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By Justin Cohen @JustinCohen44

USTA Player Development adds five Certified Regional Training Centers

The USTA Player Development recently announced that five junior development programs in five states have started new, three-year agreements to serve as USTA Certified Regional Training Centers (RTCs), partnering with USTA Player Development in its mission to cultivate the next generation of world-class American players. The programs will train junior players in four USTA sections across the country. Eagle Fustar Tennis Academy in Santa Clara, Calif. (USTA Northern California), Darling Tennis Center in Las Vegas, Nev. (USTA Intermountain), and T Bar M Racquet Club in Dallas, Texas, (USTA Texas) each are renewing their partnerships as USTA Certified Regional Training Centers, while Five Seasons Sports Club in Northbrook, Ill. (USTA Midwest) and The Smiths, LLC., in Indianapolis, Ind. (USTA Midwest), are joining the USTA Certified Regional Training Center network, setting the total number of USTA Certified Regional Training Centers across America to 17. As USTA Certified RTCs, the programs will enhance the training and development of junior players in their respective areas of the country. USTA Player Development will use these partnerships as vehicles to educate and collaborate with junior tennis coaches in these four USTA sections to work together toward developing the next generation of world-class Americans. “As we continue to see positive results out of players who train at USTA Certified Regional Training Centers, we are excited to be working collaboratively with these programs and their coaches to develop future American tennis stars,” said USTA Player Development General Manager Patrick McEnroe. In addition to continuing their existing programs, the USTA Certified RTCs will host USTA Player Development camps for players ages 8-13 in their respective regions. These players will be selected in conjunction with the USTA National coaching staff and their respective USTA Section Player Development Manager and Coaching Commission. The Centers will also run 10 and Under Tennis programs and host 10 and Under Tennis tournaments. The camps will be staffed by coaches at the USTA Certified Regional Training Centers and sectional coaches from throughout their respective USTA sections with additional assistance from the USTA National coaching staff. USTA Certified Regional Training Center coaches will also participate in the USTA Coaching Education program by working with the top coaches in their respective region and/or USTA section. Additionally, the RTC coaches will attend training sessions at USTA National Training Centers in Boca Raton, Fla., Carson, Calif., and Flushing, N.Y.

Townsend signs multi-year deal with Unique Sports

Unique Sports has signed a multi-year Tourna Grip deal with former ITF World No. 1 and the recently turned pro American teenager Taylor Townsend. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Townsend joins Christina McHale, Genie Bouchard and Alexa Glatch as well as a long list of tennis greats and current pros that rely on Tourna Grip.

Sloane Stephens commits to Charleston

World No. 16 Sloane Stephens, who has lost in the early rounds in both of her recent tournaments in Doha and Dubai, has committed to the 2013 Family Circle Cup in Charleston, S.C. “After watching Sloane perform so well in the Australian Open, we are excited to see her game continue to mature at the Cup,” said Eleanor Adams, Tournament Manager. “The fans love watching her play, so Charleston could be a place for her to really shine.” Stephens will be making her third appearance in Charleston, joining Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Samantha Stosur, Sara Errani and Mona Barthel as early commitments in the field. This year’s Family Circle Cup will take place from March 30-April 7.

National Associations join World Tennis Day countdown

The ITF’s National Associations will join some of the world’s leading tennis stars in celebrating the inaugural World Tennis Day that will be held on Monday 4 March as part of the ITF Centenary activities. World Tennis Day was launched by the ITF and StarGames at the 2012 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final in Prague to help promote tennis participation around the world. World Tennis Day is centred around two ‘BNP Paribas Showdown’ special events, organized by the promoter StarGames, at New York’s Madison Square Garden and Hong Kong’s AsiaWorld-Arena. The events will feature current and former professionals together with demonstrations of the ITF’s Tennis10s program aimed at increasing participation among young players around the world. Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka will be in action in New York, while John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Li Na and Caroline Wozniacki are taking part in Hong Kong. Alongside these events, the ITF has encouraged its member National Associations to support World Tennis Day with their own grassroots and club activities to attract new participants to the sport. These include the United States Tennis Association (USTA), which has already established the successful Tennis Night in America in conjunction with the BNP Paribas Showdown in which clubs are asked to open their doors as part of a month-long drive to get children playing the sport. Over 2,200 clubs in the United States took part in this initiative in 2012. Several other National Associations will be hosting World Tennis Day activities on or around 4 March focusing on the Tennis10s programme. These included Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Egypt, Fiji, Hong Kong, Liberia, Mauritius, Mexico, Namibia, Norway, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.

Acapulco to deploy massive security for upcoming ATP/WTA tournament

According to an article written by Matt Cronin for TENNIS.com, the ATP and WTA Tour Acapulco tournament will deploy a gigantic security operation of 4,000 personnel after a recent gang rape of six Spanish tourists and a massive crime wave. AFP first reported the story. The men’s and women’s clay-court tournament, held between February 25 and March 2, will once again be held at the Hotel Fairmont Acapulco Princess, which has a 7,500-seat stadium. Cars will be checked before entering the facility. Acapulco has been called Mexico’s deadliest city, with a turf war between major drug gangs going on for years. AFP reported that the security force would be three times the size of Acapulco’s own police force, and will feature the military as well as state and municipal police.

Czech player Zahlavova-Strycova gets six-month doping ban

World No. 124 Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova has been banned from competition for six months by the International Tennis Federation for testing positive for the stimulant sibutramine on October 16 at the Luxembourg Open. The 26-year-old says the drug got into her system through a supplement and denied taking it to enhance her performance, but the ITF still slapped her with a six month ban for the doping violation. The ban has been backdated to October 26 and all her results will be wiped out. The Czech player will be eligible to return on April 15.

Gachassin re-elected as President of Federation French Tennis

Jean Gachassin has been re-elected President of the Federation Francasie de Tennis (FFT) for a further four years following a meeting of the general assembly at Roland Garros this past Saturday. “Our basic objectives have not changed: to win a Grand Slam, Olympic medals, Fed Cup and Davis Cup,” said Gachassin. “We must consider the competition and our approach to tennis particularly for youngsters. We must ensure children are enjoying tennis and nurture them in our clubs and in our training centers.” Gachassin is a former French international rugby player who has been President of the FFT since February 2009.

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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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