The Week at Wilson with Blair Rickers: December 21st

Hello Everyone,

Best wishes to all for a joyous holiday season.  All of us at Wilson look forward to working with you in 2012.  A few quick notes for this week:

Team Wilson Coming Up Oranges

Congratulations to all the Team Wilson Juniors who competed down in Florida.  A special shout goes out to Erin Routliffe who used her Pro Tour to take the U16 Girls Title at the Orange Bowl.  Erin also teamed with fellow Wilson player, Charlotte Petrick (Blade Lite), to win the doubles.  I’m sure the players would want us to recognize their coaches:  Erin works with Harry Greenan, who turns out stellar players like Tom Clancy cranks out novels, and Charlotte’s been training with Richard Cooper, Wilson Pro at White Oaks in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The Juice is on the Loose

We’ve had a great response to the NEW Juice tennis frames.  The Juice Pro, Juice 100 and Juice 108 have been getting great reviews as has the Steam 100.  Be sure to check out the press release below regarding the launch of these exciting new frames.

In addition to the fabulous comments on the frames, I’ve also received great feedback on the new “segmentation” of the racquet line.  Gone are the terms “player”, “game improvement” and “all-around”.  In there place we have the following categories:

Power & Spin Player’s frames offering additional power, lighter weight and designed for enhanced spin.

Racquets                Juice Pro, Juice 100, Juice 108, Steam 100

Control & Spin Perfect for hard hitting, precision oriented players who use spin to optimize control and wanting a classic style with traditional feel.

Racquets                PS 90, PS 95, PS 100, SixOne 95, SixOne Team, Blade 98, Blade Lite

Power & Comfort Targeted at players wanting lightweight frames with maximum power, stability and comfort.

Racquets                One BLX, Stratus Three, Tempest Four, Five BLX

This new segmentation will make it easier for store staff to direct clients to the perfect frame to match their game.

List of the Week

This week we go with the TOP SIX POP HOLIDAY SONGS.

6.  The Chanukah Song                   Adam Sandler            This song is much funnier than his last three movies.

5.  Santa Claus is Coming to Town       Bruce Springsteen       “Everybody been good out there, or what?  Clarence, is Santa gonna bring you a new saxophone”   Classic live performance by the Boss.

4.  The Little Drummer Boy              Bowie and Bing          They must have had a blast doing this song and video.  These guys had so much in common..

3.  Do They Know It’s Christmas?        Band Aid                I really thought Paul Young was going to be the one who made it big in North America.  Wrong again.

2.  Fairytale in New York               The Pogues              This would be #1 if it were not so depressing.

1.  Christmas                           Blues Traveler           Yeah, I know you’ve never heard it.  Check it out on “Very Special Christmas III.  Great harmonies with John Popper.

Joakim Noah’s Basketball

Wilson Team Sports has signed a deal with Chicago Bulls star, Joakim Noah, to do a line of signature basketballs.  A focus for the product will be promoting the brand in France where Noah is huge.  Besides from being a leader of the Bulls, along with Team Wilson star Derrick Rose, Noah will be a huge part of the French team at the 2012 London Olympics.  Noah won two NCAA Championships at the University of Florida.  He possesses a tenacious defensive game and can guard any player on the court.  Joakim’s father is former French Open Champ Yannick Noah.

Wilson asks ‘Is it legal?’

CHICAGO — Wilson Racquet Sports, a division of leading sports equipment manufacturer Wilson Sporting Goods, is breaking from its traditional product launches by asking the question, “Is It Legal?” in reference to its new racket technology launching this January. A fictional International Tennis Court is the setting for a mock trial, investigation and examination of evidence where tennis players and ball boys argue the legality of its new rackets, the Juice and the Steam. The campaign, which debuts today on, will utilize Wilson’s key tour players including Petra Kvitova, Feliciano Lopez and Kei Nishikori.

The four-phase “Tennis Court” campaign extends through 2012, supporting all major Grand Slam events, and ends in September 2012 with the final verdict. The irreverent campaign is live on Wilson’s Facebook page and and will be supported by advertising, including TV, print, digital and in-store components. Print ads debut in the January/February issue of Tennis magazine, while TV ads will launch on the Tennis Channel in the first quarter, 2012.

“The new Wilson Juice and Steam rackets were designed to produce incredible amounts of power and spin,” said Mike Steck, global marketing director for Wilson Racquet Sports. “This campaign gives our retailers a strong sales tool to support the debut of these rackets. This campaign is a comprehensive effort that not only gives retailers online tools, but also compelling in-store visuals. As this is a new generation of Wilson rackets, unlike anything Wilson has previously introduced, we needed a marketing approach that would differentiate our products. This is a departure for Wilson, and we intend to have some fun with it. ”

Specifically, the effort includes: tongue-in-cheek player “endorsements” of the new racket technology with reporters vying for the inside scoop; a film showing the “trial” in progress; a Facebook page and a mobile site where consumers can vote on the evidence; print ads, posters and banners; life-size mockups for POP featuring Wilson tour players; and playful hangtags warning consumers to use caution when playing with the new rackets.

In the print portion of the campaign, Wilson athletes who play the Juice and the Steam are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Their identities have been hidden by the fictional International Tennis Court. “Behind the black bands, there’s an unmistakable sense of humor,” continued Steck. “Players often refer to their racket as a weapon. What if a racket is so good, it was considered illegal?”

In a selection of the films, consumers will be brought courtside at the International Tennis Court, and will hear first-hand testimony from competitors complaining about the technology to ball boys “whining” about difficulties they face because of the rackets’ performance.

“We expect the campaign to take on a life of its own once consumers start weighing in on the evidence and commenting on the characters,” noted Steck. “This is a complete change for how we introduce a product – we are putting a different spin on things by showcasing this best-in-class technology and more fully engaging our players and our fans.”

The Juice and the Steam are designed for players looking for a combination of power and spin. The Juice series is available in: Juice Pro, offering a unique modern feel for the big hitting power and spin; the Juice 100, with Wilson’s Amplifeel grip system, is designed for a wide range of players of all levels and ages; and the Juice 108, with a larger head size and lighter weight design, also features Wilson’s Amplifeel.

The Steam series includes: The Steam Pro, providing a unique weight and balance for big power and spin for experienced players, used by Kei Nishikori; and the Steam 100, providing a lighter-weight, modern feel used by Ernests Gulbis and Petra Kvitova.

To view the film/televisions ads, log onto:

Enjoy the holiday season and please drive safely.


A deeper dive into second serve statistics

The two most widely reported second serve statistics in professional tennis are the number of double faults a player hit, and their second serve winning percentage. If we’re trying to understand the effectiveness of a particular player’s second serve, relying only on those statistics has significant drawbacks. Article by Michal Kokta.

Yves Boulais: No Excuses… Get Working

Yves was proud to work with players including Greg Rudsedski, Patricia Hy, Oliver Marach, Eugenie Bouchard and Rebecca Marino, who achieved excellent results on the world stage. He was an Olympic Coach in Barcelona 1992 & Atlanta 1996, and Captain of the Canadian FedCup Team 1998 – 2000.

Update on UK Tennis Situation with Master Louis Cayer

I would like to share a mindset I instil in all the players I coach, one I believe has greatly influenced all of the player’s performances; “whatever happens, I can handle it.” This mindset is achieved through a systematic, tactical development process, so that whoever the opponent, whatever the surface, regardless of the environment, or scoring, the players can, and will rise to the challenge as it is presented.