April 2007 Volume 35 Number 4 $5.

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SERVING UP SATISFACTION!
Customer Service Tips for Winning Facilities Are You Safe From Accidents and Lawsuits?

Contents

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INDUSTRY NEWS 7 Wilson launches [K]Factor in
Las Vegas Gala

7 9 10 10 11 11 FEATURES 26 Satisfaction Guaranteed!
Your customers are the most important people in the world. You need to do everything you can to keep them wanting more.

TTC, ESPN team up for Grand Slam coverage PTR presents annual awards at Symposium Lee Tennis partners with Jose Higueras Babolat introduces new Aeropro Drive with Cortex USTA to celebrate AfricanAmercan contributions Barth, Rossi named PTR Master Professionals Deco named all-weather surface of the PTR Head brings out four new Metallix squash frames Dunlop sponsors junior “Points Race” USPTA kicks off 2007 Tournament Series Head extends partnership with Beach Tennis USA Calif. stringer sets record at TTC Open competition

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30 Smart Tennis
The USTA’s Tennis & Education Foundation is focused on growing the game and helping its youngest players.

32 Safe & Sound
Accidents, injuries, and lawsuits can devastate your business. Here’s how you can help reduce problems that might crop up at your facility.

38 Fine Point
For the seven residential court winners in the Distinguished Facility-of-theYear Awards, construction excellence is all in the details.

DEPARTMENTS 4 Our Serve 20 Marketing Success 22 Your Finances 24 The Master Pros

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String Playtest: Pro Supex Big Ace Ask the Experts Tips and Techniques Your Serve, by Liza Horan
April 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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Our Serve
Recognizing the Best
(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. April 2007, Volume 35, Number 4 © 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.

very year, the International Tennis Hall of Fame inducts three or four people who have had a major impact on tennis, whether as a pro player or as a “contributor” to the game, such as a media member, coach, administrator, or official. Those chosen to be in the Hall by the international panel that selects them are certainly all more than worthy to receive this honor.
There is, though, one person who has yet to make it into the Hall, and we think he deserves to be there. It’s time to induct Dennis Van der Meer. No one has had such a direct impact on thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of recreational players throughout the world than has Van der Meer. He has taught more people to play and teach tennis than anyone in the history of

the game. He’s a coach, innovator, advocate, and tireless promoter for the sport, as he has been for decades. Van der Meer has personally taught thousands to play this game. And through the thousands of coaches he has influenced through the Professional Tennis Registry, which he founded in 1976, his influence in tennis probably extends to millions of recreational players. And it’s not just in this country, it’s worldwide—the PTR currently has more than 12,700 members in 126 countries. Earlier in his career, Van der Meer coached both Margaret Court and Billie Jean King. He was in King’s corner during the famous Battle of the Sexes with Bobby Riggs. In 1972, the U.S. State Department cited him for Exceptional Coaching Performance in the Middle East, and in 1989, he received the Healthy American Fitness Award. He was named Developmental Coach of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1997. Over the course of his career, in addition to helping recreational players learn and excel at tennis, he’s also coached men and women pro tour players. And he and the PTR also are leaders—not just in the U.S., but internationally—in spreading tennis to wheelchair players and physically and mentally challenged players, too. Nominations for the 2008 Hall of Fame induction close April 1 (visit www.tennisfame.com to submit nominations), and I know there are plenty of worthy contributors to the sport who deserve—one day—to be in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. But now, it’s time we recognize the one person who simply far and away has had such a major, positive impact on this worldwide sport. Induction into the Hall of Fame in the “Contributor” category is based on “exceptional contributions that have furthered the growth, reputation, and character of the sport.” That, in a nutshell, is exactly what Dennis Van der Meer has been doing for more than 50 years—better than anyone else in the history of this sport. 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 RUN YOUR BUSINESS

Wilson Launches “[K]Factor” Racquets in Vegas Gala
n what may well have been the largest global product launch ever in tennis, Wilson Racquet Sports brought nearly 600 people to Las Vegas at the end of February to formally debut 10 new “[K]Factor” racquets. The gala event, which took place at Caesar’s Palace (with a playtest of the new frames at a local facility) from Feb. 27 to March 2, included key Wilson dealers from the U.S. and hundreds from about 50 other countries. Some of the new racquets have been out since January, timed to Wilson-endorsed pro Roger Federer’s play in the Australian Open. However, the technology behind the frames was not publicly released until the Vegas event. “This week is about our customers and our people,” Wilson Racquet Sports General Manager Jon Muir told the crowd. “You’re really the ones who get it done for us; you ultimately drive our brand. We want you to feel the personal level of the brand.” Wilson says [K]Factor is actually “four exclusive technology innovations” that work together as a “true technology system,” all designed to give every player—from beginners to world No. 1 Federer—more control, or as Wilson puts it, more “[K]ontrol.” (See page 8 for more details on [K]Factor and the new racquets.) “[K]Factor itself is not one thing,” said Muir. “It’s multiple technologies that work together differently in each frame to maximize that frame.” The four new technologies are not found in every [K]Factor frame. “We’ve narrowed it down to which ones apply the best to each player type,” says Muir. Ultimately, he says, [K]Factor racquets will add 64 percent more control to a player’s game. One Wilson source said that for the Vegas event, the company brought in more than 7 tons of product and materials on 120 pallets. Wilson also created a “[K]oncept Lounge,” where they displayed much of their product line, but also had on display the actual Davis Cup trophy, along with seven auto-

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graphed racquet bags used by Federer at the Australian Open, each of which had a different [K]Factor teaser message. The Vegas event started with a short video showing the history of tennis and Wilson. The opening night also included a magician who did a show incorporating the new racquets and various Wilson personnel. On the second day, there were sessions on the new technologies, marketing, and accessories (there also are new strings and grips to go along with the new frames, and an extensive and innovative bag line). Pro players Mardy Fish (No. 22) and Dmitry Tursunov (No. 21) also were on hand in Vegas. The racquet, says Fish, “has great control and great feel, and that’s a big part of my game.” In developing the [K]Factor line, Wilson used input from pro players, including Federer. Wilson announced it will build an “innovation center” at its Chicago headquarters. “The lifeblood of this company is product,” said Wilson President Chris Considine. “We’ll give our research and development team a place to tinker.” He also invited dealers to visit their new headquarters any time. Considine said Wilson did more than $500 million in racquet sports sales last year, and is positioned to reach $750 million. “We are hell-bent on growing our business at least 25 percent in the next few years,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re catering to all consumer types.”

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Wilson Debuts 10 New [K]Factor Frames
ilson says its new [K]Factor line of racquets uses four technologies to create three key benefits—increased feel, more strength and stability, and a bigger sweetspot—all adding up to 64 percent more control. The four technologies are: Q [K]arophite Black: a structure that Wilson says strengthens the integrity of the frame by using Carbon Black nano fiber to “bridge” graphite fibers and SiO2 molecules to create a stronger, denser frame material. Q [K]onnector: Two external “wings” molded into each side of the hoop that contract and expand like a trampoline when the ball impacts the string bed, increasing dwell time of the ball while providing greater control and comfort with a larger sweetspot, says Wilson. Q [K]ontour Yoke: A new shape for the frame that Wilson says enhances stiffness at key stress points, for improved torsional stability. Q [K]ompact Center: A new design innovation that Wilson says improves handling and maneuverability and provides additional feel, and is a direct result of input from world No. 1 player Roger Federer. Not all [K]Factor racquets have all four of the technologies, says Jon Muir, Wilson’s general manager. Suggested retail prices for the frames range from $190 to $350. In addition to the [K]Factor frames, Wilson also introduced new bags, strings, and grips. The [K] Pro Tour bag collection is the same rugged pieces that the top pros, such as Federer and Justine Henin-Hardenne, use on the tour. At a slightly lower price is the [K] Tour line. Both lines have identical pieces and features. New string for the [K]Factor racquets include [K]Gut and [K]Gut Pro. Also new to the line is [K]Grip. And there’s a 26-inch-long junior racquet, the Junior [K]Six.One 26, with a strung weight of 8.8 ounces and list price of $100. For more information, visit www.wilson.com or call 800-WIN-6060.
RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2007

[K]One
Technologies: [K]arophite Black, [K]onnector, [K]ompact Center, [K]ontour Yoke Swing: Slow and compact Power: High Headsize: 122 sq. in. Strung Weight: 9.4 oz. Length: 27.5 in. String Pattern: 16 x 19 Balance: 11 points head-heavy Cross Section: 30 mm List Price: $350

[K]Six.One
Technologies: [K]arophite Black Swing: Fast and long Power: Low Headsize: 95 sq. in. Strung Weight: 12.3 oz. Length: 27 in./27 in./27.5 in. String Pattern:16 x 18/18 x 20/16 x 18 Balance: 9 points head-light Cross Section: 22 mm flat beam List Price: $210

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[K]Three
Technologies: [K]arophite Black, [K]ompact Center, [K]ontour Yoke,Triad Technology Swing: Slow and compact Power: High Headsize: 115 sq. in. Strung Weight: 9.5 oz. Length: 27.5 in. String Pattern: 16 x 19 Balance: 8 points head-heavy Cross Section: 30 mm List Price: $300

[K]Six.One Team
Technologies: [K]arophite Black Swing: Fast and long Power: Low Headsize: 95 sq. in. Strung Weight: 10.8 oz. Length: 27 in. String Pattern: 18 x 20 Balance: 1 point head-light Cross Section: 21 mm List Price: $210

[K]Four 112
Technologies: [K]arophite Black, [K]onnector, [K]ompact Center, [K]ontour Yoke Swing: Medium Power: Medium Headsize: 112 sq. in. Strung Weight: 9.7 oz. Length: 27.5 in. String Pattern: 16 x 20 Balance: 6 points head-heavy Cross Section: 29.5 mm List Price: $260

[K]Surge
Technologies: [K]arophite Black Swing: Medium Power: Medium Headsize: 100 sq. in. Strung Weight: 10.5 oz. Length: 27 in. String Pattern: 16 x 19 Balance: 1 point head-light Cross Section: 26 mm List Price: $200

[K]Zen [K]Four 105
Technologies: [K]arophite Black, [K]ompact Center, [K]ontour Yoke Swing: Medium Power: Medium Headsize: 105 sq. in. Strung Weight: 9.9 oz. Length: 27.25 in. String Pattern: 16 x 19 Balance: 1 point head-heavy Cross Section: 28.7 mm List Price: $230 Technologies: [K]arophite Black, [K]ompact Center, [K]ontour Yoke Swing: Fast and long Power: Low Headsize: 103 sq. in. Strung Weight: 11.1 oz. Length: 27.25 in. String Pattern: 16 x 19 Balance: 5 points head-light Cross Section: 26 mm List Price: $190

[K]Zen Team [K]Six.One Tour
Technologies: [K]arophite Black, [K]ompact Center Swing: Fast and long Power: Low Headsize: 90 sq. in. Strung Weight: 12.5 oz. Length: 27 in. String Pattern: 16 x 19 Balance: 9 points head-light Cross Section: 17 mm flat beam List Price: $220 Technologies: [K]arophite Black, [K]ompact Center, [K]ontour Yoke Swing: Fast and long Power: Low Headsize: 103 sq. in. Strung Weight: 10.1 oz. Length: 27.25 in. String Pattern: 16 x 19 Balance: Even Cross Section: 26 mm List Price: $190

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INDUSTRY NEWS

PTR Presents Annual Awards at Symposium
he Professional Tennis Registry presented its annual awards during the 2007 PTR International Tennis Symposium. The event, which included more than 50 seminars and presentations, a tennis trade show, and the $25,000 Championships, was held Feb. 17 to 24 at the Van der Meer Shipyard Racquet Club on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Former New York City Mayor and PTR board member David Dinkins presented the PTR awards at the annual banquet.

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Q Professional of the Year: Mike Barrell, England Q Wheelchair Pro of the Year: Harlon Matthews, McDonough, Ga. Q Clinician of the Year: Andy Dowsett, England Q Tester of the Year: Dani Leal, Montgomery, Ala. Q Humanitarian Award: Philip Betancourt, Pueblo, Colo. Q Volunteer of the Year: Emma Shekerdemian, England Q Coach Verdieck Touring Pro Coach of the Year: Paul Annacone, Tonpanga, Calif. Q Coach Verdieck College Coach of the Year: Adam Steinberg, Malibu, Calif. Q Coach Verdieck High School Coach of the Year: Paul Fisher, Fairfax, Va. Q Male Player of the Year: Julien Heine, Laguna Niguel, Calif. Q Female Player of the Year: Ashley Mitchell, Charlotte, N.C. Q Public Facility of the Year: Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis & Education, Philadelphia Q Private Facility of the Year: Cherry Hill Health & Racquet Club, Cherry Hill, N.J. Q Media Excellence Award: Net News, John Hanna, publisher, Atlanta Q PTR-USTA Community Service Award: Greg Mahosky, Lake Ozark, Mo. Q PTR-TIA Commitment to the Industry: Leonie Turack, Columbus, Ohio

In addition, the PTR recognized several State Members of the Year. They are: Jeff Gray, Alabama; Jake Shoemake, Arkansas; Steve Riggs, California; Frank Adams, Colorado; Raj Lama, Florida; Tony Niland, Georgia; Butch Staple, Illinois; Adam Jasick, Michigan; Patrick Tibbs, Mississippi; Mark Platt, Missouri; Bill Mountford, New York; Paul Tollefson, North Carolina; Lance Lee, Pennsylvania; Sam Kiser, South Carolina; Murtala Bala Habu, Tennessee; Jack Thompson, Virginia; Kermit Escame, Washington.

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Lee Tennis Partners With Jose Higueras
ee Tennis, the maker of Har-Tru, has formed an official year-long partnership with Jose Higueras, an international tennis icon and a veteran coach, to promote the benefits of playing tennis on clay courts. Through Lee Tennis’s seminars, conferences, advertising, and promotional materials, Higueras will reach out to tennis players and pros about the clay-court playing experience. “We are thrilled about Higueras’s willingness to transfer his knowledge and passion about the health of the game to our players and pros alike,” says John Welborn, director of business development for Lee Tennis. “Jose shares our philosophy of playing the game on clay courts and he’s an advocate of clay tennis courts, as they are integral to the success of developing new players while retaining existing ones.” “Being committed to advancing the clay-court experience among tennis players and pros is my top priority,” says Higueras, founder of Jose Higueras Tennis of Palm Springs, Calif. “Partnering with Lee Tennis was a natural choice as the company embodies the same beliefs about taking the game to the next level. “Playing on clay courts affords my students slide comfort, minimizing the risk for injuries while maximizing health benefits,” he adds. Higueras won 15 pro tour tournament titles and ranked in the world Top 10.

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Babolat Introduces “Aeropro Drive with Cortex”
redit Babolat with helping to jump-start the trend of aerodynamic racquets when it got Rafael Nadal to hit the court with the Aeropro Drive. But what’s new for the company? It’s introducing an alternative model of Nadal’s AeroPro Drive, with the dampening technology Cortex at the top of the handle. It’s exactly what Babolat did with Andy Roddick’s racquet (see the Pure Drive with Cortex). The AeroPro Drive with Cortex, due out in May, will have a 100-square-inch head, weigh 11.1 ounces, and measure in at 27 inches. It’s designed for 4.5 NTRP and above players. Visit www.babolat.com or call 877316-9435.

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Wimbledon Levels Prize Money
imbledon has finally bowed to public pressure and agreed to pay women players as much as the men, it was announced in February. It is the first time the All England Club will offer equal pay through all rounds of the tournament. Last year, men's champion Roger Federer received $1.170 million and women's winner Amelie Mauresmo got $1.117 million.

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hree members of the tennis community were honored recently with national awards as part of the USOC Coaching Recognition Program. Andy Brandi of Boca Raton, Fla., was named National Coach of the Year and Nick Saviano of Davie, Fla., director of Saviano High Performance Tennis Academy at Sunrise Tennis Club Park, was named Developmental Coach of the Year. In addition, the USOC honored Emilie Foster of Boerne, Texas, with the “Doc” Counsilman Science Award for her contributions in the areas of performance analysis and injury prevention.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

USTA to Celebrate African-American Contributions
he USTA announced three major initiatives to celebrate the contributions of black and African-American players to the game of tennis. In July, the American Tennis Association (ATA), the oldest African-American sports organization, will conduct its annual national championship in New York City and for the first time, plans to play final matches at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The ATA was founded in 1916 by a group of African-American leaders to promote the sport throughout a community that had been denied access to facilities and tournaments. A number of well-known black tennis stars were developed by ATA coaches, notably Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe as well as more contemporary players such as Zina Garrison, Katrina Adams, and MaliVai Washington. The USTA and the International Tennis Hall of Fame will showcase a special exhibition at the US Open Gallery during the 2007 US Open. The exhibition will evolve from the year-long exhibit at the Hall of Fame Museum, “Breaking the Barriers,” into an expanded presentation yet to be named. In addition to the exhibit at the US Open, the 50th anniversary of Gibson’s 1957 U.S. Nationals title will also be celebrated. Gibson was the first AfricanAmerican woman to win a Grand Slam, 11 years before Arthur Ashe.

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, January-December 2006 Best-Sellers 1. Prince O3 White (MP) 2. Babolat Pure Drive Team (MP) 3. Wilson N Six-One (16x18) (MS) 4. Prince O3 Blue (OS) 5. Prince O3 Silver (OS) “Hot New Racquets” (Introduced in the past 12 months) 1. Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet (OS) 2. Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet (MP) 3. Wilson NPro Open (MP) 4. Babolat Pure Drive Roddick (MP) 5. Prince O3 Hybrid Shark (OS) (Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

Barth, Rossi Named PTR Master Professionals
$187 $161 $161 $218 $235 oy Barth (right), director of tennis at Kiawah Island Resort in Kiawah, S.C., and Alex Rossi (bottom right), director of tennis at Club Los Leones in Santiago, Chile, are the newest Master Pros for the Professional Tennis Registry. The two were honored at the PTR’s annual Awards Banquet on Feb. 19 during the 2007 PTR International Tennis Symposium on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Barth and Rossi join 25 others who have earned the PTR Master Pro designation. The PTR Master Pro level recognizes those who have made significant contributions to and broad involvement with tennis over many years.
Ken Mak Ken Mak

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$162 $161 $166 $171 $172

Tennis Racquet Performance
Specialty Stores, Jan.-Dec. 2006 vs. 2005 793,836 724,616 % Change vs. ’05 10% Dollars 2006 $105,225,000 2005 $100,249,000 % Change vs. ’05 5% Price 2006 $132.55 2005 $138.35 % Change vs. ’05 -4% (Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys) Units 2006 2005

Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, January-December 2006 1. Adidas Barricade IV $101 2. Nike Air Max Breathe 2 $94 3. Adidas Barricade II $82 4. Prince T10 $81 5. Nike Air Max Breathe 3 $97 (Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

LSI Brings Out New Optical System
SI Courtsider Sports Lighting has a new optical system—ART (Advanced Reflector Technology)— that utilizes a 1000-watt Metal Halide reduced envelope lamp. LSI says ART delivers more than 10 percent additional light to the court area, while reducing stray illumination. ART is now featured in all Courtsider XL fixtures. For more information, contact 513-793-3200.

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Top-Selling Tennis Strings at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, Jan.-Dec. 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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Deco Named All-Weather Surface of PTR
he PTR has announced a five-year agreement that names DecoTurf as the official all-weather tennis surface of the PTR. “PTR is thrilled to be associated with the court surface provider of the US Open and the Olympics,” says Dan Santorum, CEO of the PTR. “Our partnership will provide an excellent opportunity for both PTR and DecoTurf to cross promote businesses.” “Partnering with PTR and its tennis teaching professionals is a tremendous opportunity to work closely together and coordinate our efforts to benefit tennis overall,” says John Graham, managing director of DecoTurf. “Over 40 percent of DecoTurf’s sales are international, and we look forward to teaming with PTR members in 126 countries.” DecoTurf, headquartered in Andover, Mass., has authorized applicators around the world. Visit www.decoturf.com or call 800-332-6178 in the U.S, or 978-6239980 internationally.

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SHORT SETS
are the 2007 > Tickets BNP on sale forQuarterfinalDavis Cup by Paribas tie between the U.S. and Spain at the Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., April 68. Tickets are sold as a three-day series with prices ranging from $90 to $390, with VIP packages available. Call 888-484USTA (8782). and Serena Williams will play on > VenusFed Cup team that will face Belthe U.S. gium in the World Group Quarterfinal at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center in Delray Beach, Fla., on April 21-22. Tickets for the two-day, best-of-five match series can be purchased by calling 888334-USTA (8782). Tickets will be sold as a two-day series with prices ranging from $35 to $225, with VIP packages available. regular season the > TheWorld TeamTennisschedule for pre2007 Pro League sented by Advanta features appearances by Venus Williams, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Anna Kournikova, Nicole Vaidisova and the Bryan Brothers. The 2007 WTT pro season runs from July 5 to 25. The top two teams in both the Eastern and Western Conferences advance to the WTT Championship Weekend, July 27 to 29, in Roseville, Calif. Visit www.WTT.com. director for the facility. For information about PBI, visit www.pbitennis.com. an > ZIM Corp., withInternet TV broadcaster, has partnered the International Table Tennis Federation, the governing body of international table tennis, to broadcast live matches on www.zimtv.biz and www.ittf.com. The strategic partnership will enable viewers to watch on-line live matches from the Pro Tour and the World Junior Tour as well as access more than 100 archived matches. U.S. Squash Racquets Association > TheSquash") announced that Cher("US ryPharm All-Natural Tart Cherry Juice will be the title sponsor of the Team USA Squash Tour, as well as an Official Supplier of Team USA Squash and Official Sponsor of US Squash. 1 Pete > Former World No. OutbackSampras will make his debut on the Champions Series at the Champions Cup Boston, May 2-6 at the Agganis Arena at Boston University. Sampras, who won seven Wimbledon titles en route to his record 14 Grand Slam singles titles, will compete in additional Outback Champions Series events later in the year. magazine into a > Tennis Lifeagreement has entered Sports distribution with The Authority in which the publication will be available at the sports retailer’s 350-plus stores.

>
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Peter Burwash International is now directing the tennis program at the Four Seasons Hotel Doha in Doha, Qatar. PBI has appointed Lukasz Smola as the tennis

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Duddy Is Newest USRSA Tester
Jim Duddy of the Overland Park (Kan.) Racquet Club is the newest USRSA certification tester. He’s been a USRSA Master Racquet Technician for more than 10 years and has strung for all types of players, from beginners to pro tour players. Duddy, a PTR-certified pro, also has taught tennis for more than 13 years, working with all levels of students, including tour players. A former women's tennis coach at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., Duddy currently teaches tennis at the Overland Park Racquet Club, where he is on staff with both the Futures Program and the Mike Wolf Tennis Academy.

Roger Federer and Serena Williams both won the 2007 Australian Open playing with the company’s new [K]Factor frames. Federer played with the [K] Six.One, while Williams played with a prototype frame.

• Head has signed an agreement with
world No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo of France that will continue through 2010. Mauresmo, who won the 2006 Australian Open and 2006 Wimbledon, will play with Head’s Flexpoint Radical MP racquet.

• Bill Mountford, the director of tennis at
the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., will leave the USTA in April to become the head of coach relations and competition at the soon to open National Tennis Center in Roehampton, West London.

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• Peter Burwash, president of tennis
management firm Peter Burwash International, was named Tennis News 2006 Person of the Year by Bob Larson, publisher of Daily Tennis News (www.tennisnews.com).

• John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova
will be the lead on-air analysts for The Tennis Channel during the network’s coverage of the French Open, from May 27 to June 8.

• Charles “Charlie” Grimes, husband of
USTA Chairman and President Jane Brown Grimes, died on Feb. 5, of pancreatic cancer in New York City. He was 71 years old. He was a 1957 graduate of Yale University, and a member of the 1956 Yale Varsity Crew that won a gold medal in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Donations can be made to: National Rowing Foundation, 67 Mystic Road, Stonington, CT 06359.

• Dunlop player Tommy Haas won the
Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis without losing a set or facing a single break point all week. Haas, currently ranked No. 9, defeated Andy Roddick in the final. It was Haas’s first tournament with the new Dunlop Aerogel 3Hundred racquet.

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18 Courts in Conn. Receive Classic Turf Surface
Classic Turf Co. of Woodbury, Conn., recently started work resurfacing the 18 asphalt courts overseen by the Trumbull (Conn.) Park and Recreation. “All of the courts were cracked, and 12 were closed down completely because they were dangerous to players,” says Tumer Eren, president of Classic Turf, which manufactures and installs a cushioned sheetgoods surface system. “They kept repairing the same problems over and over, and decided to finally go with a soft, comfortable surface that won’t crack.” The project is expected to be completed in the summer. For more information, contact 800-246-7951 or visit www.Classicturf.org.

Head to Introduce Metallix Squash Frames
ead will introduce four racquets this summer as part of its Metallix series: The Metallix 160 (used by world No. 2 David Palmer), the Metallix 140 (used by sisters Natalie and Rachel Grinham), the Metallix 130 and the Metallix 150 Head says its Metallix is one of the lightest and strongest new materials made today, giving players a lighter, stronger, and more powerful racquet. It 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. The decreased grain size translates to an increase in strength, says the company. Visit www.head.com.

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Babolat Introduces Propulse Shoe
op American player Andy Roddick is playing with the new Babolat Propulse tennis shoe, which he started wearing at the 2007 Australian Open. The newest model in the Babolat footwear range, the Propulse has Roddick’s signature. “During a match, shoes are subjected to extreme conditions,” says Roddick. “I particularly appreciate the traction and quick acceleration I get with the Propulse.” Roddick has been playing with Babolat racquets and strings since 1999 and wearing Babolat shoes since August 2005. Babolat says the shoe features three groundbreaking innovations: Q Michelin rubber outsole compound, developed by the engineers at Michelin to provide durability; Q Exclusive Michelin outsole sculpture, to help maximize grip on all court surfaces through Michelin’s Optimized Cell System (OCS), a technology used in auto racing; Q Exact Pro Propulsion system in the forefoot that works like a booster to recover faster in lateral movements. For information, visit www.babolat.com.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Balle de Match Adds Reps, Expands in Canada
pparel maker Balle de Match has added new sales reps in the U.S., and the company has become a partner with the Tennis Professionals Association (TPA), part of Tennis Canada, the governing body of tennis in Canada. Kit Rohm and Vicky Franz, former sub reps for Ellesse and Lotto in Orange County, are now managing the Southern California region for Balle de Match exclusively. In Florida, the company added Mari Workman and Lisa Durkin. Also, Terry Gratz and Laurie Bouch will manage sales in the Northeast and Southeast regions. The two-year agreement with the tennis pro association in Canada will give the 1,600 TPA members the opportunity to purchase Balle de Match apparel on a “preferred” basis. The company will offer special packages to members, including a warm-up designed specifically for the TPA. “Having TPA members wear our product will enhance our brand awareness with consumers, which will help drive sales at retail,” says Balle de Match co-owner John Embree.

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Georgia, Georgia Tech Win Team Indoor Titles
op-seeded Georgia beat No. 2 Ohio State 4-0 in the final at the USTA/Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Men's Team Indoor Championships at Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago. It’s Georgia's second straight team Indoor title. The Bulldogs have now won 38 of their last 39 matches over the past two seasons. This event, which features 16 of the nation's top programs, has crowned a national indoor champion every year since 1973. This is the second time in three years Midtown Tennis Club and the University of Illinois have served as hosts. For the women, fourth-seeded Georgia Tech beat Notre Dame 4-2 in the final at the USTA/ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championships at the University of Wisconsin's A.C. Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison. Earlier, in the semifinals, Georgia Tech handed No. 1 Stanford its first loss since May 18, 2003. Stanford had won its last 89 matches, an NCAA Division I women's tennis record, before falling 4-3 to Tech. "We keep telling our players it's all about taking things day by day and just try to keep getting better, that good things will come," Georgia Tech coach Bryan Shelton said. "We'll be able to really appreciate this win down the road, but right now we just want to hold on to the mentality of looking to improve every day. I think we're heading in the right direction." In Division 3, the University of California-Santa Cruz beat Claremont-Mudd-Scripps to claim the ITA Men’s National Team Indoor Title.

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Dunlop Sponsors Junior “Points Race”
unlop Sports Group Americas and the USTA Southern Section announced Dunlop’s sponsorship of the D-Squad Points Race competition in the Southern Regional Bullfrog Junior Tennis Circuit, which kicked off in early February in Jackson, Miss. Players who compete in at least four of the eight Bullfrog Tennis Tournaments held throughout the South will garner points as they advance into and beyond the quarterfinal rounds—ranging from 3 points for reaching the quarters to 10 points for the winner. The overall winners in the boys and girls categories will have their names engraved on the Dunlop Cup Legacy Trophy, which will be on permanent display at the USTA Southern Section office in Atlanta. Each winner will also be presented with a personal Dunlop Cup trophy. The top three total point finishers in each age group (12s, 14s, 16s, and 18s) of boys and girls will receive a variety of premium Dunlop tennis products based on their performance in the D-Squad Points Race. These awards will include Dunlop’s Aerogel racquets, clothing, and a variety of Dunlop bags, grips, and other accessories from its 2007 line. “Dunlop is excited about its renewed commitment to junior tennis,” says Kai Nitsche, general manager of racquet sports. “We are extremely proud of our DSquad team of sponsored players and see the Dunlop Cup as a way of further expanding our efforts to junior tennis overall.”

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USPTA Kicks Off 2007 Tournament Series
n 2007 the USPTA will once again offer its members the chance to earn prize money and ranking points through its USPTA National Surface Championship Series. USPTA members will test their playing skills beginning with the USPTA Clay Court Championships set for May 4-7. The event is presented by the USPTA Florida Division and the Ibis Golf and Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. Total prize money for this tournament is $8,000. The tournament will feature events in men’s and women’s 35s, 45s, 55s, and Open divisions in singles and doubles. The series will give USPTA members the flexibility and opportunity to compete on various surfaces. The national tournaments are open to Professional-Level members in good standing. For additional information, contact 800-USPTA-4U. USPTA Professionals may log in to the “members only” section of www.uspta.com for an application. 2007 USPTA National Surface Championship Series schedule:
Q USPTA Clay Court Championships, May 4-7, Ibis Golf and Country Club, West Palm Beach, Fla. Tournament director: Chuck Gill, 561-624-8900; USPTA contact: Todd Ruedisili Q USPTA Grass Court Championships, Aug. 24-26, Philadelphia Cricket Club, Philadelphia. Tournament director: Ian Crookenden, 215-247-6290. Q USPTA International Championships, Sept. 17-21, Saddlebrook Resort, Wesley Chapel, Fla. Tournament director & USPTA contact: Frank Kelly, 512-453-7249. Q USPTA Hard Court Championships, Oct. 27-29, Hollytree County Club and Tyler Tennis & Swim Club, Tyler, Texas. Tournament directors: Jim Sciarro, 903-581-7788 & Guillaume Gauthier, 903-561-3014; USPTA contact: Frank Kelly, 512-453-7249.

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April 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

15

2007

Q : WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN WINNING AND LOSING?

A: [K]ONTROL
IS THE DIFFERENCE

FACT

*

IN 2006 THE PLAYERS WHO HAD THE FEWEST UNFORCED ERRORS
*on average of all 4 grand slams®

WON A COMBINED 74% OF THE TIME WITHOUT [K]ONTROL
[k]ontrol your shots [k]ontrol your game [k]ontrol your results [k]ontrol your destiny

RESULT

POWER IS NOTHING

D E F I N I N G

[ K ] F A C T O R what is factor?
by definition, "factor" represents anything that actively contributes to the production of a result

what is [k]?
the [k] represents the four new proprietary wilson technologies which result in enhanced [k]ontrol

wilson [k]factor combines the next generation in nanotechnology™ and unique frame engineering innovations, that result in the ultimate line of [k]ontrol rackets for all player types

[K]EY FEATURES

[1]

[k]arophite black™ a proprietary next generation structure created through a unique process at the nanoscopic level resulting in more feel and a stronger and more stable racket.

ordinary racket

ncode® racket

[k]factor™ racket

[k]factor racket

nanoscopic view new structure

[k]arophite black™

[2] [3] [4]

[k]onnector™ 2 external wings molded into each side of the hoop to increase the dwell time of the ball upon impact. this provides greater control and comfort with a larger sweet spot. [k]ontour yoke™ new frame engineering technology that enhances stiffness at key stress points on the racket for improved torsional stability. [k]ompact center™ new industrial design innovation that improves handling, maneuverability and provides additional feel. directly inspired by #1 in the world roger federer.

new shaped yoke

[k]ompact

center

[k]factor = 4 [k]ubed = 64% more [k]ontrol*

4 [k]ey technologies: [k]arophite black [k]onnector [k]ontour yoke [k]ompact center 3 [k]ey benefits: increased feel + more strength & stability + bigger sweet spot

*41% stronger compared to a regular graphite racket + 23% more torsional stability based on off-center testing compared to a volcanic cross section = 64% more [K]ontrol

[K] ONE™
Swing Index Headsize Strung Weight Balance List 1 / Slow & Compact 122" 9.4 oz 11 pts HH $350

[k]arophite black™ [k]onnector™ [k]ompact center™ [k]ontour yoke™

double hole™

the flagship of the [k]factor line loaded with all the latest technological features including the exclusive [k]onnector system. the [k] one is the first racket of its kind to bring maximum power with a great combination of [k]ontrol and forgiveness in an extra-light frame. producing explosive shots with unmatched [k]ontrol, the [k] one is an almost unfair advantage on court.

[K] THREE™
Swing Index Headsize Strung Weight Balance List 3 / Slow & Compact 115" 9.5 oz 8 pts HH $300

[k]arophite black™ [k]ompact center™ [k]ontour yoke™

triad® technology double hole™

a winning combination of power, [k]ontrol and [k]omfort in a lightweight and forgiving racket for players who refuse to [k]ompromise with their equipment. [k]factor technology combined with the proven triad system makes this lightweight frame an all court classic.

[K] FOUR™ 112
Swing Index Headsize Strung Weight Balance List 4 / Medium 112" 9.7 oz 6 pts HH $260

[k]arophite black™ [k]onnector™ [k]ompact center™ [k]ontour yoke™

double hole™

the [k] four 112 delivers the ultimate in power and [k]ontrol thanks to [k]factor™ technology. featuring the exclusive [k]onnector system with an oversized sweet spot, the [k] four will become an instant favorite for those who are seeking to [k]onquer the game.

[K] FOUR™ 105
Swing Index Headsize Strung Weight Balance List 4 / Medium 105" 9.9 oz 1 pts HH $230

[k]arophite black™ [k]ompact center™ [k]ontour yoke™ / double hole™

a new pinnacle of balance has been achieved with this midplus racket which blends power, stability and maneuverability with enhanced [k]ontrol. designed for players looking for more pace and spin in their shots.

[K] SIX.ONE™
TOUR
Swing Index Headsize Strung Weight Balance List 6 / Fast & Long 90" 12.5 oz 9 pts HL $220

[k]arophite black™ [k]ompact center™

unmatched [k]ontrol and feel, period. choice of the world’s #1 player, roger federer. the integration of [k]arophite black elevates the [k] six.one tour as the new benchmark of precision to take [k]ontrol to the next level.

[K] SIX.ONE™
95 / TEAM
Swing Index Headsize Strung Weight Balance List 95 / 18 x 20 / 95X 6 / Fast & Long 95" 12.3 oz 9 pts HL $210 TEAM 6 / Fast & Long 95" 10.8 oz 1 pt HL $210

[k]arophite black™ [k] six.one 95 / 95 18 x 20 / 95x the #1 racket choice of touring professionals and the new envy of aspiring players worldwide. improved precision through the integration of [k]arophite black gives all players the [k]onfidence to get the job done. the ideal weapon for the player in [k]ommand of their game. [k]arophite black™

double hole™

[k] six.one team professional level of [k]ontrol and feel built into a lighter tour frame for easier maneuverability. specifically designed for the [k]ompetitive player who desires the winning edge.

[K] SURGE™
Swing Index Headsize Strung Weight Balance List 5 / Medium 100" 10.5 oz 1 pt HL $200

[k]arophite black™

double hole™

an all around player's racket with a great balance of [k]ontrol and power. [k]factored for better feel with improved maneuverability, the [k] surge fulfills the desires of a new generation of aggressive players who expect to [k]eep dominating.

[K] ZEN™/ TEAM
Swing Index Headsize Strung Weight Balance List [K] Zen 6 / Fast & Long 103" 11.1 oz 5 pts HL $190 [K] Zen TEAM 6 / Fast & Long 103" 10.1 oz Even $190

[k]arophite black™ [k]ompact center™ [k]ontour yoke™

double hole™

[k] zen an extremely versatile racket combining power, maneuverability, comfort and [k]factor™ technology all in one. designed for a wide variety of player types, the [k] zen provides a sense of touch that is almost organic in feel for the player who is always in the moment. [k] zen team an excellent frame for all court players of all skill levels, the [k] zen team features many of the same attributes as its sister the [k] zen, but will appeal to those who are seeking extra spin and maneuverability in a more lightweight frame.

[k] pro tour

The authentic bag collection carried by the world's top tour professionals including Roger Federer and Justine Henin-Hardenne. Racket bags have Thermoguard® and Moistureguard™ compartments to protect rackets from the elements. Super Six $85 Six $70 Duffle $45
[k] tour

Our best selling signature Tour bag line with loads of features. Super Six $70 Six $60 Triple $40 XL Backpack $50 Tournament $75 Court $55 Junior Six $45 Backpack $40

[k] gut™

[k] grip™

Multifilament construction with Fluorofibre / Superior control with outstanding comfort and playability
[k] gut pro

Control your game with a better grip Double PU process for a soft feel

A firm feeling string Fluorofibre enhanced for added comfort and control Ideal for big hitters

Junior [k] six.one™ 26
[k] gut 16 mini reel

Headsize Strung Weight List

100" 8.8 oz $100

w, wilson, iso-zorb and triad are registered trademarks of wilson sporting goods co. [k]factor, [k] four, [k] grip, [k] one, [k] six.one, [k] surge, [k] three, [k] zen, [k]arophite black, [k]ompact, [k]onnector, [k]ontour yoke, nano technology, nanofoam, ntour, nxt and nzone are trademarks of wilson sporting goods co. breast cancer research foundation is a trademark of and prevention and a cure in our lifetime is a registered trademark of the breast cancer research foundation grand slams is a registered trademark of grand slam tennis tours, inc. trademarks advertised other than those of wilson sporting goods co. are properties of their respective companies / ©2007 lorenzo agius photography wilson sporting goods co. 8700 w. bryn mawr avenue chicago il 60631 1 800 win 6060 ©2007 wilson sporting goods co. all rights reserved / printed in usa 07-0206 / 01.07

A P R I L INDUSTRYNEWS

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USRSA MEMBER CLASSIFIEDS
NOW HIRING TENNIS RACQUET STRINGER WITH PRIOR STRINGING EXPERIENCE. Must be reliable, detail oriented and able to work in a high-volume and fast-paced environment. USRSA certification preferred. Chicago Tennis and Golf Company has been serving the tennis community for the last 18 years. Email corinne@ctgc.comor or call Corinne at 773-588-8884. HELP WANTED: Racquet Stringer/Manager wanted, Beverly Hills, South Bay. Please call Pete at 310-600-2009. FOR SALE: Established Tennis & Health Club in Bristol, Tennessee. Four Indoor hard courts with complete Nautilus and Free weight room, three racquetball courts, basketball, and pro shop. Outdoor court complex with four clay hydro courts and two hard courts, clubhouse and garage. Our website is www.toddsmith.usptapro.com or email toddsbrfc@btes.tv phone 423-341-3484.

Head Continues Partnership with Beach Tennis
ead/Penn Racquet Sports has renewed its agreement with Beach Tennis USA to be the official racquet and ball supplier for its 2007 national tour. Beach Tennis USA, which launched the new hybrid sport in 2005, kicked off its nine-city pro tour in Delray Beach, Fla., in mid-March. "We are excited to have extended our partnership with Beach Tennis USA. This is just one more outlet for Head to be involved in growing the game of tennis,” says Amy Wishingrad, promotions manager for Head/Penn Racquet Sports. Beach tennis is played on a regulation beach volleyball court. Using regulation tennis racquets, two players on each team try to hit a tennis ball back and forth, directly over the net, without letting it hit the sand. Only one hit per team is allowed on each volley and scoring is the same as in tennis, with no-ad at deuce. If a player's serve hits the net and goes over, it counts—just as in beach volleyball. In related news, Beach Tennis USA announced that its Charleston, S.C., licensee, Carolina Beach Tennis, will hold a series of beach tennis exhibitions at the Family Circle Cup in April. Instructional clinics as well as professional demonstrations of beach tennis playing techniques will take place April 10-13 on-site at the Family Circle Cup, which will be held in Charleston. To learn more, call (917) 3050975 or visit www.beachtennis usa.net.

H

California Stringer Sets Record At Tennis Channel Open Competition
new stringing champion was crowned at the 2nd Annual Wilson World Stringing Championships held at the Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas in early March. Stringing his Wilson [K]Factor racquet with an impressive time of 8 minutes and 46 seconds, Bryan Richter of Irvine, Calif., set a new competition record, earning the 2007 Championship title and a prize package worth $10,000. This year’s Wilson World Stringing Championships was hosted by Wayne Bryan, father of world No. 1 doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan, and refereed by Dave Bone, executive director of the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association (and the co-publisher of Racquet Sports Industry magazine). Each competitor’s clocked time included unwrapping the packet of Wilson Reaction string, mounting the racquet, and stringing a 16-main, 18-cross pattern. The six finalists had each cleared several heats to make it through to the final round. Besides Richter, who works at the Irvine Tennis Shop, the finalists were Gilbert Gan of Northridge, Calif.; Rob Cortney of Voorhees, N.J.; Jim Downes of Baltimore; Paul Neely of Phoenix; and Joseph Heydt of Omaha.

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Pro Says Limit Foreign Players at U.S. Colleges
To the Editor: Colette Lewis may be “a longtime observer,” but she hasn’t been observing long enough or observing close enough. Her opinions concerning limits on foreign tennis players in U.S. colleges and universities (Your Serve: An International Flavor, February 2007) are "bad ideas" and "all wet.” Older, more experience foreign tennis players who have been unable to make it in professional tennis are taking scholarship money from deserving American kids. Most of this money is U.S. taxpayer dollars. If a similar thing was happening in football and basketball, there would be a national uproar. In addition, this practice is hurting the grassroots efforts of the USPTA teaching professional to "grow the game." Talk to some U.S. USPTA pros and get their perspective on U.S. college tennis and how it impacts "growing the game." Only the presidents of Division 1 universities can direct the NCAA to change the rule. Let's hope they take action soon. John R. Williams USPTA Professional 1
We welcome your letters and comments. Please email them to rsi@racquetTECH.com or fax them to 760-536-1171.

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18 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2007

&

marketing

SUCCESS

Areas of Influence
Allocating merchandise space based on sales by square foot can greatly expand your revenue centers. BY JOE DINOFFER

S

uccessful retailing is more systematic and analytical than ever. For those of us in the tennis industry, it only makes sense to learn valuable lessons from the large and financially robust retailers. One of the concepts these retailers employ is to allocate merchandise space and analyze the subsequent profits by the square foot. They calculate available shelf space and painstakingly set up software systems that measure sales on each shelf and on each portion of each of those shelves. In a tennis pro shop or specialty store, we can apply this same scientific approach without that same level of painstaking detail that some of the larger chain stores utilize. However, even this more simple approach can have the same profound effects. Here’s an example: Your pro shop floor space measures 28 by 38 feet, so you have 1,064 square feet in available floor space. Your counter area is 8 feet long and 8 feet deep, totaling 64 square feet. This leaves 1,000 square feet for retail display that can generate sales income and profit. After measuring your shop, you need

to make a list of your general categories of merchandise and space utilization. Here’s an example to get you started:

Racquet stringing Racquet displays Men’s clothing Women’s clothing Tennis shoes Tennis strings and grips Accessories including hats, wristbands, etc. 8. Gifts including everything from jewelry and racquet bags
Next, make a rough drawing of your pro shop and convert the 1,000-squarefoot shop into 10 100-square-foot rectangles. Now, simply write-in each of the above categories. By now you’ve noticed that in this example, we have 10 space areas and eight categories. This is where you expand the space for the more profitable categories and shrink the space for the products with lower sales volume and profitability. In this simple example, let’s say you do a big business in women’s tenniswear, and not so much in racquet stringing. You’ll want to expand the women’s clothing category into two-and-a-half squares and shrink your strings and grips to half a section. Then, maybe you allocate oneand-a-half squares for your racquets and the same for your men’s clothing section. For this example, the space allocation for your shop might look something like the diagram at left. The main point is to carefully categorize your sales by the product groups such as those we have listed. Then, evaluate the percentage of your total sales that each of those categories generates. For instance, you may do a huge stringing and customizing business, so you’ll then want to give that area much more space. Now, you’ll have a much clearer picture of how much floor space to allocate for each category. 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.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

20 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2007

$

YOUR

finances

Last-Minute Tax Breaks That Can Save You Money
BY MARK E. BATTERSBY
filed your annual tax returns, have taken advantage of the automatic extension of time to file those returns, or are in the process of preparing income tax returns, you and your tax adviser should review these tax breaks. Conditioning Engineers standard. The deduction equals the cost of energy-efficient property installed during construction, with a maximum deduction of $1.80 per square foot of the building. In addition, a partial deduction of 60 cents per square foot is available to offset the cost of the building’s subsystems. In order to qualify for this write-off, the “property” acquired to help make the building more energy efficient must have been placed in service between Dec. 31, 2005, and Jan. 1, 2008. The next law extends the write-off for equipment or “property” acquired to make commercial buildings more energy-efficient to expenditures made before Jan. 1, 2009. Q Work Opportunity and Welfare-to-Work Credits: The Work Opportunity (WO) and Welfare-to-Work (WTW) tax credits were originally created to provide incentives for employers to hire economically disadvantaged individuals. The new law retroactively renews both the WO and the WTW credits for 2006, combining them, with enhancements, into one credit for 2007. The credits continue to target nine specific groups of economically challenged individuals. The combined credit in 2007 will simplify the necessary computations and, therefore, enhance its use, especially among smaller retail shops and businesses. For most of the targeted groups, the credit is equal to 40 percent of qualified firstyear wages (25 percent if employment is more than 120 hours but less than 400 hours). Qualified first-year wages cannot exceed $6,000. That means a tax credit, a direct reduction in the tennis operation’s tax bill, of as much as $2,400 per qualified individual in the first year of employment. Q Health Savings Accounts: Many business owners have, in recent years, discovered the cost-effectiveness of health savings accounts, or HSAs. Similar to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), but earmarked for health-related expenses, the HSA has caught on among small business owners

HOW YOU CAN SAVE
Among the tax breaks likely to be of most interest to your business are: Q Improving Leased Property: Those owners or operators who lease property—any business property—will find that the new law extends the 15-year recovery/write-off period for certain leasehold improvements through 2007. Generally, qualified leasehold improvement property is any improvement to an interior portion of a non-residential building. Remember, however, unless a leasehold improvement qualifies as “15-year leasehold improvement property,” the cost of an addition or improvement made to property that is a structural component of the building must be depreciated. For example, the cost of installing permanent walls in a commercial building (structural components) would be separately depreciated over a 39-year period. Q Energy-Efficient Buildings: Today, the pro shop and other buildings utilized by tennis facilities have one thing in common: high energy bills. But there’s a unique write-off for the owners of commercial buildings. The new law extends that benefit until Jan. 1, 2008. Under the energy tax write-off, qualifying taxpayers may deduct costs associated with energy-efficient commercial building property. The new law extends for one year a deduction for expenditures by owners to help their commercial buildings reduce annual energy and power consumption by 50 percent compared to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air

any tennis shop and facility owners may be overlooking a number of tax breaks under the false impressions that they had expired. Still other tax breaks, that may have been considered too complex in the past, have now been clarified thanks to the last-minute passage of a tax law. The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, passed late in December, extended a number of expired or expiring tax breaks. Covered were provisions such as sales tax deductions for people in states without income taxes, the tax deduction for college tuition, a tax credit for hiring welfare recipients and others facing difficulties finding jobs, tax credits for alternative energy producers, and purchases of solar energy equipment by homeowners and businesses. All told, the extension of expiring and expired tax breaks, along with several new tax provisions, are expected to save taxpayers $38 billion over the next five years. Regardless of whether you’ve already

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22 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2007

as an excellent, tax-favored fringe benefit for themselves as well as employees. Contributions to HSAs are tax deductible, whether made by the individual or a business, HSAs enable anyone with high-deductible health insurance to make pre-tax contributions. Contributions equal to the lesser of the annual deductible or $2,700 for self-coverage ($5,460 for families) in 2006 to cover health care costs qualify. Unlike an IRA, any amount paid or distributed from an HSA, used exclusively to pay qualified medical expenses, are not included in gross income. As part of the new law, Title III, the Health Opportunity Patient Empowerment Act of 2006, HSAs are now more attractive then ever. Unlike many of the extended provisions, the HSA enhancements have been made permanent, with most taking effect for tax years beginning after 2006. Employees, even employees of their own tennis facility or business, with a health flexible spending account (FSA) or a health reimbursement account (HRA) will be allowed to make a one-time transfer of the balance of their FSA or HRA to an HSA. The maximum amount that may be transferred, tax-free, is the lesser of the balance on the date of transfer or on Sept. 21, 2006. The transfer must be made before Jan. 1, 2012. What’s more, those shop owners and facility operators with tax-favored IRAs are allowed a one-time, once-ina-lifetime, rollover of funds from their IRAs into an HSA. The change is designed to give those with IRAs quicker access to their funds for medical expenses, but it is also expected to spur interest in HSAs. The election to make the rollover is irrevocable and the new rules apply to tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2006. So-called Medical Savings Accounts (or Archer MSAs) also allow favorable tax treatment of money saved for medical expenses by certain taxpayers covered by high-deductible plans. Another provision in the tax law allows new contributions to this type of plan through Dec. 31, 2007.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE
The new tax legislation is not all business. In fact, only a few of its provisions benefit the average tennis facility and business or are related to business. By far, the majority of the extended or resurrected provisions in this bill apply to individuals. Those provisions cover such things as: Q An “above-the-line” deduction for higher education expenses. Q Deduction of state and local sales taxes. Q Above-the-line deduction for expenses of elementary and secondary schoolteachers. Q Extension of energy-efficient new homes credit. Q Extension of credit for residential energy-efficient property. Q Alternative minimum tax credit relief for individuals.

AFTER THE FACT
The extenders bill passed after the IRS printed the 2006 tax year materials. Although the IRS will not be revising the

printed tax forms, it plans a “media blitz” to alert taxpayers that the extenders are back and should not be overlooked in preparing 2006 returns (visit www.irs.gov for more details) and to claim the retroactively resuscitated tax breaks. Publication 553 (Highlights of 2006 Tax Changes) is expected sometime in the first quarter of 2007. Fortunately, tax laws now permit automatic extensions of time in which to file income tax returns—but not the taxes due. If the tax returns have been filed, you can also correct errors and omissions on that already-filed return—including previously overlooked or neglected deductions and tax credits and to claim a refund—by filing Form 1040X for individuals or Form 1120X for corporations that filed Form 1120. Generally, you can file a claim for refund within three years from the time the return was filed. Q

Mark E. Battersby is a tax advisor and author in Ardmore, Pa.

April 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

23

THE

master pros

Philosophy Major
For Nick Saviano, teaching excellence to youngsters BY CHRIS NICHOLSON comes naturally.

N

ick Saviano lived a dream shared by countless young tennis players: He got to play on the pro tour for nine years, ranking in the Top 100 in singles and doubles, and won four titles. But if you ask him to name the best time of his career, he says it’s right now—teaching kids.

excellence and life skills,” Saviano says. “Athletics becomes a wonderful tool, and the competition becomes a metaphor of life: preparation, self-discipline, dealing with success, dealing with perceived failure, learning to focus on the things you can control, learning to master skills. One

This is the sixth of nine installments on the teaching pros who hold Master Pro certifications from both the PTR and the USPTA. “I enjoy what I do immensely every day,” says Saviano, designated a master pro by the PTR and the USPTA. “The best time of my tennis career will always be today.” After retiring from the ATP Tour in 1984, Saviano briefly worked as a private coach and pursued some non-tennis ventures. But the allure of the tennis life was too strong to resist, and he soon joined the USTA as a part-time coach. He then became a full-time USTA national coach, followed by the high-profile job of director of coaching education for USA Tennis High Performance. In between, Saviano has also been an oft-read writer. His instruction articles have appeared in Tennis magazine and Tennis Life, and he authored the 2002 book Maximum Tennis: 10 Keys to Unleashing Your On-Court Potential. After leaving the USTA in 2003, he established Saviano High Performance Tennis, based at Tennis Park Club in Sunrise, Fla. The program is his station for not only developing elite juniors, but for also helping those same kids develop into wellrounded adults. “You use athletics as a way to teach

Heckler, CEO of the USPTA. “He has studied, learned, and written about the modern game, and his work is applauded by all who know it.” “What makes Nick such a great coach is his honesty, integrity, and knowledge,” says Johnny Angel, a WTA Tour coach and former director of the PTR Florida Section. “He’s always got ideas, he shares information, he maintains an energetic environment. And he has a knack for being able to look at problems and find new solutions.” Despite the praise for his accomplishments, Saviano remains grounded by his philosophy—the fruit of his craft is not for him, but for the youngsters he coaches. “The most fulfilling part” Saviano says, “is feeling like you are having a positive impact on young people. You’re helping them strive for excellence and achieve their goals, and you are using tennis as one of the vehicles for which to accomplish that.” Q

of the secrets of competition is that it’s not really about the other person or the other team—it’s about mastery of oneself and always doing the best that you can do, and always pushing yourself for more. Success is not predicated on not losing.” If that sounds overtly philosophical, know that it’s supposed to. “It’s critical that any coach have a clear philosophy on life, on athletics, and specifically on teaching tennis,” Saviano says, “because it’s the compass by which you make decisions throughout your career.” Saviano’s clear philosophy clearly works well. His pupils have won nearly every major junior tennis event in the world, along with titles on the USTA Pro Circuit and the ATP Tour. His success is widely noted and respected—not only by the players, but also by his peers. “Nick is certainly one of the masters of tennis teaching,” says Tim

Coaching Tips from Nick Saviano
Q Always strive for excellence in your profession, which means constantly looking to learn, looking to grow, and looking to improve. Q It is a sacred trust working with young people. You have a moral and professional obligation to watch over them, and to try to provide a safe, healthy, wholesome environment for them to grow and learn. Q Watch and observe modern tennis—stay current with what you teach and how you teach it. Q If you genuinely put the player first, in terms of what you think is good for them, ultimately it will be good for you as a coach.

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CUSTOMER SERVICE

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED!
Your customers are the most important people in the world. You need to do everything you can to BY GREG MORAN keep them wanting more.
here’s an old saying that tells us “a satisfied customer is a happy customer.” Well, in these competitive times, satisfied just doesn’t cut it. If you want people to spend their hard-earned dollars at your club, you must do more. When a person leaves your facility, you don’t want them to be merely satisfied with the experience. You want them to be excited, even exhilarated. “Satisfied” they can get anywhere. “Exhilarated” is special, it makes them want more. I’m fortunate to work at a club that takes “exhilarated” to a new level. The Four Seasons Racquet Club in Wilton, Conn., is owned and operated by former Great Britain Davis Cup star Stanley Matthews, and the club has been keeping customers “exhilarated” for more than 30 years. Studies have shown that a What’s the secret? happy customer tells four to Matthews says it lies in first five of their friends how wonunderstanding what your derful you are while unhappy customers want and then, customers will tell nine to 12 of not merely giving it to them, their buddies how bad their but exceeding their expectations. experience with you was. “A person, who is exhilarated by their experience at your club, will not only become a loyal customer, they’ll spread the word to their friends,” says Matthews. “And, as we

T

all know, word of mouth is the strongest and most effective form of advertising—both positive and negative.” “Four Seasons is one club that truly gets it,” says Geoff Norton, who has visited hundreds of clubs while working for both the PTR and USTA. “From the person answering the phone to the pro and maintenance staffs, each and every person at Four Seasons is dedicated to making their customers not only feel welcome, but special.” The key to building a In regards to customer service, successful business is to always remember that your turn your customers into customer is your paycheck. clients, and in order to do so you must give them a memorable experience each and every time they see you. Here are a few of Matthews’ top customer-service secrets.

1. Treat Customers Like Royalty
People come to tennis/fitness clubs for a variety of reasons. It could be for a lesson or to play in a league. Maybe it’s a weekly social game or perhaps they simply come in once a week to check out your pro shop’s latest fashions. “It doesn’t matter why they’re there,” says Matthews. “They are your customer and should be treated as if they are the most important person in your business world because,

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quite simply they are. Without them you have no business!” The entire atmosphere surrounding your business should radiate a “customer first” attitude. It begins the moment they drive into your parking lot and are greeted with a sign welcoming them to the club (of course, there is another sign at the exit, thanking them as they leave). Everyone who walks through your door is a customer or potential customer, and they should receive a friendly greeting from a member of your staff within 30 seconds of their arrival. People do not like to be kept waiting, so no matter how busy you may be, greet them with an immediate “Hello, how can I help you?” If the customer is a regular, greet them by their first name, which, of course, you should know. Some may prefer Mr. or Mrs. or Doctor so and so. Find out how they like to be addressed and greet them that way each time you see them. When you, or a member of your staff, come in contact with a customer, whether it's by email, phone, letter, or a face-to-face meeting, you leave an impression. Make certain that people are always treated with courtesy, respect, and enthusiasm. “I enjoy the club because of the environment on and off the court,” says Kathy Morrissey, a longtime member at Four Seasons. “Stanley and his staff always greet us with smiling faces and go out of their way to create a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. This allows us to have a fun, competitive game of tennis, visit with friends, and make new friends all at the same time. I don't believe it gets any better than that!"

For those of us in the racquet/fitness business, a “hug” might be asking a customer how they played in their latest match or how their new fitness program Abide by the three-ring was coming along. It could also be rule: No one likes to be asking them how their child's sockept waiting, so be certain cer game went or congratulating that your staff answers them on their recent promotion. your phone within three In simple terms, a hug is rings. Have them greet the something that makes them feel that you care about them. “The caller by thanking them key,” says Matthews, “is to develfor calling, identifying op not only a professional relathemselves, and asking tionship but a personal one as what they can do for well. People will always do busithem. For example: ness with those they feel comfort“Thank you for calling the able with and like.”

3. Be Accessible

As the owner, director of tennis, or head trainer, make certain that you are visible throughout the club and easily available to your clients. Keep your office door open (unless you’re in a meeting), and be sure to walk through the club, greeting customers, as often as you can. You represent the image of your business, so always project a persona that is enthusiastic and eager to please.

Four Seasons Racquet Club. This is Andrea, how can I help you?”

A common complaint among dissatisfied customers is that Names are certainly important but, if you’re truly dedicated to they’ve left a message for a member of the staff and never building long-term relationships, you need to do more than heard back from them. “This is inexcusable,” says Matthews. “When a person is calling to offer you their business, they’re simply place a name with a face. Learn about their families, other interests, anniversaries giving you a tremendous opportunity. To ignore that opportuand birthdays. Of course, you must never be intrusive, but nity is not only rude, it’s business suicide.” A key ingredient of exceptional customer service is a you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn about a person through casual conversation as you conduct your business. prompt response. Even if you don’t have an immediate answer to their question, start the communication. This Just pay attention! This information Did you know that nearly 70 percent lets them know that they, and their issue, are important to you. can then be used to of customers leave because of a If you’re unable to take a phone call or respond to make that person feel poor attitude from an employee? an email at the time it’s received, promise to respond more welcome when by the end of the day and no later than 24 hours after they come to your club. For example: If you notice someone carrying a book, the the time of their message. Then do so: the sooner the better! Also, if you’ll be out of the office for an extended period of next time you see them, ask if they enjoyed it or suggest one that you think they might like. time, be sure to change your voice mail and email messages Better yet, have a book waiting for them the next time they so that they tell the customer when you will or will not be come to the club. Tell them it’s a book you thought they might there. enjoy. How would you feel if the next time you walked into your tennis club one of the pros brought you an article that he thought “you might find interesting.” You’d feel great! “Believe it or not, people do have tennis emergencies,” says Jack Mitchell calls this "hugging" your customers. Mitchell, Matthews. “Though they’re certainly not life-threatening, they a long-time Four Seasons member and author of the popular are important to your customer, which means they must be book “Hug Your Customers,” defines a hug as anything that important to you. exceeds a customer's expectations. "It's a mindset, a way of Here’s an example: Recently, one of our junior players getting to your customers and truly understanding them," came running into the club at 7:30 in the evening with a true says Mitchell. "Hugs can come in a variety of forms. It could tennis emergency: all of his racquets had broken and he had be as commonplace as a smile or eye contact. It could be a a tournament the next day. firm handshake." Our stringer had gone home for the day, but we called him

2. Know Your Customers

4. Don't Leave Customers Hanging

5. Dealing With Emergencies

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“The key,” says Matthews, “is to always be alert to ways in up and he came back to the club, strung the racquets and then personally drove them over to the boy’s house. You should which you can help your customer and make their experience have seen the look on the boy’s parent’s face when he refused the with you more enjoyable.” tip they offered him for making the house call. Of course, he also called the boy the next day to see how his tournament went. Tennis emergencies can come in all forms. We’ve all had People come in all shapes, sizes, and attitudes. You’ll find players show up at the club having forgotten their racqets. some customers easy to please, while you could move heavThat’s an easy one to fix—give them a demo from the pro en and earth and still not satisfy others. Every facility has the customer who forever has an “issue” with something about shop—at no charge, of course. We’ve also seen players arrive to play having forgotten the way the club is run. There is also the customer you have their tennis shoes. I’ve seen many a pro solve this emergency to chase down every month for payment. by taking the shoes off their own feet and loaning them to the Let’s not forget the parent who feels that their child should player. One club in the be in a much stronger group for their clinNortheast even has a ic or the angry team member who feels Research shows that 95 percent of dissatisfied spare set of men’s and she should be playing No. 2 instead of 6. customers will do business with a company women’s shoes in virtuPlus, we’re all human, and that means again if their complaint is resolved on the spot. we make mistakes. Maybe you forgot ally every size, available to their forgetful cusabout a lesson and left your customer tomers. hanging. Perhaps you remembered the lesson but neglected A player’s partner fails to show up? Grab your racqet and to book the court. Maybe you didn’t return a call when you fill in. Someone forgets their tennis shirt and doesn’t want to said you would or failed to leave a racquet for someone at the buy one from the pro shop? Give them one of your club’s logo front desk. The list is endless. Even professionals make misT-shirts. Believe me, they’ll appreciate your generosity and it takes. The best, however, learn from them and never make will be great advertising for your club when he or she wears the same mistake twice. Customers want immediate resolutions, so regardless of the shirt around town. “One of my pros always makes it a point when teaching whether it’s your fault, the club’s fault, or nobody’s fault, an outside to bring bug spray, sunscreen, tissues, and even extra unhappy customer is a business emergency, and how you visors for her students who may have forgotten something,” handle it will go a long way toward building your reputation says Matthews (below). Of course you must always have the as a professional who is known for his customer service. “injury essentials” on hand: ice, bandages, and Advil, as well The customer is always right! as a fully stocked first aid kit. We’ve all heard this phrase as the cardinal rule of customer service. Well, guess what? The customer is not always right, but it doesn’t matter. They think they’re right, and as far as they’re concerned, perception is reality. The customer is the customer, and it is your job to satisfy them so that they will continue to do business with you. Customers get upset for two main reasons:

6. Satisfying Dissatisfied Customers

1. They feel as if they didn’t get what they paid for. Perhaps they didn’t
enjoy their lesson with a particular pro or their racquet doesn’t feel as if it was strung at the requested 58 pounds. Maybe they feel they’re too strong for the clinic they’ve been placed in or the new outfit they bought makes them look fat. It doesn’t matter. They don’t feel they’ve gotten their money’s worth and they are not happy.

2. They feel as if they’ve been treated poorly. Nothing can get a customer angrier than poor treatment. Maybe they feel the pro didn’t pay them enough attention during their group lesson, or that the person at the desk was rude or, even worse, didn’t pay attention to them. Regardless, their feelings have been hurt and they’re angry.

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Sometimes an angry customer is upset about something else and is just taking it out on you. Maybe they had a fight with their spouse before they came to the club or one of their kids broke the television. They’re upset and you’re the closest target. Whether their complaint is legitimate or simply the culmination of a bad day, your job is to make them feel better. So what do you do when you see an irate customer charging your way? Here’s the Four Seasons approach: Q Stay calm. Take a deep breath and prepare for the onslaught. Remind yourself to keep your cool. Q Let them get it out. Once your customer tells you they have a problem, invite them to sit down with you and talk. The front desk or club lobby is not an appropriate place for this discussion, so move to a private area and let them vent. As they’re speaking, let them know you’re paying attention and are interested in what they have to say. This can be done by looking in their eyes, nodding your head and occasionally saying things like, “Yes” or “Okay” or “I see.” Above all, do not interrupt. Q Acknowledge their complaint. Whether you agree or disagree with their issue, you must acknowledge it as an issue. Don’t disagree with them and above all, don’t argue. It’s a battle you can’t win. You may be able to prove them wrong, but that will only make them angrier, at which point they’ll take their business elsewhere. Q Apologize. Regardless of what they have just said to you, something has made them unhappy and for that you must apologize. “I’m so sorry this happened, Mr. Smith. I realize this was an inconvenience for you. Now let’s see what we can do…” Q Fix it. You’ve listened and consoled your customer. That’s very nice, but what they’re really interested in is what you’re going to do about it. They want a solution and they want it quickly. Involve them in solving the problem and as you work toward a solution, use phrases like: “I understand why you …” or “I think we should …” or “Would it work for you if …?” Avoid words and phrases like: “Can’t,” “But,” “You should have …” “The only thing we can do …” Keep in mind that your job is not done when you’ve fixed

your customer’s problem. Exceptional businesses take the next step and do something to: Q Astound. You may have fixed the problem to everyone’s satisfaction, but that is not enough. It’s been a hassle for your customer to have to come to you, and you must now do something to make up for their inconvenience. It could be a gift certificate to the pro shop, a complimentary lesson or a V.I.P. pass for court time. It’s little things such as this that tell your customer you care about them and will keep them coming back.

7. Don’t Hold Grudges
From time to time, you will have conflicts with your customers. After fixing the problem, forget about it. The next time you see the person, make them feel welcome and as if nothing had happened.

8. Follow-Up
Customer service doesn’t end when your clients walk out your door. Follow up to make certain that their experience at your club was everything they were looking for. A phone call or letter is a great follow-up. Plus, always end your conversation with your customers by asking if there’s anything else you can do for them?

And the final rule of exceptional customer service…….. 9. Say Thank You!
Say it everywhere and say it often. Say it verbally and say it in all of your correspondence. Never end a conversation with a customer without saying “thank you.” Remember, without them, you’d be out of a job. Q Greg Moran is the director of tennis at the Four Seasons Racquet Club in Wilton, Conn., and the author of the recently released book, “Tennis Beyond Big Shots” (TennisBeyondBigShots.com or 408-404-7277).

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SMART TENNIS
GROWING THE GAME
mong the resources available to grow the game of tennis, none may have a more lasting impact than those of the USTA’s philanthropic entity, the USTA Tennis & Education Foundation. By starting at the grassroots and focusing on communities in which the sport hasn’t been readily available, the USTA T&EF is creating a strong foundation upon which to improve the well-being of the game, its newest players, and the people and programs that will encourage the growth of both in the coming years. “The Foundation’s mission is to enhance the lives of people through tennis and education,” says Judy Levering, Foundation board member and USTA past president. Since 2001, the USTA T&EF has supported programs that are geared toward providing at-risk youth with positive role models, academic assistance and life skills that help prevent substance abuse, violence, and school dropouts through structured community tennis programs. It also awards scholarships and other incentives to keep youngsters playing the game recreationally into their college career and beyond. “Through the Foundation, we’re reaching communities and kids that otherwise might not be exposed to tennis,” says Karen Martin-Eliezer, executive director of the Foundation. “We’re hoping that these young people will continue to play the game and to act as role models.” In 2006, the Foundation presented $1,347,272 in grants through its Aces for Kids and DEUCE initiatives to 100 programs that combine tennis and education to help children pursue their goals, succeed in school, and become responsible citizens. In the last five years, the Foundation has awarded grants to more than 125 programs in 38 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Aces for Kids is a national initiative of the USTA that is overseen by the USTA T&EF in conjunction with the USTA Public Affairs Committee. It strives to promote healthy lifestyles by combating childhood and adult obesity by providing disadvantaged, at-risk children the opportunity to learn to play tennis and improve their academic skills in a structured format; develop computer literacy; interact with a mentor and other students; and attend college prep sessions.

The USTA’s Tennis & Education Foundation is focused on growing the game and helping its youngest players.
Tennis and Education

BY KRISTEN DALEY

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When choosing grant recipients, the Foundation looks closely at factors including a program’s educational component and budget, as well as how well its board represents the local community. Programs selected to receive USTA T&EF grants then report on their progress twice a year. Some programs have been able to gain credibility and leverage the funds that they have received, says Foundation proposal review committee chair Lawrence Rand. “That helps further the program’s sustainability,” he says. “We’ve had some wonderful success stories.” Among them are the experiences of the Rodney Street Tennis and Tutoring Association (RSTTA), serving at-risk youth in Castle County, Del. In addition to a year-round tennis and education program that serves more than 350 participants from first grade through college, the organization also offers many other programs, including an eight-week summer tennis session for more than 850 children. In 2005, the Rodney Street program received an $18,000 grant from the USTA T&EF. Now in its 28th year, RSTTA is using the funds to maintain and grow its current offerings, which have already proven successful. “Last year, we had nine ranked Delaware tennis players that are minorities,” says Harry Shur, RSTTA executive director. What’s more, adds Shur, the association’s ambassador program, which sends instructors to centers serving underprivileged youth, is rapidly growing in popularity. “The (USTA T&EF) has been very, very kind to us, and has funded us throughout the years,” says Shur. “We’re still very much a grassroots program. But without (the Foundation’s) assistance, we would not be able to do all of these quality, year-round programs.” In addition to its own funding of grassroots programs, this spring the Foundation also partnered with the USTA Office of Diversity and the USTA Public Affairs Committee in awarding DEUCE (Diversity Elimination Using Care and Exercise) and Aces for Kids grants, respectively, both initiatives focusing on the well-being of atrisk youth through tennis, fitness, and education. In 2007, the Foundation will encourage programs to offer nutri-

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tion education components as well, geared toward both children and their parents or caregivers. “We grow the game, we have healthier and happier kids,” says Martin-Eliezer. “Everybody wins.”

Scholarships and Incentive Awards
The Foundation also awards scholarships and other incentives to keep young adults playing the game recreationally into their college years and beyond. The program supports college-bound high school seniors who have participated in USTA and other organized tennis programs. Students are eligible for a number of scholarships awarded by the Foundation if they demonstrate academic excellence, community service involvement, and financial need. More than 300 scholarships have been awarded since 2001. Martin-Eliezer says that rewarding scholarships to players who will not likely receive a tennis scholarship from a college or university should contribute to the long-term goal of growing the game. “We hope they’ll remember that tennis was one of the vehicles that got them the scholarship and they will continue to play,” she says. Additionally, the Foundation distributes Player Incentive Awards to students in grades 6 through 11. These $500 grants help young players in USTA and school programs pay for lessons and tournament and program fees. Recipients must also demonstrate a commitment to academic excellence. “We’re investing in the future,” says Martin-Eliezer. “It’s not just a game. We’re investing in young children who will hopefully be leaders in their communities.” To realize their goals, the Foundation, working in conjunction with USTA Outreach and NJTL (National Junior Tennis League), reaches out to other foundations that offer grants, as well as a dedicated group of financial supporters. The Foundation received a $400,000 grant from The Ford Foundation for a pilot project that will use tennis to bring people together from diverse backgrounds in changing neighborhoods in ways that will enhance education,

communication, economic opportunity, and neighborhood stability. The Foundation also presents special events throughout the year, including the often star-studded OPENing Night Gala and Pro-Am during the US Open to support its initiatives. The “Avenue of Aces” at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is another major fundraiser, where donors can leave their mark on the home of the US Open by purchasing a paver emblazoned with their names. “We make sure that everything we get goes directly back out to programs and students across the U.S.,” says Martin-Eliezer. The Foundation’s Board of Directors determines grant awards, scholarships and other financial support. Board members represent a variety of professions and different levels of tennis involvement. Among them are USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jane Brown Grimes; former USTA Chairman of the Board and President Alan Schwartz, who is also founder, coowner and chairman of Tennis Corporation of America; Bahar Uttam, CEO of the Boston Lobsters, a World Team Tennis franchise; and International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Pam Shriver. Succeeding Shriver in the position of Foundation president last year was Patrick McEnroe. “The mission of supporting programs that enhance the lives of people—primarily youngsters—hits home,” says McEnroe. “I am proud to take on this responsibility. I have been extremely lucky to have tennis be such a big part of my life. It is part of the McEnroe DNA, along with the desire to help children. Tennis has taught me so much about life and when it’s combined with education, particularly for underserved youngsters, it is a winning combination.”

Growing the Grassroots
Teaching pros, CTAs, and others in the tennis business stand to benefit from the Foundation’s work. “We’re helping to grow the game by expanding the grassroots programs across the country,” says McEnroe. “There are a lot of programs out there that we’d like to help.” Teaching pros and club owners who offer nonprofit tennis and education programs for at-risk youth are encouraged to apply to the USTA T&EF for support. They can also contribute to the Foundation’s efforts, Levering says, by getting involved with the community groups that run such programs in their area. As ambassadors for the game, they can also lobby to get courts built or renovated in nearby public parks. Also, Levering adds, “We want more kids to apply for scholarships, and we want more programs to come to us, so we’re looking for people to send them in our direction.” “I know the Foundation will continue to grow and help to improve the quality of life for children by providing worthwhile opportunities through community tennis programs and our sensational scholarship program,” says McEnroe. “We want kids to reach beyond the moon and stars using tennis as the vehicle, while at the same time keeping their eye on the ball to ensure their future and education.”

For more information on the USTA Tennis & Education Foundation, visit USTA.com. There, you’ll also find the requirements and applications for grants and scholarships.

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FACILITY MANAGEMENT

SAFE & SOUND
s your tennis facility safe? No, that’s not a trick question. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to answer, either. And it’s getting more complex all the time. Accidents can happen. Injuries can occur. Problems can crop up. And let’s face it, unlike swimming pools, tennis courts don’t have lifeguards who can keep an eye on players. We live in a litigious society, and simple problems don’t always have simple outcomes. It’s easy to fall back on the old “we haven’t had any problems yet” response. But “yet” is the operative word. Your tennis courts are part of a facility into which a lot of money and time has been invested. Do you really want to leave them to chance? So what’s a manager to do? Well, to rephrase a popular notion, the best defense is a good….defense. What does that mean? Simply put, being proactive can pay off for you, your users, and your facility. There are plenty of common-sense steps that can be taken to help lower risks and decrease the

Accidents, injuries, and lawsuits can devastate your business. Here’s how you can help reduce problems that might crop up at your facility.

BY MARY HELEN SPRECHER

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possibility of problems. Some you may have considered, and some might be new to you, but all deserve some thought. The American Sports Builders Association, the trade association for those who design, build, and supply materials and equipment for athletic facilities, advises a proactive approach to the matter. Think for a minute about your risk factors, the potential threats to your facility and your players. There are two kinds: internal (those which exist, or which potentially can exist, within the facility), and external (those caused by outside forces). Now, let’s examine them and discuss how to lower the risks.

Internal Hazards
The best way to check for internal hazards is to make a regularly scheduled walk-through of your facility. Bring a notepad and a pen, and keep your eyes open. If possible, carry a schematic showing each court by number, so that if you see problems, you can note the court number and the location.

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Q Fencing: First, check the perimeter of your courts. How is your fencing holding up? Do you see snags, rusted areas or sharp edges? Have any areas near the bottom of the fence been bent in such a way that they could cause injury to an unsuspecting player who is chasing a ball? Are there places where your fence is heaving or buckling? Make sure you check fence footings as well, and pay attention to gates to see if latches are functioning properly. Check the area where the court surface meets the fence, and under the fence, for potential problems, as well. In some cases, the concern may be as simple as a buildup of leaves or debris that slows or stops water from running off the court during a rainstorm. Wet leaves can cause slippery footing. Q

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Nets: Take a moment to examine the net itself, and to look for fraying, unraveling or other signs of breakdown. It might not be a safety hazard, but an old net detracts from the aesthetic value of your court and should be replaced. If your nets have center straps, make sure the anchor pins are firmly fixed in the court. Surface: There are many tennis court surfaces, and all manufacturers have specific directions for taking care of their own. It is not the purpose of this checklist to provide those directions; consult your manufacturer or your court contractor for their instructions. As a matter of course, however, it is easy to keep potential problems to a minimum by following a few simple steps, depending on the type of court you have. Acrylic Courts—uncushioned (asphalt or concrete with an acrylic color coating): During the
walk-through, remove any debris or litter on the court. Fallen leaves should be removed before they rot and cause slippery spots. If you see cracks on the court during your inspection, call a contractor.

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Lighting: Spend some time examining the light poles on
each court, advises Bruce Frasure of LSI Courtsider Sports Lighting in Cincinnati. You may be surprised by what you find. “We’ve found that the most common safety issue is with light poles that have corroded over time,” says Frasure. “The corrosion reaches a point where the poles become structurally unstable; the possibility then exists that the lighting assembly might collapse. Corrosion issues are most common at facilities in coastal areas where the salt air environment is especially harsh. Corrosion also commonly occurs at clay-court facilities with above-ground irrigation. We recommend a yearly inspection of a facility’s light poles to check for corrosion. Poles that show minor corrosion should be sanded and recoated to prevent further damage. Poles that show severe corrosion should be replaced immediately.”

Q

Q

Cushioned Courts—hard (concrete or asphalt courts with a layer of cushioned material):
Check for dust, dirt, and debris. Look for dents, dings, cuts, tears, or blisters in the surface. Remember that small spot may worsen, becoming a potential tripping hazard. If damage is evident, contact your contractor immediately to discuss repair options. Q

Modular Surfaces (interlocking tiles composed of polypropylene and rubber): Check for damp spots, since these can
mean a slippery surface for players. Damaged tiles should be pried up and replaced.

Q

Net Posts: Check each net post carefully. Posts are equipped with screw-type, worm-gear, or ratchet-type internal or external winding mechanisms to tighten the net. Internal-wind posts cost more than external wind posts, but are both safer and more attractive. Some older courts are still equipped with net posts featuring lever action tightening mechanisms. These posts are considered a danger to players and should be replaced. To prevent a potential hazard, all net posts with external winding mechanisms should be limited in the amount of force applied to the net post, not to exceed one-half of the post’s yield strength. In the extreme, over-tensioning the net can cause the post to shift or bend or the net cable to snap. In addition, the winding mechanisms on all net posts should have handles which can be removed or secured or which are set parallel to the post. Where courts are staffed, the pro or maintenance staff should set the net tension and remove the handle. Where handles cannot realistically be removed, safety over-caps provide protection against injury Q

Fast Dry Courts (granular, fast-dry material): Courts with this type of surface
should have their own maintenance schedule for daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal work. Check with your contractor or surface manufacturer for their recommendations. Conditions which may trap surface water should be eliminated so the courts drain and dry properly— standing water can lead to a slippery spot on the court.

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Synthetic Turf: Keep an eye out for standing water, which can translate into slippery spots of algae. If you see any wrinkling or splitting of the surface, notify your contractor, since these problems can constitute a tripping hazard and, if left alone, will worsen. If you feel uncertain checking your court surface, give your court contractor a call and ask him or her to do a walk-though for you. A professional may be more adept at spotting potential trouble spots than you. Court Equipment: If your court enclosure includes
April 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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maintenance equipment that is provided for the convenience of players, take each piece down and check it thoroughly. Make sure items such as brooms or squeegees for uncushioned courts, and line sweepers and drag brooms for granular courts, are not only still useful, but safe for players to use. Tools with loose handles, rust, peeling paint, splinters, or other signs of aging should be repaired or replaced immediately. Q

General Safety: Much has been written about players
who, in running after a ball, collide with fences, backstops, light poles, equipment, and other players. In its book, Tennis Courts: A Construction and Maintenance Manual, the American Sports Builders Association recommends that as part of general design principles, courts be built according to its Construction Guidelines. According to ASBA, overall recommended court area is 60 x 120 feet, which allows for a total playing area of 36 x 78 feet for doubles. (This provides a standard court size, plus a safe overrun area.) The book goes on to recommend that in terms of design: A minimum clearance of 12 feet (3.658m) from the sideline to a fixed obstruction (e.g., light pole, wall or fence) is recommended. Fences should be centered on the court boundary. Light poles should be centered on or immediately adjacent to the court boundary, or located at the net line. If the court dimensions are reduced by the owner so that the recommended clearance cannot be achieved, fixed obstructions should be located at the court boundary. Shade structures and portable equipment such as cooler stands, benches, and umpire chairs, commonly placed within the recommended clearance, should be located within 12 feet (3.658m) of the net line; within this area, the minimum recommended clearance for such items can be reduced to 10 feet (3.048m). Existing facilities which have fixed obstructions not meeting these recommendations should consider the use of appropriate padding. For a battery of courts within a common enclosure, a 24-foot (7.315m) separation between sidelines is recommended, while 12 feet (3.658m) is considered the minimum,

although some older courts were constructed with less. A 24-foot (7.315m) separation provides sufficient space for a shade structure or player seating between courts, as well as for a safe overrun area for the players. A 24-foot separation between sidelines in a battery also permits installation of divider fences to prevent balls from rolling onto adjacent courts. Since divider fences are considered fixed obstructions, they should be 12-feet (3.658m) from the sidelines of each court and, therefore, a 24-foot (7.315m) separation is recommended for their installation. For courts where movable netting is used between courts, a minimum of 18 feet (5.486m) between sidelines is recommended. Divider netting is not considered a fixed obstruction. For indoor courts, the ASBA recommends any support columns and other fixed obstructions in indoor court buildings, as well as any structural member or masonry wall within 12 inches (305mm) of a permanent opaque curtain, should be padded with shockabsorbing material (foam rubber that is at least 2 inches thick is recommended). The padding should begin at the court surface and extend up to at least 7 feet (2.133m) above the court surface. Beware of the tendency to store equipment behind an opaque curtain, which can create a hidden hazard. According to David H. Pettit of Feil, Pettit & Williams in Charlottesville, Va., legal counsel to the ASBA, it’s not enough to assume that athletes will accept the blame for any injuries they might incur while using the facility. “While participants in athletic activities are generally expected to understand and accept the risks inherent in the sport, the facility owner or operator may well be held responsible for risks that are not generally foreseeable and are not inherent in the sport, such as those resulting from improper maintenance, improper design, or hidden hazards,” notes Pettit. “Judges and juries are very unpredictable, and in cases involving serious injuries, juries are particularly sympathetic to injured parties. For additional protection, operators should consider posting signs requiring appropriate footwear, advising that the courts are slippery when wet, and stating that participants play at their own risk. Having participants sign a release in advance of play may be helpful, although it may not be practical. While measures such as warnings and releases

34 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2007

are not guaranteed to be effective, they can be a useful part of the risk-management effort.” Q First Aid and Player Safety: Try to keep players’ safety in mind by adding a few amenities to courts: Q Telephones: Make sure that each battery of courts has at least one phone located in a convenient place, so as to allow players to call for help in case of accident or emergency. If necessary, post signs stating that the phones are for emergency use only. Make sure to post the phone numbers of the club’s pro, the office, and other important contacts, and have the address of the club and courts printed on the signs. Q Shade Shelters: A place for players to rest, and to get out of the sun, can head off problems. Add plenty of comfortable benches and chairs. Q Water Fountains: A source of drinking water should be located adjacent to tennis courts to help players keep hydrated and avoid overheating during or after play. If it isn’t possible to install a permanent water connection, consider a power hookup for a small refrigerator, or use a portable water cooler stand. Q First Aid Kits: No court enclosure should be without a first aid kit. Your local chapter of the American Red Cross can advise you on what such kits should contain. Q

Encourage your staff to work in pairs, especially when doing difficult work or long, complicated, and challenging tasks. When such jobs are planned, conduct a safety meeting to review the potential hazards and to discuss necessary precautions. Keep water available during long work periods and encourage the staff to take reasonable breaks in the shade, especially when it is hot. Within the limits of the law, ask your staff members to disclose any medical issues that may affect their health and safety on the job and assign their work appropriately. Request emergency contact information from all staff members and keep readily accessible. Develop a proactive safety program using a safety handbook, job site safety posters, precautionary stickers and/or warning signs to identify hazards, including such simple things as flying balls in or near the courts.

In Case of Emergency
Despite all your precautions, an accident may occur. Develop an accident procedure and regularly review it with your staff. Train employees to respond appropriately to any accident—whether to an employee, a player, or guest. Provide staff training on basic first aid (don’t move an injured person unless a danger exists, use pressure to stop bleeding) and Cardiac Life Support. Have them update their training on a regular schedule during the off season. The Red Cross and similar community organizations provide such training at very low cost. When in doubt, assume the injury is serious and call for help. Make certain there is a telephone—land line or cellular— available at all times. Once you have called 911, position staff members to direct the ambulance to the injured person. Unlock and open your widest gate to allow immediate access to the emergency vehicle, with no obstructions in its path, if it must reach the injured person on the court. Keep your facility’s insurance policies and forms up to date and, if appropriate, send a copy of the policy information with the injured person to the emergency room. Request contact information from the injured person and call the family; be certain to mention what actions you already have taken. Document everything—the accident scene, the nature of the injury, date, time, weather, what actions were taken, how long it took the emergency vehicle to arrive, what actions were taken by emergency personnel on site, etc. Have a cam-

Staff Training and Accident Procedure: Staff
training can help minimize the risk of work-related injuries and prepare your staff to deal properly with player and guest accidents.

Q Working Smart: Teach your staff how to use all equipment (especially power equipment) safely and in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Since back injuries are especially common among employees who do physical work, make certain all employees learn proper techniques for lifting, moving, bending, and so forth. Provide staffers with lift-support belts, gloves, safety glasses, and other safety equipment as appropriate.

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era at hand and take pictures if possible. Have any witnesses complete a statement as to what they saw, where they were, what happened and how, in as much detail as they can recall. Get complete contact information from witnesses and emergency personnel in case you need to call back for more information. Despite all your attempts to avoid accidents and injuries, such things do happen, so make a plan in advance and review it regularly. When someone has been injured, time is of the essence, but so is risk management.

individuals to call for an escort, should the situation present itself. If your facility has its own rest rooms, consider locking these at night. Regardless of whether users complain, it’s safer for everyone involved if those facilities are only open during hours when there is a high traffic volume. In some cases, the “safety in numbers” rule should always be followed. If your facility can be used unsupervised after hours, remember to safely lock away all athletic equipment, such as ball machines, squeegees, etc. Q Insurance: According to ASBA legal counsel David Pettit, facility insurance is a must. “Every tennis facility owner and operator should carry comprehensive general liability insurance to cover claims for bodily injury,” says Pettit. “In my opinion, limits of $2 million per claim, plus defense costs, are the minimum required to provide adequate protection for the owner and operator. In cases involving particularly serious injuries, the potential liability may exceed this amount, so it may be prudent to carry greater coverage limits.” If the facility owner is not the operator, adds Pettit, “The parties should enter into a written lease or management agreement that clearly allocates responsibility for maintenance and repairs, with special attention to those that affect health and safety issues, and identifies the party responsible for carrying liability insurance.” If your tennis facility includes a youth program, or if players often bring their children, Pettit advises facility owners and managers to exercise extra caution, since “claims for injuries to children are generally governed by different rules relating to understanding and accepting risk of injury.” The facility operator, he notes, should be particularly vigilant to supervise the activities of minors in order to maintain a safe environment for them. Remember that your facility represents a huge investment of time. You want to keep it as safe as possible. Do a night walk-though every week or so. Look for lights that might be out, dark, shadowy areas where players might feel unsafe— anything that needs fixing—and have it addressed immediately. Keeping it a safe facility—and therefore, an even more attractive one—will pay dividends in years to come. Q Thanks to SportsField Management magazine, which graciously authorized the use of material from its publication dealing with work-site safety and emergency planning. For information on SportsField Management magazine, including advertising information or a free subscription, visit www.sportsfieldmanagementmagazine.com. The American Sports Builders Association is a non-profit association helping designers, builders, owners, operators, and users understand quality sports facility construction. The ASBA offers meetings and publications on running tracks, tennis courts, and indoor sports facilities. Available at no charge is a listing of all publications offered by the Association, as well as the ASBA’s Membership Directory. For information, call 866-501-ASBA (2722) or visit www.sportsbuilders.org.

External Factors
External factors are those forces that don’t come from within your facility, and which have the potential to cause harm. Your facility hours are important. Whether the facility is open 24/7, open dawn to dusk, or open only during specific periods of the day is a matter of preference, and something your organization needs to decide for itself. There are many arguments—all valid—for each option. Just remember, if you do decide to close your facility at certain times, use gates that lock. It will cut down on the possibility of unsupervised use of, and possibly damage to, your facility. Lighting is another way to increase the safety and security of your facility. If you will be hosting athletic events at night, lighting of your courts and the surrounding area is, of course, a must. Even if you don’t have night events, lighting can increase a sense of security among facility users. And generally speaking, a well-lit area of any kind is less likely to be a magnet for those who want to loiter or cause trouble after hours. In facilities open all night, lights can be set to operate on a timer, or they can be operated by a push-button system that the person entering the facility can manipulate. Generally speaking, it is also good to have some motion-activated lights in and around the facility, to allow for safe entry and exit. These lights are smaller than the big lamps that illuminate the court itself, yet still allow for increased visibility. They are also an excellent way to tell if someone is near the facility. Does your club or facility have a security force? If so, can an officer be detailed to be in the area of, or near, the tennis courts? Particularly if the facility will be used at night, the presence of a security officer can be reassuring. If that isn’t possible, make sure phones are readily available in the event a user suddenly feels threatened or unsafe. Many campuses, parks and other areas are installing “panic buttons” that allow

36 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2007

DISTINGUISHED FACILITY-OF-THE-YEAR AWARDS

FINE POINT
For these seven residential court winners, construction excellence is all in the details.
othing can better show off the creativity and workmanship of a court builder than the care and detail they give to their private court projects. And the 2006 residential court winners of the Racquet Sports Industry/American Sports Builders Association Distinguished Facility-of-the-Year Awards clearly demonstrate that excellence. All seven of these winners are new construction, although one of these projects, the Powell Residence in Gladwyne, Pa., involved completely removing an existing court once the new home was constructed on the property, then lowering the sub-grade by 3 feet and building a totally new hard court. Six of these winners are hard courts, with two—the Fleckenstein Residence in Mukwonago, Wis., and the Robinson Residence in Radnor, Pa.—listing a “cushioned” surface. One court, the Wilson Residence in Rixeyville, Va., is a natural grass court. Drainage was a key challenge for many builders, who worked with owners to design drainage systems or swales to channel rainwater. Also, as in many private residence projects, visually appealing retaining walls were an important part of most of these courts. At least one court, the Gooch Residence in Rumson, N.J., installed wood fencing, and four of the seven courts installed lighting for night play. Seating and shade for players were important for most of these winners, and one project, the Seiderman Residence in Parkland, Fla., included a backboard. They say “the devil is in the details,” but clearly these builders found creative ways to overcome challenges to give court owners and their families their own little piece of heaven. —Peter Francesconi

N

Gooch Residence Rumson, N.J.
(Nominated by The Racquet Shop Inc., Colts Neck, N.J.) Surface: California Products Net Posts: Edwards (wood) Net, Center Strap: J.A. Cissel

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

38 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2007

Fleckenstein Residence Mukwonago, Wis.
(Nominated by Munson Inc., Glendale, Wis.) Architect/Engineer/Contractor: Munson Inc. Surface: California Products Fencing: Munson Fence Division, Munson Inc. Post-Tension Cables: Tech Con Systems Lights: Lee Tennis Net Posts: Douglas Industries

Clayton Residence Carmel, Ind.
(Nominated by Leslie Coatings Inc., Indianapolis, Ind.) Specialty Contractor: Leslie Coatings Court Coatings: California Products Lights: LSI Lighting Net, Net Posts: Douglas Industries

Powell Residence Gladwyne, Pa.
(Nominated by Pro-Sport Construction Inc., Devon, Pa.) General Contractor: Pro-Sport Construction Surface: Nova Sports Net, Net Posts, Windscreens: J.A. Cissel

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Robinson Residence Radnor, Pa.
(Nominated by Pro-Sport Construction Inc., Devon, Pa.) General Contractor: Pro-Sport Construction Surface: Nova Sports, Classic Turf Lights: LSI Lighting Net, Net Posts, Windscreens: J.A. Cissel

Seiderman Residence Parkland, Fla.
(Nominated by Fast-Dry Courts, Pompano Beach, Fla.) Architect/Engineer/Contractor: Fast Dry Courts Surface: Nova Sports Combination Lights: RLS Net, Center Strap, Anchor: BP International Backboard: Bakko Net Posts: Lee Tennis Basketball Standard: Douglas Industries

Wilson Residence Rixeyville, Va.
(Nominated by Lawn Tennis and Supply Co., Medford, N.J.) General and Specialty Contractor: Lawn Tennis and Supply Co. Surface: Lawn Tennis and Supply Co. (Bentgrass Sod) Fencing: Tennis Courts Inc.

40 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2007

string Pro Supex Big Ace
Big Ace is a monofilament co-polymer, which according to Pro Supex is made of high-grade polymers and special monomix-reinforced chemical additives. Pro Supex claims that Big Ace offers power, spin potential, control, comfort, durability, resistance to movement, and tension maintenance.
Pro Supex says the target player for this string is 4.5 players and better, including pros and top junior players. Big Ace string is currently used by ATP tour players Chris Wettengel, Tyler Cleveland, and Chris Lam. Big Ace is available in 1.17 mm, 1.22 mm, 1.25 mm, and 1.28 mm in red, pearl white, and lime yellow. It is priced from $5.49 for sets of 40 feet, or $55 for 660-foot reels. For more information or to order, contact Pro Supex at 866787-4644, or visit www.prosupexusa. com. Be sure to read the conclusion for more information about getting a free set to try for yourself. by 37 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 6.0. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. Average number of hours playtested was 30.2. None of our playtesters thought Big Ace was easy to string. Part of this is the nature of polys, but Big Ace did seem a bit more ornery than other polys we’ve experienced. No playtester broke his sample during

PLAYTEST

EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings) Number of testers who said it was: much easier 0 somewhat easier 1 about as easy 20 not quite as easy 11 not nearly as easy 6

stringing, 18 reported problems with coil memory, three reported problems tying knots, and one reported friction burn.

ON THE COURT
Our playtest team backed up Pro Supex’s claims about Big Ace. Of the 109 strings we’ve playtested to date, Big Ace came in at number five in two categories: Durability and Resistance to Movement. For good measure, it came in number seven of all strings tested to date for Holding Tension. Combined with Big Ace’s well-above-average score in the Power category, these gave Big Ace a well-above-average overall score.

OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often) Number of testers who said it was: much better 1 somewhat better 6 about as playable 8 not quite as playable 16 not nearly as playable 6

IN THE LAB
We tested the 1.22 mm Big Ace in lime yellow. The coil measured 43’6”. The diameter measured 1.23 mm prior to stringing, and 1.21 mm after stringing. Pro Supex recommends dropping the tension 5 percent compared to normal synthetic string, so that’s what we recommended our playtesters do as well. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 74 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 a 9 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. Big Ace added 16 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame. The string was tested for five weeks

OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge) Number of testers who said it was: much better 8 somewhat better 18 about as durable 11 not quite as durable 0 not nearly as durable 0

CONCLUSION
The comments by our playtesters on Pro Supex Big Ace are so uniformly positive that if we didn’t know better, we’d suspect that some playtesters copied the responses of others. First, it’s rare for nearly two-thirds of a playtest team to have such nice things to say about a poly, and second, over half of the team members specifically mentioned the control afforded by Big Ace. For what seems to all outward appearances to be a “love it or leave it” string, our playtest team members seemed to love it. If you think that Pro Supex Big Ace might be for you, fill out the coupon to get a free set to try. —Greg Raven Q

RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best) Playability Durability (#5 overall to date) Power Control Comfort Touch/Feel Spin Potential Holding Tension(#7 overall to date) Resistance to Movement (#5 overall to date) 3.2 4.4 3.4 3.4 2.6 2.6 3.3 3.7 4.0

42 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2007

This is one of the best polyesters I have ever used. The power on serves is exceptional and the spin is spot-on. This is a great control string with more than enough power. Plays well from all areas of the court. 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson n5 Force strung at 63 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 16)

TESTERS

TALK
Pro Supex has generously offered to send A free set of the Big Ace 1.25mm lime yellow to each of the first 500 USRSA members who respond. Just cut out (or copy) this coupon and mail it to: USRSA, Attn: Pro Supex Big Ace String Offer, 330 Main Street, Vista, CA 92084 or fax to 760-536-1171, or email the info below to jonathan@racquettech.com Offer expires 20 April 07 Offer only available to USRSA members in the US.

FREE PLAYTEST STRING PROGRAM

This string has no notching or movement, making it a very durable control string. Even after hours of hard hitting, it stays remarkably fresh. The most outstanding feature is the consistency of feel and playability, despite many hours of 4.5 female all-court player hard hitting. using Head Metallix 10 strung at 57 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation 17)

Name: USRSA Member number: Phone: Email:
If you print your email clearly, we will notify you when your sample will be sent.

This string plays with a soft and bouncy resilience. I had to keep reminding myself that it was a polyester. It is recommended for those who are searching for control and spin in a comfortable package. After 24 hours on the dirt, this string looked and played like it was new. A rare 5.0 male all-court player using treat. Head Liquidmetal Prestige Mid strung at 58 pounds LO (Babolat Superfine Play 17)

This polyester provides a luxurious sweetspot and loads of controllable pop! I expected the string to go “dead” after 35 hours, but it holds up surprisingly well. The combination of playability and power ranks with high-end multifilaments. The spin from the backcourt is impressive, and volleys come off with crisp precision. I'm considering a switch. 5.0 female serve-and-volleyer using Prince O3 Spectrum Hybrid Midplus strung at 53 pounds CP (Head RIP Ti. Fiber 17)

This is definitely a high-end polyester. Not only does it offer incredible durability and resistance to movement, the playability and comfort are on par with the best 4.5 male all-court strings on the market. player using Yonex MP Tour 1 strung at 61 pounds CP (Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power Rough 16L)

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

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ask
Q

the EXPERTS

Your Equipment Hotline
ALTERNATING MAINS
A FRIEND BEGINS THE MAINS AT the center as recommended by USRSA, installing three mains on the right, three more mains on the left, and then three more on the left, before going back to the right side. In other words, he is tensioning six mains in a row. Is this just a matter of personal preference? Is it safe, or does it inflict more stress to the frame? THE WHOLE REASON BEHIND alternating mains is to balance the notinconsiderable stresses on the frame at its most vulnerable time. Installing six mains in a row means there are that many freshly-tensioned mains on one side of the frame, while the three mains on the other side of the frame have lost tension and are therefore exerting less force. Modern frames are pretty strong, and your friend may never run into a problem doing the mains this way, but the stresses could be better balanced, which may enhance frame longevity, as well as produce a more consistent stringbed response. the frame, and better longevity. As with other forms of aging, softening due to restringing is difficult to measure, but under ideal conditions, racquets should last years without losing significant stiffness.

RACQUET FATIGUE

A

Q A

HOW MANY TIMES CAN A racquet be restrung before the frame begins to lose its original stiffness?

LEAD TAPE BENEATH THE BUMPERGUARD

THE NUMBER OF TIMES A RACQUET can be restrung without softening depends on many factors. Among these factors are the machine mounting system, stringing technique, string tension, frame construction, amount of time (and use) between stringings, and how hard the player hits the ball. Better mounting, better technique, lower tension, better frame construction, more time between stringings, and softer hitting will result in less stress on

Q A

I HAVE BEEN READING ON some on-line tennis message boards that top players add lead tape under the bumperguard or grommet strip so that it can’t be seen. How is this done? ADDING LEAD TAPE BENEATH the bumperguard or grommet strip is an advanced technique. You have to strip the frame to do the modifications, which means either that you must have replacement grommet kits on hand, or

44 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2007

the racquets must be brand new so the existing bumperguard and grommets can be lifted to allow installation of the lead tape, and then reinstalled. Some new grommet kits are flared from the factory, which means that even when working with new racquets, you will need to replace the bumperguard and grommet kit. Also, not every bumperguard is going to have much space underneath it for lead tape, or anything else except some clay dust. Finally, making alterations means you have to strip the racquet again of the bumperguard and grommet strip, if you wish to remove lead tape or conceal additional tape. To start, strip each frame piece by piece, measuring weight, balance, and swingweight every step of the way. Then calculate how much lead tape you need to add beneath the bumperguard and/or grommet strip (USRSA members can use the on-line tools at RacquetTECH.com), and see if there is even room for that much tape. Cut the tape into pieces (or strips) small enough to be hidden by the grommets or bumperguard. Once you have each of your bare frames the same, reassemble them and recheck the specs. This type of modification is a lot of work, but it is rarely called for except when you’re dealing with top touring pros. If you’re going to attempt it, we recommend that you first make certain that each racquet to be matched has the same flex.

polyester harder than necessary, you can run into trouble when stringing nylon or gut. If you are having difficulty getting tight knots with no slack in polyester, try making your first light pull away from the grommet. This pulls most of the slack out of the string. Then pull back toward the grommet, and maintain tension as the knot tightens and removes the remaining slack from the string. Keep holding the end of the string until after you release the clamp to ensure that the knot will stay locked. If you still

have problems, you might try tensioning the last string (before tying-off) a couple pounds higher than the others, to compensate for the small tension loss you sometimes get when releasing the clamp. —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.

TYING KNOTS IN POLYESTER

Q A

DO YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE any video of a good stringer tying knots in polyester? I’m trying to get an idea of the amount of forearm strength required. VERY LITTLE FOREARM strength is needed to tie knots, even in polyester. Even though you can pull on polyester pretty hard without breaking it, it is not good practice to do so. Over-pulling knots is a major cause of knot breakage in general, and if you get in the habit of pulling
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Readers’ Know-How in Action
NON-SLIP GRIPPER
I had a problem with my string gripper slipping even after it was cleaned. I took the two halves of the gripper to an auto repair shop that had a glass bead blaster to lightly treat the surface. It took all of 10 seconds so there was no charge. Now they are better than when they were new. The grips have now been in service for dozens of string jobs and have not even needed a chemical cleaning yet. This process can be applied to any diamond dusted clamp surface. The beading causes the base material to erode away a small amount, which will expose more of the diamond dust to grab the string. The bead blasting removes paint and other finishes, too, so make certain to apply a double layer of masking tape to all surrounding surfaces as a protective measure. 5 sets of Gamma Flex Core Control 16 and a Gamma Hat & T-Shirt to: Dr. Carl Love, Albany, OR

tips

and TECHNIQUES

PATHFINDING NEEDLE
An inexpensive sports ball-inflating needle can be modified to perform many of the tasks of an expensive pathfinder awl. Simply saw off the tip of the needle with a hack saw and smooth the tip with emery cloth. The modified needle has a shaft that is one inch long and a channel that can accommodate a 16g string. The outside diameter of the shaft is about the same as a pathfinder awl. I find this needle convenient for threading string through grommets that are hidden by racquet clamps. I also use this needle with a standard awl to create a channel for threading pliant string through blocked skip holes. As with a pathfinder awl you need to be careful not to nick any string. For this, lubricating the needle tip can be useful. 5 sets of Forten Dynamix 16 to: Michael Shaughnessy, Kingston, RI

TANGLE-FREE UNCOILING
To keep string from becoming tangled as you unwind it from the coil, try looping the coil over a smooth door handle. This also makes it easier to divide the string for two-piece stringing: After uncoiling, I loop the string over the handle as I pull the ends toward me. Voila! No tangles!

46 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2007

5 sets of Gosen OG Sheep Micro Super 17 & a Gosen T-Shirt to: Terry Boyle, Columbine Valley, CO

etc. in my racquets, and almost always someone will approach me to ask about why my strings are that way. This gives me the opening to explain the advantages of hybrid

RACQUET MAILING
One way I get my customers to restring is to send out humorous reminder postcards. To make them, I print the front and back of Avery 8387 white postcard stock in my inkjet printer. On the front, I address each postcard to “Mr/Mrs Tennis Frame, c/o [Customer Name]. On the back, I print the following text: Dear Tennis Racquet(s): You haven't been restrung in over 6 months. You must be feeling loose and less resilient than ever. As a result, your owner might be getting a little frustrated with you because your playability is rapidly declining. The string in your frame is drying out because the oil (which is one of the ingredients in string) is drying up. There is also a chance that your grip is worn & torn. Please tell your owner to call Myron for a complete facelift. More tension and resiliency in your strings are good for you because they increase your playability and your owner will love you more than ever. Remember, Myron will give you a complete makeover in one day. In addition, keep in mind that Tennis magazine recommends that your strings be changed as many times in a year as you play each week but a minimum of twice a year. They really make an impression, and I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback. 5 sets of Ashaway Crossfire 17 to: Myron Weintraub, MRT, Rockland, NY

stringing. I estimate that nearly 50 percent of all my stringing involves hybrid stringing now. It seems as if every single person who has asked me about my strings has said, "I think I may give that a try for my next string job." If you know how to respond to questions about hybrids, and you'll be making your customer—often a new customer—feel smarter than ever. 5 sets of Klip Scorcher 16 & a set of grips to: Steve Huff, Mechanicsville, VA —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.

GETTING MORE MILEAGE FROM HYBRIDS
Whenever you string a hybrid for your own racquet, use different colors. I've used red/orange, orange/white, light blue/white,

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Your Serve
Teaching Assistance
Tennis participation has been climbing since the spotlight turned to growing the game, but are teachers being left in the dark? BY LIZA HORAN

I

t's been said that tennis is a game of emergencies. It requires a player to be a fleetfooted quick-thinker with soft hands and honed technique. Yet in the 1990s the sport faced its own emergency, best remembered by the May 1994 Sports Illustrated cover that quivered, "Is Tennis Dying?" That statement-turned-mantra added dynamite to smoldering, disjointed efforts to increase participation in the game. It took a decade of industry leaders setting aside party lines, literally shaking hands, and figuratively holding hands, to emerge with the cooperative effort called "Tennis Welcome Centers." This unprecedented cooperation has begun to stem the leak of those who try the game once and walk away, and certainly has gotten more players to hit the courts more frequently. But there is cause for concern—this time for those who would teach the 1.1 million new players gained in 2005, and more to come. The inability of salaries to keep pace with inflation has put “career teaching pro” on track for the endangered species list.

President Ron Woods. PTR Executive Director and CEO Dan Santorum agrees: "Being a teaching pro used to mean making a lot of money. It was equal—if not better—than a job out of college. The pay scale is not commensurate with what they can get elsewhere. It has not kept up with salaries in other industries."

Tennis is attracting new players and engaging current ones, but now it needs to ensure that a quality infrastructure can deliver the goods.
Pro-active step: Let's begin with a nationwide salary survey—conducted by an independent party—that identifies position titles, responsibilities, and compensation. If teachers and employers are invited to participate, the needs and challenges of both will be discovered. Taking stock of the situation is the first step to curing it.

CERTIFIED TEACHING PROS
At the top of the scale are career instructors certified by PTR and USPTA, or trained by Peter Burwash International and others. Many say there are too few career pros because what was a glamorous, well-paying position back in the 1970s now offers an anorexic pay scale that makes supporting a family difficult. Inflation grew 246 percent between January 1977 and January 2007. Salaries of teaching professionals generally grew 0 percent. And while there still are some very well-compensated positions, they are the exception, not the rule. "We're still looking at wages that were being paid in the '70s and '80s, and [pros] are going to other industries," says USPTA

226 workshops," says Kirk Anderson, who is USTA director of Recreational Coaches and Programs, as well as a certified Master Pro with both the PTR and USPTA. "Since the program started six years ago, 23,000 people have attended the six-hour workshops," says Anderson. "Nine percent of them don't play tennis, yet 5.8 percent go on to seek certification. We need a whole lot more people." The corps of 400,000 parents and volunteers who run youth soccer leagues serves as an example of what could be achieved. Once kids are hooked on tennis, they can pursue instruction with certified pros. Pro-active step: The USTA is busy training entry-level providers, while the teaching associations are continuing to attract and develop members, but there's another source: College graduates. There are a few rich undergraduate and graduate programs specifically designed to prepare young adults for a career in tennis, and an image campaign about how wonderful a profession tennis is (backed up with great salaries and benefits) will boost admissions applications.

ENTRY-LEVEL PROVIDERS
Many say that the game will grow if it becomes more accessible in every community, and that requires more troops on the ground that know how to create a positive first experience on court. According to the "2005 U.S. Tennis Participation Study," undertaken by the USTA and TIA, 74 million people have tried tennis but not continued due to a "poor introductory experience." To provide the masses with a fun first outing, the USTA is training entry-level providers through Recreational Coach Workshops. Participants are parents and other volunteers who want to introduce children to the game. "In 2006 we had

CONCLUSION
Through its many programs, the USTA is all over community tennis. And while the USTA continues to build and enhance the local infrastructure to pave the way for beginner players, the rest of the industry can focus on making “certified tennis professional” a great career choice. Q
Liza Horan recently brought the issue of teaching pros' compensation to light in her column on Tenniswire.org.

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

48 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2007