The Business of a Tennis Match
The Westgate Tennis Center, a public facility, hosts the Dothan Pro Classic, a United States Tennis Association women's event, annually. American Tennis Courts of Mobile, Alabama, installed 16 of Westgate's 20 clay courts in 1999, laying the surfaces and irrigation systems and installing the fences and benches. President Jeff Nichols bought the company in 1995 from Jim Hasser, who founded it in 1969. The company has installed a variety of athletic surfaces, including running tracks, at parks and country clubs throughout the southeastern U.S.
Not just any old clay court, this surface is made from billion-year-old green basalt, volcanic rock found in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. Horace Robinson developed the surface, known as Har-Tru, in 1932, to mimic the crushed-brick courts popular in Europe at the time. Luck Stone, owner of the Charlottesville, Virginia, quarry in which the basalt is mined, bought the rights to the Har-Tru brand in 1998. Luck Stone is headed by president and CEO Charlie Luck; its Har-Tru Sports division, based in Charlottesville, has 40 employees. The Har-Tru surface covers more than 30,000 courts in 24 countries, including the clay courts at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London's Wimbledon district.
Wind can play havoc during tennis matches. These windscreens, made by Ball Fabrics of Deland, Florida, help keep gusts to a minimum on the court. The vinyl-coated polyester screens are 80 percent opaque, which allows spectators to peek through without distracting players. Dale Ball founded the company with his sons, Larry and Jon, in 2006. The 20-employee company, which posted $3.5 million in sales last year, provides windscreens, netting, and padding to athletic fields across the country.
The umpire used a Shure microphone to declare Valeria Solovieva and Lenka Wienerova (near court) winners of this doubles finals match in straight sets 6-3, 6-4. Sidney Shure founded the Niles, Illinois, company in 1925 to sell parts kits for radios and switched to microphones in 1932. Since then, Shure mikes have been used by musicians such as Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson and were onstage at the 1969 Woodstock festival. The microphone shown here has a built-in filter to diffuse noise from wind and the ump's breathing. CEO Sandy LaMantia runs the company, which is owned by the Shure family and sells microphones, headphones, and other recording equipment worldwide.