January 2007 Volume 35 Number 1 $5.

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Contents
2007 USRSA STRING SURVEY 30 Strings of Success
We provide expert guidance that can help you—and your customers—find the right strings.

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INDUSTRY NEWS 7 New “String Center” software
for clubs, retailers

7 7 8 8 9 10 10 11 FEATURES 34 A Tennis Wish List
As we begin the New Year, we asked people in the industry to tell us what they’d like to see.

Nitsche named GM of Dunlop Racquet Sports PTR schedules 2007 Symposium Community Tennis Development Workshop set for Atlanta Head adds Metallix and Airflow racquets Dunlop introduces Aerogel line of frames PTR, Playmate sign two-year agreement TCA re-brands as Midtown Athletic Clubs PTR announces new director of education College coaches honored by USTA, ITA Tecnifibre adds frames to Elite Series Tennis Channel adds, shifts personnel Prince offers new grips and strings

33 Members’ Choice Awards
Our exclusive string rankings, and special poster, will help you pick the right products for your shop.

12 13 15 16 28 40 42 44 46 48
Continuing Education Science

38 Mark of Distinction
RSI and the ASBA bring you the best in tennis court construction with the Distinguished Facility-of-the-Year Awards.

Cover photo: Stephen Whalen Photography

DEPARTMENTS 4 Our Serve 18 Court Maintenance 20 The Master Pros 22 Marketing Success 24 Teaching Pro 26 Junior Participation

String Playtest: Prince Synthetic Gut Multi 16 Tips and Techniques Ask the Experts Your Serve, by Jolyn de Boer
January 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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Our Serve
A Solid Foundation
(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 Cynthia Sherman 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. January 2007, Volume 35, Number 1 © 2007 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.

here’s been a lot of good news in tennis lately. Participation is rising, equipment sales are up, the number of “play occasions” has increased. And, of course, the big statistic that many people have quoted over the last six months: Tennis is the only traditional participation sport to have grown in the last five years, up 10.3 percent, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.

Clearly, things are beginning to click in this industry. But underneath all these participation increases is one solid, and very obvious, fact: Everyone who plays tennis in the U.S., whether a recreational player or a pro, has to play on a court. And that’s why, in my opinion, the most important people in this sport are those who build and maintain tennis courts. They are, figuratively and quite literally, the foundation of tennis in this country. Your business—whether you are a tennis retailer, facility or club manager, teaching pro, or manufacturer—depends on people playing the game. And that, in turn, depends on having courts to begin with. Tennis will not grow if courts in a community are in poor shape, or worse yet, if there are no courts. Court builders, ably represented in the U.S. by the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA), are in a remarkable position. Their influence has been increasing throughout this industry, and that’s great to see. Groups who have taken on the responsibility to increase tennis participation in the U.S. are reaching out more and more to those who make and refurbish our courts. We at RSI are dedicated to helping the court-building business, because we know how important it is to tennis overall. If you’re a retailer or teaching pro or other industry person who never thought much about the court-construction business, take the time to get to know those who build and repair the courts in your area. They’re the foundation of your business, too.

Peter Francesconi Editorial Director

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

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INDUSTRY NEWS
INFORMATION TO HELP YOU
Nitsche Named GM of Dunlop Racquet Sports
Dunlop Sports Group Americas has appointed Kai Nitsche as general manager of its racquet sports division. Nitsche had previously been with Dunlop for eight years, rising to director of marketing for both the Racquet Sports and Golf Divisions. Most recently, he was the southern regional manager for Head/Penn Racquet Sports. “Everyone in the racquet sports industry has the greatest respect for Kai and his abilities,” says Neil Morton, CEO of Dunlop Sports Group Americas. “His hiring is a strategic move that shows Dunlop’s commitment to the growth of the racquet sports brand.” In addition to growing Dunlop’s national sales teams and customer services, Nitsche will oversee this winter’s launch of the Dunlop Aerogel line of racquets and the continued development of product lines. “Dunlop is committed to its dealers and partners in all racquet sports,” says Nitsche. “We have already taken a number of steps to ensure we are turning out the very best product in the market.”

RUN YOUR

BUSINESS

New “String Center” Software Helps Clubs, Retailers Manage String Business
new web-based software program called “String Center” promises to help clubs, pro shops, and specialty dealers manage and grow their racquet stringing business. String Center, which is part of Sports InterActive’s Tennis Commerce Suite, will simplify recordkeeping, increase productivity, and increase customers service for what typically is a tennis business’s highest-margin category, according to Herb Sweren, the owner/president of Sports InterActive. “This is the very first system built for the string business to manage orders and the overall operation,” says Sweren. “Most dealers have been running the stringing operation by keeping track of orders in a notebook. This product automates the process so they can generate more revenue more efficiently.” With String Center, stringers and managers can create customer profiles to record preferences for string type and tension, print receipts and work orders, view and prioritize jobs, and automate the process of customer reminders, says Sweren. “I’ve been able to expand my business and make my life easier,” says Ken DeHart, director of tennis at the San Jose Swim & Racquet Club in San Jose, Calif., who uses String Center along with the retail and playing facility components of Tennis Commerce Suite. “You can document things more easily, more professionally, and keep the human touch. String Center is a very efficient way to manage your string business in one place, and our online store carries more physical inventory than I could carry in my shop.” String Center is a component of Tennis Commerce Suite, which is a full-service software package that creates an online store for tennis retailers and facilities and offers online solutions to increase revenue and customer service. For tennis pro shops signing up for the Tennis Commerce Suite, the “Our Store Online” feature allows customers 24/7 access through a secure shopping cart with tailored branding and messaging, along with a toll-free customer service phone. For clubs and facilities, the “Premium SI Package” provides tools to manage member communications and on-court activities, including online court scheduling, program enrollment, and player matching. For more information and pricing, contact 410-358-1304 or visit www.sports-interactive.net.

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PTR Schedules 2007 Symposium
he 2007 PTR International Tennis Symposium and d $25,000 Championships will be Feb. 17 to 23 at Shipyard Plantation on Hilton Head Island, S.C. This year’s speakers include Jim Loehr, Tim Mayotte, Pat Etcheberry, Rodney Harmon, Lisa Duncan, Kirk Anderson, Jorge Andrew, and more. Professional Development Courses also are offered during the symposium. There also is a trade show. Registration starts at $325 and includes presentations, Awards Banquet, Flag Ceremony, Head Dinner Party, Gamma Dinner Party, Kaelin Dinner & Fashion Show, Trade Show admission, Silent Auction, USTA Recognition Breakfast, Closing Ceremony, and portfolio. For more information or to register, visit www.ptrtennis.org and click on “Upcoming Events.”

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Atlanta to Host CTDW in February
ne of the most useful industry events for helping to increase tennis participation takes place Feb. 9 to 11 in Atlanta—the USTA’s 2007 Community Tennis Development Workshop. The educational weekend workshop, under the theme “Working Smart—Working Together,” will be at the Hilton Atlanta Hotel and will feature leading speakers and opportunities to network with peers across the country. Program sessions will consist of Development Area sessions, Professional Skill Development sessions, and On-Court Demonstrations. Development Area sessions include programs on organizational planning and development, financial management for not-for-profit organizations, marketing/promotions/PR/communications, and participation and programming. Each session will be a combination of instruction from a topic expert as well as peer interaction and case study. The Professional Skill Development and OnCourt Demonstration sessions include topics such as time management, project management, on-court drills, and teaching techniques. In addition, “pre-workshop” sessions are offered on Friday, Feb. 9, at no additional charge. These sessions are designed for specific program areas, including NJTL chapters, Community Tennis Associations, and park and rec programs. The weekend also includes the 2007 Awards Banquet, and an exhibit area. TDW conference registration starts at $251 for the weekend. The hotel rate for registered attendees is $145 per night. For more information, visit www.usta.com or email ctdw@usta.com or call 914-696-7205.

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USPTA Provides Personal Websites
he USPTA is providing all of its members with personal websites to help them promote themselves and their services. While personal websites have been available to all USPTA members since 1997, previously members had to request a site and provide all the content to the USPTA, which controlled the site. Now, however, the member will completely control the content, to add and update information as needed. In this new program, an individual website has already been created for every USPTA member. Members just need to visit usptapro.com and log in, then they can start creating and personalizing their own site. Each site has a home page that can be personalized. There are also pages for a teaching pro biography and information on his or her facility. Other pages are available for events, lesson programs, news, tennis tips, and more. Members can also upload images and a company logo that can be placed on any page on the website. To find a USPTA pro and visit one of their websites, go to www.usptafindapro.com.

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Head Adds to Metallix, Airflow Racquet Lines

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ead has added two new racquets to its Metallix power series line. Metallix consists of a specially designed matrix of carbon fibers and a crystalline metal alloy that has a grain size 1,000 times smaller than that of a typical metal, says Head, which translates into increased strength in a lighter, powerful racquet. The new Metallix 4 (left) blends power and control and is designed to appeal to players with a medium swing style. The 4 features a 107-square-inch head size, and unstrung weight of 9 ounces. The 115-square-inch, 8.8-ounce Metallix 6 is a power racquet designed for players with a medium to short swing style. Also new from Head is an addition to its women’s Airflow line—the Airflow 1, which is designed for players with a medium to fast swing style. Head says the Airflow 1 offers the most control in the line and provides lightweight power, maneuverability, and comfort. The racquet is 99 square inches and weighs 9 ounces. For more information, visit www.head.com.

Ashaway Renews Deal with R-Ball Champ Huczek
Ashaway Racket Strings has announced the renewal of its longstanding sponsorship agreement with World Champion racquetball player Jack Huczek. The deal will take Huczek, who has been using Ashaway string since early in his career, into his second decade as an Ashaway Racket Strings sponsored player. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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Dunlop Introduces Aerogel Line of Frames
unlop has introduced its Aerogel line of racquets, which the company says is designed with “the lightest solid on earth, with a strength 4,000 times its own weight.” “Dunlop has a reputation for producing some of the finest racquets played by professionals,” says Kai Nitsche, general manager of racquet sports. “Aerogel further enhances our position as a leader in performance technology.” Frames designed with Aerogel, says Dunlop, are strong and stable, allowing for touch and feel for control. Aerogel, which is nicknamed “Frozen Smoke” because of its lightness and hologram-like transparency, is three times the weight of air, says Dunlop, and is used by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in space missions. In Dunlop’s Aerogel line, the substance is combined with the company’s Multi Filament (M-Fil) technology to provide stiffening at the top of the frame— to minimize frame movement and create power—and to provide stabilization at the bottom of the racquet head—providing for more player control. The Dunlop Aerogel 2Hundred is designed for high-performance players with long swings, and it allows for power and spin, says Dunlop. The Aerogel 3Hundred is a control-oriented racquet for high performance/club players. The 5Hundred is for serious players looking for extra power and playability from a lightweight frame. And the 5Hundred Tour (left) is slightly heavier and stiffer than the 5Hundred. The line will be in stores in February. A new website launches in January featuring the Aerogel line. Visit www.dunlopsports.com.

Southern Section Loses Marc Kaplan
arc Kaplan, the USTA Southern Section’s director of communications and publications, died Oct. 17, after a five-year battle with a brain tumor. Kaplan, who joined the section in 1999, worked tirelessly to generate media publicity and coverage for USTA Southern events. In honor of his work and contributions to tennis journalism, the USTA Southern Section Media Excellence Award has been renamed in his honor, and Kaplan himself is the first recipient of the “Marc Kaplan USTA Southern Section Media Excellence” Award. “Marc’s courage and fortitude in both his job and his personal battle with cancer has provided inspiration to all of us here at USTA Southern that is impossible to measure,” says Southern Section Executive Director John Callen. “We will miss Marc in so many ways.”

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Kloss Elected Chair of Women’s Sports Foundation
lana Kloss, CEO of World TeamTennis, has been elected chair of the board of trustees of the Women’s Sports Foundation. In her new role, Kloss will preside over and provide guidance to the trustees and executive committee. “It’s an honor to be named chair of the board of an organization so important to the lives of physically active girls and women,” says Kloss. “I started my career as a professional tennis player around the same time that the Women’s Sports Foundation was founded. During my career on and off the court, I have experienced firsthand the impact the Foundation has had on the lives of millions of athletic and active women over the past 30 years.”

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California, Forida Teams Dominate WTT Rec League Championships
eams from California and Florida dominated the national championships at the World TeamTennis Rec League National Finals in November, winning eight of 10 division titles. Missouri and New York teams each captured one title at the event, which was held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif. Forty-eight recreational and corporate tennis teams representing 19 states battled during the three-day event. Teams advanced to the national finals by either qualifying from their respective divisions in six WTT Rec League national qualifying tournaments or by winning their local Corporate League. The weekend kicked off with a clinic hosted by WTT co-founder Billie Jean King. Division winners are: Q 3.0: Braemar (Encino, Calif.) Q 3.5: Plash (Troy, N.Y.) Q 4.0: Game-Set-Match (Key Biscayne, Fla.) Q 4.5: Roamers (San Diego, Calif.) Q Senior 3.5: Good Vibrations (Downey, Calif.) Q Senior 4.0: Young at Heart (Kirkwood, Mo.) Q Corporate 3.5: NoWaitFreight Logistics (Boca Raton, Fla.) Q Corporate 4.0: US Southcom (Miami, Fla.) Q Corporate 4.5: Smith Barney (Miami, Fla.) Q Open: San Francisco Tennis Club (San Francisco, Calif.) For more information on World TeamTennis or the WTT Recreational League, visit www.WTT.com or call 866-PLAY-WTT.

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PTR, Playmate Sign Agreement

Centre Court Tennis Offers “The Tennis Court Hat”
Centre Court Tennis has introduced a line of hats that promotes the game of tennis. The Tennis Court Hat features an embroidered emerald green “centre court” that forms a vivid design on a brushed-cotton twill cap. The hat is available in a variety of colors. To order, or for more information, call 888-TENNHAT (836-6428) or email tenniscourthat@aol.com.

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he PTR and Playmate begin a twoyear sponsorship agreement in January that will provide PTR members with 10 percent off the list price on all Playmate products, such as ball-throwing machines and ball mowers. In addition, Playmate will conduct a new Professional Development Course for the PTR titled “Teaching Today’s Modern Game with a Ball Machine.” The course will be taught by Stan Oley, Playmate’s national sales manager, and will debut at the 2007 PTR International Tennis Symposium, held in February on Hilton Head Island. Playmate will give away a Playmate Smash Ball Machine, a $4,000 value, to one participant at the course. For more information, visit www.playmatetennismachines.com or www.ptrtennis.org.

USTA staff took a tour of the Penn ball plant in Phoenix in early November. USTA national and section staff were in Phoenix for five days for staff training.

TCA Re-Brands as Midtown Athletic Clubs
hicago-based TCA Holdings, a leader in upscale athletic club and sports resort management, has renamed its largest division Midtown Athletic Clubs. The company currently operates 13 Midtown clubs throughout the U.S. and Canada, including the Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago, which recently won RSI’s “Private Facility of the Year” Award. “As the health club industry matures, it will continue to divide into various segments based on price, facilities, and service,” says Steven Schwartz, president and CEO of TCA Holdings. “Our re-branding efforts reinforce our position as the leader of the upscale niche. Having one strong brand allows us to better communicate our special attributes to our members, as well as develop new product standards that continue to redefine upscale athletic clubs and sports resorts.” As part of the re-branding effort, Midtown Athletic Club will invest tens of millions of dollars to expand and renovate its facilities, as well as develop innovative health, fitness, and sports programming designed to keep members “fit for life.” For more information, visit www.tcaclubs.com.

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Delray Event to Test New ATP Round-Robin Format
he Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, held Jan. 28 to Feb. 4 at the Delray Beach (Fla.) Stadium and Tennis Center, will be the first of five U.S. ATP tournaments to test a new singles round-robin format for the 2007 season. The Delray event has been awarded a 32-player round-robin draw that the ATP says will be a new element of excitement to players and fans. “It’s exciting for Delray Beach to open the 2007 tennis season in the U.S. by rolling out this new round-robin format,” says Mark Baron, the tournament director. “We’ve been discussing creative ways to make our sport even more exciting and this format delivers a chance to test some of those ideas.” The new format will extend the tournament to eight days—and from 11 to 13 sessions. “This system will ensure each player gets at least two matches in a particular city, and will allow for more scheduling to be done in advance,” says Mark Young, ATP Americas CEO. “We’ve enjoyed success with this format at the Tennis Masters Cup, and we look forward to seeing it in practice at other ATP events during 2007.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

PTR Announces New Director of Education
yles Williams is the new director of education for the PTR. Previously, he was the PTR’s education advisor. Williams, a psychology instructor at Central Carolina Technical College in Sumter, S.C., will oversee PTR’s education programs on a part-time basis from his home office. He will be responsible for the content of new workshops and courses, as well as for educational materials published by PTR. Among other things, Williams will oversee PTR’s new web-based education, revise PTR educational materials, and serve as staff liaison between PTR and the Master Professional Committee. He is a PTR clinician and tester, and a former full-time staff member.

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, January-September 2006 Best-Sellers 1. Prince 2. Babolat 3. Wilson 4. Prince 5. Prince

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O3 White (MP) Pure Drive Team (MP) N Six-One (16x18) (MS) O3 Blue (OS) O3 Silver (OS)

$187 $161 $161 $220 $236

“Hot New Racquets” (Introduced in the past 12 months) 1. Prince O3 White (MP) 2. Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet (MP) 3. Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet (OS) 4. Wilson N Pro Open (MP) 5. Babolat Pure Drive Roddick (MP) (Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

$187 $161 $163 $167 $170

Luxilon Selected as Stringer For WTA Season-Ending Championships
uxilon, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of specialty monofilaments, was selected as the Official Stringer of the Sony Ericsson Tour Championships in Madrid, Spain. At the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships held from Nov. 7 to 12, 2006, Luxilon offered on-site stringing services for all WTA Tour players. “The selection of Luxilon to provide stringing services to this prestigious event underscores the dominance of Luxilon strings in professional tennis, and we feel this is a tremendous opportunity for both parties,” says John Lyons, Wilson’s Global Business Director of Accessories. Earlier in 2006, Luxilon and Wilson Sporting Goods announced an agreement making Wilson the exclusive worldwide distributor of Luxilon tennis strings.

Tennis Racquet Performance
Specialty Stores, January-September, 2006 vs. 2005 Units 2006 2005 % Change vs. ’05 2006 2005 % Change vs. ’05 613,684 552,445 11% 80,948 76,643 6% $132 $139 -5%

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Dollars

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2006 2005 % Change vs. ’05 (Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

ITA Names Small-College Winners
mbry-Riddle's (Fla.) Mislav Hizak and Fresno Pacific's (Calif.) Jelena Pandzic rolled to the singles titles at the 2006 Intercollegiate Tennis Association "Super Bowl" of Small College Tennis at the Florida Gulf Coast University Tennis Complex in Fort Myers, Fla. In addition, men's and women's doubles champions were crowned in all four divisions at the 2006 ITA National Small College Championships:

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Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, January-September 2006 1. Adidas Barricade IV $102 2. Nike Air Max Breathe 2 $93 3. Prince T 10 $82 4. Adidas Barricade II $82 5. Nike Air Max Breathe 3 $97 (Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

Q NCAA Division II men: Julien Carsuzaa and Dennis Riegraf of Lynn (Fla.) Q NCAA Division II women: Tammy Kevey and Mandy Septoe, West Florida Q NCAA Division III men: William Ellison and David Oehm of ClaremontMudd-Scripps (Calif.) Q NCAA Division III women: Liz Bondi and Amrita Padda of DePauw (Ind.) Q NAIA men: Mislav Hizak and Konstantin Lazarov of Embry-Riddle (Fla.) Q NAIA women: Kamila Dadakhodjeava and Tereza Veverkova of AuburnMontgomery (Ala.) Q JC men: Nahom Serekeberhan and Jorge Vazquez of Tyler Junior College (Texas) Q JC women: Hiroko Nishikawa and Mizuho Nishimura of Hillsborough Comm. College (Fla.)

Top-Selling Tennis Strings at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, January-September 2006 1. Prince Synthetic Gut Duraflex 2. Wilson NXT 3. Wilson Sensation 4. Prince Lightning XX 5. Luxilon Alu Power (Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

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College Coaches Honored by USTA, ITA
ichita State University Director of Tennis Chris Young (top, below) has been named the national winner of the USTA/ITA Community Service Award and Lehigh University men's and women's tennis coach Dave Shook (bottom) is the national winner of the USTA/ITA Campus Recreation Award. They were honored in December at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Coaches Convention in Florida. The Service Award honors an ITA coach for significant contributions in developing community-based tennis programs through community centers, schools, parks, community tennis associations, inner city, suburban or rural programs. The Campus Recreation Award honors an ITA coach who has done an outstanding job implementing recreational tennis programs on campus in an effort to grow tennis participation. "Dave and Chris are great examples of coaches who give back to their communities and campuses and our hope is that their efforts continue to inspire other varsity coaches to emulate the great work they are doing," says ITA Executive Director David A. Benjamin. The national winners were selected from a group of USTA sectional winners. Young is from the Missouri Valley Section and Shook is from Middle States.
Other sectional winners of the Community Service Award are: Eastern—Russell Crispell, Univ. at Buffalo; Florida— Dwayne Hultquist, Florida State; Intermountain—Nicole Kenneally, Univ. of Colorado; Mid-Atlantic—Cinda Rankin, Washington & Lee Univ.; Middle States—Jim Holt, GwyneddMercy College; Midwest—Frank Barnes, Univ. of WisconsinWhitewater; Missouri Valley—Chris Young, Wichita State Univ.; Northern—Scott Larsen, St. Benedict; New England— Jeffrey T. Wyshner, Fairfield Univ./Univ. of Akron; Northern California—Marc Weinstein, Mills College; Pacific Northwest— Lisa Hart, Washington State Univ.; Southern—Billy Pate, Univ. of Alabama; Southern California—Paul Settles, ClaremontMudd-Scripps Colleges; Southwest—Lancy Lan-Shi Carr, GateWay Community College; Texas—Cari Groce, Texas Tech. Other sectional winners of the Campus Recreation Award are: Eastern—Ira Miller, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ.; Middle States—Lori Sabatose, Clarion Univ.; Midwest—Al Wermer, Univ. of Toledo; Missouri Valley—Chase Hodges, Drake Univ.; New England—Chuck Kinyon, Dartmouth College; Pacific Northwest—Gail Patton, Southern Oregon Univ.; Southern— James Cuthbertson, Johnson C. Smith Univ.; Southern California—Paul Settles, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges.

USRSA MEMBER CLASSIFIEDS
FOR SALE: Prince/Ektelon Neos 1000 with Wise USA 2086 tension head. Four years old, home use only, and as new condition. Includes tools, manuals, and shipping cartons. Available for inspection and pickup in Southern California $1,350. Please contact Carl (760) 727-7455 or crlwlms@netscape.com FOR SALE: Babolat Star 3 Stringing Machine. Completely reconditioned by Tennis Machines Inc. Serial #10971/MFG. Date 8/9/89. Very Good Condition. $2800. Contact Russ Sheh 760-318-0580. Texas Largest Tennis Store Seeking Additional Stringers – Large Daily Volume. We can keep you busy stringing full time or provide part-time sales with part-time stringing. We have 2 Babolat Star 5 machines and a Babolat RDC machine. Come grow with us. Join Our Team. Send resume to: Armen@TennisExpress.com or fax to 713-781-1237.

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USPTA Names Winners of Hard Court Chps.
ren Motevassel of Alpharetta, Ga., claimed the men’s open title and Julie Cass of Austin, Texas, won the women’s open title at the $8,000 USPTA Hard Court Championships recently. Cass, who beat Michelle King of Austin in the singles final, then joined with King to win the open doubles title. The competition featured more than 30 of the top men and women tennis-teaching professionals in the country. Final-round results are:
Q Men's Open Singles: Oren Motevassel (1), Alpharetta, Ga., def. Guillaume Gauthier (2), Tyler, Texas, 6-4, 6-3. Q Women's Open Singles: Julie Cass (1), Austin, Texas, def. Michelle King (2), Austin, Texas, 6-2, 6-4. Q Men's 45-and-over Singles: Vallis Wilder (2), Fort Worth, Texas, def. Patrick Serret (1), Alexandria, La., 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 . Q Men's Open Doubles: Jonas Lundblad, Cedar Park, Texas, and Brian Notis (1), Austin, Texas, def. Lance Hagan, Dallas, and Stephen Gordon-Poorman (3), Southlake, Texas, 6-4, 6-2. Q Women’s Open Doubles: Julie Cass, Austin, Texas, and Michelle King, Austin, Texas, def. Shareen Lai, Morrisville, Pa., and Sarah Porter, Tempe, Ariz., 6-0, 6-1.

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The tournament was the last for the year in a series of four national tournaments on several court surfaces that the USPTA offered to its members as part of the USPTA National Surface Championship Series. USPTA members are eligible to participate in any of the competitions and the International Championships. For information, contact 800-USPTA-4U or visit www.uspta.com.

Head Brings Metallix to Squash
Head brings its Metallix technology of carbon fibers and new crystalline metal alloy to squash with the new Metallix 150 squash frame. Designed for power, the ultrastiff racquet also features Head’s Flexpoint technology. For more info, visit www.head.com

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INDUSTRY NEWS

USRSA Adds New Salesperson
hristina Kaus has joined the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association as the advertising and membership salesperson for both the association and for Racquet Sports Industry magazine. Kaus joins the sales team that includes John Hanna, advertising sales director, and Cynthia Sherman, apparel advertising sales. Kaus's sales responsibilities will include advertising in the Stringers Digest and the Industry Resource Guide in RSI. Kaus will also be responsible for selling USRSA memberships, Master Racquet Technician and Certified Stringer certification, instructional tools, and all of the other publications and supplies that the USRSA produces. "We're excited to add Christina to our team. Her extensive experience in sales and customer service as well as her passion for the game of tennis make her a perfect fit for this new position," says David Bone, executive director of the USRSA and co-publisher of RSI.

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Tecnifibre Adds Frames to Elite Series
ew for January is Tecnifibre’s TFlash 310 and an upgraded TFeel305, both part of the company’s Elite Series of frames. The new racquets are offered in two string patterns, 18x20 and 16x19. Current frames in the Elite Series are the TFight 335 and TFight 320, which both also are available in two string patterns. “We’re targeting the frequent/tournament player who has discerning criteria for the racquet’s performance,” says Paul Zalatoris, general manager of Tecnifibre USA. “We are providing ‘customized’ options with our line offering of racquets.” For more information, visit www.tecnifibre.com, email sales@tecnifibreusa.com,

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PE4life Announces Growth Plan
he new PE4life Board of Directors has announced its threeyear plans for PE4life to expand its PE4life Academies to 25 locations. These state-of-the-art PE training facilities will educate and help establish almost 3,000 PE4life Programs or schools through the U.S., which is expected to teach a new, contemporary PE program to over 7 million children by 2009. "Our PE4life Academies are training hundreds of PE instructors, teachers, and community administrators on how to implement quality PE programs,” says Chairman Tom Fox. “Research conducted at PE4life Programs has shown we are improving the fitness levels in children, reducing disciplinary actions in schools and, with new research, increasing academic results as well. It is time to expand and let our PE4life Academies reach their potential." PE4life Founder Jim Baugh (above), a longtime tennis industry veteran who served as TIA president and USTA board member, says PE4life will look both within the sports world and outside for future support and partnerships. “We will have almost 3,000 sites or schools to promote partner products,” says Baugh. “And, we can influence over 7 million children through these PE4life Programs." For more information, contact 816-472-7345 or email info@pe4life.org.

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January 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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J A N U A R Y INDUSTRYNEWS

2 0 0 7

SHORT SETS
Professional Tennis Registry will Squash Racquets Association > The the USTA’s 2006 Adaptive Tennis > The U.S.that it will move its headquarters receive announced National Community Service Award at the Community Tennis Development Workshop in Atlanta in February. The award recognizes an organization or individual that has demonstrated continued excellence, dedication, and service in tennis for special populations or persons with disabilities. Apparel maker Lejay Inc. has moved its corporate headquarters. The new address is 10728 NW 53rd St., Sunrise, FL 33351; phone 800-932-7535 or 954-741-8707; fax 954-741-8577; email info@lejay.com; www.lejay.com. to New York City by late spring, from its current location in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. For more information, visit www.us-squash.org. Kohlloeffel and > UCLA's Ben captured singlesMiami'sat(Fla.) Audra Cohen titles the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Indoor Championships. This event, the second of three national championships for singles and doubles during the 2006-07 collegiate tennis season, was hosted by Ohio State at the Racquet Club of Columbus. In doubles, Georgia's John Isner and Luis Flores took the men’s title and William & Mary's Megan Moulton-Levy and Katarina Zorcic won the women's final. Through January, the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., will display ¡Vive el Tenis!, a new exhibit that explores the journey of tennis from its English and European roots throughout North, South, and Central America and the Caribbean. For information, visit www.tennisfame.com or call 401-849-3990. pendent film slated to be released in 2007. It stars Seann William Scott, best known for playing Steve Stifler in the “American Pie” series, as a high-school janitor who coaches a group of misfits to the Nebraska state championship.

> The 2007 World TeamTennis Championship Weekend presented by Advanta
will be July 27-29 at the home court of the Sacramento Capitals, Allstate Stadium at Westfield Galleria at Roseville in California. revamped Prince website in > Look for a that will feature the newest early January generation O3 technology racquets, along with unique 360-degree views of the new frames for 2007. the ATP have extended > Head/Penn andfor Head/Penn to be the their partnership official ball of the ATP Masters Series and Tennis Masters Cup through 2009. Head/Penn, which earlier this year extended its agreement to become the official racquet and tennis bag of the ATP, has served as the official ball of the ATP since 1993.

>

> >

Communications firm Keating & Co. of Florham Park, N.J., is the new public relations firm for Dunlop Sports Group Americas.

>

New members beginning three-year terms on the board of directors of the International Tennis Hall of Fame are: Girard Brownlow, Jim Courier, Phil Gore, Sir James Harvie-Watt, Joel Katz, Deno Macricostas, Greg Muth and Jon Vegosen. Harvie-Watt was also appointed to the Hall of Fame’s Executive Committee and will co-chair the International Council.

> “Gary the Tennis Coach” is a new inde-

TSRs Visit 9,000 Facilities
ark McMahon, the USTA’s manager of Tennis Service Representatives, reports that through the first nine months of 2006, the 90 TSRs made 9,302 facility visits, an average of more than 1,000 a month, and met more than 33,000 personnel. Each TSR averaged 16 visits per month, for about 143 per TSR for the nine months. About 26 percent of all TSR visits were at tennis clubs, 22 percent at schools, 21 percent at park and rec facilities, 10 percent at Community Tennis Associations, 7 percent at program delivery or service organizations, 3 percent at NJTLs, and 12 percent to other tennisrelated organizations. The average customer service rating for the visits, says McMahon, is a 4.71 out of 5.00.

For a Good Cause
At the recent Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, about $40,000 was raised for ACE (Assisting Children Everywhere), the partnership between the ATP and UNICEF, through donations made for aces served on court, silent auctions, and sales of the Feder-bear Beanie Baby. Visit www.atptennis.com.

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TennisTunes.com Launches With Federer, Roddick, Sharapova Songs
inger and songwriter John Macom of the Hoboken, N.J.-based band “Binge” has launched www.tennistunes.com, a website devoted to his music inspired by the world of tennis. Macom—noted for his musical contributions to TV shows such as “Dawson’s Creek,” “Party of Five,” “Felicity,” and “American Embassy”—has original songs about Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, and other pros available for download for $1.30 each. “International tennis is a fascinating and exciting sport full of personable and charismatic stars that have provided me with plenty of musical inspiration,” says Macom. “I’m excited that through the world-wide-web, I’m able to share my music with all who find it entertaining.”

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RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2007

INDUSTRY NEWS

TTC Adds, Shifts Personnel
ecent personnel moves at The Tennis Channel include two new marketing executives and a number of promotions. Neil Roberts (right, top) is the new director of marketing and Lauren Leder (middle) is the director of on-air creative. In addition, Kate Varley (below) was promoted to director of short-form content and special projects. All three will report to Faye Walker, the vice president of marketing. Also, the TTC promoted four in its distribution and production departments: Eric Turpin is the new vice president of distribution, Eastern region; Laura Hockridge, executive producer, series and specials; Heath Woodlief, producer; and Michelle Hanchaikul, associate producer. In other news, the TTC has partnered with Bellrock Media to market and distribute the mobile game Turbo Tennis, which is available for download on major cell-phone carriers for $5.99 by sending the text message “TURBO” to “TENIS” (83647).

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Klip to Distribute Völkl Racquets

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ffective Jan. 1, Völkl Tennis GmbH will use Klip America as its distributor in the U.S. Inquiries should go to Benny E. Neumann, Klip America’s marketing and sales coordinator, at 866-554-7872, fax 720-5593253 or email

January 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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J A N U A R Y INDUSTRYNEWS

2 0 0 7

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O

P L E W AT
• Stan Smith of Hilton

Prince Adds New Strings, Grips
rince Sports has come out with new strings and grips designed to satisfy all types of players, and with packaging that’s color-coded so customers find exactly what they’re looking for. The new strings are the Synthetic Gut Multifilament 16 (see our playtest on page 42) and 17 gauge, part of the “playability series”; Tournament Poly in 16 and 17 gauge, part of the “durability series”; and Synthetic Gut Poly Blend, with 17-gauge tournament poly mains and 16-gauge synthetic gut duraflex crosses, in the “durability series.” According to Prince’s Dave Holland, more than 10 million sets of Prince Synthetic Gut string has been sold since its introduction in 1991. Prince has also segmented and color-coded its grips into four categories: tacky, absorbent, traction, and cushion. The new grips are the DuraPro+ (tacky), DuraPerf+ (absorbent), DuraTred+ (traction), and DuraRib+ (traction). Currently in the line is the Cushion Fit grip, which is in the “cushion” segment. Packaging for the grips, which have photos of Prince pros Maria Sharapova and James Blake, includes information on the “triple-tier” construction, which Holland says will improve tack level and add life to the grips. There is also a sample of the actual grip for customers to feel. Suggested retail prices for the grips are $8.99. Also, Prince offers a new, modular grip display that can be hung off a hook or attached to a slatwall, and it features the Dura grips, Cushion Fit grips, and No Sweat! overgrips. For more information, visit www.princetennis.com.

Head Island, S.C., and Kay McDaniel of Cleveland, Tenn., will be inducted into the USTA Southern Section Tennis Hall of Fame on Jan. 20 in Atlanta.

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• Carla Simpson McKenzie is the new assistant director of the Professional Tennis Management (PTM) program at Methodist College in Fayetteville, N.C. McKenzie, a PTR and USPTA pro, graduated from the college and completed the PTM curriculum. She is currently enrolled in the Professional MBA program at Pinehurst. • Pop singer Gwen Stefani bought two Head Airflow 7 racquets recently at Tennis Ace in Los Angeles. Reports say she had demoed a number of frames before picking the Airflows. Stefani’s husband, singer and guitarist Gavin Rossdale, is an avid player and regular customer at the shop.

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• West Florida sophomore Tammy Kevey and
Embry-Riddle (Fla.) junior Mislav Hizak received the 2006 James O' Hara Sargent Sportsmanship Awards presented by Rolex Watch USA at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Small College Tennis Championships presented by the USTA. The award, given in memory of Jim Sargent, former media manager for Rolex Watch USA who died in a car accident in 2000, goes to players who display outstanding sportsmanship and exemplify the spirit of college tennis during the course of the ITA National Small College Championships.

ITA, USTA Honor College All-Stars
he Intercollegiate Tennis Association and the USTA honored the best from the 2006 collegiate season at the USTA National Tennis Center. The ITA Collegiate All-Star team recognized the nation's top-ranked men's and women's tennis players from the season-ending Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings at the NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and NJCAA levels, as well as champions from the 2005 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships and 2006 NCAA Championships. This year's women's All-Stars are Miami's Audra Cohen, Florida's Diana Srebovic and California's Suzi Babos in D-I singles; Stanford's Alice Barnes and Anne Yelsey, Miami's Melissa Applebaum and Cohen, and Northwestern's Cristelle Grier Fox and Alexis Prousis in D-I doubles; Armstrong Atlantic State's Luisa Cowper in D-II; Washington & Lee's Emily Applegate in D-III; Fresno Pacific's Jelena Pandzic in the NAIA; and Broward's Marta Simic in the NJCAA. On the men's side, the All-Stars are UCLA's Benjamin Kohlloeffel, Georgia's John Isner and Miami's Luigi D'Agord in D-I singles; Illinois' Kevin Anderson and Ryan Rowe, Pepperdine's Scott Doerner and Andre Begemann, and Ohio State's Scott Green and Ross Wilson in D-I doubles; Drury's Mattias Oddone in D-II; Bates' Will Boe-Wiegaard in D-III; Embry-Riddle's Mislav Hizak in the NAIA; and Temple's Damian Johnson in the NJCAA. Also honored were Megan Moulton-Levy of William & Mary and Jonathan Stokke of Duke, who were recognized with the ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Awards.

• New staff at the International Tennis Hall of
Fame in Newport, R.I., include Gretchen W. Northern as director of annual giving and donor relations, Leigh Persico as special projects manager, and Charles Kehres as special events manager.

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• For the third time in the last four years, Bob and
Mike Bryan have clinched victory in the Stanford ATP Doubles Race. The Bryans previously finished as the No. 1 team in 2003 and 2005 while finishing second in 2004.

• Jim Courier claimed the year-end No. 1 ranking
in the 2006 Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events in the U.S. for champion tennis players over the age of 30. Second place went to John McEnroe. Visit www.championsseriestennis.com.

• Dan Malasky has been named USTA
counsel, Professional Tennis, supporting legal matters for the Professional Tennis Division.

16 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2007

INDUSTRY NEWS

Fischer Tennis Has U.S. Distributorship
ischer Tennis is now distributing racquets from its Fischer Sports USA headquarters in New Hampshire. Fischer, which is privately owned and based in Austria, produces “tournament-player” frames, says Brian Hunter, the U.S. national sales manager for Fischer Tennis, who’s been with the company for a year. Pros Marcos Baghdatis, Dominik Hrbaty, and Meghann Shaughnessy use Fischer frames, as does about 10 percent of ATP and WTA top 100 players, says Hunter. “It puts us on the map as a player’s racquet.” The company introduced three frames at the end of the summer, the Magnetic Tour (below) and the Magnetic Vision and GDS Vision, both designed for women players. “In 2007, we’re really looking to bring the Magnetic Speed series to the forefront in the U.S. market,” says Hunter. Fischer Sports, whose U.S. division is headed by President Dave Auer, is one of the top ski manufacturers in the world. Its Fischer Advanced Composite Components division produces lightweight components for the automotive and aircraft industries. “It’s an innovation and technology company,” says Hunter. Contact: Fischer Sports USA, 60 Dartmouth Drive, Auburn, NH 03032; 603314-7110 or 800-8447810; fax 603-314-7124; email info@fischertennisusa.com; www.fischertennisusa.com.

IBM, Heineken Renew US Open Sponsorships
BM and Heineken have renewed their partnership agreements for the US Open. IBM will continue as the “Official Information Technology Solution Provider” of the US Open and also will continue as one of six USTA Corporate Champions. The multi-year deal continues through 2009, and will make IBM a 16-year sponsor of the US Open. Heineken USA, the nation's largest beer importer, extended its agreement with the US Open through 2010. Heineken, the “Exclusive Beer Sponsor,” is in its 15th year of sponsorship.

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court

MAINTENANCE

Lee’s Facility Analysis Survey Offers “Roadmap” for Court Owners

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options on converting hard courts. “Our job onfused about how to improve the verting one of its six hard courts to a clay is to take the guesswork out of upgrading performance of your clay courts? court. MonteCalvo met with the board of your courts and to do it in a way that every Looking for a long-range plan to directors and others involved in the project. member can understand and ultimately supupgrade your facility, but don’t know “We had always talked about getting a port,” says MonteCalvo. “We’ve surveyed where to begin? Is your facility seeing the Har-Tru court,” says Cam Watts, who over 800 clay courts in the last four years.” effects of age, and you’re not sure just recently retired as the tennis director at The information gathered for the FAS is what it needs? Elmcrest. “Ed guided us toward subsurface put into a bound, full-color, easy-to-read When it comes to facility maintenance irrigation.” report, complete with photos, charts, and and upkeep, it’s easy for tennis pros, genAccording to Lee Tennis, the FAS computer-generated drawings specific to the eral managers, and other court owners to comes in handy in a number of instances: facility being analyzed. Lee Tennis personnel feel overwhelmed and often confused by Q For construction and maintenance guidalso will present the FAS information to a recommendations from players, builders, ance prior to facility renovations or new club’s board of directors, tennis committee, and club personnel. That’s why Lee Tennis construction. members, park and rec departments, homehas stepped in, offering a “Facility AnalyQ To evaluate existing court conditions and owners associations, resorts, or other sis Survey,” or FAS, that can be a guide to offer improvements to court maintegroups. improving and upgrading your tennis nance. In fact, that’s what MonteCalvo did for facility. Q To identify capital improvement needs for the Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids, But Lee Tennis, best known as the long-term planning and budgeting. Iowa, when the club was investigating conmakers of the Har-Tru surface, goes Q To investigate the possibility of convertbeyond simply looking at the ing hard courts to Har-Tru. court surface itself, although A few years ago, Jamie Peterthat is a big part of the FAS. The son, the tennis director at the survey, which is conducted by Chartwell Golf and Country Club an experienced Lee Tennis staff in Severna Park, Md., had an FAS member, includes gathering and done on his seven courts. Since documentation of historical site then, he has redone two courts data, geotechnical information, according to the survey results, court orientation, computer“but the FAS also plans for the generated three-dimensional other five to be improved, topographical surface maps, surwhich is in our capital plan in For more on Lee Tennis’s face thickness and base stone the future,” says Peterson. Facility Analysis Survey, call measurements, analysis of the The FAS also has been con877-4-HAR-TRU. irrigation systems, drainage, venient for Mark Finnerty, the A Facility Analysis Survey at Desert Highlands in Scottsdale, Ariz., led curbing, lighting, nets, net grounds manager at the Merion to a renovation of the courts. posts, fencing, and court and Cricket Club in Haverford, Pa. player amenities. Merion had six Har-Tru courts “Our goal is to create a rebuilt in 1989, and Finnerty roadmap that will allow a court believed they were no longer playowner or club to offer the best ing consistently. “I thought it would tennis court experience possibe nice to have an actual report to ble,” says Lee Facility Analysis back up what I wanted to have and Consulting Services Manager done,” he says. “The FAS conEd MonteCalvo. “The report we firmed what I needed to have concreate includes short- and longfirmed. term recommendations, as well “I generally know what needs to as three-dimensional maps of be done,” says Finnerty. “But to every court.” actually have an outside company Lee’s FAS also offers recomcome in, then write up a nice, mendations on irrigation, light- Typical three-dimensional court perspective included in an FAS report detailed report for you, that’s a real indicates direction of water flow. ing, and, if the facility desires, nice service.” Q

18 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2007

THE

master pros

A Team Effort
Jimmy Pitkanen says both players and coaches have a lot to gain BY CYNTHIA CANTRELL from the team experience.
s both a participant and coach, Jimmy Pitkanen of Knoxville, Tenn., has enjoyed the camaraderie that comes from being part of a tennis team. For teenagers struggling against peer pressure, he says, there may be no greater refuge. “There isn’t a better environment to learn, This is the fifth of nine installments on the teaching pros who hold Master Pro certifications from both the PTR and the USPTA. perform, and compete than on a team,” says 53year-old Pitkanen, a former director of tennis at clubs who now coaches at the exclusive Webb School of Knoxville. In fact, he says the only trophies he kept from his “playing days” were those he earned with his own high school and college teams. “It means more,” he adds, “when you’re not just in it for yourself.” That attitude goes a long way in explaining why Pitkanen joined both the PTR and the USPTA in the 1980s, and why he worked so hard to earn the prestigious Master Professional rating from both organizations in the 1990s—an accomplishment shared by only five others in the world. “It’s important to belong to the organizations,” Pitkanen says. “It’s not what they can offer you, but how you can work through them to service the industry. It’s an important part of a pro’s makeup and career development.” According to Fred Viancos, the USPTA’s director of professional development, a Master Pro must put in court, organization, education, and business hours, in addition

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to extensive education programming. USPTA CEO Tim Heckler adds, “The Master Professional rating is highly respected by all members of the tennis community due to the objectivity and accountability required to earn it.”

“and once you get involved in your community, you can’t sit still and not do more.” Pitkanen, who coaches the girls’ and boys’ high school tennis teams at the Webb School of Knoxville, teaches his players that community service is just as important as a consistent serve by taking them to the local boys’ club to hit and socialize with the kids. Whenever possible, they take extra balls or maybe even a new net to donate to the facility. “Kids really enjoy helping each other,” Pitkanen says. “It’s wonderful to see.”

Pitkanen’s Tips for Success
Q Stick with fundamentals. A lot of pros get caught up in teaching the latest fad, but fundamentals—like “get into the ready position” and “watch the ball as it comes off your opponent’s strings”—never go out of style. “Jimmy is very involved in everything from school tennis to USTA programs, and always has been,” says Geoffrey Norton, the PTR’s director of development. “He’s very well known and respected in the South. In our workshops, his name seems to come up in every conversation as a good source for information for this or that. He’s a key guy who helps out in all aspects of the industry.” “I always say passionate teachers inspire their students, and Jimmy has done that for years,” says PTR CEO Dan Santorum, who has known Pitkanen for 18 years. “Some people go through the motions of teaching, but some do it from the heart. Jimmy is one of those people.” Pitkanen says he maintains dual memberships because the resources provided by both organizations help keep him on the cutting edge of the industry. “They’re also both service-oriented groups,” he notes, Q Give a kid a chance. Teaching pros who favor teaching adults might want to reconsider. Kids stay kids for a short time, and the lessons you impart about tennis and life may have a powerful and lasting effect. Few occupations offer such opportunity for job satisfaction. Q One day at a time. Many young players want to become pros some day, Pitkanen notes, but the rest will become pros in another area of life. Focus on teaching players how to get the best out of their games—and themselves—so they’ll be prepared for whatever career lies ahead. Q Team spirit. Pitkanen says students should be encouraged to join competitive and intramural sport teams and leagues. Although teenagers often have many competing interests, he believes being part of a team can be “one of the most joyous parts of high school or college life.”

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Pitkanen was just a kid himself when he learned tennis from his father at age 11. He continued playing in high school and at the University of Tennessee. His decision to become a teaching pro, he says, was natural. “I love people and I love to teach. Combined, there couldn’t be a better career for me,” Pitkanen says. “There’s something special about the immediate sense of satisfaction you get from watching players improve not only their strokes, but the mental aspect of their games. I enjoy every single day.” That sense of job fulfillment is enhanced by calls, cards, and visits from former students. Pitkanen says one of last year’s graduates called recently so he could diagnose problems she was having with her forehand. The captain of last year’s boys’ team recently asked if he could join a team practice when he came home from college. “I told him, ‘Bring your running shoes,’” Pitkanen says, “‘because you’ll be running with them, too.’” That’s what teammates do. Q

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marketing

SUCCESS

New Members: Your Key to Staying in Business

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ecruit or perish.” Many organizations live by that saying. So, too, should your club or facility. Since some degree of annual attrition is unavoidable, if you don’t bring in new members, your business will gradually whither away. The tennis club business is just that—a business. Profit and loss is calculated like any other business. Although there are many sources of revenue, such as food and beverage, lessons, pro shop sales, racquet stringing, and ball machine rentals, the primary revenue stream comes from membership. Rates of attrition in the club business vary from region to region, but all clubs have this challenge in common: namely, how to bring in more new members than the number of members who leave. For a club manager, who budgets revenues in each category, finding ways to bring more members to any club or facility is like printing your own money. Before sharing ways to bring in new members, we need to note the importance of conducting interviews with both incoming and departing members. For incoming members, it is most important to determine their expectations and reasons for joining. Obviously, if those expectations are met, chances are they will remain as members. For departing members, exit interviews are essential to keep any facility vibrant and healthy. Many will leave for reasons totally beyond a club’s control. However, some useful feedback will inevitably be gained from exit interviews. Just be sure to act on it. Surprisingly enough, a high percentage of clubs do not conduct exit interviews. The

BY JOE DINOFFER

most successful clubs, on the other hand, use this tool religiously and reap the benefits of long-term success in the process.

clubs in your area. Some ideas are to offer terrific participation prizes, in addition to quality food and beverages that they will come back to experience.

FREE GUEST DAYS
Marketing campaigns always differentiate between cold-calling and contacting “warm” leads, always preferring a warm prospect to a cold one. For our purposes, a friend of an existing member definitely qualifies as a warm lead and is a good prospect for membership. Establish a regular “free” guest day and be sure to offer the guest a special packet that they will value. Consider including a discount coupon for the pro shop or an introductory lesson. Keep them coming back to your facility and your ultimate success is guaranteed.

MEMBER INCENTIVES
I recently switched dentists at the recommendation of a close friend. The new dentist, as a thank-you, sent my friend a $50 credit, and he also gave us the same amount as a first-visit discount. Consider a coupon for the pro shop of $100 as a thank-you to the referring member. It’s a substantial amount of money, yet the actual cost of goods to the club may only be $50. And, for the new member, I’ve always been a fan of a free 30-minute introductory lesson. Even if the new member doesn’t invest regularly in lessons, this is a great way to help them feel welcome.

MEMBER–GUEST SOCIALS
One of the primary reasons people join clubs is to be with friends. If you want to entice new members into your facility, the best way is to create opportunities for potential members to make new friends who, coincidentally, happen to be members at your club. Nearly every club schedules memberguest social events. The trick is to plan your social so it stands out from other

NON-MEMBER USAGE RATES
For many potential members, the amount it costs to join your club or facility will play a major part in their decision. Ideally, you want to capture their hearts and get them to regularly use your facility. However, chances are as non-members, they’re paying for guest passes, or paying higher non-member lesson rates, or are unable to take advantage of member sav-

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ings on pro shop and club snack bar purchases. These “member benefits” should gradually convince the nonmembers to take the plunge and join your facility.

SERVE THE KIDS, RECRUIT THE PARENTS
It’s an established fact that clubs with prospering and expanding junior programs have healthy bottom lines as well. Why? When the young children are well-served and happy at a particular club, parents naturally consider how the facility can benefit their entire family.

BIRTHDAY PARTIES
Parents are always looking for creative options when planning their children’s birthday parties. What if you designed a series of theme birthday parties and promoted them in a brochure for your existing members? Themes could include hiring clowns, magicians, or jugglers to entertain the children. Hire your own pros to run games with prizes on your courts (not tennis-specific). Now, imagine weekly birthday parties with an average of 20 young children and their parents looking on. Since the vast majority will be non-members, what a great way to regularly expose your facility to a large group of potential members in a favorable environment, all at the same time. Just remember to give the guests a packet including discount coupons along with a special offer to entice them to enroll their children into one of your junior programs. Q
Joe Dinoffer is a Master Professional for both the PTR and USPTA. He speaks frequently at national and international tennis teacher workshops as a member of both the Head/Penn and Reebok National Speaker’s Bureaus. He is president of Oncourt Offcourt Inc. and has written 16 books and produced more than 30 instructional videos.

January 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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teaching

PRO

PTR on Campus Program Trains and Certifies Full-Time Students
BY CYNTHIA CANTRELL
with college and graduate school,” Jones says. “The free certification was incredible, and I would certainly recommend it to other students.” PTR on Campus trains and certifies high school and college tennis players for a career as a tennis teaching professional. In exchange for a free, 10-hour certification course, participants are asked to perform 10 hours of community service teaching tennis, preferably in a multicultural community. Designed for full-time students 16 to 23 years old with at least a 4.0 rating, the free “PTR Teaching Essentials Workshop” (normally $95) usually takes place over the course of a weekend. Students may also purchase a PTR membership for the standard $100 initiation fee plus $25 annual renewal dues instead of the regular $125 fee (until they finish their undergraduate program). Optional liability insurance is offered for $20 for students, instead of $40. Dan Santorum, CEO of the PTR, says PTR on Campus was created as a proactive solution to the anticipated retirement in the next five to 10 years of thousands of teaching professionals who began their careers during the 1970s tennis boom. By offering free education and special introductory prices on membership, Santorum says the hope is for program participants to ultimately fill tennis teaching jobs at parks, camps, clubs, and resorts nationwide. Until they graduate, he notes, students who are certified can teach during summers and throughout the school year to earn money that may help pay for college. “We are graying as an organization and facing a huge void of experience,” says Santorum, noting that the average age of a PTR member (as of June 2006) is 45.74 years. “Tennis is growing, and this program is the PTR’s way of building a workforce of young teaching pros to meet that growth.” PTR on Campus was launched as a pilot program for the University of Washington’s women’s tennis team in November 2004, at which time about 15 current and recently graduated team players became PTR-certified. Patty FendickMcCain, a former Top 20 WTA Tour player who was Washington’s head coach at that time, says she was especially attracted to the program’s community-service component. “As a college coach, I always felt we could do more [to benefit] inner-city tennis,” says Fendick-McCain, a two-time NCAA Division I singles champion who is now head women’s tennis coach at the University of Texas in Austin, “but I didn’t know how to connect the dots.” Since PTR on Campus was officially announced at the 2005 US Open, colleges and universities that have hosted PTR on Campus have included Furman University, Penn State, St. Mary’s University, South Carolina State University, Texas Tech University, and the University of South Alabama. Emilien Rabin, who was one of eight Ouachita players who participated in PTR on Campus last fall, says he gained confidence as well as teaching knowledge. Originally from Beaupreau, France, 24year-old Rabin—who graduated in May 2006 from Ouachita Baptist—now works at the Polo Tennis and Fitness Club in Austin. “It was good to be [among] only a few people in order to be able to ask many questions. It is also fun because you get certified with people you know,” Rabin says. “Bringing the classes to campus made it really convenient and easy.” Q
For more information about PTR on Campus, visit www.ptrtennis.org.

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ith a double major in marketing and business management, Ondrej Vana plans to get a job in business after he graduates in 2008 from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark. He’ll always have a second career option, however, since he became a certified teaching pro through the Professional Tennis Registry’s “PTR on Campus” program. “I expected to learn a lot, but not as much as I did,” says 23-year-old Vana, a native of the Czech Republic. “I know how to play tennis, but it was hard to explain it, especially because I’m an international student. But that’s not a problem at all now. I really appreciate the PTR taking the time to do this.” Vana’s teammate, 20-year-old senior Chris Jones of Jonesboro, Ark., has been using his new tennis teaching skills at a summer sports camp at the T Bar M Resort & Conference Center in New Braunfels, Texas. “The PTR program was great for me. I hadn’t considered teaching tennis as a profession before, but it is something I see myself doing until I finish

24 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2007

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Junior

PARTICIPATION

Against the Wall
With Rapid Rally, beginning players have a fun way to get into tennis.
BY ROBIN BATEMAN
“Yeah,” Karen told me in mid-February, her voice filled with enthusiasm. “Paige Miller and I want to get 100 sites participating in Georgia.” Paige is the marketing director for USTA Georgia. Karen rattled off the program’s advantages while showing me a sample of the kit I’d get for each site I registered. Our junior programs include an afterschool tennis gig where instructors bring traveling equipment into 21 existing afterschool programs to instruct and play tennis-based games. Why not do Rapid Rally with them? I brought the idea up to our tennis manager/head pro, Carl Hodge, and it didn’t take me long to convince him, either. Its nocost feature, combined with the flexibility and convenience the program offered, were key factors. “And besides,” I added for good measure, “it’s tennis! Offered for the first time in a Junior Olympics program. We have to support it.” His comment was, “That’s how I learned to play tennis—against the wall.” So great was his conviction that he purchased enough materials to construct four practice walls, which are now permanently hung on the bottom courts at our tennis center, thus adding a 22nd site for us to host Rapid Rally. We developed a program beginning with Rapid Rally practice sessions, followed by the competition. Then we provided other events and classes that players could enroll in. Our local Rapid Rally season is over. However, don’t let that stop you from adapting the game, to kick-start your pathway programs, or maybe incorporating the activity into your Tennis Fun Day or Special Olympics programs. We’ve done all of these. How did tennis stack up in its first year as part of this USOC program? Among the 5,600 sites that participated in one of the four USOC events, 1,700 were tennis. That’s 30 percent! Approximately, 400,000 kids picked up racquets to hit against the walls of gyms and city parks nationwide. In Georgia, close to 100 sites registered. In my area of Macon, we introduced afterschoolers to Rapid Rally at our 22 sites. About 15 percent of all those who wrapped their fingers around a racquet continued in follow-up group drills over the summer at our Parks and Rec tennis center. Of these, 35 youngsters were invited to take our Fast Track classes, instruction geared toward preparing the novice player for USTA sanctioned tournaments. Go ahead, kick start your pathway programs …against the wall. Q
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.

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s a program coordinator for junior players, I’m constantly on the lookout for new ways to entice players into the game (it takes a lot to pull a kid away from his Xbox 360). So you can imagine my surprise when I realized I didn’t need to look any further than my own backboard. That’s right. The practice wall. A new program for juniors, called Rapid Rally, uses low-compression balls and a wall. Players stand behind a 15-foot tape line to serve, then they hit the ball against the wall as many times as they can in 30 seconds. For Rapid Rally, the USTA partnered with the U.S. Olympic Committee and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes to incorporate tennis into its already existing junior skills competition (other sports offered are soccer, basketball, and track & field). I first heard about Rapid Rally during the USTA’s Community Tennis Development Workshop held in California in early February. The program caught my immediate interest. Then, Rapid Rally came up during a meeting with Karen Zuidema, a former USTA Georgia Schools Program Coordinator turned Tennis Service Representative.

For more on Rapid Rally, contact your local Tennis Service Representative or visit www.usolympicteam.com/joskills.

26 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2007

CONTINUING

education

Busy Making a Living? College Courses Are Just a Mouse Click Away
BY DONALD LEAVY
leges and employers alike, is "regional" accreditation. Six regional accrediting bodies exist in the U.S. Because the standards and requirements associated with receiving “regional accreditation” are so high, many colleges will only accept credit from other regionally accredited colleges or universities. Additional information regarding the regional accrediting agencies can be found at www.ed.gov/ offices/OPE/accreditation/regionalagencie s.html. Many students are curious to know if a degree online is different from an oncampus degree. Keep in mind that the development of online classes or degree programs must adhere to the same stringent accrediting standards as the development of on-campus courses and programs. The only difference is in the delivery. Online classrooms do a great job of maintaining all the value of classroom interaction with classmates and the instructor, while maximizing the free time of individual students. In addition, graduates of online programs tend to show a number of distinct qualities of benefit to the employer, such as: Q Proven comfort with integrated technologies. Q Tendency to maximize resources to get the most done in the least amount of time. Q Familiarity with the future of commerce and business—the rise of internet- and intranet-based business practices are nothing new to online students. Q Broad exposure to students from different regions and around the globe— often more so than campus-based peers. Q No loafing—online students need to be engaged or they don't make the grade. Q Heightened written communications skills and a raised awareness of the importance of good written communications in business.

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ennis teaching professionals must be selfmotivated and goal-driven to be successful. The organization that the pro works for has the responsibility to provide them with the necessary environment in which to perform their tasks, but the professional must be able to market his or her abilities to their customer base. A club professional essentially runs his own business, so having the skills and training to perform his duties will provide the foundation for that success. But how does a pro acquire the necessary skills and training when he’s spending 35 hours a week on court teaching and hours off the court trying to fill appointments for the following week? The answer may be distance education. The U.S. Distance Learning Association defines distance learning as the acquisition of knowledge and skills through mediated information and instruction, encompassing all technologies and other forms of learning at a distance. Online distance-learning courses are offered to students anytime, and online higher education is part of a growing trend that is providing accessibility to a segment of the population that, for whatever reason, may not have the ability to attend traditional college courses.

“ASYNCHRONOUS” CLASSROOM
One of the barriers prohibiting many busy working adults from going to college is the requirement to be in a particular place at a particular time—a “synchronous” classroom in “real-time.” But online programs have been specifically designed to take advantage of technology, meaning that an online classroom or program can easily be “asynchronous”—neither timenor place-dependent. You go online to read lectures, participate in discussion, and possibly complete exams. Many of the assignments and exercises required in online courses will still be completed offline using word processing software. This system is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If a tennis teaching pro is looking to attend college for the first time, complete or finish his or her undergraduate degree, or is looking into a graduate program, distance education can provide the quality and flexibility to balance one’s professional and family life. Q
Donald Leavy is a USPTA teaching professional in Grand Blanc, Mich., and holds a BA in economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Baker College. He is the development director for Baker College Online Center for Graduate Studies. If you have questions regarding the benefits of distance education, you can reach him at donaldleavy@comcast.net.

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION
What should someone look for in a college or university that offers distance education? The first concern should be accreditation. In general the most widely recognized and sought-after form of accreditation in the U.S., by both col-

28 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2007

STRINGS OF SUCCESS
2007 STRING SURVEY

How do you know what to stock for your shop? We provide expert guidance that can help you—and your customers—find the right strings.
BY BOB PATTERSON, MRT

here are a ton of strings on the market today; the number and variety available is mind-boggling, to say the least. In our September/October 2006 issue, we reported on testing (performed by the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association) on 478 different strings from 31 manufacturers for stiffness and tension loss. In this issue, our annual String Survey points out that plenty of those strings meet the criteria as favorites for USRSA members. But regardless of the size and scope of your stringing operation, chances are you can’t stock all the strings on the market today. So how do choose? And more importantly, how does your customer choose?

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Even for a veteran stringer, choosing which string you need for your inventory can be a daunting task. It seems that manufacturers constantly are introducing new strings made from new materials or with new techniques. Should you stock the new or stick with the tried and true? Since you can’t stock them all, how many is enough? How many is too many? How many different gauges? How many colors? The questions seem endless, but making good decisions about your string inventory, presentation, and your staff’s product knowledge can make a big difference in your bottom line. According to the most recent dealer survey from the Tennis Industry Association, stringing and racquet service is by far the

30 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2007

most profitable segment of the tennis retail industry. However, those great margins can be eroded by poor inventory selections and not providing the consumer with the product they want or need. That’s why we’re here to help.

strings should stay in your line-up and which are expendable to make room for new ones. As you add new strings, make sure you keep a good balance of the various categories making your overall selection complete.

PRESENTATION
Having a distinct, professionally appearing racquet service area and a well-merchandised selection of string, grips, and overgrips says a lot to customers who come into your shop or store. If your stringing machine and selection of string is prominently displayed, there is no question that you service racquets. Don’t make the assumption that everyone will know that you do. If your machine is tucked away in the back room and your string is kept in a drawer, the customer may assume that you don’t service racquets. Displaying your string selection can be impressive and informative. Try displaying strings in a methodical manner. Group them according to brand, or better yet, by category. If your customer is looking for durability, you can point out your selection. If it is comfort that is most important, then they are all grouped together. It will make explaining the selection easier for the technicians and the customer can better differentiate their options.

STRING SELECTION
Superior racquet service begins with your selection of string. While having a vast assortment of strings available for your customers to choose from may be impressive, it can also be confusing. You need to walk the fine line between too much and not enough. Although there are plenty of new introductions, many of the most popular strings have been on the market for years. To satisfy a variety of players, you will need to carry a good assortment of string types, gauges, and colors. Exactly how many different SKUs depends on your volume, how much display/storage space, and money you have to invest. Once you determine the correct size of your inventory, you’ll need to decide what strings make sense for your clientele. You need to carry at least a couple of choices in each category, along with a variety of gauges to meet the varying needs of your customers. Try to offer as many brands as possible. By having a wider selection, your customers will have more to choose from and won’t feel like they are being steered to a certain brand because that is all you offer. But again, too many choices can be confusing to the customer. You should be able to provide distinguishing characteristics of each string. If you find yourself explaining that “these three are basically the same,” then you can probably eliminate two of them and free up room to bring in a couple of others that have something different to offer. If your competitors have four different strings to choose from and you offer a choice of 20, that alone will set you apart. But if you can explain a clear difference in each of the 20, along with the benefits of each one, that will really separate you. Although you should certainly consider new introductions, don’t be too hasty to drop a string just because something new comes along. If a new string has something to offer, it should certainly be considered. Some of your customers will be anxious to try the newest products, but many have found a perfect string and tension set-up that works for them and aren’t interested in changing. If suddenly you no longer stock their string, they may look elsewhere rather than switch. By constantly evaluating your sales you can determine which

PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE
Know your string inventory. There is plenty of information available, starting with the manufacturer’s information, but don’t rely solely on this. When considering a new string to bring into inventory, gather as much information as possible from a variety of sources. The USRSA’s annual string test and member survey provide a wealth of information, as do the monthly string playtest in each issue of RSI. Probably the best evaluation is testing the string yourself. Put a set in your own racquet, even if it is something you would not normally play with. You can determine for yourself if it meets the marketing claims from the manufacturer and whether or not it will fill a void in your inventory and be beneficial to your customers. But knowing your inventory is only half the story. To take full advantage of your product knowledge, you need to apply that knowledge to the needs of your customers. Taking a few minutes to get to know your customer and his or her game will allow you to make suggestions of string type and tension that may help them get the optimum performance from their racquet. They will appreciate your expertise and willingness to help them rather than just selling them a string job. A small investment of your time will earn a customer for life, and a happy customer will spread the word to many other players. Master Racquet Technician Bob Patterson of Birmingham, Ala., owns Players Choice Tennis and the racquet customization company Racquetmaxx. In 2005, he was named RSI’s Stringer of the Year.

January 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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2007 STRING SURVEY

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hat string is best for your customer? It’s a tricky question to are included in the total sum and average for that string. We answer, since there are so many different strings out there added the scores from each respondent to obtain a sum for that all have unique combinations of benefits. But once again, that string, then divided the sum by the number of responwe’ve gone right to the experts, the thousands of U.S. Racquet Stringers dents who rated it. To ensure that strings with a reasonable breadth of distribAssociation members, and asked them to rate strings in three categories: ution are included, each string must be rated on at least 16 playability, durability, and comquestionnaires. We feel fort. that having at least 16 Most Responses by Gauge Our 30th annual string surrespondents allows us to (percent) vey, which is on the poster include enough strings by inserted into this issue of RSI, enough manufacturers, Gauge 2007 2006 2005 2004 2002/3 2001 2000 is a compilation of survey including smaller market 16 58.4 64.6 62.0 62.4 61.9 58.9 54.8 questionnaires sent in Sep17 25.5 24.5 28.2 23.1 26.2 27.0 31.8 share companies. Too tember to 2,000 randomly 16L 6.0 4.6 3.8 4.3 2.8 1.5 high a number will mean selected U.S. members of the 15L 5.5 3.8 4.3 5.7 5.9 7.8 11.1 the survey results will only USRSA (no chain stores). 18 3.7 1.9 1.3 1.4 1.8 2.9 0.9 include the top two or Recipients were given a list of 15 0.5 0.6 0.5 0.8 0.8 three manufacturers. every string on the market 17L 0.2 0.5 0.5 0.7 0.7 0.6 Remember, the cateand asked to rate the ones 19 0.3 1.7 0.4 0.4 gory scores for each string they are familiar with from 1 18/17 0.5 0.4 are averages of all the to 10 in each of the three catrespondents’ rankings for egories. Then an average a given string. Often, score was calculated for each these averages are very string in each category. (percent) close; the differences For a string to qualify for a between rankings can be rating, the respondent must Brand 2007 2006 2005 2004 2002/3 2001 2000 mere hundredths of a Wilson 21.6 23.2 22.0 21.9 23.8 21.6 30.5 have strung at least 20 sets of point. Though only one Gamma 21.3 20.4 22.9 24.7 25.6 25.9 27.2 that string in the past year. Prince 16.4 19.8 19.6 19.8 19.2 20.7 23.7 string can claim the top This 20-set minimum ensures Babolat 11.9 9.3 7.2 7.1 6.1 6.9 6.3 spot in a category, many that respondents are rating a Head 8.6 9.4 7.7 7.4 7.3 4.0 7.0 of the strings close to string they know something Luxilon 5.7 3.6 3.4 3.0 each other in ranking are about and that has some Tecnifibre 4.8 4.5 4.8 4.1 4.1 4.7 3.4 of equal stature. In pracvitality in the marketplace. For Ashaway 1.4 2.0 1.6 1.8 1.7 2.2 <1.0 tice, each of these strings some businesses, 20 sets may Gosen 1.4 1.6 1.8 1.9 1.9 3.2 1.4 is one of the best of its represent 20 percent of their Forten 1.1 1.2 2.3 2.6 2.6 3.5 0.5 niche. Alpha 0.8 0.9 1.0 total business, and for others, Hang our String Survey Kirschbaum 0.7 0.8 0.8 1 percent. Some businesses TOA 0.6 0.8 0.4 poster in your shop and may only sell 20 sets of the Dunlop 0.5 0.6 1.2 1.1 let your customers deterstring; others may sell 500. Klip 0.5 0.6 0.9 mine which strings may Each ranking, however, carOthers 2.7 2.3 2.3 4.6 5.2 4.4 best help their games.Q ries the same weight, and all

Most Responses by Brand

January 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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A TENNIS WISH LIST
I
wish more funds were available to rebuild our public tennis courts. As a lifetime public-park tennis player, I realize the importance of having a nice facility to bring the local tennis community together. —Chris Gaudreau, Racquet Koop, New Haven, CT

As we begin the New Year, we asked people in the industry— including teaching pros, pro shop and facility managers, court builders, manufacturers, and more—to tell us what they’d like to see. C O M P I L E D B Y M I T C H R U S T A D
do this, tennis will always be a healthy lifetime sport. —Max Brownlee, General Manager, Babolat USA My wish list for tennis in 2007 is: for tennis to become the sport of choice by children 8 to 18. The USTA's revitalized Schools Program is introducing a new curriculum at the elementary level, middle school team tennis, and no-cut high school tennis. We need to take tennis to where the kids are and that's schools. Also, I’d like to see American women again dominate the world's top 10 and be in the final of the US Open. And I’d like the U.S. to bring home the Davis Cup. —Jane Brown Grimes, USTA President, 2007-2008 I want to see the TIA, USTA, ITF, ATP and WTA continue to work together to grow interest in the sport at the professional level and use their combined resources and influences to grow the game at the grassroots. The success of the US Open Series is proof that marketing and cooperation can generate interest. Also, I wish manufacturers would consider the long-term effects of their decisions on the entire market rather than catering to the big-box and online stores’ desire for discount racquets.

The current practice of special make-up racquets for these dealers that are cheap knock-offs of discontinued products may result in quick sales, but it hurts their brands and the tennis retail business in general. —Bob Patterson, Player’s Choice Tennis, Birmingham, AL For 2007, I’d like to see tennis participation continue to grow. And also, I wish for good growth in business for our retail partners. —Kai Nitsche, General Manager, Dunlop Sports U.S. I’d like to see continued collaboration and cooperation throughout the tennis industry. Working together, we can continue to grow the game of tennis, which benefits us all. DecoTurf is committed to working for an ongoing expansion of tennis with our industry partners in 2007. —John Graham, Managing Director, DecoTurf The thing that benefits all of us is the growth of the game overall, and we want continued growth in 2007. I think the industry as a whole has to be very careful about selling itself down. We all exist better when our margins are strong, and when we sell ourselves down, we do a disservice to our consumer. There is somewhat of a trend if you look at the declining prices of our products, and that’s not

I wish those who hire tennis professionals would realize a teacher’s importance, not only to their facilities, but to the sport of tennis as a whole, and compensate teaching pros accordingly. The salaries and benefits of these valued teachers have not kept pace with other professions, especially at the entry level. With tennis beginning to grow again, the primary way to derail this momentum is a lack of young, qualified tennis teaching pros. Teaching pros are the engine that drives the tennis train. It is in the best interest of the entire industry to work with PTR and USPTA to engage those responsible for hiring teaching professionals to ensure wages and benefits are attractive enough to maintain the numbers needed, as well as a highlevel caliber. —Dan Santorum, CEO, PTR My tennis wish for 2007 is that every tennis player tells a friend about the fun they are having playing our great sport. If we

34 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2007

necessarily a good trend. The tennis consumer is certainly price conscious, but not discount-price conscious in every case. —Doug Fonte, President, Prince I wish that all the entities in tennis continue to put TENNIS first and continue to work collaboratively so the growth we’ve seen in the past two years continues. We absolutely have to step up our efforts in attracting and retaining more youth. We need to make tennis the new team sport, and we have to enlist parents to play a critical role in that. Participation in virtually every other youth sport is being driven by parents, and we need to capture parents as well. Parents are never going to replace teaching pros, but especially at the entry level, it’s absolutely critical that we engage them in the process of their kids’ learning. —Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive of Community Tennis, USTA My wish is for Cardio Tennis to really take off. It’s a fabulous way for people to get fit and play tennis, and a great way to get them out on the court and eventually playing matches. Once we get people passionate about the game, then from a manufacturer’s standpoint, we’re all going to sell more product. —Sarah Maynard, Director of Marketing and Promotions, Völkl Tennis We’d like to see the prices of construction materials stabilize; we’ve experienced several years of rapidly increasing raw material costs. We would also like to see the price of fuel drop by about 50 cents a gallon. And it would be nice to see the housing industry rebound after a tough 2006. —Stephen N. Dettor, President, Fast-Dry Courts Inc. My wish is for tennis to be back among the Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the U.S., and to have Cardio Tennis listed as a separate category on that list. I’d also like to see an increased network of quality Tennis Welcome Centers and Cardio Tennis sites. And we need increased use and support of the current technologies available to connect consumers to our industry. Finally, I wish for the continuing collaborative effort by all sectors—organizations, manufacturers, retailers, court

contractors, media, facilities and businesses—in recognizing the power of positive thinking and synergies that are necessary for our sport’s health and growth. —Jolyn de Boer, Executive Director, Tennis Industry Association I hope that the USTA continues to lead a clearer path from junior tennis to college tennis and on to the tour. And, related to that, my goal for 2007 is to increase the amount of writing I do for tennis publications, which means that there is an increased interest in college and junior tennis, which is the foundation of our sport. —Marcia Frost, Editor, CollegeAndJuniorTennis.com Understanding the role that fitness plays in tennis will enable the market to grow and branch out to reach more people. With more tennis enthusiasts getting into Cardio Tennis and cross-training to stay fit, tennis apparel with a "fitness" spin will become the apparel of choice for these customers. If the tennis industry embraces this trend, our businesses will grow. —Brad Singer, V.P. of Sales and Marketing, Tail My wish is that all entry-level players learn the game quickly through the use of slower and lighter balls on smaller courts so they can enjoy this great game as quickly as possible. If this would happen, tennis would have a much higher retention rate from the 6 million players who try our sport for the first time every year. —Kirk Anderson, Director of Recreational Coaches and Programs, USTA Our main wish is for the game to have an upsurge in popularity in the U.S. This can be done with the continued success of upgrading the public courts throughout the country. The programs within the USTA, like Adopt a Court, Tennis in the Parks, and Multicultural Grant Program, continue to upgrade facilities. —Michael Smith, Courtsmiths, Toledo, OH At the top of my wish list is the growth of U.S. tennis at all levels— from the recreational league player to the development of American stars of

tomorrow. Let’s use the legends of the game to help mentor a new generation. Now more than ever, it’s critical that all of us who have a stake in the future of tennis work together to energize our existing fan base and bring in new fans. Adopting exciting innovations such as oncourt coaching, no-ad scoring, more instant replay, and player names on the back of shirts would be a good start. Finally, I want to see the top-ranked U.S. men and women supporting Fed Cup and Davis Cup—in all ties—throughout the entire year. —Ilana Kloss, CEO/Commissioner, World TeamTennis I’d like to see an all-American final at the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open. Or, I’ll settle for an allAmerican men’s final at the US Open, so I can forget about work on that Sunday. My second wish? Tickets to the final! —Richard Zaino, Zaino Tennis Courts Inc., Orange, CA I wish for James Blake to win a Grand Slam title in 2007. American tennis needs its top players winning Slams to keep the sport visible. Blake is clearly a tennis player that the public can get behind—he's classy, he's cool, he's college educated. I believe that his raising his game to yet another level would provide a nice shot in the arm for the game. And, I would hope his winning a Slam shines a light on the level of player our collegiate coaches can help develop. —Casey Angle, Director of Communications, Intercollegiate Tennis Association I would like to see the frequent player base grow in 2007 and that new players continue to develop a love for the sport. I hope everyone in the tennis community can continue to work

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collaboratively. I would like to see Roger Federer win the Grand Slam in 2007, which would create terrific media buzz about tennis. We at Wilson will be doing everything we (K)an to support him, including, in 2007, what will be the largest global tennis racquet launch in the tennis industry to date. —Jon Muir, General Manager, Wilson Racquet Sports My wish is that the USTA would spend more money on Player Development and recognize that all great players in this nation came from existing U.S. tennis academies and local tennis programs, and that it is important for this funding to filter through these same sources so we can truly build great players. The USTA has not yet succeeded for 25 years in producing top-level players at its own centers. As a result of it continuing to attempt to control player development, it is stemming the growth of grassroots players who could be growing faster and better were the funding made available for them to do so. In plain words, the USTA should stop trying to be responsible for primary coaching, but definitely become involved with primary funding. Foreign players and foreign coaches across the world recognize U.S. academies and coaches as among the very best to learn from. It is time for our own leaders to do the same. —Tim Heckler, CEO, USPTA I wish the weather to be kind to the industry across the country so play is healthy. I hope that tennis pros are busier than they have been in the past few seasons, which would mean lots of players actively involved in the sport. I hope that grassroots initiatives nationwide designed to increase player participation thrive, thereby bringing in scores of new players. I wish the economy to continue its growth so consumers have disposable

money to spend—all contributing factors to making it a banner year at retail! Finally, I hope the price of oil continues its steady, downward trend, so manufacturing/product costs can flatten or even drop from the significant increase we have seen over the past six months. —John R. Embree, Bälle de Mätch Tennis Wear My wish is simple. I would like all the inner-city parks that have tennis courts in disrepair to have the funds to spruce them up and make them playable. Tennis should not be just for the well-heeled. It is such a great game and we are not attracting our inner-city poor who cannot afford a private club. —Gene Niksich, Unique Sports Products, Alpharetta, GA For 2007, I wish that the stature and visibility of tennis continue to increase so that many more Americans are aware of our sport and want to play and follow it. One way this will be accomplished is with greater national and local media coverage. Also, I’d like to see Americans achieve more in professional tennis tournaments, particularly the Grand Slams, Davis Cup and Fed Cup such that no other nation does better. And that tennis participation continues to grow as a result of the USTA’s efforts coordinated with all of our tennis partners, particularly the teaching pro organizations and as a result of our programs and activities in the public parks, working through the NRPA. —Franklin R. Johnson, USTA President, 2005-2006 We need more tennis clubs in New York City. We have lost quite a few clubs in the last few years, and this has affected indoor play in NYC. Real estate values have gone up considerably these last few years, and tennis is not the optimum usage at this point. I would like to see clubs go up this year and in the future. —Mark Mason, Mason’s Tennis Mart, New York City, NY I would wish for all Community Tennis Associations to send at least one or two

of their strong leaders to the USTA Community Tennis Development Workshop every year. There's no better way for grassroots leaders to get an overview of what the USTA challenges them with each year. Every time I have gone to this workshop, my bond and devotion to tennis becomes stronger, and I have come away motivated by more project ideas than I can implement. My enthusiasm to grow the sport is refreshed and renewed—as it should be for every community tennis advocate. —Robin Jones, Grassroots Tennis Advocate, Founder, Western Wake Tennis Association, Cary, NC I’d love to have ball sales double in 2007, and I’d also like to see natural gut sales double, too. I want player participation to rise 25 percent, and I think a nationwide USTA/USPTA/PTR/TIA initiative to offer free introductory tennis clinics would help. Also, it would be great for the USTA, ATP, and ITF to run a national TV advertising campaign for the sport. —Sean Frost, Klip/Iso-speed/Völkl My wish is to have a few more American stars on the horizon who would re-energize the sport in the U.S.—both men and women players who can take the sport to non-players and get them excited about watching and participating. Also, I’d like to see the finals of the US Open on a Monday night, when a ton more people would watch it. Television coverage has greatly improved over the years, but very few if any doubles matches are shown. More people play doubles than singles and would relate more to watching doubles. —Glen Agritelley, Owner, TBarM Racquet Club, Dallas, TX For 2007, I would hope the tennis industry, including the USTA, teaching pros, manufacturers, facilities, etc., continues to work together at all levels to build the key initiatives to bring players into the game, like Cardio Tennis, Tennis in the Parks, etc. It is crucial that we all keep our eye on the key goal—growing the game—which will benefit all of us in the long term. The other hope is that a strong American player emerges to increase awareness among the casual tennis fan and bring even more players into the game. —Greg Mason, Director of Sales and Marketing, Head/Penn Racquet Sports

36 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2007

players of all ages and abilities—so that once again tennis is a leading sport in America. —Paul Zalatoris, Tecnifibre USA I'd like to see tennis covered in the mainstream media, and outside of the sports section. While we do need all the coverage we can score in the sports pages, tennis is more than a pro game—it's a lifestyle. There are endless angles for the business and health sections of newspapers, and magazines and TV shows devoted to them. All of us have a hand in this by staying in touch with trends in our game, and promoting the game to our local media. —Liza Horan, TENNISWIRE.org and President, U.S. Tennis Writers Association I’d like to see new programs to attract new players to the game that keep the sport in the public focus. We also need to keep hammering the benefits of our sport through advertising. And I wish the entities in tennis would set aside differences, stop worrying about themselves, and really focus on making this game the best it can be, the ideal vehicle for kids and adults to learn, grow, stay healthy, and have fun. —Pat Hanssen, New Markets Manager, Lee Tennis I’d love to see the Tournament Data Manager system + TennisLink offered to tournament directors when they host nonsanctioned social fundraising events. Doing so increases the willingness of the tournament director to host such events, thus allowing players more opportunities to play, and increasing the players enthusiasm and commitment to the game. As a result, the industry as a whole benefits. —Robin Bateman, Site Coordinator, Tattnall Tennis Center, Macon, GA I wish each tennis academy and tennis camp across the country would identify and send one student interested in pursuing a career in tennis to a professional tennis management program, like that at Ferris State, which specializes in educating and training professionals to enter

the industry fully capable to handle a broad spectrum of areas within the business of tennis. When the number of qualified professionals increases, the potential for growth in our industry also increases. Also, I wish that club owners and managers would seek out not just great tennis players to teach at their facilities, but also professionals with a diverse business background as well. —Tom Daglis, Director, Prof. Tennis Management Program, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI My tennis wish for 2007 includes the ATP and WTA getting off their butts and marketing the sport properly in the U.S. Get tennis on major network and cable stations (not counting the US Open Series, which was the brainchild of the USTA, and the Slams). Have finals played on Monday night, market more player merchandise, partner with other organizations for ideas. Proper marketing of pro tennis would help the sport, and in turn help grow all tennis-related business. —Richard Vach, Co-Founder, Tennis-X.com I wish for the greater acceptance of wheelchair tennis as an integrated sport in America. I truly believe that we in tennis can increase sport opportunities for people with physically disabling conditions through tennis. This would include the current programs such as Run/Roll Tournaments (a Blaze Sports/USTA collaboration), high school tennis, USTA Leagues, and USTA tournaments. I would love to see growth in the number of people playing wheelchair tennis and a similar growth in the number of people playing tennis with people in wheelchairs in 2007. —Dan James, National Manager Wheelchair Tennis, USTA To grow the sport in 2007, we must think of the FAMILY. Get everyone involved! Once this happens, you create a buzz that spreads like wildfire. We typically tend to focus on either juniors or adults. This is not the complete picture. Juniors and adults playing as a family are the key to retention. —Ajay Pant, National Tennis Director, Tennis Corporation Of America
January 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

I’d like to see us maintain the real progress we’ve made in recent years by working more closely together as an allied industry for the benefit of tennis overall. The USTA, ITF, ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour have made great strides this year in the evolution of how tennis presents itself to television viewers, through innovation and cross promotion across networks sharing rights packages. Because television is such an important factor in driving any sport’s ultimate success, I’d hope to see all tennis broadcasters deliver increased focus on storytelling and the amazing personal journeys of all these great players. —Ken Solomon, Chairman and CEO, The Tennis Channel We need more players! It would do so much good for everyone: all the coaches, all the programs, all the facilities, all the stringers, and all the companies. For a long time now, we've all been working hard to grow the game, trying to introduce young players to a life-long passion for tennis. I think a payoff for this dedication would be my No. 1 wish. To simply see more Americans playing tennis, from the local city court to high in the ranks of the professionals. —Matt Ferrari, Gamma Racquet Sports My wishes for the new year are that the pro game sees some new stars on tour, preferably Americans, and that our customers have as good a year in 2007 as they did in 2006. —Pat Shields, Fromuth Tennis I’d like to see both the industry and our company grow as it has for the past two years. I wish for good health of our industry, with growth in participation and frequency of play, and also for an increase in

37

MARK OF DISTINCTION
RSI/ASBA DISTINGUISHED FACILITY-OF-THE-YEAR AWARDS

RSI and the ASBA bring you the best in tennis court construction.
nce again, we’re proud to have joined with the American Sports Builders Association to bring you examples of excellence in tennis court construction. Each year, based on entries submitted by an ASBA member— whether a contractor, designer, or supplier—the association selects outstanding tennis facilities that meet the standard of excellence determined by the judging committee. For 2006, there were 25 courts or tennis facilities that were deemed outstanding— or “distinguished,” as the award now reads—by the panel of judges. Four of those entries, however, were chosen for special honors: the Boars Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va., received the Indoor Tennis Facility-of-the-Year Award; Columbine Country Club in Littleton, Colo., received the Outdoor Tennis Facility-ofthe-Year Award; the Vanderbeek Residential Court in Warren, N.J., received the Residential Tennis Facility-of-the-Year Award; and the Pennington-Ewing Athletic Club in Ewing, N.J. received the Indoor Multi-Purpose Facility-of-the-Year Award. The Boars Head Sports Club expanded its existing three indoor courts by adding nine more cushioned hard courts, and now all 12 indoor courts feature ICA’s Elite indirect light fixtures. The awardwinning sports club, which is affiliated with the University of Virginia, also has 14 outdoor tennis courts. The Columbine Country Club upgraded its outdoor facility. Five existing asphalt courts were overlaid with post-tensioned concrete, and two new fast-dry courts with subsurface irrigation were also installed, along with fencing, windscreens, and bench seating. Also, 5-foot-wide sidewalks were installed leading to courts. The new synthetic turf court at the Vanderbeek residence was built into the side of a steep hill and required a retaining wall nearly 20 feet high. More than 60 truckloads of rock was removed from the solid bedrock hillside, then 3,000 cubic yards of fill dirt was brought in, requiring five separate permits, to build up the court area. After completion of an upper retaining wall, access to the court was limited to foot traffic, so all remaining materials had to be lowered by crane. The multi-purpose Pennington-Ewing Athletic Center has two indoor hard courts where members and their guests can play and take lessons and clinics. The facility also includes three racquetball courts, two international squash courts, an indoor track, basketball court area, cardio area, and other workout rooms. —Peter Francesconi

O

Distinguishing Honors
In addition to the Boars Head Sports Club, Columbine Country Club, Vanderbeek Residential Court, and Pennington-Ewing Athletic Club, these 21 locations were chosen by the 2006 panel of judges for the ASBA as excellent examples of court construction, receiving Distinguished Tennis Facility-of-the-Year Awards. You’ll read more about them in upcoming issues of Racquet Sports Industry. (The nominating company is in parentheses.)
Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Ace Insurance Co., Hamilton, Bermuda (Classic Turf Co.) Bath Club, Miami Beach, Fla. (Fast-Dry Cos.) Boulevard Club, Vero Beach, Fla. (Fast-Dry Cos.) Center Court Ridge at Reunion Resort & Club, Kissimmee, Fla. (Welch Tennis Courts) Centre Court Racquet Club, Louisville, Tenn. (Baseline Sports Construction LLC) Clayton Residence, Carmel, Ind. (Leslie Coatings Inc.) Ellis Methvin Tennis Center, Plant City, Fla. (Welch Tennis Courts) Fleckenstein Tennis Facility, Mukwonago, Wis. (Munson Inc.) Gooch Residence, Rumson, N.J. (The Racquet Shop) Hillsboro Club, Hillsboro, Fla. (Fast-Dry Cos.) Kenyon Athletic Center, Gambier, Ohio (DecoSystems) Lombard Street Reservoir/Alice Marble Tennis Center, San Francisco (Vintage Contractors Inc.) Powell Residence, Gladwyne, Pa. (Pro-Sport Construction) Robinson Residence, Radnor, Pa. (Pro-Sport Construction) Seiderman Residence, Parkland, Fla. (Fast-Dry Cos.) The Club at Olde Stone, Alvaton, Ky. (Welch Tennis Courts) The Club at River Forest, Forsythe, Ga. (Welch Tennis Courts) Tivoli Lakes Tennis Center, Boynton Beach, Fla. (Welch Tennis Courts) USPTA World Headquarters, Houston (Dobbs Tennis Courts) Vaughn Athletic Center-Fox Valley Park District, Aurora, Ill. (Kiefer Specialty Flooring Inc.) Wilson Residence, Rixeyville, Va. (Lawn Tennis & Supply Co. Inc.)

38 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2007

Outdoor Tennis Facility-of-the-Year Award Columbine Country Club
Littleton, Colo. Architect/Engineer: Renner Sports Surfaces, Denver General/Specialty Contractor: Renner Sports Surfaces Surface: Lee Tennis Nets, Net Posts, Windscreens: Douglas Industries

Residential Tennis Facility-of-the-Year Award Vanderbeek Residence
Warren, N.J. General Contractor: Pro-Sport Construction, Inc. Lights: LSI Lighting Nets, Net Posts, Windscreens: J.A. Cissel

Indoor Multi-Purpose Facility-of-the-Year Award Pennington-Ewing Athletic Club
Ewing, N.J. Specialty Contractor: Sportsline Inc. Suppliers: M. Putterman, J.A. Cissel, Re-Tek Surface: California Products

Indoor Tennis Facility-of-the-Year Award Boars Head Sports Club
Charlottesville, Va. Specialty Contractor: ICA Sports, Olathe, Kan.

For details on the 2007 Distinguished Facility-of-theYear Awards, contact the ASBA at 866-501-ASBA or info@sportsbuilders.org.

January 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

39

science Spin Off the Court and Strings I
noticed something interesting at the Australian Open in January. That is, I could sometimes read the label on the ball as the ball travelled over the net, even though the players were hitting topspin groundstrokes. The ball was hardly spinning at all even though the players were trying to make it spin. The problem was, the players weren't hitting the ball hard enough to make it spin. The ball bounced off the court spinning rapidly but it stopped spinning as soon as it came off the strings. Instead of reversing the direction of spin, as the players were trying to do, all they were doing by hitting the ball was bringing the spin to a stop. An interesting question is how the spin off the court affects the spin that players get off the strings. Men tend to hit the ball harder and can therefore generate more topspin than women. But if they hit the ball with more topspin then the ball will come off the court spinning even faster. That means that men have to work harder to reverse the direction of spin in order to return the ball with topspin. Suppose that two players get into a long topspin baseline rally where both players are hitting the ball at the same speed straight up and down the middle of the court. A typical rally is shown in Fig. 1 where the ball travels over the net with spin S1, bounces off the court with spin S2, and comes off the strings with spin S1. Provided both players keep hitting the ball at the same speed and at the same height over the net, the ball will get stuck in a groove where it spins clockwise at S1 or S2 while it travels left to right and then spins counter-clockwise at S1 or S2 as it travels back from right to left. The spin changes from S1 to S2 every time the ball hits the court and it changes from S2 back to S1 every time the player hits the ball. In reality the speeds and spins will change during the rally but it is easier to figure out what is happening if we assume that the speeds and spins remain constant for at least two consecutive hits. ation, the change in spin depends on the amount of friction between the ball and the court and on the vertical speed of the ball. The spin will change typically by about 1,500 rpm on a fast court and by about 2,000 rpm on a slow court. A ball hit higher over the net will tend to hit the court at a higher vertical speed, in which case the change in spin will be proportionally higher, but 1,500 or 2,000 rpm is typical. A ball hit with say 1,000 rpm of topspin will therefore bounce off the court with about 2,500 rpm on a fast court or 3,000 rpm of topspin on a slow court. If the ball is hit with 1,000 rpm of backspin then it will bounce off the court with 500 rpm of topspin on a fast court or 1,000 rpm of topspin on a slow court. Regardless of the spin of the ball before it bounces, a fast court changes that spin by around 1,500 rpm and a slow court changes it by around

BY ROD CROSS

2,000 rpm, assuming that the ball is hit from behind the baseline and lands about 6 feet short of the other baseline. In other words, S2 = S1 + 1,500 on a fast court and S2 = S1 + 2,000 on a slow court.

SPIN OFF THE STRINGS
When a player hits the ball, the direction of spin off the court needs to be reversed in order to return the ball with topspin. Depending on how hard the player hits the ball and how steeply the racquet rises up the back of the ball, a player can change the spin by anything between about 1,000 rpm and 6,000 rpm. Suppose that the change in spin is X. Then the spin off the strings is S1 = X - S2. For example, if the spin off the court is S2 = 3,000 rpm and the change X = 4,000 rpm then the spin off the strings is S1 = 4,000 – 3,000 = 1,000 rpm. However, if S2 and X are both equal to to 3,000 rpm then S1 = 0 and the ball will come off the strings without any spin at all. That's what I was seeing in some of the women's matches in January. Rearranging the above terms with a little math shows the following handy relationships: S1 = (X – 1,500) ÷ 2 and S2 = (X + 1,500) ÷ 2 for a fast court rally, while S1 = (X – 2,000) ÷ 2 and S2 = (X + 2,000) ÷ 2 in a slow court rally. If we substitute X = 1,500 rpm for a fast court and X = 2,000 rpm for a slow court then S1 = 0 in each case. The player therefore needs to change the spin by at least 1,500 rpm on a fast court and 2,000 rpm on a slow court to return the ball with topspin. Otherwise the ball will be returned without spin or with backspin. Figure 2a shows a slow court rally when X = 2,000 rpm, S1 = 0, and S2 = 2,000 rpm. Fig. 2b shows a slow court rally when X = 3,000 rpm, S1 = 500 rpm, and S2 = 2,500 rpm. Figures 3a and 3b show the corresponding situations on a fast court: Fig. 3a when X = 2,000 rpm, S1 = 250 rpm, and S2 = 1,750 rpm; Fig. 3b when X = 3,000 rpm, S1 = 750 rpm, and S2 = 2,250 rpm. Note that the spin off a slow court is faster, but that makes it harder, not easier, for the player to return the ball with topspin. Q

SPIN OFF THE COURT
When a ball hits the court in a rally situ-

40 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2007

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string Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament 16
Synthetic Gut Multifilament is Prince’s latest offering for the player looking for a playable multifilament string with a crisp feel and good durability, at a midrange price.
Synthetic Gut Multifilament is available in 16 and 17 in natural only. Its list wholesale price is $9 for sets of 40 feet, and $145 for 660-foot reels. For more information or to order, contact Prince at 800-2TENNIS, or visit www.princetennis.com. Be sure to read the conclusion for more information about getting a free set to try for yourself. 33 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 5.5. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. The average number of hours playtested was 23. Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament got great ratings from our playtest team. To date, our playtest program has tested 107 strings from different manufacturers. Any string that receives a score in the top five—as Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament does for Control—is impressive. For that matter, any string that scores in the top 10—as Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament does for Playability—is impressive. In addition, though, Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament scored well above average or better in every other category, too, which include Durability, Power, Touch/Feel, Comfort, Spin Potential, Tension Retention, and Resistance to Movement. It not only has a combined rating that is well above average, it is the 15th best string we’ve tested to date, in overall score. This is especially impressive considering its midrange price. Only one playtester broke his sample, after 11 hours of play, which in itself is noteworthy.

PLAYTEST

that Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament might be for you, fill out the coupon to get a free set to try. —Greg Raven Q

EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings) Number of testers who said it was: much easier 2 somewhat easier 9 about as easy 22 not quite as easy 0 not nearly as easy 0

IN THE LAB
We tested the 16-gauge Synthetic Gut Multifilament. The coil measured 39’8”. The diameter measured 1.29-132 mm prior to stringing, and 1.27-1.29 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 73 RDC units immediately after stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 x 18 pattern) on a constant-pull machine. After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed stiffness measured 67 RDC units, representing an 8 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 percent tension loss. Synthetic Gut Multifilament added 13 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame. Synthetic Gut Multifilament is easy to install, as attested by our playtesters. It has a nice feel to it, and is soft without being problematic on blocked holes. No playtester broke his sample during stringing, none reported problems with coil memory, only one reported problems tying knots, and only one reported friction burn.

OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often) Number of testers who said it was: much better 2 somewhat better 10 about as playable 6 not quite as playable 14 not nearly as playable 1

OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge) Number of testers who said it was: much better 2 somewhat better 9 about as durable 19 not quite as durable 3 not nearly as durable 0

CONCLUSION
The overwhelmingly positive comments about Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament are entirely consistent with the fact that— on average—the members of our playtest team played with the test sample almost as long as they normally use their favorite string, which comes out to a full seven hours longer than the minimum requirement for the playtest. This is underscored by the fact that the lowest rating it received is still well above average, making it a well-balanced string that doesn’t have to sacrifice in one area to excel in another. As the name implies, Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament builds on the heritage and credibility of Prince Synthetic Gut, adding even more playability. If you think

RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best) Playability (#10 overall to date) Durability Power Control (#5 overall to date) Comfort Touch/Feel Spin Potential Holding Tension Resistance to Movement 3.8 3.7 3.3 3.8 3.7 3.5 3.3 3.5 3.5

ON THE COURT
The string was tested for five weeks by

42 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2007

TESTERS

TALK

I usually do not refer to synthetic strings as gut-like, but in this case, it does apply. This string is comfortably firm and powerful. After a short break-in period, this string became soft and even more powerful. Feel, comfort, and playability were above average and possibly better than any nylon I’ve used! 4.0 male all-court player using Volkl V1 Classic strung at 60 pounds CP (Natural Gut 16)

level than many natural guts and the playability is amazing. Highly recommended if you like comfortable strings with controllable zip. 4.5 male all-court player using Volkl DNX 10 Mid strung at 60 pounds LO (Natural Gut 16)

Just when I thought nylon was out of tricks, I discover a rare treat. This is one of those strings that would play comfortable across the tension range. It has wonderful shock-absorbing qualities without sacrificing feel. The tension maintenance is exceptional. Given its low trampoline effect (a common disease of multis), the stringbed plays with refreshing predictability and on-demand power, i.e., I didn’t have to adjust my strokes, control and power were simply there. After a while, I forgot I was testing. This is not a niche string, it does everything well. It’s got loads of bite and dwell time for topspin, and excellent depth and trajectory control for flat drives. This string inspires confident tennis. 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson nPro strung at 62 pounds LO (Babolat Superfine Play 17)

This has all the playing characteristics of natural gut without the fraying. This string is without question the best I’ve tried in a long time. The comfort and playability are excellent. 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson Hyper Hammer 4.3 PH strung at 62 pounds LO (Tecnifibre X-One Biphase 1.24 17)

This string has that elusive combination of control and power. Its resistance to movement is impressive. 5.0 male all-court player using Head Flexpoint Radical MP strung at 60 pounds LO (Gamma ESP 17)

This string produces good power, spin, and control. It plays soft initially and settles after several hours of play. There is little to no string movement. I would recommend this string to heavy hitters. 4.0 male all-court player using Head Flexpoint Prestige MP strung at 62 pounds CP (Luxilon Big Banger Original Rough 16)

This string is very easy to install and even easier to play with. It has a higher comfort

For the rest of the tester comments, USRSA members can visit RacquetTECH.com.

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

Prince has generously offered to send a free set of Synthetic Gut Multifilament to the first 500 USRSA members who request it. To get your free set, just cut out (or copy) this coupon and mail it to: USRSA, Attn: Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament String Offer, 330 Main Street, Vista, CA 92084 or fax to 760-536-1171 Offer expires January 15th, 2007 One set of free string per USRSA membership. Offer only available to USRSA members in the US.

FREE PLAYTEST STRING PROGRAM

FREE! Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament! Offer expires January 15th 2007
Name: USRSA Member number: Phone: Email:
If you print your email clearly, we will notify you when your sample will be sent.

January 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

43

Readers’ Know-How in Action
FINDING FACTS FAST
stringing machine, keep the bottle away from the machine! Bottles can tip over and spill, damaging your machine. My advice is to apply the alcohol to the cloth and walk the cloth over to the machine. This way, there is no chance for an accident to occur. 5 sets of Wilson NXT OS 16L to: Fred S. McWilliams, CS, Arlington, TX them, they are pre-formed to follow the form and shape of the racquet. It makes their installation a lot easier! Forten Tournament Bag to: Terry Boyle, Columbine Valley, CO

tips

and TECHNIQUES

TLC FOR THE RDC
I was getting varied swingweight readings on my Babolat Racquet Diagnostic Center (RDC). I took the cover off and found that there is a ball bearing system on top that is exposed to dust from outside the machine. I blew the dust out with compressed air and sprayed the ball bearings with a silicone lubricant, and it works consistently again. 5 sets of Gamma Flex Core Control 16 & Gamma Hat & Gamma T-Shirt to: Dan Kerr, Warton, ONT, Canada

BUMPERGUARD STORAGE
Finding the stringing pattern for common frames in the Stringer’s Digest is a step that can be made a little quicker. Instead of just putting plain tape on the page I want to mark, I use my own string labels, writing the racquet name in the "String" field. This allows me to flip to the right page in the book in about two seconds. 5 sets of Ashaway MonoGut 17 to: Greg Jastrzab, Kearney, NJ I keep my bumper guards in a smallish box that forces them into the shape of a mild arc. This way when I need to install

BETTER CLAMP CLEANER
Instead of using an alcohol-soaked cloth or a regular pipe cleaner, I've found using decorative pipe cleaners packaged as

CAREFUL CLEANING
When using rubbing alcohol to clean a

44 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2007

ment also seems to reduce the likelihood that the string will slip, too. 5 sets of Klip Synthetic Gut 16 & a Klip Hat to: Steve Huff, Mechanicsville, VA

for the next stencil job. 5 sets of Volkl Power-Fiber 18 to: Dan Kerr, Warton, ONT, Canada —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
Chenille Stems found in craft stores much better. They are longer and have a sturdy core wire with soft bristles. Bend into a U shape, dip in alcohol and easily clean clamps and gripper with one hand while gently maintaining the gap between the gripping surfaces with the other (never clamp down on the wire). I do this often and seldom have to disassemble for brush cleaning. 5 sets of Head FiberGEL Power 16 to: Eldon Whitlow, Pekin, IN I use my workbench to stencil. It can be messy but, before starting, I spread out pages from my local newspaper. When I am done, I discard the top sheet of the newspaper, and have a clean work surface

STARTING WITHOUT SLIPPAGE
As others have pointed out, pulling tension on the first center main puts a lot of stress on the clamp holding the other center main. With no string tension behind it to help, that first clamp can and will move. To eliminate any clamp movement when pulling that first center main, position the clamp so that it is up against the 6 or 12 o'clock mounting post. Tightening the first center main string will cause the clamp to pull up against the mounting post, at which point it’s not going to move any farther. Preventing clamp move-

January 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

45

ask
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the EXPERTS

Your Equipment Hotline
RACQUETS GOING SOFT
DO RACQUETS GO SOFT WITH age, and if so, how do you measure it? ALL RACQUETS DO “GO SOFT” with age, partially due to temperature cycling and partially due to impact stress. With wood racquets, the typical failure when subjected to temperature extremes is either to warp (in the case of heat) or crack/crush (in the case of cold). The typical failure from impact is breakage. According to materials engineer Tom Kosinski, the carbon fiber and graphite in modern racquets are subject to the same stresses as wood frames, but they usually fail differently. When heated, the filler material (resin in most cases) will tend to expand slightly, and will become more pliable. The overall strength and modulus of the carbon fiber are such that you do not really notice the expansion, and the greater the ratio of pure fiber to resin, the less expansion there will be. Given enough temperature extremes and enough temperature cycles over time, however, even the best modern materials will begin to develop microscopic cracks. It is common in composites for temperature cycling to cause the materials to fail on a microscopic level, developing small cracks in the material matrix. Over time, these cracks grow and cluster, and the material starts to “soften.” This is the mechanism that people experience when their carbonfiber frames have seen a lot of use, and the frame doesn't seem to have the punch anymore. The frame will not look any different, but the material has lost the characteristics it had when new. In the cold, especially with frames strung at very high tensions, the frames tend to crack and snap. While the materials are best under compression, microscopic cracking will still occur, and the colder it gets the more brittle the material becomes. Typical failures in extreme cold include the development of microscopic cracks and the enlargement of other defects in the material matrix. Every frame has some defects in it after the molding process. Most defects are small, or not in an area where they can be a problem. In cold temperatures the material will grow those defects quicker and tend to fail more catastrophically. Most frames that have developed problems due to cold will tend to crack on the inside of the frame hoop, because the material in this area is under tension, and carbon and ceramics are not as strong under tension. Modern composite racquets are much more resilient to impact-related damage than wooden racquets, but repeated impacts over time do promote the propagation of microscopic cracks, just as thermal cycling does. Also, the stress of re-stringing can speed the breakdown of the composite matrix. Even so, softening happens very slowly over time. Most players won’t be able to feel it happening because they will adjust to the softening as it happens. The only way to measure the amount of “softening” is to use diagnostic equipment such as the Babolat Racquet Diagnostic Center (RDC) or RA Test Machine. Most players cannot afford devices such as these, so those who want to track this softening will need to find a local shop or club that has one. In order to measure the change in flex of a racquet, you have measure the flex when the racquet is new, using a calibrated device, so you can continue to measure the flex over time and compare current readings to the initial readings.

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MARKETING AVENUES

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I'M WONDERING HOW I CAN promote my stringing business beyond handing out fliers. Clubs have their pros doing stringing at local events so I always feel uncomfortable marketing myself around there. Should I ask the local pro shops if I can provide backup when they get overwhelmed? I seem to be walking on eggshells wherever I market myself in the tennis community. Short of opening up a retail store, how do stringers typically grow their business?

IN ADDITION TO FLIERS, YOU COULD also do a website, on which you make available information for customers and potential customers. To draw customers to visit your website, you could start an e-mail newsletter. It doesn’t have to be very long, or contain earth-shattering information, and you can even report on news of interest to your local tennis community. Tell your fellow players that you are starting an e-mail list for local tennis news, and start collecting e-mail addresses. Each time you send out a newsletter, include your website address. You are right not to approach shop owners or managers during tournaments— unless the stringing team is clearly overwhelmed. It couldn’t hurt to approach them during a slack time, to see if they have any need for an overflow stringer. It’s also poor form to put up a flier for your services at the pro shop, and this extends to any courts that are adjacent to the pro shop. One big boost you can give your marketing efforts is to get USRSA certification. If there are other certified stringers or Master Racquet Technicians (MRTs) in your area, you’ll need to be certified, as well, to compete, and if there are no certified stringers or MRTs in your area, certification will give you a tremendous advantage. Depending on your area, players may have a lot of stringers to whom they can turn. If you’re the only certified stringer or MRT, you have a great selling point when talking with potential customers, and it will look good on your website and e-mails. In addition to passing out fliers, you can also put up fliers with tear-off tabs at the bottom with your contact information. Post these at public courts where there is no pro shop. Public-court players are "fair game," although you still want to tread lightly because they may string their own racquets, or they may have their best friend in the whole world stringing for them. Finally, we have compiled many other marketing tips from other USRSA members over the years. All of these tips can be found on our website at www.usrsa.com or in the Racquet Service Techniques book of the Stringer’s Digest. —Greg Raven Q

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

46 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2007

Your Serve
A Growing Tennis Village
The TIA’s executive director says collaborations within the industry are what lead to the growth of the sport. BY JOLYN DE
BOER

O

ver the last 10 years, I’ve come to think of the Tennis Industry Association as Switzerland—a neutral ground where ideas can be freely explored and developed, where all brands can live in harmony, and where there is a collective group of manufacturers, organizations, retailers, teaching pros, court contractors, facilities, pro groups, and tennis media who all are working for the good of the sport. All of these constituents have ownership in the TIA and its mission, which is to promote the growth and economic vitality of tennis. In 1995 I started working directly for then-TIA President Kurt Kamperman. That year, we announced the Grow the Game Initiative at the Super Show in Atlanta—the start of numerous collaborative efforts among industry businesses and organizations. When Kurt moved on to his current position as USTA chief executive of Community Tennis, I knew it would be great for tennis and a positive relationship-builder for the TIA. Jim Baugh succeeded Kurt as TIA president, and during his three-year term I saw single-minded passion that resulted in successful launches of the Tennis Welcome Center and Cardio Tennis initiatives. It underscores a basic fact I've observed: Industry-wide collaborations in tennis make for successful ventures. And that's what is truly unique about the TIA. This spirit carries us into 2007, with new TIA President Dave Haggerty of Head/Penn, and a fully committed Board of Directors and Executive Committee, which includes Jon Muir of Wilson, Doug Fonte of Prince, and Kurt Kamperman of the USTA. Our board members are leaders in business who make up all areas of the industry and give the TIA depth and direction. The TIA is everyone’s vehicle to impact tennis.

eating, and then meeting back up on lighted courts later so we could play after dark. We had courts along the river, on the mountain overlooking the city, under the viaduct, at schools and parks—too many to recall. While my formal instruction was mainly through the schools, my tennis game wasn't about the competition as much as the social aspect. It was great fun. I was an unofficial missionary for the game back then, convincing friends and family members to pick up a racquet. I converted my future husband, a

amazing people in this industry. After eight years, I started my own marketing and advertising agency, working with the likes of Stan Smith, the Family Circle Cup, the South Carolina Tennis Association, the TIA, and many other businesses. I realized, however, that the TIA was where I belonged.

A BRIGHT FUTURE
The TIA is a group of positive people working for a common good, who want only the best for tennis. That spirit of collaboration has been pervasive in the organization for many years. Our board, our members, and the participating partners—many who give a percentage of their sales—enable the TIA to “perform” to its fullest. The USTA is a major partner in our success, too, and we very much value our growing, positive relationship. Through our research partners Sports Marketing Surveys, W&W Services Inc., and Taylor Research Group, the TIA produces more than 80 market intelligence reports and surveys annually, including the annual Participation Study, plus consumer and census reports that monitor ball and racquet shipments. The TIA remains focused on improving the health of the game for all constituents. Tennis is on the rise and all areas of the industry are working together to keep the momentum going. When I visit my hometown these days, it’s good to see the tennis courts in Hampden Park are full of tennis players, not skateboarders. And it makes me proud to be part of this growing tennis village. Q

“Industry-wide collaborations in tennis make for successful ventures. And that's what is truly unique about the TIA.”
commercial airline pilot, to switch careers to tennis. Since 1990, he has been the director of tennis at Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The majority of my former tennis friends are still avid players and many have made it their career, including me. Nearly 24 years ago my path was re-connected to tennis, the last decade with the TIA. I feel very fortunate to work in this game I love. Throughout my history in business, I’ve worked directly with—and learned from—many great leaders and visionaries. After college, I worked for retail legend Albert Boscov in the special events and marketing department of Boscov’s Department Stores. Then I was hired by the president of Club Med to help establish their first retail sales office in Manhattan. In the early 1980s, my “pilot-turnedtennis-pro” husband and I moved to Hilton Head, and I became the marketing and advertising director for Dennis Van der Meer, where I met the first of many

Avid player Jolyn de Boer is the executive director of the Tennis Industry Association.
We welcome your opinions. Please email comments to rsi@racquetTECH.com or fax them to 760-536-1171.

MY EARLY TENNIS TRIBE
Growing up in Reading, Pa., tennis was a major part of my life. Every day after school, anywhere from eight to 16 (or more) of us would be at various courts around the city. We’d take turns playing, doing homework,

48 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY January 2007