June 2007 Volume 35 Number 6 $5.

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Contents

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INDUSTRY NEWS 7 RSI enhances, relaunches website 7 DirectTV to launch Tennis Channel 8 Babolat extends Nadal
contract, debuts Aeropro Drive

8 9 9 10 10 10 11 FEATURES 28 Hit Your Target!
The latest research from the TIA can show you exactly what your customers are looking for.

USPTA launches online resource for H.S. coaches Industry continues bullish streak into 2007 Penn introduces new transition ball program PTR offers TennisOne benefit Wilson promotes Adams, Springer Own the Zone offers vibration dampeners Prince debuts new Championship tennis balls Tennessee club gets new Universal Fabric Structure Prince releases new junior racquets Gamma debuts two new strings N.Y.C. campus gets Classic Turf surface

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34 Inside Track
Two indoor court award-winners provide local players with year-round tennis.

DEPARTMENTS 4 Our Serve 18 Annual Awards: 2007 Champions of Tennis 20 Customer Service 22 Marketing Success 24 Business of Tennis

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School Programming String Playtest: Isospeed Professional 17 Ask the Experts Tips and Techniques 2007 Industry Resource Guide Your Serve, by Dave Haggerty
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Our Serve
A Look Into the Future
(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 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. June 2007, Volume 35, Number 6 © 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.

ecently I had the good fortune to address the students in the Professional Tennis Management program at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich. If you’re not familiar with this program—and the handful of others like it that offer college degrees for students who want to pursue a career in tennis—then you’re missing out on something pretty amazing.

The Ferris State program was started more than 20 years ago by Scott Schultz, a Michigan native who is now the USTA’s managing director of recreational tennis. For the last five years, the program has been ably run by Tom Daglis, who has a very impressive group of students, 10 of which earned their degree this past May. After four years, the students graduate with a business degree with a concentration in tennis management, and they are USPTA-certified teaching pros at a minimum Professional 2 level. But the experience they come away with—from internships, to volunteering in tennis, to running their own projects for credit, to helping to manage and maintain Ferris’s own tennis club with indoor and outdoor courts, to giving lessons—is simply invaluable. Manufacturers, tennis clubs, and other tennis businesses are constantly calling Daglis to hire his students. It’s no wonder that the program has a 100 percent placement rate for graduates. (RSI co-publisher David Bone, who is also the USRSA’s executive director, is a graduate of the Ferris State PTM program.) I, and my co-presenter at Ferris, longtime tennis journalist and tennis web guru Liza Horan, spoke to the students about dealing with the media, something they will know doubt have to do when they’re out at their own facilities, trying to drum up business and memberships in their local area. The students were great, they were interested, asked insightful questions, and we could tell they really were into this business of tennis. At the awards dinner that evening, which featured Tim Mayotte as the keynote speaker, the students again impressed us with their poise, knowledge, and interest in the field they had chosen. The graduating seniors clearly felt prepared and ready to go out into the world of tennis to make their mark. If you’re coaching school teams or teaching tennis to high-school students, let them know about these types of PTM programs. (RSI will write more on this and other PTM programs in a future issue.) Your students may not know that a college degree in the business of tennis may be an option for them. After meeting the students in Big Rapids, I feel great about what the p future holds for 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

DirecTV to Launch Tennis Channel
Tennis Channel and DirecTV Inc., the nation’s leading satellite television provider, announced a multi-year distribution agreement that begins with a “Sneak Peek” of the French Open, May 27 to June 10, followed by the launch of Tennis Channel later this summer. The free “Sneak Peek,” available to 16 million DirecTV customers, will offer the Tennis Channel’s more than 100 hours of coverage of the tournament. As part of the Sneak Peek, DirecTV will offer French Open Interactive, providing viewers expanded coverage and features, such as the French Open Mix Channel, designed to enhance tennis fans’ enjoyment of the game. Tennis Channel is also announcing the pending launch of a second, high-definition network. In December 2007, DirecTV will make the network available in HD to its viewers. This will mark the first time fans anywhere will be able to watch Tennis Channel in HD. When DirecTV launches Tennis Channel this summer, the network will be available on a base programming package with more than 8 million customers.

Racquet Sports Industry Relaunches Website
acquet Sports Industry recently relaunched its website, www.racquetsportsindustry.com, to allow access to news from the industry as it happens. Visitors to the new website will find continually updated information on the business of tennis and other racquet sports. The website will also offer more in-depth and extra coverage of many stories that run in the printed magazine. “Our new website offers unlimited space for us to bring to those involved in the tennis industry the very latest information, so they can run their businesses as profitably as possible,” says David Bone, copublisher of Racquet Sports Industry, which is the largest tennis trade magazine in the world. “You’ll be getting more news, on a more timely basis.” The new RacquetSportsIndustry.com will even offer a service that allows readers to be notified whenever a new story hits the site. In addition to breaking news, visitors to the site will also find the largest archive of racquet sports business related stories anywhere on the web. All the past issues of RSI magazine will be housed on the new site, with improved search capabilities that will allow searches based on text keywords, dates published, categories of information, specific issues of RSI, specific months of RSI.com news, and even by author. Racquet Sports Industry is the only magazine that exclusively covers the racquet sports business. For more information about RSI, including how to subscribe, visit www.racquetsportsindustry.com.

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Head’s New Please String Responsibly Campaign Offers Stringers Plastic Racquet Bags

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ead/Penn’s new “Please String Responsibly” campaign is hitting pro shops around the country. The goal, says a Head spokesperson, is to drive awareness for Head string, such as the FXP, FXP Power, FXP blend, Sonic Pro and the new C3Rocket. In-store support for stringers includes stringer mats with the slogan, along with plastic racquet bags that stringers can use to place customers’ frames in after they’ve restrung them. To receive the plastic racquet bags, stringers should contact their Head/Penn district sales managers.
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Babolat Extends Contract with Nadal, Introduces New Aeropro Drive Frame
ews from Babolat includes a 10-year contract extension by World No. 2 player Rafael Nadal, and the introduction of the new Babolat Aeropro Drive racquet with the Cortex System, which Nadal started using in April. The contract extension includes racquets, strings, grips, accessories, and bags. Babolat says the new Aeropro Drive with Cortex is the result of a collaboration with Nadal, who recently captured his third straight Masters Series Monte Carlo pro title. “We accompany him to his major tournaments; we listen to him to design a racquet that best fits his game,” says Babolat CEO Eric Babolat. “We are proud of the collaboration with such a champion. This collaboration is large for him and for us.” The Aeropro Drive racquet has been enhanced with the Cortex System, says Babolat, to optimize the feel of the ball at impact. Located at the base of the throat, the Babolat Cortex System technology filters unnecessary vibrations, keeping only those that players are looking for when the ball comes in contact with the racquet, says the company. Baseline hitters who like heavy topspin will appreciate the aerodynamics of the Aeropro Drive for its power, says Babolat. The racquet has a 100-square-inch head and weighs 10.6 ounces unstrung. Suggested retail price is $185. For information, and to view a video of Nadal with Eric Babolat, visit www.babolat.com.

USPTA Launches Online Resource for H.S. Coaches
he USPTA recently launched a new website that offers extensive resources to high school tennis coaches and others who work with high school tennis teams and players. The new site— www.highschoolcoaches.uspta.com— will help support the “No-Cut” high-school tennis team program that the USTA is pushing. So far, more than 1,400 high-school tennis coaches have signed on to run No-Cut programs, which accept every student onto the tennis team who tries out. The new USPTA site will provide resources that enable coaches to organize effective team practices for large groups. One of the most important elements is a practice template with a large library of drills and games that can be copied and pasted into the template to create a high school practice session of any length or complexity. Drills and games have been used extensively and successfully by USPTA coaches. “We need to do all we can to provide high school coaches with the tools they need to run effective programs,” says USTA Chairman and President Jane Brown Grimes. “The USPTA's High School Coaches Resource Center will do just that. We are particularly excited about how this can help develop more ‘no-cut’ high school teams.” Information on the new USPTA site comes from many sources, including almost four years worth of TV show productions for “On Court with USPTA,” video recordings of both specialty courses and seminars from past USPTA World Conferences, audio seminars from past World Conferences, DVD productions from special events, including the USPTA Competitive Player Development Conferences, drills, games and more. The site is free to USPTA members and available free for 90 days to anyone else who registers and provides a valid e-mail address

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New Penn Website Launched
Penn has an updated and redesigned website, www.pennracquet.com that has the company’s complete product line, its print advertising campaigns, a video about making tennis balls called “How to Make America’s No. 1 Selling Ball,” games, and wallpaper to download.

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Industry Continues Bullish Streak Into ’07
he tennis industry, after finishing a strong 2006 in racquet and tennis ball sales, has begun 2007 with more good news. First-quarter shipments of tennis racquets to all dealers were up 11.5 percent in dollars and 8.9 percent in units over the same period in 2006. Tennis ball shipments also showed significant growth in the first quarter, up 8.4 percent in dollars and 8.7 percent in units compared to last year. In racquets, the largest growth continues to be in the super premium category, which was up 32.1 percent in dollars and 22 percent in units compared to the first quarter of 2006. Also, sales of youth racquets were strong, up 17.6 percent in dollars and 14.6 percent in units over 2006. “Overall, we are on the right track,” says TIA President Dave Haggerty. “Industry sales are the most positive they have been in years, and the efforts to grow the game at the grassroots level have also intensified. Along with our industry partners and working closely with the USTA, we have promoted Tennis Welcome Centers for four straight years, the USTA has greatly expanded its Tennis in the Parks campaign among other programs, and Cardio Tennis, entering its third year, is seeing terrific media attention and success in attracting new and existing players.” These latest figures for the tennis industry continue the bullish streak begun four years ago. For more information, visit www.tennisindustry.org.

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Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, January-March 2007 Best-Sellers 1. Prince O3 White (MP) $186 2. Babolat Pure Drive Cortex (MP) $173 3. Prince O3 Speedport Red (OS) $232 4. Prince O3 Speedport Silver (OS) $269 5. Wilson N SixOne Tour 90 (MS) $186 “Hot New Racquets” (Introduced in the past 12 months) 1. Babolat Pure Drive Cortex (MP) $173 2. Prince O3 Speedport Red (OS) $232 3. Prince O3 Speedport Silver (OS) $269 4. Wilson K SixOne tour 90 (MS) $186 5. Wilson K SixOne 95 (16 x 18) (MS)$175 (Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

Penn Introduces New Transition Ball Program

Tennis Racquet Performance
Specialty Stores, Jan.-March 2007 vs. 2006 2007 143,212 2006 132,347 % Change vs. ’06 8% Dollars 2007 $19,690,000 2006 $17,796,000 % Change vs. ’06 11% Price 2007 $137 2006 $134 % Change vs. ’06 2% (Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys) Units

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enn recently launched its Pro Penn Tennis Instructional Program (T.I.P.)—a series of transitional tennis balls designed to help beginning players learn the basic skills of tennis in a fast and fun way—in conjunction with the USPTA. The program consists of two levels: Pro Penn T.I.P. 1, designed for beginners, is a high-density, lightweight foam ball with a high bounce, great for developing motor skills. Pro Penn T.I.P. 2, designed for advanced beginners, features a low-compression core for control and consistency, while maintaining a lively bounce for longer rallies. Pro Penn T.I.P. products come packaged in a 3-ball polybag with a USPTA instructional booklet with drills and tips. All Pro Penn T.I.P. products are ITF approved and follow the coloration and technical specifications for transitional tennis balls.

Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, January-March 2007 1. Adidas Barricade IV $101 2. Nike Air Breathe Free 2 $95 3. Adidas Barricade II $84 4. Prince T 10 $80 5. Nike Air Breathe Free 3 $93 (Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

2007 Facility Awards Application Available
pplications for the USTA’s 2007 Facility Awards are now available. The program, now in its 26th year, is administered by the USTA Technical Committee and promotes excellence in tennis facilities. Last year, nine facilities were honored. Awards are given in five categories: 1. Public Courts—small tennis centers with two to 10 courts 2. Public Courts—large centers with 11 or more courts 3. Public Tournament Tennis Centers, with permanent stadium seating 4. Collegiate Tennis Centers 5. Private Tennis Facilities that support USTA programs and other grow-the-game programs. Deadline for applying is July 6, with awards presented at the USTA semi-annual meeting in New York in September. Applications can be obtained online at USTA.com; by contacting a USTA Section office; or by requesting an application from facilityawards@usta.com.

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Top-Selling Tennis Strings at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, January-March 2007 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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Lendl Teams Up with Trion:Z
ennis legend Ivan Lendl has signed on to be the official tennis spokesman for Trion:Z, which makes ionic/magnetic necklaces and bracelets worn by professional athletes in golf, tennis, football, baseball, basketball, car racing and more. “Fitness has always been important to me and Trion:Z supports my active lifestyle,” says Lendl, who captured 94 singles titles in his career and is in the Tennis Hall of Fame. “If you have aches and pains, you should try it.” Lendl will be featured in promotions for the Trion:Z as well as representing the product worldwide. Trion:Z bracelets are available in 24 color combinations and necklaces are available in eight colors. For more information, visit www.trionz.com.

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Texas A&M Wins Again at National Campus Championship
he Texas A&M University Aggies took home its fourth consecutive USTA National Campus Championship title in April, defeating the University of Virginia in the championship match. It was the Aggies fifth title in six years, and Virginia’s third appearance in the last four finals. The Aggies have now won 29 straight matches at the nationals over the past four years, and have reached the past six finals. The event, presented by Tennis Warehouse, was held at the Cary Tennis Park in Cary, N.C. Sixty-four club and intramural teams from colleges and universities throughout the country participated this year. The University of Florida placed third, and Penn State fourth. Among the schools represented this year was Virginia Tech, a campus that was still reeling from the shooting tragedy just a week earlier. A number of players and tournament staff wore maroon and orange ribbons throughout the event to show their support for Virginia Tech and its team. More than 400 colleges and 25,000 students currently participate in the Tennis On Campus program, which features co-ed teams playing in World TeamTennis format. The USTA National Campus Championship is the culmination of the Tennis On Campus season. The tournament is administered in partnership by the USTA, National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, Intercollegiate Tennis Association and World TeamTennis.—Kristen Daley

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PTR Offers TennisOne Benefit
n a new partnership agreement, PTR members will receive a complimentary one-year membership to the tennis instruction website TennisOne. Launched in 1996, TennisOne is a premier instruction website and has twice won Forbes magazine’s best tennis site of the year award. The site has multimedia tools and offers free online invitation and event management tools for tennis captains and teaching pros to better communicate with their players and manage their tennis programs. “PTR is thrilled to partner with TennisOne, the leader in quality online education for tennis teaching professionals and coaches,” says PTR Executive Director and CEO Dan Santorum. “With top notch contributors like PTR Founder and President Dennis Van der Meer, PTR Master Professional Ken DeHart, TennisOne Editor Jim McLennan, and other talented writers, PTR members will be kept abreast on a weekly basis of excellent educational articles and videos.”

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Wilson Promotes Adams, Springer
ilson Sporting Goods’ Racquet Sports Division announces two promotions. Jeffery Adams is the new national sales manager and Cory Springer is the new U.S. marketing director. Both are newly created positions. In his new role, Adams will manage the Racquet Sports sales segment and oversee the regional sales managers and sales planning manager. Springer will be responsible for the day-to-day marketing activities, as well as product line plans and execution of marketing strategies for all tennis categories. Since joining Wilson in 1996, Adams has held several roles within the Racquet Sports Division, including his most recent position as regional sales manager for the South Central Region. Springer has been with Wilson for nine years, the last three as marketing manager in Wilson’s Chicago headquarters.

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Own the Zone Offers VibrationDampeners
re your players looking to improve on the simple rubber-band vibration dampener that top pros such as Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, and Maria Sharapova have used? Now, according to Own the Zone band vibration dampeners, they can. The manufacturer says Own the Zone (OTZ) bands, which come in eight colors, are made from a special compound that dampens vibration 35 to 45 percent better than ordinary elastic bands. But unlike ordinary bands, OTZ bands won't quickly dry out in the sun, lose their elasticity, or crack after repeated use. Depending on how much you play, a single OTZ band will last from six to 12 weeks, the company says. The design of the OTZ band, says the manufacturer, allows for vibration energy to be transferred away from the strings and the frame, into the air. For more information or to order online, visit www.otzsports.com or email sales@otzsports.com.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

USTA Honors Junior Tennis’s Seena Hamilton
he USTA honored the Easter Bowl and its founder and tournament director, Seena Hamilton, for the tournament’s longevity and success at the opening reception for the 2007 event on April 15. Hamilton has been the tournament director since 1968. The 40th Annual Easter Bowl, a USTA National Spring Championship, was held for the first time at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Rancho Mirage, Calif., in midApril. The Easter Bowl showcases the best of American juniors, both boys and girls, in 14s, 16s, and 18s. It is the only national championship featuring three age divisions at one time. Nearly every top U.S. tennis player has played at the Easter Bowl, including Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Andre Agassi, Lindsay Davenport, Jennifer Capriati and most recently, Andy Roddick and James Blake. The Easter Bowl has prided itself on being about more than just tennis. Hamilton created the Easter Bowl in part to encourage players and their families to mingle and socialize with each other. She bases all her planning around the idea that a junior tennis tournament should be a learning experience for both the players and their parents.

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Keep Members Happy and Offer Many Programs
To the Editor: The Your Serve article “Teaching Assistance” (April) by Liza Horan was well written, and it is very important to understand why pros are underpaid. First, teaching pros still teach the old way and do not educate their staff. Second, learning tennis should be fun. I see so many teaching pros who have a schedule, and they never change it. Each student is different and they learn in different ways. Finally, I give free tennis lessons to beginners at my club. It is a six-week program. Many pros in the area say I should not give free lessons. Well, now I have people playing tennis, I sell tennis clothes, and I’ve also sold many racquets. The best part is that there are people playing tennis who would never have done it, if it wasn't for the free lessons. If the membership is happy and there are many programs for members, the teaching pro’s income will increase. Remember, teaching pros in the tennis industry work for more than just the money. They work for the love of the game. Don Turner, Director of Tennis Operations Tarpon Cove Yacht and Racquet Club, Naples, Fla.
We welcome your letters and comments. Please email them to rsi@racquetTECH.com or fax them to 760-536-1171.

Prince’s new Championship tennis balls are hand-covered for quality and consistency, says the company, with an optic yellow felt that provides controlled “fluff” during use. They come in Extra Duty, Regular Duty, and High Altitude Extra Duty. Visit www.princesports.com.

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USPTA Accepting Nominations for Awards
he USPTA is accepting nominations for its 2007 National Awards Program. Each year the USPTA seeks inspiring stories of USPTA Professionals who go above and beyond the call of duty to provide their students with the highest level of tennis instruction and personal development. The national awards program recognizes members who have winning strokes, who teach tennis’ many life lessons, who build businesses that spur the industry, and who serve the sport and their communities with distinction. Deadline for nominations is July 5. Those chosen as award winners will be honored during the annual awards breakfast on Sept. 20 at Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, Fla., during the 2007 USPTA World Conference on Tennis. All Professional-level USPTA members are eligible. Awards are presented in every facet of the tennis business in which USPTA members work. More information, and award nomination forms and guidelines, are available at www.uspta.com, by calling 800-877-8248, or by sending a request to pr@uspta.org.

New Fabric Structure for Tennessee Club
aseline Sports Construction of Knoxville, Tenn., recently completed its fourth project using a structure supplied by Universal Fabric Structures. The new project was the four courts of the Centre Court Racquet Club in Louisville, Tenn. Unlike other fabric structure projects, which cover existing facilities, this one started from scratch. The earth was moved and shaped to accommodate the building, foundations were poured and courts installed. The building covers the four indoor tennis courts, as well as a prefabricated panel building that includes a mezzanine level. Accessories include gable curtain end walls, indirect lighting, radiant heating system, four 40-inch, 11,000-cubic-feet-perminute exhaust fans, six 60-inch ceiling fans, two sets of double glass doors, backdrop curtains, and divider netting between courts. The structure is a 118- by 243-foot TFS building that took less than six weeks to complete. The fabric is Ferrari 702 white translucent with a gray border. The TFS Series is engineered using the principle of the peaked arch profile and has proven its viability and versatility on projects ranging from tennis facilities to airplane hangars. Universal Fabric Structures, of Quakertown, Pa., has previously provided structures for Baseline Sports Construction at Pellissippi State Community College, Fort Sanders Health and Fitness, and the Webb School. All three sites are in Knoxville. For more information on Universal, call 800-634-8368 or visit www.ufsinc.com.

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Prince Releases New Junior Racquets
rince has come out with a line of new junior racquets named for two of their biggest stars, Maria Sharapova and James Blake. The new Air O Sharapova and Air O Blake frames are each available in three different lengths—21, 23, or 25 inches—with similar specs for each length. The 21-inch Air O Sharapova and Air O Blake both have a 95-square-inch head and weigh 6.7 ounces. The 23-inch versions are 100 square inches and 7.6 ounces, and the 25-inch frames are 107 square inches and 8.8 ounces. All feature Prince’s Fusionlite Alloy O-Beam and Technigrip. For more info, visit www.princesports.com.

Gamma Debuts 2 New Strings
amma has come out with two new strings: Live Wire Professional Spin and Zo Pro Spin. The new 16-gauge Live Wire Professional Spin has an outer wrap added that allows the string to bite the ball better for more spin and control, says Gamma. The hybrid Zo Pro Spin uses the 16-gauge Live Wire Professional Spin in the cross strings and Zo Power 16L in the main strings, to provide a softer feel, greater power, and more bite on the ball, says Gamma. For more information, visit www.gammasports.com or call 800-3330337.

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Cardio Tennis Does Ireland

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ore than 60 coaches from around Ireland gathered at the National Tennis Centre in Dublin to attend a Cardio Tennis workshop in late April, put on by the TIA’s Michele Krause and two other teaching pros from her Cardio team based in the U.S. The three Cardio team members came at the invitation of Tennis Ireland, which wants Cardio Tennis to be a key program in its new “participation initiatives,” designed to bring more players into the game in that country. Krause was assisted by Florida-based pros Samantha Ardenfriend and Ted Murray.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Babolat Debuts New Team All Court Shoes
n tennis, 80 percent of the movement on court is lateral and diagonal, says Babolat. That’s why the company says it designed two new shoes specifically to aid in lateral movement. The Team All Court 3 and Team All Court White both feature Babolat’s Exact technology, which the company says allows for smoother, more efficient footwork and provides for quicker starts and better recovery. The Michelin outsole is designed for durability and resistance to abrasion. Both shoes also have Vibrakill, a shock absorption system that Babolat says protects the heel and improves recovery by optimizing energy transfer. And both shoes come with a six-month outsole limited durability warranty. The Team All Court 3 started shipping at the end of March, and the Team All Court White starts shipping in late June. Suggested price is $99. For more information, visit

USRSA MEMBER CLASSIFIEDS
NOW HIRING: REGIONAL SALES REPRESENTATIVES Fischer, one of the leading manufacturers of ski and tennis equipment worldwide, is accepting applications for Regional Sales Representatives in the Tennis division. If interested, please submit a cover letter and resume to info@fischertennisusa.com or contact 800.844.7810 for more information. FOR SALE: Puma X-tra Power Super. Like new! Original grip. Has swing weight adjustment syste. PCS key included in cover compartment. L-3 grip size. $35. Bob Payne – racquets@localnet.com 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. HOUSE FOR SALE: Two Tennis courts with a great 3/ 21/2 /2 home in central Florida for sale. Call 352-746-4063 or view virtual tour on owners.com id # tpg3087. Great teaching and stringing mkt. fsbo $325,000
www.babolat.com

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founder of The Tennis Channel, is launching The Ski Channel in early 2008, in conjunction with his company, Atonal Sports and Entertainment. Bellamy said the network will focus on “everything you can do on a mountain…literally hundreds of activities.” Bellamy, who owns the Palisades Tennis Center in California, also says he recently acquired the Westwood Tennis Center.

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Foreign Presence in College Tennis Spurs Debate
To the Editor: As a recent men’s college tennis participant and now USPTA rookie, I have to agree with the letter that John Williams wrote in the April 2007 issue (page 18). The jump from American juniors into the college game is nearly impossible. Foreign players come into the NCAA older, with more maturity in their games, and can produce results immediately. Every other college sport uses college as way to develop athletes, however most foreign tennis players have had much more experience than Americans. This is not a result of American juniors making an active choice, but rather the result of foreign-born players having an unfair opportunity. As a taxpaying citizen, I personally can't see any reason why a single dollar of my hard-earned money should support any foreign-born person when American-born kids aren't even given a level playing field. As a high school senior with two state championships, a top sectional ranking, limited national exposure, as well as a national ranking, I could not even merit a letter of interest from Oklahoma State University (which was 45 minutes away). I was forced to walk-on at the University of Oklahoma, where before my arrival my coach had "recommended" that maybe [a local community college] would be a good place for me to continue my tennis career. That same incoming year at OU, three French players were given scholarships and allowed to play an entire semester in which they never attended a single class. With all due respect to Colette Lewis [who wrote the Your Serve on foreign students in RSI’s February issue], women’s college tennis is in a completely different place. Because of Title 9, more athletic scholarships are available to female teams (there is no female equivalent to football, participant-wise, and because of the money involved football isn't going to change). As having seen first-hand what the foreign presence is doing to men’s American college tennis, something needs to change, or American boys will continue to go in other directions athletically. Some sort of regulation is needed. Matt Lopez, USPTA To the Editor: Mr. John Williams has himself “not been observing closely enough.” Gone are the days of older foreign players infiltrating college tennis. NCAA rules are in place to make sure that all foreign tennis players entering Division 1 attend school within one year of their class graduating high school. In fact, all foreign players are now processed through the newly created International/Amateurism Clearing House. Are foreign players more experienced? Who generally have more opportunities and resources to compete than American players? There are opportunities to compete in junior, ITF and Futures tournaments almost every week! Mr. Williams thinks that American players are more entitled to scholarships than foreign players. Is this attitude the seed of the problem? Wouldn’t American players be at a higher level if they knew that they had to battle desperately to earn the limited amount of scholarships available, rather than have a sense of entitlement to those same scholarships? How many USTA ranked players entering college can compete immediately at the Division 1 level? There are over 200 NCAA schools competing for that very small group of players. Division 1 tennis is not T-ball—not everyone gets to bat. At some stage the players who “can’t connect” need to concentrate on getting an education and continue to play this great game at another division or level of college tennis where there are many opportunities to compete. Developing the grassroots is fantastic, but let’s make sure we are concentrating on the correct age group and introducing more 4- to 8-year-olds to the game rather than worrying about a USTA player ranked 100 getting a scholarship he thinks he “deserves.” Laurie Warder, ATP Professional, USTA High Performance Coach, USPTA
We welcome your letters and comments. Please email them to rsi@racquetTECH.com or fax them to 760-536-1171.

• Prince Sports has added Daniela Hantuchova to its list of sponsored athletes. Hantuchova, currently No. 13 in the world, contacted Prince about switching to the O3 White racquet prior to this year’s Pacific Life Open. Hantuchova later captured the title at the Pacific Life Open.

• K-Swiss has signed Anna Kournikova to endorse its shoes.
She appears in advertising and on the company’s website, www.kswiss.com.

• Former World No. 1 Kim Clijsters announced her immediate retirement from pro tennis in early May. The 23-year-old, who was still ranked No. 4 at the time of her announcement, said injuries have led to fatigue, a lack of motivation, and a decline in play. Clijsters has been playing for 10 years and won 34 career singles titles.

• Dunlop player Nicolas Almagro of Spain won his second straight title at the Valencia Open in April. Ranked 32 in the world, Almagro plays with a Dunlop Aerogel racquet. • Florida-based ATP touring pro Taylor Dent has become a certified Professional 1 member of the USPTA. Dent, who tested in Kansas City, Mo., at the Homestead Country Club under USPTA testers Gary Trost, Bunny Bruning and Kendell Hale, earned his USPTA certification after an extensive examination of tennis operations management skills, tennisteaching skills, stroke analysis, and demonstrations of group and private lessons. • Andre Agassi will receive the second annual Eugene L.
Scott Award at “The Legends Ball” in New York City this September. The award is presented to an individual who embodies the Tennis Week founder’s commitment to communicating honestly and critically about the game, and who has had a significant impact on the game.

• Jelena Jankovic kicked off her clay court season in dramatic fashion by winning the 2007 Family Circle Cup in April. The No. 6-ranked pro plays with a Prince O3 Red racquet.

• In his first competitive tournament since beating Andre Agassi in the 2002 US Open final, Pete Sampras won the 2007 Champions Cup Boston title in May.

14 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

June 2007

SHORT SETS
> Dunlop Sports Group Americas has been granted the worldwide licensing
rights for the use of the legendary Peanuts characters, created by Charles M. Schulz, in the marketing and sales of its children sports products. Dunlop will use the characters and images from the Peanuts comic strip for children/junior racquet and golf sports products. The full range of products will become available throughout spring and summer, with new product lines in shops and stores by late summer. Brazil, Eng> Stringers from the U.S.,met at the Tland, Scotland, and Spain Bar-M resort in New Braunfels, Texas, in early April for the first Grand Slam Stringers Racquet Stringers Symposium. The event included training sessions by Master Racquet Technicians and vendors with new products. Plans are under way for the 2008 symposium. CBS Sports will continue its long history as the network broadcaster of the US Open. A new agreement with the USTA builds on CBS’s 40-year history as broadcaster of America’s Grand Slam, one of the longest relationships in broadcast sports. The agreement provides more than 50 hours of US Open programming each year, as well as coverage of select US Open Series tournaments, and runs through 2011. recently published and > TheitsPTR has PTR Membership Handmailed annual book. The 385-page book provides PTR members with information about the organization and the tennis industry, in addition to a directory of PTR members worldwide, complete with individual listings by last name, certification rating and contact information, cross referenced by location. announced record ticket > The USTAApril for the 2007 US Open sales through in its advance ticket sales offer to USTA members. Members purchased nearly 27,000 tickets, an increase of more than 20 percent over 2006. And more than 176,000 subscription ticket packages had been sold through April, up 57 percent over last year’s record amount. All told, advance ticket sales were up 52 percent for 2007. American Express Cardmem-

INDUSTRY NEWS

class round-trip air transportation to Paris, 4bers will have the opportunity to purchase night hotel accommodations, ground trans2007 US Open tickets beginning June 4. US portation and tickets to the 2007 French Open, Open tickets will go on sale to the general all valued at about $15,000. Rothe and his guest public on June 11. will also receive Dunlop Aerogel racquets. Steve Rothe, an MRI technician from The second annual Bowen’s Wharf Fashion Sioux City, Iowa, is the winner in Dunlop Show and Champagne Breakfast, hosted by the Sports Group’s 2007 Roland Garros French International Tennis Hall of Fame, will be July 12 Open Sweepstakes. Rothe won an all during the 2007 Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis expense paid trip for two to attend the Championships in Newport, R.I. Tickets are $65 2007 French Open. Co-sponsored by Tennis each and include courtside tennis seats. Call Magazine, the grand prize consists of first 401-849-6053 or 866-914-FAME.

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June 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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INDUSTRYNEWS

J U N E

2 0 0 7

Bruce Karr (right) receives Racquet Sports Industry’s 2006 Wheelchair Tennis Champion of the Year Award from former award recipient Dan James, the USTA’s national manager of Wheelchair Tennis. The presentation took place in April at the Florida Open player’s banquet in Boca Raton.

Tennis Resorts Online Travel Website Names Top 100 Resorts and Camps
ennis Resorts Online has come out with its annual top tennis resorts and camps, based on evaluations submitted by vacationers. “The best sources of information about a tennis resort or camp experience are the players who go there on vacation,” says Roger Cox, founder and editor of Tennis Resorts Online (www.tennisresortsonline.com). “But these aren't ordinary players. They spend on average 100 days a year on court, which means that they have high expectations of the staff and programs.” The No. 1 tennis resort on the list is once again Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina, which is a credit to former touring pro Roy Barth, who has directed the tennis operation since the resort opened in 1976. Rounding out the top 5 resorts are The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa in Arizona, Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt in Austria, Rancho Valencia Resort in California, and Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Florida. For tennis camps, once again New England Tennis Holidays took top honors, the sixth year in a row the New Hampshire camp has been No. 1. The rest of the top 5 camps are Vic Braden Tennis College at Green Valley Resort in Utah, Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks at the Palace Hotel in Switzerland, PBI Tennis Camp at the Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt in Austria, and Saddlebrook Tennis in Florida. Visit www.tennisresortsonline.com for the complete list of 75 resorts and 25 camps.

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N.Y.C. Campus Gets Classic Turf Surface
Rockefeller University in New York City recently converted a 100-year-old concrete parking garage deck into a tennis court using the Classic Turf System, a cushioned sheet-goods surface system. The Classic Turf engineering department redesigned the drainage system, among other construction specs, and replaced the spot drains with a trench drain. The company also installed custom fencing, a lighting system from LSI, and custom windscreens with the Rockefeller University logo. For more information, contact 800246-7951 or visit www.Classicturf.org.

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RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2007

INDUSTRY NEWS

USPTA Magazine Now Available Online
he USPTA’s member magazine, ADDvantage, is now entirely available online in PDF format at www.ADDvantageuspta.com. In addition to the current events, news and advertising, the online version also features the following topics monthly: CEO’s message, board member’s message, classified ads, USPTA drills, career development, and industry action. Other topics featured bimonthly or periodically include Cardio Tennis tips, Jack Groppel’s “Ask the Professor,” question of the month, and the USPTA mailbox. Members also can search for past articles and drills that were featured in previous issues.

Deadline for ASBA Award Entries July 1
he deadline for submitting entries for the American Sports Builders Association awards program is July 1. This year the applications are available only online to ASBA members. There is a $100 fee for each entry. In other ASBA news, the organization has scheduled its 2007 Technical Meeting for Dec. 2 to 4 at the Hyatt Regency Austin in Austin, Texas. Attended by builders, manufacturers, suppliers, designers, consultants, and more, the ASBA Technical meeting features educational seminars and presentations offering topics that can help you run your business better. For more information on the awards program, the Technical Meeting, and ASBA membership, visit www.sportsbuilders.org, email info@sportsbuilders.org, or call 866-501ASBA.

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June 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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ANNUAL

awards

Champions of Tennis 2007
Help us recognize the people who are making a difference in the business of tennis.

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nce again, we’d like to honor the champions of our sport—the many, often unheralded heroes who work tirelessly to develop tennis in the U.S. But once again, we need your help in identifying these men and women and how their accomplishments have helped the game, whether in their local areas or nationally. Please take a look at the categories at the right and email your nominations to RSI@racquettech.com (please put “Champions” in the subject line). Include: Q Nominee’s name; Q Where they work or what they do related to tennis; Q Phone (if possible); Q Brief description of why you believe

they are the champions in their areas. We’d also appreciate your name and contact information, for confirmation purposes only. All nominations will be confidential, and you may nominate for as many categories as you’d like. And, if there’s a category that we don’t list that you think we should include, please let us know. We need your nominations by Aug. 3, 2007. Email is preferred, but you may fax them to 760-536-1171 or mail them to: Racquet Sports Industry, 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084. In our November/December issue, we’ll include a special section acknowledging the dedication of those who work to keep tennis vital in the U.S.

2007 CHAMPIONS OF TENNIS CATEGORIES
Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Person of the Year Pro/Specialty Retailer of the Year Chain Retailer/Mass Merchant of the Year Online Retailer of the Year Stringer of the Year Builder/Contractor of the Year Grassroots Champion of the Year Junior Development Champion of the Year Sales Rep of the Year Wheelchair Tennis Champion of the Year Municipal Facility of the Year Private Facility of the Year Public Park of the Year Community Tennis Association of the Year High School Coach of the Year USTA Section of the Year PTR Member of the Year USPTA Member of the Year

18 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2007

customer

SERVICE

At-Ease!
Make potential customers as comfortable as you can and you’ll turn them into regulars.
BY ROBIN BATEMAN
hen should customer service become important to you? As soon as your players pull into your parking lot? When they first step into your building or onto your courts? Or when they call on the phone to verify program information? How about before they officially become your customers? Charlie Ruddy, a longtime customerservice specialist and developer of the TennisConnect.org software, believes you should prepare your potential customers with enough information to make them feel welcome and want to visit your facility. “Really, all your marketing efforts and promotions provide your customers with a window into what your company’s customer-service philosophy is,” says Ruddy.

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“Why not make the experience a smooth, easy ride for them?” In other words, any fliers, FAQ sheets, website publishing, etc. should all be created with the idea of making your potential customers feel comfortable and welcomed into your tennis center. The line between customer service and marketing just got thinner. “The more thorough you are here, the more at-ease your potential customer is, the more you increase the likelihood of a visit from them,” says Ruddy. To illustrate his point, he relates a story about his first golf lesson. For his 30th birthday, Ruddy’s wife gave him golf lessons. He’d never played before, but he wanted to learn. On the appointed day, he shows

up for his first lesson. “Where are your clubs?” the golf instructor asks. Ruddy, feeling uncomfortable because he doesn’t have any clubs, stammers, “Um…yeah…well…” “Don’t worry. Not a problem,” the instructor says while he rustles up some spare clubs. Then, he looks down at Charlie’s feet, “Where are your shoes?” “Shoes?” The uncomfortable feeling grows into full-blown embarrassment. The truth is, the facility is—at least partially—responsible for Ruddy’s embarrassment. They easily could have prepared him by providing his wife with some simple information when she purchased the lessons. Why would Ruddy show up without golf clubs or shoes if he knew in advance it was his responsibility? If you could prevent such embarrassment at your tennis facility, would you? Of course you would. Working in the industry, it’s easy to make assumptions. Why not take your cues from your customer’s questions and adjust your information accordingly. Macon (Ga.) Tennis Connect Tournament Director Bonnie Smith offers this rule of thumb. “If I get asked the same question three times by three different people, then it’s time for me to provide this information to the public.” No matter how you choose to communicate with customers and potential customers (whether through email or your website, fliers, advertisements, etc.), you still have to provide answers to basic questions: who, what, where, when, why, how. Remember to include the following:

Q Calendar information: dates,
times, length of classes and sessions. In today’s world where people have most of their free time scheduled, this is key information.

20 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2007

Q Attire: It may seem silly, but
a novice player might think he or she needs to go out and buy “real” tennis clothes before stepping onto the court. Also, list rules, like “all men must wear shirts,” etc.

Get the FAQs
Make sure you have an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page posted on your website for different types of programs you offer. Print these pages out and post them behind the counter so all your employees are kept up to date and are able to field telephone or walk-in inquiries.

gives the player a picture of what your goals are. It’s also a great idea to list any and all benefits here. Doing so may hook a middle-of-the-roader.

Q Quotes: Adding testimonials from players or parents gives your program more credibility.

Q Equipment: Does your
club provide racquets for use during classes? Is there a rental fee? Should a player bring his own equipment?

Q Requirements: For instance, age,
skill level, any prior instruction necessary.

Q Rules and Regulations: It’s better to post these than to assume everyone already knows them.

No one wants to show up unprepared. With a little thought and effort on your part, your players will walk onto your tennis courts ready to swing their racquets, have a great time, and more importantly, come back for more.Q

Q Money: What’s the cost? Any additional amount needed? How embarrassing to arrive without your checkbook when additional fees will be applied.

Q Goals/Objectives: Players want to
know what they will get out of taking your classes. Tell them and don’t be afraid to get specific, for instance, “The emphasis on this class is doubles strategy,” etc.

Q Policies: What happens if the weather’s bad? What is the make-up or cancellation policy?

Q Benefits: Providing customers with
an objective for each of your programs

Robin Bateman is the site coordinator for the Tattnall Tennis Center in Macon, Ga., where she coordinates tennis programs and leagues, is a tournament director, serves as a team captain and assists junior teams competing at district, regional, and section events.

June 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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&

marketing

SUCCESS

Keep ’Em Interested!
When it comes to promoting lessons and clinics, don’t take a “wait and see” attitude.
BY JOE DINOFFER
er’s interest and schedule, you’re only halfway to getting them to sign up and participate. The other half of your offering has to include “identifying a need.” In simple terms, this means offering a program or clinic with a theme that reminds a person of a need that they have thought about before. Then, entice them to sign up by presenting how they will benefit from the experience.

ESTABLISH THE BENEFIT
We don’t normally think of tennis pros as salesman, but when you identify a need and then show how someone will benefit, you are selling the idea. If you’re a purist, you may not like to think of yourself as selling anything. But selling is not a bad word. Think of it this way: How will you share your expertise unless you have people to share them to? Here’s an example: Target audience: Male weekend warrior Playing ability: 4.0 Playing style: Powerful but inconsistent Need: Power with more consistency Selling point: “Add control to your power game in one lesson.”

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ver four centuries ago, Sir Francis Bacon is quoted as saying, "Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly." This is certainly true in the tennis business. Left to their own devices, programs you’re running will most likely decline in quality and participation over time. But if you are proactive and constantly work to move your programs forward, you’ll reap major rewards. Let’s take a look at just one area of your activities: tennis lessons and clinics. Posting lesson rates and nothing else is the norm. The game plan at clubs like these is “wait and see.” Unfortunately, according to Sir Francis Bacon, “wait and see” precipitates a downturn in business. On the other hand, some successful clubs gross over $1 million a year in lesson revenue. How do the best ones do it? They are proactive in regularly offering a wide variety of new learning and practice opportunities. And, importantly, they make sure club members and players know about these opportunities. Getting

the word out is fairly easy. Some of the most common approaches include: Q Fliers Q Postings on bulletin boards Q Bag stuffers Q Newsletters (email and print) Q Email a weekly schedule of activities How to get the word out is clear. However, becoming highly successful year after year requires more. After studying successful programs, there are common threads among all of them. Use this as a checklist against your own recipe for success.

PEOPLE ARE INDIVIDUALS
Since no two players are exactly alike, it makes sense that their hot buttons on a tennis court are unique as well. Age, playing level, work schedule, competitive goals, social desires, and whether they prefer singles or doubles are just a few of the variables that will affect the level of interest each person may have in a particular program.

LEAGUE TEAM DRILLING
One of the mainstays of tennis teachers across the U.S. is running drills and workouts for league teams. In many places, working with these teams represents nearly 50 percent of the annual gross teaching revenue. It’s important enough that if you don’t have a local inter-club league, start

IDENTIFY A NEED
When you offer a program that suits a play-

22 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2007

one! It’s not that difficult. One way to get started is to invite all your local pros to a meeting and outline the costs and benefits of starting a league. A good start is to model your league after another region about the size of your own community. How can you find out what’s out there? I just googled “community tennis leagues” on my computer and came up with more than 4 million listings! Also, the USTA, PTR and USPTA all should be able to assist in some way, with information or suggestions.

DROP-IN DRILLS
In today’s world, people are so busy and pulled in so many directions that to commit to a regular weekly activity is difficult. That is the genius of the “drop-in drill.” The concept is simple. Set up a weekly time, such as Saturday mornings from 11 a.m. to 12:30 pm. This is a time when court bookings start slowing down, but people are still interested in getting out. Then create weekly themes so players know what they are signing up for. Since there is no established ability level, have enough pros on hand to allow you to divide up the players on different courts according to their ability. Charge a reasonable amount to give good value for the 90-minute drill, a time frame that is neither too short nor too long. With consistent effort in running these “drop-ins,” you’ll probably find that interest and participation will build, and that players from this group will spill over and sign up for your other programs as well. 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.

June 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

23

w

business

OF TENNIS
Wal-Mart Walton Life Fitness Center

Corporate Structures

For DuPont and Wal-Mart employees, tennis at top-notch facilities BY CYNTHIA CANTRELL is an added perk.

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efore restructuring and downsizing home matches this summer. An another 8 percent hike over the next became widespread practices, corindoor/outdoor pro shop features about year. porations customarily employed a 50 racquet demos, Prince shoes, premium “Dues are still dirt cheap, but our variety of recruiting tools to impress tennis balls not available at big-box older members just don’t understand” prospective workers. It wasn’t unusual, stores, spring and fall apparel lines from the financial constraints prompting the for example, for a generous benefits major manufacturers, next-day stringing, increases, Hampton says. New members, package to include membership to a and special ordering. on the other hand, are more forgiving. corporate tennis facility among its perks. Despite steady fee increases, however, “They flip when they see what we have Hampton says the DuPont Country Club to offer,” he added. “It’s like they’ve Yet today, only a handful of these continues to fall short of its corporate found the Promised Land.” facilities remain. mandate of operating at a break-even While PTR CEO and Executive Director “As companies go public and look at rate while remaining affordable. In fact, Dan Santorum has never visited DuPont’s [corporate tennis facilities] from a cost the club’s 10,000 members are looking at facility, he was impressed by his experistandpoint, the main concern becomes ence at Wal-Mart’s Walton Life Fitthe bottom-line return on investness Center in Bentonville, Ark., ment,” says Greg Mason, senior where he conducted a certification director of sales for Head/Penn Racworkshop in January. quet Sports. “It becomes tough to Regardless of the ownership nature of your tennis club or pro “Wal-Mart is offering a conveexplain to shareholders why someshop, building relationships is a key to growing your business. If nience for its employees,” Santothing that can be so costly is a priyou develop enough rapport with members, they’ll look to you rum says, “but the company is also ority.” first whenever a product or service need arises. doing its part to promote fitness, That is precisely the struggle facQ Don’t fear the internet. Today’s customers are tech-savvy ing Larry Hampton, tennis director prevent obesity, and keep its shoppers who know where to look online for rock-bottom at the DuPont Country Club in employees healthy.” prices. Match prices as closely as you can and be honest when Wilmington, Del. “There is extreme The Walton Life Fitness Center is you can’t. Good customer service is worth a price for which pressure to be profitable,” says located in the heart of Wal-Mart’s many people are willing to pay. Hampton, who has worked at the sprawling corporate headquarters DuPont Country Club since 1985. complex. Amid warehouses, offices, Q Quality over quantity. Limit product lines to the volume for and other nondescript buildings is Built in 1952, the DuPont Counwhich you can comfortably remain an expert. Customers won’t the corporate fitness center offering try Club is a private facility offering be overwhelmed with choices, and there will be less of a cardio and strength training equipmembership exclusively to DuPont chance that your products will compete against each other. ment, circuit training, free weights, employees, spouses, dependents, Q When special orders are especially burdensome. Before and a variety of fitness classes, plus and retirees. The club offers seven you say no, think about options that both sides can agree on, six racquetball, one squash, and categories of membership for such as a no-return policy on special orders. If you’re willing to two basketball courts, separate access to its 25 tennis courts, three invest a little more in relationship-building, however, you might indoor tracks for running and walkgolf courses, lawn bowling and croaccept the return and give the next buyer a deep discount just quet greens, fitness center, and ing, three swimming pools, masto move the merchandise. social activities that include a variety sage therapy rooms, and healthy of classes and trips. snack bar. It takes 12 pages to list Q Turn a negative into a positive. When a special event takes Constructed just five years ago, the additional activities, ranging up court time and parking spaces, give members priority seatDuPont Country Club’s indoor tenfrom nutrition to ballroom dance ing or other perks. The University of Arkansas men’s and nis center features six hard courts. classes. women’s tennis teams practiced and played home matches at Built less than three years ago, Outside are 19 Har-Tru courts, 10 the Walton Life Tennis Center while their own courts were the adjacent tennis facility offers a of which are lighted. In fact, the rehabbed in the spring of 2006, while the DuPont Country Club dozen hard courts—six of them state-of-the-art facility has earned will host the World TeamTennis Delaware Smash again this indoors which members can use attention and accolades from the summer. An inconvenience for a few may actually be the year-round at a comfortable, conindustry for years, with the World chance of a lifetime for many more to learn from top college trolled 74 degrees. Tennis players TeamTennis Delaware Smash again and pro players. have a choice of more than 50 selecting the club as the site of its

It’s All About the Relationships

24 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2007

classes plus lessons, USTA League Tennis, and tournaments. With such extensive programming, which keeps more than 500 juniors and adults on the courts each week, a toll-free telephone number has been established so members can register with a credit card. “You name it, and we pretty much do it,” says Jake Shoemake, head tennis pro and facility manager of the Walton Life Fitness Center. While Shoemake and his assistant teaching pro are employees of Wal-Mart, the other five teaching pros are independent contractors. “There are six or seven country clubs in the area, but very few indoor facilities,” he adds. “And when you see the array of classes we offer and throw in the price, it’s pretty hard to beat.” Doubles players, for example, pay $2 per person for two hours of court time. A 10week “ankle biters” tennis class for 5-yearolds costs $20, while a 10week ladies’ 3.5 doubles clinic is just $33. However, even rockbottom fees don’t spare Shoemake from competing for business. “I’m always looking for new ways to get people involved, maybe with more night classes for people who work during the day,” says Shoemake, noting that a presentation and tour of the facility is given to new employees during orientation. To date, more than one-third of WalMart’s 24,000 employees in northwest Arkansas have joined the Walton Life Fitness Center, although the total number of members is about 21,000 when you include spouses and children. Membership fees are deducted from paychecks. “You try to match as many people with programs as you can,” Shoemake adds, “and you try to take care of every person who walks in the door.” That effort extends to the pro shop, which

carries racquets, apparel, shoes, and grips. Last year, the shop strung 3,000 racquets with 24hour turnaround available. “I try to meet every need our members could have,” Shoemake says of the pro shop, which is also open to the general public. “Sometimes I do well ordering clothes, and sometimes I miss. You live and learn. Now I ask some members what they think about the clothes before I order them, so I don’t have to hear later how awful my taste is.” The pro shop does not carry Wal-Mart clothes or merchandise, but rather “basic” apparel from K-Swiss, Prince, and Lejay; racquets from Prince, Head, and Wilson; and shoes from K-Swiss, Prince, Wilson, and Adidas. All prices, according to Shoemake, are competitive.

Know All Sides of Your Business
When the position of tennis director opened up at the Dupont Country Club in 1985, more than 300 applications were submitted nationwide. Larry Hampton believes he got the job simply because he was the most well-rounded candidate. As an independent contractor, Hampton, runs the tennis programs, pro shop, front desk, and court maintenance for the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del., through his company, Larry Hampton Tennis Services Inc. In addition to keeping proceeds from lessons as well as the pro shop, he has the freedom to hire his own staff. From 1977 to 1996, he also ran the nearby indoor/outdoor Bellevue Tennis Center, which he founded, renovated, expanded, and served as head pro before the indoor facility was irreparably damaged in a blizzard. “It’s cool because I have control and have been able to put together a great team that I’d match against any staff in the country,” he says. “Plus, we don’t get bogged down by corporate policies. If we need a new net on court 5, we go out and buy a new net.” Large-scale expenses at the corporate tennis facility, on the other hand, are the responsibility of DuPont. New lighting, for example, would be considered a capital expense. The lesson to be learned, he says, is diversification. “I know I’m a good teaching pro,” Hampton says, “but the fact I can handle all the other facets of the business has made all the difference.”

DuPont Country Club

“Remember who I work for,” he says, reciting Wal-Mart’s “everyday low prices” motto. “Our members are smart shoppers who do their research.” While both the DuPont Country Club and Walton Life Fitness Center are owned by corporate entities, business principles of fairness, respect, exceeding customer expectations, and providing a good product for a good price still apply. “A big Wal-Mart philosophy is striving for excellence above all things,” Shoemake says. “If you do that, you can’t go wrong.”Q

June 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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HIT YOUR
TIA RESEARCH

TARGET!

The latest research from the TIA can show you exactly BY PETER FRANCESCONI what your customers are looking for.

he latest research into the tennis market by the Tennis Industry Association can be a gold mine of information for those in this business. But just having the information isn’t enough; you need to put it to use. As author Heinz Bergen wrote, “Information is the seed for an idea, and only grows when it's watered.” For teaching pros and facilities, the TIA data (most of which was gathered by Taylor Research & Consulting Group and Sports Marketing Surveys) can help you determine what you can do to attract players and to offer them more of what they’re looking for, so they continue to come back to you and your courts. For retailers, point-of-purchase trends and pricing data can help you determine where to invest your inventory dollars.
The information presented here is from “The Tennis Marketplace 2006 Year-End Executive Summary.” Various levels of research data are available from the TIA depending on your membership level. (TIA memberships starts at $100 per year.) For more on research in the tennis industry or TIA membership, visit www.tennisindustry.org, call 843-696-3036, or email info@tennisindustry.org.

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28 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2007

The 2006 TIA/USTA Tennis Participation Survey shows that total and frequent player numbers essentially are flat. However, taken as a two-year “rolling average” (where 2006 is an average of ’06 and ’05, 2005 is an average of ’05 and ’04, and so forth), the trends show a continuing increase in both All of this player data plays nicely into the Sporting Goods total players and frequent players from 2004 (see chart at left). Manufacturers Association’s study of traditional participaTotal players (those ages 6 and up, who’ve played at least tion sports. Much has been made of the study that came once, including frequent players) currently stand at 24.5 milout last year of how, from 2000 to 2005, tennis is the only lion, up from a low of 23.8 million in 2004. Frequent players traditional participation sport to have grown (10.3 per(who play 21 or more times a year) have increased to 5.2 milcent), while all others have declined in participation (see lion, from a low of 4.7 million in 2003. chart on the bottom of the following page). And while the The four-year increase in frequent players is extremely 2006 data is not yet finalized for publication, initial important to tennis facilities and specialty retailers, since these reports indicate that tennis growth in participation is even players essentially are the heart of your market. Generally, as greater than the year before, while the slide in participafrequent players increase, so do most indicators in the tennis business—racquet and ball sales, courts booked, apparel and shoe sales, etc. When there’s an increase in frequent players, and even total players, there generally will also be an increase in the number of times they play, a measure called tennis play occasions. The latest two-year rolling average for total play occasions shows some important increases since 2004 (see chart on next page). Total play occasions increased to 538 million, and in the key frequent-player demographic, the increase has gone from 361 million play occasions to 425 million. Not only are frequent players your best customers, but they’re also playing even more tennis than in the recent past. This data points up several opportunities for tennis facilities. For instance, it’s in your best interest to keep frequent players doing what they love to do—play tennis. What’s popular among your frequent players? Singles leagues? Social doubles? Cardio Tennis classes? Try slowly increasing or expanding your offerings. You don’t want to suddenly flood your players with options, or offer more programming that only receives a lukewarm response. You want to keep any growth as controlled and as manageable—and as profitable—as possible. And if you’re able to have your frequent players playing even more tennis, then they’ll need to be prepared when it comes to equipment. If players are increasing the amount of time they spend on court, maybe it’s worth it for them to get a second—or third—racquet. More play means they’ll want to restring their racquets more often, too. Make sure they know that when their string tension decreases 25 to 30 percent, they need to restring. Or you can fall back on the well-worn, yet still valid, advice of stringing as many times per year as you play in a week. You may also find them going through tennis shoes more frequently. And, on a very practical level, if they’re playing more times per week, they’ll probably need more tennis apparel, to replace the clothes that are waiting in the laundry hamper.
June 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

The Fitness Factor

29

tion of most other traditional sports has continued. Again, this is all very good news for the tennis business. The SGMA study also points up some other interesting things that play into your business. The highest growth in sports participation has come from new individual sports and fitness-based activities. According to the SGMA, 12 out of the top 20 growth sports over the last five years are fitness activities. Need further proof that fitness is key when it comes to attitudes toward tennis? TIA research indicates that playing tennis for exercise was high on the list of virtually every group of players. For instance, of new players to the game, nearly 60 percent said “exercise” was very or somewhat important in getting them on a court for the first time. Of continuing players (defined as having played tennis for more than one year), 53 percent said exercise was very or somewhat important in keeping them playing; for frequent play-

ers, that number is 63 percent, while 59 percent of “rejoiners” felt that way, too. Research also indicates that 50 percent of lapsed players and 48 percent of “samplers” (who have tried tennis but haven’t played in the past 12 months) would be a lot/a little more likely to play tennis again if a Cardio Tennis program was available to them. A TIA email survey of more than 340 Cardio Tennis sites shows some important trends for your business. For instance, on average, Cardio facilities said 15 new players were created, 15 players returned to tennis, and 20 players were playing more frequently because of Cardio Tennis. The same study shows that 71 percent of facilities have increased their lesson revenue because of Cardio Tennis, 47 percent have increased program fees, 23 percent have increased pro shop sales, 22 percent have increased court booking fees, and 18 percent have increased membership sales. In addition, 52 percent of Cardio facilities figure to increase the number of Cardio Tennis sessions this year. Overall, nearly 75 percent of Cardio sites

30 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2007

said the benefit to their facility was either Good or Very Good (see chart above). This emphasis on fitness in the U.S. is something that you can easily capture in your business. Think Cardio Tennis sessions, think fitness-related tennis apparel with the latest in performance fabrics, think local advertising and marketing that pushes the fitness aspect of tennis.

Go online, for instance to w w w. c a l o r i e count.com, and you can find out that a 150pound person burns 544 calories per hour in singles and 408 calories per hour in doubles. Then compare it to those burned playing other sports—for instance, golf using a riding cart burns only 238 calories per hour. Cardio Tennis, which is not yet on these lists, can burn anywhere from 600 to 1,000 calories an hour. Let players—and potential players in your area—know about the positive fitness aspects of tennis.
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(wholesale)

Essential for creating more frequent tennis players are the availability of programs that allow for team play, and the availability of pros for lessons. TIA research indicates that 47 percent of new players would “play a lot more tennis” if they could play on a team with friends. Current data shows that only 14 percent of new players have ever played tennis on a team, while 40 percent of frequent players have played on teams. (About 32 percent of “regular” players (11 to 20 times a year) and 28 percent of “infrequent” players (4 to 10 times) have played on teams.) When it comes to lessons, only 16 percent of new players have ever taken a lesson from a local pro, compared to nearly 50 percent of frequent players. Getting new players to take lessons is important to keeping them playing tennis. Turning new players into frequent players may not be all that difficult—it could just be a matter of having them sign up for a series of lessons or getting them on a team, which will get them hooked on the sport and playing more. The key, though, is that you need to make them feel at home with the sport, and with your facility and staff. Developing leagues, teams, and lessons that specifically target the new players in your area could be critical to the expansion of your membership and your future business growth. Be aware that new players may not know all the things that we may take for granted, such as where and when to sign up for leagues or lessons, what levels they would best fit into, what type of equipment or apparel they may need, or even tennis “etiquette.” For someone who is new to the sport, this can all be quite intimidating. You and your staff need to make these newbies comfortable, and you need to make it easy for them to get involved. Be friendly, be inclusive. Introduce them to staff and other players at your facility. You may even want to identify a few of your regular players who are particularly friendly and helpful, and ask them to help make the new players feel more at home. Observe how your staff interacts with customers—especially newcomers. If any of your staff or pros aren’t personable and friendly, you need to talk, to them about it. If they can’t or won’t change, replace them with more customer-

Lessons and Teams

32 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2007

As technology becomes more and more a part of daily life, sales over the internet, as expected, are on the increase. Data from more than 2,000 interviews of frequent tennis players shows that apparel sales, in particular, had the biggest internet increase. In late season 2006, 19 percent of all “purchase occasions”—nearly one in five—were from internet sales, up from 16 percent earlier in 2006 and 12 percent in late season ’05. The TIA attributes at least TIA data shows good news some of this increase in interin racquet, ball, and string net apparel sales to the shipments from manufacadvancements in performturers—all have increased ance fabrics and the for the last two years (see increased fitness trends. chart above, left). In units, Racquet sales over the from 2004 to 2006, racquet The TIA and the USTA have been sponsoring a large internet remained fairly shipments increased by 12 U.S. Tennis Participation Study for the last five years. steady through 2006, with 23 percent, balls by 11.3 per- However, due to various challenges, including the percent of all sales coming cent, and strings by 5.7 per- changing nature of telephone surveys in the U.S., from internet purchases in cent. In dollars, racquets the 2006 study is being modified to provide a more late season data. That same increased 12.8 percent, accurate picture of tennis’ overall health. period showed pro and speballs, 6.9 percent, and cialty shops selling 50 percent strings 15.6 percent. In the future, the Tennis Participation survey will be of racquets, down from 54 Pro/specialty racquet combined with half a dozen other components to percent earlier in the year. sales in units and dollars form the new Tennis Health Index, an annual measShoes bought over the are at their highest levels internet accounted for 19 persince 2000. Last year, shops ure of the state of tennis in the U.S. cent of all shoe sales late in moved more than 793,000 “The new Tennis Health Index will provide a better 2006, up from 16 percent a racquets, for a total of more gauge of the state of tennis in the U.S.,” says TIA year earlier, while internet than $105.2 million, continball sales remained steady at uing the yearly upward Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “It won’t rely on 5 percent of all ball purchastrend since 2003. Clearly, one single measure, but instead seven different es. consumers are looking for components.” Clearly, the increase in new equipment that will sales over the internet is further challenging help their games, and manufacturers—together with pro/specialty retailers to provide the kind of service that their retail partners—are able to respond. will attract and retain retail customers. Customer servThe bad news on this front, however, is that the ice, and your knowledge of not just the sport, but the average racquet price has been declining. The latest products you carry, is key. Take advantage of all that drop of 4.2 percent puts the average at $132.55—the manufacturers supply in terms of point-of-purchase lowest average price for racquets at pro and specialty materials and opportunities to learn more about their stores since 1995. Dealer optimism dropped a bit at the products. end of last year, with 43 percent predicting an increase And make sure you’re reaching your customers effecin racquet sales, down from 53 percent earlier in the tively in your local market. Review your advertising, year. marketing, and public relations. Make sure your website Inventories seem to have gotten under control is up to date and that you’re effectively using email and toward the end of 2006, with 26 percent of retailers electronic and printed newsletters to communicate with saying they were “overstocked” with racquets. That’s members, potential members, and the local media. down from 41 percent in early season ’06, and down And, importantly, use the data that the tennis from the 36 percent at the end of ’05. industry itself provides to effectively map out where you In late season 2006, the percentage of racquet sales and your business need to be. By looking at the numrepresented by closeouts continued to grow, to 16.8 bers, you can target your business to maximize your percent for all retailers, and over 20 percent for large profits. Q retailers.

oriented personnel—chances are they’re hurting your business. This doesn’t just hold true for players who are new to the sport—your staff needs to be courteous, kind, and helpful to all your customers and potential customers. Last year, there were 6 million new players to the sport—an amazing number. Unfortunately, the sport lost about an equal number of players. Think how amazing tennis—and your business—would be doing if we were able to retain even a fraction of those we lost.

Where Consumers Buy

Equipment Trends The New Tennis Health Index

June 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

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DISTINGUISHED FACILITY-OF-THE-YEAR AWARDS

INSIDE TRACK
Two indoor court winners provide local players with year-round tennis.

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hese two indoor court winners of the Racquet Sports Industry/American Sports Builders Association Distinguished Facility-of-the-Year Awards represent two ends of the spectrum. One, the Centre Court Racquet Club in Louisville, Tenn., is all about tennis, with four indoor courts and four outdoor. The other, the Vaughan Athletic Center in Aurora, Ill., is a state-ofthe-art multipurpose facility funded by a partnership between the city and a park district, and complete with multiple fitness and weight rooms, indoor running track, fieldhouse, and much more.

The Centre Court Racquet Club’s four indoor courts are housed in a fabric frame building, and inside that is a prefabricated panel building with the office, locker rooms, child care rooms, and a mezzanine level viewing and social area. The Vaughan Center is 225,000 total square feet with a prefabricated 12-mm rubber multisport surface that accommodates five tennis courts. But the similarity is that the two sites, which are both new construction, are excellent havens for local tennis players. —Peter Francesconi

Centre Court Racquet Club
Louisville, Tenn. (Nominated by Baseline Sports Construction, Knoxville, Tenn.) Number of Indoor Courts: 4 General Contractor: Baseline Sports Construction Surface: Nova Sports USA Fabric Frame Building: Universal Fabric Structures Lights (indoor and outdoor): LSI Industries Net Posts: Edwards Nets, Divider Nets, Backdrop Curtains, Equipment: BP International Baskets, Hoppers, Scorekeepers, Benches: Douglas Industries

Vaughan Athletic Center/Fox Valley Park District
Aurora, Ill. (Nominated by Keifer Specialty Flooring Inc., Lindenhurst, Ill.) Number of Indoor Courts: 5 Specialty Contractor: Keifer Specialty Flooring Surface: Mondo Rubber Sports Flooring

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

34 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2007

string

PLAYTEST

Isospeed Professional 17
Isospeed Professional is a multifilament string composed of Power Ribbons and polyamid filaments. According to Isospeed, the polyamid filaments are pre-stretched during manufacturing, which helps with tension maintenance.
The Power Ribbons are made of a unique polyolefin, which Isospeed says provides gut-like properties. The surface of the string is welded under heat, which allows the inner filaments and ribbons to operate independently. Isospeed tells us that Professional is designed for players who seek gut-like performance, yet want to have more durability in a weather-resistant string. Isospeed markets Professional as offering speed and arm protection. Professional is available in 17 gauge in natural only. It is priced from $12 per set. For more information or to order, contact Isospeed at 866-554-7872, or visit http://www.isospeed.com/english/. Be sure to read the conclusion for more information about a special offer on this string. strings in unmarked packages. Average number of hours playtested was 30.3. Out of the package, Professional feels thick and substantial, despite it’s thin gauge and light weight. It marks a bit at clamping points, and if you hurry when installing the crosses it looks a little beat up when you’re done. Some stringers recommend waxing the mains before installing the crosses to mitigate this. No playtester broke his sample during stringing, 14 reported problems with coil EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings) Number of testers who said it was: much easier 1 somewhat easier 5 about as easy 16 not quite as easy 13 not nearly as easy 2

memory, one reported problems tying knots, and five reported friction burn.

ON THE COURT
Just about all of our playtesters found Professional to be a great string, scoring it well above average in every one of our nine categories. Of the 111 published playtests we’ve performed, Professional’s ratings were in the top 20 in the Playability, Power, Control, Comfort, and Spin Potential categories. As a result, Professional garnered a top-20 overall average score of all published string playtests to date. Three of the playtesters broke his sample during play, one at one hour, one at 15 hours, and one at 18 hours.

OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often) Number of testers who said it was: much better 2 somewhat better 9 about as playable 11 not quite as playable 11 not nearly as playable 3

IN THE LAB
We tested the 17-gauge Professional. The coil measured 41 feet. The diameter measured 1.19-1.23 mm prior to stringing, and 1.16-1.19 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 73 RDC units immediately after stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 x 18 pattern) on a constant-pull machine. After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed stiffness measured 63 RDC units, representing a 14 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. Professional added 12 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame. The string was tested for five weeks by 37 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 6.0. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked

CONCLUSION
According to our playtest team, Professional is a balanced string that will benefit just about any kind of player. This is clear from the ratings, but it can easily be seen in the comments, too. One aspect of our playtest results that jumps out at you is that Professional received high marks for Durability, even though it’s a 17-gauge string. Interestingly, even though Professional lost more tension than some other strings we’ve tested, three playtesters specifically told us that it holds tension well. Most of our playtesters either didn’t notice or didn’t care, and only one playtester complained of tension loss. If you think that Isospeed Professional might be for you, Isospeed has a special offer: Buy 7 sets of Isospeed Professional, and get 3 at no charge. —Greg Raven Q

OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge) Number of testers who said it was: much better 2 somewhat better 19 about as durable 12 not quite as durable 1 not nearly as durable 2

RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best) Playability Durability Power Control Comfort Touch/Feel Spin Potential Holding Tension Resistance to Movement 3.6 3.7 3.5 3.8 3.6 3.3 3.5 3.4 3.6

36 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2007

TESTERS

This is the most comfortable string I’ve ever used. Though impact feels very soft, the response is crisp and precise. 4.0 male all-court player using Wilson nTour strung at 65 pounds LO (nylon multifilament 16)

TALK

becomes very easy on the arm. Overall, I’m amazed by the spin and comfort. 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Dunlop 200G (Muscle Weave) strung at 65 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 17)

This string has superior comfort, control, and feel. No dampener needed. The low power makes it perfect for big hitters, and the low trampoline affect makes it great for those who prefer low tensions. The combination of comfort and control are truly impressive. 4.5 male serve-and-volleyer using Handler Arrow strung at 58 pounds LO (Gamma Dura Blast 16)

“ “

This string has a soft feel. The comfort and playability definitely make this a high-end string. 3.5 male all-court player using Völkl Tour 9 V Engine (70 Holes) strung at 55 pounds CP (Babolat VS Team 17)

This string is very comfortable. It has a crisp liveliness and simply great control. After 15 hours, there is no sign of fraying. 4.5 male all-court player using Völkl DNX 9 strung at 58 pounds LO (nylon 17)

Comfort, comfort, comfort. Plays very well at low tensions. For a durability string, this has great touch. This string can handle a wide range of shots and swing speeds. My arm thanks you. 5.0 male all-court player using Prince Triple Threat Warrior MP strung at 48 pounds LO (Wilson NXT Tour 17) Stringers take note: the crosses do not pull easily. Perhaps try some wax. Secondly, don’t be fooled by the way this string handles, it is NOT a polyester; it is quite soft. Unfortunately, soft

strings usually have too much rebound energy, making them hard to control. This string, however, provides refreshingly soft comfort without excessive power. This is not a ‘dead’ string by any means; if your mechanics are in order, the juice is there. It plays with more predictability and control than any ‘comfort’ string I’ve ever used. It defies categorization and will probably prompt a lot of misreadings. This is not a pedestrian monofilament, it has more nuance than a 1982 Bordeaux. If you like a comfortable, muted response with 4.5 male alltons of control, try this string. court player using Head FXP Prestige Team strung at 56 pounds LO (Babolat Xcel Premium 17)

” “

The playability is above average and the durability is truly impressive for a soft string. Not only is spin production easy, but the strings don’t move. Tension maintenance is excellent; the strings feel fresh after 16 hours. 4.5 male allcourt player using Völkl DNX 8 strung at 53 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire XP 17)

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

This string has a nice, quiet, muted response. Control is excellent and the comfort level is high. 5.0 male all-court player using Pro Kennex Kinetic Pro 7g strung at 63 pounds LO (Tecnifibre Promix 16L)

This string does not install nearly as well as it plays. It has excellent control, power, and comfort. I prefer playable multifilaments with excellent control and this string is one of the best I’ve tried. 5.0 male allcourt player using Head i.prestige Mid strung at 55 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire Professional 16)

Initially, this string has excessive power, but eventually the string settles and has superior touch, comfort, and spin. It surpasses my typical set-up, which I’ve been using for two years. I would definitely try it in the crosses, if not the whole string bed. 4.0 male all-court player using Prince O3 Tour MS strung at 62 pounds LO (polyester/nylon 16/17)

This string starts a bit stiff, but the spin is out of this world. It softens quickly and

June 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

37

ask
Q

the EXPERTS

Your Equipment Hotline
PRE-LACING
I’M HAVING AN ARGUMENT WITH another stringer who pre-laces his racquets, and insists I should do so as well. He claims I'll get a faster, more accurate string job. I disagree. What do the experts say? view of your proselytizing friend, but if it doesn’t work for you, you are under no obligation to continue doing it.

STRINGING ‘ONE AHEAD’

AS WITH SO MANY ISSUES dealing with technique, pre-lacing is a matter of personal preference. There are some tournament stringers who pre-lace in order to get the string off the floor before someone else comes along and steps on it, and it doesn’t slow them down to do so. For others, however, a pre-laced racquet is a nightmare, as the loose strings are always in the way of the clamps and seem to get snagged on everything, and you have to “shuffle” string back and forth through the grommets to get enough loop to reach the tension head. It wouldn’t hurt to try it, perhaps out of

A

Q A

IS STRINGING THE CROSSES oneahead a mandatory procedure for stringers who string at professional tournaments? If a stringer decides not to string one ahead, what are the potential risks of this practice? What is the USRSA position regarding stringing oneahead?

string-to-string friction when pulling the crosses through the mains. Therefore, if you’re not stringing the crosses one ahead, you are increasing the potential for longer stringing times and more damage to the string during installation. The USRSA leaves the decision to the individual stringer whether or not to weave one-ahead.

MACHINE CLEANING

Q A

NO, STRINGING ONE-AHEAD IS not a mandatory procedure for tournament or — for that matter — other stringers. However, stringing the crosses one-ahead, as shown on page 48 of Racquet Service Techniques, can save stringing time. Also, because the previously tensioned crosses produce an offset in the mains, there can be less

IN A PAST ISSUE I READ AN ARTICLE regarding how and what type of products to use to clean your stringing machine. I have a lockout machine, if that makes a difference. FOR VIRTUALLY ALL MACHINES except Tecnifibre, use alcohol and lintfree wipes. For Tecnifibre machines with the single-action glide bars, you use WD-40. Therefore, you would use alcohol on your machine. For clamps with textured clamping surfaces, an old toothbrush is handy. The

38 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2007

owner's manual that came with your stringing machine should have cleaning information.

A

GUT LIFE

Q A

WHAT IS THE LIFE RESILIENCY of a gut string? How often do pros restring their racquets when using gut? How often when using synthetics? NATURAL GUT DOES LOSE tension, as do all strings, but in many cases it remains playable to within hours of when it breaks. We’ve seen cases of racquets with ten-year-old natural gut in them that were still playable. Just like recreational players, different pros restring on different schedules. It depends on the pro, but generally speaking, they don't let their strings get more than a couple of days old before restringing, either because of age and performance issues, or because the old string has broken.

AS FAR AS WE KNOW, THERE haven’t been any studies on setting stringing machine height for best ergonomics. There also seems to be a fair amount of personalization regarding machine height, as we’ve seen tall stringers with short machines and short stringers with tall machines, apparently with no problem. You might try setting the height of the stringbed to about the level of your forearms, when you are standing up straight with your arms at your sides with the elbows bent 90 degrees. Because you normally work with one hand above and one hand below

the stringbed, this splits the difference so you shouldn’t have to bend to reach below the stringbed nor stretch to reach above it. You might also try monitoring your internal stress level while stringing. If your overall demeanor is calm and relaxed, you won’t have other tensions migrating to your back. —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.

MOVING GROMMETS

Q A

WHILE STRINGING CERTAIN racquets, some of the grommets fall out. Would you have any suggestions on how to prevent this?

IF THE INDIVIDUAL grommets on a modern racquet are literally falling out, you should replace the grommet set. If the friction of the string against the inside of the grommet is pulling the grommet out of position during tensioning, simply press against the outside of the grommet strip (and/or bumperguard) as you pull tension on the string. This normally happens only at a couple of positions on the frame, so you shouldn’t have to do it for each and every pull.

BEST MACHINE HEIGHT

Q

AFTER STRINGING ABOUT three racquets, my back starts to bother me. Is there an ergonomically best height to set the table of my machine to avoid (or at least mitigate) this situation?

June 2007 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY

39

Readers’ Know-How in Action
CUTTING OUT STRINGS
Editor’s note: There are other ways of cutting out strings that don’t stress the frame, and mounting the racquet on the machine before removing the strings allows dirt, string savers, and stencil ink to fall onto your machine. It’s also very important to re-check the way the racquet is mounted in the machine after cutting out the strings, as you always want to start the string job with the racquet at its natural length.

tips

and TECHNIQUES

Before I cut out the strings, I mount the racquet in my machine as for restringing, and then cut the strings out in the reverse order that they were installed. I then check the racquet mountings for tightness before restringing. I believe this reduces stress on the frame during string removal, plus I’m ready to start stringing as soon as the strings have been removed. 5 sets of Prince Premier w/ Softflex 16 to: Len Borrett, Hampshire, England

BROCCOLI BANDS
I use overgrips, but I flip them over to get wear on both sides before I’m done with them. This means I can’t use tape to secure the overgrip, because removing the tape tears the overgrip. Instead of buying grip bands, I use the rubber band I get from the grocery store where I buy broccoli. They’re just the right size

to hold the overgrip to the racquet, they’re reusable, and they’re free—as long as you eat broccoli. Dunlop 6 Racquet Bag to: Todd Volker, Ottawa, IL Editor’s note: This seems to work best if you wrap the band around the pallet portion, as opposed to the shaft portion of the racquet.

CALIBRATION LOCKING
To help my lockout machine stay in cali-

40 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2007

bration longer, I use a small dab of thread locker on the calibration adjustment screw. I happen to use Loctite. Pay attention when purchasing thread locking fluids or gels, though, as they come in different strengths. You want to get the “weakest” strength so you can loosen the screw and make adjustments in the future. 5 sets of Gamma Synthetic Gut w/ Wearguard 16 and a Gamma Hat & T-Shirt to: John T. Arima, Chicago, IL

Clean up is super easy: Just wipe off any excess lotion and you’re good to go! 5 sets of Tecnifibre X-One Biphase 1.30 to: Terry Boyle, Columbine Valley, CO

look over the list and then ask questions about strings that seem interesting. Forten Tour Bag to: Bob Tuttle, MRT, Freeport, NY —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.

CUSTOM STRING SELECTOR
To help my customers select the correct string, I created a string list of all the strings I stock, separated into one of three categories: Power, Mid-range, and Controllable/Durable. This allows them to

POINTLESS STRINGING
After cutting off the excess string near the knot on polyester string jobs, I take an emery board and sand off the sharp point. I find the emery boards in packs of

20 in the cosmetics section (some people use them for fingernails). 5 sets of Silent Partner Headspin 15L to: Ralph Flohre, Virginia Beach, VA Editor’s note: On many frames, you can cut the string slightly below the edge of the frame in such a way that the point is against the frame, and not easily reached. You just have to make certain that you leave enough that the end doesn’t slip out of the knot.

SLICK BUMPERGUARD TRICK
We have each struggled from time to time with the installation of bumperguards. I use suntan lotion (any SPF!) applied with my finger along the inside of the bumper guard. This allows the guard to slip into the grommet holes much easier as you secure the guard into place.

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10-S Tennis Supply 1400 NW 13th Avenue Pompano Beach, FL 33069 P 800-247-3907 561-547-1772 F 954-969-5451 email: sales@10-s.com web: www.10-s.com Alpha Sports 7208 McNeil Drive, #207 Austin, TX 78729 P 800-922-9024 512-250-1499 F 512-279-9454 email: info@alphatennis.com web: www.alphatennis.com ASBA (American Sports Builders Association) 8480 Baltimore National Pike, No. 307 Ellicott City, MD 21043 P 866-501-2722 410-730-9595 F 410-730-8833 email: info@sportsbuilders.org web: www.sportsbuilders.org Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co. P.O. Box 549 / 24 Laurel Street Ashaway, RI 02804 P 800-556-7260 401-377-2221 F 401-377-9091 email: sales@ashawayusa.com web: www.ashawayusa.com ATS Sports 200 Waterfront Drive Pittsburgh, PA 15222 P 800-866-7071 412-323-9612 F 412-323-1320 email: tennis@corp.atssports.com web: www.atssports.com Babolat VS North America 650 S. Taylor Ave. Louisville, CO 80027 P 877-316-9435 303-444-5340 F 303-444-2088 email: info@babolatusa.com web: www.babolat.com Century Sports Lakewood Industrial Park, Box 2035 Lakewood, NJ 08701 P 800-526-7548 732-905-4422 F 732-901-7766 email: centurysportsinc@cs.com web: www.centurysportsinc.com Classic Turf Co., LLC. 437 Sherman Hill Road, PO Box 55 Woodbury, CT 06798 P 800-246-7951 203-266-4862 F 203-263-0275 email: sales@classicturf.org web: www.classicturf.org Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment 3441 S. 11th Ave. Eldridge, IA 52748 P 800-553-8907 F 800-443-8907 email: sales@douglas-sports.com web: www.douglas-sports.com Dunlop Sports 25 Draper Street Greenville, SC 29611 P 800-768-4727 F 800-766-8379 email: cusomterservice@dunlopsports.com web: www.dunlopsports.com Edwards Div. of Collegiate Pacific 1901 Diplomat Drive, PO Box 7087 Dallas, TX 75234 P 800-527-0871 F 888-455-3551 email: Pam@colpac.com web: www.cpacsports.com Ektelon One Advantage Court Bordentown, NJ 08505 P 800-283-6647 609-291-5800 F 609-291-5900 web: www.ektelon.com Evergreen Tennis Services 109 E. Garfield St., PO Box 136 Chambersburg, PA 17201 P 800-511-7272 717-263-4950 F 717-263-2969 email: evgtennis@comcast.net Fancy Pants, div. of The LBH Group, Ltd. 18700 Crenshaw Blvd Torrance, CA 90504 P 800-421-4474 310-768-0300 F 310-768-0324 web: www.lbhgroup.com Fast Dry Companies 1400 North West 13th Avenue Pompano Beach, FL 33069 P 800-432-2994 F 954-979-1335 email: info@fast-dry.com web: www.fast-dry.com Gamma Sports 200 Waterfront Dr. Pittsburgh, PA 15222 P 800-333-0337 412-323-0335 F 800-274-0317 email: tsr@gammasports.com web: www.gammasports.com Gosen America (Sportmode, Inc.) 5445 Oceanus St., Suite 113A Huntington Beach, CA 92649 P 800-538-0026 714-379-7400 F 714-379-7099 email: sales@gosenamerica.com web: www.gosenamerica.com Har-Tru 2975 Ivy Road Charlottesville, VA 22903 P 877-4HARTRU 434-295-6167 F 434-971-6995 email: hartru@leetennis.com web: www.leetennis.com HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports 306 S. 45th Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85043 P 800-289-7366 602-269-1492 F 602-484-0533 email: askus@us.head.com web: www.head.com K-Swiss, Inc. 31248 Oak Crest Drive Westlake Village, CA 91361 P 800-938-8000 818-706-5100 F 818-706-5390 email: ksmktg@k-swiss.com web: www.k-swiss.com Kirschbaum USA 401 93 Street Surfside, FL 33454 P 305-924-7800 email: info@kirschbaumusa.com web: www.kirschbaumusa.com Klip Springer America 6450 Lusk Blvd, Suite E-103 San Diego, CA 92109 P 858-626-2720 F 858-626-2721 email: contact@klipamerica.com web: www.klipstrings.com LBH, div. of The LBH Group, Ltd. 18700 Crenshaw Blvd Torrance, CA 90504 P 800-421-4474 310-768-0300 F 310-768-0324 web: www.lbhgroup.com Lee Tennis 2975 Ivy Road Charlottesville, VA 22903 P 877-4HARTRU 434-295-6167 F 434-971-6995 email: hartru@leetennis.com web: www.leetennis.com Lobster Sports, Inc. 7340 Fulton Ave. North Hollywood, CA 91605 P 800-210-5992 818-764-6000 F 818-764-6061 email: info@lobsterinc.com web: www.lobsterinc.com M. Putterman & Co. 4834 S. Oakley Chicago, IL 60609 P 800-621-0146 773-927-4120 F 773-650-6046 email: info@mputterman.com web: www.mputterman.com Master Sports 6206 Discount Drive Fort Wayne, IN 46818 P 800-837-1002 260-471-0001 F 260-490-7643 email: info@mastersports.com web: www.mastersports.com

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NGI Sports (Novagrass) 2807 Walker Road Chattanooga, TN 37421 P 800-835-0033 423-499-5546 F 423-499-8882 email: info@novagrass.com web: www.novagrass.com Nova Sports USA 6 Industrial Road, Building #2 Milford, MA 01757 P 800-872-6682 F 508-473-4077 email: info@novasports.com web: www.novasports.com Oncourt Offcourt 5427 Philip Ave. Dallas, TX 75223 P 88-TENNIS-11 214-823-3078 F 214-823-3082 email: info@oncourtoffcourt.com web: www.oncourtoffcourt.com Prince Sports, Inc. One Advantage Court Bordentown, NJ 08505 P 800-2 TENNIS 609-291-5800 F 609-291-5902 web: www.princetennis.com Pro Supex USA 510 SE Fourth Ct. Dania, FL 33004 P 866-787-4644 954-925-8875 F 954-927-0228 email: info@prosupexusa.com web: www.prosupexusa.com

PTR (Professional Tennis Registry) P.O. Box 4739, 116 Shipyard Dr. Hilton Head Island, SC 29928 P 800-421-6289 843-785-7244 F 843-686-2033 email: info@ptrtennis.org web: www.ptrtennis.org Putnam Tennis and Recreation PO Box 96 Harwinton, CT 06791 P 800-678-2490 F 860-485-1568 email: info@putnamtennis.com web: www.putnamtennis.com Rocky Mountain Sports 650 South Taylor #A Louisville, CO 80027 P 800-525-2852 303-444-5340 F 303-444-7526 email: info@rmsboulder.com web: www.rmsboulder.com Tecnifibre 4 S. Walker, Suite F Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 P 877-332-0825 630-321-0760 F 630-321-0762 email: sales@tecnifibreusa.com web: www.tecnifibre.com

Unique Sports Products 840 McFarland Road Alpharetta, GA 30004 P 800-554-3707 770-442-1977 F 770-475-2065 email: sales@uniquesports.us web: www.uniquesports.us USPTA (US Professional Tennis Association) 3535 Briarpark Drive, Suite 1 Houston, TX 77042 P 800-877-8248 713-97-USPTA F 713-978-7780 emial: uspta@uspta.org web: www.uspta.com USRSA (US Racquet Stringers Association) 330 Main Street Vista, CA 92084 P 760-536-1177 F 760-536-1171 email: usrsa@racquettech.com web: www.racquettech.com USTA (US Tennis Association) 70 West Red Oak Lane White Plains, NY 10604 P 800-990-8782 914-696-7000 F 914-696-7167 email: info@usta.com web: www.usta.com

Volkl/Boris Becker Tennis 6450 Lusk Blvd., Suite E-103 San Diego, CA 92121 P 866-554-7872 858-626-2720 F 858-626-2721 email: contact@volklbbtennis.com web: www.volkl-tennis.com Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. PO Box 7770, 4501 Old US Hwy 41 Sun City, FL 33586 P 800-282-4415 813-641-7787 F 813-641-7795 email: custsvc@welchtennis.com web: www.welchtennis.com Wilson Racquet Sports 8700 West Bryn Mawr Avenue, 10th floor Chicago, IL 60631 P 800-272-6060 773-714-6400 F 773-714-4585 email: racquet@wilson.com web: www.wilson.com Wimbledon, div. of The LBH Group, Ltd. 18700 Crenshaw Blvd Torrance, CA 90504 P 800-421-4474 310-768-0300 F 310-768-0324 web: www.lbhgroup.com Yonex Corporation USA 20140 S Western Ave Torrance, CA 90501 P 800-44-YONEX 310-793-3800 F 310-793-3899 support@yonexusa.com www.yonex.com

LISTING BY PRODUCT
EQUIPMENT
Tennis Racquets 10-S Tennis Supply Alpha Sports ATS Sports Babolat VS North America Century Sports Dunlop Sports Gamma Sports HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports Master Sports Oncourt Offcourt Prince Sports, Inc. Pro Supex USA Rocky Mountain Sports Tecnifibre Volkl/Boris Becker Tennis Wilson Racquet Sports Yonex Corporation USA Squash Racquets Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co. Century Sports Dunlop Sports Gamma Sports HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports Prince Sports, Inc. Rocky Mountain Sports Tecnifibre Wilson Racquet Sports Racquetball Racquets Century Sports Ektelon Gamma Sports HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports Master Sports Prince Sports, Inc. Rocky Mountain Sports Wilson Racquet Sports Badminton Racquets Alpha Sports Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co. Century Sports Dunlop Sports Gamma Sports Gosen America (Sportmode, Inc.) Master Sports Rocky Mountain Sports Wilson Racquet Sports Yonex Corporation USA Strings-Gut 10-S Tennis Supply Alpha Sports ATS Sports Babolat VS North America Century Sports Dunlop Sports Gamma Sports

44 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2006

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Gosen America (Sportmode, Inc.) Kirschbaum USA Klip Springer America Prince Sports, Inc. Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products Wilson Racquet Sports Strings-Synthetic 10-S Tennis Supply Alpha Sports Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co. ATS Sports Babolat VS North America Century Sports Dunlop Sports Ektelon Gamma Sports Gosen America (Sportmode, Inc.) HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports Klip Springer America Master Sports Prince Sports, Inc. Pro Supex USA Rocky Mountain Sports Tecnifibre Unique Sports Products Volkl/Boris Becker Tennis Wilson Racquet Sports Yonex Corporation USA Strings-Hybrid 10-S Tennis Supply Alpha Sports Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co. ATS Sports Babolat VS North America Century Sports Dunlop Sports Gamma Sports Gosen America (Sportmode, Inc.) HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports Klip Springer America Master Sports Prince Sports, Inc. Pro Supex USA Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products Wilson Racquet Sports Yonex Corporation USA Accessories ATS Sports Babolat VS North America Century Sports Dunlop Sports Ektelon Gamma Sports HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports

Kirschbaum USA Klip Springer America Prince Sports, Inc. Pro Supex USA Rocky Mountain Sports Tecnifibre Unique Sports Products Volkl/Boris Becker Tennis Wilson Racquet Sports Yonex Corporation USA Grips 10-S Tennis Supply Alpha Sports ATS Sports Babolat VS North America Century Sports Dunlop Sports Ektelon Gamma Sports Gosen America (Sportmode, Inc.) HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports Klip Springer America Prince Sports, Inc. Pro Supex USA Rocky Mountain Sports Tecnifibre Unique Sports Products Volkl/Boris Becker Tennis Wilson Racquet Sports Yonex Corporation USA Vibration Dampeners Alpha Sports ATS Sports Babolat VS North America Century Sports Dunlop Sports Ektelon Gamma Sports HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports Klip Springer America Prince Sports, Inc. Rocky Mountain Sports Tecnifibre Unique Sports Products Volkl/Boris Becker Tennis Wilson Racquet Sports Yonex Corporation USA Stringing Machines Alpha Sports ATS Sports Babolat VS North America Century Sports Ektelon Gamma Sports Master Sports Prince Sports, Inc.

Rocky Mountain Sports Tecnifibre Yonex Corporation USA Stringing Tools Alpha Sports ATS Sports Babolat VS North America Century Sports Gamma Sports Rocky Mountain Sports Tecnifibre Yonex Corporation USA Stringing Accessories Alpha Sports ATS Sports Century Sports Gamma Sports Kirschbaum USA Rocky Mountain Sports Sports Bags Alpha Sports ATS Sports Babolat VS North America Dunlop Sports Ektelon Gamma Sports HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports Prince Sports, Inc. Rocky Mountain Sports Tecnifibre Volkl/Boris Becker Tennis Wilson Racquet Sports Yonex Corporation USA Tennis Balls 10-S Tennis Supply ATS Sports Century Sports Dunlop Sports Gamma Sports HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports Oncourt Offcourt Prince Sports, Inc. Rocky Mountain Sports Tecnifibre Unique Sports Products Wilson Racquet Sports Arm Bands ATS Sports Babolat VS North America Gamma Sports Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products

Knee Bands ATS Sports Babolat VS North America Gamma Sports Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products

TENNIS APPAREL
Men’s ATS Sports Gamma Sports K-Swiss, Inc. Master Sports Prince Sports, Inc. Wilson Racquet Sports Wimbledon, div. of The LBH Group, Ltd. Yonex Corporation USA Women’s ATS Sports Gamma Sports K-Swiss, Inc. LBH, div. of The LBH Group, Ltd. Master Sports Prince Sports, Inc. Wilson Racquet Sports Wimbledon, div. of The LBH Group, Ltd. Yonex Corporation USA Children’s LBH, div. of The LBH Group, Ltd. Wilson Racquet Sports T-shirts ATS Sports Gamma Sports Klip Springer America Rocky Mountain Sports Volkl/Boris Becker Tennis Wilson Racquet Sports Yonex Corporation USA Socks ATS Sports Century Sports Gamma Sports K-Swiss, Inc. Prince Sports, Inc. Rocky Mountain Sports Volkl/Boris Becker Tennis Wilson Racquet Sports Yonex Corporation USA Hats/Caps/Visors ATS Sports Century Sports Dunlop Sports Gamma Sports HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports
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K-Swiss, Inc. Klip Springer America Master Sports Prince Sports, Inc. Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products Volkl/Boris Becker Tennis Wilson Racquet Sports Yonex Corporation USA Wristbands ATS Sports Babolat VS North America Century Sports Ektelon Gamma Sports HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports K-Swiss, Inc. Klip Springer America Master Sports Prince Sports, Inc. Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products Volkl/Boris Becker Tennis Wilson Racquet Sports Yonex Corporation USA Tennis Panties ATS Sports Fancy Pants, div. of The LBH Group, Ltd. Gamma Sports LBH, div. of The LBH Group, Ltd. Sports Bras Fancy Pants, div. of The LBH Group, Ltd. Custom Cresting Gamma Sports Master Sports Wilson Racquet Sports Embroidery ATS Sports Gamma Sports Master Sports Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products Wilson Racquet Sports Team Business ATS Sports Century Sports Fancy Pants, div. of The LBH Group, Ltd. Gamma Sports LBH, div. of The LBH Group, Ltd. Master Sports

Prince Sports, Inc. Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products Wilson Racquet Sports Wimbledon, div. of The LBH Group, Ltd.

FOOTWEAR
Tennis 10-S Tennis Supply ATS Sports Babolat VS North America Century Sports K-Swiss, Inc. Master Sports Prince Sports, Inc. Wilson Racquet Sports Yonex Corporation USA Other Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co. Ektelon Yonex Corporation USA Insoles ATS Sports

Maintenance Equipment 10-S Tennis Supply ATS Sports Century Sports Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment Edwards Div. of Collegiate Pacific Evergreen Tennis Services Gamma Sports Har-Tru Lee Tennis NGI Sports (Novagrass) Putnam Tennis and Recreation Rocky Mountain Sports Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Surface Repair Products 10-S Tennis Supply ATS Sports Century Sports Evergreen Tennis Services Gamma Sports Har-Tru Lee Tennis NGI Sports (Novagrass) Nova Sports USA Putnam Tennis and Recreation Rocky Mountain Sports Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Fencing 10-S Tennis Supply Century Sports Classic Turf Co., LLC. Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment Evergreen Tennis Services Har-Tru Lee Tennis Putnam Tennis and Recreation Rocky Mountain Sports Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Wilson Racquet Sports Tennis Nets 10-S Tennis Supply Alpha Sports ATS Sports Century Sports Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment Edwards Div. of Collegiate Pacific Evergreen Tennis Services Gamma Sports Har-Tru Lee Tennis M. Putterman & Co. Master Sports NGI Sports (Novagrass) Nova Sports USA Oncourt Offcourt Putnam Tennis and Recreation

Rocky Mountain Sports Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Wilson Racquet Sports Tennis Posts 10-S Tennis Supply ATS Sports Century Sports Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment Edwards Div. of Collegiate Pacific Evergreen Tennis Services Gamma Sports Har-Tru Lee Tennis Master Sports NGI Sports (Novagrass) Nova Sports USA Oncourt Offcourt Putnam Tennis and Recreation Rocky Mountain Sports Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Wilson Racquet Sports Scorekeepers 10-S Tennis Supply ATS Sports Century Sports Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment Edwards Div. of Collegiate Pacific Evergreen Tennis Services Gamma Sports Har-Tru Lee Tennis Master Sports Oncourt Offcourt Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Wilson Racquet Sports Water Cooler Stands 10-S Tennis Supply ATS Sports Century Sports Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment Edwards Div. of Collegiate Pacific Evergreen Tennis Services Gamma Sports Har-Tru Lee Tennis Oncourt Offcourt Rocky Mountain Sports Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Wilson Racquet Sports Windscreens 10-S Tennis Supply Alpha Sports ATS Sports

TENNIS LIGHTING
Outdoor 10-S Tennis Supply Classic Turf Co., LLC. Evergreen Tennis Services Har-Tru Lee Tennis Putnam Tennis and Recreation Rocky Mountain Sports Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Indoor Classic Turf Co., LLC. Rocky Mountain Sports Welch Tennis Courts, Inc.

COURT EQUIPMENT
Court Surfaces 10-S Tennis Supply ASBA (American Sports Builders Association) Century Sports Classic Turf Co., LLC. Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment Evergreen Tennis Services Gamma Sports Har-Tru Lee Tennis NGI Sports (Novagrass) Nova Sports USA Putnam Tennis and Recreation Rocky Mountain Sports Welch Tennis Courts, Inc.

46 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2007

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Century Sports Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment Edwards Div. of Collegiate Pacific Evergreen Tennis Services Gamma Sports Har-Tru Lee Tennis M. Putterman & Co. Master Sports NGI Sports (Novagrass) Oncourt Offcourt Putnam Tennis and Recreation Rocky Mountain Sports Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Wilson Racquet Sports Backdrop Curtains 10-S Tennis Supply ATS Sports Century Sports Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment Edwards Div. of Collegiate Pacific Evergreen Tennis Services Gamma Sports Har-Tru Lee Tennis M. Putterman & Co. Master Sports NGI Sports (Novagrass) Putnam Tennis and Recreation Rocky Mountain Sports Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Wilson Racquet Sports Netting 10-S Tennis Supply ATS Sports Century Sports Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment Edwards Div. of Collegiate Pacific Evergreen Tennis Services Gamma Sports Har-Tru Lee Tennis M. Putterman & Co. Master Sports NGI Sports (Novagrass) Oncourt Offcourt Rocky Mountain Sports Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Wilson Racquet Sports Ball Retrieval Equipment 10-S Tennis Supply ATS Sports Century Sports Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment Dunlop Sports Evergreen Tennis Services

Gamma Sports Har-Tru Lee Tennis Lobster Sports, Inc. Master Sports Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Wilson Racquet Sports Ball Machines 10-S Tennis Supply ATS Sports Century Sports Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment Edwards Div. of Collegiate Pacific Evergreen Tennis Services Gamma Sports Har-Tru Lee Tennis Lobster Sports, Inc. Master Sports Oncourt Offcourt Putnam Tennis and Recreation Rocky Mountain Sports Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Wilson Racquet Sports Backboards 10-S Tennis Supply ATS Sports Century Sports Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment Evergreen Tennis Services Gamma Sports Har-Tru Lee Tennis NGI Sports (Novagrass) Oncourt Offcourt Putnam Tennis and Recreation Rocky Mountain Sports Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Teaching Aids 10-S Tennis Supply ATS Sports Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment Gamma Sports Lobster Sports, Inc. Master Sports Oncourt Offcourt Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Wilson Racquet Sports Water Removal Equipment 10-S Tennis Supply ATS Sports

Century Sports Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment Edwards Div. of Collegiate Pacific Evergreen Tennis Services Gamma Sports Har-Tru Lee Tennis Lobster Sports, Inc. Master Sports Oncourt Offcourt Rocky Mountain Sports Wilson Racquet Sports

Sun Protection Rocky Mountain Sports Sunglasses ATS Sports HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products Tournament Prizes ATS Sports Dunlop Sports Gamma Sports Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products Wilson Racquet Sports Towels ATS Sports Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products Wilson Racquet Sports Yonex Corporation USA Videotapes 10-S Tennis Supply ATS Sports Oncourt Offcourt USRSA (US Racquet Stringers Association) Water Bottles ATS Sports Rocky Mountain Sports Wilson Racquet Sports Yonex Corporation USA Associations/Certifications ASBA (American Sports Builders Association) PTR (Professional Tennis Registry) USPTA (US Professional Tennis Association) USRSA (US Racquet Stringers Association) USTA (US Tennis Association) Educational Workshops 10-S Tennis Supply Har-Tru Lee Tennis PTR (Professional Tennis Registry) Welch Tennis Courts, Inc.

BUILDERS & DESIGNERS
Court Contractors ASBA (American Sports Builders Association) Classic Turf Co., LLC. Evergreen Tennis Services Fast Dry Companies Har-Tru Lee Tennis Putnam Tennis and Recreation Welch Tennis Courts, Inc. Facility Planners/Designers ASBA (American Sports Builders Association) Classic Turf Co., LLC. Evergreen Tennis Services Fast Dry Companies Welch Tennis Courts, Inc.

MISCELLANEOUS
Books ASBA (American Sports Builders Association) Oncourt Offcourt USRSA (US Racquet Stringers Association) Computer Software Master Sports Oncourt Offcourt Gifts/Trinkets ATS Sports Master Sports Oncourt Offcourt Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products Sports Eyewear Dunlop Sports Ektelon HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports Prince Sports, Inc. Rocky Mountain Sports Unique Sports Products Wilson Racquet Sports

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Your Serve
A Profitable Future for All
The TIA president says that this industry’s longtime collaborative nature is paying off for all in meaningful programs and initiatives to grow the sport. B Y

DAVE HAGGERTY
nis.com; using the Find a Game, Find a Facility, Find a Program features the TIA manages on industry and consumer sites; running your business online through TennisConnect.org; looking for drills on CardioTennis.com; or a myriad of other tools and information that can help you run your business. This focus on technology, along with the flexible, streamlined nature of the TIA, allows us to get things done quickly. We’re not afraid to take action, to try—or adjust—various programs, or to put our money behind what we think will help grow this sport. And importantly, none of this would be possible without all of our industry partners. Yes, the members of the TIA are, on the outside, fierce competitors with one another, but when we come together for the good of the game, we’re able to put aside any differences or company agendas, and work strategically for the good of tennis. The millions of dollars that the TIA, USTA, and other partners have put into the collaborative bucket to grow the game has made a huge difference in the sport, and it’s making a difference in your business, too. Q

T

ennis is an amazing sport. Think about it—what other sport combines all the positives that you find in tennis. It’s fun to play, it keeps you fit and healthy, it’s a very social sport, yet it can be extremely competitive, you can play it with friends and family, you can play it as an individual or on a team. I’m sure you can list many more reasons to love this sport. Those of us who work in the tennis business are especially fortunate, particularly at this time in tennis’s development. Each year for the last four years, this business has been improving—participation is up, equipment sales are up, play occasions are up and there is a lot of positive momentum. All of this is a testament to the power of working together—and that’s the advantage that the Tennis Industry Association has over many other industries. In the TIA, we’ve been working together for many years—as a group—to develop meaningful programs and initiatives to grow this sport. More than any other participation sport in the U.S., tennis for many years has been developing and strengthening its network. And now, it’s all paying off. When I became the volunteer president of the TIA in January, I was fortunate to take over the reins of an organization that had been well on its way to boosting tennis participation in the U.S. And some of the latest figures prove that we’re definitely on the right track: In the first quarter of 2007, tennis racquet shipments to all dealers were up 11.5 percent in dollars and nearly 9 percent in units over the same period in 2006. Ball shipments, too, have increased in the first quarter 8.7 percent in units. Together with our industry partners and

by working closely with the USTA, the efforts to grow the game at the grassroots level have intensified. We’ve successfully promoted Tennis Welcome Centers for four straight years, the USTA has greatly expanded its Tennis in the Parks campaign and other programs, and Cardio Tennis, entering its third year, is seeing terrific media attention and success in attracting new and existing players. But our collaborative spirit in the TIA and the industry as a whole has had other benefits, too. For instance, the TIA has always seen the value of using research (facts) to help determine the right direction for the sport, and we continue to do so. The research we sponsor, with the help of all of our partners and members, goes beyond what any other sport in the U.S. is doing. We use the data to better refine our programs, to make course adjustments when necessary, to keep this sport heading toward a profitable future. This research is also a vital tool for our member companies who use this market intelligence to make better business decisions and monitor the marketplace. For many years, we’ve emphasized using technology to help better your business, especially in today’s fast-paced, competitive environment, as the TIA is way out ahead in terms of what we’ve developed to help service our members and their businesses. Again, with help from our industry partners, our technological tools have gone a long way toward increasing awareness of and access to this sport—whether it’s searching within the industry on tennisindustry.org; using the tools and services provided at growingten-

TIA President Dave Haggerty is the CEO of Head USA, President of Penn Racquet Sports, and on the USTA Board of Directors. He’s been in the tennis business for nearly 35 years.
We welcome your opinions. Please email comments to rsi@racquetTECH.com or fax them to 760-536-1171.

48 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2007