet service is available. The stringing machine itself should command attention. David Pavlich, owner of North Shore Tennis in Mandeville, La., believes that the stringing operation should be very visible in your store or pro shop. “Make sure that your machine

Return on Investment
Another reason for making the investment in a new machine is simply the return on that investment. If you do your homework and invest in the right machine for your operation, you’ll reap the rewards with increased business for years to come. With the proper set-up and attention, racquet stringing and racquet service should be the most profitable aspect of
August 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

23

your retail operation. Most pro shops and retailers make 70 percent to 80 percent gross profit on racquet service. With a first-class presentation, top-notch personnel, and preWouldn’t you love to get those margins on racquet, apparmiere customer service, the only thing left is adding amenities. el, or shoe sales? With such profit-generating potential, Paying attention to the details will keep your customers coming why wouldn’t you place a major emphasis on your racquet back and telling their friends about the great service they service operation? And, why wouldn’t you invest in good received in your establishment. equipment? “We put our finished racquets in a poly bag with our store You may not be able to afford the most expensive logo on it,” says Grant Morgan of String n’ Swing in Memphis. machine on the market, but you should select the machine “It costs us a few cents for each one, but the customers really that best meets your needs. Then, make it the centerpiece like it. They see the pros pulling fresh racquets out of the poly bags on court and it makes them feel just as important.” of your business. Whether a new machine is in your budget or not, at least make sure your Pavlich is also a proponent of the poly machine and the surrounding bags. “It gives a professional impression work area are neat and clean in and it actually protects the racquet to appearance. some extent,” he says. “And because As with any busy workspace, it each bag has our logo on it, we get an A little knowledge can go a long way, and for your is easy to allow clutter to accumuon-court advertisement every time a cuscustomers, providing them with some basic informalate. Tools and other items should tomer pulls out a fresh racquet.” tion about strings and stringing may help generate be stored in an orderly manner. Offering faster turn-around than your more interest in your stringing and customization Finished racquets and racquets competitors is another way to make business. awaiting service should be separatyour customers choose your business. ed and neatly stored. Your work When it comes to restringing, the basic rule of thumb Knowing that they can depend on getarea should always project a pro- still applies: A player should restring as many times ting their racquet serviced and be back each year as he or she plays each week. But better fessional image. on the court is important to a busy playyet, check the string tension regularly and suggest er. Offering an express service, even if they restring each time their racquet loses 20 to 30 you charge an extra fee, will certainly set your service apart. Another important aspect of pro- percent of its freshly strung value. “I guarantee 24-hour turnaround,” fessional racquet service is the A few other general guidelines that you should make says Pavlich. “I also offer Express Serexpertise of your staff. Your equipsure your customers are aware of include: vice: $5 for four-hour service and $10 for ment is only as good as the perone-hour service. Our customers know sonnel who use it and provide Q Lower string tensions generate more power. that we will go out of our way to accomservice to your customers. The Q Higher string tensions produce more ball control. modate their needs.” most impressive racquet service Q Fewer strings will generally produce more power. Keeping accurate service records is area in the world will not be uti- Q Thinner string generally produces more power. another plus for your customers, accordlized if it is manned by an inexpe- Q A longer string will generally produce more power. ing to Tim Strawn of Baseline Racquet rienced employee with little or no Q Thinner strings generally produce more spin. Q A more open stringbed tends to generate more spin. Sports in Roanoke, Va. “I label each ractraining. The personnel in your racquet Q Pre-stretching string before installation will generally quet with the date of service, string, and reduce the amount of tension lost after stringing. service area should be experienced tension,” says Strawn. “I also keep and well-trained in all aspects of records of every string job. My cusracquet service. Ideally, each tomers appreciate the fact that I can tell them what string and tension they were using over the last sevshould be certified through the USRSA as Certified eral years.” Stringers, if not Master Racquet Technicians. Putting forth the extra effort to make your racquet service as At North Shore Tennis, Pavlich is a staff of one, but he professional as possible will pay big dividends to your bottom proudly touts his MRT status and has built a loyal following line. “Know your product, both racquets and strings,” says from players in the New Orleans area. “I run ads on the Pavlich. “Also learn as much as possible about the technology local cable channel highlighting my experience. I am the only MRT in the area and that fact is mentioned in the so that you can better assist your customers. Being able to tell commercial,” says Pavlich. a customer why one string does what it does in a specific frame As true professionals, it is essential that your racquet goes a long way in instilling confidence and comfort in a technicians be able to answer questions and guide cusprospective customer.” Investing in a professional racquet service operation, and all tomers in string selection, tension and racquet customizathat it entails, will pay big dividends for your business.Q tion. If your operation sells racquets, they should also know about and be able to assist customers with racquet Master Racquet Technician Bob Patterson of Birmingselection. Being certified as an MRT will ensure that the ham, Ala., owns Players Choice Tennis and the racquet staff keeps up to date on the latest racquet technologies customization company Racquetmaxx. In 2005, he was and are able to provide customers with the best possible named RSI’s Stringer of the Year. service.

Finishing Touches

What Your Customers Should Know

Expert Staffing

24 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY August 2006

GUIDE TO STRINGING MACHINES

B

uying a stringing machine is one of the most important purchases you can make for your business. It is also one of the most difficult. With the plethora of machines, technologies, and features available, selecting a machine is a daunting task. Our Stringing Machine Selection Guide will guide you through the minefields and help you choose the best machine for your business. Below we explain the essential machine features, and the chart on pages 28-31 displays the features of almost every professional machine on the market.

360o Rotation Turntable. Allows you to turn the racquet all
the way around during stringing.

3-D Rotation Turntable.

Allows the turntable to tilt so that each string gets pulled straight through the grommet. This is designed to reduce the friction of the string against the grommet when tension is being pulled.

TENSIONING SYSTEMS
There are two main types of tensioning systems available today—lockout and constant pull. Lockout means that the machine pulls the string to the desired tension and then locks the length of the string until you clamp Alpha Equinox it and release the tension head. So, as soon as you lock the length of the string, it starts equalizing and losing tension. Constant-pull machines pull the string to the desired tension, but when the string starts to equalize and lose tension, it pulls a little more to stay at reference tension. Constantpull machines generally achieve slightly higher stringbed stiffness (we find the difference to be about 5 percent to 10 percent). These machines use a lever (with a weight attached to it) to pull tension on each string. Moving the weight on the bar ATS determines how much tension it pulls. These machines qualify as constant pull because the weight Traveler continues to pull the string as the string stretches. Tension is pulled by hand crank. These machines lockout when the desired tension has been reached.

MOUNTING SYSTEMS
The chart lists machines with 2-, 4-, 5-, or 6-point mounting systems. This refers to how many places they support the frame. There are many subtle differences in mounting systems. The three most common types of mounting systems are the 2-point, 4-point and 6-point, though each of them is safe. Fans of 6-point systems will tell you that more points of contact must be better. Six-point systems do support the frame in more places, which means it is a little easier to lock the racquet in place so it does not slide back and forth during stringing. It also allows a better view of the grommets at the head and throat of a racquet. Six-point systems can require fewer adapters for frames of different shapes. Finally, some of these systems have side arms that can be adjusted simultaneously, making it easier to center a racquet.

6-Point Mounting.

Drop Weight.

2-Point & 4-Point Mounting. Fans of two-point and fourpoint systems suggest that it is quicker to mount a racquet on a these machines because there are fewer mounting points to be adjusted. They will also say that these systems offer more support at 6 o'clock and 12 o'clock, (the two most important points to support), because the amount of surface contact with the frame is greater at these locations. Turntable Lock. This allows you to stop the turntable in one
position. Helpful for calibrating, tying knots, and stringing O3 and Rollers frames.

Hand Crank.

Electric. These machines require electricity to pull tension. Most of these machines are constant pull, but a few allow you to choose between constant-pull and lockout modes. Some offer multiple pull speeds and a prestretch mode.
August 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

Babolat Star 5

27

Klipper 440-CS

Gamma 8800 Els

pull tension in a straight line away from the machine are said to be linear pull. The alternative is a rotational tensioner, which wraps the string around a spool, then rotates the spool to pull tension on the string.

Linear Pull & Rotational Tensioners. Machines that

SAM ProMaster

Diablo/Nosecone. The string is wrapped around the diablo or nosecone before it is put in the tension head, allowing the tension head to grip the string more gently and ensuring the string enters the tension jaws at the same angle each time. Foot Tension.
head. Foot-activated tension

Pacific Digital X8

Manual Calibration. Allows you to adjust (correct) the pulling force manually, as opposed to a few machines that are designed to calibrate themselves automatically. Diamond Coated Tension Head. Grips
the string with less pressure.

Fixed Clamps that Swivel. These clamps are attached to the machine and can be turned in any direction, especially helpful when stringing fan patterns. They also allow you to switch from main strings to cross strings without having to remove and replace glide bars. There are two kinds: dual swivel, dual action fixed clamps that require you to lock two levers to clamp a string; and dual swivel, single-action fixed clamps that require you to lock one lever. 360º glide bar clamps are clamps that rotate 360 degrees, but they are mounted on glide bars. Single swivel fixed refers to machines with only one clamp attached to the machine. Machines with this type of clamp will generally require a starting clamp or flying clamp for part of each string job. Fixed Clamps that Don't Swivel. These are
clamps that are attached to the machine by glide bars, but can only be turned in two directions (90 degrees and 0 degrees). These require removing and repositioning glide bars to switch from main strings to cross strings.

Mutual Power Hercules 650

Tension Sets. Three types: dial tension set,
+/- key tension set, and numeric keypad.

Prince 3000

Knot Tensioning.

Silent Partner Opus

The machine can be instructed to pull the last string before a knot tighter than the reference tension to allow for the tension that is lost between the clamp and the knot.

Diamond Dust. Holds a string with less pressure, avoiding string crushing but can scar surface of string if they are adjusted too loosely and allow the string to slip through them.

WEIGHT
Categories indicate whether the machine weighs less than 50 pounds, between 50 and 75 pounds, or over 75 pounds. Heavier machines can be more stable and solid, but they can be less convenient when moving or traveling.
Tecnifibre TF-8000

CLAMPING SYSTEMS
The clamping system is meant to hold strings in the racquet under tension. If clamps slip, or allow strings to slip through them, a string job can be ruined. There are many different clamps, but we will only discuss three here.

Yonex ES5 Pro

Flying Clamps. These clamps are not attached to the machine. They use one string to hold tension on another string. They generally do not hold tension as consistently as the other two types of clamps. The low price tag makes them attractive to new stringers testing the waters.

TOOLS INCLUDED
This final category indicates which supplies and tools are included with the machine. For descriptions of each tool, see pages 9-10 of the USRSA Racquet Service Techniques book. Q

Wise 2086 Professional ETH

28 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY August 2006

Sports

Height

Mounting

Tensioning

Brand

Model
601F 602F 602S 603GB 604S 603S 607 String Pal Pioneer DC Plus Revo 4000 Axis Pro Apex II Eclipse Equinox

Price Warranty (MSRP) (years)
$219 $269 $379 $549 $569 $699 $799 $129 $399 $549 $749 $995 $1,149 $2,495 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

AG
www.gutermanintl.com 800-343-6096

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Alpha
www.alphatennis.com 800-922-9024

ATS
www.atssports.com 800-866-7071

Super Stringer II Traveler

$135 $189

Life Life

x x x x x x x x

Babolat
www.babolat.com 877-316-9435

Sensor Sensor Expert Star 5

$5,200 $8,500 $3,000

5 5 3 Life 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 Life Life 10 10

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

X-2 $139 Progression 602 $299 www.gammasports.com X-6 $329 800-333-0337 Progression 602 FC $469 X-6 FC $499 Progression ST II $629 X-ST $659 5003 w/6pt $799 5003 w/2pt SC System$999 Progression Es II+ $899 X-Es $949 6004 w/6pt $1,199 6004 w/2pt $1,199 6500 Els w/6pt $1,699 6500 Els w/2pt $1,699 5800 Els w/6pt $1,999 5800 Els w/2pt $2,199 8800 Els w/6pt $3,299 8800 Els w/2pt $3,299 8500 Els $2,999

Gamma

Klipper USA
www.klipperusa.com 800-522-5547

Klippermate Klippermate Bad’ton 280-CS 440-CS

$145 $155 $245 $445

x x x x x x x x x x x x x

30 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY August 2006

Stand Includ ed Stand Availa b Table Top Stale Table Top O ndard p Height Adjusttional able 2-Point Mou n 4-Point Mou ting nting 5-Point Mou 6-Point Mou nting Turntable Lonting 360º Rotatiock n 3-D Turntable Turntable Rotation Drop Weight Full Clutch-D Rachet Sys rop Hand Cranktem-Drop 2-Sided Cran k Electric Multiple Spe Constant Pu ed Pull ll Lockout Prestretch Linear Pull
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x X X x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Tennis Racquetball Squash Badminton

x x

x x x x

x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Tensioning

x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

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x x x x x

x x x x x x x

x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Clamping

x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x

x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x

Extra Features

x x

x x x x x x x

xx x x xx x x xx x x xx x x x x xx x x x x x xx x xx x xx x xx x x

x x x x

Weight

x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x

x

x x x x x x x x x

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x x x x

x x x x x x x x x

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August 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

Tools Included

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

31

x x x x

Self-Elevatin Automated g Linear Pull Diablo/NoseTension Release Rotational Tcone e Foot Pedal T nsioner Pounds & K ension Activator ilo Manual Calib s Tension Self-Calibra ration Adjustable ti Diamond Co ng Knob/Dial T at Tension Head Grip en Plus/Minus sion Setting T Full Keypad ouch Pad Tension Set LED/LCD Te Tension Setting Knot Tensio nsion Display Removable ning Electric Ten sioner Unit Flying Clam ps Fixed Clamp Dual Swivel s on Glide Bars Dual Swivel Double Action Fixed 360 Degree Single Action Fixed Single Swiv Clamps on Glide Bars e Diamond Du l Fixed Clamp Automated st Clamps B Magnetic Au ase Release Clamps No Tool Nee to Clamp Base Relea se ded to Adju st Clamps Tool Tray Cover Includ e String Measu d Built-in Rule rer Reel Rack r Racquet Sta Cabinet withnd Leveling Pa Drawers ds on Base Under 50 lb s 50-75 lbs Over 75 lbs Calibrator Starting Cla Diagonal Cump tt Needlenose ers Pliers Awl Flying Clam Assembly Inp Owners Ma structions/Video Guiding Awnual/Video l Bent Nose P Assembly T liers Flying Clamools p Starting P ins

Sports

Height

Mounting

Tensioning

Brand

Model
SAM G-Force R1 SAM G-Force R2 SAM XLR8 SAM XLR8+ SAM NRG SAM NRG+ SAM ProMaster Hercules 610 Alpine 2000 Alpine 2500 Alpine 2600 Alpine 6000 Alpine 6500 Alpine 6600 Hercules 630 Hercules 650 Titan 7600 e-Bravo 550 e-Bravo 760 Atlas 8600 Atlas 9600 Digital X8

Price Warranty (MSRP) (years)
$395 $495 $795 $995 $1795 $1995 $2495 $319 $399 $499 $499 $469 $569 $569 $529 $629 $649 $509 $599 $899 $999 $2,999 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 2

Master Sports
www.mastersports.com 800-837-1002

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Mutual Power
www.mutualpower.com 832-327-0256

Pacific USA
wwwpacific.com 805-857-9400

x x x x

Prince
www.princetennis.com 800-283-6647

Neos 1000 3000 Swing e.Stringer e.Stringer 6 point e.Stringer CL Jazz e.Stringer FL Maestro e.Stringer DG Aria Opus

$1,099 $2,995 $199 $249 $299 $469 $599 $699 $799 $999 $1,599 $2,799

5 3 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 1 3 3 3

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Silent Partner
www.sptennis.com 800-662-1809

x x x x x x x x x

Tecnifibre
www.tecnifibre.com 877-332-0825

TF-6000 $4,700 TF-7000 $6,000 TF-7000 with Cabinet$7,000 TF-8000 $7,500 2086 Professional Electronic Tension Head $495

Wise USA
www.tennishead.com 888-836-7466

2

x x x

Yonex
www.yonex.com 800-449-6639

ES5 Pro

$6,499

3

x x x x

32 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY August 2006

Stand Includ Stand Availaed b Table Top Stale Table Top O ndard p Height Adjusttional able 2-Point Mou n 4-Point Mou ting nting 5-Point Mount 6-Point Mou ing Turntable Lonting 360º Rotatiock n 3-D Turntable Turntable Rotation Drop Weight Full Clutch-D Rachet Sys rop Hand Cranktem-Drop 2-Sided Cran k Electric Multiple Spe Constant Pu ed Pull ll Lockout Prestretch Linear Pull
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Tennis Racquetball Squash Badminton

x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x . x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x

x x x x x x x x

x x x x

x

x x x x x x x x x

x

Tensioning

x x x x

x

x

x

x x x x

x

x x x x

x x x x

x

x x x x

x

x x x x x x x no x x x x

x x x

x x

x

x x x x x x x

x

x

Clamping

x x

x x x x

x

x x x x x x x

x x x x

x x

x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x

Extra Features

x x

x x x x x x x x x x

x

x x x x

Weight

x x x x

x

x x

x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x

x x x x

x

August 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

Tools Included

33

x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Self-Elevatin Automated g Linear Pull Diablo/NoseTension Release Rotational T cone e Foot Pedal T nsioner Pounds & K ension Activator ilo Manual Calib s Tension Self-Calibra ration Adjustable ti Diamond Co ng Knob/Dial T at Tension Head Grip Plus/Minus ension Setting Full Keypad Touch Pad Tension Set LED/LCD Te Tension Setting Knot Tensio nsion Display n Removable ing Electric Ten sioner Unit Flying Clam ps Fixed Clamp Dual Swivel s on Glide Bars Dual Swivel Double Action Fixed 360 Degree Single Action Fixed Single Swiv Clamps on Glide Bars e Diamond Du l Fixed Clamp Automated st Clamps B Magnetic Au ase Release Clamps No Tool Nee to Clamp Base Release ded to Adju st Clamps Tool Tray Cover Includ e String Measu d Built-in Rule rer r Reel Rack Racquet Sta Cabinet withnd Leveling Pa Drawers ds on Base Under 50 lb s 50-75 lbs Over 75 lbs Calibrator Starting Cla m Diagonal Cu p Needlenose tters Pliers Awl Flying Clam Assembly Inp Owners Ma structions/Video Guiding Awnual/Video l Bent Nose P Assembly T liers Flying Clamools p Starting P ins

CONNECT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS
FACILITY MANAGEMENT

For a facility in Georgia, TennisConnect software is helping out all aspects of their business.

BY ROBIN BATEMAN

R

aise your racquet if you want to grow and manage tennis in your community and at your facility more efficiently. Want to extend your marketing reach? Increase staff productivity? Provide better customer service for your tennis players? Make more money? And hey, what about giving your customers a tool that lets them take control—at their convenience—of things like acquiring event information, registering for one of your

programs, or reserving a tennis court? Think you’re asking too much? Guess again. I’ve got a tool for you: TennisConnect, from the Tennis Industry Association. What? A website builder can do all that? Yes. This website software can—and does. As a parks and recreation tennis facility manager in Macon, Ga., I assist in the creation of promotional materials, coordinate numerous programs and leagues, direct USTA

August 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

35

tournaments, supervise employees, and carry out many other managerial tasks associated with the everyday running of a 12-court tennis center. I work under our department’s tennis manager/head pro, and in conjunction with another 24-court facility. Together, a team of employees promotes, instructs, and manages tennis in our community. After trying out several other websites, we chose TennisConnect. TennisConnect (TC) may be the new kid on the web (2004), but don’t let that scare you. TC’s developers have been creating web-based applications for more than 13 years, and business software applications for nearly 25 years. Working with large companies like Intel, AOL, IBM, and Peoplesoft, TC’s team has helped empower software applications for business productivity and customer service. The site emerged after its lead designer, Charlie Ruddy, experienced difficulty obtaining tournament information from his own tennis club. A longtime web designer, Ruddy put his talents toward building a website specifically for the tennis industry. As a recreational tennis player, Ruddy knows what players, and spectators of the game, are looking for. As a tech designer, he knows what businesses are looking for, too. And he delivers. For tennis managers and professionals, TC delivers a site rich in features like group email, online registration, interactive event calendars, and the ability to update programs and event information any time of day or night. For tennis players, TC delivers a site with options like online court reservations, player match-making, and find a program. TennisConnect answers the needs of the manager, program coordinator, teaching pro, and the player, connecting courts, programs, and events with players, facilities, and sponsors. TennisConnect.org has stepped up its approach to what normal websites have to offer, allowing the entire tennis community to benefit from its package.

Connect Your Business
For me, the strong attraction begins with the very foundation of TC. Since it’s built for tennis facilities, TC naturally makes it easy to create simple things like online forms. For example, when creating online enrollment forms, I don’t have to instruct IT to include drop-down menus for “leagues,” “lessons,” “tournaments,” etc. Tennis lingo is already included. Q Connect With Control: Another underlying feature is control. With this special software, we are in complete control of the look, feel, and layout of our site—everything from color scheme, to the web pages, to graphics and messages. Also incorporated is the ability for me, and the others on my team, to do our own updates, which provides us with cost-savings and convenience elements not typically found in most other websites. An event may undergo changes in date, cost, location—we simply log on and make updates.

Before, we had to wait for our IT vendor, knowing extra fees would be tacked onto the bill. Q Connect With Growth, Marketing Reach, and Promotion: Another key aspect, separating TC from other websites, is its connectivity. When you become a TC subscriber, you aren’t just getting one stand-alone website. You’re getting a family of sites, maximizing your world-wide-web exposure. Once you create your site, add your programs, events, leagues—these become publicly listed. Because TennisConnect is part of the Tennis Industry Association’s growing tennis efforts, your programs, your information, your events are now searchable from over 100 tennis-related “open-to-the-public” websites including TennisWelcomeCenter.com and CardioTennis.com when your facility is involved as a site. Talk about increased visibility and also doing your part to increase tennis participation! The TIA has also encouraged major industry partners such as Tennis magazine and The Tennis Channel to include a Find

36 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY August 2006

A Facility, Find a Player, Find a Program functions on their websites. These searches are powered by TIA’s TennisConnect and have offered consumers an added way to get involved with tennis in their community. “When we looked at consumer research, we saw more and more people using the internet and turning to technology to save them time,” says TIA Executive Director, Jolyn de Boer. “Players wanted 24/7 online services for finding information and online registration. The research also made it clear that if we don’t ‘connect’ with our players and keep them active in tennis, other influences could pull them away. The TIA then researched the market to find an exceptional and affordable online product. As a result, TennisConnect was created to give facility operators and pros the tools to help their business and tennis grow.” Let’s not forget about the promotional benefits, either. Sarah Witherspoon, a programs coordinator on our team, loves the group email feature. “I can send email reminders about upcoming programs. I can direct players to the site where they can register for programs when they feel like it, not just when our office is open,” she says. Q Connect with Efficiency and Increased Staff Productivity: Now that we have a centralized place to post our information, not only can we direct our players and participants to the website, but we can also send all our employees there as well. In doing so, our staff is always kept up to speed with the latest news, events, and programs. Furthermore, when participants are signing up online to enroll in programs, staff has more time to devote to other tasks. Q Connect With Your Sponsors: Obtaining sponsors for our tournaments is a vital part of our success. “The TennisConnect software is not only used to generate interest and business from tennis players, but also to cultivate relationships with potential tournament sponsors,” says Carl Hodge, the tennis manager/head pro for the city of Macon. “Our facilities host large events, from 300 to 1,200 people at a time. On our website visitors can find links to the local sponsor hotels, making the site a one-stop spot to plan their tournament experience—a benefit for all involved.” When approaching companies about possible sponsorship, we view our website’s visibility as a significant component to their coming on board. Q Connect to Your IT Team: TennisConnect’s IT team is always there for us. They offered assistance while we set up our site and have continued to provide prompt, reliable support when we have questions. Subscribers are also given access to forums addressing a wide variety of technical issues. Getting in touch with TennisConnect’s IT team is just a toll-

free phone call away. Working in a public facility, our phone service doesn't provide long-distance calls. TC's toll-free number (888-620-6696) means I can talk to an IT member when I need to. Q Connect Your Players: Players like TC for many of the same reasons you will: convenience, 24/7 access to information, event calendars, online enrollment, and communication through email when they want it. Brian Branch, a captain for a men’s 3.5 team, says, “The website is great. I like the convenience of reserving courts online—not having to think about calling in during normal business hours. I can immediately see which courts are open on what days. And with the advanced notice, my team can make arrangements to be there.” In addition, www.MyTennisCenter.com is a public magnet, connecting players to the find a player, find a facility, and find a pro function, giving them information for programs in their town, neighboring towns, and even to towns they may travel to in the future. Online tennis games, interactive polls, and a court-cam are just some of the optional functions players will enjoy should you decide to incorporate them into your website. According to the TIA, more than 350,000 online court reservations were made at TennisConnect facilities in the first three months of this year. And in the first six months, facilities using the software collectively generated more than 4 million page views. For us, the impact TennisConnect has had on our programs and participation is undeniable. The ease with which we are able to grow, manage, promote, and instruct tennis can be attributed to the software TC has to offer. The ability to develop and maintain customer-service relationships with our players and participants only underscores the advantage of being a TennisConnect subscriber. What are you waiting for? Go get connected!
Robin Bateman is the site coordinator for the Tattnall Tennis Center in Macon, Ga., where she coordinates tennis programs and leagues, is a tournament director, serves as a team captain and assists junior teams competing at district, regional, and section events.
TennisConnect is available through the TIA as part of the FacilityPlus membership, which includes additional marketing tools, services, and benefits to help your business grow. Annual dues at the FacilityPlus level are $545 (or $149 quarterly). For more information, visit www.TennisConnect.org or www.TennisIndustry.org, or call the TIA at

38 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY August 2006

PLAYER EQUIPMENT LOG

ROLAND GARROS
MEN
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Justine Henin-Ha look at the equipm red clay at Roland players, too.

Round Rank Reached
F W SF SF 1 Q 3 4 Q 4 2 3 4 3 4 1 2 1 1 3

Roger Federer Rafael Nadal David Nalbandian Ivan Ljubicic Andy Roddick Nikolay Davydenko James Blake Tommy Robredo Mario Ancic Gaston Gaudio Fernando Gonzalez Radek Stepanek Lleyton Hewitt Nicolas Kiefer Tomas Berdych Robby Ginepri Marcos Baghdatis Jarkko Nieminen Thomas Johansson David Ferrer

Player Name

Racquet Country Brand
SUI ESP ARG CRO USA RUS USA ESP CRO ARG CHI CZE AUS GER CZE USA CYP FIN SWE ESP Wilson Babolat Yonex Babolat Babolat Prince Prince Dunlop Yonex Wilson Babolat Volkl Yonex Wilson Dunlop Babolat Fischer Wilsom Dunlop Prince

nSix-One Tour AeroPro Drive RDS-001 MP Pure Drive Team + Pure Drive Roddick + O3 Tour Experimental M-Fil 300 Ultimum RD Ti-80 nSix-One 95 Pure Storm Plus DNX 9 RDS-001 nSix-One 95 M-Fil 200 Plus Pure Storm M-Speed Pro No. One nSix-One 95 M-Fil 200 Shark DB MP

Racquet Model

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

Wilson/Luxilon Babolat Luxilon Babolat Babolat Luxilon and Polystar Luxilon Luxilon Babolat/Luxilon Kirschbaum Luxilon Pacific Babolat/Luxilon Babolat Luxilon Babolat Luxilon Luxilon Babolat Luxilon

String Brand

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

WOMEN Round Rank Reached
4 SF W 4 1 F 3

4 4 Q SF 4 Q Q Q 4 3 3

FRA BEL Justine Henin-Hardenne BEL Maria Sharapova RUS Nadia Petrova RUS Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS Lindsay Davenport USA Elena Dementieva RUS Mary Pierce FRA Patty Schnyder SUI Anastasia Myskina RUS Venus Williams USA Nicole Vaidisova CZE Francesca Schiavone ITA Martina Hingis SUI Anna-Lena Groenefeld GER Dinara Safina RUS Daniel Hantuchova SVK Flavia Pennetta ITA Maria Kirilenko RUS

Amelie Mauresmo Kim Clijsters

Player Name

Racquet Country Brand

Dunlop Babolat Wilson Prince Babolat Head Did not play Yonex Did not play Head Head Wilson Yonex Babolat Yonex Fischer Babolat Yonex Wilson Yonex

M-Fil 300 Pure Drive Team nTour Two O3 White Pure Storm Team MP Flexpoint Instinct

Racquet Model

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

Liquidmetal Prestige MP Flexpoint Instinct W5 Divine Iris RDS-003 MP AeroPro Drive NSRQ 7 Magnetic Pro Number One Pure Storm Team NSRQ 7 nBlade RDX 300

RDS-001 MP

Babolat Babolat Maillot Savarez Babolat Top Serve Luxilon Kirschbaum Luxilon Wilson Luxilon Luxilon Top Serve Babolat Luxilon Luxilon/Babolat Wilson Yonex Luxilon

String Brand

*Rankings as of 12 June 2006

40 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY August 2006

ardenne and Rafael Nadal both repeated their French Open wins this year in Paris. Here’s a ment that the top 20 men and women used as they slid their way along the draws on the d Garros. Post these pages in your shop, so your customers can check out their favorite

Wilson Natural/Alu Power Rough Pro Hurricane Tour Original Pro Hurricane/VS Team Pro Hurricane/VS Team Original and Engergy Alu Power Original VS Team/Alu Power Super Smash Alu Power Rough PrimeGut VS Team/Alu Power VS Team Alu Power Ballistic Polymono/VS Touch Alu Power Alu Power VS Team Original

String Model

String Gauge
16L 15L 16 16L 16 16 16L 16 16L 16 16L 16L 16L 17 16L 16/16 16L 16L 16 16

String Tension
24.5 27 27 29.1 24/23 27/26 27 24.1 27/25 31/30 31/30 25 25/25 25/27 25 26 23

Nike Nike Yonex Diadora Babolat Prince Nike Sergio Tacchini Nike Diadora Adidas Nike Yonex Diadora Nike Nike Adidas Asics Adidas Diadora

Footwear Brand

VAPOR S2 Air Max Breathe 3 SHT-305 Speedzone Plus DA Team All Court Roddick Freak Air Zoom Vapor 3

Nike Nike Yonex Diadora Lacoste Nike Sergio Tacchini Air Zoom Vapor 3 Nike Speedzone Plus DA Diadora Barricade IV Adidas Breathe 3 SHT-305 Yonex Attax DA 2 Diadora Air Max Breathe Free II Nike Air Max Breathe Free II Under Armour Barricade IV Adidas Asics Barricade IV Dunlop Speedzone Plus DA Diadora

Footwear Model

Clothing Brand

VS Touch VS Touch HT Tonic First Gold Pro Hurricane/VS Team Racquet Fuel Alu Touch

String Model

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

Touch Turbo TIMO Wilson Natural Ace Alu Power Racquet Fuel Xcel Premium/Pro Hurricane Alu Power Alu Power/VS Touch Wilson Natural Tour Super 850 / Natural Gut

Alu Power

26 29 27 30.5 24.5/23.5 26/25 26/24 27.3 24/23 29 23/24 28 27 -

String Tension

Footwear Brand
Reebok Fila Adidas Nike Adidas Fila Yonex

Footwear Model
X-Point Barricade III W VAPOR S2 Barricade IV W X-Point Barricade IV W VESW DMX Upset DMX Speedzone Plus DA ClimaCool Feather II Barricade IV W Barricade IV W Air Zoom Vapor Speed Barricade 3 SHT-304

Clothing Brand
Reebok Fila Nike Adidas Fila Yonex

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

Adidas Nike Reebok Reebok Diadora Adidas Adidas Adidas Nike Nike Adidas

Adidas Nike Reebok Reebok Diadora Adidas Adidas Adidas Nike Sergio Tacchini Adidas

August 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

41

string Pacific X-Force 18
Pacific X-Force is a “poly-like” monofilament string offering increased power and dampened feel. According to Pacific, although the materials of this string are “in the polyester family,” X-Force is not necessarily a polyester string. X-Force is manufactured using a unique heating process that creates elasticity and power in the string. The material and process are proprietary and patent pending.
According to Pacific, X-Force has the durability typical of polyesters and is extremely strong, which makes an 18gauge possible. X-Force combines the playing characteristics of more lively nylon synthetics with the spin and durability of polyester. Pacific tells us that X-Force has an extremely fast “rebound speed,” which may take some getting used to at first. Pacific is aiming X-Force at competitive players looking for a string with more liveliness and elasticity than typical polyester strings. X-Force is available in 16L (1.29 mm), 17 (1.24 mm), and 18 (1.19 mm) in transparent orange only. It is priced from $9.99 for sets of 40 feet, and $150 for reels of 220 meters. For more information or to order, contact Pacific at 805-892-5901, via email at mail@teampacificusa.com, or visit www.pacific.com. Be sure to read the conclusion for more information about getting a free set to try for yourself. cent tension loss. X-Force added 15 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame. The string was tested for five weeks by 32 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 5.5. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. Average number of hours playtested was 24. Pacific suggests stringing X-Force four to five pounds lower in tension than the average polyester string, and we passed this recommendation along to our playtest team. Installing X-Force is not as traumatic as some polys, and we had no problems with coil memory, although some of our playtest team did. The smooth surface of the string and the small diameter make for fast stringing, and even tying knots seemed easier than typical polys, possibly again due to the smoothness of the string and the thin gauge. No playtester broke his sample during stringing, 13 reported problems with coil memory, three reported problems tying knots, and two reported friction burn.

PLAYTEST

hours of playing time on his set of X-Force 18. One playtester broke his sample, after 21 hours of play.

CONCLUSION
This is the first 18-gauge poly we’ve tested, and only the third 18-gauge of any type ever. Gratifyingly, X-Force 18 was EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings) Number of testers who said it was: much easier 0 somewhat easier 3 about as easy 13 not quite as easy 13 not nearly as easy 3

OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often) Number of testers who said it was: much better 1 somewhat better 5 about as playable 8 not quite as playable 15 not nearly as playable 3

ON THE COURT
Pacific X-Force 18’s average score for all categories was well above average, making another strong showing for a “polyestertype” string. If you get better spin with thinner gauge string, X-Force is for you, as our playtest team ranked it fifth-place overall for Spin Potential of the 103 strings we’ve tested to date. Despite the fact that it is an 18-gauge string, our playtesters gave it a top-ten ranking in Durability. You have to wonder what kind of durability you would get with the 16L version. Our playtest team also gave X-Force 18 a top-ten ranking in the Control category, which is a nice complement to the “well above average” ranking it received in the Power category. X-Force 18 also received “well above average” rankings in Playability and Resistance to Movement, and it even garnered an above-average ranking in Tension Retention. On average, each playtester put 24

OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge) Number of testers who said it was: much better 2 somewhat better 20 about as durable 8 not quite as durable 2 not nearly as durable 0

IN THE LAB
We tested Pacific X-Force 18. The coil measured 43 feet 1 inch. The diameter measured 1.16-1.18 mm prior to stringing, and 1.11-1.13 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 72 RDC units immediately after stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 x 18 pattern) on a constant-pull machine. After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed stiffness measured 65 RDC units, representing a 10 percent tension loss. Our control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Original Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units immediately after stringing and 71 RDC units after 24 hours, representing a 9 per-

RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best) Playability Durability Power Control Comfort Touch/Feel Spin Potential Holding Tension Resistance to Movement 3.4 4.3 3.3 3.8 2.8 2.8 3.6 3.3 3.6

August 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

43

This string is great! I like the feel and the pop. The strings respond well to everything, but I like the pop the most. All my balls stayed deep, coaxing many short balls. I like it. Great string. 5.5 male all-court player using Head Flexpoint Radical Team strung at 58 pounds CP (Luxilon Timo/Head Synthetic Gut PPS 18)

TESTERS

TALK

I am quite surprised at how well this string plays. I expected the usual dead poly arm-killing string, but this plays more like my regular string. I’d stock it.” 4.0 male baseline player with moderate spin using Babolat Drive Z Max strung at 51 pounds CP (Signum Pro Poly Plasma 17)

This is one of the best strings I’ve ever tested. 5.5 male all-court player using Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet strung at 60 pounds CP (Aramid hybrid 16)

“Excellent quality— “
would play with it and recommend to all, especially to 4.0 + players. Has a solid, clean feel immediately. Holds tension

String has very few imperfections: well.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head good quality control. Some coil memoPrestige Mid strung at 55 pounds LO ry, but not as bad as other polys. Very resistant to notching when pulling (Gamma TNT 17) “Lots of comments on the color, which crosses. Stencil ink does not apply easiis good. ly, but an adequate result can be 5.5 male all-court player using Head Flexpoint Radical MP strung at obtained. Some marking/crushing occurred during clamping. Very little 55 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut with Duraflex 16) string movement during play and wonderful control. No noticeable tension loss after several hours of play. Care must be taken on outer strings to assure good tie-off tension. It is a good choice for players who like to use One of the better polys. spin and power, and it will be especially appreciated by those who require 5.5 male baseline player with heavy spin using Wilson nPS strung at excellent control. 55 pounds CP (Tenex Hy-Kevlar/nylon 16) 4.5 male serve-and-volley player using a Wilson Hyper Hammer 2.3 strung at 62 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 17) Nice playing string. I might string the crosses one kilo higher. Real

This softer poly has better comfort than most polys I’ve tried. Fairly lively for a poly. I don’t feel the ball nearly as much on the strings, though. However, I give it a thumbs up due to softer playability and increased liveliness. 4.5 male all-court player using Völkl Quantum 1 Power Boost strung at 44/42 pounds CP (Babolat Fiber Tour 16)

“ “

Very stiff feeling and little power, but spin is easy to generate. The strings don’t move and that is good. Feels like your basic poly. 4.0 male all-court player using Prince Graphite Classic OS strung at 58 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)

nice bite on the kick serve. Decent feel for touch shots. 5.0 male serve-and-volley player using Wilson nTour strung at 56 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 16)
For the rest of the tester comments, USRSA members can visit RacquetTECH.com.

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

one of the few strings about which no playtester said he wanted in a thinner gauge. The high rankings for Spin Potential and Playability are not surprising, as the common perception is that thinner gauge strings are better in these categories. However, the top-ten ranking in Durability is a shocker for an 18-gauge string. For that kind of durability with a thin-gauge string, conventional wisdom says that you have to use an Aramid string. But Aramid strings are typically used only as the main strings in hybrid sets, with a softer (and often thicker) cross string to improve feel and playability. With X-Force 18, our playtesters have shown that you don’t need to hybrid it to get both durability and playability. If you think that Pacific X-Force might be for you, fill out the coupon to get a free set to try. —Greg Raven Q

FREE PLAYTEST STRING PROGRAM
Pacific has generously offered to send a free set of X-Force 18 to the first 500 USRSA members who request it. One lucky person will receive a free set of Pacific’s USRSA #1 rated natural gut, one set of Pacific’s poly/gut hybrid blend, one Pacific backpack, and one Pacific T-shirt. To get your free set and enter the drawing, just cut out (or copy) this coupon and mail it to: USRSA, Attn: Pacific X-Force 18 String Offer, 330 Main Street, Vista, CA 92084 or fax to 760-536-1171 One set of free string per USRSA membership in the US

FREE! Pacific X-Force 18 • Offer expires Aug 15th 2006
Name: USRSA Member number: Phone: Email:
If you print your email clearly, we will notify you when your sample will be sent.

44 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY August 2006

Readers’ Know-How in Action
STENCIL APPLICATOR TIPS
I read with interest the tip from Mark Campanile regarding stenciling. He ends his tip by saying, "My next task is to figure out how to make the ink applicator last as long as the ink in the bottle." This has been an ongoing problem for stringers since stenciling began. The solution is to replace the applicator tip. This is the only way obtain a sharp stencil and get all of the ink out of the bottle. Usually the original and one replacement will allow you to utilize all of the ink in a standard stencil ink bottle. Replacement applicator tips are available from Gosen, Grand Slam Stringers, LaserFiber, and Powers Court, among other suppliers. Forten Tournament Bag to: Alan Golombek, MRT, Baltimore, MD jelly. This keeps the cap threads free of ink, and the applicator tip stay is the bottle. 5 sets of Wilson Stamina 17 to: Glen Brewer, Marietta, GA

tips

and TECHNIQUES

CAP-EASE
For me, one of the worst things about stencil ink bottles is getting the cap off without pulling the applicator tip out of the bottle. When the bottle is fresh and new, it’s no problem, but after the stencil ink gets into the threads, it glues the edge of the applicator tip to the inside of the cap. I’ve tried putting the cap on loosely, but that leads to other problems. What I found really works for me is to coat the threads of the bottle lightly with petroleum

SIMPLE SPOT CLEANING
I realize that I probably get more carried away than most when it comes to cleaning racquets before stringing, but I’m always looking for ways to make cleaning quicker and easier. My latest discovery is that recycled stencil ink bottles make really good containers for cleaning solution. I take an empty ink bottle, clean it out with Goof Off, fill it with fresh Goof Off, and then put on a new applicator tip. This gives me a quick and easy way to clean up racquets, as the Goof Off is always handy in the stencil bottle, and the felt tip works great for light scrubbing. 5 sets of Prince Premier with Softflex 16 to: Glen Brewer, Marietta, GA

46 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY August 2006

Editor’s note: This does indeed sound handy. Those who don’t have an old bottle of stencil ink, or who don’t want to clean out an old bottle, can buy new bottles from Guterman International (603 Pleasant Street, Paxton, MA, 01612. Phone: 508-852-8206). Also, keep in mind that the applicator tips can become dirty pretty quickly, so you’ll want to have plenty of replacement applicator tips on hand.

GOOD PRACTICE
One small piece of advice I was given when I first started stringing was to always string racquets in the same way. On “one-piece” jobs it is very apparent, not so much on two piece! However, whenever I string a racquet, I always mount the racquet the same way, with the logo on the butt cap upright. I feel this is a good practice in and of itself, but some manufacturers (such as Yonex) stipulate that the logo on the butt cap be pointing up when the stencil is applied. 5 sets of Tecnifibre X-One Biphase 1.30 to: Andy Gudgeon, Portsmouth Hants, England Editor’s note: Mounting racquets the same way each time sounds like a good idea, but on some racquets, this is going to mean that the logo on the butt cap is down. There are “directional” racquets—racquets that have a “short side” and a “long side”— where the markings for the short side can more easily be seen if the racquet is mounted a certain way. Also, if you are used to having your short side on the right (for example), and mounting

the racquet with the butt-cap logo facing up puts the short side on the left, you may find it easier to mount the racquet so that the short side is the way you prefer it, rather than focusing on the butt-cap logo. Because consistency is so important in stringing, however, once you find a way that works for you, stick with it.

TAKE THE TUBE
I take a small piece of Teflon tubing and temporarily insert it into the hole that I know will become blocked. This allows me to slide the string through the tubing without having to use an awl or other techniques, which can potentially damage the string. Because you remove the tubing after you get the string through, each short section of tubing can be used dozens of times before you have to replace it. 5 sets of Head FiberGEL Power 16 to: Jonathan Bowers, MRT North Charleston, SC —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 greg@racquettech.com.

CLEANER STENCILING

I do quite a bit of racquet stenciling and currently I use my workbench to stencil. It can be a messy job but I merely use my local newspaper unfolded to do my stencil work on. When I am done, one sheet of the newspaper can be discarded or recycled, and I have a clean surface to work on for the next stencil job. 5 sets of Gamma Flex Core Control 16 to: Dan Kerr, MRT, Wiarton, ONT

August 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

47

Your Serve
How to Make Life Easier for Rec Tournament Players
BY ROBERT HELLER

T

he tennis industry has made a great effort to attract new players through a number of innovative initiatives, such as free tennis lessons, Cardio Tennis and World TeamTennis. But the needs of a significant number of existing players have been somewhat ignored. I’m talking about those players who would like to test their mettle by competing in sanctioned tournaments. I believe many more players between the ages of 35 and 55 would compete if conditions were more favorable to their needs and life circumstances. Over the past few months, I entered a number of tournaments only to find that there weren’t enough entrants in my age category (55s) and other adult categories to hold the tournament, or that I was forced to play in lower age divisions to compete. In some cases, participation was so sparse that if you entered the tournament, you were already in the semifinals, and in one instance, the final! According to tennis friends, colleagues, and officials I have spoken with, there is a growing trend toward fewer adult players between ages 40 and 60 competing in sanctioned tournaments. I know many excellent players who could compete in sanctioned tournaments but don’t for two main reasons: time and physical demands. Most mid-life-aged adults are still busy earning a living and tending to the needs of their family. Traditional tournaments require far too great a sacrifice for most adults. Some tournaments may start on a Thursday with the final ending on Sunday. Many working adults cannot juggle their schedule to play during the week. To fit in a tournament over a weekend using traditional scoring requires the sacrifice of the entire weekend if the player succeeds and progresses toward the final. The second impediment to greater participation in tournaments is related to excessive physical demands associated with

playing one or two singles matches a day. With traditional scoring and an average match lasting two hours, a player could find himself on the court for four hours or more, and that doesn’t include doubles. Even if one had the time, physical health, and inclination to prepare for such a challenge, it would be difficult to do so. Most facilities limit singles play to 1 to 11/2 hours of court time, which is probably, about half of what is needed to safely and effectively compete. Fortunately, there are alternatives

"Using these options, the outcome of a match will be more likely a battle of tennis skills rather than an ‘endurance contest’ where only the fittest survive."
available. The USTA permits tournament directors considerable flexibility in running tournaments. The bottom line is that players could actually play “more” matches in a “shorter” time period than they currently do. This could be done in a number of ways including: a third set being determined by a tie-break, matches with “noad” scoring, or matches determined by eight or 10 games. Thinking out of the box for a moment, club practices could be adopted for sanctioned tournaments where the winner of a match is determined by the best two of three sets, or whoever is ahead at the end of 90 minutes. Another option is to play a tournament across two or more weekends. Using these options, the outcome of a match will be more likely a battle of tennis skills rather than an “endurance contest” where only the fittest survive. Less time on the courts would reduce the

risk of injuries, skin cancer, and physical exhaustion, making tournament play more attractive to many. By incorporating these and other modest changes, more tennis players would likely compete in sanctioned tournaments in both singles and doubles categories, providing increased revenue to the host facilities and a steady renewal of USTA memberships. I have no doubt that if the USTA and sponsoring facilities properly promote “adult-friendly” tournaments, everyone will end up a winner. Q
Dr.Robert Heller is a sports psychology consultant and author of “Mental Toughness, Mental Skills for Match Play” and “Managing Your Stress.” He works with individuals and companies on performance-enhancement skills and can be reached at 561-451-2731, e-mail robertheller@adelphia.net, and www.thewinningedge. usptapro.com.

We welcome your opinions. Please email comments to rsi@racquetTECH.com or fax them to 760-536-1171.

48 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY August 2006

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