Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Labor Day Tournament Around The Corner

Didn't make the cut to play in the America's premier tennis tournament at Flushing Meadows this year? No need to keep your racquet in the bag over the upcoming holiday weekend. Once again the Champaign Park District will host its annual Labor Day Tennis Tournament and there is still time to register.

As in the past, the non-USTA sanctioned tournament will be held at Lindsay Courts starting on Sunday, September 4, and finishing up on Monday, September 5. Unlike the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for The Open, Lindsay offers intimate seating to enjoy area recreational players test their skills and make highlight-reel worthy moments against tenacious opponents. Organizers hope to see players of all ages from Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding communities battle for titles in 13 categories this September.

This year's event will offer three age groups for youth players 16 and under as well as ten events for adult competitors.

The divisions for juniors players are Boys and Girls 12 & under, Boys and Girls 14 & under and Boys and Girls 16 & under.

Adult divisions include Beginner/Intermediate Singles Open (NTRP 2.0 – 2.5), Men’s Open Singles, Women’s Open Singles, Men’s and Women’s Open Doubles, Men’s and Women’s 35 Singles & Doubles, Men’s and Women’s 45 Singles, Men’s and Women’s 55 Singles, Men’s 65 Singles, Men’s 70 Singles and Mixed Open Doubles.

Registration for all singles divisions closes at 5pm on August 30. Competitors are limited to one singles category and one doubles category. Doubles partners can enter until 12p on Sunday at the tournament location. Entry fee for singles is $25 and $20 per partner for doubles.

For more information or to register online go to https://champaignparks.com/programs/tennis/

Friday, August 19, 2016

String Review: TierOne's T1 Firewire

Having just made Kirchbaum's Black Shark and Pro Line II offerings my go-to strings, a Tier One's ad found its way on to my Facebook time line. Eager to try some of the strings they offered, I ordered several sets to test.

Over the past two months I have tried five or six other shaped/textured strings from various manufacturers and without a doubt Tier One's T1 Firewire string outperforms them all when it comes to generating spin. The string's triangle shape and rotating pattern produces the sickest amount of effortless spin on ground strokes and slices I've played with to date.

While stringing the 18 gauge version in the mains 10% under the normal synthetic gut tension it seemed like the stiffness of the string would be an issue in terms of power and comfort. However, in a hybrid with Gosen's Micro 17 in the crosses the ball seemingly explodes out of the string bed delivering deep trajectories into the back court while transmitting very little shock through the frame.

If you have a hard flat serve you probably won't be terribly impressed with this string. You will definitely notice a slower pace but will enjoy decent control when it comes to placement. On the other hand, the shape of the string delivers more explosive bounces on kick and wide slice serves.

Having only played a couple of hours on two different sticks – Babolat Pure Storm and a Prince TT Bandit - the jury is out on durability. As for control, which I think will vary from stick to stick, I feel like the heavier Pure Storm is more apt to put the ball on the target both with ground strokes and volleys than the lighter, more flexible Bandit.


Not only are these strings great for the baseliner, if you are the club or group Spin Doctor or Slice Master you'll have opponents frustrated and swatting at air. You won't be able to stop smiling after seeing the look on guy's face across from you after hitting a table tennis slice that jumps on the rise into their face or chest.

At $9 a set definitely worth seeing how Firewire will enhance and amplify the way you spin the ball. Check out this and other string in the TierOne line up here: TierOne USA.

By Clark Brooks