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The Week at Wilson with Blair Rickers: April 12th

Hello All,

I hope you are all well.

What the Heck is BLX

It’s that time of year when consumers are flocking to their teaching pros and favorite retailers to ask questions about the frames that can help them improve their game.  What better time for a quick refresher on Wilson’s KEY technology:  BLX.  The “textbook” definition of BLX is as follows:  “the Wilson technology engineered with Basalt fibers combined with proprietary frame, grip and grommet technology to give all players the perfect feel.”  If you have a couple hours to memorize that, GREAT.   The key thing to remember about BLX is ENHANCED FEEL.  The “BL” stands for Basalt which is a volcanic ore that is processed into fine gold fibers used in electronics and high tech due to its ability to resist vibration.  In our racquets we remove some of the carbon fibers and replace them with Basalt.  Basalt smooths out the signal that the racquet sends your hand.  You get cleaner feedback and a better feel for the ball.  Keep in mind that the BLX frames still contain both nCode and K Factor technology, as well.

Milos Can Play on Clay

Congratulations to Milos Raonic for a huge first round win on clay over Michael Llodra of France.  Milos took care of the #24 player in the world 6-3, 0-6, 6-0, in a match that obviously had some major swings in momentum.  Hopefully Milos can continue to build on this success in Monte Carlo and enjoy a solid season on clay.

Balls, Balls, Balls

We hope that all you teaching pros at community clubs will ensure your clubs are using WILSON tennis balls this summer.  Work through your local retailer to order the product and be sure to take advantage of the Ball Rebate Program.  If you have any questions, please send me an e-mail or call at416-624-8791.

The Big Hurt Heading to Halifax

Long time Wilson pro Scott Hurtubise is heading out east to be the tennis director at the Waegwoltic Tennis Club in Halifax.  Scott will do a tremendous job at the club and will be a great addition to the tennis scene in Nova Scotia.  We all wish the best to the Hurtubise family as they settle into one of Canada’s most beautiful cities.

Dictionary Addition

After suffering through the NCAA Tournament and a few gut wrenching minutes of Masters coverage I’m all but sure that Jim Nantz is the spawn of Satan (OK, I agree, that is a little harsh).  Why CBS continues to have him desecrate every major sporting event is beyond me.  I’m sure that the term “Amen Corner” refers to the relief that viewers feel knowing that they are well past the mid way point of Nantz’ telecast.  If he is not waxing on about the bloom of the azaleas he’s trumpeting the “courageous” shot making of the golfers.  Really?  Courageous?  Yeah, it sure is courageous that Angel Cabrera can spark up another dart after every putt.  Someone should set him up with Bev Oda.

I am starting to lobby Webster’s to include a new verb in their 2012 edition.  Whenever someone spoils an otherwise fine event with some botched dialogue it should be referred to as a “nantzing”.  For example, “the Oscar’s telecast was weak, James Franco totally nantzed in his role as host.”

Final Four

The Butler/U Conn final was a letdown, so let’s move on to the always exciting Rock Band Final Four

#1 The Beatles vs #5 AC/DC

Scouting Report:  The #1 overall seed Beatles come in a heavy favorite.  However, AC/DC poses a formidable challenge.  True, one could argue the Beatles are the foundation on which all popular music was built.  Lennon/McCartney are unquestionably the greatest song writing duo of all time.  They may be the greatest band, but are they the greatest ROCK band.  Test #1:  I’m going for a long run and having Cheryl load songs on my iPod.  Without question I must have “Rockin Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”, “Jail Break”, “Whole Lotta Rosie”, “For Those About to Rock”, the list goes on and on.  Sorry, but “Hey Jude” just doesn’t pick me up when I’m trying to finish off a 20K run.  Test #2:  Your favorite sports team is taking the field, a relief pitcher is coming in from the pen, a slugger is in the on deck circle:  what tune do you want to hear?  I don’t think Albert Pujols wants to step up to the plate with the sound system belting out “the Long and Winding Road”.  No, your slugger or your closer wants to be introduced by “Hell’s Bells” or “You Shook Me All Night Long”.

Result:  Beatles come in overconfident and fall behind early.  Angus Young constantly double teams McCartney, leaving Ringo wide open, but none of the Beatles trust Starr with the ball.  Bonn Scott gets AC/DC off to a hot start and Brian Johnson takes control of his team, and the game, in the second half.  A furious second half Beatles comeback is stalled b y questionable coaching decisions by Yoko Ono.  AC/DC shocks the Fab Four 75-71.

#1 Led Zeppelin vs #2 Guns and Roses

Scouting Report:  Can anyone beat Zeppelin?  Great music, solid debauchery, called it quits just at the right time, and never re-united for a comeback tour.  GnR had a relatively short time at the top, but showed an appetite for destruction that was to be envied.   If you pick the epic song of each band, I’d say November Rain beats out Stairway to Heaven.  However, Zep’s depth of classic hits may be a bit much to overcome.

Result:  Axl and Slash keep it close until the last ten minutes when they finally are worn down by the onslaught of Page and Bobby Plant.  Zep cruises 85-65.

National Championship Game

#1 Led Zeppelin vs #5 AC/DC

Scouting Report:  What a match-up.  AC/DC sports an impressive music catalog and is still going strong.  Zeppelin set the standard by which all rockers are judged.

Result:  The two heavyweights trade blow for blow until late in the game.  In the end, the longevity of AC/DC is overcome by the consistent brilliance of Zep (even the somewhat panned “In Through the Out Door” had several stellar tunes).  Angus Young feeds Malcolm for a desperation three pointer with seconds to go, but the shot falls short, giving Zeppelin a 79-76 win.  In the post game interviews both band pounce on Jim Nantz and give him an epic beatdown.  A glorious ending to a fine tournament.

That is it for this week.  Enjoy the wonderful weather.  Spring is here.

A New Reality By Nicolas Pereira

This past week in the World Team Tennis ‘Bubble” I have seen the efforts to keep everyone safe while carrying on a team competition with around 60/70 players and coaches onsite. Counting organizers, officials, media, and support personnel are around 150 people trying hard to make this happen. I am very impressed by how the strict protocol has been handled and how everyone is invested in making this event a success, but The Open is a completely different scale of details.

ONcourt Interviews NGTL Co-Founder Yves Boulais

It does not matter that you get your rating playing locally or that you had spent an insidious amount of money playing the ITF junior tour tournaments. Your rating is your level of play (you get no bonus for playing more or playing far away). This allows us to break free of the ITF competitive structure potentially saving us time, money, and headache. We see this as a great opportunity to improve the logistic of our sport.

Brandon Burke (son of ACE President Doug Burke) Elected to WTA Board

As revealed in a recent news release issued by the WTA Tour – Brandon Burke has been elected to the WTA Board of Directors (to start officially in September). Oncourt got together with Brandon to delve a bit more into his background and to gain some insight into this wonderful appointment he has attained at such a young age.