Prince Sports declares bankruptcy

John Isner of the United States holds a Prince racquet during the 2011 U.S. Open.
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(AP) BORDENTOWN, N.J. - Prince Sports, which for more than 40 years has been affiliated with tennis greats like Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, and Maria Sharapova, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

CEO Gordon Boggis said Tuesday that bankruptcy is necessary to secure the company's future.

Prince is wrestling with heavy debts and says it will use the bankruptcy process to develop a competitive business model. It has secured a commitment for debtor-in-possession financing to allow it to continue to operate while under bankruptcy protection.

Prince Sports Inc., based in Bordentown, N.J., makes rackets, shoes and accessories for tennis, squash and other sports.

It has changed ownership several times over the years and is currently owned by private equity firm Nautic Partners.