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By Justin Cohen

Bob and Mike Bryan

Bob and Mike Bryan Extend Partnership with Prince

Prince Global, a leading tennis equipment and footwear company, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Active Brands Company, announced recently it has renewed a partnership with record-breaking American doubles team and 2012 US Open Men’s Doubles Champions Mike and Bob Bryan. The Bryan Brothers will continue to use Prince’s EXO3 Rebel 95 racquet and Beast XP string to maximize their performance. In winning their fourth U.S. Open title, the Bryans have won 12 major doubles titles – equaling the all-time record set by John Newcombe and Tony Roche. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. “Prince is committed to strengthening its long-term relationships within the global tennis community and to that end we are excited to have Mike and Bob Bryan continuing to use Prince products to support their game,” said Ken Merritt, Director of Player Development for Prince Global Sports. “They are the best doubles team of their generation and have been long-standing supporters of our brand.” The Bryan Brothers have been using Prince racquets since 2007, helping them win over 40 titles with the brand including the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

John Embree Named USPTA CEO and Executive Director

The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) announced late last week that its Board of Directors and Search Committee had hired tennis industry veteran John Embree as the new CEO and Executive Director. Embree will take the administrative reigns from Tim Heckler, who will retire at the end of the year, after 30 years in the position. Embree will begin transitioning into his role as of October 1 and will be relocating to the national office in Houston on November 1. The association conducted a search for the new CEO/Executive Director, and after interviewing several candidates in conjunction with the executive search firm, GSI Executive Search Inc., the USPTA Search Committee offered the position to Embree. The contract was ratified by the USPTA Executive Committee in late August. “I began my tennis odyssey during college as a teaching professional in Virginia. After more than three decades of working in the sport that I began playing at 6 years old, my career has come full circle, back to my foundation as a grassroots advocate. I am thrilled to have been chosen by the Executive Committee to help lead the USPTA in the years to come,” said Embree. “We are pleased to welcome John Embree into the USPTA family. His vast tennis industry expertise, contacts, and company management skills will serve the USPTA well,” said President Tom Daglis. Embree has held a wide variety of influential tennis industry roles for more than 30 years. They include serving as President of Prince Sports, The Americas; President of Balle de Match LLC; and Vice President/General Manager, Racquet Sports Division for Wilson Sporting Goods Co. Most recently, he launched a tennis consulting practice to assist endemic brands, associations and new corporate entities in maximizing their impact in the tennis marketplace. His client list included the USTA, Intercollegiate Tennis Association, Peter Burwash International, Off the Grid Technologies, and Donnay USA. Embree has served on many national USTA Committees, including the USTA Nominating Committee in 2005-2006 and currently as the Vice Chair of USTA Professional Circuits Committee. In addition, he recently served as Presidential appointee of the Board of Directors of USTA Middle States section, is a past member of TIA Board of Directors and Executive Committee, member of the Board of Directors of American College of Sports Medicine Foundation, and past President of the Chicago Tennis Patrons Foundation. One of his proudest achievements in tennis was the creation of the USTA Adult League Tennis program in 1980, when he served as the first USTA Adult League Tennis Administrator for two years. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA, and was inducted into the W&L Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.

Wagner, Taylor Named 2011-2012 Paralympic Team of the Year by United States Olympic Committee

The United States Quad Doubles Wheelchair Tennis Team of veterans David Wagner and Nick Taylor have been selected by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) as the 2011-2012 Paralympic Team of the Year following their third consecutive Quad Doubles gold medal at the 2012 London Paralympic Games. Wagner and Taylor are the first Quad tennis players, singles or doubles, to be recognized by the USOC for this prestigious honor, since the USOC first established the award for Paralympians in 2009. They are also the first tennis players to receive this honor since Jennifer Capriati won the USOC SportsWoman of the Year award in 2001. This week, Wagner and Taylor will be honored at the 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly dinner alongside Olympians Allyson Felix (Track & Field), Michael Phelps (Swimming), the U.S. Women’s Eight Rowing Team, and Paralympians Raymond Martin (Track & Field), and Jessica Long (Swimming). “I am truly honored to be selected for this award,” said Taylor. “With all the exceptional teams that could have been chosen, it’s exciting to be recognized for our long time dedication and commitment to the sport. This is a great honor not just for David and me, but for American wheelchair tennis.” “I’m so honored to receive this award,” said Wagner. “We have worked so hard to be the best team we can be, and are pleased to represent the United States of America. I’m truly proud to win this award with Nick. It is great for the sport of wheelchair tennis to be recognized in this way by the USOC.” Last year, Wagner, originally from Portland, Ore., and Taylor, from Wichita, Kan., led the United States to the World Team Cup Championship, landing them their seventh World Team Cup title as doubles partners. That summer, they captured their seventh Grand Slam title at the 2011 US Open. Earlier this year, they finished third at the 2012 World Team Cup Championships.

Australian Open to Host Wild Card Playoff in Nanjing, China

The Australian Open will host a regional wild card playoff for entry into the 2013 tournament in Nanjing, China. The male and female winners of the playoff will gain entry to the main draw of the Australian Open, which lists itself as “The Grand Slam of Asia/Pacific.” The Asia/Pacific wildcards were previously decided by nomination. The playoff will not be open to Australian players. The Australian Open also holds a separate wild card tournament in Australia for national players.

Nadal Named “Person of the Year” by Spanish Vanity Fair

Despite having been missing in action from the ATP World Tour scene, Rafael Nadal collected a prestigious honor on Monday in Madrid. The former World No. 1 was presented the “Person of the Year” award by the Spanish edition of Vanity Fair at the Italian Consulate in Madrid. Vanity Fair announced that Nadal was selected for the award due to his all around accomplishments on the court as a professional tennis player, as well as his good works of the Rafa Nadal Foundation. The prize is presented to an individual deemed to exercise the “most influence” on society “in any of its spheres.” Last year’s recipient was Nobel literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. During a beautiful acceptance speech, the 7-time French Open champion thanked the magazine and its readers for the award, emphasizing how much their support meant in a challenging time.

Anderson asking for too much money from Tennis South Africa

According to a report from Matt Cronin on TENNIS.com, top-ranked South African player Kevin Anderson is demanding too much money to play Davis Cup says Tennis South Africa Chief Executive Ina Smith. Anderson recently declined playing for his country in Davis Cup against Canada and instead played in the World TeamTennis Finals in Charleston, S.C. Anderson has claimed that Tennis South Africa does not compensate him properly and would not take care of him financially if he became injured and could not play tour events. Smith hopes that Anderson will rejoin the team, but it depends on his demands.

Bhupathi Lashes Out at India’s Tennis Federation after Two-Year Ban

According to The Wall Street Journal of India, multiple Grand Slam Doubles champion Mahesh Bhupathi has lashed out at India’s Tennis Federation, accusing them of “dirty politics” after the federation banned him and doubles partner Rohan Bopanna for two-years. The ban effectively restricts the duo from participating in two editions of the Davis Cup. At a press conference in Mumbai, Bhupathi launched a blistering attack on the “dictatorial” policies of the All India Tennis Federation, singling out its president, Anil Khanna. The 38-year-old’s remarks come days after the federation, the main governing body for tennis in India, did not field the duo for a Davis Cup relegation play-off match against New Zealand on Saturday. Soon after, the sporting federation announced that Bhupathi and Bopanna were ineligible to participate in upcoming editions of the international tournament until June 2014. The World No. 15 in doubles is currently challenging the decision, arguing that the sporting federation is not competent to do so. India’s Tennis Federation has recently accused Bhupathi and Bopanna of violating disciplinary norms ahead of the London Olympics.

Lacoste Partners with OrthoLite

OrthoLite®, the leader of open cell foam insoles, has partnered with fashion icon LACOSTE to enhance their upcoming Sport Active Collection for men’s and women’s footwear available in spring 2013. The new LACOSTE Sport Active Collection evokes everything that’s cool, carefree and even more comfortable about the upcoming spring season, with its fresh preppy styles, retro pastels and bold and 90s inspired shapes. The entire collection will now feature high-performance OrthoLite insoles to ensure comfort in every stylish step. “With almost 80 years of sporting heritage, the brand shares OrthoLite’s vision to offer quality, comfort and high performance footwear products. By including OrthoLite in the collection, LACOSTE will now offer its customers the best in customized technology and comfort, while still being cool and fashionable.” With the inclusion of OrthoLite, the LACOSTE Sport Active Collection will now offer the benefits of breathability, moisture control, anti-microbial properties and long-term cushioning. “We are very excited to announce this partnership with LACOSTE,” said Pamela Gelsomini, OrthoLite President. “With almost 80 years of sporting heritage, the brand shares OrthoLite’s vision to offer quality, comfort and high performance footwear products. By including OrthoLite in the collection, LACOSTE will now offer its customers the best in customized technology and comfort, while still being cool and fashionable.” LACOSTE is a premium lifestyle brand combining sporting elegance with understated French style. Both in daily life and on the sports field, LACOSTE bases its success on the essential values of authenticity, optimism and joie de vivre. LACOSTE currently sponsors many tennis players including John Isner, Richard Gasquet, Milos Raonic and the recently retired former World No. 1 Andy Roddick.

US Open reaches Millions of Fans Worldwide

This year’s US Open was broadcast in 180 countries around the world, to go along with television coverage on CBS Sports, ESPN and Tennis Channel in the United States. The tournament’s official website, USOpen.org, had more than 325 million page views and was accessed by more than 11.7 million visitors throughout the world. It is the fourth consecutive year that the official tournament website for the US Open topped 10 million in unique visitors. Also, more than 2.8 million hours of free live streaming was viewed by fans domestically. The free streaming was available across computers, mobile devices and tablets.

Battle in the Bay Classic set for October 12-14

The 2012 Battle in the Bay Classic, a Division I collegiate tennis tournament hosted by the University of San Francisco Men’s Tennis Team at the California Tennis Club, is set to take place from October 12-14. The event was formed in 2009 by the University of San Francisco men’s tennis head coach Peter Bartlett, assistant coach Pablo Pires de Almeida, and the California Tennis Club Director of Tennis, Steve Jackson. This invitational tournament will feature some of the best college players from the west coast, including some former top Northern California juniors. Players from Duke, USC, Stanford, Pepperdine, Cal, Boise State, USF and other top division-1 tennis programs will be facing off in a tournament format to see who will hold the title as the best singles and doubles players to compete in the Bay Area this year. Main draw singles will be made up of 32 players and 16 teams for doubles. Battle in the Bay Classic is an Intercollegiate Tennis Association sanctioned event that will count for NCAA Division I singles and doubles rankings. It is an opportunity for all players to improve their rankings and a unique experience that will showcase the highest-level collegiate tennis at its very best. The schedule of events include a Sponsor/Player Pro-Am, cocktail reception, Kids Day, exhibition match with former ATP Professional Paul Goldstein and the best college tennis players from the west coast competing. Admission is free and open to the public.

USTA Northern California Section Offering $30 Memberships for Adults through September 30

Through September 30, adults in the Northern California area can join the USTA for just $30 and receive a free US Open hat with their purchase. Using the code NCINTR12, you can take advantage of this wonderful offer. Membership with the USTA enables you to register for leagues and tournaments, take advantage of special discounted tickets to top tennis tournaments including the US Open, receive other special benefits that are only offered to members and so much more.

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About Justin Cohen
Justin Cohen is a graduate of Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Specialization in Journalism and was a member of the varsity tennis team, where he and his teammates finished as the runner-up at the 2006 NCAA Division II Men’s Tennis Championships. Justin began writing his weekly column, “This Week in Tennis Business with Justin Cohen” in July 2009. The following month, he covered the ATP/WTA Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open in Cincinnati, Ohio interviewing most of the top ranked players in the world. A lifelong tennis enthusiast who has enjoyed traveling to many professional tennis tournaments, Justin has much experience in the tennis industry. Previously, he worked at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association in Princeton, New Jersey, and also completed summer internships in ticket sales at the ATP/WTA Tour Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open in Cincinnati and in marketing at the Tennis Channel in Los Angeles.

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