In 2007, Dan Willman, a New Zealand-born former pro, and Michael Calkins, a 2003 NCAA champion, started a tennis academy in Kirkland, Washington, with the goal of developing talented young athletes into top national players.
Success on the court was a direct result of the player’s commitment and hard work. Players saw dramatic improvement in their technique, work ethic and character; in essence, their “Athletic DNA.” A short time later the group had grown. Four of them had become number one in the country.
Parents began to notice. One in particular, Karl Wiersholm, witnessed first-hand the improvement in his son Henrik. As his son began a full commitment to the sport, Wiersholm struggled to find quality product for his 10 year-old. He approached Willman and Calkins, and together they took it upon themselves to create a small line of clothing for juniors, which represented the committed spirit of their academy. The collection focused on high quality fabrics and product with a fit that was right for junior players.
The response was overwhelming. As the academy members wore the new product to national tournaments, the players they competed against took notice. The group saw a larger need for their product.
A plan was made to launch a program where Athletic DNA could provide clothing directly to these juniors, while also supporting the young athletes who traveled the country competing. Evan Zeder, a teammate of Calkins at Illinois, began traveling the country supporting the junior players with apparel. The results were as dramatic. After two years of showing up at sectional and major national tournaments, Athletic DNA had become the number one clothing brand for top juniors.
In 2011 Zeder crisscrossed the country in a branded RV, supporting players at major tournaments from Seattle to New York, Los Angeles to Kalamazoo, stopping at clubs along the way, talking to juniors and spreading the ADNA gospel at a grassroots level.
After becoming the most visible clothing line in competitive junior tennis, Athletic DNA is now preparing to deliver the brand to a prime-time audience. For 2012, they will add training and casual pieces their men’s line, launch an eagerly anticipated women’s line, and bring it all to retail for the first time.
Every piece of product we bring to market is tested by our pros, coaches and juniors before becoming available to you.
The team at Athletic DNA is excited about the future of tennis, and looks forward to growing our contribution to the game.
Learn More at www.athleticdna.com