A Few Updates from Around the Tennis World
I’m home from my travels and have an inbox full of notices from various sources about events and other announcements that pertain to Tennis Parents (and coaches), so I wanted to be sure to pass those along to you. I’ve missed y’all these past couple of weeks but am back from my vacation relaxed, tan, and ready to jump back into all things tennis!
- adidas debuted a new film series “I’m Here to Create,” kicking-off the brand’s Sport16 global campaign. The unscripted films are seen through the eyes of female athletes and pull content straight from their social media platforms, showing how they bring their own definition of creativity to sports.The first of the films can be seen below via www.youtube.com/adidas and tell the stories of the following tennis professionals (among other female athletes):
“I’m Here to Create” will air globally in more than 50 countries during key sports and culture moments including UEFA Champions League, The GRAMMYs, the BRIT Awards and the Oscars, among others. Follow the conversation via #heretocreate on @adidas Twitter, Instagram and Facebook channels.
- The USTA announced the renovation of four tennis courts and the addition of youth tennis courts at the Old Airport park in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, as a part of the USTA’s Fed Cup Legacy program. The legacy program, started more than a decade ago, is designed to leave a lasting mark in the communities which host Fed Cup ties in the United States.The tennis facility at the park will be completely renovated, adding four new hard courts in the US Open “blue” surface, while also creating a kid-friendly area of the park with youth-sized tennis courts. A state-of-the-art lighting system will also be installed for fans to play at night. It is one of the USTA’s most significant Fed Cup Legacy renovation projects to date. The old Kona Airport closed down in 1970, but it is now a one-mile-long beach and state park with the old runway serving as a parking lot and the airport’s old terminal building serving as a pavilion.The project, expected to be completed in December 2016, will be jointly executed with the USTA, the USTA Hawaii Pacific Section, the Hawaii County Park & Recreation Department, County Council, and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi.
- Wilson Sporting Goods Co., announced Michael (Mickey) Maule has joined the organization as its new Regional Commercial Director, Racquet Sports, Americas. Previously, Maule served as National Sales Manager, USA, for Babolat. Prior to his time at Babolat, he worked as a Territory Manager for Prince.”We are thrilled to welcome Mickey to Wilson. He is incredibly passionate about tennis and highly experienced and talented in the areas of business and channel development, product lifecycle management, and in strategic and assortment planning, said Bertrand Blanc, Global Commercial Director of Wilson Racquet Sports. “Importantly, his vision for the Americas aligns with our key business drivers. He is committed to building strong relationships with the specialty channel, and to leading a selective distribution strategy that will differentiate Wilson in the marketplace.”“As a tennis player, former coach and industry advocate, I am excited to join the Wilson team. In many ways, I feel like I am coming home,” said Maule. “My very first racket was a Wilson one, and I have tremendous respect for this brand. I am joining a strong global team and Americas organization that is passionate about and focused on winning with consumers and the market. I am energized by the opportunities we have to accelerate the growth of Wilson in the USA, Canada and Latin America.”Maule was an ATP ranked professional tennis player in 1990-1993 and won the ITF Men’s 40 and over doubles World Championship in 2012. He previously worked with Wilson as an Advisory Staff Member. Maule also led Northern Illinois University’s tennis team as head coach and served as assistant head coach at Northwestern University.
- The USTA announced that USTA Player Development has created a new, “Team USA – Pro” department within its organizational structure focused on providing American pro tennis players with coaching assistance, training and financial resources to help them reach the Top 100. USTA Lead National Coaches Tom Gullikson and Kathy Rinaldi have each been promoted to leadership roles in the new “Team USA – Pro” department and will lead its coaching efforts on the men’s and women’s sides, respectively.The Team USA – Pro department was created to provide professional players ranked between Nos. 100 and 500 resources and assistance similar to what has been available to junior players since USTA Player Development first began to incorporate the Team USA philosophy into its junior development structure in 2014. Geoff Russell will assume a new role, as Senior Manager, Team USA – Pro, overseeing the department’s administrative operations.“When players move quickly into the Top 100, they have a much better chance of achieving rankings in the Top 50, Top 20 or Top 10,” said USTA Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman. “Team USA – Pro will better enable us to maximize this opportunity for our American pros and help them achieve a ranking that gets them into the main draw of Grand Slam events, where we eventually want to see them competing into the second week.”“I am extremely happy Tom has chosen to take on the challenge of leading Team USA – Pro on the men’s side, working with and mentoring professionals,” said USTA Player Development Head of Men’s Tennis Jay Berger. “Tom has unique credentials as a great professional player, National Coach and Davis Cup captain. I cannot think of a person more qualified and passionate about American tennis to co-lead this very important department.”“Having been a former Top-10 player, Kathy Rinaldi – a great coach and an even better person – is the perfect leader for the Team USA – Pro women,” said USTA Player Development Head of Women’s Tennis Ola Malmqvist. “Kathy will help and influence a lot of players and coaches, on and off the court, and there is no doubt in my mind that the number of American women in the Top 100 will increase because of it.”Additionally, USTA Player Development has reorganized its structure of National Coaches, creating teams of coaches who will focus on distinct groups of players: juniors, collegiate players and professional players. Richard Ashby (girls) and Andy Brandi (boys) have each been promoted to lead the junior coaching teams. The overall coaching reorganization comes as a move to assemble teams of coaches that will better be able to meet the developmental and training needs of those specific groups of players.
“We are utilizing the expertise and commitment of our coaching staff to develop smaller and more sharply focused coaching teams in order to provide private-sector coaches and programs with a collective resource that specializes in a particular phase of development – junior, collegiate or professional,” Blackman said. “It also gives our USTA Player Development coaching leadership the ability to customize the strategies for the respective junior, college and pro bands, while giving the team members the flexibility to determine the tactics. Above all, our role is to use our resources and expertise to serve American players, parents and coaches, and, in the process, to learn from them.
“We are very lucky to have Andy and Richard in these important roles,” said USTA Player Development Director of Coaching Jose Higueras. “Andy has a proven track record and a world of experience working with juniors. He is a very good teacher and mentor. Richard has shown a special ability to communicate and teach the fundamentals, working with many of our best young players.”
- The 127th Annual Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Tennis Championship, the second-oldest tennis event in the United States, is scheduled to be played March 3-6, 2016 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, 2000 Spindrift Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037.Many of the top NCAA Men’s college teams in the country are expected to compete, including Stanford University, University of Southern California, University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles, Georgetown University, Boston College, Furman University, University of California Davis, Boise State University, Pepperdine University, Rice University, University of California Irvine and Villanova University. Plus local teams from San Diego State University, University of San Diego and University of California San Diego.Also entering the tournament will be top teaching professionals, promising junior players, college coaches and former tour players, making this one of the most interesting and unusual competitor fields in the country.The starting time for each day of play will be as follows: Thursday, March 3 – 3 p.m.; Friday, March 4 – 8 a.m.; Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6 – 9 a.m. All times are PST. The La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club welcomes tennis spectators to view the tournament with free admission. On-site parking is available for a nominal fee.Live audio play-by-play of the semifinals and final, which are scheduled for Sunday, March 6, will be available on RadioTennis.com. Tennis broadcaster Ken Thomas will provide the web cast commentary.
- Continuing the tradition of featuring top junior players, the BNP Paribas Showdown will once again present two of the world’s best players on the junior circuit when Tyra Hurricane Black squares off against Carson Branstine in an opening match presented by HEAD Penn Racquet Sports as part of World Tennis Day at Madison Square Garden on March 8.The future pro stars take to the court to kick off the annual BNP Paribas Showdown featuring the colorful Gael Monfils, world No. 4 Stan Wawrinka, former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and 21-time Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams. Tickets start at $35.00 and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and all Ticketmaster outlets.Born and raised in Boca Raton, Florida, 14 year old, Tyra Hurricane Black is currently ranked No. 86 on the ITF World Junior Ranking. She won three ITF junior titles in 2015 and reached the finals in the recent 52nd Coffee Bowl in San Jose, Costa Rica. Additionally, Black helped lead the US team to the finals of the 2015 ITF World Junior Tennis Competition in the Czech Republic. Her older sister, Alicia Black is a former top-5 world-ranked junior now playing on the pro circuit.Branstine, who started playing tennis at seven years old, is 15 and hails from Orange County, California. She is currently No. 184 on the ITF World Junior Ranking and holds 26 career singles titles. She has played in the 2015 US Open Junior Slam and was a member of the USA Team National Junior Team. Additionally, Branstine played on the 18s national team where she went undefeated and was a finalist in the 2015 Plantation ITF.Black and Branstine add to a considerable list of exceptional juniors who have taken to the Madison Square Garden tennis court at the BNP Paribas Showdown including the likes of Francis Tiafoe who turned pro in May 2015 and is said to be one of the prominent young up and coming stars as well as Sloane Stephens who is ranked No. 26 on the WTA Tour.Previous junior matches featured:2008: Denis Kudla (15 years old) vs Junior Ore (15)
2009: Stephens (15) vs Gail Brodsky (17)
2010: Nicole Gibbs (16) vs Sachia Vickery (14)
2015: Tiafoe (16) vs Reilly Opelka (16)
2016: Cori “Coco” Gauff (10) vs Gabriella Price (11)
- Wilson Sporting Goods Co., announced Iain Pound has been promoted to National Sales Director for Wilson Racquet Sports. In this role, Pound will lead the brand’s sales efforts in the specialty tennis channel in the US. Previously, he served as Regional Sales Manager for Amer Sports Winter, Outdoor and Cycle sales organization, and prior to that, worked as a Territory Manager for Wilson Racquet Sports in the Southeast.“We are excited to have Iain in this role for Wilson. He has been very successful in accelerating the growth of our Salomon, Arc’teryx, Atomic, Suunto and Mavic brands and in building strong partnerships with specialty dealers. His skills in leading and developing sales teams will be of great value to the Wilson brand,” said Bill Kirchner, Vice President Sales for Wilson and Amer Sports Americas. “Additionally, he has a passion for tennis and has been extremely active in the sport as a former Division I college player, a USPTA certified professional, club director, and collegiate coach”“I am incredibly enthusiastic about this new role, and the opportunity to lead an already impressive Wilson Racquet Sports sales team,” said Pound. “Wilson has been part of my life from an early age as a player, coach, tennis pro and sales representative. It’s an honor to represent the #1 brand in tennis.”
- In August, 2015 Rebounces, a tennis industry veteran in supporting the reuse and recycling of tennis balls, announced a partnership with Advanced Polymer Technologies and Ace Surfaces to build and deploy new tennis courts that incorporate used tennis balls as a component in construction and resurfacing. These “green” tennis courts could generate the need for hundreds of thousands and then millions of used and unwanted tennis balls – while providing a story that has a wonderful “circle of life” vibe for the industry. Our used tennis balls become the seeds beneath our feet to grow new courts across America. In early September the Cliff Drysdale Management group announced their commitment to begin collecting and recycling tennis balls. And, it’s not just the larger organizations. According to Retour Tennis, more than 60 communities, from Great Neck, NY to Menlo Park, CA are now promoting and operating courtside tennis ball recycling. It’s still a long way to get to the target of 50 million balls annually.