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May 2011

Volume 39 Number 5 $5.00

Displaying and
Selling Apparel
The Importance
of Grips and Handles
Soft-Court Award Winners
Careers in Tennis
Contents R S I M A Y 2 0 1 1

7 Tennis participation
FEATURES jumps 46%
21 Making Their Moves 7 Hall of Fame honors 4
For young professionals entering the
industry, laying a good foundation and 8 Gamma launches string
making connections are key. performance guarantee
24 Soft Goods 8 USTA grants to help
Where can you find excellence in out-
door clay-court construction? Take a facilities grow 10U tennis
look at these seven winners.
28 Standard Practices 8 USRSA introduces new
Whether stringing for the pros or for
racquet service software
recreational players, you need to estab-
lish standard operating procedures.
10 Peoplewatch
35 Handling Your Players 10 National Tennis Center
Often overlooked by players, the grip to add show court
and handle are crucial to a racquet’s
performance. Educate your customers on
how important this area is to their
10 Stolen Sampras trophies
38 Rules of Engagement 12 WTA, Sony pick ‘Hot
For these apparel retailers, careful buy- Shots’ for web TV show
ing, trimming inventory, creative mer-
chandising and expert customer service
are helping their businesses.
12 Ashaway adds 17-gauge
squash string
12 Organix racquets debut
13 Dunlop adds 2 stings to
Biomimetic line
14 Short Sets
15 Gamma adds to Zo
string line

4 Our Serve 42 Tips & Techniques
7 Industry News 44 Ask the Experts
17 TIA News 46 String Playtest: Luxilon Savage White
19 Pioneers in Tennis: Bob Lee 48 Your Serve, by Jon Vegosen
Our Serve

A Redefined and Renewed TIA (Incorporating Racquet Tech and Tennis Industry)

SI magazine, as many of you know, works David Bone Jeff Williams
closely with the Tennis Industry Associa- Editorial Director
tion on a number of levels. After all, we Peter Francesconi

have a similar goal—to grow your tennis busi- Associate Editor

Greg Raven
ness—so it only makes sense we work together
Design/Art Director
for the good of the industry. Kristine Thom
What concerns me, though, is that many people have the perception that the
Contributing Editors
TIA is an “arm” of the USTA. They’re unclear of exactly what the role of the TIA
Robin Bateman
is, and the difference between the TIA and the role the USTA plays. Cynthia Cantrell
The USTA’s mission is to “promote and develop the growth of tennis,” in Joe Dinoffer
short, to get as many people playing tennis as possible. The TIA’s mission is to Liza Horan
Greg Moran
“promote the growth and economic vitality of the tennis industry,” that is, to Bob Patterson
make this sport profitable for stakeholders. Granted, the more consumers who Cynthia Sherman
play the game, the more profitable it will be for everyone. So in many respects, Mary Helen Sprecher
the goals of the two organizations are similar—and complementary.
This important synergy was reinforced recently at a meeting of both the TIA Corporate Offices
and USTA leadership, which helped to define, and in some cases redefine, some 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084
of the roles both groups play in this industry. For its part, the TIA is making some Phone: 760-536-1177 Fax: 760-536-1171
important changes. Its board of directors, for instance, will both be streamlined,
yet will broaden in expertise, in some instances looking outside the traditional Office Hours: Mon.-Fri.,8 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific Time
tennis industry lines to bring in new and fresh ideas.
The TIA also will play an important role in 10 and Under Tennis. The USTA Advertising Director
John Hanna
wants to get as many kids as possible in the game as effortlessly as possible; the 770-650-1102, x.125
TIA’s task is to develop ways for stakeholders, including tennis retailers, to help
make that happen for the good of the industry. Specifically, the TIA will manage
Apparel Advertising
the 10 and Under Tennis retail initiative, including developing timelines, regis-
Cynthia Sherman
tering retailers and making sure retailers know the importance of providing the 203-263-5243
full line of different 10 and Under Tennis products.
Also important to both the USTA and TIA leadership is the Racquet Sports Industry is published 10 times per
portal, which will be rolled out in 2012. The TIA created two year: monthly January through August and com-
bined issues in September/October and Novem-
years ago as a single portal to tie together all parts of this sport and create a path-
ber/December by Tennis Industry and USRSA, 330
way for new players to become frequent players. Now, the cooperation between Main St., Vista, CA 92084. Application to Mail at
the USTA and TIA will take to the next level. Periodicals Postage Prices is Pending at Vista, CA and
What is the message here? While the TIA has always worked with and sup- additional mailing offices. May 2011, Volume 39,
Number 5 © 2011 by USRSA and Tennis Industry. All
ported the USTA, there is now a new, and renewed, TIA and a better under-
rights reserved. Racquet Sports Industry, RSI and
standing between the two organizations. It’s all about finding ways to help logo are trademarks of USRSA. Printed in the U.S.A.
businesses grow. And it’s all about TENNIS. Phone advertising: 770-650-1102 x 125. Phone circu-
lation and editorial: 760-536-1177. Yearly subscrip-
tions $25 in the U.S., $40 elsewhere. POSTMASTER:
Send address changes to Racquet Sports Industry,
Peter Francesconi 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084.

RSI is on Facebook. Become a fan and keep up with all the

Editorial Director

latest news and information at

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


R S I M A Y 2 0 1 1


Adams, Others Tennis Participation Jumps 46% For 2000-2010

Honored by Hall of Fame he latest data from the Physical Activity Council (PAC) shows participation in the sport
Jodie Adams, a
parks and recre-
ation professional
T grew 46% from 2000 through 2010, making tennis by far the fastest growing traditional
participation sport in the U.S. for the past decade.
In PAC’s 2011 Sports, Fitness, and Recreation Participation Overview, tennis was one of
from Springfield, only two sports to show an increase in overall participation in the past 10 years. Among tra-
Mo., received the ditional participation sports, the second fastest growing in the past decade was racquetball,
International Tennis Hall of Fame’s up 3%, according to the study. All other traditional sports showed a decline or had no
2010 Samuel Hardy award April 2, increase in participation over that same period. The annual PAC study examines sports trends
at an awards lunch held in conjunc- and participation for 119 sports.
tion with the USTA’s Annual Meet- In addition, Cardio Tennis, a program started in 2005 by the TIA and USTA, has seen rapid
ing in Naples, Fla. Adams, a former growth. Cardio Tennis was added to the PAC study in 2008, and in the 2010 survey had 1.5
member of the USTA board of direc- million players, an 81% increase in participation over the two years, and 28% more than in
tors, has been active in growing ten- 2009. Cardio Tennis
nis programs in parks nationally. also has been
expanding interna-
Adams has served on a number of
tionally and is now
USTA National Committees for more
in more than 30
than 25 years and currently is on
the National Association of County
“We’re pleased
Park and Recreation Officials Board
that interest and par-
of Directors. For her service to the
ticipation in tennis
sport she was awarded the 2009
has been able to
USTA President's Award and the
withstand the chal-
2007 USTA/NPPTA Hollis Smith Life-
lenges in this econo-
time Achievement Award.
my,” said Jolyn de
Also honored by the Hall of Fame Boer, executive director of the TIA. “This is also a credit to our joint effort with our partners,
with Tennis Educational Merit especially the USTA, in terms of launching programs designed to attract new players into the
Awards were Leslie Allen of New game, bring people back into tennis, and have current players playing more tennis, as well as
York, N.Y., Dale Caldwell of New the certified tennis teaching pros who deliver the programming.”
Brunswick, N.J., and Coach Dan The Physical Activity Council is composed of seven of the major governing bodies and
Magill Jr. of Athens, Ga. Allen is a trade associations, including the TIA and USTA.
former top-20 WTA player who has
stayed active in the sport and is the
founder of a youth program that Djokovic is Flying High in Head Racquet Ad
uses tennis as a platform for person- t’s not just Novak Djokovic’s tennis play that has taken off in recent months. At the end of
al development. Caldwell is a busi-
ness executive and tennis enthusiast
who has been involved with USTA
I last year, Djokovic climbed out onto the wing of a biplane
to promote Head’s YouTek IG Speed Racquet and “bring to
life the concept of ‘Ultimate Speed,’” says Head.
programming for tennis in schools. The commercial, which was posted on, YouTube
University of Georgia's Magill has and other sites in March, was filmed in Europe. It shows the
held the position of head tennis world No. 2 “rallying” on the wing of a plane with another
coach for 34 years and developed player, both dressed in headgear, goggles and flight suits.
one of the finest collegiate tennis Visible in the video is Djokovic apparently standing on the
programs in the nation. wing of the plane as it lifts from the runway. But did he really
go 1,000 meters up to play tennis? May 2011 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 7

M A Y 2 0 1 1

USTA Grants Available to Help


Gamma Launches String

Performance Guarantee Facilities Grow 10U Tennis
G amma Sports has introduced the Gamma String Perform-
ance Guarantee for U.S. consumers, in which the compa-
A long with the USTA’s plans to invest $8 million to fos-
ter growth in 10 and Under Tennis in 100 markets across the
country, the organization also has made available money to help
ny will refund the purchase price if a consumer is not
public facilities install shorter courts and to paint blended lines on
satisfied with the performance expectations of Gamma per-
existing full-size tennis courts.
formance processed and co-polyester strings.
The USTA’s Facility Assistance program offers competitive
The guarantee covers strings such as TNT2, TNT2 Touch,
grant applications to tennis facilities that are open to the public
Live Wire, Professional, Live Wire XP, Zo Black Ice, Zo Verve
and that meet other guidelines. (For details, visit
and more. For details on the guarantee and to see which Categories for funding are:
Q Category 1: Up to $4,000—to be matched by the local commu-
strings are covered, visit
If a consumer is not satisfied with the performance of
nity—for basic facility improvements such as fixing court
their Gamma string, they download a claim form from the
amenities, 10 and Under Tennis lines, etc.
Q Category 2: Up to 20 percent of the total project cost or $35,000
website, cut the string out of their racquet, and return the
string to Gamma by trackable shipment within 14 days of
maximum to resurface existing courts at public facilities.
Q Category 3: Up to 20 percent of the total project cost or $50,000
purchase. Once all information is verified, Gamma will refund
the purchase price of the string and string job up to $50.
maximum for new construction or existing facility reconstruc-
tion and expansion.
USPTA Adds Co-Chairs for The cost to line courts for 10 and Under Tennis is approxi-
mately $200 to $400 per 78-foot court. Converting an existing
Tennis Across America 78-foot court to four permanent 36-foot courts is estimated to be

T he USPTA, which announced the One-

Clinic Challenge for its 2011 Tennis
Across America events, has signed up
$8,000 to $10,000 per 78-foot court.
Other facility assistance services include offering facility con-
cepts, design review, construction document review, RFP and bid
former President George H.W. Bush and document review, and concepts for 36-foot and 60-foot facilities.
TV analysts Cliff Drysdale and Patrick McEnroe, among oth- To take advantage of the USTA’s Facility Assistance Program,
ers, as honorary co-chairs and health and fitness industry complete and submit the online assistance form at
partners. The form can be completed at any time dur-
Also on board are former touring professionals Todd Mar- ing the year. A USTA representative will then contact you within
tin, Emilio Sanchez Vicario and Tony Trabert; Pam Shriver, TV 30 days to talk about your needs.
analyst and former touring professional; world-renowned ten-
nis coach and Master Professional Rick Macci; and author,
speaker and Master Professional Peter Burwash. USRSA Introduces
Health and fitness companies supporting the USPTA’s New Racquet Service Software
efforts include:
Q The American College of Sports Medicine – Exercise is Med-
icine Initiative
T he U.S. Racquet Stringers Association has developed two
new, innovative database applications designed to help rac-

Q International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association –

quet stringers and customizers keep track of their business.
Both database applications are personalized to the user’s busi-
Campaign for a Healthier America
Q The National Physical Activity Plan
ness, and both are available for PC or Mac users.

Q Mental Health America – Live Your Life Well Initiative

Stringers’ Companion and Stringer's Companion Lite are

Q Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation

stored and run on the user's computer, alleviating the need for
internet access. Designed by racquet stringers for racquet
May is National Physical Fitness Month and Mental Health
stringers, both tools help manage all facets of the day-to-day
Month, and the USPTA is encouraging every member to run
stringing business and needs for those working in the racquet
at least one Tennis Across America event to help spread the
service field.
word that obesity is now an epidemic, especially with today's
"After years of development, we're excited about the com-
youth devoting more time to computers and other technolo-
bination of features, efficiency and flexibility that these tools
gy than to exercise. In addition, it provides the opportunity to
offer,” says David Bone, executive director of the USRSA. “We
focus on the long-range health benefits of developing a habit
believe they should help improve the professionalism of any-
of being active through tennis from early childhood. Events
one offering racquet service."
can take many forms leading up to May 14 (Tennis Across
For a list of features for each application, visit the online
America Day).
store at Demo versions of the software
For tools and resources on ideas for TAA events, visit
are available at no cost by visiting the online store at


M A Y 2 0 1 1


• Rafael Nadal is a new • Former WTA CEO and Nike Stolen Sampras Trophies Recovered
spokesman for Barcardi’s exec Kevin Wulff is the new ozens of Pete Sampras’s trophies stolen in December were
“Drink Responsibly” cam- CEO of Asics America. Wulff found behind a hospital in the L.A. suburb of Marina Del Rey
paign and will appear in joined Asics in August. He on March 19. Reports say a private investigator, working for Sam-
advertisements for the alco- was WTA CEO from 2001 to pras, received a tip about the trophies then notified hospital secu-
holic beverage company. 2003. rity. It was unclear exactly how many trophies, or which ones,
were recovered.
• Canadian sensation Milos • Kelly Hesketh has been Most of the trophies from Sampras’s career, which included
Raonic, age 20, signed an named USTA 10 and Under 64 tour titles and 14 Grand Slam singles wins, were taken from
endorsement deal with the Tennis coordinator for a West Los Angeles storage facility in December. Sampras said he
software company SAP. Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C. had not insured the trophies since he was unsure of how to put
She is one of three 10 and a value on much of the collection.
• Eric Mitchell is the new Under Tennis coordinators
executive director of the being hired in the Southern
USTA Southwest Section. Section and about 20
New NYC Center Bubbles 12 Courts
Mitchell, age 40, has been
with the section for 12 years
throughout the country. The
coordinators are responsible T he new, 16-court Stadium Tennis Center at Mill Pond Park in
New York City, in the shadow of Yankee Stadium at East
152nd Street and the Harlem River, opened at the end of 2010
as the Junior Competition for administering and pro-
manager. He also served as moting the USTA 10 and with a seasonal bubble covering 12 of its Decoturf tennis
co-interim executive director Under Tennis Initiative in their courts—one of the largest bubbles of its type in the world. The
during the selection process community. bubble covers an area of more than 75,000 square feet, with a
for the position. volume of more than 4 million cubic feet.
• Bob Bartlett is the new An adjacent clubhouse will be completed in the coming
• Dave Miley, the Interna- operations manager of Tifosi months and will feature a pro shop, café, locker rooms and
tional Tennis Federation’s Optics, based in Watkinsville, lounge areas, wi-fi computer access, workspace where children
executive director of Tennis Ga. can do schoolwork and read, and a tennis library. The tennis
Development, is the newest center is part of Mill Pond Park and the Yankee Stadium Rede-
member of the Tennis Indus- • Mia Horvit of Parkland, velopment Project. It formerly was a vacant and decaying
try Association’s board of Fla., the No. 3 seed, won the industrial site. Visit
directors. Miley, who joined 40th annual Maureen Con-
the ITF in 1991, is responsible nolly Brinker Girls’ 14 Nation-
for overseeing the non-pro- al Championships at T-Bar-M
fessional activities of the ITF, Racquet Club in Dallas in
including junior, senior and March, defeating Tiffany Tang
wheelchair tennis, and sci- from Rogers, Ark., 6-2, 6-1.
ence and technical activities,
as well as the ITF’s Develop- • Maria Sharapova may have
ment Program. a special bond with the plight
of those in Japan affected by
• Rodney Harmon, the 2008 the nuclear power plant
US Olympic coach, will again threats in the wake of the
teach at Camp A.C.E., the earthquake and tsunami. Her
NJTL Regional Leadership parents fled the fallout from
camp run by USTA Eastern, the Chernobyl explosion 25
held July 24-30 at Ramapo years ago. A year after Cher-
NTC to Add Fourth Show Court
College in New Jersey. Camp
A.C.E., which stands for
nobyl, Maria was born in
Siberia. A disaster like Cher- T he USTA announced in March that the USTA Billie Jean King
National Tennis Center in New York will get a new 3,000-seat
stadium to complement its three existing stadiums. The new arena
Achieving through Coaching nobyl “opens your eyes, and
and Education, is in its 13th obviously puts a lot of per- will be ready for the 2012 US Open, says the USTA, and could be
year and provides players spective in your life,” says ready for this summer’s Open.
ages 14-17 with daily tennis Sharapova, who has donated The NTC is on leased public land, and the new stadium will
instruction, college admis- $350,000 since 2007 to help need approval from the New York City Design Commission. It
sions counseling and commu- youngsters in the Chernobyl will not require public funds, and will not change the current bor-
nity activities. area. ders of the tennis center site. The USTA pays the city about $1.5
million a year to rent the public park space. When the Open is
not taking place, the NTC site is open to all for public play.


M A Y 2 0 1 1

Ashaway Adds WTA, Sony Pick ‘Hot


17-Gauge Squash String Shots’ for Web TV Show

Ashaway Racket Strings has introduced a heavier gauge
addition to its popular UltraNick series of squash
strings. UltraNick 17 utilizes the same Zyex multifila- S ix women “Hot Shots” will star in a
reality series airing online and on
mobile handsets. The Experia Hot Shots
ment fiber core as its 18-gauge sibling to provide
increased power and resilience, and reduced tension show will follow the lives of six aspiring
loss, says Ashaway. But the thicker 17-gauge with its tennis stars as they strive to build their
braided surface maximizes durability while still provid- profile on and off the court and gain a
ing better touch and ball control. Visit support deal with WTA sponsor Sony
The six, announced in Miami at the
Sony Ericsson Open, are Dominika
Cibulkova, Sorana Cirstea, Alize Cornet,
Sabine Lisicki, Bethanie Mattek-Sands
and Heather Watson. The show will air
online for five months, and the winner
will be chosen by fan voting online.
Sony Ericsson will give the women
exclusive access to the worlds of music,
film, gaming and fashion, allowing
them to grow their online fan base. Visit for more information.

Organix Racquets Debut

E pic Sports International Inc., a
global sports brand management
firm and worldwide licensee for
Völkl Tennis and Boris Becker Tennis,
launched its Organix Racquet Tech-
nology, a product line featuring com-
binations of high-technology carbon
nano tubes, organic materials and a
cutting-edge handle system,
designed to enhance power and feel.
The Organix product line has a sug-
gested retail price range of $230 to
The new Organix line includes
five racquets designed for all player
levels and developed by Völkl in con-
junction with the Fraunhofer Insti-
tute in Munich, Germany. The
racquets feature three new technolo-
gies: 1) Bio Sensor Handle System to
reduce vibration; 2) Organix, which
is a fusion of DNX carbon nano tubes
and organic cellulose materials to
increase dynamic power; and 3)
Optispot, which provides players
with the ability to hit 40% more balls
in the sweetspot, according to the
Descriptions of the new Organix
racquets are at



Dunlop Adds 2 Strings

to Biomimetic Line
D unlop has expanded
redesigned string line with the
introduction of two new strings:

Juice and DNA. The new strings join

five others (Black Widow,
Silk, Hexy Fiber, Explosive
and S-Gut) to make up
the Biomimetic line.
The brightly col-
ored Juice string draws
its inspiration from one
of nature's most explo-
sive forces—lightning.
The premium poly-
ester has two con-
characteristics that Dunlop
says deliver its power and spin: the
high-tensile monofilament polyester
construction gives Juice its power,
while its twisted, pentagonal profile
helps to grip the ball, imparting extra
The DNA string is inspired by the
shape of a DNA helix. Dunlop says
the multi-filament offers a crisp,
comfortable feel. It features a unique
PBT (Polybutylene terephthalate)
fiber coil that spirals around the mul-
tifilament core, giving the string
extra power and durability.
Both strings are available in 16-
and 17-gauge sets and 16- and 17-
gauge 200m reels. For info, visit dun- or call 800-768-4727.

Create an Online
USTA Account
Y ou and your players can now create
an online USTA account that will pro-
vide access to new features, including a
personalized “My Tennis Page” that dis-
plays your current player record for
USTA programs and events and high-
lights upcoming play opportunities in
your area.
With your USTA account, you can
access TennisLink and USTA Member-
ship with a single log-in; have a person-
alized “My Tennis Page”; get an NTRP
rating (self-rate) without joining a USTA
League team; and learn about addition-
al relevant play opportunities. May 2011 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 13


than 2,000 USTA youth tennis instructors.
The Family Circle Tennis Center in
S.C., has been chosen as the PCA-trained Double-Goal Coaches have
host site of the 2011 World TeamTennis winning as their first goal, while pursuing
Finals Weekend, July 22-24. The 2011 the second, more-important goal of teach-
WTT Pro League schedule will be high- ing life lessons through sports.
lighted by a lineup that includes a current
or former world No. 1 playing on 15 of
>DVDOncourtOffcourt is offering the four-hour
set “The Complete Guide to 10 and
the 18 regular-season nights during the Under Tennis,” which provides activities,
three-week season. The 66-match sched- interviews and guidance for coaches and
ule starts July 4. Visit parents. Hosted by Joe Dinoffer, the DVD
includes sections from Dr. Robert Pangrazi,
>moreIn than
2010, USPTA teaching pros raised
$5 million for charity through Gary Avischious, Mike Barrell, Butch Staples,
the association’s Lessons for Life program. Craig Jones, Anne Pankhurst and others.
Since the program began in 1999, the Visit
USPTA and its members have raised more
than $45 million for various charities.
The Junior Tennis Champions Center in
Park, Md., will honor USTA High
Performance and two of its leaders, Patrick
American Sports Builders Associa-
Technical Meeting meeting McEnroe and Jay Berger, at its annual Geico
will be Dec. 2-5 at the J.W. Marriott Champions Celebration May 12 and 13. All
Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, Calif. For proceeds from the event benefit JTCC’s
information, visit grassroots programs that provide tennis
instruction and training to youth in the Dis-
>andPacific, which is the official string, grip
machine of the ATP Tour, is looking to
trict of Columbia. For info: 301-779-3000,
ext. 106, or
add independent sales agents for key U.S.
regions. Contact or >MiamiPlayers at the Sony Ericsson Open in
in March roamed the stands collect-
ing donations that would go to help the
>thatProfessional Tennis Registry announced, an “online tennis
relief efforts in Japan. Also, the men pros
staged a charity soccer match and dinner to
club,” and Solar Bat Leverage, a tennis raise funds. Andy Murray and Marcos Bagh-
sunglass lens, have signed on as Corpo- datis scored goals, but the pro tennis players
rate Members. lost to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers profes-
> Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier’s first
test on American soil will come in Austin,
sional soccer team 4-2. Novak Djokovic was
the team captain.
Texas, July 8-10, against a Spanish team
that will feature world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.
>planTheto reengineer
Adidas Group presented a five-year
the company's approach
Austin also is the hometown of Davis Cup to environmental management by focusing
stalwart Andy Roddick, who is second all- on improvements along the entire chain.
time in U.S. Davis Cup singles victories Part of the strategy involves using 100%
with 33. The quarterfinal tie will be played Better Cotton by 2018. The Adidas Group
at the Frank Erwin Center on the campus co-founded the Better Cotton Initiative, which
of the University of Texas at Austin. Visit aims to improve the environmental impact in the mainstream cotton industry. The primary
> Nominate your league captain to be
the USTA’s Captain of the Month. If
focus is on reducing water consumption and
pesticide use in cotton farming.
selected he or she will be recognized on and will receive a $100 gift cer-
The National Foundation for Cancer
is teaming up with tennis players
tificate. Visit nominateyourcap- for a nationwide fundraiser titled “Game, Set, Match!” Any tennis team, whether high
> The USTA has entered into a partner-
ship with Positive Coaching Alliance (pos-
school, college, or community-based, can
participate by donating proceeds from one to provide PCA’s or more matches to NFCR. For details, visit
Double-Goal Coach training for more



Gamma Sports Adds

2 Strings to Zo Line
G amma Sports has released two new
co-polyester strings, Zo Verve and Zo
Black Ice, that the company says are
designed with a combination of materi-
als that maintain tension and play more
consistent than mono-polyester strings.
Zo Verve has a two-part construc-
tion consisting of a red high-energy co-
polyester core and three
diamond-shaped black filaments of
high molecular weight polyester pro-
viding spin and durability. The result,
says Gamma, is a string for hard-hitting
players who want maximum power,
greater spin and deeper, more pene-
trating shots. The three black polyester
filaments protrude from the surface of
the string to provide additional spin.
Zo Black Ice is a co-poly that offers
tremendous ball bite for hard-hitting
players looking for consistency, more
spin and greater accuracy, says the
“Zo Verve is a blend of stiff and soft
materials so it strings tight, maintains
tension and plays like a poly but gives
the player more power, exceptional
spin and control for deeper shots,” said
Chuck Vietmeier, product manager. “Zo
Black Ice co-polyester construction
maintains tension longer for more con-
sistent play over the life of the string.”

Racquet Art Offers 8-

Ounce Stencil Ink Bottles
R acquet Art ( has now
bottled its racquet stencil inks in 8-
ounce containers for the racquet indus-
try. Under normal usage, a 1-ounce
container of stencil
ink will paint six to
eight racquets. The
larger bottles will
reduce waste and
save stringers’ money,
says Michael Waroff
of Racquet Art LLC.
The bottles come with
an applicator for
applying the ink to
the strings. May 2011 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 15

Register for 10 and Under
Tennis Retailer Kit
After you register your retail business at, you’ll receive a free
10 and Under Tennis retailer kit that includes
materials (below) to help you market and
sell equipment and promote your business.
Once you register, you also can download this material.
In addition, qualified retailers can have their business
included in a retail search locator that appears on (Details on this are coming soon.)
>> 10 and Under Tennis Retail Opportunities Presentation:
See the opportunities that this initiative can bring to your
business and the sport.
>> 10 and Under Tennis National Promotional Events:
This calendar will help you plan your local marketing
strategy to take advantage of the national campaign, so
you can create awareness of 10 and Under Tennis and
your retail business.
>> 10 and Under Tennis Product Wall Chart: An easy-to-use
TIA to Lead The TIA’s mission is to
promote the growth and
guide on how to fit children with the appropriate-sized
equipment for their age and height.
10 and Under Tennis economic vitality of
tennis–ensuring there is
>> 10 and Under Tennis Parents’ Guide: This booklet will
help parents get their children playing, and enjoying,
Retail Effort a positive economic tennis right now.
>> 10 and Under Tennis Logos: Use these logos on your
impact for the industry.
website or on any printed material to show that you have
One of the most effective ways to achieve industry growth is through 10 and Under Tennis products available.
collective support for the USTA’s 10 and Under Tennis initiative, which has >> 10 and Under Tennis Webinar Series: These
the overall goal of increasing the number of new, young tennis players and informative webinars are designed to provide
ensuring they start appropriately on the pathway to becoming frequent retailers with educational information and
marketing ideas to help boost your sales
players and lifelong tennis consumers. while growing awareness of
The USTA’s objective is to get as many children as possible playing 10 and Under Tennis.
tennis. The TIA’s goal is to work with the USTA to support the 10 and >> 10 and Under Tennis
Under Tennis initiative in a way that will bring both short- and long-term Advertorial: Nick Bollettieri
discusses the new rules
benefits to all sectors of this industry. To that end, the TIA has assumed a change for tennis and how it
larger role in supporting tennis retailers in 10 and Under Tennis. will help tennis grow in the
On the website–which is a key to bringing coming years.
youngsters, and their parents, into the sport–the TIA will coordinate the >> TIA Tools and Resources
locator for both online and brick-and-mortar tennis retailers. This includes for Retailers: Information
to help you take advantage
supporting both a broad online retail locator function and also creating and of marketing opportunities
maintaining an easily searchable (by ZIP code) database of tennis shops and to create awareness
meeting minimum qualifications for listing. of 10 and Under Tennis
One component crucial to the success of 10 and Under Tennis is the and your retail business.
availability of a full range of racquets and balls, which effectively cover all ages.
As a retailer, what can you do right now to move the 10 and Under
10 and Under Tennis Product Wall Chart
Tennis initiative forward and help your business? Visit and register your contact information and retail
store. After you do, you’ll receive a free 10 and Under Tennis Retailer Kit
(see box at right for details) and you’ll be on our list to receive timely email
blasts about future youth tennis retail developments and promotions.
The goal for the industry is to put young tennis consumers on the
pathway to becoming frequent tennis players and key revenue
generators–benefiting all sectors of the industry. Your efforts and
continued support are vital to the sustainability and growth of the industry.

!"#$ &'( )*+%,%,%,%*$-.(/0(%1"2.%3."4#&0%,%,%,%5."6%&'(%5/7(%,%,%,%666,)($$#0*$820&.9,".: May 2011 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 17

Pioneers In Tennis
Bob Lee: The King of Clay Courts
W hen a player slides on a (The system was eventually installed
court to make a shot, under several courts at Wimbledon).
chances are he or she "I would say the development of
has Bob Lee to thank. Any time the the underground watering system
pro turns a knob to water the court was very important," said Carl Paylor,
from underneath, or drives a roller Lee's longtime friend and former Har-
across the surface, there's Bob Lee Tru colleague. "That really brought a
to thank for that, too. lot of desert areas into the clay-court
Lee, who founded Lee Tennis market."
Court Products, did much to Lee also marketed a ride-on roller
advance the science of the game, that made maintenance easier, and
but he wasn't a renowned player. eventually, launched a line of court
He was an engineer, a builder and upkeep products, and later, lighting,
an inventor, and he actually that now accounts for nearly one-
launched his career in the sport in third of the company's business.
order to get out of something he When the tennis boom began to sub-
didn't like doing: setting off explo- side in the 1980s, the company
sive charges in mines. expanded its marketing reach, offer-
The year was 1952, and Lee was ing new products as well as seminars
working with the Funkhouser Com- and hands-on service.
pany in Hagerstown, Md. In 1998, Bob Lee retired, selling
Funkhouser made roofing granules. always detail-oriented, went to work the company to Luck Stone. In 1999,
Lee's job was to go into the mines, engineering and building perfect courts. Lee Tennis purchased the Har-Tru name
ascertain where a blast was likely to His meticulous work paid off, and before and continued to use it as the brand
yield the most usable material, and long, Har-Tru facilities were in demand name. The company is now officially
then detonate the appropriate charges. nationwide. known as Har-Tru Sports, a Division of
"It was very dangerous work," "To me, that was the secret," says Luck Stone. Welborn, currently the direc-
recalls John Welborn, Lee's son-in-law. Welborn. "Because he had the mindset tor of business development, says his
"But that's what he was doing every of doing it right every time, he would father-in-law (who passed away in April
day." stay until he had all the courts all 2010) would have been happy.
When stone was processed, a checked out. That was why the business "That's where he started out, and
byproduct ensued: fine particles that took off." that's where it has evolved," said Wel-
couldn't be used in the roofing opera- By 1964, Lee had tired of the con- born. "I guess you could say it came full
tion. Over time, officials at Funkhouser stant travel for Har-Tru and left the com- circle."
were persuaded to try the stone dust as pany, moving to Charlottesville, Va., and Paylor and Welborn love to tell sto-
a tennis court surface. The result was starting his own firm, Lee Tennis. In his ries about Lee himself. Once, he built a
successful, and the surface became travels, he had met the Luck family, who boat in his basement and then couldn't
known as Har-Tru. Eventually, the com- owned a quarry locally. The Luck stone get it out. "He had to knock down a wall
pany owner, Richard Funkhouser Sr., was perfect for Lee's work, and the to fix that," says Paylor. Welborn just
wanted to market it to a wider audi- ensuing partnership resulted in a new laughs, remembering Lee's obsession
ence, and asked Lee to head up the competitor for Lee’s former company, with the boat in general.
effort. Har-Tru. Lee indulged his love of tinker- "He spent more time tuning up that
"I think, really, to get out of what he ing and inventing, as well as his curiosity boat than riding in it," Welborn says.
was in, he would have jumped on just about new technology, furthering his "He would drive me crazy on weekends;
about anything," laughs Welborn. company's interests and revolutionizing he would invite me over and I'd be
Funkhouser gave Lee and his early the soft-court industry. ready to go boating and he'd just be
co-workers an edict: "He said, 'I'm not Lee Tennis purchased the patent cleaning up the boat all day. He loved
going to watch your costs or what you rights to HydroCourt, the underground having a project. He was happiest when
spend, but I don't want any callbacks. I watering system, in 1990, and with it, he was pounding nails into something."
want those courts perfect.'" Lee, expanded the accessibility of soft courts. —Mary Helen Sprecher Q
"Pioneers in Tennis," an occasional column in RSI, draws attention to trailblazers in the sport. Have someone to suggest?

For young professionals entering the industry, laying a good

foundation and making connections are key.
hey're in their 20s and making their mark in tennis. You including in the sport. The Tennis Industry Association launched
won't find them on the pro tour, but they're just about its Careers in Tennis website ( in 2009, and
everywhere else in the sport. Some are working full time, according to Project Manager Ryan Melton, has had more than
and some are working more than one job. They're teaching ten- 10,500 views since that time. The free site lists jobs in different
nis, promoting tennis and selling tennis, in offices and on the capacities (retail, teaching positions, facility construction, media
court, behind the scenes or on the front lines. and more) as well as offering information on teaching certifica-
As part of its continuing coverage of careers in tennis, RSI is tions and college programs.
following various paths open to those who are interested in the The purpose of the site, says Melton, "is to create a greater
sport, and who want to parlay that interest into a paying job. This awareness regarding the viable career paths and opportunities in
month, we're focusing on some fairly recent college grads. Many the tennis industry, especially among a younger generation of
participated in the Tennis On Campus (TOC) or club programs at future leaders, since we want to help combat the ‘graying’ of our
their schools. Another is a grad with a degree from a Profession- industry overall.” As of late March,, which is
al Tennis Management program. They're all working, but in vast- free to both employers and job-seekers, had nearly 1,000 tennis
ly different capacities, and they took different routes to get there. specific jobs listed.
While networking remains a vital part of the job-finding Have ideas for careers we should be covering? Send them to
process, career websites are coming on strong everywhere, us at

Alex Chan
Works at: USTA Virginia, as Northern Virginia Community Ten-

College: University of Maryland, Baltimore County

nis Representative (also currently in grad school)

College playing experience: President of UMBC's Tennis on Cam-

About school: "I actually founded the TOC at UMBC when I

pus club.

was a freshman. I came to the school, and I thought they had a ten-
nis club, but all they really had was an intramural tournament, and
that was played maybe once a season. That wasn't enough, so I
started going around looking for people who were interested in
playing. I felt like we were more social and close-knit than the var-

About the current job: "My main focus areas are NJTL, mil-
sity program."

itary bases in Northern Virginia, and initiatives involving multi-cul-

How he got there: "I really thought it would be good to work

tural participation. I'm mostly in the northern Virginia area."

for the USTA. I started doing events and getting to know the USTA
"I would say get to know as many people in
What else helped: "Tennis on Campus helped me a lot, for
staff in that area.”
the industry as possible—everyone knows
sure. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't have had the credentials to everyone. Networking is how I got this job."
get the job. I ran the club, I was its president; it definitely played a
big part of my college career." May 2011 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 21
Kasey Grohs
Works at: "In the winter season, I work for College Park Athletic Club (Chicago) as the
assistant manager of their new West location. In the summer, I am the Director of Junior Ten-
nis at Royal Melbourne Country Club in Long Grove, Ill. I was fortunate enough to find two

College: Graduate of the Professional Tennis Management program at Ferris State Univer-
great places to start my career in the tennis industry only a few miles apart."

Tennis background: "I am a lifelong tennis player. My dad got me into the sport at an

early age. I played all four years in high school, and this was at the time when I really got
serious about the sport. I realized I wanted a career in tennis late into my senior year and

About the current job: "As assistant manager at College Park,

managed to get into the PTM program by lucky timing and by having a passion."

my job entails everything from teaching private and group lessons to "I would recommend getting a degree in Professional Tennis
running events, racquet repair, front desk and administrative duties, Management. The leadership opportunities are endless, and the
as well as running USTA tournaments. At Royal Melbourne, I run the hands-on approach to learning, combined with a great internship
junior program, teach private and group lessons, run events, racquet program, give you the tools to make it in this industry. Not to
mention you graduate with a bachelor's in marketing."
Long-term goal: "To own and operate my own club."
repair, and normal pro shop duties."

Taylor Helfeldt
Works at: USTA Texas Section
College: Texas A&M
Playing experience: Member of TOC team that won the national cham-

College playing experience: "I really enjoyed playing. It was a great

pionship in 2006.

opportunity to have the program because it meant people could play tennis in
college even if they couldn't or didn't want to play Division I. This gave us all

About the current job: "With the USTA Texas Section, I work as com-
opportunities for playing and for camaraderie and being part of a team sport."

"Follow your passion. If you love the sport and want

munity tennis support staff, as well as with wheelchair tennis, adult recreation

Long-term goal: To stay in the tennis industry. "Playing in college defi-

and grants. They call me the Swiss Army Knife of the office."
a job in it, you have to hang in there. It's not an easy
industry to get into, but people are definitely willing
to help you. Meet everyone you can and learn from
nitely instilled in me the passion for the sport, and it also gave me an opportu-
nity to network. I didn't realize it six years ago, but looking at things now, I can
everyone you meet." definitely see that it impacted my decisions. I love this area, I love this job, and
I love being able to work with these people."

Meghan Houk
Works at: Jim Reffkin Tennis Center in Tucson, Ariz., as Associate Director of Tennis
College: University of Arizona
College playing experience: Started the Tennis on Campus program at her col-
lege and played for two years, and is now advisor for the club. "I wanted to go to the
University of Arizona because of their business and Spanish programs, but was not
good enough to play on the varsity team and frankly wouldn't have had the time to do
that while maintaining my academic scholarship. I played intramurals at school, but
participation decreased each year and it was poorly organized. That was why I started
the TOC program at U of A. It's a three-part program with a beginner QuickStart format,

About the current job: "At the tennis center I run 100-plus tournaments a year
intramural team program, and competitive traveling club team."

Spring Invitational. I also teach tennis to players ages 4-84. My main focus is "If people want to get a job in the industry, they should
including the Level 1 Junior Winter Nationals and the Tennis on Campus

in our NJTL Summer Program and our Junior After-School QuickStart format hold a leadership position in their TOC program and they
program." (Note: She also currently serves on the USTA Southwest Collegiate should start working part time at a local tennis facility or
Committee, and is vice-chair of the USTA's National Tennis on Campus Com- working as a volunteer or intern for the USTA."


Sarah Rice
Works at: USTA New England Section, as Community Tennis Development Assistant
College: University of New Hampshire
College playing experience: "Our men's and women's varsity tennis program was
cut after my freshman year so we applied to become a club sport at UNH. During my sopho-
more year, we learned that there were other club teams in New England that we could play.
We worked to formalize the New England league and get more tournaments and matches
going. We had great competition but there was also a feeling of camaraderie with all of the
teams because we were all enjoying Tennis on Campus. It's also so rewarding to know we

About the current job: "I support our department with Jr. Team Tennis, schools,
helped start the club team at UNH that so many players will get to enjoy in the future."

Recreational Coach Workshops, and growing 10 and Under Tennis. I am also the contact
for the New England Tennis on Campus League. Now I get to help expand the league and
the teams in New England and I also run the Campus Championship–New
"Use your connections! I think that was a huge part of why I
Getting the job: "I found the job opening online and realized I knew the got an interview for my job. I set up a lot of informational

interviews with anyone I knew in my field. Even if they don't

Director of Community Tennis (my future boss) from working with her when
have a job opening, they'll keep you in mind for the future
I was a Tennis on Campus captain. I already had hands-on experience with

and all of the practices, matches, team events, and fundraisers is a lot of and might have other connections for you to use."
a program that I would be running as part of the job. Organizing a club team

responsibility, so I think that's impressive on a resume as well."

Ai Takamori
Works at: Southern California Tennis Association, as Manager of Junior Competition and Player

College: University of California–San Diego


College playing experience: "I had just transferred to UCSD after playing at the varsity level
at two different schools and thought I was done competing. I heard about TOC when I was playing
intramural tennis my junior year at UCSD. My friend was in charge of the intramural tennis program
and when our team won the intramural championships, we got an invitation to play at the TOC Sec-
tionals. She was graduating, but encouraged me to start a club team at UCSD. The following year,
another friend and I started the club team there. Competing in the nationals was definitely the high-

"Stay involved in the sport and you never know what About the current job: "I run and administer various tournaments
light of TOC."

opportunity might come along! I never thought I'd be

and programs throughout the year for junior players. I spend most days in
doing this, but I'm loving every minute of it."
Landing the job: "The Tennis on Campus coordinator at the SCTA,
an office, but also get to spend a lot of time outdoors at tournament sites."

Linda Milan, actually e-mailed all the TOC captains about the job opening. I
had been searching six months for a job after I graduated college, so it was perfect timing! I majored in economics, so I always
thought I'd end up working at a typical 9 to 5 job at a big corporation, but I couldn't be happier doing what I do."

Nichole Williams
Works at: USTA Texas Section
College: Texas A&M Club Team (won National Campus Championship title in 2006)
College playing experience: "I had some friends who were on the club team who were
very competitive and who really liked playing there, as opposed to a more time-consuming var-

About the current job: "I work as the NJTL Schools and Diversity Coordinator. I bring ten-
sity program. I’m still in touch with the people I played there."

nis to the P.E. curriculum for the schools, and I also work with trying to get all kinds of diverse
people involved in the sport. With both those programs, I have a chance to bring tennis to peo-
ple who might not normally ever play it. I started this in December and I love
"Tennis on Campus absolutely helped me, but there are
Getting the job: "It goes back to a connection I made through Tennis on also a lot of good websites out there. Do everything you
tennis and I love kids, and this allows me to do the things I love the most."

Campus. Someone I knew in the program was working in this office, and he put
can to make those connections."
in a good word. People who played on the varsity don't have those contacts like


Where can you find excellence in outdoor

clay-court construction? Take a look at
these seven winners.
ith six of the seven winners, Florida again dominates in the outdoor soft-court category of

W the Racquet Sports Industry/American Sports Builders Association 2010 Distinguished

Facility-of-the-Year Awards.
All seven of these winning projects use subsurface irrigation, which both conserves water and
maximizes playing time. All the projects also used laser grading to ensure a uniform and prop-
erly sloped surface.
Four of these projects are new construction (Cindy Hummel Tennis Center, NewBridge on the
Charles, Roger Scott Tennis Center and Valencia Lakes Tennis and Recreation Facility), and four
are public facilities with at least six clay courts. (At least one project included a shorter court for
10 and Under Tennis.) On some of these projects, cut, or angled, corners also seem to be a nice
touch, both aesthetically and in helping players retrieve balls.
The Cindy Hummel Tennis Center was a design-build project for the city that, in addition to
the eight clay courts, also included one shorter hard court for 10 and Under Tennis. Site work
required the removal of several large oak trees, and an abandoned sewer line had to be cement-
ed-in to create retention ponds.
Club Med Sandpiper Bay was upgraded; the four hard courts were demolished, the old
asphalt removed, the fencing was expanded, and six new Har-Tru courts were installed in two
batteries, with the existing lights left in place.
The single court at NewBridge on the Charles in Massachusetts is brand new, on a site that
had steep slopes, so stone retaining walls were built to create a level platform for the court and
clubhouse. Noise from a nearby highway was mitigated with an 8-foot-high ship-lap groove cedar
board fence.
Another upgrade, the three new Har-Tru courts at the Ritz Carlton in Amelia Island, were built
over three older all-weather courts that were being used as a parking lot. Fill had to be added to
change the direction and rate of the slope, and the exterior ground needed to be reshaped to cap-
ture draining water and direct it to catch basins.
Excessive rain caused major washouts during the construction of the
10 new soft courts at the Roger Scott Tennis Center, which are in two
For details on the 2011 Outstand-
two-court and two three-court batteries, all with cut corners. The facili- ing Facility-of-the-Year Awards,
ty, designed by the USTA, also required curbing and fenc- contact the ASBA at 866-501-
ing that can withstand hurricanes, so the poured ASBA or,
NewBridge on the Charles concrete curb was reinforced with three rows of rebar, or visit
Cottage Community, Dedham, Mass. and all fence poles were tied into the slab.
(Nominated by Stantec, Boston, Mass.) The project at Seaview Park also included a concrete practice court with a hit-
ting wall, in addition to the five-court and two-court Har-Tru batteries. One diffi-
Architect/Engineer: Patrick Maguire
Specialty Contractor: Cape and Island Tennis & Track culty was the subbase, which was full of contaminated material that had to be
No. of Courts: 1 removed, then replaced with clean fill and geo-tech material. But now the urban
facility has been transformed into an upscale municipal tennis center with mod-
ern courts and irrigation.
The tennis and recreation facility at Valencia Lakes is geared toward 55-plus active adults,
and this center has it all: six new clay tennis courts, four hard pickleball courts, sub-irrigated
bocce ball courts, basketball court, horseshoe pits and more. At the time of construction, there
was a major drought that produced dust storms. The contractor had to fabricate dust barriers
around the courts so the surface wouldn’t be contaminated. And the result, as in all these win-
ning projects, is flawless. —Peter Francesconi Q


Cindy Hummel Tennis Center
Auburndale, Fla.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.)
General Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts Inc.
No. of Courts: 8
Surface: Lee Tennis Hydroblend
Lighting: LSI Courtsider
Subsurface Irrigation: Welch Tennis HydroGrid

Club Med Sandpiper Bay

Port St. Lucie, Fla.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.)
Specialty Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts Inc.
No. of Courts: 6
Surface: Lee Tennis Hydroblend
Subsurface Irrigation: Welch Tennis HydroGrid
Court Accessories: Welch Tennis Courts

Ritz Carlton
Amelia Island, Fla.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.)
General Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts Inc.
No. of Courts: 3
Surface: Lee Tennis Hydroblend
Subsurface Irrigation: Welch Tennis HydroGrid
Windscreen: J.A. Cissel
Court Accessories: Welch Tennis Courts May 2011 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 25


Roger Scott Tennis Center

Pensacola, Fla.
(Nominated by Fast-Dry Courts, Pompano Beach, Fla.)
Specialty Contractor: Fast-Dry Courts
No. of Courts: 10
Surface: Lee Tennis Hydroblend
Subsurface Irrigation: Lee Tennis
Windscreen: Aer-Flo
Net Posts, Line Tapes: Lee Tennis
Trench Drain: Zurn Industries
Nets, Accessories: Fast-Dry Courts

Seaview Park Tennis Facility

Palm Beach, Fla.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.)
Architect/Engineer: Global Sports & Tennis Design Group Inc.
Specialty Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts Inc.
No. of Courts: 7
Surface: Lee Tennis Hydroblend
Lighting: LSI Courtsider
Subsurface Irrigation: Welch Tennis HydroGrid

Valencia Lakes Tennis

and Recreation Facility
Sun City, Fla.
(Nominated by Fast-Dry Courts, Pompano Beach, Fla.)
Specialty Contractor: Fast-Dry Courts
No. of Tennis Courts: 6 (soft)
No. of Pickleball Courts: 4 (hard)
Surface: Lee Tennis Hydroblend
Subsurface Irrigation: Lee Tennis
Net Posts: J.A. Cissel
Windscreen: Putterman
Line Tapes: Lee Tennis
Lighting: Recreational Lighting Systems
Nets: Fast-Dry Courts
Resurfacer (Pickleball): Nova Sports



Whether stringing for the pros or for recreational players, you
need to establish standard operating procedures.

This is the second article in a series by Ron Rocchi, RSI’s 2009 Stringer of the Year and
the Global Tour Equipment Manager at Wilson Sporting Goods, and the person behind

the Wilson/Luxilon tournament stringing team. Rocchi’s, and RSI’s, goal is to share
what he’s learned in a way that will help you improve your stringing business.

he Wilson stringing team has refined many aspects of (rubbing alcohol) for daily cleaning, and all the moving parts
tournament stringing, and there are some practices that need to be cleaned. A great tip is to purchase cotton-tipped appli-
can be applied to any type of home or retail stringing. cators from any laboratory supply company. They usually come
Our constant focus while stringing at tournaments is to deliv- in a bag of 50 or 100, and are inexpensive. These are fantastic
er the highest quality, most consistent and repeatable installation to clean small areas as well as hidden parts and grooves.
possible, for the most demanding players, in the shortest time. Lubrication is another issue. When there is any direct contact
We treat each string job as the most important thing that day, on two moving parts, we prefer to use lubricant that contains
and understand completely the needs of our customers. To do Teflon. We have found silicone-based lubricants dissipate quick-
this, we have developed a comprehensive system and standard ly and don’t provide the ease of movement required. We like to
practices that when executed by the team, put us in a great posi- use a product called Tri-Flow, although there are many other gun
tion to succeed. cleaners and lubricants that work well, and build up over time to
The system we use is not proclaimed as the “right way”— provide really good frictionless surfaces. For tight areas that need
rather, it’s one specific way to string. Keep in mind that although lubrication, use a clean cotton-tipped applicator.
many things can be learned from tournament stringing, some It is also important to pay close attention to the clamps.
ideas simply do not translate well for the average player, or the Lubricate the post and lower moving parts, while constantly
average stringer. cleaning the teeth. Never apply lubricant to the friction area
where the clamp base meets the turntable or the teeth of a


‘Clean the Machine’
clamp! If the clamp teeth are not clean, the string will slip and
the coating will be ruined. In a tournament setting, we clean our
clamps four to five times per day. That translates to about every
A great lesson for any stringer is to know your equipment, and five racquets strung. This allows us to maintain the correct clamp
know it well. This means to understand how your machine pressure and avoid over tightening, which damages the string.
works, how to maintain it properly, and how to clean and adjust How clean are your clamps?


all the parts. This is not dependent on the type of machine you

‘Which Way is Up?’

are using, or how much it costs. It is the responsibility of the
stringer to take care of the machine. Tournament stringers are
fanatical about cleaning their machines, and they know that a
well-functioning machine will allow them to provide the best This simple idea serves as a launching pad for the entire system
string installation possible. we use at tournaments. We begin each string job by mounting
Stringing machines have various moving parts, each of which the racquet to the machine with the end cap facing “up” based
needs to be cleaned regularly. We use basic isopropyl alcohol on the manufacturer’s logo. As a result, this determines the


“right” and “left” sides for stringing. This allows us to determine the stringing process imparts massive amounts of force and load dis-
short and long side automatically, and ensures we will tie off in the placement that most stringers don’t even consider. In today’s car-

‘Pulling’ it
exact same location every bon-fiber racquets, this stress is so great in fact that some

All Together…
time. This is extremely manufacturers must plan and design lay-ups with this in mind. So
important when stringing a our approach at tournaments is to string “top-down” whenever pos-
“series” (multiple) racquets sible. This is due in great part to the simple fact that these racquets
The stringing system used by the for the same player, as they are being re-strung almost every day, and the stringing force mov-
Wilson team centers around stan- will see the same knot loca- ing in the direction of the shafts of the racquet will help the integri-
dardization and repeatability. tion on all racquets we’ve ty over a longer period of time. Remember, these are pro player
Some of the key ideas described strung for them. racquets at a professional event, not consumer racquets that may be
here can be implemented at the But even more important- returned for warranty consideration. You should never do anything
consumer level and can improve ly, as we see this player many that would void a warranty on a racquet for your customer.
the overall quality of your stringing days and sometimes weeks
‘One-Piece or Two-Piece?’
in the shop. in a row, they receive the
Q Clean your machine every day, exact same patterns and knot
like the pros. locations, which also adds to
Q Mount the racquet right side up. our overall consistency. The Two-piece stringing is a by-product of the recent hybrid popularity.
Q Consider “top-down” vs. “bot- stringer does not have to But again, a strong debate exists. If you are installing a hybrid (dif-
tom-up” stringing. remember or write down ferent strings for mains and crosses) then two-piece (four knots)
Q Make the right choice—one-piece where he tied off a particular stringing is necessary. And there are some advantages: Separate
and two-piece stringing. string; it has been pre-deter- pieces allow for different tensions to stay different, and with four
Q All knots are not created equal. mined within our system. knots all outside strings will result in a slightly lower tension due to
Q Understand the difference As with any good rule, tie-offs. This lower tension should be more forgiving on off-center
between tournament stringing there are always exceptions. hits, which is a plus for average players.
and stringing in your shop for There are some Prince rac- In a tournament setting, we string one-piece whenever possible.
recreational players. quets that require a specific To be more specific, we string one-piece top-down whenever possi-
short-side orientation, which ble. Our philosophy is simply that at the professional level, we want
means that the end cap may have to be upside down. However, we to minimize things that can go wrong, and with four knots, more can
still mount the frame so that the short side is on the same side of the go wrong. Also, pro players tend to hit the vast majority of their
machine as all the other racquets we service. shots in the center of the strings, so lower tension outside strings do
Whether you string alone at home, or with other stringers in a not matter as much. Furthermore, top-down one-piece stringing pro-
shop, this “right side up” mounting idea is a great first step to vides a clean look with only two knots, and contributes to the
improve the overall consistency of your stringing service. longevity of the frame.


‘Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up?’ ‘All Are Knot Created Equal’
In the world of stringing, this debate has existed for decades, and The vast majority of stringers use the double half-hitch and/or some
there are many valid arguments to both sides. Top-downers usually version of a starting knot. Yet other stringers revel in the ability to
cite less frame distortion, and bottom-uppers talk about the natural execute various exotic knots from faraway lands. Let us not forget
flow of a superior one-piece what the purpose of a knot is:
string job. To be honest, this is To tie off one string to another.
not a case of right and wrong, And, if it is a good knot, it will
rather a debate of preference. not damage either string. But, if
I think there are additional it is a superior knot, it will also
factors to be considered, such look clean and perform just as
as the type of mounting sys- well. In our opinion, the double
tem being used. If your half-hitch looks bulky, and the
machine has only two-point second hitch never seems to
mounting, then a bottom-up “close up” against the other.
approach may cause the As for the starting knot,
frame to distort in the hoop. accomplished tournament
With a six-point mounting stringers simply do not use this
system, much less frame dis- because it is big, looks different
tortion would occur. from the finishing knot, and at
But I also believe that even more critical factors are the frequen- higher tensions tends to add unwanted stress to the string and grom-
cy of stringing and tension. From a purely scientific standpoint, the met. It is my personal opinion that the greater your skills as a


Understanding the
‘Tournament’ Difference …
There is a huge difference between what we do at a tournament and what most
stringers experience every day. The biggest difference is quantity per day. In a
shop setting, a stringer may complete 10 or even 15 racquets on a busy day.
Most of the tournament stringers have completed that before lunch, and are
looking at an additional stack of up to 20 more! Note that in most cases we are
not talking about synthetic gut in racquets with 16 mains and 18 crosses, but
rather stiff poly in racquets with an 18 x 20 string bed.
Another major difference is what tournament stringers call a “series.” This
is where you have multiple racquets that are exactly the same frame, with iden-
tical stringing requested in all the racquets. This takes a great amount of skill and
time management, and requires that the stringer duplicate every aspect of the
stringing from the first racquet to the last. If you have six racquets to string, and
the goal is for them to end at exactly the same tension, you had better have a
good system for how to handle the installation process.
As part of the Wilson stringing system, we always string a series in its entire-
ty from start to finish without stopping in between racquets. This does take
some delicate planning and time management, especially with other players’
racquets to string as well as Mother Nature calling.
To illustrate the process of stringing multiple racquets for the same player, I
have a few examples from the Sony Ericsson Open this year:
Q ATP World No. 1 Rafael Nadal usually drops off four racquets on match days
stringer, the less likely you are to use a starting for stringing. As his tension of 25.5 kg remains the same for the entire tour-
knot. To avoid using a starting knot, we utilize a nament, it is our challenge to duplicate this each time. From a stringing stand-
starting clamp to secure the string, then come point, it does not matter which order we string the racquets, because each is
back and tie off using our standard finishing knot. at the same tension.
So we consider both aspects of a knot, first Q Young upstart Alexandr Dolgopolov also drops off four racquets on match
the function and then the aesthetics. I have had days. However, he wanted three racquets at 27/26 kg and one at 26.5/25.5 kg.
the privilege of working with and seeing the best The order in which we string these racquets becomes very important. Because
tournament stringers in the world, and have been four racquets will take about two hours to string, we cannot string the lowest
in the stringing rooms at all the major tourna- tension last, as in that time the tension on the first racquet will be slightly loos-
ments. The single most common aspect of all er, making it seem the same tension as the last racquet—the one strung at the
tournament stringing is the knot, and it repre- lower tension. Therefore, we must string the loosest tension first, so that sub-
sents the biggest difference between shop string- sequent racquets strung at higher tensions will always be tighter.
ing and tournament stringing. Sure, there are Q WTA World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki also drops off multiple racquets for
variations and a few different types of knots stringing, and her tension is 26 kg. Since she uses a hybrid of Babolat Revenge
being used, but nowhere is the old double half- and Natural gut, we always use four knots.
hitch considered the best knot for tournament Imagine a customer dropping off six of the same racquets, asking that they
players. On the other hand, if you are stringing in all be strung at the same tension, and then they check the work of the stringer
a shop for the general public, the double half- upon pick-up. And then they do that every day for two weeks! In most shops
hitch and any starting knot are completely and clubs, a customer will drop one racquet for stringing, and then you will not
acceptable and will serve you well. But in the see them again for months or even a whole year. At a tournament, we see that

Coming Up:
world of tournament stringing, player every day, and in many cases more than once per day.
other knots are preferred. The responsibility of a tournament stringer to reproduce
Most professional tournament the same installation each day is paramount to the player.
stringers use similar knots that hold A closer look at the Wilson/ Constant adjustments to tension, sometimes by a half pound,
well and “cinch up” close to the Luxilon stringing team are critical to maximize racquet performance. You see, the
frame. The Wilson team uses our members, and some of the players are balancing many factors to find the exact right ten-
own version of the tournament skills required of a world- sion, none of which is taken into consideration for the average
knot, but it is similar to tournament class tournament stringer. player. These factors are temperature, humidity, speed of the
knots you can look up online. For court surface, and ball characteristics.
us, the most important thing is that we each use Once the player has found the magic combination, it becomes the respon-
the same knot. In case you’re wondering, this sibility of the stringer to reproduce that stringing each and every day, and the
knot has served us well over the years: In more final tension cannot vary, period. On the other hand, if a shop stringer is off by
than 60,000 racquets we’ve strung at tourna- 2 or 3 pounds for a recreational player they see only once a year, this may not
ments, not a single knot has failed, ever. Q be even noticed by the customer. —R.R



Often overlooked by players,
the grip and handle are crucial
to a racquet’s performance.
Educate your customers on how
important this area is to their game.

he handle of a racquet is the only contact the player has is just as important. Although almost all racquets come with an
with the racquet during play, yet it is often the most over- octagon-shaped handle, each manufacturer has a slightly differ-
looked. Most players seem content to play with a grip or ent shape. Some even have a couple of different shapes within
overgrip until it literally disintegrates. Most are totally surprised their own lines. Although all 4-3/8-inch grips should have a cir-
when they compare their worn-out grip to a fresh one. cumference of 4-3/8 inches, they certainly don’t feel the same.
As racquet technicians, we notice a severely worn grip when The difference in the bevels and angles of the octagon shape
a racquet comes in for stringing and recommend a replacement will change the feel in a player’s hand. Some players are more
for the customer. Often it ends there, but it shouldn’t. The grip sensitive to this than others. The differences are very subtle,
and handle are crucial to the performance of the racquet, and and subtle alterations may make the difference for most
both players and technicians should understand this. players.
Grips, like strings, should be treated as an integral part of Think about simple customizations that can make a differ-
the racquet that must be tuned to players’ specific needs in ence. Do you have a client who prefers a more rounded feel on
order to provide optimum performance every time he or she their racquet that has a more rectangular profile? Try the simple
steps out on the court. I encourage technicians to add the grip build-up shown in “Rounding Out a Handle” on page 36.
and handle to their discussion with their customers to deter- Do you have a customer who complains about the racquet
mine how that customer can best be served. Just like the strings, flying out of their hand on serves? Try offering a tacky grip with
most players are using a grip just because it came on their rac- grooves or ridges to help them hold on better. If that is not
quet. That may be just fine, but they should at least try others enough to do the trick, offer a handle customization shown in
to see if there is something that may work better for them. “Flaring the Butt Cap” on page 37. By customizing the handle to
Grips are available in such a wide variety and what works make the butt cap more steeply flared, the racquet won’t slide
for one player may feel terrible to the next guy. You should out of their hand so easily.
stock an assortment of grips and have a display available for These are two examples of simple customizations that any
customers to grab and feel. Some will like a cushy, soft grip, technician should be able to do. If you can build up a handle
while others will gravitate to the firmer feel of leather. Some will with heat sleeves, then you can do this. There are other handle
prefer grooves while others will go for ridges. Unless you offer customizations that can be done using heat sleeves. Just think
a variety, you may not only miss a sale, you may lose a client. outside the box! A bump here, a groove there—no problem!
That perfect string job won’t feel so perfect when the client is Giving your customers full service not only shows you have
having trouble holding onto the racquet. their enjoyment of the game in mind, but it also sets you apart
But don’t stop with the grip. The handle underneath the grip from your competition and adds to your bottom line. May 2011 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 35

Rounding Out a Handle

1. Start with a clean handle. 2. Apply double-face tape along the

face bevel on each side.

3. Apply the heat shrink sleeve as 4. Trim to length as with a normal

normal. build-up.

5. Trim away the material along the 6. Wrap the grip.

length of the handle, leaving the face
bevel material over the tape.


Flaring the Butt Cap

1. Start with a clean handle. Cut build-up 2. Heat shrink the small sleeves over the butt
sleeves to length. The quantity and length cap and allow each one to cool completely
depends on your application. You will want before applying the next one. Wait until all
them longer than desired, then trim to fit. are in place before trimming.

3. Trim the sleeves at the top of the butt 4. Trim flush with the end of the butt
cap, or lower if you want a more pro- cap.
nounced effect.
6. Trim just
above the top
edge of the
butt cap. A
piece of fin-
ishing tape
makes a
5. Shrink a 1/16” size sleeve good guide to
over the others and allow ensure a smooth, straight cut. This sleeve needs to be
to cool. longer than the others to lock the entire process in place.

8. Install the grip, making

sure to keep the grip taught
as you wrap around the butt
cap and transition to the
handle to ensure there are
no wrinkles.

7. Trim flush with butt cap. May 2011 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 37



It’s been a tough couple of years for apparel retailers. But with
careful buying, trimming inventory, creative merchandising and
expert customer service, these shops are surviving and thriving.

Players World of Sports

Hilton Head Island, S.C.
T hough Players World of Sports does fine with rac-
quet sales and stringing, “Soft goods is where the
money is,” says Jill Swanker, who owns the store with
Tom Jilly. “With almost a 45 to 60 percent margin on
apparel, we’re always moving around the clothes to
make it look new.” Players World moved into its current
space in 2008 and since then has seen a yearly boost in
Swanker orders more fashion pieces than basics,
Players World of Sports Apparel Sales Tips
Q Keep women customers happy since
though she makes sure to pick staples, which customers

they’re the main shoppers.

can pair with fashionable tops or skirts. She also buys

Q Make sure you have certain staples in

lines with certain types of customers in mind—returning

your inventory that can be paired with

affluent customers vacationing in Hilton Head, who

other pieces.
always come in to buy the latest styles.
Players World also has incorporated the “crossover”
fitness element showcasing Under Armour in its apparel
Q Put sales racks in the back so customers
have to move through the store.
selection, which attracts a variety of customers. While

Q Know the preferred sizes and styles of

the demographic appears to skew toward the more for-

your customers to keep control of order-

giving fit of Bolle and Tail, the varied customer base that

ing and inventory.

comes to Players World also buys Nike and the fashion-
able Lija line. Carrying a variety of shoes, Swanker says
K-Swiss is their best selling brand with customers gravi-
tating toward tried and true models. —Cynthia Sherman
Midtown Tennis Club
M idtown Tennis Club pro shop manager Lynda Reis says
that while soft-goods sales dropped off in 2008, clothing
sales made a resurgence last spring. Midtown carries women’s
Nike, Adidas, Fila, Bolle, KSwiss and Tail, and sometimes Reis
will order Eliza Audley or Lija for something different and styl-
ish. “It depends on what’s being offered that year,” she says.
“But customers are always looking for sales and mark-downs
because there are sales everywhere.” Knowing too that dress-
es sell more in the summer, she orders accordingly.
Being a tennis club, the retail setup at Midtown is some-
what unique—the pro shop surrounds the reception desk on
all sides. The sale racks are in the back, along with racquets
and shoes. While Midtown stocks strictly tennis clothes for
men, Reis has brought in fitness/crossover lines for women,
which are increasingly popular. The club also logos Under
Armour clothing. Displays are changed all the time to keep
things fresh looking, says Reis.
Midtown Tennis Club Apparel Sales Tips
Q Look ahead to see what’s coming in
Midtown does a brisk men’s business, keeping men’s

and make adjustments/cuts on current

clothing up front, so the men players pass the clothing on their

orders as necessary.
way to reception and don’t have to go past racks of women’s

Q Move merchandise around; don’t

clothes. Reis says children’s clothing is a growing category.

leave it in one spot for more than a

Midtown has created a kids’ corner, with clothing, racquets
and shoes, which has proven quite successful.
—Cynthia Sherman
week or two.
Q Have a feature rack in front, and keep
it fresh.
Q Change men’s displays regularly.
Q Emphasize service by having pro shop
staff available to customers. May 2011 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 39

Rockville, Md.
D arrell Haines, owner of Tennistopia, says frequent rotation of merchan-
dise displays is key. "We try to follow the seasons," Haines says. "We do
some neat window displays for things like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and
Father's Day, and we do tie-ins with Wimbledon, the French Open, the US
Open and so on." The display in Tennistopia's large front window is changed
about every three weeks and Haines says he tries to rotate merchandise
around in the store, from back to front, at least every month.
Apparel is throughout the store, with a discount rack in the center. Haines
says there’s also strong interest in the juniors’ apparel section. Shoes are
toward the back, so that customers walk through apparel and equipment to
reach them.
In choosing stock, "We try to follow what the pros are playing on the tour
because we know that can drive people in. We also listen to our sales reps
because they'll tell us that an ad is going to be appearing in a magazine with
Nadal wearing a certain shoe or shirt,” says Haines.
But ultimately, he adds, it comes down to a staff familiar with shoppers'
tastes. "Sometimes, the reps will have something, but we know it isn't going
to sell well to our customers."
Shoppers may come in to look at pieces that tour players are wearing, but,
says Haines, the real test is in the dressing room. "They want to see the style
and the color, but they really need to know it

While all brick-and-mortar shops face stiff Tennistopia Apparel Sales Tips

competition from online retailers and the variety Q Change front window apparel displays
every few weeks.
stores have the advantage of knowledgeable per- Q Follow the seasons with your displays,
of merchandise they can offer, independent

sonnel onsite at all times, says Haines. "Plus, and gear displays to holidays, special
occasions, Grand Slam tournaments,
there's not many places you can go as a con-

sumer that the owner is standing right in front of

Q Listen to sales reps so you can tie into

you. And that's what you get with a tennis shop:

advertising that will appear showing

you're dealing with the owner. That's optimal

pro players in particular clothing.

customer service." —Mary Helen Sprecher

Q Make sure your staff knows what your

customers like and will wear. May 2011 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 40

Tips & Techniques
Readers’ Know-How in Action
SILICONE IN THE HOOP the racquet, the excess silicone will pop when switching from a hard poly to a soft
Putting silicone inside the hoop of the right out. multifilament, the clamps will not be
racquet isn’t for everyone. Obviously, it 5 sets of Babolat Revenge 16 to: adjusted in enough. I’ve noticed that if
adds mass to the racquet, but once it’s Ted Ruthling, Santa Fe, NM I’m a little off in my pre-adjustment on


in, you aren’t going to get it out, and the loose side when I release the tension
then way it dampens the feel of the head, the moving jaw of the clamp will
frame and makes the racquet feel I recently found myself stringing at a tour- shift to the side slightly relative to the
much different than if you added the nament away from my shop. I brought all fixed side of the clamp, even though the
weight using lead tape. of my tools and accessories, but in the string doesn’t slip. This indicates that the
However, if you need (or want) to do stringing area there was no provision for clamp needs to be adjusted in a little
it, here’s the method I use: storing racquets. There was no time or more.
First, even though the silicone seems possibility of building shelving or attaching 5 sets of Head Sonic Pro 16 to:
as though it doesn’t flow very well, block holders to the walls, but I needed to Jefferson K. Officer, Del Mar, CA

off the section(s) of the hoop where you organize and contain incoming and out-
want to add the silicone, using cotton going racquets, and it had to be quick
balls inside the hoop. This is similar to and simple.
the way you would add silicone or
expanding foam to the handle, to pre-
vent the added material from flowing
into the upper handle and shaft.
Second, weigh the racquet with the I could not help but wonder why a rac-
bumperguard and grommet strip(s) off quet stringer would want a standard six-
and the cotton in place, so you know inch micrometer, other than to repair or
when to stop adding silicone. You’re modify the stringer. (Ask the Experts, Jan-
going to have one shot at getting it right, uary 2011 RSI magazine)
although if you’re under weight when Then the thought occurred that per-
you’re done it is possible to use lead haps the questioner was looking for a
tape to make up the difference. What I did was to commandeer some way to accurately measure the width and
Third, tape off the inside edge of the medium-size rubber trash containers from length of racquet hoops before and after
hoop so when you inject the silicone the players’ lounge. I had two on one side stringing.
through the holes on the outside of the of my machine for incoming racquets and I purchased an inexpensive 6-inch dig-
hoop, it doesn’t just run through the two on the other side for finished racquets. ital caliper for under $25 and then bought
frame and out the other side. The system worked so well that I a "caliper extender" for $134 that allows
Fourth, after injecting the silicone bought a couple of similar containers for me to measure accurately (probably +/-
into the hoop, let it set for a few min- my home workshop. Now I don’t have to .002 inches) between 0 and 26 inches.
utes, and then insert the grommet strip give up precious wall space for racquet This tool has been invaluable in allowing
through the holes while the silicone is holders, or settle for stacking them against me to determine the optimum tension
still workable. Note that you will lose a the wall where they are easily knocked difference between mains and crosses to
bit of the silicone — and thus the weight over. minimize head distortion.
— you added, but replacing the grom- 5 sets of Dunlop Sport Comfort Synthetic By way of comparison, the cost of an
met strip before the silicone completely 16 to: 18-inch micrometer runs between $350-
sets up is definitely easier than waiting Alan Yoshida, Ocean Park, CA $600.

for the silicone to cure and then drilling 5 sets of Wilson K-Gut Pro 16 to:

out each grommet hole. As you do this, Kenneth Sachar, Orange, CT
some of the silicone will get onto the —Greg Raven Q
outside of the frame and some will plug The Babolat Star 5 has textured clamp Tips and Techniques submitted since 2000 by USRSA mem-
the grommet holes. Clean the silicone faces that hold the string securely, and bers, and appearing in this column, have all been gathered
into a single volume of the Stringer’s Digest—Racquet Service
off the frame right away, but let it set up after working with them for a while it’s Techniques which is a benefit of USRSA membership. Submit
in the grommet holes before restringing easy to pre-adjust them as you change tips to: Greg Raven, USRSA, 330 Main St., Vista, CA 92084; or
the racquet. Then when you do restring from string to string. However, sometimes


? Ask the Experts
Your Equipment Hotline
SHAPED STRINGS pieces of string. Does it make any differ- With the top crosses already in, and the
THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TALK ence which way I do it? Is one better than shaft supporting the hoop at the bottom,

about the new shaped strings like the other, or is it just preference of player there is far less danger of racquet damage.
Babolat RPM Blast and the addition- and/or stringer? I’ve been asked and I don’t Second, you are working with two
al spin that they can create. Do you have have a good response. shorter pieces of string, rather than one
any info on how long these shapes last longer piece of string, which can reduce

before all the sharp edges become round- ONE OBVIOUS REASON TO USE tangles and wear-and-tear on the string. At
ed? I agree that the shape helps with spin, the two-piece stringing method is the last Wilson Speed Stringing Contest in
but don't think it lasts that long. that it is the only possible way to install Las Vegas a few years ago, all the fastest
hybrid strings, that is, those with one type contestants used two pieces of string.
THE SHAPE IS BUILT INTO THE of string for the mains (such as Kevlar or On the other hand, a two-piece job has
string, so unless it is ground away (as polyester), and another for the crosses four knots, which means twice as many
might happen for example at the intersec- (such as gut or nylon). knots to tie, and four knots don't look as
tion of a main and a cross), it's there to stay. Aside from this special circumstance, neat as the two knots of a one-piece string
However, as the string ages, it typically there are other reasons why you might string job. Also, with four tie-off knots, you have
becomes more "bouncy," so you get more a racquet with two-pieces instead of one. twice as many strings that can be at a
velocity for the same spin, which can make First, on racquets where the mains fin- lower tension. Two-piece stringing (except
it seem as if you're not getting as much ish at the throat, two-piece stringing creates in the case of hybrid string sets) also means

spin. Of course, this holds true for most less stress in the frame, because you can more measuring and, if you are working
strings. start the crosses at the head where the with reels, a bit more wasted string.


hoop is weakest, reinforcing it right away. See Wilson/Luxilon Stringing Team
Then as you install the crosses, you will be manager Ron Rocchi’s article “Standard
SOME RACQUETS CAN BE strung working toward the stronger part of the Practices” in this issue for more informa-
with one piece of string or two hoop as the pressure builds on the frame. tion on this topic.


ceed as outlined in the Stringers Digest THERE’S SOMETHING EVEN better: You
(which fully explains and illustrates this can look it up yourself any time you
I USE THE PRO EQUIPMENT list- technique), continuing to clamp off each want, not only in the Control category but in
ing often. However, there hasn’t newly-tensioned string as close to the any of our categories, or the overall rating. It’s

been a new entry for Novak frame as you can. all on-line at in the Playtest section.

Djokovic since 2009. When are you going The only catch is you have to be a USRSA mem-

to update it? ber to gain access to this database, but USRSA
offers both full memberships to month-long
AS SOON AS WE GET NEW infor- I REALLY ENJOY READING THE web-only memberships. See the on-line store at
mation. Although some stringers, string playtest reports in RSI. I, or call Dianne Pray at 760-536-
such as the Pacific Stringing Team and was wondering something. Could 1177 extension 10. —Greg Raven Q
Star Stringing, share information with us you tell me the top five multifilament We welcome your questions. Please send them to Racquet Sports
as a matter of course, other stringers and strings in the "Control" category in your Industry, 330 Main St., Vista, CA, 92084; fax: 760-536-1171;
teams don’t. Even the Wilson/Luxilon playtest database?
Stringing Team, which has shared infor-
mation with us over the years, sometimes
takes months to get us its tournament
stringing logs. In the case of Djokovic, he
has a private stringing team under con-
tract, which means that the main stringers
or team for any given tournament are not
going to see his racquets, because his per-

sonal stringer services them off-site.

racquets and have a question about
floating clamps. Do you clamp the
strings at the end of the racquet closest to
the tension head or the end farthest away
from it? I know I have to clamp two strings

at once. Last week I joined the USRSA and
hope the Stringer Digest will answer these
and other questions.


always clamp closest to the ten-
sion head, but there’s a trick when start-
ing. You install the two center mains
(right and left of the center line of the rac-
quet), and position one floating clamp
about one clamp’s width from the frame
at end of the racquet where the left and
right center mains loop outside of the
You then thread one of the second
mains (it doesn’t matter which one), and
pull tension on it. This means you will be
pulling tension on two strings at once,
which is normally frowned upon, but is
necessary when starting with floating
Now as you clamp the first and sec-
ond mains on the side you’re working on,
you can see why you had to leave a
clamp’s-width of space between the first
clamp and the frame: It leaves room for
the second clamp.
Once you get to this point, you pro- May 2011 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 45

String Playtest
Luxilon Savage White
Savage is a new shaped monofilament cent tension loss. In lab testing, Prince Syn-
that builds on Luxilon’s experiences thetic Gut Original has a stiffness of 217
with the proprietary materials and and a tension loss of 11.67 pounds, while
technologies it uses in its other strings. Luxilon Savage White 127 has a stiffness of
Luxilon tells us that the combination of 274 and a tension loss of 18.57 pounds.
Savage added 16 grams to the weight of
these materials has resulted in a string
our unstrung frame.
that is comfortable with a very lively
The string was tested for five weeks
feel. Luxilon reportedly worked hard to
by 35 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP rat-
soften Savage’s six edges to make it ings from 3.0 to 6.0. These are blind tests,
easy to install and prevent sawing with playtesters receiving unmarked strings
between the mains and crosses, while string, but the shape doesn’t interfere
in unmarked packages. Average number of
still having enough shape to bite the with weaving. While stiff, crosses are not
hours playtested was 33.7.
a problem because they slide across the
ball for extreme spin potential. Feel is Luxilon Savage has a smooth, hard
mains. When tying off, you have to pay a
enhanced by the use of Liquid Crys- exterior that is easy to handle during string-
little extra attention to make certain that
talline Polymer, which is also found in ing. If you twirl Savage between your finger
the knot cinches fully down.
the Luxilon Adrenaline we playtested and thumb you can tell it is a multi-sided
No playtester broke his sample during
in the August 2010 issue. stringing, eight reported problems with
Savage is designed for the player who (compared to other strings) coil memory, seven reported problems
is looking to hit a hard, heavy, spin- Number of testers who said it was: tying knots, and one reported friction
loaded shot. Typically this player is a much easier 0 burn.

baseliner who takes big cuts at the ball somewhat easier 2
and wants as much spin as possible. about as easy 18
Savage is available in 16L (1.27 mm) not quite as easy 13 Our playtest teams ratings and other com-
only as Savage White, Savage Black, and not nearly as easy 2
ments classify Luxilon Savage as a string
Savage Lime. It is priced from $11 for OVERALL PLAYABILITY with good durability. In fact, Savage’s rat-
sets of 40 feet, and $150 for 600-foot (compared to string played most often) ing in the Durability category is good
reels. This puts Savage pricewise Number of testers who said it was: enough to rank it in 11th place of the 152
between Luxilon Alu Power on the high much better 1 strings we’ve playtested to date for publi-
end and Adrenaline on the low end. For somewhat better 3 cation. Savage also scored well above
more information or to order, contact about as playable 6 average in Resistance to Movement, a key
Luxilon at 800-272-6060, or visit lux- not quite as playable 20
category for durability strings. Compared If you are a USRSA member, not nearly as playable 5
to Luxilon’s first Liquid Crystalline Poly-
there is a sample set of Luxilon Savage OVERALL DURABILITY mer string, Adrenaline, Savage is a little
White included with this magazine. (compared to other strings bit stiffer with better tension mainte-

of similar gauge) nance.
Number of testers who said it was:
One playtester broke the sample during
We tested Savage White. The coil mea- much better 8
somewhat better 12
the playtest period after 10 hours of play.

sured 40 feet. The diameter measured
about as durable 15
1.26-1.28 mm prior to stringing, and
not quite as durable 0
1.24-1.25 mm after stringing. We record- As Luxilon intended, Savage scored better
not nearly as durable 0
ed a stringbed stiffness of 75 RDC units with our baseliner playtesters, particularly
immediately after stringing at 60 pounds RATING AVERAGES in the categories of Power, Control, and
in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 x 18 pat- From 1 to 5 (best)
Spin Potential. Speaking of spin, the pack-
tern) on a constant-pull machine. Playability 3.1
aging for Luxilon Savage features a large
Durability (11th overall) 4.3
After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed hexagon on the front, which should help
Power 3.3
stiffness measured 69 RDC units, repre- your customers identify the string with
Control 3.3
senting an 8 percent tension loss. Our the results.
Comfort 2.8
control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Origi- Touch/Feel 2.7 If you’re a USRSA member and you
nal Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units Spin Potential 3.2 think that Luxilon Savage might be for
immediately after stringing and 71 RDC Holding Tension 3.3 you, there’s a set included with this issue
units after 24 hours, representing a 9 per- Resistance to Movement 3.9 of the magazine. —Greg Raven Q


TESTERS TALK prisingly good feel, touch, comfort, and
“ Recommended to big hitters and string
“ ”
Two words: Powerful polyester. 5.0

playability. 5.0 male all-court player using
Prince O3 Red MP strung at 52 pounds CP
breakers who care more about power than
male all-court player using Babolat Pure
Storm Tour GT strung at 59 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 17)
” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson
BLX Tour strung at 55 pounds CP (Wilson Hol-
(Babolat Pro Hurricane/Prince Synthetic Gut low Core 16)
Original 16/16)
“ This is a durable string with a little extra
” 4.0 male all-court player using Wil-
“ This string plays a little better than a typical
“ The high power level is very easy to
control. Playability and feel are outstand-
son K Blade Team strung at 57 pounds LO
(Luxilon Adrenaline 17)
polyester, but it isn’t truly exceptional.
male all-court player using Pacific Raptor ” 4.0

ing. 5.5 male all-court player using strung at 51 pounds LO (Pacific X Force/Gosen
Babolat Pure Drive Roddick strung at 59
pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 16L) “ Overall playability is adequate, but power OG Sheep Micro 18/17)
and feel are lacking.
” 5.0 male all- court

player using Wilson BLX Tour strung at 52
pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power Rough 16L) “ The lack of feel and power leads to control
This polyester has unusually good touch

and feel. 5.0 male all-court player using
problems. Tension loss is substantial.
male all-court player using Vantage VT002

Babolat Aero Storm Tour strung at 51
pounds CP (Natural Gut/Polyester 16/18) “ Control and spin are above average. Feel White strung at 60 pounds CP (Natural Gut 16)

is a little lacking. 4.0 male baseliner with

heavy spin using Wilson nTour strung at 50
pounds LO (Solinco Tour Bite 16) “ Tension maintenance is sub-par. This string
Poly players looking for more power
should start here.
” 3.0 male baseliner
feels too stiff on balls struck off center.
male serve-and-volley player using Gamma T ”

with heavy spin using Prince O3 Silver

strung at 60 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power “ Great control on a wide variety of shots,
but overall not spectacular. Comfort is low,
Seven strung at 60 pounds LO (Babolat Pro
Hurricane 17)
Rough 16L) noise is high.
” 5.0 male all-court player
using Volkl DNX V1 MP strung at 42 pounds For the rest of the tester comments, visit

“ This is not a harsh polyester. It has sur- LO (Gamma Zo Tour 16) May 2011 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 47

Your Serve
The Sport of Opportunity
The new USTA president says to reach our full
potential as a sport, we need to provide meaningful

opportunities to people. BY JON VEGOSEN

t is a distinct honor and privilege to be some of the air out of that myth. Particu- leader Andrés Tapia has stated, we must
leading the USTA as its 50th president. I larly during this past decade, we have move from “I tolerate your differences” to “I
am committed to the growth of our become a more inclusive sport that need your differences.”
sport. I look forward to the challenges that embraces all communities. Michelle The fifth priority is to leverage the
lie ahead, knowing that the people who put Obama’s selection of tennis for her “Let’s USTA’s commitment to education. The
a face on this association—our unparalleled Move” initiative implicitly recognizes this. USTA already has in place a tremendous
volunteers and staff—are our greatest asset. But we have not yet realized our full infrastructure that can support and promote
Their boundless talents afford us the oppor- potential to be the sport of opportunity for this “college imperative.” Our challenge is
tunity to plan and to achieve without limits. all. Not enough people are cognizant of the to determine how the USTA can best pro-
The USTA already has a compelling mis- countless opportunities tennis provides. mote the importance of every American
sion—to promote and develop the growth And, more importantly, we still have yet to youngster obtaining a college education,
of tennis. But the opportunity lies before us maximize the opportunities that our sport and drive home the idea that tennis is the
not only to further that mission, but also to can and should offer. sport of opportunity for achieving this goal.
transcend it—to put in place a plan that not I have established six priorities that To support this effort, I have created a Ten-
only will help to grow the game, but also can support our efforts to be “The Sport of nis and Higher Education Task Force com-
enhance the lives of those who play it. Opportunity.” The first is to maintain prised of, among others, educators and
Imagine if instead of only promoting strong and transparent relations with our college professors. By being the sport that
and developing the growth of tennis, we partners and enhance volunteer service promotes not only fitness and fun but also
also devoted ourselves to promoting and opportunities. The second is to advance opportunity through education, we can
developing the growth of people through the financial soundness of the USTA. With- attract many more people to tennis.
tennis. Imagine if we became known as the out both, we cannot fulfill our mission. My final priority is to have fun! We have
sport that is genuinely concerned about the The third priority is to promote and more fun and gain greater satisfaction when
lives of its constituents and a sport that is enhance the youth-collegiate continuum— we do something well that we are proud of.
responsive to their needs. Imagine if we from 10 and Under Tennis right up And since we’re dedicated to the greatest
created pathways for youngsters from through college. We must continue to sport in the world, our work should be fun!
diverse backgrounds to easily pursue our reach out to youth to get them playing ten- All of us who have been involved in this
sport in their communities, at their levels, nis and keep them playing during their life- great sport for a good part of our lives know
on an affordable basis that would not time, and we must significantly expand well the bounty of benefits that go hand in
require them to sacrifice educationally but the base of juniors 10 and under playing hand with tennis. We need to make more
would strengthen and amplify their person- competitive tennis on courts using the people aware of those benefits. Because,
al growth. Imagine if we put in place a play- QuickStart Tennis format. To do this, we when we share our sport, we in fact extend
er development system that aims to create need to have an emphasis on fun and fit- to others a universal key that opens doors,
the conditions for developing not only ness, and make tennis affordable, accessi- minds and hearts. And when we develop
champions on the court, but also champi- ble, and relevant to families and their kids. people through tennis, we inevitably pro-
ons in life. My fourth priority is to build cross-cul- mote and develop the growth of tennis
I have always seen tennis as the sport of tural competence to ensure successful itself. Q
opportunity, and that is the theme for my diversity and inclusion. It is imperative
administration. In order to reach our full that we embrace diversity and inclusion in
Jon Vegosen started his two-
potential as a sport, we need to be sure that the broadest of terms—to respect not just
year term as USTA president
we are providing meaningful opportunities differences such as gender, race, religion, and chairman of the board this
to people. national origin, and disabilities, but also past January.
I recognize that tennis has often been differences in sexual orientation or prefer-
perceived as anything but a sport of oppor- ence, generational differences, economic
tunity. It has too often been viewed as elit- differences, and differences in thinking We welcome your opinions. Please email
ist. We have made good progress in taking style. As author and diversity thought comments to