Ace: can take advantage of boom
Ace Tennis Magazine has appointed Nigel Billen as editor following the departure of launch editor Dominic Bliss, who has left to concentrate on writing.
Billen, who has worked in magazines and newspapers for more than 20 years, was previously features editor of the Saturday edition of the Daily Express. He has also been an assistant editor on Scotland on Sunday and The Observer.
"I can’t wait to start building on the success of Ace," said Billen. "Britain is the home of tennis and it’s only right and proper that it should have the best tennis magazine in the world.
"I only began playing a couple of years ago, although I had always followed the sport, and now I’m completely addicted. I thought it would be interesting to combine my journalistic background and newspaper experience with something I had a passion for. I am now meeting people in the flesh that I have seen on court and that’s very exciting.
"Tennis is the complete game for the 21st century. Just look at Tony Blair, a very keen player. It is taking over from golf as a fashionable sport."
He said that Ace – a monthly news-stand and subscription-based title aimed at spectators and players – already had access to the game’s top stars but he wanted the magazine to appeal to those who play socially. He aims to increase the magazine’s news-stand sales.
"We are looking to invest in the title but only after we’ve done a fairly thorough review. We want to make it compete more effectively with other high street sports magazines. The bulk of our sales are subscriptions, so the front covers are going to mean a lot more in terms of having an immediate impact. I’ll be thinking very hard about what should go on the cover.
"I want to reflect everyday tennis lifestyles. If you want to get fit, tennis is the game for you. There’s no better stress-buster than park tennis."
Publisher Andy Ford said that with the international success of Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski – and with the investment in grassroots tennis beginning to pay off – Ace had a great opportunity to raise its profile.
"Ace is in a brilliant position to reflect that success and Nigel is just the man to take the magazine to the next level," he said.
By Mary Stevens