Net tension device receives patent

September 1, 2014

Knoxville, TN: In the same week that the TNT Gauge™ was being installed for the third consecutive year on net posts for all the tennis courts at the 2014 US Open, U.S. Patent No. 8,806,952 “Measuring Sports Net Tension” was issued to the inventor, David Glass, of Knoxville.

This patent recognizes the uniqueness of the tennis net and volleyball net tension gauges that have removed the last variable from those sports’ net setups.

The TNT (“Tennis Net Tension”) Gauge was developed in 2011 with the cooperation of the University of Tennessee program, and has quickly become the standard measuring device for equalizing the nets across a tennis facility, purchased for all-courts use at several pro events and two NCAA Championships. Net tension has a “Goldilocks Effect” on the response of a ball that strikes the net cord during a serve or playing a point: if the net is too tight, the ball bounces high and long, possibly off the court; too loose and the ball simply “bloops” back to the hitter or just over the net. As recognized in publications by the Tennis Industry Association, the TNT Gauge has removed that variable from the tennis court by allowing the “just right” net cord response.

Beginning with the 2015 publication of Friend at Court, the guidebook for tennis tournaments and officials, the US Tennis Association joins the International Tennis Federation in recommending a tension of 400-450 pounds on all competition nets, with all nets across a facility within 25 pounds of each other. The TNT Gauge is the only instrument in production that is certified to be accurate enough meet that narrow tension range, and was used in combination with Glass’s research by both bodies as the reference standard for establishing the new recommendation. Other attempted methods of deducing the net tension by measuring center strap forces or pressure on singles sticks cannot be consistently accurate due to the variability in weights of tennis nets and stiffness of net posts; the only proven method is direct, in-line connection to the net cord in conjunction with Glass’s proprietary method of taking the friction at the net post cap out of the equation. The new product is on hundreds of courts and has been used for thousands of matches at pro, college, and club levels, and has proven its durability without a single hardware failure to date. The TNT Gauge ships with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty.

In 2013, the game of volleyball adopted that sport’s version, called the Tight Right Gauge, and is working toward similar standardization of volleyball net tension. The Tight Right Gauge will be on the nets for the volleyball events at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

Manufactured in Knoxville, Tennessee, and available with club or team logos imprinted, the TNT Gauge is made in models that ensure compatibility with nearly all tennis net posts, and the Tight Right Gauge is compatible with all Senoh upright systems. Both are available for retail sales through the web site and for dealer distribution through the parent company, Cable Tension, LLC.