October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

There is a good chance you know someone who has fought a battle or had a scare with breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. Behind skin cancer, it effects the highest number of women. However, since 1989, the death rates from breast cancer have been declining as  a result of better treatment and earlier detection through screening and increased awareness. Right now, according to the American Cancer Society, there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

3_TennisBalls_Cropped_RibbonWith all of that being said, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. People around the country, organizations, associations, brands, etc. will be working together this month to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services as well as raise money for funding programs and helping to find a cure. In a sport like tennis that is dominated by strong women at every level, this cause hits home for tennis players all over the world. For me, the cause is a personal one. In 2009, one of my favorite people passed from breast cancer — she was an amazing person, a mother, a grandmother, a wife, a sister, a pillar of strength, and a tennis player. Rosemary, a 4.0 player from Palm Desert, one of my Mom’s best friends and USTA teammate, and someone I considered family. Watching her battle the cancer made me realize how scary and devastating this disease can be and how it can hit anyone. Throughout it all, she kept a smile on her face and a racquet in her hand, whether it was playing when she was feeling strong, watching her granddaughters take lessons, or enjoying tennis at the BNP Paribas — Rosemary was a tennis player through it all. Sadly, in the last 5 years, the number of tennis players that I personally know that have been diagnosed with breast cancer has gone up significantly. Breast cancer has even hit the WTA when tennis legend, Martina Navratilova, an image of strength and health was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. What she described as her “own personal 9/11.”

So you can imagine why I proud that here at Tennis Warehouse, we are excited to be carrying a handful of awesome products that not only look great, but help raise funds for a great cause!
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Sneak Peek: Prince ESP line of racquets!

This fall, Prince is introducing seven models with super open string patterns. Using its new Extreme String Pattern technology, or “ESP,” Prince is seizing on the trend toward spin-friendly string patterns. Claiming that this ESP technology will add 30% more spin to your game, Prince is helping players gain a higher net clearance for consistency and heavier shots to penetrate the court with these ESP racquets. The open pattern allows the strings to stretch farther before snapping back with great force and loading the ball with extra RPMs.

This ESP technology is coming to the Warrior, Premier and Tour family of racquets. When I asked Chris what his initial thoughts of the new ESP racquets were, he said, “I think the thing that sets them apart from other spin racquets is that EXO3 and ESP seem to amplify each other. The result is a very soft and forgiving stringbed that is also very lively. Obviously they are very spin-friendly, too, but they can also make even the stiffest poly feel pretty soft and lively.”
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US Open 2013 Gear Check: David Ferrer

The Spanish grinder, David Ferrer, is making his presence known at the US hard court major this year. Despite losing a tough battle against Richard Gasquet, let’s take a look at what he’s been wearing and using this year at the US Open.

David Ferrer in action at Flushing Meadows -- photo by Cynthia Lum

David Ferrer in action at Flushing Meadows — photo by Cynthia Lum


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US Open 2013 Gear Check: the Bryan Brothers

The Bryan Brothers are always the team to watch in any major, but being on US soil, you know the twins want to add another US Open title to their already amazing career. Let’s take a look at what Mike and Bob are wearing and using during this year’s US Open.

TENNIS: Sept 1 US Open

Bryan Brothers in action at the US Open by Cynthia Lum

Their apparel: Mike and Bob are the perfect ambassadors for the California grown company, KSwiss. This year at Flushing Meadows, they are flourishing on court in lots of color in the KSwiss Fall Spliced Crew in the bright yellow color. This 100% polyester crew is lightweight and keeps them cool on the court. They pair this crew with the KSwiss Basic Training Woven Short which are lightweight and comfortable on court. Under their shorts, they are wearing a compression short from Under Armour that keeps their muscles warm and helps with a quick recovery. They round out their look with the KSwiss BigShot II in the black and yellow colorway. This durable, yet lightweight shoe is more stable, more breathable and more comfortable than its predecessor.

Their equipment: When it comes to finding a racquet that serves the twins aggressive net play, solid returns, and dynamic doubles play, the Bryan brothers find the Prince EXO3 Rebel 95 to do just that. The tight 18×20 string pattern provides control from all areas of the court with a stable feel. At net, this racquet helps provide precise control with quick access to touch; while on serve, this faster feeling racquet is easy to generate both pace and spin. They keep their hands nice and dry with Tourna Grip Original Overgrip. They string it up with Prince Beast XP 17 blended with Prince Natural Gut 16 for the perfect feel for this doubles duo.

Enjoy the Open! And play with heart,

Michelle

Happy Hour at Tennis Warehouse!

Who doesn’t like Happy Hour?!

Here at Tennis Warhouse, we decided to combine two of our favorite things:

Tennis and Happy Hour!

Each week we will feature some great specials that you can only buy during Happy Hour! Including racquets, apparel, bags, shoes, etc.!

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When: Every Wednesday between 3pm – 6pm PST.

Where: Click HERE for HAPPY HOUR DEALS

Make sure you check out the deals and steals every week!

Cheers!

Play with Heart,

Michelle

Meet the Playtesters- Michelle Heidbrink

We are back!

I have a special blog on the newest member of our TW Playtesting Team, Michelle Heidbrink! Michelle played college tennis at the University of New Mexico and followed that up with an Assistant Coaching position there. Michelle is currently an Assistant Web Editor here at Tennis Warehouse. She has just started playtesting racquets, strings, and shoes so keep an eye out for her on reviews. You can find her first video appearance in our LoveMatch video. Check out her interview below.

Click Here to View Video

Click Here to View Video

How long have you been a playtester: 2013
Racquet of Choice: Babolat Pure Drive
String of Choice: Kirschbaum Spiky Black Shark 16
Shoe of Choice: Babolat Propulse 4
Apparel of Choice: Nike

When/Why did you start playing tennis?
I started playing tennis when I was 5. My parents had just bought a weekend condo in Palm Springs and decided to take up tennis, so they got an hour lesson with the local pro, they took the first 30 minutes, while I got the second half of the lesson. The rest is history! I started tournaments at age 8 and have loved it ever since!

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Meet the Playtesters- Jose Angulo

Hi Hi!

Next up on the list of our Tennis Warehouse Playtesters is Jose. He is a Customer Service Representative and a Master Racquet Technician.  He playtests both racquets and shoes. Check out his interview below.

Click to View Video of Jose

Racquet of Choice: Prince Exo3 Tour 18×20
String of Choice: Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power
Shoe of Choice: Asics Gel Resolution 4
Apparel of Choice: Nike

When/Why did you start playing tennis?

I started playing tennis in high school.  The only reason I tried out for tennis is because I was short a PE unit to graduate during my sophomore year.  I tried out for every sport and the only sport that took me in was tennis.  Just like any other sport, I get really competitive and I was tired of being the rookie so I decided to work on my tennis.  By the time I became decent, I managed to fall in love with the sport and continued to played throughout college at Allan Hancock Community College.

Who inspires you to play tennis?

Rafa! Just the heart that Rafa puts in the court makes me want to play more tennis.  But overall, just watching professional tennis players and seeing what they do is impressive to me.  I could go watch them play live and I find myself to be more interested in watching them practice than to see their actual match.

What is your favorite shot to hit and why?

SERVE!  I love the serve because it gets me a lot of easy and free shots.  It is the only shot that I could really take my time on with out feeling pressure from my opponent.

What racquets have you used  (not tested) during your tennis career?

I started tennis with a inexpensive frame called the Prince TT Thunder.  If I remember correctly it was an oversize frame that was head heavy and a real light static weight.  I ended up throwing that frame away when the strings broke since back then I had no idea you could restring a racquet.  By my junior year of high school, my coach hooked me up with two Head Intelligent Instincts that I used for the whole year.  By my senior year, I needed to get something with more control and upgraded to the Head Prestige Mid and finished high school with that frame.  My first year of college tennis, I played with the Wilson K Six tour 90 (Roger’s Frame).  I figured since the great Roger was using that frame it would benefit me.  I was wrong!  That frame was demanding and I was shanking a lot of balls.  My last year in college I went back to Head and customized two Head Extreme racquets to 12.3 ounce static weight and about a 330 swingweight.  After college, one of my friends and former play-tester Danny Castro got me hooked to the Volkl Power Bridge 10s.  But after a while, I ended up going back to 100 square inch headsize with my current frame the Prince EXO3 Tour 100 18×20.

If you could compare your game style to a pro’s (past or present), who would it be and why?

I would say Pete Sampras but without his accuracy or power.  I am having a hard time breaking 110 mph on my first serve let alone 135mph.  I like playing aggressive and putting away points early.  Or just like Pete, I let my serve do a lot of my talking.


What has been your favorite match you have ever watched (live or on TV)?

Rafa Nadal vs Roger Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon Final where Nadal beat Roger 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7.

What has been your most memorable tennis match (win or lose)?

At the Avila Bay Club in the first round of a tournament.  I had to play a close friend of mine, Rob Hansen.  He had a higher ranking than me when we played college together but I wanted to earn his respect since I have never been able to beat him in a match.  The final score was 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.  It was really close match and I remember our match gave the tennis director a hard time because it was so long he got behind schedule.  During the match, I was having a hard time talking to him during change overs.  We were both in the zone and I knew I had an advantage since he had stopped playing for a while and his timing was not there.  But at the end of the day, we still managed to grab a beer and make a memory.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened while you were playing tennis?

First day of practice in high school during my senior year I decided to be cool and wear big studs earrings.  During our practice we were practicing closing the net out from a volley position.  One of my team members ended up hitting an overhead at me and knocked out my right earring out.  I guess since it was so bright it gave him a target.  Now I either take them off or wear small ones.

Have you had any injuries? For how long?  How did you deal with them?

The worse injury was a left groin injury that I had pulled during practice in college.  The Alan Hancock Community College staff did a great job on helping me heal but I did have to miss a couple of matches and was in about a month and a half of pain.  But other than that, I have had no serious injuries.

What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?

Being able to try new material before it hits the market.

Who is your favorite TW playtester to hit/play with?

Troy since we both understand our games. Plus I am trying to fix my weak areas and he does a great job on exposing them for me.

Who is the TW playtester that gives you the most trouble?

Mr. Troy Lara and Chris Edwards.  They both like to move me around and for some reason my serve does not affect them at all.

What has been your favorite review and why?

Head Prestige Mid since I really hard a good comparison from the old models.

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Please check back next week when we highlight our last playtester in the final installment of “Meet the Playtesters.”

Brittany, TW

Meet the Playtesters- Mike Marquez

Hola!

Our next featured Tennis Warehouse playtester is Mike Marquez. Mike can be seen on several shoe and racquet reviews. He is a Customer Service Supervisor at Tennis Warehouse. Check out his interview below.

Click to View Video of Mike

Racquet of Choice: Prince Triple Threat Warrior Midplus

String of Choice: So many good ones, can’t decide.

Shoe of Choice: Any of the Air Court Ballistecs from Nike

Apparel of Choice: Anything Nike but lately I’ve been wearing some TW apparel.

When/Why did you start playing tennis?

I started playing during the summer of 2007 because of my dad’s roommate back in Los Angeles. He would always try to get me to play, but I was never really interested until one day I decided, why not? Five years later, I love the sport and Tennis Warehouse allows me to keep playing, which is awesome.

Who inspires you to play tennis?

One person who has really inspired me over the years and taught me a lot was my college coach, Dave Dantzer. I was a hothead when I first started playing, and he showed me ways to prevent that. He made me a better person and player as well. He is also a BIG Lakers fan just like me.

What is your favorite shot to hit and why?

I don’t really have a favorite shot. My favorite thing to do is to get to every ball — even if I know the point will be over with the next shot. I was always taught to never give it up and make the other person hit the extra shot.

What racquets have you used  (not tested) during your tennis career?

My first racquet was a classic Big Fiver. I don’t really remember the exact model, but the brand was Prince. Second, I had two Head Liquidmetal Radicals that I used for quite sometime. Third, I decided to take three Head Microgel Extremes from a close friend of mine, Jose, which were really good racquets. Once I started working at Tennis Warehouse, I got into the Prince Triple Threat Warrior Midplus. However, now that I playtest I use so many different ones that I barely use mine.

If you could compare your game style to a pro’s (past or present), who would it be and why?

I honestly like to compare my game style to Gael Monfils. I love his style of play and his ability to get to pretty much any ball, and he has my same mentality about never giving up and making the other player hit the extra shot.


What has been your favorite match you have ever watched (live or on TV)?

My favorite match live was last year at the BNP Paribas Open tournament in Indian Wells, California. Djokovic and Federer battled it out and went three sets. Djokovic won 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. That was one of the first really close matches I had ever seen and, boy, was it pretty cool. The way they moved and hit the ball was amazing. I was in awe by everything they did. It was definitely my favorite match.

Do you have pre-match meals you like to eat before a tournament?

I usually eat a good breakfast that consists of eggs, toast, bacon and anything else I may be craving. Different but right before I play for some odd reason a Snickers bar always does the trick.

What has been your most memorable tennis match (win or lose)?

When I was playing for the junior college I had to play No. 1 singles and doubles, which was tough for me because I played some really good players. I believe it was my second or third match, and we played a scrimmage. It went three sets with a crazy tie-break in the third. Everyone  was watching and somehow I ended up winning in three. I was so happy when all my teammates hugged me as we were chanting loudly. Good times.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened while you were playing tennis?

Here at Tennis Warehouse we do weekly lessons every Wednesday nights at the local high school. One Wednesday we were playing a game we like to call RYFO, aka Rip your Face Off. It is similar to the game Around the World, but the winning team gets to serve at the other team who are sitting like ducks on the baseline. I’m known for being Mr. Trash Talker to everyone, and without noticing I walked/ran backward into entire ball hopper full with balls and took it down. I just lay there laughing until I couldn’t breathe along with everyone else.

What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?

I think the best part of being a playtester for me is the environment and people I get to talk to and the ability to hit with all the newest products. You can’t beat the fact also that it’s part of my job to play tennis and review all new products and get paid for it. Life is good.

Who is your favorite TW playtester to hit/play with?

By far I would have to say Mark “The Machine” Boone also known as “The Wall.” He gets every ball back, and he doesn’t just get it back, but he places it perfectly in my strike zone so I hit the same ball every time and he gets me to be the most consistent I can be. He’s also a good mentor. I’ve learned many things, and I am grateful for that. Thanks, Stud.

Who is the TW playtester that gives you the most trouble?

I would have to say Troy for this one. His wicked lefty spin is crazy at times and he is very competitive. He also gets to every ball and uses the most spin out of everyone I hit with.

Do you have any nicknames from the TW playtest squad?

The one and only nickname I have is Monchichi (if you don’t know what it is then look it up). I love my hair short, but for the month of November a bunch of us at Tennis Warehouse did not shave or cut our hair, which was a bad idea because my hair loves to grow out exactly like an afro. So, yeah, check it out and see.

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Please check back next week when we feature another playtester in another installment of “Meet the Playtesters.”

Ad out,

Brittany

Meet the Playtesters- Spencer Boller

Hi!

Our next featured Tennis Warehouse Playtester is the one and only Spencer Boller. He is an Assistant Web Editor at Tennis Warehouse. You can find him on racquet and shoe reviews as well as hosting Liquidation vlogs (my personal favorite Liquidation vlog, make sure to watch the end!). Also, Spencer is the current Reverse Off Champion. Check out his interview below.

Click to View Video of Spencer

Racquet of Choice: Prince EXO3 Tour 100 (16×18)

String of Choice: Weiss Cannon Mosquito Bite

Shoe of Choice: Nike Vapor 8 Tour

Apparel of Choice: Nike

When/Why did you start playing tennis?

I started getting interested in tennis about the same time John McEnroe became a force at Wimbledon. You do the math. It was purely a seasonal interest for me as basketball and baseball were the sports I played in school. I loved McEnroe, Edberg and Sampras, and Wimbledon was the tournament I loved watching most. Those three guys are why I have a one-handed backhand. Borg? Connors? Agassi? Poppycock ;)

Who inspires you to play tennis?

Well, Fed for one. He’s got all the shots and executes with such grace and fluidity. Who wouldn’t be inspired by that? Then there’s Radek Stepanek of course. Seriously. Love his game and his confidence. Who else have you seen do “The Worm” on court after a match? I know, I know, he has a two-handed backhand, but I no longer discriminate.

What is your favorite shot to hit and why?

I can’t say I have one favorite shot, but I do like to drive a backhand cross court from inside the baseline and follow it into net. I’m not picky, though. Any shot that wins me the point is equally my favorite. Backhand up the line. Yes. Forehand angle. Sure. Net cord winner. Uh huh. Shank lob? You bet! Of course the pretty shots are nice, but either way, I won’t complain. I’m sure Brad Gilbert would agree.

What racquets have you used  (not tested) during your tennis career?

Wilson NTour 2, Wilson KTour, Wilson KBlade Tour, Wilson Kobra Tour, Babolat Pure Storm Ltd and Prince EXO3 Tour 100. I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t recall them all.

If you could compare your game style to a pro’s (past or present), who would it be and why?

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I’ve seen my game on video, and the fist of reality hits me square in the jaw. My game ain’t as pretty as what I pictured in my own mind. Thus, I wouldn’t insult anyone by comparing my game to theirs.

What has been your favorite match you have ever watched (live or on TV)?

It would have to be Game 6 of the 1980 finals when Magic started at centered for an injured Kareem Abdul Jabbar. The rookie point guard not only played center against the 76’ers, but also ended up playing all five positions in the game, scoring 42 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and dishing 7 assists to clinch the championship for the Lakers. Oh, wait. You meant “tennis.” Well, I don’t have one particular favorite match, but I have my least favorite, yet most memorable match. The 1984 French Open final. Johnny Mac vs. Ivan Lendl. Loved Mac and disliked Lendl very much. Up 2 sets to Love, McEnroe had it cinched. It was a botched sitter volley where it all went sideways. All of a sudden, Lendl’s in the match. Next thing you know, he’s holding the trophy. Don’t think I’ve ever been so upset from watching tennis.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened while you were playing tennis?

It would have to be the time I was hitting with Chris. He stretched me wide on a backhand, causing me to hit a short response. Knowing he’d be coming in to hit a cross court winner, I started hustling across the baseline to the deuce side. Only he hit it straight up the middle. The timing of the ball and me running, the ball was coming right into my body, so I slowed as much as I could to hit a forehand in close to my body. Of course I tried to swing up to put some spin on it and to also get it over the net. Well, with the ball so close to my body, that was indeed the wrong type of swing as I didn’t realize that my finish would be with the cracking of my racquet into my face. Stinging, yet funny, I didn’t realize for a couple of seconds that I had split open the ridge above my eye. Seven stitches and a lot of teasing is what I got out of it, and deservedly so.

Have you had any injuries? For how long?  How did you deal with them?

I’ve had several nagging things from a blunt force cut to the head, to plantar fasciitis to slight ankle turns to bits of tendinitis here and there. The plantar fasciitis probably affected me the most as it was quite painful and lasted a long time. Ice and stretching, along with proper arch support was key in remedying it. Thank you, Superfeet!

What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?

When people get to know and trust my opinions on product. Helping someone get equipment that best suits them and makes them happy is what it’s all about. Getting to play every day with the latest equipment doesn’t suck either.

Who is your favorite TW playtester to hit/play with?

Edwards. I like the challenge. He’s a much better player and he teaches me a lot (whether he knows it or not). He usually seems to bring out my best tennis, though the scores might not always reflect it ;)

Who is the TW playtester that gives you the most trouble?

Blalock. Our styles don’t match up in my favor at all. Unfortunately, my ball tends to sit up in her strike zone. If you know Brittany’s game, that’s a sure way to watch balls buzz by you for winners. She gets to hear an occasional expletive from me now and again, which she enjoys, of course.

What has been your favorite review and why?

I’d have to say it’s between the Babolat Pure Drive Roddick 2012 and the Wilson ProStaff 6.0 85. The Pure Drive Roddick because it may be the only ace I have recorded on video, and the 6.0 85 because of its heritage. Sampras, Edberg and Federer all played with it. Go ahead and add Boller to that list…lol.

Do you have any nicknames from the TW playtest squad?

Spennie.

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Please check back next week when we feature another playtester in another installment of “Meet the Playtesters.”

Ad out,

Brittany

Make a Racket with your Racquet!

Are you tired of your racquet looking like everyone else’s? Do you want to add a little style to your racquet to set it apart from the competition? Here are a few simple ways to add your own touch to a racquet.

Gamma String Things and Wilson VibraFun Dampeners

An easy and cheap way to add a little something-something to your racquet is a vibration dampener. If you want something a little more personalized than the generic brand logo, try out Gamma’s String Things. Each two-pack contains fun characters such as fish, pandas, and frogs as well as flowers and smiley faces. Wilson VibraFun dampeners come in packs of two and have even more designs such as a clover/broken heart combo, glitter hearts, multicolored flames, and a yin yang/peace sign combo. My personal favorite is the broken heart dampener. I show no mercy on the court, and my racquet agrees! Not only are these dampeners fun, but they also are useful for reducing string vibration.

Gamma Hand Print, Prince MicroSplat, and Forten Wrap-Tac

If you are tired of the same old black or white overgrips and want to add a little color to your racquet, check out some of the over grips from Gamma, Prince and Forten. Gamma Hand Print Overgrips come in a variety of fun patterns to spice up your racquet. You can choose from four different colors of camouflage, including blue, grey, orange and pink. In addition, there is a fun flower print in two colors of red and blue and a checkered flag pattern. If are interested in a more subdued pattern, check out Prince’s MicroSplat Overgrip that comes in a three pack with a variety of swirled colors. If you are not interested in patterns, check out the Forten Wrap-Tac O-Grip 60 pack that comes in eight assorted colors so you can match your grip to your racquet.

Rainbow of Strings

Think strings come in only neutral colors? Think again! Actually, there is a string for every color of the rainbow.  Check out the Tennis Warehouse tennis string page to find a variety of strings in every color and type. Can you make your own rainbow of string colors? Here is mine:

Red- Kirshbaum Pro Line II 16

Orange- Gamma Zo Tour 16

Yellow- Dunlop Synthetic S-Gut 17

Pink- Prince Lightning XX 16

Green- Prince Beast XP 17

Blue- Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power 16L

Purple- Weiss Canon 6 Star 16 (1.3)

Tourna Stencil Ink

Another easy and fun way to customize your racquet is with stencil ink. Tourna Racquet Logo Stencil Ink is the perfect solution to add a personal message or design to your racquet. Whether you add your initials, team logo, smiley face or lightening bolt, the stencil ink can add a quick special touch in red, blue, black or white. You can use it, too, as a fun way to unite a team to put the same message on all the players’ racquets.

Try one or all four of these ideas for a look that is completely your own!  Have fun with it!

Ad Out,

Brittany