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April 2010

Volume 38 Number 4 $5.00


www.racquetsportsindustry.com

STATE OF THE INDUSTRY

Brand Management
Manufacturers
Manufacturers face
face key
key issues
issues that
that
affect
affect all
all areas
areas of
of this
this business
business

2010 Racquet Selection Map


What Gear Do The Pros Use?
Contents R S I

INDUSTRY NEWS
A P R 2 0 1 0

7 Head to launch
Star Series frames
7 Hall of Fame
announces class of 2010
FEATURES
8 PTR presents annual awards
20 What the Top Pros Are Using
What are the top pros using on court? Here are the 8 Babolat updates
racquets, shoes and clothes the top 20 men and Propulse, Team shoes
women use.
29 Racquet Selection Map 9 ATP Tour signs Corona
Our exclusive map enables you to find the perfect Extra as major partner
racquet for your customers quickly and easily.
10 Short Sets

SPECIAL REPORT: 10 Roddick, Hingis top


WTT draft picks
STATE OF THE INDUSTRY
11 USPTA pros raise
23 Brand Management $4 million for charity
For industry manufacturers, the economic storm may
be clearing, but they’re not putting away the foul- 12 Peoplewatch
weather gear just yet.
12 Ashaway introduces
light badminton string
12 Upcoming industry schedule
13 Babolat launches
RPM Blast string
14 PTR to host second Tennis
Club & Facility conference

DEPARTMENTS 18 USRSA Members


4 Our Serve 34 Tips and Techniques
7 Industry News 36 Ask the Experts
13 Letters 38 String Playtest: Unique Quasi-Gut
16 TIA News & Updates 40 Your Serve, by Kent Oswald

2 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


Our Serve

M
Industry Gathering Points (Incorporating Racquet Tech and Tennis Industry)

arch 1 was a busy day for tennis. The BNP Publishers


David Bone Jeff Williams
Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup
was held in New York’s Madison Square Garden Editorial Director
Peter Francesconi
that evening, and earlier in the day, the TIA had a board
Associate Editor
meeting at a hotel across the street from MSG. Greg Raven
TIA board members heard about new research that the industry is doing
Design/Art Director
(some of it appears in this issue on page 16 and in the story on pages 23-27), and
Kristine Thom
Jolyn de Boer, the TIA’s executive director, addressed the challenges and realities
each segment of the industry faces, along with specific action being taken. She Contributing Editors
Robin Bateman
also updated members on three task forces formed a year ago to address press-
Cynthia Cantrell
ing issues in this industry: Economic Growth, Frequent Player Growth, and Com-
Joe Dinoffer
munications/Positioning. Each task force can point to some progress and action Liza Horan
on specific items they’ve worked on (see page 17). But the work continues. Greg Moran
Special guests at the meeting included USTA Chairman and President Lucy Bob Patterson
Garvin, USTA Executive Director Gordon Smith, and ITF Executive Director for Cynthia Sherman
Mary Helen Sprecher
Tennis Development Dave Miley. Garvin gave a brief update on recent moves
within the USTA to bring together Professional Tennis and Community Tennis RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY
assets, and also spoke about the long-range plan to update the USTA Billie Jean Corporate Offices
King National Tennis Center. Miley went through “Play & Stay,” the ITF’s version 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084
of QuickStart Tennis, and said a proposed ITF rule change for 2012 will mandate Phone: 760-536-1177 Fax: 760-536-1171
Email: RSI@racquetTECH.com
the use of transition balls for ITF-sanctioned 10-and-under events.
Website: www.racquetTECH.com
The next morning, there was a smaller meeting with a few manufacturers and
Office Hours: Mon.-Fri.,8 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific Time
retailers about retailer concerns. One of the areas the TIA wants to focus on and
help to improve is the state of tennis retail in the U.S. This meeting was a solid Advertising Director
step toward increased dialogue and possible creation of a retailer panel. John Hanna
The BNP Paribas Showdown on the night of March 1 was a fun event, with 770-650-1102, x.125
hanna@knowatlanta.com
Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ana Ivanovic. (Ivanovic
was a replacement for Serena Williams, who pulled out due to injury.) The no-ad Apparel Advertising
scoring format kept things moving and made the timing of the event much more Cynthia Sherman
predictable. The two semifinals were one set each, while the final (Williams beat 203-263-5243
Clijsters) was best of three no-ad sets. cstennisindustry@earthlink.net
Jerry Solomon, president of StarGames, which presented the Showdown, Racquet Sports Industry is published 10 times per
hopes that in the future, the event can be expanded into a bigger showpiece and year: monthly January through August and com-
bined issues in September/October and Novem-
focal point for the sport and the industry. He envisions all sorts of activities sur-
ber/December by Tennis Industry and USRSA, 330
rounding the event. (Like last year, this year’s Showdown coincided with the
Main St., Vista, CA 92084. Application to Mail at
USTA’s Tennis Night in America and Youth Registration into summer tennis pro- Periodicals Postage Prices is Pending at Vista, CA and
grams.) additional mailing offices. April 2010, Volume 38,
This industry needs these types of exhibitions and events that are able to Number 4 © 2010 by USRSA and Tennis Industry. All

show tennis its best—while also linking to the grassroots game. But also, as an rights reserved. Racquet Sports Industry, RSI and
logo are trademarks of USRSA. Printed in the U.S.A.
industry, we need these types of gathering points. When players, teaching pros,
Phone advertising: 770-650-1102 x 125. Phone circu-
manufacturers, retailers, court builders, media, pro tours and associations get lation and editorial: 760-536-1177. Yearly subscrip-
together like this, we all benefit. tions $25 in the U.S., $40 elsewhere. POSTMASTER:
Send address changes to Racquet Sports Industry,
330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084.

Peter Francesconi
Editorial Director
RSI is the official magazine of the USRSA, TIA,and ASBA

4 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


R S I A P R I L 2 0 1 0

INDUSTRY NEWS
INFORMATION TO HELP YOU RUN YOUR BUSINESS

Hall of Fame to Induct Head to Launch Star Series Frames


Doubles Stars, n early May, Head plans to introduce to
Wheelchair Leader
The International Tennis Hall of
Fame class of 2010 will include
I consumers its new YouTek Star Series
racquets, which the company says
has revolutionary technologies that will
help the game of players with shorter,
two doubles teams, Todd Wood-
bridge-Mark Woodforde and Gigi more compact swing styles. The three
Fernandez-Natasha Zvereva, for- frames are the YouTek Six Star, Five Star
mer player Owen Davidson, and Three Star.
wheelchair tennis pioneer Brad Key technologies include “QuadFace,”
Parks, and, posthumously, former which extends the stringbed at key points
British Lawn Tennis Association of the frame, provid-
Chairman Derek Hardwick. YouTek Six Star ing longer strings and
Features: d3o, Inner an enlarged sweetspot
The inductees for 2010 were
QuadFace, Outer Quad- that results in more power,
announced on March 1, in Madi-
Face, 4-Part Control says Head. “Inner Quad-
son Square Garden in New York
City, during the BNP Paribas Ring, MultiZone Grip Face” is an indentation on the
Showdown for the Billie Jean Head size: 107 sq. in. inside of the frame that allows
King Cup. The two doubles teams Weight: 9 oz. the strings to be more flexible
are in the Recent Player category, String pattern: 16/19 before reaching the grommets
Davidson is in the Master Player for a more forgiving sweetspot.
category, and Parks and Hardwick YouTek Five Star “Outer Quadface” exends the out-
are in the Contributor category. Features: d3o, Inner side of the frame to allow the
“In recognition of their competi- QuadFace, Outer Quad- strings to be longer, providing
tions and contributions, the Class Face, 2-Part Control more consistent power, says the
of 2010 is a tribute to the game Ring, MultiZone Grip company.
of doubles and to wheelchair ten- Head size: 107 sq. in. The “Control Ring”—either
nis,” said Christopher Clouser, Weight: 9 oz. two-piece or four-piece, depend-
chairman of the International Ten- String pattern: 16/19 ing on the racquet model—is designed to
nis Hall of Fame & Museum. “The
reduce string deformation for added control
Recent Players and Master Player YouTek Three Star and accuracy. The third new technology is the
achieved an incredible record of Features: d3o, Inner
doubles wins. In the Contributor “MultiZone Grip,” a smooth, sweat-absorbing
QuadFace nonslip surface for greater comfort and control.
Category, we are pleased to
Head size: 115 sq. in.
honor individuals who led two YouTek frames also use Head’s d3o “smart material,”
important evolutions of the game Weight: 8.3 oz. which Head says changes its behavior under dynamic loading
through the creation of wheel- String pattern: 16/19 or impact. The material “senses” the needs of a player during dif-
chair tennis and the initiation of ferent strokes. On aggressive shots, the molecules lock together to increase
the Open Era.” stiffness and provide power; on slower-speed shots the molecules absorb impact and provide a
The Hall of Fame’s 2010 Induction softer touch for better feel, says Head.
Ceremony will be July 10 in New- Head officials say champions Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi were an integral part of the devel-
port, R.I., during the final week- opment team for the Star Series of frames. Both legends will be featured in three online teaser
end of the Campbell’s Hall of videos to consumers, which will run from April 12 to 30, prior to the consumer launch in May.
Fame Tennis Championships (July Consumers can go to head.com/stars to learn about the frames and hear and see Agassi and
5-11). Visit www.tennisfame.com Graf explain the technologies and features in a series of four videos. Each video will contain a clue
for info and tickets. that, when pieced together, will allow consumers to enter a contest to win an on-court session with
Agassi and Graf in Las Vegas.

www.racquetsportsindustry.com April 2010 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 7


A P R I L 2 0 1 0

PTR Presents Annual Awards Babolat Updates Propulse, Team Shoes


INDUSTRYNEWS

T he PTR presented its annual awards


in February during the 2010 PTR
B abolat has updated its Propulse and Team range high-per-
formance tennis shoes. The Propulse range is the compa-
ny’s highest performing line.
International Tennis Symposium at
Andy Roddick wore the
PTR Headquarters on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The event
new Propulse 2 Titanium,
included 50-plus on-court and classroom presentations for ten-
the most popular in the
nis teachers and coaches, a tennis trade show and $25,000
range, at this year’s Aus-
Championships. PTR award winners are:
Master Professional Ron Manilla Charlottesville, VA tralian Open. The
Propulse 2 Titanium (sug-
Propulse 2 Titanium
Professional of the Year Herbert Schnaubelt Meran, Italy
Clinician of the Year Butch Staples Chicago, IL gested retail $109, junior
Tester of the Year Jose Naranjo San Jose, Costa Rica version $60) is designed for
Humanitarian Award David Altschuler Peabody, MA
players who move with
Wheelchair Pro of the Year Dan James Oakdale, Minn.
Volunteer of the Year Dr. Glenn Roswal Jacksonville, AL speed and aggression on
Coach Jim Verdieck Touring the court. The Propulse 2
Pro Coach of the Year Brian De Villiers Atlanta, GA White ($109) is a more

Propulse Lady 2 Parma


Coach Jim Verdieck College classic all-white look, but fea-
Coach of the Year Frank Barnes Janesville, WI
tures the same technology as
Coach Jim Verdieck High
School Coach of the Year Wendy Thomas Albuquerque, NM the Propulse 2 Titanium.
Male Player of the Year Karl Hale Toronto, Canada Also in the line is the
Male Player of the Decade Zbynek Mlynarik Chatsworth, CA Propulse Lady 2 Parma
Female Player of the Decade Diane Fishburne Charleston, SC ($104), an all-surface
Public Facility of the Year DeWitt Tennis Center Holland, MI
women’s shoe with new

Team All Court Style Reverse


Private Facility of the Year The Polo Club Boca Raton, FL
PTR/USTA Community touches of purple for 2010,
Service Award Mary Conaway Reston, VA worn by pro Nadia Petrova. This shoe has
PTR/TIA Commitment Propulse 2 technologies with materials and fit specifically
to the Industry Mike Woody Midland, MI designed for the female foot.
In addition, PTR recognized several State Members of the Key Propulse features include “Foot Belt” technology for
Year for their contributions to the organization in their respec- precise and adjustable foot support, Exact Pro for an extra
tive states. They are: strong spring and Michelin technology in the sole for grip and
AK – Colin Gillam IN – Desmond Evans OR – Anni Miller
durability.
AZ – Larry Funk KY – Federico Mas PA – Lisa Duncan
CA – Paul Allam LA – Richard Verzaal SC – Graham Cox New in the Team range is the Team All Court Style Reverse
CT – Jack Waite MD – Aaron Hutt TN – Orlando Lourenco ($89, junior model $50), an offbeat look for the Team All Court
CO – Rich Berman MA – Lance Andersen TX – Todd Carlson 4 because the left and right shoes are asymmetrical. Other
FL – Devin Reddick MI – David Brouwer VT – Scott Colebourne Team Range models include Team Clay 4, Team All Court 4,
GA – Craig S. Jones MS – Amy Williams HI – Ron Romano
Team All Court 4 White, Team Lady 3 and Team Junior 4.
MO – Donna Austin ID – Adam King NH – Debbie Lloyd
IL – Oliver Stephens NY – John Curtis

COLLEGE TENNIS ROUNDUP


N Tournament host University of Virginia captured its third Division 1
ITA National Men's Indoor Championship title after defeating the
fifth-seeded Tennessee Volunteers in Februrary. Sanam Singh, a junior
at the University of Virginia, received the ITA Sportsmanship Award.

N The University of Northwestern captured its second consecutive Divi-


sion 1 ITA National Women's Indoor Championship title after defeat-
ing unseeded North Carolina at the A.C. Nielsen Tennis Stadium,
hosted by the University of Wisconsin. Amanda Granson, a senior at
Duke University, received the ITA Sportsmanship Award.

N Top-seeded and top-ranked UC-Santa Cruz captured its third ITA


National Division III Men's Team Indoor title with a 6-2 victory over
Washington University in the 2010 championship in February hosted
by Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota.

N Top-seeded Emory University captured the 2010 ITA National Division


Back row, from left: PTR CEO Dan Santorum, Butch Staples, Dr. Mark
Kovacs, Ron Manilla, Dan James, Frank Barnes, Herbert Schnaubelt;
front row: David Altshuler, Jean Mills (The Polo Club), Jose Naranjo, III Women's Team Indoor title with a 6-3 win over the University of
Jorge Capestany (DeWitt Tennis Center). Photo by Clive Carrigan.
Chicago. The event was held at DePauw University in Indiana.

8 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


INDUSTRY NEWS

Corona Extra Is Major ATP Partner


C orona Extra, the world’s No. 1 Mexican beer brand, is the new global premier part-
ner of the ATP World Tour. As part of the 5½-year agreement, which begins later
this year, Corona Extra becomes the official beer sponsor of the ATP World Tour and
will have significant presence at tour events around the world, including net branding
and other marketing rights.
“We have admired the success of the sport in recent years and view the ATP
World Tour as a terrific platform for us globally,” said José Parés, chief sales and mar-
keting officer for Grupo Modelo, maker of Corona Extra. Corona Extra has been a
sponsor of ATP tournaments in Acapulco for 16 years and Toronto for four years.

Girls Night Out at Madison Square Garden


As part of Tennis Night in America and the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean
King Cup at Madison Square Garden on March 1, USTA Eastern held a "Girls Night Out"
panel discussion. A group of 100
of the top-ranked girls in the
USTA Eastern section, ages 12 to
18, attended the forum. Panelists
included (from left) Olympic skat-
ing champ Nancy Kerrigan; Ilana
Kloss, chair of the Women's
Sports Foundation; tennis champ
and commentator Mary Joe Fer-
nandez; WTA Chairman and CEO
Stacey Allaster; and Katrina
Adams, executive director of
Harlem Jr. Tennis and Education.

www.racquetsportsindustry.com April 2010 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 9


A P R I L 2 0 1 0

SHORT SETS Roddick, Hingis, Davenport


INDUSTRYNEWS

> The U.S. Davis Cup team that took on


Serbia March 5-7 were all Prince players,
>andJohn Isner and James Blake, the second-
fourth-ranked American men’s tennis
Top WTT Draft Picks
using racquets that featured O-Technology.
John Isner, ranked No. 20, plays with the O3
players, have committed to play the 2010
Atlanta Tennis Championships. The Atlanta
A ndy Roddick, Mar-
tina Hingis and
Lindsay Davenport
White and Sam Querrey, ranked No. 22, uses event, owned and operated by USTA South-
were selected as the
the O3 Hybrid Tour. Bob and Mike Bryan ern, will serve as the kick-off to the 2010
top three overall picks in the 2010 World
joined Prince in 2007 and last fall switched Olympus US Open Series and will be held at
TeamTennis Pro League Marquee Player
to the EXO3 Ignite Team 95 frame, prior to the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek,
Draft, held in February. The Philadelphia
winning the ATP World Tour Finals in Ga., from July 19 to 25. USTA Southern pur-
Freedoms picked Roddick with the overall
November and the Australian Open earlier chased the sanction for the ATP World Tour
No. 1 selection while the New York Buzz
this year. 250 tournament in December. It had been
chose Hingis with the second pick and
held in Indianapolis.
> Birmingham, Ala., has been selected as the St. Louis Aces took Lindsay Davenport
the site for the 2010 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas
semifinal tie between the U.S. and Russia,
> The Family Circle Cup has selected Vapor
Apparel to manufacture and design its 2010
with the third pick.
The WTT Pro League, co-founded by
April 24-25. The matches will be played at apparel for this year's tournament, held April Billie Jean King, is a professional co-ed
the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Com- 10-18 in Charleston, S.C. Vapor Apparel is sports league featuring three generations
plex Arena, which will be hosting a Fed Cup based in North Charleston. of tennis stars playing in a team format
event for the first time. The venue also was in 10 U.S. markets. The 2010 WTT Pro
the site for the 2009 Davis Cup by BNP
>Program
More than $34,000 in USTA Wheelchair
grants has been awarded to 23 League begins July 5, concluding with the
Paribas first-round tie between the U.S. and wheelchair tennis programs across the coun- WTT Championship Finals on July 25.
Switzerland. The Tennis Channel will present try. Grants were awarded to local organiza- Prior to today's Marquee Draft, two
live daily coverage of the U.S. vs. Russia Fed tions that promote and develop the growth teams made big moves with last-minute
Cup semifinal. of wheelchair tennis and use the sport of trades. The 2009 WTT Champion Wash-
ington Kastles acquired the rights from
> Babolat signed a two-year contract to
become presenting sponsor of the Road to
tennis to build stronger, healthier communi-
ties. Additional USTA Wheelchair Tennis Philadelphia for Venus Williams, who
the “Little Mo'” Nationals and the “Little Grant opportunities will be announced in now joins her sister Serena on the Kas-
Mo” International Open tennis tournament. 2010. Email wheelchairinfo@usta.com for tles lineup. The New York Sportimes
The “Little Mo” is open to any player from more information. picked up the rights for 2009 US Open
around the world who is 8 to 11 years old. Champion Kim Clijsters in a deal with
The tournament has special meaning for
>tennisPeteroperations
Burwash International will direct
at the new Hyatt Regency
the St. Louis Aces.
Babolat’s top U.S. men’s player, Andy Rod- For more details and information,
Curaçao Golf Resort, Spa and Marina, open- visit www.WTT.com.
dick—he won “Little Mo” in 1992 at age ing April 20. The luxury resort's tennis facili-
10. ty will feature four state-of-the-art
>its The USPTA is accepting nominations for
2010 National Awards Program. The
HydroGrid clay courts, all lit for night play,
and a full-service pro shop.
U.S. Knocked Out
awards are presented in every facet of the Early in Davis Cup
>houseTifosito Optics Inc. has added Tennis Ware-
tennis business in which USPTA members
work. Deadline for nominations is July 2.
Recipients will be honored during the annu-
its domestic and international deal-
er base. Tifosi Optics offers tennis-specific S erbia dashed U.S. hopes in Davis
Cup with a 3-2 win over the Ameri-
cans in the first round in Belgrade. It’s
technology in over 40 models featuring the
al awards breakfast at the USPTA World GT™ lens tint, to make it easier to see the the first time since 2005 that the U.S.
Conference Sept. 27-Oct. 2 in La Quinta, ball in flight and on the court. was eliminated in the first round. John
Calif. Award nomination forms and guide- Isner and Sam Querrey lost their open-
lines are available at www.uspta.com. >annualThe “Heroes
Sony Ericsson WTA Tour’s second
Among Us” global cam-
ing-day singles matches, but Bob and
Mike Bryan kept the Americans in it by
>software
Active Network, a leading provider of
technology and marketing solu-
paign, which recognizes parents, teachers, winning the doubles point. On the last
coaches and community leaders who have day, Isner fell in five sets to Novak
tions for community service organizations, encouraged young women to pursue their
will be the exclusive advertising representa- Djokovic to seal the win for Serbia. Quer-
dreams, is accepting nominations. To submit rey won the abbreviated fifth match.
tive for the USTA’s official website, a nomination, visit www.sonyericssonwta-
USTA.com. Active Media + Marketing, a divi- Serbia advances to the quarterfi-
tour.com/heroesamongus. Five finalists will nals, where it will meet Balkan rival
sion of the Active Network, will manage be announced on Oct. 1, then fans can vote
USTA.com’s online advertising inventory, and Croatia in July. The U.S. will play in the
online for the winner, who will receive a World Group Playoffs Sept. 17-19, to
USTA.com will join Active.com’s family of prize package for two to the Sony Ericsson
media properties targeting people who par- compete for a spot in the 2011 Davis
Championships in Doha, Qatar. Cup World Group.
ticipate in sports and activities.

10 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


USRSA NEWS

USPTA Pros Raise


$4 Million for Charity
I n 2009, USPTA
teaching pros
raised just over $4
million for charity
through the associa-
tion’s Lessons for Life program.
“Our members continue to stay
committed to raising money for
important charitable causes, while at
the same time bringing their commu-
nities together through these efforts
with tennis,” says Diane Selke, Les-
sons for Life chair, USPTA Master Pro-
fessional and head tennis
professional at Valley Country Club in
Aurora, Colo.
A variety of charities benefit each
year from the USPTA’s Lessons for
Life program, including the American
Cancer Society, Cystic Fibrosis Foun-
dation, Juvenile Diabetes Research
Foundation, Tim & Tom Gullikson
Foundation, Mothers Against Drunk
Driving, Scripps Stevens Cancer Cen-
ter, and many other national and
local charities.
Lessons for Life became USPTA’s
national charitable program in 1999.
The USPTA and its members have
raised more than $40 million since
the program’s inception.

Obama Names Solomon


To Arts/Humanities Group
C able industry veteran Ken Solomon,
who is the CEO and chairman of Ten-
nis Channel, was sworn in as a member
of President Obama’s Committee on the
Arts and the Humanities recently in the
U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Stephen
Breyer administered the oath to commit-
tee members, including Solomon, who
also is chairman of Ovation, the only tel-
evision network dedicated to art and
contemporary culture.
As a member of the President’s
Committee on the Arts and the Human-
ities, Solomon and his fellow committee
members will work with federal cultural
agencies and civic, corporate, founda-
tion, and private funders to further the
U.S.’s national investment in its cultural
life.

www.racquetsportsindustry.com April 2010 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 11


A P R I L 2 0 1 0

P E O P L E W AT C H
INDUSTRYNEWS

• Roy Barth of Charleston, S.C., has joined the PTR • Lee Schlazer is the new vice president, distribution for the Tennis
board of directors as treasurer, replacing Skip Channel. He comes to Tennis Channel from Lifetime Entertainment
Hartman of New York City, who served in the Services, where he was vice president of national accounts and
position from 2003. Barth, a former pro player field sales for the western region.
(ranking as high as No. 8 in singles and No. 2 in
doubles) and junior champion, became the tennis • Marat Safin, the charismatic winner of two major singles titles
director at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in 1976 and and one of 24 men to rank No. 1 in the world, made his debut on
currently runs two tennis centers, with 28 courts, at Kiawah. He the Champions Series tennis circuit at the 2010 Rio Champions
was named PTR Pro of the Year in 1990 and selected as a PTR Cup played March 12-14 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Master Pro in 2007.
• World No.15 Yanina Wickmayer has signed a spon-
• Edoardo Artaldi is the new global tour manager for the Völkl sorship agreement with Donnay for racquets, strings
brand. Also, Völkl Tennis signed doubles pro Liezel Huber. and accessories. The 100-year-old Belgian company
will design a special black-and-gold racquet for
• The Vero Beach Tennis Club in Vero Beach, Fla., has hired Danny Wickmayer that will feature the Belgian flag and
Tarpley as its director of tennis. the company’s anniversary logo.

Babolat Offers Ashaway Introduces


Promo to Support Light Badminton String
Ashaway Racket Strings’ new ZyMax
Roddick Foundation 62 is the lightest badminton string
ever made, says the company, thanks
B abolat has teamed up on a special pro-
motion to raise money for the Andy
Roddick Foundation. “Put Yourself in
to a new core construction technique
called ZyWeaVe, which makes it 25
percent lighter than standard .70mm
Roddick’s Shoes” gives tennis fans an
strings. Ashaway says ZyWeaVe pre-
opportunity to win prizes, receive added vents tension loss while its braided
value on Babolat purchases and support surface provides control.
the Andy Roddick Foundation. “ZyMax 62 is designed for very
Through May 18, participants may particular professional players who
enter to win Babolat’s weekly giveaways want the lightest string possible for
of Roddick’s team bag, T-shirts, hats, ten- more power on smashes and better
nis racquet accessories and more with feel and control on touch shots,”
the chance of winning the ultimate grand says Steve Crandall, vice president of
prize—hitting with Roddick at the 2010 Ashaway. “ZyWeaVe technology
US Open. Promotional efforts include a guarantees less elongation, so
free club backpack with the purchase of ZyMax 62 strings up tighter and
any Babolat shoe and racquet at partici- plays crisper with maximum tension
pating retailers. A portion of the proceeds stability.”
from Babolat’s promotion will go to the Visit www.ashawayusa.com for
Andy Roddick Foundation. more information.
“Andy has been part of our Babolat
family for the past 10 years. We are excit-
Upcoming Industry Schedule
Q Mar. 19-22: USTA Annual Mtg., Dallas
ed to be able to support him and his pas-

Q Mar. 24-Apr. 4: Sony Ericsson Open, Key Biscayne, FL


sion for his foundation with this

Q Apr. 10-18: Family Circle Cup, Charleston, SC


promotion,” says Susan DiBiase, market-

Q May 13: USPTA Southern Division Convention, TBD


ing director of Babolat USA.

Q May 17: USPTA Eastern Division Convention, Flushing, NY


To enter, consumers visit

Q May 19: PTR Professional Development Weekend/Tennis Club &


www.babolat.com/advantagebabolat and

Facility Managers Conference, Hilton Head Island, SC


answer the Andy Roddick trivia ques-

Q June 1: USPTA Florida Division Convention, Key Largo, FL


tions correctly. All adult racquets, Pure

Q June 3: USPTA Pacific Northwest Division Convention, Richland, WA


Drive junior, Aeropro Drive Junior and
adult and junior shoes are eligible for the
promotion. For the numerous certification workshops available, visit ptrtennis.org and uspta.org.

12 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


Letters INDUSTRY NEWS

Manufacturer Responds Babolat Launches RPM Blast String


to ‘Bill of Rights’
I’d like to respond to Tony Taverna’s Your
B abolat has launched a new string, RPM Blast, a black string with a white double
line, which is now being used by pros Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick and Jo-Wilfried
Tsonga. RPM Blast (RPM for “revolutions per minute”) is a monofilament designed to
Serve (“Retailer’s Bill of Rights”) in the
March issue. In general, we agree on give players more spin, more power and a unique feel at ball impact. It will be in stores
many of these topics. The local pro shop is starting in April in 125 and 130 gauge, with a suggested retail price of $16.95.
a great source of support, information
and of course products for local players. “The advice and recommendations of tour players has been decisive in the devel-
Well-run local shops can be among the opment of the string,” says Cécile Gindre, string products manager at Babolat. “The
biggest drivers of tennis growth in a tests have allowed us to identify their needs in order to develop the characteristics of
region, which we see time and time again
across the country. I know that Head/Penn the new RPM Blast. The combination of the high-density material and a specific coat-
recognizes this and am sure that other ing gives it both power and spin.”
members of the Tennis Industry Associa-
tion feel the same way.
Head/Penn has taken many steps to
support this trade channel, including the
first pro/specialty-only tennis racquet in
2002, an elite retailer program in 2003,
the first racquet company to require a
separate application to sell via the inter-
net in 2001, etc. Some of these initiatives
have been embraced by pro/specialty and
been visible, while others have operated
behind the scenes. However they have all
been put in place to reward and support
the local dealer.
We have been the only brand to keep
a tennis ball exclusive to pro/specialty
shops with Pro Penn, and we’ve held true
to this promise for over 30 years. In addi-
tion, our support of USTA, PTR, USPTA,
WTA, ATP, etc., are all meant to help build
demand at the local level.
However in our most recent racquet
launch we have taken this support to the
next level, and based on our commitment
would hope that support is shown at the
local level with specialty retailers. In our
new Stars series of power racquets, we
will do some of the things suggested by
Mr. Taverna in his article: guarantee MAP
pricing for two years, limit distribution to
the less than 10 percent of the total ten-
nis retailers in the U.S., provide more
demo’s at grassroots than ever before,
make sure that only authorized Stars
retailers are able to receive product from
our authorized distributors, etc.
We agree that pro/specialty shops are
critical, which is why we have decided to
take this approach. The important thing
for local retailers to realize is that taking
these aggressive measures is not without
risk to a manufacturer, and it is important
for this to be a two-way street in which
the product is supported and promoted at
the pro shop based on the level of manu-
facturer’s commitment.
At the end of the day, it is critical that
both retailers and manufacturers maintain
a relationship that helps both parties
build profitable business models. That
requires a healthy amount of investment
and support on both sides of the table.
Greg Mason
VP - Sales and Marketing,
Head/Penn Racquet Sports

We welcome your letters and comments.


Please limit letters to 300 words maximum.
Email them to rsi@racquetTECH.com or fax
them to 760-536-1171.

www.racquetsportsindustry.com April 2010 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 13


A P R I L 2 0 1 0

PTR to Host Second Tennis GSS Sets 4th Annual


INDUSTRYNEWS

Club & Facility Conference Stringers Symposium


T he PTR will host its second Tennis Club
and Facility Conference May 19-21 at G rand Slam Stringers has finalized the
time and place of the fourth annual
GSS Racquet Stringers Symposium. It
PTR Headquarters on Hilton Head Island,
S.C. The three-day event is designed for will be held Oct. 9 to 14 at the Hilton
tennis club owners, club managers and Garden Inn in Orlando, Fla.
directors of tennis. “We’re excited about the 2010 sym-
Presentations and breakout sessions posium,” says GSS founder Tim Strawn.
will include topics such as Customer Serv- The core staff of GSS seminar leaders
ice, Programming to Fill Courts, Innova- will return for 2010, along with some
tive Ideas for New Clinics, Marketing Your new presenters and material.
Club & Programs, Forming a Club Owners “For stringers and shop owners, this
Association, Controlling Energy Costs & is a great event because it opens up
Expenses, Managing Your Staff, Renovat- face-to-face opportunities for direct dia-
ing Your Club, and Creating/Improving logue, learning experiences through
Your Website. hands-on participation and networking
The program starts at 1 p.m. Wednes- never available to them before,” says
day, May 19, and runs through 5 p.m. May Strawn. “Attendees tell me they like the
21. The cost, $349 before May 1, $399 laid-back atmosphere and the fact that
after, includes all workshops, meals and seminar leaders are so approachable
social activities through Friday afternoon. and eager to teach. That’s a testament
Additional attendees from the same club to their professionalism and their dedi-
are $299 each. For information or regis- cation to the success of this event.”
tration, call 800-421-6289 or visit For more details and to register, go
www.ptrtennis.org. to www.grandslamstringers.com and
select the “Symposium” link.

14 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


N E W S & U P D A T E S

Tennis Is Again the Fastest Growing Traditional Sport

L
ast year, the annual survey of sports participation in
the U.S. showed impressive results for tennis. This
year, though, the news is even better for the sport.
The latest “Sports, Fitness and Recreation Participa-
tion Overview Report” by the Physical Activity Council,
which came out in mid-March, shows that from 2000 to
2009, tennis was again the fastest growing traditional
participation sport in the U.S., but now by an even wider
margin. The survey (which in past years was put out by
the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association) says ten-
nis grew by 43% in that nine-year period, far outdis-
tancing its nearest rival, racquetball, which grew by 2%.
Tennis and racquetball were the only sports to show
an increase in participation; all other sports lost partici-
pants since 2000. The third best showing, soccer (which had shown a slight increase in 2008), was down 2%, fol-
lowed by golf and fishing, each down 6%, then basketball, down 8%.

Research, Task Force Efforts Highlight TIA Board Meeting

N
ew York City was the gathering place March 1 for a TIA board of directors meeting designed to include the BNP
Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup, the Madison Square Garden
event for which the TIA was a participating sponsor. Also taking place that
night was Tennis Night in America and the Racket UP, America! million-dollar serve.
Now Available: 2009
In an afternoon board meeting, members heard about the state of the industry Tennis Marketplace
with a year-end research review, along with updates on trends and challenges that

T
his year-end report provides
all sectors are facing. A key part of the meeting was an update on three task an executive summary of all
forces—Economic Growth, Frequent Player Growth, and Communica- TIA research and market
tions/Positioning—that the TIA created a year ago to address issues facing the ten- intelligence and includes an
nis industry. overview from tennis participation
Special guests at the meeting included USTA Chairman of the Board and Presi- studies, consumer reports, specialty
dent Lucy Garvin. She told the board the USTA is looking at a long-range master retail audits, and retailer satisfaction
plan to update the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and that recent and census reports. For more infor-
moves within the USTA have “woven together” the Professional Tennis and Com- mation contact the TIA or email
munity Tennis divisions. research@TennisIndustry.org.
Dave Miley, executive director of tennis development for the International Ten-
nis Federation, updated the group on “Play & Stay,” which is similar to QuickStart
Tennis in the U.S. A proposed ITF rule change for January 2012 will say that tran-
sition balls, not regulation tennis balls, will be used for ITF sanctioned 10-and-
under events.
Also attending the meeting were USTA Executive Director Gordon Smith and Jerry
Solomon, who is the president of StarGames, which was one of the presenters of the
BNP Paribas Showdown. At the MSG event, Christine Smith of Texas, the random
winner of the industry’s Racket UP, America! promotion, was unsuccessful in her try
to serve to a target for $1 million.
The next morning, there was a small meeting for retailers to discuss issues
important to their business and to their relationship with manufacturers.

16 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 Join the TIA . . . Increase Your Profits . . . Grow the Game . . . www.TennisIndustry.org
A LOYAL FOLLOWING
T
he U.S. Racquet Stringers Association has always had a Q The Stringer's Digest: A complete industry resource guide including
strong and loyal following. With the start of a new decade, stringing instructions for every tennis, racquetball, squash and bad-
we thought this would be a good time to recognize the minton racquet on the market today, and many more.
USRSA members who have been longtime supporters. Q Technical Assistance: The USRSA has Master Racquet Technicians
We started out planning to list those who have been mem- on staff to help members with any questions regarding equipment
bers for more than 10 years. But, the list is so long, we just or racquet service.
couldn't make room in the magazine. So we've decided to use Q RacquetTECH.com: The USRSA's member-only website is the
the website (www.racquetsportsindustry.com) to list everyone industry's most up-to-date and interactive source on racquet sports
with at least 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of loyal service. But technology with powerful tools that help simplify the most complex
below is a list of the longest-standing memberships, each with information and procedures in the racquet-service business.
at least 25 or 30 years of membership. Q Racquet Sports Industry magazine: The official publication of the
"We truly appreciate the long-term commitments that so USRSA and only publication to focus on the racquet sports business.
many of our members have made,” says David Bone, execu- Q Membership certificate and decal: These symbols of membership
tive director of the USRSA. "But we like to believe that our let customers and colleagues know they are part of a prestigious
members renew their memberships not just out of a sense of organization of professionals.
loyalty. Rather, we hope they choose to renew each year Q Free samples and discounts: Each year, manufacturers offer USRSA
because they value the service, tools and information we pro- members free samples and discounts on their products.
vide on a daily basis." Just like the list of members, there are far too many mem-
Members of the USRSA receive a long list of member ben- ber benefits to list here. For a more complete list of benefits
efits. Just a few of the highlights include: with better descriptions, visit www.racquettech.com.

25 - 29 Year Members
Name Shop City State Name Shop City State
Aleman, Dallas & Nancy Towpath Racquet Club Cuyahoga Falls OH Foley, John No Shore Tennis & Squash Club Salem MA
Amos, Richard North Shore Racquet Club Northbrook IL Fowler, David Davids Stringing Milford CT
Bailey, Jack Jacks Stringing Delray Beach FL Francis, Ed East Side Tennis Pueblo CO
Balena, Daniel Hunt Street Professional Bldg Ajax ON Frey, Bob Bob Frey Pro Shop Scarsdale NY
Banks, Michael Professional Racquet Services Detroit MI Glidewell, Jerry Jerrys strings Topeka KS
Barr, John Greenmont Racquet Club Vienna WV Goldin, Mark The Pennbriar Erie PA
Baysa, Ray B2 Strung Out Walnut CA Golomeic, Alex Hartnell College Salinas CA
Bell, Craig Bent Tree Country Club Dallas TX Gorman, Jim Jims Tennis Service Santa Clara CA
Benefield, Jerry Benefield Sport Spot Inc Centre AL Gormley, Fred FCG Consulting Ottawa ON
Benish, David Tennis of Spokane Spokane WA Gothard, Sylvia Saggys Strings & Collectibles Homewood IL
Benjumea, Tony Little Neck Swim & Racquet Club Virginia Beach VA Gould, Gene Gould Tennis Services Burnt Hills NY
Bookbinder, Carl stringing.com Ambler PA Grand, Jeffrey Racquets & Strings Cranford NJ
Botto, Giorgio Plano TX Gray, William W R G Strings Boise ID
Bracken, Jack Brackens Pro Shop Modesto CA Griffey, Greg Carmel Racquet Club Carmel IN
Brown, Dottie Vestavia Country Club Birmingham AL Gruidl, Al Als Racquet Place Plano IL
Burtis, Steve The Villages FL Gyurkey, Ed Eds Ski & Tennis Ketchum ID
Buscombe, Terry Croydon, Victoria Haase, Lauren & Bruce Carmel Valley CA
Caldwell, Thomas Quality Racquet Stringing Seattle WA Hajducky, Joe JH Racquet Service Trumbull CT
Carney, Craig Racquet Master Iowa City IA Hatgas, Sarah Rhodes College Germantown TN
Carter, Andrew Harlingen Country Club Harlingen TX Hatic, Debby Debbys Stringing Coral Springs FL
Cascarano, Tom Greensboro Tennis Pro Shop Greensboro NC Hays, Christi Key Lob Sonoma CA
Chard, Peter Bathurst Squash Centre Bathurst, N S W Heatwole, Gary Garys Racquet Service Ormond Beach FL
Chirban, David Vessells Fitness Complex Rolla MO Heffernan, Peter Down Under Sports Baltimore MD
Claudio, JR, Jose Quorum International Inc Brgy, San Miguel Pasig City Helfenstein, Gary Fromuth Tennis West Lawn PA
Clay, Beth Cherokee Town & Country Club Atlanta GA Hibben, Steve Glenview Tennis Club Jupiter FL
Coates, Donn Racket Stringing Services Cincinnati OH Hildahl, Elaine Dimond Adventures Anchorage AK
Cramp, Liz & Art ALC Tennis Pennington NJ Hofer, Doug Hofer Tennis Visalia CA
Crouse, Carol First Serve Havertown PA Holden, John Johns Stringing North Attleboro MA
Dadich, Rich Rich Dadich Tennis Services Lubbock TX Holt, Jeremy Apollo Leisure Verwood, Dorset
Davis, Paul Princeton Sports Baltimore MD Holthus, Vicki Holly Tennis Center Centennial CO
Deibel, Jeffrey Jeffreys Stringing Powell OH Houston, Randy Palm Desert CA
Dixon, Jim Lilydale Club Woodbury MN Howard, Skip Lakourt Tennis Fort Myers Beach FL
Dolese, Peter PD Tennis Clifton NJ Hughes, Dale High Strung Nazareth PA
Donati, Donald String Em Up Clinton CT Hunter, John THE RACQUET DOCTOR Suitland MD
Doud, Joyce Twin Oaks Sports & Fitness Colchester VT Ingersole, Dina Katz Superlative Strings New York NY
Dredge, Ronald Elida OH Ingram, Laura Lauras Racquet Stringing Jefferson Hills PA
Dutton, Rick Custom Stringing Specialist Sarasota FL Jackson, Jim The String Shoppe Citrus Heights CA
Eckhardt, Peter PFE Tennis Services Tallahassee FL Jerome, Lawrence LBJ Stringing Service Naples FL
Egleston, Mark Marks Stringing Marshalltown IA Johnson, Richard St Louis Country Club St. Louis MO
Evans, William Strings by William Centennial CO Kalinec, Kevin Houghton MI
Filstrup, Ronald St Paul Rcqt Str & Tennis St Paul MN Kelly, Frank Westwood Country Club Pro Shop Austin TX
Fisher, Paul Pauls Stringing El Dorado AR Killen, Terence Terry Killen, Inc. Darnestown MD
Flick, Johan Flick’s Stringing Sugar Land TX Koehler, Garry Garrys Racquet Shop Marshfield WI
Flohre, Ralph Ralphs Stringing Service Virginia Beach VA Koeppel, David Stuart FL

18 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


Name Shop City State Name Shop City State
Kogon, Larry Tenniservices Fairfield OH Pinson, Joseph Joes Racquet Pensacola FL
Kozelsky, Dennis Westchester Tennis Club Westchester IL Piretti, Richard Sweat Stop Lenox MA
Kramer, Randy The Racket Doctor, Inc. Los Angeles CA Prentiss, Robert Racquet Works Pro Shop Ltd Medford NY
Kretchmer, Chris Chris Stringing Carmel CA Proett, Roland Rocky Mountain Sports Lakewood CO
Kwasek, Don Tazz Racquet Stringing Phoenix AZ Professional Racquet Sports Glenbrook Racquet Club Northbrook IL
Kwilosz, Ralph Ralph’s Stringing Frankfort IL Proulx, Steve Carmel Valley Tennis Camp Carmel Valley CA
Lambert, Ray Rays Stringing Rochester NH Quinlan, John Q Strings Barre VT
Larson, Alvan Al’s Stringing Arlington MA Ramirez, Sam Sam The Stringer San Francisco CA
Lawlah, John Lawlahs Stringing Temple Hills MD Randolph, Sam Racquet Sports Hollister MO
Lawler, Rex Lawler Sports Terre Haute IN Ricci, Marianne Professional Tennis Services Stoughton MA
Lawrence, Wayne Heber City UT Ridgley, James Ridgleys Tennis Shop Washington DC
Learned III, Ned Racquet Lab Tunkhannock PA Rogers, Jr, Chet Chesters Stringing Service Danvers MA
Lee, Albert RACQUET-TECH Potomac MD Rohrbacher, Tom International Tennis & Rec Ventura CA
Lepere, Patrick TennisPlanet 5684 Pl Best Rose, Ray Bowling Green KY
Litz, Darren Portsmouth Tennis Academy Portsmouth OH Rowley, Stacy Rowleys Pro Shop Allentown PA
Lospennato, Robert Bobs Strings Revere MA Santos, Art Sports Core Kohler WI
Lum, Bruce Las Vegas NV Schultz, Ronald Racquet Corner Lincoln NE
Lussier, Jeffrey Rochester NY Schwartz, David The Tennis & Golf Company Royal Oak MI
Lynne, Michael Michael Lynnes Tennis Shop St. Louis Park MN Selkirk, Ron St Joseph Tennis/Swim Club St Joseph MO
Manter, Rob Maine Pines Racquet & Fitness Brunswick ME Shoemaker, Skip Stringing Is My Racquet Villanova PA
Marken, Gary Strings N Things Woodland CA Sica, Joseph The Tennis Spot Trumbull CT
Martinez, Simmon Spring City Sporting Goods Co LLP Waukesha WI Sommers, Bill & Kathy Stringers Corner Apple Valley MN
Maruoka, Robert Your Advantage Tennis Shop Chicago IL Stevens, Harold Strings by Stevens Rockledge FL
Matsuoka, John Paradise Traders, Ltd. Honolulu HI Steverson, Matt Altamonte Springs FL
McAmis, Daniel Strings by Daniel Kissimmee FL Stewart, Buster Total Tennis Rainbow City AL
McCann, Bruce Daytona Golf Club Dayton MN Stewart, Randy Bryan TX
McCombs, Terris Terris Stringing Delta CO Sumrow, Ken High Point Tennis Center Plano TX
McGuire, Minuard Dunwoody GA Swaynie, Steve Walden Racquet Club Montgomery TX
McWilliams, Fred Arlington TX Swetka, John Swetkas Tennis Shop Mountain View CA
Meehan Jr, James Hi Sierra Racket Coarsegold CA Takishita, Glen T n T Tennis Pearl City HI
Militzer, Peter Peters Stringing PortageScotts MI Tanguay, George SILTON TENNIS Framingham MA
Miller, Steven Stringing by Steve Longboat Key FL Thomas, Linda JCC of Houston Bellaire TX
Mitchell, Gregory Mitchell Services Philadelphia PA Tompkins, Ph.D., George Racquet Doctor Professional Stringing Grand Junction CO
Morin, David Fore Court Racquet Club Cumberland RI Tuttle, Bob Bob Tuttle Tennis Baldwin NY
Murakami, Tami Tami’s Racquet Shop Kealakekua HI Vaughn, Tony Official Stringer Silver Spring MD
Nebergall, Kevin Kevins Tennis Cedar Rapids IA Viant, Gerri Nyack Field Club Nyack NY
Nett, Donald Nett Strings Co Woburn MA Watson, Carlyle CB Watson Tennis Co Richmond KY
Nicoloff, Cathy Wailea Tennis Club Kihei Maui HI Weant, Ginny Cary NC
O Reilly, Dennis WEED USA LLC Galena OH Weymuller, Carol FW & CHW Racquet Service Honeoye Falls NY
Okun, David Strings Attached Evesham NJ Wheeler, Ken Kens Racquet Stringing Hammond IN
Olsen, Evan Precision Stringing Little Rock AR Wilder, Jessie Strings by Jessie Thomaston GA
Pahiakos, Leonidas Lion Tennis Mart N Smirni, Athens Wilson, David Second Serve Boaz AL
Palmer, Diana The Court Connection Forestville MD Wolfe, Lew Tri Tennis Tamarac FL
Parkes, Thomas Wilmington NC Wong, Fred Wong Racquets Bethesda MD
Payne, Garry GP Racquet Stringing North Bay ON Wunsch, Kenneth KenKraft New Hyde Park NY
Pekich, Steve Syracuse NY Yearick, Rod Yearicks Tennis & Trophy Addison NY

30+ Year Members


Pepiot, Jack Racquet Infirmary Virginia Beach VA

Name Shop City State Name Shop City State


Angeles, Ruffino Precision Racquet Stringers Fresh Meadows NY Hankins, Jerry Springdale AR
Armentrout, Dean Court & Slope Inc Elgin IL Hegendeffer, James J & H Solutions Clinton MO
Atteberry, Les Les’ Tennis Service Morgan Hill CA Hehl, Joseph Grand Blanc MI
Barbadora, Al Als Pro Shop Dayton OH Holbrook, Bruce Holbrook Stringer Glen Allen VA
Barnett, Bruce Westwood Sports/Racquet Depot San Diego CA Howe Jr, Donald Howes Stringing Chester NY
Bixby, Ned Neds Racquet Stringing Las Cruces NM Hudgins, Janice Jans Racquet Stringing Brandon FL
Boudman, John The Racquet Stringer Hummelstown PA Iftner, Larry Iftners Tennis Shop Highland IL
Brown, Ulysses Tennis By Brown Los Angeles CA Lambert, Randy Lamberts Stringing St Amant LA
Burdick, Fred The Starting Blocks, Inc Dalton GA Lyst, Gary Silver Springs MD
Cabello, Noe Sweetspot Racquet Shop Mishawaka IN Mast, Morey Mast Strings Bangs TX
Cartland, Jack Racqueteer Sports London ON Maxwell, Dorothy Business Is A Racket Bell CA
Christensen, Hal Hals Racquet Service Fairfax VA Miller, Leon Millers Stringing Perkasie PA
Clay, Steve Grand Slam Stringing Service Hollister CA Nead, Donald Donalds Stringing Crystal Lake IL
Cole, Jabari Glenlake Tennis Center Decatur GA Novak, Thomas Toms Tennis Monterey CA
Comulada, Chris Stringing by Chris Fort Bragg NC Ostlind, Dan Ostlind’s Sporting Goods Whitehouse Station NJ
Cowdright, George Cowdrights Stringing Harrisburg PA Papagni, Jack JPs Stringing Rochester NY
Crane, Jim Tennis Nest Viera FL Parker, Larry Home Court Advantage Cupertino CA
Cranford, Bradley Bradleys Stringing Service Greer SC Pizzat, Michael Stringing with Pizzazz Savannah GA
Dellinger, Dennis Sierra Vista W Tennis Shop Albuquerque NM Price, Cliff & Sherry Totally Tennis Inc Tulsa OK
Dumansky, Jeff Nutley NJ Schnell, BJ Coconut Grove FL
Fairchild, Randy Grand Rapids MI Shipley, Richard Richards Stringing Grand Terrace CA
Fischer, Jon Jon Fischer Tennis Shop Ypsilanti MI Sims, Jim Sims Stringing Riverside CA
Fisher, Paul StringMasters Burke VA Smith III, Archie AJS Tennis Services Florence SC
Ford, Ruth Ruthies Racket Baytown TX Strickland, Jim Westlake Sporting Goods Austin TX
Gefen, Israel Gefen Sports Kensal Rise, London Tidrick, John TennisSet.com Lenexa KS
Gosek, Stanley Stanleys Stringing Oswego NY Van Lieshout, William Sandys Court Oshkosh WI
Grear, Gary String n Swing Tennis LLC Memphis TN Weintraub, Myron Racquet World New City NY
Guevara, Jorge L.A.A.C.O. Los Angeles CA Zamberlan, Dennis The Stringing Machine Richfield OH
Hagen, Mike Indpls Racquet Club Indianapolis IN

www.racquetsportsindustry.com April 2010 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 19


WHAT THE TOP PR
EQUIPMENT

What are the top 20 men and women pros using on court? We contacted m
player sites) to give you the racquets, shoes and clothes the top players a
MEN
PLAYER RACQUET SHOES CLOTHING
1 Federer, Roger (SUI) Wilson Six.One Tour BLX Nike Lunarlite Vapor Nike All Court Polo
2 Djokovic, Novak (SRB) Head YouTek Speed Pro Adidas ClimaCool Genius 2 Sergio Tacchini
3 Nadal, Rafael (ESP) Babolat Aeropro Drive Nike Air Court Ballistec 2.3 Nike
4 Murray, Andy (GBR) Head YouTek Radical MP Adidas Barricade V Adidas
5 Del Potro, Juan Martin (ARG) Wilson Pro Tour BLX Nike Breathe Cage II Nike
6 Davydenko, Nikolay (RUS) Prince Ozone Tour Asics Gel Challenger 7 Airness
7 Roddick, Andy (USA) Babolat Pure Drive Roddick+ Babolat Propulse II Titanium Lacoste
8 Soderling, Robin (SWE) Head YouTek Radical MP Lotto Syn-Raptor X-treme Adidas
9 Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried (FRA) Babolat AeroPro Drive Cortex Adidas ClimaCool Genius Adidas
10 Cilic, Marin (CRO) Head YouTek Radical MP Fila Alfa Fila
11 Verdasco, Fernando (ESP) Tecnifibre TFlight 320 VO2 Max Adidas Barricade V Adidas Edge Group
12 Gonzalez, Fernando (CHI) Babolat Pure Storm+ Adidas Barricade V Adidas
13 Monfils, Gael (FRA) Prince EXO3 Rebel 95 Nike Air Court Ballistec 1.3 Nike
14 Stepanek, Radek (CZE) Bosworth Tennis Nike Air Vapor Vi Tour Alea
15 Youzhny, Mikhail (RUS) Head YouTek Extreme Pro Adidas Barricade IV Adidas Edge Group
16 Simon, Gilles (FRA) Head YouTek Prestige MP Adidas Barricade V Adidas
17 Robredo, Tommy (ESP) Dunlop 4D Aerogel 300 Nike Sergio Tacchini
18 Haas, Tommy (GER) Head YouTek Prestige MP K-Swiss Defier miSoul Tech K-Swiss
19 Ferrer, David (ESP) Prince Ozone Tour Lotto Syn-Raptor X-treme Lotto
20 Hewitt, Lleyton (AUS) Yonex RDiS 100 mid Yonex SHT-306 Yonex

20 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


ROS
OS ARE USING
manufacturers and scoured various websites (including manufacturer and
are using. (Rankings are as of Feb. 15.)
WOMEN
PLAYER RACQUET SHOES CLOTHING
1 Williams, Serena (USA) Wilson [K] Blade Team Nike Air Max Smash Nike
2 Safina, Dinara (RUS) Babolat Aero Storm Adidas Barricade V Adidas Competition
3 Wozniacki, Caroline (DEN) Babolat Aeropro Drive Adidas Barricade V Adidas
4 Kuznetsova, Svetlana (RUS) Head YouTek Extreme MP Fila Torneo II Fila
5 Williams, Venus (USA) Wilson [K] Blade Team EleVen EleVen
6 Azarenka, Victoria (BLR) Head YouTek Extreme Pro Nike LunarLite Speed Nike
7 Dementieva, Elena (RUS) Yonex RDiS 100 Mid Yonex SHT 304S Yonex
8 Jankovic, Jelena (SRB) Prince O3 Speedport White Anta Anta
9 Radwanska, Agnieszka (POL) Babolat Pure Drive Lite Nike Air Max Breathe Free II Prokom
10 Li, Na (CHN) Babolat Pure Drive Nike Air Zoom Mystify II Nike
11 Pennetta, Flavia (ITA) Wilson [K] Blade 98 Sergio Tacchini Sergio Tacchini
12 Stosur, Samantha (AUS) Babolat Pure Storm Nike Lacoste
13 Bartoli, Marion (FRA) Prince O3 Red Nike Air Zoom Mystify III Nike
14 Zvonareva, Vera (RUS) Prince EXO3 Black 100 K-Swiss Defier RS K-Swiss
15 Wickmayer, Yanina (BEL) Babolat Pure Drive Roddick Nike Lunarlite Speed Erke
16 Sharapova, Maria (RUS) Prince EXO3 Black 100 Nike Air Zoom Mystify III Nike
17 Clijsters, Kim (BEL) Babolat Pure Drive Fila Torneo Fila
18 Schiavone, Francesca (ITA) Babolat Aeropro Drive Lotto Lotto
19 Petrova, Nadia (RUS) Babolat Aero Storm Babolat Propulse Lady 2 Parma Ellesse
20 Zheng, Jie (CHN) Yonex RDiS 300 MP Anta Anta

www.racquetsportsindustry.com April 2010 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 21


BRAND
SPECIAL REPORT: STATE OF THE INDUSTRY

MANAGEMENT
For industry manufacturers, the economic storm may be clearing,
but they’re not putting away the foul-weather gear yet.

A
BY PETER FRANCESCONI
Additional reporting by Mary Helen Sprecher

mong tennis manufacturers, there appears to be measured opti- it means for their companies and their retail accounts. And the skit-
mism that this industry is slowly emerging from the storm. Signs tish economy has put pressures on the brands’ relationships with
are pointing to business this year that will be at least slightly bet- retailers.
ter than 2009. Among the issues manufacturers need to contend with are:
The reasons for this feeling that we’ve weathered the worst of it Q Dealing with product inventory and closeouts.
stems from a number of things, among them, that the inventory sit- Q Concerns over product life cycles and number of racquet SKUs.
uation that dogged tennis Q Maintaining and enforcing Minimum Advertised Pricing policies.
This is the first in a series of articles about retail for the last year Q Concerns about distribution channels and product available
the tennis industry’s changing landscape.
appears to be clearing up. to each.
Q An erosion of the dealer base.
Future topics will deal with retailers, teaching
Racquet sales at pro and
Q A shift in the way consumers communicate and get information.
pros, participation, court construction, pro
tennis and more. We’d like to hear your specialty shops, while down
comments and concerns, too. Email them to overall for the year, turned Q The importance of innovations in products.
rsi@racquettech.com. Please put “state of slightly upward in the fourth Nowadays, many manufacturers are willing to talk more
the industry” in the subject line.
quarter (as did balls and openly about challenges they have with pricing policies, close-
strings). In fact, at outs, excess inventory and more. But the biggest issue—the one
pro/specialty, racquet sales in the fourth quarter of 2009 were up 3 that may connect some of the dots to a lot of other issues—is
percent in both units and dollars over 2008 Q4. something that some manufacturers mentioned provided they
Also contributing to the sense that the worst may be behind us is remain anonymous:
that overall player participation hit a 20-year high in 2009, with more “We’ve allowed certain retailers to be too big and to dictate too
than 30 million people playing tennis. This was tempered somewhat much of what goes on,” says one manufacturer. “Without a doubt,
by a slight drop in the all-important frequent player category and in that’s the biggest thing we face, and it’s causing a lot of the prob-
play occasions. But at least there’s a bigger base now from which to lems we have.”

WHO CALLS THE SHOTS?


create more frequent players, and industry initiatives are aiming to
do just that.
Manufacturers recognize the challenges the tennis industry, like “It’s the pink elephant in the room,” is the way another manufac-
all industries in this economy, continue to face. According to some turer put it. “I think there are a few key retailers out there who are
research, most sports equipment markets are down 5 to 10 percent powerful and influential and who dictate a lot of the tennis econo-
in shipments, and some segments, such as fitness equipment, are my. Everyone is chasing sales and trying to get as much top-line
down as much as 20 percent. But while industry-watchers say tennis sales as they can. But I think it has hurt the overall marketplace.”
is better positioned than most other participation sports to weather Pro and specialty shop owners aren’t so guarded. “Online retail-
this current economic storm, manufacturers still have concerns. ers, large retailers—they really start to just dictate policy, and that’s
The economy has forced many tennis manufacturers to adjust not what I think should be happening,” says Chris Gaudreau, owner
their business plans and strategies, tightening their belts internally. of the Racquet Koop in New Haven, Conn. “As far as I’m con-
Some, particularly some of the smaller apparel makers, have gone cerned, they get first dibs. They can buy as much as they want, and
out of business. Many companies have reduced or shifted staff in they’ll get it.”
efforts to save costs. All are wary of the tight credit situation and what It’s a situation, some manufacturers told us, that the industry

www.racquetsportsindustry.com April 2010 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 23


SPECIAL REPORT: STATE OF THE INDUSTRY
itself created. “What it’s done is devalued the size of our industry, this industry and this economy,” says Pat Shields, president and
average selling prices have come down, and something has to owner of Fromuth Tennis. “Their size prevents them from carry-
give—and unfortunately that means manufacturers’ and retailers’ ing too much inventory, so we assume the risk and carry it for
margins suffer,” says one manufacturer. “We them. And we emphasize customer service and same-day ship-
have ourselves to blame.” ping, so the retailers that use us can give their customers excep-
Quarterly Trends “Think about it,” says another. “People tional service.”
Balls (units) can walk into a major sporting goods chain— But who is an “authorized” dealer, able to buy from these sec-
2008 to 2009 and everyone’s to blame here—and buy a ondary wholesalers? In an economy where every sale can be vitally
Q1 -9.3% really great tennis racquet for half or a third of important for a small business, some brick-and-mortar tennis retail-
Q2 +0.9% what the original retail price point was. When ers question whether those able to buy at the lower prices from
Q3 -8.4% you have to compete with that, it makes it these secondary wholesalers are legitimate dealers. “Teaching pros,
Q4 +9.9% extremely difficult to sell premium technolo- coaches, ‘pseudo’ retailers,” as one retailer puts it, can buy at
Full Year = -2.3% gy, particularly in pro and specialty stores.” reduced prices and then resell. And for a small pro/specialty shop,
Balls (dollars) “As far as the bigger [retailers], do they losing even half a dozen sales every few months could have a major
2008 to 2009 have influence? Of course they do,” says Dave impact.
Q1 -6.2% Haggerty, chairman of Head USA and a past “Anybody who gets a wholesale account from us is approved by
Q2 +3.0% president of the Tennis Industry Association. the manufacturers—they have to submit their account numbers and
Q3 -7.3% “But I wouldn’t say they have more influence then we get clearance from Head, Wilson, Prince, Nike, etc.,” says
Q4 +10.0% than others. I know that not every company Shields. “We don’t want unauthorized accounts and we won’t risk
Full Year = -1.1% caters to them, but it’s hard for other retailers our relationships with suppliers for one or two accounts getting
to understand or believe that.” product the wrong way.”
“Are there challenges in some distribution Policing this can be a tall order for manufacturers. “I think each
Strings (units) channels? Absolutely,” adds Cory Springer, company has its own way to try to handle it,” says Haggerty. “But
2008 to 2009 global business director for performance rac- it’s hard, you can’t be checking every account. I know that Head and
Q1 +2.8% quets at Wilson Racquet Sports. “We sell our other companies, when we find out, we try to enforce our dealer
Q2 -12.5%

“ DESTOCKING” INVENTORY
products to a variety of channels, and so agreements.”
Q3 -11.3% much of that is tied to changing consumer
Q4 +11.0% behavior. The internet has had an impact on
Full Year = -4.5% the way consumers shop. It’s important for all One of the biggest problems of recent months, excess inventory,
Strings (dollars) of us to be in tune with that and understand now seems to be clearing up. Racquet sales at pro/specialty stores
2008 to 2009 how to communicate and best market our for all of 2009 were down vs. 2008, although the good news is that
Q1 +9.3% goods to the consumer.” for the 2009 fourth quarter, numbers turned slightly positive, giving
Q2 -9.5% But, if it’s true that larger retailers are cre- manufacturers reason for optimism going into 2010.
Q3 -3.2% ating a situation that decreases the control Since racquets were moving slowly, retailers bought less, leaving
Q4 +6.2% manufacturers have, is there a way it can be manufacturers with much more inventory than they had planned
Full Year = -0.3% changed? No one’s sure, at this point. Do you for. “Retailers are afraid they’ll be stuck with inventory,” says John
sacrifice short-term sales, with no guarantee Embree, president of Prince Americas, “so they’re expecting the
that other manufacturers will be willing to do manufacturers to hold that inventory for them. But we’re not going
Racquets
the same thing? It’s a risky proposition. to do that. We have to manage our working capital just like they do.”
(units, at specialty
Even Gaudreau thinks it’s unlikely to “The reality is a lot of consumers haven’t been consuming the
stores)
change. “Quite frankly, they’re so set in the products,” says Jon Muir, worldwide general manager of Wilson Rac-
2008 to 2009
way they’ve been doing business that they quet Sports and president of the TIA. “They were delaying their pur-
Q1 -20%
probably can’t change,” he says, then adds: chases, or buying at a lower price point. Apparel got hit hard. String
Q2 -9%
“But the bigger manufacturers can take small was less impacted because participation has been up. Tennis balls
Q3 -10%
steps, implementing different policies to make overall were almost flat. The strength to that dynamic is that it cre-
Q4 +3.0%
sure that smaller retailers are still here 20 ates a bit of a ‘demand boomerang’ that I hope will affect this indus-
Racquets

“ SECONDARY WHOLESALERS”
years from now to sell their products.” try this year and next.”
(dollars, at specialty “We do know that people have been putting off purchases of all
stores) types of sports equipment, not just tennis,” says Keith Storey, vice
2008 to 2009 Related to this is the issue of “secondary president of Sports Marketing Surveys, which does extensive
Q1 -20% wholesalers”—companies that buy large research in the tennis industry and for other sports, too. “Sports
Q2 -9% quantities and resell to “authorized” dealers. equipment should start to bounce back a little bit based on the num-
Q3 -10% Many retailers utilize such companies when ber of people who have put off buying.”
Q4 +3% they need a specific item they may have sold Muir cites a “destocking/restocking” effect: Retailers ran their
out of, so these secondary wholesalers often businesses using less inventory. “From a manufacturer’s standpoint,
provide a valuable, timely service in helping retailers keep cus- this destocking effect had an impact,” he says. “When a lot of retail-
tomers happy. ers at all levels brought inventories down, manufacturers then
“We understand the challenges of the small retail pro shop in pushed to bring their inventory down.

24 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


CHARTS AND DATA FROM TIA/SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS
“My sense now is that it bottomed out in late third quarter, and channels at lower prices,” says retailer Steve Vorhaus of Rocky
now retailers are feeling, maybe not confident, but a little more Mountain Racquet Specialists in Boulder, Colo. “In a perfect world,
comfortable carrying more inventory. We are seeing signs of it.” it would be really nice if we could depend on longer product shelf
Muir says that going into 2010, Wilson is in a “clean inventory life and stable pricing policies.”
position,” adding, “I expect there will be less closeouts and less “For the most part, retailers are right” regarding closeouts, says
discounted inventory in 2010 vs. 2009 overall, for all retailers.” Kevin Kempin, CEO and president of Head USA. “It’s not enough to
Jim Baugh, a former president of Wilson and past president of just throw a bunch of racquets out on the market and see what
the TIA, says that the recent problems the industry experienced sticks, and if it doesn’t stick, move away from it.”
were because, “We were overselling our player base. The player But there’s always the other side to it, he adds. “I think there’s
base from 2003 to 2008 went up 12 percent, but units went up 44 also an impatience at the retail level. If it’s not hot right away, we’ll
percent. That’s not sustainable or realistic. We’re just overdue for sometimes see manufacturers and retailers cut bait too early on a
this correction. We’re going through an industry correction that was product.”
unavoidable.” Product life cycles can often put manufacturers in a no-win situ-
“As a result of what happened in 2009,” says Embree, “all man- ation with retailers. For some retailers closing out a product can be
ufacturers learned some lessons. At Prince, we changed the man- a smooth transition in which they’re left with minimal demand for
agement process on our the old product and min-
end to align with the imal excess inventory to
economy and what’s hap- sell at a discount. But for
pened in the market- other retailers, the timing
place. We’ve looked at could just be wrong—
how we manage our they have racquets on
inventory, purchase prod- the wall that didn’t sell
uct, the life cycle of rac- and now they’re forced
quets. As a brand, we to take reduced margins
made a conscious effort and carry old product.
to reduce the number of Plus, they have to com-
SKUs this year.” pete with larger retailers
“This economy means who now may be able to
that we need to be careful sell the same product at a
like everybody else,” says steeper discount.
Susan DiBiase, Babolat’s “Retailers tell us not
U.S. marketing director. to turn over product as
“Credit has tightened up often,” says Kai Nitsche,
for everybody, including general manager of Dun-
retailers. We need to be careful with our credit limits and be fiscally lop Racquet Sports. “But the problem you run into is that it’s the

DISCOUNT PRICING
responsible.” new stuff that sells, that’s what dealers and consumers are asking
for. So there has to be a balance in trying to support the retailer and
making sure you’re competitive and launching new product at the
Excess inventory often is at the heart of closeouts and the “was-is” right time. You do find a lot of consumers looking for new product
phenomenon of discount pricing, as too much product is chasing every few years.”
too few dollars. “This industry can be its own worst enemy,” says Closeouts, though, can also end up being a good deal for retail-
Doug Fonte, a longtime industry veteran who is the retired president ers. “You never want to have closeouts,” Muir says, “but it is a good
of Prince NA and a founder of the TIA. opportunity for retailers to get a great value.”
“‘Was-is’ happens quickly, and that plays right into degrading the One of the frustrations that some manufacturers mentioned is
whole price structure of the industry,” Fonte adds. “If a retailer has seemingly retailer apathy when it comes to manufacturer promo-
sizable buying power, there’s no question that they’re looking for tions that are designed to help both brands and retailers.
bargains. But when Minimum Advertised Pricing goes by the way- “Sometimes, retailers just don’t pay attention when we do a pro-
side, it’s open war for those larger retailers to buy up what’s not cov- motion, and I think that hurts them,” says Babolat’s DiBiase.
ered by MAP. This hasn’t been a major profitability issue for a lot of “They’re so busy trying to keep their businesses up and running, but
manufacturers up until now, when the market has condensed.” they don’t have time to look at a program and initiatives that help
“If we make a large closeout buy, we take the risk in making that them. We’re trying to be a better partner, but we want them to work

STICKING TO MAP
investment,” says Don Hightower, president of online retailer Ten- with us.”
nis Warehouse. “There are times when we’re sitting on product for
a long time.”
“Unfortunately manufacturers have created this self-fulfilling Minimum Advertised Pricing, or MAP, something that wasn’t at all
prophecy that we’re going to launch the new stuff and expect you prevalent in the tennis industry 15 to 20 years ago, is now a key for
retailers to promote and sell this stuff, then in one-and-a-half to two retailer survival. Manufacturers and retailers alike recognize that
years we’re going to dump it into the next series of distribution when products on a MAP policy are sold for less, or when products

www.racquetsportsindustry.com April 2010 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 25


SPECIAL REPORT: STATE OF THE INDUSTRY
are taken off MAP, retailers can be affected by lower margins and a new cosmetic or new material, but we want it in our line for two
lost sales. to three years without making any kind of change. We really want
In general, most manufacturers say that before taking a product players to enjoy that racquet and get behind it.”
off MAP or changing the MAP structure, they’ll try to give retailers at Wilson, like other major manufacturers, has reduced its number
least 60 days notice so they have time to sell what they have at cur- of racquet models in 2010, says Muir. “For Wilson, being the largest
rent margins. market share in racquets, we have the most consumer segments.
“Having a MAP policy I think has been a key that has allowed for It’s fueled our growth, but it has also contributed to this feeling that
improved profitability on those products,” says Muir. “It ensures a there is a high number of racquets out there.”
level of profitability for dealers of all sizes and in all trade channels.” At Vorhaus’s store in Boulder, Colo., “We’ve watched our racquet
Wilson, he adds, is extending its MAP policy to include not just rac- wall creep around the corner so that we can try to have all the offer-
quets, but also bags, strings and balls. ings from these different manufacturers,” he says. “There are way
Products off MAP, though, in most too many racquet models.”
cases seem to be up for grabs, and But there also is a shift in what
that’s where smaller retailers seem to retailers are looking to stock: fewer
suffer more. Manufacturers always power racquets and fewer frames
maintain that certain products will in the $200-plus category. “More
never be “was-is,” says Vorhaus, “but players are going to smaller heads,
that never happens. All the major heavier racquets, less powerful, in
manufacturers are doing this—with that quest for more control,” says
the exception of Babolat.” Vorhaus.
Babolat, maybe because it’s a fam- Vorhaus says he believes the
ily-owned business that built up its internet has contributed to the
racquet business slowly in the U.S., large number of models available.
comes in for praise from retailers for “People start doing research on the
how it’s able to maintain its pricing internet and with all this data, they
and distribution standards, refusing to almost want to custom-design a
bow to larger retailers and thereby frame.” What happens, he says, is
putting pro and specialty tennis shops they end up searching for frames
at ease. Off the record, some U.S. with specific characteristics, then
manufacturers credit the French com- more and more manufacturers
pany as having hit on a formula that have to make those specific rac-
allows them to avoid some of the dis- quets.
tribution and retailing challenges The internet, though, is a key
other brands face. for not only manufacturers, but
“Babolat protects its dealers,” says retailers and consumers, too. Part
retailer Gaudreau. “They make sure of the new economy involves shift-
everyone is on a level playing field ing trends in how consumers com-
and they are willing to shut down anybody who is not playing by municate and get their information about products and services.

ARE THERE TOO MANY RACQUETS?


their rules.” “With social networks, people tend to trust their peer groups
more than a manufacturer or association,” says Wilson’s Springer.
“That’s a huge shift in the way consumers educate themselves. It
Ask manufacturers if there are too many racquet models in the mar- wasn’t that many years ago that they relied on the manufacturer,
ketplace, and most will say yes. “We have 12 premium racquets that but today they seek out the opinions of others.
try to address different player types and we feel that is a good, “In today’s marketplace, the best products and services will win
healthy number for a racquet range,” says Dunlop’s Nitsche. “There because people will share that information,” he continues. “It’s a
are others who have a much wider range, so when you add up all wonderful opportunity for all segments of our industry to under-

ERODING THE DEALER BASE


the offerings to retailers and consumers, it can be a bit overwhelm- stand that quality matters.”
ing.”
Tecnifibre, which is fairly new to the racquet game in this coun-
try, has six SKUs in the U.S. “We don’t go in wanting to sell all six,” Of concern to the industry is whether brick-and-mortar tennis
says Tecnifibre’s Paul Kid. “We want to focus on one or two models shops—local “touchpoints” for tennis in a community—simply can’t
in a store, so we can get the retailer to support that model and push make it financially and are closing their doors. “There is a feeling
it. Retailers can’t take a large amount of inventory these days. And that retailers have been closing,” says Muir. “The TIA is still trying to
we don’t offer discounts, so we’re able to control our mass pricing.” quantify it so we can better understand the situation.”
Most manufacturers say they’re looking at about a two-year life “A lot of brick-and-mortar stores do seem to be struggling,” adds
cycle for products. Tecnifibre, however, is shooting for longer. “Our Jolyn de Boer, executive director of the TIA. “Yes, it’s a tough envi-
goal is to design a racquet that will be around for seven to 10 years,” ronment to sell high-end tennis racquets because it’s a discretionary
Kid says. “The product may evolve during that lifespan, with maybe purchase, and people are more careful with their discretionary dol-

26 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


CHARTS AND DATA FROM TIA/SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS
lars. But I still think brick-and-mortar stores have a huge advantage “One obvious thing manufacturers need to continually do is
over everybody else. They need to focus on their strengths: provid- offer innovative products,” says Muir. “At the end of the day, what
ing a level of service no one else can.” drives business is consumers wanting to buy something and want-
“We’ve seen some retailers closing,” says Babolat’s DiBiase. ing to spend more for something that is innovative. What every
“Two years ago, we said this was probably going to happen. People retailer should be pushing every brand to do is to make innovative
on the borderline financially, some will go under. In the long run the products. As a manufacturer or a retailer, you need to offer product
ones that survive will be healthier, and hopefully, as we come out if that meets and exceeds consumer expectations.”
this, everyone’s healthier.” Next, says Muir, is for manufacturers to “continue to work on
“Clearly, there’s going to be some consolidation out there, and the best possible service. It’s not just inventory levels, it also
that’s not healthy for the industry,” adds Embree. “The erosion of involves communicating what is available and what is not available.
our dealer base is a huge concern for all of us. Retailers are the most From a Wilson perspective, we try to be consultants to retailers,
critical link, and we have to support them and help them sell more providing education, knowledge and service.”

OPPORTUNITIES AND FREQUENT PLAYERS


merchandise. But they have to help themselves, too.” Tecnifibre’s Kid says that for his company’s string account base,
“We’ve grown our market share over the past four years by being
close to our loyal customers. We try to provide them with more
Many manufacturers realize that they can reap benefits when they education about our products, so they can pass on correct informa-
get behind programs and initiatives to increase play. tion to consumers. We set out to educate the stringer and align our-

GOOD NEWS AHEAD?


“I think a real opportunity is in QuickStart Tennis products,” says selves with these loyal customers.”
Springer. “Some of the QuickStart products, such as transition balls,
can be used by adults. The key is getting them widely distributed and
in communicating that this is the way to start playing.” On the whole, tennis appears to be better positioned than a lot of
Kurt Kamperman, the USTA’s chief executive of Community other sports to pull out of this economic morass. Just released
Tennis, agrees. “Manufacturers can clearly help by making the research by the Physical Activity Council once again shows tennis
QuickStart Tennis equipment—foam balls, nets, racquets—more far ahead of all other traditional sports in terms of participation
readily available. Our industry is desperate for home kits. We have growth from 2000 to 2009. The gap between tennis and the No. 2
to get that out there for tennis.” sport in the survey has widened even more, while virtually every
For at least one manufacturer, holding inventory in QST equip- other sport is showing a participation decline since 2000.
ment has given them an advantage. “Gamma is one of three man- Possibly even more important is the collective effort by the
ufacturers the USTA has chosen for QuickStart,” says Chuck industry, led by the TIA and USTA, to improve things for all. “I’ve
Vietmeier, the company’s product manager. “Having inventory has never heard of any sport coming together, top to bottom, with such
helped us with the program. We’ve been able to fill orders that oth- unity, ever,” says Mike May, the longtime director of communica-
ers couldn’t.” tions for the SGMA. “The united aspect of tennis at all levels is
But for all manufacturers, there’s a huge potential if more kids unprecedented. It’s a model for other sports to follow.”
get into tennis. “As QuickStart starts to take hold, we have poten- For its part, the TIA is plugged into the concerns of manufactur-
tially hundreds of thousands of frequent players,” says Kamper- ers, retailers and others in the industry. “We had a series of summit
man. “And they’ll constantly need new equipment, larger racquets, meetings over the last year to pinpoint things we can do,” says the
shoes and clothing as they grow and improve.” TIA’s de Boer. The TIA’s Frequent Player Growth Task Force has a
All segments of the industry agree that frequent players hold the goal of helping to create 7.5 million frequent players by 2015, and
key to potentially unlimited growth in recreational tennis. When 10 million by 2020.
you consider that the 5.3 million frequent players (those playing at The TIA also created an Economic Growth Task Force to better
least 21 times a year) represent 18 percent of total players but 68 define the economic impact of the industry and to identify ways to
percent of total spending, you can see how important it is to create impact growth. “One of the main things we do is use research to
more of them. Frequent players take more lessons, buy more identify and try to stay ahead of issues, such as issues dealing with
equipment, restring their racquets, spend for court time and partic- manufacturers’ inventory control,” de Boer says. “We’re also form-
ipate in leagues regularly. ing a retail panel to better work together with manufacturers and
“A player is not born a frequent player,” says Kempin. “At some other groups.”
point, they had to be an infrequent player. So the feeder system is The TIA also created a Careers In Tennis initiative (CareersIn-
critical. If we’re trying to pump up frequent players, they have to Tennis.com) that it hopes will help bring new people, along with
come from the infrequent player base.” new ideas and new enthusiasm, into the industry. “A lot of us have
“Our retention of people after getting them into a tennis pro- been around a long time,” says Tecnifibre’s Kid. “We’re not getting
gram is good, but we need to stay focused on it,” says Baugh. “Ten- a lot of new blood in, which is a concern because you want new
nis should be very proud—there’s no sport in America that can ideas so that we all can grow.”
claim what it has: ways for kids to come into the sport, adult pro- But at the end of the day, it’s simply about people buying tennis

INNOVATION AND EDUCATION


grams—we have the tools to grow this.” products. “We have to work harder and support efforts to drive con-
sumers to retail stores,” says Embree. “The business is different
today. It’s a different dynamic right now than even two years ago.”
A couple of tools that manufacturers can use to grow the sport, and “It’s about building more tennis consumers,” adds Wilson’s
their businesses, are innovation and new technology. Springer. “That’s where the health of our industry lies.” Q

www.racquetsportsindustry.com April 2010 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 27


RACQUETS

RACQUET
SELECTION
O ur exclusive Racquet Selection Map enables you to
help your customers choose the perfect racquet for
MAP location on the grid, you can narrow down the racquet’s feel
attributes by choosing from length, size, and flex specs coded
them quickly and easily, with the features and per- into the racquet number.
formance they want. Next, look up the racquet(s) by number in the accompany-
The map on the following page presents the entire per- ing table. Note, though, that the table on these pages lists every
formance racquet universe on one grid that instantly locates new performance racquet that came out in the last 12 months.
each racquet compared to every other in terms of power, con- If the racquet you find on the grid is not in one of these charts,
trol, and maneuverability. Simply locate the specs of your cus- you’ll find it online at www.racquetsportsindustry.com, where
tomer’s current racquet on the map, then move outward in we have the complete list of every racquet that is currently on
large or small increments in the direction of the customer’s pri- the market, both the newest and the older models.
mary preference—relatively more or less power, control or Your customer will now have a handful of “choice-cus-
maneuverability. Once you’ve zoomed into an approximate tomized” demos. And you’ll have a satisfied customer.

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

New Racquets from April 2009 to March 2010


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

BABOLAT
babolat 877-316-9435 • www.babolat.com
9 Aero Storm GT 98 27 318 11.22 33.5 13.19 68 324 2159 $185
10 Aero Storm Tour GT 98 27 337 11.89 32 12.6 70 322 2209 $185
11 AeroPro Drive + GT 100 27.5 322 11.36 33.6 13.23 71 345 2572 $185
12 AeroPro Drive GT 100 27 316 11.15 33.5 13.19 71 327 2322 $185
13 AeroPro Lite GT 100 27 280 9.88 35.5 13.98 72 308 2218 $175
14 AeroPro Team GT 100 27 291 10.26 34 13.39 71 303 2151 $185
15 Drive Z 105 105 27.5 279 9.84 35 13.78 72 301 2389 $169
19 E Sense Comp 100 27 290 10.23 35 13.78 64 320 2048 $129
20 E Sense Lite 100 27 280 9.88 35.5 13.98 64 311 1990 $129

www.racquetsportsindustry.com April 2010 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 29


RSI’s annual Racquet Selection Map was compiled by Jonathan Wolfe and designed by Kristine Thom.

30 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


New Racquets from April 2009 to March 2010 (Cont.)
Racquet Headsize Length Weight Weight Balance Balance Flex Swingweight Power Retail
(in2) (in.) (gm) (oz) (cm) (in.) (RDC) kg x cm2 Formula Price

BABOLAT (CONT.)
babolat 877-316-9435 • www.babolat.com
21 Pure Drive + Cortex GT 100 27.5 318 11.22 32.15 12.66 72 319 2412 $185
22 Pure Drive 107 Cortex + GT 107 27 296 10.44 33.5 13.19 70 301 2254 $185
23 Pure Drive Cortex GT 100 27 316 11.15 32.2 12.68 72 307 2210 $185
24 Pure Drive Lite GT 100 27 297 10.48 33.5 13.19 71 293 2080 $185
25 Pure Drive Roddick + GT 100 27.5 330 11.64 32.1 12.64 73 326 2499 $189
26 Pure Drive Roddick GT 100 27 330 11.64 32.1 12.64 74 315 2331 $189
27 Pure Storm GT 98 27 315 11.11 33.8 13.31 66 316 2044 $179
28 Pure Storm LTD GT 95 27 335 11.82 31.5 12.4 62 296 1743 $179
30 Pure Storm Tour + GT 98 27.5 341 12.03 32 12.6 64 330 2173 $179
31 Pure Storm Tour GT 98 27 338 11.92 32.5 12.8 66 314 2031 $179
32 XS 109 (Xtra Sweetpsot) 109 27 270 9.52 37 14.57 65 324 2296 $119
BORIS
boris beckerBECKER 866-554-7872 • www.borisbecker.com
40 Delta Core Legend 98 27 330 11.64 32.9 12.95 64 316 1982 $189
41 Delta Core Power 110 27.6 284 10.02 36.3 14.29 69 336 2703 $219
42 Delta Core Pro 100 27 312 11.01 33.5 13.19 70 318 2226 $185
43 Delta Core Sportster 102 27 318 11.22 33 12.99 68 316 2192 $199
DUNLOP
dunlop 800-768-4727 • www.dunlopsport.com
46 Aerogel 4D 1 Hundred 90 27 329 11.61 31.9 12.56 64 296 1705 $199
48 Aerogel 4D 2 Hundred Tour 95 27 345 12.17 33.5 13.19 62 348 2050 $199
50 Aerogel 4D 3 Hundred Lite (300) 100 27 284 10.02 33.9 13.35 68 290 1972 $179
54 Aerogel 4D 5 Hundred Lite (500) 100 27 259 9.14 37.5 14.76 72 303 2182 $179
GAMMA
gamma 800-333-0337 • www.gammasports.com
68 CP 1000 102 27.5 284 10.02 35.7 14.06 73 315 2463 $130
69 CP 1200 110 27.5 283 9.98 35.1 13.82 68 316 2482 $180
78 Tour 300 X 98 27 313 11.04 34.6 13.62 65 328 2089 $160
81 Tour 340 X 93 27 339 11.96 31.9 12.56 66 324 1989 $179
HEAD
head 800-289-7366 • www.head.com
90 Prestige MP (YOUTEK ) 98 27 331 11.68 32.1 12.64 65 312 1987 $200
91 Youtek Extreme MP 100 27.2 310 10.93 33.85 13.33 70 333 2378 $180
92 Youtek Extreme Pro 100 27 330 11.64 32.5 12.8 72 334 2405 $180
93 Youtek Instinct 100 27 312 11.01 33 12.99 66 313 2066 $150
94 Youtek Mojo 100 27 294 10.37 33.9 13.35 63 296 1865 $150
95 Youtek Prestige Mid 93 27 344 12.13 32.5 12.8 66 322 1976 $200
96 Youtek Prestige Pro MP 98 27 332 11.71 32.85 12.93 67 314 2062 $200
97 Youtek Radical Lite OS 105 27 266 9.38 34.65 13.64 64 281 1888 $199
98 Youtek Radical MP 98 27 310 10.93 34 13.39 63 318 1963 $190
99 Youtek Radical OS 107 27 313 11.04 33 12.99 56 310 1858 $190
100 Youtek Radical Pro 100 27 330 11.64 33.5 13.19 61 338 2062 $190
101 Youtek Raptor MP 102 27 268 9.45 35.05 13.8 67 287 1961 $120
102 Youtek Raptor OS 110 27 261 9.21 36.4 14.33 65 306 2188 $120
103 Youtek Speed Elite 100 27 297 10.48 34.5 13.58 68 309 2101 $189
104 Youtek Speed Lite 102 27 274 9.67 35 13.78 69 285 2006 $189
105 Youtek Speed MP 70 Holes 100 27.2 331 11.68 32.1 12.64 63 310 1992 $199
106 Youtek Speed MP 76 Holes 100 27 329 11.61 32.9 12.95 67 311 2084 $199
107 Youtek Speed Pro 98 27 350 12.35 32 12.6 70 326 2236 $199
PACIFIC
pacific 760-200-8400 • www.pacificlifeopen.com
108 Finesse 102 27 254 8.96 37 14.57 68 295 2046 $160
109 Nexus 118 27.5 245 8.64 37.8 14.88 66 300 2453 $240
110 Raptor 102 27 303 10.69 33.8 13.31 69 302 2125 $180
111 Speed 107 27 290 10.23 35.5 13.98 69 314 2318 $150
112 X Force 98 27 310 10.93 33 12.99 65 307 1956 $180
113 X Force Lite 98 27 278 9.81 35.4 13.94 58 302 1717 $150
114 X Force PRO 98 27 335 11.82 32.2 12.68 65 314 2000 $180
POWER ANGLE
powerangle 877-POWER-21 • www.powerangle.net
115 Centric 102 27 291 10.26 36 14.17 75 333 2547 $209

www.racquetsportsindustry.com April 2010 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 31


Racquet Headsize Length Weight Weight Balance Balance Flex Swingweight Power Retail
(in2) (in.) (gm) (oz) (cm) (in.) (RDC) kg x cm2 Formula Price
116 Grand 115 27 258 9.1 37.3 14.69 78 301 2700 $219
125 Pro 98 27 327 11.53 33.5 13.19 69 325 2198 $199
PRINCE
prince 800-2TENNIS • www.princetennis.com
126 EXO3 Black (hole inserts) 100 27 318 11.22 33 12.99 71 330 2343 $179
127 EXO3 Black (port inserts) 100 27 315 11.11 33 12.99 72 326 2347 $179
128 EXO3 Black Team (hole inserts) 100 27 298 10.51 35.5 13.98 68 336 2285 $179
129 EXO3 Black Team (port inserts) 100 27 296 10.44 35.6 14.02 68 332 2258 $179
130 EXO3 Blue 110 110 27.25 270 9.52 36.5 14.37 64 323 2331 $260
133 EXO3 Hybrid 100 100 27 300 10.58 33 12.99 60 313 1878 $99
134 EXO3 Hybrid 104 104 27 288 10.16 34.8 13.7 62 309 1992 $129
135 EXO3 Hybrid 110 110 27 263 9.28 36 14.17 64 302 2126 $149
136 EXO3 Ignite 95 95 27 342 12.06 31 12.2 71 334 2253 $189
137 EXO3 Ignite Team 95 95 27 314 11.08 34 13.39 69 325 2130 $169
142 EXO3 White MP 100 27 308 10.86 34 13.39 68 320 2176 $179
TECNIFIBRE
tecnifibre 877-332-0825 • www.tecnifibre.com
153 T Flash 300 Speed Flex 100 27 319 11.25 33.2 13.07 71 323 2293 $199
154 T Flash 315 Speed Flex 100 27 326 11.5 32.1 12.64 70 319 2233 $199
TOPSPIN
topspin 49-2233-700167 • www.topspintennis.de
155 F 100 Pure 100 27.5 280 9.88 35.4 13.94 68 302 2156 $119
156 X 95 Pure 95 27.5 298 10.51 36.3 14.29 68 334 2266 $119
VOLKL
volkl 866-554-7872 • www.volkl-tennis.com
167 Power Bridge 10 Mid 93 27 337 11.89 31.8 12.52 61 309 1753 $189
168 Power Bridge 2 115 27.6 283 9.98 35.5 13.98 72 319 2800 $219
169 Power Bridge 3 110 27.8 289 10.19 35.75 14.07 70 330 2744 $199
171 Power Bridge 5 102 27 290 10.23 33.5 13.19 68 291 2018 $199
174 Power Bridge 9 98 27 320 11.29 32 12.6 66 298 1927 $180
175 Power Bridge V1 MP 102 27 294 10.37 33.05 13.01 69 291 2048 $199
176 Power Bridge V1 OS 110 27.6 299 10.55 34 13.39 70 310 2530 $199
177 Quantum Scorcher 102 27 282 9.95 32.8 12.91 62 278 1758 $119
VORTEX
vortex 888-938-6783 • www.vortextennis.com
179 ES 100 100 27.5 300 10.58 33.6 13.23 68 308 2199 $199
180 ES 108 108 27 323 11.39 32 12.6 68 312 2291 $209
181 ES 116 115 27.75 267 9.42 37.5 14.76 68 310 2606 $219
182 ES 133 133 28.5 275 9.7 37.5 14.76 68 330 3432 $229
WILSON
wilson 800-272-6060 • www.wilson.com
189 Cirrus One FX BLX 118 27.5 287 10.12 37.5 14.76 77 337 3215 $300
190 Coral Wave BLX 105 27.25 274 9.67 33 12.99 63 274 1858 $180
194 K Bold 100 27 279 9.84 34.2 13.46 52 283 1472 $130
195 K Fierce FX 105 27.25 279 9.84 34 13.39 55 288 1705 $160
197 K Pro Six 100 27 281 9.91 34.9 13.74 59 300 1770 $130
204 Khamsin Five FX BLX 108 27.25 288 10.16 33 12.99 26 329 947 $180
207 Pro Open BLX 100 27 314 11.08 32.1 12.64 72 299 2153 $210
208 Pro Team FX BLX 103 27.25 314 11.08 32.1 12.64 72 299 2273 $210
209 Pro Tour BLX 96 27 345 12.17 32.2 12.68 66 325 2059 $210
210 Six One 95 BLX (68 Holes) 95 27 340 11.99 31.35 12.34 69 314 2058 $199
211 Six One 95 BLX (76 Holes) 95 27 350 12.35 31.25 12.3 68 325 2100 $199
212 Six One Lite BLX 102 27.25 268 9.45 25.4 10 71 290 2153 $210
213 Six One Team BLX 95 27 300 10.58 33 12.99 61 293 1698 $230
214 Six One Tour BLX 90 27 347 12.24 31.95 12.58 66 316 1877 $199
215 Surge BLX 100 27 292 10.3 34 13.39 69 298 2056 $200
216 Tidal Wave BLX 105 27.25 282 9.95 33.3 13.11 63 284 1926 $180
217 Tour BLX 95 27 304 10.72 34.9 13.74 66 332 2082 $220
YONEX
yonex 800-44-YONEX • www.yonexusa.com
228 S Fit 1 (285g) 100 27 298 10.51 33 12.99 69 294 2029 $199
229 S Fit 1 (300g) 100 27 314 11.08 32.2 12.68 68 303 2060 $199
230 S Fit 3 105 27.25 292 10.3 34.8 13.7 70 315 2373 $199
231 S Fit 5 112 27.25 280 9.88 35.4 13.94 69 304 2408 $219

32 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


Tips & Techniques
Readers’ Know-How in Action
ANOTHER STAPLE GUN
RECOMMENDATION
the strings are out of the racquet, and the string going through the frame, as it
gain access to the frame beneath the may be impossible to get any such
bumperguard, where you can put some grommet barrels back through the frame
lead tape. when you’re done adding lead tape.
The trick is that you can duplicate this Then you apply your lead tape and
access in many other racquets. Here’s carefully close everything back up. To
how. make the job look neater, you can use a
thin piece of electrical tape on top of the
lead tape at the 12 o’clock position
before closing up, as there will be a
slight gap and the electrical tape blends
We needed another staple gun, so I asked with the color of the bumperguard to
around. Nate Ferguson recommended the conceal the lead tape.
Duo-Fast Electric Tacker, which is
Head and Volkl bumperguards
designed for laying carpet and upholstery
work, so it’s got plenty of power. Its sta- First, remove the strings from the
ples are 3/16-inches wide, and are avail- frame. Next, use a carpenter’s square to
able in lengths from ¼-inch to mark a straight line on the bumperguard
9/16-inches. The downside is that it retails at “top dead center” on the outside of the
for $158, but you can find it discounted if tip, so you’ll know where to cut. Then, Finished racquet

you shop around. carefully cut through the bumperguard Aside from the obvious differences in
5 sets of Wilson K-Gut Pro 16 to: with a razor knife, being careful not to using this method as opposed to apply-
Paul Reed, MRT, San Luis Obispo, CA cut into the carbon fiber of the racquet ing lead tape to the inside of a strung
Editor’s note: This product seems to have itself. You should now be able to push the frame, is that reaching your desired
been superceded by the Duo-Fast Carpet- grommets at the top of the hoop back measurements becomes a bit trickier.
Pro (pictured), which retails at $169.95. into the frame, and then grab the What I do first is apply lead tape to the
However, the Duo-Fast Electric Tacker is bumperguard and pull a couple of inches inside of the tip of the hoop of a strung
still available from some sources. free. You need to be careful not to peel racquet of the make and model on

ADDING LEAD
the bumperguard back so far that it pulls which I’m working until achieving the

TAPE UNDER THE


out any grommet barrel that is flared, desired measurements, and then I cut

BUMPERGUARD
either due to tying off or to the angle of out the strings and measure the
unstrung frame. This gives me an idea
Placing lead tape around the inside of of my goal for the frame when I’m
the racquet hoop is tried and true: It’s applying lead tape beneath the bumper-
easy to apply, and easy to get to if you guard. The USRSA’s on-line “Mass
want to make adjustments. However, the Mover” tool (available to USRSA mem-
tape is also exposed, which some feel is bers only) is a big help here.
unsightly, and being exposed, it is sub- Marking the bumperguard Finally, I’ve also used this technique
ject to damage from mis-hits, mounting to make it easier to mount “new old
the racquet for restringing, extreme stock” bumperguards to racquets, as
weather (which can reduce the adhesion sometimes the replacement bumper-
of the tape backing), etc. Protecting the guards seem to shrink just enough to
lead tape underneath the bumperguard make it difficult to get them in place.
solves these problems, but then you lose Splitting the top piece at 12 o’clock
the easy access. Cutting the bumperguard
takes care of this issue for me.
There is a middle way, however, 5 sets of Babolat Revenge 16 to:
when you’re adding lead tape at the 12 L. Hodges, Lucerne Valley, CA
o’clock position with the primary goal of —Greg Raven Q
altering the swingweight. Certain Head Tips and Techniques submitted since 2000 by USRSA mem-
and Volkl racquets feature bumperguards bers, and appearing in this column, have all been gathered
into a single volume of the Stringer’s Digest—Racquet Service
with a seam at the tip of the racquet. Techniques which is a benefit of USRSA membership. Submit
This seam allows you to peel back the tips to: Greg Raven, USRSA, 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92804; or
email greg@racquettech.com.
bumperguard a couple of inches when After weighting

34 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY March 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


? Ask the Experts
range of five grams between the lightest

Your Equipment Hotline and heaviest strings, so the heaviest string

Q
weighed 35 percent more than the lightest.

RACQUET BAGS
The results of our measurements are in
the tension loss in a way that might lead to Table 1.

A
WHERE CAN I GET CLEAR PLASTIC confusion, if for no other reason than there As you can see, the biggest change is in
racquet bags? would be only one measurement for stiff- swingweight. Few players are going to
ness but two for tension loss. Because we notice five grams difference in overall rac-
THERE ARE SEVERAL SOURCES for measure the tension loss in pounds, it quet mass, or 0.06 centimeters difference in
plastic racquet bags, such as Fro- seems more appropriate to report the test balance. A difference of 6 kg•cm2, though,
muth Tennis and Grand Slam results that way. is noticeable, although in our experience
Stringers. The problem you may run into is As for the added weight for each string, most players simply won’t care. There are
that shipping costs on the bags — which this might be helpful but it would be diffi- plenty of players — perhaps the overwhelm-
are fairly heavy in bulk — can really add cult to gather all this data as we would ing majority — who use more than one rac-
up. If you find this to be the case, check have to string up every one of hundreds of quet, with the differences among their
bag and box suppliers in your area to see if sets of string, weigh the strung racquet, racquets being far more than the differ-
you can save by having the bags shipped and then cut out the strings to see how ences we measured for the extremes in
the shortest possible distance. You’re look- many feet of string we used. Obviously, we strings. To illustrate this, we went through a
ing for bags roughly 14 inches wide by 36 could measure out exactly 40 (for example) stringing log of a private stringer and came
inches long, made of poly in a thickness of feet and then weigh it, but not only do dif- up with some ranges for weight, balance,
1.5 mil or so. Thinner material costs less ferent racquets require different amounts and swingweight for five players who have
but doesn’t hold up as well, thicker materi- of string, but also different strings stretch been using the same racquet and string
al costs more initially and weighs more for differently so that stringing two identical over a period of time.
shipping but is more durable. These bags racquets with two different strings that
Table 2. Wt. range Bal. range Swgwt range
will have no printing on them. If you want have the same mass per 40 feet would
Player 1 11.5 0.7 8
to customize them, you can pay more for not necessarily give you the same total Player 2 10.5 2.3 11
pre-printed bags, or have a local printer strung weight, let alone balance and Player 3 11.0 0.8 14
make up some stick-on decals for you that swingweight. Let’s not even get into the Player 4 13.0 0.6 20

Q
you can apply to the bags as needed. issue of hybrid string jobs. Player 5 20.0 1.3 21

STRING SPECIFICATIONS
However, your question made us
wonder: What is the range of string Each of these players is happy with his
I HAVE TWO REQUESTS FOR weights, balance, and swingweight equipment, even though the range of
changes to the USRSA’s online between the lightest and heaviest strings? weights is more than double what we found
String Specification tool. First, could To find out, we went back over our years as a result of comparing the lightest and
you add the percentage of tension loss to of playtest results and identified the light- heaviest string in our test. Likewise, the bal-
go with the tension loss in pounds? And est and heaviest strings, as well as the ance range is well beyond anything that
second, could you provide a measurement average weight of all the strings we’ve could be accounted for by changing strings,
of how much weight each string adds to playtested to date. Obviously, there may and in the range of swingweights, even the
the frame after stringing? This knowledge be lighter and/or heavier strings, but this player’s racquets with the least divergence
could aid in explaining to a customer that a sample should be fairly representative of are more different than if he was using

A
change to a stiffer or softer brand of strings available strings. identical frames with the lightest strings in
(and the likely weight differential) can At the light end, we had Wilson Stami- one and the heaviest strings in the other.
affect racquet balance and swingweight. na 17 (a nylon). On the heavy end, we had This is not to say that swingweight (and
Luxilon M2 Plus 1.30 (a “poly”). Represent- other) differences resulting from different
WHILE IT WOULD BE EASY TO add ing the average, we grabbed a set of Head string weights aren’t important, but rather
a column to the String Specification FiberGel Power 16. We had the same that introducing string weights into the deci-
results that expresses the tension loss as a stringer install each string in the same rac- sion-making process for your customers
percentage, this wouldn’t really give any quet using the same machine and 60- when their racquets probably have extreme
new information. It would merely restate pound reference tension. This gave us a variances may make life more difficult for
you and your customers with no real bene-
Table 1. Wilson Head Luxilon
fit. Before you get them worried about
Overall string weight for 35 feet 14.00 16.00 19.00 grams
String weight per foot 0.40 0.46 0.54 grams string weights, get their racquets matched
Frame Weight 336.00 336.00 336.00 grams up. Then, if they change to a different
Racquet Weight 349.00 351.00 354.00 grams string, you can adjust the racquets to match,
Overall installed string weight 13.00 15.00 18.00 grams if needed and/or desired. —Greg Raven Q
Balance 31.97 31.98 32.03 cm We welcome your questions. Please send them to Racquet
Swingweight 327.00 330.00 333.00 Kg•cm2 Sports Industry, 330 Main St., Vista, CA, 92084; fax: 760-
536-1171; email: greg@racquettech.com.

36 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


String Playtest
Unique Tourna Quasi-Gut
Tourna Quasi-Gut is an advanced multi- adding 13 grams to the weight of our
filament nylon string meant to play and unstrung frame.
feel like natural gut, while maintaining Being soft, Tourna Quasi-Gut is a plea-
better durability. Unique tells us that sure to string, although as with other
Tourna Quasi-Gut is constructed from polyurethane strings you have to be judi-
cious when pulling the crosses to avoid from 3.5 to 6. These are blind tests, with
thousands of tightly wound microfibers,
friction burn. We had no trouble getting playtesters receiving unmarked strings
each permeated with and contained in
the string through blocked holes. in unmarked packages.
a new thermo-elastic polyurethane
No playtester broke samples during Our playtest team found Tourna
resin. According to Unique, this high Quasi-Gut 16 impressive even for a soft
stringing, none reported problems with
tech resin greatly increases the durabili- coil memory or tying knots, and one nylon, giving it ratings in the top 20 in
ty and weather resistance of the string reported friction burn. four separate categories: 5th overall for

ON THE COURT
without compromising its natural gut- Touch/Feel, 6th overall (tie) for Playabili-
like performance. ty, 7th overall (tie) for Comfort, and 11th
Unique is promoting Tourna Quasi-Gut The string was tested for five weeks by 36 overall (tie) for Power. Bolstering these
to advanced players who love the feel and USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings results are the teams’ well-above-aver-
performance of natural gut but need age ratings for Tourna Quasi-Gut for
added durability, as well as to players EASE OF STRINGING Control, Spin Potential, and Tension
who prefer a lively, responsive and pow- (compared to other strings) Retention. As a result, Unique Tourna
erful string, and players who suffer from Number of testers who said it was: Quasi-Gut 16 is tied for 16th overall out
much easier 4
tennis elbow or arm soreness. of the 140 strings we’ve playtested to
somewhat easier 17
Tourna Quasi-Gut is available in 16 date for publication. Additionally, our
about as easy 15
and 17 in natural. It is priced from $7.95 playtest team told us that Tourna Quasi-
not quite as easy 0
for sets of 40 feet, and $99 for reels of not nearly as easy 0 Gut 16 doesn’t sacrifice playability for
660 feet. For more information or to durability or vice versa.
order, contact Unique at 800-554-3707, or OVERALL PLAYABILITY Members of the playtest team aver-
visit uniquesports.com. Be sure to read (compared to string played most often) aged 19.8 hours of court time playing
Number of testers who said it was:
the conclusion for more information with the test sample. This includes the
much better 2
about a special offer on Tourna Quasi-Gut. five playtesters who broke the sample
somewhat better 12

IN THE LAB
during the playtest period, one at 6
about as playable 12
not quite as playable 9 hours, two at 10 hours, and one each at
We tested the 16 gauge Tourna Quasi-Gut. not nearly as playable 1 11 and 13 hours.

CONCLUSION
The coil measured 40 feet. The diameter
measured 1.31-1.33 mm before stringing, OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings
and 1.24-1.25 mm after stringing. We It’s great to have a soft nylon score well
of similar gauge)
recorded a stringbed stiffness of 77 RDC Number of testers who said it was: in Touch/Feel, Playability, Comfort, and
units immediately after stringing at 60 much better 0 Power, with two of the playtest team
pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 x somewhat better 12 comparing it favorablity to natural gut.
18 pattern) on a constant-pull machine. about as durable 14 That’s what you might expect from
After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed not quite as durable 9 Unique Tourna Quasi-Gut 16. Then, out
stiffness measured 71 RDC units, repre- not nearly as durable 1 of left field, it also garners good marks
senting an 8 percent tension loss. Our RATING AVERAGES for spin potential, and two members of
control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Origi- From 1 to 5 (best) the playtest team compare it favorably
nal Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units Playability (6th overall - tie) 3.9 to polyester. According to our playtest
immediately after stringing and 71 RDC Durability 3.4 team, this ain’t your father’s nylon
units after 24 hours, representing a 9 per- Power (11th overall - tie) 3.7 string.
cent tension loss. Control 3.6 If you think that Tourna Quasi-Gut
In our lab testing of 833 different Comfort (7th overall - tie) 3.8 might be for you, Unique is making
strings, we found that Unique Tourna Touch/Feel (5th overall - tie) 3.8 USRSA members in the U.S. a “buy one,
Quasi-Gut 16 has a stiffness of 185 lbs/in. Spin Potential 3.4 get one free” offer (shipping additional).
Holding Tension 3.4
and a tension loss of 15.59 lbs. Tourna You can contact Unique at 800-554-
—Greg Raven Q
Resistance to Movement 3.2
Quasi-Gut 16 is lighter than average, 3707.

38 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com


TESTERS TALK

“ All day comfort. Big topspin from the


baseline. Touch and placement are effort-
less. Very solid feel at impact. Great con-


trol. 4.5 male all-court player using
Wilson nTour strung at 58 pounds CP
(Head Sonic Pro 16)

“ Excellent playability. Firm and respon-


sive. Great control from the baseline and


net. 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin
using Wilson nTour strung at 58 pounds CP
(Signum Pro Poly Plasma 18)

“ This string has the control, power, com-


fort, and general responsiveness of natural
gut.
” 4.5 male all-court player using
Volkl Power Bridge 1 strung at 58 pounds
CP (Forten Dynamix 16)

“ I am returning to the game from a hand


injury. This string is exactly what the doctor
ordered. Quiet and vibration free. Easy


power. 5.0 male all-court player using
Head Flexpoint Radical MP strung at 53
pounds CP (Polyester 16)

“ Great combination of comfort and con-


trol. 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin
using Babolat Pure Drive OS Team strung
at 60 pounds CP (Luxilon Original 16)

“ Extremely easy to string. Excellent con-


trol. The feel is stiff at first. Over time it


gets more comfortable. 4.5 male all-
court player using Wilson K Tour strung at
57 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power Rough
16L)

“ This has the soft feel of a multifilament


with the crisp control of a


monofilament. 5.0 male all-court player
using Babolat Pure Storm GT strung at 57
pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power Rough 16L)

“ This string plays better after it settles in.


It is a good all-around string. Having said
that, however, I do not see a need to ‘stop


the presses. 3.5 male all-court player
using Prince O3 Citron OS strung at 60
pounds CP (Luxilon Timo )

For the rest of the tester comments, visit


www.racquetsportsindustry.com.

www.racquetsportsindustry.com April 2010 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 39


Your Serve
Sweat the Small(er) Stuff
For success at the grassroots game, let’s

W
build up the ‘minor leagues’ of tennis.
BY KENT OSWALD

ithin the last year, the Ameri- Admittedly, I have no scientific research ment. It is probably also not worth the
can tennis community has cel- linking Midland's tourney to its open-armed trouble to discuss whether it was a good
ebrated two models for the embrace of recreational tennis. Nor can I say use of membership dollars when the USTA
sports' promotion. One appears less for sure that since the second runner-up in swung its weight around so the U.S. could
expensive and seems to correlate with the America’s Best Tennis Town competi- host one more tour event in addition to the
results. But it’s the other one that gets tion, Independence, Kan., is within an hour three women’s, six men’s, four combined
more attention. and a half drive of four Pro Circuit tourna- and one major tournaments already on the
In 2009, Midland, Mich., a city of ments, that has anything to do with more professional calendar.
41,000-plus about 100 miles northwest of than 200 kids in a town of less than 10,000 However, Atlanta had a clay-court
Detroit, was named America's Best Tennis playing tennis in the summer. (The first run- event from 1992 to 2001 and didn't wave
Town. An estimated 25 percent of the res- ner-up, Ojai, Calif., supports the country’s goodbye to it because folks supported it
idents play tennis, and one would assume oldest amateur tournament.) too much. Indianapolis has been without a
those 10,000 also take lessons and buy title sponsor for the last couple of years,
racquets, balls, string and tennis clothes. “Rather than always and attendance in 2009 fell about 16,000
One thing that undoubtedly helped from the year before, down just over
bring about that critical mass of tennis focusing on the big 56,000 from its 1993 high. It is possible
interest in Midland was its hosting of the event, why can't we in that within a few years the Atlanta Tennis
Dow Corning Tennis Classic for the last 22 Championships might be galvanizing ten-
years, just one of the 90 or so events the tennis community nis participation and business throughout
around the country making up the USTA the South in July. However that hasn’t
Pro Circuit. For each event, the USTA kicks focus on following a been the way these things have been
in around $50,000 to tournaments' coffers successful model?” working recently.
for prize money support, marketing help, Rather than always focusing on the big
umpires and some general training. In But it certainly can’t hurt when it comes event, why can't we in the tennis commu-
return, a "minor league" field (players all to getting kids and a whole community nity focus on following a successful model,
have world rankings below 70) provides involved with tennis. At these smaller instead of throwing cash at dreams of
the opportunity for American player devel- events, you can actually talk to pros who “what hasn't been for years”? (Not that the
opment (although the fields are interna- aren't usually besieged by fans, or stand 20 same argument couldn't be made for
tional) and fertilization of tennis interest at feet from a match between some of the much of the money the USTA is paying out
the grassroots—Midland draws about world's best tennis players. supporting player development when
15,000 fans per year to the Dow Corning While minor-league tennis seems to offer most measurable success has come from
event. a pretty good return on the dollar, in terms outside “the system.”)
As a quick aside about the importance of policy and promotion it is the red-haired When everyone agrees we need to
of grassroots interest as a remedy for what stepchild. Again, the Pro Circuit events are work on the grassroots of tennis, why can't
ails a game, consider minor-league base- nationwide and throughout the year. Do you we build “minor-league” tennis across the
ball. Most dramatically, in 1994 the minor know when one is near you? How often have country with major-league efforts from
leagues kept fan interest in “the national you been contacted about one or contacted local fans, businesses and the media? Q
pastime” from drifting when the major someone to link up with professional tennis
leagues went on strike. Minor-league ball in your area?
Kent Oswald is a contributor to
currently claims more than 40 million tick- Now consider how much you heard TennisNow.com, producer at
ets sold per year. Equally important, base- when the ATP decided to close the men's the JockBookReview.com and a
ball fans nourish their relationship to their tournament in Indianapolis, then the great former editor of Tennis Week
sport without having to pay major-league cries of relief heard when that event was magazine.
park prices or dependence on television instead shifted to Atlanta.
coverage. Imagine such a foundation for This isn't to denounce the intentions of We welcome your opinions. Please email
comments to RSI@racquetTECH.com or fax
fans and businesses in the world of tennis. the city’s advocates for taking on the tourna- them to 760-536-1171.

40 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY April 2010 www.racquetsportsindustry.com