June 2012

Volume 40 Number 6 $5.00
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Selling Racquets
Residential Court
Award Winners
Tennis Dresses
Prince Files For
Bankruptcy
Selling Racquets
Residential Court
Award Winners
Tennis Dresses
Prince Files For
Bankruptcy
HAR
TRU
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DEPARTMENTS
R S I J U N E 2 0 1 2
INDUSTRY NEWS
7 Prince files
for bankruptcy
8 USPTA announces
plans to move forward
8 Dan James named ITF
Wheelchair Coach of Year
8 Four coaches
honored by USOC
8 New court construction
manual available
9 Tennis Show
planned for Aug. 24
9 TGA awards 12 youth
tennis franchises
9 Register for Tennis
Teachers Conference
10 Peoplewatch
10 ITPA formed to certify
trainers, coaches
11 TennisResortsOnline
lists top 100
11 Nominate for USTA
Facility Awards
12 Short Sets
4 Our Serve
7 Industry News
14 Letters to the Editor
17 TIA News
18 Retailing Tip
20 GSS Symposium
22 Finances
38 Tips & Techniques
40 Ask the Experts
42 String Playtest: Ashaway Zyex MonoGut
44 Your Serve, by Randy Walker
2 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Contents
Contents
FEATURES
24 Expecting Miracles
Are your customers asking to try poly-
ester strings? An MRT lays out the
case for managing, and adjusting,
their expectations.
26 RSI Champions of Tennis
Honor Roll
We celebrate 11 years of our Champi-
ons of Tennis winners, and look to
your nominations for 2012 honorees.
28 Hitting Winners
These four stores seem to have found
a formula that takes racquet sales to
new heights.
32 Dresses That Break The Fall
Tangerines, pinks, bold blues and
greens are some of the hot colors of
the year, and they are not lost on
court couture going into the fall.
34 Lucky Thirteen
It’s hard to beat these award-winning
examples of residential court construc-
tion.

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Our Serve
(Incorporating Racquet Tech and Tennis Industry)
Publishers
David Bone Jeff Williams
Editorial Director
Peter Francesconi
Associate Editor
Greg Raven
Design/Art Director
Kristine Thom
Contributing Editors
Robin Bateman
Cynthia Cantrell
Joe Dinoffer
Kent Oswald
Bob Patterson
Cynthia Sherman
Mary Helen Sprecher
RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY
Corporate Offices
PO Box 3392, Duluth, GA 30096
Phone: 760-536-1177 Fax: 760-536-1171
Email: RSI@racquetTECH.com
Website: www.racquetTECH.com
Office Hours: Mon.-Fri.,8 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific Time
Advertising Director
John Hanna
770-650-1102, x.125
hanna@knowatlanta.com
Apparel Advertising
Cynthia Sherman
203-263-5243
cstennisindustry@earthlink.net
Racquet Sports Industry is published 10 times per
year: monthly January through August and combined
issues in September/October and November/
December by Tennis Industry and USRSA, PO Box 3392,
Duluth, GA 30096. Periodcal postage paid at
Duluth, GA and at additional mailing offices (USPS
#004-354). May 2012, Volume 40, Number 5 ©
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, PO Box
3392, Duluth, GA 3009.
RSI is the official magazine of the USRSA, TIA,and ASBA
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
The Growing Sports Travel Market
4 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012
I
n April, I had the chance to attend the NASC Sports
Event Symposium, held in Hartford, Conn. The National
Association of Sports Commissions was founded in
1992 and represents more than 550 organizations. Mem-
bers include cities, sports commissions, convention & visi-
tors bureaus, sports event owners, and vendors and
suppliers to the sports event industry.
The one thing that struck me immediately when I walked into the
Hartford Convention Center was how upbeat everyone was. The sports
travel industry has been doing well for years, and in fact has been grow-
ing even through the economic problems that have plagued everyone
else. The phrase “recession-proof industry” was knocked around more
than a few times in the NASC exhibit hall and in presentations.
Among the exhibitors at the NASC Symposium were about 25 sports
governing bodies, covering everything from cycling to field hockey to
soccer, fencing, bowling, volleyball, football and more, including the U.S.
Olympic Committee. Tennis, unfortunately, wasn’t represented, despite
the fact that tennis has competition of all sizes for all levels and ages of
players—from kids to students to college players to adults to profession-
als—in tournament and event formats that can help CVB’s and sports
commissions bring in players and consumers to their areas.
While the NASC is about sports participation, that’s not the whole story.
NASC members know that most of the time, when one family member
travels to play in an event—whether for a day, an overnight, or a week—
other family members join in the trip, spending money on food, lodging,
sightseeing and more. (In an interesting note, research in the sports travel
area shows that when a girl is traveling to play, more family members will
go on the road with her than if her male sibling were playing.)
And that, I think, may be one of the messages we might be able to use
to boost tennis. Many tennis facilities host events that have a huge eco-
nomic impact on their areas. Granted, large tennis events require large
tennis facilities. But that doesn’t mean your facility, or your public park
courts, can’t host appropriately sized events, tournaments and camps
that can have a positive economic impact on your business and your
community.
If you haven’t done so already, consider connecting with your local
convention & visitors bureau, chamber of commerce or local sports com-
mission to see how you can work together. Sometimes just making these
groups aware of your facility and that you are willing to host events can
get the ball rolling in a way that will benefit everyone. And you might be
surprised at the help you may receive.
Peter Francesconi
Editorial Director

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THE NEW F.A.S.T.
FULL ACCELERATION SHAFT
TECHNOLOGY
I NDUSTRY NEWS
I NDUSTRY NEWS
I N F O R M A T I O N T O H E L P Y O U R U N Y O U R B U S I N E S S
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Prince Sports Files for Bankruptcy Protection
P
rince Sports Inc. announced on May 1 that it filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 reor-
ganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The filing, which includes Prince’s U.S. affiliates,
also included a proposed plan of reorganization.
“After considering several business options, the Board of Directors and the senior manage-
ment team firmly believe that the Chapter 11 filing is not only a necessary step but also the
right thing to do to ensure a secure future for Prince,” said Gordon Boggis, president and
CEO of Prince Sports. Prince says it will utilize the Chapter 11 process to develop a more
competitive business model.
The proposed reorganization calls for Prince to be acquired by Authentic Brands Group
LLC, which is now the single holder of Prince’s secured debt of more than $60 million. “As
part of the bankruptcy process, an affiliate of Authentic Brands Group is expected to
acquire 100 percent of the new equity in the reorganized company in exchange for its
debt,” Prince told RSI.
The bankruptcy filing says Prince has a value of $54.2 million. In addition to the debt
held by ABG, there’s another $12 million in debt to vendors and other payables. According
to the bankruptcy filing, the tennis unit had $59 million in sales last year, or 83 percent of the
company’s revenue. Just over half of Prince’s sales come from North America. Prince says sub-
sidiaries outside of the U.S. are not subject to the bankruptcy proceedings and are expected to
operate normally. Prince Sports’ portfolio of brands includes Prince (tennis, squash and bad-
minton), Ektelon (racquetball) and Viking (platform/paddle tennis).
In answer to questions from RSI, Prince Sports says it is continuing to move ahead with product
and distribution. “A formal restructuring will give us the time and resources we need to address our
financial challenges while we continue daily operations,” Prince says. “We anticipate continuing to
serve all of our customers globally during this process. Retailers can continue to place orders in the
same way that they currently order product. The process remains unchanged.”
The company says it “anticipates to continue bringing innovative products to market on a regular
basis. We have several innovative products in the pipeline and we are currently finalizing launch
plans.”
Authentic Brands Group is a “brand development and licensing company,” according to its web-
site, whose “mandate is to acquire, manage and build long-term value in prominent con-
sumer brands.” Current ABG brands include Marilyn Monroe, Bob Marley, Iron Star and
TapouT.
“We anticipate to emerge from this period
as a more efficient, performance racquet
sports brand with a more competitive model
in the market, while eliminating the econom-
ic constraints that have prohibited the brand
from achieving its potential,” Boggis says.
Prince has changed hands a few times
over the last decade. Apparel company Ben-
netton Group sold Prince in 2003 to Lin-
colnshire Management Inc., which then sold
it to Nautic Partners LLC in 2007. Over the
last two years, there had been speculation that
Prince was up for sale again.
June 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 7 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
4 Coaches Honored by USOC
F
our members of the tennis community were honored with
national awards as part of the USOC Coaching Recognition
Program.
w USTA Lead National Coach Kathy Rinaldi was named the 2011
USOC National Coach of the Year for Tennis.
w Vesa Ponkka of Huntingtown, Md., who coaches at the Junior
Tennis Champions Center, a USTA Certified Regional Training
Center in College Park, Md., was named USOC Developmen-
tal Coach of the Year for Tennis.
w Craig Boynton of Tampa, Fla., was named USOC “Doc” Coun-
silman Coach of the Year for Tennis for his contributions to
the sport in the areas of training and conditioning.
w USTA National Manager for Wheelchair Tennis Dan James of
Oakdale, Minn., was named USOC Paralympic Coach of the
Year for Tennis.
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USPTA Announces Plans to Move Forward
T
he USPTA will form a search committee as it seeks to hire a
new executive director, to take over leading the staff of the
teaching pro organization after longtime CEO Tim Heckler
retires at the end of December.
In January, Heckler had announced his intent to retire at
year’s end, after serving as CEO for 30 years. At a meeting in
Houston April 13-14, the USPTA’s board of directors offered
Heckler a one-year severance package, which was then ratified
by the USPTA’s executive committee.
The organization says a search committee will be formed
and the process to hire a new executive director will start by
summer. The USPTA plans to announce a timeline and applica-
tion process soon.
“The USPTA is indebted to Tim Heckler for taking USPTA to
the next level, and his 30 years of service as CEO is a demon-
stration of his passion, his commitment to the
association, and his endless hard work for
helping and improving the well-being of
tennis-teaching professionals,” said USPTA
President Tom Daglis.
When Heckler, a USPTA Master Profes-
sional, was tapped as CEO in 1982, the organ-
ization had about 2,400 members and an annual budget of
$700,000. Today, the group serves more than 15,000 members
in 66 countries, with a budget of $6.5 million. The USPTA’s equi-
ty has grown from $60,000 in 1980 to $4.2 million today.
Heckler started his tennis-teaching career in 1970, the same
year he joined the USPTA. He was elected president of the
USPTA Texas Division in 1974 and served as national president
from 1980 to 1982. The USPTA honored Heckler in 2000 by
naming him a grand inductee in the Association’s Hall of Fame.
He also received the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Tennis
Educational Merit Award in 2002 and was inducted into the
Texas Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2008, he received the
USPTA’s highest honor, the George Bacso Lifetime Achievement
Award.
Dan James Named
ITF Wheelchair
Coach of Year
D
an James, the USTA man-
ager of Wheelchair Tennis
and the U.S. Wheelchair Ten-
nis coach, has been named
the 2011 Wheelchair Tennis
Coach of the Year by the International Tennis Federation.
James will be presented with a trophy during the 2012 BNP
Paribas World Team Cup in Seoul, Korea.
This is James’ second ITF Wheelchair Tennis Coach of
the Year Award, with the first coming in 2007, where he
served as the head coach at the Parapan American Games.
“I am truly honored to be recognized with this award
once again by the ITF,” said James. “Without the USTA staff,
coaches, and especially our exceptional players, this would
not be possible.”
This summer, James will serve as the head coach for the
2012 London Paralympic Games. James was the men’s
head coach at the Sydney, Australia, Paralympic Games
(2000), and head coach at the Athens, Greece (2004) and
Beijing, China (2008) Paralympic Games.
New Edition of Tennis
Court Construction
Manual Available
T
he seventh edition of “Tennis Courts: A
Construction & Maintenance Manual” is
now available from the Americans Sports
Builders Association and U.S. Tennis Associ-
ation. The book is designed for anyone
involved in building, maintaining and/or repairing/renovat-
ing tennis courts and facilities, and it has been considered
an indispensable guide in the industry.
A joint effort of the ASBA and USTA, every two years the
book’s manuscript is reviewed and updated by a Joint Edi-
torial Board (JEB) with representatives from both organiza-
tions. The JEB for the seventh edition is Mark Brogan of
Devon, Pa.; David Clapp of Knoxville, Tenn.; David LaSota
of Johnstown, Pa.; and Richard Zaino of Orange, Calif. RSI
Editorial Director Peter Francesconi worked with the JEB
and edited the edition.
“For the seventh edition, we’ve made the book much
more user-friendly,” says Clapp, who chaired the JEB. “First,
we’ve reorganized the information into a more logical
flow—from conception to construction to completion—and
included extensive chapters on maintenance and repair
and renovation. But also, we’ve broken out information into
many more chapters, and we’ve included ‘tabs’ so users
can quickly and easily find the information they need.”
For more information and to obtain a copy of the sev-
enth edition of the “Tennis Courts” construction manual,
visit www.sportsbuilders.org.
June 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 9 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
I N D U S T R Y N E W S
TGA Awards 12 Youth Tennis Franchises
T
GA Premier Youth Tennis (TGA) announced that it has 12
new youth tennis franchises across the country. TGA part-
nered with the USTA to help introduce tennis to kindergarten
through eighth-graders.
The new franchise territories include Rockland County, NY;
Bergen County, Essex County and Mor-
ris County, NJ; Los Angeles, Beach
Cities, West Valley, Peninsula Valley and
Placer County, CA; West Wake County,
NC; Denver, CO; and Hamilton and
Boone County, IN. Six additional fran-
chises are also scheduled to open in the
next few months.
“To be able to launch this new franchise opportunity and
have this many franchises come on board so quickly is a testa-
ment to the top-notch program we’ve put together with the
USTA and the successful business model our team has devel-
oped at TGA,” said Steve Tanner, chief operating officer of TGA.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer another youth based sports
program that enriches kids’ lives while creating business own-
ership and job opportunities within the industry.”
For more information on TGA, visit www.playtga.com.
Three USOS Events Sign Title Sponsors
T
hree financial institutions have cut sponsorship deals
with tournaments that are part of the US Open Series of
summer events leading up to the US Open.
Citigroup is sponsoring the ATP event in Washington,
D.C., and at the same time merging it with the smaller
WTA Tour event held in that area, which was already spon-
sored by Citi. The Citigroup deal is for five years and
replaces Legg Mason, which sponsored the ATP event for 18
years.
BB&T announced that it will be the new title sponsor of
the ATP event in Atlanta in July, for the next three years.
And Western & Southern is renewing as title sponsor of the
men’s and women’s combined tournament in Cincinnati.
Dual Layer Fiber Technology
Helps Drymax Socks Stay Dry
D
rymax says its tennis socks are designed with two differ-
ent fiber technologies interwoven to form a dual-layer
sock that keeps feet drier, no matter how much the player
sweats.
On a molecular level, moisture doesn’t stick to the inner
Drymax fiber terry loops, allowing them to squeegee sweat
off the skin into the outer moisture-attracting fiber layer,
says the company, to keep feet dry and comfortable and to
help prevent blisters. “Drymax socks need no drying time;
they dry at the speed of sweat,” says Gus Blythe, founder
and president of Drymax Sports.
Suggested retail prices are $10 to $12. Visit www.dry-
maxsports.com.
Ashaway Offers UltraKill R-Ball Strings
A
shaway’s UltraKill family of racquetball strings offers
players a full range of playing characteristics, allowing
them to choose the precise combination of power, durabili-
ty and feel that is right for their game, says the company.
The strings are available in 16, 17 and 18 gauge thickness-
es, and each is built on a specially constructed Zyex poly-
mer core engineered to provide specific performance
characteristics while maintaining tension for longer string
life. Ashaway says.
Tennis Show Planned for
August 24 in New York City
L
ast August, Hurricane Irene swept up the East Coast and can-
celed the inaugural Tennis Show in New York City, just before
the start of the US Open. But the show will go on.
The Tennis Show 2012 will
take place on Friday, Aug. 24,
from 3 to 9 p.m. on the ballroom
level at the Grand Hyatt in New
York, the day before the start of the USTA’s popular Tennis Teach-
ers Conference (which starts at 9 a.m. the next day).
For the one-day Tennis Show, plans call for an exhibitor area
with more than 35 industry exhibitors, along with a demo court.
From 6 to 7 p.m. in the same space, the TIA Tennis Forum will
take place and include the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame induc-
tion ceremony for Nick Bollettieri. Following the Forum, the
exhibitor area will re-open and include a cocktail reception and
prize drawings.
For information, including the current schedule, visit
www.TennisShow.com. For those interested in exhibiting, call
(843) 686-3036 x.223 or email brian@tennisindustry.org.
Register for Tennis Teachers Conference
T
he morning after the Tennis Show, the 42nd Annual USTA Ten-
nis Teachers Conference is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at the
Grand Hyatt New York. The TTC will run from Saturday, Aug. 25,
through Aug. 27 and bring together hundreds of tennis teachers,
coaches, tennis advocates and industry partners. World-class
speakers will provide current, cutting-edge educational opportu-
nities for all tennis providers. For more information and to regis-
ter, visit www.usta.com/ttc.
10 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012
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• Tennis Hall-of-Famer Gigi Fernandez recently became a certified Profes-
sional 1 member of the USPTA. Fernandez, who has 17 Grand Slam titles and
two Olympic Gold Medals, is the president of the Gigi Fernandez Charitable
Foundation and the director of tennis at Chelsea Piers, a 400,000-square-
foot, state-of-the-art sports and recreation facility in Stamford, Conn.
• Marikate Murren is the new executive director of the USTA New England
section.
• Ken DeHart is the new director of tennis at the Almaden Valley Athletic
Club in San Jose. He had been tennis director at San Jose Swim & Racquet
Club for 10 years. Joining him will be head pro Manny Fernandez.
• The Jensen brothers will spearhead the tennis program at Sea Island
resort in Georgia. Murphy Jensen will serve as tennis ambassador and Luke
Jensen as a year-round touring pro.
• Ebix Inc., a supplier of on-demand software and e-commerce services to
the insurance industry, signed a multiyear global deal with tennis star John
Isner, currently ranked No. 10 in the world, for Isner to be an Ebix brand
ambassador.
• Longtime tennis advocate Marilyn Fernberger died May 2 in Pennsylva-
nia at age 84. She was a volunteer, promoter and 25-year co-chair of
Philadelphia’s US Pro Indoor Championships. She and her husband, Ed,
donated more than 1,300 items to the International Tennis Hall of Fame
Museum.
• Edward La Cava of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Graham Edgar of the
University of North Florida have been selected as the 2012 Wilson/ITA
National Promoter of the Year Award winners. The award recognizes indi-
viduals who promote the game of tennis at the collegiate level. Both stu-
dents will receive a paid summer internship at Wilson's headquarters in
Chicago.
• Polar, the supplier of heart rate training devices, appointed Herb Baer as
president of Polar USA.
• Tony Larson of Brooklyn Park, Minn., won the men’s open title for the
third year in a row at the USPTA Indoor Championships in April. Callee
Conda of Minneapolis won the women’s crown.
• Wilson advisory staff member Jansen Allen won the
2012 Intercollegiate Nationals Tournament, taking
home both the singles and doubles titles for CSU
Pueblo.
• Paola Longoria, age 22, of Mexico, the current No. 1 ranked
female racquetball player in the world, has signed a long-term contract
with Head Penn.
PEOPLEWATCH
Participation in Outdoor
Recreation Reaches Five-Year High
I
n 2011, participation in outdoor recreation reached a
five-year record in the U.S. More than 141 million
Americans, or 49.4 percent of the U.S. population, par-
ticipated in outdoor activities last year, an increase of 3
million compared to 2010 and continuing a five-year
trend.
In addition, Americans made a total of 11.6 billion
outdoor outings in 2011, which is 1.5 billion more than
the previous year. Annually, participants averaged 82
outdoor outings – from hiking to biking, skiing to pad-
dling. The findings are part of the 2012 Outdoor Recre-
ation Participation Topline Report, the leading report
tracking outdoor participation trends in the U.S. pub-
lished by The Outdoor Foundation.
“This report shows that Americans are getting up and
getting outside—a great trend for the outdoor communi-
ty and the country,” said Christine Fanning, executive
director of The Outdoor Foundation. “We are encouraged
by the growing population of active young people, which
reflects recent efforts to re-engage and re-inspire Ameri-
ca’s youth to get outdoors.”
The research shows increases in youth and young
adult participation, continuing an encouraging, yet mod-
est, trend over the last few years.
The 2012 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline
Report is available for free at outdoorfoundation.org.
ITPA Formed to Certify Trainers, Coaches
T
he new International Tennis Performance Association
(www.itpa-tennis.org) has been formed as an education and
certification organization for trainers, coaches and specialists
involved in tennis-specific performance enhancement and injury
prevention
“Over 100 million people play tennis worldwide and the ITPA
was established to ensure that these players receive the best train-
ing from ITPA-certified individuals using
the latest evidence-based practical infor-
mation to improve on-court tennis per-
formance while limiting the likelihood of
injuries,” said Dr. Mark Kovacs (right),
ITPA executive director.
The ITPA offers three levels of tennis-
specific certification: Tennis Perform-
ance Trainer (TPT), Certified Tennis
Performance Specialist (CTPS) and Mas-
ter Tennis Performance Specialist
(MTPS). The educational curriculum is competency based, which
ensures individuals who become certified have the knowledge,
skills and abilities to effectively train tennis athletes at all levels.
“An organization like the ITPA has been needed for many years
in the tennis industry,” said Todd Ellenbecker, founding chair of
the ITPA Certification Commission. “Training tennis players
requires specific knowledge about the unique movements and
demands of tennis, which is different to most other sports.”
June 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 11
I N D U S T R Y N E W S
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
TennisResortsOnline
Lists Top 100
T
ennisResortsOnline.com pub-
lished its 2012 list of the Top 100
Tennis Resorts and Camps world-
wide on May 1. Issued annually, this
compilation bases its rankings on
the evaluations of those in the best
position to assess a tennis property:
tennis vacationers themselves.
More than 3,000 avid players par-
ticipated in the survey. Taken as a
whole, the Top 100 reflects not only
their wide-ranging opinions about
what constitutes a great resort but
also the broad diversity of the tennis
landscape. For the complete list, visit
www.tennisresortsonline.com.
Top 10 Tennis Resorts
1. Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South
Carolina
2. Topnotch Resort and Spa, Vermont
3. La Quinta Resort & Club, Califor-
nia
4. Wild Dunes Resort, South Carolina
5. Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt, Tirol, Austria
6. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Hawaii
7. Tops’l Beach & Racquet Resort,
Florida
8. Four Seasons Resort Nevis, Nevis,
West Indies
9. JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort
& Spa, California
10. Wintergreen Resort, Virginia
Top 10 Tennis Camps
1. Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks,
Switzerland
2. John Newcombe Tennis Ranch,
Texas
3. Saddlebrook Tennis, Florida
4. New England Tennis Holidays at
Sugarbush, Vermont
5. Wintergreen Tennis Academy,
Virginia
6. PBI Tennis Camp at Bio-Hotel
Stanglwirt, Tirol, Austria
7. Topnotch Tennis Academy, Vermont
8. Cliff Drysdale Tennis School at
Stratton, Vermont
9. Reed Anderson Tennis School,
California
10. Vermont Tennis Vacations,
Vermont
Nominate for 2012 USTA Facility Awards
N
omination forms are due June 29 for the 31st Annual USTA Outstanding Facility
Awards program, which recognizes outstanding tennis facilities under the juris-
diction of park & rec departments, educational institutions, nonprofit corporations,
and private and/or commercial operation.
The USTA’s facility awards program in intended to encourage high standards for
the construction and renovation of tennis facilities. Nominations are evaluated on
criteria such as: quality of court area and surface; quality of the court enclosure and
lighting; overall layout; accessories and amenities; evidence of good and green main-
tenance; tennis programs that include USTA tournaments and programs, 10 and
Under Tennis programs, and more. Winners receive a wall plaque and large lexan
sign to mount at their facility and a one-year membership to the USTA. Visit
usta.com/facilityawards for more information and to nominate.
12 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
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The 86th Annual National Public Parks Ten-
nis Championships will be July 21-29 in Denver
at the Gates Tennis Center and Denver City
Park. Competition will include singles and dou-
bles events for all categories and NTRP divi-
sions for 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5. For more
information and to register, visit
denvergov.org/recreation.
>
Former Tennis Channel founder and exec
Steve Bellamy has started Tennisinsiders.com,
“a communication tool/platform for people
with tennis in their DNA to share ideas,
thoughts, best practices and anything else per-
tinent and positive to the growth of the sport,”
says Bellamy.
>
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will meet
on July 14 at Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium in an
exhibition event that organizers hope will
break the record for attendance at a tennis
event. The stadium seats 80,000; the current
record for attendance at a single session tennis
event is 35,681 fans who watched an exhibi-
tion between Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters
in Belgium in July 2010. The event is to raise
money for the Realmadrid Foundation and the
Rafa Nadal Foundation.
>
The U.S. team swept Ukraine 5-0 in April in
the 2012 Fed Cup Playoffs to get back into the
World Group for the 2013 competition.
>
Construction of the new Montgomery Tennis-
Plex (montgomerytennisplex.com) in Boyds, Md.,
has begun. The complex, located in the South Ger-
mantown Recreational Park, will have eight
indoor and four lighted outdoor hard courts and
is expected to be open for play in the fall. The
indoor courts will be in two air-conditioned, year-
round bubbles. Coach Jack Schore is a principal in
the public-private venture with Montgomery
County.
>
Kulture has released a DVD of the 2012 Aus-
tralian Open men’s final, which featured world
No.1 Novak Djokovic defeating No. 2 Rafael
Nadal in a five-set marathon match. Visit
www.kultur.com.
>
IMG Academies will host the 2012 Nick Bol-
lettieri Discovery Open, June 1-4. This first-year,
elite singles-only event will feature 32 of the best
11-, 13- and 15-year-old players in the world, with
each boys’ and girls’ age group winner receiving
one free week of camp evaluation, and the overall
top player earning the opportunity to receive a
year-long scholarship to attend IMG Academies.
>
Dunlop was the official ball for the U.S. vs.
France Davis Cup tie in April, held at the
Monte Carlo Country Club, and for the Fam-
ily Circle Cup, played in Charleston, S.C.
>
The USTA will host its annual open cast-
ing call on June 19 at Harlem’s world
famous Apollo Theater in New York City to
select children age 12 and under to perform
at the 2012 US Open. Winners will perform
“America the Beautiful” live in Arthur Ashe
Stadium during night sessions. The audi-
tions, in front of a panel of judges from the
music and entertainment industries, are free
of charge.
>
The USTA has entered a three-year
agreement with CommerceTel to facilitate
text messaging tactics such as voting, alerts,
special offers, and in-venue activations.
>
The University of California–Berkeley
defeated the University of Virginia, 25-23, to
capture the 2012 USTA Tennis On Campus
National Championship title in April. Sixty-
four teams competed for the title.
>
Sunglasses maker Maui Jim has named
two new “tennis ambassadors”: 30-year-old
Spanish veteran player David Ferrer and 18-
year-old British pro Oliver Golding.
SHORT SETS
Blue Clay at Pro Event in Madrid Draws
Mixed Reactions From Players and Fans
T
he blue-colored clay courts at the Mutua Madrid Open in May
was the source of much chatter recently. The tournament, a
combined ATP and WTA tour event that is a tune-up to the French
Open, had used red clay since 2009. But tournament owner Ion
Tiriac said switching the color of the clay to blue improves the
visibility of the ball, for both players and spectators—and impor-
tantly, improves how the yellow ball shows up on television.
Reaction to the blue clay was mixed, by both players and
spectators. However, there is plenty of scientific evidence to sup-
port the fact that a yellow ball does show up better against a blue
background than a red one. To make the blue clay, traditional red
clay goes through a process that introduces a blue dye.
Using blue as a court color is not new—when the US Open
changed its courts to blue, that became the dominant court color
in the U.S., and now, in fact, the vast majority of ATP hard-court
events take place on blue courts.
Will blue clay courts catch on? Tennis is steeped in tradition,
and change doesn’t come quickly. Chances are Roland Garros
will never switch from red clay, but who knows, we may see blue
clay courts popping up here and there, as players realize there
actually is a benefit to seeing the ball better.
Mutua Madrid Open
June 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 13
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
I N D U S T R Y N E W S
13 Sections to Hold
US Open National
Playoff Events
T
here is still time to register for sec-
tional qualifying tournaments for
the US Open National Playoffs.
In January, the USTA announced
today the return of the Playoffs for
the third year. The event includes
both men’s and women’s singles and
mixed doubles and provides an
opportunity for all players 14 years of
age and older to earn a berth into the
US Open. The US Open National Play-
offs men’s and women’s singles
champions earn a wild card into the
US Open Qualifying Tournament,
held the week prior to the US Open.
The US Open National Playoffs mixed
doubles champions receive a main
draw wild card into the 2012 US
Open.
The Playoffs begin as a series of
sectional qualifying tournaments and
will be held in 13 USTA Sections. The
entry deadline for the last sectional
qualifying tournament, Southern, is
June 18.
The 13 men’s, women’s and
mixed doubles champions from each
sectional qualifying tournament will
advance to the US Open National
Playoffs, which will be held in con-
junction with the New Haven Open at
Yale in August. For information and
schedules visit USOpen.org/Nation-
alPlayoffs.
HJTEP Celebrates 40 Years
T
he Harlem Junior Tennis & Education
Program (HJTEP) celebrated its 40th
anniversary in May with an all-star line-
up at an event held at the USTA Billie
Jean King National Tennis Center in
New York. The daylong event featured
a celebrity pro-am with stars that
included tennis players Mary Joe Fer-
nandez, Zina Garrison, Gigi Fernandez,
Chanda Rubin, James Blake, Thomas
Blake and Patrick McEnroe, along with
George Martin of the New York Giants
and former NBA stars Allan Houston
and John Starks of the New York
Knicks. Katrina Adams is the executive
director of HJTEP.
14 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012
Letters
Let Them Play
I must strongly disagree with
Angela Buxton’s Your Serve in the
April issue (“Too Much of a Good
Thing?”). I believe today's pro
tennis players are very aware of
the fitness level required to com-
pete in their sport and know their
own limits. I would not want to
deprive the competitors or the
fans of such a rare and beautiful
extended battle of wills when the
skill sets of the players match so
closely to one another. Ms.
Buxton’s fear for the tennis play-
er's safety is unwarranted. I use
as an example the Ironman
triathlon with its 2.4-mile swim,
112 miles on a bike, and 26.2-mile
run, all completed without a
changeover or stop in a little over
8 hours by the best in the world.
Certainly the Ironman is much
more demanding on the body
than tennis.
Yes, tennis is taxing on your
body and requires amazing coor-
dination and skill. But it’s a non-
contact sport in which you play
your game in a controlled envi-
ronment, have breaks every two
games and can call a trainer if
need be. In tennis, the player is
truly the master of their own des-
tiny. Let them play—for as long as
they want, or as long as they can.
I will also say that a large part
of the beauty of the sport is its
unpredictability as far as the
length of match and who might
win. Why take anything away
from the sport, or prevent espe-
cially rare and special moments
for the sake of not inconvenienc-
ing the networks? What a crime
that would be.
Anyone who knows tennis
understands what they are get-
ting into when the match starts. It
could be short and sweet or a
long, tough battle. Tennis was
never intended to be played in
the allotted time, it is to be
played until the match is over…
especially at the highest level of
competition in the sport.
Steve Worthingtonoi
Helpful Sales Reps
I like for my sales reps to initiate the contact
between us. My two main reps are tennis players
at a high level and know the game. They are active
at state meetings and keep up with junior players
and programs. I think one of the biggest problems
is that many reps cover a vast territory and do not
have time to have much face to face contact with
shops that are not in their immediate home area.
In tennis, reps also have to be careful how
they handle each account because of the fierce
competition between shops and clubs that all
service the same clients and prospects. I have
heard of clubs that actually try to keep the reps
from opening new accounts in their vicinity, and
this can put the reps in a bad position.
But in my area, shops do try to support each
other by sending customers to other shops when
we may not have the merchandise the customers
need in stock. Tennis shops’ main concern is to
keep customers from purchasing online. This is
why it is important to be able to get merchandise
rapidly from the companies our reps represent.
Many times small shops who cannot pre-book
often find the manufacturers out when they try
to order items as they sell them. Oftentimes the
reps can help with this problem, and in fact mine
have. Bill Oliver
Top-Selling Tennis Strings
at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date units,
By year-to-date units, January-March 2012
1. Prince Synthetic Gut Duraflex
2. Wilson NXT
3. Babolat RPM Blast
4. Wilson Sensation
5. Prince Lightning XX
Top-Selling Racquets
at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, Jan-Mar 2012
Best Sellers
1. Babolat Aero Pro Drive GT (MP)
2. Babolat Pure Drive GT 2012 (MP)
3. Babolat Pure Drive GT (MP)
4. Wilson BLX Juice (MP)
5. Babolat Pure Drive Lite 2012 (MP)
“Hot New Racquets”
(introduced in the past 12 months)
1. Babolat Pure Drive GT 2012 (MP)
2. Wilson BLX Juice (MP)
3. Babolat Pure Drive Lite 2012 (MP)
4. Wilson BLX Pro Staff 6.1 90 (MS)
5. Wilson BLX Pro Staff 6.1 95 (MS)
Tennis Racquet Performance
Specialty Stores
January-March, 2012 vs. 2011
Units 2012 138,764
2011 121,297
% change v. ’11 14%
Dollars 2012 $19,477,000
2011 $17,462,000
% change v. ’11 12%
Price 2012 $140.36
2011 $143.96
% change v. ’11 -3%
Top-Selling Tennis Shoes
at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars,
By year-to-date dollars, Jan-Mar 2012
1. Prince T22
2. Adidas Barricade 6.0
3. Nike Air Breathe 2K11
4. Babolat Propulse 3
5. Nike Air Breathe Free 2
(Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)
Hard-Working Sales Reps
I've been fortunate to work for some of the best
racquet companies in the industry, and now I’m
also fortunate to have a dedicated and loyal
dealer base in the Mid-Atlantic. I've worked with
some of the very best teaching professionals in
tennis, squash, platform tennis, and racquetball.
Recently, I completed certification for PTR to
teach adults and children. And I've been able to
forge excellent relationships with USTA Maryland,
USTA Virginia and the Baltimore Tennis Patrons.
In response to Peter Francesconi’s “Our Serve” in
the May issue about demanding more from your
sales reps, I've tried to attend as many trade shows,
events, promotions, and other tennis-related activi-
ties as could be accommodated. Could I have done
more? Maybe, but I did the best I could to balance
work, family, company and personal responsibilities.
I do know that I've been blessed to have
spent the past 30 years working in a vibrant,
stimulating, yet family-style industry. I like to
think that everyone—dealers, teaching pros,
USTA competitors, etc.—consider me a friend
and ally.
Tom Holmes
Racquet Tech Publishing library Presents:
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:.;.....> TENNIS
~ .. .. I CHANNEL
TI-lE TENNIS Friday, Aug. 24
Grand Hyatt New York
I ........._
3-9 p.m.
Mark your calendars now for the 'Tennis Show 2012: Celebrating the Sport of Opportunity," which will
take place on Friday, Aug. 24, on the ballroom level at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.
This one-day celebration of tennis will run from 3 to 9 p.m. and wil l include the Tennis Forum and
the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for Nick Bollettieri, in addition to an exhibitor area
with more than 35 industry exhibitors and a demo court, allowing attendees to try out products. The
Tennis Show, which is free to industry attendees, will be followed the next morning by the opening
session of the 42nd Annual USTA Tennis Teachers Conference.
The Tennis Show industry exhibitor area will be open from 3 to 6 p.m. , then will close from 6 to 7
p.m. for the TIA Tennis Forum, held in the same area. The Forum will include an update from the TIA on
the state of the industry, then Bollettieri , who was named the next inductee into the Tennis Industry Hall
of Fame last year, will be formally honored. Following the Forum, the Tennis Show will re-open and
include a cocktail reception and prize drawings.
The Tennis Show will offer a prime networking opportunity for all involved in the tennis industry.
The exhibitors include manufacturers, businesses and organizations, showcasing their latest products
and services. (Exhibitor space is limited; for information, visit TennisShow.com, call (843) 686-3036
x.223 or email brian@tennisindustry.org.)
For more information, including the current schedule, visit TennisShow.com.
New 'Industry Dashboard' Shows Positive 01 Shipments
The TIA's home page at
Tennislndustry.org now has
an "Industry Dashboard"
link that shows quarterly
numbers for wholesale
racquet, ball , transition ball
and string shipments in
both units and dollars.
The Dashboard currently
has first-quarter figures,
and will be updated when
02 numbers are
announced in July.
Also included in the
Industry Dashboard
Wholesale Racket Shipments
t--
Wholesale Ball Shipments
Wholesale Transition Ball Shipments
Wholesale String Shipments
•• percentages reflect percent change
comparable to same period 2011
1st Quarter 1st Quarter
2012 Units 2012 Dollars
0.98 Million (+ 1 %) +1 5%
I 34.8 Million (+ 12.3%) +15.7%
1
1.15 Million (+54.6%) +57.3%
1.1 Mill ion (-3. 0%) +0.7%
Industry Dashboard is a "2011 By the Numbers" section that shows the current total "economic value"
of the industry, participation numbers, number of tennis facilities in the TIA's database, and more.
Tennis
Industry
Hall of Fame
Inductee:
Nick Bol
Tennis coaching legend Nick Bollettieri
will be the newest inductee into the
Tennis Industry Hall of Fame, which
recognizes those individuals who have
made a significant impact on tennis.
Bollettieri will be honored at the 4th
Annual Tennis Industry Hall of Fame
induction ceremony, which wi ll take
place during the TIA Forum, part of The
Tennis Show, on Aug. 24 at the Grand
Hyatt New York. The TIA invites anyone
in the tennis industry to attend; visit
TennisShow.com for more details.
Previous inductees are Howard
Head (2008), Dennis Van der Meer
(2008), Alan Schwartz (2009), and
Billie Jean King (201 0). Plaques of
Tennis Industry Hall of Fame inductees
are on permanent display at the
International Tennis Hall of Fame
in Newport, R.I.
State of the Industry
The annual State
of the Industry
is an analysis of
the more than
70+ reports
produced each
year by the TIA.
The 16-page
State of the
Industry for
2011 narrates
the story of the
tennis industry
from the past
Ti l ITITE IF TIE IIIIITU
year by focusing on four key
segments-the economy and tennis,
tennis supply, tennis demand, and
media & pro events. TIA industry-level
members and above have access to the
report. For information, or to obtain a
copy, contact the TIA at
research@Tennislndustry.org.
June 2 012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY
-
TP...
18 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012
Retailing
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).
event in your area, including local club
championships, park and rec tourneys,
district or sectional USTA events—any
time people will be gathering in your
area to play tennis, your store may be
able to play a role or have a tie-in to
that event.
Many specialty tennis retailers
already play tournament videos in their
stores, or have a flat screen TV tuned to
the Tennis Channel or other coverage of
pro events so customers can stop and
watch. Remember, the longer a cus-
tomer is in your store, the more likely
they are to buy. And you can enhance
your special event store promotion with
in-store signs and staff reference.
Local marketing is fast becoming the
most important form of marketing for
all specialty sports retailers, and con-
tacting your local park and rec depart-
ment about sponsoring their
tournaments and bringing in support
from your sales reps and suppliers
should be high on your list of special
events store promotions.
Additional local special events to
include in your planning are demo days
at your store involving a sales rep
demonstrating one brand’s products, as
well as bigger off-site “demo” events.
With a little advance planning you can
partner with a local tennis facility to
sponsor or co-sponsor a weekend or
evening special event with reps from a
number of brand’s and their products.
Include one or more teaching pros to
provide clinics. Or, do a separate set of
special events built around partnering
with teaching pros in your local market.
With all your local special events, use
coupons or invitations that consumers
have to bring with them for entry to
measure response and ROI.
Promotions geared to special events
can move your store toward becoming
the place to shop for tennis, and estab-
lish you as the primary supporter of
tennis in your community.
Coming Up:
The impact of technology on con-
sumers. w
involved early to assist with the events
that they already sponsor or are commit-
ted to. By “assist,” we mean the rep
being at your tie-in special event promo-
tion, and arranging special pricing or
other financial support.
Next, decide which special events in
your local market space your store will
produce and sponsor or otherwise partici-
pate in during the coming year—and bud-
get and plan accordingly. Your sales reps
and suppliers need to be involved with
and help you support these sponsored
events as well.
TieIn Locally
Tournaments often are favorite times for
retail stores to stage special promotional
events. You can actually use any type of
tournament as a promotional platform for
your store. Grand Slam events, such as
Wimbledon or the US Open, are great
times to promote tennis locally, via your
store, as the tournament is being promot-
ed nationally and internationally. (See
sample Grand Slam sale “coupon.”) Also,
many pro players wear new outfits for
these events; if you are able to stock
them, make sure you promote their avail-
ability.
(And don’t forget, as a tennis retailer,
you’re an expert in this field. Make it
known to local media that you’re available
for interviews about pro players, playing
styles, tennis equipment, etc.—it will give
a local flavor to national or international
stories, while promoting your store.)
But don’t just stop at the Grand Slam
tournaments. You should tie-in with any
uilding retail store sales promo-
tions around special events, such
as product demonstrations, local
tennis events, and national or interna-
tional tournaments, are opportunities
for specialty tennis retailers to create
synergy and to make the combined
marketing effort greater for the retailer
than the cost—resulting in a higher
return on your investment.
Special events marketing falls into
two categories. 1) “Tie-ins” are when
you and your store get involved in
someone else’s event, so you ride the
wave and take advantage of the local
exposure and visibility to benefit your
store. 2) Sponsored events are when
your store produces or co-produces
promotional events.
Both types are store sales promo-
tions, and their objective is to bring
customers into your store while pro-
moting your retail business in your
local market. You need to determine
which special events work best for
your store, and what your ROI is.
Accordingly, employ the full range of
direct response tools, which we wrote
about in the May issue of RSI (“Retail-
ing 110: Direct Appeal”) and which
you can find online at www.tennisin-
dustrynews.org.
The first step is to look ahead at
your year and pick the special events
you would like to tie your store into.
Get these events on your planning cal-
endar and into your financial plan for
the coming year. Then get your manu-
facturers’ sales reps and suppliers
B
Special Effects
Store promotions around special events can
bring a nice return on your investment.
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Your Tennis Store
Grand Slam SALE: During the US Open Aug. 27 – Sep. 9, 2012
Bring this coupon with you to receive….
25% off when you spend $150 or more on non-sale tennis merchandise
20% off when you spend $100 to $150 on non-sale tennis merchandise
15% off when you spend $50 to $100 on non-sale tennis merchandise
Sale items receive an additional 10% off.
20 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012
Racquet Tech
sium provides learning opportunities for
beginners all the way up to pro tourna-
ment stringers.”
Seminars cover the craft of racquet
service and also focus on aspects of the
retail side of the business, including mar-
keting, customer service, and even taking
a home-based business and converting it
to a brick-and-mortar shop. There are
also classes on stringing natural gut, the
aesthetics of stringing, machine repair
and maintenance, and using social media
to promote business. USRSA certification
testing is offered at the end of the train-
ing, complemented by a three-hour
review of the test material prior to the
exam.
For those interested in becoming a
tour-level racquet technician, you can test
your skills in the Wilson tour simulation
stringing room. Rocchi leads the Wilson
stringing team that services players at the
US Open and Australian Open. At the
2012 event he’ll present a seminar that
will let the participants see if they have
what it takes to be a member of a world-
class professional stringing team.
Rocchi and Wilson have been on
board with the GSS Symposium since the
beginning. “For me it’s extremely gratify-
ing when I can be a part of this event
and work with stringers of all ability lev-
els and share some things,” he says.
“Stringers who participate go back home
and they use what they learn at the sym-
posium. Then when you see them the
next year they make comments like, ‘I’ve
been using that technique ever since you
showed it to me last year and it’s really
helped.’ It’s a very tangible way to know
that you’ve helped someone become a
better stringer.” Other corporate sponsors
have included Alpha Racquet Sports,
Babolat, the USRSA, Gamma, Prince and
Head.
For the 6th Annual GSS Symposium at
Saddlebrook, Sept. 22-26, new classes
and new seminar leaders have been
added. For information, visit www.grand-
slamstringers.com or contact Strawn at
540-632-1148 or
crazydiamond23@cox.net. w
The event is also a networking
opportunity. “We’ve had technicians
attend from Brazil, South Korea, Canada
and Puerto Rico,” says Strawn.
“For stringers who may be a bit iso-
lated and want some help, and even
stringers in the mainstream who want
to share ideas, you can go to this event
and get it all,” Rocchi says. “The sympo-
he GSS Symposium debuted in
2007, aimed at those who work in
the racquet service side of the
business. The event was created by
USRSA member and Master Racquet
Technician Tim Strawn, who asked him-
self a simple question: Why aren’t rac-
quet technicians gathering under one
roof once a year to train, network and
share ideas?
Strawn contacted fellow racquet tech-
nicians and potential sponsors and asked
them the same question, and they were
interested. “There’s really no other event
like this that I know of for stringers,”
says Ron Rocchi, global tour equipment
manager for Wilson. “There seems to be
a gap to connect with other stringers in a
group setting. You can get information
online, but where can you physically go
to interact, share ideas, and meet new
people with like interests? To me, this is
the only event geared toward that.”
The symposium started in Texas,
moved to Orlando in 2008, then to Sad-
dlebrook Resort in Tampa in 2011. “Sad-
dlebrook was a huge success for us.
We’re tennis people and the group really
needed to get in some serious tennis
time,” Strawn says. “Saddlebrook was a
perfect fit, with over 40 courts including
all four Grand Slam surfaces.”
What happens at a GSS Symposium?
For starters, it gets participants involved
in physically doing what they’ve just
learned. “Everyone who comes away
from it is impressed with the amount of
information,” Rocchi says. “It’s very
hands-on and there’s a lot of interaction
between the seminar leaders and partici-
pants.”
Strawn believes it’s the hands-on
aspect that keeps people coming back.
“After I talked to Tim I decided to go to
my first GSS Symposium,” says Larry
Hackney, a racquet technician from Ten-
nezSport in Union City, N.J., “There’s
just no comparison when it comes to
having the opportunity to work with
world-class technicians in a one-on-one
environment. I have attended every year
since.”
T
GSS Symposium Celebrates 6th Year
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
22 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012
Finances
of a part or component. An increase in
value is only one of many factors that
must be considered to determine
deductibility or capitalization.
Changes in the Rules
The new regulations are the IRS’s third
attempt to provide comprehensive guid-
ance under the repair or capitalize rules.
They attempt to answer such questions as
how to treat environmental remediation
expenses and how to treat rotatable spare
parts used in repairs. One significant rule
change allows a tennis business to deduct
retirement losses for building compo-
nents.
If, for example, you replace the roof on
your shop or tennis facility and dispose of
the old roof, you now have the option of
taking a retirement loss for the old roof.
Of course, the replacement must be capi-
talized, but at least taking a retirement
loss can be claimed.
Another change involves the “de min-
imis” expensing rule, a rule that allows a
tennis business to expense or write-off the
acquisition cost of property on its books
for financial reporting purposes. This
immediate write-off is available to a tennis
shop or facility with a written policy in
place to do that, but only up to a threshold
or ceiling. The new regulations also
include more types of materials and sup-
plies among those now eligible for the de
minimis expensing rule.
Materials and supplies may now be
currently deducted as an expense if they
are acquired to maintain, repair or
improve business property owned, leased,
or serviced by the tennis business, consist
of fuel, lubricants, water and similar items
that are reasonably expected to be con-
sumed within 12 months, with an eco-
nomic useful life of less than 12 months
or costing less than $100.
Under an elective “de minimis” rule,
amounts (other than inventory or land)
along with amounts paid for any materials
restore its value or use, substantially
prolong its useful life, or adapt it to a
new or different use.
RepairReplace Basics
The basic tax rule hasn’t changed that
much: Expenditures are currently tax
deductible as a repair expense if they
are incidental in nature, and neither
materially add to the value of the prop-
erty, nor appreciably prolong its useful
life. Expenditures are also currently
deductible if they are for materials and
supplies consumed during the year.
Similarly the cost of incidental
repairs is typically deductible. The regu-
lations state that the cost of incidental
repairs that neither materially add to the
value of the property, nor appreciably
prolong its life, but keep it in an ordinar-
ily efficient condition, may be deducted
as an expense.
Quite frequently, new additions are
made to already existing property.
These additions are not replacement
components nor are they repairs, but
are instead newly installed components,
so they must be capitalized.
At other times, replacement parts or
components are added to business prop-
erty. For example, a car’s engine is
worn out and replaced. This replace-
ment returns the car back to its condi-
tion prior to the deterioration of the
part. It would be logical to consider this
replacement as an increase in the car’s
value requiring capitalization. But it also
would make sense to say that by return-
ing the car back to its prior condition, it
had been repaired. Under this theory, all
repairs would be deductible, no matter
how substantial they might be.
This example makes any distinction
between a deductible business expense
and a capital expenditure meaningless.
Thus, it is often insufficient to merely
look at increased value as the determing
factor for characterizing the replacement
n an effort to resolve the controversy
over whether certain expenditures
made by a tennis business are cur-
rently deductible as repair expenses, or
whether they must be capitalized and
deducted over the life of the underlying
business asset, the Internal Revenue
Service has finally released new regula-
tions. These expanded regulations can
have a significant impact on every ten-
nis shop, facility, manufacturer, court
builder or teaching pro that acquires,
produces, or improves its tangible
property.
In addition to clarifying and expand-
ing the current rules, the new regula-
tions create tests for applying the repair
or capitalize standards, provides guid-
ance for accounting for—and disposing
of—repaired property, as well as clarify-
ing other aspects of the repair/capitalize
dilemma.
Since the Reconstruction Era Income
Tax Act of 1870, taxpayers have been
prohibited from deducting amounts
paid for new buildings, permanent
improvements, or betterments made to
increase the value of property. While
this concept has been recognized as
part of tax law almost from its incep-
tion, exactly what must be capitalized
and what may be currently deducted as
an expense has been at issue ever
since.
According to the IRS, expenditures
are currently deductible as a repair
expense if they are incidental in nature
and neither materially add to the value
of the property nor appreciably prolong
its useful life. Expenditures are also cur-
rently deductible if they are for materi-
als and supplies consumed during the
year.
On the other hand, expenses must
be capitalized and written-off over a
number of years if they are for perma-
nent improvements or betterments that
increase the value of the property,
I
Capitalize vs. Deduct
When it comes to repairing or replacing business assets,
should you write it off over time or deduct the expense?
www.racquetsportsindustry.com www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Mark E. Battersby is a tax advisor and free-
lance writer in Ardmore, Pa., who has spe-
cialized in tax and finance topics for more
than 25 years.
and supplies don’t have to be capitalized.
That is, the amounts do not have to be
capitalized if the operation has an applic-
able financial statement (AFS), or a certi-
fied audited financial statement, written
accounting procedures in place for treat-
ing the amounts as expenses on its AFS
and if the amounts paid and not capital-
ized are either less than 0.1% of gross
receipts or 2% of the total depreciation
expense as determined in its AFS.
Leased and
Rented Property
The temporary regulations retain a rule
allowing your business to amortize and
write-off the costs of acquiring a lease-
hold over the term of the lease and make
only minor revisions to the rules for
treating the cost of erecting a building or
making a permanent improvement to
property leased by the operation if it is a
capital expenditure and is not deductible
as a business expense. The temporary
regulations do, however, require a lessee
or lessor to depreciate or amortize its
leasehold improvements under the cost
recovery provisions without regard to the
term of the lease. Removed under the
new regulations are the rules permitting
amortization over the shorter of the esti-
mated useful life or the term of the lease.
A safe harbor has been created for
routine maintenance on property other
than buildings. Routine maintenance
includes the inspection, cleaning, and
testing of the unit of property and
replacement of parts of the unit of prop-
erty with comparable and commercially
available and reasonable replacement
parts. To be considered routine mainte-
nance, you have to expect to perform
these services more than once.
The new temporary regulations are
generally effective for amounts paid or
incurred in tax years beginning after
2011. The new rules generally require
capitalization rather than deduction in
close situations. For example, previous
rules treated buildings as a single “unit of
property” so that replacement of a struc-
tural component such as a roof was not a
“substantial” modification and thus could
be deducted. Under the new rules, how-
ever, primary components of a building
structure or a specifically defined building
system (such as HVAC, plumbing, electri-
cal, etc.) must be treated separately, so
that replacement of those components
must be capitalized.
But some changes are business-friend-
ly. For example, if the cost of an
improvement is capitalized, it must be
depreciated as a new asset and recov-
ered over the life of the improved proper-
ty. The old rules did not permit a tennis
business to recognize losses upon the
retirement of the old property following
an improvement, which resulted in
simultaneously depreciating multiple por-
tions of the same property. The new reg-
ulations address this problem by
expanding the definition of a disposition
to include retirements of structural com-
ponents of a building.
It’s never too late to look at what
you’re doing for repair and maintenance
costs for your tennis business. But the
sheer volume of the new 255-page regu-
lations on deduction vs. capitalization of
tangible property costs makes profession-
al assistance a necessity. w
June 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 23
www.racquetsportsindustry.com www.racquetsportsindustry.com
24 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012
THE STRI NGER’ S FI LE
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
EXPECTING
MIRACLES
EXPECTING
MIRACLES
BY T I M S T RAWN
Are your customers asking to try polyester strings?
A Master Racquet Technician lays out the case for
managing, and adjusting, their expectations.
I
know you’ve heard it—and so have your customers. You’re
watching a match on television and the announcer talks
about the new super strings the pros are using. They boast
about that tremendous “up and down” effect they have on the
ball and how they’re changing the game. But are they? Have you
tried them? Did they work the same magic for you—or for your
players?
Chances are, most consumers who may have gone to their
local racquet technician and asked for the new “miracle” strings
probably were somewhat surprised at the results they had with
them. I’ll bet it wasn’t quite what they were expecting.
Yes, touring pros get enhanced spin and power with these
strings. And so recreational players may think if they use them,
too, the strings can produce the same result. Well, not exactly.
These “new” strings are co-polymer or polyester, as they’re
most often referred to. The name most thrown about these days
is Luxilon, so I’ll use that as my example. What makes these
strings perform the way they do? First, a few basics, then we’ll
go from there:
w Elongation is the string’s ability to stretch.
w Elasticity is the string’s ability to recover to its original state
after stretching.
w Strings absorb energy from the impact of the ball and store it.
w Strings return that energy to the ball when they recover.
w Natural gut stretches and recovers naturally, as designed by
nature. Tests have shown that natural gut will stretch more
between the tension range of 60 to 70 pounds than nylon (as
Howard Brody, et.al., wrote about in “Tennis Science for Ten-
nis Players”).
w Natural gut has remarkable recovery (elasticity). It will return
to its original state for a much longer period of time than
nylon.
w Common synthetic strings stretch, but after hours of play, they
lose their elasticity (ability to recover).
w Strings on their own do not produce topspin. That “up and
down” effect on the ball comes primarily from two things: 1)
an effective low-to-high motion with the racquet, and 2) rac-
quet-head speed. Without these two elements you can forget
about hitting topspin forehands and slice backhands.
Luxilon is a relatively stiff string with a very unique coating.
The coating actually allows the string to move or “slide” at
impact and when the string recovers (slides back into place), it
can increase the amount of spin on the ball. Just how much is
not known, but there is some residual effect from this
movement.
Because these strings are much stiffer than typical synthet-
June 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 25
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
ics, the player can take a much bigger
swing at the ball (reduced elongation
= less energy stored in the ball). That
bigger swing equates to faster racquet-
head speed, and when coupled with an
enhanced low-to-high motion, that
additional momentum is what brings
the ball down into the court when you
think it’s going to be 3 feet out. This is
one reason why you see fewer and
fewer players using a racquet strung
with all natural gut—they store too
much energy, and with today’s big
game, the string is harder to control.
We do, however, still see it in many
hybrid configurations.
But here’s the real difference and
what often gets left out of the conver-
sation:
1. Average club players do not gen-
erate the same racquet-head speed as
Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, so their
results will not be as pronounced.
2. Also, the average recreational
player strings once or twice a year. In
a tournament situation, the typical pro-
fessional strings before each practice
and before each match. That’s a huge
difference in how long the string is in
use. How many club players do you
know who are going to pay $35 for a
set of good Luxilon and then cut it out
in two days? It’s just not going to hap-
pen.
3. The third point is probably one of
the most important. Many players are
simply stringing poly way too tight.
When you have a string with limited
elongation and you string it up tight,
you’re going to kill whatever elonga-
tion properties that string had to begin
with. This is where club players get
into trouble. They think that because
they were stringing at 64 pounds when
they were using softer synthetic gut,
they can still string at 64 with poly.
They’re told that the string has excep-
tional durability, and this is correct.
However, because it doesn’t break as
quickly as their old synthetic gut, they
string it up at 64 and leave it in the rac-
quet far too long. We’re talking months
here. Remember this stuff is not
cheap. It’s really important to under-
stand this pro/club player comparison.
So just how should recreational
players figure out what tension they
should use if they’re going to try the
new string, and how long should they
USRSA Master Racquet Technician and tour stringer Tim Strawn owns and operates
www.grandslamstringers.com and www.gssalliance.com and is the founder and
owner of the GSS Symposium, an annual global training event for racquet techni-
cians. His tour stringing experience includes working for the Bow Brand team at
Wimbledon and the Wilson team at the US Open and Sony Ericsson in Key Biscayne.
Contact him at Tim@gssalliance.com.
leave it in the racquet before restringing?
Recreational players need to work
with a trained racquet technician who
understands what’s really going on.
Choosing a starting point that is 20
pounds less than what the rec player used
with his old string might be the right way
to go. Yes, you heard that right—20
pounds less, then experiment from there.
Keep accurate records so you have a base-
line from which to work and a timeline for
restringing.
The “new” strings can work for or
against recreational players. To best service
them, you need to arm yourself with the
facts. w
26 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Person of the Year
2011: Pat Freebody
2010: Jon Muir
2009: Eric Babolat
2008: Dave Haggerty
2007: George Napier
2006: Kirk Anderson
2005: Max Brownlee
2004: Arlen Kantarian
2003: Jim Baugh &
Kurt Kamperman
2002: Alan Schwartz
Pro/Specialty
Retailer of the Year
2011: All About Tennis
2010: NYC Racquet Sports
2009: Tennis Express
2008: Tennis & Golf Co.
2007: Michael Lynne’s Tennis Shop
2006: Swetka’s Tennis Shop
2005: Racquet World
2004: Players Choice Tennis
2003: Advantage Yours
2002: Chicago Tennis & Golf
2001: Dale Queen
Park & Recreation
Agency of the Year
2011: Tualatin Hills Park & Rec
District
Private Facility
of the Year
2011: Western Racquet Club
2010: The Polo Club
2009: Reynolds Plantation
2008: Boar’s Head Sports Club
2007: Meadow Creek Tennis
& Fitness
2006: Midtown Tennis Center
2005: Brookhaven Country Club
2004: Indian Creek Racquet Club
2003: New Albany Country Club
2002: Woodfield Country Club
Municipal Facility
of the Year
2011: Roger Scott Tennis Club
2010: Copeland-Cox T.C.
2009: Reffkin Tennis Center
2008: Surprise Tennis &
Racquet Complex
2007: Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis &
Education
2006: Cary Tennis Park
2005: John Drew Smith T.C.
2004: Lexington County T.C.
2003: Midland Community T.C.
2002: Cooper Tennis Complex
2001: George E. Barnes T.C.
Builder of the Year
2011: Leslie Coatings Inc.
2010: Pro-Sport Construction
2009: DeRosa Tennis Contractors
2008: Boston Tennis Court Constr.
2007: Sportsline Inc.
2006: Courtsmiths
2005: Fast-Dry Companies
2004: Zaino Tennis Court
2003: General Acrylics
2002: Cape & Island Tennis and
Track
2001: Welch Tennis Courts
Sales Rep of
the Year
2011: Lee Sponaugle
2010: Rick Walsh
2009: Tracy Lynch
2008: Jim Haneklau
2007: Hunter Hines
2006: Jim Willwerth
2005: Kay Barney
2004: Dustin Perry
2003: Bob Strimel
2002: Bob Pfaender
2001: Sheri Norris & David Blakeley
Grassroots
Champion
of the Year
2011: Brenda Gilmore
2010: Robert Pangrazi
2009: Lisa Stone &
Susan Chambers
2008: Sue Jollensten
2007: Dan Vonk
2006: Beverly Bourguet
2005: Shirley Ruane
2004: Gwen & Dan Ramras
2003: Scott Biron
2002: Mark Platt
2001: Donna Owens
10 and Under Tennis
Facility Developer of
the Year
2011: Hinding Tennis
Junior Tennis
Champion of the Year
2011: Jeff Rothstein
2010: Butch Staples &
Leah Friedman
2009: Dan Faber
2008: Chuck Kuhle
2007: Craig Jones
2006: Bwana Chakar Simba
2005: Wayne St. Peter
RSI Champions of T
O
ur January 2012 issue marked the 11th year that
RSI has named its Champions of Tennis winners.
As we start the process for picking this year’s
Champions of Tennis, we’d like to recognize all of those win-
ners—people, businesses, organizations—that have helped
to make a difference in tennis, and the business of tennis.
One of the striking things about this impressive list is how
many of these Champions of Tennis are still at it, still dedi-
cated to making this sport the best it can be, to bringing in
new participants, to supplying players with equipment and
places to play, and to making tennis businesses grow. You
can also see how interdependent all of us are in this indus-
try—none of these winners accomplished their goals all by
themselves. w
RSI Champions of T
f Tennis Honor Roll
2004: Emma Hubbs
2003: Phyllis Greene
2002: LaMont Bryant
2001: Ned Eames
Wheelchair
Tennis Champion
of the Year
2011: Jeremiah Yolkut
2010: Harlon Matthews
2009: Dean Oba
2008: Michael Mercier
2007: Jason Harnett
2006: Bruce Karr
2005: Karin Korb
2004: Julie Jilly
2003: Dan James
2002: Tina Dale
2001: Nancy Olson
Community Tennis
Association of the
Year
2011: Bucks County T.A.
2010: Southern Crescent T.A.
2009: Western Wake T.A.
2008: Lee County T.A
2007: Grants Pass CTA
2006: Montgomery County T.A.
2005: Baltimore Tennis Patrons
2004: Pikes Peak CTA
2003: Milwaukee Tennis &
Education Foundation
2002: Macon Tennis Assn.
2001: Homewood-Flossmoor
Public Park
of the Year
2011: Cadwalader Park
2010: Dwight Davis T.C.
2009: Darling Tennis Center
2008: Roswell Park & Rec
2007: Fort Lauderdale
Park & Rec
f Tennis Honor Roll
June 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 27
2006: USTA Billie Jean King
National Tennis Center
2005: Scalzi Park
Stringer of the Year
2011: Todd Mobley
2010: Tom Parry
2009: Ron Rocchi
2008: Nate Ferguson
2007: Tim Strawn
2006: Grant Morgan
2005: Bob Patterson
2004: Randy Stephenson
Tennis Advocate
of the Year
2011: Mike Woody
2010: Robin Jones
2009: Ellen doll
Online Retailer
of the Year
2005: Tennis Warehouse
High School
Coach of the Year
2011: Jim Neal and Jim
Solomon
2010: Bill Wagstaff
2009: Rich Johns
2008: Sue Bordainick
2007: Marian DeWane
2006: David Steinbach
USTA Section of Year
2011: Middle States
2010: Southern
2009: Midwest
2008: Pacific Northwest
2007: Florida
2006: Texas
2005: Florida
2004: Pacific Northwest
2003: Southern
2002: Northern
2001: New England
Mass Merchant/
Chain of the Year
2011: PGA Tour Superstores
2008: Sport Chalet
2007: The Sports Authority
2006: PGA Tour Superstores
2005: Golfsmith
2004: City Sports
2003: Sport Chalet
2002: Dick’s Sporting Goods
2001: Galyan’s
PTR Member
of the Year
2011: Jorge Capestany
2010: Rodney Harmon
2009: Ken DeHart
2008: Jorge Andrew
2007: Luke Jensen
2006: Ajay Pant
2005: Lisa Duncan
USPTA Member
of the Year
2011: Feisal Hassan
2010: Ron Woods
2009: Robert
Greene Jr.
2008: Tom Sweitzer
2007: Mike Van Zutphen
2006: Brett Hobden
2005: Bob Reed
Send Us Your 2012 RSI Award Nominations
To nominate for RSI’s 2012 Champions of Tennis, email rsi@racquettech.com, and put “Champions” in the subject line. In the email, include
the category, the name of the person or organization you are nominating, contact info (phone and email) for the nominee, and—briefly—
some information about the nominee, including a website address if appropriate. All nominations will be confidential, but we’d also like
your name and contact info, in case we have questions. Deadline for nominations: Sept. 30, 2012.
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
28 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012
RACQUETS
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
BY KE NT OS WAL D
Selling tennis racquets may not be rocket science,
but these four stores each seem to have found a
formula that takes sales to new heights.
HITTING
WINNERS
HITTING
WINNERS
TENNIS PLAZA
Florida
It may be counterintuitive, but in retail, complacency, not failure, is the opposite
of success. That is the lesson to draw from the continuing growth of sales at
Florida’s Tennis Plaza, which was called “Racquet World” in 2005 when the
retail store was named the RSI Pro/Specialty Retailer of the Year.
What was once one Miami-area store—whose business began to boom with
a move closer to a major highway and the addition of about 50 percent more
square footage and 30 percent more merchandise—is less than a decade later
three stores in Miami and one in Orlando (the most recent to open is a 5,000-square-foot tennis destination), as well as a bur-
geoning website. It’s all in keeping with owner Leon Echevarria’s business philosophy to, “Go and see where there is opportu-
nity. …[If I] don’t see big competition, then I just go for it.”
One area in which he has “gone for it” is in reaching out by partnering with the local Sony Ericsson Open and via the website,
both of which are major draws to the stores’ growing South American clientele.
Ironically, given the upward trend of his internet business, one of master stringer Echevarria’s business maxims is, “Don’t
give people an excuse to shop online.” He keeps up to four demo frames of new
racquets in stock and makes sure he has a large offering of all racquet brands,
as well as grip sizes and accessories. Most important, he balances good cus-
tomer service, full inventory and competitive pricing with keeping the staff very
familiar with the latest USRSA information.
As Steve Huber, South Central regional manager for Wilson, explains, “The
entire staff at Tennis Plaza fully immerses themselves into the marketing strategy from each company so they can explain to
the consumer what the manufacturer’s story line is for that particular season. Tennis Plaza also is committed to telling that story
on the wall.”
Carrying eight lines of racquets and 12 lines of strings, Echevarria has an overriding goal of providing “big-box” opportunities,
but with a specialty shop feel. “To tell the truth,” he says, “[doing a good business] is very simple. I don’t see myself as anything
special.” Cash register receipts, however, offer a very different narrative.
June 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 29
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
TENNIS PLAZA
“See where the opportunity
is,” then just “go for it.”
STURTEVANTS
Bellevue, Wash.
Like others explaining their good fortune in these tough economic times, John
Gorman, head of tennis at Sturtevants in Bellevue, Wash., makes the path to suc-
cess sound simple: “Start with good ingredients.” He praises his fairly affluent
suburban Seattle community for it numerous leagues (many indoor, so there is
tennis year-round) and support for play at all levels. “Tennis is hot here,” he says.
“All we have to do is not screw it up.”
Of course, not screwing it up—doubling sales of tennis gear to more than
$1 million in about five years and growing a seasonal shop into a main-floor mainstay all year long—doesn’t happen unless you
are connecting with customers. Greeting walk-ins is the 50-foot wall of racquets representing six lines, with three stringing
machines in use on the floor (instead of one in the back room, which they had years ago). All of it is beautifully framed by a
newly redesigned Nordic-themed, dramatically lit, exposed cedar interior.
Mostly though, it doesn’t happen without passion. Gorman is enthusiastic about the overall management, commitment and
financial support he gets from Sturtevant’s (the Ski Magazine 2009 National Shop of the Year) top tier. He also has only kind
things to say about the partnerships he has established with manufacturers. However, the highest praise is reserved for his staff.
“I’ve got the best crew,” he says. “Guys who work here are constantly switching
racquets. We’re just psyched about [selling the game].”
There is also attention to every customer. “When you walk into John’s, it’s
like walking into your local corner bar, like ‘Cheers,’” says Babolat sales rep Rose
Jones. “Everyone in the store knows you and you know them.”
Sturtevants has numerous programs reaching out to the community,
whether it is product support for local tennis-related charities, or making sure to
be seen at local events, or checking in with local coaches at least once a season.
It’s all part of what Gorman claims is the “wow” factor upon which the business model rests, because, he says, “If you give peo-
ple the ‘wow’ factor, they don’t mind spending the money.”
STURTEVANTS
“If you give people the
‘wow’ factor, they don’t
mind spending the money.”
30 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
DO IT TENNIS
Oceanside, Calif.
Take even a quick look at DoItTennis.com and you’ll see a retailer implementing
a “knowledge is power” mantra as the foundation for its continuing success.
There are instructional videos, product reviews, blogs and posts with the latest
news manufacturers are sharing about their gear—all of it offering knowledge to
customers, or anyone else who happens to visit the site. Start clicking through
all that might be relevant to your game and soon, you’ll forget that you were
actually there to shop.
“The key is not necessarily to sell [customers],” says owner Hans Paino, “but to give them information, to give them the
tools to decide what works for them.” It’s the same for visitors to the 1,600-square-foot Oceanside, Calif., mother ship north of
San Diego that has been open in an industrial/manufacturing/retail office park since 2005. “Everyone who works here plays ten-
nis,” Paino continues. “When you are speaking with someone on our staff, you are speaking with someone who is knowledge-
able about the game of tennis.”
According to Paino, the key to the steady, upward growth during these past years has been the combination of having mul-
tiple channels to sell racquets—the store carries about 100 different models
representing nine manufacturers—as well as a soft-sell to consumers who
have been empowered with Do It Tennis-provided knowledge. “We try to
give people the best experience online” and in person, he says.
The store is highly invested in its local clientele, even making “club calls”
to service ball machines or other equipment. But eyes are on the horizon as
local competitors have folded. Growth has and will likely continue to come from outside the San Diego north area, drawn by
members of the staff who specialize in improving the website and the business’s social media postings, in addition to the unique
selling proposition Paino explains as, “The more knowledge people have about product and tennis and what’s out there, the bet-
ter off they are and the more information we have. The more we offer them, the more we’ll benefit from it.”
DOITTENNIS.COM
“Give customers the tools to
decide what works for them.”
TIM’S RACQUET
Jenkintown, Pa.
It’s not that time stands still at Tim’s Racquet of Jenkintown, Pa., which has been
in business for 22 years. It’s just that, as owner Tim Stumpf says, “There is no
lunchtime here. We eat when there is an opening since the customer is so much
more important than mere food.” Nor is it a mistake that the website has no
email address, but that the phone number is in headline type on each page. “I
want people to call and talk to somebody, not just type back and forth.”
The store’s success is built from nothing flashy, just business basics of service
and inventory. “When someone comes here, we are giving them the experience
of having almost anything they could possibly need.” With over 1,000 new rac-
quets and more than 250 racquets ready to demo (after being playtested and sometimes “tweaked”) in the 2,600-square-foot
store located in a suburban Philadelphia shopping center, Stumpf wants to be sure the perfect match for each customer is readily
at hand. He believes many people are “fooled by the convenience” of website shopping, explaining, “You can order almost any-
thing online, but you really need to be fitted sometime. To me, service is everything to the customer.”
Among others, Jeff Lininger, Prince territory manager, has been impressed by that focus, describing a “dedication to cus-
tomer service” as a “key element that provides continued customer satisfaction and results in trust and loyalty.”
“Service” does not mean or require numbers of staff, just knowledgeable and focused personnel. The store has only one
other full-time employee, some longtime part-timers and a revolving crew of
tennis junkie local kids. This frugality continues in the extreme care Stumpf
takes regarding opportunities to expand, as local competitors have closed.
Stumpf has taken over only two pro shops at local clubs, and his website is much
more an online brochure than cyber-revenue stream.
He also pays attention to MAP pricing, and if there is a rebate he can offer a
customer, it is theirs. Additionally, each sale includes the oft-ignored detail that
the frame is not the game. “It’s so important,” says the 40-year stringing veteran, “that once we sell someone the racquet, we
talk about the tension and the string.” It‘s just one more key to a business plan built on service: “You‘re never going to see the
stringer again if you buy online.”
Stumpf’s motto is, “Make consumers happy and [they will] want to come back to you. You have to find ways to make people
feel they not only are getting a good deal, but a great deal.”
TIM’S RACQUET
“Once we sell someone the
racquet, we talk about the
tension and the string.”
-
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tain the highest concentration of
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to ensure brilliant long lasting
colors. Our premium pigments
provide unmatched vibrancy
and beauty, while containing
low glare properties to enhance
the surfaces playability.
Unique Low Abrasive Texture
Novacrylic® Sport Surfaces con-
tain a non-angular rounded silica
sand to allow for a low abrasive
ITF classified surface. Because
the sand has no sharp edges it
becomes totally encapsulated
in the acrylics. This ensures the
surface will maintain a consistent
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For more information or to locate a certified installer in your area
Quality
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facility specially designed to
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We are able to produce
unmatched quality with
industry leading efficiency.
please contact us at 800-USA-NOVA or info@novasports.com www.novasports.com
APPAREL
32 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012
www.racquetsportsindustry.com www.racquetsportsindustry.com
DRESSES
THAT BREAK
THE FALL
DRESSES
THAT BREAK
THE FALL
BY CYNT HI A S HE RMAN
ELIZA AUDLEY
Eliza Audley’s Toni dress in turquoise, shown here on WTA pro Liga Dekmei-
jere, is made of a poly-spandex blend, with a pattern of the silver “mezzos”
along the seams inspired by a floor design that uses nail heads in a lead floor.
Retail price is $112.
www.E¦ìzaAud¦ey.com/±6±-6,+-(;;o
BOLLE
The jade V-neck racerback dress from Bolle’s High Velocity col-
lection shines with its forest color-blocking and etched paisley-
like design on the back. It’s poly-spandex composition features
wicking, UV protection and anti-bacterial and anti-static prop-
erties. Retail price is $84.
www.Bo¦¦etennìswear.com/¡o+-¡6±-o¡6o
Tangerines, pinks, bold
blues and greens—these
are some of the hot colors
of the year, and they are
not lost on court couture
going into the fall.
June 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 33 www.racquetsportsindustry.com www.racquetsportsindustry.com
FILA
To usher in the US open, some of Fila’s pros, such as Polona Hercog
(shown), will attack the net dressed in Fila’s Peony pink Heritage
dress. Made of a performance poly spandex jersey, the dress has
Fila’s heritage F box patch logo embroidered on the hip, features a
drop waist with flowy skirt, and has contrasting trim on the V-neck
and armholes. Retail price is $70.
www.lì¦a.com/(+o-;;¡-¡ooo
LIJA
Canadian company Lija steps into fall with
the Compression Grand Slam dress, fea-
tured on Canadian pro player Rebecca
Marino in cobalt blue. Fabricated of a
nylon-lycra combination, it has flattering
seaming detail, front bound pockets and
bound hem. It ships in October and retails
for $110.
www.lìjasty¦e.com/6o(-±(8-+o;,
TAIL
Tail brings the watercolors of the beach to the court with its
Ease dress from the Beachside collection. A smashing mosaic
pattern in a flattering racer back style, the dress sports color-
blocked mesh inserts and an internal bra in a high-perfor-
mance jersey for comfort and flexibility.
www.Taì¦actìvewear.com/¡oç-6¡8-±6ço w
PURE LIME
Pure Lime’s bold styles are reflected in the
Black Moderne dress, which is made of a
microfiber polyester in the company’s Breathe
Dri fabric. Highlighted with sparks of turquoise
and “new lime,” a V-neck and V-back make it
both comfortable and versatile. It’s available in
August and retails for $90.
www.Pure¦ìme.com/ç+6-(68-+;±±
DI STI NGUI SHED FACI LI TY- OF- THE- YEAR AWARDS
H
ere are some quick stats on the 13 winners of the
2011 Racquet Sports Industry/American Sports
Builders Association Distinguished Facility-of-the-
Year Awards in the “residential court” category: 10 of the
winners are new construction; 11 are hard courts, two are
clay; five are post-tensioned concrete courts; and two are
indoors. For many of these winners, court builders seemed
most adept at overcoming difficulties accessing the con-
struction sites, or stabilizing steeply sloped sites.
At the Berce residence in Franksville, Wis., it was discov-
ered that the electrical, telephone and cable lines ran under
the construction area for the new court. The utility compa-
nies had to be called in to, first, run temporary lines to the
house so the excavation could get started, then place the
permanent lines around the court perimeter.
Located down a long alley, access at the Bourne resi-
dence in Salt Lake City was limited, so trees were trimmed
and concrete was poured from an empty lot behind the
property. The contractor also changed the slope of the orig-
inal court away from the house to a compound slope that
directed water into a new dry well.
A granite ledge at one end of the Cohen residence site in
Weston, Mass., along with a 21-foot elevation difference,
made construction extremely difficult. About 10,000 cubic
yards of structural fill had to be brought in and compacted,
and cranes were needed to get equipment into the site.
Access also was difficult at the Cox residence in Ogden,
Utah, where the asphalt court was upgraded to a post-ten-
sioned concrete court. The site was on the side of a moun-
tain, held up by a 17-foot retaining wall below grade on one
side, with a 6-foot wall above grade on the other side. The
new court at the Crossland/Kirkpatrick residence in Napa,
Calif., had to fit between a stand of oak trees protected by
Napa County, a new vineyard, and an existing building.
Built into a hillside, the new court in Glen Ellen, Calif.,
required a large and complex drainage system to prevent
water from vineyard irrigation and the hillside from under-
mining the court. A large wall constructed on the hillside
doubles as a hitting wall. The JJJ Ranch in Dawson, Texas,
put in a new, post-tensioned concrete court that has multi-
sport capabilities (basketball, volleyball, shuffleboard) and
is suitable for other entertainment purposes for the working
ranch—all blending into the natural setting.
A 250-foot access road had to be built to reach the heav-
ily wooded, hillside site at the Kirslis residence in Norwell,
Mass. To help fix the steep elevation change, 450 tons of
recycled road base was trucked in to replace material that
had been removed. The new post-tensioned concrete court
at the Roberts residence in Wellesley, Mass., was made as
an extension to the house by matching the foundation
grades and excavating around 12-foot retaining walls.
One of the two soft-court winners was the new subsur-
face-irrigated court at the Gin Lane residence in Southamp-
ton, N.Y., which also included creative landscaping and a
decorative, yet functional, fence enclosure. The other soft-
court winner was a Miami Beach residence that upgraded
everything, including converting from above-ground water-
ing to a subsurface irrigation system. The site provided no
access, so all equipment and material had to lifted in by
crane.
One of the private indoor courts, at Butternut Hollow in
Greenwich, Conn., includes a 500-square-foot fitness area,
shower and storage area. The brick and concrete building,
complete with steel trusses, was
set into the rocky ground so that
the exterior appearance is that of
a single-story accessory building.
The indoor court at the Schmidt
residence in West Linn, Ore., had
to contend with a site heavy with
trees, and with drainage concerns regarding interfering
with the household septic system. —Peter Francesconi w
It’s hard to beat these excellent
examples of residential 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.
LUCKY THIRTEEN
34 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
LUCKY THIRTEEN
Berce Residence, Franksville, Wis.
(Nominated by Munson Inc., Glendale, Wis.)
General Contractor: Munson Inc.
Consultant: Fred Kolkmann, Tennis & Sport Surfaces LLC
Color Coating: California Products
Lights: Har-Tru Sports
Net, Posts: JA Cissel
June 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 35 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Butternut Hollow, Greenwich, Conn.
(Nominated by Global Sports & Tennis Design Group LLC, Fair Haven, N.J.)
Design Consultant: Global Sports & Tennis Design Group LLC
Surface: Ace Surfaces Inc. Rebound Ace
Net, Posts: Douglas
Padding/Backdrops: JA Cissel
Bourne Residence, Salt Lake City, Utah
(Nominated by Tennis and Track Co., Salt Lake City)
General Contractor: Tennis and Track Co.
Lights: LSI Courtsider XL
Net, Posts, Windscreens: Douglas
Center Straps, Anchors: Douglas
Cohen Residence, Weston, Mass.
(Nominated by Cape & Island Tennis & Track, Pocasset, Mass.)
Specialty Contractor: Cape & Island Tennis & Track
Surface: Beynon Sport Surfaces polyurethane cushion
Color Coating: DecoTurf
Lights: LSI Courtsider Aero System
Net, Posts, Anchor: JA Cissel
Drainage: ACO Sport
Cox Residence, Ogden, Utah
(Nominated by Tennis and Track Co., Salt Lake City)
Surface: World Class
Net, Posts, Windscreens: Douglas
Center Strap, Anchor: Douglas
Drainage: ACO Sport
Crossland/Kirkpatrick Residence, Napa, Calif.
(Nominated by Vintage Contractors Inc., San Francisco)
Contractor, Architect/Engineer: Vintage Contractors Inc.
Surface: California Products Plexicushion
Net, Posts: Fraser Edwards Co. LLC
Fencing: Vintage Contractors Inc.
Gin Lane, Southampton, N.Y.
(Nominated by Global Sports & Tennis Design Group LLC, Fair Haven, N.J.)
Surface: Hamptons Tennis Co.
Irrigation: Har-Tru Sports HydroCourt
Net, Posts: Edwards
Maintenance Equipment: Har-Tru Sports
36 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
JJJ Ranch, Dawson, Texas
(Nominated by Patriot Court Systems Inc., Houston)
Contractor: Patriot Court Systems Inc.
Surface: California Products Plexipave
Lights: TechLight
Net, Posts: Edwards
Volleyball Net: Douglas
Glen Ellen Residence, Glen Ellen, Calif.
(Nominated by Vintage Contractors Inc., San Francisco)
Architect/Engineer: Backen Gillam Architects
General Contractor: Jim Murphy Associates
Specialty Contractor: Vintage Contractors Inc.
Surface: California Products Plexicushion
Net, Posts, Drain: Fraser Edwards Co. LLC
Fencing: Jim Murphy Associates
Kirslis Residence, Norwell, Mass.
(Nominated by Patriot Court Systems Inc., Houston)
Contractor: Patriot Court Systems Inc.
Surface: California Products Plexipave
Lights: TechLight
Net, Posts: Edwards
Volleyball Net: Douglas
Miami Beach Residence, Miami Beach, Fla.
(Nominated by Fast-Dry Courts, Pompano Beach, Fla.)
Specialty Contractor: Fast-Dry Courts
Surface: Har-Tru Sports HydroBlend
Sub-Irrigated System: Fast-Dry Courts
Fencing: Fast-Dry Courts
Drainage: Zurn Industries
Court Accessories: Fast-Dry Courts
Schmidt Residence, West Linn, Ore.
(Nominated by Atlas Track & Tennis, Tualatin, Ore.)
Surface: California Products Plexipave
Lights: LSI Courtsider
Net, Center Strap: Douglas
Backdrop Curtains, Padding: M. Putterman
Roberts Residence, Wellesley, Mass.
(Nominated by Cape & Island Tennis & Track, Pocasset, Mass.)
Specialty Contractor: Cape & Island Tennis & Track
Surface: California Products DecoTurf
Cushion Surface: Beynon Sport Surfaces polyurethane
Lights: LSI Courtsider Aero System
Net, Posts, Anchor: JA Cissel
Drainage: ACO Sport
38 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012
from the adjusting nut. A couple of notes
here: It is very easy to round out the flats
in the jamb screw, so do not force matters
— make certain your Allen wrench is fully
seated in the opening. Also, it is almost
always easier to loosen the jamb nut by
RELEASING FROZEN
STAR BASE CLAMPS
My Babolat Star 5 came with a nice Velcro
band to hold the base clamps during ship-
ping, but because I rarely move my
machine, I set it aside. Then last week I
needed to transport my machine. Rather
than find where I’d put the Velcro band, I
locked the base clamps to the turntable
and put the machine in my trunk. This
turned out to be a bad move.
When I arrived at my destination, the
base clamps would not move, even when
unlocked. Apparently, the heat had tem-
porarily fused the clamping material to the
turntable. With summer coming on, I
thought someone else might find himself
in this situation, too. Here’s what I did to
fix the problem.
First, remove the center cap on the
base clamp. I used a small flat screwdriv-
er. This will give you access to the clamp
adjustment fasteners.
Second, loosen the center jamb screw
Tips & Techniques
turning the adjusting nut clockwise
(tighter) first, while counter-holding the
jamb screw.
Remove the center jamb screw and
the adjusting nut.
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Readers’ Know-How in Action
Remove the ergo knob by lifting
straight up on it.
Remove the base clamp by lifting
straight up on it.
Remove the top sliding disk by lifting
straight up on it. This disk has a rough
side and a smooth side, so keep track of
which side goes up.
You will now see the center post for
the clamp protruding up through the
turntable. Beneath the turntable, you will
see the bottom friction material.
Thread the adjustment screw back
onto the center post to protect the
threads for the next step.
Using a block of wood to protect the
center post and threads, tap down on
the center post until it releases from the
underside of the turntable.
June 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 39 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Clean everything before reassembling,
of course. According to Babolat, the opti-
mum working angle for the ergo handle is
15 degrees. You can set it for more if you
like, but if you set it much lower you will
find you have trouble getting a consis-
tent lock on the base clamps. Don’t for-
get to use thread locking fluid on the
jamb screw!
5 sets of Babolat Revenge 16 to:
L. Hodges, Lucerne Valley, CA
—Greg Raven◗
Tips and Techniques submitted since 1992 by
USRSA members and appearing in this column,
have all ben gathered into a searchable data-
base on www.racquettech.com the official mem-
ber-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
CHEAPEST SOURCE
FOR STRINGS?
WHO HAS THE LOWEST PRICES
on string, especially reels?
IT DEPENDS ON THE VOLUME of
string you are buying. Your first
call should be to the sales repre-
sentatives for the brands you carry.
USRSA members also should check with
Alpha, Ashaway, ATS, Dunlop, Gosen,
Head, Tecnifibre, Tourna, and Yonex for
special discounts.
If you don’t yet have a relationship
with any manufacturer, there are a lot of
online sources you can check, and some
of them offer prices that match or beat the
prices you can get direct from the manu-
facturer because they buy in such large
volume. Some even offer free shipping. If
you are buying this string to use in cus-
tomer racquets, don’t be afraid to mention
that you are a reseller, to see if you can
shave a bit more off of the price.
CAP RECAP
WHAT’S THE POINT OF THE com-
bination grommet strip/bumper-
guard that Head uses on the
Prestige racquets? It’s so distinctive and
different from other bumperguards, there
must be a reason for it, but it doesn’t
appear even on other Head racquets.
YOU ARE REFERRING TO THE CAP
system. According to Roger Peters-
man at Head, the answer is easy: The feel
and sound imparted to the racquet with the
CAP system is part of the experience of
using a Prestige. Secondarily, the CAP sys-
tem is better than traditional grommet-and-
bumperguard systems when playing on clay
courts.
As for it not appearing on other Head
racquets, some of the CAP system grom-
mets do fit the Radical as well, as demon-
strated by Andy Murray and others.
40 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Your Equipment Hotline
Q
A
Q
A
WHICH SOLUTION?
I’VE BEEN LOOKING AT THE Rac-
quet Customizer online tool at Rac-
quetTECH.com, as I have been
thinking about trying to match my new
racquet to the old racquet I used to use. I
plug in all the numbers the way it asks,
but then it gives me hundreds of “solu-
tions” of where to add the lead tape. How
do I choose which solution to use? The
calculator gives you many options of
placement of lead to result in swing
weight, but there is also a note about
additional weight at 3 o’clock and 9
o’clock optimizing torsional stability (twist
weight).
AS STATED ON THE RESULTS
page, each solution represents an
attempt to match your new racquet to your
old one, at least in terms of weight, bal-
ance, and swing weight. Torsional stability
(AKA twist weight) is not a factor in the
results, as twist weight matching is current-
ly a separate step that involves, among
other things, measuring the twist weight of
your original racquet, your new racquet,
and your new racquet with modifications.
Another way of saying this is that each
of the solutions is essentially identical for
weight, balance, and swing weight, but not
necessarily identical for twist weight, nor
for ease of application. You may find that
some solutions require placing additional
mass (usually in the form of lead tape) on
sections of the racquet where it is difficult,
ungainly, or unsightly to do so. With multi-
ple solutions, however, you can pick the
best one for your situation.
Multiple solutions also allow you to
experiment with racquets having the same
weight, balance, and swing weight, but
with different twist weights. A higher twist
weight might be desirable for increasing
stability in a racquet with a narrow head,
or for a player who plays from the base-
line. For many players, increases in twist
weight are most noticeable on the serve,
when the wrist is ready to pronate but
higher torsional stability of the hoop resists
the rotation of the racquet at first, and then
makes it more difficult to stop the rotation.
LOWER TENSIONS
FOR THE PROS?
ACCORDING TO AN ARTICLE IN the
Wall Street Journal (“Tennis, Without
All the Tension,” March 6, 2012),
some of the pros have dropped their ten-
sions by up to 20 pounds, into the 30-40
pound range. I’ve been thinking of dropping
the tension on my racquet, but this seems
way too low.
A LOT OF THE STRINGERS AT THIS
year’s BNP Paribas Open at the Indian
Wells Tennis Garden noticed the move to lower
tensions by some of the pros. We have yet to
process the stringing logs from that tourna-
ment, but the sense was that the ATP players
had lowered tension more than the WTA play-
ers had.
Keep in mind that when its strings were
first starting to become popular, Luxilon recom-
mended reducing the reference tension by 20
percent compared to a typical nylon string,
which at the time seemed like crazy talk. In a
way, players are finally catching up with the
original tension recommendations.
—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.
June 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 41 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Q
A
Q
A
42 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012
String Playtest
EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings)
Number of testers who said it was:
much easier 1
somewhat easier 5
about as easy 20
not quite as easy 8
not nearly as easy 0
OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 0
somewhat better 8
about as playable 13
not quite as playable 12
not nearly as playable 0
OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings
of similar gauge)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 3
somewhat better 7
about as durable 18
not quite as durable 4
not nearly as durable 1
RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability 3.5
Durability 3.5
Power (20th overall) 3.6
Control 3.6
Comfort 3.2
Touch/Feel 3.2
Spin Potential 3.4
Holding Tension 3.3
Resistance to Movement 3.4

Z
yex MonoGut is a 100 percent
Zyex monofilament string that
Ashaway tells us provides excep-
tional dynamic stiffness, gut-like playabili-
ty, and superior durability. Because of the
difficulties involved in creating a pure
Zyex string, Ashaway has been working
on perfecting it for some time now.
Despite the fact that it is a monofila-
ment, and that out of the package it looks
and feels as if it’s a typical polyester
string, there is no polyester in Zyex
MonoGut. Thus, you get the increased
elongation and lower dynamic stiffness of
Zyex, with the superior durability of a
monofilament. Ashaway plans to market
this string as the “anti-polyester.”
Ashaway recommends Zyex MonoGut
for top amateur and professional players,
and for players looking for softer feel sim-
ilar to natural gut.
Zyex MonoGut is available in 16
gauge (1.27 mm) only, although Ashaway
tells us that there is a 1.22 mm version
coming in Summer 2012. Zyex MonoGut
currently comes in natural only, with a
red version coming in Summer 2012. It is
priced from $15 per set of 40 feet, and
$130 for reels of 360 feet. For more infor-
mation or to order, contact Ashaway at
800-556-7260, or visit ashawayusa.com.
Be sure to read the conclusion for more
information about getting a free set to try
for yourself.
IN THE LAB
We tested the 16-gauge (1.27 mm) Zyex
MonoGut. The coil measured 40 feet. The
diameter measured 1.28-1.31 mm prior
to stringing, and 1.22-1.24 mm after
stringing. We recorded a string bed stiff-
ness of 75 RDC units immediately after
stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro
Staff 6.1 95 (16 x 18 pattern) on a con-
stant-pull machine.
After 24 hours (no playing), string bed
stiffness measured 68 RDC units, repre-
senting a 9 percent tension loss. Our con-
trol string, Prince Synthetic Gut Original
Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units immedi-
ately after stringing and 71 RDC units
after 24 hours, representing a 9 percent
tension loss. In lab testing, Prince
Synthetic Gut Original has a stiff-
ness of 217 and a tension loss of
11.67 pounds, while Ashaway
Zyex MonoGut 16 has a stiffness
of 151 and a tension loss of 18.89
pounds. Zyex MonoGut added 15 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 packages.
Average number of hours playtested
were 24.
www.racquetsportsindustry.com www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Ashaway advises stringing Zyex
MonoGut at tensions of 60 pounds or
less, which we passed along to our
playtest team members. Ashaway also
advises setting the reference tension 10
to 15 percent lower than you would
with traditional nylon strings, but Ash-
away wanted to allow playtesters to set
their own tensions, and see what their
impressions were.
As mentioned above, when you first
take Zyex MonoGut out of the package,
your first impression is likely to be that
it is a stout-feeling polyester. As you
work with it, however, there are indica-
tions that it is not as it seems. Zyex
MonoGut stretches more under tension
than poly, and it’s easier to handle. With
a pre-production sample, we gave Zyex
MonoGut the “poly tug” when tightening
the knot during tie-off and broke the
string, as did a couple of our playtesters.
Three playtesters broke the sample
during stringing, two reported problems
with coil memory, none reported prob-
lems tying knots, and none reported
friction burn.
ON THE COURT
The members of our playtest team most
enjoyed Zyex MonoGut’s power, rating it
20th best of the 164 strings we’ve
playtested to date for publication. In
addition, their rating show Zyex
MonoGut has excellent Control, Spin
Potential, and Playability, and has well
above average Durability, Resistance to
Movement, and Touch/Feel. As a result,
Ashaway Zyex MonoGut 16’s overall
score is also well above average.
Four members of the team broke
the sample during play, one each at
eight hours, 11 hours, 14 hours, and 40
hours.
Ashaway Zyex MonoGut
June 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 43
FREE PLAYTEST
STRING PROGRAM
Ashaway will send a free set of Zyex MonoGut to
USRSA members who cut out (or copy) this coupon
and send it to:
Offer expires 15 June 2012 • Offer only available
to USRSA members in the US.
Name:
USRSA Member number:
Phone:
Email:
If you print your email clearly, we will notify you
when your sample will be sent.
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
USRSA, Attn: Ashaway String Offer
330 Main Street, Vista, CA 92084
or fax to 760-536-1171, or email the info
below to stringsample@racquettech.com

This string adds extra kick to serves.
Excellent control on both groundies and
touch shots. Outstanding comfort.

4.0 male all-court player using Prince
Triple Threat Viper strung at 60 pounds
LO (Gamma Ruff 16)

Excellent spin and power. It stays
playable longer than most polys I’ve
tried.

5.0 male all-court player using
Wilson BLX Blade strung at 52 pounds
CP (Tecnifibre Black Code/Babolat VS
Touch 17/16)

This is a comfortable string with
great control. Power is just right.

4.0
male all-court player using Babolat Pure
Storm LTD strung at 58 pounds CP (Gen-
esis Typhoon 16L)

Good touch and comfort. Power is
there when needed. Baseliners will like
the control.

4.5 male all-court player
using Head Liquidmetal Radical OS
strung at 56 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu
Power Rough 16L)

Recommended to hard hitters look-
For the rest of the tester comments, visit www.racquet-
sportsindustry.com.
TESTERS
TALK
ing for more control.

3.5 male all-court player using Pro Kennex
Acclaim strung at 55 pounds CP (Head
FXP/Babolat VS Touch 16/16)

Power is definitely there when needed.
A vibration dampener is recommended to
those who like a quiet ride.

4.5 male all-
court player using Babolat Pure Storm GT
strung at 55 pounds CP (Head Synthetic Gut
PPS 17)

This is an arm-friendly control string
with above average power.

5.5 male all-
court player using Wilson BLX Pro Tour
strung at 52 pounds CP (Polyester 16)

Touch and feel are lacking. There is a
slight buzzing on softer strokes.

4.0
male all-court player using Donnay X-Dual
Gold strung at 54 pounds CP (Gosen Polylon
SP 17)

This string might make a good hybrid part-
ner. As a full set-up, it lacks the necessary com-
fort and feel.

5.0 male baseliner with heavy
spin using Babolat Aero Storm Tour strung at
58/55 pounds CP (Babolat VS Gut 16)
—Greg Raven◗
CONCLUSION
To its credit, Ashaway has created an
entirely different type of string with Zyex
MonoGut. It may look familiar at first
glance, but Zyex MonoGut is liable to feel
unlike any other string you’ve ever used.
As you read through the comments from
our playtesters, you’ll find that many
compare its characteristics and perfor-
mance to poly, but conclude that Zyex
MonoGut is different and often better.
Keep in mind, too, that these results do
not take into account Ashaway’s recom-
mendation to reduce the reference ten-
sion by 10 to 15 percent. Staff testing
shows that it is possible to retain playa-
bility even when reducing the reference
tension by 20 percent or more, giving
Zyex MonoGut the potential for a wide
range of applications.
If you think that Ashaway Zyex
MonoGut might be for you, fill out the
coupon to get a free set to try.
T
ennis has given me much in my
life—friends, exercise, world
travel and many great jobs and
experiences. I was fortunate to have
amazing opportunities with the Univer-
sity of Georgia men’s tennis team, with
the USTA as Player Development, Davis
Cup, Olympic team and US Open press
officer, and in my current marketing/
publishing role at New Chapter Media.
Of late, I was looking for more ways
to give back to the sport that has given
me so much. I decided that I wanted get
back on the court doing some teaching
on the side, hit with upcoming kids and
be a mentor. I learned of a job opening
as the JV boys’ tennis coach at Colum-
bia Prep high school in New York City. I
applied for and was offered the job.
During team tryouts, my friend Bill
Mountford at the USTA implored me
not to cut any players from the team.
Keep as many as really want to play, he
said. This keeps the kids interested in
tennis for their lifetime. Being cut from
a JV team can be traumatic and push
them away from the game forever.
As the JV team materialized, it was
apparent there would be a sharp divide
in ability between the top and bottom
of our team. How was I going to have
these players participate in the same
practice, potentially on the same court,
and keep them all engaged? The school
wanted me to take only 10 players, but
there were 13 who wanted to play. It
would be much easier for me to man-
age the team—and practices—if I cut
three kids. However, Bill’s message was
clear; I didn’t cut any of the players.
But still, how was I going to handle
this steep divide in ability at practices? I
applied a lesson I first learned from Bil-
lie Jean King at the Olympic Games in
44 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY June 2012
I told him to think of all of those great
comebacks he had read about and, like
Laver wrote, just concentrate on not miss-
ing a ball. Keep the ball going. My player
then reeled off 10 straight games and
ended up winning the match.
Then I glanced over at the No. 1 singles
player, who was banging ground strokes
fearlessly. However, lo and behold, he was
throwing in slice backhands every once in
a while. Then he stepped up to the line to
hit a first serve, followed it to the net and
knocked off a volley winner. He stayed at
the net and waited for his opponent to
shake his hand. He had served and
volleyed on match point!
Two of my players were out sick, so
another student—one I had thought about
cutting early on in tryouts—found himself
in the lineup. Weeks before, he was barely
able to hit balls in play. But I switched him
from a one-handed to a two-handed back-
hand and taught him to aim higher over the
net for more margin for error, and he soon
was winning challenge matches and mov-
ing up the lineup. Playing the first “official”
match in his life, he and his partner won
the clinching match for our team’s victory.
His smile after the match was as big as I’d
ever seen.
Lessons well-learned. w
Your Serve
www.racquetsportsindustry.com



Lessons Well-Learned
While hoping to give back to tennis, a new
high school tennis coach finds this game
continues to give to him.
We welcome your opinions. Please email
comments to RSI@racquetTECH.com.
BY RANDY WAL KE R
Randy Walker is a PR, market-
ing and publishing specialist
and the managing partner for
New Chapter Media (www.New-
ChapterMedia.com). He is the
former press officer for the U.S.
Davis Cup and Olympic tennis
teams for the USTA and author of the book,
“On This Day in Tennis History.”
2000, when she was working with Venus
and Serena Williams—better players
would use practices and matches against
lesser-talented players to work on their
weaknesses. Our top player, for instance,
was then charged during practice match-
es to serve and volley on every service
point—first and second serves—and to
only hit slice backhands. Those were the
skills he needed to perfect for more vari-
ety in his game.
I also noticed that some players
seemed to get down on themselves
quickly and would give up on matches
when they would get behind early or lose
the first set. To help inspire them, I gave
each player a copy of my book, “On This
Day in Tennis History,” and told them to
read through it and pick out the biggest
comeback wins they could find.
Another simple lesson I gleaned from
another book, Rod Laver’s “The Educa-
tion of a Tennis Player,” was to have the
mindset of not making mistakes. Wrote
Laver, “You win tennis matches on the
other guy’s errors and by keeping the ball
going.” This would also become team
doctrine.
In a recent match, one of my players,
who was competing in singles for the first
time, quickly found himself down 0-3 in
the first set and was getting discouraged.
'As the JV team mate-
rialized, it was appar-
ent there would be a
sharp divide in ability
between the top and
bottom of our team.'

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