Competitive Spirit? It's in Kendrick's DNA

Robert Kendrick displays his fighting spirit in his first-round match at Wimbledon against Andy Murray. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Exiting Centre Court following a first-round loss to Andy Murray at Wimbledon this year, Robert Kendrick couldn't help but feel good.

The California-native known for his huge power game and devastating serve won a set off the crowd favorite and world No. 4 before ultimately conceding to defeat.

Part of the ATP's elite Top 100 and a regular to the grueling schedule of professional tennis' Futures and Challengers circuits, Kendrick also achieved a life-long goal of playing on Centre Court at Wimbledon, tennis' most prestigious destination.

But the moment was also special for another reason. His yellow and white uniform was produced by Washington-based athletic clothing company, Athletic DNA, a company in which he also owns an equity share.

The moment was a culmination of success on two levels: his on-court performance as a professional tennis athlete and his off-court entrepreneurial efforts as part-owner in the high-performance clothing company.

What better way to showcase your game and your growing business than Wimbledon's Centre Court?

"I like that Athletic DNA really focuses on their players," Kendrick said. "There are only a handful of guys ranked in the top five, but there are hundreds and thousands of hard-working athletes out there grinding away 365 days a year.? Athletic DNA recognizes that."

Founded to cater to the specific needs of competitive tennis players, Athletic DNA's high-performance apparel is tested by pro players in some of the harshest tennis conditions. Their efforts to raise the bar of athletic apparel has resulted in ultra-lightweight, anti-odor and anti-bacterial materials that also offer UV protection and rapid-dry moisture management.

"Athletic DNA is designed specifically for competitive tennis players," said Athletic DNA CEO Dan Willman. "Nothing like playing on Centre Court at Wimbledon to know whether you're really going to stay cool and dry."

Robert Kendrick wearing Athletic DNA clothing at the 2009 French Open. Photo courtesy of Athletic DNA.

But it is their athlete-owned business model that is making quite the stir in the industry. The company gives equity share to professional athletes and coaches, making them the only company in tennis where local influential coaches, academies and touring professionals can own a part of the company they represent.
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Kendrick has been involved in the design, validation, and testing of the high-performance apparel line. He's also a featured model in the company's marketing efforts.

In addition to sponsoring touring pros like Robert Kendrick, Athletic DNA offers an extensive junior sponsorship program.? The company also gives equity in the company to players and coaches.

Sales and Sponsorship Manager for Athletic DNA, Evan Zeder, has been very busy with players, agencies and aspiring juniors wanting to be part of the innovative start-up. "They respect that we're a grassroots company founded and owned by players and coaches," Zeder said.

"A lot of the juniors have seen our clothes at the US Open or at Challengers, so they're ready to get on board," Zeder said.? "It seems fitting that we begin with the grass-roots tennis community, because that is what Athletic DNA is all about."

2009 NCAA Champion coach Peter Smith and well-known fitness trainer Paul Pisani are the latest to become equity owners in the company. "These guys see the potential in what we're doing and share our passion for the sport," Zeder said.

Athletic DNA launches its online store this month making their tennis clothing line available to everyone via the Internet. The high performance apparel line includes performance T's, training T's, long sleeve shirts, shorts, socks and hats.

Athletic DNA's release line utilizes the latest in textile technology, for ultra-lightweight and comfortable clothing for high performance. "The pros keep commenting on the lightweight feel," Mike Calkins, Director of Player Relations, said. "Players can't wait to get their hands on it."

It's been a few weeks since Kendrick's Centre Court defeat. He's since returned to the training courts and the daily grind of the pro tour.

"I like that Athletic DNA recognizes all the guys out there like Ryler DeHeart and myself and so many others," said Kendrick. "It's about hard work, determination, and spirit."

It is this hard work and competitive spirit that drives Kendrick to succeed. Competition, you could say, is part of his athletic DNA.

For more information or to purchase Athletic DNA clothing online, visit AthleticDNA.com.

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