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GET IN THE SWING WITH HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS

The holiday season is the time to purchase that new tennis racket for a friend, relative, or even for yourself. There are also other products, both new and old standbys, that should be helpful in buying racket sports items for the holiday season. Suggestions follow:

Wilson N1 tennis racket: Tennis Magazine recommends this racket as one of the most powerful ever made. In addition to its explosiveness it is one of the best rackets ever made for the prevention of tennis elbow. Tennis aficionados who haven't played for months at a time maintain that they love this racket due to its stability and vibration-free playability, and they report having virtually no pain when they play. The racket has a suggested retail price of $320.

Head Liquid Metal 8 tennis racket: This full-size graphite racket provides awesome power for players at all levels with outstanding control, an excellent "feel" and sweet spot. Suggested retail price is $260.

Prince Shark tennis racket: This racket, one of the most popular on the market, is the same one used by Maria Sharapova to win Wimbledon and the WTA Championships. The racket is extremely flexible and generates adequate power. Suggested retail price is $169.99.

Wilson H6 tennis racket: If you are an adult beginner or intermediate player this racket is a great bargain. It plays like rackets that are far more expensive and is relatively easy on your arm. Once priced at $140, it now sells for $79.95.

E Force Radium racquetball racket: The 170-gram racket is the top of the line in the racquetball field. It has extra-long strings, which give it greater hitting power and a bigger sweet spot. The price is $204.99.

Hot Melt C Max squash racket: This model is very powerful and lightweight, is easy on the arm and is made of extra duty graphite. Sells for about $70.

Nike Air Max Breathe Free 2: These are the sneakers worn by Andre Agassi and Roger Federer. They are among the most comfortable on the market, due to an inner sock that greatly helps to prevent ankle injuries. The sneaker also offers outstanding heel support. It is very stylish, lightweight and sells for $84.99.

Hot Item tennis bag: A popular seller with women, this is a very colorful bag sporting pictures of bright flowers. There is room for your tennis equipment and the bag doubles as a backpack. The price is $44.95.

Bolle sunglasses: They've been around for a long time, but are much improved this year. They are tennis-specific and sharply pick up the green color of the tennis ball. The price is $119.99.

Nick Bollettieri tennis videos: Bollettieri is the legendary coach of all-time greats such as Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Monica Seles, and Grand Island's Jimmy Arias. His tennis videos on different strokes and strategies are among the most popular and informative on the market. They sell for $29.99 each.

Thorlo socks: Thorlo is practically a household name in tennis circles. Their comfort and durability are unsurpassed. The cost is $8.99 to $10.99 a pair.

Score Keeping wristband: Are you one of the those tennis players who constantly gets confused about the score? This wristband keeps score of the game at 15, 30, 40, deuce and ad. You can't beat the $6.99 retail price.

Tennis Tutor Ball Machine 160: If you want to treat yourself or endear yourself to a loved one or close friend, this ball machine may be for you. The oscillating features mean you can work on virtually any stroke. The machine is portable and can be taken to any tennis court. The 160-ball capacity gives you plenty of practice and the machine sells for $599-$699.

e-mail: thegreatgar@cs.com

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