April 2012

Volume 40 Number 4 $5.00
w Our exclusive ‘map’
w The importance of
Selling Tennis Shoes
Soft-Court Award Winners
Annual Racquet
Selection Guide
Annual Racquet
Selection Guide
w Our exclusive ‘map’
w The importance of
Selling Tennis Shoes
Soft-Court Award Winners
R S I A P R 2 0 1 2
7 Har-Tru acquires J.A.
Cissel, Century Sports
7 Jorge Andrew is
new PTR president
7 “Tennis 15-30” digital
publication debuts
8 New string brand,
L-TEC, launches
8 US Open final to
move to Monday
8 Babolat holds
VS String Academy
10 Peoplewatch
10 USTA, Nickelodeon
launch sweepstakes
10 ASBA presentations
available online
12 Short Sets
13 USTA PlayDev names
5 training centers
16 Kirk Anderson named
PTR Pro of Year
16 Life Time Fitness buys
Rac Club of South
4 Our Serve
7 Industry News
18 TIA News
20 Retailing Tip
22 Finances
34 Tips & Techniques
36 Ask the Experts
38 String Playtest: Tecnifibre Ruff Code 16
40 Your Serve, by Angela Buxton
Cover photo by Stephen Whalen
24 Kicking It Up
Shoes are the “journeymen” of tennis
equipment. But sooner or later, every
player will need a new pair.
32 Feats of Clay
These outdoor ASBA facility winners
are excellent examples of soft-court
27 Making a Play Date
When it comes to selling racquets, the
frame’s specs can take you only so far.
The customer then has to get it out on
the court.
28 Racquet Selection Map
Our exclusive guide enables you to find
the perfect frame for your customers
quickly and easily.
Our Serve
(Incorporating Racquet Tech and Tennis Industry)
David Bone Jeff Williams
Editorial Director
Peter Francesconi
Associate Editor
Greg Raven
Design/Art Director
Kristine Thom
Technical Editor
Jonathan Wolfe
Contributing Editors
Robin Bateman
Cynthia Cantrell
Joe Dinoffer
Greg Moran
Kent Oswald
Bob Patterson
Cynthia Sherman
Mary Helen Sprecher
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
Apparel Advertising
Cynthia Sherman
Racquet Sports Industry 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. Periodcal postage paid at
Vista, CA and at additional mailing offices (USPS
#004-354). April 2012, Volume 40, Number 4 ©
2012 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.
RSI is the official magazine of the USRSA, TIA,and ASBA
Benefits of Receiving, and Giving
e all want some recognition for what we do.
Pro tennis players get that recognition when
they win tournaments. But for most of us, it’s
sometimes hard to find ways to satisfy our need to be told
that our efforts are appreciated, that we’ve done a great
job—that we’re actually important to tennis.
Frequently, we have to make these opportunities happen ourselves
and seek out that recognition. And in fact, that’s exactly what we all
should be doing.
No matter what you do in tennis, chances are there are award and
recognition programs suited to you and your business. You only need to
find them and apply, or in some cases get someone to nominate you; you
don’t need to be invited or selected to apply.
Think of the organizations you deal with already—the USTA has a very
active awards program covering everything from school coaches, to
league captains, to CTAs, to facilities and more. And don’t forget, it’s not
just USTA national; all the USTA sections give out awards, as do districts
and local CTAs. There are other national awards, too, such as the ASBA
facility awards, or recognition from the NRPA, but don’t forget local
awards, such as from schools, the Park and Rec, Chamber of Commerce,
or other retailer and civic organizations.
You also may be in a position to create recognition for others. Clearly,
if you’re a retail store or facility owner or manager, you should have ways
to recognize employees, which will help build a strong, committed team.
If you’re part of a community tennis organization, awards and recogni-
tion can go a long way to helping volunteers feel valued.
And here’s another reason for giving, and receiving, awards: It will
help your business. Think of the chances for publicity, locally and
beyond, for your business or organization when you win recognition—or
even when you give out an award. This type of publicity isn’t just good
for your business, it’s good for tennis overall.
When your business or organization gains recognition, it shows spon-
sors and supporters that you’re worth the investment. Right after RSI’s
Champions of Tennis Awards were announced in January, I heard from
three winners about how the recognition helped them gain funding or
other benefits for a program or project.
Sure, like we all do, you may be thinking, I never win these things, so
why should I bother? Well, you never know—and if not this year, maybe
getting your name out there now will help for next year.
But here’s another reason: Simply writing down your accomplish-
ments, like on an awards application, can really make you feel good
about what you’ve done.
Peter Francesconi
Editorial Director

Jorge Andrew
Named President
Of PTR Board
At the recent PTR
Symposium, Jorge
Andrew was named
president of the PTR
Board of Directors for
a three-year term.
Andrew, who accepted
the reins from outgo-
ing President Jean
Mills, is the first Latino
to serve as president of a major
U.S. tennis organization.
Andrew is the director of opera-
tions of the Lexington Recreation
and Aging Committee, in Lexing-
ton, S.C., which has 51 courts at its
two facilities, the Lexington County
Tennis Complex and the new Cayce
Tennis and Fitness Center. A PTR
member for more than 32 years, he
is a Master Professional, clinician
and tester. He’s also a USTA Master
Trainer for Recreational Coach
Workshops and a 10 and Under
Tennis Specialist, and is chairman
of the Cardio Tennis National
Speakers Team.
A former Venezuelan Davis Cup
player and captain, Andrew played
on the ATP Tour for more than 10
years. He now serves on the USTA
Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Paralympic
committees. In 2008, he was
named USTA/SC Lucy Garvin Volun-
teer of the Year, USTA Southern
QuickStart Trainer of the Year, and
RSI’s PTR Member of the Year.
“I am honored to carry on the
strong tradition set for PTR by Den-
nis Van der Meer,” Andrew says.
“PTR continues to grow as an
organization and I look forward to
working to further that growth for
PTR and tennis.”
R S I A P R I L 2 0 1 2
ar-Tru Sports of Charlottesville, Va., has acquired the tennis operations of J.A. Cissel Man-
ufacturing and Century Sports. Har-Tru says the acquisition will provide its
customers with access to a wider array of products in the tennis accessories
and surfacing marketplace, while adding value to current and future customers of
Cissel and Century.
Cissel and Century, headquartered in Lakewood, N.J., are being purchased from
Bob Hellerson. “We’ve admired Bob’s product leadership and focus on introducing
innovative and top-of-the-line tennis court accessories for years,” says Randy Futty,
general manager of Har-Tru Sports. “This acquisition allows us to expand our cur-
rent product offering to include accessories for clay and hard courts while giving us a chance to
increase our reach and name recognition nationally and globally.”
In an effort to integrate the companies as smoothly as possible, Har-Tru will operate Cissel and
Century independently for the foreseeable future. During this time, Hellerson will continue to
serve in a management role and help to transition the company over to Har-Tru. Approximately
30 associates are employed within the two companies.
“The acquisition supports and aligns with Har-Tru’s mission to develop innovative tennis prod-
ucts that help our customers maximize their potential,” said Anderson McNeill, president of Har-
Tru Sports. “The acquisition allows us to stay competitive in the sports supply segment and
focused on our path of developing champions around the world.”
New ‘Tennis 15-30’ Digital Consumer Pub Is Launched
he Tennis Media Company has launched a new digital magazine
called “Tennis 15-30.” Delivered twice each month, on the 15th
and 30th, the interactive digital-only editions are available on both
desktop browsers and tablet devices such as iPad and Kindle Fire.
“Tennis 15-30 is a game-changer,” said TMC Managing Partner
Bob Miller. “We’re now able to provide world-class written and
video content more quickly, efficiently and creatively than ever
before with a product that can be delivered across every rele-
vant digital platform.”
The digital magazine offers previews, insight and analysis
of professional tennis in addition to fitness tips, instruction
help and other useful content designed to improve the reader’s game. In
addition to the regular twice-monthly issues, TMC will produce four Grand Slam Specials
with in-depth coverage.
Produced in collaboration with the USTA, Tennis 15-30 will be available to all USTA members.
Jon Vegosen, USTA Chairman of the Board and President, said, “This is an extraordinary oppor-
tunity to reach out and have a direct relationship with our members. We are thrilled with this
adaptable form of communication designed for the growing tennis community.”
Jeff Williams, Group Publisher of Tennis Media Company (and co-publisher of RSI), said, “We
believe this new digital-only publication further solidifies our place as the unrivaled premier
source of all news, entertainment and information surrounding tennis. Advertisers will have
increased opportunities to reach the consumer with video enhanced ads and direct links to adver-
tisers’ sites. We expect Tennis 15-30 to be a win/win for both the consumer and our partners in
the advertising community.”
Har-Tru Sports Acquires J.A. Cissel, Century Sports
US Open Men’s Final
to Move to Monday
he US Open men’s final will move to
Monday, possibly as early as this year.
"We're in ongoing discussions regard-
ing the schedule to ensure there's a day of
rest for the men and women between the
semifinals and finals," Chris Widmaier, the
USTA's managing director of corporate
communications, told ESPN.com’s Greg
Garber in early March. "It's not clear if it
will happen for 2012, but we expect it will
by at least 2013."
For the past four years, the men’s final
was pushed to Monday due to rain, and
last year after two days of rainouts, a num-
ber of men pros protested the initial deci-
sion not to move the final from Sunday to
Monday. Even without rain, however, the
US Open was always the Grand Slam
exception—having both the men and
women play their semifinals and finals on
back-to-back days. The other three majors
give the players a day of rest.
"We need to reach an agreement with a
number of different constituents," Wid-
maier said. "Our domestic and internation-
al television partners, our fan base, as well
as certain sponsor commitments we have
to work through.”
A P R I L 2 0 1 2
8 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2012 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Babolat Holds VS String Academy
abolat conducted its inaugural VS String Academy on Feb. 29 at its U.S.
headquarters in Louisville, Colo., bringing in elite stringers from around
the country to become certified to string for Babolat at Grand Slams and
other premier events. It was the first time Babolat has brought the elite
stringers together.
At the conclusion of the String Academy, two stringers—Chris Gaudreau
of Connecticut and Marc Kessler of New York—were selected to attend
Roland Garros, where they will be part of the official stringing team for the
French Open. “Stringing in a tournament like Roland Garros adds a different
level of pressure,” said Babolat’s National Sales Manager, Mickey Maule.
“Chris and Marc both bring a strong technical proficiency and previous expe-
rience stringing for Grand Slam tournaments. We’re honored to have these
talented stringers represent our brand at Roland Garros.”
Other stringers participating in the String Academy were: Woody Schnei-
der (NY), Steve Vorhaus (CO), Mark Campanile (IL), Richard Flores (TX), Drew
Sunderlin (PA), Jason Costello (CO) and Josh Newton (CO).
New String Brand, L-TEC, Launches Full-Poly Hybrids
he newest string brand to enter the market is L-TEC Premium. The company
says its strings are “specifically designed to perform together in hybrid combi-
nations for maximum playability and results.” The line consists of 15 string prod-
ucts, allowing for a multitude of hybrid combinations, which means players can
customize and fine-tune their stringbeds to suit their games.
A key to the L-TEC line is that they are extruded in shapes that the company
says will enhance playability, boost performance and extend string life. Accord-
ing to L-TEC, the strings are “the first to be specifically engineered to give opti-
mal performance at low tensions, especially when installed by a trained
professional who is experienced and/or certified in stringing copolys using spe-
cific low-tension techniques.” L-TEC recommends a precision stringing method
known as the JET Method.
L-TEC Premium copolymers are extruded in four shapes: L-TEC Premium 45
is a “squoval” (squared-off oval), which the company says is the only string on
the market in this shape; 35 is “delta” (triangular) shape; 55 is a pentagon
shape; and OS is a traditional shape. L-TEC also offers synthetics that are
designed to be used as cross strings with the copolys. Strung properly, says L-
TEC, the strings will lose only 2 to 4 pounds of tension in the first six to 10 hours
of play.
The L-TEC Premium line consists of 12 poly-based and three synthetic
strings. The strings are packaged in spool lengths, and customers and
stringers will receive a discount of 20% to
30% off retail price. Stringers who use
L-TEC in their retail businesses,
clubs, schools and shops are eligi-
ble to receive additional discounts
when purchasing in quantity.
For stringers interested in
learning more about the L-TEC Pre-
mium strings and JET Method of
stringing, the U.S. distributor, Guts
and Glory Tennis (ggtennis.com),
has live interactive webinars to pro-
vide an overview and address
questions. For more information
and a description of the strings,
visit L-Tectennis.com.
10U ‘Legacy Program’
Created for Pro Circuit Events
he USTA Pro Circuit Committee has intro-
duced the “10 and Under Tennis Legacy
Program,” which will provide grants to Pro Cir-
cuit tournament sites that actively promote
the 10 and under Tennis format at their
events, and whose facilities make program-
ming available to the community.
The goal of the legacy program, a collabo-
ration between the USTA’s Profession and
Community Tennis divisions, is for tennis
communities in Pro Circuit markets to benefit
from the tournament throughout the year with
enhanced support of grassroots programs.
Tournaments can apply for grants to cover the
painting of permanent lines on courts at their
facility or a partner site connected with the
tournament, such as at a school or park.
The program is separate from, and in addi-
tion to, the grants available to tournaments for
community events. Information is at
A P R I L 2 0 1 2
• Jim Curley has stepped down from his USTA position as Chief Profes-
sional Tournaments Officer & US Open Tournament Director, a post he’s
held since 2001. Deputy Tournament Director David Brewer, a 14-year
USTA employee, has been elevated to US Open Tournament Director and
also will oversee the USTA’s professional tennis operations. Curley will
remain as a consultant to the USTA through the 2012 US Open.
• Spanish tennis great Manuel Orantes, the 1975 US Open champion and
former world No. 2, will be inducted to the International Tennis Hall of
Fame as the only 2012 inductee in the Master Player category. He joins
tennis administrator Mike Davies and wheelchair tennis star Randy Snow
as members of the Class of 2012. The Induction Ceremony will be July 14
in Newport, R.I.
• The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association named Ron Rosenbaum
as its senior vice president of marketing & business development. Prior to
joining SGMA, Rosenbaum worked for the Club Managers Association of
America (CMAA) in Alexandria, Va., as senior vice president of marketing
and communications. From 1998-2001, he worked for the USTA as market-
ing manager.
• Novak Djokovic was recently named the 2012 Laureus World Sportsman
of the Year.
• Babolat National Sales Manager Mickey Maule of Wayzata, Minn., and
partner Rick Leach, a nine-time Grand Slam doubles winner, won the title
at the 2012 ITF Seniors World 40s Doubles Championships in San Diego,
Calif., in February. Maule and Leach, the No. 2 seeds, defeated top-seeded
Ellis Ferriera, a former Australian Open doubles champion, and Roger Mills
6-1, 5-7, 7-5 in the final.
• Pro tour player Sam Querrey and Babolat have a three-year racquet
deal. He will play with the AeroPro Drive GT Plus.
• Watch brand Tag Heuer has formed a partnership with Japan-
ese tennis star Kei Nishikori, currently ranked No.17 on the
ATP Tour.
• Head Penn racquetball players Ben Croft and Rocky
Carson teamed to win their first U.S. National dou-
bles Championship. With the win, the duo earn a
one-year appointment to the USA Racquetball
National Team Pool.
• Val Wilder of Fort Worth, Texas, won both the sin-
gles and doubles titles in the Men’s 50 division at the 2012
International Tennis Federation Seniors World Individual Championships
held in La Jolla, Calif. He teamed with Mike Fedderly of Palm Desert, Calif.,
to win the doubles. Earlier, Wilder had defeated Fedderly in the singles
• Ten-time Grand Slam champion Dr. Anne Smith is partnering with T Bar
M Racquet Club to offer her Mach 4 Mental Training System to players in
the club’s Junior Development Program. In addition to her tennis career,
Smith has a private psychology practice in Texas, and says this program is
the perfect way to integrate tennis and psychology.
• Longtime USTA volunteer and former USTA Missouri Valley Section pres-
ident Leigh Strassner died Feb. 4 in Colorado. Strassner was nationally
ranked as a junior and played tennis at Colgate University. He was a tennis
court builder and member of the USTA Missouri Valley Hall of Fame.
• Ken Brown, a former member of the National Sporting Goods Associa-
tion Board of Directors, died Feb. 22 in Buffalo, N.Y. He was 81.
New Book Tells of Titanic’s Tennis Connection
arl Behr was one of the best tennis players in the U.S.—a member
of the 1907 U.S. Davis Cup team and a Wimbledon doubles finalist.
In 1912, he was in love with Helen Newsom, but Newsom’s mother
did not approve and whisked her daughter away on a European adven-
ture in an attempt to break up the couple. Behr concoct-
ed a business trip to chase after his love. Both scheduled
return trips to America on the Titanic.
The love story of Behr and Newsom, as well as the
incredible story of survival and triumph of another
Titanic survivor and future U.S. singles champion,
Dick Williams, are featured in the new book “Titanic:
The Tennis Story,” by Lindsay Gibbs ($12.95, New
Chapter Press, available on Amazon.com).
The book narrates the extraordinary stories of
Behr and Williams, who survived the sinking 100
years ago and met on the deck of the rescue ship Carpathia.
The two men eventually became teammates on the U.S. Davis Cup
team and faced each other in the quarterfinals of the 1914 U.S.
Nationals in Newport, R.I.— the tournament that is now the US Open.
The historical novel is published by New Chapter Press of New York
USTA, Nickelodeon Launch ‘Tennis
Really Rocks’ Sweepstakes
he USTA and Nickelodeon’s “Tennis Really Rocks”
sweepstakes will run through April 1, with the
grand prize for one lucky youngster of a trip for four
to New York to attend Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, the annu-
al kick-off event to the US Open; as well as hang with
the stars of Nickelodeon’s new live-action series “How
to Rock,” Cymphonique Miller and Max Schneider.
Fifty other youngsters will win a first prize: 10 and
Under Tennis equipment. Kids between 6 and 12
years old or their parents can enter the contest by vis-
iting nick.com/tennisrocks.
“With our agreement with Nickelodeon, we’re now
stepping outside of tennis and reaching a much wider
youth audience to engage them in tennis,” says Kurt
Kamperman, the USTA’s chief executive of Communi-
ty Tennis. Also as part of the partnership, Miller and
Schneider will make appearances, throughout the
year, at USTA events aimed at kids and be featured in
commercials promoting youth tennis.
ASBA Tech Presentation
Videos Available Online
ideos of a number of presentations
at the ASBA’s Technical Meeting held
in December are now available for
viewing on the association’s website,
Among the videos available is the
presentation “Court Preparation,
Removing Coatings (Techniques,
Equipment),” which was presented by
Tom Hinding of Hinding Tennis Courts;
Tom Magner of Plexipave System, Div.
of California Products Corp.; and
Carvin Pallenberg of RiteWay Crack
Repair. Other presentations for the
track, fields and indoor divisions are
To view the videos, go to the home-
page and click the “videos” button at
the bottom right.
Kids Learn 10U Tennis
Aboard Aircraft Carrier
undreds of kids from USTA East-
ern were introduced to 10 and
Under Tennis aboard the Intrepid
Sea, Air & Space Museum on Feb.
23, receiving encouragement from
Patrick McEnroe (below), the gener-
al manager of USTA Player Develop-
ment and a former French Open
doubles champion. The clinic was
held for the second consecutive
year at the Intrepid, which is a
World War II aircraft carrier docked
in the Hudson River on the west
side of Manhattan, as part of the
Museum’s Annual Kids Week, which
features fun, educational and inter-
active activities for kids during the
Presidents’ Week vacation. The clin-
ic was led by a group of instructors
from Yonkers Tennis Center, the
Harlem Junior Tennis and Education
Program, and the USTA Billie Jean
King National Tennis Center.
12 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2012 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
A P R I L 2 0 1 2
Tennis Warehouse and the ATP announced
that they will extend their online retail partner-
ship through 2014. Partners since 2000, Tennis
Warehouse operates the official ATP World Tour
online store.
The USTA announced that Emirates Airline
will be a global, integrated sponsor of the US
Open and US Open Series. As part of the seven-
year agreement, Emirates becomes the “Offi-
cial Airline of the US Open” and the title
sponsor of the “Emirates Airline US Open
Penn has launched a Facebook promotion
through April 27 for its new Pro Penn
Marathon ball. One prize will be awarded each
week, and include a case of Pro Penn
Marathon balls, a Head backpack, a Head rac-
quet, and signed memorabilia from two Head
pro players. To enter, visit facebook.com/
The U.S. will face France in a Davis Cup quar-
terfinal, to be held April 6-8 in Monte Carlo. The
U.S. won its first-round match over Switzer-
land, 5-0, in February in Switzerland. Mardy Fish,
John Isner and Ryan Harrison posted singles wins,
and Fish and Mike Bryan won the doubles.
The U.S. Fed Cup team will travel to Ukraine
April 21-22 to play in the BNP Paribas World Group
Playoff. The U.S. and Ukraine have never faced
each other in Fed Cup; the U.S. needs to defeat
Ukraine to compete in the World Group next year
and contend for the 2013 Fed Cup Title. In Febru-
ary, the U.S. blanked Belarus, 5-0, in the World
Group II first round played in Worcester, Mass.
The Tennis On Campus National Championship
will be April 12-14 at the Cary Tennis Park, Cary,
N.C. Visit TennisOnCampus.com for more informa-
Pro-1 Sports has now fully merged with Putter-
man Athletics. The two tennis supply companies
announced a joint venture in late 2010. Putterman
will continue to operate out of its Chicago sales
and corporate office and Marietta, Ga., for its sales
and distribution warehouse. Inquires relating to
either company should go to info@puttermanath-
letics.com or 800-621-0146.
Cliff Drysdale Tennis is now managing the
tennis operation at Bluewater Bay Tennis Cen-
ter in Niceville, Fla. Bryce Cunningham, who
was program director at the Drysdale-managed
Ritz-Carlton Tennis Garden in Key Biscayne, is
the new tennis director at Bluewater Bay,
which will also see facility improvements
including court resurfacing and pro shop
In 2011 USPTA teaching pros raised nearly
$2.5 million for charity through the associa-
tion’s Lessons for Life program. Lessons for Life
became USPTA’s national charitable program in
1999 and since then the USPTA and its mem-
bers have raised more than $47 million in an
effort to support various charities. While Les-
sons for Life is officially celebrated in October,
events may be hosted any time during the year.
The Orange County Breakers will play their
seven home WTT matches this July on a spe-
cially-constructed court at the Bren Events Cen-
ter on the University of California, Irvine
campus. The Breakers, who have played in near-
by Newport Beach since 2003, start their 10th
USTA PlayDev
Names 5 Regional
Training Centers
STA Player Development has
named five junior develop-
ment programs in four states as
USTA Certified Regional Train-
ing Centers—part of the contin-
uing effort to develop the next
generation of world-class
American players.
The Barnes Ten-
nis Center in San
Diego and the North-
west High Performance
Tennis program in Seattle are
the first CRTCs named in the
USTA Southern California and
USTA Pacific Northwest sec-
tions, respectively. The 4 Star
Tennis Academy in Fairfax, Va.,
will join the Junior Tennis
Champions Center in College
Park, Md., in a CRTC network
for the USTA Mid-Atlantic Sec-
tion. The Rochester Athletic
Club in Rochester, Minn., and
the Life Time Fitness center in
Lakeville, a suburb of Min-
neapolis/St. Paul, will comprise
a USTA Certified Regional Train-
ing Center network for the
USTA Northern Section.
As USTA Certified Regional
Training Centers, the five pro-
grams will enhance the training
and development of juniors in
their areas, and USTA Player
Development will use these
new partnerships as vehicles to
educate and collaborate with
junior tennis coaches in these
four USTA sections.
year in the League when the 2012 regular sea-
son kicks off July 9 and runs through July 29.
The ITF has renewed its sponsorship agree-
ment with Wilson Racquet Sports as the Official
Ball of Davis Cup and Fed Cup for five more
years, starting in 2013 through 2017.
The USPTA has provided a grant to the “A’s &
Aces” program for New Orleans public school
children. A’s & Aces serves more than 500 chil-
dren through in/afterschool and summer program-
ming. Summer camps teach tennis fundamentals
and life skills. In-school/after-school clinics are
offered to partner elementary schools.
Wilson will launch Wilson Collegiate Tennis
Camps at 10 universities this summer, providing
players 8 to 18 years of age overnight program-
ming led by top college coaches. The camps will be
at Brown University, Case Western University, Col-
orado College, College of William & Mary, Kalama-
zoo College, University of Virginia, University of
North Florida, College of Wooster, University of
Notre Dame, and Vanderbilt University. Visit
The top-seeded USC Trojans beat third-seeded
Ohio State 4-3 to win the 2012 ITA National
Men's Team Indoor Championship, held in Char-
lottesville, Va. On the women’s side, UCLA beat
Duke 4-0 to win its first Team Indoor Champi-
14 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2012 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
A P R I L 2 0 1 2
Top-Selling Tennis Strings
at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date units,
January-December 2011
1. Prince Synthetic Gut Duraflex
2. Babolat RPM Blast
3. Wilson NXT
4. Wilson Sensation
5. Luxilon Alu Power
Top-Selling Racquets
at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars,
January-December 2011
Best Sellers
1. Babolat Aero Pro Drive GT (MP)
2. Babolat Pure Drive GT (MP)
3. Babolat Aero Pro Team GT (MP)
4. Babolat Pure Drive Lite GT (MP)
5. Wilson BLX Six.One 95 16x18 (MS)
“Hot New Racquets”
(introduced in the past 12 months)
1. Wilson BLX Blade (MP)
2. Prince EXO3 Red (2011) (OS)
3. Prince EXO3 Blue (2011) ()S)
4. Head YouTek IG Extreme (MP)
5. Head YouTek IG Speed 18x20 (MP)
Tennis Racquet Performance
Specialty Stores
January-December, 2011 vs. 2010
Units 2011 719,490
2010 719,943
% change v. ’10 0%
Dollars 2011 $101,748,000
2010 $102,216,000
% change v. ’10 0%
Price 2011 $141.42
2010 $141.98
% change v. ’10 0%
Top-Selling Tennis Shoes
at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars,
January-December 2011
1. Prince T22
2. Adidas Barricade 6.0
3. Babolat Propulse 3
4. Nike Air Breathe Free 2
5. Nike Court Ballistec 3.3
(Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)
Pros Can Travel Free to Wimbledon
ooking to go to Wimbledon this year? The Wimbledon Experience, a part of Keith
Prowse Ltd., is offering tennis pros, tennis directors and general managers the chance
to travel for free as the 10th person accompanying nine members, with trips that can be
customized to your group.
The Wimbledon Experience has worked with the All England Club since 1982 as the
official agent for overseas tours and hospitality at the Championships. The “Tennis Club
Tour Program” includes guaranteed reserved seats for two days of play and playing time
on grass courts at a nearby club. The trip also includes an evening at the theater, dinner,
lunches and more.
For details, visit wimbledon-experience.com or call 888-552-6791.
A P R I L 2 0 1 2
Kirk Anderson Named PTR Pro of the Year
irk Anderson of New Fairfield, Conn., was presented with PTR’s Professional of the
Year Award during the 2012 PTR International Tennis Symposium, held Feb. 24-28
at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Fla.
Anderson, who was named RSI’s Person of the Year in 2006, is the Department
Director for Coach Education and Development at the USTA. Since 2000, his depart-
ment has conducted on-court training workshops for more than 69,000 coaches.
One of only a handful of Master Professionals certified by both PTR and USPTA,
Anderson has served on the ITF Tennis Participation Task Force since 2000 and is a
member of the Special Olympics International Global Resource Tennis Team and the
Special Olympics North America Tennis Development Committee. He is also on the
National Tennis Advisory Staff for both Head and Adidas. He’s published dozens of arti-
cles, written curriculum guides and participated in instructional videos.
Anderson is a graduate of the USTA High Performance Coach program and is certi-
fied as a Youth Fitness Specialist by the International Youth Conditioning Association.
He’s a popular presenter at international, national, regional and local workshops. In
2003, he received the International Tennis Hall of Fame Educational Merit Award.
PTR Names Winners of Annual Awards
During the PTR International Tennis Symposium in February, the PTR named its 2012 award winners:
w Professional of the Year – Kirk Anderson, New
Fairfield, CT
w Wheelchair Professional of the Year – Jon Ryd-
berg, Oakdale, MN
w Clinician of the Year – Anne Pankhurst, USA &
w Tester of the Year – Oliver Stephens, Chicago, IL
w Jim Verdieck College Coach of the Year – Craig
Ward, Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia,
w High School Coach of the Year – Kenneth A.
Griffith, Henry E. Lackey School, Indian Head,
w Public Facility of the Year – Fred Wells Tennis &
Education Center, St. Paul, MN
w Private Facility of the Year – The Mar-a-Lago
Club, Palm Beach, FL
w Newcomer of the Year – Joanne Wallen,
Nicholasville, KY
w Male Player of the Year – James Cerretani,
Reading, MA
w Female Player of the Year – Yulia Bolotova,
Philadelphia, PA
w Humanitarian Award – Diana Seggie, Bluffton,
w PTR/ USTA Service Award – Rita Gladstone,
Port Orange, FL
w PTR/TIA Commitment to the Industry –
Michele Krause, University Park, FL
w Media Excellence Award – Mary Helen Sprech-
er, Baltimore, MD
PTR State Members of the Year
w AL – Betsy Smith, Daphne
w AZ – Josh Bates, Chandler
w CA – Barry Poole, San Jose
w CO – Kendall Chitambar, Boulder
w CT – Deidre Tindall, Cheshire
w DE – Alejandro Justiniani, Lewes
w FL – Sam Garcia, Vero Beach
w GA – Ian Thomson, Alpharetta
w IL – Jim Bates, Chicago
w IN – Reggie Sanderson, Wheatfield
w MD – Vicki Datlow, Olney
w MA – Michael Mercier, Beverly
w MI – Mike Woody, Midland
w MS – Justyn Schelver, Madison
w NH – Diane Phelps, Manchester
w NJ – Colleen Cosgrove, Princeton
w NY – Savina Diankova, Hastings-on-Hudson
w NC – Francie Barragan, Fayetteville
w OH – Anne Krupp, Fostoria
w OR – Gerri Allen, Lake Oswego
w PA – Lee Underwood, Edinboro
w SC – David Carrick, Greer
w VA – Donald Widener, Suffolk
w WA – Tracie Mitchem, Freeland
w WV – Otis Cutshaw, Elkins
Life Time Fitness Buys
Racquet Club of South
innesota-based Life Time Fitness Inc. has bought
Atlanta’s Racquet Club of the South. Life Time Fitness
now operates clubs with a total of 158 courts, 104 of them
With the purchase, for an undisclosed sum, Racquet
Club of the South has been renamed Life Time Tennis
Atlanta. The facility will undergo a remodeling to its exteri-
or, lobby and locker rooms, and the company says it will
add a fitness center, clubhouse with restaurant, pro shop
and stadium court that could seat more than 4,000 fans.
Life Time Tennis Atlanta has 28 outdoor courts and eight
indoor courts, and it is a USTA regional training center.
Nominations Open for USTA
Outstanding Facility Awards
o you know an outstanding tennis facility? One that has
great courts—and great programming? The USTA is accept-
ing nominations through June 29 for its 31st Annual Outstand-
ing Facility Awards program, designed to recognize tennis
facilities by encouraging high standards for construction and
renovation. Nominations are evaluated on criteria that includes
the facility and courts themselves (i.e. quality of construction,
overall layout, accessories/amenities, etc.) and also tennis pro-
gramming (such as USTA programs, 10 and Under Tennis, and
other programs). Winners are recognized at the USTA Semian-
nual Meeting in September in New York City. Visit
usta.com/facilityawards for more information and to nominate.
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V1Sil Cartlt l tnlls.com. email
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Krause Honored With
PTRtnA Commilmenl
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This is part of a series of
retail tips presented by
the Tennis Industry
Association and written
by the Gluskin Townley
Group (www.gluskintownleygroup.com).
before purchasing. You need to man-
age the intercept and greeting skillfully
so they’ll purchase from you.
w Shopping Bags: Provide carts, baskets or
nylon shopping bags—whatever is
appropriate for your retail space. These
will invite customers to actually shop.
w Make Your Store Sticky! Research
shows that the amount of time a shop-
per spends in a store is perhaps the sin-
gle most important factor in determining
how much he or she will buy.
w Seating Shows You Care: According to
Underhill, “In the majority of stores,
sales would instantly be increased by the
addition of one chair.”
w Kids Go Everywhere: Including your
store! Make sure your store is kid-friend-
ly; include a play area if necessary.
w Clean Restroom and Changing Rooms:
These are essential if you want to attract
and hold onto more women as cus-
w Flowers and Plants Are Good: Add flow-
ers and green growing things throughout
your store.
w Open It Up: If your aisles are so tight
that two people can’t pass without
touching, you’ll lose shoppers. And
remember that many women shop with
children, so your aisles need to accom-
modate strollers.
Addressing the needs of all shoppers,
and in particular the needs of women, will
help bring in more customers, and create
more loyalty among your current clients.
Coming Up:
Direct response marketing. w
No matter what size your store is, think
about a redesign built around a friendly,
fun tennis lifestyle shopping experience
that will make shoppers comfortable.
You should evaluate your customer ser-
vice and develop a store culture based on
education. Create an operations manual
that focuses totally on the consumer. Start
by getting together a group of women who
you know play tennis, and ask them to
“mystery” shop your store and evaluate
their shopping experience for you. If you
are a one-man operation, ask them to
shop your store just like they would any
other specialty tennis store, and provide
the same evaluation. Then, walk through
your store yourself and do your own eval-
uation. Here is a checklist to consider:
w Clean and Neat: Keep your parking lot
and the outside of your store clean. The
same goes for the interior—do “recov-
ery” every day, which means vacuum,
sweep, dust, fold and fix the displays
and signs.
w Windows: Make sure they are clean,
inside and out, and merchandised if
appropriate to your traffic. If there are
any stickers on your windows or doors,
take them off.
w Entryway: Easy access to your store is
w Intercept and Greeting: Here is where
differentiating between men and women
shoppers becomes a retail skill:
• Women will seek out you and your
staff to ask questions and ask for help;
men, for the most part, will avoid con-
tact. If left on their own, men will seek
the product they are interested in, gath-
er as much information as they can
and leave as quickly as they can.
• Once you intercept and greet male
shoppers, you may need to give some
of them space, but be available to
answer questions. Research shows that
men will visit as many as three stores
hile recent statistics show that
men are beginning to do more
retail shopping than in the
past, women still buy the majority of
goods at retail. As a tennis specialty
retailer, are you addressing the needs of
women when it comes to shopping? Do
you and your staff know the different
shopping habits between men and
women? Do you know how to attract
more women as customers to your retail
To start to understand this, we first
need to realize that retail shopping fol-
lows social change. According to Paco
Underhill, the author of “Why We Buy:
The Science of Shopping” and a pre-emi-
nent retail anthropologist: “Retail must
pay attention to how women wish to
live, what they want and need, or it will
be left behind.”
Understand, too, that there are funda-
mental differences in how men shop vs.
how women shop. “Males just want a
place that allows them to find what they
need with a minimum of looking and
then get out fast,” says Underhill. “If
made to wander and seek—in other
words, to shop—he’s likely to give up in
frustration and exit. Men take less plea-
sure in the journey.”
Women, on the other hand, demand
more from the shopping experience—or
journey—and hence from the retail envi-
ronment itself. Women need to feel
comfortable in retail environments and
be able to move about comfortably.
So the challenge for specialty tennis
retailers begins with making their retail
environments appealing to female
A Complete Experience
Increasing sales to women is all about
the complete retail shopping environ-
ment and the total shopping experience!
What Do Women Want?
Answering this age-old question—as it
applies to tennis retailing, of course—can
bring more love to your business.
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software development (currently
deductible like research and development
costs) and currently deductible advertis-
ing expense—all without challenge by the
Research and Mailing Lists as a Tax
Deduction: Testing the waters before
committing to an advertising campaign is
always advisable. Unfortunately, only
costs of research in the laboratory or for
experimental purposes are tax-
deductible. Market research and normal
product testing costs are not research
expenditures under the tax rules.
Mailing lists are an important part of
the advertising campaigns of many rac-
quet sports businesses. On one hand, the
mailing list is an intangible asset,
deductible only if a reasonable life can
be determined for it. A tax deduction for
the cost of compiling that list is a little
Consider the situation of a tennis
retailer that mails catalogs to people on
its mailing list as well as to others on lists
that it rents. Prospects for the permanent
list are drawn from advertising, and
added to the company’s mailing list if
they make purchases. The business keeps
records of its costs in adding to the mail-
ing lists and expenses those costs in the
year the catalog to which the expenses
relate is distributed.
The IRS has ruled that the company
may deduct as an ordinary business
expense its costs related to adding names
to the mailing list. Keep in mind, howev-
er, that this situation involved a catalog
that was published semi-annually, while
in other cases the IRS ruled on the cata-
log had a useful life of several years.
As Advertising
Paid advertising isn’t the only way to
spread the word about your business.
Public relations are marketing strategies
All reasonable advertising expenses
are tax deductible so long as they bear a
reasonable relationship to your tennis
business. Under our tax rules, deductible
expenses may be for the purpose of
developing goodwill as well as gaining
immediate sales. Even better, the cost of
advertising is deductible when paid or
incurred, even though the advertising
program extends over several years or is
expected to result in benefits extending
over a period of years.
Lobbying Expenses: When it comes
to promoting the interests of your store,
pro shop, facility or business, lobbying
expenses directed toward influencing
federal or state legislation are generally
not deductible. However, this prohibition
does not generally apply to in-house
expenses that do not exceed $2,000 for
a tax year. Lobbying expenses pertaining
to local legislation are, of course,
The cost of public service or other
impartial advertising, such as advertising
designed to encourage the public to reg-
ister to vote, are also deductible. But, no
deduction may be claimed for the
expense of advertising in political pro-
grams, or for admission to political fund-
raising or inaugural functions and similar
events. This includes admission to a din-
ner or program if any part of the pro-
ceeds of the event directly or indirectly
goes to a political party or a political can-
Website Development Costs:
Although the IRS has not issued formal
guidance on the treatment of website
development costs, informal, internal
IRS guidance suggests that one appropri-
ate approach is to treat these costs like
an item of software and depreciate them
over three years. It is equally clear that
taxpayers who pay large amounts to
develop sophisticated sites have been
allocating their costs to items such as
ithout marketing or advertis-
ing, no one will know your
business exists. Fortunately,
a marketing strategy doesn’t have to
mean multimillion-dollar TV commer-
cials. After all, there are plenty of ways
to market a retail store, tennis facility
or your teaching business—and a vari-
ety of tax deductions to help make that
marketing and advertising more afford-
able. Include entertainment in your
operation’s marketing strategy and tax
deductions will also underwrite the fun
side of promoting your business.
Advertising, as well as marketing,
can mean the continued life of any
business affected by the economy,
competition or other factors outside the
control of the operation’s owner or
manager. Because there are many
aspects to both advertising and market-
ing, it is not surprising that the expen-
ditures related to these activities fall
within several sections of the tax regu-
Advertising Expenses
All too often, one of the first expenses
reduced or cut by many troubled busi-
nesses is the most basic of expendi-
tures—advertising costs. This is a
doubly short-sighted strategy given the
necessity of advertising in bad times
and the fact that Uncle Sam, in the
form of tax deductions, will often pick-
up a portion of those advertising
Advertising expenses encompass
everything from expenditures for busi-
ness cards, brochures, fliers, prizes and
contests, new product or service launch
costs and other promotional activities.
Generally, advertising, marketing and
other selling expenses are immediately
tax deductible as “ordinary and neces-
sary” business expenses—but not
Spreading the Word
You can take tax deductions for advertising and marketing your
business, including certain entertainment expenses.
present at the meal, and (2) a deduction
will not be allowed for food and beverage
to the extent that such expense is lavish
or extravagant under the circumstances.
50% Limitation Rule: The amount
allowable as a deduction for meal and
entertainment expenses is generally limit-
ed to 50% of such expenses. The 50%
rule is applied only after determining the
amount of the otherwise allowable deduc-
tions. For instance, the portion of a meal
that is lavish or extravagant must first be
subtracted from the meal cost before the
50% reduction is applied.
Giving is
Often Advertising
Another form of advertising is giving gifts.
Deductions for business gifts, whether
made directly or indirectly, are limited to
$25 per recipient per year. Items clearly
of an advertising nature that cost $4 or
less and signs, display racks or other pro-
motional materials given for use on busi-
ness premises are not gifts.
A tennis business that provides cus-
tomers or prospective customers with an
item that might be considered either a
gift or entertainment will generally bene-
fit from the entertainment write-off,
ignoring the $25 limit. Of course, if the
operation gives a customer packaged
food or beverages that are to be used
later, they are considered gifts.
To spur sales, many retailers frequent-
ly give away small samples. Under the
tax rules, the cost of the samples can be
deducted immediately—if the samples
are purchased separately from the prod-
ucts being sold. If purchased separately,
their cost is an ordinary and necessary
business expense. However, if the item
was included in inventory, it cannot be
deducted twice. It will already be part of
the cost of goods sold.
The tax rules clearly label the majority
of advertising and marketing costs as
immediately tax deductible albeit with
some restrictions or limits. Obviously, to
get the maximum benefits from advertis-
ing and marketing expenditures or to
reap the cost-cutting deductions often
requires the help of qualified profession-
Whether help includes advertising or
marketing professionals or is limited to a
qualified tax professional, the decision of
whether to advertise or market your busi-
ness’s products or services should be a
“no brainer,” good times or bad. w
that span everything from press releases
and networking at a Chamber of Com-
merce meeting to sponsoring a contest to
holding special events.
However, no deduction is allowed for
dues paid to any club organized for busi-
ness, pleasure, recreation, or other social
purposes—even if membership is used to
promote your racquet sports business.
Fortunately, this disallowance does not
extend to trade or professional organiza-
tions, or public service organizations
(such as Kiwanis and Rotary clubs).
A tennis retailer or facility operator is
allowed a deduction for business enter-
tainment, so long as there is a direct rela-
tionship between the expense and the
development or expansion of the busi-
ness. Remember, however, special limits
are imposed on the deduction of busi-
ness-related entertainment, meals and
gift expenses.
First and foremost, no tax deduction
is allowed for the cost of entertaining
guests at nightclubs, sporting events, the-
aters, etc., unless that cost is either:
Directly related to the active conduct of a
trade or business, or for entertainment
directly before or after a substantial and
bona fide business discussion associated
with the conduct of that trade or busi-
The business discussion must be the
principal aspect of the combined enter-
tainment and business and must repre-
sent an active effort by the tennis
business operator to obtain income or
other specific business benefit. However,
if a meal expense directly precedes or fol-
lows a substantial and bona fide busi-
ness discussion (including a business
meeting at a convention or trade
show), then it is deductible if it is
established that the
expense was associat-
ed with the active con-
duct of a trade or
business. The retailer or
operator must, of course,
be able to substantiate the
There are two additional
restrictions placed on the
deduction of meal expenses:
(1) meal expenses generally are
not deductible if neither the business
operator nor the operator’s employee is
Mark E. Battersby is a tax advisor and freelance
writer in Ardmore, Pa., who has specialized in tax
and finance topics for more than 25 years.
ompared to tennis racquets, which many consider to
be the stars of the inventory, shoes are much more
the solid journeymen of tennis sales. They are low
markup, with a lifetime measured from months for serious
juniors to a year, maybe two, when donned by casual-play-
ing seniors. Everybody who walks into your store either will
need a new pair of kicks now, or very soon.
Describing the opportunity, Adidas America tennis cate-
gory manager David Malinowski advises, “You can display
eight to 10 shoes in the space it takes to display one shirt.
Footwear can be the milk in your store pulling customers all
the way into the back, or it can be the window dressing. It
can go behind the counter or above the apparel.”
Wherever you place footwear in your store, however,
they will rarely be a sexy or easy sale. Unlike racquets, there
are few internet forums arguing the virtues of tennis shoes.
There are no demo programs to excite customers.
Even as shoe prices rise due to increases in material and
manufacturing costs, overall retail unit sales are flat. The lat-
est figures by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association
are that overall athletic footwear shoe sales in the U.S.
treaded water—from $12.952 billion (with tennis shoes
making up $157 million of that) in 2007 to $12.608 million
in 2010 (with tennis shoes again adding $157 million).
Bottom line: Selling shoes in this marketplace essentially
is a zero-sum game, with one store or pro shop’s hit indicat-
ing another’s shot off the frame.
But store owners and shoe manufacturers are doing what
they can to move footwear, keeping in mind that—since
shoes will wear out—a good relationship with your cus-
tomer will mean repeat sales.
In addition to having prominent, clean-looking shoe dis-
plays, MP Tennis owner Mike Pratt says store staff needs to
be ever-attentive. One tactic is to encourage staff to see
what model customers are wearing when they walk in and
ask if they would consider the latest version. Most of all, he
says, “Don’t let customers serve themselves, [and] once
they find their size, just keep the styles coming.”
Pratt, whose 1,000-plus square-foot store in a Tampa,
Fla., strip mall has a wide-ranging clientele, is adamant that
competition is everywhere. “If people perceive you to be
more than internet, you won’t be successful,” he says.
Stringing is the higher-margin money-maker for his store
and he uses visits to his two busy stringers to draw cus-
tomers toward the shoes. He also has televisions tuned to
tennis and rugs in that part of the store to make the area as
comfortable for those waiting as for the person trying on the
newest models. Additionally, he features a program offering
10 percent off shoe and 20 percent off clothing with a rac-
quet restringing.
Another possibility for increasing sales is to take every
advantage of point-of-purchase promotions. Mickey Maule,
24 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2012 www.racquetsportsindustry.com www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Shoes are the ‘journeymen’ of tennis equipment. But
sooner or later, every player will need a new pair.
April 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 25 www.racquetsportsindustry.com www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Babolat’s national sales manager, cites the
company’s “Giant Shoe” as the most efficient
in-store promotion he has seen. The compa-
ny includes pictures of the latest shoes within
the shrink wrap on racquet handles; in the
past has offered a racquet/shoe discounted
purchase; and this coming season highlights
a reusable bag as a gift with shoe purchase.
However, even as the company amps up its
social media strategy to drive players into
stores, a seductive temptation for putting
players in the shoe-sale frame of mind will
likely continue to be the size 22 Babolat shoe
display that draws some people into stores
just to take a picture.
For Adidas’s Malinowski, the favorite promo-
tion was that of a teaching pro (admittedly,
Adidas-sponsored) new to an area who
offered a free lesson for anyone who pur-
chased a pair of Barricades or adiZeros from
a particular shop. “The word spread,” says
Malinowski, “and the pro had to offer several
one-hour clinics to cover all of the people that
came in and bought shoes. The shop didn’t
lose any margin and the pro got to show off
his teaching skills, which turned into many
returning customer for both the shop and the
teaching pro.” Despite the success, Malinows-
ki acknowledges, “Promotions on footwear
are difficult, as the most important thing is to
get the right-fitting shoe.”
And getting players into the right-fitting
shoes almost always takes an educated staff.
Richard Flores, owner of First Serve, a 4,200-
square-foot store open since 1989 in San
Antonio, encourages his employees to quiz
each other about product features and even
“sell” each other during slow times. He also
stresses the importance of asking customers
questions and listening to their answers to
figure out what they are really looking for in
a shoe.
Flores teaches that, “People want to be
engaged … [shoe] customers are not driven
by the technology story. They are driven by
other things, but technology helps justify the
price. [In fact,] shoes aren’t sold just because
they are on sale, they have to address specif-
ic needs. Needs trump a markdown.”
According to Prince VP of sales–footwear
Kevin Adametz, the basic “needs” for tennis
are, “fit, fit, durability, and then looks.” The
challenge, he says, is for manufacturers and
retailers to find the right balance for each
player between a shoe’s durability and its
weight, which once again calls to the fore the
importance of having a knowledgeable staff
to guide players through the shoe-buying
Comparing a racquet purchase to a
shoe sale, Adametz compares selecting
a new stick for most consumers to
buying a car, where they do their
homework and shop dealers and
prices. On the other hand, a shoe is
not something a player throws in
his/her bag and keeps once the
replacement is in hand, and so the
mentality is very different. “A shoe
wears out and you know it will
wear out,” he says. (As an addition-
al note in considering what to stock
and sell, keep in mind that the life-
time of a tennis shoe is shorter for
juniors, who often ride their shoes
harder even as they grow out of them
But even before a player’s newest shoes
will wear out, there are fashion concerns
that consumers are keeping in mind. Cur-
rently, shoe manufacturers are adding
many more splashes of colors—particu-
larly among junior styles. Also, there are
some primarily black footwear as a con-
trast to the traditional and much more
prevalent basic white.
The trend of the last few years suggests
increasing consumer acceptance of greater
color. “People are always looking for the
next hot style and brand,” says Head/Penn’s
Northern regional sales manager, John
Tranfaglia. “We are seeing bold colors and
designs in the marketplace. Taking risk in
design and color to stand out ‘on the wall’
is seen now in every season.”
The problem, of course, is that to the
extent that fashion comes into play, select-
ing “the wrong” colors does leave a shop
open to problems with inventory … and
there are far fewer offers by manufacturers
of minimum advertised price reductions for
shoes than racquets and many fewer overall
than in the past to rely on. The standard
advice is to order conservatively regarding
sizes and fashion, as you can always special-
order if you sell aggressively.
Ultimately, shoes are a necessary back-
bone of a store’s inventory, but it is a founda-
tion offering that does not come cheap. They
may be low margin and somewhat utilitarian,
but selling them will never be boring. w
April 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 27 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
When it comes to selling racquets, the frame’s specs can
take you only so far. The customer then has to get it out on
the court.
ou need your customers to buy new rac-
quets. And racquet manufacturers need
you to sell their frames. But in a world
where consumers are more and more tight-fisted
with their dollars, you need to make sure you’re
getting the right racquets into your customers’
While price generally is a factor with recre-
ational players, if they find a frame that truly
works for them, they’ll most likely shell out.
But if the frame they purchase ends up not
working for their game, they’ll have wasted
their money. If you can’t match up your cus-
tomer with a frame that works, that player
may well decide to take his business else-
where, and the one thing you can’t afford to
lose in today’s economy is a customer—any
So, bottom line, you need to do everything
you can to ensure your customer picks the
frame that will best help their game. How do
you do that? Well, one good way to start is to
use our Racquet Selection Map starting on
page 28 to help you narrow down exactly
what your customer is looking for.
Next, though, you need to keep in mind
three things when it comes to helping your
customer find the right frame: Demo, demo,
Bruce Levine, the general manager of
Courtside Racquet Club in Lebanon, N.J., who
coordinates racquet playtesting for Tennis
magazine and Tennis.com, says a player con-
sidering a new frame needs to hit with it on
court—multiple times.
“Players need to test-drive the racquet to
make sure it will help their game and feel
right to them,” Levine says. Encourage your
customers to playtest the racquet on every
part of their game, hitting every type of shot
they can. One way to help convince players to
demo a frame is to apply demo fees to the
purchase price once your customer decides
on what to buy.
Levine recommends that you encourage
customers and players to demo racquets in
four stages:
w First, “They should go out and smack the
ball around with their friends, which will
give them a general feel for how the racquet
plays,” he says. “But it most likely won’t be
a true feeling for the frame, because you’ll
be hitting in a pretty comfortable situation.”
w Second, Levine says, “Tell players to take a
clinic or private lesson with the racquet to
see how it performs in a situation in which
they’re uncomfortable.” A clinic or lesson
will mean working on new and different
skills, or trying to improve on skills the play-
er already has.
w Third, your customer should use the racquet
to play an opponent that he typically beats.
“If your player doesn’t win, he may give you
the racquet back and determine it’s not the
best for his game,” Levine says. “But if the
player has an easy time of things, well, that’s
good, and sort of what you should have
expected to happen, because your customer
usually beats the other player anyway.”
w Fourth, “Your customer should play against
someone he is evenly matched with or who
gives him a very difficult time on the court.”
If there is a clear, positive difference in your
customer’s game, then that might be the
right racquet for him or her.
“When a customer thinks he’s found the
right racquet for them, he should go out and
play with it once more, just to make sure,”
Levine says. “After all, it doesn’t do your busi-
ness any good to sell people on the wrong
piece of equipment for them. Ensuring that
they have the right racquet for their games
makes you a more credible tennis retailer, and
helps to bring you repeat business.” w
What Else to
Become as knowledgeable as
possible on racquets and tech-
nologies, Levine says. Take
every opportunity to go over
the details provided by racquet
manufacturers, and to question
your sales reps about their
products. And make sure you
get your staff in on the educa-
tion, too. Also, know the three
main types of racquets:
w Power, or “game-improve-
ment” frames: Generally
lighter, stiffer and powerful,
with large head sizes. They
appeal to players with short-
er swings.
w Control, or “player’s,” frames:
Generally heavier in weight,
more flexible, with a smaller
head size. These appeal to
better players.
w “Tweener” frames: Blending
power and control, these
frames appeal to intermedi-
ate to advanced players look-
ing for more maneuverability.
And don’t forget the impor-
tance of strings—especially
because strings mean high
margins and repeat business.
“Don’t sell a customer a fancy
string if they don’t need it,”
Levine says. “Sell them the
closest string to gut they can
afford and that fits their style
and their level of play.”
1. Power/Control (columns). (formula = length
index x headsize x flex x swingweight) ÷ 1000.
Length index calculation: 27" = 1.0, 27.5" = 1.05;
28" = 1.1, etc.
2. Maneuverability (rows). RDC (Babolat
Racquet Diagnostic Center) swingweight units.
3. Racquet ID. The number in the grid correlates
to the accompanying racquet list.
4. Headsize. Midsize and midplus (≤104 sq. in.)
have no indicator.
Oversize (105-117 sq. in.) = •. Superoversize (≥
118 sq. in.) = :.
5. Length. x = extended length. Standard length
(27") racquets have no indicator.
6. Flex (RDC). a = < 60; b = 60-64; c = 65-69; d
= 70-74; e = > 74. The higher the number, the
stiffer the racquet.
7. Company. Coded by number and color. See
accompanying racquet list on the following pages.
8. Racquet Quadrants and the Center of the
Racquet Universe. The center of the racquet universe
is located at the intersection of the two red lines.
Approximately half the racquets lie to the right and left,
and half above and below these lines. The lines divide
the racquet universe into four color-coded quadrants –
clockwise from top left: (1) quick power, (2) quick con-
trol, (3) stable control, (4) stable power. These charac-
terizations provide a general vocabulary for comparing
9. Racquet Finder List. The racquet list accompany-
ing the map identifies all the new racquets and gives
additional information. For a complete list of all current
frames on the map, go to RacquetSportsIndustry.com.
The map provides specific (very narrow ranges, anyway)
swingweight, flex and power statistics, and general size
and length characteristics. The racquet list specifies the
length and size and further specifies weight, balance,
and price.
How To Use It
1. Ask questions. What are you looking for
that your current racquet does not provide?
What do you like most and least about your cur-
rent racquet? What are the strengths and weak-
nesses of your game?
2. Locate current racquet on map. If the
racquet is not in the list, take measurements.
3. Locating potential racquets. Depending
on the answers to the above questions, draw an
imaginary arrow (a wide or skinny one) from
your present racquet in the desired direction for
power and maneuverability.
4. Narrowing the field. Shrink the choices
using the length, headsize, and flex codes to
match customer preferences.
5. Selecting racquet demos. Once the choic-
es are narrowed, locate the racquets by number
in the racquet list.
7 AeroPro Drive Cortex GT Roland Garros 100 27.00 316 11.15 33.50 13.19 70 326 2282 $179
11 C Drive 102 102 27.00 282 9.95 35.90 14.13 69 310 2182 $189
12 C Drive 105 105 27.00 278 9.81 35.50 13.98 66 303 2100 $189
13 Drive Z Lite (S.C. Tech) 100 27.00 269 9.49 35.20 13.86 69 288 1987 $169
18 Pure Drive + Cortex GT (Dark Blue) 100 27.50 315 11.11 33.50 13.19 73 324 2483 $185
19 Pure Drive 107 Cortex + GT (Dark Blue) 107 27.00 296 10.44 33.80 13.31 68 299 2176 $185
20 Pure Drive Cortex GT (Dark Blue) 100 27.00 318 11.22 33.90 13.35 71 325 2308 $185
21 Pure Drive Lite Cortex + GT (Dark Blue) 100 27.00 297 10.48 33.40 13.15 70 303 2121 $185
22 Pure Drive Roddick + GT (Dark Blue) 100 27.50 330 11.64 33.30 13.11 73 337 2583 $189
23 Pure Drive Roddick GT (Dark Blue) 100 27.00 336 11.85 33.00 12.99 75 335 2513 $189
New Racquets from April 2011 to March 2012
Racquet Headsize Length Weight Weight Balance Balance Flex Swingweight Power Retail
) (in.) (gm) (oz) (cm) (in.) (RDC) kg x cm
Formula Price
BABOLAT 877-316-9435 • www.babolat.com
ur exclusive Racquet Selection Map enables you to
help your customers choose the perfect racquet for
them quickly and easily, with the features and per-
formance they want.
The map on the following page presents the entire perform-
ance racquet universe on one grid that instantly locates each
racquet compared to every other in terms of power, control,
and maneuverability. Simply locate the specs of your cus-
tomer’s current racquet on the map, then move outward in
large or small increments in the direction of the customer’s pri-
mary preference—relatively more or less power, control or
maneuverability. Once you’ve zoomed into an approximate
location on the grid, you can narrow down the racquet’s feel
attributes by choosing from length, size, and flex specs coded
into the racquet number.
Next, look up the racquet(s) by number in the accompany-
ing table. Note, though, that the table on these pages lists every
new performance racquet that came out in the last 12 months.
If the racquet you find on the grid is not in one of these charts,
you’ll find it online at www.racquetsportsindustry.com, where
we have the complete list of every racquet that is currently on
the market, both the newest and the older models.
Your customer will now have a handful of “choice-cus-
tomized” demos. And you’ll have a satisfied customer.
April 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 29 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Racquet Headsize Length Weight Weight Balance Balance Flex Swingweight Power Retail
) (in.) (gm) (oz) (cm) (in.) (RDC) kg x cm
Formula Price
30 Bolt 100 100 27.00 326 11.50 32.60 12.83 72 325 2340 $215
31 Bolt 98 98 27.00 343 12.10 34.00 13.39 74 362 2625 $215
Boris Becker
33 Delta Core London Tour 93 27.00 329 11.61 32.10 12.64 61 310 1759 $170
35 Delta Core NYC 100 27.25 321 11.32 33.00 12.99 67 311 2136 $180
Donnay no data
37 Formula no data avaialble at print time $299
38 X Black 94 94 27.00 342 12.06 31.90 12.56 60 318 1794 $299
40 X Blue 94 94 27.00 339 11.96 32.35 12.74 64 320 1925 $299
41 X Blue 99 99 27.00 334 11.78 32.00 12.60 63 313 1952 $299
43 X Dual Gold 94 94 27.00 324 11.43 32.30 12.72 68 312 1994 $249
44 X Dual Gold 99 99 27.00 326 11.50 33.00 12.99 67 324 2149 $249
45 X Dual Platinum 94 94 27.00 340 11.99 32.00 12.60 66 312 1936 $249
46 X Dual Platinum 99 94 27.00 334 11.78 31.70 12.48 66 304 1886 $249
47 X Dual Silver 99 99 27.00 319 11.25 32.75 12.89 67 307 2036 $249
48 X Dual Silver Lite 99 99 27.00 299 10.55 33.35 13.13 68 298 2006 $249
54 XP Dual 102 102 27.00 308 10.86 32.80 12.91 64 307 2004 $249
55 XP Dual Lite 102 (Black) 102 27.00 288 10.16 33.50 13.19 65 294 1949 $249
56 XP Dual Lite 102 (White) 102 27.00 289 10.19 34.30 13.50 60 303 1854 $249
57 Biomimetic 100 90 27.00 326 11.50 32.20 12.68 64 307 1768 $199
61 Biomimetic 200 Tour 95 27.00 347 12.24 32.50 12.80 62 335 1973 $179
64 Biomimetic 400 100 27.00 313 11.04 33.10 13.03 71 313 2222 $169
65 Biomimetic 400 Lite 100 27.00 284 10.02 33.90 13.35 71 294 2087 $159
66 Biomimetic 400 Tour 100 27.00 327 11.53 31.70 12.48 71 307 2180 $179
72 Biomimetic 600 Tour 102 27.00 315 11.11 33.00 12.99 69 318 2238 $179
73 Biomimetic 700 110 27.25 272 9.59 34.50 13.58 67 294 2221 $179
75 RZR 100 100 27.00 305 10.76 34.00 13.39 76 311 2364 $200
76 RZR 100T 100 27.00 333 11.75 33.90 13.35 76 342 2599 $200
77 RZR 110 110 27.25 290 10.23 36.00 14.17 68 318 2438 $220
78 RZR 98 98 27.00 319 11.25 32.50 12.80 66 341 2206 $180
79 RZR 98T 98 27.00 345 12.17 32.50 12.80 66 341 2206 $180
85 Youtek IG Instinct MP 100 27.00 310 10.93 32.60 12.83 71 306 2173 $170
86 Youtek IG Instinct S 102 27.00 279 9.84 34.70 13.66 72 294 2159 $160
87 Youtek IG Prestige Mid (INNEGRA in throat) 93 27.00 343 12.10 32.20 12.68 67 315 1963 $200
88 Youtek IG Prestige MP (INNEGRA in throat) 98 27.00 342 12.06 32.10 12.64 66 314 2031 $200
89 Youtek IG Prestige Pro MP (INNEGRA in throat) 98 27.00 344 12.13 32.50 12.80 67 320 2101 $200
90 Youtek IG Prestige S 98 27.00 316 11.15 33.00 12.99 67 310 2035 $170
91 Youtek IG Radical MP (INNEGRA in throat) 98 27.00 322 11.36 33.70 13.27 64 330 2070 $190
92 Youtek IG Radical OS (INNEGRA in throat) 107 27.00 322 11.36 33.00 12.99 60 321 2061 $190
93 Youtek IG Radical Pro (INNEGRA in throat) 100 27.00 331 11.68 33.00 12.99 65 336 2184 $190
94 Youtek IG Radical S 100 27.00 293 10.34 33.00 12.99 67 284 1903 $170
114 X Fast Pro 100 27.00 315 11.11 33.40 13.15 69 313 2160 $210
130 EXO3 Hornet 100 100 27.00 292 10.30 35.00 13.78 70 319 2233 $149
131 EXO3 Hornet 110 110 27.00 291 10.26 35.00 13.78 68 309 2311 $149
136 EXO3 Rebel 95 (Yellow/Black) 95 27.00 342 12.06 32.10 12.64 62 337 1985 $189
137 EXO3 Rebel 98 98 27.00 316 11.15 33.00 12.99 60 324 1905 $189
138 EXO3 Rebel Team 98 98 27.00 299 10.55 34.10 13.43 58 316 1796 $169
DUNLOP 800-768-4727 • www.dunlopsport.com
GAMMA 800-333-0337 • www.gammasports.com
HEAD 800-289-7366 • www.head.com
PACIFIC 941-795-1789 • www.pacific.com
New Racquets from April 2011 to March 2012 (Cont.)
DONNAY 800-264-0509 • www.donnayusa.com
BOLT 877-430-2658 • www.boltadvance.com
PRINCE 800-2TENNIS • www.princetennis.com
BORIS BECKER 866-554-7872 • www.borisbecker.com
Racquet Headsize Length Weight Weight Balance Balance Flex Swingweight Power Retail
) (in.) (gm) (oz) (cm) (in.) (RDC) kg x cm
Formula Price
144 EXO3 Tour Team 100 (16x18) 100 27.00 303 10.69 34.00 13.39 66 324 2138 $189
145 EXO3 Warrior 100 100 27.00 315 11.11 33.10 13.03 68 323 2196 $189
146 EXO3 Warrior Team 100 27.00 300 10.58 35.00 13.78 69 328 2263 $189
156 Tour 10 98 27.00 342 12.06 31.60 12.44 72 310 2187 $189
157 Tour 7 98 27.00 300 10.58 32.20 12.68 70 290 1989 $189
158 Tour 8 98 27.00 327 11.53 31.00 12.20 67 297 1950 $189
Tecnifibre 67
159 Rebound Pro (VO2 Max) 95 27.00 308 10.86 33.00 12.99 71 307 2071 $199
163 T Fight 325 VO2 Max 95 27.00 334 11.78 32.00 12.60 70 319 2121 $199
178 Organix 5 100 27.13 274 9.67 34.50 13.58 68 291 2004 $190
181 Organix 8 (315g) 100 27.00 331 11.68 32.20 12.68 74 321 2375 $185
182 Organix 9 98 27.00 324 11.43 32.50 12.80 66 309 1999 $205
183 Organix V1 MP 102 27.00 294 10.37 33.50 13.19 64 296 1932 $220
184 Organix V1 OS 110 27.50 302 10.65 34.00 13.39 67 317 2453 $220
192 Team Blast 115 27.50 273 9.63 35.50 13.98 70 308 2603 $180
193 Team Speed 102 27.00 275 9.70 33.00 12.99 66 278 1871 $100
194 Team Tour 100 27.00 292 10.30 34.30 13.50 66 311 2053 $189
213 BLX Envy 100 27.00 283 9.98 34.00 13.39 63 297 1871 $130
214 BLX Five 103 27.25 276 9.74 37.00 14.57 24 320 811 $260
215 BLX Juice 100 100 27.00 316 11.15 32.80 12.91 74 318 2353 $220
216 BLX Juice 108 108 27.25 294 10.37 34.00 13.39 73 317 2562 $220
217 BLX Juice Pro 96 27.25 334 11.78 32.25 12.70 66 332 2156 $220
218 BLX One 118 27.50 278 9.81 37.00 14.57 75 325 3020 $310
219 BLX Pro Limited 110 27.50 262 9.24 37.00 14.57 64 303 2240 $130
222 BLX Pro Staff Six One 100 100 27.00 302 10.65 32.75 12.89 67 295 1977 $230
223 BLX Pro Staff Six One 90 90 27.00 354 12.49 31.80 12.52 67 325 1960 $230
224 BLX Pro Staff Six One 95 95 27.00 331 11.68 31.80 12.52 65 302 1865 $230
225 BLX Six One Ninety Five (16x18) 95 27.00 349 12.31 31.50 12.40 68 334 2158 $210
226 BLX Six One Ninety Five (18x20) 95 27.00 343 12.10 32.00 12.60 68 329 2125 $210
227 BLX Six One Team (16x18) 95 27.00 299 10.55 33.90 13.35 66 312 1956 $210
232 BLX Tour 95 95 27.00 305 10.76 34.00 13.39 67 326 2075 $220
236 Steam 100 27.25 312 11.01 33.00 12.99 68 319 2223 $220
238 E Zone Xi 100 100 27.00 317 11.18 33.00 12.99 72 311 2239 $199
239 E Zone Xi 107 107 27.00 298 10.51 34.10 13.43 71 309 2347 $199
240 E Zone Xi 115 115 27.25 272 9.59 37.00 14.57 68 326 2613 $199
241 E Zone Xi 98 98 27.00 327 11.53 32.60 12.83 66 322 2083 $199
242 E Zone Xi Lite 100 27.00 297 10.48 33.90 13.35 70 305 2135 $199
243 V Core 100S 100 27.00 314 11.08 33.20 13.07 71 310 2201 $189
244 V Core 95D 95 27.00 336 11.85 32.10 12.64 67 328 2088 $189
245 V Core 98D 98 27.00 318 11.22 32.90 12.95 68 312 2079 $189
246 V Core Team 98 27.00 297 10.48 34.50 13.58 65 311 1981 $189
TECNIFIBRE 877-332-0825 • www.tecnifibre.com
VOLKL 866-554-7872 • www.volkl-tennis.com
WILSON 800-272-6060 • www.wilson.com
YONEX 800-44-YONEX • www.yonexusa.com
SOLINCO 310-922-7775 • www.solincosports.com
ne thing that seems clear, from years of
running stories about the soft-court win-
ners of the Racquet Sports Industry/Amer-
ican Sports Builders Association Distinguished
Facility-of-the-Year Awards, is that Florida has some
sort of lock on winning facilities. The 2011 winners,
while fewer in number than in past years, continue
to bear that out: three of the four facilities shown
here are in Florida.
The lone non-Florida winner is the New Orleans
City Park/Pepsi Tennis Center—a new, large facility
that in fact has 10 soft courts and 17 hard courts.
Construction was delayed for over two months due
to substantial rainfall and poor soil conditions. Due
to the high level of ground water, metal casings
were installed 14 feet deep for the concrete light
poles to meet local wind load requirements of 130
The soft courts for the New Orleans project are
described as “modified” HydroCourts. The city
requested that vent pipes for the HydroCourt sys-
tem not be at the net line, but next to the court curb
and outside the principal playing area. The project
also included fencing, lighting, a clubhouse, site
drainage, landscaping and installation of back-
boards at the ends of a practice court.
The Tennis Center at Fish Hawk Ranch is new
construction in a private development and consists
of a battery of four courts and a standalone court.
The project included player seating and shade near
the courts, a pro shop, restrooms and spectator
viewing areas.
Another new facility is the four-court Tennis Cen-
ter at The Quarry Beach Club, also in a new private
development. The project, a three-court battery and
a single court, included fencing, lighting, cabanas,
player seating and spectator viewing areas. During
construction, crews hit an unexpected layer of rock
in the subsurface area, which required additional
time to be removed.
The Boca Raton Tennis Center, a public facility,
was the lone upgrade of an existing center. The four
existing asphalt courts were converted to four
HydroGrid courts, utilizing the same footprint. The
existing fencing and lighting was left in place.
For quality soft-court facilities, few places seem
to rival the Sunshine State. —Peter Francesconi w
These outdoor facility winners are excellent
examples of soft-court construction.
For details on the 2012 Outstand-
ing Facility-of-the-Year Awards,
contact the ASBA at 866-501-
ASBA or info@sportsbuilders.org,
or visit www.sportsbuilders.org.
Tennis Center at Fish Hawk Ranch
Valrico, Fla.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.)
Specialty Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts Inc.
No. of Courts: 5
Surface: Har-Tru Sports Hydroblend
Lights: LSI Courtsider
Subsurface Irrigation: Welch Tennis HydroGrid
Windscreen, Nets: Welch Tennis
Net Posts: J.A. Cissel
32 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2012 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
These outdoor facility winners are excellent
examples of soft-court construction.
April 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 33 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Tennis Center at The Quarry Beach Club
Naples, Fla.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.)
Specialty Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts Inc.
No. of Courts: 4
Surface: Har-Tru Sports HydroBlend
Lights: LSI Courtsider
Subsurface Irrigation: Welch Tennis HydroGrid
Windscreen, Nets: Welch Tennis
Net Posts: J.A. Cissel
Boca Raton Tennis Center
Boca Raton, Fla.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.)
General & Specialty Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts Inc.
No. of Courts: 4
Surface: Har-Tru Sports HydroBlend
Subsurface Irrigation: Welch Tennis HydroGrid
Nets: Welch Tennis
Net Posts: J.A. Cissel
New Orleans City Park/Pepsi Tennis Center
New Orleans, La.
(Nominated by American Tennis Courts Inc., Mobile, Ala.)
Specialty Contractor: American Tennis Courts Inc.
No. of Courts: 10 clay (17 hard)
Surface: Har-Tru Sports HydroBlend (soft); World Class Athletic Surfaces (hard)
Subsurface Irrigation: Har-Tru Sports “Modified” HydroCourt
Net Posts: Edwards Classic Round
Center Straps: Edwards
Backboards: Bakko Backboards
gut. Being Italian, there is always plenty
olive oil hanging around our kitchen. I
dampened a paper towel with the olive
oil, and used it to coat the gut. It worked
beautifully! I was able to install the gut
without the screeching violin sounds and
without damaging friction burn. The
string plays great and I still get lots of
ball grab!
5 sets of Dunlop Explosive 16 to:
Mark Campanile, MRT, Northbrook, IL
Editor’s note: It’s probably a good idea to
check that your clamps are clean after
treating the string in this manner.
I discovered these retail display hooks
come in handy when you want to dis-
play to your customers what string you
stock on reels and also add a profession-
al touch to your stringing work area.
They comfortably hang on the lip of your
machine's tool tray, allowing for easy
access, organization, and viewing by
your clients. They come in a variety of
lengths accommodating from 2-5 reels.
You can even secure them with a cable
tie. Retail fixture stores sell them for
about $1.00 each, but I purchased mine
at a CD/DVD store that was going out of
business and paid 10 cents each.
5 sets of Tourna Big Hitter Blue 17 to:
Eduardo Ramirez, North Halden, NJ
I am new to stringing and only string half
a dozen frames a month for friends and
myself. I didn't like counting grommets
to find the correct tie off points, so I cut a
little pointed piece of white tape that I
stick on the frame in the knot locations
before I cut out the strings. I know expe-
rienced stringers find these tie offs easily,
but this is an easy visual aid that makes
the stringing job go faster for me.
5 sets of Babolat Revenge 16 to:
Lars Topelmann, Portland, OR
I use a combination of polyester and gut
when stringing my own racquets. The
other day I wanted to test a new poly.
After installing the poly mains, I was
looking through some miscellaneous
strings for a set of natural gut for the
crosses. As luck would have it, I found a
set that must have been 20 to 25 years
old. As I began installing the crosses I
noticed that, although the gut was in
basically good condition, it was very
sticky. Something had happened to the
coating and trying to weave the crosses
sounded like someone taking his first vio-
lin lesson. Wanting to avoid more
screeching sounds and the possibility of
damaging the natural gut, I knew I need-
ed to find something to lubricate the gut
in hopes of cutting down on the friction. I
considered some synthetic lubricants but
I wasn’t sure how such substances would
react with the natural gut.
After more thought, my search led
me up to my kitchen pantry where I
found what I was seeking: Extra Virgin
Olive Oil. It’s natural, and I was quite cer-
tain it would cause no ill effects to the
Tips & Techniques
When tying off poly, often the outer
loop will not be flush against the frame
due to the stiffness of the string. I solve
this problem by pulling the tie off tail
with a starting clamp first until the outer
loop is nicely bedded in. Then, I pull
upward on the tie off tail to kink the
string at the inside of the grommet.
When I then tie off, the string has
already been “trained” to go where I
want it to go.
5 sets of K-Gut Pro 17 to:
Sam Chan, MRT, Victoria, Australia
Editor’s note: This is especially helpful on
HEAD racquets with CAP system grom-
met, to ensure that the outer loop has
snapped down into the groove and is
seated correctly before tying off.
—Greg Raven◗
Readers’ Know-How in Action
Tips and Techniques submitted since 1992
by USRSA members and appearing in this
column, have all ben gathered into a
searchable database on
www.racquettech.com the official member-
only website of the USRSA. Submit tips to:
Greg Raven, USRSA, 330 Main Street, Vista,
CA 92084; or email greg@racquettech.com
Ask the Experts
shapes available (such as triangu-
lar, square, hexagonal, pentago-
nal, octagonal, etc.), which one enhances
spin the most? I see more manufacturers
are also twisting their shaped strings,
does this help?
tors, many of them having little to
do with the shape or twist of the string.
The variety of configurations of “spin”
and “rough” strings implies that — at the
very least — different string profiles work
differently for different players. Looking
only at the configurations you mention,
some manufacturers offer geometric
strings with sharp corners (the “corner”
being where one facet of the string transi-
tions to the adjacent facet), while others
round the corners. In addition to the pure
geometrics, there are textured strings,
where wraps or extruded sections of string
extend beyond the diameter of the base
string. One string that in popular myth
generates otherworldly spin is an entirely
different type of geometric, in that it is
actually slightly oval instead of cylindrical
in cross-section; that is, with no corners at
all. Also, each geometric you mention has
a longitudinal shape; some strings have lat-
eral features that are promoted as generat-
ing more spin.
Clearly, creating a string that generates
“extra” spin involves more than just shape,
texture, or even twist. The same goes for
choosing a string when seeking additional
Our testing indicates that the most
important string-related factor in spin off of
the string bed is the string bed stiffness.
You can increase the string bed stiffness
with higher tension and/or stiffer (less elas-
tic) string, for example. Of course, each
change in string bed stiffness generally
results in some change in stroke produc-
tion, too. And part of stroke production
involves the expectations the player has of
the outcome of his stroke. This introduces
a feedback loop into the decision process,
making the already difficult procedure of
choosing a string decidedly non-linear.
One good thing about the expectation-
result feedback loop is that it can work for
you when recommending a “spin” string
for a customer. If the customer sees
you’ve installed an aggressively geometri-
cal or textured string with a lot of twist in
it, he might believe he’s getting more spin
on his strokes regardless of the actual spin,
as long as the ball is landing in the court
This is good because there are other
aspects that make it difficult to determine
empirically the string with the most spin
for any given player.
w Increasing tension to stiffen the string
bed may not feel good to the player, or
even lead to pain or injury.
w Increasing the string gauge may
increase string bed stiffness, or it may
lower it, depending on string construc-
tion and stringing technique.
w Even when comparing two strings of the
same diameter — one geometric or tex-
tured and one not — there are unac-
counted-for variables because measuring
the diameter of a geometric is not the
same as measuring a cylindrical string.
w The string that produces the most spin
may need to be straightened between
each shot, which some players hate with
a purple passion.
w Your player may not even be using
matched racquets or, for that matter,
racquets from the same manufacturer,
so whatever string and tension you
choose for one racquet almost certainly
isn’t going to be optimal for his other
w And just in case you thought the selec-
tion process was going to be easy, it
may turn out that the ideal spin string
36 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2012 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Your Equipment Hotline
for your customer needs to be
restrung fresh every other day to
stay ideal.
The bottom line is that choosing a
geometric string for a customer is a lot
like choosing any other type of string.
It’s going to involve trial and error,
because unless your customer is willing
to use the string most commonly used
by pros on the tour, and drop his rac-
quets off for restringing every day,
there are a lot of options out there.
polyester strings on the market,
do we still need to reduce ten-
sion 5 to 10 percent from synthetic
tension reductions when switch-
ing from nylon to poly strings have as
much to do with attempting to match
before-and-after comfort as they do
with easing the transition of the string
bed response of a softer nylon to that of a
stiffer polyester. (If you’ve been in the busi-
ness long enough, you may remember that
one poly manufacturer made the astonish-
ing claim that a 20 percent tension reduc-
tion was necessary because its poly held
tension so much better than nylon.)
However, because of the complexities of
string composition, reducing tension to
match two very different string types is nec-
essarily simplistic. After the transition peri-
od, your customer may very well choose to
increase or decrease tension further for the
next restring. Plenty of players use a "stiff"
poly at the same reference tension they
previously specified for “soft” nylon.
The short answer is that while tension
reductions may be valid for the first trial of
a poly by a player who has been using
natural gut or nylon string, the final tension
chosen by that player may be much
different. —Greg Raven w
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.
April 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 37 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
String Playtest
(compared to other strings)
Number of testers who said it was:
much easier 0
somewhat easier 4
about as easy 18
not quite as easy 10
not nearly as easy 2
(compared to string played most often)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 1
somewhat better 5
about as playable 8
not quite as playable 17
not nearly as playable 3
(compared to other strings
of similar gauge)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 5
somewhat better 12
about as durable 15
not quite as durable 2
not nearly as durable 0
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability 3.2
Durability (14th overall) 4.4
Power 3.5
Control 3.7
Comfort 2.9
Touch/Feel 2.9
Spin Potential (7th overall) 3.9
Holding Tension 3.6
Resistance to Movement (13th overall) 4.1

uff Code is a textured monofila-
ment polyester string made using
Tecnifibre’s Biphase and Thermo-
core processes. According to Tecnifibre,
the Biphase process, which it has used in
manufacturing its multifilament strings,
prestretches the string for durability
(without reducing diameter) and gives it
its surface texture to improve spin. The
Thermocore process involves using tem-
perature control during the manufactur-
ing process to soften the string’s structure
for shock reduction and vibration. The
result, according to Tecnifibre, is a perfor-
mance polyester with superior tension
maintenance and exaggerated spin.
Tecnifibre developed Ruff Code for
players who are experienced with the
performance of polyester strings who are
looking for additional spin in a textured
Ruff Code is available in 16 (1.30
mm) and 17 gauge (1.25 mm) in silver
only. It is priced from $14 for sets of 40,
and $210 for reels of 660 feet. For more
information or to order, contact Tecnifi-
bre at 888-TFTennis (888-838-3664), or
visit tftennis.com. Be sure to read the
conclusion for more information about
getting a free set to try for yourself.
We tested the 16-gauge Ruff Code. The
coil measured 40 feet. The diameter
measured 1.31-1.34 mm prior to string-
ing, and 1.25-1.26 mm after stringing.
We recorded a string bed 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
After 24 hours (no playing), string bed
stiffness measured 67 RDC units, repre-
senting an 8 percent tension loss. Our
control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Origi-
nal Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units
immediately after stringing and 71 RDC
units after 24 hours, representing a 9 per-
cent tension loss. In lab testing, Prince
Synthetic Gut Original has a stiffness of
217 and a tension loss of 11.67 pounds,
while Tecnifibre Ruff Code 16 has a stiff-
ness of 263 and a tension loss of 18.26
pounds. Ruff Code added 17 grams to the
weight of our unstrung frame.
The string was tested for five weeks
by 34 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP rat-
ings from 3.5 to 6.0. These are blind
tests, with playtesters receiving
unmarked strings in unmarked pack-
ages. Average number of hours playtested
was 26.4.
Out of the package, Ruff Code is wiry
with a fair amount of coil memory. This
wasn’t a problem until we reached the last
few crosses. Because the texture is below
the surface of the string, there is no
drag on the mains when installing the
No playtester broke his sample dur-
ing stringing, six reported problems
with coil memory, two reported prob-
lems tying knots, and one reported fric-
tion burn.
Our playtest team agreed with Tecnifi-
bre about the Spin Potential of Ruff
Code, rating it 7th best of the 162
strings we’ve playtested to date for
publication. In addition, our playtesters
rated Ruff Code highly enough for it to
become the 13th best string we’ve test-
ed for Resistance to Movement, and
14th best for Durability. They weren’t
done there, though. Their ratings show
Ruff Code to be excellent in the Power
and Control categories, and well above
average in Tension Retention. As a
result, Tecnifibre Ruff Code 16’s overall
average score is excellent, as well.
Four playtesters broke the sample
during the playtest period, one each at
7, 10, 13, and 16 hours.
With high scores in the five “durability
string” categories plus its high score in
the Power category, Ruff Code 16 defi-
nitely delivers on Tecnifibre’s promises
for this string.
If you think that Tecnifibre Ruff
Code might be for you, fill out the
coupon to get a free set to try.
—Greg Raven◗
Tecnifibre Ruff Code 16
Tecnifibre will send a free set of Ruff Code 16 to
USRSA members who cut out (or copy) this coupon
and send it to:
Offer expires 15 April 2012 • Offer only available
to USRSA members in the US.
USRSA Member number:
If you print your email clearly, we will notify you
when your sample will be sent.
USRSA, Attn: Tecnifibre String Offer
330 Main Street, Vista, CA 92084
or fax to 760-536-1171, or email the info
below to stringsample@racquettech.com

This is an arm friendly poly with
exceptional spin and control.

4.5 male all-court player using Babolat
AeroPro Drive strung at 60 pounds CP
(Gamma Professional 17)

This polyester is more comfortable
than its peers. The bite is excellent.

4.0 male serve-and-volley player using
Babolat Pure Drive strung at 58 pounds
CP (Wilson NXT 16)

Great tension maintenance. Volleys
have a crisp feel. Comfort is high.

4.0 male all-court player using Prince
Triple Threat Viper strung at 55 pounds
LO (Gamma TNT2 Ruff 16)

This string is comfortable and
playable from the very first hit. It offers
an outstanding blend of power and con-

4.0 male all- court player using
Prince EXO3 Blue strung at 55 pounds
CP (Gamma TNT2 Touch 16)

The extra spin is noticeable, especial-
ly in an open pattern.

4.5 male all-court player using Wilson
BLX Pro Open strung at 59/61 pounds LO
(Gosen Polylon/ Gosen OG Sheep Micro

Great control! Big swings produce
explosive spin. Some players may want a
dampener as the sound is not ideal.

6.0 male all- court player using Wilson
nBlade strung at 56 pounds CP (Prince
Beast XP 17)

This is definitely a high-end copoly. It
has tons of control. Power is high, but
the feel gets worse after ten hours.

4.5 male all- court player using Babolat
Pure Storm Tour GT strung at 55 pounds
CP (Babolat RPM Blast 16)

While spin is really easy to produce
and control is quite high, this string does
not rise above the bulk of playable polys
For the rest of the tester comments, visit
on the market.

4.5 male all-court player
using Volkl C10 Pro strung at 50 pounds LO
(Tecnifibre Black Code 18)

While durability and control are pre-
dictably high, nothing about this poly grabs
my attention.

4.5 male all-court player
using Prince EXO3 Tour (18x20) strung at
53/56 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut
Original 16)

No matter what the situation or head
speed, this string has uncanny spin control.
The exceptional feel and precision compen-
sate for the low power on volleys. Teaching
lessons is a pleasure because of the ability
to manipulate pace, trajectory, and depth.
Players who like to hit kickers and spin
serves will definitely enjoy this one.

male all-court player using Wilson BLX Six
One Tour strung at 50 pounds LO (Luxilon
Alu Power/Wilson NXT Tour 16L/17)
n the 2012 Australian Open men’s
final, the standard of play between
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Spain’s
Rafael Nadal was both brilliant and dra-
matically entertaining. Very little sepa-
rated the two players as each pushed to
overcome the other. And finally, after 5
hours and 53 minutes, it ended with
Djokovic defending his title with a 5-7,
6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 win—the longest
Grand Slam final ever.
But, is a nearly 6-hour match too
long in today’s game? Could it even be
dangerous for the players?
I watched the final with tennis
coach Nenad Simic, who also is a for-
mer longtime boxing referee. “It
became apparent to me early in the
fourth set that both players, although in
excellent physical condition, started to
have either breathing or balance prob-
lems as their wavering unsteadiness
increased and their balance dimin-
ished,” he told me. “They clearly
showed signs of weakening both physi-
cally and mentally. Had it been a box-
ing match, I simply would not have
allowed it to continue—I would have
stopped it long before 5 hours and 53
“Tennis is supposed to be a sport of
skill,” he continued. “Endurance cer-
tainly comes into it, but it is a subsidiary
factor. I understand these two players
are in their prime and as such are look-
ing for adventure in the challenge, plus
the possible excitement of winning.
However, in the final analysis, they
continuous. Let’s reduce the 90-second
changeover rule to 60 seconds.
w Insist that the 20-second rule between
points be controlled more stringently by
the on-court umpire, which would auto-
matically bring excessive toweling,
bouncing of balls before serve, etc.,
down to a minimum.
w Eliminate excessive deuces. How about
only one advantage per game? Should
the game not be won by the time the
second deuce arrives, it would lead to
an automatic “sudden-death” situation.
This also would prevent the long, unin-
teresting, time-consuming defensive
baseline rallies that produce three, four,
five or more deuces per game. Plus, it
also may encourage players to think
more aggressively in order to win the
“sudden-death” point quicker.
w All the Grand Slams should promote a
compulsive “tie-breaker” in the fifth set,
replacing the “extended two games
ahead” that caused that marathon first-
round Wimbledon match in 2011
between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut,
which spanned three days and ended
70-68 in the fifth set.
I’d be very interested in hearing your
views on limiting the length of matches. w
Your Serve
Too Much of
a Good Thing?
A former champion says a
Grand Slam match lasting
nearly 6 hours is too long—
and too dangerous for the
We welcome your opinions. Please email
comments to RSI@racquetTECH.com.
Angela Buxton, a former world No.5 who
won the Wimbledon and French Open
women’s doubles titles in 1956 with Althea
Gibson, operates a Tennis Consultancy both
in the U.S. and the UK. She can be contacted
at buxtontennis56@yahoo.com.
must be protected. We must avoid any
on-court tragedy at all costs.”
While protecting the players is of
course primary, another consideration
concerns the TV schedule. TV networks
around the world faced the inconve-
nience of having to either alter their
program scheduling to accommodate
the entire match, or cut away and miss
broadcasting the conclusion—depriving
fans of a thrilling and important Grand
Slam final.
Then there are the tennis fans
around the world, who also had to
change their Sunday arrangements if
they wished to witness the eventual out-
come, which by the see-saw nature of
this match did not reveal itself until the
very end. I believe most fans probably
did watch to the end, probably while
also complaining that it was a very long
“sit” and wishing it could have some-
how been shorter.
So, how can pro tennis acceptably
limit the length of matches without
diminishing their emotional powers and
drama? Here are some suggestions:
w The rules say play is supposed to be
'How can pro tennis
acceptably limit the
length of matches
without diminishing
their emotional
powers and drama?'
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