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September/October 2009 TIA News

Volume 37 Number 9 $5.00


• ‘Racket Up!’ For a
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Million Bucks
• Tennis Health Index
Shows 18%
Growth

Court Construction
& Maintenance
Q What’s ‘normal’ for
your courts?
Q Creating ‘social spaces’
at your facility

Apparel for Spring


R S I S E P / O C T 2 0 0 9

INDUSTRY NEWS
7 Q2 racquet, ball sales
turn slightly upward
COURT CONSTRUCTION 7 USPTA World Conference
& MAINTENANCE set for Marco Island

18 Is That Normal? 7 Three finalists in “Best


When you have questions about your Tennis Town” Contest
new courts or court maintenance,
check with your contractor first. 8 Wilson “Baiardo” stringing
machine hits the U.S.
20 Social Service
Create opportunities to interact and
“social spaces” and you’ll encourage
8 Alan Schwartz inducted into
people to play more tennis.
Tennis Industry Hall of Fame
8 New racquetball frames
FEATURES introduced by Wilson
22 No-Fault Fashion 9 Billie Jean King receives
Bold designs are a hallmark of the Presidential Medal
upcoming year’s newest tennis of Freedom
apparel.

24 Wilson Baiardo 9 Community Tennis Workshop


With top features and benefits, this set for San Diego
innovative stringing machine focuses
on ergonomics. 9 USTA Serves awards
grants for $252,000
10 Short Sets
12 Peoplewatch

13 Head, PTR extend


contract to 2013
13 Letters

DEPARTMENTS
4 Our Serve 28 String Playtest: Prince Hybrid Power EXP
7 Industry News 30 Tips and Techniques
14 RSI Champions of Tennis 2009 32 Your Serve, by Rod Cross
16 TIA News and Updates
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
2 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/Octoer 2009
Our Serve

T
A Battle Cry For Our Sport
(Incorporating Racquet Tech and Tennis Industry)
Publishers
David Bone Jeff Williams

here’s a new rallying cry for tennis, and it’s being Editorial Director
Peter Francesconi
spread by tennis retailers, racquet manufacturers,
Associate Editor
teaching pros, tennis associations and more: Greg Raven
“Racket UP, America!”
Design/Art Director
RUA is not just a slogan, though. It’s an industry-wide promotional cam- Kristine Thom
paign for the sport designed to drive tennis awareness and to help retail sales. Contributing Editors
The basics are simple: When a consumer buys a new racquet, they register Robin Bateman
their purchase (through Sept. 30) at playtennis.com/million and they’re Cynthia Cantrell
Kristen Daley
entered into a drawing where they can win a chance to serve for $1 million, Joe Dinoffer
or win a trip to the 2010 US Open finals, or win $500 in tennis merchandise. Liza Horan
James Martin
(The potential million-dollar serve will take place at the BNP Paribas Show-
Greg Moran
down in New York’s Madison Square Garden on March 1, during Tennis Night Chris Nicholson
in America.) In the promotion’s first couple of weeks, thousands of consumers Bob Patterson
Cynthia Sherman
went on the website, registered purchases and were entered into the drawing.
Mary Helen Sprecher
Maybe more important, feedback from retailers on RUA has been positive.
The industry, through the TIA and its partners, is collaborating to stimulate the RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY
Corporate Offices
retail tennis business, and from those dealers who have contacted us, they 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084
appreciate this effort. If you’re not taking advantage of the RUA campaign, Phone: 760-536-1177 Fax: 760-536-1171
you’re missing out on an important chance to increase your business. Email: RSI@racquetTECH.com
Website: www.racquetTECH.com
The key here, though, is that we—all of us in this business—need to make Office Hours: Mon.-Fri.,8 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific Time
“Racket UP, America!” the rallying cry for tennis players. This specific pro-
Advertising Director
motion goes a long way toward making that happen, by bringing attention to
John Hanna
tennis and helping push this sport’s overall public relations efforts. The RUA 770-650-1102, x.125
battle cry should generate excitement and interest in tennis, so that overall hanna@knowatlanta.com

participation—and particularly our key frequent-player group, the heart of


Apparel Advertising
your market—continues to grow. Cynthia Sherman
But this campaign needs your help, too. You need to promote “Racket UP, 203-263-5243
cstennisindustry@earthlink.net
America!” in your stores and facilities, on your websites, to your customers,
Racquet Sports Industry is published 10 times per
and to your local community. It’s easy and free to do this, too. Go to playten- year: monthly January through August and com-
nis.com/partner and download all you need—fliers, posters, ads, website bined issues in September/October and Novem-
ber/December by Tennis Industry and USRSA, 330
ads, press releases, email templates and more.
Main St., Vista, CA 92084. Application to Mail at
We’re now in the throes of the US Open, the premier pro event for tennis. Periodicals Postage Prices is Pending at Vista, CA and
What better time is there to get people in your community to “Racket UP!” additional mailing offices. Sep/Oct 2009, Volume 37,
Number 9 © 2009 by USRSA and Tennis Industry. All
rights reserved. Racquet Sports Industry, RSI and
logo are trademarks of USRSA. Printed in the U.S.A.
Phone advertising: 770-650-1102 x 125. Phone circu-
Peter Francesconi lation and editorial: 760-536-1177. Yearly subscrip-
tions $25 in the U.S., $40 elsewhere. POSTMASTER:
Editorial Director
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 September/October 2009 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


R S I S E P / O C T 2 0 0 9

INDUSTRY NEWS
INFORMATION TO HELP YOU RUN YOUR BUSINESS

Three Finalists in Q2 Sales of Racquets, Balls Turn Slightly Upward


America’s “Best ales of tennis racquets in tennis specialty stores, which slipped in the beginning of 2009,

Tennis Town” Contest


Independence, Kan., Midland,
Mich., and Ojai, Calif., have been
S bounced back slightly in the second quarter. Year-to-date for the first six months, however,
sales are still 14 percent below the same period last year in both units and dollars (see page
8), according to the latest data from the Tennis Industry Association.
“At this point, we’re cautiously optimistic, and waiting to see what July sales figures will
selected as the top three finalists,
as determined by nationwide vot- bring,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “It was encouraging that unit sales for racquets
ing, in the USTA’s first-ever search for the month of June went into positive terri-
to determine America’s “Best tory—up 1 percent—but we’re certainly not
Tennis Town.” ready to say this industry, in terms of retail
sales, is out of the woods.”
The ultimate winner of the “Best
Second-quarter 2009 racquet sales figures
Tennis Town” search will be
announced during the 2009 US are down 9 percent in both units and dollars
Open. In addition to the title, the from the same period a year ago. First-quarter
winning town will receive a racquet sales for 2009 were off by 20 percent
$100,000 grant from the USTA to from 2008.
be used for community-wide Second-quarter tennis ball shipments also
tennis programming or facility turned slightly upward, with an overall increase
enhancements. The second- of .9 percent. “What’s really nice to see, how-
and third-prize winners will ever, is a nearly 91 percent jump in shipments
receive $50,000 and $25,000, of what we call ‘transition’ tennis balls—softer
respectively. tennis balls used for beginner programs,” says de Boer. “This is evidence that the new Quick-
The search for America’s “Best Start Tennis format, designed to bring kids into the game using these types of balls, is really tak-
Tennis Town” is the USTA’s first- ing hold in the U.S.”
ever nationwide search to identi- “While it’s good to see that certain indicators for racquets and balls moved in a positive direc-
fy the local area—from small, tion in the second quarter—supporting our strong participation results—we are still closely mon-
rural towns to large, urban metro itoring market trends for retailers in all other key product categories,” says TIA President Jon
areas and everywhere in Muir. “We still need to be cautious when it comes to overall retail sales at specialty stores.
between—that best exemplifies
“We’re obviously pleased that participation has continued its upward trend,” adds Muir. Ten-
the passion, excitement, spirit
nis participation is now at a 15-year high in the U.S., with nearly 27 million players, according
and impact that tennis brings to
the local level. From an initial to the latest research by the U.S. Tennis Association and the TIA.
group of 56 entrants, a panel of
judges selected 10 communities
as finalists.Tennis fans then voted USPTA World Conference Set for Marco Island
online from that list of finalists. he USPTA World Conference on Tennis, held Sept. 21 to 26 at the Marco Island Marriott on
In the nationwide voting, Inde-
pendence, Midland and Ojai beat
out Baton Rouge; Cary, N.C.;
T Marco Island, Fla., will feature such speakers as Nick Bollettieri, Tom Gorman, Rick Macci,
Brett Hobden, Emilio Sanches and more. Forty-five seminars and four-hour specialty cours-
es will be offered during the conference. In the past, nearly 1,500 tennis pros and coach-
Grand Junction, Colo.; Hickory, es, manufacturer representatives and media have attended the World Conference.
N.C.; Las Vegas; Springfield, Mo.; The event also includes a Tennis Buying Show on Sept. 24. Exhibitors
and Tempe, Ariz. Those seven run- include tennis equipment, apparel and footwear companies, marketers
ners-up each will receive $2,000 and wholesalers of hard and soft goods, video-analysis, Web-based pro-
worth of tennis equipment for grams and software, teaching aids, court surfacing and lighting, awards, edu-
community use. For more infor- cational materials, nutrition bars and vitamins, and more. In addition, the USPTA
mation, visit www.besttennis-
Silent Auction will be held during the buying show.
town.com.
For information or to register, visit www.uspta.com.

www.racquetsportsindustry.com September/October 2009 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 7


S E P / O C T 2 0 0 9

Wilson’s ‘Baiardo’ String Tennis Racquet Performance


INDUSTRYNEWS

Machine Hits the U.S. Specialty Stores, January - June, 2009 vs. 2008
Units 2009 302,462
W
ilson dealers began receiving the first U.S. shipment of
the innovative Baiardo stringing machines recently. The Baiardo
is the first machine designed using multiple ergonomic features,
2008
% CHG v. '08
350,237
-14%
Dollars 2009 41,718,000
which aid in user comfort. The machines, which are in stock and
2008 48,447,000
available for shipment, were used at the 2008 US Open.
% CHG v. '08 -14%
Baiardo automatically adjusts the height and tilt three times
Price 2009 $137.93
during the stringing process (at mounting, when doing the
2008 $138.33
mains, and when doing the crosses) putting the string bed in
% CHG v. '08 0%
the proper biomechanic position to suit the stringer. Stringers who have used the
Baiardo say they experience less stress on the
Try Out the Baiardo lower back, shoulders, neck, and arms.
Wilson will be conducting demonstration “It’s an outstanding piece of equipment,” says Top-Selling Racquets
events for the Baiardo stringing machine George Wrigley of Wrigley’s Tennis in Punta at Specialty Stores
at numerous locations in New York City Gorda, Fla. “It looks like Wilson spent extra time By year-to-date dollars, , January - June 2009
from Sept. 2 to 13, during the US Open. (average selling price)
to look at every aspect of the stringing process
Stringers are invited to experience work- Best-Sellers
ing on a Baiardo machine. Space is limit- when making this machine.” 1. Babolat Aeropro Drive Cortex (MP)
ed. Contact BaiardoUSA@wilson.com. "One of the best features of our new Baiardo
is that it offers the ability to customize the posi- 2. Babolat Pure Drive Cortex (MP)
tion for each of the stringers in our shop,” adds Lance Holm of Player's Racquet 3. Prince EXO3 Red (OS)
Shop East in Portland, Ore. 4. Wilson K Blade (MP)
About 30 dealers from across the country received machines in the intial ship- 5. Prince O3 Speedport Black (MP)
ment. Visit www.wilson/baiard.com to find out more. (see the review on page 28.) “Hot New Racquets”
(Introduced in the past 12 months)

Alan Schwartz Inducted Into 1. Prince EXO3 Red (OS)


2. Babolat Pure Drive GT (MP)
Tennis Industry Hall of Fame 3. Prince EXO3 Silver (OS)

A lan Schwartz of Chicago is the 2009 inductee into the


Tennis Industry Hall of Fame, which recognizes key indi-
viduals who have made a significant impact on tennis, the
4. Prince O3 SP Black Team (MP)
5. Wilson KZen Team FX.Orange (MP)
Tennis Industry Association announced.
Schwartz has been involved in tennis throughout his life. Top-Selling Tennis Shoes
As a player, he earned national rankings as a junior and sen-
ior. In the tennis industry, he founded Midtown Tennis Club
at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, January - June, 2009
in Chicago and Tennis Corporation of America, which now has 13 facilities under (average selling price)
the Midtown Athletic Clubs name. A former USTA president and chairman of the
1. Adidas Barricade V
board, Schwartz also has been an influential member of the International Tennis
Federation and on the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Executive Committee, 2. Nike Air Breathe Free 2
among many other positions in tennis. 3. Prince T 22
Schwartz will be honored at the TIA Tennis Forum in New York City on Sept. 4. Adidas Barricade II
1, and a plaque will be on display at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in
5. Nike Air Breathe Cage II
Newport, R.I., which donated space for the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame
inductees. He joins Dennis Van der Meer and Howard Head, who were the inau-
gural inductees into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame last year.
Top-Selling Tennis Strings
Wilson Introduces New R-Ball Frames at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, January - June, 2009

W ilson has come out with four new racquetball rac-


quets. The [K] RX 165 is designed for serious
players looking for power; the [K] RX 175, at a pop-
1. Prince Synthetic Gut Duraflex
2. Wilson NXT
ular weight for all player levels, combined with a 3. Wilson Sensation
larger head size for players seeking more power; the 4. Prince Lightning XX
lightweight, maneuverable [K] RX 160 designed to
5. Luxilon Alu Power
improve feel; and the [K] RX 170, designed for control
and feel. Visit www.wilson.com. (Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

8 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2009 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


INDUSTRY NEWS

BJK Receives Presidential USTA Serves Awards $252,000


Medal of Freedom
U STA Serves, the philanthropic and charitable enti-

T
ennis champion, sports icon and social justice ty of the USTA, has awarded 13 grants in its 2009
pioneer Billie Jean King received the Presidential spring Aces for Kids funding cycle, totaling $252,000.
Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian USTA Serves awards grants to programs that success-
honor, in ceremonies at the White House on Aug. fully combine tennis and education and help children
12. Recognized for her efforts and accomplishments pursue their goals and highest dreams by succeeding
on and off the tennis court, King was one of 16 indi- in school and becoming responsible citizens.
viduals honored by President Obama in a ceremony in the East Room. Aces for Kids, a national initiative of USTA Serves,
“I am honored and humbled to receive the Presidential Medal of strives to promote healthy lifestyles by combating
Freedom and I share this recognition with my family, friends and those childhood/adult obesity by providing disadvantaged,
who have come before me, those who will follow and those who are at-risk children the opportunity to learn to play ten-
committed to making a difference in the lives of others,” says King. nis and improve their academic skills in a structured
format. Programs awarded 2009 spring Aces for Kids
CTDW Set for San Diego grants are:
Q Apple Ridge Farm, Roanoke, Va.
Q Dallas Tennis Association, Addison, Texas
T he USTA’s 2010 Community Tennis Development Workshop will be
Jan. 22-24 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina in San Diego.
The workshop is for community tennis leaders, tennis teachers, and
Q First Serve New Mexico, Santa Fe
Q Greater Baltimore Tennis Patrons, Baltimore, Md.
Q Holliday Park Kids, Topeka, Kan.
Q King Street Youth Center, Burlington, Vt.
many others involved in tennis.
Sessions will include the QuickStart Tennis play format and other pro- Q NJTL of Indianapolis, Ind.
gramming, advocating for tennis in your community, energizing the vol- Q Net Results Junior Tennis, Denver, Colo.
unteer base, marketing and communications, fund-raising, and more. Q Special Olympics Alaska, Anchorage
Q University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
There also will be a resource center, “courtside consultants” and other
Q University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, P.R.
Q White Plains Youth Bureau/Memorial Methodist Church, White
opportunities to network.
Registration information and a preliminary schedule will be available in Plains, N.Y.
October. For more information, visit www.usta.com/ctdw. Q Zina Garrison All-Court Tennis Academy, Houston, Texas

www.racquetsportsindustry.com September/October 2009 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 9


S E P / O C T 2 0 0 9

SHORT were recognized for customer service. Tennis extensive player, product and program
SETS
INDUSTRYNEWS

Express was named Dealer of the Year. information. Among the features is an
> Mike and Bob Bryan have signed a con-
tract to use Luxilon strings. The top men’s
>2009Adidas has a new face for the fall-winter enhanced multimedia section, news ticker
Adidas by Stella McCartney tennis line and upgraded Club Ektelon.
doubles team, which has 53 career titles,
uses Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power Rough
— Danish star Caroline Wozniacki. The 19-
year-old, ranked ninth on the WTA Tour, starts
>jectTheof anhealth benefits of tennis is the sub-
article in the June issue of “The
125 exclusively.
her new role at the US Open. Physician and Sportsmedicine” journal,
> Shelly Lewis of Metuchen, N.J., won a
Prince contest to guess the number of ten-
> CRTS has partnered with tennis consultant written by Jack Groppel, Ph.D., co-chair of
Mark McMahon, president of McMahon & the USPTA’s “Tennis – for the health of it!”
nis balls in a 7 x 2 x 2-foot Plexiglas con- advisory council, and Nick DiNubile, M.D.,
Associates, in the new CareerPath section,
tainer. Among the thousands of entries, an advisory council member,
which includes tips and articles on maximizing
she hit it on the nose with 2,953 balls and
won a new Prince EX03 racquet signed by
and managing career opportunities. McMa-
hon & Associates conducts Tennis Director
>andLeander Paes of the Washington Kastles,
the Springfield Lasers’ Vania King were
Maria Sharapova and a racquet bag.
Retained Search for clubs—positions are not named the 2009 Male and Female MVPs of
> The American Sports Builders Associa-
tion Technical Meeting will be Dec. 5-7 at
advertised. If you are a Master Professional, or the Advanta World TeamTennis Pro League.
certified as “PTR tested” or “USPTA P1,” you Mike Russell of the Kansas City Explorers
the Hyatt Regency Savannah in Savannah, are eligible to complete a confidential Career- and Liga Dekmeijere of the St. Louis Aces
Ga. For information call 866-501-ASBA Path profile with McMahon & Associates. Visit picked up the WTT Rookie of the Year hon-
(2722) or visit www.sportsbuilders. org. www.jobeasier.com. ors and Springfield Lasers coach John-
Laffnie de Jager was named the 2009 WTT
>repsBabolat has honored outstanding sales > The U.S. was knocked out of the Davis
and retail partners. Monte Long was Cup in July when Croatia won their quarterfi- Coach of the Year.
named sales rep of the year; Patty Walker
received the In-House MVP award; and
nal tie, 3-2. >lobbied
USPTA First Vice President Tom Daglis
Capitol Hill for key health promo-
John Ainsworth and Mike McCormick
>website,
Ektelon has redesigned and relaunched its
www.ektelon.com. The site provides tion legislation with the International

10 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2009 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


INDUSTRYNEWS

Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Associa- men’s final in 10 years. The average of 5.71 three facilities in the Chicago area—Mid-
tion in July. He met with several senators million viewers was the highest since the Pete town Tennis Club, Score Fitness and Tennis
and congressmen. Sampras-Andre Agassi final in 1999 (5.85 mil- Club, and the CARE Academy—and the
lion). Last year's final between Federer and John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New
> The Advanta World TeamTennis Pro
League issued fines to the Washington
Rafael Nadal attracted an average of 5.17 mil- Braunfels, Texas.
lion.
Kastles and New York Sportimes for the >Academy
The Andre Agassi College Preparatory
unprofessional conduct of several play-
ers—Leander Paes, Rennae Stubbs and
>Miramar,
The U.S. girls’ team of Sachia Vickery of
Fla., Victoria Duval of Delray Beach,
in Las Vegas celebrated its first
graduating class in June. All the graduates
Olga Puchkova from the Kastles; and John Fla., and Brooke Austin of Indianapolis, defeat- are going on to college studies. View the
McEnroe, Robert Kendrick and coach ed the Czech Republic 2-1 in early August in slide show at http://agassi.eroi.com/gradu-
Chuck Adams for the Sportimes—during Prostejov, Czech Republic, to win its third ation/.
a match on July 16. Puchkova and straight World Junior Tennis title. The World
Kendrick also received individual fines, Junior Tennis Competition is an international
>sorship
IBM has renewed its technology spon-
of and business relationship with
Puchkova for leaving the bench and ver- team event featuring players ages 14-and- the US Open. IBM will continue as the
bally confronting another player, Kendrick under. The U.S. is the first country to win three “Official Information Technology Solution
for unsportsmanlike conduct when he hit consecutive titles. Provider” of the US Open and also will con-
a serve at Paes as he stood at the net. Pre-
viously Sportimes Coach Chuck Adams
>theTheWestview
Youth Tennis San Diego Whalers edged
Attackers 41-37 in overtime in
tinue as one of six USTA Corporate Cham-
pions. The multi-year deal continues
had been fined and suspended for one early August to win a record fifth title at the through 2012.
match for violating the Coaches’ Code of Advanta WTT Junior Nationals at George E.
Conduct. Barnes Family Tennis Center in San Diego.
>tennisPetermanagement
Burwash International will provide
services for Las Ven-
>Wimbledon
NBC Sports coverage of the five-set
> The USTA has expanded its network of
final between Roger Federer Regional Training Centers, hoping to develop
tanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort, the
only AAA Five-Diamond luxury property
and Andy Roddick was the most-viewed future American tennis champions, to include located in Los Cabos, Mexico.

www.racquetsportsindustry.com September/October 2009 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 11


INDUSTRYNEWS S E P / O C T 2 0 0 9

P E O P L E W AT C H
• Wimbledon champion Roger Federer is reached the final of the 2009 Wimbledon
the proud father of twin girls after his wife Junior Championships, has signed with
Mirka gave birth in Switzerland on July 23. IMG.
The 15-time Grand Slam winner said the • Robin Roberts, an anchor on ABC’s
girls, who are the couple's first children, “Good Morning America,” will emcee the
have been named Charlene Riva and Myla 29th annual “Legends Ball” to benefit the
Rose. International Tennis Hall of Fame & Muse-
• Head racquetball player Jack Huczek um on Friday, Sept. 11, at Cipriani 42nd
won the men’s singles title at the 2009 Street in New York City.
World Games in July. • Kelani Bailey, a WTEAM
• Current USTA President Lucy Garvin and player and one of the most
former president Franklin Johnson were promising junior racquet-
elected to serve on the 2009-2011 board ball players, won three
of directors of the International Tennis Fed- gold medals at the Junior
eration. Racquetball National Cham-
pionships held in Michigan in
• Former USTA Chairman of the Board and June. Kelani, age 15, won her age division
President Jane Brown Grimes and John
in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles and
Reese are the 2009 recipients of the Inter-
now holds nine total gold medals.
national Tennis Hall of Fame’s Chairman's
Award, which recognizes outstanding serv- • Jack Sock of Lincoln, Neb., and Krista
ice by a Hall of Fame Board Member. Hardebeck of Santa Ana, Calif., captured
the USTA Boys’ and Girls’ 18s National Clay
• Tim Mayotte has been hired as a USTA Court Championship singles titles in July.
National Coach, facilitating coaching and
training programs while working with play- • Kayla Cyr, 20, of Westminster, Md., and
ers in the USTA Player Development pro- Heather Welch, 20, of Columbia, S.C.,
gram. He will be based at the USTA have been named the 2009 National Novo
Training Center Headquarters in Boca Nordisk Donnelly Awards recipients, and
Raton, Fla., and will report to Jay Berger. received the award from WTT co-founder
Billie Jean King in July. Cyr and Welch, who
• Robert “Bob” Falkenburg, Robert Lands- both have Type I diabetes, will each receive
dorp, Robert “Bob” Lutz, Margaret
a $5,000 scholarship. Randall Haylock, 18,
“Peggy” Michel, Stan Smith and Patricia
of Lindenhurst, Ill., and Jillian Tallarico, 21,
Yeomans were inducted into the Southern
of Lancaster, Pa., will also receive regional
California Tennis Hall of Fame in July.
finalist scholarship awards of $2,500.
• USTA Chief Diversity Officer Kevin Clay-
ton was elected to join the Board of
Trustees for the Women’s Sports Founda-
tion.
• WTA Tour No. 7 Vera Zvonareva
appeared at the largest mall
in Istanbul, Turkey, as a
promotion for the Istan-
bul Cup in late July. She
played some tennis on a
mini tennis court with
Turkish player Ipek Senoglu
and then signed autographs.
• Patrick Wilson has been named senior
vice president, distribution, of the Tennis
Channel.
• Jordan Cox, 17, of Duluth, Ga., who

12 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2009 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


Letters INDUSTRYNEWS

Questioning Tennis
Sponsor Ads Head-PTR Extend
I just finished reading Pat Hanssen’s
Contract to 2013
“Your Serve” article, “A Suitable Tennis
Partner,” in the August issue, regarding
inappropriate TV commercials. I couldn’t
H ead has renewed its sponsorship
agreement as an approved rac-
quet and bag of PTR to 2013, which
agree more. My children are grown, but
I still cringe when ads like Cialis are will mark 30 years
broadcast. I work with young children that the PTR and
learning tennis and encourage them to Head have been
watch tennis matches. Surely there are together.
sponsors that are more geared to the
tennis audience. Thanks for your help in Head’s spon-
bringing this issue to our attention. sorship of the PTR, ongoing now for
Sheila Evans more than 27 years, is one of the
Executive Director longest sponsorships in tennis his-
USTA–A Tennis Association for Kids
(www.atakthenet.com)
tory. PTR members can receive dis-
counted prices on Head racquets
and bags, as well as apply for exclu-
Support for Regional sive racquet contracts through
Tennis Magazines PTR’s Team Head Program.
“We couldn’t be happier about
The open letter co-written by Jim Martz extending our relationship with
and Paul Fein in the July 2009 issue hit
the nail on the head, and that is, to PTR,” says Head Senior Director of
increase participation and retain play- Sales Greg Mason. “Their members
ers, the efforts must start at the local are on the front line helping grow
level. The results show that participa- the game of tennis at all levels and
tion is up, but a significant component
to maintaining that increase is local we’re proud to support their
tennis coverage. efforts.”
Everyone likes to read about them-
selves, their offspring, their friends and
even their opponents. Unfortunately,
it’s the local media that is being hit the
hardest by the economy, fewer hard-
copy readers or simply changing times.
Regardless of the cause, the result is
the same: less coverage of local players.
By far, the highest percentage of
players nationwide resides in the local
arena, not on center court!
I definitely agree with Jim and Paul’s
suggestion for a partial solution to this
decline of local media reporting. Why
can’t the USTA or the TIA consider step-
ping in and assisting with grants,
advertisement and out-of-the-box mar-
keting?
What would the harm be in trying
this approach? Perhaps the gain would
be greater than imagined!
Nancy Morgan
Freelance Tennis Writer
Past President, USTA Florida

Congratulations To the Following


For Achieving CS Status

Jack Ford The Villages, FL

www.racquetsportsindustry.com September/October 2009 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 13


Annual Awards
Champions of Tennis 2009

O
Help us recognize the people and organizations that are making a
difference in the business of tennis.
nce again, we’d like to honor need your help in identifying these men, below and email your nominations to
the champions of our sport— women and organizations and how their RSI@racquettech.com (put “Champions”
the many, often unheralded accomplishments have helped the game, in the subject line). Include:
heroes who work tirelessly to develop whether in their local areas or nationally. Q Nominee’s name;
tennis in the U.S. But once again, we Please take a look at the categories Q Where they work or what they do relat-
ed to tennis;
Q Phone or email (if possible);
Q Brief description of why you believe
they are the champions in their
areas;
Q Your name and contact information
(for confirmation purposes only).
All nominations will be confiden-
tial, and you may nominate for as
many categories as you’d like. And, if
there’s a category that we don’t list
that you think we should include,
please let us know.
We need your nominations by
Sept. 30. Email is preferred, but you
may fax them to 760-536-1171 or mail
them to: Racquet Sports Industry, 75
Painter Hill Rd., Woodbury, CT 06798.
In an upcoming issue, we’ll include
a special section acknowledging the
dedication of those who work to keep
tennis vital in the U.S.

2009 CHAMPIONS OF
TENNIS CATEGORIES
Q Person of the Year
Q Pro/Specialty Retailer of the Year
Q Chain Retailer/Mass Merchant of
the Year
Q Stringer of the Year
Q Builder/Contractor of the Year
Q Grassroots Champion of the Year
Q Junior Development Champion of
the Year
Q Sales Rep of the Year
Q Wheelchair Tennis Champion of the
Year
Q Municipal Facility of the Year
Q Private Facility of the Year
Q Public Park of the Year
Q Community Tennis Association of
the Year
Q High School Coach of the Year
Q USTA Section of the Year
Q PTR Member of the Year
Q USPTA Member of the Year

14 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2009


T I A N E W S S E P / O C T 2 0 0 9

NEWS & UPDATES


News You Can Use!
In many Hit a Million-Dollar Serve on National TV!
ways, this

E
ver dream of serving for the big prize, in front of thousands
industry is of fans? You can live your dream through a tennis-industry-
very fortu- wide sweepstakes called “Racket UP, America!”
nate. Play- If you’re the lucky winner, you’ll receive a trip to New York City
ers love to attend the “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup”
Jolyn de Boer
our sport, in Madison Square Garden on March 1, which will feature the top
professionals love our women tennis players in the world.
sport. Tennis is vibrant In the unique promotion, anyone who buys a new tennis racket—
and vital. And industry of any brand, and at any tennis retailer or pro shop—through Sept.
partners have been busy 30, 2009, could win the chance to serve for $1 million. Consumers
rallying around “Racket simply register their racket purchase at playtennis.com/million.
Up, America!” the last Other prizes include a trip for two to the 2010 US Open Men’s Singles
few months to spread and Women’s Doubles finals and 20 $500 tennis merchandise prize packs. (Free entry available, see
the word to consumers. website for official rules and details.)
The BNP Paribas Showdown on March 1, which is part of “Tennis Night in America,” will bring
It’s only the beginning
together four of the world’s best women pros who are 2009 Grand Slam winners or No. 1 players, vying
of plans to build a
for $1.2 million in prize money and the Billie Jean King Cup. Serena Williams is the defending champ,
healthy roadmap for the
and so far, she and Svetlana Kuznetsova have qualified for the Showdown. Williams won the 2009 Aus-
industry. And while we
tralian Open and Wimbledon; Kuznetsova won Roland Garros.
have all been affected
The Showdown’s format will be two one-set semifinals followed by a best-of-three-set final. The
by the economy, we do
“Racket UP, America!” sweepstakes winner will hit the potential million-dollar serve between the sec-
expect to see more posi-
ond semifinal and the final, in front of the MSG crowd and a television audience. The winner also will
tive indicators in the
meet tennis legends Billie Jean King and Ivan Lendl, along with other tennis champions.
months and years
“We are thrilled to be able to have the ‘Racket UP, America!’ sweepstakes winner go for a million dol-
ahead, and plan to do
lars at the BNP Paribas Showdown,” says Jerry Solomon, president of StarGames, which is partnering
OUR part to help busi-
with Madison Square Garden to produce the event. “This is what Tennis Night in America is all about—
nesses grow.
a real celebration of tennis. We’re happy to help bring attention to such a worthwhile industry-wide
As the saying goes, promotion.”
those who play together, “‘Racket UP, America!” is a collaborative effort by the tennis industry designed to generate excite-
stay together. At the TIA, ment and interest in the sport while helping to stimulate retail sales. “Tennis is a fun, social, healthy,
we will continue to rally lifelong sport,” says Jon Muir, president of the Tennis Industry Association, which is spearheading the
this industry, and we are promotion. “We’ve been thrilled that over the last eight years, tennis participation has grown 43 per-
committed to the posi- cent, far outpacing all other traditional sports, according to the SGMA.”
tive growth for our sport Official rules and details are at playtennis.com/million. And follow “Racket UP, America!” on Twit-
and businesses. ter and Facebook. For more information, email info@tennisindustry.org.

Tennis Health Index Shows 18.1% Growth


rate view of the state of tennis participation in the

T
he Tennis Health Index, which uses five key ele-
ments to measure the health of tennis, has U.S. “This is a great indicator that our industry’s col-
increased 18.1 percent in the U.S. over the last lective efforts are having a positive impact and get-
six years. Published by the TIA and USTA, the Tennis ting more people on the court,” says Kurt
Health Index includes three participation surveys that Kamperman, the USTA’s chief executive of Communi-
use different methodologies, combined with measures ty Tennis. From the baseline year of 2003, which has
of ball shipments and court activity. an index of 100, through 2008, the Tennis Health
The five elements collectively provide a more accu- Index shows steady growth up to 118.1.

16 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2009 Join the TIA . . . Increase Your Profits . . . Grow the Game . . . www.TennisIndustry.org
TIA NEWS

Growing Tennis News


Cardio Tennis Player TWC Spotlight: Village
of the Month: Dr. Glen Tennis Club,
Julie Hollifield Williamsville, NY
Up until two years ago, Dr.
Julie Hollifield, 38, had never

D
rive into the parking lot of Village Glen Tennis Club and
played tennis. Then a friend
bought her a series of tennis
you’re greeted with a huge Tennis Welcome Center banner

lessons as a gift. On the first


hanging outside the club. The banner lets everyone know

day, she saw Cardio Tennis on


that this facility is a place that anyone can call home … and many
a nearby court. “I saw them
people do. Village Glen Tennis Club, in Williamsville, N.Y., a suburb
running around and playing
with the up‐beat music,” she
of Buffalo, is booming with close to 1,000 members, 14 courts, an

says. “It just looked like so much fun, I immediately


indoor soccer field, a rehabilitation center with five massage thera-

signed up for the next class.” And it only took one class
pists, and a small gym.
to get her completely hooked.
“Village Glen has a real personal touch and most of our mem-
Now a 3.5 player, Hollifield partici-
Do you or someone
pates in Cardio Tennis at Serendipity in
bers like to call it a home away from home,” says Tennis Director
you know have what it
Sarasota, Fla., five times a week and
Stephen Sayoc. “Being a Tennis Welcome Center fits with the phi-
takes to be Cardio
has dropped close to 25 pounds in the
losophy of the club: We want everyone to play no matter what your
Tennis Player of the process. “Iʼm losing weight without even
Month? E-mail your
level or age. Whether you play singles, doubles or Cardio Tennis, we
realizing it. Itʼs so much fun that it does-
story to Amanda@ nʼt feel like exercise—more like recess
have something for everyone.”

tennisindustry.org. If
Village Glen has programming for all levels Upcoming Schedule
for adults,” says Hollifield, who burns of play, including programs especially for begin-  Sept. 17-20: PTR Busi-
your story is featured, from 450 to 650 calories every class. ness Development
you will win a Cardio “Iʼve never been so fit before. I run
ners. “EZ Tennis in a Snap” is a class for new
Weekend, Hilton Head
Tennis Survival Kit. across the street and realize that Iʼm not Island, SC
out of breath anymore.”
players and has three different levels. Each
series of clinics is five weeks and costs $79,  Sept. 21-26: USPTA
Hollifield has also noticed a tremendous improvement World Conference,
in her footwork and level of play. Not only has her rating Marco Island, FL
which includes a free racquet. “We normally
improved in just a year of Cardio, but also, sheʼs taking  Oct. 13-16: NRPA
have about 120 new players in each session
everything she does in her Cardio classes onto the com-
Expo, Salt Lake City
petitive court. “Iʼll be playing a match and hit a few shots
and we see good retention with these players
as well,” says Sayoc. “Most continue in other Special Request Work-
and think to myself, ʻThat is just what we did in Cardio programs and leagues after completing the shops: email us at
Tennis yesterday.ʼ”
third phase.” info@growingtennis.com

Serena Williams Participates Va. Club Installs First Permanent


in WTT QuickStart Clinic QuickStart Clay Courts in U.S.

T
he first permanent QuickStart Tennis Har-Tru courts were

I
t was a day that the group of
children from Randall’s Island installed recently at the Farmington Country Club in
Sports Foundation programs Charlottesville, Va., by Lee Tennis. The club saw an oppor-
will never forget. On July 10, about tunity to convert an existing Har-Tru court into four QST courts
50 children were treated to tennis instruction from 11-time to allow children under the age of 10 and older seniors to play
Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, who had stopped tennis on a learning and forgiving surface.
by the courts of Sportime at Randall’s Island in New York “Bringing young players into the game of tennis and creat-
City to participate in a QuickStart Tennis clinic. ing an environment where they can learn to play smarter and
Williams, who had just won the 2009 Wimbledon sin- longer are crucial to developing their immediate and long-
gles title, was on Randall’s Island to play a World term skills and habits,” says club Tennis Director Patrick
TeamTennis match. But beforehand, she made time for Kearns. The Farmington Country Club plans to hold QuickStart
some area children. A few QST Tennis tournaments throughout the remainder of the year.
courts were set up at the
Sportime facility, and as the
children hit balls back and
forth, Williams came to join
them.
QuickStart “definitely makes
[tennis] more exciting,” Williams
said. “It was really good to be out
there with the kids.”

Join the TIA . . . Increase Your Profits . . . Grow the Game . . . www.TennisIndustry.org September/October 2009 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 17
IS THAT
COURT CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE

NORMAL? When you have questions


about your new courts or
maintenance, don’t hesitate to
check with your contractor.

I
BY MARY HELEN SPRECHER

t finally happened. That new tennis court is up and running. It “all-weather courts,” are not meant to be used in all types of
looks great. It plays great. It’s the showpiece of your facility and weather. “A non-slip surface does not mean you can play tennis
everyone wants to play on it. in the rain and not slip,” says Zaino. Likewise, no court is meant
There’s only one problem: It has been so long since you had a to be shoveled or de-iced for use in cold weather.

“ SEASONING” THE LIGHTS


brand-new court, you’re not sure if certain things are normal. You
want to protect your investment, you want to keep your players
happy—but you do have questions. So how do you find out? Does the new court have lighting? If you’ve recently upgraded to
Easy. You talk to a tennis court contractor. Many who have a new system, such as metal halide lights, remember that once
installed courts in various regions of the country say that first-time turned off, those types of lights will take time to re-ignite and
court owners—or even experienced court managers who are come back to full power, sometimes 10 to 15 minutes.
working with brand-new courts or a brand-new facility for the first In addition, says Bruce Frasure of LSI Industries in Cincinnati,
time in many years—can be expected to have certain questions.

MARKS ON THE SURFACE


“Metal halide lamps require a 100-hour burn-in period, or ‘sea-
soning,’ before they will reach stable operation. The chemicals in
the arc tube of the lamp will settle during the seasoning period.
In a new facility, says Richard Zaino of Orange, Calif.- During the 100 hours, the lamps may demonstrate

Tips for Keeping the


based Zaino Tennis Courts, “The court surface may rapid shifts in color, referred to as ‘flaring.’ In addi-

Court Looking New


seem slower due to the newness of the courts.” tion, the light output of the metal halide lamps over
Squeegee marks are normal in acrylic-coated hard the 100 hours will depreciate as much as 20 per-
courts; in fact, contractors sometimes joke that the  Use a leaf blower to cent. Both of these characteristics are normal, and
only sure way to avoid such marks (which occur nat- remove leaves, pine nee- the light output and the flaring will stabilize within
dles, etc.

WINDSCREENS AND NETS


urally while the court surfacing material is being the first 100 hours.”
applied) is to use a squeegee that is as wide as the  Take players’ concerns
seriously.
 Call the contractor with
court itself.
Scuff marks, generally caused by players’ shoes, A new windscreen, the pros add, can add to the aes-
questions about any
are normal, but black marks are not. Be sure to post thetic appeal of the court, and to the playing expe-
irregularities.
a sign of rules for the court. The first rule should be  Nothing stays new forev- rience. However, no windscreen will last if it’s
that court shoes are required (rather than just “sug- er. Eventually, aging of subject to high winds, so take down the screens dur-
gested”). Remember that many players who are new the surface will take ing harsh or extreme weather.
to the game often wear running shoes or cross train- place, no matter how “If we don’t install windscreen, we inform the
ers or other types of sneakers that have black soles. well made the court is. client that windscreens can easily damage fences if
Even hard courts, which are sometimes called sized wrong or improperly installed,” says Matt Hale

18 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2009 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


of Halecon Inc., Bridgewater, N.J. “There is Tom Magner of DecoTurf in Andover,
no standard windscreen size and they are Mass. However, he notes, let the court dry

FIGHTING STAINS
not interchangeable. The client must know thoroughly before resuming play.
that a windscreen design calculation must
be made, as all fence systems and locations
are different.” No court surface is indestructible; attack-
Keep an eye on the net, too. “In the cold ing a stain with a harsh abrasive may dam-
weather, the net cable shrinks,” notes Hale. age the acrylic surfacing. Professionals
“This can either heave the net-post footings recommend starting with the mildest
or bend the net posts. A simple solution is to equipment. “A soft nylon or hair-type
reduce the tension on the net during the broom can be used for sweeping and
cold weather.” (Some contractors recom- scrubbing,” says Magner. “Beware that
mend removing the nets entirely if it is scrubbing too hard can damage the sur-
unlikely that play will take place during the face. Connect a water broom to a standard
winter.) garden hose (max. 70 psi) for hard-to-
“Also, we never leave the cranks for the clean areas. Do not use a power washer.”
nets on the net post,” says Hale. “We feel it The most important thing an owner or
invites a problem. Many times people will manager can do, say the pros, is to keep
tamper with the net height.” Many manu- a close eye on the surface of the court.
facturers make net posts with internal wind Look for signs of wear (many of which are
mechanisms so that the court owner or normal) and for cracks, depressions or
manager can set the net to the proper height other problems. Document these prob-

REGULAR MAINTENANCE
and tension, then remove the handle. lems to find out if they are worsening with
time.
Baird recommends that owners and
But perhaps the most important thing the managers “review color coats at the base-
manager or owner of a new court needs to line area, which is the first area of the
know, say the experts, is that all tennis facil- court to wear. If the subgrade, either
ities—new or old—will require periodic asphalt or concrete, shows through, the
upkeep. (The March 2009 issue of RSI con- court needs to be resurfaced, usually
tains a “Court Maintenance Planner” for reg- every five to seven years. Too often, own-
ular court maintenance; the same chart also ers ignore little signs of trouble because
is in “Tennis Courts: A Construction and they see the court every day and don't
Maintenance Manual,” jointly published by really inspect it. That means the court can
the ASBA and USTA and available at deteriorate slowly.”
www.sportsbuilders.org.) What’s the most important tool to use
“Courts will not last forever. They need in keeping a court looking good? Commu-
maintenance,” says Zaino. “Plan for and nication. Encourage players to voice any
budget long-term care for the courts. Start concerns they have about the state of the
now with the builder to understand what facility. Take photos of anything question-
and when items need care, replacement and able and e-mail them to your court con-
budget costs and get on a program to take tractor, who can evaluate the situation or
care of these items.” come out for a consult.
Throughout the year, the surface should Remember that a little time now can
be kept free of debris, says David Baird of pay dividends in years to come. 
Industrial Surface Sealer Inc. in Cleveland.
“Outdoor courts must be kept free of leaves Note: The American Sports Builders Associ-
and algae,” he says. “The leaves sitting in a ation (ASBA) is a non-profit association
corner will stain the color, promote mildew helping designers, builders, owners, opera-
and let algae grow. The first signs of mildew tors and users understand quality sports
should be washed off with a mild solution of facility construction. The ASBA sponsors
TSP or other mild cleaner. Do not use informative meetings and publishes
bleach, as it will stain color coats.” newsletters, books and technical construc-
Make sure the area under the court stays tion guidelines for athletic facilities includ-
clean too, adds Baird. “Check drain tiles ing tennis courts. Available at no charge is
once per year. Put a hose in one of the clean- a listing of all publications offered by the
outs on the corner of the court.” Association, as well as the ASBA’s Member-
“We recommend you give your court a ship Directory. 866-501-ASBA (2722) or
thorough cleaning once per month,” adds www.sportsbuilders.org.

www.racquetsportsindustry.com September/October 2009 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 19


SOCIAL
COURT CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE

SERVICE Create opportunities to


interact and “social spaces”
and you’ll encourage people
to play more tennis and hang
around your facility.

D
BY MARY HELEN SPRECHER

oes your tennis facility have a social life? In other words, do and construction professionals, strive to create a “family room”
players enjoy one another’s company in addition to a good vibe, or perhaps more accurately, a “rec room”—with your tennis
courts (rather than the TV) providing the entertainment.

MAKE IT COMFORTABLE
game? Do they rest between sets or matches with a bottle of
water or an energy drink? Do they spend time relaxing and social-
izing after their match? Or do they simply show up, play and leave?
With new player initiatives in place, it’s more important now Comfortable seating is a must. (Note: comfortable seating means
than ever before to play up the social side of tennis. Otherwise, just that. It doesn’t mean sitting on the grass, on the court surface

back to the gym, or for a long, solitary run? Ten- Set the Social Scene…
what’s to stop newly-minted players from going or on narrow benches). For outdoor facilities,
shaded shelters should be provided, or alterna-
nis is not only a great sport, it’s a social game. Q Create conversation areas near the tively, tables with umbrellas that can be put up
Business arrangements have been made, courts with benches, chairs and or down according to spectators’ wishes.
friendships have formed and romantic partner- tables. If seating and social areas are located
ships have started over the net. Q Amenities such as mini-lockers with between courts, they should be positioned at the
Trouble is, that’s not taught by instructors. removable keys allow players to relax net line. Indoor facilities should have a deck or
So who gets to teach it? Pros, facility managers and spend more time together, know- viewing windows that overlook the courts so that
and others, who can help appoint and arrange ing their wallets, keys or cell phones
spectators can watch matches in progress with-
are secure.
Q Have plenty of hooks for jackets, ath-
facilities, and then provide programming to out having to enter the playing area.
attract and enhance the social aspect of the letic bags, etc. so that items are not “You need social space adjacent to the courts
game. piled on chairs or tables, which dis- but out of the way of play, so watchers feel com-
“Golf has done so much to play up on the courages others from sitting down. fortable and not in the way,” says John Welborn
‘19th hole’ idea that it’s almost an automatic Q Scatter around magazines or newspa- of Lee Tennis Court Products of Charlottesville,
that the game itself is just the beginning of the pers for players who are waiting for a Va. “Tables, grills, and social areas with space to
socializing. We need to better capitalize on that court, or who have finished playing.
in tennis,” says Tom Magner of DecoTurf in Q Furniture doesn’t have to be fancy,
lounge and keep drawboards and allow people
to gather is the key to taking the group past the
Andover, Mass. according to Rob Werner of Sportsline
players-only event.”
Inc. of Villanova, Pa. Werner sends a
To create a good space for socializing, make Water coolers or fountains, and machines
report from his colleague, Anthony
your courts the focal point. Players are already DeCecco of Tennis Addiction Tennis that dispense beverages and snacks, also will
interested in the game, and being able to watch Club: “We put in an old sofa and an keep users happy and increase the area’s appeal.
others on the court will keep them around and old chair and now we can’t get peo- Rest rooms or changing booths add to player
engaged. With that in mind, say facility design ple to leave.” and spectator comfort and keep people around.

20 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2009 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


COURT AMENITIES
Robert Hellerson of Century Sports in Lake-
wood, N.J., says facility managers can invite
player interaction with attractive landscaping,
and by providing extra amenities. “Near the
court, include such conveniences as score-
keepers, water coolers, court trash cans, out-
door clocks, and court valets to hold players’
keys, towels and beverages,” he adds. “And
don’t forget to have a weather-protected post-
ing area for player information.”
A bulletin board where upcoming events
can be advertised will create interest and gen-
erate opportunities for players to meet. Post
notices of lessons, leagues, upcoming tourna-
ments and so forth. Allow players who are
looking for partners to put up their informa-
tion as well.
The goal, according to Alex Levitsky of
Global Sports & Tennis Design Group, LLC in
Fair Haven, N.J., is “to extend the amount of
time a participant spends at the facility before
and after playing.”
According to Levitsky, various aspects of
tennis facilities will enhance the social life of
the game. A stadium or exhibition court, he
notes, encourages gathering as a group for a
particularly exciting match. And a clubhouse
“is an important part of any tennis facility. It

…Then Add Programming


Q Create events that bring players together and encourage
interaction: round-robins, mixed doubles, play the pros,
Cardio Tennis, etc.
Q Schedule these events monthly or weekly, and add onto
them, making them into pot-luck dinners or dessert nights.
Q Don’t forget youth activities; schedule fun kids’ program-
ming—including QuickStart Tennis and Junior Team Ten-
nis—or special teen nights.
Q Periodically have demo events. Invite vendors to bring in
new models of shoes, racquets, etc. so that members can
get together and test them out.
Q Invite a local sports medicine or nutrition professional to
give a talk to members; hold a casual reception afterward.

could be a modest structure that only includes


a toilet and a room where the facility manager
stores equipment, or it could be an elaborate
facility that also includes offices, locker rooms,
lobby, a pro shop, food service, etc.”
One of the added benefits of creating social
spaces that allow for good views of play in
progress and for meeting others, say industry
professionals, is that it gets non-players inter-
ested in tennis. If the game looks fun and the
pro’s office is close enough, only a few short
steps can turn a non-player into an enthusias-
tic beginner. Q

www.racquetsportsindustry.com September/October 2009 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 21


NO-FAULT
FASHION
APPAREL

Bold designs are a hallmark of the upcoming year’s newest


tenniswear. Feel and fit continue to be important to active players
and those who just want “the look.” Combining traditional looks with
cutting-edge fabrics and cuts are sure to attract a broad range of
consumers, both men and women.

FILA
BY CYNTHIA SHERMAN

Fila’s signature tradition-based Heritage collection for women features red, white
and peacoat blue and is made from a poly spandex jersey. A jacket, tank tops,
sleeveless polo with breathable mesh inserts, skorts, and cap-sleeve tops in these
bold hues, diagonal stripes and contrast trim are flattering and stylish.
The men’s Heritage collection offers six integrated pieces including a cotton
poly knit warm-up jacket and pants. The short-sleeve polo with Fila’s signature
printed window-pane design and rounded drop tail is the highlight of the collection.
Fila’s F-box Heritage patch logo is prominent on this polyester and

www.fila.com • 410-773-3000
poly/cotton/spandex line, which offers comfort, breathability and moisture-wicking.

PRINCE
Prince has three collections based on its
advanced Aerotech system, which allows ulti-
mate fit, UV protection and breathability and
ventilation. The Gold Collection, which is
what Prince touring pros are wearing,
boasts a more athletic fit with bold

JOFIT
colors and accents. The Silver Collec-
tion is a more relaxed line with fash-
ion accents. And the Black Collection is
designed around classic fit and com-
Jofit is a new line launched by former phys ed teacher Joanne Cloak.
fort—versatile enough for team and
Frustrated by clothing that didn’t fit correctly (not only for herself but
league play. Men’s shorts come in two
for other women), Cloak developed a golf collection in 2006 and then
a tennis line in 2008. Fabricated of “Jodry” Jersey poly spandex knit, lengths and are made from a
the pieces also feature moisture-management properties. The “tech poly/spandex blend. A half-zip men’s
pique” fabric has a soft cottony feel that isn’t clingy. Jofit makes skirts polo comes with mesh detailing in the
with three different lengths to accommodate different body types and collar and inserts along with flat seams
and color-contrast binding—again in
preferences, and some include built-in ball pockets. A variety of tops,

www.princetennis.com
poly/spandex blends.
sweaters, and bottoms in pinks and vibrant blues with flashes of yel-

www.jofit.com • 866-99-JOFIT 800-2-TENNIS


low round out this new addition to tennis apparel.

22 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2009 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


TAIL
Tail’s colorful Pacific Rim line

ELIZA AUDLEY
highlights shades of aquama-
rine, white and a bit of lime.
The performance Advantage
dress has a back mesh insert Eliza Audley’s stylish but comfy, haute-couture look
and modified racer back. The continues into next season with the finish and details
collection features dresses, she is known for. The sultry “Chocolate Covered Cher-
skirts/skorts, tanks, cap-sleeved ries” group (photographed by Deone Jahnke) features a
tops, polos, shorts, capri pants gathered tank in a printed tonal red fabric with built-in
and outerwear using cotton, bra. This unique piece can be paired with Audley’s
poly blends, spandex pique basic A-line skirt in white or black—with or without
and Invista Lycra Jersey blends. shorties. A “three-metal tank” with built-in bra displays
The flattering cut, feel, mois- a draped necklace stitching in white or black. A com-
ture-wicking, antimicrobial and panion sheer mesh petal layered skirt comes in white
UV protection add to the value or black with or without shorties. All are fabricated in a

www.tailactivewear.com www.Elizaaudley.com • 262-691-4770


of these versatile pieces. mostly micro-poly/spandex blend.

305-638-2650

BOLLE
Bolle’s bold black and white “White
Night” group is part of its high-per-
formance line. Dresses, skirts, ¾-
sleeve tops and racer-back tops go
for contrast. There is a pleated skirt
with contrasting hem that’s flirty,
stylish and comfortable. A varied
striped pattern on the tops echo the
trims on the skirt, and the racer-back
solid black dress carries over the
same black-and-white themed
stripes on the shoulders and side
insets. Paired with the solid black
and white, it makes dramatic state-

www.bolletenniswear.com
ments on and off the court.

301-362-0360

WILSON
Wilson’s new tennis line for 2010 is an expression of fit, fabric, finish and
detail. Wilson’s nanofiber technology benefits performance while offering
30+ UPF sun protection, moisture-wicking properties and anti-microbial
odor protection. Integrated ball pockets (women’s line), laser lamination
and perforation emphasize the details of their collections. The Men’s Core
Performance line offers similar details with “cooling zones,” and the
Spring and Summer lines are loaded with laser-cut details and burn-out
body mapping. Each line offers colors from vibrant to more muted—but
always complementary. Wilson also completes the line with new boys’

www.wilson.com • 800-333-8326
and girls’ collections with the same technical features.

www.racquetsportsindustry.com September/October 2009 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 23


Stringing Machines
Wilson Baiardo
This innovative machine has the features the machine, which is
adjusted automatically
and benefits of top units, with a unique based on the height of
the user that is
focus on ergonomics. entered into the
“Baiardo” is the name of a mythical Stringing Technology. machine’s computer.
The Baiardo is now the official The Baiardo auto-
horse that changes its size to match
machine of Wilson’s international string- matically changes
the size of its rider. Likewise, Wilson’s
ing team (made up of many of the best height for different
Baiardo stringing machine automatical-
stringers in the world), which strings for phases of stringing:
ly changes its height to match its user. many tour events (over 20 in 2009), one height when
It is designed with ergonomic features including the Australian Open and US you’re mount-
to make stringers more comfortable— Open. Wilson is so pleased by how the ing the
something it does better than any Baiardo has held up under these intense frame, a lit-
stringing machine ever built. conditions that the company offers a tle higher
In fact, the Baiardo is the biggest three-year warranty on the whole when installing
thing to happen to stringing machines in machine and extends the warranty to the mains, and finally even higher when
quite some time. It utilizes almost all the five years on the motors and sensors. you’re installing the crosses.

ASSEMBLY
features available on the most expensive The third motor causes the unit to
machines, then it adds features that tilt for different parts of the stringing
aren’t found on any other stringing Assembling the Baiardo was a breeze— process. It sits flat like a traditional
machine. we had it unpacked and assembled in machine when the user is mounting the
Wilson spent four years developing about 20 minutes—but it is a two-person racquet. It then tilts the entire upper
the Baiardo. job because of the weight. It arrived in unit toward the user at the same time
It didn’t two boxes: One approximately 75 that it raises for installing the mains.
want to pounds and the other about 50 pounds. This is designed to move the stringbed
develop a Inside we found an illustrated poster with into a position that reduces the user’s
machine that merely matched the capa- 16 steps for assembly. need to bend and twist. Finally, it tilts
bilities of the best and most popular We had no trouble interpreting the forward even more at the same time
machines on the market. Instead, it illustrations and found all of the parts, that it raises again for installing the
decided to re-invent the stringing supplies, and assembly tools in the crosses.
machine. The result was a focus on boxes. Stringing tools included starting The tilt and height positions for the
ergonomics that has never been done in clamp, diagonal cutters, needle-nose pli- three stringing modes (mounting,
this industry. ers, bent needle-nose pliers and awl, mains, crosses) are determined by for-
Wilson understood that a stringing with different color handles to help find mulas based on the height of the user
machine has to hold the racquet securely each when stacked in the tray. entered into the system. These formulas
and safely, pull tension on each string, The assembled machine has a clean, are based on the average dimensions of
and hold tension on each string as the sleek, professional look that would make the human body, but you can also cus-
user moves on to the next string. Since a great focal point in any stringing opera- tomize these settings. The machine can
there are already many machines that do tion. When we turned it on, parts of it remember all the settings for up to six
these things well, Wilson decided to started moving on their own as part of users.
focus on the comfort and convenience of its diagnostic check. The Baiardo features a multilingual

PROS
the stringer. touch-screen display and a menu sys-
It worked with experts in ergonomics tem that is icon-based, fairly intuitive,
and design to study the interaction The Baiardo has far too many positives and easy to remember when you’ve
between stringers and their machines. to list here, so we’ll cover some of the used it once or twice. With more play-
What it discovered was that stringers major ones. Be sure to visit ers using different tensions for mains
were exposed to a great deal of repetitive www.racquetsportsindustry.com for the and crosses, the Baiardo’s computer lets
activity in positions and processes that rest of the story. the user set the differential percentage
were not as ergonomically friendly as The Baiardo has three separate between the mains and crosses. Then,
they could be. Wilson even came up with motors. One controls the tension head, when the stringer switches from mains
a clever acronym for this ergonomic which is common to all electric stringing to crosses, the machine automatically
focus: BEST, for Biomechanically Efficient machines. Another controls the height of changes the tension accordingly.

24 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2009 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


The mounting, tensioning, and
clamping systems are world-class. The
Baiardo features a six-point mounting
system with 360-degree rotation, which
we found to be sturdy and one of the
quickest and easiest to use that we’ve
ever tested. With the included adapters,
the Baiardo can string tennis, racquet-
ball, squash and badminton frames.
We were especially impressed with
the stable turntable lock and the
turntable speed control. Baiardo uses
constant-pull tensioning that is accurate
and quick to make adjustments as our
strings stretched. It features a linear-pull
tensioner that requires less string length
than a rotational tensioner. The tension
head includes a nosecone to help
reduce the amount of pressure the ten-
sion jaws need to apply while tension-
ing.
Baiardo’s tensioning system fea-
tures multiple pull speeds, along with a
pre-stretch setting that works as well as
any we’ve seen. Baiardo also features
knot tensioning, a practice that seems
to be growing in popularity. Again,
Baiardo does this as a percentage of the
reference tension.
The most unique aspect of Baiardo’s
tensioning system is how the user can
manually adjust the calibration. Wilson
includes the instructions in the opera-
tor’s manual, and it’s simple, quick and
logical.
Baiardo’s clamping system is anoth-
er strong feature. It uses dual-swivel
dual-action clamps, which allow
stringers to handle any pattern. The
clamps use dual rollers to apply even
pressure across the width of the clamp.
And the clamping system offers anoth-
er relatively new feature that we appre-
ciate: At one end of each track that the
clamps move in, Baiardo has a pop-out
plug, making it quick and easy to
remove the clamp base(s).
The modular construction makes it
a little easier to pack up and take to a
tournament. But, the best part is that it
means you don’t have to send the
whole machine back to Wilson if some-
thing goes wrong; Wilson made it easy
to remove just the electronics for
replacement or repair.
Another big plus is a dedicated web-
site, www.Wilson.com/Baiardo, where
you can learn about the machine, see

www.racquetsportsindustry.com September/October 2009 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 27


demos, download the manual, the string. This is why we
etc. Eventually, Wilson wants were happy to see the but-
to have short videos showing ton that allows you to manu-
how to fix or service Baiardo. ally release the clamp base.

CONS
The Baiardo’s tool tray
isn’t big enough to conve-
As is the case with most pre- niently fit all the tools that
mium machines, the biggest come with it. Wilson tells us
drawback is that it is expen- they built in an option to
sive, with a retail price of attach a tray expander,
$6,000. However, Wilson says which when available they
it can bring that down as low will provide to Baiardo own-
as $4,000 for shops that buy ers for free.

CONCLUSION
certain amounts of other wrench (included) to release the pres-
Wilson products. sure.
Baiardo is not particularly light or The auto clamp base release can be a Overall, we are extremely impressed by
easily portable. But, it weighs about 124 little awkward when preparing to make Baiardo. It’s hard to believe this is the
pounds, about the same as other the first pull on a racquet. If you don’t first stringing machine developed by this
machines. maintain a small amount of tension on team at Wilson. You would really think
The mounting adjustment knobs pre- the string by hand, the clamp can fall these guys have been building machines
sent two concerns. First, the gearing of and release the base. Also, during string- for a long time.
the knobs creates such leverage that it is ing, we found that if you don’t align the But perhaps it is because this was
easy to overtighten. Second, the knobs clamp just right when clamping the their first machine that Wilson was able
do not taper, so it is possible for string to string, it doesn’t want to fall when you to truly start from scratch, think outside
become caught around them. But Wilson open the clamp. This means you have to the conventional rules, and develop a
built a hex screw in the center of the pull the clamp down by hand. But, if you unique machine that does so many
lower knob (which controls the outer pull it down with the base still locked, things no stringing machine has ever
supports), so a user can use a hex the clamp’s diamond dust can scratch done before. Q

26 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2009 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


String Playtest
Prince Hybrid Power EXP
Prince now combines one-half set of 16, measured 78 RDC units immediately
Prince Poly EXP and one-half set of Prince after stringing and 71 RDC units after 24
Premier LT as Prince Hybrid Power EXP. hours, representing a 9 percent tension
This string comes standard in demos of loss. Hybrid Power EXP added 16 grams to
the weight of our unstrung frame. the
the EXO3 Rebel, EXO3 Rebel Team, EXO3 crosses as we
The string was tested for five weeks by
Ignite, and EXO3 Ignite Team, which are worked, so straightening had to wait
41 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings
designed to be Prince’s player frames. In until after all the crosses had been installed.
from 3.5 to 6.0. These are blind tests, with
an earlier playtest (RSI, March 2009), Pre- playtesters receiving unmarked strings in One playtester broke samples during
mier LT received the highest overall score unmarked packages. Average number of stringing, six reported problems with coil
of any synthetic we had tested to date. hours playtested was 28.2. memory, five reported problems tying knots,
As for Poly EXP, it is made using a co- The Poly EXP feels thick to the touch, and one reported friction burn.

ON THE COURT
extrusion technology that allows Prince to but it strings up like a typical poly. The Pre-
combine different types of polyester materi- mier LT is much softer, of course, to the
als in the same string to create the perfect point that it can mush out a bit on blocked Judging solely by our playtester ratings,
poly for any player. holes. The surface of the Poly EXP is so Prince Hybrid Power EXP is definitely for
The target customer is the player looking smooth that we were unable to straighten players who are already using full poly setups
for the spin and control of a poly with or poly hybrids, and are looking to temper
improved comfort and playability. EASE OF STRINGING the poly experience with a softer string. That
Hybrid Power EXP is available in 17/16 (compared to other strings) is to say, while Touch/Feel and Comfort
in optic yellow/natural and gray/natural, Number of testers who said it was: scores were just average, Hybrid Power EXP
much easier 2 received a 5th-best score in Resistance to
although the same string combination is
somewhat easier 5 Movement, a 17th-best score in Tension
available in 18/17 as Prince Hybrid Spin
about as easy 22
EXP. Hybrid Power EXP is priced from $15 Retention, a 19th-best score in Durability,
not quite as easy 12
for sets of 22 feet/20 feet. Reels are avail- and well-above average scores in Power and
not nearly as easy 0
able. For more information or to order, con- Spin Potential, out of 135 published string
tact Prince at 800-2-TENNIS, or visit OVERALL PLAYABILITY playtest reports. These category scores com-
princetennis.com. Be sure to read the con- (compared to string played most often) bine to give Prince Hybrid Power EXP an
Number of testers who said it was: overall average score that is well above
clusion for more information about getting a
much better 1 average.
free set to try for yourself.
somewhat better 7

IN THE LAB
Yet, there is more to the story (as there
about as playable 12
often is with strings), with some of our
not quite as playable 17
We tested the 17/16 gauge Hybrid Power playtesters commenting on how comfortable
not nearly as playable 4
EXP. The coils measured 22’ (Poly EXP) and Hybrid Power EXP is, and one playtester
20’ (Premier LT). The diameters measured OVERALL DURABILITY admiring its qualities for feeding balls.
(compared to other strings Two players broke the sample during the
1.26-1.28 mm and 1.29-1.32 mm before
of similar gauge)
stringing, and 1.22-1.23 mm and 1.25-1.26 playtest period, one at six hours and one
Number of testers who said it was:
mm after stringing. We recorded a much better 7 at ten.

CONCLUSION
stringbed stiffness of 79 RDC units immedi- somewhat better 20
ately after stringing at 60 pounds in a Wil- about as durable 11
son Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 x 18 pattern) on a not quite as durable 2 Besides the great scores our playtest team
constant-pull machine. According to Prince, not nearly as durable 1 gave Prince Hybrid Power EXP, the com-
you can use Hybrid Power EXP with the ments we received about this string reveal a
RATING AVERAGES
Premier LT in the mains for comfort and somewhat surprising depth and complexity in
From 1 to 5 (best)
feel, but we tested it with the Poly EXP in Playability 3.4 this combination. Of course, being a hybrid,
the mains, which Prince claims is better for Durability (19th overall) 4.2 you could also string it up with the poly in the
control, endurance, and spin. We advised Power 3.4 crosses, and change the tensions around.
members of our playtest team to reduce the Control 3.5 Between the Poly EXP and the Premier LT,
tension on the mains by 5-10 percent. Comfort 3.0 you have two premium strings to help you
After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed Touch/Feel 3.0 get the stringbed characteristics you want.
Spin Potential 3.3 If you think that Prince Hybrid Power
stiffness measured 72 RDC units, represent-
Holding Tension (17th overall) 3.6 EXP might be for you, fill out the coupon to
ing a 9 percent tension loss. Our control
string, Prince Synthetic Gut Original Gold
Resistance to Movement (5th overall) 4.1
get a free set to try. —Greg Raven Q

28 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2009 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


TESTERS TALK
FREE PLAYTEST
STRING PROGRAM
player using Vantage VT231 strung at 54 pounds
“ ”
This hybrid has great feel and control. 4.0
male serve-and-volley player using Wilson nSix
CP (Natural Gut 16)
Prince will send a free set of
One Tour strung at 56/60 pounds LO (Wilson
Super Spin 16) “ Good power and control. Excellent durability. Hybrid Power EXP to


Not enough feel. 4.5 male all-court player
using Babolat Drive Z Cortex strung at 54/58
USRSA members
who cut out (or copy) this coupon

“ This string has a wonderful feel. Very low pounds CP (Babolat Addiction 17) and mail it to:


vibration. Remarkable bite. 3.5 male baseliner
with heavy spin using Dunlop Aerogel 2 Hundred
USRSA
strung at 58 pounds CP (Tecnifibre NRG2 16) “ Decent tension maintenance and no string
movement. The feel is much softer than one
Attn: Prince String Offer,
330 Main Street,

“ Very crisp! Great power on serves. Tension ”


would expect, given the polyester mains. 4.5
male all-court player using Prince O3 Speedport
Vista, CA 92084
or fax to 760-536-1171,
maintenance is excellent. I would definitely rec- Black (port inserts) strung at 60 pounds LO or email the info below to
ommend this to my customers, especially string (Prince Premier w/Softflex 16) stringsample@racquet tech.com
breakers.
” 4.0 female serve-and-volley player
using Head i.S6 OS strung at 50 pounds CP
(Gamma Live Wire 16) “ This string plays very firm. Feel, touch, and Offer expires 30 Sep 2009
Offer only available to USRSA

control are on the low side. 4.0 male all-court
player using Pro Kennex Core 1 No. 10 strung at members in the US.

“ This is the perfect string for the aggressive


baseliner. Big swings are rewarded with great
62 pounds LO (Pacific X Force/Gosen OG-Sheep
Micro Super JC 18/17)
Name:
USRSA Member number:

control. The feel is slightly lacking. 5.0 male
all-court player using Wilson nTour Two strung at Phone:
58 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut Original 16) “ Not enough ‘pop.’ The response is too dead.
The soft feel might make it a good option for
Email:
If you print your email clearly,

“ This is a firm string with low power. Great ”


those with tendon problems. 4.5 male all-
court player using Prince O3 Speedport Black
we will notify you when your sample
will be sent.
control and spin. Recommended to college play- (hole inserts) strung at 50 pounds LO (Head Sonic

ers and string breakers. 5.0 male all-court Pro 17) For the rest of the tester comments, visit
www.racquetsportsindustry.com.

www.racquetsportsindustry.com September/October 2009 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 29


Tips & Techniques
Readers’ Know-How in Action
THE YUSUKI METHOD OF
STARTING A STRING JOB
starting clamp is outside of the frame,
there are no visible marks on the main
I learned this from my good friend Toru string, other than what is left from the
Yusuki while stringing at tournaments. string clamp.
Instead of putting the starting clamp 5 sets of Gamma Synthetic Gut with Wear-
behind the string clamp to eliminate slip- guard 16 to:
page when starting a string job, start by Vince Chiarelli, MRT, Largo, FL
pulling tension on both first mains at the
same time. Then, if for example you nor- Editor’s note: This method does mean you
mally install the short-side mains first, put will be doing one additional pull when start-
your string clamp and starting clamp on ing the mains, but it is invaluable with
the first long-side main while it’s still under machines such as the Babolat Sensor and
tension, positioning the machine clamp as Wilson Baiardo that feature base clamps
normal at the far end of the racquet from that release automatically when the string
the tension head, and starting clamp out- clamps drop down, and it is very helpful on
side the frame, between the frame and the Prince’s O3 racquets where the location of
tension head. After you release the tension the limp string can be very different from
head, there will be enough tension in the long-side mains, you start by double- its location when tensioned due to the size
string to hold both clamps in place. clamping the first short-side main. of the O-Ports.

GROMMET STRIP TOOL


Proceed to install the short side mains The benefits are that you don’t have to
as normal. After installing two or three put the first clamp on a limp string, you
mains on that side, go back to the other are clamping the string in the same line Here is a tool I made that will help you
side, re-tension the first main, remove the where it will be when you are done, and install the ends of a grommet strip. The ends
starting clamp, and continue as usual. that first clamp doesn’t take all the force of the grommet strip never seem to be long
Obviously, if you normally start with the of the first pull by itself. Also, because the enough and require the heat of a hairdryer

28 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY August 2009


to stretch them. This tools helps to stretch
the grommet strip without cooking your
fingers. It can be made very easily and
inexpensively as follows:
Materials:
• 1 – 8-inch bolt about 5-16-inches in
thickness
• 1 – hex key small enough to fit into
the grommet hole
• Electrical tape
Directions: Tips and Techniques submitted since 2000 by USRSA
1. Bend one end of the 8-inch bolt 90 members, and appearing in this column, have all
been gathered into a single volume of the Stringer’s
degrees. This makes it easier to pull. Digest—Racquet Service Techniques which is a bene-
2. File or grind the other end of the bolt fit of USRSA membership. Submit tips to: Greg
so it is flat and about 1/8-inches thick. Raven, USRSA, 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92804; or
email greg@racquettech.com.
3. Drill a hole the size of the hex key in
the end of the bolt.
4. Install the hex key though the hole
and tape the key to the bolt.
To use this tool, put the end of the hex
key into one of the grommet holes in the
grommet strip and pull as you heat the
strip with the heat gun.
5 sets of Wilson Sensation 16 to:
Greg Christopherson, Oceanside, CA

CLEANER CLEAN-UP

I found a wonderful cleaner for the


black, sticky mess left behind by an
ancient replacement grip that had
become smeared all over the frame.
Casual Clean is an outdoor furniture
cleaner. It cuts through the gunk and
even removes old stencil ink from the
patio table I was using.
10 3-packs of Tourna Grip to:
Paula Powell, Fort Lauderdale, FL
—Greg Raven Q

www.racquetsportsindustry.com September/October 2009 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 31


Your Serve
Technology Smokescreen?
A tennis physicist says racquet company marketing claims may have little
meaning in a scientific sense and may not be serving players.

R
BY ROD CROSS

ecent issues of RSI have included ably agree that it will, but the physics of the that the racquet feels terrible if the dampen-
nice summaries of the different situation says there are only two basic ways er is removed. Players who don’t use a
technologies used by various rac- to increase the ball speed by 5%. One way dampener say that the racquet feels terrible
quet companies. As a physicist, I know that is to swing the racquet 5% faster. The other if a dampener is added. In either case, the
the most important physical properties of a way is to increase the swing weight of the player confuses the feel of the racquet with
racquet are its mass, length, swing weight, its sound. If the dampener is stuck to the
head size and stiffness. Together with “Some of the throat of the racquet with tape, rather than
string type and tension, these are the being inserted in the strings, then sound will
things that determine how a racquet per- improvements that are be different but the feel and performance of
forms.
I also know that these physical proper-
quoted … have no the racquet will be the same. In any case,
dampeners are too light to have any signifi-
ties and the performance of a racquet can meaning in an cant effect on racquet performance.
be measured, and so can the differences The feel of a racquet is affected by its
between different racquets. I would there- engineering or weight, its swing weight and its stiffness. It
fore expect that the various technologies
used by the racquet companies, if they
scientific sense, and is also affected by the type of grip used. The
stiffness affects the level of vibrations in the
are of any real benefit to a player, could leave me feeling that I handle that occur after the ball leaves the
be described in terms of the above prop- strings. Excessive vibration feels uncomfort-
erties. am being conned.” able and the player won’t like it, even if the
But given that these properties are ball comes off the strings as fast as with any
rarely mentioned in the advertising litera- racquet, by making the racquet head heav- other racquet. For that reason, much of the
ture, I wonder if the tennis industry is ier. Either way, the player will need to work effort that goes into the design of a racquet
being well-served by advances in technol- a bit harder to get an increase in the ball is aimed at reducing handle vibrations,
ogy, or whether it is more of a smoke- speed. thereby improving the feel of the racquet. If
screen. Some of the improvements that A decrease in string tension will also help the player hits the ball at the sweet spot in
are quoted, such as "30% more feel," to increase the ball speed off the strings, but the middle of the strings, then the racquet
have no meaning in an engineering or sci- the effect is very small and it leads to a small won’t vibrate at all. But most recreational
entific sense, and leave me feeling that I decrease in ball control. An increase in rac- players hit the ball all over the string plane,
am being conned. quet stiffness will increase ball speed off the in which case any technology that helps
The actual performance of a racquet tip of a racquet, by reducing the energy lost reduce racquet vibrations will feel good,
can be measured in terms of ball speed, to racquet vibrations, but it has no effect on even if there is no difference in racquet
ball spin and rebound angle. The question ball speed off the middle of the strings. performance. Q
that players should ask is how each tech- There are certain properties of a racquet
nology affects the speed, spin and direc- that have nothing to do with ball speed, spin Physicist Rod Cross retired in
tion of the ball as it comes off the racquet. or direction, but that do affect the choice of 2003 as an honorary member
of the Sydney University staff
If the technology makes no difference, or the racquet that a player prefers. Players are
and continues to work on the
if the difference is too small to measure, sensitive to the feel of a racquet, and they physics of sport and forensic
then there may be no real advantage. are also sensitive to the sound of a racquet. physics. He is the co-author
Suppose that a manufacturer comes up If a racquet doesn’t feel right or if it doesn’t of “Technical Tennis” and
with a racquet that delivers 5% more sound right, then the player won’t like it. “The Physics and Technology of Tennis.”
power, in the sense that the ball comes The main way to affect the sound is to
off the strings 5% faster. Will that actually add or remove a string dampener. Players We welcome your opinions. Please email
comments to RSI@racquetTECH.com or fax
benefit a player? Most players would prob- who normally use a string dampener say them to 760-536-1171.

32 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY September/October 2009 www.racquetsportsindustry.com