By Steve Pratt
LAS VEGAS – Hundreds of tennis and court sport directors and teaching pros attended the annual United States Tennis Professional Tennis Association World Conference from Sept 19 to Sept 23, at the Westgate Resort in Las Vegas, marking a successful in-person return following a one-year hiatus because of the COVID pandemic.
“With the explosive growth racquet sports has been experiencing, it’s encouraging and exciting to see everyone together again,” explained Mike Manzella, founder of Racquet-Pros.com and Executive Director of Racquets of South Towns Tennis Club, in Orchard Park, New York. “The presenters at the USTPA conference this year were top notch. When I attend these conferences not only do I learn a lot, I come away more motivated and excited to implement new ideas at our club.”
Keynote speakers like Katrina Adams, Dr. Jim Loehr, Stan Smith and Stacey Allaster presented on timely topics and dozens of other seminars were scattered across the five-day schedule. The highlight for many during the event was a four-hour convention-style trade show where more than 40 companies shared what is new and innovating in the marketplace.
Companies like HEAD, Wilson, K-Swiss, Babolat and Yonex displayed their latest racquets and sales reps from each company were available to answer any questions.
The following are some more highlights of what we saw and who we met during the Trade Show.
Tennis Thanks the Troops – In 2012, ThanksUSA and the USPTA teamed up to encourage tennis professionals and enthusiasts nationwide to raise funds to benefit military families through the Tennis Thanks the Troops campaign.
ThanksUSA Director of Sports Initiatives Jean Pletchette was on hand at the trade show promoting a special Pro-Am event featuring rising American star Frances Tiafoe to be held Dec. 11-12 at the USTA National Campus. See more on the event here: ThanksUSA Charity Tennis Pro-Am.
“We are grateful for the continued partnership with the USPTA and all the tennis professionals who have advanced these efforts to support military families nationwide,” said Pletchette. “After nearly 10 years, the USPTA has recommitted to assist ThanksUSA in their mission to say, ‘thanks’ to our service members and their families – by helping to close the financial gap for thousands of military spouses and kids seeking higher education and meaningful careers.”
For more information visit www.ThanksUSA.org.
Tennis Wellbow – Former Northwestern University player Joel Joseph has been playing competitive tennis for more than 60 years. When a case of tennis elbow slowed Joseph in the mid-1990s, he noticed many fellow players using ordinary rubber bands as dampeners to combat tennis elbow. During the pandemic Joseph worked with a rubber manufacturer and several orthopedists to develop a better product. After months of trial and error, Tennis Wellbow was created with three bands of different sizes and thicknesses.
“Many tennis players have tried Tennis Wellbow and the reviews are great,” Joseph said. “We are proud to help those who are suffering from tennis elbow without the necessity of surgery or injections.”
Other products by Joseph’s company GAME (Genuine American Merchandise & Equipment, Inc.) include Good Vibe, for minimizing vibration and Getta Grip to strengthen your grip. www.GenuineAmerican.com.
Welch Tennis – Based in Tampa, Fla., Welch Tennis has been the largest builder of tennis and multi-sport facilities for more than 45 years. Welch Tennis provides full-service design assistance, construction, resurfacing, equipment and supplies for not only tennis, but also bocce ball, pickleball, lighting and fencing on clay courts or hardcourt surfaces. www.WelchTennis.com.
Court Reserve – Court Reserve is a reservation platform sets up a club’s booking rules to be the most fair to your players. Founded by Tim and Ashley Owens of Florida, Court Reserve allows players to easily book online without having to call the front desk or show up in person. Its robust management tool help managers with membership renewals, billing and invoicing, and marketing emails, and you only pay for what you use. www.CourtReserve.com.
Friction Labs – Sweat and humidity can cause a loss of grip, and that’s where Friction Labs comes in with its Secret Stuff® Hygienic chalk. 2021 U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev was chalked up with the Friction Labs product during his win over Novak Djokovic. It’s a high performance, pure magnesium carbonate formula chalk that is engineered to provide unparalleled grip and reduce the spread of germs. www.FrictionLabs.com.
Cancha Bags – Founded by tennis pro player Jack Oswald, these tennis backpacks look great, are durable and perform well. The Cancha Racquet Bag features premium materials and a modular design that allows it to attach swiftly and securely to a range of purpose-built accessories. Cancha also offers a water-resistant backpack, day bags and a wet-dry bag. www.CanchaBags.com.
Onix – Onix offers a range of performance, intermediate and recreational paddles for pickleball players of all levels. Onix has a large contingent of pro players it uses for product development. For example, the Onix Evoke Premier paddle was co-developed by Pickleball National Champions Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova for power and precision. The Evansville, Indiana-based company also offers balls, accessories and apparel. www.OnixPickleball.com.
String Ping – String Ping offers a unique way for clubs and directors to communicate with their membership. Cate Kerpsack is the General Manager and runs the company alongside husband Rick, who also happens to be the President of Tennis-Warehouse. For more, visit: www.StringPing.net.
Blume Sports – Court reservations and bookings is also the key component of Blume Sports, an Indian company doing software management. Gowri Guruswarmy is the director of Blue Sports. Besides an interactive court availability calendar, players can input game-style and other personal information. www.BlumeSoftware.com.
10.S Tennis Supply – Need to replace a frayed net or looking for the latest technology in ball machines, whatever your court needs, 10.S Supply is the place to go. “We are a one-stop shop for any country club or tennis or pickleball court owner,” said Adam Keelan, Vice President of Marketing for 10.S. www.10-S.com.
SES Lighting – Based in Golden, Colo., SES Lighting providing tennis lighting solutions for tennis facilities across the country. Nelson Scott is the COO and Founding Owner of SES Lighting. www.TennisLED.com.