Wilson launches power-packed, sleek burn racket

Wilson Sporting Goods Co., announced today the introduction of the BURN family of rackets. This new line is built specifically for performance tennis players seeking a bold, sleek racket that accelerates power from the baseline. The BURN is the first Baseliner-focused product to emerge from the Company’s new PlayerID system, which categorizes three key types of tennis playing styles: Baseliner, Attacker and All Courter. The system helps athletes better select products that speak to their playing style and enhance their overall performance on the court.Burn-One-Sheet

“We are very excited to launch the BURN. This is a racket that has been designed specifically for athletes, particularly juniors, who are looking for booming power and an aggressive frame,” said Hans-Martin Reh, General Manager, Racquet Sports. “This line symbolizes our deep understanding of performance tennis, our constant evaluation of how the game is evolving and what players truly need on an individual performance basis.”

The BURN line consists of five rackets, each with a headsize of 100 square inches. Each BURN racket is constructed with High Performance Carbon Fiber, which increases frame stiffness for explosive power on groundstrokes. And the BURN comes with the X2 Shaft, a longer handle that allows for increased feel and leverage on two-handed backhands, and an optimal shaft shape to enable quick grip changes for extreme grips. The rackets also feature Parallel Drilling, which dramatically increase their sweet spot, while providing a forgiving feel.

In addition, the BURN 100S, BURN 100LS, and BURN 100ULS rackets are equipped with the Company’s Spin Effect technology and differ in weight, allowing juniors to work their way up within the BURN family of rackets as they grow.

Current top-ten players and Wilson Advisory Staff members Kei Nishikori and Simona Halep will be two of the first athletes to play competitively with the new BURN during the 2015 Australian Open in Melbourne.

Wilson Sporting Goods Co., announced today the introduction of the BURN family of rackets. This new line is built specifically for performance tennis players seeking a bold, sleek racket that accelerates power from the baseline. The BURN is the first Baseliner-focused product to emerge from the Company’s new PlayerID system, which categorizes three key types of tennis playing styles: Baseliner, Attacker and All Courter. The system helps athletes better select products that speak to their playing style and enhance their overall performance on the court.

“We are very excited to launch the BURN. This is a racket that has been designed specifically for athletes, particularly juniors, who are looking for booming power and an aggressive frame,” said Hans-Martin Reh, General Manager, Racquet Sports. “This line symbolizes our deep understanding of performance tennis, our constant evaluation of how the game is evolving and what players truly need on an individual performance basis.”

The BURN line consists of five rackets, each with a headsize of 100 square inches. Each BURN racket is constructed with High Performance Carbon Fiber, which increases frame stiffness for explosive power on groundstrokes. And the BURN comes with the X2 Shaft, a longer handle that allows for increased feel and leverage on two-handed backhands, and an optimal shaft shape to enable quick grip changes for extreme grips. The rackets also feature Parallel Drilling, which dramatically increase their sweet spot, while providing a forgiving feel.

In addition, the BURN 100S, BURN 100LS, and BURN 100ULS rackets are equipped with the Company’s Spin Effect technology and differ in weight, allowing juniors to work their way up within the BURN family of rackets as they grow.

Current top-ten players and Wilson Advisory Staff members Kei Nishikori and Simona Halep will be two of the first athletes to play competitively with the new BURN during the 2015 Australian Open in Melbourne. Consumers are invited to visit www.wilson.com/burn for more information on the BURN family of rackets and to register for pre-sale notification. Pre-sale for the BURN 100S and BURN 100ULS begins February 2, and for the BURN100LS and the BURN 100 on March 2. Pre-sales will be available on www.wilson.com/burn and major tennis retailer websites. The BURN will retail for $199. The BURN racket will be in retail stores in mid-February.

ABOUT WILSON’S PLAYERID SYSTEM

The BURN is the first Baseliner-focused product to emerge from the Company’s innovative PlayerID system, which allows tennis players to easily identify the appropriate Wilson racket model based on individual play style.

Through extensive player research, Wilson identified three core playing styles in relation to the modern tennis game:

  • Baseliner – the player who battles from the baseline with consistency and speed
  • Attacker – the player who attacks the ball early to dictate play inside the baseline
  • All-Courter – a versatile player, who hits from all corners of the court

After identifying which playing style they belong to, athletes can quickly narrow their racket search by model type and weight. Every racket for Wilson will correspond with one of the three playing style segments, streamlining the racket selection process and ensuring a player’s equipment is best suited for his or her style of play.

For more information and product specifications on the full line of Wilson BURN rackets, log on to www.wilson.com/burnthebaseline.

Wilson launches next generation BLADE racket

Wilson Sporting Goods Co., announced today the introduction of four new rackets to its BLADE performance tennis franchise: BLADE 98 16×19, BLADE 98 18×20, BLADE 98S and BLADE 104. The rackets join one of Wilson’s best-selling lines globally, and are designed specifically for big- hitting, attacking-style players seeking aggressive control. Current top-ranked players and Wilson Advisory Staff members Serena Williams, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils, David Goffin and Madison Keys will play with the BLADE during the upcoming 2015 season.
The BLADE is the second attacker-focused product to emerge from Wilson’s new PlayerID system. For this system, Wilson categorized three core playing styles in today’s game: Baseliner, Attacker and All Courter. The PlayerID system helps players better select products that speak to their playing style and enhance their overall performance on the court. The introduction of the next generation BLADE rackets follows Wilson’s highly successful re-invention of its attacker-style Pro Staff franchise, which launched in 2014.

wilson-blade-2015

“BLADE is an incredible story of how to take performance tennis engineering and design to the next level,” said Hans-Martin Reh, General Manager, Racquet Sports. “We really dug into the playing style of attacker athletes and what they need to optimize their game. Then we looked at materials, construction, string pattern, weight, head size and feel, to design a racket that gives these powerful players greater control, feel and a bigger sweet spot.”

The new 2015 BLADE features a bold, new design with lime green accents on a sleek, black base, and is technology-packed. Evolutionary Braided Graphite and Basalt construction allows the BLADE to be more elastic and reactive at the point of contact for enhanced feel and greater control. The racket also includes Wilson’s Parallel Drilling, a technology that ensures the racket’s grommet holes are parallel with the string bed. This expands the sweet spot size by up to 26 percent, resulting in more power and a forgiving feel.

Further, the BLADE 98S delivers precision spin through Wilson’s patented Spin Effect Technology, which creates 200+ more RPM’s on every shot and enables players to get more balls in the court. And the BLADE 104, Serena William’s racket of choice, has a larger head size and bigger sweet sport.
The BLADE is available for pre-order now at select retailers and will be in retail stores and on Wilson.com in mid-January. The MSRP for the Blade is $230.

ABOUT WILSON’S PLAYERID SYSTEM

Wilson’s innovative PlayerID system allows tennis players to easily identify the appropriate Wilson racket model based on their individual style of play.

Through extensive player research, Wilson identified three core playing styles in relation to the modern tennis game:

  • Baseliner – the player who battles from the baseline with consistency and speed
  • Attacker – the player who attacks the ball early to dictate play inside the baseline
  • All-Courter – a versatile player, who hits from all corners of the court

After identifying which playing style they belong to, athletes can quickly narrow their racket search by model type and weight. Every racket for Wilson will correspond with one of the three playing style segments, streamlining the racket selection process and ensuring a player’s equipment is best suited for his or her style of play.

“The powerful relationship between an athlete and their equipment is often underplayed, yet at the crux of performance tennis,” added Reh. “We want every player to play at their personal best and achieve their goals and aspirations. We believe PlayerID will help athletes determine which racket will be their best tool for their best game.”

 

Maria Sharapova and boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov to participate in Mexican Open

Russian tennis star, Maria Sharapova and boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov confirmed their participation for the XXII edition of the 2015 Mexican Tennis Open held in Acapulco from February 23-28. While Dimitrov will be back for seconds after winning the men’s field in 2014 against Kevin Anderson, this will be Sharapova’s first time playing in the famed Mexican resort town.maria sharapova

Other distinguished players confirmed for next year’s event include, Japanese US Open finalist, Kei Nishikori, #5 ATP-ranking player, David Ferrer and Juan Martin del Potro, winner of the 2009 US Open.

“We are very excited to welcome this caliber of athletes to Acapulco and be once again the host of this important event,” said Guerrero Tourism Board Secretary, Javier Aluni Montes. “Acapulco’s visibility as a sports town is increasing rapidly; this year alone, we have confirmed triathlons, fishing competitions, golf tournaments and international rally events,” he added.

The tournament will take place at the Fairmont Acapulco Princess and will feature outdoor hard courts for the second time (the change was introduced in 2014). Other novelties include a revamped “Grand Stand” which will now have capacity for 1,630 people. Prices for the men’s field will amount to $300,000 dollars and 500 points towards ATP classification. The price for the winner for the female series will consist of $37,000 dollars and 280 points towards their WTA ranking.

The Mexican Open is an attractive tournament for ATP and WTA players. Since 2014 it is part of the ATP’s “Hot Tour” along with Indian Wells and Miami. The event also represents an important economic boost for the state of Guerrero not only due to the creation of new job opportunities (600 new positions have been confirmed), but also for its role in tourism arrivals.

Tickets will be available to public beginning October 13, 2014.

andy roddick added to Mylan World TeamTennis Smash hits field

Former world No. 1 Andy Roddick has joined the all-star lineup for Mylan World TeamTennis Smash Hits in London. The event, which benefits the Elton John AIDS Foundation and is co-hosted by Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King, will be Sunday, December 7 during the final session of the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall. Andy Roddick

Roddick is a longtime supporter of the event and returns for his 10th Mylan WTT Smash Hits appearance. Roddick won 30 singles titles on the ATP World Tour, including the 2003 US Open and was ranked in the top 10 for nine consecutive years. He is also a member of the Austin Aces, the Mylan WTT professional team based in his hometown of Austin, Texas.

The field for Mylan WTT Smash Hits also includes former world No. 1s John McEnroe and Kim Clijsters, former British No. 1 Tim Henman and 2013 Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki. The players will form two teams, coached by King and John, and will play a Mylan World TeamTennis match. The one-night event will be during the final session of the IMG-owned and staged Statoil Masters Tennis tournament. More players to be announced in the coming weeks.

Since 1993, Mylan WTT Smash Hits has raised more than $12 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and various local AIDS charities throughout the United States. This is the first time in the event’s 22-year history that it will be staged outside the U.S.

Tennis action is set for 6:00 p.m. and Team Elton has the edge in the overall series 11-10 after defeating Team Billie Jean in Orlando, Fla., in 2013.

Tickets are available from £18.50 through www.WTTSmashHits.com, www.statoilmasterstennis.com or through the Royal Albert Hall Box Office on +44 (0) 20 7070 4404.

Sponsorship and Group VIP packages are also available by contacting Natalee Jarrett at njarrett@wtt.com or 212-586-3444 x. 111.

For more information on Mylan WTT Smash Hits, visit www.WTTSmashHits.com.

For more information about the Statoil Masters Tennis tournament, go to: www.statoilmasterstennis.com.

For more information on the Elton John AIDS Foundation and how you can help create an AIDS-free future, go to ejaf.org/London. Elton John AIDS Foundation is a registered UK charity – No. 1017336

serena williams wins 6th U.S. Open and 18th grand slam; kei nishikori makes tennis history with finals appearance

Long-time Wilson player Serena Williams won her 6th U.S. Open and 18th Grand Slam title this past Sunday, tying Wilson’s Chris Evert for third most Grand Slam titles of all-time. Meanwhile, Wilson’s Kei Nishikori made tennis history of his own by becoming the first Asian-born male to compete in a Grand Slam final.

Williams relied heavily on her signature attack style of play (Wilson Blade Racket) en route to defeating Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-3 in the final. She dominated the field throughout the tournament with her hard-hitting serve and baseline game, never dropping a set. Her six U.S. Open singles titles also ties Evert for the most all-time – Williams’ first Open title came at age 17 while using the Wilson Hyper Hammer.

“Serena is one of the greatest tennis players ever, and we’re thrilled to have her as a member of the Wilson Advisory Staff,” said Hans-Martin Reh, General Manager of Racquet Sports at Wilson Sporting Goods Co. “The fact that Wilson has played a role in her success leaves us overflowing with pride. On behalf of everyone at Wilson, we want to congratulate her on winning the U.S. Open and adding another chapter to her remarkable story.”

Nishikori’s historic run to the finals wasn’t as smooth as Serena’s, yet his powerful and precise groundstrokes (Wilson Steam Racket) helped him dictate points as he won back-to-back four-hour matches in the 4th round and quarterfinals against the No. 5 and No. 3 seeds respectively. Two days later, he came back to take down the current world No. 1 seed to reach the finals.

“Kei has played inspirational tennis the past two weeks,” said Reh. “We at Wilson are proud to equip Kei and feel lucky to partner with someone whose talent on the court is only exceeded by his humility off of it. A big congratulations goes to him as well.”

Earlier this year, Kei also made history when he became the first Asian-born player to be ranked top-ten in ATP’s world rankings.

serena steals the show

Serena Williams in pink leopard

 

Looking fabulous in a pink leopard print dress, Serena Williams stole the show in the US Open quarter finals with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-2 victory over Flavia Pennetta to book her place in the final-four. In his 19th consecutive win at the tournament, Serena kept alive her hopes of winning the 18th Grand Slam title that would see her join an elite group containing Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova as the most successful players of all time. If Williams can go on to win a sixth US Open title, she would also become the first woman to win the tournament three times in a row since Evert in the late 1970s.

After an injury-hit season in which the American has maintained her place at the top of the rankings without winning a Grand Slam, there had been some betting fans writing off Williams ahead of this year’s US Open. On the evidence of her performances so far, though, it’s unsurprising to see Serena heading into the latter stages of the tournament as the stand-out favourite with the likes of Betfair, Paddy Power and others.

The 32-year old hasn’t dropped a set in her first five matches at Flushing Meadows this year, dropping just 22 games in total. But despite her impressive form, Serena had to shake off some early wobbles before coming through her quarter final against Penneta. After losing her first two service games, Williams grabbed the tie by the scruff of the neck and did it all while looking her usual sensational self.

The US Open has always given both Serena and Venus Williams the chance to push the limits of tennis fashion in the past, and this year has been no different. While Serena was sporting her leopard print outfit in her quarter-final, she had stolen the show throughout her career with a string of eye-catching dresses.

the tennis channel unveils signature series: arthur ashe at the us open 2014

Tennis Channel will celebrate the illustrious career of tennis pioneer, devoted activist and Hall of Famer Arthur Ashe in Signature Series: Arthur Ashe during the 2014 US Open. The newest edition to the network’s original Signature Series documentary lineup – Ashe’s first authorized television biography – will debut Sunday, August 31, at 11 p.m. ET at the conclusion of Tennis Channel’s US Open coverage. A complete schedule of episode airdates can be found on the channel’s website at www.tennischannel.com/schedule.

Signature Series: Arthur Ashe delves into the brilliant tennis career, passionate activism and untimely death of one of the most respected athletes of all time. In a pantheon with other 20th Century agents of change like Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens and Muhammed Ali. Ashe is remembered as a man who broke color barriers and affected human rights issues. With perhaps nothing more important to him than education and the opportunities it can afford people, of all walks of life, Ashe took a leading role in advancing this cause of using a locker room as a means of promoting the classroom. The dignity and grace with which he led his life, on and off the tennis court and in the face of his own mortality, remain respected around the world.

“Arthur Ashe’s legacy transcends tennis and even sports, and this is a story that simply had to be told,” said Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO, Tennis Channel. “For the first time television audience will experience Arthur in the context of history and learn why he was one of the greatest social leaders our world has seen.”

An eventual World No. 1, Ashe began as an outsider in tennis, an African-American unable to play junior tournaments – or even walk onto the same court with a white opponent – because of racial segregation laws in his home state of Virginia. He went on to lead the University of California Los Angeles’ championship tennis team, and became the first African-American to play for the U.S. Davis Cup team in 1963. This landmart “first” was one of many in a lifetime of firsts for Ashe. He later became the first man to win the US Open in 1968, its inaugural year. In doing so, he also became the first – and to this day only – African-American man to win the singles title at the US Open or the U.S. National Championships, as the tournament was known before the Open Era.

Ashe added to his place in history with championships at the Australian Open in 1970 and Wimbledon in 1975, also firsts for an African-American man. Even today his Wimbledon championship upset of Jimmy Connors is considered a match for the ages. Ashe remains the only black man to win singles championships at the US Open, Wimbledon or the Australian Open. He also, with 1983 French Open winner Yannick Noah of France, became one of only two black men to win a major tennis singles title. He finished his career with 33 titles overall.

This documentary, however, charts the story of not only a Grand Slam champion, but also a lifetime leader, humanitarian, philanthropist and human rights activist who worked with three different U.S. presidents. Known for his character, Ashe’s passionate and tireless leadership translated into many causes – both politically and socially. He protested South African apartheid, championing human rights and serving as a beacon of hope to the people suffering under segregation there. Ashe became such a virtuous example to South Africans that they nicknamed him “Sepo” or “Hope.” After decades in prison, future South African president Nelson Mandela immediately sought a meeting with Ashe upon his release. Ashe was also committed to protesting U.S. crackdowns on Haitian refugees. He was arrested twice while demonstrating his beliefs regarding these issues. Above all Ashe was a fierce advocate of educational empowerment, and gave back to his community throughout his life. Paramount among his achievements may be his role as a founding member of National Junior Tennis and Learning, a non-profit dedicated to helping underprivileged youth through tennis.

“We are humbled to be able to honor Arthur Ashe’s memory in this edition of Signature Series,” said Laura Hockridge, vice president, original programming, Tennis Channel. “His actions as a player have helped to mold the sport as we know it today, and his convictions as an activist continue to inspire people and motivate positive change in the world.”

In 1992, Ashe announced that he had contracted AIDS during a blood transfusion years earlier while receiving treatment after heart surgery. In doing so, he became an early and public face for raising awareness about the disease. Ashe, with his wife Jeannne, helped to bring attention to AIDS by founding the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS, which generated funds for study into treating, curing and preventing the disease, with the eventual goal of finding a cure. He continued to bring light to the plight of AIDS victims by speaking before the U.N. General Assembly, inciting a call to action for delegates to increase funding for research and see the virus as a global issue. At a local level, Ashe also founded the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health. He designed the institute to address poor health care delivery issues amongst urban minorities. Ashe died in 1993 of AIDS-related pneumonia.

“The greatness of Arthur Ashe was not his tennis. It was the way he carried himself and what he tried to create. He represented so many good ideals and values … and I always believed that America lost a great deal when we lost Arthur Ashe,’ said longtime friend and agent of Arthur Ashe, Donald Dell, in an interview that appears in the documentary.

Spending nine years in the World Top 10, Ashe contributed more to the sport than just great match play and big wins. In response to tennis’ growing popularity and the stalemate of tennis professionals’ earnings, he co-founded the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) with Jack Kramer and others in 1972. The ATP was formed to represent the interests and rights of the men who made their living on the pro tennis circuit. Ashe served as president for two years and went on to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985. Today he is the namesake of the main venue at the US Open, “Arthur Ashe Stadium,” the largest tennis arena in the world. It was Ashe’s dedication to promoting equality and championing human rights – both in his professional and personal life – that keeps him in the hearts and minds of the public.

Ashe’s family, friends and contemporaries have joined together to help Tennis Channel honor the tennis great by speaking about their fondest memories of him on camera. Each was asked to write a personal letter to Ashe from the present, addressing the ways in which his legacy lives and the changes in the world today because of him. Read in “Dear Arthur” segments throughout, the letters form the pillars of the film’s structure. His brother Johnnie Ashe, Ambassador Andrew Young, prize winning sports writer Frank Deford and tennis icon Billie Jean King are among those featured. Other interviewees include contemporaries like all-time great Rod Laver and Cliff Drysdale, and tennis chroniclers Richard Evans and Steve Flink.

Signature Series: Arthur Ashe is a a part of Tennis Channel’s on going Signature Series documentary lineup. Other tennis personalities and subjects have included Rod Laver, Andre Agassi, Vitas Gerulaitis, Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Rene Lacoste, Bud Collins and the sport’s centuries-old origins.

tennis legend mats wilander coaches GQ’s rosecrans baldwin for the US Open

GQ’s Rosecrans Baldwin is a tennis fanatic. He didn’t start playing tennis until the age when most pros retire, but he’s pretty decent at it. It was the longest of shots, but that didn’t stop him from gunning for this year’s U.S. Open. He hooked up with a former champ (Mats Wilander!), trained for months, and took his first step toward becoming a Grand Slam winner.

Baldwin on his experience training with Wilander:

“My first time out, a ball from Mats came fast to my backhand. I was caught off guard and returned a weak slice, rather than a more powerful topspin shot. Mats said immediately: ‘Why did you do that? You’ve got a good backhand—why hit a slice?’ Twenty minutes later, there was a drill where Mats fed me overheads so fast I might as well have swung my arm like a propeller to hit them all. Instead, I lost focus and dumped three into the net. Mats was pissed. ‘You should never miss an overhead! It’s the easiest shot in tennis. Federer misses maybe five overheads in a season.’”

Watch Roger Federer’s pre-match routine

“It was a master class. He disassembled everything he’d noticed in my game, down to the tiniest hiccups in my strokes. ‘Against these guys’—meaning the opponents I’d see at the tournament—‘you have nothing. No weapons. Maybe two things: your footwork and your determination. That’s it.’ From there came tips, tactics, solutions. He jumped out of his chair to demonstrate positioning. Compared situations I might face to moments in matches he’d played twenty-five years ago. By the end, my notes ran to seven pages.”

The September issue of GQ is available on newsstands now in New York and LA and nationally August 26.

sony develops smart tennis sensor to improve your game

Tennis Sensor on Racket

The Sony Smart Tennis Sensor is a device that is developed for players who want to optimize their play. With the  Smart Sensor you are able to keep track of various shots such as top spin forehand, slice forehand, topspin backhand and many more.  And even  tracks your attack style. And you can keep track of all aforementioned things using your smartphone and / or tablet.

Sony has partnered with Wilson, Yonex and Prince to realize real-time optimization of play and more to select tennis racket models accross the USA and Canada.

“Wilson is thrilled to be the exclusive distributor and marketing partner with Sony on this important Tennis technology advancement,” said Mike Dowse, President of Wilson Sporting Goods Co. “As a leader in Tennis for more than 100 years, Wilson has always been at the forefront of sport innovation and is dedicated to providing the best technologies to athletes of all levels. In some cases we build that innovation, but we also seek out partners, like Sony, who have developed innovation that we view as best in class.”

With an IP65 waterproof/dustproof rating and officially approved by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for use during competition*, Sony’s Smart Tennis Sensor aligns to play of all levels and intensities.

“As of May, Yonex has had great success in introducing Sony’s Smart Tennis Sensor exclusively within Japan. This product has brought a new enjoyment to the game and has stirred strong praise among many tennis fans in Japan,” said Manji Kanemasu, Assistant General Manager of Global Marketing. “As the Smart Tennis Sensor expands globally, it will surely bring about a fun new experience to tennis fans all over the world.”

The Smart Tennis Sensor will be available at Wilson.com and through select Wilson tennis dealers, by the end of January 2015, at a MSRP of $200. More specifications and a full list of compatible tennis racket models will be available at: http://www.smarttennissensor.sony.net/NA/

roger “the betterer” federer and the wilson racket scientists celebrate the RF97

Since Wilson Sporting Goods Co. and 17-time Grand Slam Champion Roger Federer announced the technical specifications of the Wilson Pro Staff line in early July, the tennis community has eagerly awaited the final look of the rackets. This weekend, the stealthy, matte black racket will give way to a new design inspiration for the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph and the line of Pro Staff rackets.

The new family of Pro Staff rackets underwent an aesthetic reinvention worthy of its performance specification evolution. The Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph will feature a black throat and red hoop. Red is a color with close ties to both Federer and Wilson and black is a color prevalent in past Pro Staff rackets. Black standardized design elements have been placed at three and nine o’clock on the hoop to ensure Pro Staff rackets are unmistakably Wilson, while infusing a fresh, youthful look.

“This is a great example of the synergy that exists between Wilson and the tennis community,” said Mike Dowse, Wilson Sporting Goods Co. President. “As a brand, we are committed to listening to the needs of our professional and recreational players. With the new Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph racket we have created a stylish design while maintaining the premium performance and feel.”

The story behind the final graphics package for the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph proves their intimate connection with tennis fans. Wilson executives discovered Peter Figasinski, a freelance graphic designer and life-long Wilson racket player, after he posted a design concept on a popular tennis forum. After tracking down Figasinski, Wilson signed him to a one-year contract to do exclusive design work across a variety of products and platforms.

Figasinski set out to share his vision for the new Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph racket as a modern yet youthful tribute to the proud heritage of the storied racket line. The design was submitted to Federer, who took to the graphics instantly.

“When I saw the designs from Wilson, I knew right away that this was the look that I wanted to represent my legacy with the brand,” said Federer. “The design is young and modern, with a classic feel. It is a fitting look for the next generation of the Pro Staff rackets.”

The Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph is the first Autograph racket from Wilson in nearly 40 years, the last being the Chris Evert Autograph introduced in 1976. The Jack Kramer Autograph, launched in 1949, is the best-selling racket in tennis history. Autograph rackets are reserved for tennis legends and no one is more deserving than Federer, considered by many as the greatest tennis players of all-time. The RF97 Autograph is the centerpiece for the new and evolved Pro Staff line, with the flagship graphics set to become the design inspiration for the Wilson line for years to come.

The Wilson Pro Staff rackets have delivered uncompromising feel for players of all skill levels and the latest products preserve the consistent feel while introducing a 97-inch head in three of the four models. The re-engineered Pro Staff models feature a 26 percent wider racket beam providing a significant boost in power. Compared to Federer’s previous racket, the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph is seven percent larger, resulting in a 10 percent larger sweet spot. The use of braided graphite and Kevlar® maintain the consistent feel that players have come to know in the Wilson Pro Staff line.

Wilson has produced an episodic series of videos that highlight the unique relationship they share with the tennis legend. The third and final episode is now available for viewing at www.wilson.com/betterer.

The new Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph is projected to be available in stores on October 1, 2014 and a retail price will be announced in the near future.