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March 2006

Volume 34 Number 3 $5.00

EXCLUSIVE RACQUET
SELECTION GUIDE
Contents R S I M A R C H

INDUSTRY NEWS
2 0 0 6

7 New travel & instruction


benefits for USTA members
River Forest Tennis Club, River Forest, IL 7 Tennis sales continue up,
says SGMA
8 Las Vegas Fast-String
COURT CONSTRUCTION Contest
& MAINTENANCE GUIDE 8 National Public Parks
Championships in June
18 Expanding Horizons
Considering adding another court or two? Here’s what you need to know. 8 River City Athletics
acquires Novagrass
21 Fix the Cracks
Taking care of cracked courts depends on why they cracked in the first place. 8 Cardio Tennis in Australia
24 Keep It Clean 10 Deco picked for Virginia
No matter what type of courts you have, regular maintenance is a must.
indoor facility
26 Class Acts 10 Wilson gear featured on
Schools and colleges dominated these RSI/ASBA hard-court facility-of-the-year winners.
Showtime series

FEATURES 10 PTR launches


“Scholarship Scout”
29 Racquet Selection Guide 12 Prince introduces
Our exclusive guide to racquets will help you
choose the right frames for your customers. Scream 2 shoe

39 Don’t Bust a Gut! 12 Ashaway adds two new


Worried about your first natural gut string job? Two badminton strings
stringing experts take the mystery out of it for you.
12 Sharapova switches to
Prince 03 White frame
13 New Tour Team bag line
from Head
14 Gamma offers Private
Logo Program

DEPARTMENTS
4 Our Serve 44 String Playtest: Gamma Zo Pro 16L
16 The Master Pros 46 Ask the Experts
41 Stringing Machine Review: Babolat Star 5 56 Your Serve, by Robin Bateman

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 3


Our Serve
(Incorporating Racquet Tech and Tennis Industry)

Be a “Hero” in Your Community Publishers


David Bone Jeff Williams

T he USTA’s Community Tennis Development Work-


shop once again drew a large, enthusiastic crowd
in early February, this time in Hollywood, Calif. I was
Editor-in-Chief
Crawford Lindsey

Editorial Director
Peter Francesconi

Associate Editor
among about 650 who registered for the conference, Greg Raven
and again, I was amazed and impressed by the dedi- Design/Art Director
Kristine Thom
cation of this group of community tennis leaders—
Assistant to the Publisher
many who are volunteers—who came from all over Cari Feliciano

the U.S. seeking ways to promote and develop tennis Contributing Editors
Cynthia Cantrell
in their communities.. Rod Cross
Over the years, my respect for the people who deliver tennis at the Kristen Daley
Joe Dinoffer
local level has grown immeasurably, thanks in large part to workshops Liza Horan
such as the CTDW, but also because of the Tennis Teachers Confer- Andrew Lavallee
ence in New York each August, the PTR Symposium in February, the James Martin
Mark Mason
USPTA World Conference in September, and many smaller gatherings.
Chris Nicholson
Sometimes, I think we forget that those of us who make our living Mitch Rustad
from tennis—whether as a tennis teaching pro, club or facility owner
or manager, tennis retailer, manufacturer, court builder, or, in our RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY
Corporate Offices
case, tennis publisher—owe a tremendous amount to those who don’t
330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084
make their living from the game. The hard-working volunteers who Phone: 760-536-1177 Fax: 760-536-1171
give their time and effort to increase participation in the sport, to put Email: RSI@racquetTECH.com
the sport front and center in their communities, unquestionably help Website: www.racquetTECH.com
Office Hours: Mon.-Fri.,8 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific Time
us as we seek to make a living from this sport.
The theme of this year’s CTDW was “Heroes Among Us.” Those Advertising Director
who gathered in California to seek out ways to grow tennis are all John Hanna
770-650-1102, x.125
“heroes” in their communities. Now, as tennis participation is on the
john@racquettech.com
upswing and momentum continues to gather, we all need join in their
quest. Apparel Advertising
These community tennis leaders need our support in every way. If Cynthia Sherman
203-263-5243
you haven’t already done so, it’s time to make contact with your local
cstennisindustry@earthlink.net
Community Tennis Association, or school system, or parks program,
Racquet Sports Industry (USPS 347-8300. ISSN 0191-
or USTA district or section, to see how you can help in growing this 5851) is published 10 times per year: monthly January
sport—how you, too, can be a true tennis “hero.” through August and combined issues in Septem-
ber/October and November/December by Tennis
Industry and USRSA, 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084.
Periodicals postage paid at Hurley, NY 12443 and addi-
tional mailing offices. March 2006, Volume 34, Num-
ber 3 © 2006 by USRSA and Tennis Industry. All rights
Peter Francesconi reserved. Racquet Sports Industry, RSI and logo are
Editorial Director trademarks of USRSA. Printed in the U.S.A. Phone
advertising: 770-650-1102 x 125. Phone circulation and
editorial: 760-536-1177. Yearly subscriptions $25 in the
U.S., $40 elsewhere. POSTMASTER: Send address
changes to Racquet Sports Industry, 330 Main St.,
Vista, CA 92084.

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


4 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006
R S I M A R C H 2 0 0 6

INDUSTRY NEWS
INFORMATION TO HELP YOU RUN YOUR BUSINESS

Tennis Sales Continue


To Rise, Says SGMA
USTA Offers Travel, Instruction Benefits
F
The latest sales data from the Sport- or the first time, the USTA is partnering least two of the following: free 30-minute
ing Goods Manufacturers Association with resorts and adult and junior camps private lesson, complimentary merchandise
shows that tennis equipment has to offer exclusive vacation and tennis worth at least $20, at least 10 percent off the
continued its upward trend in sales, instruction benefits to USTA members. The package price, or a personalized DVD of an
growing 10 percent in 2005. perks vary from property to property and may instruction session.
According to the SGMA, tennis include benefits such as lodging and package For details visit www.usta.com/ member-
equipment sales reached $244 mil- discounts, complimentary restringing, free pri- ship. The latest list of participating resorts
lion last year, and is expected to vate lesson, and more. and camps is below.
reach $256 million in ’06. Also SGMA “We’re excited about
surveys confirm what the most recent working with our new
TIA/USTA Tennis Participation Study resort and camp partners to
noted, that tennis participation has
help us build tennis partici-
been strengthening in recent years.
pation,” says Barrie D.
These latest SGMA figures are part of Markowitz, the USTA’s sen-
a larger survey on sales of sporting ior director of membership.
goods equipment, sports apparel, and To receive special benefits
athletic footwear. The SGMA says
at these sites, USTA mem-
wholesale numbers for all sporting
goods were slightly stronger in 2005 bers need to provide their
than they were in 2004. membership number to the
resort or camp at the time
In ’04, total sales were $52.2 billion. of booking.
In ’05, they rose to $55.7 billion—a
As of early February,
6.8 percent jump. Sales for 2006 are
projected to reach $59.5 billion, more than 20 resorts, adult
about a 7 percent gain. camps, and junior camps in
North America have agreed
SGMA President Tom Cove says the to provide special benefits
renewed popularity in sports brands
for USTA members. For help
for both fashion and performance
were largely responsible for the surge in compiling venues for the Q RESORTS: The Buccaneer, St. Croix, USVI; The
program, the USTA approached noted tennis- Colony Beach & Tennis Resort, Longboat Key, Fla.;
in sales last year. The sporting goods
travel expert Roger Cox, the editor of Tennis La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, La Jolla, Calif.;
industry includes sports apparel, ath- Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Kohala Coast, Hawaii;
letic footwear, and a wide range of Resorts Online The Phoenician, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Rancho Valencia
equipment for sports, fitness, and (www.tennisresortsonline.com). Resort, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; Sea Pines Resort,
outdoor activities. Q At resorts, members will receive at least Hilton Head, S.C.; Tops’l Beach & Racquet Resort,
Destin, Fla.
Q ADULT CAMPS: John Newcombe Tennis Ranch,
Wholesale shipments of sports appar- three of the following: free 30-minute private
el rose by 9 percent to $26.1 billion lesson, discount on pro shop apparel, com- New Braunfels, Texas; new England Tennis Holi-
in 2005. What’s significant is that plimentary racquet grip and restringing, free days, North Conway, N.H.; New England Tennis
consumers purchased more units of breakfast for everyone on your reservation, Holidays at Inn at Essex, Essex, Vt.; Northstar-at-
sports apparel and paid more for late checkout (if available), or at least 10 per- Tahoe Tennis Camps, Truckee, Calif.; Peter
them. Kaplan’s Westhampton Beach Tennis Academy,
cent off room and tennis package rates.
Q At adult camps, members will receive at
Westhampton, N.Y.; Vic Braden Tennis Col-
Athletic footwear shipments were lege/Green Valley Spa, St. George, Utah.
also up by nearly 9 percent to $10.9 least two of the following: free 30-minute Q JUNIOR CAMPS: Four Star Summer Camps, Char-
billion. Fitness equipment experi- private lesson, complimentary racquet grip lottesville, Va.; Julian Krinsky Summer Camps &
Progams, Haverford and Cabrini Colleges, Pa.;
enced an increase of 6 percent to and restringing, or at least 10 percent off Nike Junior Tennis Camps, multiple locations
more than $4 billion. More informa- room and tennis package rates. nationwide; Windridge Tennis Camps, Craftsbury
tion is at www.sgma.com. Q At junior camps, members will receive at Common and Teela-Wooket, Vt.

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 7


M A R C H 2 0 0 6

Fast-Stringing Championships
INDUSTRYNEWS

Set for Las Vegas River City Athletics LLC Acquires


Novagrass International
W
hen it comes to

R
stringing rac- iver City Athletics LLC of Chattanooga, Tenn., has
quets, are you acquired the assets of Novagrass International Inc. The
unbeatable? Put your purchase was completed December 31, 2005.
skills on the line at River City Athletics will operate this sports surfacing divi-
the Wilson World sion as NGI Sports, a division of River City Athletics LLC.
Fast-Stringing Cham- NGI Sports will market Nova’Pro Tennis, Novagrasse Golf
pionships, where cash and NovaTurf Field Sports surfacing systems to the industry.
and prizes for the NGI Sports, a division of River City Athletics, is located at
fastest stringers total 2807 Walker Rd., Chattanooga, Tenn.; phone 423-499-
$10,000. 5546; fax 423-499-8882; toll free 800-835-0033. Email
The competition address is info@ngisports.com.
will be March 3 to 5
in Las Vegas, during
the 2006 Tennis
Cardio Tennis Applauded Down Under

A
s the new Cardio Tennis program continues to expand in
Channel Open (held Feb. 25 to March 5). Online registration is
the U.S., a presentation at the Australian Tennis Confer-
$20; registration on-site is $30. For more information or to reg-
ence in Melbourne during the Australian Open drew rave
ister, visit www.tennischannelopen.com or call 888-826-8497.
reviews, says PTR Executive Director Dan Santorum, who con-
ducted the on-court Cardio demonstration to more than 250

80th National Public Parks coaches.


“I have presented at the Australian Tennis Conference many
Championships in June times, but this was by far the best reaction I have ever received
on any topic,” Santo-

T
he 80th Annual National Public Parks Tennis Champi-
onships will be June 19 to 25 at the USTA National Tennis rum says. “At least 40
Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. coaches approached
Entry deadline for all events is June 5 at 5 p.m. To regis- me afterward and
ter, visit www.usta.com/tennislink. For adults, the tourna- wanted to know how they
ment ID is 100217106; for juniors, 100216906. could implement the pro-
This year’s event is being held a month earlier than usual so gram. Representatives from New Zealand and South Africa
that the USTA will have time to resurface the courts prior to the also expressed great interest.”
US Open at the end of August. Cardio Tennis was launched in the U.S. at the beginning of
2005, and now, more than 1,000 facilities have signed on to
become official Cardio sites. In September, the Tennis Industry
Association officially launched Cardio Tennis to consumers at
OLN, TTC to Show 2006 Davis Cup the 2005 US Open.

O
LN and The Tennis Channel will be the domestic television For more information and the latest from a survey of 250
broadcasters for all sites, visit www.Partners.CardioTennis.com.
U.S. Davis Cup action
in 2006, the USTA
announced just before first- Lee Tennis
round action. The new
agreement began Feb. 10 to
Restructures Sales Force
L
12, with live coverage of the ee Tennis Products launched an Indoor Clay Court
2006 first-round U.S. vs. Forum through its website, www.hartru.com, to provide
Romania tie. a place for current and prospective indoor clay court
For future rounds this owners, managers, and maintenance personnel to share
year, OLN will provide live ideas and information.
coverage of U.S. Davis Cup “After two conferences on indoor clay, and multiple site
home ties, to be followed by visits, it became clear that people caring for indoor clay
same-day replays on The courts have unique challenges and want to be able to com-
Tennis Channel. Scheduling municate with one another about those challenges,” says
of away tie broadcasts will Pat Hanssen of Lee Tennis. The forum features discussion
be contingent on the coun- threads on surface compaction, irrigation, humidity, and
try of origin. tools and equipment.

8 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


INDUSTRYNEWS M A R C H 2 0 0 6

UVA Picks DecoTurf USPTA Pros Raise $8.2 Million for Charity

I
n 2005, USPTA teaching professionals raised $8,197,249 for
for Indoor Stadium charity through the association’s Lessons for Life pro-

D
ecoTurf has been chosen as the surface for the Univer- gram—-the most ever raised in one year by
sity of Virginia’s new Indoor Tennis Stadium at the Lessons for Life since its inception in 1999.
Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va. DecoSys- “Our goal was $3 million, so our members real-
tems, a division of California Products Corp., says the 12 ly worked the charity circuit hard this year,” said
new DecoTurf courts at the facility are the same type and Paula Scheb, Lessons for Life chair, director of tennis
color—US Open Blue—as are the courts at the USTA Nation- and fitness at Bonita Bay Club in Bonita Springs,
al Tennis Center. Fla., and a vice president of the USPTA’s national board. “I am just
The indoor stadium at the Boar’s Head Sports Club is the overwhelmed with pride.” A variety of charities benefit each year
centerpiece of a $7.5 million expansion that was complet- from the Lessons for Life program.
ed earlier this year by court builder Howard B. Jones & Sons Lessons for Life became USPTA’s national charitable program
of Lexington, S.C. DecoTurf also was recently selected for in 1999. Through this program, the USPTA encourages its mem-
courts at the University of Alabama, the University of Con- bers to use tennis as a vehicle to help others through fund-raisers
necticut, and St. John’s University. and other activities in their communities. Lessons for Life is offi-
For more information, visit www.decoturf. com or call cially celebrated in October, but events may be hosted any time
800-DECO 1ST. during the year. For more information, visit www.uspta.com.

Wilson Gear Featured on Showtime Series

W
ilson Racquet Sports is the tennis equipment provider
for a featured character on the current season of the
Showtime Networks series “The L Word.” The show
chronicles the lives and careers of a group of friends living in
Los Angeles.
Actress Erin Daniels plays professional tennis player Dana
Fairbanks on the show, which kicked off its third season this
month. Wilson outfitted the character with one of its nCode
racquets, the nSix-One 95, and a Wilson Tour bag.
The equipment is used by Fairbanks in her tennis scenes,
including during a special tournament episode. Wilson also
supplied tennis balls and courtside signage and provided gear
such as caps, visors, and shirts for the extras seated in the
crowd.
New Prince Frames “We were excited to participate with ‘The L Word’ and pro-
Rank Highly in Sales Data vide them with Wilson equipment,” says Jon Muir, Wilson’s
director of U.S. sales and marketing. For more on Wilson, visit

A
ccording to data by the Tennis Industry Association/Sports www.wilsonsports.com or call 773-714-6400.
Marketing Surveys, Prince’s O3 Red and O3 Silver rac-
quets ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in year-to-date
dollar share and unit share for 2005. In addition, the O3 Tour PTR Launches “Scholarship Scout”

T
and O3 Blue were in the No. 6 and 9 spots, according to the he PTR has launched a service on its
survey. website that provides information
Of the 270-plus racquets included in the survey, the indus- about college scholarships.
try report ranks Prince’s O3 Red and O3 Silver as the No. 3 Called “Scholarship Scout,” the free
and No. 4 best-selling racquets overall in the pro/specialty mar- service will assist PTR members who are
ket in terms of year-end dollars. Prince’s total racquet line trying to help their students find spots on a
accounted for 21.6 percent of all racquet college tennis team that offers partial or full tuition scholarships.
dollar sales for the year, according to In addition, college coaches, who regularly contact the PTR look-
the TIA/SMS report. Prince's O3 ing for players, can now recruit players for their teams by post-
racquets accounted for more ing openings on Scholarship Scout.
than a 10 percent share in the “We are excited to introduce this new PTR member benefit to
fourth quarter. Prince ranked No. 1 in help this nation’s dedicated and hard-working high school and
price point dollar sales in the premium rac- college coaches,” says PTR Executive Director Dan Santorum.
quet segment (racquets retailing for over $200), with a 42 per- Scholarship Scout is posted on the PTR’s website with the Net-
cent share. Works Jobs Bulletin. Visit www.ptrtennis.org for more information.

10 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


INDUSTRY NEWS

Head District Sales Managers Honored

T
om Kelley (right), who manages Southern California,
was named Head/Penn’s District Sales Manager of the
Year for 2005. The company lauded Kelley for going
“above and beyond every goal” he had.
Also, the company honored Steve Rothstein (far right) as
Head/Penn Rookie of the Year. Rothstein is the Midwest District
sales manager.

PBI Presents Awards at Annual Meeting

P
eter Burwash International (www.pbitennis.com) recently celebrated its 30th
anniversary at the company’s annual meeting at the Marriott Rancho Las Pal-
mas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
In addition to a week of intensive educational activities, both on and off the
court, awards were presented, including a “Professional of the Decade, awarded
every 10 years. The recipient this time was Rob Smith, the tennis director at The
Aberdeen Marina Club in Hong Kong. Other awards were:
Q Professional of the Year: Rene Zondag, tennis director at the Jumeirah Beach
Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Q Most Improved Professional: Chris Palmer, tennis director at the Stone Mountain
Tennis Center in Stone Mountain, Ga.
Q Rookie of the Year: Nathan Jeffery, head pro at The American Club in Hong Kong
Q Friend of the Year: Bob Small, formerly v.p. of Marriott Resorts for the West
Coast, executive v.p. of Disney Resorts, and retired president and CEO of Fair-
mont Hotels
Q Site of the Year: Caneel Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 11


M A R C H 2 0 0 6

OP L E W AT
INDUSTRYNEWS

E CH Sharapova Switches to
P • Patrick Rafter, Gabriela Sabatini, Prince 03 White
and Gianni Clerici will be inducted into the Interna- Maria Sharapova switched to the new Prince O3
tional Tennis Hall of Fame on July 15 in Newport, R.I. White racquet at the Australian Open in January. “It
is much faster through the air and allows me to
• Southern California-based tennis apparel manufacturer Bälle de
generate more spin and power without losing con-
Mätch has hired Andrew Webb to manage sales in Northern Califor-
trol,” Sharapova says. “It is a really stable racquet
nia. For more info on Bälle de Mätch, visit www.balledematch.com.
and I feel like I can go for every shot and hit more
• Amelie Mauresmo donated the autographed Dunlop M-Fil 300 winners.” Visit www.princetennis.com or call 800-
racquet that she used in her winning run to the Australian Open 283-6647.
Championship to be auctioned for charity. All proceeds raised
through the winning bid will be split among four Sony Ericsson
WTA Tour affiliated charities: Habitat for Humanity, First Serve,
Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Tennis Against Breast Cancer.

• Phillip Cello is the new director of player development for the


USTA’s Southern Section.

• Susan M Schepici is the new Annual Fund director


for the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Prince Updates Shoe Line Ashaway Introduces


With New Scream 2 2 Badminton Strings
P A
rince Sports has updated the Scream tennis shoe and now intro- shaway Racket Strings has announced two new
duces the Scream 2, the latest addition to the QT Series. The new strings for badminton players, PowerGut 65
shoe has an advanced performance cushioning system and a new and PowerGut 66. Both utilize Ashaway's
low breathable upper, says the company. The Goodyear Max outsole patented Power Filament Technology, or PFT, to cre-
comes with a six-month wear guarantee. ate a unique filament surface layer that reduces
“The Scream 2 was created with a breathable string movement and
upper and limited molded pieces to keep the increases durability, says
weight down to provide maximum fit and com- the company. Combined
fort,” says Gary Wakley, senior director of with Ashaway's microfila-
footwear and apparel at Prince. “The Scream 2 ment core, PowerGut 65
offers the best in a lighter weight, high-per- and 66 are each opti-
formance shoe, allowing mized to enhance playa-
the player to be quick bility and control at all
and agile on any sur- string tensions. They are available in 10 m sets and
face. Players who 200 m reels, and in power green and power orange
liked the original as well as exciting new neon orange and neon
Scream will love the fit, green colors. For more information, visit
functionality, and tech- www.ashawayusa.com or call 800-556-7260.
nology of the Scream 2.”
“Tennis Industry Association
research confirms that Prince is cre- Conybear Wins Wilson Award

J
ating shoes that make the sport more oel Conybear the Wilson Racquet Sports territory
enjoyable and help propel us in the marketplace,” says Doug Fonte, manager for eastern New York and Long Island,
president of Prince Sports USA. “Our engineers and designers are con- won the company’s 2005 Jack Kramer Award,
stantly working to improve the game of tennis for players of all levels.” which recognizes the territory manager who has exhib-
Three Prince shoes ranked in the top 10 in 2005 year-end dollar share ited sales excellence and the core values of Wilson in
research: the T10, Scream Low, and Fast Court. the areas of grassroots and brand impact.
The Scream 2 offers a low-cut for both men and women and is avail- “Joel has been a driving force behind Wilson’s east-
able in white with light gray accents for women and white with navy or ern New York sales and brand efforts for the past
white with red and black accents for men. Suggested retail price is $85. decade,” says Jon Muir, Wilson’s director of sales and
Visit www.princesports.com. marketing. Conybear is a resident of Cold Spring, N.Y.

12 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


INDUSTRY NEWS

SHORT SETS New Tour Team


>etsUSTA members can buy US Open tick- Bag Line from Head
before anyone else through a special Head’s new Tour Team Bag Line, which
offer available from April 22 to 28. A lim- offers MP3 holders, climate control
ited number of promenade seats for technology, and new colors, is “the ulti-
every session will be available during this mate in function,” says the company.
offer on a first-come, first-served basis. To Pieces are
order, have your credit card and USTA
membership number ready and call Tick-
etmaster at 866-OPENTIX, or visit
www.usta.com.

>USPTA”
The cable TV show “On Court with
received an award of distinction available
in The Communicator Awards 2005 in backpack,
Video Competition. The award-winning combi, supercombi,
episode, “Rip Your Return …,” aired on tennis, and travel
The Tennis Channel and won in the cate- styles. Visit
gory of Instructional Videos for Sale. “On www.head.com.
Court” is a 30-minute instructional show
featuring USPTA-certified pros. The win-
ning episode featured pro Stan Oley.
Episodes are available for purchase at
www.uspta.com.

>theWilson Racquet Sports signed on as


title sponsor of “The Battle of the
Paddles,” a premier platform event held
in January in Cincinnati that brought
together the top players of both paddle
and platform tennis.

> Stanford beat Texas 4-0 in the final at


the USTA -Intercollegiate Tennis Associa-
tion National Women's Team Indoor
Championships at the University of Wis-
consin's A.C. Nielsen Tennis Stadium,
held in early February.

> Prince was the official ball of the 2006


SAP Open, which was played Feb. 13 to
19 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

> The International Tennis Hall of Fame


has announced an open call for nomina-
tions for the induction Class of 2007. The
International Tennis Hall of Fame recog-
nizes and honors both athletes and con-
tributors connected to the sport of tennis.
Printable nomination forms, which must
be received on or before April 1, are avail-
able at www.tennisfame.com.

>naments
Penn is the official ball of several tour-
this winter and spring: the Del-
ray Beach ITC, Pacific Life Open,
Nasdaq-100 Open, Bausch & Lomb
Championships and the Family Circle
Cup.

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 13


M A R C H 2 0 0 6

U P D AT E Gamma Offers Private


INDUSTRYNEWS

Tennis Industry Association


CARDIO TENNIS PASSES 1,000 OFFICIAL SITES
More than 70 drills and new videos are on www.Partners.CardioTennis.com, along with consumer research glowing Logo Program

G
with positive reports about Cardio. The 2006 Workshop schedule is being finalized, and marketing and media samples amma launched its Private Logo
are available to Cardio sites and pros. Web-linked logos, email blasts, and more are available to sites at no charge. TIA Program in February, offering a
Staff and Cardio Tennis Speakers Teams have presented 25 workshops to nearly 700 tennis teachers. The four-hour variety of products that clubs,
training sessions include seminars and on-court demonstrations and approaches. More workshops are scheduled for the
schools, resorts, facilities, and shops
remainder of 2005, including Michigan in November and Fort Lauderdale in December.
can customize with their own logos.
TENNIS WELCOME CENTERS RECEIVE RENEWED COMMITMENTS
For 2006, the industry has committed to more racquet and apparel hang tags, ball can logos, ads, and tournament pro- Products include men’s and women’s
mos. Also, up to $200,000 in Co-op funds is earmarked for TWCs, and targeted newspaper ads will highlight certain apparel, hats, court towels, wristbands
markets. The new Tennis Service Representatives will help support registered TWCs. and headbands, balls, windscreens, and
TENNISCONNECT.ORG TRAFFIC INCREASES TENFOLD more.
TennisConnect.org increased monthly traffic from 8,000 hits in January 2005 to 80,000 this last January. Pros and mem- The company says the Private Logo
bers say they’re attracted to the player-match engine, court scheduler, online registration, program calendar and more.
Program is ideal for clubs and resorts
that want to provide their members
and guests with a unique experience
and personalized products. It is also
available to service team apparel and
accessory needs of colleges and uni-
versities.
“In the past, we sourced private
logo gear ourselves from various ven-
dors, but found recently that by con-
solidating this effort through Gamma,
we were able to get better quality mer-
chandise while saving time and
money,” says Stephen Petersen, the
director of Professional Tennis Manage-
ment at Methodist College. “Our stu-
dents and graduates have been
impressed by the quality Gamma
delivers.”
“We know the value of our cus-
tomers’ time,” says Gamma President
Matt Ferrari. “The new Private Logo
Program provides our customers with
an easy, cost-efficient way to personal-
ize products for their club, school,
event, or resort.”
For more information, call 800-333-
0337 or email tsr@gammasports.com,
or visit www.GammaSports.com.

14 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


THE master pros
Continuing Education
Joe Dinoffer thinks outside the box in creating teaching tools
for the tennis court. BY KRISTEN DALEY

“I
f I had an impact in the last dozen years get areas. “People should create highly visual the market today. “Joe has made a huge
in the tennis industry, it would be in chal- target areas that players can successfully hit contribution to the day-to-day teaching
lenging conventional methods of teach- more often than not,” he says. of other professionals,” Viancos says.
ing to help pros, coaches. and students alike Relying on his experience and expertise, “Retention is the big challenge that
to teach and learn more effectively, while Dinoffer has added court equipment to the the industry faces,” says Dinoffer. “If the
having more fun.” Oncourt Offcourt catalog. “When you teach teaching pros and coaches can create an
In PTR/USPTA Master Professional Joe tennis for 30 years, you learn what equip- atmosphere that will build self-esteem
Dinoffer’s own words, that is what he has ment would be helpful and what equipment while it improves skills and allows people
dedicated his can be improved upon that already exists,” to have so much fun that they never stop
This is the fourth of six installments time, energy, he says. smiling while they’re playing, we will all
on the teaching pros who hold Mas- The list of Dinoffer’s contri- come out winners.
ter Pro certifications from both the butions to the sport seems end- “I think my motivation is to con-
tribute toward that goal.” Q
PTR and the USPTA. less, and includes numerous
books and videotapes, in addi-
and passion to. And the tion to at least 20 speaking
product is something to appearances a year at industry Making It Fun—And
be proud of. His compa-
ny, Oncourt Offcourt,
conferences internationally in
English, Spanish, and German.
Educational
serves the tennis industry “He is well respected not only Here are Joe Dinoffer’s picks as some of the top
with teaching aids and in this country, but all over the training and target aids from his company,
court equipment, in addi- world,” says Iñaki Balzola, PTR Oncourt Offcourt:
tion to providing books, International Director. (Dinoffer Q Spin Doctor ($29.95): Helps teach topspin and
videos, and teaching aids also is a contributing editor for backspin for ground strokes, and spin serves.

Q Volley Arrow ($59.95): Foam arrow visually


for physical education. RSI magazine.)
Involved with the One very special endeavor
sport since his youth and keeps him on the court at least teaches how the racquet angle at contact cre-
through college, Dinoffer, 15 hours a week—teaching his ates the arc and direction of the ball. Works
52, was senior vice presi- 12-year-old daughter Kalindi for forehands and backhands.
dent of Peter Burwash the sport he has dedicated his Q Flex Trainer ($59.95): Helps players of all ages
International for 10 years life to. “Kalindi is as crazy and abilities improve their balance and move-
starting in 1975. He trav- about tennis as anyone I’ve ever ment skills, by pulling players into a lower
eled to 50 countries, con- met in my life,” says Dinoffer. “playing height.”

Q Sport Ladder ($79.95): The rounded-top rungs


ducting clinics and playing The start of Kalindi’s tennis
exhibitions. career at 10 years old is chronicled on the
In 1987, Dinoffer settled in his home- 10-episode television series “Fast Lane Ten- guide athletes to pick up their feet for ideal
town of Dallas, where he taught tennis for nis,” which has aired on The Tennis Channel movement biometrics.
10 years. His experiences planted the seed and is available on DVD. “She learns exclu- Q Airzone ($99.95): A portable air target system
for the launch of Oncourt Offcourt sively through the use of visual and kines- that creates primary target areas for improved
(www.oncourtoffcourt.com). “It was a very thetic training aids,” Dinoffer explains. “We focus.

Q Stoplight Cones ($29.95): Offer hundreds of


creative 10 years,” he says, “full of on-court use very little verbal learning instruction.”
clinical studies and research into how people Dinoffer says that he is most passionate
learn and how to facilitate and speed up the about learning and sharing knowledge. “All running and targeting drill and game oppor-
learning process, while emotionally and psy- of us in the industry can continue to improve tunities.
chologically creating an environment optimal how we share our love for tennis,” he says. Q Long Lines ($24.95): Guides players to correct
for learning.” According to Fred Viancos, USPTA direc- court position. They can also be used to cre-
Dinoffer has created 150 teaching aids, tor of professional development, there are ate target areas and guide players close in to
the very first known as “The Rope Zone,” a certain training aids that, if not carried by the net in doubles.
visualization tool used to create on-court tar- Oncourt Offcourt, would not be available on

16 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


Expanding Horiz
For our annual guide, we went right to the source fo
Builders Association, for advice on adding courts, fix
ou’ve heard the grousing from your members about cation with the court owner,” says David Marsden of Boston

Y waiting too long for court time, and the pleas from
your pros for more flexibility in scheduling. It’s getting
more difficult to accommodate all the different program-
Tennis Court Construction Co. of Hanover, Mass.

Give It Space
ming needs for your facility. And after much consideration “As a court builder, the first qualifying question I ask is, ‘Do
and examining your available space—not to mention your you have enough space?’” says Marsden. Space has to be the
available cash flow—you’ve decided to add another court first consideration. A surprising number of club owners or
or two. So what’s next? managers have little or no idea of the actual measurements
Well, there are still a lot of questions to be answered and of a tennis court, or of how much space it takes up.
decisions to be made. A tennis court is a complex facility A regulation tennis court is 60 feet wide by 120 feet long.
that should be built by an expert who has taken into con- The actual playing area of a doubles court is 36 feet by 78
sideration the needs of the owner, his or her budget, all feet, but additional space is needed once fencing, lighting,
aspects of the site, legal and zoning issues, and a host of seating, and any other structures are taken into considera-
other things. There is indeed a lot to think about, and tion. But Marsden says there’s more to take into considera-
chances are you’ll need some help to guide you along. So tion than just basic measurements.
consider this your help manual. “The fence line for one tennis court is 60 feet by 120 feet,
two courts 108 by 120 feet, and three courts 156 by 120
Find the Right Partner feet, adding 48 feet for each additional court in a battery
The best way to start is by going straight to the source. The within the same fence,” Marsden says.
American Sports Builders Association (ASBA), the trade “A critical point, however, is that the 120-foot dimension
organization for athletic facility design and construction, should be on a north-south axis, or as close as possible,” he
recommends that you locate an experienced industry pro- adds. “This minimizes the sun's impact on play.”
fessional. But don’t just open the phone book and start Another consideration is space beyond the fence line for
hunting around under “contractors”; there are all kinds of slopes and drainage. “This is less critical in an area that is flat
contractors, with all kinds of specialties. and has naturally draining soils,” notes Marsden. “But in a
Instead, look under “tennis court builders.” Seek out hilly area or on a site that needs underground drainage,
individuals and companies with sports facility construc- more space will be required to perform the perimeter work
tion experience. Remember, you’re looking for someone outside the fence.”
who has actual experience with the construction of tennis Space can vary, however, say some builders. “If you don’t
courts—not just someone who says he can put one in. have quite enough space, the court can be built at 55 feet by
Do a quick check of athletic facilities in your local area. 110 feet and still be usable,” says John Welborn of Lee Ten-
Talk to other club managers and owners, to school athlet- nis in Charlottesville, Va.
ic directors and to directors of recreation at nearby munic- Still, say contractors, there are other factors to take into
ipalities that have recently put in courts. consideration. “Even a single tennis court takes up a bigger
No matter whom you talk to, have a list of questions footprint than many imagine, 7200 square feet within the
ready. Who was the contractor? Was it someone they’d fence line as well as a perimeter for drainage, sloping, land-
recommend? What were the design and construction scaping, etc., which means a quarter-acre or more in most
processes like? Were there any unpleasant surprises? Hid- cases,” says Marsden.
den charges? Unexpected delays? Are they satisfied with Another thing to keep in mind is that installing a tennis
the result? Has the contractor been responsive to ques- court is, in fact, a construction project and is subject to zon-
tions since the project’s completion, or has he been will- ing restrictions. Your contractor and your attorney should be
ing to help address any problems that might have cropped able to check with local permitting authorities and make all
up? necessary applications. Make sure you’ve done all research.
“My suggestion is to find a court contractor that has
good references and a proven track record, is agreeable to Who Wants What, Where?
build a facility that fits your needs rather than his, and is a Even if you’ve determined that you have the space, you still
trustworthy contractor that keeps open lines of communi- need to decide if it’s the right kind of space, and in the right

18 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


zons
or court construction, the American Sports
xing cracks, and keeping courts clean. BY MARY HELEN SPRECHER

place. For example, consider the desired player population. Is According to the ASBA’s Buyer’s Guide for Tennis Court Construc-
this a court for beginners? If so, you might want it set off from tion, the owner needs to answer some important questions:
the courts where your more hardcore members practice and Q How much can you afford to spend? Developing a budget
play. Why? For one thing, beginners are self-conscious. They feel may be the most difficult step in the construction process.
awkward practicing their serve and chasing balls across the court You may have to make some concessions, but in order to
in the presence of others. For another, they often can’t control make informed choices, you should know what is important
their shots well enough to keep them out of the next court. to you.
Having a designated “teaching court” with higher fencing and Q Do you need a completed facility now, or can you wait a
heavy windscreen will spare your beginners from some embar- while for landscaping, court amenities and other finishing
rassment, your longtime players from some aggravation, and touches?
will mean that you won’t have to hear complaints—from both Q Do you want a first-class facility regardless of cost, or is cost
sides. a limiting factor?
Or maybe you’ve decided that you want the opposite—a Q Are you absolutely certain about a given surface, or type of
court that would be perfect for tournaments, with benches for fencing, or specific site? Or are you willing to consider sub-
seating, plenty of places for spectators and room for things like stitutions? Once you see the number of options available in
scoreboards, umpires’ chairs, and so forth. Or perhaps you were today’s tennis court market, it may be easy to spend far
thinking of a facility to entice your older doubles players, who more than you had in mind. Working within a budget
like to socialize after play. They might want a court with plenty involves considering various alternatives and making choic-
of shaded spaces outside the fence line for tables and chairs. es, but choices don't have to mean compromising the end
Maybe you just want to add a few more courts to your exist- result. Knowledge of which factors are most important to the
ing bank, so that you can expand your programming and allow court you are planning and a desire to seek creative solutions
for more court time. Talk to your contractor about your needs, can bring the project in at a reasonable cost.
your player population, and your available space. Listen careful-
ly to the recommendations and work together to come to the Surface Considerations
right conclusion for your facility and your players. Many factors will affect the cost of your court, including the
choice of surface. Different surfaces have different maintenance
Can You Afford It? considerations, and all of these have the potential to impact both
Once you’ve established the type of facility you want and its the short-term cost (and the cost of installation and materials
location, and once all necessary paperwork is in order, it’s time alone) and the long-term cost (which includes regular mainte-
to create a budget. You may already know how much you have nance and repairs needed over the duration of the tennis facility’s
to spend, but you may not be aware of the whole picture. lifespan).

Tennis Facility at Roxiticus Golf Club

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 19


(Previous articles by the ASBA that have appeared in RSI Lighting and Fencing
have dealt with surface selection and maintenance, and more As club owners know, the two most popular times for nine-to-fivers
detailed information is available on the ASBA website, to work out are in the evening and early in the morning, so good
www.sportsbuilders.org, as well as in its publications. Those lighting during these darkened periods is essential.
interested in specific detailed information on court surfaces A good tennis court contractor who has a working relationship
should consider purchasing the ASBA’s book, Tennis Courts: A with a particular lighting company should be able to work with you
Construction and Maintenance Manual.) to address any lighting issues, and to suggest the option that best
Briefly, tennis players generally group courts into two cate- meets your needs. If, for example, the addition to your tennis facili-
gories: hard and soft. A hard court is one made of asphalt or ties means that the court is closer to a residential area, your lighting
concrete, usually covered with an acrylic coating. The coating company and contractor can help to head off potential problems,
protects the court from the elements, enhances its appearance, such as those relating to “light trespass” or “light spill”—terms that
and affects the playing characteristics of the court. Properly describe an excess of light that distracts others.
installed, hard courts are generally considered to be durable and “Over the last five years, concerns about the impact of lighting
to require relatively little maintenance. Cushioned hard courts systems on residential areas have increased dramatically,” says
are those courts onto which a resilient layer (or layers) of cush- Bruce Frasure of LSI Industries, a Cincinnati-based company that
ioning material have been applied over the asphalt or concrete. manufactures lighting for tennis courts. “To avoid any problems, we
These courts, while reducing impact to joints from running, are encourage potential court owners and their contractors to thorough-
more expensive to install (and also to repair) than their uncush- ly investigate their local lighting ordinances before construction.”
ioned counterparts. The height of fencing surrounding courts is a decision best left up
Soft courts, including clay, fast-dry, grass, and sand-filled to the owner and pro. But there are several factors you need to con-
synthetic turf, find favor among players who like the fact that sider, including the court surface (the harder the surface, the higher
they cause less of an impact on feet, backs, and legs. They gen- the ball has the potential to bounce), the chance that loose balls will
erally provide a cool, glare-free surface. In some areas, fast-dry, bother or endanger those nearby, the players’ skill levels, and ulti-
clay, and grass courts are less expensive to construct than hard mately, the owner’s preference.
courts, but they require regular care and, for clay and fast-dry Another important consideration is whether, and which, ameni-
courts, annual repair and/or resurfacing. Soft courts are easier to ties and accessories will be needed on the new court. If it’s a soft
damage, but also easier to repair. court, you’ll want equipment like drag brooms, which can be used
between games. Hard court? Squeegees will help remove water after
Site Preparation a rainstorm.
The site of the proposed court also has a great deal to do with Is it a competition court? Don’t forget a scoreboard and officials’
the final cost. “The biggest variable is the site work [excavation] chairs. Creature comforts might include benches, shade shelters,
that is required to prepare and stabilize the ground to receive a shoe cleaners, water fountains, and of course, power outlets for soft
tennis court,” says Marsden. drink or food vending machines or ball machines.
“The second biggest variable is the optional items that a
court buyer chooses, such as lighting, extent and type of fence How Long Will It Take?
enclosure, actual playing surface [cushioned acrylic vs. uncush- There isn’t really a hard-and-fast rule on how long it takes to build
ioned, fast-dry vs. natural clay, sand-filled turf], above-surface courts, particularly since construction is weather-dependent. Accord-
vs. sub-surface irrigation, amenities such as shade shelters, ball ing to Marsden, the total construction time of the facility will vary
machines, water coolers, or windscreen,” he adds. “These items depending upon the time of year, the surface being built, and, the
can add up quickly, so owners need to define both their wish- biggest variable, the site work required. Also affecting construction
list and budget.” time is the number of courts and their layout, the weather, and the
performance of subcontractors.
Typically, a single court or a battery of courts within a common
fence will take six to 10 weeks under reasonable circumstances. If a
facility breaks up into a series of one or multiple-court batteries, it
can take longer. A more complex facility, such as one that requires
installation of water and electrical lines, benches or bleachers, sitting
areas and other amenities—not to mention one that has its own sep-
arate lighting system—might require additional time.
To be on the safe side, hold off on those “grand opening” cele-
brations or that special tournament until your contractor gives you
the all-clear sign. Q
The American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) is a non-profit association helping
designers, builders, owners, operators, and users understand quality sports facility
construction. The ASBA sponsors informative meetings and publishes newsletters,
books and technical construction guidelines for athletic facilities including tennis
Ottawa Township HIgh School, Ottawa, IL courts. Available at no charge is a listing of all publications offered by the association,
as well as the ASBA’s Membership Directory. For information, call 866-501-ASBA
(2722) or visit www.sportsbuilders.org.

20 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


Fix the Cracks
Taking care of cracked courts depends on why they
cracked in the first place. BY MARY HELEN SPRECHER
dmit it. Those cracks in your tennis court are getting com- Most tennis court contractors do a fair amount of simple

A pletely out of hand. So what’s the best course of action?


Quite simply, it depends on the reasons for the cracking,
and the type of cracking.
crack-filling, and as a result, are experienced in proper tech-
nique. If you elect to do the filling yourself, be sure to use a
product recommended specifically for tennis courts; an
According to Tennis Courts: A Construction and Maintenance unsuitable compound may not bond correctly or harden com-
Manual, published by the USTA and the American Sports pletely, or may soften in the summer heat, allowing players to
Builders Association, track it all over the court. The book Tennis Courts: A Con-
Cracking of asphalt is caused, at least in part, by the natur- struction and Maintenance Manual describes the proper appli-
al tendency of asphalt to shrink as it weathers and ages. In addi- cation of tennis court crack filler.
tion, asphalt loses its flexibility over time, making it more brittle. A newer method that may be used by tennis court con-
Premature or extensive cracking may be caused by poor tractors includes a special fabric that bridges the crack, pre-
asphalt mix design, by poor site conditions including expansive venting it from coming back in the same location, though the
soils or excessive organic matter in soils resulting in sub-base crack may recur at the boundary of the fabric or extend
movement, or by poor construction including inadequate beyond the original repair.
drainage. “Crack filling is typically performed by cleaning the affect-
Because asphalt is a material that shrinks and becomes ed areas, grinding or sanding all heaving seams, and applica-
more brittle as it ages, almost all courts made of asphalt will tion with crack squeegees, caulking guns, or steel trowels,
suffer from some type of cracking—either major or minor—at depending on which material is used,” says Franz Fasold of
one time or another. Additionally, a court may show more Ace Surfaces-North America of Altamonte Springs, Fla. “After
than one type of cracking. A tennis court curing, the areas are sanded again to
contractor is the best judge of the type of The ASBA identifies various blend them with the surrounding court lev-
crack, the seriousness, and the cause. Once
types of cracking, including: els. These methods are appropriate when
those factors have been identified, a treat- Q Alligatoring: A readily identified pattern no further movement, or only limited
ment can be recommended. of interconnected cracks that vary from movement, is expected. These methods
“There are a lot of alternatives that can a faint surface pattern to full depth are limited by the extent of the base move-
be considered, if appropriate,” says David cracks and loose particles of the surfac- ments, especially if vertical shifts can be
Marsden of Boston Tennis Court Construc- ing material. expected.”
tion Co. of Hanover, Mass. Q Raveling or Spalling: The progressive
Treatments can be simple—requiring loss of material in the surface of theResurfacing
only an afternoon’s work—or they may be asphalt or concrete slab, usually caused If the court has proper slope and drainage,
extremely complex—involving total recon- by weathering or traffic abrasion on and if cracking is not the result of serious
courts with no surface treatment.
Q Reflection Cracks: Which occur in
struction—or they may fall anywhere in structural problems, the contractor also
between. A qualified court contractor can may recommend resurfacing, defined as
asphalt, asphalt emulsion, or surface
help you find the solution to your problem. overlays, and which reflect a crack pat- putting a new surface on the court. There
tern in the pavement structure under- are various ways of doing this. The sim-
Crack Repair neath. plest is by filling the cracks and then
Crack repair is—as the term suggests—sim- Q Shrinkage Cracks: A random pattern of putting a new acrylic coating on top of the
ply addressing the problem at hand by fill- interconnected cracks, usually forming court in order to create a smooth, unblem-
ing the crack. Contractors find that some irregular angles and sharp corners. ished surface. This option maintains the
cracks, such as those that are simply the Q Structural Cracks: Usually due to failure original type of surface as well as the orig-
result of freeze-thaw cycles and not of any of the subbase or improper mix design inal feel and playability of the court.
of the asphalt.
Q Upheavals and Depressions: Caused by
serious underlying condition, can be treat- When contemplating resurfacing, how-
ed with a crack-filling compound. (A very ever, an owner might want a different
movements of the sub-base.
Q Hair-Line Cracks: Usually prevalent over
deep crack may require a full-depth repair, type of surface, perhaps something softer
and the contractor should evaluate such a large areas, even entire courts, and and with different playing characteristics.
crack to see if it indicates an underlying caused by a variety of things. In this case, a contractor might recom-
problem with the court as a whole). mend that once all cracks have been filled

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 21


and the court recoated, a new surface be installed over the absorbs any movement from the old, cracked court below
existing court. before it reflects up to the new surface.”
One popular option is a system of sand-filled turf. This is a The slip sheet is used to separate existing asphalt pave-
system composed of a densely-woven carpet filled with com- ment from newly installed pavement to prevent cracks from
pacted silica sand. A court owner may see this as a reasonable recurring. Once the slip-sheet overlay is securely in place, it
solution, particularly if the site is not easily reachable by can be covered either with new asphalt (which is then cov-
heavy construction equipment, or if the owner would like to ered with acrylic coating), or with concrete. It is important to
see the project completed with a minimum of disruption to note, however, that this method will raise the elevation of the
adjacent courts or facilities. court.
A similar option is to cover the court with interlocking In a post-tensioned concrete overlay, an entirely new con-
modular tiles. Fred Jones of Utica, N.Y.-based Mateflex says crete slab is installed over the problem court. Because the
that modular surfaces, produced with a raised-grid design, concrete is reinforced and strengthened with high-tension
“allow for installation over imperfect bases, while also allow- steel cables, the concrete has higher tensile strength than
ing rainwater to pass directly through the system and drain conventional concrete slabs or asphalt, and may be more
off underneath.” The resulting surface is softer than a tradi- resistant to most conditions that may have caused the under-
tional hard court, but is easy to take care of, requiring only lying court to crack in the first place. According to Steve
occasional cleaning and allowing for easy repair and replace- Wright of Trans Texas Tennis Inc. of Olathe, Kan., “It is an
ment, should tiles be damaged. ideal system for overlaying asphalt and concrete courts that
Of course, new surfaces are only as good as the underlying have structural cracks, poor drainage, or improper slope.”
base. Jones notes that resurfacing with one of these systems The post-tensioned overlay system eliminates the need to
may not eliminate the need to repair base problems, depend- remove the existing pavement, which saves in demolition,
ing on their severity. Problems such as birdbaths, or depres- hauling, and disposal costs. The method is appropriate in cer-
sions in the court, for example, must be addressed prior to tain circumstances, but will not work for every situation, such
putting down tiles, since the tiles will bridge the court’s low as in situations where access for large construction equip-
spots, affecting ball bounce in those areas. ment (bulldozers, dump trucks, etc.) is an obstacle, or where
There are other options for resurfacing. These might underlying soil conditions are questionable because of the
include urethane rubber roll goods which can be covered with presence of fault lines or excessive heaving or settlement. In
an acrylic surface, as well as various other products. A tennis addition, it is relatively expensive.
court contractor can explain the playing characteristics (slide,
bounce, speed, etc.) of each surface and help the owner reach Reconstruction
an informed decision, should the resurfacing route be taken. If a court shows signs of severe heaving or depressions, with
major amounts of cracking and/or improper slope and
Overlays drainage, a contractor may recommend a total court recon-
Often, a court can have severe reflection cracking (indicative struction. According to Marsden, methods include excavation
of underlying problems), but still have appropriate slope and followed by reconstruction of the court, and pulverization fol-
drainage. In these cases, contractors often suggest that repair lowed by reconstruction. In the first option, excavation, the
be made using an overlay, or slip-sheet overlay. According to old court material is removed and disposed of before putting
Marsden, a slip-sheet overlay is “a thin layer of stone or stone down new material. In the second option, the asphalt is pul-
dust placed directly over an old court surface prior to a new verized with special equipment and then used to form a new
asphalt surface being laid. The stone acts as a slip sheet and base.

22 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


“There are cost differences in excavation versus pulver- also ascertain that court owners know that although the soft
izing,” Marsden notes, “and the comparative cost of either court will not suffer the same type of cracking problems, it
method will be determined by the size and location of the will have specific maintenance needs that should be taken
project. With a smaller project—one or two courts—it is usu- into consideration.
ally cheaper to excavate unless the haul to the asphalt dis-
posal site is long and costly. In the case of three or more In conclusion…
courts, it is usually cheaper to pulverize. The reason is the Doing battle with cracking courts means arming yourself
high overhead cost of the pulverizing equipment. It isn't with information about your options. A lot of factors come
much more money to pulverize six courts than one court. into play, some on the part of the contractor, some on the
The daily cost of the equipment is not proportional to the part of the court and its owner.
area pulverized. But many factors need to be considered “Indicators for successful reconstruction methods are a
before choosing one method over another.” combination of factors,” says Fasold, “including a history of
In replacing an asphalt surface, a contractor may recom- similar projects, the history of the court builder, use of
mend the installation of control joints to help delay or deter design and engineering experts who are familiar with sports
cracking. By saw-cutting the asphalt under the net and facility specifics and use of local experts.” Most important,
between courts in a multi-court project, the contractor can he notes, is the ability of the contractor to “put the search
actually take advantage of the asphalt’s natural tendency to for a successful solution over the opportunity for a quick
move and shrink according to temperature. The cuts are sale.”
then filled with a special type of sealant prior to the court Factors relating to the court include the site, the location,
being coated with acrylic color. Relief of stress in those the budget, the wishes of the owner, the needs of the play-
areas makes the court less likely to crack elsewhere over its ers, and more. Knowing your parameters when you meet
surface. with your court contractor will make it easier to arrive at the
right decision for you and your facility.
Court Conversion In terms of crack repair, there are a lot of options and
Some court owners may decide to explore the option of con- very few absolutes. What works in one installation may not
verting their hard court to one with a fast-dry surface. Since work in another that is a mile—or even a block—away.
this is technically something that can be done following Cracking may be minor but irritating, or it may be severe
excavation, it is a form of reconstruction; however, it is enough to cause injury to an unsuspecting player. It may be
more complex, involving the installation of an entirely new merely an aesthetic concern or it can signify underlying
type of court, and the possibility of installing ancillary equip- instability in the court. The only common denominator is
ment, such as an irrigation system. A court contractor can the qualified tennis court contractor who can help diagnose
make recommendations concerning the best method of the problem and assist the owner or manager in finding the
conversion, but those interested can always learn about the best long-term solution. It is important to note that more
process by checking the ASBA’s Construction Guideline on often than not, cracks can be expected to recur unless the
Conversion of Hard Surface Courts to Fast Dry Tennis Courts. underlying cause of the cracking is repaired or the most
The Guideline provides four different methods of surface extensive (and expensive) repair methods are employed.
replacement including two overlay methods as well as pul- “In the end,” says Fasold, “it is our belief that the court
verization and excavation; a qualified court contractor can will only be as good as the base it is applied on. It is impor-
assess the situation and make a recommendation regarding tant to put great emphasis in the decision-making process of
the best choice for a given facility. The contractor should how to correct the issues at hand up front.” Q

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 23


Keep It Clean
No matter what type of courts you have, regular
maintenance is a must. BY MARY HELEN SPRECHER
ousekeeping, cleaning, maintenance—no matter what Essentially, equipment for cleaning hard courts includes

H you call it, the regular process of keeping up a court in


order to maintain its appearance and playability is a lot
less appealing than playing on it. Still, like changing the oil in
foam sponge rollers or water-absorbent drums, air blowers,
soft-bristle push brooms, wet/dry vacuums, and (if approved
by your tennis court contractor) a jet sprayer, also known as
your car or replacing the filter in your furnace, it has to be a water broom.
done, and it’s part of the responsibility of being a court owner
or manager. Cushioned Courts
According to the American Sports Builders Association, Those who have cushioned hard courts—concrete or asphalt
developing and implementing a regular schedule of mainte- courts with a layer of cushioned material to help provide a
nance is the most important thing you can do to maximize the more forgiving playing surface—also will require regular
useful life of any court. Keeping a court clean, preventing mis- cleaning, such as sweeping or hosing the surface to remove
use and abuse, and repairing minor damage before it worsens dust, dirt, and debris. However, such courts are more vulner-
is cost-effective, too. able to damage from inappropriate use or footwear.
Still grimacing? Maybe what you need is a primer to help Make your walk-through a time to examine the surface
you through the task. very closely. High heels, street shoes, golf shoes, metal rac-
quets, skate boards, inline skates, bicycles, or heavy loads are
Acrylic Courts all the enemies of this type of surface. If damage is evident,
Uncushioned courts (asphalt or concrete with an acrylic color contact your contractor immediately to discuss repair options.
coating), require “little daily maintenance,” says David Mars-
den of Boston Tennis Court Construction in Hanover, Mass. Modular Surfaces
“Most important, keep the court clear of leaves, sticks and Some of the most easily maintained courts are those with
debris.” modular surfaces (generally, those made of interlocking tiles
Walk your courts daily and remove any debris or litter. If composed of polypropylene and rubber) that are put into
courts are near or shaded by trees, make sure any fallen place over a base of asphalt or concrete. Sweep or rinse the
leaves are swept away immediately. Rotting leaves—particu- tiles to keep them clean.
larly those that sit in one place too long—cause slippery spots Damaged tiles can be pried up and replaced quickly. The
that can be dangerous to players. And if left in place, leaves integrity of the court, however, will depend on the planarity
can stain or degrade the surface. Hose away any debris on the of the surface beneath it. If there is a dip in the asphalt or con-
court surface, and if necessary, dry the area with a blower. crete, the tiles will bridge the spot, creating a “dead” area that
If there are stains on your court, try removing them by will affect ball bounce
scrubbing with warm water and a soft brush. If the stains .
remain, call your tennis court contractor and ask for recom- Fast-Dry Courts
mendations. Different problems require different treatments. For those who have soft courts—those made of granular, fast-
Check the fenceline around the courts as well, advises dry material—a regular maintenance schedule can mean a
Marsden. “A regular maintenance regimen should include playable, enjoyable court. Randy Futty of Lee Tennis Products
keeping the low side of the court—both inside the fence and in Charlottesville, Va., recommends documenting mainte-
outside—free of any build-up that could impede water nance work, indicating who did what on what date. Keeping
drainage,” he says. to that schedule helps identify and correct potential prob-
Examine the surface of the court and the area around your lems—preventive maintenance, in other words.
net and fence posts. Do you see cracks? If so, give your con- Seasonal reconditioning of courts begins with patching and
tractor a call. top-dressing (the process of adding new surfacing material to
Like carpets in a home, tennis courts have “high traffic” courts). This is necessary because the smaller particles of sur-
areas. These are areas that show wear sooner than others. The facing material (termed “fines”) will be lost from the court
baseline of the court, for example, will wear more quickly than over time through rain, wind, and regular play. Make sure to
the service box. Ditto the entrances to the court. Excessive remove any line tapes that might remain on the court.
wear can indicate that it is time to have the court resurfaced, Any depressions in the court should be repaired prior to
so contact your contractor and ask for an opinion. top-dressing. Remove and discard any old surfacing material

24 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


that has become loose and dry, or “dead.” In top-dressing, 1-1/2 Nets also suffer from abuse, often from players over-
to 4 tons of material should be used for a single court. tightening them. If courts are in an area where players can-
“On a daily basis during the playing season, you have to brush, not be supervised, consider using a net with an internal
water, and roll the courts regularly,” Marsden says. “Probably bi- wind mechanism, which allows your pro to set the net to
weekly or monthly, you’ll need to inspect line tapes to make sure the correct tension, and then remove the handle.
they’re not lifting in any areas. Check the court for low areas.” Windscreens are meant to help moderate wind and pro-
A fast-dry court requires line sweepers and drag brooms that vide a background to see the ball. Keep windscreens in
can be used following each match. Rollers (for compacting the good shape by hosing them down and repairing any tears
material) also are required. Subsurface watering systems, which immediately. If your court is in an area known for heavy
keep the court moist from underground, will save water, and can winds, secure the windscreens to the fence with polypropy-
be set on automated timers. lene tie wraps, rather than lacing. The wraps will break
away cleanly in a heavy wind, protecting the fence. If
Synthetic Turf extreme winds are predicted, windscreens should be taken
If your courts are of the sand-filled synthetic turf variety, you’ll be down since they will catch the wind like a sail and may
relieved to know there’s very little maintenance. Cleaning the sur- bend the fence.
face of debris, such as leaves, sticks, etc. goes a long way toward Lighting is an item that shouldn’t be overlooked either.
keeping a turf court free of stains. Measure the light levels in your facility every six months or
In your regular walk-throughs, always keep an eye out for so, using a light meter. Take readings of the horizontal and
standing water. Wet turf can be as slippery as ice, particularly if vertical illumination 36 inches above the court surface,
algae is present. If the court isn’t level, or if it isn’t draining prop- holding the light meter with the photo-sensitive cell facing
erly, consult your contractor. Algae is easily dispatched using salt; upward and toward the baseline.
simply water the area in question and spread salt over it. Within Cleaning fixtures regularly will help extend the lamp life,
a few days, the algae will turn a telltale dark brown color, indi- and will make the lights look brighter. The jury’s still out on
cating it is dead. A mild bleach solution (one gallon of water to whether lights should be kept on constantly, or set on a
one cup of bleach) will work as well. Be certain to remove the switch that players can activate. On one hand, frequently
killed algae with a soft brush and a good scrub or it will provide a switching the lights on and off decreases lamp life in high-
medium for new growth. intensity discharge (HID) fixtures; on the other, constant
Over time, the coarser particles of sand will migrate to the top burning will drive up energy costs. According to Tennis
of the turf, making it slippery. When that happens, the lost sand Courts: A Construction and Maintenance Manual, “As a com-
needs to be replaced, and the court groomed to bring it back to promise, if the lights are turned off any time the court will
playing condition. ASBA recommends that the fibers of the turf not be in use for two hours or more, the savings in electric-
that are exposed above the sand be between 1/16 and 1/8 of an ity will generally offset any reduced lamp life.”
inch (2 mm to 3 mm). Listen to your players’ comments. If you hear someone
say that a court feels slippery, that a net is damaged or that
Other Equipment a light is out, don’t wait for another member to second that
The net is an often-overlooked piece of equipment in terms of motion. Get out there and investigate immediately.
maintenance. Check it regularly for holes, tears and frayed areas, In all cases, the upkeep of your players’ happiness and
and make repairs as necessary. (New cables and headbands are well-being is the most important job on your maintenance
available.) schedule—no matter what kind of surface you have. Q

Tennis Facility at Roxiticus Golf Club

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 25


Class
Acts
Schools and colleges
dominate these
hard-court award
winners.
f the eight outdoor hard-court winners of the

O Racquet Sports Industry/American Sports


Builders Association 2005 Facility-of-the-
Year Awards, seven of them are at colleges or
other schools. That may speak to the belief, par-
ticularly current nowadays, that tennis courts at
educational institutions are for more than just stu-
dents; the courts attract players from the sur-
rounding communities.
Indeed, one of the winners here, the Ottawa
Chippewa Resort (Ill.) Township High School, with its eight new
Manitowish Waters, Wis. courts, reports that since the new facility was
(Nominated by Munson Inc., Glendale, Wis.) built, the courts are constantly busy—both with
Number of Courts: 1 (acrylic) students and community members.
General Contractor: Munson Armstrong Paving Div., Munson Inc. As possible further support for schools and col-
Surface: Plexipave/California Products Corp. leges as centers for community tennis is the fact
Nets, Net Posts: Douglas Sports that seven of these winners listed their projects as
Fencing: Munson Fence Div. “new” construction. However, the eighth, the
Vanderbilt University outdoor complex in
Nashville, Tenn., while technically an “upgrade,”
essentially is new, with six courts replacing the
five existing courts.
Many of these winners are concerned with
player comfort—nearly all made sure that there is
seating for players either between or beside the
courts. And many also accommodate spectators,
with viewing areas and even “stadium” courts.
Two facilities (Vanderbilt and the University of
Alabama) installed TV quality lighting at their
facilities, and Alabama even put in an electronic
scoreboard.
Whether for their schools’ varsity teams, intra-
For details on the 2006 Outstanding Tennis Facility Awards, contact the
mural programs, or the community at large, these
ASBA at 866-501-ASBA or info@sportsbuilders.org.
winners are helping to enroll more players in the
sport. —Peter Francesconi

26 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


University of Hawaii at Manoa Tennis Complex
Honolulu, Hawaii
(Nominated by Applied Surfacing Technology, Honolulu)
Number of Courts: 12 (acrylic)
Specialty Contractor: Applied Surfacing Technology
Surface: Laykold/Advanced Polymer Technology
Nets, Net Posts, Center Straps: BP International
Windscreens: M. Putterman

St. George’s Senior Boy’s School Tennis Facility


Vancouver, B.C.
(Nominated by Ocean Marker Sport Surfaces USA, Bellingham, Wash.)
Number of Courts: 4 (cushioned)
Specialty Contractor: Ocean Marker Sport Surfaces
Supplier: Degussa Construction Chemicals
Surface: Rebound Ace
Trench Drain: ACO Polymer Products

University of Alabama Outdoor Tennis Facility


Tuscaloosa, Ala.
(Nominated by Lower Bros. Co., Birmingham, Ala.)
Number of Courts: 12 (cushioned acrylic)
Specialty Contractor: Lower Bros. Co.
Surface: DecoTurf II/California Products Corp.
Nets: J.A. Cissel

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 27


Vanderbilt University Outdoor Tennis Facility
Nashville, Tenn.
(Nominated by Lower Bros. Co., Birmingham, Ala.)
Number of Courts: 6 (cushioned acrylic)
Specialty Contractor: Lower Bros. Co.
Surface: Plexicushion/California Products Corp.
Nets, Net Posts: J.A. Cissel

Sacred Heart Schools Tennis Facility


Atherton, Calif.
(Nominated by Beals Alliance Inc., Santa Clara, Calif.)
Number of Courts: 8 (acrylic)
Architect/Engineer: Beals Alliance
General Contractor: Jensen Corp.
Specialty Contractor: Saviano Co.
Surface: Deco Systems/California Products Corp.
Nets: Edwards Sports
Net Posts: UTI

Sandhills Community College Athletic Complex


Pinehurst, N.C.
(Nominated by Court One, Youngsville, N.C.)
Number of Courts: 4 (acrylic)
General Contractor: Court One
Surface: Advanced Polymer Technology
Nets, Net Posts: J.A. Cissel
Windscreens: M. Putterman
Center Straps, Trash Cans: BP International

Ottawa Township High School Tennis Courts


Ottawa, Ill.
(Nominated by Global Sports & Tennis Design Group, Fair Haven, N.J.)
Number of Courts: 8
Architect/Engineer: Global Sports & Tennis Design Group
General Contractor: Bovis Lend Lease
Specialty Contractor: U.S. Tennis Court Construction Co.
Surface: Court Master
Lighting: Courtsider Sports Lighting
Nets, Net Posts: Douglas Industries
Windscreens: M. Putterman

28 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


2006
Racquet
Selection
Map by Crawford Lindsey

Our exclusive guide to help your customers


find the perfect frame for their game.
The Racquet Selector Map is a great tool for mak-
ing “broad stroke” determinations about racquet
characteristics. But there are a few subtle nuances
hidden or unexplained by its basic layout. Awareness
of these nuances will better enable you to assist your
customer in choosing a new racquet. But first, we must
make two clarifications about the Power Formula and its
use in the map. story continues on page 37

RACQUET SELECTION MAP KEY


1. Power/Control (columns). (formula = length 8. Racquet Quadrants and the Center of the How To Use It
index x headsize x flex x swingweight) ÷ 1000. Racquet Universe. The center of the racquet 1. Ask questions. What are you looking for
Length index calculation: 27" = 1.0, 27.5" = universe is located at the intersection of the that your current racquet does not provide?
1.05; 28" = 1.1, etc. two red lines. Approximately half the racquets What do you like most and least about your
2. Maneuverability (rows). RDC (Babolat lie to the right and left, and half above and current racquet? What are the strengths and
Racquet Diagnostic Center) swingweight units. below these lines. The lines divide the racquet weaknesses of your game?
3. Racquet ID. The number in the grid corre- universe into four color-coded quadrants – 2. Locate current racquet on map. If the rac-
lates to the accompanying racquet list. clockwise from top left: (1) quick power, (2) quet is not in the list, take measurements.
4. Headsize. Midsize and midplus (≤104 sq. quick control, (3) stable control, (4) stable 3. Locating potential racquets. Depending
in.) have no indicator. power. These characterizations provide a gen- on the answers to the above questions,
Oversize (105 -117 sq. in.) = •. Superoversize eral vocabulary for comparing racquets. draw an imaginary arrow (a wide or skinny
(≥ 118 sq. in.) = :. 9. Racquet Finder List. The racquet list one) from your present racquet in the
5. Length. x = extended length. Standard accompanying the map identifies each rac- desired direction for power and maneuver-
length (27") racquets have no indicator. quet and gives additional information. The ability.
6. Flex (RDC). a = < 60; b = 60-64; c = 65-69; map provides specific (very narrow ranges, 4. Narrowing the field. Shrink the choices
d = 70-74; e = > 74. The higher the number, anyway) swingweight, flex and power statis- using the length, headsize, and flex codes to
the stiffer the racquet. tics, and general size and length characteris- match customer preferences.
7. Company. Coded by number and color. See tics. The racquet list specifies the length and 5. Selecting racquet demos. Once the choic-
accompanying racquet list on the following size and further specifies weight, balance, es are narrowed, locate the racquets by
pages. and price. number in the racquet list.

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 29


30 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006
RACQUETS AS OF JANUARY 2006
Racquet Headsize Length Weight Balance Balance Flex Swingweight Power Retail
(in2) (in.) (gm) (cm) (in.) (RDC) kg x cm2 Formula Price

AVERY
AVERY 800-758-9467 • www.tomavery.com
1 Avery M3 (72 Holes) 95 27.00 346 31.00 12.20 62 307 1808 $179
2 Avery M5 110 27.00 349 31.25 12.30 59 323 2096 $179
BABOLAT
BABOLAT 877-316-9435 • www.babolat.com
3 Babolat Aeropro Control 98 27.00 343 32.25 12.70 71 341 2373 $179
4 Babolat Aeropro Control + 98 27.50 332 32.25 12.70 72 325 2408 $179
5 Babolat Aeropro Drive 100 27.00 324 33.75 13.29 69 337 2325 $179
6 Babolat Aeropro Drive + 100 27.50 322 33.75 13.29 71 338 2520 $179
7 Babolat Drive Z Lite 100 27.00 274 36.00 14.17 68 306 2081 $169
8 Babolat Drive Z Max 107 27.20 272 37.00 14.57 68 321 2382 $169
9 Babolat Drive Z Tour 100 27.00 298 34.75 13.68 74 316 2338 $169
10 Babolat Pure Control 98 27.00 346 31.75 12.50 69 334 2259 $179
11 Babolat Pure Control + 98 27.50 345 32.25 12.70 69 335 2379 $179
12 Babolat Pure Drive OS Team 110 27.50 289 35.00 13.78 72 320 2661 $179
13 Babolat Pure Drive + Team 100 27.50 313 33.50 13.19 73 322 2468 $179
14 Babolat Pure Drive Team 100 27.00 317 33.00 12.99 71 313 2222 $179
15 Babolat Pure Storm MP Team 102 27.00 298 34.50 13.58 68 313 2171 $179
16 Babolat Pure Storm Team 98 27.00 311 33.75 13.29 64 320 2007 $179
17 Babolat Soft Drive 104 27.00 284 34.50 13.58 69 299 2146 $119
18 Babolat VS NCT Drive 110 27.50 271 36.25 14.27 72 303 2520 $189
19 Babolat VS NCT Power 118 27.88 264 37.50 14.76 70 319 2865 $189
20 Babolat VS NCT Tour 100 27.00 294 34.00 13.39 71 292 2073 $189
BANCROFT
BANCROFT 800-779-0807 • www.bancroftsports.com
21 Bancroft ACE Advantage 107 27.00 270 34.50 13.58 57 279 1702 $195
22 Bancroft ACE Tour 98 27.00 307 33.50 13.19 67 304 1996 $195
23 Bancroft ACE Tour + 98 27.00 323 33.75 13.29 70 319 2188 $195
24 Bancroft Vapor 260 107 27.50 270 38.25 15.06 66 290 2150 $145
25 Bancroft Vapor 270 115 28.00 277 38.50 15.16 82 329 3413 $145
26 Bancroft Vapor 280 107 27.00 278 38.00 14.96 80 345 2953 $145
BLACKBURNE
BLACKBURNE 781-729-3891 • www.blackburneds.com
27 Blackburne Double Strung 107 107 27.00 292 36.75 14.47 68 341 2481 $199
DUNLOP
CUNLOP 800-277-8000 • www.dunlopsports.com
28 Dunlop M Fil 200 95 27.00 346 32.75 12.89 58 337 1857 $99
29 Dunlop M Fil 200 Plus Racquet sample not available for measure at press time $99
30 Dunlop M Fil 300 98 27.00 309 35.00 13.78 63 308 1902 $99
31 Dunlop M Fil 4 Hundred 100 27.25 298 34.25 13.48 70 299 2145 $149
32 Dunlop M Fil 500 105 27.25 279 34.75 13.68 68 293 2144 $119
33 Dunlop M Fil 6 Hundred 108 27.50 278 35.25 13.88 69 296 2316 $159
34 Dunlop M Fil 700 110 27.50 268 35.50 13.98 67 294 2275 $129
35 Dunlop M Fil Lady G 108 27.50 277 35.00 13.78 69 291 2277 $149
FISCHER
FISCHER 800-333-0337 • www.fischertennisusa.com
36 Fischer M GDS Rally 102 27.38 295 34.00 13.39 65 291 2002 $160
37 Fischer M GDS Vision FT 102 Racquet sample not available for measure at press time $160
38 Fischer M Pro No. One 105 105 27.00 335 32.00 12.60 58 318 1937 $180

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 31


Racquet Headsize Length Weight Balance Balance Flex Swingweight Power Retail
(in2) (in.) (gm) (cm) (in.) (RDC) kg x cm2 Formula Price

FISCHER
FISCHER continued
CONT 800-333-0337 • www.fischertennisusa.com
39 Fischer M Pro No. One 98 98 27.00 337 32.25 12.70 56 312 1712 $180
40 Fischer M Pro No. One 98 SL 98 Racquet sample not available for measure at press time $180
41 Fischer M Twin Tec Motion 112 27.63 278 36.00 14.17 70 307 2557 $210
42 Fischer Pro No. One 98 27.00 334 32.00 12.60 64 308 1932 $149
43 Fischer Pro No. One FT 98 27.40 309 33.25 13.09 63 297 1907 $180
44 Fischer Pro Tour 100 27.00 312 33.75 13.29 59 307 1811 $140
45 Fischer Pro Tour Extreme FT 95 27.25 340 32.00 12.60 62 301 1817 $170
46 Fischer Strike Ti. 102 27.38 277 34.75 13.68 63 284 1893 $99
47 Fischer Twin Tec 1250 FTi 118 27.75 272 36.00 14.17 63 297 2373 $240
GAMMA
GAMMA 800-333-0337 • www.gammasports.com
48 Gamma IPEX 2.0 SOS 137 Racquet sample not available for measure at press time
49 Gamma IPEX 3.0 OS 116 Racquet sample not available for measure at press time
50 Gamma IPEX 5.0 MP 96 Racquet sample not available for measure at press time
51 Gamma IPEX 5.0 OS 109 Racquet sample not available for measure at press time
52 Gamma IPEX 7.0 MP 98 Racquet sample not available for measure at press time
53 Gamma IPEX 7.0 OS 107 Racquet sample not available for measure at press time
HEAD
HEAD 800-289-7366 • www.head.com
54 Head Flexpoint 10 121 27.50 259 38.00 14.96 69 316 2770 $275
55 Head Flexpoint 4 107 27.33 281 35.50 13.98 67 309 2288 $225
56 Head Flexpoint 6 MP 102 27.38 294 35.75 14.07 68 324 2332 $250
57 Head Flexpoint 6 OS 112 27.38 279 37.25 14.67 64 321 2387 $250
58 Head Flexpoint Fire 102 27.33 294 34.75 13.68 63 317 2104 $150
59 Head Flexpoint Heat 102 27.00 297 34.50 13.58 66 304 2047 $140
60 Head Flexpoint Instinct 100 27.00 308 33.00 12.99 65 308 2002 $180
61 Head Flexpoint prestige Mid 93 27.00 345 32.00 12.60 67 312 1944 $225
62 Head Flexpoint prestige MP 98 27.00 338 32.38 12.75 66 315 2037 $225
63 Head Flexpoint prestige XL MP 98 27.38 342 33.13 13.04 67 333 2268 $225
64 Head Flexpoint Radical MP 98 27.00 312 33.75 13.29 65 324 2064 $200
65 Head Flexpoint Radical OS 107 27.00 318 33.50 13.19 59 330 2083 $200
66 Head Flexpoint Radical Tour MP 100 27.00 342 32.50 12.80 60 318 1908 $200
67 Head Liquidmetal 1 110 110 27.38 258 37.50 14.76 65 306 2270 $120
68 Head Protector MP 102 27.38 282 36.75 14.47 66 320 2235 $300
69 Head Protector OS 115 27.63 283 38.00 14.96 64 340 2659 $300
POWER ANGLE
POWERANGLE 877-769-3721 • www.powerangle.net
70 PowerAngle Power 102 (Light Blue) 102 27.38 274 36.50 14.37 72 314 2392 $199
71 PowerAngle Power 102 (Navy Blue) 102 27.38 272 37.00 14.57 73 315 2433 $199
72 PowerAngle Power 102 (Yellow) 102 27.38 274 36.50 14.37 72 314 2392 $199
73 PowerAngle Power 115 (Light Blue) 115 27.38 268 37.25 14.67 74 318 2808 $199
74 PowerAngle Power 115 (Red) 115 27.25 262 37.25 14.67 73 309 2659 $199
75 PowerAngle Power 115 (Yellow) 115 27.38 268 37.25 14.67 74 318 2808 $199
76 PowerAngle Power 98 98 27.00 322 30.50 12.01 63 289 1784 $199
77 PowerAngle Power 98/K 98 27.00 326 30.75 12.11 64 289 1813 $199
PRINCE
PRINCE 800-283-6647 • www.princetennis.com
78 Prince Air Freak Midplus 100 27.00 305 34.00 13.39 71 317 2251 $120
79 Prince Air Freak Oversize 110 27.00 287 34.25 13.48 70 298 2295 $120

32 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


Racquet Headsize Length Weight Balance Balance Flex Swingweight Power Retail
(in2) (in.) (gm) (cm) (in.) (RDC) kg x cm2 Formula Price

80 Prince Air Vanquish Midplus 100 27.00 308 33.75 13.29 70 315 2205 $150
81 Prince Air Vanquish Oversize 110 27.00 285 35.00 13.78 73 295 2369 $150
82 Prince Diablo XP MP 96 27.50 326 33.00 12.99 69 325 2260 $190
83 Prince Diablo XP OS 110 28.00 299 35.25 13.88 69 326 2722 $190
84 Prince O3 Blue 110 27.50 281 34.25 13.48 65 295 2215 $280
85 Prince O3 Hornet Hybrid Midplus 100 27.00 302 34.25 13.48 72 314 2261 $190
86 Prince O3 Hornet Hybrid Oversize 110 27.00 283 35.00 13.78 71 305 2382 $190
87 Prince O3 Pink OS 118 27.50 266 37.25 14.67 75 311 2890 $300
88 Prince O3 Red MP 105 27.25 294 34.50 13.58 73 312 2451 $250
89 Prince O3 Shark Hybrid Midplus 100 27.00 314 33.75 13.29 66 322 2125 $200
90 Prince O3 Shark Hybrid Oversize 110 27.50 295 35.00 13.78 67 323 2500 $200
91 Prince O3 Silver OS 118 27.75 270 37.50 14.76 78 320 3166 $300
92 Prince O3 Tour 100 100 27.00 324 32.25 12.70 61 312 1903 $220
93 Prince O3 Tour MS 95 27.00 338 31.75 12.50 65 315 1945 $220
94 Prince O3 Tour OS 107 27.50 316 34.00 13.39 66 321 2380 $220
95 Prince O3 White MP 100 27.00 315 33.25 13.09 67 317 2124 $220
96 Prince Shark DB Midplus 100 27.00 301 34.50 13.58 68 308 2094 $200
97 Prince Shark DB Oversize 110 27.50 290 34.50 13.58 71 299 2452 $200
98 Prince Shark MP 100 27.00 330 33.00 12.99 70 320 2240 $190
99 Prince Shark MP LB 100 27.63 315 33.75 13.29 63 320 2142 $190
100 Prince Shark OS 110 27.50 293 35.00 13.78 71 319 2616 $190
101 Prince Tour Diablo Mid 93 27.00 340 32.00 12.60 67 310 1932 $170
102 Prince Tour Diablo MP 100 27.25 314 32.00 12.60 63 298 1924 $170
PRO KENNEX
PROKENNEX 760-804-8322 • www.prokennex.com
103 Pro Kennex Core 1 No. 06 95 27.13 339 31.75 12.50 61 317 1860 $160
104 Pro Kennex Core 1 No. 10 102 27.25 310 33.75 13.29 68 311 2211 $170
105 Pro Kennex Ki 10 (Kinetic Ionic 10) 100 27.00 311 33.50 13.19 68 305 2074 $180
106 Pro Kennex Ki 10 PSE (Kinetic Ionic 10 PSE) 100 27.00 323 33.00 12.99 62 311 1928 $180
107 Pro Kennex Ki 15 (Kinetic Ionic 15) 105 27.50 280 35.25 13.88 70 312 2408 $190
108 Pro Kennex Ki 15 PSE (Kinetic Ionic 15 PSE) 105 27.25 325 32.75 12.89 71 317 2422 $190
109 Pro Kennex Ki 20 (Kinetic Ionic 20) 110 27.50 271 35.75 14.07 69 309 2463 $210
110 Pro Kennex Ki 20 PSE 110 27.38 297 34.50 13.58 67 321 2454 $210
111 Pro Kennex Ki 30 (Kinetic Ionic 30) 117 27.38 270 35.00 13.78 73 299 2650 $250
112 Pro Kennex Ki 5 (Kinetic Ionic 5) 100 27.00 324 32.25 12.70 63 309 1947 $180
113 Pro Kennex Ki 5 PSE (Kinetic Ionic 5 PSE) 100 27.13 370 32.00 12.60 67 335 2273 $180
114 Pro Kennex Ki 5x (Kinetic Ionic 5x) 100 27.63 335 34.00 13.39 68 349 2522 $180
115 Pro Kennex Kinetic Pro 15g Light 105 27.50 272 35.00 13.78 65 300 2150 $150
116 Pro Kennex Kinetic Pro 5g 100 27.00 334 31.50 12.40 62 314 1947 $150
117 Pro Kennex Kinetic Pro 7g 100 27.50 342 32.00 12.60 65 332 2266 $150
118 Pro Kennex Type C 93 Redondo Edition 93 27.00 331 32.00 12.60 57 310 1643 $170
119 Pro Kennex Type C 98 Redondo Edition 98 27.00 342 31.00 12.20 56 314 1723 $170
120 Pro Kennex Type R 100 27.00 328 33.25 13.09 56 315 1764 $160
121 Pro Kennex Type S 100 27.00 324 33.00 12.99 66 312 2059 $160
SLAZENGER
SLAZENGER 800-277-8000 • www.slazenger.com
122 Slazenger Pro X1 95 27.00 336 32.00 12.60 67 305 1941 $180

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 33


Racquet Headsize Length Weight Balance Balance Flex Swingweight Power Retail
(in2) (in.) (gm) (cm) (in.) (RDC) kg x cm2 Formula Price

TECNIFIBRE
TECNIFIBRE 877-332-0825 • www.tecnifibre.com
123 Tecnifibre T Feel 275 XL 107 27.50 294 36.00 14.17 65 323 2359 $190
124 Tecnifibre T Feel 290 XL 102 27.50 297 35.00 13.78 72 325 2506 $190
125 Tecnifibre T Feel 305 98 27.00 321 33.25 13.09 68 315 2099 $170
126 Tecnifibre T Feel 305 XL 98 27.50 316 35.00 13.78 70 342 2463 $170
127 Tecnifibre T Fight 315 98 27.00 334 33.00 12.99 65 318 2026 $170
128 Tecnifibre T Fight 325 98 27.40 345 32.50 12.80 60 327 2000 $170
129 Tecnifibre T Flash 290 100 27.00 308 33.75 13.29 69 312 2153 $170
VANTAGE
VANTAGE +44 (0)1753 621177 • www.vantagetennis.com
130 Vantage VT001 90 27.00 338 32.50 12.80 63 321 1820 $221
131 Vantage VT002 95 27.00 334 32.00 12.60 61 323 1872 $221
132 Vantage VT003 100 27.25 306 34.75 13.68 61 324 2026 $221
VOLKL
VOLKL 800-264-4579 • www.volkl.com
133 Volkl Boris Becker 1 110 27.25 269 36.50 14.37 65 304 2228 $160
134 Volkl Boris Becker 10 100 27.50 306 34.25 13.48 67 314 2209 $160
135 Volkl Boris Becker 5 102 27.00 276 34.50 13.58 62 282 1783 $130
136 Volkl C10 Pro 98 27.00 348 31.50 12.40 56 321 1762 $190
137 Volkl Catapult 1 (with FIRE) (Generation II) 120 27.75 261 36.50 14.37 72 311 2889 $270
138 Volkl Catapult 2 (Generation II) 115 28.00 269 37.25 14.67 70 324 2869 $240
139 Volkl Catapult 4 Gen II 105 27.50 289 34.25 13.48 69 304 2313 $190
140 Volkl Catapult 8 V-Engine 100 27.25 307 33.50 13.19 64 301 1975 $190
141 Volkl DNX 10 98 27.00 338 32.00 12.60 64 314 1969 $190

34 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


Racquet Headsize Length Weight Balance Balance Flex Swingweight Power Retail
(in2) (in.) (gm) (cm) (in.) (RDC) kg x cm2 Formula Price

142 Volkl DNX 3 110 27.75 280 35.25 13.88 66 315 2458 $240
143 Volkl DNX 8 100 27.00 312 33.50 13.19 70 317 2219 $170
144 Volkl DNX V1 MP 102 27.00 302 33.50 13.19 69 301 2118 $220
145 Volkl DNX V1 OS 110 27.50 297 34.00 13.39 68 302 2372 $220
146 Volkl Tour 10 MP Gen II 98 27.00 339 32.25 12.70 64 322 2020 $180
147 Volkl Tour 10 V Engine Mid 93 27.13 336 32.00 12.60 60 308 1740 $180
148 Volkl V1 Classic 102 27.00 313 33.50 13.19 68 320 2220 $200
WEED
WEED 800-933-3758 • www.weedusa.com
149 Weed EXT 135 Blue 135 28.25 Racquet sample not available for measure at press time $250
150 Weed EXT 135 Green 135 28.25 Racquet sample not available for measure at press time $250
151 Weed EXT 135 Pink 135 28.25 Racquet sample not available for measure at press time $250
152 Weed EXT 135 Tour 135 28.25 Racquet sample not available for measure at press time $250
153 Weed X-ONE25 (27 1/2) 125 27.50 269 36.25 14.27 69 311 2816 $209
154 Weed X-ONE25 (28 1/2) 125 28.50 269 38.25 15.06 69 360 3571 $209
155 Weed Z-One 35 Racquet sample not available for measure at press time $250
WILSON
WILSON 773-714-6400 • www.wilsonsports.com
156 Wilson H Cyclone 115 27.90 251 38.75 15.26 75 315 2961 $160
157 Wilson H Rival 112 112 27.50 256 38.50 15.16 70 317 2610 $150
158 Wilson H Rival 96 96 27.50 285 36.25 14.27 72 323 2344 $150
159 Wilson H1 Outer Edge 135 135 28.50 253 39.25 15.45 75 328.5 3825 $180
160 Wilson n1 115 27.90 256 38.75 15.26 75 323 3037 $300
161 Wilson n1 Force 125 27.75 267 40.00 15.75 74 347 3450 $300

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 35


Racquet Headsize Length Weight Balance Balance Flex Swingweight Power Retail
(in2) (in.) (gm) (cm) (in.) (RDC) kg x cm2 Formula Price

WILSON
WILSON continued
CONT. 773-714-6400 • www.wilsonsports.com
162 Wilson n3 115 27.50 273 38.00 14.96 50 323 1950 $270
163 Wilson n4 Midplus (101) 101 27.50 273 36.75 14.47 67 317 2252 $240
164 Wilson n4 Oversize (111) 111 27.50 270 37.50 14.76 69 324 2606 $240
165 Wilson n5 (110) 110 27.25 272 37.25 14.67 60 299 2023 $219
166 Wilson n5 (98) 98 27.25 278 37.50 14.76 63 312 1974 $219
167 Wilson n5 Force 110 110 27.25 286 37.50 14.76 56 329 2077 $240
168 Wilson n5 Force 98 98 27.25 276 37.50 14.76 56 312 1755 $240
169 Wilson n6 (110) 110 Racquet sample not available for measure at press time $180
170 Wilson n6 (95) 95 27.00 269 37.50 14.76 65 322 1988 $180
171 Wilson nBlade 106 106 27.25 308 33.25 13.09 61 314 2081 $200
172 Wilson nBlade 98 98 27.00 315 33.25 13.09 59 329 1902 $200
173 Wilson nFury 100 100 27.00 285 33.75 13.29 48 297 1426 $120
174 Wilson nFury 110 110 27.50 271 35.50 13.98 70 304 2458 $120
175 Wilson nPro 98 98 27.00 311 33.25 13.09 70 304 2085 $200
176 Wilson nPro Open 100 27.00 311 32.50 12.80 69 294 2029 $200
177 Wilson nPro Open X 100 27.50 316 33.50 13.19 68 319 2278 $200
178 Wilson nPro Surge 100 27.00 313 33.25 13.09 59 305 1800 $180
179 Wilson nPro Surge X 100 27.50 304 33.25 13.09 63 315 2084 $180
180 Wilson nPS 95 95 27.00 298 34.25 13.48 59 315 1766 $140
181 Wilson nSix One 95 (68 holes) 95 27.00 347 32.00 12.60 68 329 2125 $200
182 Wilson nSix One Tour 90 27.00 354 32.00 12.60 66 325 1931 $200
183 Wilson nSix Two 100 100 27.00 295 33.00 12.99 67 298 1997 $190
184 Wilson nSix Two 113 110 27.50 290 34.50 13.58 70 321 2595 $190
185 Wilson nTour 105 105 27.25 297 35.50 13.98 67 334 2408 $180
186 Wilson nTour 95 95 27.25 305 35.50 13.98 63 340 2086 $180
187 Wilson nVision 103 27.25 277 36.50 14.37 63 316 2102 $150
188 Wilson Pro Staff Blitz 100 27.00 280 35.50 13.98 58 304 1763 $120
189 Wilson Triad 5 OS 110 (T5) 110 27.38 271 36.00 14.17 70 287 2294 $100
190 Wilson W2 Black Whisper 117 27.50 273 37.75 14.86 66 326 2643 $270
191 Wilson W2 Blue Shadow 117 27.50 270 37.75 14.86 65 318 2539 $270
192 Wilson W2 Spicy Ruby 117 27.50 273 37.25 14.67 65 319 2547 $270
193 Wilson W4 Cobalt Storm 107 27.25 267 36.50 14.37 66 304 2201 $230
194 Wilson W4 Red Fury 107 27.25 272 36.25 14.27 67 307 2256 $230
195 Wilson W4 Savage Lime 107 27.25 271 36.75 14.47 67 311 2285 $230
196 Wilson W4 Savage Sapphire 107 27.25 272 36.25 14.27 67 305 2241 $230
197 Wilson W6 Blue Steel 97 27.00 299 35.25 13.88 59 327 1871 $200
198 Wilson W6 Wild Crimson 97 27.00 297 35.25 13.88 60 322 1874 $200
YONEX
YONEX 310-793-3800 • www.yonex.com
199 Yonex NSRQ 5 105 27.50 289 35.00 13.78 68 316 2369 $219
200 Yonex NSRQ 7 (100) 100 27.50 300 33.00 12.99 66 303 2100 $259
201 Yonex NSRQ 7 (110) 110 27.50 288 35.75 14.07 65 326 2447 $259
202 Yonex NSRQ 8 110 27.50 272 37.00 14.57 74 313 2675 $279
203 Yonex RDS 001 90 90 27.00 344 31.75 12.50 65 320 1872 -
204 Yonex RDS 001 98 98 27.00 309 31.75 12.50 66 309 1999 -
205 Yonex RDS 300 100 100 27.25 312 32.75 12.89 69 306 2164 -

36 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


Racquet Headsize Length Weight Balance Balance Flex Swingweight Power Retail
(in2) (in.) (gm) (cm) (in.) (RDC) kg x cm2 Formula Price

206 Yonex RDX 300 MP 98 27.25 311 33.25 13.09 70 307 2159 $189
207 Yonex RDX 300 Super Mid 103 27.50 296 34.00 13.39 68 305 2243 $189
208 Yonex RDX 500 HD 98 27.00 333 32.25 12.70 61 313 1871 $199
209 Yonex RDX 500 Mid 90 27.00 331 32.50 12.80 62 312 1741 $199
210 Yonex RDX 500 MP 98 27.00 322 32.50 12.80 64 306 1919 $199
211 Yonex Ultimum RD Ti 80 98 27.00 318 31.75 12.50 60 290 1705 $179
212 Yonex Ultimum RQ Ti 210m 102 27.00 258 36.00 14.17 73 281 2092 $119
213 Yonex Ultimum RQ Ti 260m 98 27.00 264 37.00 14.57 76 298 2220 $139

continued from page 29


are equally as powerful in the sweetspot, even though they
The Power Formula have different power ratings. And within a given power rat-
First, it must be understood that the “power formula” is not ing column, the racquet with the highest swingweight will
a scientific or mathematical value, but only a convenient have the greatest sweetspot power, even though they all
numeric representation of tendencies relating the role of have the same power rating.
headsize, length, flex, and swingweight to the feeling of
power of the racquet. Second, the power formula best Sweet Area Power
describes the relative size of the power area compared to As soon as you stray from the sweetspot, the bigger, stiffer
another racquet, not the relative maximum velocity the rac- racquets will lose a smaller percentage of the innate
quet can generate. For example, racquet 111 at 2600/295 sweetspot power available to them. These racquets tend to
and racquet 69 at 2600/340 might have about the same size bend and twist less, therefore losing less energy to nonpro-
sweetspot, but the latter racquet will probably be more pow- ductive racquet reactions. Larger racquet heads move the
erful in terms of maximum ball velocity, even though they weight of the frame farther from the racquet’s long axis, and
have the same “power rating.” Why is this? it is the distance from the axis that is more influential in pre-
venting twisting than is the amount of weight, though
Sweetspot Power adding more weight at any given distance from the axis also
In the sweetspot (the spot in the middle of the racquet about increases resistance to bending and twisting. So, bigger-
16 cm from the tip), all racquets with the same swingweight headed, lower swingweight racquets can become more pow-
will generate the same ball velocity at the same swing erful than smaller-headed, higher swingweight racquets on
speed, stringbed stiffness being equal (see February 2006 off-center hits. The farther you hit off-center, the more pro-
article by Rod Cross for detailed explanation). Racquets with nounced the effect. Therefore, what you experience as the
a higher swingweight will generate higher ball velocities for racquet’s power is a combination of the ultimate power and
the same swing speed. The racquet does not bend and the average power over an impact area.
vibrate on a sweetspot impact, so flex has no influence and
headsize only comes into play on off-center hits—larger Combined Power
headsizes generally offering more resistance to twisting. First, let’s number the quadrants of the map clockwise 1, 2,
Thus, all racquets in a given row with the same swingweight 3, and 4 from the upper right quadrant. Then we will define

Characterization of Power—Magnitude, Area, and Control


Quadrant Quadrant Sweetspot Peripheral Sweet Rebound Rebound
Characteristics Power Power Area Angle Distance
Size Control Control
1: Quick Control Small d, small w Low Low Small Low High
2: Stable Control Small d, big w High Medium Medium Medium Medium
3: Quick Power Big d, small w Low Medium Medium Medium Medium
4: Stable Power Big d, big w High High Large High Low

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 37


two “generalized” variables: d represents the average dis-
tance from the long axis to the hoop of the head and w the
average amount of weight located at that distance. We can
then make the following generalizations about the racquets in
each quadrant relative to the others.
The table assumes that as you go down a column, there is
more weight in the head of the frame, and as you go to the left
in a row, the head gets larger and the racquet gets longer and
stiffer. There are exceptions, but in general, this is true. The
assumptions in the last two columns describing control are these:
the less the racquet twists, the more true the rebound, and the more
the twist, the less the rebound velocity, providing a built-in safety valve
against hitting too long. This latter point is a rather perverse view of con-
trol in that it defines hitting long as “out of control,” but feeding your oppo-
nent short meatballs is considered “in-control” because it at least is not an out-
right loss of a point. But this reasoning is congruent with the prevailing view held
by many that a racquet’s intrinsic power and control are inversely related.

Power, Maneuverability,
and Swing Speed
Swingweight is not just about power. It is also a measure of
maneuverability. But it is an inverse relationship. Lower
swingweight means more maneuverability and less intrin-
sic power, and higher swingweight means less maneuver-
ability and more intrinsic power. But, in theory, because
you can swing a more maneuverable racquet faster, you
can make up for less intrinsic power by increasing the
extrinsic power—i.e., by swinging faster. For this reason,
the Racquet Selection Map shows all racquets in the same
column as being equally as powerful—low swingweight but
fast swing speed being considered as equivalent to high swing-
weight (built-in power) and lower swing speed.
This would seem a logical argument when explaining racquets to
customers, but experiments have shown that lower swingweights don’t
necessarily mean that the swing speed will increase, and further that, in most
cases, using racquets within the range of swingweights in the marketplace, the player
can choose to swing at whatever speed he/she chooses, independent of a particular swing-
weight (see the book Technical Tennis for more explanation). Using swing speed to affect power
is more a matter of choice than it is about a necessary mathematical relationship between swing-
weight and swing speed.

Conclusion
The Racquet Selection Map is a great tool for quickly comparing racquets on maneuverability, power, and con-
trol. However, further differentiating the racquets by the probable size of the sweet area, the magnitude of the
power of the sweetspot, and the unlikely affect of swingweight on swing speed, you can better pinpoint the dif-
ference between any two racquets and help your customer or student make an intelligent decision on which rac-
quets to demo in their quest for a new frame.

38 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


Don’t Bust a Gut!
Worried about your first
natural gut string job?
Two stringing experts
take the mystery out of
it for you.
BY RICHARD PARNELL AND TIM STRAWN, WWW.GRANDSLAMSTRINGERS.COM

orking with natural gut string can be a bit daunting, Something basic but often overlooked: Measure twice,

W especially for stringers who have never done so. There’s


an “aura” around natural gut, and of course the higher
price can make some stringers hesitant. However, armed with
string once. Verify that the package contains the length of
string you’re expecting, and that this much string is sufficient
for the job at hand.
some basic information, anyone can gain the confidence
needed to get the job done. Clamping the Frame
In our years as professional stringers for Because gut is more susceptible to damage from clamp slip-
www.grandslamstringers.com, we’ve come up with the fol- page, you want to make certain it doesn’t happen, especially
lowing tips and techniques for stringing with natural gut. on the difficult first pull. One safe way is to mount a starting
clamp immediately behind the machine clamp to increase the
Preparation clamping force. Don’t use a starting clamp on the outside of
Check the grommets and replace or repair those that need the racquet, as this can stress the string.
attention. Damaged grommets can wreak havoc on a new set You can still use a starting clamp outside the frame when
of natural gut. using an around-the-world (ATW) pattern, many of which
You can repair damaged grommets by using a slightly require such clamping while finishing up the short side. But
heated awl to reshape and remold the tube of the grommet. there is more strain on the first pull, so you have to be extra
If you use this method, follow up by using a piece of heavier careful there.
gauge nylon string, lubricated with paraffin wax, to burnish
any rough edges. You can also replace individual grommets or Preparing the String
the entire bumper/grommet set if necessary. After removing the gut from the package, carefully cut the
Clean your clamps with denatured alcohol and an old band that holds the coil together and slip the coil over your
toothbrush. After the alcohol bath, use a can of compressed forearm up near your elbow. Release the string and let the coil
air to blow out excess alcohol and debris from inside the jaws equalize. After this initial equalization, it is much easier to
of your clamps and to thoroughly dry the clamps. Clamp uncoil the string.
cleanliness cannot be emphasized enough, especially with Natural gut kinks easily, so be careful when handling it.
natural gut. Kinking is most likely to occur during the unwinding of the
Adjust your clamps prior to starting to avoid slippage that coil, and it creates weak spots in the string. Take your time
can damage the string. Take the end of the actual string when uncoiling gut, and give yourself enough room, not only
you’re using and insert it into the clamp and begin to close the so the string can uncoil, but also so you don’t pinch, crease,
jaw. If you feel too much resistance, adjust your clamp slight- or cut the string by stepping on it.
ly and retest. You want the clamp snug but not tight to the Because of changes in manufacturing techniques, pre-
point of crushing the string. stretching natural gut is no longer mandatory. If your cus-

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 39


tomer wants you to pre-stretch the gut, use two people to
stretch the entire length of the string in a straight line, as Other Tips
opposed to wrapping the string around a pole or door handle Use leather power pads at severe turns where the mains first
so one person can pull on both ends. exit to the side of the frame, especially with thinner gauge
You can use starting clamps to hold the ends, or cut sec- strings. Manufacturers are now designing grommet strips with
tions of broom handle or closet rod and drill a small hole in raised ridges in these areas, but not every racquet has them.
the middle for the string, and then use a starting clamp. If Some natural gut strings have more slippery coatings than
you use starting clamps alone, hold them firmly, but do not others. If it’s really bad, wipe off the excess residue with a soft
squeeze the handles as this opens the jaws and releases the cloth prior to installing the string.
string. Turn your back to the taut portion of the string so that In tournament situations where there’s a lot of traffic in the
if it does snap, it can't hit you in the face. Apply about 40 stringing room, it’s a good idea to pre-weave the main strings
pounds of pull across the entire length of the string, and hold to get some of the string up off of the floor and out of harm’s
it for 15 to 30 seconds. way.
Many people are not aware that today quality natural gut
Weaving strings are coated. Unlike the days of old, there’s no need to be
Weaving the crosses demands extra care. Your primary focus as worried about moisture. Today’s natural gut strings are more
is to keep friction to a minimum. Waxing the main strings durable and modern coatings have played a big role here.
used to be standard procedure, but this process is seldom Dirt and grit are natural enemies of gut. It’s a good idea to
used these days. Modern coatings and weaving one cross clean the string after each use with a soft cloth lightly coated
string ahead will adequately reduce friction and allow for a with baby oil. Small particles of dirt can cause pits and cracks
much smoother weave. that degrade the string and eventually result in premature
If you are using a basic ATW pattern, you will have an breaking. You can also apply a light coat of pure carnauba wax
exaggerated hard weave on the very last string because at to protect the string after cleaning.
least one bottom cross is already installed. If you attempt to Use additional reinforcement at high-stress areas. Outer
make the last weave in one motion and pull the entire tail of main strings have much sharper angles where the string exits
the string through, there’s a good chance of severely damag- the grommet, so use some Teflon or nylon tubing here. If the
ing that piece of string. fit is tight, just open up the hole with a lubricated blunt-tipped
To avoid this, measure off just enough string to weave the awl prior to installation. Don’t stretch the tubing; you’re weak-
last cross and reach the tension head after weaving the next- ening the tubing and defeating the purpose of using it in the
to-the-last cross. Insert the tip of the string into the grommet first place.
hole and pull the entire length of string through that hole. String savers can go a long way in extending the life of any
Form a small loop and weave under one main, pulling all the string, especially an expensive piece of natural gut. Many peo-
string completely through, as if you were sewing. Repeat this ple are of the impression that string savers have an adverse
process until the entire cross string is woven. This technique affect on the racquet’s performance, but this is open to debate.
will keep the natural twist of the string in place and will The slight increase in tension that may result from the use of
reduce friction, keeping the string intact. The sewing tech- string savers can certainly be compensated for during the
nique also works well when you have a cross string that installation process if need be. Many touring professionals use
immediately encounters a main string as the cross exits the string savers, which might provide some comfort to your cus-
frame. tomers concerned about their affect on play.
Abandon the traditional practice of holding the loose end Natural gut responds better at higher tensions because of its
of the string while pulling the rest of the cross string over the superior elasticity, and hard-hitting players will benefit more
mains. All strings will twist and curl as they’re being pulled when using gut. It comes highly recommended for players with
over the mains and holding the end only compounds this elbow or shoulder problems, but be warned when recom-
problem pull after pull. Once you’ve completed weaving the mending gut to lower NTRP rated players.
cross string, insert the end into the exit grommet and let it Natural gut has lower “knot break” strength (threshold) than
hang free as you pull the remainder of the string through the standard synthetics. This is the string’s ability to resist angular
hole. Forget about speed; protect the string. forces, which is exactly what you have when a player frames a
Avoid unraveling your natural gut during installation by ball. Because this is more likely to occur with a less advanced
paying close attention to the natural twist in the string. Nat- player, you may find yourself struggling to explain to your 2.5
ural gut is made up of several individual strands of beef intes- player with arm problems just why his expensive string only
tine (or sheep—not cat!) and those strands are then twisted lasted two hours!
together to form the string. You’ll notice that the string
remains firm and intact while installing the mains but can Conclusion
unravel once you begin to weave the crosses. As you move Even armed with these pointers, it’s normal to approach your
down the face of the racquet the end of the string becomes first natural gut string job with some trepidation. However, if
more and more worn, making it even more susceptible to you are cautious and pay attention to the basics, you should do
unraveling or kinking. Be careful not to over-twist the gut in just fine. Of course, after you play with natural gut for the first
either direction when you handle it. time, you should find it is worth the extra effort. Q

40 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


stringing machine REVIEW

Babolat Star 5
If you visit the stringing room of most Star 5 is also equipped with rubber feet, so
major tournaments, you’ll find that with it can be set on a bench or other flat sur-
face. In this configuration, the stringbed is
few exceptions, Babolat machines are
16 inches above the work surface.
the mainstay of the tour stringer.
If you are going to use the stand, you
Rugged and reliable, with excellent assemble it first. Babolat recommends that
mounting, clamping, and tensioning, a you level it, using the screw adjusters
stringer could hardly ask for more. located at the ends of two of the legs.
In the summer of 2000, Babolat dis- However, the placement of the adjust-
continued the manufacture of the de facto ment screws means that not every floor
standard of the professional stringer, the can be accommodated. As with the Sen-
Star 4, and replaced it with the even more sor, the power cord runs through the cen-
capable Sensor line. Unfortunately, the ter of the stand. The legs are welded to the
Star 4 was portable, while the Sensor is lower section of the stand. increments), activate the “knot” function
just too much machine. As a result, tour- (one pull per activation), set the amount of
ing stringers have been hanging onto their COMPONENT WEIGHT (LBS.) pre-stretch (5, 10, 15, or 20 percent of the
aging Star 4s despite the advances in Base 31 reference tension), turn the tension buzzer
stringing machine technology exemplified Machine 89 on and off, and select from among Eng-
by the Sensor. Tension head—24 pounds lish, French, German, Spanish, and Italian
With the introduction of the Star 5, Clamp plate w/ clamps—34 pounds for the display. You can also check the ver-
Babolat has retained the best features of Shell—31 pounds sion number, the number of pulls, a calcu-
the Sensor and made some improvements, Total 120 lated number of racquets strung (based on
while trimming the weight and the price the number of pulls), the length of time in
of its entry-level machine. The 120-pound The stand is infinitely adjustable so that hours the machine has been on, the serial
Star 5 sells for $3,000 with a three-year the height of the stringbed is between 41 number of the machine, and the Star 5’s
warranty, and an optional five-year war- inches and 52 inches above the floor. Here status. If you choose kilograms, the ten-
ranty is $200 more. The price includes a again, you will find it very helpful to have sion range is 5 to 40 kilograms, adjustable
cover, spare parts, and assembly wrench- one person hold the machine while the in one-tenth kilo increments. You also use
es. Clearly, the Star 5 is a serious effort by other works the Allen wrench on the the Navigator to turn off the welcome
Babolat to make an exceptionally compe- height-adjustment screw. The telescoping message, which we did before proceeding
tent true constant-pull stringing machine section of the stand is “crimped” in such a to check the calibration, which was right
available to serious stringers at a price that way that the depth of the adjustment on. Subsequent checks showed excellent
is almost too low to resist. screw is matched to the depth of the calibration maintenance.
crimp. This ensures that once the adjust- The Star 5 has the familiar Babolat 6-
ASSEMBLY ment screw is tightened, the two sections point mounting system, which Babolat
Our Star 5 arrived in one 141-pound box. of the stand form a solid unit. The Allen refers to as a 10-point mounting system
The unpacking and assembly instructions screw is encased in a housing that, unlike because the “V” of each of the four drop-
were right on top, as were the assembly the lever found on previous machines, arm side supports touches the frame in
tools. The directions are straightforward, seems incapable of catching string. two places. The shafts of the “billiards,”
and it took less than 15 minutes to go which is what Babolat calls the frame sup-
from the box to a functioning stringing PROS ports at 6 and 12 o’clock, glide in and out
machine. The instructions do recommend Once assembled, we turned the unit on of the towers on bronze bushings. If
that you have two persons available to lift and took some time to familiarize our- you’ve ever used a Star 3, Star 4, or Sen-
the unit onto the stand, and it’s a good selves with the Star 5 “Navigator,” which sor, the mounting system will hold no sur-
idea to have someone else available, if for consists of an LCD read-out and three prises. The adjustment knobs for the side
no other reason than that the unit’s shell is flush-mounted buttons, labeled “S” (for support arms are easy to operate, making
a thin plastic that is not fully supported Shift), “+”, and “-”. Through the Naviga- it a snap to mount the frame properly.
around the edges. It is also useful to have tor, the operator can set the reference ten- Once mounted, if the frame is properly
someone to balance the machine atop the sion (from 11 to 88 pounds in half-pound strung, there is no difficulty removing the
stand while the other person installs the increments), lock the machine, set pounds racquet from the machine. Best of all, the
bolts that hold the machine to the stand. or kilograms, add over-tension for knots side support arms seem never to get in the
The stand isn’t necessary, however, as the (from .5 to 11 pounds, in half-pound way of the stringing process. Even

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 41


stringing machine REVIEW
CONTINUED

stringers accustomed to using a machine base solidly to the turntable. It took about a total weight of the machine for easier
with 2- or 4-point mounting should have dozen racquets for the clamps on our unit cartage. In either event, removing the trac-
no trouble converting to the Star 5’s 6- to feel broken in. Stringing times were just tion unit requires nothing more than
point system. One of the first racquets we as low as with other, more familiar stringing unplugging the power cord and loosening
strung was one that is infamous for being machines, from the first frame. two screws. The traction unit then slides out
shorter with strings than without. As with The linear-pull tension head has the the side of the machine.
other Babolat machines before it, the Star 5 “start” button mounted immediately For those who will be traveling with the
provided such good support that the fin- behind and below the jaws of the tension Star 5, it is worth noting that the machine
ished length of the racquet was within head. The start button itself is a “capaci- runs on 100-120 volts, or 220-240 volts.
3/32-inches of the unstrung length. tive” type switch, which means there are There is a voltage selector on the underside
The Star 5 double-action clamps are no moving parts: As soon as you touch the of the traction unit, which is also where you
standard in every way except their imple- button, it senses the contact. We found switch the fuse to match the line voltage.
mentation. The string clamp is identical to that even with a piece of string blocking
the three-tooth clamps found on the Sen- direct access to the button, the start switch CONS
sor. The clamp heads appear bulky but are responded perfectly. The turntable lock lever is mounted on the
profiled to fit into tight spaces. The clamp- Of all the advanced features of the Star front as it is on the Sensor, but recessed so
ing faces are coated with tungsten carbide, 5, without a doubt the most advanced is that there is much less chance to snag the
and the clamping force is easily adjustable the tensioning program. While there is no string. The location is fine, but the round
without tools, thanks to an oversize adjust- manual setting for pull speed, the Star 5 (as knob doesn’t afford as much leverage as the
ment knob on the side of the clamp. As a old lever. Also, access to the knob is partial-
test, we reduced the clamping force adjust- ly obscured by the shroud of the machine,
ment and pulled tension on a string. The making it more difficult to immobilize the
slippage scarred the coating lightly but turntable when stringing “problem” rac-
did not shred the surface. This may quets such as the larger Prince O3s,
not be the case for every string, but Wilsons with PowerHoles, and the
we had no problems with slippage Wilson T2000 series, especially if the
when the clamps were adjusted Star 5 is mounted on a table or
properly, and saw no damage aside bench. Fortunately, Prince provides a
from some slight bruising on delicate “boomerang” tool for the O3 series of
strings. racquets, which eliminates the need of
The string clamp slides over the post of locking the turntable on by far the most
the base clamp (as on the Sensor), and at common of these frames.
the bottom of the base clamp post there is with the Sensor) automatically adjusts the The rigid turntable and fixed-towers of
a rubber O-ring for cushioning. The clamp pull speed based on the string you are the Star 5 (and its predecessors) do offer a
bases slide almost effortlessly across the using, with no user intervention. stable base for the mounting system. We
surface of the anodized aluminum The LCD display always keeps you found only one frame—the throatless Head
turntable, making the Star 5 even smoother informed on your settings, even to the Ti.S7—that needed an adapter, and the Star
in this regard than the Sensor. The circular point of giving you instantaneous read-outs 5 is hardly alone in this category. The Star 5
track on which they run is similar to the sys- on the tension during a pull. The Star 5 con- mounted even the Gamma Big Bubba, Wil-
tem found on the Sensor and other high- tinuously adjusts the pulling force to com- son Hyper Hammer 3.3 “The Limits,” and
end Babolat machines. If you are pensate for string elongation. the Head i.160 squash frames with no prob-
accustomed to “straight-track” clamp One much-appreciated feature of the lems. However the stock Star 5 will not
motion, the only place where you have to Star 5 is the return of the nosecone (or dia- mount small-headed racquets such as
think about what you are doing is when bolo). Besides reducing the clamping force woodies and the Wilson T2000 series. If this
“reversing” the clamps halfway through needed by the tension jaws, the nosecone is an important part of your business, you
the crosses; because the clamps don’t clear also helps the operator position the string will need the optional badminton adapter
the frame, there is only one way to turn into the tension jaws the same way each kit at $450.
each clamp to re-orient it to complete the time. As a result, the Star 5 is very gentle Even some frames that mount fine still
crosses. The turntable offers 360-degree on delicate strings. We experienced no present problems, such as the Blackburne
rotation, which turns easily with just string scarring or marking due to the ten- DS 107, which requires the removal of the
enough drag to prevent undesired move- sion jaws. machine clamps so that you can use floating
ment. The entire traction unit assembly clamps top and bottom, and racquetball
The method for locking the clamp bases detaches from the machine base quickly frames that have the top cross so high that
is quite different from any other Babolat and easily. It is no doubt designed this way they are out of the reach of the Star 5
machine. The Star 5 has what Babolat calls to make maintenance and repairs more clamps.
an ergonomic locking knob. Turning the straightforward, but it might also make it Speaking of the clamps, we found that
knob approximately 60 degrees locks the easier for traveling stringers to break up the the three-tooth clamps are easier to fit

42 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


between the strings of most racquets. How-
ever, on exceptionally tight stringbeds, the
more gradual angle of the sides of the teeth
on the Star 5 clamp makes it more difficult
to force the clamp up into position against
the resistance of previously installed strings.
The small tool tray of the Star 5 disap-
pointed us. Granted, extra tool trays mean
the machine must be larger, and create
more chances to catch string. Still, even
with small pliers, small cutters, a starting
clamp, and two awls, the tool tray was too
full by half. If you use a stringing apron, or
have a bench near your stringing machine
that you can use for tool storage, this won’t
affect you.
The user’s manual, which is otherwise
complete, does not contain the procedure
for calibrating the machine. In normal use,
re-calibration might not be called for, but if
you intend to travel with the Star 5, you
might very well need to adjust the calibra-
tion at a tournament site, when Babolat is
closed for the day.

CONCLUSION
Although we’ve been using a Babolat Star 3
for years as our “reference” machine for
stringing playtest racquets and other in-
house stringing chores where we need the
year-in and year-out reliability for which
Babolat machines are famous, it took about
seven minutes to feel comfortable on the
Star 5, and after a couple of frames, the
Star 5 feels better in every way than our old
Star 3. Although our Star 3 has strung rac-
quets for everything from photo shoots to
tournaments such as the Pacific Life Open
and the Acura Classic, the arrival of the
Star 5 means our little Star 3 can now
relax, until the odd wood racquet or T2000
wanders by.
And yet, even though it’s bigger, heav-
ier, and much more sophisticated than our
Star 3, the Star 5 still feels like a lean, mean,
stringing machine, at least, compared to
the Babolat Sensor. If these machines were
cars, the Star 5 would be the Porsche 356
Speedster, and the Sensor the Porsche 356
Carrera: The first, relatively inexpensive but
capable in every way, with qualities that
grow on you over time; the latter, more
expensive, but worth every penny. It seems
that the only question is whether Babolat
can make enough of the Star 5 to meet the
demand that’s certain to come. Q
For the complete review, see www.racquettech.com

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 43


string PLAYTEST

Gamma Zo Pro 16L


Gamma Zo Pro is a hybrid set made up of stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro
Staff 6.1 95 (16 x 18 pattern) on a con-
Zo Power for the mains and Live Wire Pro-
stant-pull machine.
fessional for the crosses. According to
After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed
Gamma, Zo Power is an ultra playable 16L- stiffness measured 61 RDC units, repre-
gauge polymer alloy featuring Gamma’s senting an 8 percent tension loss. Our
TNT2® Technology, for players who prefer control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Origi-
nal Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units Professional isn’t
greater power with pinpoint control with-
immediately after stringing and 71 RDC normally considered a durability string,
out sacrificing durability or comfort. yet combined with Zo Power, our playtesters
units after 24 hours, representing a 9 per-
Gamma Zo Power is a co-extrusion fiber, gave it high marks in this category. Likewise,
cent tension loss. Zo Pro added 15 grams
which means it is a monofilament com- to the weight of our unstrung frame. playability and tension holding are not nor-
prised of two materials, one in the center The string was tested for five weeks by mally attributes of a poly, but here Profes-
and a second that encases or coats the cen- 31 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings sional complements Zo Power. Zo Pro did
from 3.5 to 5.5. These are blind tests, with receive only average ratings for Power, but
ter filament. In Zo Power, the center is a
playtesters receiving unmarked strings in this might be a good thing for such a string.
high elasticity core, which is encased in a
unmarked packages. Average number of
wear-resistant surface.
hours playtested was 24.9. We instructed EASE OF STRINGING
In the crosses, Professional features what
the members of our playtest team to (compared to other strings)
Gamma calls Live Wire Multifilament Tech-
install the “silver” (poly) string in the Number of testers who said it was:
nology. Professional features an advanced
mains and the “natural-color” (nylon) much easier 1
string construction that incorporates 50 per- somewhat easier 3
string in the crosses.
cent more iso-elastic fibers, NCP tension about as easy 22
The Zo Power is about as easy to string
fibers for longer tension maintenance, and not quite as easy 5
as other modern polys, and of course, hav-
new PEEK abrasion resistant fibers woven not nearly as easy 0
ing it only for the mains is very nice. The
into the outer wraps for enhanced durability.
Gamma Professional is always a pleasure OVERALL PLAYABILITY
This unique construction, combined with
to use, as its flexibility makes it feel nimble (compared to string played most often)
Gamma’s exclusive Advanced Irradiation
when weaving the crosses. Even though Number of testers who said it was:
Process, is said to provide a crisp, solid feel. much better 1
the Zo Power is a stiff 16L and the Profes-
Gamma tells us it designed Zo Pro for somewhat better 7
sional is a supple 16, the Zo Power feels
players looking for a softer feel than is gen- about as playable 5
much thinner than the Professional, and
erally found in an all-polyester string bed, but not quite as playable 14
this is borne out by the measurements.
with more durability and stiffness than that not nearly as playable 4
This difference in gauge impressed some
generally found in an all-nylon string bed.
playtesters, who were happy to have thin OVERALL DURABILITY
Zo Pro is available in 16L/16 in sil- (compared to other strings
mains for spin.
ver/natural. It is priced from $18.50. For of similar gauge)
No playtester broke a sample during
more information or to order, contact Number of testers who said it was:
stringing, 11 reported problems with coil
Gamma at 800-333-0337, or visit Gamma much better 0
memory, 5 reported problems tying knots,
on-line at www.gammasports.com. Be sure somewhat better 19
and 3 reported friction burn. about as durable 6
to read the conclusion for more information
about getting a free set to try for yourself. not quite as durable 6
ON THE COURT not nearly as durable 0
Gamma Zo Pro scored well above average
IN THE LAB for Durability, Control, and Spin Potential. RATING AVERAGES
We tested the 16L/16-gauge Zo Pro. The From 1 to 5 (best)
In fact, Durability rated exceptionally well
coils measured 23 feet 5 inches for the mains Playability 3.3
with our playtesters both compared
and 21 feet 11 inches for the crosses. The Durability 3.9
against other strings of similar gauge, and Power 3.0
diameters measured 1.24-1.25 mm for the
as an absolute rating. It also scored above Control 3.6
mains and 1.32-1.34 mm for the crosses
average for Playability, Tension Holding, Comfort 3.1
prior to stringing, and 1.20-1.22 mm for the
and Resistance to Movement. These rat- Touch/Feel 2.7
mains and 1.27-1.28 mm for the crosses
ings seem to indicate that Zo Power and Spin Potential 3.3
after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiff-
Professional work well together in this Holding Tension 3.3
ness of 66 RDC units immediately after Resistance to Movement 3.2
configuration. Whatever its other merits,

44 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


TESTERS TALK

“ I like this string very much. The only drawback is the movement of the
strings; I had to readjust after each point. However, I liked both the feel and
my personal preference. Would definitely recommend the string for
anyone seeking durability with a strong baseline game.

3.5 male all-court player using Head Liquidmetal Prestige MP strung
the pop of these strings.

5.5 male all-court player using Head Radical Tour MP strung at 65/62 at 55 pounds LO (Head PPS 17)
pounds CP (Luxilon Timo / synthetic gut 18/17)

“ The sample strung up tighter than expected and stayed that way

“ I liked this version of the


poly/multifilament mix better than a
throughout test, never seeming to lose
any tension. Spin is excellent, as is slice
poly/gut mix I tried. The poly really had “Great String. Mains underspin. I feel I can drive backhand
slice approaches better with this string
nice bite—nice and thin; and the multi
complement crosses. This string is great. I than with any other I’ve tested. Touch
maintains tension and was nice and soft.
Felt like this combo was every bit as love the stiff mains and soft crosses. and feel shots are still below average
good as the gut mixes (for less cost I as with most poly hybrids. I would
Great combination. I would buy this string 2-3 lbs. lower next time to see if
assume). Perhaps a coating could prevent
playability would improve without sac-
immediate fraying/peeling.

5.0 male all-court player using Wilson Pro
string. I love that companies are doing
rificing the excellent bite.

hybrids.” 4.5 male all-court player using 4.0 male all-court player using Völkl V1
Staff 7.5 strung at 72 pounds LO (Lux-
ilon/VS Tonic 17/16) Wilson nPro Surge strung at 59 pounds LO Classic MP strung at 58 pounds CP
(BDE Performance 16)
(Wilson Polylast/Wilson Extreme Synthetic
“ After 33 hours of playing there is
absolutely no notching of the mains. The Gut 17) “This hybrid surprised me since I use
crosses are starting to fray and the end is natural gut normally; but, once I got
near. A great string combo; very similar to my set-up. A good string for big used it, I really liked it. Great control—
able to swing out. The thin poly in the mains was able to generate a

hitters.
3.5 male all-court player using Head Liquidmetal Radical OS strung at fair amount of spin. This string is fairly comfortable since I strung it
56/62 pounds CP (Luxilon Big Banger/Gamma TNT 16) down 5-6 lbs. from usual tension. I think this is a very good combina-
tion.

4.0 male all-court player using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.0 strung at
“ Very nice string from the baseline. Great feel on hard groundstrokes.
Was able to hit with confidence. A little firm from the rest of the court for
55 pounds LO (Babolat VS Natural Gut 17)
(Strings normally used by testers are indicated in parentheses.) For the rest of the tester comments, USRSA members can visit RacquetTECH.com.

Five members of the team broke Zo Pro during the offering a free set to the first 500 USRSA members who fill out and return
playtest period, one each after 5, 10, 16, 18, and 25 the coupon. —Greg Raven Q
hours of testing.
FREE PLAYTEST STRING PROGRAM
CONCLUSION Gamma has generously offered to send a free set of Zo Pro 16L
Hybrid strings such as Gamma Zo Pro attempt to square to the first 500 USRSA members who request it.
the circle by giving players a combination of strings that To get your free set, just cut out (or copy) this coupon and mail it to:
will stand up to a lot of abuse, while still providing a sem- USRSA, Attn: Gamma Zo Pro 16L String Offer,
blance of playability, comfort, or both. Considering the 330 Main Street, Vista, CA 92084
prima facie difficulties inherent in such an undertaking, or fax to 760-536-1171
it’s a minor miracle that hybrids work as well as they do. Offer expires March 15th, 2006
As noted above, Zo Pro did not rate highly in the One set of free string per USRSA membership in the US
Power category with our playtest team. This, however, Offer only available to the first 500 USRSA members
might make Zo Pro the right choice for two disparate tar- FREE! Gamma Zo Pro 16L!
get consumers: big hitters, and players using super over- Offer expires March 15th 2006
size frames. Each needs durability, control, and (typically)
Name:
spin from a string. There might be some in these cate-
gories who can control a powerful string, but most seem USRSA Member number:
to prefer to provide power via racquet head speed or rac- Phone:
quet head size. Gamma Zo Pro allows either of them to Email:
do just that. If you print your email clearly, we will notify you when your sample will be sent.
If you think that Zo Pro might be for you, Gamma is

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 45


ask the EXPERTS

Your Equipment Hotline


MOMENTUM VS. Momentum is “mass times velocity.” Mass times acceleration. Because most so-called
ACCELERATION can be thought of as the weight of the tennis experts misunderstand the terms
A LOT OF TENNIS EXPERTS TALK object, although for a tennis racquet, not all involved in this seemingly simple equation,

Q about acceleration on your swing,


but I thought the whole point was to
have more momentum. Since when did
the mass is available at the point of impact.
Velocity is the speed of the object. Accelera-
tion is the change in velocity over a period of
you will find some wacky recommendations
that misuse these terms. For example, at
least one noted tennis expert advises play-
acceleration become more important? time (in tennis, this period of time is usually ers to put more force on the ball by acceler-
the 4 to 10 milliseconds the ball is on the ating the tennis racquet through the swing.

A YOU ARE CORRECT IN THINKING that


momentum is important. It is baffling
why so many professional tennis instructors
strings, also known as the time of impact).
Using these definitions, you can see that
a heavier racquet traveling the same speed
As stated above, however, “accelera-
tion” in the equation does not refer to any
acceleration that you impart to the racquet
focus on acceleration, some even going so as a lighter racquet will have more momen- prior to impact. It refers only to the changes
far as to imply that you should wait until tum, as will any racquet the faster it is in the velocities of the ball and racquet dur-
you feel the ball on the strings before accel- swung. Tennis balls are supposed to be ing the 4 to 10 millisecond impact: The rac-
erating your racquet. Considering the fact about the same weight, but even here, a quet (which is heavy relative to the ball)
that the ball is on the strings for only 4 to faster-moving tennis ball will have greater decelerates a little, while the ball changes
10 milliseconds—far less time than the 30 momentum than a slower-moving one. directions completely (on a groundstroke, it
milliseconds or more your body needs to It’s possible the confusion arises because decelerates to zero, and then accelerates in
recruit the muscles in such a way as to react when two objects having momentum (such another direction entirely). In a straight-on
to the impact—this is clearly impossible. Fur- as a tennis ball and a racquet) collide, the impact, only the speed and mass at impact
thermore, the rate of racquet acceleration impact creates impact-momentum change. bear on the result, which clearly shows that
before impact has virtually nothing to do This change is best described by a different momentum should be the center of any
with what happens during impact. equation, which is also known as Newton’s such discussion, not acceleration.
Before proceeding, let’s define our terms. Second Law of Motion: Force equals mass The “force” in the equation is a calculat-

46 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006


ed amount, which you determine by looking tern, while players in the U.S. prefer the Power, however, will be reduced, for the
at the mass of each object in the collision (in more open string pattern. As far as we can same reason. For fuller discussions of these
our case, the mass of the racquet at the point tell, Wilson-sponsored pros show some (and other) issues, see the latest book from
of impact, and the ball), and the change of favoritism to the version sold in their area Racquet Tech Publishing, Technical Tennis,
velocity during the impact (also known as while growing up, but there have been some which has a great explanation of factors
acceleration). Thus, it is also incorrect to advise notable exceptions, which is to say that nei- that influence spin.
players to use more “force,” as one industry- ther is clearly superior to the other, so it still The one characteristic about which you
leading expert repeatedly advises. comes down to personal preference. didn’t ask—durability—will be quite differ-
Another way of looking at this is that This is especially true for playability. Spin ent, as the more dense string pattern will
before and after the impact, the ball exerts no potential will be about the same for either enable strings to last much longer before
force on the racquet, and neither does the rac- configuration, as spin is mostly due to the breaking.
quet exert any force on the ball, regardless of angle of the racquet face to the path of the —Greg Raven Q
wind-up, follow-through, or how quickly you ball on impact. Control should be better with We welcome your questions. Please send them to Rac-
are accelerating the racquet. Therefore, unless the more dense string pattern, as the strings quet Sports Industry, 330 Main St., Vista, CA, 92084;
you are dealing in-depth with the physics of deflect less, all other factors being the same. fax: 760-536-1171; email: greg@racquettech.com.
the collision between the ball and racquet,
“momentum” is the better term to use with
your students.
For in-depth examinations of this and other
tennis-related physics, see The Physics and
Technology of Tennis, by Howard Brody, Rod
Cross, and Crawford Lindsey (published by
Racquet Tech Publishing).

UNDERSTANDING THE
STRING SELECTOR MAP
IN THE STIFFNESS COLUMN OF THE

Q String Selector Map, if string A has a


stiffness of 237 lbs/in. as compared to
string B, which has a stiffness of 226 lbs/in.,
am I correct in assuming that string A is more
stiff than string B?

A YES. WE DERIVE THE STIFFNESS value


after measuring the amount of force
created at impact to stretch the string. Lower
values represent softer strings and lower
impact forces. Higher values represent stiffer
strings and higher impact forces.

STRING-BED DENSITY

Q I’VE NOTICED THAT THE WILSON nSix-


One 95 comes with a choice of string
patterns—16x18 and 18x20. Could you
tell me the purpose of this and what the dif-
ference means with regards to playability, spin,
control, and power? Which do the pros use?

A THE “6.1” RACQUET HAS BEEN avail-


able in two string-bed configurations for
many years, going back at least as far as the
Pro Staff Classic 6.1 95. However, the version
with the 16x18 string bed has until fairly
recently been the only one available in the
U.S., and the version with the 18x20 string
bed has been available only in Europe. Wilson
informs us that the reason for this is that Euro-
pean players prefer the more dense string pat-

March 2006 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 47


Your Serve
Step Outside the Lines
A city tennis coordinator says reaching out
to schools with an introductory “Tennis Day”
can bring exciting returns. BY ROBIN BATEMAN

I
f you want fresh ideas on how to reach of 2000. Back then, only public schools
out and grab new participants into the were targeted. Today, tennis instructors
game, picture this: Inside the school gym, also visit private schools.
a crowd of energetic third-graders forms The program is designed with conve-
two lines. They’re waiting eagerly for the nience in mind. By bringing the equip-
coach to feed them tennis balls. Once the ment, instructors, and enthusiasm directly
first ball is hit, the line erupts with cheers. into the schools, children are exposed to
Kids are hopping around excitedly, cheering the game without having to schedule
on their classmates, itching to swing their court time, find an instructor, or purchase
racquets at the ball. Some even practice tennis equipment. P.E. teachers need not
their strokes while waiting in line. know how to give a tennis lesson.
Thirty minutes ago, these same Some of the program’s goals include
third-graders entered the gym with introducing tennis to as many children as
boundless energy, skipping and run- possible, showing students that tennis is
ning, arms flailing in every direction. for everyone, and demonstrating that ten-
“Yeeesssss!” some of them exclaimed nis is fun! Instructors bring portable tennis
out of the Tennis Day program. Currently,
as they realized what was on the P.E. nets, racquets, and tennis balls along with
these players compete for their high school
agenda for the day. “Tennis!” Excite- a curriculum. They stay the entire day at
tennis teams as well as in USTA sanctioned
ment filled their voices. Then they one school, giving all students an opportu-
tournaments at the local level (Middle Geor-
received quick instruction on the proper nity to wrap their fingers around a racquet
gia area), state level, and even Regions.
grip and forehand ground-stroke and hit a ball over the net.
While some programs are ongoing, Ten-
motion, and it was off to hit balls. Before the end of each class, interested
nis Day only happens once or twice a year.
This is “Tennis Day” in physical edu- students can sign up to receive additional
This helps to guarantee excitement. Now,
cation class, a variation of the USTA information about existing programs. And
P.E. teachers contact us asking, “When are
School Tennis program. Often, this pro- this is your big chance. You’ve created an
you going to come out and teach tennis?
gram is executed through school atmosphere of fun and excitement; now
The kids love you guys!”
assembly, with only a few students provide them with catchy fliers for your
Instruction doesn’t have to happen only
actually picking up a racquet. But in follow-up programs.
inside the lines! Get out and step up your
Bibb County, Ga., the approach is dif- If you are looking for ways to spruce
approach to introductory programs. You,
ferent. Tennis Day is implemented at up the way you introduce tennis to new
and the community, will be amazed at the
short- and long-term success. Q
each individual school. Tennis instruc- juniors, increase your junior participation,
tors visit elementary schools during reg- or just expose more kids to the game, this
ularly scheduled P.E. classes to method works. You can’t overlook the
introduce the game of tennis. With this statistics on participation from the incep-
tion of this varied approach to the pro- Robin Bateman is the site coordinator for the
slant on USTA School Tennis, everyone
Tattnall Tennis Center in
gets to pick up a racquet and hit balls gram. In fact, since the launching of the Macon, Ga., where she
over the net. first Tennis Day five years ago, 34 schools coordinates tennis programs
The altered program first arrived on have been visited. And more than 10,000 and leagues, is a tourna-
the scene five years ago and is spon- students have been taught tennis each ment director, serves as a
year. team captain, and assists
sored by the Macon-Bibb County Parks
junior teams competing at
and Recreation Department. City of At least 1,300 students have played district, regional, and sec-
Macon Tennis Manager/Pro Carl Hodge Ralleyball. More than 400 players have tion events.
and the Bibb County Public School Sys- continued on to participate in other pro-
tem Athletic Director Raynett Evans grams such as Player Development or
We welcome your opinions. Please email
worked together to kick off the first Summer Camp tennis instruction. Also, a comments to rsi@racquetTECH.com or fax
Tennis Day during the winter months core group of junior players has developed them to 760-536-1171.

48 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2006